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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:14 pm

Vermillion Wanderers 2-4 Parrhesia United
Cranequin City 2-0 Iron City
Greygate 1-3 Stahlburg Rovers
West Brinemouth 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
South Laithland 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Goodfeather FC 1-3 Brookford Otters
Leichhardt 1-0 Extreme Hills
Belgrave 1-3 Chatswood
Ritter Town 2-0 Armstrong
Mantlegrove 4-0 Hackett
The Strongest 1-1 Stahlburg City
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Coret Rovers
Iron City 0-4 Vermillion Wanderers
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Parrhesia United
Cranequin Wanderers 0-0 Cranequin City
AFC Serpentine 4-0 Greygate
Brookford Otters 1-0 West Brinemouth
Extreme Hills 0-3 South Laithland
Chatswood 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Armstrong 1-0 Leichhardt
Hackett 5-2 Belgrave
Stahlburg City 1-1 Ritter Town
Coret Rovers 3-1 Mantlegrove
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 The Strongest
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Iron City 1-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Parrhesia United 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin City 2-2 Brookford Otters
Greygate 0-0 Extreme Hills
West Brinemouth 0-2 Chatswood
South Laithland 0-0 Armstrong
Goodfeather FC 3-0 Hackett
Leichhardt 0-1 Stahlburg City
Belgrave 1-0 Coret Rovers
Ritter Town 2-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Mantlegrove 2-0 The Strongest
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Brookford Otters 2-0 Iron City
Extreme Hills 1-5 Parrhesia United
Chatswood 0-1 Cranequin City
Armstrong 2-1 Greygate
Hackett 0-0 West Brinemouth
Stahlburg City 2-2 South Laithland
Coret Rovers 0-3 Goodfeather FC
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Leichhardt
The Strongest 1-1 Belgrave
Mantlegrove 1-0 Ritter Town
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Brookford Otters
Stahlburg Rovers 3-1 Extreme Hills
Iron City 1-0 Chatswood
Parrhesia United 2-0 Armstrong
Cranequin City 2-0 Hackett
Greygate 0-3 Stahlburg City
West Brinemouth 1-0 Coret Rovers
South Laithland 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Goodfeather FC 2-0 The Strongest
Leichhardt 2-0 Mantlegrove
Belgrave 1-2 Ritter Town
Brookford Otters 3-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Extreme Hills 3-1 AFC Serpentine
Chatswood 0-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Armstrong 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Hackett 1-0 Iron City
Stahlburg City 1-0 Parrhesia United
Coret Rovers 0-2 Cranequin City
Crisisbless Athletic 0-3 Greygate
The Strongest 2-3 West Brinemouth
Mantlegrove 1-2 South Laithland
Ritter Town 0-0 Goodfeather FC
Belgrave 2-0 Leichhardt
Vermillion Wanderers 2-2 Extreme Hills
Brookford Otters 1-1 Chatswood
AFC Serpentine 1-3 Armstrong
Cranequin Wanderers 2-2 Hackett
Stahlburg Rovers 0-0 Stahlburg City
Iron City 0-1 Coret Rovers
Parrhesia United 4-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Cranequin City 2-0 The Strongest
Greygate 1-0 Mantlegrove
West Brinemouth 3-0 Ritter Town
South Laithland 2-0 Belgrave
Goodfeather FC 2-3 Leichhardt
Chatswood 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Armstrong 1-0 Extreme Hills
Hackett 0-3 Brookford Otters
Stahlburg City 3-0 AFC Serpentine
Coret Rovers 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
The Strongest 1-1 Iron City
Mantlegrove 2-2 Parrhesia United
Ritter Town 3-0 Cranequin City
Belgrave 3-1 Greygate
Leichhardt 1-1 West Brinemouth
Goodfeather FC 1-1 South Laithland
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Armstrong
Chatswood 2-1 Hackett
Extreme Hills 0-2 Stahlburg City
Brookford Otters 2-3 Coret Rovers
AFC Serpentine 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 The Strongest
Stahlburg Rovers 0-0 Mantlegrove
Iron City 0-0 Ritter Town
Parrhesia United 1-2 Belgrave
Cranequin City 1-0 Leichhardt
Greygate 0-4 Goodfeather FC
West Brinemouth 1-1 South Laithland
Hackett 3-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Stahlburg City 1-0 Armstrong
Coret Rovers 1-2 Chatswood
Crisisbless Athletic 3-0 Extreme Hills
The Strongest 1-3 Brookford Otters
Mantlegrove 3-2 AFC Serpentine
Ritter Town 3-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Belgrave 0-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Leichhardt 0-1 Iron City
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Parrhesia United
South Laithland 1-1 Cranequin City
West Brinemouth 1-0 Greygate
Vermillion Wanderers 3-2 Stahlburg City
Hackett 1-0 Coret Rovers
Armstrong 4-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Chatswood 2-1 The Strongest
Extreme Hills 2-0 Mantlegrove
Brookford Otters 0-2 Ritter Town
AFC Serpentine 2-2 Belgrave
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Leichhardt
Stahlburg Rovers 4-3 Goodfeather FC
Iron City 0-2 South Laithland
Parrhesia United 0-1 West Brinemouth
Cranequin City 1-1 Greygate

Matchday 35: Cantra Duprey and Isobel Foster have been signings worth their weight in gold for Mantlegrove, key in giving the side another dimension in attack. They show it today in a strong showing that dominates Hackett, 4-0 up by half-time, Merry Boys manager Lara Winter with a thousand-yard stare on the touchline. Hackett do manage to fight back somewhat in the second half, but with Garrick imperious in defence and Lowen Archer, one of the original Project +90 Treason players, brilliant between the posts, they can't get on the scoresheet. It gets worse for Hackett, as Crisisbless Athletic leapfrog them when Chris Suttner's header is enough to sink Coret and Ritter win back some ground through goals from Naga and Yew. Chatswood come back from 1-0 down at half-time to 3-1 winners at full-time in a match most notable for Belgrave manager Adalheid Metzelder foiling a Chatswood attack by kicking a spare ball onto the pitch. "It worked better than anything my midfield tried in the second half," she sniffed.

Matchday 36: "I told you you wouldn't miss the last guy!" Seneca Matthews laughs with the press after her Vermillion side come to Iron and come away with a 4-0 win. She's a former teammate at South Laithland of opposite number Reece Benedict, a tricky winger to his burly goalkeeper, and things were cordial on the touchline... up until the game started. Matthews is small, animated and loud; Benedict dour, with a face like thunder at every Vermillion goal. Valery Kovaleski, with a thunderous left boot, notches a hat-trick of basically identical strikes from the edge of the box. Serpentine, for their part, clear some distance from the drop with a 4-0 hammering over a miserable Greygate side, with Coret beating Mantlegrove and a ten-man Ritter hanging on for a 1-1 point away against the Smiths, Arista Tzorvas with a perfectly-angled header as she outmuscled former Starling man Orsay to beat Hasanu. Out of nowhere, Hackett annihilate Belgrave 5-2 - the exciting thing about this season is that even minnows like Hackett have quality like Varga Neury, who has torn up the league, on their side. Amidst all this, the only goalless match is the Cranequin derby, which is dire. At least City figure out how to stifle the Wanderers' options, but have little ambition to do much more.

Matchday 37: Twelve games, twelve clean sheets - it's a good day for the goalkeepers of the First Division. It's an especially good day for Marietta Briggs, Serpentine's stopper, who started the season on the bench and is ending it on the Premiership radar. Against Parrhesia, Serpentine take an early lead through an incisive pass from Passlach whipped into the bottom corner by Strong, and not one but two penalty saves from Briggs in the second half saves their lead. Also having a good day is Max Beyer, Vermillion's impressive Pasargan stopper, who is unsurprisingly active as the Wanderers beat Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 with just 29% of the ball, Pinnon making the difference from a free kick. Anders Rowett of the beleagured Greygate impresses, too, in a scoreless draw against Extreme Hills that really just makes you want to end it all. He's one that's risen to the challenge of Greygate being shit, and seems to relish all the saves he gets to make. He's supposedly being eyed as a Premiership backup for next season. Not exactly shining, however, is Hackett's Faraj Samara. She's not the shotstopper she used to be, age seeming to slow her down, and that inch or two is really getting to her when she does one of those things she does. She's narrowly too slow getting to a through-ball and clatters Corona Sharpe - Leitner sends her the wrong way from the spot - before Sharpe beats her at her near post and, when Leitner floats in a high corner, she sticks rigidly to her line as Prosper wins the ball unchallenged and flicks it on to Sharpe, who finishes, well, sharply, to round off a 3-0 win for Goodfeather.

Matchday 38: Iron's fifth straight defeat, a routine 2-0 in Brookford, intensifies scrutiny on manager Reece Benedict. They look short of ideas and inspiration, and only Preussler's scoring... just like when Garrett got the axe. Bruno Hawke gets the dreaded vote of confidence from the Leichhardt board after his side succumbs 2-0 to Crisisbless Athletic. Their hosts are energetic, physical and determined, and run rings around their lethargic opponents. Parrhesia put five past Extreme Hills goalkeeper Tournay from five different scorers, including Hounds leftback Ash Carter, to add to their troubles. They, at least, have no intention of sacking Malta Falconer. She's already saved them once. Meanwhile, Cranequin City haul themselves closer to an unexpected promotion berth, overcoming the more established Chatswood 1-0 away in a match high on sweat and low on quality. That is, except for Niko Rosmalen, a mercurial figure whose muscle helps wrest the ball off Grear before twisting and hammering a strike low into the bottom corner from twenty-five yards, past a flat-footed Aleksovic. They do seem to have everything - an excellent goalkeeper in Ledo, a stout defence, class in midfield and, in Gemmill and Kolar, a moderately lethal strike partnership of pace and power.

Matchday 39: Goodfeather swat down the Strongest in a dominant 2-0 win; from their past three, they've scored eight without reply. The Strongest, meanwhile, have a five-match unbeaten run snapped (the last four of which being 1-1 draws). Or, alternatively, they have one win from 21 games. They are well and truly floundering, and the ground is rising up to meet them. Do they stick or twist? They twist. Redruth is shown the door, in comes the aging Ewan Sanderson after they were turned down by Helena Fleischer. Sanderson has one season at this level under his belt, in which an admittedly outspent Riverkey were relegated. An uninspiring firefighter, though he has an excellent reputation in the lower leagues. Meanwhile, in a hilariously mismatched Stahlburg derby, City hammer Greygate 3-0. Juergen Stone, it's becoming clear, is not going to make it past the end of the season.

Matchday 40: "How shit must you be?" the away end bellows. It could apply to a couple games, really. Maybe the Gulls, incredulous at watching the Strongest actually contrive to concede three goals to them. Who concedes three goals to West Brinemouth? Most insultingly, the last one is a 91st minute winner from Daskalakis after Tristram's speculative long ball isn't dealt with. Perhaps Leichhardt, about their own team, as they get beaten easily by Belgrave. Bruno Hawke is absolutely not making it past this season. But it's definitely about Crisisbless Athletic, from incredulous Greygate fans. Petriak opens the fun with a flying header before even Cadell Cornerstone, who is terrible, and Karena Braham, who is well past it, pile on the damage - it ends 3-0, Athletic even missing a penalty for good measure. "We needed the points," manager Claire Antioch hisses after the match, practically shaking with rage. "What did they have to fight for?"

Matchday 41: Incredibly, Greygate scrounge up their fifth win of the season. It's Klaus Petriak who gets the goal, trapping a cross deftly before slamming it past Mantlegrove stopper Archer, continuing to prove an at least mediocre 1Div pedigree with his eleventh goal of the season. They're now on a hot winning streak of two. A lot of derbies this year have been terrible, and the Stahlburg derby is no exception, a dire scoreless draw. Cranequin Wanderers have been slowing down at the top, too - they can only take a point after they host Hackett, who equalise in the 92nd minute through lumbering 35-year old striker Fred Dawson, who smacks it home off the inside of his thigh. West Brinemouth, the league's least prolific non-Greygate side, score three goals for the second straight match, their third straight win; a hapless Ritter Town is on the receiving end, and their inconsistency could yet be their doom.

Matchday 42: Coret grab a lifeline, but it could've been so much better. Cranequin Wanderers aren't exactly cantering to victory, making Brinemouth's late-season dropoff look like a sprint to the finish by comparison, and on top of that they have Robin Seizter sent off for two yellow cards within 34 minutes. Then Jantzer clatters Janik for a penalty that she nervelessly slots away. But they can't add to it, the Wanderers unhurried, not willing to force the equaliser - it comes naturally, Kudelka pouncing on an errant pass from Muller and centring for Goodyouth to curl past Kewell. Ritter Town are entertainingly flaky, but at least the odd strong performance is helping keep them up; even without Tzorvas on the scoresheet, she still finds two assists in a 3-0 win over high-flying Cranequin City. The Strongest and Iron City both really need to win; facing each other, neither manage to.

Matchday 43: The Strongest have not had a new manager bounce. They haven't actually had a win since Houghton took over, and even a valiant 2-1 defeat away against Cranequin Wanderers isn't as good as it sounds, since the Wanderers were winless in four going into it. Somehow, Iron against Ritter ends goalless, despite Elsa Durant twice having to slide in and hook Ritter strikes off the line, and at the other end, Anwhistle having a penalty beaten away by St. Preux. Coret are cruising for defeat at Brookford, 2-0 down with fifteen minutes to go... and then Janik gets a tap-in, rouses the Rovers into thinking a comeback might just be possible. Another penalt, again converted by Janik, means it's happening, before Kurtis Siegrist is sent off for slamming an elbow into Spendthrift and Jozan Moreland thumps home given space from outside the box in injury time, a winner that might just restore their fading hopes of survival. This has mostly been focused at the bottom, but in truth, there's just not much changing at the top.

Matchday 44: All eyes are in Crisisbless, and it's not for Goodfeather's toothless 1-0 defeat to Parrhesia. It's for a six-pointer between Athletic and troubled Extreme Hills. Victory for Athletic would all but mathematically ensure their safety. The Hounds go out looking to, uh, run a lot, mostly. Athletic have structure, and after the first ten minutes, look comfortable. It's only a matter of time until the goals rain in. Suttner threatens it a couple of times, dominant against a nervy Hills defence; but in the second half, he finally gets one past Tournay, and Kite and Heidelberg join in to make it 3-0. A huge win for Athletic; hugely damaging for Hills. Hackett also pick up a massive win, a wicked deflection off a strike from Lucan taking it past Vermillion Wanderers goalkeeper Beyer. The Wanderers don't really give a fuck, and they drop two more goals in the second half. For good measure, Iron City beat Leichhardt 1-0 away, and Ritter Town get the odd goal in five courtesy of the silky Naga to take out the demob-happy Cranequin Wanderers and ensure their own safety.

Matchday 45: Cranequin Wanderers have had a staggering late-season slump. They were set to snap records not so long ago; now, after failing to beat Leichhardt at home, they might not even make it to 100 points. The title's long sewn up, at least, while despite defeat Stahlburg City remain safely promoted. Stahlburg Rovers' flashy 4-3 win over Goodfeather, enabled by journeyman Thorodel Nagdalene's entry off the bench to outwrestle Bierofka and stick out a foot to tap in Moxey's drilled cross in injury time, keeps their two-point lead over Chatswood intact. A win for Chatswood, Cranequin City's failure to beat lowly Greygate at home and Brookford's defeat to Arista Tzorvas + 10 mean there's no threat from outside the top four. Prominently not in the conversation: Parrhesia United and Leichhardt. And for the first time in what feels like a while, no relegated side is going straight back up.

The relegation battle all but mathematically whittles down to two teams over one slot; Iron City slump to defeat against South Laithland, while the Hounds at least give themselves a chance by beating Mantlegrove. Special mention must go to the Strongest. They won six from their first nine (nice), nine of their first eighteen. They've won precisely once since, and a hard-fought 2-1 defeat to Chatswood confirms their relegation. It is a cataclysmically bad collapse, the likes of which have never before been seen in this league. Felix Gallan's header sinks Coret Rovers, too, while Greygate are long gone.

Iron United 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Ox River United 2-1 Crossroads Town
Corinthians No Longer 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Ballardine FC 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Rochford
Locksley 1-0 Riverkey
Stonegrave 4-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Sheridan 2-0 AFC Shale
Alliance Barossia 2-0 The Hanged Man
Barossia United 4-2 Peregrine
West Hook 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Kommissar 1-2 Southriver
Crossroads Town 1-1 Iron United
Chardonnay Rangers 3-2 East Laithland Harriers
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 Ox River United
Rochford 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Riverkey 3-0 Ballardine FC
Lazuli Diamonds 0-2 Gonen's Bridge
AFC Shale 2-2 Locksley
The Hanged Man 1-1 Stonegrave
Peregrine 3-1 Sheridan
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Southriver 1-0 Barossia United
Kommissar 0-0 West Hook
Iron United 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Crossroads Town 2-4 Pillars of Southfell
East Laithland Harriers 0-2 Rochford
Ox River United 0-1 Riverkey
Corinthians No Longer 5-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Ballardine FC 0-1 AFC Shale
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 The Hanged Man
Locksley 3-4 Peregrine
Stonegrave 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Sheridan 1-1 Southriver
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Kommissar
Barossia United 0-1 West Hook
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Iron United
Rochford 1-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Riverkey 1-0 Crossroads Town
Lazuli Diamonds 4-1 East Laithland Harriers
AFC Shale 3-0 Ox River United
The Hanged Man 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Peregrine 0-2 Ballardine FC
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Southriver 2-2 Locksley
Kommissar 1-1 Stonegrave
West Hook 0-2 Sheridan
Barossia United 0-0 Alliance Barossia
Iron United 0-4 Rochford
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Riverkey
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Crossroads Town 1-3 AFC Shale
East Laithland Harriers 0-2 The Hanged Man
Ox River United 1-3 Peregrine
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Ballardine FC 2-4 Southriver
Gonen's Bridge 3-1 Kommissar
Locksley 2-1 West Hook
Stonegrave 2-0 Barossia United
Sheridan 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Riverkey 2-1 Iron United
Lazuli Diamonds 3-5 Rochford
AFC Shale 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
The Hanged Man 0-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Peregrine 2-0 Crossroads Town
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Southriver 1-1 Ox River United
Kommissar 2-3 Corinthians No Longer
West Hook 1-1 Ballardine FC
Barossia United 3-1 Gonen's Bridge
Alliance Barossia 2-3 Locksley
Sheridan 1-1 Stonegrave
Iron United 1-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Riverkey 3-0 AFC Shale
Rochford 1-1 The Hanged Man
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Peregrine
Chardonnay Rangers 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Crossroads Town 3-0 Southriver
East Laithland Harriers 1-1 Kommissar
Ox River United 0-0 West Hook
Corinthians No Longer 4-2 Barossia United
Ballardine FC 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Gonen's Bridge 0-0 Sheridan
Locksley 1-0 Stonegrave
AFC Shale 2-0 Iron United
The Hanged Man 0-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Peregrine 3-2 Riverkey
Dartmouth Terriers 0-2 Rochford
Southriver 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Kommissar 1-4 Chardonnay Rangers
West Hook 5-1 Crossroads Town
Barossia United 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Ox River United
Sheridan 1-4 Corinthians No Longer
Stonegrave 2-0 Ballardine FC
Locksley 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Iron United 0-1 The Hanged Man
AFC Shale 2-1 Peregrine
Lazuli Diamonds 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Riverkey 3-1 Southriver
Rochford 3-1 Kommissar
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 West Hook
Chardonnay Rangers 3-1 Barossia United
Crossroads Town 1-3 Alliance Barossia
East Laithland Harriers 1-2 Sheridan
Ox River United 0-3 Stonegrave
Corinthians No Longer 3-1 Locksley
Ballardine FC 1-4 Gonen's Bridge
Peregrine 7-0 Iron United
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 The Hanged Man
Southriver 2-1 AFC Shale
Kommissar 3-3 Lazuli Diamonds
West Hook 1-1 Riverkey
Barossia United 0-1 Rochford
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
Sheridan 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Stonegrave 1-1 Crossroads Town
Locksley 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Ox River United
Ballardine FC 2-0 Corinthians No Longer
Iron United 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Peregrine 2-0 Southriver
The Hanged Man 3-0 Kommissar
AFC Shale 1-1 West Hook
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Barossia United
Riverkey 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Rochford 1-0 Sheridan
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Stonegrave
Chardonnay Rangers 3-1 Locksley
Crossroads Town 2-1 Gonen's Bridge
East Laithland Harriers 2-0 Ballardine FC
Ox River United 0-0 Corinthians No Longer
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Martella Jazz
Ingram Township 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Downsparrow 0-1 Sirencall FC
Brunyard FC 0-0 Brokenarch
Falston United 2-0 Falston Town
Strephonage 0-1 South Parrhesia
Brindleton 0-2 Hartford Glade
Sutcroft 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Kensey Town
Fischer 1-4 Gosmouth Swans
Bodkin Road 1-1 Mapleford
Autumnstone 1-1 Long Lake
Aries Solitaire 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Sirencall FC 1-1 Martella Jazz
Brokenarch 5-1 Ingram Township
Falston Town 7-2 Downsparrow
South Parrhesia 2-0 Brunyard FC
Hartford Glade 0-1 Falston United
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Strephonage
Kensey Town 0-0 Brindleton
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Sutcroft
Mapleford 2-1 Fully Sick XI
Long Lake 1-1 Fischer
Autumnstone 1-2 Bodkin Road
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 Sirencall FC
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Brokenarch
Martella Jazz 3-2 Falston Town
Ingram Township 1-2 South Parrhesia
Downsparrow 1-3 Hartford Glade
Brunyard FC 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Falston United 1-0 Kensey Town
Strephonage 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Brindleton 1-0 Mapleford
Sutcroft 2-0 Long Lake
Fully Sick XI 2-4 Autumnstone
Fischer 1-2 Bodkin Road
Brokenarch 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Falston Town 4-1 Sirencall FC
South Parrhesia 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Hartford Glade 2-4 Martella Jazz
Boltcroft Thorns 0-0 Ingram Township
Kensey Town 1-0 Downsparrow
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 Brunyard FC
Mapleford 0-1 Falston United
Long Lake 0-1 Strephonage
Autumnstone 2-5 Brindleton
Bodkin Road 1-1 Sutcroft
Fischer 2-2 Fully Sick XI
Sutcroft Athletic 1-4 Falston Town
Brokenarch 1-3 South Parrhesia
Sirencall FC 2-1 Hartford Glade
Aries Solitaire 6-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Martella Jazz 1-3 Kensey Town
Ingram Township 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Downsparrow 1-3 Mapleford
Brunyard FC 0-0 Long Lake
Falston United 0-1 Autumnstone
Strephonage 2-0 Bodkin Road
Brindleton 5-1 Fischer
Sutcroft 1-3 Fully Sick XI
South Parrhesia 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Hartford Glade 0-3 Falston Town
Boltcroft Thorns 3-2 Brokenarch
Kensey Town 1-0 Sirencall FC
Gosmouth Swans 2-2 Aries Solitaire
Mapleford 0-2 Martella Jazz
Long Lake 0-2 Ingram Township
Autumnstone 0-0 Downsparrow
Bodkin Road 0-1 Brunyard FC
Fischer 1-3 Falston United
Fully Sick XI 0-1 Strephonage
Sutcroft 2-1 Brindleton
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Hartford Glade
South Parrhesia 0-4 Boltcroft Thorns
Falston Town 1-0 Kensey Town
Brokenarch 1-4 Gosmouth Swans
Sirencall FC 2-3 Mapleford
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Long Lake
Martella Jazz 2-2 Autumnstone
Ingram Township 2-0 Bodkin Road
Downsparrow 6-0 Fischer
Brunyard FC 1-0 Fully Sick XI
Falston United 2-1 Sutcroft
Strephonage 2-0 Brindleton
Boltcroft Thorns 2-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Kensey Town 1-2 Hartford Glade
Gosmouth Swans 3-1 South Parrhesia
Mapleford 1-1 Falston Town
Long Lake 0-0 Brokenarch
Autumnstone 2-1 Sirencall FC
Bodkin Road 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Fischer 2-3 Martella Jazz
Fully Sick XI 0-1 Ingram Township
Sutcroft 0-2 Downsparrow
Brindleton 1-0 Brunyard FC
Strephonage 1-1 Falston United
Sutcroft Athletic 2-0 Kensey Town
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Hartford Glade 2-1 Mapleford
South Parrhesia 1-0 Long Lake
Falston Town 1-2 Autumnstone
Brokenarch 1-1 Bodkin Road
Sirencall FC 2-1 Fischer
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Fully Sick XI
Martella Jazz 3-1 Sutcroft
Ingram Township 0-2 Brindleton
Downsparrow 0-1 Strephonage
Brunyard FC 0-2 Falston United
Gosmouth Swans 5-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Mapleford 1-3 Kensey Town
Long Lake 0-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Autumnstone 3-1 Hartford Glade
Bodkin Road 2-4 South Parrhesia
Fischer 3-2 Falston Town
Fully Sick XI 2-0 Brokenarch
Sutcroft 4-0 Sirencall FC
Brindleton 0-2 Aries Solitaire
Strephonage 1-2 Martella Jazz
Falston United 1-0 Ingram Township
Brunyard FC 3-0 Downsparrow
Sutcroft Athletic 0-2 Mapleford
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Long Lake
Kensey Town 2-3 Autumnstone
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 Bodkin Road
Hartford Glade 1-0 Fischer
South Parrhesia 2-2 Fully Sick XI
Falston Town 2-2 Sutcroft
Brokenarch 1-0 Brindleton
Sirencall FC 0-2 Strephonage
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Falston United
Martella Jazz 3-0 Brunyard FC
Ingram Township 0-1 Downsparrow

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 45 31 7 7 134 45 +89 100
2 Sabrefell Moths 45 30 6 9 93 39 +54 96
3 Sabrefell Athletic 45 29 7 9 79 43 +36 94

4 AFC Treason 45 25 8 12 70 33 +37 83
5 Newrook City 45 23 10 12 86 53 +33 79
6 Coret Hawks 45 24 7 14 74 51 +23 79

7 Starling 45 23 5 17 69 53 +16 74
8 Aries Chariots 45 21 8 16 69 57 +12 71
9 Crisisbless 45 20 10 15 65 51 +14 70
10 North Sabrefell 45 18 16 11 63 59 +4 70
11 Chenoworth Harriers 45 19 9 17 67 61 +6 66
12 AFC Corvistone 45 19 9 17 72 72 +0 66
13 Chenoworth Rovers 45 20 6 19 65 69 -4 66
14 Raven River 45 16 12 17 66 71 -5 60
15 Vermillion Rage 45 17 8 20 96 88 +8 59
16 Southfell United 45 16 9 20 60 78 -18 57
17 North Laithland 45 15 6 24 49 77 -28 51
18 Crisisbless United 45 14 6 25 57 83 -26 48
19 Corvette Maulers 45 13 9 23 57 102 -45 48
20 Cypher Town 45 12 9 24 39 60 -21 45
21 Diamondqueen 45 11 8 26 46 84 -38 41
22 Creed United 45 11 7 27 44 86 -42 40
23 Bishop 45 5 13 27 33 77 -44 28
24 Morningstar 45 6 9 30 41 102 -61 27

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin Wanderers 45 28 14 3 85 32 +53 98
2 Stahlburg City 45 26 14 5 76 30 +46 92
3 Stahlburg Rovers 45 26 11 8 63 39 +24 89

4 Chatswood 45 25 12 8 66 38 +28 87
5 Cranequin City 45 24 10 11 67 47 +20 82
6 Brookford Otters 45 24 9 12 80 47 +33 81
7 South Laithland 45 20 13 12 70 47 +23 73
8 Parrhesia United 45 21 9 15 87 62 +25 72
9 Vermillion Wanderers 45 20 11 14 58 52 +6 71
10 Belgrave 45 18 11 16 64 62 +2 65
11 Goodfeather FC 45 19 7 19 63 54 +9 64
12 Leichhardt 45 18 8 19 40 44 -4 62
13 West Brinemouth 45 15 15 15 38 44 -6 60
14 Armstrong 45 14 14 17 41 50 -9 56
15 Mantlegrove 45 15 7 23 49 68 -19 52
16 Ritter Town 45 12 14 19 52 57 -5 50
17 Hackett 45 14 6 25 42 63 -21 48
18 AFC Serpentine 45 11 13 21 50 71 -21 46
19 Crisisbless Athletic 45 11 13 21 55 78 -23 46
20 Iron City 45 11 12 22 47 69 -22 45
21 Extreme Hills 45 10 13 22 52 93 -41 43
22 Coret Rovers 45 10 9 26 53 75 -22 39
23 The Strongest 45 10 9 26 52 81 -29 39
24 Greygate 45 5 12 28 33 80 -47 27

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Chardonnay Rangers 45 28 11 6 78 34 +44 95
2 Rochford 45 26 11 8 77 43 +34 89
3 Peregrine 45 26 8 11 99 53 +46 86
4 Gonen's Bridge 45 23 11 11 71 47 +24 80

5 Dartmouth Terriers 45 20 14 11 58 43 +15 74
6 Riverkey 45 20 12 13 45 31 +14 72
7 Stonegrave 45 18 17 10 53 35 +18 71
8 Pillars of Southfell 45 19 14 12 45 33 +12 71
9 Alliance Barossia 45 17 17 11 45 42 +3 68
10 Corinthians No Longer 45 18 11 16 67 67 +0 65
11 Locksley 45 17 13 15 63 58 +5 64
12 Barossia United 45 16 14 15 49 45 +4 62
13 Southriver 45 16 12 17 64 75 -11 60
14 AFC Shale 45 15 12 18 43 44 -1 57
15 Sheridan 45 14 13 18 43 49 -6 55
16 Ballardine FC 45 12 16 17 43 57 -14 52
17 Crossroads Town 45 14 7 24 49 67 -18 49
18 West Hook 45 9 20 16 39 50 -11 47
19 The Hanged Man 45 10 14 21 32 52 -20 44
20 Kommissar 45 10 13 22 48 72 -24 43
21 Lazuli Diamonds 45 8 17 20 56 81 -25 41
22 East Laithland Harriers 45 11 8 26 43 70 -27 41
23 Ox River United 45 7 19 19 27 49 -22 40
24 Iron United 45 10 8 27 29 69 -40 38

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Falston United 45 30 9 6 70 38 +32 99
2 Aries Solitaire 45 31 5 9 95 45 +50 98
3 Boltcroft Thorns 45 30 7 8 103 53 +50 97
4 Autumnstone 45 24 10 11 78 52 +26 82

5 Gosmouth Swans 45 24 8 13 90 57 +33 80
6 Strephonage 45 23 9 13 60 48 +12 78
7 Martella Jazz 45 18 16 11 75 60 +15 70
8 Fully Sick XI 45 19 11 15 71 62 +9 68
9 Brindleton 45 20 7 18 60 54 +6 67
10 Kensey Town 45 19 9 17 57 55 +2 66
11 South Parrhesia 45 16 15 14 66 63 +3 63
12 Brokenarch 45 16 12 17 52 59 -7 60
13 Falston Town 45 17 7 21 76 69 +7 58
14 Sutcroft 45 15 11 19 57 59 -2 56
15 Hartford Glade 45 15 11 19 59 65 -6 56
16 Sirencall FC 45 17 4 24 64 85 -21 55
17 Brunyard FC 45 15 8 22 61 75 -14 53
18 Long Lake 45 10 18 17 27 46 -19 48
19 Mapleford 45 12 10 23 58 77 -19 46
20 Bodkin Road 45 12 9 24 49 85 -36 45
21 Sutcroft Athletic 45 10 14 21 42 62 -20 44
22 Ingram Township 45 9 15 21 35 56 -21 42
23 Downsparrow 45 10 10 25 49 78 -29 40
24 Fischer 45 6 9 30 42 93 -51 27

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 FC Seierstad 38 24 8 6 66 33 +33 80
2 Rushe United 38 22 7 9 73 40 +33 73

3 Harrington 38 22 5 11 66 45 +21 71
4 Ringway 38 21 7 10 60 38 +22 70
5 Crownsend Journey 38 20 9 9 77 44 +33 69
6 Lockheed Zenith 38 21 6 11 63 40 +23 69
7 Stonesthrow Town 38 16 12 10 50 43 +7 60
8 Courser 38 15 11 12 47 54 -7 56
9 Iberia Chenoworth 38 15 10 13 87 73 +14 55
10 Riverkey Shells 38 15 9 14 49 54 -5 54
11 Boleyn Town 38 15 7 16 36 32 +4 52
12 Grovebank 38 14 10 14 44 45 -1 52
13 Aspen Grove 38 11 13 14 55 55 +0 46
14 AFC Hellerine 38 11 9 18 55 60 -5 42
15 Sleetwell Rangers 38 10 10 18 37 66 -29 40
16 Chenoworth Teutons 38 9 11 18 32 49 -17 38
17 Fenland Albion 38 10 6 22 30 45 -15 36
18 Swag Hill Rovers 38 9 8 21 48 82 -34 35
19 Dross Rovers 38 8 7 23 30 68 -38 31
20 Capricopia Rangers 38 5 9 24 37 76 -39 24

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Rochford Pilgrims 38 23 5 10 71 38 +33 74
2 Stamper Road 38 20 10 8 72 40 +32 70

3 Pravenna Saints 38 20 10 8 64 34 +30 70
4 Caldwick Strand 38 20 10 8 52 36 +16 70
5 Cranequin Souths 38 18 15 5 64 39 +25 69
6 Brookford Vantablack 38 20 8 10 56 36 +20 68
7 Gridlock 38 16 11 11 41 33 +8 59
8 AFC Burchess 38 14 11 13 52 49 +3 53
9 Rookwall 38 14 9 15 45 46 -1 51
10 Twelvetrees 38 13 11 14 43 45 -2 50
11 Corvistone City 38 13 10 15 40 37 +3 49
12 The Travellers FC 38 13 8 17 54 54 +0 47
13 Brookway Town 38 11 11 16 36 55 -19 44
14 AFC Volksgarten 38 11 9 18 34 53 -19 42
15 Constance Park 38 11 8 19 33 46 -13 41
16 Blaze 38 11 8 19 49 67 -18 41
17 South Brill 38 11 7 20 38 47 -9 40
18 Corby Hubris 38 9 11 18 39 71 -32 38
19 Rhyburn Swifts 38 10 7 21 51 79 -28 37
20 Coral Bay 38 8 9 21 37 66 -29 33
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:13 pm

Falston United held the title within their own grasp… but the Ceyne Islander side let it slip. There’s talk they may exit the league and contest the recently-formed Ceynes Super-League, but the club has hotly denied this. In any case, they go down 2-0 in the first half to midtable Brokenarch, in front of an underwhelmed home crowd; they pull it back to 2-2, and hit a post in the closing stages, but are unable to get the third they need. That’s no trouble at all for Aries Solitaire, who put three past Downsparrow, while the Thorns round out the top three despite defeat. Autumnstone also secure a second straight promotion, though they also left it late to beat Mapleford in a 3-2 thriller with Mapleford fighting for their lives. Fortunately for them, Bodkin Road were edged out by the Swans at home, and with Sutcroft Athletic beating Long Lake, slip into the drop. Ingram win, but results elsewhere condemn them; Downsparrow and a dismal Fischer side round out the bottom. Seierstad and Rushe United clamber up from the West, Rochford Pilgrims and Stamper Road from the East; Pravenna Saints are edged out on goal difference, disastrously for their future, and they’ll be forced to operate on neutral soil another year.

Long Lake 0-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Autumnstone 3-2 Mapleford
Bodkin Road 2-3 Gosmouth Swans
Fischer 1-1 Kensey Town
Fully Sick XI 3-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Sutcroft 1-1 Hartford Glade
Brindleton 0-1 South Parrhesia
Strephonage 0-1 Falston Town
Falston United 2-2 Brokenarch
Brunyard FC 2-2 Sirencall FC
Downsparrow 0-3 Aries Solitaire
Ingram Township 1-0 Martella Jazz

There’s nothing left to discuss at the top. Chardonnay Rangers already have the title sewn up, despite defeat in Ballardine; Rochford (the only one of the four to win), Peregrine and Gonen’s Bridge join them. Kommissar and the Hanged Man have survival in their hands, but lose; the Diamonds and Ox River lose their own shots, leaving the invincible East Laithland Harriers to drag themselves clear with a 1-0 win over River. The Hanged Man, therefore, get to stay up by the skin of their teeth; Kommissar, not so lucky.

Southriver 1-0 Iron United
Kommissar 1-3 Dartmouth Terriers
West Hook 0-0 Peregrine
Barossia United 2-0 The Hanged Man
Alliance Barossia 1-2 AFC Shale
Sheridan 3-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Stonegrave 1-1 Riverkey
Locksley 0-2 Rochford
Gonen's Bridge 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Ballardine FC 3-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Corinthians No Longer 3-0 Crossroads Town
Ox River United 0-1 East Laithland Harriers

Key Fixtures

West Brinemouth vs. Stahlburg Rovers
Ritter Town vs. Chatswood
Stahlburg Rovers need to win to secure third place and automatic promotion. Failing that, a victory for Chatswood would leapfrog them.

Belgrave vs. Extreme Hills
Greygate vs. Iron City
A point for Iron City against the wooden-spooners would be enough, thanks to an overwhelming advantage on goal difference. If they lose, the Hounds could save themselves with a win in a much tougher fixture.

The day kicks off in predictable fashion, Stahlburg City’s Kantaroff effortlessly breezing past the Athletic leftback and lofting a cross to Isabella Shi, who chests the ball down and hammers it past Qatintiki. The first goal of what could be many, and who knows? If they score sixteen more, Athletic might even be drawn into the relegation picture. Serpentine are in the same situation, but get on the scoresheet early against Goodfeather, which helps. But first, Hills have a hole to dig themselves out of. They get off to a good start against an experimental Belgrave side, Ivor Roxham going up in the air and winning a challenge against Naess, knocking a long ball from Sigournay up to Maribel Garrido, who really doesn’t need to be told twice; he drags it away from his marker and rifles it past Connell. But not long afterwards, Constance Strober scores at the other end with a deft strike that a wrong-footed Tournay tries to save with her feet but can only clip deeper into the net. She’s then beaten from distance by Emeraude Tanner, who can hit one, and the Hounds are back in strife. Still, they have a lifeline from an unlikely source. Kotaro Westfield chooses now to score a mighty fifth goal from 41 games, having his first shot blocked by a desperate lunge from Elsa Durant but controlling the rebound, getting around her and dragging his shot around Hornwood. Greygate are 1-0 up, against the odds. Iron fans sweat. Meanwhile, at the top of the table, Stahlburg Rovers go into the break 1-0 up through a classic source, Adele Rosborough with a clever disguised pass to play Drusilla Moxey past West Brinemouth’s line, and the winger rattles it past Terrano, off the inside of the post and into the net. The Hounds find some joy in injury time, Garrido with his second of the match, taking his chances from just outside the box and finding the bottom corner. Iron fans sweat harder. Meanwhile, in Cranequin, City are down 4-0 already by a Parrhesia side that’s at least determined to end their season in style, while Leichhardt have found two goals from Ingrid Auttenberg to hold an advantage over Brookford; Cranequin Wanderers, meanwhile, are scoreless against a South Laithland side that have looked threatening and had a penalty shout called down. Could they seriously fuck up the century?

Hounds manager Malta Falconer’s a hell of an optimist, but even her heart has to sink when, just two minutes into the second half, Belgrave’s Retta Conrad jinks into the box and is clipped by Fiete Kinnett, going down like a sack of bricks. Penalty duties go to captain Quin Markranstadt in his final game for the club… and he aims it too close to the centre, sees it beaten sharply away by Tournay then cleared by Ciernik, Hills’ one capable defender. Worse still for the Gargoyles, Hills retake the lead, Desdemona Schuster trying her luck from outside the box, a heavy deflection taking it past Connell for 3-2. Suddenly, they’re staying up! Greygate flex on Iron City by bringing Jari Ricketts on off the bench, the hapless fullback having had his position usurped by a 34-year old from the Christopheran league midway through the season. Iron make them pay for their hubris, though it’s down the left they find their joy, with Marcin Faehrmann finding space, then playing in Preussler who has a shot blocked - but 21-year old gun midfielder Annika Netzach gets on the end of it, taking one touch to let it run with her before hammering it between Rowett’s legs with her second. Prudence Bourne almost gets her first goal of the season from defensive midfield, on top of it, but hits the crossbar, and Alanna Halmark is denied sharply by Rowett. The Hounds are no longer staying up; even less so, when Meredith Sloan stabs home unmarked from the edge of the area. 3-3 there, 1-1 in Greygate. Ritter, meanwhile, had the edge over Chatswood in the first half, but they’ve lacked intensity in the second. Konstanze Luitgard pounces. First, pressing centre-half Lucex-Ilinx into coughing up possession before snap-shooting past St. Preux before she can work out what’s going on, before finding herself in the right place at the right time. Conleth swings in a cross, Vestal and St. Preux both go up for it - Vestal winning with some ‘help’ from his arms, knocking it down to where Luitgard is waiting to tap home. Better still, St. Preux is sent off for a scuffle with Vestal after the fact, followed by dissent in quick succession. Ritter now have ten, and Chatswood are free to take Luitgard off to cheers from the away end, bring on Blankman to bulk out the midfield and hold on for the win. It now rests on West Brinemouth, for whom Aris Daskalakis (who has scored fifteen of their 38 goals this season) forces Bolander into a scrambling save. Poxay swings in the corner, and it finds Hector Reiss at the far post, the big defender making no mistake and practically running into the post with his momentum. The two new signings have levelled for West Brinemouth, and the Rovers can’t find an answer in the last ten minutes. Nor can the Hounds, overstretched against Belgrave and bisected with an excellent ball from Hamilton and a cool-as-you-like finish from Strober. It’s not enough time for Stahlburg City to put twenty goals past Athletic, but they should be happy with a 3-0 win anyway. It is enough time for Cranequin Wanderers to break down South Laithland through goals from Taani and Loxton, and they do limp to 101 points. Chatswood leapfrog the Rovers into third; Iron stay up, at Hills’ expense.

Coret Rovers 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Crisisbless Athletic 0-3 Stahlburg City
The Strongest 1-1 Hackett
Mantlegrove 0-1 Armstrong
Ritter Town 0-2 Chatswood
Belgrave 4-3 Extreme Hills
Leichhardt 3-2 Brookford Otters
Goodfeather FC 1-1 AFC Serpentine
South Laithland 0-2 Cranequin Wanderers
West Brinemouth 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Greygate 1-1 Iron City
Cranequin City 1-5 Parrhesia United

Sabrefell Moths vs. Sabrefell Athletic
Morningstar vs. AFC Treason
Diamondqueen vs. Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Rovers vs. Aries Chariots
Corvette Maulers vs. Coret Hawks
North Sabrefell vs. Starling
Crisisbless United vs. Creed United
North Laithland vs. Newrook City
AFC Corvistone vs. Bishop
Cypher Town vs. Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless vs. Raven River
Southfell United vs. Brinemouth

There’s a lot of good football still to be played… without a whole lot of ramifications. It’s situations like this that the playoff place shines; with two utterly appalling sides shitting up the league all season, Diamondqueen and Creed United will be left to try and clamber over them to safety while wrestling back the other, like the proverbial crabs in a boiling pot. As for the others, the obvious star is the last-day Sabrefell derby that the ‘unique’ fixturing process loves to throw up, like how Brinemouth ended about ten seasons in a row at Chatswood to spark their rivalry.

1 mins - And straight from the kick-off, some lovely gamesmanship. Everyone knows River goalkeeper Taliadoros loves standing off her line to sweep. Airik Ruhl and Kurtis Laiota, up front for Crisisbless today, sure know; they exchange a knowing smirk in the halfway line, then Laiota rolls it to Ruhl to absolutely leathers it, coming closer than he has any right to to lofting it past Taliadoros… but she trots back enough to have it covered, as the ball hits the top of the netting. Taliadoros looks bashful.
2 mins - There’s nothing like a Sabrefell derby. Two sides who hate each other in a seething cauldron, green vs. red, both playing four-four-fucking-two at that. Jon Haines slams Hakki Ojala into the ground with both studs, and as the naturalised Cosumarite rolls around a bit, Federico Serra storms over to go scream obscenities in his face. That’s what it’s about!
3 mins - It could be a long night for Morningstar stopper Jakob Carter. Still, he reacts sharply when called upon. Rosen clips Lorelei Neptune’s heels when she’s beaten, and Trahearne curls the resulting free kick over the wall. Carter’s initial placement is maybe a bit suspect, but he bounds across quickly to claw the ball away.
4 mins - Central defensive partnerships that really shouldn’t work: Julian Parable and Gloria King. Daniella Strauss tried a lot of parts. Goodharvest and Fraser couldn’t make the step up; Fallon was too old. And that left Parable, who spent most of his time in midfield or at rightback and is now 34. Somehow, he’s the one who stuck. He heads out a cross from Trifon Draxler here - Draxler, despite early promise, turned out to be, well, no Naeher. The 30-year old’s set for the scrap heap after this season, though he should be a good winger for a good home somewhere.
5 mins - Trifon Draxler is also no Morena Deventer, unless Deventer does turn into Draxler. Still, she already seems too good for that cautionary tale. The Brinemouth winger cuts in and out of Vercauteren before hammering a shot against the base of the post, Loris Aldous sprawling for show. The Dockers look dangerous.
6 mins - GOAL! The Rovers are punished for a sluggish start to the match, Svenskah ceding the ball under pressure from Seamster, who splits the defence with a ball down the right. Lazarou picks it up, cuts inside and rather than centring it to Sierra or Riske, just settles for ramming it past Britton’s near post instead. CHR 0-1 ARC.
7 mins - Diamondqueen, for their part, are mostly trying to work their way into the game by passing the ball around cautiously. A draw could well be good enough for them… unless Creed get the second win of Rutherford’s tenure. And Vermillion have already spooked them once or twice with quick pressing, but Ramelow’s the only goalkeeper to make a save, Bronson floating a long shot straight at her.
8 mins - Creed, meanwhile, are snapping into the Chequers like they’re rabid dogs. At least they’re showing some bite, but when Crisisbless United have managed to pass the ball, they’ve done so dangerously. Oh, and Sanger’s already got a booking. Lovely.
9 mins - As always, do feel free to email in and give me more plates to spin. You will probably be ignored; definitely if it’s about the dip in the coefficient. It’s all very sad but it’s also extremely not my problem or something I have any idea how to deal with. All I’ll say is this - we managed an incredible run at the top. One dip isn’t enough for a call for a longer winter break or a reduction of teams, for mine.
10 mins - GOAL! Corvistone, who will fancy themselves to be one of the hopefully-relevant-again top seven next season (but won’t manage it, God willing) take the lead against Bishop. Conan Estelline’s lineup contains Andrey Mincham at centre-half, Gared Kuepher in midfield and an assortment of academy promotes on the bench. It’s not a lineup, it’s a cry for help. Anyway, Morham scores with a deft little flick from outside the box, given too much time and space by whoever Kearney Smith is. CVS 1-0 BIS.
11 mins - Diamondqueen almost take the lead! Vermillion might have been dominant so far, but nice midfield interplay is all very well and good from the Diamonds until suddenly, Taheri weights a brilliant ball over the top of Vermillion’s defence. It actually glances off neophyte defender Skondreas’ head, but Sett Horn races to get there first, does so, but then drags his shot wide. Lyritzis was open, and screaming for it!
12 mins - “Kearney Smith’s actually made twenty appearances this season in all competitions and has looked pretty solid on the whole,” remarks presumed Bishop fan until proven innocent Gregor Mallon. I don’t care, Greg. He is chaff to me. And, apparently, to Morham, who deserves to be in a much nicer club than Corvistone.
13 mins - Concerning Brinemouth: Kuznetsov’s had most of the plaudits, due to his insane goal ratio and his frequently insane actions on the pitch. And gushing about Bryger Tidesson was maybe seen as passe since he cost so damn much. But, uh, it bears mention that Tidesson is really, really good. He practically ends Sergei Evans’ career just now by taking Brymora’s throw onto his boot so gently, just sliding past him as Evans careened past, before bombing inside, cutting inside Beitar and shooting. Aldous holds up well, keeps big, manages to beat it away for a corner.
14 mins - GOAL! Wow! Who could have seen this coming! A ball into the middle, Sloane Kirkland has about a full minute to gape at it, wondering what she’s meant to do, before Aristide Metzger steals ahead of her with it and insolently taps it past Carter with the outside of his boot. MRN 0-1 TRE.
15 mins - Ask me better questions, peons!
16 mins - When you tire of Kurtis Laiota, you tire of life. When he’s up with Ruhl, he really is like the big Cosumarite’s slightly smaller, noticeably less gifted and somehow even angrier brother, and when he’s flagged for a high boot in the chase of a Staunton cross (name a more iconic duo) he and Ruhl get right up in the referee’s face. Ruhl right behind Laiota like some kind of Cunty Striker Matryoshka.
17 mins - Diamondqueen against Vermillion is heating up. Rangy defensive midfielder Ferena Rauch has been a real revelation for Vermillion this season, but two lashing challenges in the space of three minutes get a booking from aquiline referee Justine Kendall. Imogen Jeweler wants more than that for her, and has to be held back by Hartley before talking herself into the book.
18 mins - GOAL! North Sabrefell have had most of the ball against Starling, and the Passerines have largely let them. They’ve backed themselves to take their chances where they come, though. Roxel has a pass intercepted neatly by Kymeri, who opens up Starling’s left with a killer ball. The Bohemians scramble to defend that flank, Andisori rolls the ball back to the leftback Castor, who centres for the unmarked Dostalok to slam home from the right. NSF 0-1 STA.
19 mins - Mae Hansard offers a better question. Specifically, she asks about prospects from the First (even Second? Not Second.) Division that might make the step up next season. First name that springs to mind would have to be Michael Koller. Someone must save him from Leichhardt, or at least try. Claudia Bohr’s another good centre-half with the Otters, and, hell, Nils Armbruster at Serpentine is due a move given he’s why the Dragons stayed up.
20 mins - Wow! Someone tell Reinhard Meixner this game doesn’t mean anything to the Chequers! Creed come down the right flank with menace, before Conway plays Sanger past Law. Sanger whips in a low cross, Dejan Corvell flicks the ball towards the top corner with his first touch, it should be a brilliant goal, but Meixner comes flying up to the top corner and flicks the ball over the top!
21 mins - GOAL! Ooh, spicy! Malachi Chalk, the former Southfell midfielder - though the home crowd bears him no ill will - goes with an… overoptimistic pass towards Kuznetsov from halfway. It’s overhit and Aldous gets there first, quite comfortably, hoofing it into high heaven. It drops to Heimat, who cuts inside, draws off two, three markers, before managing to play her way out of trouble, passing to Kuepper, who plays in Harriet Michail, who hammers the opening goal past Bull! Southfell’s B-List takes the lead! SFU 1-0 BRI.
22 mins - And at the other end in Crisisbless, United almost take the lead. Now it’s Anthoulis Matraxis’ time to earn his corn, as the away fans desperately hope the good version of Matraxis shows up. Antelmi flicks a pass forward to Lennox who turns on a penny and drags a pass across to Sigrun Rivers, who races clear of the entire Creed defence, tries to loft the ball over Matraxis… but the goalkeeper keeps himself big, actually manages to catch the ball over his head, and collapses onto it.
23 mins - GOAL! Rashica Horvath lunges a boot between Tarran Seamster’s feet, stealing the ball away from him and over to Julia Thane. The winger doesn’t need to be asked twice, and surges down the right, playing a neat one-two with the clever, mobile Horvath before cutting inside and shooting. Commerford reacts sharply to parry it away, but ready to pounce on the rebound is Lexi Farrakhan for her tenth goal of the season. CHR 1-1 ARC.
24 mins - GOAL! Gared Kuepher misses a tackle in midfield and suddenly Corvistone are through, Ivan Pangallo advancing with menace before picking out Kathryn Kvanderwyk on the edge of the box. She kills the strike unnervingly dead with her first touch, and swings it past Krieven with her second long before a flat-footed Mincham can do anything helpful like actually mark her. CVS 2-0 BIS.
25 mins - For all Bishop’s deficiencies, when the buzzards come to fuss over their corpse and pick out the choice scraps, Alyss Driver must be at the forefront of some peoples’ minds. She’s a cunning, classy box-to-box midfielder who’ll be 24 by the time next season kicks off. Shore and Rannon could be picked up, too. And as for their re-promotion hopes, there’s just a feeling that this whole time Ulrike Jensen’s been a flying 1Div striker masquerading as a decidedly mediocre Premiership one… Deshawn Ierardi will be a class above, as well. It’s just a matter of keeping ahold of Conan Estelline, who really can get the best out of them. He’s promised wholesale changes.
26 mins - GOAL! Raquel Woods is another player who is making her swansong today, but the Newrook captain’s got one last trick in her book. She races clear as soon as the Spiders turn over the ball, Couturiaux finding her with a perfectly-timed ball, and she lofts in a cross to the space between the Spiders’ scattered defenders. On the end of it, Farrell dives in with a header, but it’s too close to Fairweather - but could she have done more to scoop the ball to the sides? No, she beats it back where it came from, and behind Farrell, Ocokoljic steams in to batter home the rebound. NLA 0-1 NRC.
27 mins - Penalty shout turned down for Diamondqueen! Minka Bronson hits a diagonal ball towards Horn, but it doesn’t get far before Hecia Barksdale blocks it. With an arm? Yes, but in a natural position - at least, that’s presumably Kendall’s reasoning. Jeweler almost talks herself into the book again.
28 mins - GOAL! Sometimes, Imriel Townsend just does her thing, twirling insolently by three markers before lofting a strike over Aurier (which takes some doing!) from outside the box. You know she’ll be asked ‘cross or shot?’ after the game; you know she’ll say shot, and you’ll believe her, because Imriel Townsend is very good at football. The crowd goes wild. SFM 1-0 SFA.
29 mins - The goal is just reward for Sur Arora winning the Mind Games™ prior to the match. Tom Benedict got things started, suggesting the Moths would be exhausted after their exertions in the Champions Cup, and well-beaten by Athletic’s fresh legs. Arora replied drily; “He’s really bragging about how his club crashed out in the prelims?” OUCH.
30 mins - Concerning best marketable 1Div talent: Marcia Kurz from Brinemouth suggests West Brinemouth midfielder Andrea Kurz for consideration. She’s got a point, but I’m going to ignore her analysis in favour of my own; Kurz is quality. She’s got a great first touch, two strong feet, and the physicality to thrive a setp above while still being a technical player overall. Oh, yeah, and six goals last season for a side that Does Not Score isn’t bad, either. She’d be a very River signing, or some other lower-midtable side looking to turn an eventual profit.
31 mins - … Wait a second...
32 mins - GOAL! Ahh, the difference a quality striker makes. Corvette hog the ball for about a minute and a half, tapping it around to try and find a hole in the Hawks’ armour. They do, or more accurately Gerwyn Clarke does, managing to find enough space to weight a through-ball beyond Coret’s defence. Seemingly beyond Norval, as well, but the pacy forward springs past her mark, outmuscles Valkanis’ hand on her shoulder, stretches out her leg and gets enough force into a flick of the boot to force it between Lethbridge’s legs. CVM 1-0 COH.
33 mins - Corvette have had a remarkable season. Not only have Leichhardt struggled in the league below, but the Maulers have stayed up with a couple of games to spare. They’ve been lucky with injuries, perhaps, and their prospects next season still look remote without serious investment… but no matter what happens next year, manager Daniella Strauss has catapulted herself into prominence.
34 mins - GOAL! Brinemouth have been hammering on the door! They want that win against the Tanners, and they do at least pull one back, a quick throw from Close catching Vercauteren off-guard, letting Deventer in. She blasts in a cross, Grant clears it, Soederquist manages to trap it and chest it down, sliding in Malachi Chalk on the edge of the area. The Southfell defence is scattered, and can’t converge before Chalk slides a shot across Aldous. SFU 1-1 BRI.
35 mins - Chalk doesn’t celebrate against his former club. He might have cause to over the break, though. Rumour is he’s declared for and is set to be called up by Brenecia, whose struggle to find younger personnel of any quality is well-documented.
36 mins - GOAL! A shot from Kranevitter is tipped nimbly around the post by Smordal. Sometimes, the Bohemians struggle to find a way through, for all their tipping and tapping. At times like this, it helps that they have a great set piece taker in Kranevitter, and a powerful defender with a forceful leap and a surprising eye for goal in Basmath Clinton, who rises highest to bullet home her fourth goal of the season. NSF 1-1 STA.
37 mins - After heating up for a bit, Diamondqueen and Vermillion have had a quiet few minutes. Carina Taheri’s had the only shot on target of the past seven minutes, off a free kick won by the target man Lyritzis. It’s from a fair ways out; Taheri can hit them, but Leila Ramelow didn’t have to stretch too far to punch it away from danger. Diamonds with most of the ball but little penetration.
38 mins - GOAL! Treason have been peppering Jakob Carter’s goal with shots. The former Brinemouth man’s proven equal, but there’s little he can do with a quick throw from Bayliss leaves Longship stranded, freeing Neptune to swing in a nice, juicy cross for John Fletcher to knock down for Metzger and Metzger, in turn, to hammer into the net. MRN 0-2 TRE.
39 mins - This has absolutely been a breakthrough season for Aristide Metzger, vindicating the sturdy striker’s decision to stay with his hometown club rather than moving for more game-time. True, he’s often been pulled off on the hour to 75-minute mark for Roddy Fraser to find a breakthrough (what an impact substitute to be able to call on!) but it suits both players better than the converse arrangement. The veteran Fraser has always been a player about the little moments - Metzger presses and hustles and closes down, and then finishes powerfully on top of that. He’s still no Estrella Hawke, but who is? His Cormorants place should be assured.
40 mins - GOAL! Speaking of Hawke… all she needs is an inch, a flicked pass from Ojala she takes on her chest, lets fall and hammers into the underside of the crossbar. It… bounces on the line and back out, but Hawke doesn’t waste time crying over spilt milk, springing over a fallen Griffin and past a flat-footed Elden to head home the rebound, her 29th of the season in the league. SFM 1-1 SFA.
41 mins - Jess Garland offers this pearl of wisdom; “The First Division has a lot of perfectly good strikers in the prime of their careers, after the Homecoming - and this season’s been all about strength in depth. Cypher would be down if they hadn’t bought Coretta Rooke, and if Rooke hadn’t been able to step up and make up for Zalan after he was injured. I could easily see someone like Corona Sharpe or Kirsten Gemmill get picked up by a midtable team to add some bulk.” Agreed, but doesn’t accepting a role as a backup show a certain… lack of ambition? Paid off for Rooke (and Cypher), though, I’ll grant you that.
42 mins - Also on that note: it might be a controversial call, but Cypher are absolutely fucked if (when) they lose Olivia Nygard. Andrea Vardalos is a great manager, but so is Rivka Keaton, and this season exposed a lot of fault-lines. Ruo’s honeymoon is wearing off and her complete inability of control around her box is wearing thin, Hertzka and Brind are no world-beaters in defence, Anton Roben stagnated… they need a lot of players.
43 mins - GOAL! The breakthrough! After a nervy start, the Diamonds have grown into the upper hand against Vermillion, and this goal is a just reward. They do it their way, too, starting when an overhit ball from Paulsson goes all the way through to Jonason, who gets things moving from the back. Ystrad walks it out from defence, passing it to Reeve, to Taheri, Bronson, Jeweler, out to Unworth on the right, back to Taheri, who notices a hole in Vermillion’s defence and finds it with a drilled pass that finds Sett Horn, running. The sometimes-maligned Cosumarite doesn’t hesitate, and leathers it past Ramelow. DMQ 1-0 VRR.
44 mins - Word reaches Creed - well, more accurately, Crisisbless. People are not happy. Fans in burgundy groan; then, when Delphi Barbarouses tries her luck from approximately a hectare out and it’s skied into the stands, they groan again. Barbarouses is good, but there’s definitely been times where she’s tried too hard.
45 mins - GOAL! 17-year old leftback Lucy Almwood, who moved to Corvistone with her family from Eura as a child, gets an assist, some lovely interplay with Beretti letting her lay it off to the Eastfielder, who drags it across Krieven for the Crows’ third. Almwood becomes the youngest player to get a goal or assist this season! Cute. Anyway, Bishop are piss. CVS 3-0 BIS.
Injury time -

Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Morningstar 0-2 AFC Treason
Diamondqueen 1-0 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Aries Chariots
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Coret Hawks
North Sabrefell 1-1 Starling
Crisisbless United 0-0 Creed United
North Laithland 0-1 Newrook City
AFC Corvistone 3-0 Bishop
Cypher Town 0-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless 0-0 Raven River
Southfell United 1-1 Brinemouth

As things stand, Diamondqueen will face Stahlburg Rovers in a playoff, while Creed United are relegated.

46 mins - And we’re off - and already, Desya Kuznetsov gets a chance to make it 40! Southfell are snoozing, Deventer is allowed to swing in a low cross, Kuznetsov sticks out a leg and Loris Aldous, going the other way, miraculously manages to throw himself against his momentum, flick his wrist and tip the ball around the post! That’s one of the saves of the season. Kuznetsov takes it gracefully - just joking. He screams.
47 mins - Penalty shout in Creed, but it’s fairly tenuous. Theoharous goes shoulder to shoulder with Karii Bruun and falls over, without much enthusiasm. But Bruun does get the last touch, the corner goes straight to Valeria, who wrestles Verlander and heads… straight at Meixner. No dramas for the Chequers.
48 mins - God, Reinhard Meixner is so good. So handsome. That chiselled jaw, that unshaven stubble, that FPS protagonist sandy blond hair. Where’d that scar on his cheek come from, anyway? Love him.
49 mins - GOAL! Penumbra Amokachi scores a very Penumbra Amokachi goal. Beatrice Stubbs rolls her the ball when she has her back to goal, pressing into Parable, and she flicks out a boot and backheels it past Acatha Feldman. CVM 1-1 COH.
50 mins - How will Coret fare in the Globe Cup next season, one wonders? Their recent takeover and big money splashed on new blood was… revealing. Their side is old. A lot of players will need replacing. A new striker, rightback and goalkeeper will be a must, and you could see them reinforcing other positions, too. And if they keep bringing out the chequebook, where could they peak?
51 mins - GOAL! That shakes things up at the bottom! Crisisbless United had surged forward on the attack, Lennox shaped to shoot, but Georgia Rodrigues put her body on the line, sliding in and blocking the strike full in the chest… and the rebound was cleared by Sanger, to Barbarouses, who turned and kept running. Suddenly the Chequers were in trouble, Barbarouses racing past Salz (god, they need a new DM), sliding the ball over to Korborg who, glory be! Recognised he couldn’t shoot from the angle he had, under pressure from Verlander, and centred for strike partner Dejan Corvell to drag past Meixner! Off comes the former Smiths and Kings Park marksman’s shirt, and off he runs into the away end. CRU 0-1 CRD.
52 mins - PENALTY! For Vermillion Rage! And you could argue Ramona Porter was asking for it… but it’s hard to see how it couldn’t have been given. Porter was prowling on the edge of the area, jinked outside Unworth suddenly, let her foot drag and Unworth caught it, clumsily. Isabella Cassadore steps up...
53 mins - GOAL! … and sends Karel Jonason the wrong way! Creed leapfrog the Diamonds! DMQ 1-1 VRR.
54 mins - The home fans Do Not Like Justine Kendall anymore. First Rauch staying on the pitch, then a penalty for Diamondqueen turned down earlier, now this. Fair calls, all, but…
55 mins - “Can we still discuss great 1Div prospects?” asks Florina Ingraham, who is about to do so anyway. Rude! “Tristan Polenz is absolutely done in the second tier. Watching Cranequin City, it’s clear how much of their attack relies on their rightback surging down the wing, and he’s immense defensively, too. It’s crazy Crisisbless United ever sold him.”
56 mins - An awful challenge from Fairbairn on Breremond puts her into the book. Diamondqueen’s fans boo that, too, though if anything it was leniant.
57 mins - GOAL! Chariots retake the lead against the Rovers, Lazarou with her second of the game, finishing neatly when Sierra nutmegs Ibex to play her one-on-one with Britton. CHR 1-2 ARC.
58 mins - A chance for Crisisbless United to level the scores! Andrya Novkovic burns a tiring Sanger down the left flank, hits in a high cross, and Jessica Lennox rises, heads downwards… and Matraxis throws out a boot to shin it to safety! Novkovic gets the rebound, takes a shot but puts too much power on it, and it goes high and wide.
59 mins - “My pick for First Division stars,” posits Lucius Kiran, “are definitely going to be in the Premiership next season, because they’re with City and Cranequin. Kresimir Brujah is such a brawler, strong and powerful and good with the ball, while Shona Butcher’s really come along in leaps and bounds.” Hard to disagree. Butcher in particular had a breakthrough season - she got relegated last year, of course, tidy as she looked in the process.
60 mins - GOAL! The Moths retake the lead! A period of intense pressure in and around their box, Athletic looking like they’re turning the screw… but one sloppy ball into the box from Bereveskos is hoofed clear by Shone, and on the end of it is Aedelbrandt, and suddenly the Moths are clear. A one-two with Claudio Romano lets Aedelbrandt hammer past an overstretched Gautier’s near post! The fans go wild - ones in green and in red, for different reasons. The latter have decided Aedelbrandt handled the ball from Shone - I don’t see it. SFM 2-1 SFA.
61 mins - Diamondqueen just… lack penetration. They have plenty of the ball, but Alexis Spurlock is looking smug on the touchline, putting her trust in her defence to put out all the fires. So far, they are. Minka Bronson’s been in Ferena Rauch’s pocket.
62 mins - GOAL! Another reminder, as if it was needed, that Cypher are going to miss Olivia Nygard. She takes a pass from Ferryman, rolls it under her feet, backs into Carroll, then turns her with her surprising strength and arrows a shot under a stunned Patterson. The Eagles take the lead! CYT 1-0 CHH.
63 mins - Morningstar are starting to get really bitty against Treason. The fans cheer as Lilith Thornwood stretches out her boot for a Rosen cross she’ll never reach, and it Just Happens to kick Treason goalkeeper Gideon Fletcher in the chest in the follow-through. That sparks a brawl, and a booking for Thornwood.
64 mins - GOAL! Newrook have been pretty dominant against North Laithland, holding them at arms’ reach. Now they double their lead - a free kick from Will Couturiaux (does anyone in the league hit them sweeter?) is headed home by Glenn Baumann, for the defender’s first Premiership goal. Baumann’s their fourth-choice centre-half, but he’s a decent enough player, even if he is a bit of a lug. NLA 0-2 NRC.
65 mins - Lukas Antelmi breaks clear after a lovely passing move, and then strings Matraxis’ palms with a powerful strike. For all the Creed goalkeeper’s faults, he’s been immense today.
66 mins - RED CARD! One has to wonder. Corvistone are 3-0 up against Bishop, who aren’t… doing anything, really. But Rain Delacruz - who has only been on for eleven minutes - has the ball taken off her by Alyss Driver and scythes her down from behind in reprisal. A straight red is really the only option.
67 mins - For people wondering if anything’s happened/happening in Crisisbless vs. River? Nnnnnope. Crisisbless midfield prospect Farina Luhukay looks good, at least.
68 mins - Diamonds getting a bit closer to their breakthrough. Bronson jinks past Rauch, finds Unworth down the right to lay it across to Sett Horn… who just gets it stuck between his feet, and when he sorts himself out and gets the shot off, Barksdale flies in to block it.
69 mins - GOAL! No, get your mind out of the gutter, there’s a goal to go over. Not that it matters much in the greater scheme of things. Saturn Mastiff, edge of the box, no pressure, slight deflection, bottom corner. MRN 0-3 TRE.
70 mins - Hestia Canaan’s been sent to the stands in the Laith, apparently finding Andreu Bartolnicci’s exuberant celebrations to much to bear. The pitchside mics pick up most of her tirade at Bartolnicci which is, in very strong wording, to ‘sit down and kindly be silent’.
71 mins - GOAL! The away fans in Southfell get what they came for. It’s not pretty, but Tidesson runs free down the right, skins Evans and drags the ball back into the box, Desya Kuznetsov sprints away off Beitar’s shoulder and hammers the strike into the bottom corner past Aldous, without even looking at the net. SFU 1-2 BRI.
72 mins - Only three players had managed more than thirty in a season before - Gerhard Thunder (33 in Nephara’s first UICA season, 47), Penumbra Amokachi (31 in 62) and Aaliyah Johnson (35 in 68). That’s number 40 for Kuznetsov. It may never be beaten. It’s sometimes unfashionable, gauche, to vote the top scorer as Player of the Year, but you don’t not vote a guy who scores 40 goals for POTY. And he’s a Debutant on top of that, so, there’s another award...
73 mins - All this talk of First Division talent makes you really look at that league this year. It’s the best it’s ever been, without a doubt, and honestly, Cranequin Wanderers are set to be one of those teams who just settles immediately back into midtable. Stahlburg City, too. It’s incredible they were ever relegated in the first place… sleeping giants, the both of them.
74 mins - GOAL! Disaster for the Diamonds! Breremond comes in from the right and cuts back, Ystrad chops it away, but not far enough - Conte gets on the ball, scoops it back to Ryan Paulsson, who puts his boot through it. Jonason gets down with admirable speed and gets fingers to it, but can’t redirect it away. DMQ 1-2 VRR.
75 mins - Back to 1Div for a moment. Chatswood also look like they could really ensconce themselves with some more investment, and should Stahlburg Rovers win the playoff, they’re looking pretty good, too. You could easily see every promoted side stay up! So who loses out? Corvette are still up against it, and Cypher’s squad won’t look great without Nygard (who, again, absolutely moving up in the world). Raven River, just quietly, have not looked in great shape for a while. Crisisbless United and North Laithland would also want to strengthen.
76 mins - GOAL! Well! So much for that! Bastian Salz bodies Barbarouses, Solbachen lofts the ball down the flank to Rivers, who Seip leaves all the space in the world to cut back inside to Lukas Antelmi. Rodrigues sees the danger, but as she lunges in, Antelmi cuts the ball back onto his left and she can’t readjust, leaving him free to pick his target and find the bottom corner. Matraxis is furious with his defence, and rightfully so. And now, Creed are set for relegation on goal difference! CRU 1-1 CRD.
77 mins - GOAL! The Chariots have dominated the Rovers today, and the third goal is just reward. This one takes them by surprise - a quickly-taken throw from young rightback Harper Ashcroft is chested down by Lazarou, then volleyed. It’s too hot for Britton to handle - the experienced goalkeeper will be disappointed to let that get through her hands at her near post with sheer power. CHR 1-3 ARC.
78 mins - Cheney Rutherford rings the changes for Creed. He’s got two subs left, the young, impetuous Karaiskakis having already replaced Theoharous - now Bristoll comes on for Keskin and the attack-minded leftback Reisman for the more conservative Seip. They need a goal.
79 mins - GOAL! Things get worse for Creed! Some slick, aggressive passing winds up with Valentina Fairbairn somehow the Diamonds’ furthest player forward, stalling on the edge of the box. Austad lunges to try and take the ball from her, but the Qad leftback dances away, before centring to Sett Horn as he rushes into the box, pursued by Skondreas. He takes it with one touch before powering it between Ramelow’s feet with his second, and suddenly the Diamonds are back in it! No time to celebrate, though, as Lyritzis and Barksdale wrestle over the ball in the net. DMQ 2-2 VRR.
80 mins - Creed have dominated the ball since going behind, and Axel Korborg shapes to shoot on the edge of the area… before stopping in his tracks and playing in Dejan Corvell as he runs past, but the veteran striker’s touch is too heavy. Meixner’s able to rush in and throw himself on the ball. Corvell follows through and kicks him in the chest out of sheer momentum, and that’s started some handbags that Creed really don’t need right now… Corvell goes in the book, eventually.
81 mins - Diamondqueen have nothing to lose. Off goes the exhausted defensive midfielder Reeve, on comes Danil Kowalczyk, club stalwart, scorer of a modest five goals this season. This could be his last appearance for the club - what a way this would be to close his account!
82 mins - GOAL! The Moths double their advantage! It’s the substitute Swansea Reach who gets things started from midfield - now there’s a tantalising future prospect - after a foul in no man’s land gives her the ball, and she releases Aedelbrandt past two flat-footed Athletic players. Aedelbrandt gets as far as Steve Fox before about-facing, rolling it across to Lux Vicelich, who lumps a seemingly aimless ball over the top… of everyone, until it meets the boot of Imriel Townsend sprinting in from the right! Gautier sees it late through a sea of bodies, and can’t get across to it as it flies in! SFM 3-1 SFA.
83 mins - Karel Jonason’s been a nervy operator this season, and the Diamonds’ stopper almost sinks them! A low strike from Porter, strong but straight at him, sees Jonason kneel and… almost fuck it up terribly. He fumbles it between his knees and has to turn quickly to fall on the ball, inches before it gets over the line.
84 mins - GOAL! Sometimes it’s important to remember Desya Kuznetsov isn’t the only striker on Brinemouth’s books, not by a long shot. Indeed, Kuznetsov’s even willing to pass to Iori Saitou when he finds a channel to run into. Chris Grant gets over quickly, but is turned both ways when Saitou wheels to his right, plays a neat one-two with rightback Crowe before wheeling around to smash the ball past Loris Aldous. Aldous could have gotten down faster but still - it’s a good goal, capping off a dominant performance. SFU 1-3 BRI.
85 mins - Suddenly for Creed, Barbarouses has the ball on the edge of the area, she shapes, she shoots, she-- puts it into the stands. Absolutely had to test the keeper there.
86 mins - Sorry, Beth from Cranequin, but right now the merits of Iron rightback Yulia Heidt are not the highest priority in my mind given the current situation. Thanks for the thought, though. Really.
87 mins - GOAL! Diamondqueen are pegged back again by, of all things, a free header. Porter breaks clear of just about everyone on the left and has all the time in the world to pick out a cross… does until Unworth comes steaming into her, but then she just defers it to Katarec, who hits one over to the far post. Nobody’s watching Cheney Breremond, who is not a small or subtle man, and he angles his header perfectly into the ceiling of the net! Tana Colbright is fuming on the sidelines! DMQ 2-3 VRR.
88 mins - Things are unbelievably tense in both camps, right now. One wonders what a Stahlburg Rovers fan must think of it all - really, they must be hoping to face rock-bottom morale Creed. Except that implies a Creed victory tonight, which would galvanise them.
89 mins - PENALTY! For Diamondqueen! Danil Kowalczyk makes a not-quite-instant impact, prowling with menace towards goal. He makes a feint inside - Sander Katarec’s not buying it - but when he jerks back out and tries to run in, the impetuous leftback grabs his shoulder and yanks him down. Kowalczyk doesn’t need a second invitation to go down! Kendall whistles, prompting sarcastic applause from the home crowd, and points to the spot!
90 mins - And… no! Horn’s chance at an equaliser and a hat-trick skims off the top of the crossbar! Fans hold their hands in their head, but this doesn’t really change anything… Creed still need a goal.
Injury time - GOAL! And one duly comes. Creed surge forward with desperate menace, but Barbarouses’ pass to Conway is… just tired, and Praxil Law dives in to hook it away somewhat melodramatically. The substitutes Bristoll and Kitzbichler contest it - fatefully, Kitzbichler wins the header, nodding it along to Antelmi, United’s danger man. He takes it on his chest and turns, hitting it long over the top to where another substitute, Kaija Koppel, has stolen a march on Valeria and Rodrigues. The two immediately slam into either side of her as Matraxis rushes in, but she flicks in a boot, flicks the ball over a despairing Matraxis, Sanger hooks the ball away… a metre over the line, and though she tragically thinks it’s enough, it isn’t. Nothing Creed have done in their abject second half of the season has been enough. They are down, and Diamondqueen, who never gave up the ghost, have a richly-deserved lifeline! CRU 2-1 CRD.

In the aftermath:

Aidan Brosque is signed by the Nephara national team on a four-year contract, starting with the next Copa Rushmori. The deal is thought to have been agreed in place since about halfway into this season, with Brosque initially reluctant until things fell apart at Crisisbless, with Lisa Amos reportedly the first-choice but with more of a desire to stay in the club game for the time being. Other names believed to be in the running were Cazadores manager Rook Cathar, Andreu Bartolnicci and Daniella Strauss. Crisisbless are believed to be looking for a candidate abroad.

Brinemouth also find themselves without a manager, Lujendra Mescalin hanging up his lanyard at 72. As a local, Michael Brandon is immediately the favourite to take over, but his more cautious style would represent a radical departure. He might be a more natural fit for Sabrefell Athletic, for whom Tom Benedict isn’t getting any younger, either. Alexis Spurlock leaves her post at Vermillion in enigmatic fashion, claiming that she finally delivered the football the board and fanbase had been clamoring for, and where exactly did that lead them? Vermillion immediately begin courting Daniella Strauss.

Cheney Rutherford is given the axe at Creed United, after a short, miserable stint did serious damage to his career - on these shores, at least. In a statement of intent, the Oathmen tie down Byron Caldwick, Georgia Rodrigues and Spahi Keskin to new contracts, hoping to keep ahold of their core and make reinforcements. Tana Colbright’s contract is up at the end of the season, and a renewal is believed to hinge on their survival in the playoff to come.

Sabrefell Moths 3-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Morningstar 0-3 AFC Treason
Diamondqueen 2-3 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Rovers 1-3 Aries Chariots
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Coret Hawks
North Sabrefell 1-1 Starling
Crisisbless United 2-1 Creed United
North Laithland 0-2 Newrook City
AFC Corvistone 3-0 Bishop
Cypher Town 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless 0-0 Raven River
Southfell United 1-3 Brinemouth

Diamondqueen: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Jonason; 23 - Unworth, 4 - Ystrad, 6 - Hartley (c), 3 - Fairbairn; 8 - Taheri, 5 - Reeve, 15 - Jeweler; 10 - Bronson; 20 - Horn, 9 - Lyritzis
Substitutes: 12 - Tristram; 2 - Abel, 7 - Baylor, 11 - Kowalczyk, 18 - Sanabria, 21 - Sparrow, 23 - Frantisek

Stahlburg Rovers: (4-4-2) 1 - Bolander; 2 - Skalak (c), 19 - Sesay, 6 - Steelshrift, 18 - Colgan; 13 - Bellinghausen, 23 - Cordwood, 8 - Rosborough, 11 - Moxey; 10 - Kaskanis, 15 - Lovelock
Substitutes: 12 - Colmeyer; 3 - Scarratt, 4 - Colindon, 5 - Gaitatzis, 16 - Morgan, 21 - Radcliffe, 22 - Nagdalene

The Rovers went into this game as narrow favourites, a physical and assertive side who could never be accused of playing within themselves, as the Diamonds were occasionally, fatally, capable of. Elrik Raskine had allowed a touch more of a direct, physical edge to his team, and the results had spoken for themselves. But Tana Colbright insisted her own charges would feel free to assert themselves on their opposition in a way they’d been unable to of late. The early runnings seemed to vindicate her - Stefan Bolander, formerly of the Chariots, is tested sorely by a dipping volley from Bronson, before Bronson plays in Horn, who goes for power and misses entirely.

They’d rue that. Not long afterwards, the Rovers find joy down the right, the hard-eyed captain Belaskita Skalak ordering winger Bellinghausen forward before ignoring her - Fairbairn did not - and swinging in a luscious cross. Former River and DFC striker Kaskanis and Hartley contest it, but neither gets there. It wasn’t aimed at them, anyway. It was aimed at a diving header from Tristan Lovelock, one that leaves Jonason with no chance. But Diamondqueen trust in the plan, and their numbers in midfield tell. Under pressure, Cordwood - a destroyer, not a creator - cedes possession to Imogen Jeweler, who cuts the ball across to Carina Taheri, given all the time and space on the edge of the box to murder the ball into the top corner. Bolander hadn’t a hope in hell. Things tense up after that, and they enter the break level.

Diamondqueen’s optimism over the course of the match did not last long. The Rovers came into the second half tackling sharply, sending balls direct into the box, letting Kaskanis wrestle with defenders. Diamondqueen had to wear themselves out mentally and physically trying to pass their way out of trouble, and it was on one such occasion that they went behind. Under pressure from Kaskanis, Ystrad sold Gareth Unworth a hospital pass, one quickly stripped from him by Drusilla Moxey, who had a free channel to herself before rifling a strike past Jonason. And it was Moxey and Kaskanis who were again central to the Rovers’ third goal, as a Diamondqueen petred out, Cordwood cleaning out Bronson, Rosborough turning sharply, playing a one-two with Moxey to clear her way for a pass to Kaskanis, trapped on his chest before the experienced forward wrestled his way around Ystrad to pass along to Tristan Lovelock streaking by. The former Cenial United man made no mistake, one-on-one with Jonason, and made it 3-1.

Diamondqueen were frantic to get back into the match, but Stahlburg Rovers were finally willing to sit back - has Elrik Raskine learned how to kill a game? Young, fiery striker Dulcina Radcliffe came on for the veteran Kaskanis, and presented a real threat on the counter roaming around and hanging off Hartley’s shoulder. For the Diamonds’ part, both Bronson and Lyritzis tested Bolander, but the goalkeeper was equal to anything they could throw at him - motionless for a Sett Horn header that hit the upright above him. At the crucial hour, Diamondqueen just did not have the cutting edge at either end of the pitch... and, with 62% of possession, they go down. The Rovers will think, with some justification, that they’ve proven their value.

Diamondqueen 1 - 3 STAHLBURG ROVERS
Taheri 29’ // Lovelock 13’ 67’, Moxey 55’

Southfell United: (4-1-3-2) 20 - Heidenreich; 31 - Bowyer, 5 - Grant (c), 19 - Blacktown, 3 - Evans; 8 - Hemeyer; 10 - Kuepper, 7 - Cordean, 11 - Fairfax; 9 - Marlowe, 12 - Gail
Bench: 1 - Aldous; 4 - Heimat, 6 - Beitar, 13 - Petridis, 18 - Vyntra, 21 - Michail, 23 - Marko

Cypher Town: (4-3-2-1) 1 - Ruo; 2 - Hamilton, 4 - Hertzka, 6 - Brind, 3 - Anderton (c); 15 - Voeller, 19 - Madine, 11 - Frey; 21 - Ferryman, 10 - McCosgraigh; 7 - Nygard
Bench: 25 - Fallowland; 5 - Roben, 8 - Petridis, 9 - Tihamer, 14 - Cairn, 17 - Rooke, 33 - Skapoulis

No overdog, here. Felipa Medina’s Southfell may be tipped by the bookies against a Cypher side bloodied by a long relegation dogfight, only narrowly averted by Andrea Vardalos, but they lacked the quality to be true standout favourites. Perhaps the overwhelming theme of the match, certainly the first half, was weariness. Southfell didn’t lack for desire, but the technique was lacking, and even Kuepper and Cordean seemed to lack inspiration, trying to press through the sheer volume of Cypher in midfield. Ruo was only tested twice, both by Marlowe - one optimistic strike from distance that stung her fingertips as she got it over the bar, another a powerful header… straight into her chest. But Ivan Hemeyer was proving a colossus in midfield, all but impassable, and Olivia Nygard often had to slide back into midfield for the ball, leaving them nobody to pass to up front.

Andrea Vardalos, surprisingly, was the one who opened things up in the second half. McCosgraigh, who had done nothing, did not emerge - Borbas Tihamer, the powerful if erratic target man, came on in her place. Tihamer’s impact was immediate, Hamilton with a speculative cross that he turned into a real chance, heading across at goal, and Heidenreich did well to get across and iron-palm-slam it away from danger. But clear-cut chances remained few and far between, until Alexa Ferryman seized the game by the throat. She started the move, cutting out a stray pass from Hemeyer and sliding it across to Hamilton, and finished it, after Hamilton hit it up to Tihamer, who chested it down forcefully enough it was an effective knock-down into Ferryman’s path as she charged forward, hammering her right boot through the ball and sending it beyond Heidenreich’s reach. When the goal came, the gate slammed shut again - Roben replacing the fatigued Nygard, who had not had the best of games - and Southfell could find no way through. Cypher, 20th in the league, could unbelievably celebrate a Cup.

Southfell United 0 - 1 CYPHER TOWN
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Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Brinemouth 46 32 7 7 137 46 +91 103
2 Sabrefell Moths 46 31 6 9 96 40 +56 99
3 Sabrefell Athletic 46 29 7 10 80 46 +34 94

4 AFC Treason 46 26 8 12 73 33 +40 86
5 Newrook City 46 24 10 12 88 53 +35 82
6 Coret Hawks 46 24 8 14 75 52 +23 80

7 Starling 46 23 6 17 70 54 +16 75
8 Aries Chariots 46 22 8 16 72 58 +14 74
9 Crisisbless 46 20 11 15 65 51 +14 71
10 North Sabrefell 46 18 17 11 64 60 +4 71
11 AFC Corvistone 46 20 9 17 75 72 +3 69
12 Chenoworth Harriers 46 19 9 18 67 62 +5 66
13 Chenoworth Rovers 46 20 6 20 66 72 -6 66
14 Vermillion Rage 46 18 8 20 99 90 +9 62
15 Raven River 46 16 13 17 66 71 -5 61
16 Southfell United 46 16 9 21 61 81 -20 57
17 Crisisbless United 46 15 6 25 59 84 -25 51
18 North Laithland 46 15 6 25 49 79 -30 51
19 Corvette Maulers 46 13 10 23 58 103 -45 49
20 Cypher Town 46 13 9 24 40 60 -20 48
21 Diamondqueen 46 11 8 27 48 87 -39 41
22 Creed United 46 11 7 28 45 88 -43 40
23 Bishop 46 5 13 28 33 80 -47 28
24 Morningstar 46 6 9 31 41 105 -64 27
40 - Kuznetsov (BRI)
29 - Hawke (SFA)
28 - Romano (SFM)
25 - Conte (VRR)
23 - Ocokoljic (NRC)
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Desya Kuznetsov (BRI)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Desya Kuznetsov (BRI)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Morena Deventer (BRI)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Desya Kuznetsov (BRI)
Team of the Year: Griffin (SFM); Pakkanen (NRC), Svensson (TRE), Hamilton (SFM), Pavlovic (COH), Close (BRI); Tidesson (BRI), Ocokoljic (NRC), Coltrane (SFA), Aedelbrandt (SFM); Hawke (SFA), Kuznetsov (BRI)
Bench: Na’Kefir (CRI); Fox (SFA), Zagorec (NRC), Townsend (SFM), Misidjan (TRE), Naeher (COH), Romano (SFM)
Manager of the Year: Daniella Strauss (CVM)

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Cranequin Wanderers 46 29 14 3 87 32 +55 101
2 Stahlburg City 46 27 14 5 79 30 +49 95
3 Chatswood 46 26 12 8 68 38 +30 90
4 Stahlburg Rovers 46 26 12 8 64 40 +24 90

5 Cranequin City 46 24 10 12 68 52 +16 82
6 Brookford Otters 46 24 9 13 82 50 +32 81
7 Parrhesia United 46 22 9 15 92 63 +29 75
8 South Laithland 46 20 13 13 70 49 +21 73
9 Vermillion Wanderers 46 20 11 15 58 54 +4 71
10 Belgrave 46 19 11 16 68 65 +3 68
11 Goodfeather FC 46 19 8 19 64 55 +9 65
12 Leichhardt 46 19 8 19 43 46 -3 65
13 West Brinemouth 46 15 16 15 39 45 -6 61
14 Armstrong 46 15 14 17 42 50 -8 59
15 Mantlegrove 46 15 7 24 49 69 -20 52
16 Ritter Town 46 12 14 20 52 59 -7 50
17 Hackett 46 14 7 25 43 64 -21 49
18 AFC Serpentine 46 11 14 21 51 72 -21 47
19 Iron City 46 11 13 22 48 70 -22 46
20 Crisisbless Athletic 46 11 13 22 55 81 -26 46
21 Extreme Hills 46 10 13 23 55 97 -42 43
22 Coret Rovers 46 11 9 26 55 75 -20 42
23 The Strongest 46 10 10 26 53 82 -29 40
24 Greygate 46 5 13 28 34 81 -47 28
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Isabella Shi (STC) and Ann Reus (PAR) - 28
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Shona Butcher (CRW)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Arista Tzorvas (RIT)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Portia Taani (CRW)
Team of the Year: Spyrakis (PAR), Polenz (CRC), Orsay (SBC), Bishop (CHT), Keane (SBC); Kudelka (CRW), Grear (CHT), Butcher (CRW), Moxey (SBR); Shi (SBC), Taani (CRW)
Manager of the Year: Dan Keel (CRC)

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Chardonnay Rangers 46 28 11 7 79 37 +42 95
2 Rochford 46 27 11 8 79 43 +36 92
3 Peregrine 46 26 9 11 99 53 +46 87
4 Gonen's Bridge 46 23 12 11 71 47 +24 81

5 Dartmouth Terriers 46 21 14 11 61 44 +17 77
6 Riverkey 46 20 13 13 46 32 +14 73
7 Stonegrave 46 18 18 10 54 36 +18 72
8 Pillars of Southfell 46 19 15 12 45 33 +12 72
9 Corinthians No Longer 46 19 11 16 70 67 +3 68
10 Alliance Barossia 46 17 17 12 46 44 +2 68
11 Barossia United 46 17 14 15 51 45 +6 65
12 Locksley 46 17 13 16 63 60 +3 64
13 Southriver 46 17 12 17 65 75 -10 63
14 AFC Shale 46 16 12 18 45 45 +0 60
15 Sheridan 46 15 13 18 46 51 -5 58
16 Ballardine FC 46 13 16 17 46 58 -12 55
17 Crossroads Town 46 14 7 25 49 70 -21 49
18 West Hook 46 9 21 16 39 50 -11 48
19 The Hanged Man 46 10 14 22 32 54 -22 44
20 East Laithland Harriers 46 12 8 26 44 70 -26 44
21 Kommissar 46 10 13 23 49 75 -26 43
22 Lazuli Diamonds 46 8 17 21 58 84 -26 41
23 Ox River United 46 7 19 20 27 50 -23 40
24 Iron United 46 10 8 28 29 70 -41 38
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Markus Kaufmann (PRG) - 39
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Markus Kaufmann (PRG)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Casey Steward (GBR)
Manager of the Year: Ivy Herrick (WHK)

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Aries Solitaire 46 32 5 9 98 45 +53 101
2 Falston United 46 30 10 6 72 40 +32 100
3 Boltcroft Thorns 46 30 7 9 104 56 +48 97
4 Autumnstone 46 25 10 11 81 54 +27 85

5 Gosmouth Swans 46 25 8 13 93 59 +34 83
6 Strephonage 46 23 9 14 60 49 +11 78
7 Fully Sick XI 46 20 11 15 74 63 +11 71
8 Martella Jazz 46 18 16 12 75 61 +14 70
9 Brindleton 46 20 7 19 60 55 +5 67
10 Kensey Town 46 19 10 17 58 56 +2 67
11 South Parrhesia 46 17 15 14 67 63 +4 66
12 Falston Town 46 18 7 21 77 69 +8 61
13 Brokenarch 46 16 13 17 54 61 -7 61
14 Sutcroft 46 15 12 19 58 60 -2 57
15 Hartford Glade 46 15 12 19 60 66 -6 57
16 Sirencall FC 46 17 5 24 66 87 -21 56
17 Brunyard FC 46 15 9 22 63 77 -14 54
18 Long Lake 46 10 18 18 27 47 -20 48
19 Sutcroft Athletic 46 11 14 21 43 62 -19 47
20 Mapleford 46 12 10 24 60 80 -20 46
21 Ingram Township 46 10 15 21 36 56 -20 45
22 Bodkin Road 46 12 9 25 51 88 -37 45
23 Downsparrow 46 10 10 26 49 81 -32 40
24 Fischer 46 6 10 30 43 94 -51 28

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 FC Seierstad 38 24 8 6 66 33 +33 80
2 Rushe United 38 22 7 9 73 40 +33 73

3 Harrington 38 22 5 11 66 45 +21 71
4 Ringway 38 21 7 10 60 38 +22 70
5 Crownsend Journey 38 20 9 9 77 44 +33 69
6 Lockheed Zenith 38 21 6 11 63 40 +23 69
7 Stonesthrow Town 38 16 12 10 50 43 +7 60
8 Courser 38 15 11 12 47 54 -7 56
9 Iberia Chenoworth 38 15 10 13 87 73 +14 55
10 Riverkey Shells 38 15 9 14 49 54 -5 54
11 Boleyn Town 38 15 7 16 36 32 +4 52
12 Grovebank 38 14 10 14 44 45 -1 52
13 Aspen Grove 38 11 13 14 55 55 +0 46
14 AFC Hellerine 38 11 9 18 55 60 -5 42
15 Sleetwell Rangers 38 10 10 18 37 66 -29 40
16 Chenoworth Teutons 38 9 11 18 32 49 -17 38
17 Fenland Albion 38 10 6 22 30 45 -15 36
18 Swag Hill Rovers 38 9 8 21 48 82 -34 35
19 Dross Rovers 38 8 7 23 30 68 -38 31
20 Capricopia Rangers 38 5 9 24 37 76 -39 24

Promoted: AFC Feuerweiss, Camwell Road

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Rochford Pilgrims 38 23 5 10 71 38 +33 74
2 Stamper Road 38 20 10 8 72 40 +32 70

3 Pravenna Saints 38 20 10 8 64 34 +30 70
4 Caldwick Strand 38 20 10 8 52 36 +16 70
5 Cranequin Souths 38 18 15 5 64 39 +25 69
6 Brookford Vantablack 38 20 8 10 56 36 +20 68
7 Gridlock 38 16 11 11 41 33 +8 59
8 AFC Burchess 38 14 11 13 52 49 +3 53
9 Rookwall 38 14 9 15 45 46 -1 51
10 Twelvetrees 38 13 11 14 43 45 -2 50
11 Corvistone City 38 13 10 15 40 37 +3 49
12 The Travellers FC 38 13 8 17 54 54 +0 47
13 Brookway Town 38 11 11 16 36 55 -19 44
14 AFC Volksgarten 38 11 9 18 34 53 -19 42
15 Constance Park 38 11 8 19 33 46 -13 41
16 Blaze 38 11 8 19 49 67 -18 41
17 South Brill 38 11 7 20 38 47 -9 40
18 Corby Hubris 38 9 11 18 39 71 -32 38
19 Rhyburn Swifts 38 10 7 21 51 79 -28 37
20 Coral Bay 38 8 9 21 37 66 -29 33

Promoted: Northside Eagles, Markoni
Last edited by Nephara on Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nephara » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:54 pm

Season 73 Preview


League Finish: 8th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: The Scythes (36,000)
Nickname: the Chariots
Captain: Anise Riske
Top Scorers: Sierra (17), Riske (13), Lazarou (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Commerford (30); 19 - Ashcroft (22), 5 - Tarrasch (27), 4 - Na’Duha (26), 3 - Brill (30); 7 - Seamster (25), 8 - Tsiolkas (30), 11 - Riske (29, c); 12 - Lazarou (26), 15 - Sierra (26), 16 - Kaelin (28)
In: Marietta Briggs (AFC Serpentine, 3m)
Promoted: Silke Gutenberg (RW, 19), Mateus Kujan (ST, 18)
Out: Sujet Carsley (Stahlburg Rovers, 2m), Claudia Escrow (Diamondqueen, 1.5m), Jasper Kirkland (Applegate City, free)

2 NFA Cups (55, 63)
Globe Cup (58)
Super Cup (58)
Gang of Six member

72: Premier - 8th - 74 pts
71: Premier - 10th - 69 pts
70: Premier - 9th - 73 pts
69: Premier - 11th - 62 pts
68: Premier - 14th - 59 pts

A fourth successive top-ten season for the Chariots, and it's safe to say that they're back. They improved a lot at the back compared to last season, and are really starting to find their rhythm.

Pretty understated; the Chariots like to just let things tick over organically. As a result, it's not that surprising they only bought one player, the 25-year old backup goalkeeper Marietta Briggs. The acrobatic stopper showed enough quality under fire over the past couple of seasons to suggest she could be the long-term replacement for Commerford. Sujet Carsley left for the Rovers and the prospect of regular starts, while Claudia Escrow took a step down for the same reason. The result leaves the Chariots a bit short of depth up front, but they should manage.

Safarova's squad would run through walls for her; they're certainly made to run hard, press high and generally be a real pest to try and pin down. They're especially lethal on the counterattack, with a fast, technically skilled if not especially physical front three. Every player Safarova has is comfortable on the ball and versatile enough to shift around the pitch fluidly.

Kadija Na'Duha is the central figure responsible for the Chariots' defensive upturn, a cultured defender whose 26 years bely a significant body of experience at this level. She's comfortable with the ball at her feet, rarely caught out of position and, when she is, has the pace to hustle back and cover her missteps. She rarely misses a tackle, when forced to commit.

This could be a breakthrough season for Harper Ashcroft, a somewhat lightweight fullback but one blessed with pace and ambition. Not infrequently last season, Ashcroft managed the impressive effect of rejuvenating attacking thrust despite being substituted into the back four. People are eager to see what she'll do with more minutes - she could use some more defensive cynicism at the moment.

Achileas Tsiolkas is the glue that binds this team together, all the traditional virtues of a defensive midfielder combined with a great passing range and vision that helps him convert turnovers into immediate forward momentum. Anise Riske, as captain, leads by example; not the most naturally athletic player on the team, but a hard grafter who backs it up with a hammer of a left boot. Alexandra Lazarou is a mercurial winger, electrifying on her day, whose one flaw is that she often tries one trick-step too far; but if anyone can help her get from good to great, it's Isla Safarova.

The Chariots project is really getting somewhere. That somewhere probably isn’t yet the Globe Cup. Still, they’re sharpening.

Manager: Isla Safarova (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Vance Commerford (COS), 20 - Marietta Briggs, 25 - Erhard Klein
Defenders: 2 - Barak Strauss, 3 - Alexis Brill (COS), 4 - Kadija Na'Duha (COS), 5 - Katerina Tarrasch, 13 - Mirka Ceciu, 18 - Ansom Payne, 19 - Harper Ashcroft, 22 - Oskar Burnside
Midfielders: 6 - Laura Belfry, 7 - Tarran Seamster (COS), 8 - Achileas Tsiolkas, 11 - Anise Riske (c), 21 - Lorena Strausz, 24 - Molly Cunning
Forwards: 10 - Giselher Ruskin, 12 - Alexandra Lazarou, 15 - Rowena Sierra (CMT), 16 - Elsa Kaelin, 17 - Isabella Chaplain, 33 - Mateus Kujan, 34 - Silke Gutenberg


League Finish: Champions
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Brinemouth Eagle’s Club (65,000)
Nickname: the Dockers
Captain: Stig Soederquist
Top Scorers: Kuznetsov (40), Saitou (21), Tidesson (18)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Bull (28); 2 - Brymora (29), 6 - Magnozzi (27), 5 - Windtide (29), 3 - Close (24); 7 - Tidesson (25), 21 - Soederquist (30, c), 10 - Conjure (30), 13 - Deventer (22); 17 - Saitou (27), 4 - Kuznetsov (25)
In: Iona Britton (Chenoworth Rovers, 3.5m)
Promoted: Dimitri Keldoulis (CM, 19), Constantine Koellner (ST, 18), Tambra Matalin (RM, 18), Jens Vauxton (RB, 19)
Out: Juan Pablo Morales (Letson Town, 8m), Malachi Chalk (Falourr, 6m), Kyron Bartley (OGC Nauti, 3m), Moxie Crowe (Gamba Calix, free), Sven Ascalon (Millbrook, free)

7 Premiership titles (53, 54, 55, 61, 62, 70, 72)
NFA Cup (62)
Gang of Six member

72: Premier - 1st - 103 pts - CC
71: Premier - 7th - 80 pts - GC
70: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CC
69: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CC
68: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CC

And... a pause to breathe. And examine what it is the Dockers accomplished last season. They didn't quite break all the records, but they did set the records for goals scored and goal difference. Perhaps most importantly, though, they got their seventh Premiership title - and with that, they equalled Treason for the most.

Having spent a frankly terrifying amount last window, it's understandable that Brinemouth had to turn a sizable profit this time around. Morales was wasted as a backup - journeywoman goalkeeper Iona Britton fits the bill more naturally. Malachi Chalk and Kyron Bartley were the same way, deserving regular minutes the club just wasn't in a position to give, though both played important parts in the

You know what you're getting from Brinemouth. They press high and hard, they want to dominate the ball, and they want to use that domination of the ball to send it forward at velocity. They aren't going to piss it around in midfield forever, they want to rack the score up and be nice and flashy, easy on the eye. To dominate, and look good doing it.

Desya Kuznetsov scored forty goals last season. What more needs to be said?

Morena Deventer could be the breakout star of the season. She's very fast. She's very direct. She's... got a certain arrogance to her, one that comes with the calm, cool certainty that she is, thanks to hard work and sheer talent, better than most of those around her. Oh, and she even tracks back! She was rewarded with more and more minutes towards the end of last campaign, and that's probably a trend that's set to continue.

Ryan Bull is not the kind of goalkeeper most people would associate with glitz and glamour, but looks and names can be deceiving. He's like most Eurans - comfortable with the ball, an aggressive sweeper, excellent distribution. Oh, and he's a colossus who plucks crosses effortlessly out of the air. Evelyn Conjure's not quite as dynamic as she once was, but nonetheless continues to run the midfield with a quiet, undeniable authority, as well as being one of the best set piece takers in the multiverse. Oh, yeah, and the small matter of Bryger Tidesson, the most expensive signing in Nepharim history, a direct, decisive winger without compare.

For all that this was a quiet window - indeed, it’s fair to say they look a little weaker in depth than last season - they still have to be considered the favourites.

PREDICTION - Champions.
Manager: Lujendra Mescalin (COS)
Asst. Manager: Werner Thayer
Goalkeepers: 1 - Juan Pablo Morales (CEN), 20 - Ryan Bull (EUR), 25 - Simon Robinson
Defenders: 2 - Danijel Brymora, 3 - Marcin Close, 5 - Miri Windtide (CEN), 6 - Giorgio Magnozzi (MRC), 18 - Gerik Morlock, 19 - Alphonse Royer, 22 - Gianluigi Calabrese (OSR), 34 - Jens Vauxton
Midfielders: 7 - Bryger Tidesson (COS), 10 - Evelyn Conjure (SCT), 11 - Ilona Duerden, 12 - Alyss Montague (CMT), 13 - Morena Deventer, 14 - Jazmin Dragana (CMT), 21 - Stig Soederquist (COS, c), 33 - Dimitri Keldoulis
Forwards: 4 - Desya Kuznetsov (AUD), 9 - Pablo Scotti (VLD), 16 - Zara Cormann, 17 - Iori Saitou (HIN), 36 - Constantine Koellner


League Finish: 3rd (First Division)
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: Westcroft (28,000)
Nickname: the Woodsmen
Captain: Darius Rashkin
Top Scorers: Luitgard (23), Vestal (16), Conleth (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Aleksovic (34); 23 - Sauber (30), 5 - Rashkin (32, c), 20 - Bishop (28), 19 - Woods (32); 13 - Conleth (23), 4 - Grear (29), 21 - Prentice (24), 11 - Caulker (26); 9 - Luitgard (31), 17 - Garrett (28)
In: Andrea Prentice (Brookford Otters, 2.5m), Rehan Garrett (Birdingstone United, 2.5m), Raquel Woods (Newrook City, 2m), Machalat Sauber (South Laithland, 1.5m)
Promoted: Dominik Antosch (CB, 19)
Out: Kayla Dorran (Manechester United, free), Bardolph Miller (Myrtha Dalin, free), Constantine Dahl (Ellesmere United, free), Timo Blankman (Mansestra, free)

First Division title (51)
NFA Cup (56)

72: 1Div - 3rd - 90 pts - Promoted
71: 1Div - 8th - 75 pts
70: 1Div - 6th - 77 pts
69: 1Div - 7th - 74 pts
68: Premier - 22nd - 39 pts - Relegated

And in the end, they did it her way. Just as patience was starting to strain with hard-nosed manager Leigh Fletcher, a miserly defence and the goals of Konstanze Luitgard were enough to drag Chatswood over the line into third.

Of course, reinforcement was always going to be needed, and Fletcher has left no stone unturned in search of affordable talent. The defence has been spruced up with the acquisition of Sauber and Woods, experienced fullbacks who have done the hard yards at this level, even if they are short-term options. Andrea Prentice is a clever midfield technician, Rehan Garrett an experienced goalscorer, while Sauber and Woods offer experience in the full-back slots. Just as importantly, they kept ahold of Reis Caulker, who made little secret of wanting to test himself abroad.

It's Chatswood; it's Leigh Fletcher. They're going to be direct and muscular, good at set pieces, and more than a little dirty. Nobody ever wants to make the trip to southwest Treason, and that's just how the fans like it. What could cause trouble is that this isn't a particularly fast side, the wingers Conleth and Caulker excepted (as one would hope).

Konstanze Luitgard is now 31 - age creeps up on you, doesn't it? - and this is her last shot to break out of what is starting to be called the Luitgard Vortex, too good for the First Division and not enough for the Premiership; one step below the Lynwood Zone more recently exemplified by Dakota Blaylock. Still, of late she's less of the flaky pace merchant she was in her youth, and has evolved into a composed finisher. Is Fletcher right to keep the faith in her?

Brash and confident off the pitch, Severa Conleth cuts a swaggering figure on it, a less orthodox figure than Caulker to her left but no less effective for it. Granted, like many young wingers, her decision-making is somewhat behind her physical and technical gifts, and she's not quite as good as she thinks she is, and she doesn't track back as often as Fletcher would like. Which just exemplifies how good she can be, if even Leigh Fletcher accepts she's at her best keeping her powder dry for going forward.

The veteran goalkeeper Serdjan Aleksovic has no Premiership experience, but is insistent to the press he's like a fine wine; only getting better with age. Fans are, perhaps, more sceptical, but his reliability under pressure has made him well-liked. Chris Bishop is the star of the defensive line, a powerful and athletic centre-half and the only usual starter still in his 20s; his penchant for fearless covering challenges will be even more important than usual now that he's part of the slowest back line in the league. Reis Caulker is a divisive figure at the moment, making no secret of wanting to leave in the off-season. Nevertheless, here he is - and the wiry winger has made all the right noises since. He's fast, he's industrious, he's got a hell of a left peg.

Rock-solid, full of seasoned heads, but is there the quality? The spark?

Manager: Leigh Fletcher
Goalkeepers: 1 - Serdjan Aleksovic (COS), 12 - Baltasar Gensch, 25 - Gerik Knasmuller
Defenders: 2 - Julian Ilsander, 3 - Bohemund Karling, 5 - Darius Rashkin (c), 6 - Crispin Galloway, 19 - Raquel Woods, 20 - Chris Bishop (SCT), 23 - Machalat Sauber, 32 - Dominik Antosch
Midfielders: 4 - Ella Grear (SCT), 7 - Matt Hephernan, 8 - Damocles Kouroglou, 11 - Reis Caulker, 13 - Severa Conleth, 15 - Kolinda Bischoff, 16 - Fiete Tannhaeuser, 21 - Andrea Prentice
Forwards: 9 - Konstanze Luitgard, 10 - Abishai Vestal, 14 - Christian Guilder, 17 - Rehan Garrett (ESH), 22 - Bernhard Duisberg


League Finish: 12th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Keel (35,000)
Nickname: the Harriers, the Reds
Captain: Diogenes Kutris
Top Scorers: Whittaker (16); Crowther (13), Rexmont (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 20 - Sheffield (33); 16 - Dalton (31), 19 - Carroll (27), 19 - Dmitriev (28), 3 - Rouphos (25); 10 - Stensholt (27), 12 - Kutris (33, c); 7 - Crowther (26), 11 - Marconi (27), 13 - Kou (24); 9 - Whittaker (25)
In: Alessa Marconi (Newrook City, 2.5m)
Promoted: Orithyia Demetriou (CB, 18), Jakob Shearer (LAM, 19), Rovena Stride (RB, 19), Sagittarius Wright (ST, 19)
Out: Angela Braugher (Bourne River, 3m), Steven Rexmont (KF Poldanz, 3m), Alessandra Guiliani (Negus Koromanti, 1.5m), Monica Bairstow (Brookford Otters, free)
Retired: Reinhard Armstrong (CB, 36)

First Division title (64)

72: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
71: Premier - 9th - 72 pts
70: Premier - 8th - 76 pts
69: Premier - 8th - 75 pts
68: Premier - 6th - 68 pts - GC

The Harriers suffered the indignity of being all but glued to their newly-promoted rivals all season, being nowhere near UICA and losing the first derby by two goals with nine men. They fell out of the top ten for the first time in seven years.

After the pain of being overshadowed by their neighbours last season, the Harriers face the prospect of a painful rebuild. This window hasn't done a lot to settle the fans' nerves, either. Selling the hugely popular Rexmont and Guiliani, and homegrown striker Braugher - these decisions made sense on paper given the former two's age and the latter not quite being up to scratch, but they're further kicks in the teeth to the fans. And the replacements coming in have been... lacking, though Rovena Stride's one of the most promising prospects in the league, and Alessa Marconi (somehow still only 27) is a high-class playmaker whose frictionless style didn't fit the all-action modern Newrook but might just find a home here. But more could, perhaps should, have been done.

John Sedder is a believer in graft and effort, that blood, sweat and tears can make up for so many deficiencies elsewhere. His Harriers are a tough, physical team, hard to play against, especially hard to battle through in midfield. Going forward, the team relies heavily on the pace of its wingers and fullbacks, with a target forward often dropping back.

Brae Crowther is the team's main X-Factor, the Brenecian able to conjure game-winning performances from seemingly nowhere. She's got it all; pace, technique, finishing ability and, increasingly, a firm grasp of decision-making. The Harriers' only worry about Crowther is where the ambitious World Cup-winning winger will be in another year.

Tom Whittaker cost too much money to be like this. He's already largely alienated the fans with his massive, swaggering ego, without the final product to back it up. But the unpopular truth is that the Harriers sold Braugher and kept Whittaker because Whittaker is an immense talent, and at 25, has plenty of time to turn things around.

Markus Sheffield is a seasoned head at the club, and though he was somewhat ropey last season, the 33-year old's got plenty of life in him yet. A conventional, reliable shot-stopper, and something of a penalty specialist. Nike Rouphos is a deft, pacy leftback, like many Nepharim fullbacks at her best bombing forward, and like many Nepharim fullbacks utterly unrelenting in her defensive work, picking up plenty of cards along the way. Catheline Stensholt is the link in the midfield, an excellent (if pricy) signing who knits defence and attack together seamlessly, with the pace and close control to drive down the enemy's throat and take a shot herself if need be.

A lot of working parts that could go wrong, and quality’s seeped gradually out of the side. This could be the end of the Harriers’ Golden Age, but they need not slide to the floor.

Manager: John Sedder (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Leonard Patterson (AUD), 20 - Markus Sheffield (SLL), 25 - Theold Bracewell
Defenders: 2 - Reinhard Armstrong, 3 - Nike Rouphos, 5 - Victoria Carroll, 6 - Matthew Braylock, 16 - Lionel Dalton (KOR), 18 - Gwen Kite, 19 - Valery Dmitriev (AUD), 33 - Rovena Stride
Midfielders: 4 - Katja Christensen, 7 - Brae Crowther (BRE), 8 - Bonifacio Sanna (OSR), 10 - Catheline Stensholt, 11 - Steven Rexmont (SCT), 12 - Diogenes Kutris (c), 13 - Charybdis Kou, 15 - Darius Nagant, 21 - Nikita Charisteas, 23 - Soren Coleman, 36 - Jakob Shearer
Forwards: 9 - Tom Whittaker (EUR), 22 - Sequel Bathanay, 32 - Sagittarius Wright


League Finish: 13th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Slatefield (32,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Captain: Julia Thane
Top Scorers: Murray (18), Paterson (10), Eason (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Chaeffer (26); 13 - Fife (29), 3 - Teffeteller (22), 6 - Capradossi (26, c), 22 - Laslow (26); 11 - Meisler (26), 4 - Svenskah (32), 10 - Paterson (28), 12 - Rowell (24); 9 - Patton (25), 17 - Murray (25)
In: Sabrina Patton (Llewellyn Turnpike, 3.5m), Grey Meisler (Sabrefell Athletic, 2.5m), Anders Rowett (Greygate, 1.5m)
Promoted: Erika Constance (ST, 20), Klavier Fitzgerald (CB, 19)
Out: Iona Britton (Brinemouth, 3.5m), Nega Bazin (North Lima SC, 780k), Rene Eason (Rogerton United, free), Jakob Trench (Real Maredrid, free), Tormod Joiner (Brookford Otters, free)
Retired: Chris Bronzebridge (CM, 35)

First Division title (53)

72: Premier - 13th - 66 pts
71: 1Div - 2nd - 91 pts - Promoted
70: 1Div - 7th - 76 pts
69: 1Div - 15th - 58 pts
68: 2Div - 2nd - 88 pts - Promoted

Exciting times in the white half of Chenoworth, as they get to flex on their local rivals and start to look upwards.

As soon as the dust of last season had settled, fiery manager Catheline Harper was everywhere talking about how the Rovers would make statements of intent in the window - and apparently the board were willing to back her. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the former winger went in big for a right midfielder in Grey Meisler who was looking for a chance to make it big following years on the rotation at Athletic, and a rough diamond up front in Sabrina Patton who could make a serious impact if she can adapt to the standard and physicality of the Premiership. This did come at a price - well-loved veteran Nega Bazin was allowed to leave, surplus to requirements, while journeywoman goalkeeper Iona Britton was snapped up to warm Brinemouth's bench after a single, solid campaign of service, necessitating plundering Greygate for someone to warm the Rovers' bench in turn.

Under Catheline Harper, the Rovers play an energetic and assertive style of football, trying to physically dominate their opponents by running faster and working harder. When holding a lead, they're compact, hard to break down, with even the forward line pressing hard from the front; when in need of a goal, they surge forward as a group, relying on the interplay along the wings to feed their lethal strikers. They rack up the cards enthusiastically.

Misha Paterson was a crucial player in the Rovers' promotion, and proved to be even more crucial in their survival. A late-blooming midfielder, 5'2", stocky and unimpressive physically, Paterson quickly established herself as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the league. She runs hard, never stopping, snaps into challenges and presses high. On the ball, she likes to take players on, and isn't so much one for the long Hollywood passes - preferring to make short, incisive passes, often splitting defences in half to set up the strikers.

This could be Mortola Teffeteller's time to truly shine. She's had to bide her time, being carefully eased into regular action, but near the end of last season she forced her way into starts with her assurance on the ball and her cautious but uncompromising physicality - she really knows when to throw in a hip-check - and looks to be a keystone in the defensive unit going forward. Like many Cosumarites, she's also decently confident with the ball at her feet, though her overall caution ensures she'll play it safe rather than sorry.

In fairness to the departed Britton, she likely saw the writing on the wall - backup stopper Janneke Chaeffer, now 26, comes highly-rated by all sources, relatively short for a goalkeeper but otherwise very well-rounded. Ender Fife is pretty much iconic of the Rovers, an instant fan favourite for her full-blooded lunging tackles and her bombing runs up the wing. As Harper said wryly of her; "Fife never wants to rotate out, but it's okay. The suspensions give her enough of a rest." Up front, Nya Murray made the step up from Chromatika seamlessly, netting 21 goals. Indeed, the team was somewhat overreliant on the sturdy, confident striker, but she stood up to the challenge regardless.

Still somewhat uneven, but they have the goals and the spine to stay up with ease.

Manager: Catheline Harper
Goalkeepers: 1 - Janneke Chaeffer, 20 - Anders Rowett, 25 - Friedrich Church
Defenders: 2 - Camilla Arkwright, 3 - Mortola Teffeteller (COS), 6 - Markus Capradossi (ETN), 13 - Ender Fife (APX), 18 - Radamel Curtis, 19 - Yeri Ibex (CMT), 22 - Karla Laslow, 33 - Klavier Fitzgerald
Midfielders: 4 - Luella Svenskah (SCT), 7 - Julia Thane (c), 8 - Rashica Horvath, 10 - Misha Paterson, 11 - Grey Meisler, 12 - Cassandra Rowell (SCT), 14 - Florencio Lozada (AUD), 16 - Jasper Dyer
Forwards: 9 - Sabrina Patton (CBP), 15 - Yannick Rodgers, 17 - Nya Murray (EFL), 21 - Lexi Farrakhan, 23 - Erika Constance


League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Aviary (30,000)
Nickname: the Hawks
Captain: Athanasios Nikolaidis
Top Scorers: Amokachi (17), Henderson (13), Skapetis (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Lockwood (29); 2 - Hamilton (28), 5 - Pavlovic (31), 20 - Constantini (34), 18 - Burns (21); 7 - Skapetis (25), 21 - Nikolaidis (30, c), 4 - Bezemer (28), 13 - Naeher (31); 9 - Henderson (27), 15 - Stavanger (30)
In: Dragan Stavanger (Tannenberg FC, 12.5m), Reinhard Lockwood (Birdingstone United, 6m), Mei Hamilton (Cypher Town, 3m), Lemuel Burns (Olympique Corriere, 2.5m)
Promoted: Rasmus Caracole (LM, 19), Gerome Pollard (CB, 21), Florin Silversmith (RB, 20)
Out: Talisca Sorrell (Aquatarius SC, free), Tarquin Ulster (Battlebrook United, free), Barack Schuyler (Battlebrook United, free), Alexis Rudkine (Harnley Town, free), Trifon Draxler (Morningstar, free)
Retired: Eva Valkanis (CB, 36), Cormak Lethbridge (GK, 36, COS)

First Division title (56)

72: Premier - 6th - 80 pts - GC
71: Premier - 13th - 66 pts
70: Premier - 12th - 65 pts
69: Premier - 12th - 61 pts
68: Premier - 8th - 81 pts

The albatross is off their neck, at the least expected moment. A side that seemed to just be throwing cash at the idea of success turned out to be throwing cash at success - the left-field pick of Nick Feeney worked out perfectly. The Hawks made it to the Globe Cup.

More of the same! There's an expensive repatriation effort at both ends of the park, in goalkeeper Reinhard Lockwood and hulking striker Dragan Stavanger. Mei Hamilton, meanwhile, comes in from Cypher - Feeney, you'd imagine, knows how to spot a rightback. These are not signings for the future, but for the present, at great cost. Burns, then, is perhaps off-brand - but a canny pickup who people suspect could play a key role immediately. A bunch of players leave, while veterans Eva Valkanis and Cormak Lethbridge, both fondly-regarded stalwarts of the club, retire.

Why change a winning formula? Nick Feeney's critics said from the start he was lucky to land the job, with no little justification, but things worked out pretty much immediately. The emphasis is less on pace and more on muscular guile, by the necessity of their squad composition. Attractive football is supposedly on the agenda, and they're definitely capable of it, but this is a side that can and will knock heads together to make room.

An understated star of last season, Raquel Naeher was never an entirely beloved player through her international career, but though her goal count may not have increased (a mighty three, last season) she's been able to show why she was, and remains, highly rated by the opinions that matter. She's not fast anymore, but her left foot has only gotten more accurate with age to make up for it - her arrowed diagonal balls are a terror on enemy defences.

In a side that could be colloquially described as 'fucking old', Atalanta Skapetis is practically a child at 25. That shines through in her approach to the game. Skapetis really, really loves playing football, and can sometimes get caught up in that love. Uncharacteristically for a Nepharim, she's style over substance, but the substance usually comes across anyway in concrete goals and assists.

Ambrosio Constantini will crush you. Athanasios Nikolaidis is a brawler at heart, a midfielder who just wants to get involved with every phase of play - he gets his fair share of goals, and more than a fair share of cards. He's the heart and soul of the team. And don't forget that lurking on the wings is Penumbra Amokachi, Nephara's record goalscorer, still possessed of that swaggering self-confidence at 36. There can surely be no better impact substitute in the league.

The Hawks face a fight to repeat the feat - one suspects they’ll be reliant to a degree on coefficient repair. They might well find themself having to save the utility of 7th place with strong UICA performances. Still, the double duty may be beyond them, even with this new influx of cash.

Manager: Nick Feeney (EUR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Reinhard Lockwood, 12 - Mariam Brookhouse, 25 - Malta Stark
Defenders: 2 - Mei Hamilton (COS), 3 - Lithe Bronwyne, 5 - Dario Pavlovic (PAS), 6 - Gerome Pollard, 14 - Florin Silversmith, 18 - Lemuel Burns (AQL), 19 - Thorsten Croft, 20 - Ambrosio Constantini (MBT)
Midfielders: 4 - Juliet Bezemer, 7 - Atalanta Skapetis, 8 - Beatrice Stubbs, 10 - Athanasios Nikolaidis (c), 11 - Leila Crowford, 13 - Raquel Naeher, 23 - Constance Best, 32 - Rasmus Caracole
Forwards: 9 - Ivana Henderson, 15 - Dragan Stavanger, 17 - Sigmund Ambrose, 21 - Penumbra Amokachi, 22 - Kasmeer Jewell


League Finish: 19th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Bullrush (30,000)
Nickname: the Maulers
Captain: Vicki Coleman
Top Scorers: Norval (17), Dimitrius (8), Voleimann, Ankergren (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Feldman (25); 19 - Auteberry (25), 5 - Durant (26), 3 - King (29), 6 - Seraph (25); 20 - Kurz (23), 14 - Coleman (27, c), 21 - Voleimann (28); 7 - Dimitrius (32), 23 - Norval (29), 16 - Tsikitsiris (32)
In: Andrea Kurz (West Brinemouth, 3m), Elsa Durant (Iron City, 2m), Dimitra Tsikitsiris (KF Poldanz, 2m)
Promoted: Emilien Marisnick (GK, 18)
Out: Rook Goodharvest (Azewyn Royals, 2.5m), Marcia Folkhard (Fullham Rangers, free), Johanna Ankergren (Ritter Town, free), Narcissus Milligan (Equestrian Outcasts HC, free)
Retired: Sebastian Vassall (DM, 35)

72: Premier - 19th - 49 pts
71: 1Div - 1st - 94 pts - Promoted
70: Premier - 22nd - 39 pts - Relegated
69: 1Div - 4th - 79 pts - Promoted
68: Premier - 23rd - 34 pts - Relegated

Despite a terrible squad on paper, the Maulers floated narrowly above trouble, ultimately finishing eight points clear of the drop despite conceding over a hundred goals. Daniella Strauss was rightfully coronated as Manager of the Year.

And she promptly took up an offer from Southfell United. Promotion and subsequent survival were more than impressive enough. They've turned to a different manager, Aisha Salthouse, a Brenecian wild card pick who freshly took relative minnows Swanbridge to the A-League for the second time. She's been backed generously in the window, Kurz and the veteran Tsikitsiris offer spark close to the front, while hopefully Elsa Durant offers the necessary steel after coming from Iron (sorry). She'll directly replace Rook Goodharvest, for whom the Premiership was just a step too far.

By all accounts, the song remains the same. Salthouse has made all the right noises about wanting to pick up where Strauss left off, playing attractive passing football. This isn't a particularly fast side - both expected starting wingers are 32 - and Voleimann is a playmaker more in the 'the ball is round' school, would rather have it do the talking. They stroke the ball around confidently, and press high to try and have as much of it as possible.

Fiona Norval's goals - nineteen in the league, very nearly a third of the Maulers' total - were what kept them up last season. Athletic, confident and almost swaggering in possession, Norval seems to have reached peak Lynwood Zone of 7/10 strikers for lower-echelon teams in this league. She's not without faults - her right boot is markedly weaker than her left, and her first touch can be wayward - but if she's firing, she should do alright.

Strauss turned to three different goalkeepers last season; Acatha Feldman, the youngest, won. And, granted, Corvette made a show of wanting to move on the talented but confidence-shorn Lin and get in a dedicated number 1 in the off-season, but Lin wound up staying to fight for his place. That puts Feldman on the spot. She's quick off her line, an acrobatic shot-stopper, and has great distribution. There's a few errors in her game, still, and she's not much use in the air. This is her make-or-break year.

It's rare that you point out a defensive midfielder in a goal-haemorrhaging side for the right reasons, but Vicki Coleman is a genuinely tidy operator, nothing flashy, all efficient professional fouls and short passes. Voleimann is a somewhat arrogant, mercurial player, but he played the season of his career last time, an excellent playmaker at his best over a set piece. Sascha Dimitrius, meanwhile, is not most peoples' idea of an evergreen forward. No longer blessed with pace, she relies on her trickery and sleight of foot to take her through defences. She's still got it, it seems.

They called survival a miracle for a reason, and losing a gifted manager won’t help.

Manager: Aisha Salthouse (BRE)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Michael Lin (SLL), 12 - Acatha Feldman, 30 - Emilien Marisnick
Defenders: 2 - Stefan Oughtred, 3 - Gloria King (APX), 5 - Elsa Durant, 6 - Canaya Seraph (ISK), 13 - Eloise Davison, 18 - Rudi Fallon, 19 - Lena Auteberry (FPT), 24 - Garrick Fraser
Midfieders: 4 - Sebastian Vassall, 8 - Julian Parable, 10 - Gerwyn Clarke, 14 - Vicki Coleman (c), 15 - Trish Plutarch, 20 - Andrea Kurz, 21 - Jasko Voleimann
Forwards: 7 - Sascha Dimitrius, 9 - Patches Rathbone, 11 - Gabriel Haines, 16 - Dimitra Tsikitsiris, 17 - Aristomenios Karnezis, 22 - Seth Blunt, 23 - Fiona Norval


League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Phoenix Rise (28,000)
Nickname: the Crows
Captain: Krista Morham
Top Scorers: Afolayan (17), Morham, Stanford (15), Pangallo (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Kovacic (29); 2 - Muhren (29), 18 - Heston (28), 4 - Brosch (23), 3 - Tsicaderis (30); 23 - Pangallo (31), 8 - Eriksen (28), 11 - Morham (27, c); 7 - Afolayan (29), 9 - Kvanderwyk (32), 10 - Beretti (29)
In: Medea Tsicaderis (AFC Treason, 2.5m)
Promoted: Lucy Almwood (LB, 18), Bailey Coleman (GK, 19), Sonya Latimore (LW, 18), Dejanira Trifunovic (CB, 18)
Out: Daniyal Helland (FM Town, 3m), Nikola Lindgren (Megabrantid SC, 2m), Alyssa Haight (Condottiere, free), Bryson Vilna (Venanga Tropic, loan)
Retired: Gerrit Tatu (CB, 35)

72: Premier - 11th - 69 pts
71: Premier - 14th - 62 pts
70: Premier - 15th - 58 pts
69: 1Div - 2nd - 89 pts - Promoted
68: 1Div - 5th - 76 pts

A strong start, a wobble in the middle, but on the whole a positive season for the Crows. Their first top-half finish, a record 7-0 win over Crisisbless United, and on the whole, things are ticking over nicely.

Uncharacteristically quiet shuffling this window, losing two leftbacks and buying a single replacement in true journeywoman Medea Tsicaderis, supposedly with a view to helping smooth promising Euran immigrant Lucy Almwood's ascension. And that's not the end of the Euran connection - Bailey Coleman is the daughter of Reece, who spent his entire career there and, like Keith Rowland, moved back over to Nephara to give his daughter better opportunities. Bryson Vilna is another thought of very highly by the Crows' management, and the 21-year old stopper was permitted to seek a loan in search of minutes.

The Crows play a hard, high-pressing, physically intense style that is perhaps at odds with the glamour their branding suggests - but it gets undeniable effects, for all they seemed to tire at parts in the second half of the season. Passes are expected to be forward, tackles are hard and the line is high, the overall effect being a constant assault on the opponent.

Krista Morham remains the Crows' best player and shining light, and an icon of the club's short history. As captain, one who has been with the club since the Second Division, she leads by example, whole-heartedly shuttling about the pitch to enact Belfast's pressing game. On the ball, she's quick, clever and incisive, constantly driving down teams' throats, and boasts a decent shot to boot.

In a team full of glamour, perhaps it doesn't make the most sense to look to the centre-halves, and yet Ilyana Brosch has come leaps and bounds in consistency since Belfast's arrival. An intelligent, calm defender, one with a surprising turn of pace and a deceptive lean muscle, and capable of taking the ball out from the back with more confidence than even her new mentor; Brosch looks a sure thing for Cormorants reckoning.

Maria Kovacic has consistently impressed between the posts, perhaps underrated by some. She does have the occasional error, and she's not the strongest in the air, but last season at least she bailed them out countless times when the high line was broken. Chibuzo Afolayan is a terror down the right flank, with the pace and power to end careers and an increasing eye for goal as he strides into his prime. Veteran striker Kathryn Kvanderwyk is the perfect spearhead for the Crows, versatile, willing to track back, and of course a natural goalscorer.

Not being able to paper over the cracks with money as usual? Expect a backslide.

Manager: Hadrian Belfast
Goalkeepers: 1 - Seth Veloz (AUD), 12 - Maria Kovacic (SLL), 30 - Bailey Coleman
Defenders: 2 - Katenza Muhren, 3 - Daniyal Helland (EFL), 4 - Ilyana Brosch, 5 - Calcipher Heston, 22 - Olexander Green, 24 - Silvester Streeton, 32 - Dejanira Trifunovic, 36 - Lucy Almwood (EUR)
Midfielders: 6 - Indartsu Lekea (AST), 8 - Corinne Eriksen (APX), 11 - Krista Morham (SCT, c), 20 - Bryce Leicester, 21 - Rain Delacruz (BJK), 23 - Ivan Pangallo (AUD)
Forwards: 7 - Chibuzo Afolayan (BNJ), 9 - Kathryn Kvanderwyk (COS), 10 - Charmine Beretti (EFL), 14 - Cass Rayle, 15 - Erica Manson, 17 - Robby Stanford (ESH), 33 - Sonya Latimore
Out On Loan: 25 - Bryson Vilna (EFL)
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Postby Nephara » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:34 pm


League Finish: Champions (First Division)
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Ebony Lane (48,000)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Captain: Ciprian Jantzer
Top Scorers: Taani (26), Kudelka (16), Ford (15)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 12 - Sirleaf (26); 17 - Polenz (26), 22 - Woodpress (28), 5 - Stoeva (25), 3 - Jaspen (28); 4 - Yonen (26), 21 - Butcher (25); 7 - Kudelka (23), 11 - Ford (31), 16 - Loxton (26); 9 - Taani (31)
In: Malia Yonen (Wyvernscrest, 4m), Tristan Polenz (West Brinemouth, 2.5m), Eliza Stoeva (Olympia Borograd-Z, 1.25m), Gisella Riaz (FC Elan, free)
Promoted: Ashley Bishop (RAM, 18)
Out: Brindle Taukroger (Peregrine, 750k), Richter Clavane (Johnho United, free), Robin Seizter (West Brinemouth, free)
Retired: Cardinal Belgrave (R/CAM, 36), Artemis Katsamatis (RAM, 35)

2 First Division titles (57, 72)

72: 1Div - 1st - 101 pts - Promoted
71: 1Div - 9th - 69 pts
70: 1Div - 13th - 57 pts
69: Prem - 23rd - 37 pts
68: 1Div - 4th - 78 pts - Promoted

Halfway through last season, the Wanderers were set to break pretty much every First Division record, ever. Unfortunately, they slowed to a crawl by the end, but still, they won the league with over a hundred points.

The Wanderers spent big on Malia Yonen, a Mriin international - not put on the list at Wyverncrest, and there were cheaper options available, but Reiniger wanted his woman, and the mixture of being a marauding giant and being good at passing was too good to pass up. Polenz is a solid option - making Taukroger surplus to requirements - Stoeva's a very promising and classy defender, while the rough diamond, Riaz, offers direct pace to a more passing attacking midfield. 15-cap Nephara international Cardinal Belgrave, formerly of the Spiders, Chariots and Moths, hangs up his boots, as does Katsamatis, originally of Martella but known mostly for spending over a decade at Stahlburg City.

Jens Reiniger has his way of playing and nobody can get in the way of it. Nobody is bigger than the team. It took a while for him to instill his methods, based around steady, patient and assertive possession and cautious, disciplined defending, and a while for him to win over players and fans. Suffice to say he's won that argument for now. And the Wanderers can still go direct if they need to, with the hulking Taani up front and quick wingers to hit the ball to her and provide a necessary extra dimension.

Speaking of Portia Taani, the Mriin striker comes in with a lot to prove. She's here basically to prove a point to her national team manager, with the point seeming pretty conclusively proven at this point. A solid season in the top flight will just underline it, and there's every chance she'll succeed at this level, a towering target woman with a surprisingly deft touch and a decisive finish, with the intelligence and selflessness to drift further towards midfield and hold up the ball for them, as well.

This is Vahid Kudelka's first experience of the top flight, and it feels like it's been a while coming. He's that specific brand of creative Nepharim winger; style backed with substance, assertive, direct, confident, energetic and diligent. A little susceptible to tunnel vision, perhaps. And of course, this level is a step up. But all signs point to him being able to weather it.

Kiva Sirleaf was hired as a Cup hero in Cosumar - this is her first experience of the Big Leagues (TM). At times, she struggled with Nepharim physicality, but she's an exemplary distributor of the ball, and a fine shot-stopper. Shona Butcher is an exceptionally tidy player on the ball, and an aptly aggressive one off it, a necessary box-to-box harrier in a team like this. Helena Loxton, on the left flank, is a more orthodox figure than Kudelka, one-footed and liking to hug the chalk, but no less effective for it.

The quality is there. The Wanderers should stay up, after building on an already strong side.

Manager: Jens Reiniger (PAS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Olivia Selkie, 12 - Kiva Sirleaf (COS), 25 - Konrad Matheny
Defenders: 2 - Bernadette Pietersen, 3 - Franziska Jaspen, 5 - Eliza Stoeva (STL), 6 - Ciprian Jantzer (c), 17 - Tristan Polenz, 18 - Molly Killanen (SCT), 19 - Sheeda Baines, 22 - Susanna Woodpress
Midfielders: 4 - Malia Yonen (MRN), 7 - Vahid Kudelka, 8 - Lance Diebeck, 11 - Leonardo Ford (ETN), 15 - Elaine Foray, 16 - Helena Loxton, 20 - Gisella Riaz (EFL), 21 - Shona Butcher, 23 - Vasya Kravec (AUD), 33 - Ashley Bishop
Forwards: 9 - Portia Taani (MRN), 10 - Bruin Goodyouth, 22 - Paul Leonhardsen


League Finish: 9th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
UICA Run: Champions Cup First Knockout Round
CdC Run: Second Round
Stadium: Godswatch (63,000)
Nickname: the Heelers
Captain: Sieglinde Lohengrin
Top Scorers: Ruhl (17), Coppinger (11), Jevdjevic-Hadsic (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Na’Kefir (28); 2 - Longship (23), 5 - Molovi (34), 4 - Bajnok (27), 3 - Lohengrin (30, c); 11 - Swan (30), 6 - Bronte (30); 12 - Coppinger (28), 8 - Woakes (22), 10 - Staunton (25); 14 - Ruhl (28)
In: Moira Woakes (Carsby, 20m), Valeri Longship (Morningstar, 4m)
Promoted: November Besand (GK, 18), Danica Marinkovic (ST, 19), Bremusa Strassman (LB, 19)
Out: Leona Rafford (1830 Cathair, 7m), Amelia Warner (New Sarum, 2.5m), Isaia Urso & Lauro Tedesco (Osarese Marcadia, free)
Retired: Tia Drenas (ST, 35, EFL), Pawlo Marciak (GK, 37, BYN)

2 Premiership titles (59, 71)
3 NFA Cups (47, 61, 64)
Cup Winners’ Cup (62)
Gang of Six member

72: Premier - 9th - 71 pts
71: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CC
70: Premier - 2nd - 92 pts - CC
69: Premier - 6th - 77 pts - GC
68: Premier - 4th - 87 pts - CC

Pretty much a disaster - at no major milestone of the season were the Heelers in the top six. There's been worse post-title collapses (hi Sabrefell Athletic, finishing 11th -> 12th -> 17th in the next three seasons), but not by much.

Action had to be taken. Unfortunately, momentum wasn't so strictly forward as could be hoped for. There's a sheaf of departures - star rightback Leona Rafford finally got her long-awaited move abroad, the capable leftback Warner left as well, Lauro Tedesco was snapped up on a free by the furious third-tier Osarese Marcadia while captain Isaia Urso, thanks to an obscure and extremely specific release clause in her contract, joined him. Oh, and the small matter of the retirements of Pawlo Marciak, a club legend, and Tia Drenas, one of the most high-class, frictionless poachers in the world. Still, it's not all bad news. They managed to pick up Valeri Longship off Morningstar... and the most coveted young midfielder in the world, in Moira Woakes. Tough, flashy and lightning-quick, she's anticipated to become the first woman to win a Eura cap (sorry, Monica Rowland) in the very near future.

Aidan Brosque was out the door at the end of the season, having seemingly done all he could and left behind a team riven with discord and worn out by his intensity. Still - he did get Crisisbless a title, and it's on that basis he wound up at the Cormorants. Taking his place, the more easy-going Chris Maarsden, perhaps a more natural fit at a club of this level, and safe hands for a transitional period. Like Brosque, Maarsden favours a defensively solid, more balanced style, based around dominating the midfield and breaking forward quickly.

Crisisbless have perhaps been overtaken in quality by the top echelon of teams, but they do boast in Shjegrzh Na'Kefir perhaps the best goalkeeper in the league. Something of a firebrand, especially if you fuck up his name, the Cosumarite's an impeccable, world-class goalkeeper who excels at all aspects of the game, but is an especially spectacular acrobat who makes the impossible look routine.

Marisha Staunton was one of the few players to burnish her stature last season, a finely-honed, high-class example of The Orthodox Winger. She doesn't really score, she's not especially versatile, her right boot isn't good for a whole lot, but she's really really fast and has a really really accurate and powerful left. Happiest with chalk on her boots and a burly target in the box to aim for.

Nephara is usually not the home of the old, with a tendency to phase out players late in their careers due to the fast pace and relentless physicality. Nevertheless, 34-year old Andrea Molovi remains the lynchpin of their defence, an oasis of calm and discipline under pressure. Maeve Bronte is the kind of player who, bluntly, casuals underrate - but she holds the side together with a firm, efficient hand. At least, in her first three seasons; last time was a little rough. Meanwhile, Airik Ruhl is a very angry man. It's easy to say he has pent-up aggression, but this assumes he ever pents anything up rather than just unleashing it on the pitch. Happily, he channels that aggression into being an excellent, physical striker.

Get ready for the dreaded C and R words; consolidation and rebuilding. Title challengers, they aren’t.

Manager: Chris Maarsden (APX)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Shjegrzh Na'Kefir (COS), 20 - Kay Szarbach, 30 - November Besand
Defenders: 2 - Valeri Longship, 3 - Sieglinde Lohengrin (c), 4 - Kósa Bajnok (FFD), 5 - Andrea Molovi (EQS), 13 - Osmosis Gandhi (APX), 18 - Ayn Zwayer, 22 - Henrik Parrish, 34 - Bremusa Strassman
Midfielders: 6 - Maeve Bronte (PCR), 7 - Birgit Snowe, 8 - Moira Woakes (EUR), 10 - Marisha Staunton, 11 - Allison Swan (CEN), 12 - Brigitte Coppinger, 15 - Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic (FFD), 21 - Farina Luhukay, 26 - Johanna Sutton, 23 - Beruka Danning
Forwards: 14 - Airik Ruhl (COS), 17 - Kurtis Laiota, 31 - Danica Marinkovic


League Finish: 17th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Chessboard (38,000)
Nickname: the Chessmen, the Chequers
Captain: Jasmine Stokes
Top Scorers: Lennox (12), Antelmi (10), Rivers (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Meixner (29); 17 - Bruun (23), 19 - Stokes (29, c), 6 - Banerman (28), 3 - Soto (26); 8 - Garner (24), 11 - Solbachen (26); 7 - Rivers (26), 13 - Antelmi (26), 10 - Tamba (27); 21 - Lennox (28)
In: Tom Garner (Blackfields, 3.5m), Alanso Tamba (Busukama AC, 3m)
Promoted: Tanith Carter (ST, 20), Casimir Ronayne (LAM, 19)
Out; Fabula Plath (Mareseilles HC, free), Kaija Koppel (Westhold Royals, free), Markus Schoenauer (Char Sara FC, free), Bastian Salz (1884 Felsenkirchen, free)

First Division title (70)

72: Premier - 17th - 51 pts
71: Premier - 20th - 45 pts
70: 1Div - 1st - 102 pts - Promoted
69: 1Div - 8th - 69 pts
68: 1Div - 6th - 78 pts

The indignity of an 8-2 defeat to Vermillion Rage aside, United had a fairly unremarkable lower-midtable season. They looked in a little strife at the start of the season, but soon pulled clear... ish, of the drop.

Quiet consolidation. Out with the old (the midfielder Salz, at 29, the youngest of those released), in with two carefully targeted signings - an uncompromising defensive midfielder in Tom Garner, a versatile, flamboyant winger in Tamba. Carter and Ronayne are also ones to watch going forward.

After early difficulties with a 4-3-3 formation, Konrad Evans eventually decided to go a little more conservative, with a bit more graft in the heart of midfield and a bit more order to the attack. It worked out, for the most part. The Chequers have a couple ways to hurt teams - they have a lot of pace close to the front, and a lot of creativity just outside the box. But their high press leaves them vulnerable to pace themselves, and it can be exhausting.

Sigrun Rivers was courted by other teams last season, but ultimately no team made a formal bid. Maybe this was, in part, to her performance dropping a little, especially near the start of the season - and it became increasingly clear that when Rivers is sputtering, so does the team. She's a tall, elegant and two-footed winger, able and willing to float around outside the box, with a real eye for goal.

Karii Bruun was probably the single most improved player last season, which is handy, given that as a satyr she's expected to peak in her 30s. As a satyr, she's also unsurprisingly among the tallest defenders in the league, certainly the tallest recognised rightback, and that has obvious advantages. She's getting more confident and reliable while taking the ball forward, too, and is developing a hell of a cross. She's not fancy. She's just a good player steadily turning into a great one.

Reinhard Meixner is a crucial goalkeeper to United's style of play, very athletic when springing off his line to sweep behind the defence, very good with distribution, and a fine shot-stopper to boot. Maybe a little weak in the air, if you had to nitpick. Asha Solbachen isn't so much a playmaker as much as someone who can just be trusted to take care of the ball, move it forward reliably, keep the team ticking over. Lukas Antelmi, on the other hand, is a pugnacious, battling type, someone who loves to drive down through the heart of the opposition and take shots. He misses a lot, and wasn't quite as sharp last season, but it's fun to watch.

A couple of clever buys means United should be able to stay the course.

Manager: Konrad Evans
Goalkeepers: 1 - Reinhard Meixner, 20 - Besart Schankelen, 25 - Rebecca Schmidt
Defenders: 2 - Asmir Casserley, 3 - Giovanni Soto (CEN), 5 - Cedella Verlander, 6 - Moray Banerman (SCT), 12 - Laura Naismith, 17 - Karii Bruun (MRN), 18 - Praxil Law, 19 - Jasmine Stokes (c)
Midfielders: 4 - Zouheir Na'Ryibi (COS), 8 - Tom Garner (EUR), 11 - Asha Solbachen, 13 - Lukas Antelmi, 14 - Olga Kitzbichler, 16 - Sasha Wheaton
Forwards: 7 - Sigrun Rivers, 9 - Tanith Carter, 10 - Alanso Tamba (BNJ), 15 - Beth Pike, 16 - Andrya Novkovic (SCT), 21 - Jessica Lennox (SCT), 32 - Casimir Ronayne


League Finish: 20th
Cup Run: Champions
Stadium: Velvet Meadow (28,000)
Nickname: the Eagles
Captain: Brigitte Anderton
Top Scorers: Nygård (18), McCosgraigh (6), Voeller, Rooke (5)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Ruo (29); 2 - Tristram (25), 4 - Hertzka (30), 6 - Brind (31), 3 - Anderton (30, c); 8 - Madine (26); 7 - Finchcleft (30), 15 - Voeller (24), 10 - McCosgraigh (25), 16 - Tripodi (27); 17 - Rooke (26)
In: Giacomo Tripodi (Eletti Valligiani, 2.5m), Athana Finchcleft (Loconstead United, 2.5m), Thorn Tristram (West Brinemouth, 2m), Karo Vanstrattan (Morningstar, free), Rainer Burgnich (Hytheford Palace, free)
Promoted: Janna Sauthier (RM, 18)
Out: Olivia Nygård (Newrook City, 8m), Mei Hamilton (Coret Hawks, 3m), Branko Kurz (Armstrong, 1.25m), Jacqui Gambeson (Alara, free), Sophia Petridis (Iron City, free), Malte Cairn (Extreme Hills, loan)

72: Premier - 20th - 48 pts - CWC
71: Premier - 16th - 52 pts
70: Premier - 16th - 53 pts
69: 1Div - 1st - 101 pts - Promoted
68: 1Div - 11th - 64 pts

First Division title (69)
NFA Cup (72)

Serious strife for Cypher, as the bottom dropped out of their history of recent overachievement. Rivka Keaton, a proud professional, felt she had to walk. Fortunately, Cypher lucked out - Andrea Vardalos, a similarly skilled manager with a similarly defensive, disciplined style of play, jetted in, kept them up and won the Cup.

Big changes afoot, largely involuntary as UICA-chasers plunder the excellent rightback Hamilton and, still more damaging, Olivia Nygard, scorer of basically all their goals. Homegrown forward Branko Kurz, meanwhile, is surplus to requirements. Meanwhile, Vardalos splashed out on three wingers - one per flank, plus the 30-year old Vanstrattan on a free, with by far the most Premiership experience of them. Thorn Tristram comes in with an excellent record in the second tier, and Rainer Burgnich is, well, an experienced backup goalkeeper with no delusions of being more than that. At 33, this will be his first Premiership experience, should anything happen to Ruo.

Vardalos is rather good at this. But how much can she do with this squad? Well, trust her to make the best of it. She made her name at Leichhardt with a disciplined, physical low block, four banks of four and an extra destroyer for good measure - either Madine or the less technical or intelligent but more pugnacious Roben - direct on the counter and well-drilled at set pieces. Just as defensive as Keaton, but fast and hard, rather than slow and measured. The literal and metaphorical change of pace kept them up last season.

Who will Andrea Vardalos put up front? Certainly, the brutalist Borbas Tihamer is more in the Luna Nsereko mould of big targets, but signs in preseason are that she's favouring the diligent Rooke, instead. Some argue it's because of Rooke's superior work ethic in training, others it's her finishing - Rooke will need both to provide the goals Cypher need. In the meantime, Cypher's new wingers had best start aiming their crosses low to hit the 5'7" markswoman.

Cressida Voeller endured a lot of heat last season, the nominal replacement for beloved captain Catheline Stensholt - unsurprisingly, the fresh recruit in her early 20s tasting Premiership football for the first time could not immediately bridge the gap. Initially out of favour under the new manager, Voeller worked her way back into the team towards the end of last season. Deft with her feet, creative going forward and eager to get on the scoresheet, Voeller's lack of physicality is the only thing holding her back.

Everyone knows Ruo's backstory, starting her career as an amateur, but the honeymoon's run its course. She's a brilliant shot-stopper. Time to add some new strings to her bow. Brigitte Anderton might be captain, and is by all accounts a fine one, but the composed, statuesque Marika Brind is the leader of the experienced defence. She so rarely puts a foot wrong, though she rarely does much to stand out. Not a bad thing in a defender. Freya McCosgraigh, meanwhile, is in the last chance saloon. A three-million-pound signing, McCosgraigh will need to add creativity and thrust to the midfield, having endured a somewhat rough couple of seasons in Nephara thus far.

Shorn of their best players, what’s left isn’t great. Fortunately, Andrea Vardalos is. But is this too big, even for her?

Manager: Andrea Vardalos
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ruo Xiaolan (YZH), 12 - Rainer Burgnich, 25 - Brendan Fallowland
Defenders: 2 - Thorn Tristram, 3 - Brigitte Anderton (c), 4 - Andros Hertzka, 6 - Marika Brind, 13 - Meghan Foerster, 18 - Agate Whitespire, 19 - Echidna Skapoulis, 22 - Kari Bardiche
Midfielders: 5 - Anton Roben (USD), 7 - Athana Finchcleft, 8 - Caspar Madine, 10 - Freya McCosgraigh (SCT), 11 - Vuesala Frey, 15 - Cressida Voeller, 16 - Giacomo Tripodi (AUD), 21 - Alexa Ferryman, 23 - Karo Vanstrattan
Forwards: 9 - Borbas Tihamer (PAS), 17 - Coretta Rooke, 24 - Augustine Rahn
Out on Loan: 14 - Malte Cairn


League Finish: 5th
Cup Run: Semifinals
UICA Run: Globe Cup Group Stage
CWC Run: Second Round
Stadium: Anchorwright Arena (30,000)
Nickname: the Rooks
Captain: Perica Zagorec
Top Scorers: Farrell, Ocokoljic (19), Wardenier (14), Couturiaux (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Hesketh (33); 18 - Pakkanen (28), 22 - Reinhardt (24), 6 - Zagorec (31, c), 3 - Kohler (23); 12 - Brandtner (25), 4 - Hedlund (25), 13 - Couturiaux (31); 21 - Ocokoljic (24); 7 - Farrell (28), 11 - Nygård (25)
In: Olivia Nygård (Cypher Town, 8m), Rook Gilzean (The Strongest, 1.5m), Mikael Acland (returned from loan)
Promoted: Lorelei Baer (LB, 18), Persephone Miller (CM, 19)
Out: Alessa Marconi (Chenoworth Harriers, 2.5m), Raquel Woods (Chatswood, 2m), Magda Kattner (Mar Sara FC, free), Markus Hyde (Romanopolis United, free), Glenn Baumann (SC Troubalose, free)

3 NFA Cups (57, 68, 71)

72: Premier - 5th - 82 pts - GC
71: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC CWC
70: Premier - 7th - 77 pts - GC
69: Premier - 9th - 65 pts
68: Premier - 18th - 50 pts - CWC

An indifferent start, but a strong recovery catapulted Newrook into the Globe Cup places that now just look like their natural place in the world.

Newrook had a few targets, but in the end only caught one major one - still, it was a good one to catch. Newrook haven't really managed to find the exceptional striker their new position demands, but might just have landed one in the assertive striker Nygard. Kattner wound up being released, so Gilzean replaces her as backup goalkeeper. Captain Raquel Woods and their long-serving but out-of-favour playmaker Alessa Marconi leave elsewhere in the league.

Andreu Bartolnicci was, not for nothing, regarded as a candidate for the Cormorants vacancy. Okay, so that was probably a little optimistic, but you could see why when you look at how the furious Cosumarite runs his team, constantly gesturing and correcting and shouting but in a way that his players actually listen to. He's instilled a fast-paced approach based around a physically imposing midfield platform and a tight trident of attacking threats, with the fullbacks providing the width.

Jezdimir Ocokoljic stepped up and became the club's talisman last season, an all-purpose forward who flits with genuine danger and venom around the centre of their attacking trident. It’s no small feat to share a lead for a team in goals and come second in assists (to Couturiaux), and it’s perhaps unsurprising that he's become an instant fan favourite - not least for his clear love of the club off the pitch, too.

Gabrielle Reinhardt made massive strides last season, biding her time waiting for regular minutes and making the most of them when she had them. Reinhardt doesn't put a foot wrong. She's in the right place at the right time, always alert, rarely beaten. And when she is, she's got a crowd-pleasing penchant for inch-perfect sliding challenges - and when that fails, she'll happily just ankle-tap someone just outside the box. A defender's defender.

Ville Pakkanen never stops running, and that's all he needs to be. Alright, that's an easy oversimplification, and does him dirty - his guile at both ends helps him get the job done in a demanding role. Similarly, Mordecai Brandtner is often stereotyped as a blunt instrument in midfield, a hard-running hatchetman with a thunderous shot, but that ignores his deft first touch and understated passing vision. Couturiaux's the silk to Brandtner's steel, able to hit a seagull with a cross from thirty yards without even meaning to. Which is known, because it happened in a pre-season friendly against Riverkey. More reflective of his ability, he chalked up a goal and an assist that same game, each from the set pieces which are his calling card.

Still 7th on paper, but Newrook haven’t exactly given much time or respect to the glass ceiling of the ‘big six’.

Manager: Andreu Bartolnicci (COS)
Asst. Manager: Esther Mallory
Goalkeepers: 1 - Karena Hesketh, 20 - Rook Gilzean, 25 - Jess Oaktree
Defenders: 2 - Claudia Solwood, 3 - Aries Kohler, 5 - Temperance Nkembe, 6 - Perica Zagorec (PAS, c), 18 - Ville Pakkanen (COS), 19 - Mikael Acland, 22 - Gabrielle Reinhardt, 33 - Lorelei Baer
Midfielders: 4 - Mats Hedlund (BYN), 12 - Mordecai Brandtner, 13 - Will Couturiaux (COS), 15 - Avila Wardenier, 21 - Jezdimir Ocokoljic (MYT), 23 - Ronan Fallon, 24 - Ifrit Coynborough, 32 - Persephone Miller
Forwards: 7 - Maladict Farrell, 9 - Orson Deckard, 10 - Alan Bothroyd (VLD), 11 - Olivia Nygård (VAL), 16 - Tatiana Brandis


League Finish: 18th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Bluegrass (48,000)
Nickname: the Spiders
Captain: Robyn Sabitzer
Top Scorers: Stokes (14), Han (7), Croxteth (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Fairweather (32); 2 - Kendrick (29), 18 - Anderson (23), 17 - Serjeant (30), 3 - Posipal (23); 8 - Sabitzer (30, c), 4 - Reeve (23), 25 - Croxteth (29); 7 - Roberts (24), 9 - Stokes (27), 11 - Han (25)
In: Luke Roberts (Deloitte, 3.5m), Mercedes Reeve (Diamondqueen, 3.5m), Cassandra Posipal (Belgrave, 3m)
Promoted: Kurt Ettori (DM, 21), Sara Garrett (ST, 19), Eleanor Schaefer (RB, 20)
Out: Ross Finlay (Scaffield, 2m), Tess Pell (Iron City, free), Patricia Etheridge (Leiderkranz SK, free), Harald Reuser (Ritter Town, free), Karsten Riordan (Chafford, free), Beck Pruttan (Myrtha Dalin, free)

72: Premier - 18th - 51 pts
71: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
70: Premier - 6th - 82 pts - GC
69: 1Div - 3rd - 83 pts - Promoted
68: Premier - 21st - 41 pts - Relegated

Premiership title (51)
NFA Cup (67)

6th, 12th, 18th... clearly, the pattern suggests that the Spiders are going to finish dead last this season. A run of one point, two goals and 25 conceded from nine games accounted for Leo Santander, Manager of the Year in 71. Hestia Canaan kept the side afloat, though she'll be serving a one-match suspension after being sent to the stands in the final game of last season.

Chaos reigns! Hestia Canaan throws open the doors and swathes of players tumble out, most prominently the long-standing holding midfielder Ross Finlay but also stalwarts like Riordan and Reuser. She's splashed the cash on replacements - young ones, at that. The direct, decisive forward Luke Roberts offers bite and promise down the right, though he can also play up front, while young Nepharim defensive players in Reeve and Posipal should be long-term assets.

Canaan is a divisive figure, very direct in what she needs, unafraid to spar with fans. She hasn't left many fans behind at Creed, responding to allegations of abandoning the side by saying helpful things like 'I underestimated how central I was to the club's value'. She likes her team to play very up-tempo, very assertive football, with pace and technique central to her approach. It's attractive on the eye, and by most accounts hell on the training field.

Kosovare Fairweather is integral to how the Spider's play, and she is perhaps the only player who didn't take a step back from last season. In distribution and sweeping, she can go toe-to-toe with any other keeper in the league, and she's a good shot-stopper, too. That terrible run of form partially coincided with an injury to Fairweather. With all due respect to the stand-in, Rattin, that's not a coincidence.

How good is Raimund Anderson? "Aidan Brosque was a centre-half in his career, but he wasn't fit to lace Anderson's boots," declared Canaan. "Cap him." Okay, he's not that good, and he had some high-profile slips last season - still, under Canaan's intense, high-pressure approach, he seemed to thrive under a harsh taskmaster.

Robyn Sabitzer is a deserving captain, someone who spoke out vocally against Santander's lax training methods - and is, unsurprisingly, a favourite of Canaan's. Irsa Croxteth had a year and a half to forget, but the former Crisisbless and (fleetingly) Zakhoro playmaker seemed to thrive under Canaan in the tail end of the season. She's a classy, canny operative in the business end of the pitch. Meanwhile, up front, Deborah Stokes is a reliable goalscorer. Not much of a physical presence, but she'll find the right spaces, and find the corners of the net.

The Spiders should be alright, but anything more will be a stretch. Still biding their time.

Manager: Hestia Canaan
Goalkeepers: 1 - Kosovare Fairweather, 12 - Ophelia Rattin, 20 - Holger Varney
Defenders: 2 - Dorian Kendrick, 3 - Cassandra Posipal, 5 - Gabriel Traustram, 13 - Marit Stoeger, 17 - Christian Serjeant, 18 - Raimund Anderson, 19 - David Maskin, 23 - Eleanor Schaefer
Midfielders: 4 - Mercedes Reeve, 6 - Marcia Lapwing, 8 - Robyn Sabitzer (c), 16 - Kurt Ettori, 21 - Matej Beltrame, 25 - Irsa Croxteth
Forwards: 7 - Luke Roberts (ETN), 9 - Deborah Stokes, 10 - Griffin Kendall, 11 - Ga-yeong Han (CMT), 14 - Lexander Varney, 15 - Erinys Hart, 32 - Sara Garrett


League Finish: 10th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Frangipani Court (16,000)
Nickname: the Bohemians
Captain: Alcuin Sharp
Top Scorers: Wolff (18), Kranevitter (8), Montag (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Daunten (23); 2 - Petrovic (25), 6 - Clinton (31), 13 - Armbruster (29), 3 - Karagounis (26); 7 - Roxel (25), 23 - Sharp (28, c); 15 - Kranevitter (27), 21 - Montag (26), 10 - Laramee (25); 11 - Wolff (27)
In: Fabrice Laramee (Lunas FC, 4m), Nils Armbruster (AFC Serpentine, 2m), Paige Daunten (Sporting Esper, undisclosed)
Promoted: Daniel Laverne (CM, 19)
Out: Jasmine Rondel (Myrtha Dalin, free), Cosette Espeleta (Ritter Town, free), Marcel Thrace (Sportklub Palerma, free)
Retired: Jack Cranshaw (CB, 35)

72: Premier - 10th - 71 pts
71: Premier - 19th - 49 pts
70: 1Div - 2nd - 99 pts - Promoted
69: 1Div - 6th - 74 pts
68: 1Div - 7th - 74 pts

Exceeding expectations, with style. A little more solidity was necessary for a side that was too easy to hit on the counter the season before - when that was put in place, the rest fit together, and a best-ever 10th-place finish the result.

Slight but steady forward momentum. Laramee is a good pick-up, someone who likes to cut and thrust inside the box and float freely, looking to take shos where he can. Armbruster, meanwhile, is a no-nonsense centre-half who has dominated the second tier over the past few years, and has some experience in the first. Paige Daunten also arrives, an acrobatic shot-stopper and the first player from Zwangzug to make it to these shores.

Gareth Blackthorn holds a disciplined team to high standards. The Bohemians play it slow and delicate along the ground, at least until the time is right to strike sharply. They’re not the fastest team out there, their wingers aside, and rely on their muscle as much as their technique to retain the ball.

Erika Wolff is much more than her 18 goals - that said, she is absolutely her 18 goals, an impressive tally and not far off a third of the team’s. A tall, strong and confident target in the box, she plays a crucial role in holding up the ball with her back to goal, and is a true battering ram facing front. She’s at the peak of her powers right now.

Cecille Petrovic was kind of a left-field purchase, but showed enough last season that she’s earned regular minutes over the veteran Esther Abner in pre-season. She’s not really a bombing overlapping fullback, but prefers to hang back behind the winger, offering an outlet to bomb diagonal balls into the box. Defensively, she’s solid as anything, patient and disciplined. No thrills, she just gets the job done.

Basmath Clinton was a key factor in last season’s defensive improvements. Again, not a flashy sort - just someone who can reliably put herself in harm’s way, and reliable in possession, too. Valentine Roxel remains one of the league’s best box-to-box midfielders, though goal-scoring remains a weakness - still, he knits the team together so well. Minka Kranevitter is a diminutive winger in a team of giants, and she offers the subtle poinard between the ribs. Without her, the team is blunt and one-paced. Hopefully, Laramee’s arrival will lessen their dependence...

The Bohemians are probably in that bracket of sides you could see in lower-midtable and nowhere else. The best of that knot of sides, but there regardless.

Manager: Gareth Blackthorn
Goalkeepers: 1 - Paige Daunten (ZWZ), 12 - Lukas Sparr, 20 - Marnid Volland
Defenders: 2 - Cecille Petrovic (EFL), 3 - Drachma Karagounis, 5 - Esther Abner (SCT), 6 - Basmath Clinton, 13 - Nils Armbruster, 18 - Jesper Thorn (c), 22 - Caspar Sanders, 25 - Roy Coyner
Midfielders: 4 - Bethany Madine, 7 - Valentine Roxel (SCT), 10 - Fabrice Laramee (PAS), 14 - Mercurio Kastriot, 15 - Minka Kranevitter, 17 - Alexis Stinnett (ETN), 21 - Sabine Montag, 23 - Alcuin Sharp (c), 24 - Amber Broadis, 36 - Daniel Laverne
Forwards: 9 - Simone Cheney, 11 - Erika Wolff, 16 - Garrett Norwood


League Finish: 15th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Rookridge (42,000)
Nickname: River, the Ravens, the Ferrymen
Captain: Michi Leonard
Top Scorers: Donath (16), Kesteren (12), Breisgau (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Taliadoros (26); 2 - Villaverde (23), 19 - Lampshire (27), 4 - Kendrick (28), 3 - Hateley (27); 21 - Leonard (32, c), 12 - Dimitar (33), 6 - Cardoso (23); 13 - Kesteren (27); 10 - Breisgau (30), 11 - Donath (26)
In: Abraham Cardoso (Brham United, 3m)
Promoted: Steed Beister (RB, 18), Ruby Gjasula (ST, 18), Karolas Stoll (GK, 18)
Out: Jasmine Kaeman (Armstrong, free), Harriet Novac (Rochford, loan)
Retired: Matt Bowerman (GK, 37), Povilas Kaukenas (ST, 35, BYN)

2 First Division titles (62, 66)
NFA Cup (60)

72: Premier - 15th - 61 pts
71: Premier - 18th - 50 pts
70: Premier - 14th - 59 pts
69: Premier - 15th - 55 pts
68: Premier - 9th - 73 pts

A very dull season in which River were roughly in midtable throughout. The fans will probably take it, after the unsteadiness of last season.

Really quiet. River buy a midfielder, can't offload the aging Petkovic - Novac heads off instead, on loan to Rochford in the second tier. That probably works out better for everyone, anyway. Matt Bowerman hangs up his gloves - the former captain, a seasoned shot-stopper. Povilas Kaukenas does, too - an insane thug. A cult hero in another sense.

Kia Anders is a pragmatic type from Chromatika, not the usual sort you'd expect. She's had a mixed period at the helm, and keeping the Ferrymen more or less steady represents a step forward. She keeps a firm hand on the tiller, with a steady and disciplined if unexciting squad, and her ability to blood youth without jeopardising the squad has been a welcome continuation of traditions.

Franz Kesteren makes River tick, a brilliant gift from their mates at Diamondqueen. A free-wheeling, improvisational figure, the sort of creative midfielder who is described as mercurial by lazier publications that don't take note of his near-perfect consistency. Kesteren's the X-Factor, able to offer both goals and assists from the hole, but he's a diligent and energetic team player beyond that.

For all that Bowerman's retirement will be lamented, River have safe hands between the posts in Althea Taliadoros. Another player of perfect consistency, an efficient and reliable figure despite her relative youth, for a goalkeeper. Her mental strength is more remarkable than any of her physical or technical attributes - she just refuses to let mistakes ruffle her.

Villaverde is a sturdy figure who was plucked from obscurity as a teenager, hoping to make a name for himself. That, he has surely done. Farf flair going forward, Nepharim steel at the back, pure pace in transition between. Michi Leonard is a seasoned head in midfield, the only natural heir as captain - after all, she had the armband through pretty much all last season. Up front, last season was a breakthrough for Jessika Donath, the elegant, hawk-faced figure now the main source of goals for the side, one who fancies her chances to shoot from any distance.

River are looking to stay afloat, looking over their shoulders, struggling for relevance in the city.

Manager: Kia Anders (CMT)
Asst. Manager: Stefan Crowton
Goalkeepers: 1 - Althea Taliadoros, 20 - Frieda Pearce, 30 - Karolas Stoll
Defenders: 2 - Chuy Villaverde (FFD), 3 - Diane Hateley, 4 - Istvan Kendrick, 5 - Carin Black, 17 - Lazarus Pepper, 18 - Hywel Wodework, 19 - Dennis Lampshire (KOR), 33 - Steed Beister
Midfielders: 6 - Abraham Cardoso (DAR), 8 - Zivka Petkovic (PAS), 12 - Ursa Dimitar, 13 - Franz Kesteren, 15 - Aline Ruthers, 21 - Michi Leonard (c), 22 - Feather Graves, 23 - Inge Wildsmith
Forwards: 9 - Merric Summers, 10 - Klaus Breisgau, 11 - Jessika Donath, 16 - Thea Longhurst, 32 - Ruby Gjasula
Out on Loan: 35 - Harriet Novac
Last edited by Nephara on Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:57 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Nephara » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:34 am


League Finish: 3rd
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Barbarossa (72,000)
Nickname: the Rams, the Reds
Captain: Oscar Coltrane
Top Scorers: Hawke (29), Êns (16), Coltrane (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Gautier (29); 2 - Fox (24), 19 - Campbell (31), 6 - Farina (31), 13 - Sigismund (24); 11 - Ojala (28), 15 - Coltrane (31, c), 4 - Naumoff (29), 10 - Gere (24); 7 - Tarala (29), 9 - Êns (25)
In: Sipke Tarala (Lonngeylin Coast, 50m), Orsolya Gere (Baskita FC, 12m), Theodore Sigismund (Cedrus Soundgardia, 6m)
Promoted: Alyssa Broad (CB, 19), Violet Siverson (CM, 18)
Out: Estrella Hawke (Directus, 37.5m), Gareth Krane (Southern Star, 3m), Grey Meisler (Chenoworth Rovers, 2.5m), Lena Iserlohn (Twin Saints, free), Valerie Webber (Shirley Metros, free)

3 Premiership titles (50, 58, 67)
2 NFA Cups (50, 66)
2 Ramsey Shields (67, 68)
Globe Cup (56)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (59)
Gang of Six member

72: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CC
71: Premier - 4th - 86 pts - CC
70: Premier - 3rd - 90 pts - CC
69: Premier - 7th - 76 pts - GC
68: Premier - 2nd - 99 pts - CC

Athletic kept more or less in the chase throughout the season, but when Brinemouth and the Moths finally stumbled in the closing stages, Athletic stumbled even harder. Even so, few can argue with third - eight points above Treason, five behind their local rivals.

Athletic threw off the shackles. It was no secret to anyone that Estrella Hawke wanted to test herself abroad in her prime, and so Directus made use of the time-honoured route that started with Michael Brandon and has her reunite with fellow Cormorant Rowena Strongbow. Krane and Meisler, useful home-grown bit-players, find the door as well, squeezed out. Over forty million pounds. More than a Coltrane, say. And yet, with the record signing of the window, Athletic wiped all that and the fans' doubts away with the acquisition of Sipke Tarala, replacing one world-class striker with another, though one with a subtler skillset than the battle tank that was Hawke. Gere, meanwhile, is a high-class low-drag winger who will fit perfectly in Nephara, while Sigismund is an intelligent, calm and versatile defender who spruces up the back line beautifully. Athletic, despite losing their most iconic player, could go into the next season as favourites...

The evergreen Tom Benedict (last season etc who knows etc same old gossip etc) likes to play what he once told the press was 'sexy football'. The press didn't really know what to make of the 67-year old - that was forward even by Nepharim standards. The Rams live up to it, though, excelling in pace and ambition, a vicious high press, snapping into challenges, and with a good blend of directness and patience going forward. This is a side coming into its prime. Now is the time.

As ever, one can't look past Oscar Coltrane. But why would you want to? Now 31, the experienced midfielder is a veteran of the game, and what he's lost in pace he's made up for in silky-smooth technique, unflashy anticipation and cutting game intelligence. He never puts a foot wrong, and is always where he needs to be to play the pass he needs to make, and you'd better keep pressure on him outside the box or he'll find the top corner, too. The attack-minded box-to-box midfielder per excellence in this day and age.

While the sheer goalscoring exploits of Hawke or, now, Tarala might be more obvious, Xixi Ens is nevertheless every bit their equal. A lithe, clever striker, Ens floats in the shadows, ready to pounce on the slightest sign of weakness, or to pull back into midfield and help dominate the ball. His first touch is immaculate, which doesn't hurt. Perhaps the best supporting striker out there.

Spidery goalkeeper Gautier's the tallest in the league now that Coret's Lethbridge has hung up the boots. But there's more to him than that, of course. His early coltishness has been replaced by a decisiveness that suits him well. The brusque Christopheran Michael Campbell is the platonic ideal of Nepharim defender - of the leaderly Strongnesse strain, of course, not the murderous Harm. On the right wing, Hakki Ojala looks set to battle Andrea Bereveskos for regular starts, a fight between versatility and talent hampered by a poor attitude, and a dangerous, ambitious, driven winger trying to reinvent herself with age. A nice selection headache to have.

Nobody really expected Athletic to go full Economic Thunderbastard, but they’ve created a hell of a team out of nowhere. After five years, is it time for them to take the title again? There’ll be a hell of a fight on their hands for it.

Manager: Tom Benedict (EUR)
Asst. Manager: Ole Oehman (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Aurelian Gautier (ESH), 20 - Alistair Swepstone, 25 - Arden Luther
Defenders: 2 - Steve Fox (EUR), 3 - Johana Jaentti (PAS), 5 - Balduin Friedel, 6 - Graciano Farina (OSR), 13 - Theodore Sigismund (STB), 17 - Maeon Vlahos, 19 - Michael Campbell (PCR), 31 - Alyssa Broad
Midfielders: 4 - Kaya Naumoff, 8 - Martel Ceulemann, 10 - Orsolya Gere (PAS), 11 - Hakki Ojala (COS), 14 - Elsebeth Celustka, 15 - Oscar Coltrane (EUR, c), 18 - Anja Ruthenbeck, 21 - Andrea Bereveskos, 33 - Violet Siverson
Forwards: 7 - Sipke Tarala (VIL), 9 - Xíxì Êns (FFD), 12 - Harriet Corver, 16 - Salavat Caszely, 23 - Sinan Uzunlar


League Finish: 2nd
Cup Run: Fourth Round
UICA Run: Champions Cup Semifinals
Stadium: Farham Arena (88,000)
Nickname: the Moths
Captain: Solara Vol
Top Scorers: Romano (28), Vol (21),
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Griffin (31); 2 - Haines (27), 5 - Elden (30), 21 - Hamilton (32), 22 - Vicelich (27); 7 - Townsend (26), 8 - Fejzuli (26), 6 - Shone (23), 11 - Aedelbrandt (25); 14 - Vol (32, c), 10 - Romano (28)
In: Tahir Fejzuli (Atletik Thessia, undisclosed)
Out: Deandre James (Jinja City FC, 3.25m)

4 Premiership titles (47, 60, 68, 69)
2 NFA Cups (58, 65)
3 Ramsey Shields (66, 69, 70)
2 Globe Cups (64, 67)
Gang of Six member

72: Premier - 2nd - 99 pts - CC
71: Premier - 2nd - 88 pts - CC
70: Premier - 5th - 85 pts - GC
69: Premier - 1st - 100 pts - CC
68: Premier - 1st - 102 pts - CC

For all that Brinemouth were perceived to run away with things last season, the Moths largely managed to go toe-to-toe with them. They also managed to wave the flag for Nephara internationally, when pretty much everyone else crashed and burned in UICA. Sol Arora continues to be a well-loved figure around these parts.

Very limited. Not for want of trying, necessarily - desperate for more defensive cover when Brix Hamilton started talking about children and that 'club management could try and stop her, if they dared', they went in hard for young Pasargan talent Renata Novakovic, at one point offering Cressida Gayle as a makeweight along with a fat pile of cash. No dice, though, and a slightly disgruntled Gayle will have to pick up the slack in the second half of the season.

As ever, Arora - a former hotshot striker - likes to watch goals fly in. Ideally at the right end, but he's the sort who wouldn't exactly mind a 5-3 win here and there for style. Based around pace and dynamism, the Moths are like eating a really good curry, full of unrefined fire, spice and goat bones. Which might be slightly speciesist on a team with a satyr in it. Still, they're great fun and it works on the pitch, who could ask for more?

Solara Vol is probably the player who the team misses the most - not its top scorer, nor its most expensive player, but there's a reason she has the armband and it's that she always comes up with the goods in the big moments. She's a huge satyr whose play exudes confidence, leadership, character. She makes backs stiffen on the field and fans stand up in their seats.

Tawny Shone is a rising star. A holding midfielder by nature but with enough about her to be more than just that, and pull a creative weight from deep in the midfield. Relatively small, full of guile and spite and a street-fighter's determination to win at any cost. Dirty? Sure. But her technique works, she knows where to straddle the line, and her dedication for the team cannot be understated. Also bears mention that she boasts a truly thunderous shot.

Brix Hamilton denies ever making the switch from Athletic to the Moths, at one point beating a lie detector while watching footage of herself in red, so it’s remarkable that the fans have taken to her anyway. It says a lot about her brand of confident, intelligent defending. Imriel Townsend is the team’s real X-Factor. As a winger, she’s the complete package. Lightning-fast with a penchant for beautifully-arcing crosses or low, whipped shots, she’s a defender’s nightmare. While Vol is the juicy target in the box, Claudio Romano roves around looking for space, and excels in being in the right place at the right time. He’s no pushover physically, either, and will force his way into those spaces to deliver thumping finishes inside or just outside the box.

The Moths remain the Moths - an exciting side, high on confidence, flying at the top of things. But the raw star power of Athletic or Brinemouth? Not quite.

Manager: Sur Arora (COS)
Asst. Manager: Audrey Carlock
Goalkeepers: 1 - Robert Griffin (EUR), 12 - Helene Corridan, 25 - Corentin Tausig
Defenders: 2 - Jon Haines (EUR), 3 - Theresa Desantis (ETH), 5 - Joachim Elden (MBT), 18 - Cressida Gayle, 19 - Charade Tipton, 21 - Brix Hamilton (EQS), 22 - Lux Vicelich, 23 - Kodiak Grant
Midfielders: 4 - Federico Serra (OSR), 6 - Tawny Shone, 7 - Imriel Townsend (APX), 8 - Tahir Fejzuli (MYT), 11 - Zoe Aedelbrandt (COS), 13 - Glory Bellinger, 15 - Adalmar Sturrock, 20 - Valencia Ashburner, 26 - Swansea Reach
Forwards: 9 - Alexis Rohrabacher, 10 - Claudio Romano (PAS), 14 - Solara Vol (MRN, c), 17 - Sigrid Eisenhauer, 24 - Marten Beyard


League Finish: 16th
Cup Run: Runners-up
Stadium: Scipio Arena (38,000)
Nickname: the Tanners
Captain: Chris Grant
Top Scorers: Marlowe (15), Gail (11), Kuepper (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Aldous (30); 17 - Bowyer (21), 5 - Grant (31, c), 19 - Staniels (29), 3 - Evans (24); 7 - Marko (22), 8 - Hemeyer (29), 23 - Nagy (23), 11 - Fairfax (26); 9 - Marlowe (31), 10 - Gundersen (22)
In: Kyshoen Nagy (Kyoshiku Island, 4m), Krista Staniels (Exton FC, 3m), Amalie Gundersen (Raynor City United, 3m)
Promoted: Ferry Brandt (LB, 18), Martina Everett (ST, 19), Laureline Forestier (RCM, 18, EQS)
Out: Marica Kuepper (Jungle Strike FC, undisclosed), Miranda Gail (RGS Athletic, 4m), Metan Cordean (KT Itzalovalle, 2m), Lars Blacktown (Auatarius SC, free), Pristine Rutten (Everfree Guardians, free)
Retired: Scylla Vyntra (R/LB, 36)

First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

72: Premier - 16th - 57 pts
71: Premier - 11th - 67 pts
70: Premier - 13th - 63 pts
69: Premier - 14th - 56 pts
68: Premier - 16th - 52 pts

Southfell United were 16th at every quarterly milestone of the season, before losing the Cup final. With that, Felipa Medina took her final bow with the side. Watch that name. Someone who is a forgettably average Premiership manager at such a young age has so much room to improve on a strong platform. But the season itself? Supremely forgettable.

Probably among the most-changed outfits coming into this season. Out, painfully, goes Marica Kuepper, understandably agitating for a move for bigger and better things. Those things wind up being Jungle Strike, where she joins Malachite Scharner. Miranda Gail also departs, perhaps surprisingly, while Metan Cordean leaves after three sporadically brilliant but mostly okay years. Meanwhile, Scylla Vyntra, most famous for having scored a winning penalty in a World Cup final, hangs up her boots, and will be missed. So who comes in? An experienced defender, a muscular midfielder and a fiery young striker brimming with potential. Remember the name Forestier, too - potentially a wonderkid, freshly returned from a loan at Crystal Guard. Oh, and that's not to forget the identity of their new manager...

Yes, Southfell managed to be the ones to snipe the widely coveted Daniella Strauss from Corvette, and they've pledged their patience as she hopes to meld this odd little squad of spare parts into Globe Cup challengers. She's favoured a 4-4-2 in preseason, more direct and reliant on pace than her possession-heavy Corvette side, though certainly with the players at their disposal they can play a bit as well. Expect most attacks to come from the flanks.

Ivan Hemeyer is known as 'the Haymaker' to his fans back in Cosumar, for whom he picked up a smattering of caps. He is the Platonic ideal of midfield destroyer, someone who comes in hard to even the least necessary of tackles. This being Nephara, the fans love him, and have adopted him as their icon. Fully committed, both to the club and to his sliding challenges.

Karolina Marko put herself on the map as a rising star last season, and like Hemeyer has become quickly popular. Mostly this is because she is tall, strong and very angry at the world all the time, but she's also really good, and her grace on the ball belies her blunt, fiery temperament. Is she a useful Premiership player, or the kind of talent Southfell could build a team around? Time will tell, but Strauss is a safe pair of hands.

Loris Aldous continues to be one of the quietly better goalkeepers in the league, tall and grave-faced, doing little fancy but even less wrong. Meanwhile, if Hemeyer's a junkyard dog, Chris Grant, ahead of him, is a wolfhound - towering, dignified, and able to pin down anyone with just his arms. Erik Marlowe remains the kind of striker who will shoot any time, from any angle, and fancy himself. He's like if Igrene Cantor had two feet. And was worse at football.

Southfell United are pretty good. Top-half should be doable, but this is a different kind of test for Strauss. She has to product forward momentum for a club that’s stalled.

Manager: Daniella Strauss
Goalkeepers: 1 - Loris Aldous, 20 - Stefan Heidenreich, 25 - Incubus Stratton
Defenders: 2 - Fantine Vercauteren, 3 - Sergei Evans, 5 - Chris Grant (SCT, c), 6 - Mahe Beitar, 17 - Svenja Bowyer, 19 - Krista Staniels (APX), 22 - Hasdrubal Stubbs
Midfielders: 4 - Yolandi Heimat, 7 - Karolina Marko (PAS), 8 - Ivan Hemeyer (COS), 11 - Roanne Fairfax, 13 - Maria Petridis, 16 - Lissa Anselm, 23 - Kyshoen Nagy (OSR), 36 - Laureline Forestier (EQS)
Forwards: 9 - Erik Marlowe, 10 - Amalie Gundersen (VAL), 15 - Vander Kruse, 21 - Harriet Michail, 33 - Martina Everett


League Finish: 2nd (First Division)
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Ludd’s Hammer (59,000)
Nickname: the Smiths
Captain: Ellen Mifsud
Top Scorers: Shi (28), Nemeth (9), Kantaroff, Bryson (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Prant-Telew (28); 5 - Mifsud (28, c), 22 - Orsay (29), 19 - Hasek (33), 18 - Keane (25); 6 - Pearce (27); 7 - Kantaroff (30), 4 - Brujah (25), 10 - Henry (24), 23 - Voegel (25); 11 - Shi (26)
In: Aurelie Henry (Olympique Corriere, 4m), Cassidy Hasek (Birdingstone United, 2m), Prant-Telew Wek (KF Poldanz, 1.5m)
Out: Meredith Napthine (Royal Daulapura, free), Steffen Ceferin (Greygate, free)
Retired: Elaine Brighton (CM, 36)

72: 1Div - 2nd - 95 pts - Promoted
71: 1Div - 5th - 82 pts
70: 1Div - 11th - 64 pts
69: 1Div - 12th - 62 pts
68: 1Div - 10th - 67 pts

It took a season more than expected, but the flamboyant Douglas Tibet made good his promise and dragged the Smiths to promotion, and at least fought for the title. He's a polarising figure to the fanbase, but it's hard to argue with the results - which included the league's best defence.

Reinforcement was needed, but the turnover's been surprisingly low for a promoted side - three in, three out, including the retirement of the redoubtable former Harriers and Goodfeather midfielder Elaine Brighton. Aurelie Henry adds some spice to the midfield, Hasek's a safe pair of metaphorical hands and hopefully Prant-Telew's a safe pair of literal ones.

City have always based themselves around being muscular and disciplined, stubborn and hard to break down - in that respect, Douglas Tibet has represented a return to tradition. He's a canny operator for all his public persona's as subtle as a sledgehammer, and it's plain to see in the improvements of his second season that his hands-on coaching style has set in. City aren't going to make things easy for anyone, and they have the creativity in the midfield and a fulcrum in Shi to hurt their opponents, to say nothing of intensively-drilled set plays.

That league-best defence was thanks in large part to Mathis Orsay, poached surprisingly from Starling and immediately making it apparent that he was the best defender in the league. A bombastic, larger-than-life kind of figure, Orsay's equally energetic on the pitch, slamming his powerful 6'6" frame into opponents to throw them off. He's more than just a brute, of course, and just as good at nicking the ball out of peoples' feet. His prior weakness, a certain positional naivete, has seemingly been drilled out of him by Tibet. He's going to be a central figure to City's hopes again.

Judging by the name, there's definitely some Mytenar in Kresimir Brujah. Judging by his style of play, too. At 25, Brujah took a little longer than expected to get to the Premiership, but then, so did the Smiths as a whole. He's a brawling, pugnacious box-to-box man who lays it all on the line for his hometown club and has a serious case of white-line fever.

Ellen Mifsud's a tall, austere rightback, defensive-minded and uncompromising in the tackle, cautious without being overly conservative. She's not beaten easily, and calms down the players around her - a worthy captain. Saskia Kantaroff is that rare thing - a former Treason player. Can she, a fast-paced, direct winger, still hack it at this level at 30? Meanwhile, Isabella Shi doesn't cut the most... athletic figure up front, but she's powerful and confident. 28 goals in 44 games, that tells its own story. And her ability to hold up play was just as important, if not more.

It would be incredibly funny if, after the long exile from the top flight, the Smiths cocked it up and went down in a blaze of inglory. Sadly, they’re a good team with good players under an experienced manager.

Manager: Douglas Tibet (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Prant-Telew Wek (QUS), 20 - Nneoma Hasanu (COS), 30 - Xander Rosmarin
Defenders: 2 - Tomas Ruthven, 3 - Isadora Markkannen, 5 - Ellen Mifsud (c), 17 - Meg Owley, 18 - Evander Keane, 19 - Cassidy Hasek, 22 - Mathis Orsay, 25 - Xandra Cooke
Midfielders: 4 - Kresimir Brujah, 6 - Garrick Pearce, 7 - Saskia Kantaroff, 8 - Valentine Nemeth, 10 - Aurelie Henry (OSR), 13 - Toni Dresden, 14 - Justine Booker, 16 - Neimi Tschauner, 21 - Markus Sefton, 23 - Catheline Voegel
Forwards: 9 - Masquerade Bryson, 11 - Isabella Shi (SLL), 15 - Drago Ward


League Finish: 4th (First Division)
Playoff Result: 3-1 vs. Diamondqueen
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Griffindon (36,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Captain: Spyridon Kolitsidakis
Top Scorers: Luitgard (29), Seeklander (18), Kolitsidakis (15)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Bolander (29); 2 - Skalak (28, c), 5 - Kresp-Cinic (26), 6 - Steelshrift (30), 18 - Colgan (28); 7 - Carsley (27), 23 - Cordwood (24), 8 - Rosborough (27), 11 - Moxey (28); 9 - Sharpe (28), 15 - Lovelock (27)
In: Corona Sharpe (Goodfeather FC, 3m), Sujet Carsley (Aries Chariots, 2m), Kresp-Cinic Jan (KF Qastyr, 1m)
Promoted: Axel Broich (ST, 19), Romola Carolan (GK, 19)
Out: Axiom Gaitatzis (Hullbury Town, 2m), Zarathustra Raumdeuter (Kyoshiku Island, free), Bryce Henderson (Liju, free), Sapphire Burnett (Canterlot Stars, free)
Retired: Thorodel Nagdalene (ST, 36, COS)

72: 1Div - 4th - 90 pts - Promoted
71: 1Div - 10th - 67 pts
70: 1Div - 9th - 67 pts
69: Premier - 24th - 35 pts - Relegated
68: 1Div - 2nd - 90 pts - Promoted

The surprise story last season at the top, the Rovers started strong and didn't let up, clinging to a top four position at every major landmark of the season. They did so despite a relatively anemic 64 goals scored, which was in turn in spite of Elrik Raskine's optimistic tactics.

It was obvious from that that the Rovers needed a striker, and after a few options fell through - including a punt on Sinan Uzunlar, and an attempt to insert themselves into AFC Treason's unsuccessful bid for Osarian wunderkind Danielle Jackson - they still made out alright with Corona Sharpe. Sharpe is 28, has a proven goalscoring record at this level... and spent a breakthrough year with Stahlburg City. A minor hitch. The fans will get over it if she scores enough. Kresp-Cinic Jan bolsters the defensive unit while actually earning a profit on the outgoing Gaitatzis, while Sujet Carsley arrives from the Chariots looking to make a name for herself on the wing. Thorodel Nagdalene, one of the world's true journeymen, hangs up his boots.

Most people are predicting the Rovers to go straight back down; Elrik Raskine's got other ideas. He is known as a very optimistic manager, reflected off the pitch in his reality-warping pressers and on it with vivacious attacking play, though he curbed his self-destructive urges last season to help the Rovers claw their way to victory. Will they continue with this more pragmatic style, or revert to their old ways and try and blast their way out of trouble? Either way, they'll be playing 4-4-2.

Belaskita Skalak is probably the Rovers' best player. By all accounts, the fiercely competitive captain is imperative motivating players behind the scenes, and that's evident from how she approaches the game on the field. Full commitment, lots of fouls and cards, and tireless energy - Skalak thrives on that white line fever.

Tristan Lovelock is a striker who has doubters to shed off. Tall, handsome, broad-shouldered... he's the very picture of The Nepharim Number 9, but there's a sense he lacks a certain competitive edge, and that that's holding him back somewhat. Nevertheless, he's got significant top-flight experience from his days in Ceni, and perhaps this is the year he finally turns his promise into goals. Failing that, he at least gives some tall timber for Sharpe to play off.

The Rovers are going to be severely tested defensively this season. It's times like these you need a great goalkeeper; happily, the Rovers have Stefan Bolander, a rangy and reliable former Southfell man with excellent distribution. Drusilla Moxey has been consistently near the top of lists speculating who would be bought from the second tier, but it never really happened for her - a classy, intelligent winger, she's got to make this chance count. Adele Rosborough is a delicate midfield technician with just enough of the bite and steel to make her a truly effective box-to-box player, as well as the side's set piece specialist.

The Rovers were outsiders for promotion, and are likely to head straight back down.

Manager: Elrik Raskine
Goalkeepers: 1 - Stefan Bolander, 12 - Josef Colmeyer, 30 - Romola Carolan
Defenders: 2 - Belaskita Skalak (c), 3 - Bella Scarratt, 5 - Kresp-Cinic Jan (QUS), 6 - Amber Steelshrift, 17 - Ninian Wernbloom, 18 - Beatrice Colgan (SCT), 19 - Gabriel Sesay, 22 - Alanna Clemens
Midfielders: 4 - Jasmine Colindon, 7 - Sujet Carsley, 8 - Adele Rosborough, 11 - Drusilla Moxey, 13 - Annegret Bellinghausen, 14 - Garrett Fairbank, 16 - Vivienne Morgan, 23 - Brandon Cordwood
Forwards: 9 - Corona Sharpe, 10 - Apotheosis Kaskanis, 15 - Tristan Lovelock, 21 - Dulcina Radcliffe, 36 - Axel Broich


League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Semifinals
UICA Run: Globe Cup First Knockout Round
Stadium: Jade Park (28,000)
Nickname: the Passerines
Captain: Liam Armstrong
Top Scorers: Andisori (20), Dostalok (18), Armstrong (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Smørdal (24); 2 - Asghar (23), 5 - Berg (25), 4 - Visser (28), 3 - Castor (27); 11 - Armstrong (28, c), 21 - Kymeri (26), 8 - Aschenbach (26); 13 - Padilla (28), 7 - Dostalok (25); 9 - Andisori (29)
In: Annika Netzach (Iron City, 3m)
Promoted: Rook Garai (DM, 19), Bernard Zeman (ST, 18)
Out: Darren Halfhill (Hullbury Town, 3.2m), Willow Creek (Diamondqueen, 2m), Erik Mevlya (Jaglan Royals, free)

2 Premiership titles (63, 64)
NFA Cup (70)
First Division title (60)
Champions Cup (64)
Super Cup (64)
Ramsey Shield (71)

72: Premier - 7th - 75 pts
71: Premier - 3rd - 87 pts - CC
70: Premier - 4th - 89 pts - CC CWC
69: Premier - 2nd - 97 pts - CC
68: Premier - 5th - 86 pts - GC

The end of an era, perhaps? Or just an off-year? After a strong start, the Passerines slipped away to the Globe Cup places, and ultimately finished seventh... just as that became, for the first time in a long time, insufficient for UICA. It's now a decade since that glorious Double-winning year.

One senses Starling are just running out of cash by this point - and becoming distinctly the sixth of the Top Six. Which would, of course, technically be an improvement on last season. They let Halfhill and Creek go in search of regular minutes, and to replace them, looked to Annika Netzach. The Iron midfielder had been one of the brightest prospects in the second tier, and will relish the opportunity she now has.

Lisa Amos remains one of the best-regarded managers in world football, and the Chromatik will need to reinvent things once again to keep Starling punching above their weight. Starling are a young, fast and agile side that relies on dominating the midfield and attacking decisively down the middle, relying on their fullbacks for width and an athletic, assertive back line to keep secure.

Keira Andisori is the talisman of the team, but she fell largely silent last year, too often her and Daniel Dostalok being less than the sum of their parts. Still. She's got credit in the bank, and the fans still sing her praises. A long-boned, ambitious and confident striker, she's reportedly worked her arse off in the off-season to make this her best yet. At 29, this is the time.

Amalie Asghar has silenced any doubters with her increasingly confident performances, attacking down the flank with speed, power and precision to help support the team. Where she needs to improve is defensively, though admittedly the system places huge demands on her. Still, she rarely puts a foot wrong, and just a little sharper anticipation will hone her into arguably the best rightback in the league as she enters her prime.

Christian Berg did not disappoint last season, consistently outstanding at the back despite a difficult brief that often left him terminally exposed. He never lost his composure, or his confidence, and that calm resonated through the squad. The box-to-box midfielders are what keep the team ticking on - Armstrong the more artisanal, graft backing his gift on the ball, while Aschenbach is steadier, less flashy, someone whose anticipation and game intelligence are her best gifts.

You hate to say it, but… they’re starting to slip from the summit. One senses that window for a third title has already slipped - it’s been a full decade since the glorious Double year.

Manager: Lisa Amos (CMT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Sean Smørdal (VAL), 12 - Andreas Sparwasser (BRE), 25 - Agatha Storrin
Defenders: 2 - Amalie Asghar (VAL), 3 - Lyre Castor, 4 - Alcander Visser, 5 - Christian Berg (PAS), 6 - Taddeo Loredan (COS), 17 - Siren Moon, 18 - Victor Sorloth, 19 - Dario Paterson
Midfielders: 8 - Evangeline Aschenbach, 11 - Liam Armstrong (EUR, c), 13 - Mateo Padilla (VLD), 15 - Excelsior Stroud, 21 - Nova Kymeri (CEN), 22 - Annika Netzach, 23 - Fernand Way
Forwards: 7 - Daniel Dostalok (CEN), 9 - Keira Andisori (CMT), 10 - Cesar Corvalan (CEN), 16 - Konrad Lovelace, 34 - Bernard Zeman


League Finish: 4th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Gauntlet (65,000)
Nickname: the Stags
Captain: Peter Svensson
Top Scorers: Metzger (18), J. Fletcher (15), Accardi, Fraser (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 12 - Clavel (23); 23 - Corrello (29), 5 - Svensson (34, c), 19 - Vornander (27), 20 - Bayliss (30); 7 - Accardi (25), 4 - Misidjan (28), 10 - Jonsson (23), 11 - Neptune (28); 21 - Metzger (24), 22 - J. Fletcher (26)
In: Mikkel Jonsson (Raynor City United, 8.5m), Angel Clavel (AC Izotz Zubia, 6.5m), Constantine Sandor (returned from loan)
Promoted: Felix Sebastian (ST, 18)
Out: Amber Trahearne (Oakstone, 6m), Matthias Bergander (Metropolis Alligators, 6m), Sigurd Rustwyth (KF Koflir, 4m), Medea Tsicaderis (AFC Corvistone, 2.5m)

7 Premiership titles (48, 49, 52, 56, 57, 65, 66)
NFA Cup (49)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (57)
Copa de Campeones (67)
Gang of Six member

72: Premier - 4th - 86 pts - GC
71: Premier - 6th - 81 pts - GC
70: Premier - 10th - 72 pts
69: Premier - 4th - 88 pts - CC
68: Premier - 7th - 83 pts - GC

The Stags found consistency. Fourth is still their equal-best finish in the recent lean years, but there’s a sense that they’re building towards something under Bittencourt. The CC should be their reward, but they were the victims of Nephara losing a place.

Another net profit for Treason, frugal as… well, not ever, but usual. But over ten million of that was raised from the backup goalkeeper, leftback and fourth-choice striker, all desirous of regular minutes. Amber Trahearne leaves as well, having proven herself to be a pretty good playmaker at the top level. But they needed an upgrade - in Jonsson, they found one. Athletic and decisive in possession, he’s a really exciting prospect. So, for that matter, is Clavel. The Audioslavian found his path blocked by his countrymen’s penchant for journeyman Daineri goalkeepers, and if he doesn’t take the veteran Gideon Fletcher’s place now, it can’t be far off. Not at that price...

Cheney Bittencourt is well-liked around these parts for his exploits as a player, and is starting to build a reputation as a manager to match. He knows what the club’s all about. Solidity, professionalism, a homegrown core and a muscular 4-4-2. They’re compact off the ball and assertive on it, not bothering to chase possession for its own sake, but looking to bully their opponents out of games entirely. He’s restored hope and dignity to the hoops, and that’s more important than any results.

Treason boast a powerful, physical forward line with plenty of punch - but Aristide Metzger could really be something special. A powerhouse of a striker, Metzger’s a high-tempo kind of player who works best head-down, full-throttle, ball at his feet and bearing down on goal. His finishes have a pleasing Cantor-esque quality to them - he’s no cold-blooded poacher, he just smashes it almost whenever possible.

If Metzger is Treason’s sledgehammer, Raquel Accardi is the rapier. She was never really meant to be a star, judging by an indifferent youth career, but the faith that was put in her at Creed saw her flourish, and Bittencourt made her one of his first signings. Accardi is often defined by her pace, but it’s her intelligence that sets her apart, and her ability to improvise ways to beat defenders. Once she’s past that marker, there’s a locker filled to bursting with tools to force the ball in the net.

Peter Svensson is 34 and shows no signs of stopping. Everyone at the club feels like the old man deserves to see glory in the shirt at last, his arrival having coincided with the downturn in the Stags’ fortunes - but correlation is absoulutely not causation. Servet Misidjan is a clever, tidy midfielder, not one to be fancy, just to do what needs to be done with as little fuss or risk as possible. And should the Stags be chasing a game late on, Bittencourt need only look as far as Roddy Fraser on the bench, still the club’s record signing. He cuts a relatively unassuming figure, but there’s just something about him that always finds the right moment to make his charge, and the right finish into the corners. Winding down in his mid 30s, sure, but there’s still a place for him here.

It’s felt like years in the wilderness by the Stags’ lofty standards, but that could be at an end, or near enough one. Bittencourt was never the sexy choice, but he knows how to win. Maybe the team can relearn it.

Manager: Cheney Bittencourt
Goalkeepers: 1 - Gideon Fletcher, 12 - Angel Clavel (AUD), 25 - Fasolt Senninger
Defenders: 2 - Rian Corrello (SCT), 3 - Constantine Sandor, 5 - Peter Svensson (COS, c), 6 - Konrad Vornander, 13 - Gabriel Lockheed, 18 - Lowen Rosenthal, 20 - Tessa Bayliss, 24 - Hasret Kaveci
Midfielders: 4 - Servet Misidjan, 7 - Raquel Accardi (EFL), 8 - Saturn Mastiff, 10 - Mikkel Jonsson (VAL), 11 - Lorelei Neptune, 14 - Adelaide Tallow, 15 - Machua Cronin, 16 - Aura Keynes, 23 - Clarisse Ulreich
Forwards: 9 - Roddy Fraser (AUD), 10 - Matthias Bergander, 17 - Lukas Boldfont, 21 - Aristide Metzger, 22 - John Fletcher (EUR)


League Finish: 14th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Iron Hill (49,500)
Nickname: the Rage, the Lads
Captain: Isabella Cassadore
Top Scorers: Conte (25), Breremond (18), Porter, Cassadore (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 20 - Ramelow (28); 2 - Austad (27), 22 - Skapoulis (28), 5 - Barksdale (30), 6 - Katarec (23); 13 - Cassadore (30, c), 4 - Rauch (23), 21 - Eduardo (29); 15 - Breremond (25), 10 - Conte (31), 23 - Porter (24)
In: Eduardo (Polaris, 6m)
Promoted: Ursa Kinbois (ST, 19)
Out: Anja Spinnett (West Brinemouth, 1.75m), Haroun Maynard (SS San Giulia, free)

First Division title (50)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (62)

72: Premier - 14th - 62 pts
71: Premier - 8th - 71 pts
70: Premier - 11th - 67 pts
69: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC
68: Premier - 11th - 68 pts

Last season was… strange. The Rage scored the second-most goals in the league, and conceded the third-most. Alexis Spurlock seemed to give precisely no fucks, kind of bored of the project, and her departure at the end of her contract was unsurprising.

A single signing is made, Eduardo coming in from the cold of the Terranean Leagues, citing an understandable desire to return to UICA leagues. A razor-edged, mobile playmaker, the Valladar seems perfectly suited to the club, joining two countrymen. Local attacking midfielder Anja Spinnett is surplus to requirements as a result, but should dominate the second tier.

Some countries export far more players than managers. Qusmo does not. And so Cralt-Nirlo Fox arrives, already well-travelled, and with eyes on replicating last season’s goal tally while bolstering results. Expect an… open Vermillion, eager to press forward and make chances, with the pace and energy to keep driving at teams, testing them until something breaks.

Isabella Cassadore is the lynchpin of the team, in an understated kind of way. An elegant technician who doesn’t stop running - it’s a strong combination. She could absolutely coast on her technical gifts, but Cassadore works herself into the ground, setting a strong example for the rest. Natural captain material, a clear fan favourite, and when she’s missing from midfield, it feels like she leaves a void behind.

Robard Horvat, for all his past work, was meant to be the answer to Rage’s defensive woes. Well, you can guess how that worked out. So Ferena Rauch is likely to be the new midfield pivot, and offers more than Robard in possession. Less of a destroyer, she’s confident and creative in possession, even eager to take shots when the opportunity arises, and generally wants to do things with hard-won possession. Her main faults are that she’s slow and poor in the air despite her height - her anticipation has to make up for a lot.

Why bother looking anywhere but that lethal trident up front? Cheney Breremond offers the height and the directness, often slamming into crosses at the far post. He’s selfish to a fault, perhaps a more natural striker, but then, the ambitious forward likes having that space to maneuvre. Carlos Conte scored a hell of a lot of goals over the past couple of seasons, and it’s easy to see why when you look at how he grips onto the ball with a low centre of gravity and a strong back. His finishing is cold-blooded. Less heralded, Ramona Porter is the supply line, lightning-quick and with a peach of a left boot, happiest with chalk on her boots or springing through the gaps on the counterattack. It’s a UICA-level forward line, just a matter of what’s behind it...

You never know quite what to expect from Vermillion. Safest bet is to assume it all evens out to top-half midtable.

Manager: Cralt-Nirlo Fox (QUS)
Asst. Manager: Ruthabell Schneider
Goalkeepers: 1 - Orpheus Clement, 20 - Leila Ramelow, 25 - Sylvia Hargreaves
Defenders: 2 - Esther Austad, 3 - Aysu Damjana (CMT), 5 - Hecia Barksdale, 6 - Sander Katarec, 17 - Melosa Salek (EFL), 18 - Tomas Banks, 19 - Dimitri Skondreas, 22 - Leontios Skapoulis
Midfielders: 4 - Ferena Rauch, 7 - Ryan Paulsson (VLD), 8 - Robard Horvat (COS), 13 - Isabella Cassadore (c), 14 - Syrene Fleetwood, 21 - Eduardo (VLD)
Forwards: 9 - Danica Heward, 10 - Carlos Conte (VLD), 11 - Granit Nizarut, 12 - Catheline Anastasiadis, 15 - Cheney Breremond, 23 - Ramona Porter, 33 - Ursa Kinbois
Last edited by Nephara on Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:58 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Nephara » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:47 pm

First Division Preview

1. Parrhesia United
Home Colours: Green / white / red
Away Colours: White / green / white
Manager: Kaj Aurora (44, APX)
Stadium: Knightsgrave (43,000)
Nickname: the Saints
(4-3-3) 1 - Angela Spyrakis (27); 6 - Misha Symond (27), 5 - Dimitra Altman (29), 19 - Claudia Bohr (24), 3 - Ivory Meso-Roza (26, AUD); 16 - Adraan Telviir (26, MRN), 21 - Arleta Radcliffe (28, EFL), 11 - Swabia Rademacher (32, c); 7 - Abigail Teris (29, SCT), 9 - Ann Reus (25, COS), 23 - Sigrun Barota (29)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Radu Bartok (23); 4 - CM - Makis Kotsonis (26), 8 - DM - Catrine Kisel (35), 10 - ST - Quinn McEthinly (28, SCT), 13 - LW - Coraline Madrigal (33), 15 - RW - Kirsten Howlett (27), 18 - CB - Marisa Strauss (35), 22 - LB - Drake Antony (25)

Background: Vermillion's first or second club, depending on who you ask. Definitely its oldest, and one of the oldest in the country. The Saints are associated with the northside and outskirts of the city, a fairly disparate population uniting a variety of demographics. A proud club, but has fallen on harder times of late. Bitter rivals with Vermillion Rage.

Summary: It's not just that the Saints should walk the league this time around - they need promotion, after two years of hurt. Parrhesia are not natural fits at this level, but if they're not careful, they might wind up mired here just like the Smiths were. Kaj Aurora is well-liked by the fans, and the board's been patient with her, but she needs. Results. Up front, they have what they need - it's substance they need, not style. Telviir and Radcliffe add meat to the midfield, while the classy Claudia Bohr comes in from Brookford. Misha Symond, formerly of Starling, is one of the best rightbacks in the league, while Spyrakis is a more than able shot-stopper, spring-heeled and agile. That said, the real spice comes up front, and the attacking trident of Teris, Reus and Barota offered pace and flair in spades, shredding defences at this level. Aurora, well, she was a flying winger in her youth - her inclination is basically just to let them do whatever, and the result's a lot of goals. But there'll need to be a bit more brain and, yes, restraint, if the Saints are to take the title they easily have the personnel for.

2. Creed United
Home Colours: Burgundy / white / burgundy
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Gardengate (23,000)
Nickname: the Oathmen
Manager: Diandra Ballard (43)
(4-4-2) 1 - Byron Caldwick (34); 2 - Agamemnon Wright (27), 19 - Georgia Rodrigues (30, SLL, c), 4 - Micaiah Cohen (32), 3 - Rudolph Orient (28, APX); 7 - Joel Conway (24, EOT), 21 - Delphi Barbarouses (24), 6 - Spahi Keskin (25), 16 - Menelaus Theoharous (28); 9 - Dejan Corvell (32), 13 - Anis Trabelsi (26, AUD)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Eupraxia Teuton (25); 5 - CB - Mircea Boleyn (24), 10 - ST - Justina Donau (24), 11 - LM - Petrarch Karaiskakis (21), 14 - CM - Irene Vintner (23), 15 - CM - Sophia Beckner (24), 18 - LB - Alisander Seip (31)

Background: Creed is a small city in the far northwest of Nephara, and it has a similar kind of dry, rough-edged character to the rest of Crownsend. United is its only club of prominence, and has only really recently managed to crack the top tier thanks to a golden generation, staying there for a shade under nine years and at one point managing to get into the knockout rounds of the Globe Cup. They rose hard and crashed hard, but are hoping to make it right back.

Summary: Last season was pretty unrelentingly poor for the Oathmen, one that chewed through two managers and left them accused of a terribly poor dressing room riven by factions and infighting. Pretty much nothing went right for a side with the quality to stay up, and predictably, many of their best players have since vanished. Still, they're left with a side that should in theory be set to challenge for promotion, commanded by the uncompromising Diandra Ballard, who has... no managerial experience. So, following a massive clearout, what do the Oathmen have going for them? A rock-solid back four - the steely captain, Georgia Rodrigues, thankfully sticking around - and in Conway and Barbarouses, have the class in midfield to rip through teams with ease. But the big issue last season was up front. The aging Dejan Corvell should be back to his best at this level, his natural flat track, but with the mercurial Axel Korborg out the door, the more level-headed Anis Trabelsi comes in. Early indication is that Diandra Ballard plays a very classic Nepharim style, pressing hard and physically dominating their opponents. If she can get through to these players, the Oathmen might just return to their glory days sooner than their recent collapse might lead one to expect.

3. Brookford Otters
Home Colours: All cyan with pink trim
Away Colours: Black / black / cyan
Manager: Andrea Betancourt (49)
Stadium: The Rock (20,000)
Nickname: the Otters
(4-3-3) 1 - Philoctetes Giannou (26); 2 - Olivia Ryghseter (26), 4 - Luna Traugott (33), 6 - Rafi Enfield (27), 13 - Janne Heitinger (31); 8 - Tanya Chilton (33, c), 15 - Brandon Rivan (27), 11 - Monica Bairstow (30); 22 - Joscelyn Monroe (27), 14 - Ulysses Mithradates (30), 23 - Dejana Petersen (31)
Notable Reserves: 3 - LB - Erika Arweiler (28), 7 - RW - Tormod Joiner (31), 10 - LW - Guillermo Cecchini (34, AUD), 15 - CM - Lavinia Riitsi (21, MRN), 18 - RB - Kurtis Siegrist (32), 20 - ST - Dejan Lindbeck (27), 21 - CM - Fiona Shrewsbury (27)

Background: Brookford is a smallish town on the east coast, but despite the proximity to Brinemouth, the Otters have always maintained a strong enough identity to ensure a minimum of defectors within the town. They are perhaps most famous for the vapourwave-inspired 'aesthetic' kits they have pioneered for over a decade. A Cup win remains their proudest achievement, though it was somewhat marred by their playoff relegation immediately beforehand.

Summary: It's finally time for Brookford, in theory. They've flirted with promotion for a while now, against the odds, but as their squad reaches its prime and . A lowkey transfer window has lead to the departure of the talented defender Bohr, but the arrival on a free of Monica Bairstow adds creativity and thrust to an experienced midfield. There's... a lot of experience here. The right kind. Traugott is a seasoned head at the back, Heitinger has a peach of a left boot, Chilton is slow as hell but glides beautifully on the ball and can put a corner on a penny, Petersen is an unpredictable and dangerous floating winger and Mithradates is perhaps the league's most complete striker, a muscular, intelligent target man with a good strike record. Under Andrea Betancourt, they will favour that technique over raw pace and physicality. Will that approach help them stand out in the league, or will they be bulldozed by pace?

4. South Laithland
Home Colours: All purple with white trim
Away Colours: White / purple / white
Stadium: Covenground (27,000)
Nickname: the Southrons
Manager: Daniel Kunde (48, CBR)
(4-4-2) 1 - Gerhard Hartmuth (28); 2 - Catheline Novick (20), 18 - Duviel de Naam (31, COS), 19 - Journey Pike (21, EFL), 3 - Merlyn Youabian (26, COS); 13 - Ulrich Tanner (27), 7 - Natasha (33, DAI), 4 - Andre Havranek (28, IRN), 11 - Cathy Alweather (30); 9 - Karena Ruther (23), 21 - Cass Lazaridis (25)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Emery Russell (25); 5 - CB - Goran Martell (27), 6 - CB - Darren Ferror (29), 14 - CM - Erik Paston (25), 15 - CM - Constantine Jurman (20), 16 - ST - Chufti Waters (33), 18 - LB - Louise Barton (21), 20 - RM - Richard Kester (31, ETN), 23 - RB - Attema Karoy (33)

Background: Based, as the name suggests, in the southern Laith, South Laithland (based in the town of Dross, which is basically just the football stadium) have traditionally hovered between the bottom half of the Premiership and the top half of the First Division throughout the modern era, and really throughout their entire history. A reasonably successful and stable side, they've rarely scintillated but can be proud of a productive academy. They're friendly rivals with North Laithland, have a derby day against Cypher but expose their fiercest venom for Treason, who have a way of poaching their best players (Allbeck, Flaccus, Connacht, Morgan Ashdown...)

Summary: Daniel Kunde is making things work in the Laith. The Southrons aren't flashy, aren't particularly attractive on the eye, but Kunde's letting things tick over. Known for his rebuilds, he's the kind of manager that demands patience, and is wringing every last bit of sweat from a veteran core to let his younger charges swim, rather than sink. Between experienced names like Hartmuth and de Naam, and promising young guns Pike and Novick, they're tough to break down and unlikely to face much strife at the back, while the enduring class of Natasha livens up a midfield reinforced by the signing of bruising winger Tanner. The question is up front. With the retirement of the Audioslavian veteran Esteban Bentzen, will the youngish, homegrown pair of Lazaridis and Ruther, undoubtedly athletic, have the ruthlessness to put away their chances? Kunde will get everything from these players. Can they, in turn, get him promotion?

5. Cranequin City
Home Colours: All terracotta, gold trim
Away Colours: All sky blue, black trim
Stadium: Claringstone (26,000)
Nickname: the Terracotta Army
Manager: Dan Keel (45)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Stefan Ledo (29, ABJ); 2 - Sebastian Rashica (23), 4 - Orestis Kalyvas (28), 6 - Heinz Kreis (30), 3 - Monika Strasbourg (21); 13 - Gedeon Gyenis (25, PAS), 18 - Ninian Lechleiter (28, c), 8 - Harriet Skiff (28); 11 - Niko Rosmalen (33); 23 - Kirsten Gemmill (29), 10 - Kosta Kolar (25)
Notable Reserves: 5 - CB - Oleg Biscan (28), 7 - AM - Delta Amberstone (31), 16 - ST - Leofric Woadswell (34), 19 - LB - Bernard Heller (28), 20 - DM - Jacqueline Sembrant (33), 21 - CM - Bertrand Verdier (31, EFL)

Background: Cranequin is the smallest of the state capitals, and City is dwarfed by the Wanderers. Still, they've managed to compete with their rivals over the past few years, and a remarkable string of seasons under Edmund Agincourt saw an unlikely series of survivals with a side that just seemed to get worse and worse on paper but always found a way to cling to survival, until they suddenly didn't. Have dipped between the second and third tiers since, but an ambitious board is looking up.

Summary: After a surprisingly excellent last season, things are looking up for Dan Keel's men - back in the business end of the league, and with Claringstone newly renovated and with a chunkier squad to their name, could they make it the rest of the way? Okay, perhaps this is a touch optimistic. But then, why not? The exciting young fullbacks Rashica and Strasbourg appear the main beneficiaries of the off-season, with Polenz snapped up, and sharpen the squad nicely, now ready for regular minutes; they bolster a defence with a sturdy core, backed by the excellent Ledo, supported in midfield by the diligent Lechleiter. Skiff's clever feet help smooth over the midfield, while Rosmalen, brash and mercenary though he may be, is still one of the sleekest playmakers in the division - and Gemmill is more than happy to feed his service into the net. City play a disciplined style, hoping to stifle and dominate possession in the centre of the park, and their issues with pace have been alleviated somewhat. Could it all come together for promotion, or is it a season too soon?

6. Diamondqueen
Home Colours: White / blue / white
Away Colours: Green / white / green
Stadium: The New Overlook (17,500)
Nickname: the Diamonds
Manager: Elaine Koeller (44)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Leda Tristram (25); 2 - Gareth Unworth (25), 5 - Zemen Ystrad (27, SRS), 6 - Karena Hartley (32, c), 3 - Valentina Fairbairn (26, QAD); 8 - Carina Taheri (28, EFL), 5 - Leander Frantisek (24), 23 - Willow Creek (27); 10 - Minka Bronson (23); 9 - Dionysius Lyritzis (27), 11 - Claudia Escrow (29)
Notable Substitutes: 25 - GK - Manuel Keller (21); 13 - CB - Matthis Ainsworth (22), 15 - CM - Imogen Jeweler (30), 16 - ST - Cornelian Stryger (24), 19 - LB - Adze Beckerman (22), 20 - ST - Elias Carmine (21), 21 - CM - Yolanda Sparrow (23), 22 - AM - Auburn Weber (35)

Background: Diamondqueen's main attraction is being the suburb in which the Nepharim National University is, just north of the centre of the city. As a result, most of its supporters come from the student base. It's had a very strong relationship with the nearby Raven River for many years, acting as something of a feeder club for them for a few years until their meteoric rise to the same division, and they continue to have a close relationship - Diamondqueen don't really have any rivals at all.

Summary: Last season was pretty resoundingly miserable for the Diamonds, who clambered to the potential safety of 21st only to be thumped 3-1 by Stahlburg Rovers, extending the streak of First Division victories. As a result, the Diamonds endured the usual shredding of their best players. Better to focus on who they have left, as well as a couple of clever acquisitions that should keep them competing at the sharp end of the league - specifically Claudia Escrow from the Chariots, a consistent 1-in-3 striker at Premiership level, and the canny midfielder Creek from Starling. They're now under the custodianship of former goalkeeper Elaine Koeller, in her first senior role. She's said she's eager to add some urgency to the side, focus more on pace - which makes sense, as the aging talisman Weber's role in the side reduces. Of last season's survivors, Hartley and Ystrad is one of the best defensive partnerships at this level, Taheri offers a technician's touch, while Minka Bronson is surely bound for greater things, judging by her work last season as a thrilling, freewheeling playmaker. They should still be able to compete.

7. Belgrave
Home Colours: All purple with white trim
Away Colours: All yellow with black trim
Stadium: Cherryfields (25,000)
Nickname: the Gargoyles
Manager: Adalheid Metzelder (43)
(4-3-3) 1 - Brandon Connell (27); 23 - Finn Neumann (21), 19 - Vasiliki Giatrakis (27), 4 - Drusilla Naess (31), 3 - Mathilda Russett (21); 21 - Emeraude Tanner (27, EFL), 6 - Pontus Roderick (25), 11 - Diana Lake (29); 7 - Meredith Sloan (24), 16 - Markus Strand (23), 10 - Retta Conrad (25, CMT)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Odessa Bonds (24); 2 - RB - Alisara Crowe (32), 5 - CB - Dion Stepton (35), 8 - CM - Espen Whyte (34), 9 - Cohen Alexander (28), 13 - LW - Sylvia Rouseff (34), 14 - CM - Matilda Hamilton (24), 17 - DM - Sigmar Ward (29), 18 - RB - Journey Flintoff (25)

Background: Belgrave represents Sabrefell's affluent northeast, not historically a socio-economic demographic that has produced good footballers. Even so, their success in recent seasons is built more on good planning than deep pockets. They embrace their reputation for affluence, rebranding it as a belief in 'sophistication', and they've historically favoured a technical, possession-focused style of football, trusting in youth to step up for them. Their willingness to snipe talented youths from across the city to play for them has only made them less popular.

Summary: Big highs, big lows. There's rarely a dull moment with Adalheid Metzelder in charge, according to herself one of the best emergent managers in the nation, according to her detractors a talentless blowhard. She's stripped out plenty of spare parts this season, replacing them in-house or, in the case of Markus Strand, with a Crisisbless reserve who dominated the third tier a couple seasons ago on loan, but didn't do much last season at his parent club. Pontus Roderick, meanwhile, is another brought in from the tier below - a straightforward brute to counteract a classy midfield. The Gargoyles are kept shored up at the back by the grace of Drusilla Naess, which doesn't quite rhyme, while up front they're reliant on lightning pace, as Metzelder has steadily focused them more on a counter-attacking style. That said, the likes of Conrad and Tanner do have the game-changing technique to break teams down and offer another dimension, while Cohen Alexander offers a muscular Plan B, even if last season didn't entirely go to plan for him. Further reconstruction required before another promotion tilt, one would imagine.

8. Bishop
Home Colours: All black with white trim
Away Colours: White / red / white
Stadium: Crossgate (23,000)
Nickname: the Bishops
Manager: Cheney Rutherford (52)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Stovar Krieven (26, SRS); 2 - Amelia Canady (29), 19 - Deshawn Ierardi (33, AUD), 5 - Andrey Mincham (25), 3 - Brigid Eather (28); 4 - Claire Beresford (36), 8 - Chloe Asquith (23); 12 - Faiza Huyton (24, EFL), 7 - Corinne Mersiades (32), 17 - Ingrid Feisser (29); 21 - Ulrike Jensen (26)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Frey Strom (22, AUD); 6 - CB - Darren Crinion (35), 9 - ST - Holden Beckwith (22), 11 - LAM - Esther Vorster (20), 13 - LB - Connor Wettin (22), 15 - CM - Gared Kuepher (26), 18 - RB - Kearney Smith (23)

Background: Crisisbless is known as Nephara's City of Churches, and while Goodfeather holds its Protestant enclave, Bishop is... more obvious, and arguably the least imaginatively-named suburb in the nation. The club itself has done well in recent years, once more usually in the third tier, now these days an occasional Premiership club over two stints. Goodfeather make for natural sectarian rivals, though there's no real malice in it.

Summary: Weak in the first half of the season, appalling in the second. They scored just 33 goals, which is seven fewer than Desya Kuznetsov, on his own. They got mutual with Conan Estelline pretty quickly in the end, despite an attempt to keep the stats-focused Llamanean in. In comes Cheney Rutherford, a similar sort of manager. Like Estelline, he likes to crunch numbers. Like Estelline, he favours a direct approach. Like Estelline, he experienced relegation last season, in his case with a big move to Creed that imploded spectacularly. And, as is usual, he has a vastly diminished squad to work with, with pretty much no significant entries. However, they have held onto key players better than most. Stovar Krieven never let the team down last season, an aggressive, athletic goalkeeper, while Ierardi and Beresford have a wealth of experience at a high level. Further forward, Faiza Huyton and Ulrike Jensen should thrive, unshackled, when given that inch more space and second more time a tier down. Rutherford's more direct approach should suit both Huyton's pace and Jensen's physicality, too. All in all, a season of consolidation should suit them.

9. Leichhardt
Home Colours: Yellow / blue / yellow
Away Colours: All navy, yellow trim
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Stargazers
Manager: Bruno Hawke (56)
(4-1-4-1) 1 - Folami Adekoya (29, CBR); 5 - Diligence Nkembe (33), 2 - Michael Koller (28, SCT), 22 - Portia Colchester (22), 17 - Marisa Woodruff (23); 4 - Lara Silverstein (33, c); 7 - Mariska Woodspur (32), 8 - Berit Lienen (29), 18 - Connie Reiziger (25), 16 - Jess Silkman (33); 11 - Ingrid Auttenberg (32)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Gerrard Baumann (23); 3 - CB - Stavroula Portokalos (29), 6 - RB - Asp Somner (22), 9 - ST - Dorian Fletchclair (33), 10 - LM/ST - August Peacock (20, AUD), 21 - ST - Radja Martelbach (23), 23 - CM - Rhys Sheldon (24)

Background: A small city and the largest settlement in the Northern Vale, Leichhardt has traditionally flitted between Premiership relegation battles and the top half of the First Division, usually playing defensive football in the process. Its primary rivals are Corvette, the second-largest Vale settlement, but they've both been overshadowed by nearby Starling of late.

Summary: A pretty resolutely miserable season for the Stargazers. The good people of Leichhardt would quite like Bruno Hawke's head on a platter, unless he can seriously start to turn things around. The material is there. Which is useful, because there have been no new major signings. Koller is the most feared defender in the league, complemented by the steady (if possibly past-it) one-time Nephara cap Nkembe, pleasingly dynamic Woodruff, and sharp goalkeeper Adekoya, as Silverstein cleans up in midfield. Meanwhile, on paper, the quality is there. Woodspur is a former Treason player, the muscular Auttenberg is from Starling, while Silkman, floating down the left flank, has eleven times the caps of Nkembe. The issue is their age, and their isolation - too often, Silkman could simply be hunted down, Woodspur suffered tunnel vision, Auttenberg cut a frustrated figure. The result was less than a goal a game. Can Hawke find the winning formula?

10. Iron City
Home Colours: Red / red / white
Away Colours: Black / black / red
Stadium: Swordgarden (35,000)
Nickname: the Knights, the Iron
Manager: Reece Benedict (50)
(4-1-4-1) 12 - Wotan Hornwood (29); 17 - Yulia Heidt (23, COS), 4 - Antoine Kerherve (26, AUD), 18 - Jordi Rowe (28), 19 - Christian Ledger (30, c); 20 - Hollin Spicer (25); 23 - Tess Pell (30), 21 - Sophia Petridis (31), 14 - Olsen Birch (21, AUD), 11 - Marcin Faehrmann (27); 10 - Ida Preussler (30)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Jove de Lisle (33); 2 - RB - Andre Sciberras (29), 6 - DM - Kiko Santiago (33), 7 - RM - Cheney Corder (29), 8 - CM - Prudence Bourne (33), 13 - ST - Alanna Halmark (30), 15 - CM - Gareth Anwhistle (34)

Background: The original Premiership yo-yo club, Iron City have the dubious record of having suffered five relegations from the top flight in the modern era (tied with Newrook). That said, their fans would kill for that status now - they seem to be stranded in midtable in the second tier, and were even recently relegated to the third. Iron itself is a small, bleak, industrial city in northern Barossia, and the club traditionally plays bleak, industrial football - but on the other hand, Elaine Ashdown came from here, and book-ended her career at the club.

Summary: Massive overhauls. Long overdue, at that. One win from their first seventeen meant the axe for Alysia Garrett, and Reece Benedict managing ten over the rest of the season is... stellar, if not exceptional. They were still sweating on the last day of the season. There's still some doubters, but aren't there always? So, running over the revamped midfield; Hollin Spicer, muscular Parrhesia holding midfielder, Tess Pell, a pace merchant winger who's experienced the eclectic locales of Project +90, Rozelle, Trefta and North Laithland, a one-paced playmaker in Petridis and a hard-running Audioslav, Olsen Birch. The rest, though, Benedict's left well alone. There's certainly no issues at either end of the park, a sturdy, redoubtable goalkeeper in Wotan Hornwood doing more than most to keep them up, and former Treason striker Preussler an instant hero, an elegant model professional whose consistency was without compare. Granted, losing young Annika Netzach, their main source of inspiration, hurts. A lot. Still, they look better now than they did, and if they can just be unremarkably safe in midtable, most will be content.

11. Vermillion Wanderers
Home Colours: Green / green / yellow
Away Colours: Yellow / green / green
Stadium: Falstaff Ground (23,500)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Seneca Matthews (47)
(4-4-2) 12 - Max Beyer (29, PAS); 2 - Cheney Auburn (27), 17 - Julen Zendegi (29, AUD), 6 - Callie Flores (35, COS, c), 20 - Simone Waehner (30); 13 - Daniel Zihark (25), 21 - Franziska Corren (25), 8 - Catric Pinnon (28), 14 - Alexis Farrier (25, AUD); 9 - Istria Saara (21, MRN), 10 - Valery Kovaleski (26, AUD)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Tameka Halsall (31); 3 - LB - Barrett Routledge (29), 7 - RM - Anneliese Coe (24), 11 - LM - Jasper Stalworth (28), 22 - ST - Finlay McCloud (23, AUD)

Background: The Wanderers had a dramatic rise from the semi-professional levels that saw them in the Premiership for three seasons. The rise was mirrored off the pitch as well as on, and they carved out a niche for themselves as Vermillion's reasonably-respected third side, and they've had to expand their stadium capacity to match the demand. Unlike Parrhesia and the Rage, they've found something of a reputation for very route-one football. They've about found their level in the First Division.

Summary: The Wanderers had a great season last time around, one that survived Creed poaching their highly-regarded manager, Cheney Rutherford. As you can tell from the fact that Rutherford's now at Bishop after both they and Creed were relegated, that didn't turn out so well, but happily for the Wanderers, Seneca Matthews ensured a soft landing. They're a bit more focused on playing the ball along the ground these days under the easygoing Matthews, but just like before, pace is their main asset in a young, fiery squad - young satyr hold-up striker Istria Saara and direct, ambitious winger Zihark are the latest acquisitions, both very on-brand. Cosumarite veteran Flores is the captain and lynchpin of the defence, making a steely partnership with Zendegi, while Catric Pinnon is the hard-running creative fulcrum and set piece specialist. Kovaleski does his part by scoring goals.

12. Morningstar
Home Colours: Black / black / pink
Away colours: Yellow / black / yellow
Stadium: Woden Avenue (28,000)
Nickname: the Warriors, Stars
Manager: Erica Karling (44)
(4-4-2) 1 - Jakob Carter (31); 2 - Marko Bozanic (32), 5 - Karl Linstead (27), 6 - Sloane Kirkland (34, SCT), 3 - Gareth Carney (24); 13 - Johanna Rosen (24), 14 - Coridan Ryder (24), 4 - Ana Kuijer (32), 11 - Trifon Draxler (31); 9 - Roxanna Strong (23), 10 - Lilith Thornwood (23)
Notable Substitutes: 20 - GK - Vicki Bassett (27), 25 - GK - Arran Ritchard (21); 7 - RM - Konrad Feist (33), 15 - ST - Romeo Varrick (25), 16 - ST - Ballista Meade (21), 21 - CM - Varina Roebling (20), 22 - CB - Barry Inkster (24), 23 - LM - Lowen Barr (26)

Background: A small industrial city just northeast of Treason, Morningstar traditionally play a very muscular, violent style, and count Emery Lineker as their most important manager. This often leads to chants of "you're just a shit clone of Chatswood". Their main rivals are Treason, much as this is true of about half of Nephara, but matches against Chatswood and nearby Creed have been predictably spicy as well.

Summary: When Morningstar get relegated, it's not graceful, is it? At least this time it wasn't because of a dressing room implosion, just a matter of an inadequate squad, now further weakened by the departures of key players like their talented rightback Valeri Longship, captain Ynoa, and the strike partnership of Tsiavis and Blessed. They look the weakest of the relegated sides as a result, a patchwork of veterans - Bozanic brought in out of seeming purgatory in Acronius, the failed wunderkind Draxler set to flat-track bully the league, and the raw promise of Roxanna Strong to accompany the raw promise of homegrown talent Lilith Thornwood. Other locals like Rosen and Ryder will have to provide attacking spark, with seasoned heads in Jakob Carter (formerly of Brinemouth) and Ana Kuijer (formerly of Treason) offering genuine class. Erica Karling takes over from the academy, and her job of managing this transition and disjointed squad is... not enviable. They're likely to turn to raw physicality, but between Kuijer and Draxler they have the class to unlock teams.

13. Armstrong
Home Colours: All navy with cyan/white trim
Away Colours: Yellow / navy / yellow
Stadium: Swolefens (25,000)
Nickname: the Paladins
Manager: Warner Dranz (48)
(4-4-2) 1 - Constantine Yeoman (29); 17 - Jasmine Kaeman (31), 19 - Gary Boatman (30), 4 - Mats Eriksson (29, SEM), 19 - Valeria Hammond (23); 22 - Majdiyya Cavazos (31, EFL, c), 6 - Milan Fenwick (31, EFL), 8 - Leo Rosenstiel (27), 16 - Jasmine Furrier (25); 13 - Branko Kurz (24), 10 - Brogan Poppey (26, COS)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Yann Cawood (27); 2 - RB - Niko Smelter (26), 3 - LB - Yehoshua Riesling (31), 5 - CB - Deon Martyn (34), 9 - ST - Rho Efthimiou (27), 11 - LM - Stefan Ermine (25), 14 - ST - Carrie Mason (36), 21 - CM - Miralem Fowler (36)

Background: A small club from Stahlburg, nominally. In practice Armstrong are, at least on the pitch, a match for their nearby rivals. Armstrong represent the industrial city's north, the poorest part of the city, and have a proud community tradition of trying to uplift the area through hard work and charity. They traditionally play a bruising, direct style, and like nothing more than making fancy tippy-tappy teams wither and die on their swamp of a pitch. Their stadium, Swolefens, was given the nickname at first by detractors of its muscular football and swampy surface, but has been adopted wholesale since in good Nepharim tradition.

Summary: After another season of resounding mediocrity from the Paladins, one must ask; what exactly is the point in Armstrong? Ah, well. It keeps the locals out of trouble. The height of their ambitions appear to be to avoid relegation, and they're easily good enough for that. Now at least Dranz is trying something new, letting the ineffective Jonas Busch go and picking up the athletic Branko Kurz from Cypher Town to complement the sluggish but efficient poacher Poppey up top; the experienced Jasmine Kaeman may also prove a canny short-term acquisition. Mostly, though, Armstrong is just a bunch of solid guys in their late 20s or early 30s; of these, Cavazos is the most noteworthy, slow for a winger at this age (fitting in with the rest of the side) but making up for it with a peach of a right boot, and a surprisingly deft left. Armstrong are a direct, brutalist kind of a side, and that will get you to midtable.

14. Goodfeather FC
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / green / white
Stadium: Steelchurch (32,500)
Nickname: the Quakers
Manager: Jessica Loque (52)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Anya Beraht (28); 2 - Sylvia Aviston (28), 18 - Juergen Kessler (23), 5 - Ellen Boarspear (29), 3 - Lewyn Harnwell (28); 4 - Marisa Leitner (31, c), 19 - Jancis Waldau (21), 13 - Radek Weiss (22); 21 - Wynona Short (30); 9 - Gabriel Prosper (27), 15 - Catheline Durren (23)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Lisa Summersteen (36); 8 - DM - Florian Schneider (33), 10 - ST - Hansel Fortesquire (27), 16 - AM - Tarry Hareide (27), 22 - CB - Dane Rednic (28), 23 - CM - Viktor Key (25), 24 - RB - Franzi Brill (24)

Background: The Quakers, so named for representing the relative Protestant hotbed of Nephara, are noted for a gorgeous kit and a traditional emphasis on technical play. Comfortably situated in eastern Crisisbless, they've traditionally floated freely between the top two tiers, enjoying high highs and suffering some low lows along the way. They're well-renowned for a faith in youth, especially from their own academy.

Summary: There is a point at which faith in youth begins to resemble a white flag. Goodfeather are at that point. Keeping ahold of Weiss might be considered a victory, but top goalscorer Corona Sharpe will be dearly missed. Replacements have had to be promoted from within, and while the Quakers are known as a strong youth system... is it enough? Signs point to no. Still, in Jessica Loque, they have an experienced manager who takes pride in blooding youth successfully, the deft, clever Weiss the most obvious example. And an emphasis on technique fits a physically small, young side well - the steel of the likes of Boarspear hopefully enough to keep the haters at bay, Sylvia Aviston tirelessly offers width and guile, while Marisa Leitner is one of the most quietly effective passers in the league and Wynona Short can turn a match on her day. Up front, Prosper shows promise, combining selfless hold-up play with a willingness to go it alone, but he'll need more than that. Goodfeather, then, are in a transitional phase. They should do okay, but by their standards, will okay really cut it?

15. Ritter Town
Home Colours: All white, orange trim
Away Colours: All blue, orange trim
Stadium: Stableground (22,000)
Nickname: the Stallions
Manager: Andrea Crowe (50)
(4-4-2) 1 - Anna St. Preux (28, CYI), 13 - Harald Reuser (29), 5 - Lucex-Ilinx Opu (34, QUS), 6 - Natalia Bismarck (28, c), 3 - Lesedi Maina (25, FPT); 22 - Augustine Yew (27), 15 - Cosette Espeleta (30), 8 - Rafaela Fenchel (31), 11 - Johanna Ankergren (32); 9 - Morten Crestwell (30), 21 - Naga (28, DAI)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Alexandra Markgraf (20); 2 - RB - Sapphire Riverhound (29), 4 - CM - Sherry Bickermann (35), 10 - ST - Ganimedes (30, DAI), 14 - CM - Cyrus Saebener (31)

Background: Ritter is a large town on the border of Barossia and Chardonnay, and its side has traditionally punched above its weight. It recently enjoyed a few seasons in the Premiership, but lower midtable First Division is roughly its Level, as it were. Following their recent drop into the third tier, however, a new wealthy consortium has come in and bought a controlling stake in the club, with their sights set on the Premiership once again.

Summary: It took a late surge for the Stallions to rise clear of danger last season, but Andrea Crowe clings crimly to her job. After losing their young star, Arista Tzorvas, to Mytanija, she's taken few risks when it comes to replacements - seasoned names with Premiership experience in Espeleta, Ankergren, Crestwell and Reuser are recruited, with star midfielder Rafaela Fenchel fitting the same profile. As a result, the Stallions are looking somewhat one-paced, but they're a cunning, technically adept side who can go toe-to-toe with any team in the league playing their own style, while having the X-Factor of players like St. Preux - who was pretty bad on the whole last season, but her quality on her day is undeniable - Fenchel, or the moonlighting model Naga gives them the extra edge here and there. Consolidation is all that's asked, and should be delivered.

16. West Brinemouth
Home Colours: Orange / black / orange
Away Colours: Pink / black / pink
Stadium: Volkstadion (31,000)
Nickname: the Gulls
Manager: Anatoly Fenwick (54)
(4-3-1-2) 12 - Clovis Terrano (27, CCN); 17 - Portia Devine (21), 5 - Hector Reiss (27), 22 - Tomas Castanon (24, AUD), 3 - Genevieve Taylor (27); 7 - Anja Spinnett (27), 4 - Robin Seizter (34), 13 - Karel Jaffe (29); 11 - Hera Poxay (32, COS); 10 - Aris Daskalakis (27), 21 - Reinhard Geist (24)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Dave Cassen (30); 2 - RB - James Culden (34), 8 - CM - Hilda Stannion (30), 14 - DM - Rook Trestleman (29), 15 - AM - Sami Makela (33), 16 - ST - Ferran Guegan (22, AUD), 23 - LB - April Forshawe (33)

Background: Brinemouth's west is the relatively poor, working-class part of the city, away from the affluent, arguably gentrified Brineside. Unlike most such sides, it remains in the shadow of neighbours and fierce rivals Brinemouth, but it has achieved some fair successes of its own in the modern era, occasionally reaching the Premiership and once winning the NFA Cup. The fanbase traditionally values workmanlike, muscular players, but the academy has not been the most successful, and many of the best youth prospects in the city are poached by their bigger, richer neighbours.

Summary: West Brinemouth survived quite easily in the end, calmly in midtable, though they did so by being frankly appalling to watch. They scored less than a goal a game, and conceded less, as well. The sale of muscular fullback Thorn Tristram is a dent in that, but the arrival of the seasoned Robin Seizter should shore things up, while 1.75 million signing Anja Spinnett can hopefully add some spice to a bland midfield. Mostly, though, Anatoly Fenwick's style isn't about individuals, though Hera Poxay is certainly given the platform to put a stamp on matches as soon as she feels like doing so. It's about taciturn team defending, exemplified by the disciplined bouncer, Hector Reiss, and just trying not to give your opponent an in, try not to put a foot wrong. For all that, Aris Daskalakis somehow managed sixteen goals last season, feeding on scraps. Can he keep it up? For that matter, can the Gulls? Or will the midfield need to pick up the supply line?

17. Chardonnay Rangers
Home Colours: Teal / white / teal
Away Colours: Yellow / black / yellow
Stadium: Floriade Park (17,500)
Nickname: the Warriors
Manager: Brandon Laithstrider (44)
(4-4-2) 1 - Jacqui Edmond (29), 17 - Raynor Burchardt (23, AUD), 5 - Remus Antrim (25), 13 - Merit Lockwood (34, EQS), 22 - Sabien Rhodes (24); 15 - Bastia Fohler (22), 21 - Carina Bielert (31), 8 - Alessa Bernat (23), 11 - Kaya Catley (24); 14 - Justice Pearce (25, EFL), 9 - Luna Nsereko (32)
Notable Reserves: 2 - RB - Adino Eliot (34)

Background: The Rangers have achieved the remarkable feat of going from the Premiership to the Conference, and have now rebounded most of the way back. They used to be noted for youth development, trusting an inexperienced side and producing five-cap winger Eloise Parrish for the national team, but it's clear the current board is working for the short-term, at least until they get back to the top. After a slight relocation that prompted a name change, they operate from the northeast Crisisbless outskirts, and have just completed a new boutique stadium.

Summary: Chardonnay dominated the third tier last season, but they're no fools; they know the transition from Second to First Division is more punishing than ever. They needed significant reinforcements - these came in the form of Audioslavian journeyman Burchardt, the experienced Merit Lockwood and Carina Bielert, and in Justice Pearce a goalscoring forward with significant top-flight experience to draw on. Not that the Rangers lacked for that - their goalkeeper, Edmond, spent most of her career as the Moths' backup, and unsurprisingly was easily the best in her league last season. At the other end, Luna Nsereko offers a powerful target. Most of the rest of the team is young, and depth is somewhat lacking - that youth is mirrored in Brandon Laithstrider, a prodigal manager who has struggled to make headway at this level in the past. For now, he'll just be hoping to restore stability while playing fast, well-organised football, hard and direct in attack.

18. Mantlegrove
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Cygnet Street (12,000)
Nickname: the Dryads
Manager: Henrick Barden (55)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Renaud Fournier (34, COS); 17 - Leo Bryant (27), 5 - Marcia Falchuk (29), 6 - Beth Garrick (33, c), 22 - Arnau Mon (29, AUD); 21 - Elizabeth Bellard (31), 14 - Gordon Burgess (30, ETN), 15 - Ruaridh Crow (23, AUD); 10 - Isobel Foster (24); 13 - Cantra Duprey (28), 11 - Sana Asrori (31, ISK)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Lowen Archer (36); 3 - LB - Oskar Lainford (34), 4 - CM - Caspar Radston (31), 8 - DM - Lana Harringstead (34), 23 - CM - Gudrun Portsman (34)

Background: A founder club of the Conference East, Mantlegrove have come a long way to establish themselves in the upper-middle echelons of the pyramid. They're comfortably tucked into eastern Treason and have managed, somewhat surprisingly, to tap into the small hipster fanbase left abandoned by the collapse of Project +90. Propped up in their early years by a local family who won the lottery, they've since been taken over by a more conventional consortium.

Summary: All credit is due to the Dryads, who overcame some early strife to remain hovered comfortably above the relegation dogfight. Some intelligent transfer work looks set to ensure that continues - an experienced former Eastweald goalkeeper in Renaud Fournier is a particularly inspired pickup, but the grit of Burgess and the bite of Crow will be welcomed in a midfield unit that was on the sluggish side last season. Confident stoppers in Garrick and Falchuk help secure matters at the back while a deft if injury-prone playmaker in Isobel Foster makes sure they can play their way out of trouble - and the quick, assertive Cantra Duprey is a surefire guarantee of goals. Under Henrick Barden, Mantlegrove are patient without being stagnant, playing the ball with quiet skill along the ground - the envy of many bottom-feeding First Division sides. That's what separates them.

19. Gonen's Bridge
Home Colours: White and red quarters / red / red
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Floriade Park (7,500)
Nickname: the Warriors
Manager: Memento North (50)
(4-4-2) 20 - Fyona Matthews (26); 17 - Christian Deveon (28, VLZ), 5 - Artur Bierofka (30), 6 - Timo Chrien (33), 19 - Jasmine Bartley (31, SCT); 23 - Jacqui Milligan (31), 4 - June Hartley (28), 8 - Casey Steward (22), 11 - Olenna Salthouse (28); 9 - Jakob Spinnett (28), 16 - David Sol (31, PCR)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Morgan Bell (36); 7 - RM - Casper Jeavons (30), 15 - DM - Ivan Collinger (34)

Background: A small town on the south coast, west of Cranequin in the little 'bite' taken out of the coastline. Gonen's Bridge has practically no history as a club, and their meteoric rise has been built on judicious loans, bargain free agents, an artificial pitch and, yes, a wealthy fan owner who helped bankroll them upwards.

Summary: Straight back up for Bridge, and signs are positive for the Warriors. They've kept their squad together well, and tidy players with Premiership experience in Bierofka, Milligan and Hartley bolster them nicely, as well as free transfer Deveon. It's that spine that should make the difference. That's not all, though - they also have Fyona Matthews, who was a surprise to have kept in the third tier last season. Rumours were that the acrobatic goalkeeper signed an extension to fight accusations of a poor, arrogant attitude. They can also boast Casey Steward, reigning 2Div U21 POTS, a crafty, improvisational midfielder with a real eye for goal, and the strike partnership of Spinnett and Sol that was fairly effective in their last tilt at this level, and Olenna Salthouse excels at finding them with perfectly-weighted crosses. Memento North's managed Bridge through both their promotions and their relegation - she needs to keep them up this time around. The Warriors play pretty stereotypical Nepharim football, a muscular and fast-paced 4-4-2.

20. Rochford
Home Colours: Blue and black stripes / black / blue
Away Colours: White / blue / white
Stadium: Fisherking's Court (11,000)
Nickname: the Owls
Manager: Perspective Merson (50)
(4-4-1-1) 12 - Georgia Petrie (30); 2 - Ilary Townes (25), 18 - Mikolas Mendariz (23, AUD), 5 - Sigma Hantas (31), 22 - Zohar Vandermark (22, APX); 12 - Colette Proudfoot (32), 4 - Elaine Candlestick (33, c), 13 - Minka Forrest (23), 16 - Sarina Neville (25, EFL); 21 - Harriet Novac (21); 10 - Wynona Rampart (25)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Chris Beasley (35); 6 - CM - Silk Commoner (32), 8 - AM - Ruziqul Burgundy (32, ISK), 9 - ST - Scenario Martane (32)

Background: A moderately prominent town just inland of the Lazuli Coast, Rochford were a yo-yo club leading into the modern era of Nepharim football but have slipped away from prominence in more recent years, echoing the tendency of the townsfolk themselves to leave for the greener pastures of Brinemouth. Built overlooking the small lake known as the Roch, Rochford is famous for its seafood, especially its oysters.

Summary: For a long time, people have been asking; when the hell do Rochford plan to get back into the second tier? Well, they managed it fairly comfortably last season, though they never quite challenged for the title - just kept steady and got the job done. But it was an aging squad, for certain. Merson's done well to build on the experienced core that won her the second tier with some more youth in a fast-paced league. Dynamic forward players like quiet, streaky winger Neville, the loaned playmaker Novac and athletic forward Wynona Rampart join stalwarts like statuesque captain Elaine Candlestick, and the acrobatic shot-stopper Georgia Petrie, recently returned from Mercedini. Rochford are a compact and effective outfit who are set to keep performing at a high level.

21. Peregrine
Home Colours: All dark green with white trim
Away Colours: Yellow / green / yellow
Stadium: Stone Overlook (15,000)
Nickname: the Falconers
Manager: Esther Mallory (46)
(4-2-3-1) 12 - Connor Risdon (30); 17 - Brindle Taukroger (25), 18 - Providence Mensah (27), 4 - Avram Beyard (26), 3 - Ygor Raspas (27); 6 - Stefi Unbehaun (28), 8 - Isla Snowpoint (24); 13 - Fabiola Brookes-Qureshi (29, EFL), 11 - Lorcan Peck (30, ETN), 16 - Mariza Selke (24); 10 - Markus Kaufmann (27)

Background: A large port town, Peregrine lies on the south coast, roughly beween Vermillion and Cranequin. The good folk of Peregrine love their club, though it's only rarely been much use. An inaugural Conference East side, the Falconers went through a lot of change, a stadium rebuild and subsequent stadium upgrade on their way to the second tier.

Summary: The latest of the clubs to make the Conference-to-1Div climb, the Falconers don't have to look far for their key player. Former Corvistone striker Markus Kaufmann's Kuznetsovian 39 goals were what propelled Peregrine to success. Esther Mallory, a striker herself in her playing days, was under no illusions that her squad needed reinforcement, especially closer to the back - Connor Risdon's a seasoned goalkeeper, with Taukroger and Mensah having seen time at the sharp end, while Lorcan Peck's the marquee name they're relying on to run the attack. But that's not to denigrate what was already there. Unbehaun and Snowpoint ran the show as double pivots last season, while journeywoman winger Brookes-Qureshi and the homegrown Selke are both unorthodox wingers, comfortable swapping freely, all four of them looking capable of making the step up. Peregrine like to attack, and to attack in numbers - hopefully, that swarming approach will thrive once backed up with the added quality in defence.

22. Hackett
Home Colours: Red / white / red
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Bradach Avenue (18,000)
Nickname: the Merry Boys
Manager: Lara Winter (44)
(4-3-3) 1 - Faraj Samara (33, BBS); 2 - Nicola Wrexham (27), 18 - Wanya Belsky (26, AUD), 6 - Rose Benedict (31), 22 - Roderick Munoz (27, ETN); 8 - Hecate Dransfeld (28), 5 - Chris Margate (33, c), 13 - Arran Grey (26); 7 - Karla Sebring (23), 10 - Felix Gallan (25, SCT), 23 - Varga Neury (26)
Notable Reserves: 3 - LB - Iliad Tsipras (34, PRV), 11 - LW - Artur Litton (27), 14 - CM - Sara Penford (32), 15 - RW - Simeon Lucan (29), 19 - CB - Paul Allard (35)

Background: Based in the western outskirts of the city of Stahlburg, Hackett are a sporadically notable side, but they tend to bleed into the general lower-league landscape. They are associated with a somewhat more suburban, culturally diverse landscape than the hyperindustrial, extremely Anglo-Teutonic core of the city, and the club has benefited from the recent expansion west of the city's development (though some have criticised it as 'sprawl').

Summary: Against the odds, Hackett continue to live. Thirteen games into the season, they had just seven goals and were on a seven-match losing streak. Four matches later, they suited up against Iron City in a match that looked set to decide whether Lara Winter (once Iron's manager) or Alysia Garrett would get the sack... and the Merry Boys won 4-0. The next match, they got their first draw of the season. More importantly, though, the limiter was off - Winter's faith in Felix Gallan and Varga Neury belatedly paid off, as the muscular winger and equally muscular striker finally started banging in the goals. Reinforcements have been limited - the capable all-round midfielder Hecate Dransfeld and a leftback, Munoz - and the club is clearly working on a shoe-string. Elsewhere, legs are creaking. Faraj Samara's form was all over the place last season, though when she's good, she's great - rock-hard captain Chris Margate is also perhaps past his use-by. It wouldn't take a miracle for Lara Winter to pull off another survival - but it would be one hell of a feather in her cap.

23. AFC Serpentine
Home Colours: Jade / navy / jade
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Aventurine Street (20,000)
Nickname: the Dragons
Manager: Gareth Penrooke (46)
(4-4-2) 20 - Ellen Wheelock (30); RB - Connor Moran (29, ETN), CB - Hunter Delvalle (29, ETN), 4 - Iyoas Raskerin (24, VLZ), 3 - Keziah Warwick (33, c); 7 - Oiji Nanemoru (26, HIN), 5 - Antonis Harisis (33, FHU), 6 - Raphael Passlach (27), 11 - Garrett Stijnen (25); 14 - Coraline Langbauer (30), 15 - Chloe Lehrer (27)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Camilla Searle (34); 2 - RB - Kurtis Fischer (33), 8 - CM - Ashley Keoman (34), 10 - ST - Kuruc Zalan (33, PAS), 19 - CB - Penelope Caddett (35), 21 - CM - Jasper Olson (28)

Background: One of the two big Marcher sides, on the Parrhesia side of the Laith. Serpentine have always prided themselves on youth development, and it's helped keep them financially afloat and relevant on the pitch despite a small catchment. Their colours are a deliberate throwback to Nephara's own, in their first WCC years. They've managed, in recent years, to yo-yo between the top two tiers. Marcher neighbours Cypher Town are their traditional rivals.

Summary: Rrrrrrip. Hear that? It's the sound of Serpentine's core being ripped out. The goalkeeper Marietta Briggs, the centre-halves Armbruster and Ruarisson, the talented forward Roxanna Strong - all gone. Their replacements... mostly free, with Keziah Warwick the only survivor of the back five, perhaps a year too long in her case. The midfield is nonexistent, though veteran Antonis Harisis has belied his lack of technical ability with dogged determination to drag down attackers, while Oiji Nanemoru can make sparks fly on a good day. Shame those good days aren't too often. Serpentine will rely on the sturdy goal-poacher Coraline Langbauer to fire them to safety, with former Wofford Town manger Gareth Penrooke - responsible for hauling them out of the fire last season - doing his best to implement a direct, muscular style of play with makeshift tools. It doesn't look great for the Dragons.
24. Crisisbless Athletic
Home Colours: Navy / navy / white
Away Colours: All white with navy trim
Stadium: Sunflow (16,000)
Nickname: Athletic
Manager: Claire Antioch (56)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Ursula Qatintiki (30, AFT); 2 - Maarten Hope (24, EFL), 5 - Cale Balfour (30, c), 6 - Tristan Young (27), 3 - Maretta Exeter (24); 4 - Kimon Heidelberg (26), 15 - July Valente (24, IRN); 7 - Leon Rinehart (28), 10 - Simon Bradden (28), 11 - Tasha Kite (29); 9 - Chris Suttner (31)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Paddy Munster (35); 8 - DM - Samael Lawrence (34), 16 - ST - Damian Keogh (35), 17 - RB - Michael Erasmus (35, SLL)

Background: Aside from a stint in the state leagues, Athletic have spent almost the entire modern era stranded in the Second Division, and the state of ennui as well as the increasing global profile of nearby Crisisbless (and other successful sides in the city) have lead to something of a squeeze on the club. Based in the affluent northern suburbs, Athletic's lack of success compared to other Crisisbless sides means that they lack real traditional rivals, with Bishop probably the closest.

Summary: Tipped for the drop, Athletic were all-but-mathematically safe with a game to go. They had the quality at both ends of the pitch - Ursula Qatintiki a flying, flamboyant goalkeeper, unrecognisable to the coltish and nervy figure she cut on arrival - perhaps something to do with being a fugitive partisan - and Chris Suttner's seventeen goals and impeccable hold-up play more than justifying his record-signing billing. You'd expect the board to back up survival with investment, right? They didn't, much to Claire Antioch's vocal dissatisfaction. As a result, the squad still looks short on quality, though their young, shuttling fullbacks Hope and Exeter should improve yet further over the course of another year. Simon Bradden, meanwhile, managed to be half as good as he thinks he is last season - if he can even manage a third, he'll pull his weight. Though he really needs to stop taking direct free kicks, after failing to score a single one last season. Athletic are a disciplined and, well, athletic outfit, not the easiest on the eye, but their forceful approach got results.

Lower Down the Pyramid

Second Division
Still boasting The Strongest, aptly, look favourites to bounce back up, but none of the other relegated teams find themselves in a strong position. Instead, Alliance Barossia, Corinthians No Longer and Pillars of Southfell - all sides that were deeply obscure 25 years ago - look best-placed to join them. At the bottom, eyes are on Autumnstone, who have sprung up potentially past their means in record time (this is their second professional season), impoverished West Hook under the impressive custodianship of Ivy Herrick, and the indestructible East Laithland.

Third Division
Lazuli Diamonds are the favourites, boasting a bevy of young flair players and a lot of forward momentum. Kommissar are also likely to continue their recent yo-yo exploits, while the impressive Gosmouth project seems certain to yield promotion... eventually. Rushe United and Stamper Road seem like the latest old guard holdouts to have just overstayed their time in the professional game.
WCC Grand Slam champion.
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Postby Nephara » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:17 am

Nephara’s three CC representatives are immediately cropped down to two, with Maal Daemons seeing off the toothless Athletic. The Moths, at least, scrape through - making heavy weather of Rammsissil, Townsend with the crucial goal after extra time in Turori, before making short work of X Island, 8-2 on aggregate. They join Brinemouth.

A morbidly hilarious joke on Coret Hawks - no sooner are they finally in the Globe Cup than they blow their first game, beaten 3-1 at home by Straudum. They can’t overturn it away, and crash out. You have to laugh. Newrook also get turfed out, by Westhold Royals. Mriin are becoming a thorn in the national side. But having given themselves a lot to do, Athletic make up for it, beating Hullbury, Daunt’s Den and St. Warren to make it to the Globe Cup, joining Treason in the group stages.

In the Ramsey Shield, the Dockers are expected to roll over Cypher in a match that still hasn’t quite found a place in the nation’s heart so far. This, the eighth time it has been contested, is one of the best of them - Andrea Vardalos’ Eagles showing they aren’t going down without a fight, and opening the scoring against the run of play when McCosgraigh’s free kick finds the tall timber of Marika Brind going against the grain, for her to flick a header beyond a stranded Iona Britton. Brinemouth hammer on the door, but can’t quite find their way through - until Jazmin Dragana finally finds space in the box and curls a low strike beyond Ruo. Extra time sees the sides continue to cancel one another out, and it goes to penalties, where Britton redeems herself by saving two of Cypher’s four penalties, Brinemouth winning the shootout 3-1.

Aries Chariots 0-0 Vermillion Rage
Brinemouth 2-1 AFC Treason
Chatswood 3-3 Starling
Chenoworth Harriers 3-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Stahlburg City
Coret Hawks 0-0 Southfell United
Corvette Maulers 0-5 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Corvistone 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Raven River
Crisisbless 2-1 North Sabrefell
Crisisbless United 1-2 North Laithland
Cypher Town 0-2 Newrook City

Another recalibration in the fixture generator has lead to a decidedly spicy season-opener. Things are literally starting off with the Classic, as Brinemouth host an aspirational Treason. The Stags are unfortunate not to get a point from it; they dominate the first half, but fail to make that count, Ryan Bull standing strong to deny them. Early in the second half, Morena Deventer sprints free of the back line, is found by Conjure, and takes the ball in stride and rifles it past Clavel. Tidesson, on the other wing, volleys home a cross from Close, a spectacular strike, but Treason do at least deserve to pull one back, Jonsson recording a maiden goal on debut from just outside the box. Sabrefell Moths take the lead at this early stage, destroying Corvette 5-0. New signing Fejzuli already has a goal and two assists to his name, and promises the fans on twii.tur that he’s just getting started. Of those just promoted, the Stahlburg teams both visit Chenoworth and lose, proving that they are the new garbage town of the inner-west, Cranequin manage a dull draw with River, and injury-time goals from substitutes Vestal and Tannhaeuser salvage a thrilling 3-3 draw for Chatswood against a complacent Starling.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Hackett 2-1 Peregrine
Armstrong 1-0 Rochford
Brookford Otters 0-3 Chardonnay Rangers
AFC Serpentine 0-0 Morningstar
Iron City 1-0 Diamondqueen
Parrhesia United 1-0 Creed United
Cranequin City 0-0 Bishop
West Brinemouth 2-0 Crisisbless Athletic
South Laithland 1-0 Mantlegrove
Goodfeather FC 2-1 Ritter Town
Leichhardt 0-0 Belgrave

A pretty dull first round of matches, thirteen clean sheets kept across the twelve matches, no game with more than three goals. Peregrine score their first goal at this level through new signing Lorcan Peck, but fall apart late in the second half, cut open by Hackett winger Neury - dropping what already feels like a six-pointer. The relegated four teams, Morningstar, Diamondqueen, Creed and Bishop, manage precisely no goals between them. Chardonnay, though? A statement of intent. Pearce, Catley and Bernat score in the second half, hammering much-fancied Brookford 3-0 away, and putting themselves on top of the table.

AFC Treason 2-2 Aries Chariots
Starling 1-0 Vermillion Rage
Stahlburg Rovers 1-8 Brinemouth
Stahlburg City 1-1 Chatswood
Southfell United 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Coret Hawks
Raven River 1-1 Corvette Maulers
North Sabrefell 1-1 AFC Corvistone
North Laithland 4-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Newrook City 1-3 Crisisbless
Cypher Town 1-2 Crisisbless United

Brinemouth are hungry. Stahlburg Rovers are in their way, and get on the receiving end of an 8-1 humiliation on home soil. The likes of Cordwood and Steelshrift simply fail to hold up to the scrutiny that their world-class opponents press onto them. For all that, they only go into the break a single goal behind. Saitou opened affairs with a low shot beyond Bolander, but Moxey’s cross was nudged past Bull by the outstretched toe of Corona Sharpe, her second goal in as many games, before Saitou put Brinemouth back in front. The second half, though, is a one-sided slaughter. Six more goals rain in past Stefan Bolander. Elrik Raskine winces on the touchline, then talks positively about the first half. Chris Maarsden bolsters his support at Crisisbless, passing the first major test of his reign with flying colours. Newrook score first at home, Ville Pakkanen starting and then finishing an attack from rightback, but that came against the run of play. The Heelers stay the course, trust in the system, and in the second half? Step forward, Moira Woakes. A goal from a free kick in the first minute of the second half is followed by a second goal from outside the box when Hedlund just gives her the time and space to pick her spot, before she sets up Marisha Staunton to fire the clincher across Hesketh, who is perhaps a little slow to get down to it. North Laithland retain their own perfect record in some style. Cranequin Wanderers are pegged back in their own half, keep trying to play their way out of trouble, and keep failing. The Spiders are 4-0 up on the hour mark, forward Luke Roberts having made a real impression on his starting debut with a brace, and a late consolation from substitute striker Bruin Goodyouth does little to, well, console.

Peregrine 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Rochford 1-2 Gonen's Bridge
Chardonnay Rangers 2-2 Hackett
Morningstar 0-1 Armstrong
Diamondqueen 1-1 Brookford Otters
Creed United 6-1 AFC Serpentine
Bishop 1-0 Iron City
Crisisbless Athletic 4-0 Parrhesia United
Mantlegrove 0-2 Cranequin City
Ritter Town 1-1 West Brinemouth
Belgrave 0-2 South Laithland
Leichhardt 1-1 Goodfeather FC

Er. What? The Saints arrive at Sunflow, the best team in the league against probably the worst. It starts in the right fashion, Parrhesia have three shots by the time Athletic get their one, all high and wide. But then they’re slack marking a quick throw-in from Hope, one Rinehart rushes past Meso-Roza and drives past Spyrakis. Rinehart gets his second, before Kite and Suttner get in on the action in the second half. Creed against Serpentine goes rather more as expected, the Oathmen battering their guests 6-1 as Anis Trabelsi notches up a hat-trick.

Aries Chariots 2-3 Starling
AFC Treason 3-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Stahlburg City
Brinemouth 3-1 Southfell United
Chatswood 3-3 Sabrefell Moths
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Chenoworth Rovers 3-1 Raven River
Coret Hawks 1-1 North Sabrefell
Corvette Maulers 1-3 North Laithland
AFC Corvistone 4-1 Newrook City
Cranequin Wanderers 0-0 Cypher Town
Crisisbless 1-2 Crisisbless United

Chatswood are an unlikely set of entertainers. What looks to be a dour defence has been spiced up considerably by their new attacking fullbacks, while Ella Grear in midfield is struggling to make the step up. Andrea Prentice and Rehan Garrett, meanwhile, have been brilliant signings as well, and each gets on the scoresheet in the first half against the Moths as they go into the break two up. It doesn’t last. Romano beats Aleksovic at his near post before Vol crashes in a header that nobody can get near her for - Darius Rashkin, a burly 6’4” centre-half, ruefully likens marking her to ‘trying to wrestle the ocean’ - before Tahir Fejzuli plays a slick one-two with Shone, then a slick one-two with Bellinger, before trying his luck and squeaking a shot past Aleksovic, who at least got fingers to it. But Chatswood pull it out of the fire somehow, a free kick being scuffed around the box before Konstanze Luitgard slips past everyone to toebash the equaliser past Griffin. Corvistone destroy Newrook 4-1, dominating possession and the field, while Newrook have Brandtner sent off on the hour to let the Crows basically entirely run the midfield. The Crisisbless derby goes against type. It’s Chris Maarsden’s first, and the crowd expects to win. They perhaps chase it too hard, try and force it, don’t let it come - the result is that Sigrun Rivers skins them on the break twice before half-time, and were it not for an excellent last-ditch double save from Na’Kefir, denying a point-blank shot from Lennox and then clawing away the (admittedly poor) follow-up from Antelmi, they’d be three down at the break. Boos follow them down the tunnel at the interval, before Woakes pulls one back early in the second half. Crisisbless dominate the rest of the game, but Reinhard Meixner almost single-handedly denies them in goal, though new holding midfielder Tom Garner also shows his worth as the Chequers hold out. “We aren’t normally known for our defensive work,” their manager, Konrad Evans, admits after the game. “I’m thinking maybe that can change.”

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Rochford
Peregrine 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Morningstar
Hackett 0-1 Diamondqueen
Armstrong 1-1 Creed United
Brookford Otters 1-0 Bishop
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Iron City 3-1 Mantlegrove
Parrhesia United 3-3 Ritter Town
Cranequin City 2-1 Belgrave
West Brinemouth 0-2 Leichhardt
South Laithland 0-2 Goodfeather FC

Parrhesia’s slack marking on two late set pieces makes veteran Ritter centre-half Lucex-Ilinx Opu the unlikely hero of the day, with a quick-fire brace giving the Stallions a point in a 3-3 draw. The feast-or-famine nature of Serpentine’s defence continues; they keep their second clean sheet of the season already, either side of conceding six to Creed, as they beat Crisisbless Athletic. Wheelock is barely tested in goal, while Serpentine’s constant threat buzzing around the box is only belatedly rewarded when Langbauer awkwardly controls a long ball from Passlach with her thigh before battering it past Qatintiki with her shin. Leichhardt beat West Brinemouth 2-0 away, with sarcastic cheering from the away end lasting near-on five minutes at the thought of scoring two entire goals in one game.

Stahlburg Rovers 1-4 Aries Chariots
Stahlburg City 1-1 Starling
Southfell United 1-2 AFC Treason
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 Brinemouth
Raven River 2-1 Chatswood
North Sabrefell 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
North Laithland 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Newrook City 1-3 Coret Hawks
Cypher Town 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Crisisbless United 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Crisisbless 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers

Athletic versus Brinemouth, probably the two title favourites. Tarala and Ens against Kuznetsov, arguably the world’s three best strikers in the same match. The ratings are through the roof across the world, and they get to see… uhm, a scoreless draw? Burly centre-half Michael Campbell comes closest to making the breakthrough midway through the second half, getting onto the end of Coltrane’s corner and thundering his header against the crossbar. Late on, Morena Deventer chases a promising far-post cross to try and snatch the win, but misses it and runs full into the post, wheeled off with a concussion. The Moths beating Vermillion just 1-0 is a similarly underwhelming look, though at least the single goal is a peach, Tawny Shone snapping the ball out from Eduardo’s feet then nonchalantly chipping Ramelow from nearly the halfway circle. Newrook lose a third in a row, well-beaten by Coret; Andreu Bartolnicci absolutely loses it on the sidelines when what looks to be their equaliser (at what would be 2-2) is chalked off for a blatant handball in the build-up from Couturiaux. Is he losing it at Couturiaux or the referee? Yes, it seems.

Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Morningstar 2-0 Rochford
Diamondqueen 4-1 Peregrine
Creed United 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Bishop 2-2 Hackett
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Armstrong
Mantlegrove 2-1 Brookford Otters
Ritter Town 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Belgrave 1-0 Iron City
Leichhardt 1-3 Parrhesia United
Goodfeather FC 1-2 Cranequin City
South Laithland 1-0 West Brinemouth

Morningstar have had a rough landing in the second tier, and it’s taken them some time to click. When Lilith Thornwood nutmegs Sigma Hantas and stabs the ball between Georgia Petrie’s legs to give them the lead against Rochford, it’s their first goal of the season. Trifon Draxler doubles the advantage just after the hour, scoring direct from a corner, while Jakob Carter is barely troubled in goal. Rochford remain pointless. In her first start of the season, 35-year old Auburn Weber rolls back the years to pull the strings for Diamondqueen. Two goals and two assists sink Peregrine 4-1, after the Falconers pursue the interesting method of barely marking her. Crisisbless Athletic continue a fairly strong start to the season, a lone penalty enough to beat Armstrong, but Ursula Qatintiki in goal is player of the match with eight saves. Armstrong’s striker problems, it seems, have not been solved by the signing of Branko Kurz, yet to score or even really impress.

Aries Chariots 1-0 Stahlburg City
Stahlburg Rovers 0-3 Southfell United
Starling 2-2 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Treason 1-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Vermillion Rage 3-3 Raven River
Brinemouth 0-1 North Sabrefell
Chatswood 1-1 North Laithland
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Newrook City
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Cypher Town
Coret Hawks 3-0 Crisisbless United
Corvette Maulers 1-2 Crisisbless
AFC Corvistone 3-1 Cranequin Wanderers

Uhh… are Stahlburg Rovers going to be okay, at this level? They seem to be having some trouble with vertigo. Opening with four straight defeats was bad, but that included matches against the Stags and Dockers. Southfell are a decent team, but their visit? That’s a winnable fixture. It’s certainly not a fixture you can afford to get pummeled 3-0 and manage exactly one shot on target, a tame Lovelock header sailing into Aldous’ arms. At the other end, Bolander doesn’t appear inclined to spoil the day for his hometown club, failing to claim a Marko cross and beaten by his near post for Gundersen’s first goal of the season as the Rovers lose 3-0. There’s a couple of block-buster clashes - as seems to be the theme this year, one underwhelms, Treason holding Athletic at arm’s length all game before Roddy Fraser comes off the bench, makes precisely six touches including one shot, which is the only goal of the game as he chests down and then powerfully volleys past Gautier. The other, though, is a spicy affair, as the Moths take a 2-1 lead into half-time at Starling. But a contentious handball from Vicelich in the box gives Armstrong the opportunity to level from the spot… but Griffin denies his countryman, going the right way and slamming the ball away with one hand. Discipline issues continue, however, when Joachim Elden gets his first red card in Nephara for an appalling sliding challenge that nearly cuts Keira Andisori in half. They look to be clinging onto the three points until stoppage time, when a desperate hack into the box from Asghar finds, of all people, the Pasargan defender Christian Berg, who had stayed up even after the free kick he’d come up for had broken down, and his optimism was rewarded as he took the ball on the chest, somewhat unwieldily rounded Jon Haines and belted the ball vaguely in the direction of goal, where a heavy deflection off Tawny Shone took it past Griffin for the equaliser. Brinemouth come unstuck against North Sabrefell, a game which sees them second-best in possession on home soil for the first time in three years. The only goal of the game comes fifteen minutes in, Fabrice Laramee opening his account for his new side in style, sliding past the Brinemouth defence thanks to a brilliantly-weighted pass from Montag before coolly chipping over Bull with the outside of the right boot.

Vermillion Wanderers 4-0 Morningstar
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Diamondqueen
Rochford 0-1 Creed United
Peregrine 0-1 Bishop
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Hackett 0-2 Mantlegrove
Armstrong 1-0 Ritter Town
Brookford Otters 0-3 Belgrave
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Leichhardt
Iron City 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Parrhesia United 1-0 South Laithland
Cranequin City 2-1 West Brinemouth

Five matches into Erica Karling’s managerial career, there’s already calls for her head ringing from around the away end at Vermillion. Their hosts, the Wanderers, utterly dominate them all over the pitch, the seasoned defensive partnership of Zendegi and Flores keeping Stars’ young strikers calmly shepherded, as goals from Saara, Pinnon, Kovaleski and Zihark dole out a 4-0 humiliation. Brookford, too, have just a single win to their name thus far, and a second 3-0 defeat on home soil already is painful. Granted, they stood toe-to-toe against Belgrave for most of the match - but Sloan put the Gargoyles ahead 55 minutes in, Brookford midfielder Rivan was sent off for a chest-high kick on Lake, and a brace from Markus Strand in the last five minutes of the game capped off a terrible afternoon. Chardonnay continue to impress, Equestrian centre-back Merit Lockwood heading home the winner against Diamondqueen from an elegant Bernat corner. With three goals so far this season, she’s actually the Rangers’ top scorer - testament to Laithstrider’s set piece drilling.

Southfell United 0-0 Aries Chariots
Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Stahlburg City
Sabrefell Athletic 7-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Raven River 1-1 Starling
North Sabrefell 0-3 AFC Treason
North Laithland 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Newrook City 0-1 Brinemouth
Cypher Town 0-2 Chatswood
Crisisbless United 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless 3-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers 0-3 Coret Hawks
AFC Corvistone 0-0 Corvette Maulers

The Stahlburg Rovers are not having a good time. Stefan Bolander makes five sharp saves, and it would seem as though he’s getting his shattered confidence back if he didn’t also concede seven. It’s not his fault, really. It’s Athletic’s home ground, and they stroke the ball around with an easy confidence, having already shown their dominance by resting the bulk of their squad. Sinan Uzunlar marks his first start of the season by a hattrick; Violet Siverson marks the first start of her career with a goal of her own. At least Corona Sharpe notches up a goal on the counter, the Moths homegrown product with three from six. The entire rest of the team has scored once put together. To reiterate; the Rovers are bad. The Wanderers are certainly bad today, swept aside 3-0 at home by Coret, unable to match their directness and intensity. Chatswood are not bad. They richly deserve their first win of the season, dominating Cypher Town and showing them how a proper 4-4-2 goes. Two crosses from Caulker, two knock-downs from Garrett, two opportunistic strikes from Luitgard, 2-0 away. Corvistone grind out a scoreless draw against Corvette, a disappointing result, all things considered, one that sees 32-year old winger Dimitra Tsikitsiris pick up the first red card of her career as the Maulers react by drawing into their shells. Acatha Feldman between the posts really earns her corn with eight strong saves.

Diamondqueen 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Creed United 2-1 Morningstar
Bishop 0-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Rochford
Mantlegrove 0-0 Peregrine
Ritter Town 2-1 Gonen's Bridge
Belgrave 0-4 Hackett
Leichhardt 2-0 Armstrong
Goodfeather FC 1-2 Brookford Otters
South Laithland 1-0 AFC Serpentine
West Brinemouth 1-2 Iron City
Cranequin City 1-2 Parrhesia United

Someone stop the champagne going around Belgrave; they get done 4-0 at home by Hackett, a hard-pressing, high-pressing counter driving the Gargoyles into mistake after mistake. The lethal front three of Sebring, Gallan and Neury, with Dransfeld offering balance in the midfield, do not let up the pressure for a single moment. Parrhesia dominate Cranequin City, but the one-man resistance act of Abajan keeper Stefan Ledo keeps the score down to 1-0 at half-time, before Kosta Kolar flicks a volley almost insolently past Spyrakis to level just after the break. But all it takes is one poor pass from Gyenis to let in Swabia Rademacher, who does the rest on her own to score a late winner for the Saints. Truly leading by example.

Aries Chariots 0-0 Sabrefell Moths
Southfell United 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Stahlburg City 1-0 Raven River
Stahlburg Rovers 1-4 North Sabrefell
Starling 2-0 North Laithland
AFC Treason 1-1 Newrook City
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Cypher Town
Brinemouth 2-2 Crisisbless United
Chatswood 1-1 Crisisbless
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Coret Hawks 2-1 Corvette Maulers

The theme this year seems to be that the guns fall silent where least expected. The Chariots’ hosting of the Moths fits the bill. Aries are missing key attacking guns in Riske and Kaelin through injury, and seem to feel as though discretion is the better part of valour as a result. A double pivot in midfield from Belfry and Tsiolkas keeps the guns silent, and isn’t what the Moths are expecting. Still, Commerford has some saves to make, but then, Lazarou probably should have drawn a penalty when she was clipped by Vicelich. Stahlburg City beat River through an impressively wide variety of the dark arts, Kresimir Brujah early frontrunner in the shitheel-of-the-season stakes, a few spicy elbows thrown around, a brutal challenge on Kesteren seeing River’s talisman limp off, before he scores the only goal of the game, grappling Lampshire and all but clambering over him to nod an Owley corner home. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Stahlburg, shellshocked goalkeeper Stefan Bolander watches from the bench as his replacement, Colmeyer, lets four goals fly past him. Including the one where he tries to catch a low strike from Sabine Montag but ends up toe-punting it into Simone Cheney, who looks as surprised as anyone to be able to chest down the ball and roll it past him. The Rovers lose 4-1. For Treason, having Fraser to call on from the bench pays off again, the sturdy poacher with a late equaliser to deny Newrook some much-needed points. It was a dire game until Newrook belatedly went ahead through Couturiaux’s penalty in the 72nd minute, but the rest of the game was the Stags stepping on their throat. Fraser’s goal in the 79th was the least they deserved, though Hesketh perhaps didn’t get down as fast as she might.

Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 Creed United
Diamondqueen 1-2 Bishop
Morningstar 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Mantlegrove
Rochford 0-0 Ritter Town
Peregrine 1-2 Belgrave
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Leichhardt
Hackett 2-0 Goodfeather FC
Armstrong 1-2 South Laithland
Brookford Otters 1-0 West Brinemouth
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Cranequin City
Iron City 1-1 Parrhesia United

After a dire stalemate against Ritter, Rochford still haven’t scored in five games, but they do at least have their first point of the season. Loaned playmaker Harriet Novac has struggled to make her mark, lost amidst the clatter and thunder of the league, but she at least made some sort of mark desperately clearing a shot off the line from a scrappy corner. After a similarly dire first half, Brookford march off to a chorus of boos. They’re booed off after full-time, too, even after they score a penalty. It’ll take more than a scrappy 1-0 win over West Brinemouth to appease the crowd on a season they’re expected to be challenging from the top.

Sabrefell Athletic 5-4 Aries Chariots
Raven River 0-3 Sabrefell Moths
North Sabrefell 3-1 Southfell United
North Laithland 1-0 Stahlburg City
Newrook City 3-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Cypher Town 1-2 Starling
Crisisbless United 1-10 AFC Treason
Crisisbless 3-2 Vermillion Rage
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Brinemouth
AFC Corvistone 1-0 Chatswood
Corvette Maulers 1-3 Chenoworth Harriers
Coret Hawks 0-3 Chenoworth Rovers

Well, at least Crisisbless United scored. Alanso Tamba’s got some slick feet, and a tidy eye for the bottom corner. Issue is, Treason put ten - TEN - past Meixner at the other end. Both John Fletcher and Aristide Metzger manage hat-tricks - Fletcher’s was perfect, so he gets the match ball. And so, the (equal) record for league defeats is held by the team that holds the record for a Cup win. And, for that matter, the record-holders for goals in a single game, after an 8-4 defeat to Athletic years past. Goals follow Crisisbless United. There’s nearly as many goals in Sabrefell, for that matter, as the East Sabrefell derby really kicks off. The Chariots score first. Then second. Then third, just, at the wrong end, as the normally impeccable Na’Duha gets her feet all wrong and belts Coltrane’s diagonal pass past puzzled countryman Commerford. And that just whets Athletic’s appetite. Tarala, Ens and Gere make it 4-2 by half-time, and what is nearly the Chariots’ way back in is ruled out for Alexis Brill’s handball in the build-up. It’s not a good day for most of the Chariots’ Cosumarite enclave, at least until Tarran Seamster does pull one back in the second half, before setting up Kaelin to level the scores. 4-4 by the hour mark? Unfortunately, both sides seem to rather run out of steam, and then an awful challenge from Kaya Naumoff sees her sent off, but not before a brawl sees Ashcroft backhand Coltrane which sees her sent off. There’s still room for a penalty, though, Barak Strauss - Ashcroft’s replacement at rightback - bundling over the fresh legs of Hakki Ojala. Coltrane slams it home - 5-4.

Bishop 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Creed United
Mantlegrove 2-1 Diamondqueen
Ritter Town 0-1 Morningstar
Belgrave 7-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Leichhardt 2-0 Rochford
Goodfeather FC 3-0 Peregrine
South Laithland 2-3 Gonen's Bridge
West Brinemouth 1-2 Hackett
Cranequin City 0-2 Armstrong
Parrhesia United 4-1 Brookford Otters
Iron City 0-1 AFC Serpentine

Chardonnay don’t half know how to pick their time. They’ve had a flying, unbeaten start to the season, and they visit Belgrave with their heads held high. Then Belgrave slaughter them 7-0. Adalheid Metzelder gives the press her evil little gremlin smile at the end, with all the teeth showing. “My plan worked perfectly, and they got found out, badly,” she boasts. South Laithland lose to Gonen’s at home thanks to a great save from Gerhard Hartmuth. Issue was, he made it while badly mistiming a run out of his box, instinctively throwing himself down to paw away the decisive shot from Sol. 1-0 up with eleven men, they lost 3-2 with ten, though the sterling work of backup stopper Emery Russell kept down the deficit. Parrhesia slam Brookford 4-1 - they may be streaky as all hell, but on their day, they can do things like this. Brookford, for their part, haven’t looked.. right, yet, this season.

Aries Chariots 2-2 Raven River
Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 North Sabrefell
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 North Laithland
Southfell United 1-1 Newrook City
Stahlburg City 0-1 Cypher Town
Stahlburg Rovers 0-3 Crisisbless United
Starling 4-1 Crisisbless
AFC Treason 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Vermillion Rage 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Brinemouth 4-1 Corvette Maulers
Chatswood 5-5 Coret Hawks
Chenoworth Harriers 1-2 Chenoworth Rovers

This season is… weird. Can we just say that? It’s a deeply weird season already. There’s barely enough time to cover the Chenoworth derby, which is hardly a hotbed of violence, given its the most milquetoast city in the nation. Still, there’s the obligatory Ender Fife red card, which combined with Laslow giving up a penalty on the other flank seems to sink the Rovers. Until Janneke Chaeffer guesses right and punches away Whittaker’s penalty. The Rovers soon make the most of their opportunity, slick interplay between their strikers leading to Sabrina Patton sidefooting elegantly past Sheffield. Whittaker makes up for it, though it’s clear in replays that he elbows Teffeteller in the face to give himself the space to place a shot beyond Chaeffer, but karma strikes back through veteran midfielder Florencio Lozada, breezing a strike into the top corner from just outside the box. Starling host nearby Crisisbless and utterly dominate, scoring just nineteen seconds in when Daniel Dostalok drives a rolling ball past Na’Kefir with his first touch. The Mercedini striker finds his confidence - that’s only his third goal of the season, but a hat-trick chalks that up to five by the end as Starling cruise to a 4-1 win.

But the game to watch is Chatswood’s fixture against the Hawks. Yeah, arguably the least sexy fixture of the day. Yet, here it is; a game that starts three minutes in, normally goalshy Raquel Naeher getting her first goal when she cuts inside, tries her luck from distance and beats Aleksovic thanks to a slight deflection off Rashkins’ heel, and not five minutes later the Hawks have doubled their lead, Naeher this time playing provider for Lemuel Burns’ first goal for his new club. But then Chatswood fight back - a Garrett header, a Luitgard strike from the edge of the box (Lockwood needed to save that) and Conleth finishing off the half in style, the Hawks raving that the whistle should have long since blown for the interval. Then Conleth chalks up her second assist - she ends, deservedly, POTM - setting up the brawny Bishop to nod home a corner. Coret rally, though. Initially, against the run of play - Stavanger’s bullet header just before the hour is their first shot of the half - but then one stroke of luck becomes two, Nikolaidis arriving late in the box to slam home a cutback from Hamilton, and then Penumbra Amokachi makes her inevitable mark off the bench, winning a penalty after her first touch, scoring it with her second. But Chatswood really do deserve a point. They’d have one if Aleksovic had made more than one save. But as it was, it was the unlikely figure of 21-year old midfielder Kolinda Bischoff, prowling around the box, found unmarked by Prentice (who would bother marking a holding midfielder?) and testing her luck without pressure. As it happened, she found the top corner, Lockwood diving across in vain. 5-5, the final score; the equal-highest-scoring draw in league history.

Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Bishop 0-0 Mantlegrove
Creed United 2-2 Ritter Town
Diamondqueen 0-1 Belgrave
Morningstar 1-1 Leichhardt
Chardonnay Rangers 0-3 Goodfeather FC
Rochford 1-2 South Laithland
Peregrine 0-1 West Brinemouth
Gonen's Bridge 1-3 Cranequin City
Hackett 2-1 Parrhesia United
Armstrong 0-0 Iron City
Brookford Otters 3-2 AFC Serpentine

The blockbuster clash of the round is the Saints’ visit to, somehow, Hackett. Parrhesia’s flakiness undoes them, sitting on an early lead from Telviir, not quite doubling it when Reus’ goal is chalked off for a narrow offside, and just kind of content to hang around on that lead forever, taking shots from distance that pose little threat to the erratic but acrobatic Faraj Samara. Until they’re caught in possession by Dransfeld, who plays in Sebring for the leveller in the 76th minute, and almost immediately after, Parrhesia are caught overextending going forward and punished by Neury. Hackett’s fourth win in a row - not bad for relegation favourites. Chardonnay are another side that is outdoing their expectations, but their promotion ambitions have been derailed somewhat by a 3-0 defeat at home to Goodfeather. Brookford’s poor start to the season has at least come with the bright side of Monica Bairstow, whose late brace of free kicks saves them to beat lowly Serpentine 3-2. Already, the vultures are circling Andrea Betancourt...

North Sabrefell 1-4 Aries Chariots
North Laithland 1-1 Raven River
Newrook City 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Cypher Town 0-3 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless United 2-0 Southfell United
Crisisbless 4-0 Stahlburg City
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Stahlburg Rovers
AFC Corvistone 0-2 Starling
Corvette Maulers 1-0 AFC Treason
Coret Hawks 1-2 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Rovers 0-2 Brinemouth
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Chatswood

Stahlburg Rovers manage their equal-best result of the season, losing 2-0 to Cranequin Wanderers. The Wanderers had drawn six of their nine (nice) games, but were yet to actually win, too sluggish and too fragile. Well, through Leonardo Ford’s long-awaited first goal of the season and a follow-up from Kudelka, they’ve got it. The away fans are baying for blood, and they get it, too; Elrik Raskine is sacked in the tunnel, by text. Normally, that’s harsh, but they have scored five goals and conceded forty over the course of these ten defeats. Assistant manager Matthew Rickard, who has been with the club for close to a decade, steps up to the plate. It’s an interim appointment, in theory, but who would take a nailed-on relegation like this? Corvette get their first win of the season, against the unlikely opponents of Treason, who they hand a first defeat since Brinemouth on opening day courtesy of Dimitra Tsikitsiris’ first goal. Stahlburg City, for their part, haven’t really seen many headlines early on, since they’ve been pretty solid and unremarkable. Well, unfortunately Douglas Tibet’s hard-earned stability disintegrates in the face of Crisisbless’ relentless aggression, and they crumble to a 4-0 defeat without mustering a shot on target, and just 27% possession.

Mantlegrove 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Ritter Town 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Belgrave 2-1 Bishop
Leichhardt 1-1 Creed United
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Diamondqueen
South Laithland 2-0 Morningstar
West Brinemouth 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Cranequin City 0-1 Rochford
Parrhesia United 0-2 Peregrine
Iron City 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Hackett
Brookford Otters 2-2 Armstrong

People like Kaj Aurora. People really like Kaj Aurora. But the Saints’ inconsistency under her has made it hard, sometimes. They just absolutely sputter out against Peregrine, at home, as players of the quality of Reus, Barota and Telviir can find no way past Connor Risdon, a goalkeeper whose main selling point has been being 6’7” and just about as broad at the shoulders. While Parrhesia hurl mud at a wall, Peregrine counter incisively, Markus Kaufmann scoring in each half to cap off a disciplined performance from the Falconers. Hackett’s good streak comes to an abrupt end, Serpentine centre-half Raskerin heading in the only goal of the game in the 44th minute as the Dragons’ impressive pressing squeezes Hackett out of the game altogether. Brookford’s 2-2 draw with Armstrong is the only game to make it past the three-goal mark, only one of two to make it past two. Brookford’s are beauties, Armstrong’s scuffed tap-ins, but they all count the same.

Sabrefell Moths 2-0 SW Stahlberg
Qastyr 1-0 Brinemouth

The Moths invite Stahlberg with, yes, an e. They prove gracious hosts, somewhat less physical than usual. Sur Arora may well have told them to play nice in front of the foreign referees. As it stands, they don’t even take a caution all game. They’re quietly the better side in the first half without reward, then comfortably superior in the second, Vol and Fejzuli making the difference. Brinemouth’s visit to Qastyr isn’t much of a match, though. Brinemouth fail to spark against their disciplined hosts,

Aries Chariots 1-1 North Laithland
North Sabrefell 1-1 Newrook City
Raven River 1-0 Cypher Town
Sabrefell Athletic 0-2 Crisisbless United
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Crisisbless
Southfell United 2-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Stahlburg City 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Corvette Maulers
Starling 0-1 Coret Hawks
AFC Treason 1-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Brinemouth 6-2 Chatswood

Newrook have a real glass-half-full situation. They’ve had a poor start to the season, but Ocokoljic bailing them out against a rock-solid North Sabrefell side that dominated the ball but lacked final touch (beyond a single Wolff half-volley concluding a flowing attack) ensures they’re unbeaten in five. Issue is, four of those results have been 1-1 draws. Nygard and Farrell haven’t really clicked up front thus far, Couturiaux and Hesketh (though, commendably, not captain Zagorec) are showing their age. The Moths take the lead against Crisisbless just seventeen seconds into the match, Vol to Romano to Aedelbrandt to Vicelich to Vol - the first Crisisbless touch is Na’Kefir’s fingertips brushing against Vol’s header on its way into the net. It’s the only goal of the game, Moira Woakes looking the Heelers’ brightest spark until she lashes back at the tender mercies of Tawny Shone, getting herself a second yellow card for the bargain. Cranequin Wanderers pick up a second straight win against Southfell, Ford running the show as the spare man in midfield, until he’s forced off when Hemeyer destroys him. But with the scores at 2-2, it’s Ford’s replacement, Riaz, who dribbles past three weary players before picking her spot to winner the ball past Aldous. Perhaps the Eastfielder adds the dynamism and directness Cranequin have sorely lacked? Brinemouth and Chatswood make up one of the harder-to-guess rivalries in the league, largely built up out of a sereies of intense clashes over the years, often on the final day. Today, though, the Dockers pulverise their opponents 6-2, as Leigh Fletcher’s charges are too eager to dive in regardless of the holes that leaves behind.

Vermillion Wanderers 0-3 Ritter Town
Mantlegrove 0-2 Belgrave
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 Leichhardt
Bishop 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Creed United 1-1 South Laithland
Diamondqueen 1-0 West Brinemouth
Morningstar 3-3 Cranequin City
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 Parrhesia United
Rochford 0-0 Iron City
Peregrine 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Brookford Otters
Hackett 2-0 Armstrong

Morningstar almost double their goal tally for the season, but even then the match is a source of frustration for the struggling Stars. Three times, through Thornwood (twice) and Kuijer, Morningstar pull ahead; three times, through Cranequin City’s Rosmalen, Gemmill and Skiff, are they pegged back. Rightback Sebastian Rashica almost gets a late winner for the Terracotta Army, too, a cross catching in the wind and almost beating Carter in goal, but the former Brinemouth stopper manages to just barely tip it over the crossbar. Iron City have now managed three straight scoreless draws, and they didn’t get on the scoresheet the match before that, either. Former Parrhesia midfielder Hollin Spicer is doing a brilliant job cleaning up in midfield, but Ida Preussler’s fallen curiously silent up front, with just two goals thus far. Rochford are happy enough with the point, just their fourth of a difficult season.

Sleetwell Rangers 1-1 Riverkey Shells (1-2 AET)
Brookway Town 2-1 The Travellers FC
Kensey Town 3-0 Swag Hill Rovers
Brunyard FC 1-1 Grovebank (2-1 AET)
Markoni 2-1 Strephonage
Kommissar 2-0 Camwell Road
Fenland Albion 2-0 AFC Feuerweiss
Gridlock 0-0 Long Lake (1-1 AET, 3-4 PKs)
Iberia Chenoworth 0-4 Hartford Glade
Lockheed Zenith 0-0 AFC Hellerine (0-0 AET, 4-3 PKs)
Boleyn Town 2-2 Corby Hubris (2-2 AET, 5-6 PKs)
Chenoworth Teutons 0-0 Falston Town (0-1 AET)
Mapleford 2-1 AFC Volksgarten
Rochford Pilgrims 2-0 Fischer
Blaze 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Aspen Grove 1-2 Sirencall FC
Caldwick Strand 0-1 South Brill
Ox River United 1-2 FC Seierstad
Twelvetrees 3-1 Northside Eagles
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Stonesthrow Town
Corvistone City 4-3 Ingram Township
Downsparrow 1-5 Brindleton
Courser 0-0 Rushe United (0-0 AET, 4-3 PKs)
Pravenna Saints 0-1 Stamper Road
Iron United 0-0 Fully Sick XI (1-0 AET)
Crownsend Journey 1-4 Martella Jazz
AFC Burchess 2-1 Bodkin Road
Cranequin Souths 0-2 Ringway
Brookford Vantablack 1-1 South Parrhesia (1-1 AET, 3-1 PKs)
Sutcroft 3-0 Constance Park
Lazuli Diamonds 3-2 Rookwall
Brokenarch 1-0 Harrington

As the Cup kicks off, people in the know are looking for Lazuli and Sirencall - they just shared a staggering 8-6 in the league. The Diamonds won that particular exchange, and go on to beat Rookwall by a relatively parsimonious 3-2; Sirencall disgrace themselves with a mere 2-1 win over Aspen Grove. Feuerweiss and Northside Eagles make their debuts in the tournament, but are both beaten by two clear goals away from home. Markoni are the only newly-promoted side from the state leagues to win, upsetting Strephonage 2-1.

Newrook City 0-1 Aries Chariots
Cypher Town 1-2 North Laithland
Crisisbless United 0-0 North Sabrefell
Crisisbless 4-2 Raven River
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Corvistone 4-3 Sabrefell Moths
Corvette Maulers 1-2 Southfell United
Coret Hawks 3-1 Stahlburg City
Chenoworth Rovers 3-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Starling
Chatswood 0-3 AFC Treason
Brinemouth 1-1 Vermillion Rage

No side’s run away with it thus far, and the table has a pleasingly old-school look to it with Brinemouth and Treason at the top. The Dockers keep ahold of their place at the summit thanks to a late equaliser from Iori Saitou, nipping in ahead of Leila Ramelow as they both chased the same through-ball from Dragana and dinking the ball between the rushing keeper’s feet. Treason stay hot on the trail, battering Chatswood 3-0 in a hearty resumption of the derby between the two, with Athletic and Crisisbless also winning to overtake the Moths, beaten by the odd goal from seven against an energetic Corvistone, and Starling, limping to a 2-0 defeat from the struggling Harriers and the deft work of midfield maestro Alessa Marconi. A familiar top six, then, with Coret rounding out the potential final UICA slot, should Nephara reclaim a top four position.

At the bottom, Southfell pull away from the drop after their slow start. They start slow against Corvette, too, but a late free kick from Erik Marlowe almost nonchalantly finds the top corner for a 2-1 win away. River and Cranequin fall to strong opposition, and remain on a point a game. Shockingly, Newrook are actually below that point, outrun and overrun by Aries in an energetic 1-0 defeat at home, while Stahlburg City are well beaten 3-1 by Coret. Chatswood currently sit in the playoff place, enduring a quixotic season thus far. Six draws and nineteen goals scored, but just a single win to their name. Cypher choke a lead to lose to the Spiders, while Corvette and Stahlburg Rovers predictably line the bottom places.

Belgrave 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Leichhardt 3-0 Ritter Town
Goodfeather FC 2-2 Mantlegrove
South Laithland 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
West Brinemouth 2-1 Bishop
Cranequin City 1-0 Creed United
Parrhesia United 2-1 Diamondqueen
Iron City 3-0 Morningstar
AFC Serpentine 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Brookford Otters 1-1 Rochford
Armstrong 1-0 Peregrine
Hackett 1-0 Gonen's Bridge

It’s a tight knife-fight at the top, one that the Gargoyles are currently, surprisingly, top of. They beat Vermillion 2-0, and Hackett are somehow second after a late win over Gonen’s Bridge. But Cranequin City, South Laithland, Parrhesia and newly-promoted Chardonnay are level with Hackett on 23 points, with Creed’s defeat to City leaving them three points behind, with Leichhardt. Iron City smash Morningstar 3-0, with former Premiership talent in Pell, Petridis and Preussler on the scoresheet - meanwhile, their second-tier veterans like Hornwood and Ledger have maintained the best defence in the league. At the bottom, Serpentine lose and Crisisbless Athletic draw, but both still have more than a point per game. Diamondqueen and Morningstar do not - the latter are actually second-last, joining Peregrine, West Brinemouth (victorious over Bishop) and a badly struggling Rochford, who get just their fifth point and fourth goal of the season in a draw with the Otters, in the drop zone.

Eastweald 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Brinemouth 3-1 Tanrisal

A good day for the coefficient. Eastweald aren’t charitable hosts, though in manager Riether, goalkeeper Mercator and winger Fanaiyan they have more than their share of Nepharim… then again, Sur Arora brings Zoe Aedelbrandt and, of course, himself. Eastweald have the better of the first half, Fanaiyan setting up Brian Bond for the opener, and there should have been more. The Elves pay for not finishing the job. The Moths steady in the second half, level early against the run of play when Elden flicks home a set piece with an insolence ill-befitting a defender, before the familiar combination of Aedelbrandt cross -> Vol knock-on -> Romano goal wins the day. Now it’s Eastweald’s turn to get something against the run of play, Kovacevic winning a somewhat soft penalty as he bounces off Elden… but there’s not enough power in Mordini’s penalty, and Griffin beats it away with both fists. Brinemouth score early against Tanrisal through an unusually direct method, Bull’s goal kick going all the way to Tidesson, who took on Basa and the uncharacteristically slack Towers himself before slotting low past Michael Armand. But his opposite number, Irene Djuric, has a moment of something special in the tank herself - finding little joy against the dour, reliable Close, she snips inside to deal with the centre-halves instead before trying her luck from outside the box, and finding the top corner with it just before getting reduced by Soederquist. There’s signs that Tani start to lose a bit of their cool near the end of the first half, though, some errors creeping into their play. One’s seized on on the hour mark, again it’s Tidesson making the difference, finding Deventer on the far post to rifle home from five yards, before Desya Kuznetsov, in his vernacular, ‘goals’ with a thunderous strike from point-blank range that almost murders Armand, the result of being given just an inch of space by Chandonnet.
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Southriver 1-1 Autumnstone
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
The Hanged Man 0-2 Falston United
AFC Shale 1-0 Aries Solitaire
Riverkey 2-3 Greygate
Pillars of Southfell 2-2 The Strongest
Crossroads Town 1-2 Coret Rovers
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Extreme Hills
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 West Hook
Ballardine FC 1-1 Barossia United
Locksley 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Stonegrave 1-0 Sheridan
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 Southriver
Falston United 2-2 Autumnstone
Aries Solitaire 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Greygate 1-0 The Hanged Man
The Strongest 4-1 AFC Shale
Coret Rovers 1-3 Riverkey
Extreme Hills 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
West Hook 0-2 Crossroads Town
Barossia United 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Corinthians No Longer
Sheridan 1-1 Ballardine FC
Stonegrave 2-3 Locksley
Southriver 0-2 Falston United
Boltcroft Thorns 0-2 Aries Solitaire
Autumnstone 2-4 Greygate
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 The Strongest
The Hanged Man 0-1 Coret Rovers
AFC Shale 1-1 Extreme Hills
Riverkey 3-0 West Hook
Pillars of Southfell 3-0 Barossia United
Crossroads Town 2-2 Alliance Barossia
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Sheridan
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Stonegrave
Ballardine FC 0-2 Locksley
Aries Solitaire 3-1 Southriver
Greygate 0-2 Falston United
The Strongest 4-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Coret Rovers 3-2 Autumnstone
Extreme Hills 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
West Hook 1-0 The Hanged Man
Barossia United 0-1 AFC Shale
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Riverkey
Sheridan 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
Stonegrave 1-1 Crossroads Town
Locksley 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
Ballardine FC 0-2 Corinthians No Longer
Southriver 2-2 Greygate
Aries Solitaire 1-3 The Strongest
Falston United 3-2 Coret Rovers
Boltcroft Thorns 0-0 Extreme Hills
Autumnstone 2-0 West Hook
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Barossia United
The Hanged Man 0-2 Alliance Barossia
AFC Shale 0-1 Sheridan
Riverkey 2-0 Stonegrave
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 Locksley
Crossroads Town 2-2 Ballardine FC
East Laithland Harriers 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
The Strongest 0-1 Southriver
Coret Rovers 2-1 Greygate
Extreme Hills 2-1 Aries Solitaire
West Hook 1-1 Falston United
Barossia United 4-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Alliance Barossia 4-0 Autumnstone
Sheridan 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Stonegrave 1-0 The Hanged Man
Locksley 1-0 AFC Shale
Ballardine FC 0-0 Riverkey
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 Crossroads Town
Southriver 1-2 Coret Rovers
The Strongest 1-3 Extreme Hills
Greygate 2-3 West Hook
Aries Solitaire 6-2 Barossia United
Falston United 0-3 Alliance Barossia
Boltcroft Thorns 0-0 Sheridan
Autumnstone 1-1 Stonegrave
Dartmouth Terriers 2-2 Locksley
The Hanged Man 1-0 Ballardine FC
AFC Shale 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Riverkey 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Crossroads Town
Extreme Hills 2-0 Southriver
West Hook 0-1 Coret Rovers
Barossia United 4-3 The Strongest
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Greygate
Sheridan 0-2 Aries Solitaire
Stonegrave 1-2 Falston United
Locksley 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Ballardine FC 0-0 Autumnstone
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
East Laithland Harriers 2-0 The Hanged Man
Crossroads Town 0-3 AFC Shale
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Riverkey
Southriver 1-0 West Hook
Extreme Hills 1-2 Barossia United
Coret Rovers 1-1 Alliance Barossia
The Strongest 1-0 Sheridan
Greygate 0-2 Stonegrave
Aries Solitaire 2-0 Locksley
Falston United 2-3 Ballardine FC
Boltcroft Thorns 0-4 Corinthians No Longer
Autumnstone 0-0 East Laithland Harriers
Dartmouth Terriers 3-0 Crossroads Town
The Hanged Man 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
AFC Shale 0-2 Riverkey
Barossia United 1-0 Southriver
Alliance Barossia 3-3 West Hook
Sheridan 0-1 Extreme Hills
Stonegrave 2-0 Coret Rovers
Locksley 3-1 The Strongest
Ballardine FC 2-2 Greygate
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 Aries Solitaire
East Laithland Harriers 3-1 Falston United
Crossroads Town 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Pillars of Southfell 3-0 Autumnstone
Riverkey 2-3 Dartmouth Terriers
AFC Shale 2-0 The Hanged Man
Southriver 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Barossia United 2-1 Sheridan
West Hook 0-1 Stonegrave
Extreme Hills 2-3 Locksley
Coret Rovers 2-1 Ballardine FC
The Strongest 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Greygate 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Aries Solitaire 4-4 Crossroads Town
Falston United 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 Riverkey
Autumnstone 0-2 AFC Shale
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 The Hanged Man
Sheridan 1-1 Southriver
Stonegrave 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Locksley 3-1 Barossia United
Ballardine FC 2-0 West Hook
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 Extreme Hills
East Laithland Harriers 0-6 Coret Rovers
Crossroads Town 2-6 The Strongest
Pillars of Southfell 3-0 Greygate
Riverkey 1-0 Aries Solitaire
AFC Shale 1-0 Falston United
The Hanged Man 0-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Dartmouth Terriers 2-2 Autumnstone
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 Stamper Road
Long Lake 0-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Mapleford 3-2 Rushe United
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 FC Seierstad
Kensey Town 2-2 Iron United
Hartford Glade 1-0 Ox River United
South Parrhesia 5-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Falston Town 1-2 Kommissar
Brokenarch 2-1 Fully Sick XI
Sirencall FC 1-3 Sutcroft
Martella Jazz 4-1 Brindleton
Brunyard FC 2-6 Strephonage
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Rushe United 2-1 Stamper Road
FC Seierstad 1-1 Long Lake
Iron United 0-2 Mapleford
Ox River United 3-0 Gosmouth Swans
Lazuli Diamonds 3-1 Kensey Town
Kommissar 2-1 Hartford Glade
Fully Sick XI 0-4 South Parrhesia
Sutcroft 1-0 Falston Town
Brindleton 1-0 Brokenarch
Strephonage 0-1 Sirencall FC
Brunyard FC 1-2 Martella Jazz
Sutcroft Athletic 0-0 Rushe United
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 FC Seierstad
Stamper Road 0-1 Iron United
Long Lake 1-0 Ox River United
Mapleford 5-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Kommissar
Kensey Town 1-1 Fully Sick XI
Hartford Glade 2-2 Sutcroft
South Parrhesia 2-3 Brindleton
Falston Town 1-0 Strephonage
Brokenarch 3-4 Brunyard FC
Sirencall FC 1-4 Martella Jazz
FC Seierstad 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Iron United 2-1 Rushe United
Ox River United 1-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Lazuli Diamonds 6-0 Stamper Road
Kommissar 1-0 Long Lake
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Mapleford
Sutcroft 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Brindleton 2-1 Kensey Town
Strephonage 1-2 Hartford Glade
Brunyard FC 2-4 South Parrhesia
Martella Jazz 3-2 Falston Town
Sirencall FC 2-2 Brokenarch
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Iron United
FC Seierstad 1-3 Ox River United
Rushe United 1-4 Lazuli Diamonds
Rochford Pilgrims 0-2 Kommissar
Stamper Road 1-2 Fully Sick XI
Long Lake 2-0 Sutcroft
Mapleford 0-1 Brindleton
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Strephonage
Kensey Town 2-3 Brunyard FC
Hartford Glade 2-0 Martella Jazz
South Parrhesia 2-1 Sirencall FC
Falston Town 1-4 Brokenarch
Ox River United 3-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Lazuli Diamonds 2-0 Iron United
Kommissar 2-1 FC Seierstad
Fully Sick XI 1-0 Rushe United
Sutcroft 1-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Brindleton 1-0 Stamper Road
Strephonage 1-0 Long Lake
Brunyard FC 2-3 Mapleford
Martella Jazz 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Sirencall FC 1-1 Kensey Town
Brokenarch 1-1 Hartford Glade
Falston Town 1-2 South Parrhesia
Sutcroft Athletic 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Ox River United 1-2 Kommissar
Iron United 1-1 Fully Sick XI
FC Seierstad 1-1 Sutcroft
Rushe United 1-3 Brindleton
Rochford Pilgrims 0-0 Strephonage
Stamper Road 3-3 Brunyard FC
Long Lake 0-1 Martella Jazz
Mapleford 1-2 Sirencall FC
Gosmouth Swans 0-2 Brokenarch
Kensey Town 6-1 Falston Town
Hartford Glade 1-1 South Parrhesia
Kommissar 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Fully Sick XI 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Sutcroft 1-2 Ox River United
Brindleton 1-0 Iron United
Strephonage 2-1 FC Seierstad
Brunyard FC 0-1 Rushe United
Martella Jazz 0-7 Rochford Pilgrims
Sirencall FC 1-2 Stamper Road
Brokenarch 5-1 Long Lake
Falston Town 1-3 Mapleford
South Parrhesia 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Hartford Glade 0-4 Kensey Town
Sutcroft Athletic 0-0 Fully Sick XI
Kommissar 2-1 Sutcroft
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Brindleton
Ox River United 1-0 Strephonage
Iron United 1-0 Brunyard FC
FC Seierstad 2-1 Martella Jazz
Rushe United 2-5 Sirencall FC
Rochford Pilgrims 0-7 Brokenarch
Stamper Road 1-2 Falston Town
Long Lake 1-0 South Parrhesia
Mapleford 1-2 Hartford Glade
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Kensey Town
Sutcroft 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Brindleton 3-4 Fully Sick XI
Strephonage 1-2 Kommissar
Brunyard FC 3-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Martella Jazz 0-0 Ox River United
Sirencall FC 0-1 Iron United
Brokenarch 4-1 FC Seierstad
Falston Town 9-3 Rushe United
South Parrhesia 1-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Hartford Glade 0-1 Stamper Road
Kensey Town 3-2 Long Lake
Gosmouth Swans 2-2 Mapleford
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 Brindleton
Sutcroft 1-2 Strephonage
Fully Sick XI 1-0 Brunyard FC
Kommissar 2-1 Martella Jazz
Lazuli Diamonds 8-6 Sirencall FC
Ox River United 4-2 Brokenarch
Iron United 0-1 Falston Town
FC Seierstad 1-1 South Parrhesia
Rushe United 1-0 Hartford Glade
Rochford Pilgrims 0-3 Kensey Town
Stamper Road 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Long Lake 1-2 Mapleford
Strephonage 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Brunyard FC 0-1 Brindleton
Martella Jazz 1-1 Sutcroft
Sirencall FC 0-1 Fully Sick XI
Brokenarch 3-4 Kommissar
Falston Town 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
South Parrhesia 2-1 Ox River United
Hartford Glade 2-2 Iron United
Kensey Town 1-1 FC Seierstad
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Rushe United
Mapleford 4-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Long Lake 0-1 Stamper Road

Pos Team                      P  W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 12 7 4 1 30 11 +19 25
2 AFC Treason 12 7 3 2 28 9 +19 24
3 Sabrefell Athletic 12 7 3 2 20 11 +9 24
4 Crisisbless 12 7 2 3 25 18 +7 23
5 Sabrefell Moths 12 6 4 2 25 11 +14 22
6 Starling 12 6 4 2 21 14 +7 22
7 Coret Hawks 12 6 3 3 23 16 +7 21
8 North Laithland 12 5 5 2 17 12 +5 20
9 Chenoworth Rovers 12 6 2 4 16 14 +2 20
10 AFC Corvistone 12 5 4 3 18 14 +4 19
11 Aries Chariots 12 4 6 2 21 15 +6 18
12 Crisisbless United 12 5 3 4 18 23 -5 18
13 Vermillion Rage 12 4 5 3 16 15 +1 17
14 Chenoworth Harriers 12 4 4 4 16 13 +3 16
15 North Sabrefell 12 3 6 3 14 15 -1 15
16 Southfell United 12 3 3 6 13 17 -4 12
17 Raven River 12 2 6 4 15 21 -6 12
18 Cranequin Wanderers 12 2 6 4 12 18 -6 12
19 Newrook City 12 2 5 5 13 17 -4 11
20 Stahlburg City 12 3 2 7 8 16 -8 11
21 Chatswood 12 1 6 5 19 27 -8 9
22 Cypher Town 12 2 2 8 6 16 -10 8
23 Corvette Maulers 12 1 2 9 9 25 -16 5
24 Stahlburg Rovers 12 1 0 11 9 44 -35 3

Pos Team                       P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Belgrave 12 8 1 3 21 10 +11 25
2 Hackett 12 7 2 3 19 11 +8 23
3 Cranequin City 12 7 2 3 17 12 +5 23
4 South Laithland 12 7 2 3 14 9 +5 23
5 Parrhesia United 12 7 2 3 20 17 +3 23
6 Chardonnay Rangers 12 7 2 3 18 18 +0 23
7 Creed United 12 5 5 2 18 10 +8 20
8 Leichhardt 12 5 5 2 15 8 +7 20
9 Iron City 12 5 4 3 11 6 +5 19
10 Armstrong 12 5 3 4 10 10 +0 18
11 Gonen's Bridge 12 5 2 5 11 13 -2 17
12 Bishop 12 4 4 4 10 10 +0 16
13 Brookford Otters 12 4 4 4 14 20 -6 16
14 Goodfeather FC 12 4 3 5 16 13 +3 15
15 Mantlegrove 12 4 3 5 11 14 -3 15
16 Vermillion Wanderers 12 4 2 6 11 13 -2 14
17 AFC Serpentine 12 4 2 6 10 16 -6 14
18 Crisisbless Athletic 12 3 4 5 9 10 -1 13
19 Diamondqueen 12 3 3 6 13 14 -1 12
20 Ritter Town 12 2 5 5 14 17 -3 11
21 Peregrine 12 3 2 7 8 15 -7 11
22 West Brinemouth 12 3 1 8 9 15 -6 10
23 Morningstar 12 2 4 6 8 17 -9 10
24 Rochford 12 1 3 8 4 13 -9 6

Pos Team                          P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Alliance Barossia 12 8 4 0 24 6 +18 28
2 Coret Rovers 12 8 1 3 23 15 +8 25
3 Pillars of Southfell 12 7 3 2 18 5 +13 24
4 Riverkey 12 7 2 3 17 8 +9 23
5 Corinthians No Longer 12 7 2 3 13 6 +7 23
6 Locksley 12 7 2 3 22 16 +6 23
7 AFC Shale 12 7 1 4 13 9 +4 22
8 Dartmouth Terriers 12 6 3 3 19 11 +8 21
9 Extreme Hills 12 6 3 3 14 9 +5 21
10 Stonegrave 12 6 2 4 13 11 +2 20
11 The Strongest 12 6 1 5 27 20 +7 19
12 Barossia United 12 6 1 5 18 22 -4 19
13 Aries Solitaire 12 5 2 5 22 16 +6 17
14 Falston United 12 5 2 5 17 18 -1 17
15 Greygate 12 4 3 5 17 21 -4 15
16 Ballardine FC 12 2 6 4 12 15 -3 12
17 Sheridan 12 3 3 6 7 12 -5 12
18 Southriver 12 3 3 6 9 16 -7 12
19 East Laithland Harriers 12 3 1 8 8 17 -9 10
20 Autumnstone 12 1 6 5 12 22 -10 9
21 West Hook 12 2 2 8 8 19 -11 8
22 Crossroads Town 12 1 4 7 14 26 -12 7
23 The Hanged Man 12 2 1 9 2 14 -12 7
24 Boltcroft Thorns 12 1 4 7 5 20 -15 7

Pos Team                    P   W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Kommissar 12 11 0 1 23 11 +12 33
2 Gosmouth Swans 12 8 2 2 14 9 +5 26
3 Mapleford 12 8 1 3 28 17 +11 25
4 Brindleton 12 8 1 3 19 15 +4 25
5 South Parrhesia 12 6 3 3 24 13 +11 21
6 Lazuli Diamonds 12 6 3 3 31 25 +6 21
7 Brokenarch 12 6 2 4 35 20 +15 20
8 Ox River United 12 6 2 4 19 12 +7 20
9 Fully Sick XI 12 5 4 3 14 15 -1 19
10 Kensey Town 12 4 5 3 26 17 +9 17
11 Martella Jazz 12 5 2 5 17 20 -3 17
12 Strephonage 12 5 1 6 15 13 +2 16
13 Hartford Glade 12 4 4 4 14 16 -2 16
14 Rochford Pilgrims 12 4 4 4 15 20 -5 16
15 Iron United 12 4 3 5 10 13 -3 15
16 Falston Town 12 4 1 7 21 26 -5 13
17 Sutcroft Athletic 12 3 4 5 8 13 -5 13
18 Sirencall FC 12 3 2 7 21 27 -6 11
19 Sutcroft 12 2 4 6 13 18 -5 10
20 Brunyard FC 12 3 1 8 20 27 -7 10
21 Long Lake 12 3 1 8 9 17 -8 10
22 Stamper Road 12 3 1 8 12 22 -10 10
23 Rushe United 12 3 1 8 14 29 -15 10
24 FC Seierstad 12 1 6 5 11 18 -7 9

Pos Team                     P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ringway 12 8 2 2 23 13 +10 26
2 Lockheed Zenith 12 7 3 2 19 10 +9 24
3 Ingram Township 12 6 3 3 18 8 +10 21
4 Chenoworth Teutons 12 6 3 3 15 15 +0 21
5 Boleyn Town 12 6 2 4 16 10 +6 20
6 AFC Feuerweiss 12 6 2 4 23 23 +0 20
7 Riverkey Shells 12 6 1 5 22 15 +7 19
8 Fenland Albion 12 5 4 3 13 9 +4 19
9 Iberia Chenoworth 12 5 3 4 17 12 +5 18
10 Crownsend Journey 12 5 3 4 20 16 +4 18
11 Harrington 12 5 3 4 22 19 +3 18
12 Stonesthrow Town 12 4 4 4 12 12 +0 16
13 Fischer 12 4 3 5 15 17 -2 15
14 Courser 12 3 5 4 12 16 -4 14
15 Grovebank 12 3 3 6 15 16 -1 12
16 Aspen Grove 12 3 2 7 21 22 -1 11
17 Sleetwell Rangers 12 2 5 5 13 21 -8 11
18 Swag Hill Rovers 12 3 2 7 17 33 -16 11
19 AFC Hellerine 12 2 2 8 13 26 -13 8
20 Camwell Road 12 1 5 6 12 25 -13 8

Pos Team                       P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Caldwick Strand 12 8 3 1 25 17 +8 27
2 Pravenna Saints 12 7 3 2 23 10 +13 24
3 Gridlock 12 7 2 3 15 6 +9 23
4 AFC Volksgarten 12 6 4 2 15 11 +4 22
5 Northside Eagles 12 6 2 4 20 15 +5 20
6 Downsparrow 12 4 6 2 22 14 +8 18
7 The Travellers FC 12 5 3 4 20 13 +7 18
8 Constance Park 12 4 6 2 8 7 +1 18
9 Cranequin Souths 12 4 5 3 17 16 +1 17
10 Bodkin Road 12 5 2 5 11 12 -1 17
11 AFC Burchess 12 4 4 4 21 19 +2 16
12 Twelvetrees 12 3 5 4 12 11 +1 14
13 Brookford Vantablack 12 3 5 4 15 15 +0 14
14 Blaze 12 3 4 5 16 23 -7 13
15 Corvistone City 12 3 3 6 8 13 -5 12
16 South Brill 12 2 5 5 15 19 -4 11
17 Markoni 12 3 2 7 10 24 -14 11
18 Brookway Town 12 1 6 5 6 13 -7 9
19 Rookwall 12 2 3 7 4 11 -7 9
20 Corby Hubris 12 0 7 5 17 31 -14 7
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Postby Nephara » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:13 am

Aries Chariots 2-2 Cypher Town
Newrook City 2-2 Crisisbless United
North Laithland 3-3 Crisisbless
North Sabrefell 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Raven River 1-3 AFC Corvistone
Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Coret Hawks
Southfell United 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Stahlburg City 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Chatswood
Starling 1-1 Brinemouth
AFC Treason 2-1 Vermillion Rage

The fixture computer throws up a day in which all ten clubs starting with C play away, and all six starting with S host. One of those matches featuring both doesn’t end in the one-sided slaughter one might expect, but then, Sabrefell Athletic have excelled at doing just enough this season. Their depth can call upon experienced players in their early-30s like Jaentti, Bereveskos and Uzunlar to do a 90-minute job against Corvette, and it’s Bereveskos who gets the only goal. You know what’s a serious flex, though? Is being Leigh Fletcher and resting your star striker, Rehan Garrett, for a visit to Stahlburg Rovers. In fairness, the striker’s played every minute of the campaign thus far. And, yeah, Chatswood win 1-0 in what was in theory a crucial six-pointer, stand-in forward Vestal setting up Prentice to strike from just outside the box.

Best, though, are the breathless draws - Starling’s frictionless, technical high-speed, low-drag showdown with Brinemouth, the Chariots’ assaults held back by Cypher’s lethal counters, Newrook and Crisisbless United kicking lumps out of each other and, best of all, North Laithland’s fightback from a 3-0 deficit at half-time, booed off by their own fans, to take a point from Crisisbless. Perhaps a sad moment for Kurtis Laiota, who comes off the bench at 51 minutes only to be sent off five minutes later for putting two studs through Irsa Croxteth, but really, it’s time for Croxteth to be the story, scoring twice and assisting the leveller against her hometown club. Under Canaan, she’s looked reborn. Has her career finally recovered from her disastrous sojourn in Cosumar?

Vermillion Wanderers 0-2 Leichhardt
Belgrave 2-4 Goodfeather FC
Ritter Town 0-3 South Laithland
Mantlegrove 0-2 West Brinemouth
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Cranequin City
Bishop 0-2 Parrhesia United
Creed United 1-0 Iron City
Diamondqueen 4-0 AFC Serpentine
Morningstar 0-4 Brookford Otters
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Armstrong
Rochford 0-0 Hackett
Peregrine 4-0 Gonen's Bridge

It’s the day of the 4-0 - three instances of the convincing scoreline this week, each with its own story to tell. Diamondqueen have started the season poorly, but Elaine Koeller’s side show Serpentine what they’re made of, crushing them under their heel as they dominate midfield. Taheri and Creek do whatever they want, each getting on the scoresheet, with a second-half brace from Escrow finishing matters. Morningstar have also started the season poorly, but continue to do poorly when Brookford stomp them into the earth, a red card for Sloane Kirkland worsening matters. Their fans have already turned on them. Peregrine also underline their own survival hopes, four goals in the second half picking off a weary Gonen’s Bridge.

Crisisbless United 1-1 Aries Chariots
Crisisbless 2-1 Cypher Town
Cranequin Wanderers 0-3 Newrook City
AFC Corvistone 1-3 North Laithland
Corvette Maulers 2-1 North Sabrefell
Coret Hawks 4-1 Raven River
Chenoworth Rovers 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Chenoworth Harriers 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Chatswood 0-3 Southfell United
Brinemouth 2-0 Stahlburg City
Vermillion Rage 2-0 Stahlburg Rovers
AFC Treason 2-0 Starling

The Chenoworth sides face off against the Sabrefell giants, and, unsurprisingly, being worse at football, they both lose. Newrook restore some spirits against River in a full-on, hell-for-leather 4-1 pasting of a River side that couldn’t handle the heat, and needed to get out of the kitchen. From the way that the likes of Brandtner and Ocokoljic boss the midfield, you’d never imagine this was just this team’s third win of the season, and from the confidence with which Nygard strikes a brace of near-identical finishes past Taliadoros, you’d never imagine they were just her fourth and fifth goals of the season. Have they actually turned a corner, or is this a flash in the pan?

The Maulers are basically the only winners at the bottom, Fiona Norval proving that if they have nothing else, at least they have a decent striker, confidently lashing an equaliser in first-half injury time into the top corner, before casually, almost insolently, laying on a nonchalant assist for Dimitra Tsikitsiris to chip a stranded, exposed Daunten from just outside the box, the defence offering no pressure. “Sometimes it is okay to clatter ‘em,” sighs North Sabrefell manager Gareth Blackthorn post-match. At the sharp end, Treason turn over Starling, and it’s not even close. A 2-0 scoreline doesn’t reflect the silence of Dostalok and Andisori, who look almost sheepish at full time. But then, where was the supply? Was a more immediate replacement for Padilla needed?

Goodfeather FC 2-2 Vermillion Wanderers
South Laithland 0-1 Leichhardt
West Brinemouth 1-0 Belgrave
Cranequin City 2-0 Ritter Town
Parrhesia United 2-1 Mantlegrove
Iron City 2-2 Crisisbless Athletic
AFC Serpentine 0-2 Bishop
Brookford Otters 3-2 Creed United
Armstrong 0-2 Diamondqueen
Hackett 1-2 Morningstar
Gonen's Bridge 3-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Peregrine 1-1 Rochford

Chardonnay just can’t find consistency for the life of them - Gonen’s Bridge demolish them 3-0, canny young midfielder Casey Steward running the show against the Rangers’ experienced veterans, while Fyona Matthews saves a penalty - a fair sign of why these youngish guns are the ones the Premiership sides are eyeing. Similarly inconsistent, Brookford beat Creed by the odd goal of five. Anis Trebelsi gets the job done up front for the Oathmen with a brace, but they badly, badly miss the injured captain Rodrigues in defence, and veteran stopper Byron Caldwick has had better days. Morningstar spit on the formbook with a result that only made sense before the start of the season, Lilith Thornwood and Johanna Rosen giving them a 2-1 win away at Hackett.

Yuba United 2-1 Sabrefell Moths
Brinemouth 4-1 Spartangrad

The Moths face a tough test, visiting Yuba, but stand up to the challenge well. Not well enough to get anything out of the game, though. Sur Arora is confident, doing his best to have his charges play their own game like they’re in front of their own fans, but there’s just a little uncertainty that betrays them. Crucially, it’s in and around both boxes. Brix Hamilton is 32, for Christ’s sake, she knows better than to centre it across her own penalty area, and Romano’s radar is off all day. Late on, though, Federico Serra comes off the bench, strikes like a thunderbolt from outside the box and would give some hope if this were a two-legged tie, but it’s not, so it’s pointless since the Moths don’t manage a shot after that. Brinemouth, though, they have a somewhat better time. For Spartangrad goalkeeper Mathis Woodgate and defender Mark Uenterhausen, it’s relatively familiar pastures, having spent time with Creed and the Moths respectively, but neither distinguishes themselves in a rough match for the visitors. An exemplary shot-stopper, Woodgate was too often caught out by Brinemouth’s nippy, mobile… well, what at times resembled a front four, their pace and coordination rending holes in the defence. Kuznetsov started and ended the scoring, Deventer beating Woodgate at his near post, Alyss Montague coming off the bench to whip in a ridiculous free kick for good measure. At least the Palmisano brothers were able to combine and give Spartangrad some pride.

San Lomar Cooperative 1-4 Cypher Town

Most expect that the Eagles are not going to bring Nephara much glory here, but Andrea Vardalos surprises many by taking a full-strength side to Filindostan. “We need a win more than a rest,” she says bluntly, and finds one. Freya McCosgraigh and Coretta Rooke relish in that little bit more space, each getting on the scoresheet in the first half, though Cooperative pull one back late on to add some intrigue. In the second, Cypher really turn the screws, warming to their dominance, and Rooke and Tripodi finish things off.

Aries Chariots 0-0 Crisisbless
Crisisbless United 3-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Cypher Town 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Newrook City 1-1 Corvette Maulers
North Laithland 1-2 Coret Hawks
North Sabrefell 2-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Raven River 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 Chatswood
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Brinemouth
Southfell United 3-1 Vermillion Rage
Stahlburg City 3-2 AFC Treason
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Starling

Two fixtures dominate all attention, though it’s worrying for Cranequin to see them so easily shredded by Crisisbless United on the counterattack, losing 3-1 and never really looking like taking points. That’s, uh, not one of the matches, though. The pure blockbuster sees Sur Arora’s Moths host Lujendra Mescalin’s Brinemouth in a typically Cosumar-flavoured match. It’s meant to be a free-flowing display of attacking football at the highest level of the game. Instead the Moths just kind of rampage, pinning Brinemouth in their own half, not letting them run. It takes until 53 minutes for the first goal, but it’s well-deserved. Fejzuli lingers on the ball for what seems like whole minutes before the Brinemouth defence strays that inch out of position, before he finds Aedelbrandt’s run behind Brymora. Aedelbrandt’s not usually one to trouble the scoresheet, but she goes it alone here, curling her second touch about Bull with the outside of the boot. That gives her the confidence for a sumptuous assist to find an unmarked Romano twenty minutes later, and Romano doesn’t miss those chances, before Brinemouth are caught overstretched on the break and put to the sword by Imriel Townsend on the other flank for a 3-0 thumping. But a more… even match is probably found in Stahlburg. No, not the Rovers, though they’re surprisingly resolute in only losing 1-0 to a lucky Starling.

But it’s City, and the much-anticipated resumption of hostilities against Treason, the flames fanned further by key figures on either side. City’s firebrand Brujah: “I’ve been waiting a good, long time for this, first as a fan, now as a player.” Treason captain Svensson: “They’re ancient history. There was some heat in the past, but they’re flattering themselves to think they’re still relevant.” Saskia Kantaroff, former Treason player, faces a hail of insults from the away end as City run out, while the home crowd direct their ire at… everyone. The Smiths’ plan goes perfectly, beyond their expectations, with veteran centre-back Cassidy Hasek ramming Henry’s free kick into the net for the only goal of a physical, wrestling first half. City then make it two, Kresimir Brujah finding a way from the edge of the box, before he goes from hero to… uh, still hero, scything down Mikkel Jonsson, protesting his shouty innocence and marching off, milking the applause from the baying home crowd. Jonsson limps off, but this occasion might be better suited to the muscle of Saturn Mastiff, anyway - the lesser heralded former Parrhesia midfielder finding an assist for Aristide Metzger to power home from the edge of the box. Finally, Treason in business! Except that against the run of play, Saskia Kantaroff sprints to get first to a clever disguised pass from Henry and drags the ball past Clavel before being slammed into the ground by Vornander, for what would’ve certainly been a penalty had she not scored. She gets up and, well, beats her chest and kisses her crest in front of the away crowd. Treason pull out the big gun, Roddy Fraser… who misses a sitter late on. Lorelei Neptune finds Metzger for another goal in injury time, and Metzger has to race into the net to follow his header, shoving defenders and goalkeeper Prant-Telew out of the way in search of the ball for the restart, but it’s to no avail as a brilliant game draws to a close, Stahlburg City beating their hated rivals 3-2 at home. Does the Premiership get better than this?

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 South Laithland
Goodfeather FC 1-0 West Brinemouth
Leichhardt 0-1 Cranequin City
Belgrave 2-0 Parrhesia United
Ritter Town 2-0 Iron City
Mantlegrove 0-2 AFC Serpentine
Crisisbless Athletic 3-3 Brookford Otters
Bishop 2-0 Armstrong
Creed United 2-0 Hackett
Diamondqueen 3-4 Gonen's Bridge
Morningstar 2-0 Peregrine
Chardonnay Rangers 0-0 Rochford

After visiting Crisisbless Athletic, Brookford have managed ten goals from their last three matches, and they should surely have had more were it not for Ursula Qatintiki between the posts. But there’s an issue, and that issue is they really miss Bohr at the back. Claudia Bohr is, herself, busy being unable to stop Belgrave beating Parrheisa 2-0, but her pace and composure at the back have seriously helped the Saints so far. Without her, Brookford concede two late goals to Athletic super-sub striker Jacinth Coen, whose pace up front offers Athletic something different to the brutes Suttner and Keogh. Serpentine manage another crucial win in a six-pointer, a terrible side on paper continuing to fight above their means as Coraline Langbauer and Antonis Harisis stubbornly lift the side to victory away in Mantlegrove, while an insane game sees Gonen’s Bridge score three unanswered goals in the second half to beat ten-man Diamondqueen 4-3.

Boltcroft Thorns 6-0 Falston Town
Alliance Barossia 0-1 FC Seierstad
Greygate 1-0 Hartford Glade
Corinthians No Longer 3-0 Corvistone City
South Brill 0-3 Mantlegrove
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Iron City
Locksley 2-1 The Hanged Man
Cranequin City 4-1 Bishop
Fenland Albion 0-4 Brookford Otters
Falston United 0-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Kensey Town 1-1 West Brinemouth (1-2 AET)
Ringway 1-4 Brindleton
Parrhesia United 3-1 Lockheed Zenith
Ritter Town 2-0 Kommissar
South Laithland 1-3 Autumnstone
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Morningstar 4-4 Long Lake (4-4 AET, 2-3 PKs)
Ballardine FC 1-0 Aries Solitaire
The Strongest 5-0 Courser
Stamper Road 3-1 Brookford Vantablack
Creed United 0-0 Riverkey (0-1 AET)
Corby Hubris 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
AFC Shale 4-1 Markoni
Extreme Hills 1-1 Leichhardt (2-1 AET)
Gonen's Bridge 4-0 Sutcroft
Twelvetrees 1-2 Rochford
Belgrave 4-0 Riverkey Shells
Brokenarch 0-1 Barossia United
Crossroads Town 1-1 Pillars of Southfell (1-1 AET, 1-4 PKs)
East Laithland Harriers 2-0 AFC Burchess
Mapleford 0-3 Diamondqueen
Stonegrave 0-2 West Hook
Hackett 6-0 Brookway Town
Sirencall FC 1-5 Goodfeather FC
Coret Rovers 1-0 Armstrong
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Brunyard FC
Sutcroft Athletic 2-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Chardonnay Rangers 5-0 Martella Jazz
Southriver 1-1 Sheridan (1-1 AET, 3-5 PKs)
Peregrine 1-1 Iron United (2-1 AET)

The biggest and undoubtedly most fun round of the Cup! That said, the freakshows of David / Goliath showdowns are relatively restrained this year, no team winning by more than six. Cowards. In lieu of that, better instead to look for sides which struggled unexpectedly. Rochford, for one, who made desperately heavy weather taking out Twelvetrees of the Conference East by a mere 2-1. A toothless West Brinemouth had to win by the same score against fourth-tier Kensey Town, too, only it took until extra time to reach it, and the same story with Peregrine and Iron United, while minnows of the Second Division Autumnstone dominate South Laithland in their own backyard, winning 3-1. Morningstar’s demise is undoubtedly the most shambolic. If Jakob Carter was beginning to worry about his starting place in goal, he probably needn’t judging by Vicki Bassett’s showing in a 4-4 shitshow at home against fourth-tier bottom-feeders Long Lake. But it doesn’t end there. Bassett does get the chance to save a penalty, at least, but Morningstar’s guns go quiet, with Konrad Feist, Romeo Varrick and Ballista Meade all scoring from open play and missing (or being saved) from the spot. Meanwhile, Martella Jazz and Chardonnay Rangers have both enjoyed multiple seasons in the Premiership and scraped to the lows of the fourth tier in modern history. On history, this is one of the matches of the round. But Chardonnay are a slick, professional second-tier outfit now, trending upwards. Martella are not, having seemingly never recovered from the sale of Cheney Bittencourt all those years ago, and get swept 5-0.

Cypher Town 1-1 San Lomar Cooperative
Cypher Town win 5-2 on aggregate.

Vardalos evidently decides that now the lads need the rest more than a win. A strike partnership of Tihamer and Rahn proves cumbersome, but Vuesala Frey makes the difference with a dipping strike from midfield as the sides draw 1-1. She’s yet to start in the Premiership this season. Maybe the 30-year old Iskandrian deserves to.

Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Aries Chariots
AFC Corvistone 1-4 Crisisbless
Corvette Maulers 0-2 Crisisbless United
Coret Hawks 3-1 Cypher Town
Chenoworth Rovers 0-3 Newrook City
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 North Laithland
Chatswood 3-1 North Sabrefell
Brinemouth 2-3 Raven River
Vermillion Rage 0-5 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Treason 2-0 Sabrefell Moths
Starling 0-1 Southfell United
Stahlburg Rovers 1-4 Stahlburg City

After the ecstacy of beating Treason on home soil, City annihilate the Rovers 4-1 in what passes for a derby. City are three to the good by half-time, and when the Rovers do pull one back through the valiant Moxey, Nemeth goes right back up the other side to restore the margin less than 90 seconds later. Hey, at least the Rovers got their first goal in three games. The home fans already want Rickard out, not unreasonably wanting a permanent manager, but who would take on a job like this? Vermillion have largely stabilised under Cralt-Nirlo Fox after the memeing of last year, and in theory provide a firm test for a Sabrefell Athletic side that has been clinical rather than thrilling this season. Well, Athletic pass the test and flog Vermillion 5-0 even with 33-year old stand-in rightback Maeon Vlahos starting, Sipke Tarala with three goals and Xixi Ens with three assists, as the unheralded Kaya Naumoff yet again tames a troublesome midfield and Vlahos picks up an assist himself.

Treason recover from their chastening defeat against the Rovers by beating the Moths 2-0 in a punishing, muscular match between juggernauts, Aristide Metzger doing a lot with very little up front as Romano has a fatal off-day. River score an injury-time goal in each half to steal the points off Brinemouth as Cardoso quietly stars in midfield, Newrook have a feast day in a famine season by bashing Chenoworth Rovers 3-0 away and a resolute defensive performance for Southfell, backed by a trademark Erik Marlowe free kick that rips the net some way out of the posts, while a ten-man Chatswood beat a directionless North Sabrefell 3-1 as Rehan Garrett keeps up his claim as one of the signings of the season.

West Brinemouth 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Cranequin City 3-1 South Laithland
Parrhesia United 3-1 Goodfeather FC
Iron City 1-1 Leichhardt
AFC Serpentine 2-8 Belgrave
Brookford Otters 1-0 Ritter Town
Armstrong 2-1 Mantlegrove
Hackett 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Gonen's Bridge 1-4 Bishop
Peregrine 1-3 Creed United
Rochford 1-6 Diamondqueen
Chardonnay Rangers 0-5 Morningstar

Rochford appeared content to draw their way to victory, being on five straight with a combined score of 2-2. Half an hour in against Diamondqueen, they look on good form to keep that going, cancelling out a well-taken goal from Lyritzis with a well-taken (and somewhat rarer) goal from Rampart. Then Bronson and Creek force Diamondqueen back in front, before three more goals in the second half (including two contributions from the lesser-spotted Cornelian Stryger) sees the Diamonds make it 6-1. Six goals, incidentally, which was one more than Rochford had managed in the fifteen matches before now. Morningstar win by the same margin, guns firing into life as they waste Chardonnay 5-0. Even manager Erica Karling looks stunned as Trifon Draxler puts aside his abysmal form this season to lead by example, and with Kuijer actually fit for once, and the headstrong Roxanna Strong on target for once, it just all comes together. The most glory, though, goes to Belgrave. In fairness to Serpentine, Coraline Langbauer and Oiji Nanemoru score nice, aesthetically pleasing goals. To make it 5-1, then 5-2. Is the comeback on, as pretty much everyone says sarcastically in one form or another? No, Hamilton, Alexander and Sloan just make it 8-2 in the last 20 minutes.

Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Yuba United
Spartangrad 1-1 Brinemouth

The Moths hold out for a point against Yuba, going up 17 minutes in thanks to Townsend’s strike, before a red card to Fejzuli for a second yellow card within the first half-hour puts them up against it. They almost hold out the whole time… almost, until Yuba’s pressure tells in injury time for a late, but deserved, leveller. Spartangrad dominate the first half, but they’re unable to make their dominance count, Soederquist resolute in midfield, Bull unbeatable in goal. Brinemouth aren’t exactly leaving them the ball by design, though. Of course, they score first. 61 minutes in, Conjure swings in a lethal free kick… Thomas Uribe catches it with an elbow in an unnatural position, Kuznetsov snatches up the ball from the air and puts it on the spot without even waiting for the whistle (which takes a linesman’s input). The penalty scores, naturally. Spartangrad fight back with more fervour and Wceil, who had missed a sheaf of chances in the first half, is set up slickly by Moran to pull a shot across the charging Bull. Pablo Scotti comes off the bench to hit the post late on, but the Dockers should be happy with a point.

Aries Chariots 3-2 AFC Corvistone
Cranequin Wanderers 6-0 Corvette Maulers
Crisisbless 2-2 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless United 2-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Cypher Town 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Newrook City 3-1 Chatswood
North Laithland 0-7 Brinemouth
North Sabrefell 1-3 Vermillion Rage
Raven River 2-2 AFC Treason
Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Starling
Sabrefell Moths 4-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Southfell United 2-2 Stahlburg City

For all that the Spiders have been raised by Hestia Canaan’s haughty, austere brand of management, there’s little of her discipline on display after the opening half-hour. It was a pretty strong half-hour, too, with Han and Stokes almost getting on the scoresheet, Bull at full stretch for both attempts, but then Desya Kuznetsov rams through Anderson arse-over-tit on his way to ramming the ball past Fairweather. Then he scores again five minutes later, and again in the 89th minute, by which time four other Brinemouth names are on the scoresheet and North Laithland have lost all ability to resist, a porous and error-strewn defence, Fairweather managing just a single save all game. Cranequin Wanderers also have a good day, battering a beleagured Corvette 6-0. The Wanderers have seriously struggled to turn possession into meaningful results this season, but the Maulers have seriously struggled to do anything this season. The Wanderers have all the space in the world to return to their 1Div days, picking holes in the Maulers’ defence without pressure, Gisella Riaz having the time of her life rampaging down the centre, playing off the tall timber of Taani, wingers Kudelka and Loxton running rampart, Butcher everywhere… and there’s just no room for the Maulers to even test the vulnerable Kiva Sirleaf, or her defence. Aisha Salthouse had a hard job on her hands, but seems out of her depth.

Fitting in with the theme of the season, Athletic hosting Starling underwhelms. Starling dominate possession but can’t make anything out of open play, while Sipke Tarala is on target when he needs to be. Late on, though, fresh substitute Annika Netzach - to date struggling somewhat at this standard - gets tripped up on the edge of the box, and Liam Armstrong converts the penalty with consummate ease. It’s the least they deserved, but Athletic never seemed to even leave second gear. The Chariots outdo the Crows but with the caveat that Rowena Sierra, whose brace wins them the match, sprains an ankle celebrating the second with a somersault, while Southfell get a point against Stahlburg City in a terribly-officiated match where three of the goals should’ve been chalked off and one disallowed should have stood - for Amalie Gundersen, at least, the injustices evened out.

Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 Cranequin City
West Brinemouth 0-5 Parrhesia United
South Laithland 2-0 Iron City
Goodfeather FC 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Leichhardt 1-1 Brookford Otters
Belgrave 3-0 Armstrong
Ritter Town 2-0 Hackett
Mantlegrove 2-3 Gonen's Bridge
Crisisbless Athletic 3-3 Peregrine
Bishop 5-0 Rochford
Creed United 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Diamondqueen 6-1 Morningstar

Last week’s habits die hard. Yet again Diamondqueen smash someone 6-1, this time Morningstar (who endure a ten-goal swing into the red relative to last week), yet again their last opponents Rochford lose by five, this time to a Bishop side that doesn’t even allow them a shot on target, Stovar Krieven twice seen to yawn in goal. Parrhesia also win 5-0, finally starting to warm to their theme this season. Credit is due to B-listers Howlett and McEthinly, who both get on the scoresheet. Gulls striker Daskalakis, a Parrhesia youth product, is very charitable indeed to his former club as he misses two sitters - his form has evaporated since a strong 16 goals last season.

Corvette Maulers 0-4 Aries Chariots
Coret Hawks 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Chenoworth Harriers 0-3 Crisisbless
Chatswood 1-2 Crisisbless United
Brinemouth 3-1 Cypher Town
Vermillion Rage 0-1 Newrook City
AFC Treason 1-2 North Laithland
Starling 3-1 North Sabrefell
Stahlburg Rovers 4-2 Raven River
Stahlburg City 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Southfell United 1-4 Sabrefell Moths

River aren’t expecting much trouble from Stahlburg Rovers, but they have to treat these sorts of matches as the six-pointers they are. The defensive complacency shows. Donath and Cardoso give them a lead heading into half-time either side of Tristan Lovelock’s powerful strike, something that’s usually enough to break the Rovers’ back, before Donath is guilelessly hauled down in the box by centre-half Alanna Clemens at the first sight of Kesteren finding her. Step forward Michi Leonard to take the penalty… step forward Stefan Bolander, only recently restored to the starting lineup, to spring to his left and claw the ball away. Still, River seem to think it’s job done… it isn’t. Sloppy marking from a set piece lets Adele Rosborough pick out Kresp-Cinic at the back post to level, before Rosborough scores herself, then plays in Sujet Carsley to round Taliadoros and roll the ball into an empty net, sealing a 4-2 win.

Treason host North Laithland, fairly confident given that the Spiders were just destroyed 7-0 at home by Brinemouth. But rivalry matches are different, aren’t they? Just three minutes into the game, the Spiders have their opener, the graft and craft of captain Sabitzer (formerly of Chatswood, of course) makes an opening for Croxteth… which careens off the post, but Luke Roberts follows it in, slides and swings out a boot to hook it across the line. That really stirs the crowd, on both sides, and the Spiders press and harass mercilessly to keep their advantage. Croxteth finds the leftback Posipal on the half-hour, and the defender drives the ball low and hard beyond Clavel, rebounding off the inside of the post on its way in. Treason do pull one back when Kurt Ettori brutalises Jonsson just inside the box, John Fletcher lamping it past Fairweather, and Ulreich hits a post in injury time, but it’s a deserved win for the Spiders. Corvette are gashed again, 4-0 at home by the Chariots, with no answer to the midfield. The quality just isn’t there, but Aisha Salthouse can’t find the answers the way Strauss could, and the Brenecian is duly axed to little fanfare.

Parrhesia United 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Iron City 1-0 Cranequin City
AFC Serpentine 1-1 West Brinemouth
Brookford Otters 1-2 South Laithland
Armstrong 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Hackett 0-1 Leichhardt
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Belgrave
Peregrine 1-4 Ritter Town
Rochford 0-2 Mantlegrove
Chardonnay Rangers 5-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Morningstar 0-1 Bishop
Diamondqueen 1-1 Creed United

It’s not the Vermillion derby Parrhesia really want, but it’s the one they get. Unfortunately, they don’t rise to it, but perhaps Seneca Matthews’ Wanderers do, as the Saints have no answers to the directness of a thousand crosses in Saara’s vague direction. Two unselfish knockdowns, goals for the shrimpy Audioslavs Farrier and Kovaleski, and even a missed Pinnon penalty can’t stop the Wanderers taking the points. Ritter Town turn on the style that’s been all too absent this season, the veterans Fenchel, Ankergren and Crestwell stepping up in a 4-1 thrashing of Peregrine (the 1 being in second-half injury time), Chardonnay hammer a hapless Crisisbless Athletic 5-1, while an almost comically Bruno Hawke goal sees Leichhardt beat Hackett 1-0 away when Ingrid Auttenberg somehow beats a wandering Faraj Samara from outside the box with a lofted header.

SW Stahlberg 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Brinemouth 6-0 Qastyr

Missing Fejzuli, their energetic creative fulcrum, the Moths labour against Stahlberg With An E. Fortunately, the defenders get the job done, and Vicelich goes a step better by scoring after a mazy run, beating three people and dragging an honestly rather feeble shot past the wrong-footed ‘keeper. Lutz von Bergen causes a few heart attacks by hammering a shot against the crossbar in injury time, though. Brinemouth, meanwhile, annihilate Qastyr. It’s Qastyr’s first Champions Cup (proper) defeat, and, well, it’s done in serious style. Still, both sides will likely qualify, so what does it matter?

Aries Chariots 0-0 Coret Hawks
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
AFC Corvistone 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Chatswood
Crisisbless 1-0 Brinemouth
Crisisbless United 3-1 Vermillion Rage
Cypher Town 2-1 AFC Treason
Newrook City 0-2 Starling
North Laithland 4-3 Stahlburg Rovers
North Sabrefell 1-0 Stahlburg City
Raven River 2-2 Southfell United
Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Sabrefell Moths

Sparks fly all across the league. There’s one obvious elephant in the room, but why not sweat over it a while? People who tried to watch the other obvious blockbuster were disappointed, Crisisbless’ 1-0 win over Brinemouth definitely one for the purists, which is to say, for boring contrarians. Na’Kefir and Bull both had plenty to do, to be fair, but the game pivoted on a single perfect delivery from Valeri Longship and a single perfect downward header from Johanna Sutton, the homegrown winger deputising for the injured Coppinger. North Laithland against Stahlburg Rovers is a seven-goal thriller, one that exposes the failings of both goalkeepers this season - Fairweather, whose ambition in racing outside her box no longer matches her 32-year old legs, and Bolander, a fine shot-stopper at second-tier level whose confidence has been horribly shorn this season. Rickard opts for pace in attack and is rewarded with a confidence-restoring brace for Corona Sharpe and a free kick from Adele Rosborough, as well as a lively performance from young Eastfield striker Dulcina Radcliffe, but it’s not enough in the end as Griffin Kendall beats Bolander from an all-too-acute angle, slotting the injury-time winner home between his feet. Still, at least it’s… better, from the Rovers. Newrook’s failings are shown up by a Starling side that just has the measure of them, keeping them at arm’s length, first-half strikes from Dostalok and, a novelty, the classy holding midfielder Nova Kymeri proving the difference. Were the Rooks just overachieving these past few years? Certainly, the guns have fallen quiet for players like Farrell, Couturiaux, Hedlund and Hesketh, players for whom perhaps this was never their natural level. Cypher, meanwhile, pick up unexpected points after a spirited second-half performance overturns a 1-0 deficit against Treason, a crisp volley from Cressida Voeller and an ugly deflected hack from Coretta Rooke beating Clavel with their only two shots on target.

And nobody’s watching any of these matches because the Sabrefell derby is on! This season, many of the big-ticket games have sputtered out (can certain parallels be drawn to recent UICA performances?), but not this time - thankfully. Before the match, there’s plenty of talk going around, Tawny Shone criticising Athletic’s ‘stupid edgy red stadium’, new Athletic hire Orsolya Gere talking breezily about how the Moths claim to be Nephara’s club but can’t even lay claim to half their own city. Both sides are carrying injury knocks - the Moths missing Vol, who loves a derby, and Aedelbrandt, while Ojala and Farina are out for the hosts - but it’s the Moths’ stand-ins, Valencia Ashburner and Sigrid Eisenhauer, both homegrown products, who combine for the opener with a one-two that splits Athletic’s patchwork defence in half before the winger toebashes the ball into the top corner. Athletic fight back, but find themselves pinned to their own area throughout the first half, though Eisenhauer misses a clear chance to double the advantage. A heavy touch betrays her, and Gautier races over to claim the ball, before the Moths striker unceremoniously smashes into and over him in the follow-through. Both players wind up injured, Swepstone and Rohrabacher thrown into service, and the fist-fight over it results in a sheaf of cautions strewn about both sides. Athletic are given a lukewarm reception as they march down the tunnel, and come back up with a point to prove - and Sipke Tarala to prove it, an insolent flick over the top of the Moths’ defence from Oscar Coltrane scissor-kicked home in spectacular fashion, Griffin without a hope in hell of stopping it. Alistair Swepstone’s called into action almost immediately afterwards, the homegrown goalkeeper leaping to brilliantly claw a Fejzuli free kick out of the top corner, before the Moths think they really have retaken the lead with a smooth Romano finish… but fourth-string striker Alexis Rohrabacher was caught offside as she centred for her higher-profile partner. A careless mistake, and it’s the last real sniff of the game for the Moths, as the Rams dominate the remaining half-hour. It takes until injury time for a winner that seems inevitable, Coltrane finding Gere unmarked and in space on the edge of the box, the Pasargan not needing to be asked twice. She fired and Griffin reacted smartly to elbow-drop the strike… but the rebound fell kindly, and Gere lofted it over him into the empty net for the winner.

Vermillion Wanderers 0-2 Iron City
Parrhesia United 5-1 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin City 1-0 Brookford Otters
West Brinemouth 0-1 Armstrong
South Laithland 1-1 Hackett
Goodfeather FC 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Leichhardt 2-0 Peregrine
Belgrave 0-0 Rochford
Ritter Town 2-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Mantlegrove 2-0 Morningstar
Crisisbless Athletic 2-3 Diamondqueen
Bishop 1-1 Creed United

Ritter have struggled somewhat at the outset of this season, but Morten Crestwell’s brace sees off Chardonnay Rangers. It’s their third straight win, or if you’d rather, their fourth win and third clean sheet in five games - either way, it helps them get away from the broken glass at the bottom. The turnaround in form of enigmatic goalkeeper Anna St. Preux has naturally helped. Parrhesia turn on the switch again and smash Serpentine 5-1 - why can’t they do this more often? God knows they have the talent. Adalheid Metzelder, enigmatic as ever, rests her entire first-choice back four against Rochford at home for the stated reason that “there was no point having them sweat over what was gonna be a clean sheet anyway.” Unfortunately for Belgrave, they can’t beat Georgia Petrie either in a truly dire stalemate.

The Strongest 1-8 Cypher Town
Diamondqueen 1-1 FC Seierstad (2-1 AET)
Vermillion Rage 0-3 Stahlburg Rovers
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Mantlegrove
North Sabrefell 1-5 Boltcroft Thorns
Greygate 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Chatswood 3-3 Crisisbless (5-3 AET)
Hackett 1-1 Sheridan (1-1 AET, 3-0 PKs)
Peregrine 1-0 AFC Serpentine
AFC Shale 1-3 Southfell United
Locksley 2-4 West Hook
Starling 2-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Newrook City 0-1 Raven River
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
East Laithland Harriers 0-2 Gonen's Bridge
Stahlburg City 0-1 Goodfeather FC
West Brinemouth 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
AFC Treason 5-1 Autumnstone
Aries Chariots 0-1 AFC Corvistone
North Laithland 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Coret Rovers 1-3 Ritter Town
Belgrave 6-2 Corinthians No Longer
Brinemouth 4-0 Pillars of Southfell
Parrhesia United 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Riverkey 2-1 Extreme Hills
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Long Lake
Brindleton 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic (2-2 AET, 4-3 PKs)
Stamper Road 1-4 Crisisbless United
Barossia United 0-2 Rochford
Cranequin City 0-1 Brookford Otters
Ballardine FC 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Sabrefell Moths 1-2 Coret Hawks

The Premiership sides wade in with aplomb. Andrea Vardalos’ policy of making the most of easier games in different competitions continues as a full-strength Cypher annihilate the Strongest 8-1 away, powerhouse Pasargan striker Borbas Tihamer with his first four goals of the season. Vermillion should be seeing the Cup as a safe shot at silverware, especially at home against Stahlburg Rovers… but perhaps this is the greatest scalp of all, as the rejuvenated and much-changed Rovers win easily, 3-0. The strike partnership of the grizzled Kaskanis and the easy-gliding Radcliffe is particularly effective, and 19-year old goalkeeper Romola Carolan excels in a game that could’ve swung the other way had it not been for her double save point-blank against Porter. Big names topple, of course - the weary Moths get passed circles around by the determined Hawks, who win 2-1, while a breathless 3-3 draw in 90 minutes between Chatswood and Crisisbless swings on a penalty in the first minute of extra time. It’s Crisisbless’, and at the feet of the venerable Jevdjevic-Hadsic, already with two goals tonight, but 31-year old Chatswood goalkeeper Baltasar Gensch guesses the panenka is coming and stands in place to catch it nonchalantly. After a shambles like that, no wonder Vestal and Conleth finish the job in the second half of extra time. The Chariots, Maulers, Newrook and Cranequin Wanderers are also beaten by Premiership opposition. Parrhesia underline their Premiership credentials with an uncharacteristically reserved, professional performance, passing Chenoworth Harriers off the pitch before a patient team effort gives Sigrun Barota the only goal of the game, while Stahlburg City slip up at home to Goodfeather and bullying striker Gabriel Prosper. North Sabrefell, though, are the undoubted shame of the round. Boltcroft Thorns may be struggling at the wrong end of the fucking Second Division, but a weak team selection from Gareth Blackwood underestimates them hugely. But to lose 5-1 at home?! It’s not a good day for fringe players like Lukas Sparr, Esther Abner and Alexis Stinnett. In lower-league tussles, Belgrave deserve a mention for smashing the ex-Corinthians 6-2, and Sheridan deserve a mention for taking Hackett to penalties and then sending all three of theirs over the bar. And, well, Cups are made for coincidences, but this one takes some beating. Five years ago, in the same round, Brindleton came to Athletic, took them to penalties (1-1 after 90 minutes and 3-3 AET thanks to a Col Forsyth brace either side of now-retired journeywoman Diana Blueford’s strike) and won. Athletic went on to finish second that season; Brindleton were relegated from the Second Division, though Col Forsyth (since of East Laithland Harriers and Esprit Tarantaise of Acronius, presently in Ethane with Deloitte) has arguably been dining off that game ever since. Now Brindleton host Athletic, each team flying close to the top of their respective leagues. In Brindleton’s case, that’s now the Third Division. And, yes, it’s 2-2 after 90 minutes, then extra time… and then, again, Brindleton win on penalties.

Chenoworth Rovers 3-1 Aries Chariots
Chenoworth Harriers 0-2 Coret Hawks
Chatswood 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Brinemouth 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Vermillion Rage 5-1 Cranequin Wanderers
AFC Treason 1-1 Crisisbless
Starling 3-2 Crisisbless United
Stahlburg Rovers 1-1 Cypher Town
Stahlburg City 1-0 Newrook City
Southfell United 2-0 North Laithland
Sabrefell Moths 4-1 North Sabrefell
Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 Raven River

Oh, dear. The chalk crushes the cheese, as Cranequin pay Vermillion a visit. The Wanderers have struggled to deal with pace all season long, and, well, Vermillion are all about pace. The Judas wingers of Breremond and Porter run rampant down the flanks, a situation worsened by the injury of Tristan Polenz, with 32-year old fullbacks Pietersen and Killanen just not up to the task. Breremond scores first with a deft, unmarked header at the far post when Aysu Damjana picks him out masterfully with a cross, but the Wanderers at least equalise with… a deft, unmarked header at the far post from Taani when Kudelka picks her out masterfully with a free kick. But it’s the last joy Cranequin will see, as Vermillion crush them in the second half with four unanswered goals. Treason and Crisisbless cancel each other out in an energetic match where Mikkel Jonsson and Moira Woakes both fall quiet, leaving it up to Big Lads Up Top Ruhl and Fletcher to do the damage with towering headers. Corvistone’s quiet achievement this season shouldn’t go unnoticed, as they give the Dockers the run-around. The Crows like to play pretty football, but remember, Hadrian Belfast was the best defender in the world in his playing days, and has no trouble putting energetic teenager Lucy Almwood out at leftback with the sole mission of silencing Bryger Tidesson by any means necessary. It works, but on the other wing, Deventer draws a penalty that Kuznetsov blasts past Kovacic anyway. But the Crows aren’t discouraged - just three minutes later, beloved heroine Krista Morham flights a shot from distance past Bull when the burly Brinemouth stopper is a little off his line, before setting up Afolayan in first-half injury-time to hammer home the eventual winner. Brinemouth press hard to get back into the game in the second half, but unapologetically defensive substitutions in playmaker Pangallo off for the hatchet-man Lekea in midfield and natural centre-half Olexander Green on at rightback for the tiring Muhren kill off the game.

At the bottom, a desperate struggle between Stahlburg Rovers and Cypher Town sees the former, hosting, pick up their first draw of the season. The Rovers promote Cup heroes Carolan, Sesay and Kaskanis, and look a little more solid throughout the line, though Cypher can’t put them under too much pressure. Teenager goalkeeper Carolan does well under pressure, though her stocky 5’7” frame makes her look like something of a futsal goalkeeper, and perhaps a taller one could have done more about a McCosgraigh strike that didn’t quite hit the bottom corner… but more importantly, the Rovers don’t fold at the first sign of trouble. 31-year old Annegret Bellinghausen doesn’t do a whole lot on the right wing, but she manages to find Moxey on the left edge of the penalty area with a huge, pinpoint switch, and Moxey drills it across the face of goal… and veteran forward Kaskanis is there to prod home his first league goal of the season. Oh, and to cap it off, the Maulers hire their new manager - Malta Falconer, who has no experience at this level and has mostly experienced relegation in the second tier. Still, she managed one great escape with Extreme Hills, there, before succumbing the next season; can she do the same here?

AFC Serpentine 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Brookford Otters 2-0 Iron City
Armstrong 3-1 Parrhesia United
Hackett 0-0 Cranequin City
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 West Brinemouth
Peregrine 0-3 South Laithland
Rochford 0-4 Goodfeather FC
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Leichhardt
Morningstar 1-1 Belgrave
Diamondqueen 2-0 Ritter Town
Creed United 2-1 Mantlegrove
Bishop 2-0 Crisisbless Athletic

Goodfeather stomp Rochford 4-0, denying them the chance at a second win of the season with almost contemptuous ease. It’s guillotine time for Perspective Merson, the week of her 51st birthday. Almost immediately, Rochford are on the phone to Augustine Houghton, the dignified elder statesman parachuting in soon after. It’s… well, it’s some kind of move! Houghton was a sharp operator at this level… for a long time. But now? Kaj Aurora has some complaints to the media, accusing them of always being on her back when Parrhesia stumble and never mentioning when they play well. They proceed to play appallingly against Armstrong and lose 3-1. What can you do? Serpentine claw more precious points at the bottom, thanks in part to a rare goal from Garrett Stijnen and, in part, to Iyoas Raskerin’s fearless save on the line. With his hand. But Ellen Wheelock guesses right (well, left, but, r- correctly.) and turns Catric Pinnon’s penalty around the post. Vermillion Wanderers’ designated penalty-taker has now missed all three spot-kicks this season; one suspects he won’t be taking the rest, despite his excellence in all other areas, while Raskerin goes down the tunnel a hero.

Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Eastweald
Tanrisal 4-2 Brinemouth

Dead rubbers, with both groups having been sealed at this stage (bar Globe Cup entry, anyway). The Moths handle Eastweald professionally, anyway, a clean sheet burnished by Swansea Reach’s first goal at this level, while a devil-may-care Brinemouth get turned over 4-2 by a Tani side eager to get some pride. The Dockers cling on, equalising twice in the first half and threatening constantly, before they slip away in the second.

Group D                          Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts   Yub  SfM  Ewd  SWS
1 Yuba United COM 6 4 2 0 10 3 +7 14 — 2–1 0–0 3–0
2 Sabrefell Moths NPH 6 4 1 1 8 4 +4 13 1–1 — 1–0 2–0

3 Eastweald COS 6 1 1 4 3 5 −2 4 0–1 1–2 — 2–0
4 SW Stahlberg STL 6 1 0 5 2 11 −9 3 1–3 0–1 1–0 —
Group H                          Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts   Qst  Brm  Tan  Spg
1 Qastyr QUS 6 3 2 1 7 9 −2 11 — 1–0 2–0 1–0
2 Brinemouth NPH 6 3 1 2 16 8 +8 10 6–0 — 3–1 4–1

3 Tanrısal PAS 6 2 2 2 12 11 +1 8 2–2 4–2 — 1–1
4 Spartangrad EUR 6 0 3 3 5 12 −7 3 1–1 1–1 1–4 —

Both sides qualify in second - the Moths fairly breezily, Brinemouth somewhat more narrowly, though with an emphatic 16 goals scored.

Group E                          Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts   Rzl  ATr  SDI  WhR
1 Rozelle BRE 6 6 0 0 13 4 +9 18 — 2–1 3–1 2–1
2 AFC Treason NPH 6 3 1 2 11 7 +4 10 1–2 — 3–1 1–1

3 San Diego Iguanas COM 6 1 1 4 5 11 −6 4 0–2 0–1 — 2–2
4 Westhold Royals MRN 6 0 2 4 5 12 −7 2 0–2 1–4 0–1 —
Group K                          Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts   SfA  Kfl  LNA  RaU
1 Sabrefell Athletic NPH 6 4 2 0 10 4 +6 14 — 2–2 2–1 2–0
2 Koflir QUS 6 2 2 2 9 7 +2 8 0–1 — 2–3 2–0

3 La Nueva Avenida FFD 6 2 1 3 8 12 −4 7 0–2 1–1 — 2–1
4 Ramusok United COS 6 1 1 4 6 10 −4 4 1–1 0–2 4–1 —

Treason manage one of those ‘best-of-the-rest’ performances. Rozelle win all their games, but Treason take three wins from the remaining four to cruise through in second, an emphatic 4-1 win in Westhold underlining their progress. Sabrefell Athletic also qualify fairly easily, going unbeaten in a tough group, even taking a 2-0 win from war-torn Farfadillis.

Group G                          Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts   CqW  MkU  Mrv  Mlb
1 Cranequin Wanderers NPH 6 4 0 2 8 3 +5 12 — 2–1 0–1 2–0
2 Makosile United VIL 6 3 1 2 10 5 +5 10* 0–1 — 3–1 3–0

3 Moresville FC TAE 6 3 1 2 8 7 +1 10* 1–0 1–1 — 4–2
4 Millbrook ETN 6 1 0 5 3 14 −11 3 0–3 0–2 1–0 —
* Makosile United ahead of Moresville FC on head-to-head points

The NFA voted to break with long-standing tradition and re-enter the SBCC for the first time in… roughly 20 years. Cranequin duly came first, though the other two failed to make it as far as the tournament proper. The Wanderers dropped both games against Taeshani Moresville 1-0, but beat the rest home and away, using it as a chance to blood young goalkeeper Konrad Matheny. The 20-year old’s stood up to the challenge admirably, conceding just three goals throughout.

Cypher Town 5-2 Navel FC

Yet again, Andrea Vardalos goes for it against foreign opposition. Tihamer and Rooke are a spicy partnership up front, Madine and Voeller solid and mobile in midfield. The result is a 5-2 hammering that should restore flagging spirits - those of players, as much as fans.

Aries Chariots 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Chatswood
Coret Hawks 0-2 Brinemouth
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Vermillion Rage
AFC Corvistone 1-2 AFC Treason
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Starling
Crisisbless 3-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Crisisbless United 0-1 Stahlburg City
Cypher Town 1-1 Southfell United
Newrook City 2-1 Sabrefell Moths
North Laithland 0-3 Sabrefell Athletic
North Sabrefell 2-1 Raven River

It’s Apotheosis Kaskanis’ 33rd birthday today! Some present he gets, though. Matthew Rickard has him start alone up front against Crisisbless, packing the midfield in the time-honoured white flag formation, actual goal threats Carsley and Sharpe watching mournfully from the bench as Romola Carolan is helpless to stop Crisisbless strolling to a 3-0 win, with the now-creaking Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic with his own Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic tribute act for a couple of effortless assists, brutalist striker Kurtis Laiota on the receiving end of both. Meanwhile, there’s a sense of injustice in Cypher. With Southfell holding a 1-0 lead, Nagy slips a defence-splitting pass that Erik Marlowe seizes upon… well, almost. In his mad tunnel vision to get to the ball, he barely seems to register Ruo Xiaolan running out for the same pass, and trips over her face with the full force of his boot. The way Ruo twitches is… concerning, though she’s later cleared of anything worse than a concussion in hospital. Marlowe looks almost remorseful when he’s sent off. Almost. But the need for vengeance, and the openings against ten men, get Cypher back into the game. It’s Tripodi who eventually gets them level, but they just run out of time by the end.

Newrook show they at least still have teeth. Today’s Jezdimir Ocokoljic is a shadow of the 72 vintage, but he shows a glimpse of that incredible first year, curling a first-time strike around Griffin and both centre-halves with the outside of his left boot, before setting up the aging Avila Wardenier - once, of course, of Athletic - for the second. The Moths scrape one back late on to make things interesting, but Karena Hesketh rolls back a year or two and keeps the rest at bay. Cranequin outpass Starling with Taani providing that bit of Plan B directness, while something of a … a central Sabrefell derby plays out between the Bohemians and River. It’s, uh, a pretty lukewarm affair. Still, River have drawn fully half their games coming into the match, and threaten to extend that before typically swashbuckling Farfish rightback Chuy Villaverde goes wandering to let Laramee score a late winner. Kia Anders’ position is starting to be under threat...

Vermillion Wanderers 3-2 Brookford Otters
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Armstrong
Iron City 3-1 Hackett
Parrhesia United 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Cranequin City 2-1 Peregrine
West Brinemouth 0-1 Rochford
South Laithland 0-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Morningstar
Leichhardt 1-3 Diamondqueen
Belgrave 0-2 Creed United
Ritter Town 1-1 Bishop
Mantlegrove 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic

Hackett’s form has evaporated recently, and the preseason relegation favourites look sloppy and jaded in a 3-1 defeat to Iron City. The winless run has coincided with goalless streaks for Gallan and Neury but also, more subtly, an injury to midfield lynchpin Hecate Dransfeld - she, at least, makes a return off the bench for the last 20 minutes, to scattered away applause. Morningstar probably wish they never let her go, and they’re abject in 1-0 defeat to a comfortable Goodfeather. Vermillion Wanderers are looking over their shoulders - not counting the derby (and form going out the window etc) they’ve lost three in a row, without scoring in four - but Istria Saara picks a really good time to find her shooting boots, the 21-year old Mrii scoring first and last in a 3-2 nailbiter against the streaky Otters that puts some distance between them and the drop.

Navel FC 1-0 Cypher Town
Cypher Town win 5-3 on aggregate.

Vardalos spares some of her starters the punishing trip to the Whirl Islands, though a handful of key players like Tripodi, Madine and Brind make the move over to ensure some solidity. All they need to do is, uhm, not lose by four. They lose by one. They’ll take it. It’s Rainer Burgnich’s warm-up for the Rams away next match...

Chatswood 2-0 Aries Chariots
Brinemouth 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Vermillion Rage 3-1 Chenoworth Rovers
AFC Treason 3-0 Coret Hawks
Starling 2-2 Corvette Maulers
Stahlburg Rovers 0-0 AFC Corvistone
Stahlburg City 2-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Southfell United 1-1 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Crisisbless United
Sabrefell Athletic 0-1 Cypher Town
Raven River 1-0 Newrook City
North Sabrefell 2-1 North Laithland

Cypher are not a good side. One of Cypher’s best players is Ruo Xiaolan, their goalkeeper. Ruo’s still concussed after getting annihilated by Marlowe, though, so instead Cypher have a guy called Rainer Burgnich, formerly of Crossroads Town, fresh off a stint in Acronius, who turns 34 in four days and is enjoying his first ever Premiership start. Against the Rams. Great! So naturally, narrative klaxons wailing, the plodding journeyman makes nine saves, a couple of them spectacular, plucks every cross out of the air - Ruo’s main weakness - and keeps a clean sheet, while at the other end, rightback Thorn Tristram bombs on, Karo Vanstrattan finds him with a raking cross-field pass and the defender hacks it unceremoniously past the wrong-footed Gautier, who can’t shift his weight across fast enough to even get to ground. Treason show the Hawks some humility - just a week after Coret was beaten 2-0 by Brinemouth, they’re hammered 3-0 in the west, an aging side having no answers to the Stags’ physicality. For all the Hawks’ big money, their central defence is a guy who turns 35 this season and a guy they literally got from the Legaskari, while Ivana Henderson doesn’t quite have the lethal finish of a natural Globe Cup striker. All in all, they just can’t land a glove on their opponents.

Starling, stunningly, drop two points against Corvette, the Maulers extending a relative hot streak to three straight draws that dates back to their new manager’s arrival thanks to a late far-post header from Aristomenios Karnezis. Meanwhile in Stahlburg, not only do the Rovers get an entire point against Corvistone (!!) thanks to a Carolan clean sheet and a whole lot of dross, but Stahlburg City choke on a 2-0 half-time lead to lose 3-2 to the Wanderers, Kresimir Brujah’s third red card of the season being a significant factor. As, to be fair, was the resulting newfound freedom of Shona Butcher, whose inconsistency at this level has been a thorn in Cranequin’s side - but she made the difference today, rewarding the faith.

Armstrong 2-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Hackett 1-1 Brookford Otters
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Peregrine 6-2 Iron City
Rochford 2-3 Parrhesia United
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Cranequin City
Morningstar 1-1 West Brinemouth
Diamondqueen 0-0 South Laithland
Creed United 0-0 Goodfeather FC
Bishop 1-1 Leichhardt
Crisisbless Athletic 5-3 Belgrave
Mantlegrove 1-0 Ritter Town

A good day for some of the bottom-feeders, a frustrating day for others. Crisisbless Athletic break a string of defeats in style, an insane end-to-end 3-3 game at half-time giving way to a composed, controlled second-half showing against Belgrave, Kite picking them off on the counter before Damian Keogh celebrates his 36th birthday by coming off the bench to score the clincher for 5-3. Peregrine, too, earn some good news as they blow Iron away 6-2, contributing six different names to the scoresheet. Or five, given that one’s a shambolic own goal from Yulia Heidt. But for Morningstar, it’s a missed opportunity in a game they really needed to win against struggling West Brinemouth - instead, a late penalty levels the scores - while Rochford find themselves having scored twice for the only time this season… before folding to a 3-2 loss against Parrhesia anyway. Modest 1-0 wins for overachieving Mantlegrove and Serpentine also help solidify their distance from the relegation dogfight. Hackett’s winless run continues, though a draw against Brookford isn’t so bad - still, their fantastic early form seems a flash in the pan now.
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Aries Chariots 1-2 Brinemouth
Chatswood 2-2 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Harriers 1-2 AFC Treason
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 Starling
Coret Hawks 3-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Stahlburg City
AFC Corvistone 2-0 Southfell United
Cranequin Wanderers 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 1-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless United 2-2 Raven River
Cypher Town 1-1 North Sabrefell
Newrook City 0-0 North Laithland

The top two face off in a crunch fixture, Athletic paying the Heelers a visit. Athletic haven’t quite been the free-flowing attacking unit people expected, scoring the fewest of the top six but by a distance having the best defence in the league. But here, they just can’t get started, and 18 minutes in, Crisisbless are ahead. Ruhl, doing the hard yards with his back to goal, bulldozes through Farina before turning Campbell and hacking back across goal, and Moira Woakes breezes in at subtle lightning pace to roll leisurely past Gautier. It proves the only goal of the game, Crisisbless stifling… the entire pitch, really, and Na’Kefir more than equal to the dribs and drabs that come his way. Athletic’s lead is cut down to one. A late winner from Bryger Tidesson, a one-man army for Brinemouth against Aries on a day when most of the rest stutter, keeps the Dockers in third, with the Moths crushing the Wanderers to leapfrog Treason on goal diference into 4th, the Stags doing what they have to against the Harriers. Coret beat Stahlburg Rovers to stay in the CC chase, despite recent chastening defeats, with Starling rounding out the top seven, beating the 8th-placed Rovers 1-0 to extend their lead to four points.

The relegation picture has drastically narrowed. The Harriers, River, Chatswood and Cranequin all sit on 23 points, ranging 18th through 21st. They’re six points away from a bloc of teams on 29 points above (notably including an underachieving Newrook City), and five points above 22nd-place Cypher Town, who draw North Sabrefell. The Maulers and Stahlburg Rovers, both defeated, are well adrift already, so it looks like five teams fighting over 1.5 places. And that might be generous to Cypher, whose 1-1 hard-won draw against North Sabrefell feels like a good result, but at the same time a loss of two more winnable points.

Vermillion Wanderers 2-3 Hackett
Armstrong 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Brookford Otters 4-0 Peregrine
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Rochford
Iron City 2-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Parrhesia United 5-1 Morningstar
Cranequin City 0-3 Diamondqueen
West Brinemouth 1-1 Creed United
South Laithland 1-0 Bishop
Goodfeather FC 1-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Leichhardt 0-1 Mantlegrove
Belgrave 1-1 Ritter Town

For all Parrhesia’s mercurial nature, they’re currently at the top after crushing Morningstar 5-1 under their heel. With Stars third-last, Erica Karling’s axed from her first senior job. Cranequin City find themselves on the receiving end of a 3-0 smashing from Diamondqueen and slip to second - for Creed, some way behind, their ninth draw of the season against West Brinemouth illustrates the reason they’re slipping away, while South Laithland’s win over Bishop keeps them fourth. Conceivably, the entire top half could find themselves promoted by the end. The margins are equally slim at the bottom, but Crisisbless Athletic’s 3-1 win over Goodfeather at least lifts them over the Gulls, who are 21st with Morningstar a place behind on goal difference. At the foot of the table, in the 78th minute for Rochford against Serpentine, Wynona Rampart runs onto a ball from Forrest, almost blows it with a heavy first touch before recovering by taking the second to chip over an onrushing Ellen Wheelock, cheering wildly. It’s the striker’s third goal in 20 appearances. To be fair, the entire rest of the team only has seven between them. They and Peregrine (crushed 4-0 by the ever-mercurial Brookford) are slipping adrift, but at least in Markus Kaufmann Peregrine have a goalscorer who has as many goals as, well, Rochford.

Southriver 1-0 Stonegrave
Sheridan 1-0 Locksley
Alliance Barossia 1-1 Ballardine FC
Barossia United 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
West Hook 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
Extreme Hills 4-0 Crossroads Town
Coret Rovers 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
The Strongest 2-1 Riverkey
Greygate 1-0 AFC Shale
Aries Solitaire 2-1 The Hanged Man
Falston United 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Boltcroft Thorns 4-0 Autumnstone
Locksley 1-3 Southriver
Ballardine FC 2-0 Stonegrave
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Sheridan
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Alliance Barossia
Crossroads Town 2-6 Barossia United
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 West Hook
Riverkey 1-1 Extreme Hills
AFC Shale 5-1 Coret Rovers
The Hanged Man 1-4 The Strongest
Dartmouth Terriers 3-1 Greygate
Autumnstone 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Boltcroft Thorns 4-3 Falston United
Southriver 1-0 Ballardine FC
Locksley 2-2 Corinthians No Longer
Stonegrave 3-1 East Laithland Harriers
Sheridan 1-2 Crossroads Town
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Barossia United 0-3 Riverkey
West Hook 0-0 AFC Shale
Extreme Hills 1-1 The Hanged Man
Coret Rovers 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
The Strongest 2-1 Autumnstone
Greygate 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Falston United
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Southriver
East Laithland Harriers 0-3 Ballardine FC
Crossroads Town 2-2 Locksley
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Stonegrave
Riverkey 1-0 Sheridan
AFC Shale 0-0 Alliance Barossia
The Hanged Man 2-0 Barossia United
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 West Hook
Autumnstone 2-1 Extreme Hills
Boltcroft Thorns 4-3 Coret Rovers
Falston United 1-1 The Strongest
Aries Solitaire 1-3 Greygate
Southriver 3-2 East Laithland Harriers
Corinthians No Longer 6-1 Crossroads Town
Ballardine FC 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
Locksley 0-0 Riverkey
Stonegrave 1-1 AFC Shale
Sheridan 1-1 The Hanged Man
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Barossia United 1-2 Autumnstone
West Hook 5-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Extreme Hills 0-2 Falston United
Coret Rovers 2-1 Aries Solitaire
The Strongest 3-3 Greygate
Crossroads Town 0-4 Southriver
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
Riverkey 3-1 Corinthians No Longer
AFC Shale 2-0 Ballardine FC
The Hanged Man 0-2 Locksley
Dartmouth Terriers 3-0 Stonegrave
Autumnstone 0-1 Sheridan
Boltcroft Thorns 1-2 Alliance Barossia
Falston United 1-2 Barossia United
Aries Solitaire 2-2 West Hook
Greygate 1-1 Extreme Hills
The Strongest 6-1 Coret Rovers
Southriver 1-2 Pillars of Southfell
Crossroads Town 2-2 Riverkey
East Laithland Harriers 0-2 AFC Shale
Corinthians No Longer 2-0 The Hanged Man
Ballardine FC 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Locksley 2-1 Autumnstone
Stonegrave 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Sheridan 2-0 Falston United
Alliance Barossia 1-4 Aries Solitaire
Barossia United 1-0 Greygate
West Hook 1-3 The Strongest
Extreme Hills 1-1 Coret Rovers
Riverkey 1-0 Southriver
AFC Shale 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
The Hanged Man 1-0 Crossroads Town
Dartmouth Terriers 3-1 East Laithland Harriers
Autumnstone 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Boltcroft Thorns 0-0 Ballardine FC
Falston United 3-1 Locksley
Aries Solitaire 2-0 Stonegrave
Greygate 2-1 Sheridan
The Strongest 3-2 Alliance Barossia
Coret Rovers 0-0 Barossia United
Extreme Hills 0-0 West Hook
Southriver 1-0 AFC Shale
Riverkey 0-0 The Hanged Man
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Crossroads Town 1-1 Autumnstone
East Laithland Harriers 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Falston United
Ballardine FC 0-3 Aries Solitaire
Locksley 4-3 Greygate
Stonegrave 1-1 The Strongest
Sheridan 2-2 Coret Rovers
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Extreme Hills
Barossia United 1-1 West Hook
The Hanged Man 0-0 Southriver
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 AFC Shale
Autumnstone 4-4 Riverkey
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
Falston United 1-1 Crossroads Town
Aries Solitaire 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Greygate 2-3 Corinthians No Longer
The Strongest 1-2 Ballardine FC
Coret Rovers 0-2 Locksley
Extreme Hills 2-1 Stonegrave
West Hook 0-0 Sheridan
Barossia United 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Southriver 1-3 Dartmouth Terriers
The Hanged Man 1-1 Autumnstone
AFC Shale 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Riverkey 2-2 Falston United
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Crossroads Town 1-2 Greygate
East Laithland Harriers 3-1 The Strongest
Corinthians No Longer 3-4 Coret Rovers
Ballardine FC 2-3 Extreme Hills
Locksley 4-2 West Hook
Stonegrave 1-1 Barossia United
Sheridan 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 Brunyard FC
Strephonage 2-2 Martella Jazz
Brindleton 2-0 Sirencall FC
Sutcroft 2-2 Brokenarch
Fully Sick XI 2-1 Falston Town
Kommissar 2-0 South Parrhesia
Lazuli Diamonds 5-0 Hartford Glade
Ox River United 2-0 Kensey Town
Iron United 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
FC Seierstad 0-1 Mapleford
Rushe United 0-2 Long Lake
Rochford Pilgrims 1-3 Stamper Road
Martella Jazz 2-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Sirencall FC 2-0 Brunyard FC
Brokenarch 1-1 Strephonage
Falston Town 0-3 Brindleton
South Parrhesia 4-0 Sutcroft
Hartford Glade 1-1 Fully Sick XI
Kensey Town 1-1 Kommissar
Gosmouth Swans 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Mapleford 1-1 Ox River United
Long Lake 1-0 Iron United
Stamper Road 2-2 FC Seierstad
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Rushe United
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Sirencall FC
Martella Jazz 0-5 Brokenarch
Brunyard FC 0-3 Falston Town
Strephonage 1-1 South Parrhesia
Brindleton 3-1 Hartford Glade
Sutcroft 1-2 Kensey Town
Fully Sick XI 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Kommissar 3-0 Mapleford
Lazuli Diamonds 2-0 Long Lake
Ox River United 3-1 Stamper Road
Iron United 1-3 Rochford Pilgrims
FC Seierstad 3-0 Rushe United
Brokenarch 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Falston Town 5-2 Sirencall FC
South Parrhesia 1-2 Martella Jazz
Hartford Glade 1-0 Brunyard FC
Kensey Town 4-2 Strephonage
Gosmouth Swans 0-2 Brindleton
Mapleford 1-0 Sutcroft
Long Lake 2-2 Fully Sick XI
Stamper Road 0-4 Kommissar
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Rushe United 0-1 Ox River United
FC Seierstad 2-1 Iron United
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 Falston Town
Brokenarch 1-0 South Parrhesia
Sirencall FC 2-4 Hartford Glade
Martella Jazz 3-1 Kensey Town
Brunyard FC 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Strephonage 2-0 Mapleford
Brindleton 3-0 Long Lake
Sutcroft 4-1 Stamper Road
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Kommissar 3-1 Rushe United
Lazuli Diamonds 4-0 FC Seierstad
Ox River United 1-0 Iron United
South Parrhesia 1-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Hartford Glade 0-1 Falston Town
Kensey Town 2-2 Brokenarch
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Sirencall FC
Mapleford 1-4 Martella Jazz
Long Lake 0-1 Brunyard FC
Stamper Road 2-3 Strephonage
Rochford Pilgrims 0-2 Brindleton
Rushe United 3-2 Sutcroft
FC Seierstad 1-2 Fully Sick XI
Iron United 1-2 Kommissar
Ox River United 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Sutcroft Athletic 1-2 Hartford Glade
South Parrhesia 1-3 Kensey Town
Falston Town 1-4 Gosmouth Swans
Brokenarch 2-0 Mapleford
Sirencall FC 2-1 Long Lake
Martella Jazz 2-5 Stamper Road
Brunyard FC 0-3 Rochford Pilgrims
Strephonage 4-0 Rushe United
Brindleton 5-2 FC Seierstad
Sutcroft 1-1 Iron United
Fully Sick XI 0-2 Ox River United
Kommissar 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Kensey Town 4-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Hartford Glade
Mapleford 4-2 South Parrhesia
Long Lake 0-1 Falston Town
Stamper Road 1-1 Brokenarch
Rochford Pilgrims 1-2 Sirencall FC
Rushe United 3-8 Martella Jazz
FC Seierstad 1-2 Brunyard FC
Iron United 1-0 Strephonage
Ox River United 0-1 Brindleton
Lazuli Diamonds 2-1 Sutcroft
Kommissar 2-1 Fully Sick XI
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Kensey Town 0-3 Mapleford
Hartford Glade 0-1 Long Lake
South Parrhesia 4-0 Stamper Road
Falston Town 3-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Brokenarch 4-0 Rushe United
Sirencall FC 0-0 FC Seierstad
Martella Jazz 1-0 Iron United
Brunyard FC 2-3 Ox River United
Strephonage 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Brindleton 0-3 Kommissar
Sutcroft 1-3 Fully Sick XI
Mapleford 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Long Lake 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Stamper Road 1-3 Kensey Town
Rochford Pilgrims 2-0 Hartford Glade
Rushe United 1-3 South Parrhesia
FC Seierstad 2-2 Falston Town
Iron United 0-1 Brokenarch
Ox River United 1-2 Sirencall FC
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Martella Jazz
Kommissar 2-2 Brunyard FC
Fully Sick XI 1-1 Strephonage
Sutcroft 1-1 Brindleton
Sutcroft Athletic 3-2 Long Lake
Mapleford 2-1 Stamper Road
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Kensey Town 1-0 Rushe United
Hartford Glade 1-2 FC Seierstad
South Parrhesia 2-5 Iron United
Falston Town 1-1 Ox River United
Brokenarch 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Sirencall FC 1-7 Kommissar
Martella Jazz 6-2 Fully Sick XI
Brunyard FC 2-1 Sutcroft
Strephonage 0-1 Brindleton

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sabrefell Athletic 23 14 5 4 40 17 +23 47
2 Crisisbless 23 13 7 3 46 27 +19 46
3 Brinemouth 23 13 5 5 52 24 +28 44
4 Sabrefell Moths 23 13 5 5 50 23 +27 44

5 AFC Treason 23 13 5 5 48 22 +26 44
6 Coret Hawks 23 12 5 6 41 29 +12 41
7 Starling 23 11 7 5 35 25 +10 40

8 Chenoworth Rovers 23 11 3 9 29 29 +0 36
9 AFC Corvistone 23 10 5 8 35 31 +4 35
10 Crisisbless United 23 9 7 7 38 39 -1 34
11 Aries Chariots 23 7 11 5 36 29 +7 32
12 Vermillion Rage 23 8 7 8 35 35 +0 31
13 North Laithland 23 8 7 8 31 37 -6 31
14 Stahlburg City 23 9 3 11 24 29 -5 30
15 Newrook City 23 7 8 8 28 26 +2 29
16 Southfell United 23 7 8 8 30 31 -1 29
17 North Sabrefell 23 7 8 8 28 34 -6 29
18 Chenoworth Harriers 23 6 5 12 24 32 -8 23
19 Raven River 23 4 11 8 34 46 -12 23
20 Chatswood 23 5 8 10 31 43 -12 23
21 Cranequin Wanderers 23 5 8 10 27 40 -13 23
22 Cypher Town 23 4 6 13 18 33 -15 18
23 Corvette Maulers 23 2 6 15 16 46 -30 12
24 Stahlburg Rovers 23 2 2 19 20 69 -49 8

Pos Team                       P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Parrhesia United 23 15 2 6 49 30 +19 47
2 Cranequin City 23 14 4 5 30 19 +11 46
3 Creed United 23 11 9 3 35 19 +16 42

4 South Laithland 23 12 4 7 27 17 +10 40
5 Diamondqueen 23 11 5 7 46 24 +22 38
6 Leichhardt 23 10 8 5 26 16 +10 38
7 Belgrave 23 11 4 8 41 27 +14 37
8 Bishop 23 10 7 6 29 17 +12 37
9 Armstrong 23 10 5 8 22 23 -1 35
10 Chardonnay Rangers 23 10 5 8 30 36 -6 35
11 Brookford Otters 23 9 7 7 36 33 +3 34
12 Hackett 23 9 6 8 27 25 +2 33
13 Goodfeather FC 23 8 7 8 31 25 +6 31
14 Gonen's Bridge 23 9 4 10 24 32 -8 31
15 Iron City 23 8 6 9 24 26 -2 30
16 Mantlegrove 23 9 3 11 23 27 -4 30
17 AFC Serpentine 23 8 4 11 20 38 -18 28
18 Vermillion Wanderers 23 7 5 11 23 29 -6 26
19 Ritter Town 23 6 7 10 26 29 -3 25
20 Crisisbless Athletic 23 5 7 11 28 36 -8 22
21 West Brinemouth 23 5 6 12 16 27 -11 21
22 Morningstar 23 5 6 12 21 39 -18 21
23 Peregrine 23 5 4 14 25 41 -16 19
24 Rochford 23 3 7 13 10 34 -24 16

Pos Team                          P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Pillars of Southfell 23 15 4 4 31 10 +21 49
2 Dartmouth Terriers 23 14 4 5 38 18 +20 46
3 Riverkey 23 11 8 4 35 20 +15 41
4 Locksley 23 12 5 6 42 33 +9 41

5 The Strongest 23 12 4 7 54 37 +17 40
6 Aries Solitaire 23 12 4 7 44 29 +15 40
7 Alliance Barossia 23 10 9 4 37 23 +14 39
8 AFC Shale 23 11 5 7 25 15 +10 38
9 Extreme Hills 23 10 8 5 30 21 +9 38
10 Corinthians No Longer 23 11 4 8 33 23 +10 37
11 Coret Rovers 23 11 4 8 38 40 -2 37
12 Southriver 23 10 4 9 25 25 +0 34
13 Greygate 23 9 5 9 36 39 -3 32
14 Barossia United 23 9 5 9 31 36 -5 32
15 Stonegrave 23 8 5 10 21 27 -6 29
16 Falston United 23 7 7 9 33 35 -2 28
17 Sheridan 23 7 7 9 18 21 -3 28
18 Ballardine FC 23 5 8 10 23 29 -6 23
19 Autumnstone 23 4 9 10 27 42 -15 21
20 East Laithland Harriers 23 6 2 15 21 38 -17 20
21 The Hanged Man 23 4 6 13 10 27 -17 18
22 Boltcroft Thorns 23 4 6 13 20 39 -19 18
23 West Hook 23 3 7 13 19 34 -15 16
24 Crossroads Town 23 2 8 13 26 56 -30 14

Pos Team                    P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Kommissar 23 19 3 1 53 19 +34 60
2 Brindleton 23 17 2 4 42 22 +20 53
3 Gosmouth Swans 23 15 4 4 31 16 +15 49
4 Brokenarch 23 13 6 4 58 27 +31 45

5 Lazuli Diamonds 23 13 5 5 52 33 +19 44
6 Mapleford 23 13 3 7 41 32 +9 42
7 Ox River United 23 12 5 6 35 21 +14 41
8 Martella Jazz 23 12 3 8 47 42 +5 39
9 Kensey Town 23 10 7 6 47 33 +14 37
10 Rochford Pilgrims 23 9 5 9 29 35 -6 32
11 South Parrhesia 23 9 4 10 43 34 +9 31
12 Fully Sick XI 23 8 7 8 29 36 -7 31
13 Falston Town 23 9 3 11 40 42 -2 30
14 Sutcroft Athletic 23 8 6 9 21 29 -8 30
15 Strephonage 23 8 5 10 32 28 +4 29
16 Hartford Glade 23 7 5 11 24 35 -11 26
17 Sirencall FC 23 7 4 12 35 50 -15 25
18 Iron United 23 6 4 13 20 29 -9 22
19 FC Seierstad 23 4 9 10 26 38 -12 21
20 Long Lake 23 6 2 15 18 33 -15 20
21 Brunyard FC 23 6 2 15 30 46 -16 20
22 Stamper Road 23 5 3 15 29 51 -22 18
23 Sutcroft 23 3 7 13 27 40 -13 16
24 Rushe United 23 4 2 17 23 61 -38 14

Pos Team                     P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ringway 23 13 8 2 40 22 +18 47
2 Chenoworth Teutons 23 14 4 5 28 22 +6 46

3 Riverkey Shells 23 12 5 6 40 24 +16 41
4 Ingram Township 23 12 4 7 36 18 +18 40
5 Lockheed Zenith 23 11 5 7 31 28 +3 38
6 Iberia Chenoworth 23 10 6 7 44 29 +15 36
7 Fischer 23 10 6 7 43 29 +14 36
8 Harrington 23 9 7 7 36 33 +3 34
9 Crownsend Journey 23 9 6 8 43 35 +8 33
10 Stonesthrow Town 23 8 9 6 31 27 +4 33
11 Boleyn Town 23 8 8 7 25 21 +4 32
12 Grovebank 23 8 7 8 31 28 +3 31
13 Fenland Albion 23 7 9 7 21 22 -1 30
14 AFC Feuerweiss 23 7 5 11 33 41 -8 26
15 Courser 23 6 8 9 21 31 -10 26
16 Sleetwell Rangers 23 5 9 9 27 38 -11 24
17 Aspen Grove 23 5 6 12 31 42 -11 21
18 AFC Hellerine 23 4 6 13 30 46 -16 18
19 Camwell Road 23 3 9 11 20 45 -25 18
20 Swag Hill Rovers 23 4 3 16 29 59 -30 15

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Caldwick Strand 23 15 7 1 45 27 +18 52
2 Pravenna Saints 23 12 7 4 37 18 +19 43

3 Downsparrow 23 11 8 4 37 24 +13 41
4 Bodkin Road 23 11 6 6 30 20 +10 39
5 Gridlock 23 11 4 8 24 16 +8 37
6 Corvistone City 23 10 6 7 30 22 +8 36
7 AFC Volksgarten 23 9 9 5 28 21 +7 36
8 Cranequin Souths 23 8 8 7 29 27 +2 32
9 Northside Eagles 23 8 7 8 34 31 +3 31
10 Constance Park 23 7 10 6 20 19 +1 31
11 AFC Burchess 23 8 6 9 34 34 +0 30
12 The Travellers FC 23 7 8 8 31 25 +6 29
13 Brookford Vantablack 23 6 9 8 30 30 +0 27
14 Twelvetrees 23 6 9 8 24 24 +0 27
15 South Brill 23 4 12 7 27 33 -6 24
16 Rookwall 23 5 6 12 15 26 -11 21
17 Blaze 23 4 9 10 28 48 -20 21
18 Brookway Town 23 4 8 11 17 28 -11 20
19 Corby Hubris 23 3 10 10 27 50 -23 19
20 Markoni 23 4 5 14 17 41 -24 17
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Postby Nephara » Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:49 am

Goodfeather FC 0-1 AFC Treason
Cypher Town 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Parrhesia United 0-0 Rochford (0-0 AET, 2-3 PKs)
Chatswood 4-0 Coret Hawks
Diamondqueen 1-0 Riverkey
Crisisbless United 3-1 Greygate
AFC Corvistone 2-3 Peregrine
Ballardine FC 0-3 Starling
Brookford Otters 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
North Laithland 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Raven River 2-0 Brindleton
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Southfell United (2-1 AET)
West Hook 0-2 Ritter Town
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Hackett
Brinemouth 3-1 West Brinemouth
Long Lake 1-1 Belgrave (2-2 AET, 2-3 PKs)

This Cup feels like one in which the outliers are shoved quickly out the door. There’s not many truly obscure names left. Ivy Herrick’s West Hook, battling relegation in the third tier, are well beaten 2-0 at home by Ritter, Athletic-scalping Brindleton beaten 2-0 by River, Ballardine swept up 3-0 by Starling as Annika Netzach makes the most of a rare chance to shine. Greygate, at least, put up a fight - recently relegated from the second tier, but they still have a few familiar names. Meeting Crisisbless United, veteran Pasargan midfielder Maja Duvnjak sets up former Belgrave striker Constance Strober, unmarked on the edge of the box, to fire low under Besart Schankelen. Beth Pike strikes back scant minutes later, but Greygate’s physicality and desperation keep themselves in the game - but they tire, late on, and goals from Novkovic and Wheaton give United the win in the last five minutes. More impressively still, Long Lake, a side desperately fighting to avoid relegation to the Conference, throw their bodies in the way to keep themselves in the game against Belgrave before veteran winger Markus Levin slams home a late, late leveller. Better still, Levin puts them ahead in extra time, and Sylvia Rouseff - celebrating her 35th birthday - has to bail out Belgrave even later. It comes to penalties, and both the aging wingers score - for Long Lake, though, the rest of the team (except for their 38-year old centre-half captain) lets them down, Belgrave Cup keeper Odessa Bonds standing strong despite having failed to make a save in the 120 minutes prior. The Boltcroft Thorns are desperately struggling to stay afloat in the Second Division, but they become the last lower-league representation after beating Hackett 2-1. Parrhesia’s hosting Rochford is a 1 v 24 clash in the second tier, but it’s a scoreless draw over 120 minutes, leading to a poor shootout in which only half the shots find their mark. Rochford wind up scraping through it. In Brinemouth, there’s a genuine derby, glossy Dockers against windswept, impoverished Gulls. Two clubs who are actual sworn rivals. West Brinemouth rise to the occasion, but it’s a mirror of Greygate’s visit to Crisisbless - Anja Spinnett rifles home a well-taken strike from just outside the box and Aris Daskalakis forces some sharp saves from Iona Britton, but after the hour mark, the Gulls crumble, lose a man when Robin Seizter picks up a second caution, and collapse to lose 3-1. Corvistone are the lone scalp, with their former man Markus Kaufmann notching an almost apologetic hat-trick against his hometown club. “After the third sheepish little fist-pump in front of his old fans, it just comes off as insulting,“ said the unimpressed Crows manager Hadrian Belfast. “Markus isn’t that kind of character; he should be himself.” North Laithland make heavy weather of beating Stahlburg Rovers 1-0, Chenoworth Rovers beat Southfell in extra time, while Chatswood utterly demolish an overstretched Coret 4-0.

Vermillion Rage 1-0 Aries Chariots
AFC Treason 2-0 Brinemouth
Starling 2-0 Chatswood
Stahlburg Rovers 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Stahlburg City 1-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Southfell United 0-2 Coret Hawks
Sabrefell Moths 4-1 Corvette Maulers
Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 AFC Corvistone
Raven River 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
North Sabrefell 0-2 Crisisbless
North Laithland 3-3 Crisisbless United
Newrook City 2-2 Cypher Town

An unusually frank statement from Stahlburg Rovers. Halfway through the season, during an international break for qualifiers, the chairman calls a press conference and admits, frankly, “Relegation is an inevitability. But we have found a manager who knows the club and can help shepherd us to that relegation, limiting the damage and restoring pride to the best of his ability.” It’s… Reinhard Drake… ? He is a blatantly populist appointment, a one-club man for the side in his playing days, but thus far with a weak record in management, most recently relegated with Locksley. He presides over an unremarkable 2-1 defeat at home to the Harriers, who have done pretty much nothing of note this season. He restores Sujet Carsley to the starting lineup, and the Chariots winger winds up rewarding him with their goal, but Kaskanis, Carolan, Scarratt and Sesay retain hard-won places - or do Lovelock, Bolander, Colgan and Steelshrift retain hard-lost ones? That… doesn’t even really make sense, but in any case, Lovelock and Steelshrift aren’t even in the 18.

Mirroring that neatly, Chenoworth Rovers visit Stahlburg City and win 2-1. Catheline Harper is just about the least popular player around the Smiths’ territory, a former captain of both Stahlburg Rovers and Treason, and she rubs each goal gleefully in the face of the away fans. Olivia Nygard shows Cypher Town what they’re missing with a crisp brace; Cypher show Nygard what she’s missing with two assists from the revitalised Freya McCosgraigh, one to the impressive, versatile Tripodi and the other to mobile, intelligent Cressida Voeller. The return of the Classic, though, only has one winner - it’s Treason, neutralising Brinemouth in classic form. Former Brinemouth leftback Tessa Bayliss swings in the cross for the opener, finding Jonsson on the edge of the box rather than the more obvious tall timber in the box, and the Vanorian brings it down with his chest before coolly sidefooting it into the bottom corner beyond Bull, while in the second half, Jonsson plays provider with a brilliant free kick… well, okay, he doesn’t mean to play provider, but it arrows lethally towards the far corner. Bull does really well to parry it down and away, but Raquel Accardi hooks out a leg to pull it across him and over the line.

Gonen's Bridge 3-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Peregrine 3-1 Hackett
Rochford 0-1 Armstrong
Chardonnay Rangers 2-4 Brookford Otters
Morningstar 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Diamondqueen 0-0 Iron City
Creed United 1-0 Parrhesia United
Bishop 0-0 Cranequin City
Crisisbless Athletic 3-1 West Brinemouth
Mantlegrove 2-1 South Laithland
Ritter Town 0-1 Goodfeather FC
Belgrave 2-1 Leichhardt

Creed’s hosting Parrhesia is a blockbuster clash, and the schedulers know it - it winds up being the curtain-raiser, at least on TV, to the Classic. For all the hype, it’s a dour affair, one that naturally suits Creed better. That said, Parrhesia give them some early heart-attacks, Teris firing what should be a comfortable enough low save for Byron Caldwick, but the 35-year old goalkeeper somehow winds up flicking it up onto the crossbar, with Micaiah Cohen bug-eyed as she watched the flight of the ball. Anis Trabelsi, Creed’s most dependable scorer, plays provider for Joel Conway to slot home the only goal of the game from the edge of the box. In Morena Camberwell’s first game in charge after being snapped up from AFC Shale, Morningstar share the spoils with Serpentine after an entertaining 2-2 draw with a red card apiece, while Crisisbless Athletic and West Brinemouth similarly throw off the shackles - just, Athletic are evidently better at it, winning 3-1 as Simon Bradden has a real 10/10 performance.

Aries Chariots 1-2 AFC Treason
Vermillion Rage 0-3 Starling
Brinemouth 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Chatswood 0-1 Stahlburg City
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Southfell United
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Coret Hawks 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Corvette Maulers 2-3 Raven River
AFC Corvistone 0-2 North Sabrefell
Cranequin Wanderers 2-2 North Laithland
Crisisbless 3-1 Newrook City
Crisisbless United 2-1 Cypher Town

Uhh. A-ha. What? Brinemouth aren’t exactly throwing up a white flag as they host Stahlburg Rovers, with Kuznetsov apparently refusing to be rested, while the fresh legs coming in include the likes of Chromatik internationals Montague and Dragana. They both have terrible games. Pretty much every Docker is terrible, except the lively Tambra Matalin on the right wing, the goalscorer Zara Cormann up front, and the at least forgettable Marcin Close; but this supposed high-class side is caught out by a throw-in. Yes, Danijel Brymora and your fifty-odd caps for Nephara, you can’t be offside from a throw! You still have to track Drusilla Moxey, or she’ll do something like drill a cross across the face of goal for Corona Sharpe to drive home unmarked. And even the normally redoubtable Ryan Bull is infected, dropping a high cross from Skalak when Kaskanis clatters lightly into him. The fast-thinking veteran scoops the ball off the floor towards Adele Rosborough, who reacts quickly to drive it in. Desya Kuznetsov celebrates in the 39th minute by putting Kresp-Cinic Jan in a sleeper hold during a corner, before three minutes later just settling for kneecapping them. “They air down my neck,” he offers the press by way of explanation. Kuznetsovless, homegrown striker Cormann tries her luck from 26 yards and catches out the talented but callow Carolan to pull one back in injury time, but Brinemouth can’t get that winner.

In less stupid matches, Cypher’s Rainer Burgnich has kept his place in goal even after Ruo’s recovery. That might not follow much longer. The Eagles are on the verge of taking a point from profligate Crisisbless United, until Thorn Tristram sees Tamba running at him in injury time, turns and rolls a routine backpass towards Burgnich. The veteran goalkeeper lumbers forward, swings out a right boot and… undershoots the target, and falls over, letting Tamba nip in and roll the ball into the empty net to steal the points. Well. Maybe that’s also a stupid match. How about Corvette hosting River? Thaaat’s marked by a dissatisfied Corvette fan hurling a parsnip at Malta Falconer, missing, and instead knocking the nearby goalkeeping coach Roy Hennessey out cold. It’s 2-2 at the time, but Michael Lin (deputising for the injured Acatha Feldman) catches a cross under pressure from Breisgau and… falls back into his own net for a late River winner that technically counted as a goal for the puzzled rightback Villaverde. Perhaps Hennessey, a former journeyman goalkeeper with Corvette, Southfell, Parrhesia, the Chequers and Hills, could’ve done a better job - even at 49. A stupid week full of cursed matches, then. Moving on.

Vermillion Wanderers 0-0 Peregrine
Gonen's Bridge 3-1 Rochford
Hackett 3-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Armstrong 0-2 Morningstar
Brookford Otters 2-2 Diamondqueen
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Creed United
Iron City 0-0 Bishop
Parrhesia United 3-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Cranequin City 1-0 Mantlegrove
West Brinemouth 0-0 Ritter Town
South Laithland 1-0 Belgrave
Goodfeather FC 0-0 Leichhardt

A good day for goalkeepers, or perhaps just a dour one for the neutrals - most clubs keep clean sheets, and there’s four scoreless draws. Among them is one for Jakob Carter, as goals from Thornwood and Kuijer secure the first win of Camberwell’s reign, and a much-needed salve for Stars’ wounds. Others, rather more predictably, include West Brinemouth’s Terrano and Ritter’s St. Preux, two sides sharing inadequate spoils. The main excitement comes in Hackett’s win over Chardonnay, unless you like watching Parrhesia wail on Crisisbless Athletic like a boxer slamming punches into a side of beef, as the result swings based on Faraj Samara’s… interesting decision to go up for a corner. With the scores at 1-1. In the 54th minute. Despite horrified players noting the green shirt among their ranks, it winds up being Samara battering home what winds up being the winner when a bounce falls favourably, and the goalkeeper celebrates by conceding, and then saving, a penalty not long after.

Starling 1-1 Aries Chariots
Stahlburg Rovers 2-3 AFC Treason
Stahlburg City 0-1 Vermillion Rage
Southfell United 1-2 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 Chatswood
Sabrefell Athletic 3-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Raven River 0-0 Chenoworth Rovers
North Sabrefell 0-1 Coret Hawks
North Laithland 2-1 Corvette Maulers
Newrook City 4-1 AFC Corvistone
Cypher Town 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Crisisbless United 1-4 Crisisbless

“We’ll get nowhere by surrendering to the big teams,” Stahlburg Rovers manager Reinhard Drake reasons. “God knows we tried before, but that changes while I’m here.” Hosting Treason, they take an early lead - a Carsley cutback is deflected off Vornander’s boot, but falls favourably for Rosborough on the edge of the box to drive into the bottom corner. Rosborough’s been perhaps the most revitalised by Drake’s arrival, and her long ball onto the toe of Sharpe should have been rewarded with a goal, but the former Moths striker was ambushed by Clavel, firing it point-blank into his hands, the ball falling perilously onto the crossbar, before Svensson took control of the rebound and lamped it down the wing. For Clarisse Ulreich to take ahold of, drive inside untouched and fire past Carolan. When your luck’s out, it’s out. Ulreich then sets up Metzger to give Treason the lead on the stroke of half-time, and Mastiff makes it three on the hour, but the Rovers are at least rewarded for their effort when Jasmine Colindon’s clever movement lets her link up Rosborough and Sharpe, and the striker looks up to cut back across goal, where substitute winger Vivienne Morgan races in to convert at the far post. They don’t get a point, but putting up a fight is worth a lot. Brinemouth, for their part, were reliant on a deeply contentious 80th-minute penalty to beat an energetic Southfell, and even then, Aldous got fingers to Evelyn Conjure’s effort.

The main event is the Crisisbless derby. United are doing well this season, and fancy their chances to do the double over their rivals, with a packed crowd chiefly in red and black. Crisisbless start the stronger team, have a penalty appeal waved away - Moira Woakes is outraged, and picks up a booking for dissent in the aftermath - before United take the lead, Tom Garner powerfully winning a midfield header, Antelmi finding his way on the end of it and sliding it through to Sigrun Rivers, who cuts inside from the right to drive a shot under Na’Kefir against the run of play. But Crisisbless know that was… well, what it was, and they know they can just keep doing what they were doing. Allison Swan strikes to give them their reward on the stroke of half-time, before the walls collapse on United in the second half, Coppinger somehow left unmarked on the edge of the box to drive home Crisisbless’ second, Woakes and Laiota hammering home the point, while United substitute Olga Kitzbichler comes on in the 55th minute and gets herself sent off in the 58th.

Rochford 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Peregrine
Morningstar 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Diamondqueen 1-2 Hackett
Creed United 2-1 Armstrong
Bishop 2-1 Brookford Otters
Crisisbless Athletic 0-3 AFC Serpentine
Mantlegrove 1-1 Iron City
Ritter Town 1-0 Parrhesia United
Belgrave 2-2 Cranequin City
Leichhardt 0-1 West Brinemouth
Goodfeather FC 1-3 South Laithland

When every crap team gets a lifeline, do any of them? There’s 1-0 wins for Rochford, West Brinemouth and Ritter Town - the latter two particularly impressive given the quality of the opposition, the former against a relegation rival in Vermillion Wanderers. Leichhardt are now winless in six, with just three goals to their name in that time, and the atmosphere’s starting to turn against Bruno Hawke once again despite far stronger results this season. Cranequin City showed they have more teeth in them than perhaps some suspect, going down by two early goals to Belgrave, but finding their way back through the nous of striker Gemmill and the force of will of Niko Rosmalen, both SPL veterans with high-level experience. Serpentine, for their part, destroy Crisisbless Athletic 3-0, showing poise and command of a game that ill-befits their weak squad. Is Gareth Penrooke a genius, is Oiji Nanemoru finally putting consistency into her game, or were free misfits like Delvalle, Harisis and Wheelock far stronger signings than anyone thought?

Mar Sara FC 1-1 Cypher Town

This is probably where it ends for Cypher. But Vardalos is unwilling to throw in the towel, and brings a full-strength side to Valanora (outside the injured, and badly-missed, Tripodi) - though one that has a more conservative bent, Madine and Roben in a double pivot, Cressida Voeller in front of them to provide the hard running that McCosgraigh doesn’t. And yet, Voeller winds up finding the net first in the 54th minute, lighting up a dire match to that point, finding Vanstrattan free down the left and playing a brilliant one-two with the 31-year old winger, freeing herself to whip a low strike across a sprawling Magda Kattner (formerly of Newrook) and into the bottom corner. Vardalos moves quickly; on comes Coretta Rooke for the target man Tihamer, moments after the big Pasargan nearly makes it 2-0 by crashing a header off the upright, and then Alexa Ferryman, to add some more drive to midfield with Roben slowing and on a yellow. But it backfires, or at least, Mar Sara’s superior quality tells - instead of Rooke’s pace driving holes in the Mar Sara defence, it’s the all-round forward Costa who plays provider, turning quickly and playing Ingvild Thorsen through the entire Cypher back four - and the winger doesn’t need to be asked twice, taking one touch to steady herself and driving the leveller past Ruo.

Aries Chariots 2-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Starling 1-1 Stahlburg City
AFC Treason 4-0 Southfell United
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Brinemouth 1-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Chatswood 1-1 Raven River
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 North Sabrefell
Chenoworth Rovers 5-0 North Laithland
Coret Hawks 1-1 Newrook City
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Cypher Town
AFC Corvistone 3-0 Crisisbless United
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Crisisbless

There’s huge waves at the top and bottom of the table. Crisisbless’ derby glory fades quickly, as they lack the intensity to break through a Cranequin Wanderers side playing with the deft class that Jens Reiniger always promised. Malia Yonen towers over Woakes, and dominates the show; relatively early goals from countrywoman Taani and deputising midfielder Lance Diebeck do the damage. If the Heelers are at least hoping for some relief from the east coast, they don’t get it - Brinemouth suffer their third defeat in four games as Sabrefell Athletic run the show, rightback Steve Fox with a beautiful dipping strike from the edge of the box to open proceedings before setting up Ens, whose elegant close control destroys Magnozzi’s career before a diffident little toe-poke between Bull’s feet. In the second half, Desya Kuznetsov thunders a shot against the crossbar that Iori Saitou, like any good striker, runs in to follow up, before collapsing ungainly onto the ball to chest it past Gautier, but a penalty from Coltrane restores Athletic’s deserved two-goal margin. The Moths also drop points in Vermillion, though Cheney Breremond utterly cleaning out Robert Griffin moments before Conte hacks the ball over the line unopposed should, you would have thought, have been a foul.

Stahlburg City’s Two True Outcomes come to a close, or perhaps just reach a new level; after six of their last seven matches ended 1-0 to one side or another, they manage a 1-1 draw. An impressive feat, away in Starling, their goal coming from the talismanic Aurelie Henry and their point maintained by the excellent flying stopper Orsay, formerly of Starling, and by goalkeeper Prant-Telew. Some doubted the Qusmi goalkeeper’s pedigree, but they’ve stood up to the task admirably, and the safety switch of veteran Nneoma Hasanu hasn’t had to be pressed. Chenoworth Rovers annihilate North Laithland 5-0, three of their goals scored by defenders - rightback Ender Fife with the first left-footed goal of her career, Mortola Teffeteller heading home two corners at the near post, with Farrakhan and Paterson finishing things off.

Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Rochford 0-4 Morningstar
Peregrine 0-0 Diamondqueen
Gonen's Bridge 1-2 Creed United
Hackett 3-2 Bishop
Armstrong 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Brookford Otters 0-0 Mantlegrove
AFC Serpentine 4-2 Ritter Town
Iron City 1-0 Belgrave
Parrhesia United 1-1 Leichhardt
Cranequin City 3-0 Goodfeather FC
West Brinemouth 2-0 South Laithland

Anatoly Fenwick, manager of the Gulls, has burnished his and his club’s chances of survival through a string of three straight clean sheets. Better still, the last two have lead to wins over legitimate promotion contenders - first a 1-0 away win over a dour Leichhardt, now a 2-0 win over South Laithland through a sharply-taken Daskalakis brace, held onto despite Robin Seizter’s reckless late challenge reducing them to 10 men for the last 35 minutes. Morningstar seriously kick-start their survival hopes with a visit to Rochford, which Camberwell says grimly that they must “win or die”. Helpfully, 20-year old midfielder Varina Roebling, who has brightened up the midfield hugely since coming into favour under Camberwell, rifles home into the bottom corner just four minutes in, and goals from the similarly revitalised Kuijer and Draxler, before a finisher from Lilith Thornwood, who had been doing fairly well even before Camberwell’s arrival and is adapting steadily to the role as lone striker, underlines a massive 4-0 win. Similarly massive is Serpentine’s 4-2 win over Ritter Town, a relatively poor side going up in the world with morale seemingly sky-high, Ritter having the quality but just being too old, stolid, disjointed and low on confidence, though at least Naga’s still finding the net.

Cypher Town 1-1 Mar Sara FC (1-1 AET)
2-2 on aggregate. Cypher Town win 3-1 on penalties.

Vardalos breezily talks a good game between legs, resolutely denying that her substitutions lost Cypher their lead last time around. But Sebastian Seward, fellow Nepharim manager of Mar Sara, knows that his side needs to press, thanks to the away goals rule, and Cypher set up to strike back, with Rooke up front. It proves an apt choice - when a Mar Sara attack breaks down, Brind clears to Ferryman, who briskly takes it down, turns and smashes one over the top for the pacy Rooke to take around Kattner, then sidefoots into the empty net from the overly acute angle she’s left herself with. But Mar Sara’s own striker, Daniel Costa, isn’t about to be second-best - after forcing Ruo into a number of sprawling saves, he finally gets on the scoresheet in the 71st minute with a thunderous low strike that even Ruo can’t get to. It all comes down to penalties, in the end - and first Ruo saves Costa’s effort, then Kattner saves Ferryman’s. But then Rooke, Tripodi and Anderton all drive perfect penalties into the corners, while Ruo saves again from Holm, then Stromnes, to see Cypher through.

Raven River 1-1 Starling (2-1 AET)
Cypher Town 2-0 Rochford
Belgrave 3-2 Chenoworth Rovers
North Laithland 0-0 Crisisbless United (1-0 AET)
Brinemouth 4-0 Boltcroft Thorns
AFC Treason 1-0 Peregrine
Chatswood 2-0 Diamondqueen
Brookford Otters 1-3 Ritter Town

Boltcroft’s reward for their travails is to visit Brinemouth. The team makes a fine show of talking about how they’ll make a stand and go for the win, but talk about how they’re looking forward to the spectacle and to playing against world-class talent is rather more revealing. As a statement of intent, Brinemouth beat them 4-0 even with Desya Kuznetsov glowering from the stands. Treason make rather heavier weather of dealing with Peregrine, the resilience of Connor Risdon in goal much to be admired. With the fall of Starling, undone in extra time by a nerveless Michi Leonard penalty against the run of play, the Classic sides are the undoubted favourites of the quarterfinal field. For North Laithland, meanwhile, Ophelia Rattin appears to be staking a claim to the #1 jersey (metaphorically; literally, she’s stuck with 12 for the year) as the Spiders are yet to concede a goal. It takes them until 110 to score one past Crisisbless United, though, Luke Roberts using the last of his energy to slalom past two men and drive a strike past Schankelen before doubling over, panting for air. Cypher get a breather and put Rochford down 2-0 as Andrea Vardalos stubbornly continues to fight on three fronts, a Belgrave side inspired by their young fullbacks get the odd one of five goals to take out Chenoworth Rovers, Chatswood make short work of Diamondqueen as the electrifying pace of Conleth makes the difference and Ritter Town get their mind off their league troubles as 20-year old goalkeeper Alexandra Markgraf saves a penalty won just 87 seconds into the game, with Naga and Fenchel helping them to a 3-1 win over a Brookford Otters side that can’t mentally recover from that setback.

Stahlburg City 3-4 Aries Chariots
Southfell United 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Starling
Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 AFC Treason
Raven River 1-1 Vermillion Rage
North Sabrefell 1-4 Brinemouth
North Laithland 1-1 Chatswood
Newrook City 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Cypher Town 1-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Crisisbless United 2-1 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless 5-2 Corvette Maulers
Cranequin Wanderers 2-2 AFC Corvistone

There’s intrigue… of a sort, in Chenoworth. Harriers winger Charybdis Kou had been the darling of certain devotees of WCC 82 as she held a certain unique utility in the game’s multiplayer, being the quickest, most nimble winger available in the ‘silver’ level. However, a modest midseason upgrade patch nudged the 24-year old’s rating from 74 to 75… and made her instead one of the weakest gold players available. She seems unperturbed by this, and sets up Marconi to score the game’s only goal against her hometown club, Newrook City. The same update demotes Corvette winger Sascha Dimitrius by five points, and the 33-year old winger - out of favour at present, despite electrifying last season under Strauss - reacts with a wave of emoji. The Maulers’ reluctant manager, Malta Falconer, is unapologetically going for youth, and former stalwarts like Dimitrius and Davison, and new hire Tsikitsiris, are being unsubtly transitioned out of the picture. “If we win half our games on the way down, but half our key players retire, we’ll go down again,” she bluntly tells a magazine interviewer. “This is about preparation.”

Just a day after that interview, a Dimitriusless Corvette are lightning-quick off the mark against Crisisbless, Seth Blunt driving home a half-volley at the far post three minutes in, then seemingly panic at the unfamiliar situation, ultimately losing 5-2. Athletic roll on in style, and are even quicker to take the lead against a sluggish Treason. Two and a half minutes in, Sipke Tarala’s clever flick provides a lovely gift for his partner in crime, Ens, who stabs slickly home. In the eighth minute, Ens… let’s say ‘draws a foul’ from Rian Corrello just inside the box, and in the ninth, Tarala hammers home the penalty. 2-0 it ends, with Athletic’s midfield keeping the Stags’ supply line at arm’s reach. Speaking of star strikers, Kuznetsov welcomes himself back from suspension in style, with a first-half hat-trick setting the tone against a North Sabrefell side that just has no answer to Brinemouth’s directness. The Smiths are evidently free from their low-scoring ways and lose 4-3 to Aries. The fans have no idea what to make of it, until Brujah clatters Riske to get himself sent off in the 74th minute, restoring a sense of normalcy to Ludd’s Hammer.

Morningstar 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Diamondqueen 3-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Creed United 2-1 Rochford
Bishop 2-3 Peregrine
Crisisbless Athletic 3-0 Gonen's Bridge
Mantlegrove 1-1 Hackett
Ritter Town 1-0 Armstrong
Belgrave 3-0 Brookford Otters
Leichhardt 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Iron City
South Laithland 3-1 Parrhesia United
West Brinemouth 1-3 Cranequin City

A training-ground brawl in Ritter Town, instigated by the mercurial Anna St. Preux, might just be the goalkeeper’s death knell at the club. Her erratic performances have cost them points aplenty, too. With 20-year old Markgraf’s recent Cup heroics fresh in the memory, it’s she that starts between the posts against Armstrong, and excels against a typically brutalist, direct Armstrong, proving a particular thorn in the side of Brogan Poppey. Naga slots home dutifully at the other end, her third goal in two games even as the rest of the team’s in freefall. Ritter’s rivals keep up, though - Morningstar beat Vermillion Wanderers 1-0, Peregrine beat Bishop away through the odd goal in five when Kaufmann glances home an injury-time header and Athletic, impressively, demolish Gonen’s Bridge 3-0. Belgrave show the Otters what an actual slick passing outfit looks like, and the contrast is clear in the technical areas, too - the exuberant, leaping Metzelder and the sober, bland Betancourt, who doesn’t even show emotion as the away fans call for her head as Belgrave force home a 3-0 win. Creed, weirdly, make heavy weather of hosting bottom club Rochford, though understandably a number of key players are rested - Trabelsi and Barbarouses are eventually thrown on from the bench to try and sneak a late winner, but it’s Justina Donau who gets it with a deflected half-volley.

Brinemouth 2-2 Royal Jam FC

Brinemouth get themselves into something of a jam, and then royally fuck themselves. 1-0 up with half an hour played, Giorgio Magnozzi turns towards goal and rolls an all-too-casual pass towards Bull, not seeing teenage prodigy Malenna von Kraus seaming towards, then past, him. Bull can’t quite get to it in time, but does rush out and clatter her, just outside the box… and that’s a red. Iona Britton stands strong, making a few crucial saves, but early in the second half, von Kraus sets up an unmarked Dupuis to slam home into the top corner from just outside the area. Another Brinemouth substitute, the midfielder Ilona Duerden, rifles one in from range to retake the lead, but a towering header from Nawaz levels the scores.

Aries Chariots 1-1 Southfell United
Stahlburg City 1-0 Sabrefell Moths
Stahlburg Rovers 1-5 Sabrefell Athletic
Starling 2-0 Raven River
AFC Treason 1-1 North Sabrefell
Vermillion Rage 0-1 North Laithland
Brinemouth 5-1 Newrook City
Chatswood 1-2 Cypher Town
Chenoworth Harriers 3-1 Crisisbless United
Chenoworth Rovers 2-2 Crisisbless
Coret Hawks 4-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Corvette Maulers 0-1 AFC Corvistone

Cypher are in hot, hot form. Consecutive league 1-0 wins over Cranequin, Corvette and Chenoworth Rovers, the defeat of Mar Sara, and now, when Konstanze Luitgard drills home early on, elegant goals for Hertzka and Tihamer from well-taken set pieces seal the Eagles’ fourth straight win. Three over relegation rivals, if you feel charitable and want to count Corvette in that. Rehan Garrett’s excellent early-season form has eroded of late, and it’s seriously hurting the Woodsmen. Raven River aren’t doing too hot, either, and Starling are practically yawning as they ease past them to a 2-0 win. North Sabrefell are suddenly looking over their shoulders, too, but just as anxiety starts to set in after three straight defeats, Minka Kranevitter jinks past three men, then the keeper, to roll home an equaliser against Treason away. That’s just how the Bohemians go.

Last plays first, as the Rams make the trip up to Stahlburg, take a moment to laugh at the Moths - 67% possession, vast advantage in shot count, still losing 1-0 to the resolute Smiths - and stare down the ragged patchwork that is the Rovers. So many players were thought to be able to make the step up to this level - Bolander, Moxey, Lovelock - but really, only Skalak, Rosborough, Sharpe and the teenaged goalkeeper Carolan can really take any credit from this season. And Skalak’s injured. Sharpe actually gets the first goal, and the Moths youth was elated by it, but the rest of the team rather let them down, as five goals pour past Carolan at the other end. It’s not even the only occurence of the scoreline, as Brinemouth put Newrook decisively in their place. What exactly has gone wrong for the Rooks? One thing’s for certain, they need… they need… they need a lot to change. In recent years, they’ve bought a lot of old legs, and it’s fair to say a few are just cooked. A few, helpfully, are off contract. Some may need a shove.

Vermillion Wanderers 0-0 Diamondqueen
Morningstar 0-4 Creed United
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Bishop
Rochford 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Peregrine 1-0 Mantlegrove
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Ritter Town
Hackett 1-0 Belgrave
Armstrong 1-0 Leichhardt
Brookford Otters 5-1 Goodfeather FC
AFC Serpentine 2-2 South Laithland
Iron City 0-2 West Brinemouth
Parrhesia United 3-0 Cranequin City

Morena Camberwell has done wonders to shore Morningstar up and revitalise their fortunes - they’ve won three and drawn two of her five games in charge, keeping clean sheets in all three wins. But Creed, in a brilliant run of form under the implacable, stoic Diandra Ballard, rain on their parade. Trabelsi gets a brace en route to a 4-0 thumping, underlining the sturdy Audioslavian striker’s value to his club on his 27th birthday, as well as his own bid to be top scorer. It’s pretty much a straight race between him, Diamondqueen’s Claudia Escrow, and Parrhesia’s Ann Reus - on target just when Parrhesia need her most, as they dominate Cranequin City, throw a spanner into their title race and keep in it themselves. Brookford win 5-1 themselves, smashing a mediocre Goodfeather, their first win after a dry spell of four, and even then they manage to concede a goal of high farce as goalkeeper Philoctetes Giannou slices a clearance straight at Gabriel Prosper.

Royal Jam FC 0-1 Brinemouth
Brinemouth win 3-2 on aggregate.

With Ryan Bull suspended, it falls upon Iona Britton to get the job done. Which she… does, proving the value in investing in an experienced backup goalkeeper. Royal Jam and Brinemouth roughly split the chances, but when Cindy Collingwood is caught just a little off her line, Evelyn Conjure snaps a shot over her for the crucial only goal.

Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Aries Chariots
Sabrefell Athletic 4-1 Southfell United
Raven River 1-1 Stahlburg City
North Sabrefell 3-0 Stahlburg Rovers
North Laithland 1-0 Starling
Newrook City 2-2 AFC Treason
Cypher Town 0-0 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless United 0-4 Brinemouth
Crisisbless 2-1 Chatswood
Cranequin Wanderers 0-4 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Corvistone 6-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Corvette Maulers 2-4 Coret Hawks

Corvistone have been building towards… something, this season. But they aren’t quite there yet, not at the level the management and their three fans and pretty much nobody else thinks they belong. Even so, they demolish a cheerfully average Chenoworth Rovers side 6-0. Pangallo, Morham, Afolayan and Beretti weave through the Rovers’ excessively flat banks of four, and there’s only so much that a counter-strategy of ‘keep it tight and batter them’ can seem to accomplish. So, the result is rather predictable, though perhaps not the margin - for that, the dubious credit goes in large part to the Rovers’ two-man midfield, with Paterson injured, of 33-year old Svenskah and 35-year old Lozada. Managing to look even the Crows look fast (median age of starting XI: 30) is frankly impressive.

Things get worse still for the Rovers when the result filters in from Cranequin - the Wanderers have been slaughtered 4-0 by the Harriers, all four goals in the first half. The men in red show the Wanderers that a bit of urgency can go a long way in a fluid passing unit. Muscle can help, too, as North Sabrefell display by bullying the other Rovers 3-0. The message from either side is that you need to back up your smooth passing with physicality, one way or another, and defensive solidity, which the Wanderers have lacked for all their class. It’s a day for heavy clean sheet wins in general, as Brinemouth hammer Crisisbless United 4-0 away - they’ve scored 13 goals in their last three games. Fittingly, they host the Wanderers next; that won’t be pretty.

Creed United 4-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Bishop 1-4 Diamondqueen
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Morningstar
Mantlegrove 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Ritter Town 0-1 Rochford
Belgrave 5-2 Peregrine
Leichhardt 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Goodfeather FC 2-1 Hackett
South Laithland 1-2 Armstrong
West Brinemouth 1-1 Brookford Otters
Cranequin City 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Parrhesia United 0-0 Iron City

In a season with little to cheer about, seemingly doomed Rochford give a first senior start to perhaps the league’s most vowel-challenged player, the local winger Traudl Mrdja. Well… Mrdja winds up setting up Harriet Novac, Rochford’s miniscule and easily-mauled on-loan playmaker, to slot home the only goal of the game against Ritter. Morningstar are fuming after falling foul of terrible refereeing, Marko Bozanic patently cynically hacking down Rinehart outside the box. “What the fuck would the point be in a professional foul inside the box?” he asks the press plaintively. In any case, Bradden sweeps home the winning penalty.

Aries Chariots 0-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Sabrefell Moths 2-2 Raven River
Southfell United 2-2 North Sabrefell
Stahlburg City 1-1 North Laithland
Stahlburg Rovers 0-2 Newrook City
Starling 1-0 Cypher Town
AFC Treason 3-2 Crisisbless United
Vermillion Rage 3-4 Crisisbless
Brinemouth 3-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Chatswood 1-0 AFC Corvistone
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Coret Hawks

Things get heated when the Rams come to Aries, the East Sabrefell derby. Unfortunately for the Chariots, there are few indications they’ll cut against the grain here. Twelve minutes in, a raking crossfield ball from Coltrane finds Gere in acres of space in the box, and the winger slams home the opener; five minutes later, Naumoff clatters Riske in a firm-but-sort-of-fair challenge, and the Chariots are too distracted with the call to focus on crowding out Coltrane, leaving him free to… pick out Gere in acres of space in the box, and she slams home the second. Mild-mannered goalkeeper Vance Commerford has some reason to be irked by all this, and when an away fan hurls a flare over the net his way, Commerford contemplates it for a moment, before picking it up and hurling it back into the away end. The resulting fights, and pitch invasion, nearly lead to the game being called off - but referee Martel Streiber reinforces his reputation by charging in the middle of it all, blowing his whistle to “deafen any cunt in my way” according to his match report, before sending Commerford off. It’s not the ideal circumstance for Marietta Briggs to make her Premiership debut, but to her credit, she stands up well to the task - Aries, up against it, only concede once more, and that to a late penalty. The Rams get their seventh win in a row, all but one by multiple goals.

Crisisbless make somewhat heavier weather of a visit to Vermillion, but showing their newfound resilience, claw their way back from a 2-0 deficit at the 25-minute mark to win 4-3, Airik Ruhl with a hat-trick. Chatswood break an eight-match winless run in the league - they last tasted victory, and Rehan Garrett last scored, 2-0 against Aries a while back. Garrett almost insolently flicks a shot underneath Corvistone ‘keeper Kovacic just after the hour to put the finishing touch on a disciplined defensive performance, one that also sees Baltasar Gensch - excelling in the Cup - make his first league appearance of the season. Gensch just turned 32 and his contract is due to expire in the off-season - this is set to be one hell of an Indian summer, as the Crows go from scoring six to failing to score at all. The Harriers’ hosting of the Maulers is the most mournful nothing game of the season, Tom Whittaker scoring late, leaping into the away end to gloat, picking up a second caution for his troubles, and being humbled when Fiona Norval’s diving header levels the scores in injury time.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Bishop
Creed United 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Diamondqueen 1-1 Mantlegrove
Morningstar 3-0 Ritter Town
Chardonnay Rangers 2-2 Belgrave
Rochford 1-0 Leichhardt
Peregrine 3-1 Goodfeather FC
Gonen's Bridge 2-3 South Laithland
Hackett 2-0 West Brinemouth
Armstrong 2-2 Cranequin City
Brookford Otters 2-2 Parrhesia United
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Iron City

The atmosphere is turning mutinous in Leichhardt, as what seemed like a fair and manageable charge for the top four has evaporated in the light of their toothlessness. Woodspur, Silkman and Auttenberg are the three key attackers, all with significant Premiership experience… all 33, and it shows as they just lack the dynamism to break down Rochford. Wynona Rampart and Harriet Novac, at least, have pace at the other end, and the latter sets up the former to drive home the only goal of the game in the 78th minute. Morningstar, meanwhile, pulverise Ritter Town 3-0 as young guns Thornwood and Roebling continue to be the highlights of a miserable season, though one showing real signs of recovery. The unstoppable Creed march on, in spite of everything. Unbelievably, Crisisbless Athletic have an injury-time opportunity to get three points from a visit to the league’s top team when Wright desperately clatters Tasha Kite… but Bradden’s cheeky attempt to sidefoot the ball down the middle is, uh, somewhat foiled when the nerveless Caldwick doesn’t dive either way, just glares judgementally at the playmaker for a good half-second before deigning to drop gratefully on the ball.

Raven River 0-3 Aries Chariots
North Sabrefell 0-0 Sabrefell Athletic
North Laithland 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Newrook City 2-0 Southfell United
Cypher Town 0-1 Stahlburg City
Crisisbless United 4-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Crisisbless 0-1 Starling
Cranequin Wanderers 1-3 AFC Treason
AFC Corvistone 3-3 Vermillion Rage
Corvette Maulers 1-5 Brinemouth
Coret Hawks 1-0 Chatswood
Chenoworth Rovers 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers

Starling roll up to Crisisbless, with the Heelers licking their lips in anticipation .Sabrefell Athletic have just lost their winning streak, finding no way past the staunch Bohemians defence and their sprightly young keeper, Paige Daunten, and so Crisisbless finally have the chance to gain some ground on them. But that requires landing a glove on Starling, first - and unhelpfully, Airik Ruhl has one of those days where his first touch is clankingly heavy. Keira Andisori, by contrast, is far more deft with the ball at her feet, and the first time she’s fed the ball by Padilla with the wind at her back and her face to goal, she eases past Molovi, surges towards the edge of the goal, waits until Na’Kefir shifts his weight towards the near post before dragging the ball across him - Bajnok desperately sprints across, slides in, but can only nudge the ball deeper into the net. Even when the Rams slip up, they advance. Treason roll over Cranequin and Brinemouth predictably stomp Corvette 5-1, even after resting Kuznetsov, Tidesson, Conjure, Close, Brymo- even after resting basically all their players for the Champions Cup tie to come. Zara Cormann has another promising start up front, marking it with a brace, while 19-year old midfielder Dimitri Keldoulis looks composed in his first senior start.

Corvistone play out a flashy 3-3 draw with Vermillion, a crowd-pleaser where both sides pretty much just let the others’ best players do what they want without interruption. Granted, that’s an exaggeration, but it does seem like Eduardo and Morham are pretty much just going trick-for-trick like a skills showcase. Neither actually gets on the scoresheet. It’s one of those games where the killer balls tend to catch the eye, not unremarkable finishes from hardened veteran strikers like Kvanderwyk and Conte. The Chenoworth derby is somewhat more balanced, and significantly more bloodthirsty. The Rovers take an early lead and then double their money through goals from strike partners in crime Patton and Murray, before the Harriers pull back a goal they barely deserve on the stroke of half-time, much disputed by the Rovers - two find themselves booked for dissent, as does manager Harper. There was a little too much spice on the raking cross-field ball from Stensholt to Kou, and, okay, she might have used her arm to control it. Okay, she did, before raking it back across the box for Crowther to drive home from the other wing. The repercussions wouldn’t end there. In the 56th minute, Ender Fife got her own back by kicking Kou in the face, while allegedly going for a header. Kou goes off, twitching, replaced gingerly by Coleman, with Crowther switching flanks; Fife goes off for nobody, with a red card. The Harriers ease onto the front foot, and Tom Whittaker misses a sitter, shortly before a heavy challenge sees Paterson sent off too for a second yellow - the first being that dissent. Against nine men, with a crowd that now seriously wants to murder referee Reeve Charlton… well, perhaps it’s not too surprising Charlton isn’t too sympathetic when Coleman draws what is probably a penalty in the dying minutes. Still, in injury time, after Chaeffer saves yet another strike, the Harriers get their point from a corner. They’re distinctly short-handed in markers, and find nobody to stop rightback Lionel Dalton forcing home a rebound at the far post.

Crisisbless Athletic 2-6 Vermillion Wanderers
Mantlegrove 0-2 Bishop
Ritter Town 0-3 Creed United
Belgrave 2-1 Diamondqueen
Leichhardt 3-0 Morningstar
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
South Laithland 1-2 Rochford
West Brinemouth 2-0 Peregrine
Cranequin City 3-2 Gonen's Bridge
Parrhesia United 3-2 Hackett
Iron City 0-0 Armstrong
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Brookford Otters

It’s not a lot of fun being an Iron fan. A strike force considering of Ida Preussler and, occasionally, friends who can be deigned to help her, has failed to score in five straight games following an absolutely dire scoreless draw with Armstrong. Preussler scored 20 goals last season, but the 30-year old former Treason striker’s dropped to nine thus far this season - still respectable, but nobody else has picked up the slack, and the loss of midfield inspiration Annika Netzach to Starling has crippled the supply line. Compare and contrast with Vermillion Wanderers, who have had a great time attacking with pace and power, and a six-goal haul against Crisisbless Athletic their reward. Istria Saara, just 21, is already making a serious name for herself at the spearhead of the attack, while strike partner Valery Kovaleski is absolutely Premiership-ready. Goals from Wynona Rampart and Sarina Neville ensure a 2-1 win for Rochford away in South Laithland - are the east coast minnows somehow going to pull themselves out of trouble?

Sabrefell Moths 2-1 AC Izotz Zubia
Brinemouth 1-1 Raynor City United

By the last 16 of the world’s premier club sporting competition, it’s largely down to the serious heavyweights. Is it any surprise to see the two Nepharim survivors draw Zozi and RCU? It’s typical of recent fortunes in the competition that these two clashes could easily pass for finals. Atypical of recent fortunes in the competition is the fact that Sabrefell Moths win, overcoming a half-time deficit earned through a typical Laborious Hawk Incident with blood, sweat, tears and a little favour from an intimidated referee. Should Tawny Shone have been on the pitch to feed Townsend the assist for the equaliser? No, not after a homicide attempt on Tar Hunor fifteen minutes earlier, but that’s just how it goes in Nephara. Storm Holsen’s no pushover, either - the man cut his teeth in Iron, for fuck’s sake - and sends Tahir Fejzuli limping off with a brutal reducer. A yellow card on these shores. But the fresh legs of Federico Serra are just the boost that the Moths needed, and a late surge towards goal winds up in a goalmouth scramble that Solara Vol, holding back the tide of defenders, just about manages to scuff home. Brinemouth, meanwhile, don’t take their opportunities against RCU, Kuznetsov aside when he slides in to hook home a cross from Deventer. But the Rockers get back into the game late on, Josie Webster finding Berdoon, by far the less exalted of their strikers compared to Warazil, but that doesn’t stop the Cosumarite bearing down on Bull before lofting the ball over the top for a late leveller.

AFC Treason 0-0 Halholzer United
X Island Marauders 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic

Halholzer United... well, you know what you’re gonna get. They come to Treason, spoil, time-waste, kick and throw their weight around, and never put a foot wrong. A 0-0 draw is basically what they came for, and get. For Sabrefell Athletic, a disciplined away performance seems to be going the same way - until Tarala scores in injury time, but their hosts almost immediately equalise. Still, an away goal leaves them in a strong position.

Cednia Rovers 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers

For the Wanderers, the SBCC continues to be either the panacea to their domestic ills or an unwanted distraction. Reiniger’s taking it seriously, though, perhaps taking a leaf out of Cypher’s book, and a professional away performance - and a late thunderbastard from Shona Butcher - give them a decisive-looking lead.

Spartangrad 3-0 Cypher Town

Okay, Cypher have probably met their match. Nepharim tend to get a warm reception in Eura, and vice versa, but there was never going to be any pulling punches on the pitch. The Eagles’ lineup in the Olympic Stadium is unapologetically defensive, Ferryman, Madine and Roben hoping to choke down the midfield, Skapoulis - normally a fullback - at right midfielder. It might be a little overcautious. Still, it works in the first half, and Spartangrad seem to wear themselves out in a goalless first half, but Vardalos knows they can’t withstand much more of this. On comes Voeller at the interval to add some more drive to midfield, but Spartangrad step up the pressure, too. It finally tells, when Anton Roben gets his feet mixed up and clears a ball backwards, to substitute striker Ciro Oljer, who turns on a penny and fires home; Wceil and James Palmisano finish the job in the last 20 minutes, as Cypher collapse through mental and physical fatigue.

Aries Chariots 2-0 North Sabrefell
Raven River 1-2 North Laithland
Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Newrook City
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Cypher Town
Southfell United 3-0 Crisisbless United
Stahlburg City 0-1 Crisisbless
Stahlburg Rovers 4-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Starling 4-0 AFC Corvistone
AFC Treason 3-1 Corvette Maulers
Vermillion Rage 0-0 Coret Hawks
Brinemouth 4-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Chatswood 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers

It must be a miracle. Stahlburg Rovers rise off the bottom of the table. Not many in the Cranequin camp seem to think there’s much trouble ahead, with Jens Reiniger openly welcoming the trip to the west as ‘a chance to turn around recent bad results’ - specifically, four straight defeats, albeit those including Treason, Brinemouth, and a tough trip to Coret. The match seems to edge their way early on, the lively, unpredictable Gisella Riaz deployed on the left, played into dangerous territory by Diebeck, jinking trickily inside Ninian Wernbloom (captain Skalak injured at a really bad time) and clumsily rapped on the shins, going down easily but fairly. Leonardo Ford slots home the penalty, and they have a lead inside five minutes. Then they… just kind of nod off for the rest of the first half. Even when Jantzer’s lack of pace is brutally shown up when Rosborough plays Sharpe in behind him, and the savvy striker sets up Radcliffe to score easily at the first post; even when a deflected thunderbolt from Carsley puts the Rovers in front, and even when Gabriel Sesay, nigh-unmarked from a corner, doubles their lead at the near post. Reiniger is reportedly fuming at half-time, and there’s a short-term reaction when Taani rises above both centre-halves and the relatively short Carolan to head home a cross from Polenz. It’s a very short-term reaction, judging by the fact that the Rovers restore their two-goal advantage two minutes later, Adele Rosborough not closed down outside the box and finding little trouble curling a strike past Sirleaf. The Wanderers, in their desperation, resort to 4-4-2 in the last few minutes, and Bruin Goodyouth does scrappily claw back just his second goal of the season off the bench, but it’s too late - in the Battle of the Synonyms, the Rovers have their win, the Wanderers are in trouble.

The Maulers’ reluctant manager, Malta Falconer, has unapologetically been going for youth in her tenure, and with Feldman recovering from injury and Lin far from impressive in recent performances, throws 18-year old goalkeeper Emilien Marisnick in front of AFC Treason. It’s just cruel, though the teenager does make a few decent saves, despite being understandably unwilling to even try and claim any crosses. Predictably, brawny strikers Fletcher and Boldfont get a goal each, with rightback Hasret Kaveci getting her first senior goal to bury Corvette at the foot of the table. Brinemouth destroy Chenoworth Rovers, a match centred around a single key imbalance. The Rovers’ senior leftbacks, Laslow and Curtis, are injured - instead, sluggish centre-half Yeri Ibex is put there, and Bryger Tidesson skins him inside and out to rack up two goals and two assists in a 4-1 win. Starling, for their part, punch Corvistone’s teeth in, hopefully removing their delusions of UICA grandeur for good. Andisori and Dostalok flare into full force with a brace apiece, Smordal’s barely challenged in goal.

Vermillion Wanderers 0-0 Mantlegrove
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Ritter Town
Bishop 1-2 Belgrave
Creed United 2-1 Leichhardt
Diamondqueen 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Morningstar 3-2 South Laithland
Chardonnay Rangers 0-0 West Brinemouth
Rochford 1-1 Cranequin City
Peregrine 1-1 Parrhesia United
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Iron City
Hackett 2-0 AFC Serpentine
Armstrong 1-1 Brookford Otters

Brookford are winless in four after dominating Armstrong away, but a sloppy defensive error from Ryghseter and the profligate finishing of the much-vaunted forwards Monroe, Mithradates and Petersen make it 1-1 by the final whistle. The Otters just… haven’t quite been up to it, the classy Monica Bairstow aside. Ritter’s come-from-behind win over Crisisbless Athletic is more crab syndrome than crab rave, a brutal tug-of-war in which Markgraf makes the difference with a number of scrambling saves - Premiership sides will be watching her with interest - while lowly Rochford and Peregrine take points off high-flying Cranequin and Parrhesia.
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AC Izotz Zubia 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
Sabrefell Moths win 6-2 on aggregate.

Raynor City United 1-3 Brinemouth
Brinemouth win 4-2 on aggregate.

Ohhh… ohh, that feels good. The Moths visit Zozi with blood on their minds, Sur Arora making it clear to the press that his side will go for it from the start. Is that playing into Zozi’s hands? It could be argued, but that’s not how it plays out, with impressive young Swansea Reach driving home the opener just three minutes in. Aedelbrandt and Vol make it 3-0 by half-time, and while Audbjornsson thrashes the best goal of the night over Griffin at a frightfully acute angle, a flying header from Vol - both physically and metaphorically immense during both legs - seals the smashing victory. Raynor City are favourites to seal the deal at home, especially after Linvoi Warazil finally makes his presence known eighteen minutes in. But in the second half, the Dockers eclipse the Rockers, that vaunted midfield of Conjure and Soederquist running the show, Desya Kuznetsov “hatting tricks” according to his own record, even though the second was clearly an own goal - evidently he intimidated the match report panel into giving it to him, with an outburst on twii.tur. Well, whether you feel it goes to Kuznetsov or the luckless da Silva, it secures a deeply impressive win.

Halholzer United 0-1 AFC Treason
AFC Treason win 1-0 on aggregate.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 X Island Marauders
Sabrefell Athletic win 3-1 on aggregate.

Treason’s team selection is surprising against Halholzer United. A game where they need to win, Cheney Bittencourt leaves Fletcher (well, both Fletchers, technically) and Metzger on the bench, deploying in a 4-3-3 with Roddy Fraser the spearhead. “I needed a man who would make the most of the one chance he might get,” Bittencourt explains, and so it plays out, Fraser driving a half-chance into the net on the half-hour mark. It’s the only goal - really the only event of the game, and Treason are happy to sit on it. Sabrefell Athletic put in a disciplined, professional performance against X Island, with this season’s new stars Gere and Tarala getting the goals.

Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Cednia Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers win 4-1 on aggregate.

Cranequin hold out with grim determination in the first half, before getting some relief 50 minutes in when the towering defender Ciprian Jantzer heads home a corner. They’re more confident and assertive, and finish Cednia off with a hard drive from Leonardo Ford.

Cypher Town 0-3 Spartangrad
Spartangrad win 6-0 on aggregate.

Spartangrad had no joy in Nephara against Brinemouth, but Cypher Town are no Brinemouth. Vardalos boldly opts for a nearly full-strength lineup yet again, but Lucan Palmisano hammers home what realistically clinches the game just eleven minutes in. From that point, Cypher need five, which they haven’t managed in a game all season, and the scoreline winds up mirroring the away leg. Still, Cypher have every reason to be proud of their run, but is Vardalos right to insist this fuelled, rather than compromised, their survival hopes?

North Laithland 0-0 Aries Chariots
Newrook City 2-1 North Sabrefell
Cypher Town 1-0 Raven River
Crisisbless United 0-4 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless 1-0 Sabrefell Moths
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Southfell United
AFC Corvistone 2-1 Stahlburg City
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Coret Hawks 0-3 Starling
Chenoworth Rovers 0-2 AFC Treason
Chenoworth Harriers 3-1 Vermillion Rage
Chatswood 0-6 Brinemouth

Throughout this season, Athletic have more ticked along consistently than really let fly like last season’s Brinemouth, but they’ve built up a commanding five-point lead at the top, one they maintain by smashing Crisisbless United 4-0 away. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Chequers aren’t really minded to do their crosstown rivals any favours - the fans seem somewhat less than distraught, for certain - as the Heelers wrestle with Sabrefell Moths. They need to win to stay in the title race, but they edge out the brutal knife-fight with a good bit of the old Aidan Brosque steel still in them, but they get their goal through some slick Chris Maarsden interplay, started and decisively finished by the talismanic Woakes. Treason beat Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 to stay third. Brinemouth round out the top four, opening up a three-point gap from the Moths. Starling, meanwhile, maintain hold of sixth by brutalising Coret 3-0 away; for the Hawks in 7th, their theme this season has been failing to keep up with the genuine big guns, though still doing well enough against the dross to hopefully keep ahold of what hopefully stays a Globe Cup place. A late free-kick winner from Rain Delacruz sees Corvistone past Stahlburg City, and the Crows narrow the gap to nine points, but… it’s probably still enough for the Hawks, just as they’re now nine points from the top four. Oh, and just like they spent pretty much all of last season, the Chenoworth sides are glued to each other in midtable again. Split, yes, only by goal difference, after the recovering Harriers beat Vermillion.

Southfell United aren’t quite In The Relegation Picture as such, but they’re still relieved to win a dull affair against Cranequin is lightened only by a bolt from the blue, Erik Marlowe’s free kick finding the net with enough force that it breaks one of Kiva Sirleaf’s fingers. Kia Anders has been limping on throughout her tenure at River, but a third straight defeat, overall winless in nine, threatens to derail her - worse still, it comes at the hands of Cypher, a proper smash-and-grab 1-0 though Ruo never really gets threatened in goal, for all River dominate possession. Despite Cranequin’s sixth straight defeat, they actually rise into the playoff place when Chatswood are destroyed 6-0 by Brinemouth, losing their entire GD advantage. A gutter brawl at the bottom of the table sees Fiona Norval’s powerful header and Andrea Kurz’s genuine thunderbolt make the difference in the second half for Corvette, who beat Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 to immediately retake 23rd. The season has ceased to be about even the pretense of survival for either; now it’s about making sure they get above the record-low 21-point mark set by Extreme Hills, five years ago.

Ritter Town 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Belgrave 3-1 Mantlegrove
Leichhardt 2-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Bishop
South Laithland 0-0 Creed United
West Brinemouth 0-2 Diamondqueen
Cranequin City 2-0 Morningstar
Parrhesia United 3-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Iron City 1-1 Rochford
AFC Serpentine 1-2 Peregrine
Brookford Otters 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Armstrong 1-1 Hackett

After a dire stalemate at South Laithland, Creed United lose some ground in the title race, Cranequin City gaining some ground by beating Morningstar… but they aren’t doing too badly. They still have a three-point lead at the top, the equal-best defence at the league and, of course, the small matter of a twenty-game unbeaten streak. Parrhesia thump Chardonnay Rangers 3-0, and all three are probably going up. Belgrave keep ahold of the playoff place, Meredith Sloan making the difference against Mantlegrove, but Diamondqueen, South Laithland, Hackett (yes, really, still) and Leichardt are all in the chase. Brookford… are not, hopelessly mired in midtable due to their porous defence.

Things are agonisingly tight at the bottom, with even Goodfeather FC in 12th just five points above the drop. Iron hover away from trouble despite it having been 11 games since they last scored multiple goals in a game, Serpentine even further above despite being terrible, but really, any of 13 teams could go down. Peregrine defender Providence Mensah is the unlikely hero against Serpentine, thrown forward late on as an emergency striker, and Brookes-Qureshi finds him open in a 90th minute counterattack, in enough space that even the burly centre-half can bash it past Wheelock for the winner. That lifts Peregrine out of the relegation zone and Morningstar back into it, the sides sandwiching Vermillion Wanderers, all on 38 points - all are leapfrogged by Ritter Town, who beat the Wanderers 1-0 in a desperate, physical game. West Brinemouth and Crisisbless Athletic lose to slip further adrift, while Rochford … well, they’re seven points adrift, with just 20 goals all season. But even they could perhaps lift themselves out of trouble; they haven’t lost in six. It looks like some new blood will replace them; Dartmouth Terriers have built up a commanding lead at the top, with prospective first-timers Alliance Barossia well in the fight to join them among more familiar names like Pillars, the Strongest, Locksley and Riverkey.

Autumnstone 1-0 Southriver
Boltcroft Thorns 1-3 Dartmouth Terriers
Falston United 0-2 The Hanged Man
Aries Solitaire 0-0 AFC Shale
Greygate 1-2 Riverkey
The Strongest 2-2 Pillars of Southfell
Coret Rovers 1-0 Crossroads Town
Extreme Hills 3-0 East Laithland Harriers
West Hook 2-2 Corinthians No Longer
Barossia United 2-0 Ballardine FC
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Locksley
Sheridan 0-2 Stonegrave
Southriver 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Autumnstone 1-4 Falston United
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Aries Solitaire
The Hanged Man 0-0 Greygate
AFC Shale 0-0 The Strongest
Riverkey 2-0 Coret Rovers
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Extreme Hills
Crossroads Town 1-0 West Hook
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Barossia United
Corinthians No Longer 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Ballardine FC 0-1 Sheridan
Locksley 2-2 Stonegrave
Falston United 0-1 Southriver
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Greygate 2-0 Autumnstone
The Strongest 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Coret Rovers 1-0 The Hanged Man
Extreme Hills 1-1 AFC Shale
West Hook 0-0 Riverkey
Barossia United 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Alliance Barossia 3-1 Crossroads Town
Sheridan 0-0 East Laithland Harriers
Stonegrave 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Locksley 2-2 Ballardine FC
Southriver 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Falston United 1-1 Greygate
Boltcroft Thorns 1-4 The Strongest
Autumnstone 2-1 Coret Rovers
Dartmouth Terriers 3-2 Extreme Hills
The Hanged Man 2-0 West Hook
AFC Shale 1-0 Barossia United
Riverkey 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Sheridan
Crossroads Town 3-0 Stonegrave
East Laithland Harriers 1-2 Locksley
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 Ballardine FC
Greygate 2-2 Southriver
The Strongest 3-3 Aries Solitaire
Coret Rovers 2-0 Falston United
Extreme Hills 0-0 Boltcroft Thorns
West Hook 4-2 Autumnstone
Barossia United 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Alliance Barossia 2-0 The Hanged Man
Sheridan 0-2 AFC Shale
Stonegrave 2-0 Riverkey
Locksley 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Ballardine FC 3-0 Crossroads Town
Corinthians No Longer 3-1 East Laithland Harriers
Southriver 2-9 The Strongest
Greygate 4-0 Coret Rovers
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Extreme Hills
Falston United 2-0 West Hook
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Barossia United
Autumnstone 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Sheridan
The Hanged Man 1-0 Stonegrave
AFC Shale 0-2 Locksley
Riverkey 0-0 Ballardine FC
Pillars of Southfell 3-0 Corinthians No Longer
Crossroads Town 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Coret Rovers 3-3 Southriver
Extreme Hills 1-4 The Strongest
West Hook 2-0 Greygate
Barossia United 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Alliance Barossia 3-0 Falston United
Sheridan 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Stonegrave 1-1 Autumnstone
Locksley 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Ballardine FC 0-0 The Hanged Man
Corinthians No Longer 1-3 AFC Shale
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Riverkey
Crossroads Town 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Southriver 2-1 Extreme Hills
Coret Rovers 2-0 West Hook
The Strongest 5-1 Barossia United
Greygate 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Sheridan
Falston United 1-0 Stonegrave
Boltcroft Thorns 4-0 Locksley
Autumnstone 1-4 Ballardine FC
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 Corinthians No Longer
The Hanged Man 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
AFC Shale 0-0 Crossroads Town
Riverkey 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
West Hook 0-1 Southriver
Barossia United 4-1 Extreme Hills
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Coret Rovers
Sheridan 0-1 The Strongest
Stonegrave 2-0 Greygate
Locksley 3-1 Aries Solitaire
Ballardine FC 2-2 Falston United
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
East Laithland Harriers 2-3 Autumnstone
Crossroads Town 0-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 The Hanged Man
Riverkey 0-0 AFC Shale
Southriver 2-2 Barossia United
West Hook 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Extreme Hills 1-1 Sheridan
Coret Rovers 1-3 Stonegrave
The Strongest 5-0 Locksley
Greygate 5-1 Ballardine FC
Aries Solitaire 2-0 Corinthians No Longer
Falston United 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Crossroads Town
Autumnstone 1-4 Pillars of Southfell
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Riverkey
The Hanged Man 2-0 AFC Shale
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Southriver
Sheridan 2-0 Barossia United
Stonegrave 2-2 West Hook
Locksley 2-0 Extreme Hills
Ballardine FC 1-1 Coret Rovers
Corinthians No Longer 7-0 The Strongest
East Laithland Harriers 2-0 Greygate
Crossroads Town 0-2 Aries Solitaire
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Falston United
Riverkey 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns
AFC Shale 1-1 Autumnstone
The Hanged Man 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Stamper Road 3-3 Sutcroft Athletic
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Long Lake
Rushe United 0-2 Mapleford
FC Seierstad 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
Iron United 0-3 Kensey Town
Ox River United 1-2 Hartford Glade
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 South Parrhesia
Kommissar 3-2 Falston Town
Fully Sick XI 0-1 Brokenarch
Sutcroft 1-0 Sirencall FC
Brindleton 2-1 Martella Jazz
Strephonage 2-1 Brunyard FC
Sutcroft Athletic 2-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Stamper Road 2-0 Rushe United
Long Lake 1-1 FC Seierstad
Mapleford 1-1 Iron United
Gosmouth Swans 1-2 Ox River United
Kensey Town 0-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Hartford Glade 1-2 Kommissar
South Parrhesia 1-2 Fully Sick XI
Falston Town 2-1 Sutcroft
Brokenarch 3-1 Brindleton
Sirencall FC 1-2 Strephonage
Martella Jazz 1-0 Brunyard FC
Rushe United 4-2 Sutcroft Athletic
FC Seierstad 1-5 Rochford Pilgrims
Iron United 3-0 Stamper Road
Ox River United 2-0 Long Lake
Lazuli Diamonds 2-0 Mapleford
Kommissar 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Fully Sick XI 3-1 Kensey Town
Sutcroft 2-0 Hartford Glade
Brindleton 4-1 South Parrhesia
Strephonage 2-0 Falston Town
Brunyard FC 2-3 Brokenarch
Martella Jazz 0-0 Sirencall FC
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 FC Seierstad
Rushe United 1-1 Iron United
Rochford Pilgrims 0-3 Ox River United
Stamper Road 1-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Long Lake 2-1 Kommissar
Mapleford 2-2 Fully Sick XI
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Sutcroft
Kensey Town 0-2 Brindleton
Hartford Glade 2-2 Strephonage
South Parrhesia 1-0 Brunyard FC
Falston Town 0-2 Martella Jazz
Brokenarch 0-0 Sirencall FC
Iron United 4-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Ox River United 1-0 FC Seierstad
Lazuli Diamonds 9-1 Rushe United
Kommissar 5-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Fully Sick XI 1-1 Stamper Road
Sutcroft 1-0 Long Lake
Brindleton 1-0 Mapleford
Strephonage 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Brunyard FC 3-1 Kensey Town
Martella Jazz 3-4 Hartford Glade
Sirencall FC 1-1 South Parrhesia
Brokenarch 2-1 Falston Town
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Ox River United
Iron United 0-3 Lazuli Diamonds
FC Seierstad 1-1 Kommissar
Rushe United 2-2 Fully Sick XI
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Sutcroft
Stamper Road 1-3 Brindleton
Long Lake 0-0 Strephonage
Mapleford 5-0 Brunyard FC
Gosmouth Swans 3-3 Martella Jazz
Kensey Town 1-3 Sirencall FC
Hartford Glade 3-0 Brokenarch
South Parrhesia 1-0 Falston Town
Lazuli Diamonds 3-3 Sutcroft Athletic
Kommissar 0-0 Ox River United
Fully Sick XI 0-2 Iron United
Sutcroft 2-0 FC Seierstad
Brindleton 0-1 Rushe United
Strephonage 4-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Brunyard FC 1-0 Stamper Road
Martella Jazz 1-1 Long Lake
Sirencall FC 0-2 Mapleford
Brokenarch 3-1 Gosmouth Swans
Falston Town 2-4 Kensey Town
South Parrhesia 3-2 Hartford Glade
Sutcroft Athletic 0-2 Kommissar
Lazuli Diamonds 3-1 Fully Sick XI
Ox River United 1-1 Sutcroft
Iron United 1-2 Brindleton
FC Seierstad 1-1 Strephonage
Rushe United 3-4 Brunyard FC
Rochford Pilgrims 0-2 Martella Jazz
Stamper Road 4-1 Sirencall FC
Long Lake 0-1 Brokenarch
Mapleford 0-0 Falston Town
Gosmouth Swans 3-1 South Parrhesia
Kensey Town 3-1 Hartford Glade
Fully Sick XI 0-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Sutcroft 0-1 Kommissar
Brindleton 0-4 Lazuli Diamonds
Strephonage 0-0 Ox River United
Brunyard FC 0-3 Iron United
Martella Jazz 2-1 FC Seierstad
Sirencall FC 1-0 Rushe United
Brokenarch 3-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Falston Town 1-2 Stamper Road
South Parrhesia 1-0 Long Lake
Hartford Glade 0-1 Mapleford
Kensey Town 1-3 Gosmouth Swans
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Sutcroft
Fully Sick XI 1-1 Brindleton
Kommissar 2-1 Strephonage
Lazuli Diamonds 3-0 Brunyard FC
Ox River United 2-0 Martella Jazz
Iron United 0-1 Sirencall FC
FC Seierstad 1-4 Brokenarch
Rushe United 1-2 Falston Town
Rochford Pilgrims 1-4 South Parrhesia
Stamper Road 0-0 Hartford Glade
Long Lake 4-2 Kensey Town
Mapleford 2-3 Gosmouth Swans
Brindleton 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Strephonage 2-0 Sutcroft
Brunyard FC 2-0 Fully Sick XI
Martella Jazz 1-0 Kommissar
Sirencall FC 2-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Brokenarch 1-0 Ox River United
Falston Town 2-1 Iron United
South Parrhesia 1-1 FC Seierstad
Hartford Glade 2-0 Rushe United
Kensey Town 0-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 Stamper Road
Mapleford 1-0 Long Lake

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sabrefell Athletic 34 23 7 4 68 22 +46 76
2 Crisisbless 34 21 8 5 70 40 +30 71
3 AFC Treason 34 21 7 6 73 34 +39 70
4 Brinemouth 34 21 5 8 87 37 +50 68

5 Sabrefell Moths 34 19 8 7 67 33 +34 65
6 Starling 34 18 9 7 54 30 +24 63
7 Coret Hawks 34 17 8 9 56 41 +15 59

8 AFC Corvistone 34 14 8 12 55 50 +5 50
9 North Laithland 34 12 12 10 44 52 -8 48
10 Aries Chariots 34 11 14 9 51 42 +9 47
11 Chenoworth Harriers 34 13 8 13 44 43 +1 47
12 Chenoworth Rovers 34 13 8 13 43 49 -6 47
13 Newrook City 34 11 11 12 45 43 +2 44
14 Crisisbless United 34 12 8 14 53 69 -16 44
15 Vermillion Rage 34 10 12 12 46 51 -5 42
16 Stahlburg City 34 12 6 16 35 42 -7 42
17 Southfell United 34 9 11 14 41 51 -10 38
18 North Sabrefell 34 9 11 14 38 49 -11 38
19 Cypher Town 34 9 8 17 27 41 -14 35
20 Raven River 34 5 17 12 44 62 -18 32
21 Cranequin Wanderers 34 6 11 17 41 65 -24 29
22 Chatswood 34 6 11 17 38 63 -25 29
23 Corvette Maulers 34 3 7 24 29 76 -47 16
24 Stahlburg Rovers 34 4 3 27 33 97 -64 15

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Creed United 34 20 11 3 57 25 +32 71
2 Cranequin City 34 20 8 6 49 31 +18 68
3 Parrhesia United 34 19 6 9 66 41 +25 63

4 Belgrave 34 17 6 11 62 40 +22 57
5 Diamondqueen 34 15 10 9 61 32 +29 55
6 South Laithland 34 16 6 12 44 34 +10 54
7 Hackett 34 15 8 11 46 39 +7 53
8 Leichhardt 34 14 10 10 38 25 +13 52
9 Armstrong 34 13 10 11 31 33 -2 49
10 Brookford Otters 34 12 12 10 54 48 +6 48
11 Bishop 34 12 11 11 41 33 +8 47
12 Goodfeather FC 34 11 10 13 40 43 -3 43
13 AFC Serpentine 34 12 6 16 36 53 -17 42
14 Mantlegrove 34 11 8 15 31 39 -8 41
15 Iron City 34 9 13 12 28 33 -5 40
16 Gonen's Bridge 34 11 7 16 38 52 -14 40
17 Chardonnay Rangers 34 10 10 14 40 59 -19 40
18 Ritter Town 34 10 9 15 34 43 -9 39
19 Vermillion Wanderers 34 10 8 16 35 42 -7 38
20 Peregrine 34 10 8 16 41 55 -14 38
21 Morningstar 34 10 8 16 38 55 -17 38
22 West Brinemouth 34 9 9 16 26 38 -12 36
23 Crisisbless Athletic 34 8 10 16 41 56 -15 34
24 Rochford 34 7 10 17 20 48 -28 31

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Dartmouth Terriers 34 22 6 6 55 23 +32 72
2 Pillars of Southfell 34 17 11 6 43 18 +25 62
3 Alliance Barossia 34 17 11 6 52 29 +23 62
4 The Strongest 34 18 7 9 87 56 +31 61

5 Locksley 34 17 9 8 57 49 +8 60
6 Riverkey 34 15 13 6 46 28 +18 58
7 Coret Rovers 34 16 6 12 52 55 -3 54
8 AFC Shale 34 14 11 9 33 22 +11 53
9 Aries Solitaire 34 14 8 12 55 42 +13 50
10 Extreme Hills 34 12 12 10 42 39 +3 48
11 Barossia United 34 14 6 14 44 51 -7 48
12 Southriver 34 13 9 12 40 47 -7 48
13 Corinthians No Longer 34 13 8 13 48 39 +9 47
14 Stonegrave 34 13 8 13 37 39 -2 47
15 Greygate 34 12 8 14 51 52 -1 44
16 Falston United 34 11 10 13 46 48 -2 43
17 Sheridan 34 10 10 14 24 31 -7 40
18 The Hanged Man 34 9 9 16 18 32 -14 36
19 Ballardine FC 34 7 14 13 36 43 -7 35
20 Boltcroft Thorns 34 7 12 15 35 53 -18 33
21 Autumnstone 34 7 11 16 40 66 -26 32
22 East Laithland Harriers 34 8 3 23 30 56 -26 27
23 West Hook 34 5 11 18 30 49 -19 26
24 Crossroads Town 34 5 11 18 34 68 -34 26

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Kommissar 34 25 5 4 70 28 +42 80
2 Brokenarch 34 22 7 5 79 36 +43 73
3 Brindleton 34 23 4 7 59 36 +23 73
4 Lazuli Diamonds 34 21 8 5 87 41 +46 71

5 Gosmouth Swans 34 22 5 7 52 32 +20 71
6 Ox River United 34 18 8 8 48 26 +22 62
7 Mapleford 34 18 6 10 57 41 +16 60
8 Martella Jazz 34 17 6 11 63 55 +8 57
9 South Parrhesia 34 14 7 13 58 48 +10 49
10 Strephonage 34 13 9 12 49 37 +12 48
11 Kensey Town 34 13 7 14 63 59 +4 46
12 Rochford Pilgrims 34 12 7 15 41 60 -19 43
13 Fully Sick XI 34 10 11 13 41 53 -12 41
14 Sutcroft Athletic 34 10 11 13 38 51 -13 41
15 Falston Town 34 12 4 18 52 61 -9 40
16 Hartford Glade 34 11 7 16 41 52 -11 40
17 Sirencall FC 34 10 8 16 45 63 -18 38
18 Iron United 34 10 6 18 36 44 -8 36
19 Brunyard FC 34 10 2 22 43 68 -25 32
20 Sutcroft 34 7 10 17 37 50 -13 31
21 Stamper Road 34 8 6 20 44 69 -25 30
22 Long Lake 34 8 5 21 26 45 -19 29
23 FC Seierstad 34 5 13 16 36 58 -22 28
24 Rushe United 34 6 4 24 36 88 -52 22

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ingram Township 34 20 6 8 52 23 +29 66
2 Riverkey Shells 34 18 7 9 57 35 +22 61

3 Fischer 34 17 7 10 65 39 +26 58
4 Iberia Chenoworth 34 16 8 10 62 37 +25 56
5 Ringway 34 15 11 8 52 38 +14 56
6 Chenoworth Teutons 34 17 5 12 42 47 -5 56
7 Crownsend Journey 34 16 7 11 61 46 +15 55
8 Lockheed Zenith 34 16 7 11 47 44 +3 55
9 Stonesthrow Town 34 13 11 10 42 35 +7 50
10 Courser 34 12 10 12 41 41 +0 46
11 Fenland Albion 34 11 12 11 28 31 -3 45
12 Sleetwell Rangers 34 11 11 12 47 54 -7 44
13 Grovebank 34 11 10 13 43 41 +2 43
14 Harrington 34 11 9 14 47 50 -3 42
15 Boleyn Town 34 9 13 12 32 32 +0 40
16 AFC Feuerweiss 34 11 6 17 48 56 -8 39
17 AFC Hellerine 34 9 8 17 45 70 -25 35
18 Aspen Grove 34 6 13 15 39 54 -15 31
19 Camwell Road 34 6 11 17 27 57 -30 29
20 Swag Hill Rovers 34 6 6 22 39 86 -47 24

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Caldwick Strand 34 21 9 4 62 38 +24 72
2 Downsparrow 34 19 10 5 60 32 +28 67

3 Pravenna Saints 34 19 8 7 56 26 +30 65
4 Bodkin Road 34 16 9 9 41 31 +10 57
5 Cranequin Souths 34 14 10 10 53 42 +11 52
6 Corvistone City 34 13 11 10 43 34 +9 50
7 Gridlock 34 14 7 13 34 28 +6 49
8 Northside Eagles 34 12 11 11 57 48 +9 47
9 Brookford Vantablack 34 11 13 10 44 42 +2 46
10 Rookwall 34 12 9 13 32 33 -1 45
11 AFC Volksgarten 34 10 14 10 42 36 +6 44
12 Constance Park 34 9 16 9 30 31 -1 43
13 Twelvetrees 34 9 14 11 35 35 +0 41
14 AFC Burchess 34 10 9 15 42 51 -9 39
15 The Travellers FC 34 9 11 14 44 46 -2 38
16 Blaze 34 7 12 15 46 69 -23 33
17 Markoni 34 8 8 18 29 54 -25 32
18 Brookway Town 34 7 10 17 29 47 -18 31
19 South Brill 34 5 16 13 36 56 -20 31
20 Corby Hubris 34 6 11 17 42 78 -36 29
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Postby Nephara » Sat May 04, 2019 5:52 am

Raven River 1-0 Cypher Town
Belgrave 2-1 North Laithland
Brinemouth 3-3 AFC Treason
Chatswood 0-1 Ritter Town

There’s a blindingly obvious candidate for neutrals to watch, and they’re rewarded; Brinemouth’s hosting Treason sees more goals than the other three games combined. River edge out Cypher with a Kesteren piledriver, and the two First Division teams both win. Belgrave are just that step faster than the Spiders, and overcome an early setback against the run of play with team goals finished by Sloan and Strand, while Chatswood are robbed by Ritter goalkeeper Markgraf - one Premiership teams are seriously looking at - and concede a late penalty to the winger Yew, slotted home calmly by former Newrook midfielder Fenchel. Brinemouth, though… well, both they and Treason will have questions about their defences, but neither can question their resilience. Three times, Treason punches through the Dockers’ defence; three times, Brinemouth strike back, and only a spectacular flying save from 36-year old Gideon Fletcher keeps Brinemouth from snatching it at the death.

Brinemouth 2-0 Tanrisal

Brinemouth do what they do. They’re less than gracious hosts to poor Tani, batting the ball around with a consummate ease and not really letting their opponents have any of it. In fact, they’re almost having so much fun they forget to win - still, Desya Kuznetsov is there to thrash a couple screamers into the corners, and when Tani start to pick up chances as the second half wears on, Ryan Bull’s equal to the challenge.

Aries Chariots 5-1 Newrook City
North Laithland 1-2 Cypher Town
North Sabrefell 5-0 Crisisbless United
Raven River 0-1 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Southfell United 2-0 Corvette Maulers
Stahlburg City 0-1 Coret Hawks
Stahlburg Rovers 0-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Starling 3-2 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Treason 3-3 Chatswood
Vermillion Rage 0-3 Brinemouth

From their hated east coast rivals to a fiercely contested derby; the Stags sure know how to set the occasion. Then again, they can claim to be the fiercest rivals of no less than four Premiership clubs, so maybe that isn’t surprising. The surprising part is it winds up being another 3-3 draw, the vicious intensity of Leigh Fletcher’s Woodsmen throwing them off, as well as the opener coming just four minutes in when Chatswood’s first shot of the game, a free kick from Conleth, whips over the wall and just under the crossbar with violence. The referee is … permissive, and Chatswood don’t have anyone sent off, though they do pick up seven cards. Treason do pick up a red card, and there’s few who can argue with it as Konrad Vornander, frustrated with the grappling of Rehan Garrett, throws out an elbow at his face - with 50 minutes to play, Treason have to cling to a 2-1 lead. They can’t quite manage it, as uncharacteristically poor defending gives Garrett and Conleth openings to wrest back the lead for Chatswood, but in injury time, Accardi drives forward at Chatswood’s defence, jinks into the box, and Karling instinctively flicks out a boot to fell her. Referee Brom Anstead, recognising that if he doesn’t give this penalty, he isn’t leaving this stadium alive, duly points to the spot; even then, Jonsson duly shoots too close to Aleksovic, but the Cosumarite stopper can only parry it back into Jonsson’s path. At the second time of asking, Jonsson slots home the equaliser.

Treason aren’t quite alone at the top in failing to win, with the Moths cancelled out by Corvistone, but a scrappy late goal from the underrated Sinan Uzunlar, whose nous and finishing ability have come to Athletic’s rescue more than once, sees the Rams beat Cranequin, while Starling by contrast almost (but don’t quite!) choke on a 3-0 half-time lead against Chenoworth Rovers, the immensely promising Rashica Horvath attracting plenty of attention in orchestrating a near-comeback with two assists. Brinemouth, meanwhile, cruise to victory over Vermillion. Treason doesn’t have a monopoly on huge amounts of goals for the weekend, either, with North Sabrefell destroying Crisisbless United 5-0 - winger Fabrice Laramee quickly becoming the hipster’s choice for signing of the season - and Aries Chariots dumpstering a nine-man Newrook 5-1, with Andreu Bartolnicci also sent to the stands on a day where the Rooks just… implode. As commentator Lucia Pembroke observes, Bartolnicci would absolutely have been sacked by now had he not been responsible for Newrook’s rise in the first place… but then, can he really turn this around?

1. Athletic - 79, +47
2. Crisisbless - 74, +31
3. Brinemouth - 71, +53
4. Treason - 71, +39
5. Moths - 66, +34
6. Starling, 66, +25
7. Hawks - 62, +16
17. North Sabrefell - 41, -6
18. Southfell - 41, -8
19. Cypher - 38, -13
20. River - 32, -19
21. Chatswood - 30, -25
22. Cranequin, 29, -25
23. Corvette - 16, -45
24. Stahlburg Rovers - 16, -64

Vermillion Wanderers 4-1 Belgrave
Ritter Town 2-2 Leichhardt
Mantlegrove 2-2 Goodfeather FC
Crisisbless Athletic 2-4 South Laithland
Bishop 1-0 West Brinemouth
Creed United 0-0 Cranequin City
Diamondqueen 3-1 Parrhesia United
Morningstar 0-1 Iron City
Chardonnay Rangers 0-0 AFC Serpentine
Rochford 2-2 Brookford Otters
Peregrine 0-1 Armstrong
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Hackett

Belgrave have been very impressive so far, but their eccentric manager Adalheid Metzelder is quick to deny the first hint of accusation that her side has a glass jaw. “You’re letting yourselves be tricked by the image of us as these upper-class fancy dans who can’t look after ourselves,” she scoffs to the press, shortly before her side loses 4-1 to a Vermillion Wanderers outfit that plainly unsettles them with brute force and direct passing. Diamondqueen look like they never left the Premiership after a slick performance sees them down Parrhesia 3-1, the lethal attacking trident of incisive playmaker Bronson, brute Lyritzis and poacher Escrow each getting on the scoresheet, while fellow high-fliers Creed and Cranequin share the points in a tense scoreless draw, though what looks to be Cranequin’s winner courtesy of the substitute Kagioglou is waved off for a marginal, marginal offside in the build-up.

Cypher Town 3-1 Raven River
Cypher Town win 3-2 on aggregate.

North Laithland 3-0 Belgrave
North Laithland win 4-2 on aggregate.

AFC Treason 6-2 Brinemouth
AFC Treason win 9-5 on aggregate.

Ritter Town 0-1 Chatswood (2-2 AET)
Ritter Town win 3-2 on aggregate.

Cypher have proven themselves to be a serious tournament team this season, and it’s not too much of a surprise to see them dominate River in the first half, though wayward finishing means it fails to reflect on the scoreboard. But 51 minutes in, they get their breakthrough, slick interplay masterminded by Cressida Voeller and finished emphatically by Athana Finchcleft, and the floodgates open - Finchcleft’s cutback across the face of goal is tapped home by Rooke, before the substitute Alexa Ferryman drives home from just outside the box. River make things very interesting near the end, a glancing header from Merric Summers enough to get past Burgnich, who misses his chance to make a save on the day, but they can’t get the other goal they need. North Laithland cream Belgrave 3-0 in a game with even less intrigue, just the Spiders having that touch more class and pace than their second-tier guests. Ritter hold the line against Chatswood, but late on, terrible marking at a corner allows Darius Rashkin to power home a levelling header to force extra time. Chatswood strike first here, too, the otherwise exemplary goalkeeper Markgraf with a rare error, dithering and failing to come out for a cross that should’ve been hers and letting Abishai Vestal prod it home instead, and Kolinda Bischoff hits a post soon afterwards. But Ritter didn’t come all this way to fall now; the sleek striker Naga is the hero, firing home a brace from outside the box to edge the Stallions through.

Most eyes, though, are yet again on the Classic. And it’s. Well. It’s insane, is what it is. Brinemouth score first, just eight minutes in, and probably figure they’ve done well to get the Stags to come forward out of their shell. But they don’t reckon for the final product that the Stags have, and their drive to win, backed by a sell-out home crowd eager to see blood. It’s perhaps a glorious swansong for Roddy Fraser, now 35 and handed a starting berth by Bittencourt with Metzger nursing a knock from training; with three beautiful, instinctive finishes from the perfect place inside the box, he punctuates the match with Treason’s second, fourth and final of six goals, and departs in the 82nd minute to a standing ovation. Brinemouth get a consolation at the end, pouncing on some shambolic, complacent defending at the death, but still - Treason win by the eye-catching score of 9-5 on aggregate. Brinemouth shouldn’t feel too bad; no other team got more than four.

Tanrisal 2-2 Brinemouth
Brinemouth win 4-2 on aggregate.

Somewhat demoralised, perhaps, Brinemouth almost throw the tie away, going down 2-0 in the opening half-hour. But then Magnozzi’s header off an impeccable Conjure free kick hands them a goal ludicrously against the run of play, allows them some breathing room, and takes them to half-time. In the second half, Brinemouth are much, much calmer, dominating the ball - though certainly not the play, to the extent Tani had in the first half - and Iori Saitou calms nerves by finishing off a slick team goal with a powerfully driven finish 76 minutes in.

Cypher Town 1-2 Aries Chariots
Crisisbless United 1-1 Newrook City
Crisisbless 0-1 North Laithland
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 North Sabrefell
AFC Corvistone 3-3 Raven River
Corvette Maulers 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Coret Hawks 5-5 Sabrefell Moths
Chenoworth Rovers 0-2 Southfell United
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 Stahlburg City
Chatswood 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Brinemouth 1-0 Starling
Vermillion Rage 2-2 AFC Treason

The Coret Hawks are still eyeing the top four, but the next test is stiff as hell. So are some of the neutrals, by the end of it. But we’ll get to that. They host a Moths side with power to burn, and in a relatively un-congested time of the season. Coret, on the other hand… a fairly old side, less depth, somewhat more jaded. Though in this case it’s a young gun, Gerome Pollard, who makes the first error - Lockwood rolls him the ball and his first touch lamps it straight into Solara Vol, who nonchalantly takes it in her stride, runs past him and slots past Lockwood. Vol then knocks down a Townsend cross for Romero to stroke home, Naeher’s free kick is glanced home by the redeemed Pollard to pull one back for the Hawks before Townsend makes it 3-1. All within 30 minutes. Naeher, playing in a less familiar role in the centre of midfield due to a couple of injuries, then lays on another assist that Skapetis lashes home from the edge of the box in first-half injury-time; 3-2. And Coret complete the comeback on the hour mark, after a fairly placid start to the second half, when Skapetis is sent flying by a challenge from Vicelich just inside the box, letting the unlikely hero of the hour Raquel Naeher slide home the equalising penalty. And then the Moths promptly retake the lead through Valencia Ashburner and Jon Haines through flowing team goals down the flanks. Coret’s heads drop… and then they get a gift, when the normally rock-solid Robert Griffin comes out for a cross from Rasmus Caracole… and it slips through his fingers. Dragan Stavanger, with barely any time to react, manages to head the ball into the unguarded net, and in the 92nd minute, with the Hawks streaming forward, none other than Penumbra Amokachi gets on the end of a raking diagonal from fellow substitute Crowford, levelling the scores at 5-5 with her first and only touch of the game.

Elsewhere, Brinemouth edge out Starling 1-0, but Crisisbless and Treason miss out their chances to entrench their top four places; the latter are beaten 1-0 by North Laithland and their old midfielder, Irsa Croxteth, the latter seem to have things in the bag in Vermillion but slip to late goals from Heward and Breremond to drop two points. Brinemouth are, in fact, the only team in the top eight to actually win. It’s an even day at the bottom, too. A late surge from the Crows against Raven River manages to turn the tide from 3-1 down to 3-3, and they have a late penalty shout turned down, at that - captain Michi Leonard admitting “I’m deeply disappointed to be happy with the point here,” which makes a certain amount of sense in context. Cranequin Wanderers also share the points with North Sabrefell, while Cypher Town are unable to get out of the hole of Rowena Sierra’s brace against an energetic Aries side. Both Corvette and Stahlburg Rovers manage fine results - the Rovers edge out Chatswood through a spirited defence, wayward finishing from the Woodsmen, and a drilled finish from Corona Sharpe, while Corvette somehow stay in the game against Sabrefell Athletic. Goals from Uzunlar and Ceulemann seem to settle the game in the Rams’ favour by the half-hour mark, but they’re lazily caught on the break by a somewhat offside Karnezis on the stroke of half-time. Acatha Feldman keeps them in the game with a string of saves, before Gerwyn Clarke scores a very belated first goal of the season off the bench late on, fancying his chances from outside the box and firing it low past a blindsided Gautier.

1. Athletic - 80, +47
2. Brinemouth - 74, +54
3. Crisisbless - 74, +30
4. Treason - 72, +39
5. Moths - 67, +34
6. Starling, 66, +24
7. Hawks - 63, +16
18. North Sabrefell - 42, -6
19. Cypher - 38, -14
20. River - 33, -19
21. Cranequin, 30, -25
22. Chatswood - 30, -26
23. Stahlburg Rovers - 19, -63
24. Corvette - 17, -45

Leichhardt 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Goodfeather FC 3-2 Belgrave
South Laithland 4-0 Ritter Town
West Brinemouth 1-1 Mantlegrove
Cranequin City 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Parrhesia United 2-3 Bishop
Iron City 1-0 Creed United
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Diamondqueen
Brookford Otters 0-2 Morningstar
Armstrong 0-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Hackett 3-2 Rochford
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Peregrine

Creed’s unbeaten streak grinds to a halt at 21. Which is, you know, still pretty good. Still basically half a season’s worth. Now people are talking about their three-game goalless streak, after Iron beat them 1-0 through Ida Preussler’s tidy half-volley - is the Oathmen’s powder drying up at the worst possible time? But then, Cranequin City also slip up, a scoreless draw at home against minnows Crisisbless Athletic, while Parrhesia lose 3-2 at home to Bishop because of course they do, Belgrave lose to Goodfeather and Diamondqueen to the unpredictable Serpentine.

Black Hawks NFX 2-2 AFC Treason
Ulsa 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic

Fixture congestion is really starting to get to clubs right about now, and it’s a godsend for both remaining Nepharim clubs that they can call upon strong reserves. Roddy Fraser is the obvious name, but despite completing a rare 90 minutes for Treason, he doesn’t get on the scoresheet in a disjointed performance; instead, it’s wingers Neptune and Ulreich who claw Treason’s way back into an anarchic match against the Black Hawks. An Ulsa side boasting Romikk Valgard, probably the best striker in the world, Adnan Szalai, the first ever Boldsport Galactico, and current Nephara winger Monako Saroszi, is a hell of an intimidating fixture… but Athletic handle it, somehow. Oscar Coltrane starts on the bench as Tom Benedict prudently aims to stifle, before coming off to whip in a lethal free kick arrowed home by centre-half Graciano Farina for a crucial away goal.

Aries Chariots 1-1 Crisisbless United
Cypher Town 1-1 Crisisbless
Newrook City 7-1 Cranequin Wanderers
North Laithland 3-1 AFC Corvistone
North Sabrefell 4-1 Corvette Maulers
Raven River 0-0 Coret Hawks
Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Southfell United 2-1 Chatswood
Stahlburg City 1-4 Brinemouth
Stahlburg Rovers 1-5 Vermillion Rage
Starling 1-0 AFC Treason

It’s a festival of football in Sabrefell, as all six of its Premiership sides (counting Southfell, as everyone not from Southfell does) play at home. In what is informally known as the Quebecois Result, they go 4-2-0; the giants beating the Chenoworth sides 2-0, Southfell scraping by Chatswood, North Sabrefell destroying Corvette, and Aries and River relatively letting the side down with nevertheless reasonably creditable draws. Starling host Treason and beat them at their own game, one for the purists, as the saying goes, turning on a spectacular double save from Smordal to deny Accardi and Metzger in quick succession, and then a brutally powerful finish from Keira Andisori beating the otherwise impeccable Clavel at his near post. With Crisisbless also dropping points, this throws the race for the top four wide open.

On the other hand, could this be the week that sets the relegation picture in stone? Cypher score early against Crisisbless and cling onto it like mildew; only late on, through Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic’s introduction off the bench and him, in turn, finding Airik Ruhl with a beautiful long ball over the top, do Crisisbless take a share of the points. They’re now nine points clear of the drop. River, meanwhile, hold on grimly to a scoreless draw with Coret, spared only by nine saves from the outstanding Althea Taliadoros. They have a four-point lead on Chatswood, who choke late against Southfell, and Cranequin Wanderers… who are pulverised 7-1 by Newrook. Their lack of physical intensity is unacceptable, they just lie down and let Newrook ram the ball down their throat time and again, goalkeeper Olivia Selkie not doing terribly much to stop this state of affairs.

1. Athletic - 83, +49
2. Brinemouth - 77, +57
3. Crisisbless - 75, +30
4. Treason - 72, +38
5. Moths - 70, +36
6. Starling, 69, +25
7. Hawks - 64, +16
19. Cypher - 39, -14
20. River - 34, -19
21. Chatswood - 30, -27
22. Cranequin, 30, -31
23. Stahlburg Rovers - 19, -67
24. Corvette - 17, -48

Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Goodfeather FC
Leichhardt 3-1 South Laithland
Belgrave 0-0 West Brinemouth
Ritter Town 0-2 Cranequin City
Mantlegrove 1-1 Parrhesia United
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 Iron City
Bishop 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Creed United 3-2 Brookford Otters
Diamondqueen 0-0 Armstrong
Morningstar 1-2 Hackett
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Rochford 2-2 Peregrine

Morningstar will be kicking themselves for throwing away the game against a Hackett side that played for an hour with 10 men, the talented but impetuous Varga Neury lashing out an elbow at Ryder in instinctive response to a raking challenge. Hackett respond by letting Morningstar have the ball, and the Stars don’t cope with it, failing to find the inspiration from open play, and getting gashed on the break by Felix Gallan before the half is up. As desperation set in late on, Gallan doubled his advantage, and a late Kuijer penalty wasn’t enough. Leichhardt against South Laithland has no right to be remotely watchable, and yet so it proves, with both sides’ technically adept veterans (Silkman and Woodspur for the hosts, Natasha for the visitors) shining. The Stargazers prevail, veteran striker Ingrid Auttenberg burnishing an all-too-anemic scoring record with her first hat-trick at the club.

AFC Treason 4-0 Black Hawks NFX
AFC Treason win 6-2 on aggregate.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Ulsa
Sabrefell Athletic win 2-0 on aggregate.

Treason go full beast mode to overpower the Black Hawks and force their way through to the next round, Mikkel Jonsson again proving from midfield why he was picked up; the young playmaker could well become a legend here, and both starts and finishes the scoring in a game that Treason control. Athletic are in control, too, though in the sense that a lion tamer ever has an angry beast that could shred them at will under control; clean, conservative possession, unapologetic rotating fouls and sprawling saves from the giant Gautier all contribute, with an early goal from Orsolya Gere flicked over the head of Calixto settling nerves and, ultimately, the tie. The signs in the home end follow the theme of gleefully welcoming Ulsa manager Gerhard Thunder, a Moths legend, ‘back to Hell’. You’d better believe the fans enjoy today.

Crisisbless 0-3 Aries Chariots
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Crisisbless United
AFC Corvistone 2-0 Cypher Town
Corvette Maulers 2-2 Newrook City
Coret Hawks 2-2 North Laithland
Chenoworth Rovers 3-4 North Sabrefell
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Raven River
Chatswood 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Brinemouth 4-1 Sabrefell Moths
Vermillion Rage 4-0 Southfell United
AFC Treason 2-0 Stahlburg City
Starling 2-2 Stahlburg Rovers

What’s going on in Crisisbless? Their title challenge has been melting. A side including so many high-profile stars hosts the Chariots, sluggishly meanders around the pitch and gets gashed repeatedly by the electrifying pace and energy of their guests, with Alexandra Lazarou particularly irresistable on the right flank; the former Belgrave winger gets a begrudging standing ovation from the home fans after probably ending Sieglinde Lohengrin’s career with the sheer whiplash induced by her clever movement. 3-0’s the final result, with Lazarou getting two goals and the remaining assist. Brinemouth annihilate the jaded-looking Moths 4-1, who try to be physical but just look clumsy. A frankly spectacular own goal from Joachim Elden, who manages a looping header over Griffin from outside the box, doesn’t help matters. Treason, meanwhile, stand up to Stahlburg City as the home fans expect, putting the Smiths ‘in their place’, as Treason captain Peter Svensson calls it. The Smiths get just 28% of the ball and manage no shots on target, with Angel Clavel making himself popular by yawning and miming falling asleep on his post. Aristide Metzger, a local lad, thoroughly enjoys his brace, ripping off his shirt for both goals and being thankful this league doesn’t penalise for that. He can’t resist twisting the knife post-match; “You know, those goals really spoke to the ten-year old fan in me. Mostly because it’s been that long since City were relevant…”

Chatswood put the pressure on their peers, holding the Rams to a 1-1 draw. With Sirleaf injured and Selkie dropped, Konrad Matheny steps between the posts for Cranequin Wanderers, having been given a chance to shine in the SBCC. 36-year old captain Ciprian Jantzer also lumbers back into the defence, as Reiniger continues to fumble around for a defensive partner for Stoeva. Still, it works here; Cranequin control the game against Crisisbless United, Gisella Riaz breaking free of a failed United counterattack, racing inside the disorganised defence, setting up a lovely one-two with Taani before rifling past Meixner. Riaz really has been the revelation of this season for the Wanderers. That gets them as far as the playoff place, at least. River lose ground, lacking any kind of inspiration against Chenoworth Harriers and broken at the last moment, Kou hoofing in a speculative cross chested down by Whittaker, who rides a shove from Kendrick and then the charge of Taliadoros before bundling the ball over the line. Stahlburg Rovers and Corvette get impressive 2-2 draws, but, uh, does it matter?

1. Athletic - 84, +49
2. Brinemouth - 80, +60
3. Treason - 75, +40
4. Crisisbless - 75, +27
5. Moths - 70, +33
6. Starling, 70, +25
7. Hawks - 65, +16
19. Cypher - 39, -16
20. River - 34, -20
21. Cranequin, 33, -30
22. Chatswood - 31, -27
23. Stahlburg Rovers - 20, -67
24. Corvette - 18, -48

South Laithland 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
West Brinemouth 0-1 Goodfeather FC
Cranequin City 1-0 Leichhardt
Parrhesia United 4-1 Belgrave
Iron City 3-1 Ritter Town
AFC Serpentine 2-3 Mantlegrove
Brookford Otters 8-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Armstrong 1-3 Bishop
Hackett 0-3 Creed United
Gonen's Bridge 0-3 Diamondqueen
Peregrine 1-0 Morningstar
Rochford 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers

Brookford have been all over the place this season, and it might wind up costing Andrea Betancourt’s job by the end of the season, but there’s little rancour in the home crowd when the dust settles on an 8-1 demolition of Crisisbless Athletic. Ursula Qatintiki is a good goalkeeper, with a penchant for coming out quickly off her line - it pretty much betrays her entirely here, as she gives away two penalties clumsily bringing down Otters in the area, and probably ought to have given away a third in injury time. To be fair, pretty much everyone plays terribly, and even goalscorer Simon Bradden gets sent off late on.

Aries Chariots 4-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Crisisbless 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Crisisbless United 4-3 Corvette Maulers
Cypher Town 2-2 Coret Hawks
Newrook City 0-0 Chenoworth Rovers
North Laithland 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
North Sabrefell 0-0 Chatswood
Raven River 1-1 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Athletic 3-1 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 AFC Treason
Southfell United 0-1 Starling
Stahlburg City 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers

Sabrefell Athletic must feel like they’re living a charmed life. Not that their position at the pinnacle has been through anything but merit, of course, but their fans probably weren’t expecting to get home after a routine 3-1 win over Vermillion (impressive enough in its own right; Vermillion’s last two results were wins by four-goal margins, while Athletic have slipped to two draws against weak opposition) to find that Brinemouth were somehow held by struggling River, Treason got knocked down late in the second half by a brace from Solara Vol, and Crisisbless walked into the prone garden rake that is Hadrian Belfast’s annoyingly good Corvistone. That’s what’s really set the Rams apart this season; for all the talk about flashy attacking reinforcements, though of course Tarala and Gere have helped immensely, it’s been their resilience and consistency that have set them apart from the chasing pack.

There isn’t much fanfare for the Stahlburg derby, though the home crowd have plenty of messages gloating about the Rovers being terrible. Kresimir Brujah gets himself sent off, because of course he does, but the 10-man Smiths hold out to prevail anyway, winning 1-0 through a strike from the quietly outstanding Aurelie Henry. Aries demolish Cranequin mostly just by running really hard at them and watching their guests unravel. And, yeah, if Lazarou managed to destroy 103-cap former Nephara international Lohengrin, what do you imagine she does to Molly Killanen, 33-year old free transfer? Three goals and three assists in her last two games now in a breakthrough season for the former Belgrave winger. Chatswood really ought to capitalise, stifling a basically safe North Sabrefell, but Konstanze Luitgard’s late penalty is saved by the acrobatics of Paige Daunten to leave the scores deadlocked. Cypher’s hard-won point against Coret should be enough for them to stay up; six games to play, they’re seven points clear. Credit’s due to Freya McCosgraigh, the formerly flaky Schottic playmaker who Andrea Vardalos has surprisingly gotten the best out of this season - she chalks up both assists, picking the holes in the Hawks when they fail to mark her with the respect she now deserves.

1. Athletic - 87, +51
2. Brinemouth - 81, +60
3. Treason - 75, +38
4. Crisisbless - 75, +26
5. Moths - 73, +35
6. Starling, 73, +26
7. Hawks - 66, +16
19. Cypher - 40, -16
20. River - 35, -20
21. Cranequin, 33, -33
22. Chatswood - 32, -27
23. Stahlburg Rovers - 20, -68
24. Corvette - 18, -49

Vermillion Wanderers 3-0 West Brinemouth
South Laithland 1-0 Cranequin City
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Parrhesia United
Leichhardt 1-1 Iron City
Belgrave 5-1 AFC Serpentine
Ritter Town 0-3 Brookford Otters
Mantlegrove 1-0 Armstrong
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Hackett
Bishop 2-2 Gonen's Bridge
Creed United 4-0 Peregrine
Diamondqueen 0-0 Rochford
Morningstar 4-1 Chardonnay Rangers

You know, it really shouldn’t be a special thing, but Rochford have, for all their woes, managed to score in eleven straight games. That streak ends with a visit to Diamondqueen, but the sluggish play of their hosts and a string of good saves from Georgia Petrie ensures they at least take a point. South Laithland shithouse it up against Cranequin City, but it’s the class of Natasha that makes the difference, starting and decisively ending the game’s one real flowing attack to give a vital three points. As Parrhesia also stutter to a draw against a coalescing Goodfeather, Creed’s triumphant 4-0 thrashing of Peregrine underlines Diandra Ballard’s side’s title credentials. Morningstar get four goals of their own, Lilith Thornwood continuing to underline her credentials, putting an end to a bleak run of four defeats in five that threatened to keep them mired at the bottom, while Belgrave also put paid to abad run

AFC Corvistone 3-2 Aries Chariots
Corvette Maulers 3-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Coret Hawks 1-3 Crisisbless
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 Crisisbless United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Cypher Town
Chatswood 3-0 Newrook City
Brinemouth 1-0 North Laithland
Vermillion Rage 0-0 North Sabrefell
AFC Treason 3-0 Raven River
Starling 3-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Stahlburg Rovers 3-2 Sabrefell Moths
Stahlburg City 1-2 Southfell United

Athletic’s sixteen-match unbeaten run crashes to a halt. Granted, Starling away was always going to be a tough ask, but perhaps for the first time all season a team manages to properly knock Athletic out of their stride, a reshuffle of formation overloading the midfield, the diligence of Aschenbach and Kymeri choking down midfield, Annika Netzach excelling out of position on the left, Liam Armstrong twice left alone in a free role down the right and twice lashing past Gautier from outside the box in the first half. The second’s barely kicked off before Netzach finds Dostalok - playing as a lone striker - whose first touch lets him elegantly glide past Campbell like he’s not even there before thumping the ball past a rushing Gautier. Athletic have the better of the second half, even as Benedict starts pulling off stars for rests, and they deserve to pull one back, as Gere does with her last touch of the game before Anja Ruthenbeck replaces her - the young homegrown backup goes on to hit a post late on. But the result stands at 3-1. Crisisbless ward off the competition with a useful 3-1 win of their own, over Coret, and Moira Woakes appears to have shaken off a hangover lasting a few games, chalking up a goal and assist. Brinemouth leave it late, but Jasmin Dragana’s wickedly dipping strike does see off a resilient North Laithland. Eventually.

Treason hammer River 3-0 in a match that’s routine for the Stags, but crushing for the Ferrymen - not least because a crunching challenge from Vornander lays out Jessika Donath, their top scorer, to end her season. In fact, three comes up rather a lot this matchday; Chatswood put three, unanswered, past a disjointed and frankly terrible Newrook, while Corvette and Cranequin split a 3-3 draw as Cranequin’s absolute inability to handle pace bites them yet again. Stahlburg Rovers are the biggest winners of all, however. Not for their season, just for their pride. They go toe-to-toe with an admittedly weakened Moths side, twice gaining the lead - Corona Sharpe doesn’t celebrate when she puts her hometown club one down, but Drusilla Moxey sure as hell does, running the length of the active support and kissing the badge fervently - and twice having it snatched away by the time the half’s over, the last a heart-stopping thunderbastard from Federico Serra. Remember him? But the Rovers don’t give up, and at the end it’s the much-maligned Tristan Lovelock who comes off the bench to save the day, elegantly angling a header beyond Griffin to snatch a breathtaking 3-2 win.

1. Athletic - 87, +49
2. Brinemouth - 84, +61
3. Treason - 78, +41
4. Crisisbless - 78, +28
5. Starling, 76, +28
6. Moths - 73, +34
7. Hawks - 66, +14
19. Cypher - 40, -17
20. River - 35, -23
21. Chatswood - 35, -24
22. Cranequin, 34, -33
23. Stahlburg Rovers - 23, -67
24. Corvette - 19, -49

Cranequin City 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Parrhesia United 2-1 West Brinemouth
Iron City 0-1 South Laithland
AFC Serpentine 3-2 Goodfeather FC
Brookford Otters 0-0 Leichhardt
Armstrong 1-0 Belgrave
Hackett 0-2 Ritter Town
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Mantlegrove
Peregrine 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Rochford 0-0 Bishop
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 Creed United
Morningstar 0-2 Diamondqueen

Maybe it was too early to say Belgrave and Morningstar were recovering; the former are beaten 1-0 by a typically direct Armstrong, the latter outplayed and beaten 2-0 by Diamondqueen. Rochford get another scoreless draw against Bishop; a good result, but they’re running out of time for that to be a good enough result. But it’s a disappointing weekend for a lot of people, especially people who aren’t goalkeepers, with eleven clean sheets in all. At least Serpentine and Goodfeather share a penchant for anarchy, with two own goals among the 3-2 Serpentine win, with Goodfeather’s Leitner having a penalty saved by Wheelock, then retaken for the former Brookford stopper leaping off her line… then saved again by Wheelock’s legs. Gonen’s Bridge snap a staggering fourteen-match winless streak thanks to a 1-0 win over Mantlegrove.

Sabrefell Moths 1-2 Holdenberg
Brinemouth 4-1 Directus

Well, the first legs make it pretty obvious which way this is going to go. As usual for the top clubs of both countries, their fixtures are somewhat incestuous; Nephara’s No. 1 plays for Holdenberg, Eura’s No. 1 for the Moths, among various others. As it stands, though, both goalkeepers give away penalties in the first half, both of which are scored. The difference is that Holdenberg comes out fighting in the second half, and the Moths, disappointingly, don’t - just looking jaded as Holdenberg keeps the ball to themselves, and really acts more like the home team. The eventual breakthrough comes from burly centre-half Oliver Murray heading in an impeccable corner, but it was deserved on the run of play. Brinemouth, meanwhile, host a Directus team that seems to have hired about half the Cormorants by this stage. Circe Rosenthal is one of them, and she lets the pressure of home get to her head, an awful sliding challenge on Evelyn Conjure earning a deserved straight red. The scores are level at that stage, the Dockers not quite able to make their dominance count, but without the energetic Rosenthal holding the midfield together, the gates fall in; Kuznetsov, Deventer, Conjure and Tidesson get the damage done, though complacent late marking from a free kick lets Kalinic sneak Estrella Hawke through the back line, and we all know how that ends.

Rozelle 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Treason 1-0 Kionao Locals

Sabrefell Athletic visit Rozelle at a... politically charged time, shall we say, with anti-Nepharim sentiment running high in the massive shithole of Northern Esportiva that is Brenecia. They rise powerfully to the occasion, playing with a dominance more befitting the hosts, with Rozelle’s lack of physicality too easily unsettled by Athletic’s dynamic approach. The strike partners in crime, Tarala and Ens, get on the scoresheet, and Sinan Uzunlar comes off the bench to contribute an awful late challenge that hobbles Sofia Falcon. Which spices up the locals plenty, for sure. Uzunlar’s sent off for his troubles, but Athletic hold firm. Treason are less convincing against Kionao, but Mikkel Jonsson is like the only player of the 22 on the pitch to have any flashes of inspiration, and just one of them turns the game on the hour mark to give Treason a narrow advantage they more or less deserved.

Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 KT Itzalovalle

Shona Butcher makes the difference for the Wanderers, not in terms of goals or assists, just of her drive and endeavour down the middle of the pitch. Even as heads are dropping around her, her performances have picked up markedly. Kudelka’s been sharp too, and gets a brace, but Itzi are never quite out of the fight, and a scrappy late goal off a corner is around what they deserve.

Aries Chariots 1-4 Corvette Maulers
AFC Corvistone 2-0 Coret Hawks
Cranequin Wanderers 3-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Crisisbless 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless United 1-1 Chatswood
Cypher Town 1-5 Brinemouth
Newrook City 2-1 Vermillion Rage
North Laithland 0-1 AFC Treason
North Sabrefell 0-0 Starling
Raven River 2-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Sabrefell Athletic 3-0 Stahlburg City
Sabrefell Moths 0-2 Southfell United

Things are coming down to the final stretch, and Brinemouth are now praying for Athletic to miss a beat. Their fans are starting to really pump up every team they’re facing as the clear banana skin for them; clearly, Stahlburg City will shithouse it up and ruin it for them, right? No, uh, Athletic slaughter them 3-0, and Brinemouth keep pace by slaughtering a hapless Cypher side 5-1. Treason are still nominally in the race, but they have to labour in the Laith over determined, embittered Spiders. With the scores deadlocked an hour in, the stage is set for a Roddy Fraser Impact Substitute Special, which of course doesn’t materialise, and he ends up missing a penalty; still, Raquel Accardi manages to force home an 82nd-minute winner. It’s almost certainly still not enough, they’re nine points out. Beneath them, Crisisbless, Starling and the Moths all fail to win; indeed, now it’s looking like the Moths’ CC qualification chances are more reliant on the CC itself.

With Stahlburg Rovers visiting, River absolutely, absolutely need to win. So do the Rovers, though their chances are… minute. The home fans want Kia Anders out of a job, but bluntly, with so few matches left, the bird has flown. Injuries have forced Anders’ hand to some extent, and teenage striker Ruby Gjasula makes her first start of the season alongside Breisgau. But they still have Franz Kesteren, a player who has made little secret of wanting to move abroad in the offseason while still in his prime, and with a crisp strike from outside the box in each half, he makes the difference for an otherwise sterile River. The Rovers take more shots, but Taliadoros scrambles to deny them time after time. Their pursuers keep pace, though; the Wanderers outplay Chenoworth Rovers and find the end product to win 3-1, towering Mriin midfielder Malia Yonen producing the kind of dominant performance she was bought to produce, while Rehan Garrett, uh, ‘goes down easily’ under an idle cuff from Crisisbless United defender Banerman to earn a late penalty during a set piece that otherwise goes nowhere, Luitgard lashes the penalty into the top corner, and the Woodsmen have a somewhat fortuitous point. Corvette Maulers not only stay in the fight with an absurd 4-1 win away over Aries, but ensure that they (as well as Stahlburg Rovers) won’t go down with the worst record in Premiership history.

1. Athletic - 90, +52
2. Brinemouth - 87, +65
3. Treason - 81, +42
4. Crisisbless - 78, +27
5. Starling, 77, +28
6. Moths - 73, +32
19. Cypher - 40, -21
20. River - 38, -21
21. Cranequin, 37, -31
22. Chatswood - 36, -24
23. Stahlburg Rovers - 23, -69
24. Corvette - 22, -46

15 points left to play for.

Vermillion Wanderers 0-4 Parrhesia United
Cranequin City 2-2 Iron City
West Brinemouth 1-0 AFC Serpentine
South Laithland 0-0 Brookford Otters
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Armstrong
Leichhardt 0-2 Hackett
Belgrave 7-0 Gonen's Bridge
Ritter Town 0-1 Peregrine
Mantlegrove 1-0 Rochford
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Bishop 3-0 Morningstar
Creed United 0-1 Diamondqueen

It’s a funny thing about scorelines and goalkeepers. At 3-0 or 4-0, you’re starting to think the goalkeeper could’ve done a bit better; at 6- or 7-, they’re usually blameless. Thus it proves as Belgrave wipe the floor with Gonen’s Bridge, as Fyona Matthews does valiantly to keep the score to single digits with a string of acrobatic saves in the first half. But when Belgrave finally get their third, just before the hour mark, the floodgates open, and Bridge’s disorganised defence can scarcely handle marking a multiple-choice quiz, let alone Belgrave’s front line. It’s not the only domination of the week, either; Parrhesia thump Vermillion 4-0 in a feel-good derby win, while Bishop yet again show Morningstar how to consolidate after promotion, Ulrike Jensen leading the way to a decisive 3-0 win. Three genuine six-pointers end in tense 1-0 wins for Peregrine, Mantlegrove and West Brinemouth are the expense of Ritter, Rochford and Serpentine.

Holdenberg 2-3 Sabrefell Moths
4-4 on aggregate. Sabrefell Moths progress on away goals.

Directus 1-0 Brinemouth
Brinemouth win 4-2 on aggregate.

A Moths outfit in poor form need to display a “complete turnaround,” Sur Arora admits. But he has every faith it’s possible, and that faith is rewarded as early as the 12th minute, when after already forcing Swoboda into some sharp saves, Imriel Townsend bursts free down the right, cuts inside and drags it, agonisingly slowly, across Swoboda with her left. Then she sets up Fejzuli just outside the box with some clever interplay to prod holes in the Holdenberg defence, and the Mytenar shapes for the pass before driving inside for goal, sending the inexperienced de Aea stumbling in the wrong direction and leaving Swoboda exposed, before thrashing a shot past him. Holdenberg rally in the second half, and some individual brilliance from Lazar Eleonora sees him flick the ball over Vicelich’s head with his right, then smash the bouncing ball past Griffin with his left. But just four minutes later, a rather more pedestrian goal at the other end - a cross from Aedelbrandt, a knock-down by Vol, a finish from Romano, and the Moths have the advantage again. Holdenberg pull one back in injury time, Oskar Holsteiner left alone, wrong-footing Griffin and beating him at his near post, but during the inevitable skirmish to try and grab the ball back out of the net, the referee blows the final whistle and the Moths are through on away goals. Directus against Brinemouth is a duller affair, with Brinemouth demonstrating that they know how to manage a game. Directus are looking for 3-0, but it turns out that supplementing a steely midfield core of Soederquist and Conjure with the surprising choice of 20-year old Dimitri Keldoulis as a pure anchor makes it hard to play through you. Bryger Tidesson should actually bury the tie early on, but does all the hard work only to miss a sitter; Corinne Martel-Burns strikes in the 81st minute, but it’s not enough.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Rozelle
Sabrefell Athletic win 3-1 on aggregate.

Kionao Locals 1-0 AFC Treason (4-0 AET)
Kionao Locals win 4-1 on aggregate.

Like Athletic, the Saints are dominant away from home, driving the ball around with pace and verve. Unlike Athletic, they don’t make it count on the scoresheet - Crawford eventually sets up Ashbrown to rake across goal for Romanov to tap in, which summed up their overthought approach all game. Then Tarala punches in a header at the other end in the 41st minute, and suddenly that just seems to stall Rozelle in their tracks, kill off the tie and ease Athletic through. Cheney Bittencourt fumes and seethes in Turori. “That was the worst half-hour of my life,” he leads into his press conference, and curses pretty much every aspect of a wretched period of extra time… from a Treason perspective, anyway. The Stags totally lose their heads after a free kick bends into the top corner, and in the rush to get a goal back, get smacked down twice more on the break. Still - Athletic will at least have an opportunity to avenge them in the next round...

KT Itzalovalle 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Cranequin Wanderers win 4-2 on aggregate.

Itzi almost get an early break when Brenecian winger Tori Apcutt fires in what should be an easy enough shot, except that the inexperienced goalkeeper Matheny fumbles it, right into the path of Aaron Pizana. The striker shapes to shoot, and surely fires home… except that Matheny springs into action back across goal, and paws away the strike. Itzi go ahead anyway on the stroke of half-time, Ariztondo found by Apcutt to produce a bullet header, but in the second half, the Wanderers get back into the game, Lance Diebeck and Shona Butcher on the scoresheet. Vasya Kravec celebrates his return to his homeland late on with a second yellow card, but even with ten, the Wanderers hang onto their lead.

Coret Hawks 3-3 Aries Chariots
Chenoworth Rovers 1-2 Corvette Maulers
Chenoworth Harriers 2-3 AFC Corvistone
Chatswood 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Brinemouth 2-0 Crisisbless
Vermillion Rage 2-0 Crisisbless United
AFC Treason 1-0 Cypher Town
Starling 3-0 Newrook City
Stahlburg Rovers 1-2 North Laithland
Stahlburg City 1-0 North Sabrefell
Southfell United 4-0 Raven River
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic

Two absolute key fixtures at the top. Brinemouth need to beat Crisisbless to stay in the fight, and they get the job done. Even fight on paper? No. Crisisbless have been in freefall, totally losing the plot of their title challenge, and it shows here, they’re just a step behind the movement and overwhelming confidence of the unstoppable Dockers. Kuznetsov’s opener is pure arrogance, taking a raking crossfield ball from Tidesson in stride and striking it with his first touch, arcing it into the top corner, Na’Kefir left shell-shocked. Just five minutes later, Ruhl gets and then squanders Crisisbless’ best chance of the game, played brilliantly through the high Brinemouth line by Lohengrin but chesting the ball down too heavily, then compounding it with a heavier touch off the boot, before awkwardly swiping the ball into the side netting. In first-half injury time, Kuznetsov stabs home a low diagonal cross from Brymora to finish it. Starling’s easy 3-0 win over Newrook means Crisisbless fall out of the top four together, and Brinemouth can look across to the former capital, hoping the Moths will do them a favour. God knows the men in green try their best, a full-strength lineup and a sellout crowd at the massive Farham, and they go hard into every tackle before the pantomime villain Tawny Shone sets up Imriel Townsend’s far post header to open the scores half an hour in. But Athletic are… something else, this season. Cool. Professional. They find a way out of a game that the Moths dominate, Galtier’s saves keeping them in the game, Steve Fox clearing a corner off the line in the 86th minute, and just two minutes later, Orsolya Gere takes a goal-kick on the chest, rounds Haines on the inside, beats Elden on the run through to goal and is utterly cleaned out by Cressida Gayle, an… enthusiastic local deputising for Hamilton (on maternity leave), just outside the box. She’s sent off, and Coltrane hammers the ball into the top corner. The Moths are out of substitutions, so the tiny Shone is reluctantly shuffled into the central defensive line - is it any wonder that Athletic go all-in on crosses for the rest of the game? And Tarala gets one, catching a Gere cross sweetly, sending it arrowing to the top corner… but, unbelievably, Robert Griffin balletically leaps up, flicks his wrist and flips the ball over the crossbar. This game was destined to be a draw, it seems. Brinemouth pull just a point behind, but the point keeps Athletic top.

Well, the Maulers nominally keep themselves in the fight with a late winner from Fiona Norval over Chenoworth Rovers, but results elsewhere go against them. They go down, as do the Rovers, beaten at home by North Laithland. Did either really add anything to the league by their presence? The Maulers couldn’t survive more time on the clock and the departure of Strauss, while the Rovers were doomed 32 games ago. River are destroyed 4-0 by Southfell, their personnel crisis getting worse when Michi Leonard gets sent off for a terrible challenge borne from frustration in the 74th minute. The key fixture, though, is Cranequin’s visit to Chatswood. It’s… exactly what you’d expect. The Woodsmen go full shithouse, nudging and kicking and lashing out, going ahead when Reis Caulker cuts inside Polenz, then goes straight for goal; Matheny’s caught between minds, dithers, and Caulker drives the ball between his feet. Ten minutes later, Serdjan Aleksovic is booked for time-wasting, which shows what kind of game it is, really, and the Wanderers are never allowed to find their rhythm or catch their breath. Four points now split 19th from 22nd, with a place and a half to avoid. River drop into the playoff place.

1. Athletic - 91, +52
2. Brinemouth - 90, +67
3. Treason - 84, +43
4. Starling, 80, +31
5. Crisisbless - 78, +25
6. Moths - 74, +32
19. Cypher - 40, -22
20. Chatswood - 39, -23
21. River - 38, -25
22. Cranequin, 37, -32

12 points left to play for.

Iron City 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 0-4 Parrhesia United
Brookford Otters 4-0 Cranequin City
Armstrong 2-0 West Brinemouth
Hackett 1-0 South Laithland
Gonen's Bridge 1-5 Goodfeather FC
Peregrine 1-1 Leichhardt
Rochford 0-1 Belgrave
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Ritter Town
Morningstar 1-0 Mantlegrove
Diamondqueen 3-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Creed United 2-0 Bishop

Serpentine have been, bluntly, a poor side full of weak players. Former Wofford manager Gareth Penrooke’s done an outstanding job to keep their heads above water thus far, but there’s just this sense, as they concede within three minutes to Parrhesia and their heads immediately drop, that they’re just a step too far, too jaded. Too… starting a pair of 34-year olds at fullback, thanks to an injury to Moran. The score ends 4-0, wingers Howlett and Barota having a field day. Cranequin City lose by the same scoreline - wait, what? Yeah, they just play like a terrible imitation of themselves, Brookford overpowering them, throwing them off their balance, Ulysses Mithradates leading the line like Ulysses Mithradates two years ago. City will hope that, should they clinch the promotion that by now looks overwhelmingly likely, their Premiership season doesn’t resemble more of the same. Gonen’s Bridge collapse again, losing 5-1 at home to Goodfeather FC. Memento North, as all the best (citation needed) managers do, blames the players for losing their nerve at the business end of the season. And, yeah, this time Fyona Matthews makes a terrible error for the first goal, fumbling a shot obligingly in the path of Gabriel Prosper.
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Postby Nephara » Sat May 04, 2019 5:53 am

Cypher Town 1-2 North Laithland
AFC Treason 0-1 Ritter Town

Sometimes, one result just really stands out. It’s not the fact that Cypher Town looked impressive early on against North Laithland, a fluky deflected strike from Tripodi a reflection of genuine superiority in the opening half-hour, but they run out of steam and it shows. Irsa Croxteth starts off the comeback almost as soon as the second half starts, and from there Cypher are clinging to life. They almost hold out, too, but there’s not quite enough left in the tank to mark North Laithland’s one real giant from a corner, and Christian Serjeant duly heads home. It’s not that result. It’s the fact that AFC Treason have the most Football Manager game of their season to date, dominating Ritter in every metric except the one that matters, Alexandra Markgraf and her personal force-field racking up eleven saves, and the lithe Daineri striker Naga scoring with her only shot.

Aries Chariots 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Coret Hawks 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Corvette Maulers 3-1 Chatswood
AFC Corvistone 1-4 Brinemouth
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless 1-0 AFC Treason
Crisisbless United 1-1 Starling
Cypher Town 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Newrook City 1-0 Stahlburg City
North Laithland 1-2 Southfell United
North Sabrefell 0-2 Sabrefell Moths
Raven River 0-4 Sabrefell Athletic

From Hell’s heart do the damned stab at thee. Corvette and Stahlburg Rovers get over their relegation by playing with freedom, in games that seriously matter. The Rovers chalk up an early lead over Cypher Town, Dulcina Radcliffe with a deft flick to play in Rosborough to go around Ruo and roll into an empty net, and though Cypher strike back with a slightly fluky penalty soon afterwards (could Scarratt really have gotten her hand out of the way?), they lack the penetration from open play, and the Rovers strike abck with a penalty of their own. Corvette, meanwhile, dominate a Chatswood side en route to a 3-1 win - and the 1 only due to a comical deflection off the post, into Acatha Feldman’s face, and into the net. At least nobody really steals a march on them; Cranequin take an unexciting point, while River, whose fans expect them to put up a good fight against Sabrefell Athletic at home, get pummeled 4-0 while barely even troubling Gautier between the posts. Brinemouth match the Rams step for step, crushing Corvistone 4-1 away. Treason can’t keep up, as Crisisbless edge out a tense clash, Brigitte Coppinger beating three men before slamming the ball into the net, shortly before Clavel slammed into her, ending the winger’s season after she falls awkwardly. They’re officially out of the title race now, not that their chances were terribly realistic before that.

1. Athletic - 94, +56
2. Brinemouth - 93, +70
3. Treason - 84, +42
4. Starling, 81, +31
5. Crisisbless - 81, +26
6. Moths - 77, +34
19. Cypher - 40, -23
20. Chatswood - 39, -25
21. River - 38, -29
22. Cranequin, 38, -32

9 points left to play for.

Vermillion Wanderers 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Iron City 1-2 Brookford Otters
Parrhesia United 1-0 Armstrong
Cranequin City 1-1 Hackett
West Brinemouth 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
South Laithland 1-2 Peregrine
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Rochford
Leichhardt 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Belgrave 0-2 Morningstar
Ritter Town 1-2 Diamondqueen
Mantlegrove 2-3 Creed United
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Bishop

Cranequin City slip to a third winless game when uncharacteristically terrible marking at a free kick allows a Hackett side that barely had a sniff from open play to score first blood through Rose Benedict 71 minutes in. Niko Rosmalen smashes home a direct free kick with sheer force to at least give them a share of the points, but Creed extend their lead at the top by actually taking their chances, making the most of their sniffs at goal against a Mantlegrove side that stifles them well but can’t quite choke off the likes of Trabelsi and Conway, as the Oathmen win 3-2 in a match that’s less exciting than the scoreline implies. Gonen’s misery continues as they’re edged out 1-0 by West Brinemouth in a crunch fixture, and the away fans finally turn against Memento North, the hero who brought them promotion in the first place but just seems out of her depth at this level.

North Laithland 1-1 Cypher Town
North Laithland win 3-2 on aggregate.

Ritter Town 1-1 AFC Treason
Ritter Town win 2-1 on aggregate.

North Laithland are curiously bloodless in the home leg, while Cypher throw everything in the bid to defend their Cup, even as their league season collapses. The Spiders score in the first half through Roberts, Cypher claw one back against the run of play out of sheer desperation in the second as Tihamer absolutely hurls himself at a high ball from McCosgraigh to knock it forward to Sharpe, who controls a terrible first touch to stab it past Rattin. They can’t get the second they need, though. Ritter play with confidence and poise at home, unlike the sheer fluke of last match, and go toe-to-toe with the Stags. Rafaela Fenchel is the undoubted best player, and it’s her devious low free kick that squirrels under the wall and finally sneaks past Gideon Fletcher, who had to date proven the spoiler. Suddenly, Treason need two in half an hour - and unlike last time, they have the big guns on the pitch. Fletcher hits a post, Metzger has one called off for onside, then another for a foul in the build-up, and gets a caution for dissent in the aftermath. Ultimately, it’s Raquel Accardi who pulls one back, sprinting through a gap in the tiring back line and slotting through one-on-one with Markgraf, but somehow that isn’t enough. Ritter, battling relegation in the second tier, have made it to the final… ?

Chenoworth Harriers 0-3 Aries Chariots
Chatswood 1-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Brinemouth 1-1 Coret Hawks
Vermillion Rage 0-0 Corvette Maulers
AFC Treason 3-1 AFC Corvistone
Starling 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Stahlburg Rovers 0-0 Crisisbless
Stahlburg City 1-1 Crisisbless United
Southfell United 3-1 Cypher Town
Sabrefell Moths 1-2 Newrook City
Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 North Laithland
Raven River 1-1 North Sabrefell

The battle of the AFCs… is the most cringey possible name for a match, and anyway, Treason win 3-1 without much fuss. Beyond that teenage Treason striker Felix Sebastian, handed his first ever league start, celebrates a first ever league goal! Interviewed by the press, he dedicates it in the aftermath to Maria Kovacic. Yes, the Corvistone keeper. But then it’s the least she deserves given that it was Kovacic who thumped a kick into Sebastian’s face, and the strapping blond recovered quickly to sprint to the rebound and roll it over the line. Crisisbless stagger to a scoreless draw with Stahlburg Rovers. What happened, Heelers? Athletic and Brinemouth are both poised at 1-0 at home over strong opponents, and then a sliding doors moment. Both sides have penalty shouts, as Gere and Matalin go down in the box, but only Gere’s is given. Coltrane delays a microsecond and sends Fairweather the wrong way; meanwhile, Coret level the scores against Brinemouth in injury time through Penumbra Amokachi. Does she celebrate against her hometown club that she might have just cost the title? Yeah, you know she does. Athletic’s lead stretches back out to three points.

Sebastian isn’t the only teenager on the agenda. With Chenoworth Rovers’ season long having been settled in lower midtable, Catheline Harper has been calling up plenty of young blood of late, and this sees a certain 17-year old Kendra Ramsey - granddaughter of Gethin, daughter of Triffid - take the bench in the inauspicious #52 kit. Even so, she gets a late cameo and looks lively in her eight minutes, though clearly lacks the physicality or nous to mix it with a vicious Chatswood side, just yet. The Woodsmen, for their part, take the only goal of the game from a characteristically opportunistic Luitgard finish. Beneath them, only River pick up any points, a central Sabrefell derby against North Laithland in pleasing near-black vs. white finishing 1-1. Michi Leonard has a penalty saved, but just three minutes later makes up for it by laying on the assist for Thea Longhurst to drive home the equaliser.

1. Athletic - 97, +58
2. Brinemouth - 94, +70
3. Treason - 87, +44
4. Starling, 84, +32
5. Crisisbless - 82, +26
6. Moths - 77, +33
19. Chatswood - 42, -24
20. Cypher - 40, -25
21. River - 39, -29
22. Cranequin, 38, -33

6 points left to play for.

Brookford Otters 3-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Armstrong 3-0 AFC Serpentine
Hackett 2-0 Iron City
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Parrhesia United
Peregrine 0-1 Cranequin City
Rochford 1-1 West Brinemouth
Chardonnay Rangers 1-3 South Laithland
Morningstar 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Diamondqueen 1-2 Leichhardt
Creed United 2-2 Belgrave
Bishop 0-0 Ritter Town
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Mantlegrove

Tension all across the league as final fates start to be locked down, and clubs clamber to avoid or embrace them. Some sides being on the beach for the season makes them easier prey; Parrhesia are locked into promotion, but haven’t won the title, and field a very young squad against Gonen’s Bridge. Their relegation contenders cry foul as Bridge outmuscle a young, fresh XI full of U23s, but it’s only through a brilliant late one-touch pass from Casey Steward that plays in Jacqui Milligan through the back line, and the former Project +90 winger scores just her third league goal of the season to break a 1-1 deadlock and arrest the Warriors’ free-fall. Rochford, whose fate is sealed by this stage, play a free, liberated game against a spiteful, bloody-minded West Brinemouth, fans cheerfully singing about how they’re going to ‘drag you down with us’, but a late scramble in the box allows striker Reinhard Geist to steal in and smash home an all-too-rare goal, giving the Gulls a lifeline.

Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Brinemouth

Ohh, this is good news for the coefficient. Having both played Euran sides in the last round, the Moths and Brinemouth both wind up playing opponents a little closer to home this time… that is to say, one another. Based on league form, this is only going to go one way, but the sold-out Farham Arena has something to say about that. Mostly it’s insults about the prawn-sandwichy nature of their city. The Moths can get scrappy when they have to, and they do here with aplomb, Tawny Shone in full shithouse mode, and her midfield partner Tahir Fejzuli winds up getting the only goal of the game with a crisp, rifled finish from the corner of the box. Brinemouth’s Iori Saitou hits a post late on with a spectacular bicycle kick that leaves pretty much everyone on and off the pitch motionless, but the Moths deserve the lead.

Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Kionao Locals

Some days, you really can just rely on your star to dig you out of a bad situation. Kionao have already beaten the Stags; they aren’t about to be cowed by Nepharim physicality or reputation, or for that matter the reputation for physicality. Before they know it, the Rams are down 1-0 with an hour left in the game, and looking wild-eyed for an answer. Coltrane provides. Two free kicks into the top corners, easy as you like, give Athletic the confidence to see the game out in the second half, though they fail to extend their advantage and the tie remains tightly poised.

Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Valencia FC

Cranequin maybe have bigger concerns back in the league, and a couple crucial players are resting. Even so, Bruin Goodyouth leads the line with pace and vigour, and leaps mightily to head home Loxton’s cross early on in a first half the Wanderers dominate. They run out of steam, though, and a desperate goalmouth scramble in the 81st minute leads to Konrad Matheny, under pressure, fumbling a low header into the net.

Aries Chariots 1-4 Chatswood
Chenoworth Harriers 0-2 Brinemouth
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Coret Hawks 1-0 AFC Treason
Corvette Maulers 1-4 Starling
AFC Corvistone 2-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers 2-2 Stahlburg City
Crisisbless 0-1 Southfell United
Crisisbless United 0-2 Sabrefell Moths
Cypher Town 1-5 Sabrefell Athletic
Newrook City 2-0 Raven River
North Laithland 0-1 North Sabrefell

As time’s started to run out for Brinemouth to come back and win the league - the Dockers keep up the pace, easily beating the Harriers 2-0 away - there’s a certain pattern in their fans and those of the Moths, desperately talking up the powers of the sides in Athletic’s way. As some tell it, a Cypher Town side whose Cup dreams were dashed and survival hopes are in jeopardy will rock up to the Rams like the Biblical David with an RPG launcher. But actually a bad side in terrible form play like a bad side in terrible form, and Athletic sweep them aside 5-1. Starling similarly make short work of nearby Corvette to join Treason in completing the confirmed top four, with Crisisbless’ defeat leaving them on the outside looking in, and the Moths now completely dependent on Champions Cup victory to return to the tournament next season. The Hawks lock in their place in 7th with a hard-won victory over Treason, and that 7th place is by now mathematically confirmed to be relevant. Maybe they won’t crash immediately out of qualifying this time.

Chatswood’s third win in four sees them secure their safety for the season, and it’s not even close as they smash Aries 4-1 away from home. The Chariots are on the fucking beach, it’s fair to say, and offer little resistance as Chatswood scrap, hammer and bite away at the opposition. Cypher, winless in ten in the league, have sleepwalked into deep danger, but they’re relatively reprieved by the incompetence of those a point beneath them; River offer little as Newrook walk over them 2-0, while Cranequin lose a two-goal advantage on the interval to draw 2-2 against a spirited, spiteful Stahlburg City. Things remain tightly poised at the top and bottom going into the final day, and thank God for that.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Armstrong
Brookford Otters 4-0 Hackett
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Iron City 4-1 Peregrine
Parrhesia United 4-3 Rochford
Cranequin City 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
West Brinemouth 1-0 Morningstar
South Laithland 3-1 Diamondqueen
Goodfeather FC 2-3 Creed United
Leichhardt 0-0 Bishop
Belgrave 5-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Ritter Town 5-0 Mantlegrove

Cranequin City‘s nerves don’t quite get the better of them, as Kosta Kolar’s stooping header five minutes in is the only goal of the game against an energetic Chardonnay… but later that night, Creed United come back from a 2-1 half-time deficit to beat Goodfeather with a brace from Anis Trabelsi, symbolising the grit and resilience that has defined Diandra Ballard’s side all season. And that result… seals them the title, with a game to spare. Who could say they don’t deserve it? Even so, the Terracotta Army has still sealed an unlikely and impressive promotion, as have Parrhesia who send out a youth side in a dead rubber against Rochford and win an electrifying 4-3 shootout. Diamondqueen have the opportunity to lock down the playoff place, but South Laithland leave themselves with a chance, hosting the Diamonds and bullying them on the dry Laith pitch, forcing two errors from a stressed defence both finished ruthlessly by Cass Lazaridis to win 3-1 and drag themselves within two points. Hackett, insanely, could have still been in contention, too - but they’re hammered 4-0 by the mercurial Brookford.

Serpentine and Gonen’s Bridge share the spoils in a game that might not have mattered… had West Brinemouth not luckily edged Morningstar 1-0 in a game they had no business taking the points from, their fifth-through-seventh from three games, and had Ritter Town not massacred Mantlegrove 5-0 - granted, the Dryads are on the beach as hell, having now lost four straight. As it stands, those four (not Mantlegrove) will be fighting over two relegation places on the final day. Crisisbless Athletic miss the chance to join the party, destroyed 5-1 by Belgrave, while a Rochford side now winless in seven had their fate sealed some time ago, though at least they score more goals here than they had in their last seven combined. The Strongest, Dartmouth Terriers, and Pillars of Southfell will replace them next season; probably to be joined by Alliance Barossia, though Riverkey still have a slim chance.

Brinemouth 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Sabrefell Moths win 2-1 on aggregate.

Back at the Brinemouth Eagles Club, the Dockers scramble from the get-go to overhaul their deficit, and it’s all hands on deck in defence - a crunching covering challenge from Solara Vol denies Tidesson a shot, and the away crowd love it. From there, it’s only right that Vol be first on the scoresheet, and the narrative provides, aided by a beautiful diagonal cross from Jon Haines. Nobody can touch Vol, and she duly heads home as Ryan Bull clatters against her. Late on in the half, though, Brinemouth level the scores, Bryger Tidesson chests down a quickly taken throw-in, uses the momentum to cut inside, rides a challenge from Haines and fires past Griffin, through his fingertips. The second half is a prettier affair, though no less incisive; this time, both goalkeepers step up to the task, Griffin proving a peerless shot-stopper time and time again, Bull quickly pouncing on any half-chance to stop it blossoming. The game ends 1-1, with the Moths just having that touch more poise all around the field, Brinemouth’s desperation showing in the closing moments, and a rare cryptid moment of Stig Soederquist losing his head sees him sent off in the 86th minute for a brutal high challenge on Fejzuli. The Moths are through to the final.

Kionao Locals 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Sabrefell Athletic win 3-2 on aggregate.

There’s some bad memories flaring up again with the scores poised at the end of the first half - people can’t help but think of how Kionao dealt with Treason, and this time they have an away goal advantage, too. But Sipke Tarala, adjacent to home soil, buries a header on the hour mark to give the Rams a precious away goal of their own, and while the Locals claw one back late on, Athletic hold on thanks to some sharp defensive work from all-action defender Campbell.

Valencia FC 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Valencia FC win 2-1 on aggregate.

A fairly dull affair, but nobody can deny that Valencia are dominant against a distracted Cranequin. Matheny does all he can to keep the Wanderers in the game, but an unstoppable drive into the top corner on the hour mark leaves him stationary. Paul Leonhardsen comes off the bench to strike the post late on, but it would’ve been a lucky, lucky draw under the circumstances. The dream of an all-Nepharim Super Cup is dead.

Southriver 1-0 Sheridan
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Stonegrave
Barossia United 2-4 Locksley
West Hook 0-0 Ballardine FC
Extreme Hills 3-2 Corinthians No Longer
Coret Rovers 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
The Strongest 2-1 Crossroads Town
Greygate 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Aries Solitaire 1-0 Riverkey
Falston United 1-3 AFC Shale
Boltcroft Thorns 3-2 The Hanged Man
Autumnstone 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Stonegrave 0-2 Southriver
Locksley 1-2 Sheridan
Ballardine FC 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Corinthians No Longer 3-2 Barossia United
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 West Hook
Crossroads Town 1-2 Extreme Hills
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Coret Rovers
Riverkey 0-1 The Strongest
AFC Shale 2-0 Greygate
The Hanged Man 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Falston United
Autumnstone 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Southriver 1-2 Locksley
Stonegrave 0-0 Ballardine FC
Sheridan 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Alliance Barossia 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
Barossia United 2-1 Crossroads Town
West Hook 0-3 Pillars of Southfell
Extreme Hills 2-0 Riverkey
Coret Rovers 0-1 AFC Shale
The Strongest 1-0 The Hanged Man
Greygate 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Aries Solitaire 0-0 Autumnstone
Falston United 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Ballardine FC 2-0 Southriver
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 Locksley
East Laithland Harriers 2-6 Stonegrave
Crossroads Town 1-0 Sheridan
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Riverkey 2-1 Barossia United
AFC Shale 2-2 West Hook
The Hanged Man 2-0 Extreme Hills
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Coret Rovers
Autumnstone 1-2 The Strongest
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 Greygate
Falston United 3-4 Aries Solitaire
Southriver 6-2 Corinthians No Longer
Ballardine FC 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Locksley 2-0 Crossroads Town
Stonegrave 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Sheridan 1-1 Riverkey
Alliance Barossia 1-0 AFC Shale
Barossia United 1-0 The Hanged Man
West Hook 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Extreme Hills 3-1 Autumnstone
Coret Rovers 5-0 Boltcroft Thorns
The Strongest 2-1 Falston United
Greygate 4-1 Aries Solitaire
East Laithland Harriers 2-3 Southriver
Crossroads Town 0-2 Corinthians No Longer
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Ballardine FC
Riverkey 1-0 Locksley
AFC Shale 1-1 Stonegrave
The Hanged Man 0-1 Sheridan
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Autumnstone 1-1 Barossia United
Boltcroft Thorns 0-3 West Hook
Falston United 0-3 Extreme Hills
Aries Solitaire 0-2 Coret Rovers
Greygate 2-2 The Strongest
Southriver 2-1 Crossroads Town
East Laithland Harriers 1-2 Pillars of Southfell
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Riverkey
Ballardine FC 2-0 AFC Shale
Locksley 1-0 The Hanged Man
Stonegrave 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Sheridan 1-0 Autumnstone
Alliance Barossia 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Barossia United 0-0 Falston United
West Hook 1-3 Aries Solitaire
Extreme Hills 2-1 Greygate
Coret Rovers 2-0 The Strongest
Pillars of Southfell 3-1 Southriver
Riverkey 2-0 Crossroads Town
AFC Shale 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
The Hanged Man 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Dartmouth Terriers 3-0 Ballardine FC
Autumnstone 3-2 Locksley
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Stonegrave
Falston United 1-1 Sheridan
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Greygate 2-1 Barossia United
The Strongest 2-1 West Hook
Coret Rovers 2-2 Extreme Hills
Southriver 1-2 Riverkey
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 AFC Shale
Crossroads Town 0-1 The Hanged Man
East Laithland Harriers 3-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Corinthians No Longer 2-0 Autumnstone
Ballardine FC 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Locksley 1-2 Falston United
Stonegrave 3-0 Aries Solitaire
Sheridan 0-0 Greygate
Alliance Barossia 0-1 The Strongest
Barossia United 4-0 Coret Rovers
West Hook 6-2 Extreme Hills
AFC Shale 1-0 Southriver
The Hanged Man 1-1 Riverkey
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Pillars of Southfell
Autumnstone 2-2 Crossroads Town
Boltcroft Thorns 4-2 East Laithland Harriers
Falston United 3-0 Corinthians No Longer
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Ballardine FC
Greygate 3-0 Locksley
The Strongest 0-1 Stonegrave
Coret Rovers 2-0 Sheridan
Extreme Hills 1-2 Alliance Barossia
West Hook 1-4 Barossia United
Southriver 1-1 The Hanged Man
AFC Shale 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Riverkey 1-1 Autumnstone
Pillars of Southfell 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Crossroads Town 5-1 Falston United
East Laithland Harriers 3-2 Aries Solitaire
Corinthians No Longer 0-3 Greygate
Ballardine FC 1-4 The Strongest
Locksley 1-1 Coret Rovers
Stonegrave 1-2 Extreme Hills
Sheridan 2-0 West Hook
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Barossia United
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 Strephonage
Brindleton 1-0 Brunyard FC
Sutcroft 2-2 Martella Jazz
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Sirencall FC
Kommissar 2-2 Brokenarch
Lazuli Diamonds 1-2 Falston Town
Ox River United 2-0 South Parrhesia
Iron United 0-1 Hartford Glade
FC Seierstad 0-1 Kensey Town
Rushe United 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Mapleford
Stamper Road 0-1 Long Lake
Brunyard FC 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Martella Jazz 1-0 Strephonage
Sirencall FC 0-2 Brindleton
Brokenarch 2-3 Sutcroft
Falston Town 3-1 Fully Sick XI
South Parrhesia 1-2 Kommissar
Hartford Glade 2-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Kensey Town 3-0 Ox River United
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Iron United
Mapleford 3-2 FC Seierstad
Long Lake 0-1 Rushe United
Stamper Road 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Sutcroft Athletic 2-2 Martella Jazz
Brunyard FC 3-1 Sirencall FC
Strephonage 1-1 Brokenarch
Brindleton 1-0 Falston Town
Sutcroft 0-1 South Parrhesia
Fully Sick XI 2-2 Hartford Glade
Kommissar 1-3 Kensey Town
Lazuli Diamonds 3-5 Gosmouth Swans
Ox River United 1-1 Mapleford
Iron United 2-0 Long Lake
FC Seierstad 3-0 Stamper Road
Rushe United 1-6 Rochford Pilgrims
Sirencall FC 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Brokenarch 4-1 Martella Jazz
Falston Town 1-0 Brunyard FC
South Parrhesia 2-4 Strephonage
Hartford Glade 5-2 Brindleton
Kensey Town 2-1 Sutcroft
Gosmouth Swans 3-1 Fully Sick XI
Mapleford 1-2 Kommissar
Long Lake 0-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Stamper Road 0-2 Ox River United
Rochford Pilgrims 3-1 Iron United
Rushe United 2-2 FC Seierstad
Sutcroft Athletic 1-3 Brokenarch
Sirencall FC 1-2 Falston Town
Martella Jazz 2-2 South Parrhesia
Brunyard FC 0-1 Hartford Glade
Strephonage 0-0 Kensey Town
Brindleton 1-3 Gosmouth Swans
Sutcroft 0-2 Mapleford
Fully Sick XI 0-0 Long Lake
Kommissar 4-0 Stamper Road
Lazuli Diamonds 1-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Ox River United 1-0 Rushe United
Iron United 2-0 FC Seierstad
Falston Town 5-4 Sutcroft Athletic
South Parrhesia 2-1 Brokenarch
Hartford Glade 2-2 Sirencall FC
Kensey Town 1-1 Martella Jazz
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Brunyard FC
Mapleford 0-1 Strephonage
Long Lake 1-0 Brindleton
Stamper Road 0-1 Sutcroft
Rochford Pilgrims 1-2 Fully Sick XI
Rushe United 0-0 Kommissar
FC Seierstad 0-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Iron United 2-0 Ox River United
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 South Parrhesia
Falston Town 6-1 Hartford Glade
Brokenarch 1-0 Kensey Town
Sirencall FC 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Martella Jazz 1-1 Mapleford
Brunyard FC 0-1 Long Lake
Strephonage 1-0 Stamper Road
Brindleton 1-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Sutcroft 1-0 Rushe United
Fully Sick XI 0-1 FC Seierstad
Kommissar 0-0 Iron United
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Ox River United
Hartford Glade 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Kensey Town 2-1 South Parrhesia
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 Falston Town
Mapleford 1-1 Brokenarch
Long Lake 2-4 Sirencall FC
Stamper Road 0-3 Martella Jazz
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Brunyard FC
Rushe United 1-1 Strephonage
FC Seierstad 0-0 Brindleton
Iron United 2-1 Sutcroft
Ox River United 1-2 Fully Sick XI
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Kommissar
Sutcroft Athletic 1-2 Kensey Town
Hartford Glade 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
South Parrhesia 1-0 Mapleford
Falston Town 2-0 Long Lake
Brokenarch 3-0 Stamper Road
Sirencall FC 1-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Martella Jazz 1-0 Rushe United
Brunyard FC 1-3 FC Seierstad
Strephonage 0-0 Iron United
Brindleton 1-0 Ox River United
Sutcroft 0-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Fully Sick XI 3-5 Kommissar
Gosmouth Swans 4-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Mapleford 1-3 Kensey Town
Long Lake 2-0 Hartford Glade
Stamper Road 2-0 South Parrhesia
Rochford Pilgrims 2-0 Falston Town
Rushe United 0-5 Brokenarch
FC Seierstad 3-0 Sirencall FC
Iron United 2-3 Martella Jazz
Ox River United 1-1 Brunyard FC
Lazuli Diamonds 2-1 Strephonage
Kommissar 1-0 Brindleton
Fully Sick XI 1-4 Sutcroft
Sutcroft Athletic 0-0 Mapleford
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 Long Lake
Kensey Town 4-4 Stamper Road
Hartford Glade 3-3 Rochford Pilgrims
South Parrhesia 3-1 Rushe United
Falston Town 1-1 FC Seierstad
Brokenarch 2-0 Iron United
Sirencall FC 2-2 Ox River United
Martella Jazz 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Brunyard FC 2-3 Kommissar
Strephonage 3-1 Fully Sick XI
Brindleton 1-3 Sutcroft

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sabrefell Athletic 45 30 10 5 94 32 +62 100
2 Brinemouth 45 30 7 8 115 43 +72 97
3 AFC Treason 45 26 9 10 89 46 +43 87
4 Starling 45 25 12 8 73 38 +35 87

5 Crisisbless 45 24 10 11 78 53 +25 82
6 Sabrefell Moths 45 23 11 11 87 52 +35 80
7 Coret Hawks 45 20 14 11 74 60 +14 74

8 AFC Corvistone 45 20 10 15 76 69 +7 70
9 Aries Chariots 45 17 16 12 78 61 +17 67
10 Southfell United 45 18 11 16 61 60 +1 65
11 Newrook City 45 16 14 15 63 60 +3 62
12 North Laithland 45 15 14 16 55 66 -11 59
13 Chenoworth Harriers 45 16 9 20 54 61 -7 57
14 Vermillion Rage 45 13 17 15 63 64 -1 56
15 North Sabrefell 45 13 16 16 54 58 -4 55
16 Crisisbless United 45 14 13 18 63 87 -24 55
17 Stahlburg City 45 15 8 22 43 58 -15 53
18 Chenoworth Rovers 45 13 11 21 50 67 -17 50
19 Chatswood 45 10 15 20 54 75 -21 45
20 Cypher Town 45 10 10 25 37 66 -29 40
21 Raven River 45 6 21 18 51 82 -31 39
22 Cranequin Wanderers 45 8 15 22 55 88 -33 39
23 Corvette Maulers 45 6 11 28 50 100 -50 29
24 Stahlburg Rovers 45 7 6 32 43 114 -71 27

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Creed United 45 26 13 6 77 36 +41 91
2 Cranequin City 45 25 12 8 59 40 +19 87
3 Parrhesia United 45 25 8 12 91 56 +35 83

4 Diamondqueen 45 21 12 12 78 42 +36 75
5 South Laithland 45 22 7 16 62 45 +17 73
6 Belgrave 45 21 8 16 86 58 +28 71
7 Hackett 45 20 10 15 58 55 +3 70
8 Brookford Otters 45 18 15 12 82 57 +25 69
9 Bishop 45 18 15 12 56 40 +16 69
10 Leichhardt 45 17 15 13 48 35 +13 66
11 Armstrong 45 17 13 15 41 43 -2 64
12 Goodfeather FC 45 16 13 16 60 58 +2 61
13 Iron City 45 14 16 15 42 43 -1 58
14 Vermillion Wanderers 45 14 11 20 49 57 -8 53
15 Mantlegrove 45 14 11 20 42 57 -15 53
16 Morningstar 45 15 8 22 49 66 -17 53
17 Peregrine 45 14 10 21 50 70 -20 52
18 Chardonnay Rangers 45 13 13 19 51 72 -21 52
19 AFC Serpentine 45 14 9 22 47 76 -29 51
20 Gonen's Bridge 45 13 10 22 46 76 -30 49
21 Ritter Town 45 12 12 21 46 61 -15 48
22 West Brinemouth 45 12 12 21 32 49 -17 48
23 Crisisbless Athletic 45 11 12 22 52 80 -28 45
24 Rochford 45 8 15 22 32 64 -32 39

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 The Strongest 45 26 8 11 104 66 +38 86
2 Dartmouth Terriers 45 25 10 10 69 34 +35 85
3 Pillars of Southfell 45 23 13 9 58 27 +31 82
4 Alliance Barossia 45 22 13 10 60 36 +24 79

5 Riverkey 45 20 16 9 57 37 +20 76
6 Coret Rovers 45 22 9 14 69 64 +5 75
7 Locksley 45 21 10 14 71 65 +6 73
8 AFC Shale 45 19 14 12 45 32 +13 71
9 Extreme Hills 45 19 13 13 64 57 +7 70
10 Stonegrave 45 19 11 15 53 47 +6 68
11 Southriver 45 18 10 17 58 63 -5 64
12 Barossia United 45 18 9 18 62 65 -3 63
13 Aries Solitaire 45 17 11 17 68 61 +7 62
14 Greygate 45 17 11 17 69 63 +6 62
15 Corinthians No Longer 45 17 9 19 61 59 +2 60
16 Sheridan 45 15 13 17 33 38 -5 58
17 Falston United 45 14 12 19 60 70 -10 54
18 Ballardine FC 45 11 18 16 45 53 -8 51
19 Boltcroft Thorns 45 12 13 20 51 73 -22 49
20 The Hanged Man 45 11 13 21 27 43 -16 46
21 Autumnstone 45 8 16 21 50 82 -32 40
22 East Laithland Harriers 45 12 3 30 45 78 -33 39
23 West Hook 45 7 13 25 44 70 -26 34
24 Crossroads Town 45 7 12 26 46 86 -40 33

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Kommissar 45 31 9 5 91 41 +50 102
2 Brokenarch 45 28 10 7 104 47 +57 94
3 Gosmouth Swans 45 28 7 10 73 42 +31 91
4 Lazuli Diamonds 45 26 10 9 102 55 +47 88

5 Brindleton 45 27 6 12 69 50 +19 87
6 Martella Jazz 45 22 11 12 81 69 +12 77
7 Ox River United 45 21 11 13 58 39 +19 74
8 Mapleford 45 20 11 14 68 54 +14 71
9 Kensey Town 45 20 10 15 84 70 +14 70
10 Falston Town 45 20 5 20 75 73 +2 65
11 Strephonage 45 17 13 15 62 47 +15 64
12 South Parrhesia 45 18 8 19 72 66 +6 62
13 Rochford Pilgrims 45 16 12 17 63 74 -11 60
14 Hartford Glade 45 16 11 18 60 71 -11 59
15 Iron United 45 14 9 22 48 55 -7 51
16 Sutcroft Athletic 45 12 14 19 51 72 -21 50
17 Sirencall FC 45 12 13 20 60 83 -23 49
18 Fully Sick XI 45 12 13 20 55 78 -23 49
19 Sutcroft 45 12 11 22 53 64 -11 47
20 Long Lake 45 13 6 26 34 55 -21 45
21 FC Seierstad 45 9 16 20 51 70 -19 43
22 Brunyard FC 45 12 4 29 52 83 -31 40
23 Stamper Road 45 10 7 28 52 92 -40 37
24 Rushe United 45 7 7 31 42 110 -68 28
Last edited by Nephara on Sat May 04, 2019 5:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Nephara » Sun May 12, 2019 5:03 am

With Kommissar already having easily cantered to the league title, it’s fine that they sleepwalk to a 3-2 defeat at home against relatively poor Sirencall, and Brokenarch lose, too; Gosmouth, on the other hand, underline their promotion with a 6-0 thrashing of midtable Rochford Pilgrims. In Brokenarch’s case, though, it’s no dead rubber - their hotly-anticipated face-off against the Lazuli Diamonds, who are trying to keep ahold of fourth place, is between two sides who have scored over 100 goals this season. It doesn’t disappoint, and Brokenarch throw everything at their opponents… including the wayward challenge that gives Lazuli the late penalty that proves the odd goal in five in their favour. It’s immaterial anyway; Brindleton, who needed a win (a draw could’ve done it if Lazuli had lost by, like, thirty…) stutter to a draw with Strephonage. At the bottom, Brunyard, Stamper and Rushe are all relegated, though that doesn’t stop Brunyard winning anyway. Long Lake fail to add to their 34 goals of the season in a scoreless draw with Sutcroft Athletic, but Seierstad’s visit to the Hartford Glade ends in a narrow 1-0 defeat, skinned on the counter when they threw up 10 men - keeper included - for an injury-time corner when they needed to secure the win. Ingram Township, Riverkey Shells, Caldwick Strand and the dizzying yo-yo team of Downsparrow bounce up from the Conference. Pravenna Saints, conspicuously, do not, and an impatient NFA are rumoured to be on the verge of pulling the plug.

Long Lake 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Stamper Road 0-2 Mapleford
Rochford Pilgrims 0-6 Gosmouth Swans
Rushe United 0-2 Kensey Town
FC Seierstad 0-1 Hartford Glade
Iron United 0-2 South Parrhesia
Ox River United 2-1 Falston Town
Lazuli Diamonds 3-2 Brokenarch
Kommissar 2-3 Sirencall FC
Fully Sick XI 1-3 Martella Jazz
Sutcroft 0-1 Brunyard FC
Brindleton 1-1 Strephonage

The relegation picture is locked into place; Autumnstone, East Laithland, West Hook and Crossroads Town are all set for the drop. Even then, the unsinkable Harriers have a surprise in store for the Strongest. The champions-in-waiting, on home soil, trophy on the sideline, against a confirmed relegated team… stumble to a 1-1 draw. Typical of the most even league across the Nepharim pyramid, really; the Third Division has sides verging on semi-pro status, the First Division has clubs with Premiership stature and experience, but the Second? Mostly just a mashup of forgettable. In any case, Dartmouth batter Southriver 4-1 to steal the title; they, the Strongest and Pillars of Southfell have their relegation confirmed, and by beating Sheridan 1-0, Alliance Barossia join them. Conspicuously nowhere near promotion are the hotly-tipped Corinthians No Longer, mired in the bottom half.

Dartmouth Terriers 4-1 Southriver
Autumnstone 0-1 The Hanged Man
Boltcroft Thorns 0-2 AFC Shale
Falston United 0-3 Riverkey
Aries Solitaire 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Greygate 2-1 Crossroads Town
The Strongest 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Coret Rovers 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Extreme Hills 5-1 Ballardine FC
West Hook 0-4 Locksley
Barossia United 1-1 Stonegrave
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Sheridan

Key Promotion Fixtures

Diamondqueen vs. Cranequin City
Bishop vs. South Laithland
A draw for Diamondqueen will realistically secure the playoff place. South Laithland need to win.

Key Relegation Fixtures
Rochford vs. AFC Serpentine
Gonen's Bridge vs. Armstrong
Ritter Town vs. Belgrave
Creed United vs. West Brinemouth
Four teams fighting to avoid two relegation places. Three points clear, Serpentine are probably safe, but a point would ensure it. Gonen’s Bridge are a point above Ritter and West Brinemouth, but have by far the worst goal difference of the three.

Things kick off with a bang in Peregrine, just fourteen seconds into the game, Peck coughing up possession almost immediately to Ulysses Mithradates, who barged down the middle before playing in the electric pace of Monroe, who slotted past Risdon for Brookford’s opener. It’s a dead rubber, but remember this tie. South Laithland, meanwhile, are going for it - and going hard, taking shots and going for glory, but Stovar Krieven looks solid as ever in Bishop’s goal. There’s a reason he’s being linked heavily with Premiership teams. By contrast, Armstrong’s Constantine Yeoman goes for a high cross from Salthouse, and despite being a giant, misses it entirely; Jakob Spinnett stoops to head home at the far post and put the Warriors in front. But things are cagey pretty generally in the relegation picture, that fluke aside, and they all enter the half goalless - though tempers are decidedly fraying between Ritter and Belgrave, with studs raking all around. Diamondqueen, with all the ball but lacking drive, get sniped on the break in the dying stages of the half, a forceful half-volley from Kosta Kolar leaving Tristram with no chance. All the goals in the first half, it turns out, are in Peregrine and Chardonnay - the latter beating Iron 4-1, the former, already losing 7-0 to Brookford. Uh. Wait. What?

The second half starts, appropriately, with an angled header from Markus Kaufmann, then a brilliant free kick from Lorcan Peck. 7-2 in Peregrine, the home fans sarcastically declaring the comeback on. And then… then gates start falling in. South Laithland’s dominance finally reflects on the scoresheet, clever interplay leading to a curling strike from the veteran Natasha, Gonen’s Fyona Matthews uncharacteristically fumbles a low cutback from Cavazos into Brogan Poppey’s feet to thump home, and Ritter lose their heads, a brutal tackle from Reuser lucky to keep him on the pitch leading to a scuffle between pretty much everyone on the pitch, and not long afterwards a contentious handball from Lucex-Ilinx hands Belgrave a penalty that Emeraude Tanner confidently slots home. And there’s controversy in Rochford, too. Coraline Langbauer slips through the offside trap - or does she? She looks just a touch offside when she slides in a throughball from Nanemoru, but rightful or not, that’s probably ensured Serpentine’s safety. And that is… in the end, all the scoring done at the bottom. Yes, even West Brinemouth manage a scoreless draw against Creed that would normally secure their safety, but here, dooms them; and Ritter, unbelievably, are down just a week before they’re slated to contest Cup final. And at the top, there’s tension leading into the finale, but Bishop lack the incentive to push South Laithland back, and the Southrons punch through through Tanner and the substitute Barron, while Diamondqueen, after a full half of energetic and fruitless pressing, fail to mark a free kick properly to let Heinz Kreis casually nod home yet another injury-time goal, murdering Diamondqueen’s promotion hopes at the last. Brookford, meanwhile, won 9-3 at Peregrine, who perversely ‘won’ the second hald - all in all creating a record high scoreline - and Chardonnay a rather more routine 6-1 against Iron City. And Mantlegrove pummel Leichhardt 4-1, a result that might well seal Bruno Hawke’s fate. South Laithland are in the playoff, then, and Cup finalists Ritter and West Brinemouth join Crisisbless Athletic and Rochford in the drop.

Hackett 0-3 Vermillion Wanderers
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Armstrong
Peregrine 3-9 Brookford Otters
Rochford 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Chardonnay Rangers 6-1 Iron City
Morningstar 2-1 Parrhesia United
Diamondqueen 0-2 Cranequin City
Creed United 0-0 West Brinemouth
Bishop 0-3 South Laithland
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Mantlegrove 4-1 Leichhardt
Ritter Town 0-1 Belgrave

Key Championship Fixtures
Sabrefell Athletic vs. Crisisbless

SFA (4-4-2): 1 - Gautier; 2 - Fox, 19 - Campbell, 13 - Sigismund, 3 - Jaentti; 21 - Bereveskos, 15 - Coltrane (c), 4 - Naumoff, 10 - Gere; 7 - Tarala, 9 - Ens
CRI (4-2-3-1): 1 - Na’Kefir; 2 - Longship, 13 - Gandhi, 4 - Bajnok, 3 - Lohengrin (c); 7 - Snowe, 6 - Bronte; 12 - Coppinger, 8 - Woakes, 10 - Staunton; 17 - Laiota

Brinemouth vs. Aries Chariots
BRI (4-4-2): 1 - Bull; 2 - Brymora, 6 - Magnozzi, 5 - Windtide, 3 - Close; 7 - Tidesson, 21 - Soederquist (c), 10 - Conjure, 13 - Deventer; 17 - Saitou, 4 - Kuznetsov
ARC (4-3-3): 20 - Briggs, 19 - Ashcroft, 5 - Tarrasch, 4 - Na’Duha, 22 - Burnside; 21 - Strausz, 8 - Tsiolkas, 40 - Tokich; 34 - Gutenberg, 17 - Chaplain, 10 - Ruskin

A point will be good enough for Athletic to secure the title; however, should they lose and Brinemouth win, the Dockers will be champions on goal difference. Athletic have a much tougher fixture, however, and the Chariots fanbase isn’t exactly going to be pleased if they wind up handing the title to their fiercest rivals...

Dead Rubbers
Vermillion Rage vs. Chatswood

VRR (4-3-3): 20 - Ramelow; 17 - Salek, 5 - Barksdale (c), 19 - Skondreas, 6 - Katarec; 14 - Fleetwood, 4 - Rauch, 21 - Eduardo; 15 - Breremond, 9 - Heward, 23 - Porter
CHT (4-4-2): 25 - Knasmuller; 23 - Sauber, 5 - Rashkin (c), 20 - Bishop, 3 - Karling; 13 - Conleth, 15 - Bischoff, 21 - Prentice, 11 - Caulker; 14 - Guilder, 17 - Garrett

AFC Treason vs. Chenoworth Harriers
TRE (4-4-2): 12 - Clavel; 24 - Kaveci, 5 - Svensson (c), 13 - Lockheed, 3 - Sandor; 7 - Accardi, 14 - Tallow, 10 - Jonsson, 16 - Keynes; 21 - Metzger, 33 - Sebastian
CHH (4-2-3-1): 1 - Patterson; 33 - Stride, 5 - Carroll (c), 6 - Braylock, 3 - Rouphos; 15 - Nagant, 21 - Charisteas; 23 - Coleman, 43 - Croll, 13 - Kou; 32 - Wright

Starling vs. Chenoworth Rovers
STA (4-3-1-2): 1 - Smordal; 2 - Asghar, 5 - Berg, 4 - Visser, 19 - Paterson; 11 - Armstrong (c), 8 - Aschenbach, 15 - Stroud; 22 - Netzach; 7 - Dostalok, 16 - Lovelace
CHR (4-4-2): 1 - Chaeffer; 13 - Fife, 3 - Teffeteller, 6 - Capradossi (c), 18 - Curtis; 42 - Koerner, 45 - Counsell, 8 - Horvath, 12 - Rowell; 9 - Patton, 17 - Murray

Stahlburg Rovers vs. Coret Hawks
SBR (4-4-2): 1 - Bolander; 2 - Skalak (c), 5 - Kresp-Cinic, 19 - Sesay, 41 - Mesorounis; 7 - Carsley, 23 - Cordwood, 8 - Rosborough, 11 - Moxey; 9 - Sharpe, 21 - Radcliffe
COH (4-4-2): 1 - Lockwood; 14 - Silversmith, 19 - Croft, 6 - Pollard, 18 - Burns; 7 - Skapetis, 8 - Stubbs, 4 - Bezemer (c), 32 - Caracole; 9 - Henderson, 15 - Stavanger

Stahlburg City vs. Corvette Maulers
SBC (4-1-4-1): 1 - Prant-Telew; 5 - Mifsud (c), 22 - Orsay, 19 - Hasek, 3 - Markkannen; 21 - Sefton; 7 - Kantaroff, 4 - Brujah, 10 - Henry, 23 - Voegel; 11 - Shi
CVM (4-3-3): 12 - Feldman; 19 - Auteberry, 5 - Durant, 3 - King, 6 - Seraph; 20 - Kurz, 44 - Brighton, 21 - Voleimann; 43 - Innes, 17 - Karnezis, 11 - Haines

Southfell United vs. AFC Corvistone
SFU (4-4-2): 1 - Aldous; 17 - Bowyer, 5 - Grant (c), 19 - Staniels, 3 - Evans; 7 - Marko, 8 - Hemeyer, 23 - Nagy, 11 - Fairfax; 21 - Michail, 10 - Gundersen
CVS (4-3-3): 30 - Coleman; 2 - Muhren, 5 - Heston, 4 - Brosch, 36 - Almwood; 21 - Delacruz, 8 - Eriksen, 11 - Morham (c); 7 - Afolayan, 9 - Kvanderwyk, 33 - Latimore

North Laithland vs. Newrook City
NLA (4-3-3): 20 - H. Varney; 23 - Schaefer, 5 - Traustram, 13 - Stoeger, 47 - Garnett; 42 - Brindell, 16 - Ettori, 21 - Beltrame; 15 - Hart, 14 - L. Varney; 11 - Han
NRC (4-3-1-2): 20 - Gilzean; 18 - Pakkanen, 22 - Reinhardt, 6 - Zagorec (c), 3 - Kohler; 12 - Brandtner, 23 - Fallon, 32 - Miller; 21 - Ocokoljic; 7 - Farrell, 11 - Nygard

The UICA situation is all locked in, and historically strong showings ensure that Nephara is set to reclaim top four status - which is good news for Coret, in seventh. North Laithland are resting all their best players for the Cup final.

Key Relegation Fixtures
North Sabrefell vs. Cypher Town
NSF (4-2-3-1): 1 - Daunten; 2 - Petrovic, 6 - Clinton (c), 13 - Armbruster, 3 - Karagounis; 7 - Roxel, 14 - Kastriot; 15 - Kranevitter, 21 - Montag, 10 - Laramee; 11 - Wolff
CYT (4-1-4-1): 1 - Ruo; 2 - Tristram, 4 - Hertzka, 6 - Brind, 3 - Anderton (c); 8 - Madine; 7 - Finchcleft, 15 - Voeller, 10 - McCosgraigh, 16 - Tripodi; 17 - Rooke

Raven River vs. Crisisbless United
RVR (4-3-2-1): 1 - Taliadoros; 2 - Villaverde, 19 - Lampshire, 5 - Black, 3 - Hateley; 21 - Leonard (c), 15 - Ruthers, 6 - Cardoso; 8 - Petkovic, 13 - Kesteren; 10 - Breisgau
CRU (4-2-3-1): 1 - Meixner; 17 - Bruun, 5 - Verlander, 19 - Stokes (c), 18 - Law; 8 - Garner, 11 - Solbachen; 7 - Rivers, 13 - Antelmi, 10 - Tamba; 9 - Carter

Sabrefell Moths vs. Cranequin Wanderers
SFM (4-4-2): 12 - Corridan; 23 - Grant, 18 - Gayle (c), 19 - Tipton, 42 - Muscadin; 13 - Bellinger, 15 - Sturrock, 26 - Reach, 46 - Cashin; 9 - Rohrabacher, 17 - Eisenhauer
CRW (4-2-3-1): 20 - Matheny; 17 - Polenz, 5 - Stoeva, 6 - Jantzer (c), 3 - Jaspen; 4 - Yonen, 21 - Butcher; 7 - Kudelka, 21 - Riaz, 16 - Loxton; 9 - Taani

Three teams, 1.5 places. Cypher Town have a point over the other two, who are separated by goal difference. None of their opponents have anything to play for; Cranequin’s opposition is obviously the hardest on paper, but they’re resting most of their key personnel in anticipation of the Champions Cup final.

And... KICK-OFF!
1 mins - Things are set to get spicy. The complaints on social media have already started about the Moths’ weakened squad selection - only Cressida Gayle has been a usual starter for them lately, and even then, only because of Brix Hamilton’s maternity leave.

2 mins - Brinemouth are going for it against a… let’s say permissive Chariots lineup. Just saying it’s a convenient time for the Chariots, hated rivals of the Rams, to be giving starts to two teenagers, and their backup goalkeeper. Still, they aren’t openly throwing the game. Some slick interplay leaves Tidesson free to surge into the box and take a snap-shot at the near post, but Briggs flicks out her legs to crisply make the save.

3 mins - A Raven River side that’s been going through strikers like Spinal Tap drummers is taking a rather more cautious approach - Kia Anders has opted to put Klaus Breisgau on his own up front. The former Crisisbless man is certainly a good hold-up player, but his finishing leaves something to be desired. Still, he gets the first shot on target of the game. Kesteren wrong-foots his marker, Garner, before freeing the fullback Villaverde to race down the right and swing in a high cross. Breisgau can only get a glancing header to it, and Meixner has little trouble catching it. Still, it’s a symbol of intent, at least… ?

4 mins - GOAL! SFM 1-0 CRW. Good work, Cranequin, you’re already down to a Moths side basically trying to throw the game. Shona Butcher carelessly loses possession to Adalmar Sturrock with a heavy touch, and Sturrock slides the ball down the wing to where Annika Cashin can start dashing down the wing, then cutting the ball across the face of goal. Sigrid Eisenhauer slides in and hooks the ball past Matheny, opening the scoring. Remember, the Wanderers absolutely need a result.

5 mins - Cranequin were patient with Jens Reiniger after a slow start to his reign, and this was meant to be the payoff - coming up prepared for the Premiership, ready to play the right way. It’s fair to say it absolutely hasn’t worked. He’s been too inflexible in tactics and personnel, and even if the Wanderers get out of this, it’s hard to see him surviving the year.

6 mins - GOAL! VRR 1-0 CHT. Chatswood are safe, and their lackadaisical defending reflects this - there’s no reason at all that Syrene Fleetwood should be left unmolested in space on the edge of the box, allowed to stabilise her position and sweep the ball beyond Gerik Knasmuller - making his league debut in goal - to open the scores. Leigh Fletcher’s predictably unhappy about it...

7 mins - Fletcher’s done well this season, though. Chatswood were tipped by most to lack the technique to stay up in a league that had seemingly passed them by, but a tough, physical throwback still has its merits, just as long as the players still believe and are kept in line.

8 mins - Brinemouth with another dangerous chance, and it’s unbelievable they aren’t ahead! Tidesson’s free down the right again and cuts across goal, Kuznetsov springs free and shoots… straight into Briggs, who makes herself as big as possible and manages to deflect it away with an elbow, before leaping gratefully onto the rebound.

9 mins - GOAL! STA 1-0 CHR. Well, that didn’t take long. With a green central midfield of Liza Counsell (making her starting debut) and Rashica Horvath, the Rovers have basically ceded the centre to Starling. Counsell’s caught out of position as slick interplay between Aschenbach, Armstrong and Netzach bypasses her and lets Netzach turn into space, set her sights on goal and blast past Chaeffer.

10 mins - It’s strange looking at these games relative to even a decade ago, or especially since Nephara’s beginnings in UICA. The league’s physical now, and faster than ever, but before it was rough and spiteful, with flair players hacked out of games entirely. Referees won’t stand for those excesses nowadays, though it’s still very much acknowledged as a contact sport and better for it. What do you think has changed the most?

11 mins - GOAL! NSF 1-0 CYT. Cypher’s malaise continues, and it’s hard not to look at the Eagles shambling about the pitch and think they’re utterly burned out by fixture pileup and the strain of defensive tactics. You can see it in the small things; Erika Wolff bursts free of the defence, latching onto a Kranevitter pass, forces a sharp save from Ruo which smacks against the post… and Cypher’s players just stop running. Kranevitter follows it in and sidefoots the ball into the empty net. The away fans just seem to sigh.

12 mins - GOAL! NLA 0-1 NRC. Newrook haven’t had much joy, but Jezdimir Ocokoljic is still the reigning Iron Fist. He threads a pass through North Laithland down to the right, and Farrell shapes to shoot from what becomes quite an acute angle… then has second thoughts, cuts back inside the scrambling Stoeger, then plays it back to Ocokoljic. The Mytenar strokes it low past Varney, who gets a hand to it, probably should keep it out, but doesn’t.

13 mins - That’d obviously be Holger Varney that Ocokoljic beat, by the way. And, yes, striker Lexander is his brother. It’s Holger’s first ever league appearance, while Lexander’s been trusted with more minutes this season and looked sharp enough. The fact that he’s starting today, though, indicates that Deborah Stokes - rumoured to be looking for a move abroad while she still has time - will make her likely swansong at the Cup final.

14 mins - “The quality’s changed most,” opines Daniel Clarke. Well, yeah, obviously. Clarke continues; “But more than just that every player’s better, it’s that there’s a lot more quality to go around. Instead of a couple stars on each team (who are only probably First Division level these days) and a bunch of dross, now these teams even have strong benches. Even Cypher have a Pasargan international striker in reserve!”

15 mins - GOAL! STA 2-0 CHR. Catheline Harper’s talked a lot about there being no pressure on her young guns, but she explodes at them, justifiably, when her charges fail to track the giant Alcander Visser at a free kick, who Armstrong duly finds, and who in turn duly thumps a header past an exasperated Janneke Chaeffer.

16 mins - Sabrefell Athletic against Crisisbless has been a quiet affair so far. Tense. A draw’s enough for Athletic and they know it. Crisisbless, well… a few months ago they were probably thinking this fixture could see them snatch away the title. Now they’re locked out of the CC places. Neither goalkeeper’s been seriously tested yet.

17 mins - “The thing that’s changed most is your cozy best mate Daniel Canady wouldn’t be able to cut it anymore because he expertly combined the hold-up play of a ferret with the clever movement of a snail,” declares Karena Hoellerer. To which this blog replies; sh- shut up. Idiot.

18 mins - GOAL! NLA 1-1 NRC. North Laithland have dominated since going behind, and when concerted pressure only leads to a weak punch out from Rook Gilzean, young Spiders midfielder Nicola Brindell tries her luck. Perica Zagorec helpfully sticks out a boot, and is at first relieved to see the ball clank off the post, before Erinys Hart chases it in and hooks the rebound home.

19 mins - PENALTY FOR CORET! Ugh, that marking’s just naive from Mesorounis. Atalanta Skapetis skins him and then steadies herself, practically inviting him to go in hard to try and cover, and the young leftback obligingly hauls her down on the edge of the box.

20 mins - GOAL! SBR 0-1 COH. Despite the best efforts of a … sizable local to try and unsteady Dragan Stavanger, lifting up her shirt and war-dancing up and down the stands, the steely-eyed former Nephara international hammers it past Bolander. The goalkeeper got fingers to it, but the power left him with no chance.

21 mins - Nervous moment for River! A long ball over the top from Antelmi, bouncing awkwardly between the burly centre-halves, and Tanith Carter races onto the end to hook it towards goal! Althea Taliadoros leaps mightily to tip it onto the bar… and only the pace of Carin Black to get back in time stops Carter from recovering for a tap-in. The 21-year old homegrown striker’s pace has been a real issue all game for River.

22 mins - Coret have another penalty shout in quick succession, but this one’s less… convincing. Skapetis very clearly leaves a foot to trail for Mesorounis to clip, and more or less hurdles his knee to go down in the box. The referee’s unimpressed.

23 mins - Barak Pearlman notes; “What haven’t yet improved are the stadiums. They’re still prehistoric, and some of them are downright deathtraps. Thankfully there’s enough money in the game now that teams are starting to look to upgrade on their pre-UICA brutalist hellholes.” I’d say that being a brutalist hellhole is extremely on-brand for the western teams, Barak.

24 mins - Ohh, that looks bad. Adalmar Sturrock and Malia Yonen go up to contest the same header. Sturrock doesn’t get back up. Not through any fair play from Yonen, just the bad luck of falling poorly, his ankle buckling under him. Safety first. He’s able to limp off, replaced by another child in Bryger Kellard, son of World Cup winner Michael Kellard. And that should go some way to illustrate why Sur Arora isn’t risking his best in a dead runner, leaving aside the issue of a much-needed rest...

25 mins - GOAL! BRI 1-0 ARC. No sign of a throw here, that was pure brilliance from the rather more famous Bryger of the league, Tidesson. With the first touch on a ball moving quickly he flicks the ball beyond Oskar Burnside, races past him, then inside him, cuts further and further inside until he’s practically being chased onto the left wing before opening up to drill a shot between Briggs’ feet.

26 mins - The Aries fans in the away end unfurl a banner sarcastically reading “OHHH NOOO”.

27 mins - Sabrefell Athletic have the ball in the net! But, yeah, the format has already tipped you off; Sipke Tarala was well offside when Bereveskos, cutting inside and putting a ball through the defence just a second too late, found him - he knew it, but blasted it home in hope anyway.

28 mins - “Fewer Hellenics?” hazards Ulla Roland. “Nowadays it’s souvlaki as far as the eye can see; times were dark, back then.” You know, it really was a big deal when Catheline Stockinger turned out to be the first Hellenic in the national team. Especially when it turned out she was massively racist against Hellenics. Ahhh, Stocki. What a character she was.

29 mins - GOAL! RVR 1-0 CRU. That’s… very much against the run of play! Konrad Evans has said resolutely that his United side with nothing to play for ‘owe it to the other relegation battlers’ to go in with a full team, but this looks in particular very much like a throw from Kari Bruun and Reinhard Meixner, as the former’s backpass to the latter trickles feebly across, and the latter rushes out to try and get it. Unfortunately, goalkeepers don’t tend to sprint that fast, and even the prosaic Klaus Breisgau is able to get in there ahead of him, settle himself and cut the ball across to where Zivka Petkovic is waiting to sidefoot home just her third league goal of the season… but what timing!

30 mins - Crisisbless, all according to the form guide, haven’t been crash-hot themselves. Chris Maarsden has rolled the dice on a lot of personnel, and it’s not going to be too surprising if he’s given free rein in the transfer window. The fans are on his side, given he managed to keep up in the title race for most of the season, despite the late collapse. In any case, they’re looking solid, if inferior, relative to Athletic.

31 mins - GOAL! SBR 0-2 COH. Dragan Stavanger gets his second of the night, a routine but exceptional header from a routine but exceptional cross from Rasmus Caracole, Coret’s lively young winger. Again Bolander gets fingers to it; again, not enough.

32 mins - Stahlburg Rovers have improved markedly under Reinhard Drake, and especially in recent form… but this match is threatening to turn into a rugby scoreline. Or at least an ice hockey one. Stefan Bolander springs to tip away a powerful strike from the dangerous winger Skapetis.

33 mins - Crisisbless hit a post! But it should really have been more - a clever bit of interplay, Snowe to Woakes to Staunton, then across for Kurtis Laiota to chest down… it doesn’t quite fall right for the pugnacious striker, but he gets off a powerful shot anyway, a little too close to Gautier, who tips it onto the upright. Campbell clears. Would the suspended Airik Ruhl have buried that?

34 mins - GOAL! TRE 1-0 CHH. It’s been coming. The Harriers have most of the possession, but absolutely no penetration. Felix Sebastian finds the latter, with a thumping downward header that Patterson scrambles to save… but only as far as Aristide Metzger, who taps home.

35 mins - Aries almost equalise! An arrowed pass from Harper Ashcroft finds Isabella Chaplain, whose heavy touch takes her away from goal, so she rolls it on the run to Tokich, who fires low and hard! The shot skims against the outside of the upright, with Bull not quite having it covered. So close to the young midfielder’s first senior goal.

36 mins - Kurtis Laiota has his first caution of the day. That’s the difference between him and Ruhl - Ruhl gets them for dissent, Laiota for dragging himself over Naumoff to win a header… by a handful of her hair.

37 mins - GOAL! SFU 0-1 CVS. A Southfell counter breaks down, the Crows capitalise; Almwood releases Sonya Latimore, who sprints down the flank before cutting the ball across the face of goal… Kvanderwyk slides in and, somehow, misses! It gets caught under her legs and bounces underneath her. Just, only as far as Afolayan, who slides it home at the far post.

38 mins - Southfell almost get level, almost immediately - seventeen passes from the kickoff without so much as a Corvistone touch, culminating in Bowyer finding Marko unmarked in the box, and the Pasargan.. shooting just too close to Bailey Coleman, the young Corvistone goalkeeper palming it away with both gloves.

39 mins - GOAL! VRR 2-0 CHT. Chatswood caught napping from a quick free kick, chipped over the top by the outstanding Syrene Fleetwood, Danica Heward stooping to head past the hopelessly exposed Gerik Knasmuller.

40 mins - Stahlburg City against Corvette Maulers has been a pretty terrible game so far, but Aurelie Henry forces a … novel save from Acatha Feldman, twisting to get off a shot at goal from close range that winds up hammering the luckless goalkeeper in the face. Feldman’s now streaming blood, and trying to convince the referee she can play on while a physio dabs at her. This is probably some kind of metaphor for Corvette’s season.

41 mins - GOAL! BRI 2-0 ARC. That’ll steady the nerves. It’s a simple goal in the event, Aries overcommitting forward and being undone by a slack pass from Tokich, cleared upfield by Soederquist. Saitou chests it down, swivels quickly and rolls it almost casually into the path of the rampaging Desya Kuznetsov, who bulldozes through Tarrasch and Na’Duha before slotting with unusual calm past Briggs.

42 mins - GOAL! STA 2-1 CHR. Really, Starling, that’s just complacent. The Rovers score with their first real chance of the half, Horvath finding Anselm Koerner’s run down the right, the teenage winger driving in a cross that curls unpredictably but unerringly into Nya Murray’s path, the Eastfielder elegantly heading past Smordal.

43 mins - It’s not Acatha Feldman’s day. She tries to get on the end of a corner from Kantaroff, slams straight into Isabella Shi and collapses into a heap. On comes Michael Lin.

44 mins - GOAL! VRR 3-0 CHT. Are we sure Chatswood aren’t one of the relegated teams? And if so, are we sure it’s too late to drop them anyway? The burly Gerik Knasmuller - blameless for the first two goals - makes a suicidal charge off his line for a long ball from Fleetwood over the top, and he winds up outside his box and a crucial couple metres away from Heward as she takes possession. He… for whatever reason, tries to slide tackle her, and misses horribly, with Heward visibly shrugging as she rolls the ball into an empty net.

45 mins - Things are just getting ridiculous now in Brinemouth. Marietta Briggs saves sharply from an Iori Saitou snap-shot, and the away end jeers her. She takes it well, though, and grins widely.

Injury time - GOAL! VRR 4-0 CHT. Speaking of ridiculous… Chatswood barely touch the ball between two quickfire goals from Vermillion, who are playing with real freedom now. Ramona Porter sprints past three markers to get on the end of Melosa Salek’s low far-post cross, sliding in to hook it across the line. Chatswood might not have anything to play for, but can they at least avoid humiliation?

Brinemouth 2-0 Aries Chariots
Vermillion Rage 4-0 Chatswood
AFC Treason 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Starling 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Stahlburg Rovers 0-2 Coret Hawks
Stahlburg City 0-0 Corvette Maulers
Southfell United 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 Crisisbless
Raven River 1-0 Crisisbless United
North Sabrefell 1-0 Cypher Town
North Laithland 1-1 Newrook City

As it stands: Sabrefell Athletic are champions. Cypher Town are in the relegation playoff, Cranequin Wanderers are down.

46 mins - Back in business. The only half-time substitution is telling; the Wanderers have hauled off the ineffective Helena Loxton, shifted Riaz over to the left wing, and brought in the veteran playmaker Leonardo Ford.

47 mins - GOAL! RVR 1-1 CRU. This was on the cards. Tanith Carter sprints down the middle, almost too fast to control the ball - and indeed, a heavy touch looks to have sent it straight to Lampshire, until Carter stretches out a boot to tap it between his legs. She falls, but Tamba - also running like hell to chase it - slots across Taliadoros and narrowly into the back of the net, off the inside of the post. River are now back in the relegation playoff, by a margin of one GD.

48 mins - Might Crisisbless United find themselves in River’s place last season? Their major concern has to be their reliance on a couple of key stars. They’re separated from the botom four by the likes of Meixner, Rivers and Antelmi, all of whom have been linked with moves next season.

49 mins - GOAL! SBC 1-0 CVM. ‘Big Bella’ Shi is kind of a crowd favourite at Stahlburg City, in large part due to her increasingly rotund (well, by football standards) frame, but it’s also worth noting that she can lighten up a fairly dire game just by planting her right boot and smashing her left through the ball and just kind of finding the top corner because She Decides To. This happens here.

50 mins - Leonardo Ford’s not made much of a difference so far for the Wanderers, and he’s just looking harried out of the game by Kellard and Reach. Riaz, on the other hand, is posing a far more serious threat to the burly Kodiak Grant than the one-note Loxton did.

51 mins - Crisisbless United nearly take the lead against River, Tanith Carter yet again dangerous, hurdling a challenge from Lampshire and suddenly through on goal - but she tries to take it around Taliadoros rather than shooting, and her touch is a little heavy. Taliadoros gets on the end of it and braces as Carter slams into and over her, goes tumbling… appeals for a penalty that ain’t coming. You knew what you were trying to draw, sister.

52 mins - GOAL! NSF 2-0 CYT. A goal with serious implications - Cypher slip into the bottom four on goals scored, of all things! Ruo’s goalkicks aren’t the best, and one speculative hoof into midfield is won by a towering and well-directed header from Valentine Roxel, one that sends the ball down the left for assertive leftback Karagounis. She arcs her run towards the box, leaving Voeller and Tristram in her wake, before lashing a shot… against the body of Hertzka, but it falls to Sabine Montag, acrobatically leaping to control it with a shin, before shooting past a maze of bodies and the blindsided Ruo!

53 mins - GOAL! STA 2-2 CHR. Out of nowhere, the Rovers are back in the game! Simple enough goal, a good corner from the classy Horvath, a thumping header from the impressive young defender Teffeteller. The Cosumarite’s already being linked heavily with Coret Hawks, who are in urgent need of both youth and of centre-halves.

54 mins - Turning back to North Sabrefell for a moment, look at the work Gareth Blackthorn’s done to really make that side his own. With Brinemouth said to be nudging the venerable Lujendra Mescalin towards retirement, whether or not they win the title today, Blackthorn is a dark horse to take the job. A strong personality and tactical mind, and someone with experience playing at this level, if not managing - why not, honestly? Bittencourt’s done well at Treason since arriving from River, which is basically the same level of move.

55 mins - GOAL! BRI 2-1 ARC. Brinemouth have taken their foot off the accelerator, and this is the price for it. Silke Gutenberg rolls the ball casually between Close’s feet, races onto it into the box, shimmers back inside to dodge a tackle from Windtide and turns to shoot… but it’s just too many turns, and she’s got no momentum. But it takes an awkward bounce off Magnozzi’s elbow, and falls perfectly for Chaplain to flick out a boot and leather the ball past Bull… the Dockers are incandescent, claiming offside, but the last touch did come off Magnozzi.

56 mins - The Chariots fans unfurl another banner, warning their players; “DON’T FUCK THIS UP FOR US.”

57 mins - River have been quietly taking back control - calm down, Clarisse Ward - against Crisisbless United. Aline Ruthers has been instrumental in midfield. But Michi Leonard has to come off, mostly because she’s old and past it, but her influence as captain can’t be overstated. The muscular Inge Wildsmith will get his chance.

58 mins - During a lull in collective play, here’s a little local geography fact for our international viewers: fuck Stahlburg and everyone from Stahlburg. It’s a truly remarkable shithole, filled with glue-sniffing knuckle-draggers.

59 mins - GOAL! SBR 1-2 COH. Oh, hello. A frankly insolent backheel from Beatrice Stubbs unceremoniously ends a Coret attack, when it falls to nobody in green and Sesay just lumps it forward. Down the wing, to Carsley, who suddenly has room to race into with Burns having overcommitted forward, and the winger draws out Lockwood before chipping over her to find Dulcina Radcliffe, who has little trouble finding an unguarded net from four yards.

60 mins - Ahhh, the death threats are already rolling in. And I didn’t even think they had internet access in Stahlburg!

61 mins - Yolandi Heimat is suiting up to come on for Southfell. Is Heimat the most dead-average 6/10 Premiership player in the league? Name one memorable thing Heimat has done in her career.

62 mins - GOAL! STA 3-2 CHR. Oh, how about that! It looks like nothing’s on as a ball bounces placidly around Konrad Lovelace, before the young Starling striker decides, fuck it, he’ll turn and volley it low into the bottom corner. Chaeffer sees it all the way and leaps full stretch and still can’t put a glove on it.

63 mins - GOAL! NLA 1-2 NRC. Newrook back ahead. Holger Varney hasn’t really convinced in this outing, and a Maladict Farrell header that comes right at him can only be parried. Straight to Olivia Nygard. The Vanorian makes no mistake.

64 mins - … Oh, Corvette. Honeys. Michael Lin pulls up after a goal kick aaand that’s him done for the night. Weirdly enough, they didn’t bother to bring along a third goalkeeper, so a gloomy, concussed Acatha Feldman hands the gloves and an ill-fitting jersey to … fuck me, it’s Julian Parable. The 36-year old’s always been one of those players who you could say ‘plays everywhere but ‘keeper’ and now, well, in his final game before retirement… this, I guess?

65 mins - GOAL! VRR 4-1 CHT. Whatever nerd runs the dictionary needs to slot this one in under ‘consolation goal’. Kolinda Bischoff clatters the lively Fleetwood, and the two midfielders get their legs caught between each other. No matter for Andrea Prentice, who picks up possession and just keeps running, until she reaches the edge of the box and tries her luck. It’s a fairly weak shot, but it just agonisingly gets beyond Leila Ramelow to pull one back.

66 mins - Chatswood are very much in a sliding doors state. Will they be able to stay up next season? Bluntly, their squad is… extremely patchy, but the injection of a bit of quality could make all the difference. The board’s talking a big game about getting back to their top-ten peak, but… it’s not that big a club, you know? But then, neither’s Newrook. … Or Starling. In any case, the fewer minutes that go to garbagemen like Matt Hephernan next season, the better. No fewer than five players are out of contract, so expect a serious reshuffle.

67 mins - Change of tack from River. Attacking midfielder Zivka Petkovic, the goalscorer, comes off - clearly tiring. Ruby Gjasula, a rangy 19-year old striker, comes on to join Breisgau up front. This should also give Kesteren more space to shine. At least, that’s the theory. Could just as easily be that Kesteren gets kicked to a pulp by Garner and Solbachen, but, you know.

68 mins - GOAL! TRE 2-0 CHH. Raquel Accardi probably finishes off the limp Harriers. By now, the fans are checking their phones for scores elsewhere. The Stags want Athletic to win tonight; not for any fondness for the Rams, just that a Brinemouth championship would be their eighth, eclipsing Treason’s seven.

69 mins - GOAL! STA 4-2 CHR. Well, that comeback was short-lived. From well outside the box, Excelsior Stroud buys a ticket, then wins the lottery. Just his second goal of the season, and Fernand Way’s warmup on the sidelines, one suspects, shifts from taking off Stroud to the jaded-looking captain Armstrong.

70 mins - Julian Parable makes a save, sort of! A low corner skims across the face of the Maulers’ goal before things devolve into a kicking match in the centre of the goal, and the journeyman wades in, slaps out at it and juuust about gets it out of danger, Seraph ultimately clearing.

71 mins - GOAL! NSF 3-0 CYT. Guys, I don’t think Cypher are going to win this game. Cecille Petrovic’s cross is met powerfully by Erika Wolff, Ruo gets a hand to it, really should manage to claw it away from the net, doesn’t.

72 mins - The Eagles have just absolutely fucking collapsed in the dying stages of the season, perhaps their punishment for going deep both internationally and in the Cup. Deeply impressive? Yeah. But the squad was too thin to compete. Even now, Athana Finchcleft looks like she’s running through an injury on the right wing, and her backup in the reserves is a teenager. Assuming Cranequin Wanderers don’t turn things around against the Moths, you’d have to fancy South Laithland to wipe the floor with them in the playoff.

73 mins - GOAL! SFM 2-0 CRW. Hey, speak of the devil. Swansea Reach wins a free kick when Yonen pulverises her, gets somewhat unsteadily to her feet, waves away the concern of Bellinger, and clips a beautiful ball over the top to Charade Tipton at the far post - the centre-half angles her header awkwardly across the face of goal, Matheny flails a hand at it to redirect it downwards and Sigrid Eisenhauer adapts quickly and throws herself at the ball to chest it across the line. Pretty much everyone in the team fucked up there.

74 mins - GOAL! RVR 2-1 CRU. Oh, things just got really fucking peachy for the Ferrymen in a short time. Say what you will about Kia Anders, but Gjasula proved an inspired substitution, her tireless running forcing Verlander into an awful chopped clearance into her chest. Gjasula takes it to an acute angle, goes for the shot - wrong idea, it’s an easy parry for Meixner at his near post, but he can’t collect it and Gjasula gets a second bite of the cherry, this time circling back around and dragging it past the floundering goalkeeper, about a second before an over-eager Verlander slams into her.

75 mins - GOAL! SBR 2-2 COH. Adele Rosborough has been the Rovers’ clear and obvious choice as their player of a miserable season. She’s the one name that Premiership teams will be looking to snap up. And she proves it here, sneaking into the box with a clever fake-out that sends Pollard stumbling the wrong way, then cutting back inside him and hammering the ball past Reinhard Lockwood. She kisses the badge. It means a lot to her.

76 mins - If this result keeps, Stahlburg Rovers will have taken 13 points from their last 12 games. That’s survival form - barely. What could’ve been, if it hadn’t been for that disastrous pointless start under Elrik Raskine, the worst in the league’s history? Even Stefan Bolander, a laughing stock in that time, has been rehabilitated under Reinhard Drake. And Drake’s not even a good manager, judging by his history...

77 mins - GOAL! SFM 3-0 CRW. The possession has been 50:50 tonight, but it’s all about what you do with it. The Moths throw the Wanderers into disarray with a sequence of quick probes down the wings, and just moments after the Wanderers think that Stoeva’s cleared the danger, Kellard wins a thumping midfield header to put it right back into trouble, Sloane Walsh - a 22-year old striker who spent half the season on loan to the third tier, hasn’t played in the Premiership before, and is fully expecting release in the window - drops back to take it and play it across to Swansea Reach, who strides with purpose through the empty air in front of her and drives the ball high across Matheny, into the top corner. A low groan across the away end.

78 mins - Fair to say the Wanderers aren’t about to clamber out of this hole. Who do you even take from them? Yonen and Kudelka, sure. Riaz, you’d suspect, could use another year in the First Division. Taani has looked good, but at 31, age might get in her way. But players like Sirleaf, Butcher, Loxton… these were the exceptional players last season that the club needed to step it up another notch this time around, and just... didn’t.

79 mins - GOAL! SBC 2-0 CVM. Stahlburg have very much had a shoot-on-sight policy now that Julian fucking Parable is somehow in goal, but the shots have been wayward and, to be fair, the Maulers have closed them down diligently. But now it does pay off, and it’s Aurelie Henry who takes advantage, an awkward low shot at pace that Parable kneels to catch but just… somehow, gets through him. An awful error for a real goalkeeper, but, well. You know.

80 mins - My inbox remains bare of Iconic Yolandi Heimat Moments. Given that you little shits are only ever too eager to destroy my baseless claims, I rest my case.

81 mins - GOAL! SFA 1-0 CRI. Reports had been thin on the ground, because, bluntly, nothing was happening. But a classy, sweeping ball from Theodore Sigismund all the way back at centre-half sets the tone, releasing Orsolya Gere down the left. She takes it in stride, getting past Longship before cutting back, perhaps surprisingly, to Jaentti, who cuts across to Coltrane, who sees that the entire Crisisbless defence is disorganised and overly shifted to the right… so hits a perfectly weighted diagonal over the top which bounces once before finding the chest of fresh substitute Hakki Ojala, leaving the painfully aging Lohengrin in his wake. The Cosumarite only has his countryman Na’Kefir to beat… and absolutely buries the strike, a blast into the roof of the net!

82 mins - The news reaches Brinemouth, who are cruising against Aries despite a slim one-goal lead. The fans groan. Can a freefalling Crisisbless really get two goals in quick succession? Well, it looks like the Heelers are bringing on the ghost of Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic’s career. Either he’ll single-handedly turn the match on its head, or he’ll shamble around sadly as the old hands at the club remember how brilliant a player he was at his peak, when he was able to run. My money’s on the latter.

83 mins - GOAL! SBC 3-0 CVM. Corvette are bad and can’t defend. Neimi Tschauner, the Smiths’ young, flaky substitute left winger, buries her first Premiership goal. First of many if she can get her decision-making right, but she’s one of those brainless pace merchants right now.

84 mins - Out of nowhere! Jevdjevic-Hadsic somehow glides into space, found by Snowe, and lashes a bolt from the blue high and hard, Gautier goes flying and juuust manages to tip the ball against the crossbar! With enough force to send it, luckily, straight to Sigismund… who chests the ball down and hoofs it out for a throw-in.

85 mins - Sigismund’s been a revelation this season. Really, all Athletic’s transfers have paid off brilliantly - Tarala’s replaced Hawke’s goals, Gere’s added a new level of incision down the left, and Sigismund’s professional attitude, class on the ball and intelligent movement off it have stood out.

86 mins - GOAL! SFU 1-1 CVS. Yeah yeah yeah, Gundersen with a tap-in in the game nobody’s watching.

87 mins - GOAL! NLA 1-3 NRC. More dead rubbers, getting in the way… this is at least a great goal. The substitute Avila Wardenier - a versatile former Nephara international, remember - slides the ball along to Ocokoljic, then sprints through the defence, and the Mytenar finds her with an excellent disguised pass that wrongfoots the inexperienced Spiders’ back line, and Wardenier rolls the ball almost insolently past a sprawling Holger Varney’s near post.

88 mins - Althea Taliadoros saves sharply from Andrya Novkovic at close range, the winger let slip for just a moment, and the fringe Nephara international goalkeeper bellows and spurs her team-mates. Just a little longer! And with Cypher and Cranequin absolutely done...

89 mins - Athletic dominated Crisisbless… until the goal. Now it seems almost as if the desperate need to have agency is spurring the Heelers on, and a shot from Kurtis Laiota… is just a little too close to the giant Gautier, who bats it away.

90 mins - GOAL! NSF 4-0 CYT. Andrea Vardalos looks exasperated as the Bohemians pick apart the Eagles’ defence yet again, ultimately letting substitute Simone Cheney angle home a strong header off a cross from the excellent Karagounis.

Injury time - Another strike from Laiota is blocked by Campbell, out for a corner… fucking hell, Na’Kefir’s coming forward for Crisisbless out of goal! They’re taking this seriously! Tom Benedict spurs his players, reminds him just how little time is left… and the referee, for that matter. Three final whistles blow across town in Sabrefell, confirming Cranequin Wanderers’ relegation after a feeble effort against the Moths reserves, Cypher’s presence in the relegation playoff, and River’s survival. And there’s just one corner left… Jevdjevic-Hadsic seems to take eons hustling over for it. The final whistle blows at the Eagles Club, Brinemouth have won, and their fans and players and even opponents wait with bated breath for good news from east Sabrefell. Jevdjevic-Hadsic swings in the corner with vicious power… it doesn’t clear the first defender, Osmosis Gandhi rising like a salmon to head it clear. Another corner-- but there won’t be time to take it! The final whistle blows, and Athletic are champions of Nephara for the fourth time!

Brinemouth 2-1 Aries Chariots
Vermillion Rage 4-1 Chatswood
AFC Treason 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Starling 4-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Stahlburg Rovers 2-2 Coret Hawks
Stahlburg City 3-0 Corvette Maulers
Southfell United 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Crisisbless
Raven River 2-1 Crisisbless United
North Sabrefell 4-0 Cypher Town
North Laithland 1-3 Newrook City
Last edited by Nephara on Sun May 12, 2019 5:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nephara » Sun May 12, 2019 5:07 am

Cypher Town (4-1-4-1):
1 - Ruo; 2 - Tristram, 4 - Hertzka, 6 - Brind, 3 - Anderton (c); 8 - Madine; 33 - Sauthier, 15 - Voeller, 10 - McCosgraigh, 16 - Tripodi; 17 - Rooke
Substitutes: 12 - Burgnich; 5 - Roben, 9 - Tihamer, 13 - Foerster, 19 - Skapoulis, 21 - Ferryman, 23 - Vanstrattan

South Laithland (4-4-2): 1 - Hartmuth; 2 - Novick, 18 - de Naam, 19 - Pike, 3 - Youabian; 13 - Tanner, 7 - Natasha (c), 15 - Jurman, 11 - Alweather; 9 - Ruther, 21 - Lazaridis
Substitutes: 12 - Russell; 5 - Martell, 14 - Paston, 18 - Barton, 20 - Kester, 22 - Barron, 34 - Vyland

The form guide only has one winner here. South Laithland stormed to steal fourth place away from Diamondqueen on the last day, battering Bishop 3-0; Cypher lost 4-0 to the Bohemians, and are winless in fuck knows how long. Oh, yeah, and the minor statistic that the First Division side has won the last seven of these, to the point where the NFA have openly considered just hosting it at the Premiership side’s home ground. And yet, whatever Andrea Vardalos tells her team, it changes… something. The Eagles march out into Phoenix Rise with heads held high… and that doesn’t last. South Laithland dominate the opening runnings, picking up where they left off against Bishop. But it’s a first half short on quality, and there’s no finishing touch - the Southrons coming closest, a low shot from Karena Ruther tipped onto the post by the diving Ruo.

Ruther picks up in turn where she leaves off in the second half, the rangy target woman springing away from the crowd to angle a header off a lovely little corner, but again Ruo scrambles to Cypher’s rescue. It’s clear the Eagles are set to get slaughtered, but the goal just doesn’t come. Ruo’s the heroine with another couple of flashy, acrobatic saves, until the ball’s in Gerhard Hartmuth’s net before he’s even made a save. But as Coretta Rooke looks out for blue shirts in the crowd to celebrate with, she sees the flag raised, and is furious. And that lifts the team, and suddenly it’s Cypher on the offensive, and the teenager Janna Sauthier sprinting down the right before slowing her pace, not quite wanting to take on Youabian directly, before swinging in a cross to the edge of the box. Finding Cressida Voeller’s feet. Unmarked, the midfielder picks her shot and drives the ball into the top corner. South Laithland feel the injustice of it all, but they can’t quite get back into the game. Cypher throw on Roben and Ferryman to freshen up the midfield and retain their stranglehold, with the brawny Borbas Tihamer not only providing an out ball up front but, late on, sending the crossbar juddering with a bulleted header. The Eagles, despite everything, have survived this marathon of the season. Just hand Vardalos the keys to the city now, thanks.

Voeller 74’

Brinemouth (4-4-2):
1 - Bull; 2 - Brymora, 6 - Magnozzi, 5 - Windtide, 3 - Close; 7 - Tidesson, 21 - Soederquist (c), 10 - Conjure, 13 - Deventer; 17 - Saitou, 4 - Kuznetsov
Substitutes: 20 - Britton; 9 - Scotti, 12 - Montague, 14 - Dragana, 19 - Royer, 22 - Calabrese, 35 - Matalin

Mierton Manatees (4-4-2): Baker; Falj, Alex, Reinhold, Desmond; Marstons, Mathieu, Canada, Cantebury; Elliot, Tennyson
Substitutes: Jackson, Karlson, Kibly, Flute, Larson

Don’t forget, the Dockers have their eyes on a prize as well. But so do the Manatees, eager to stretch out their golden age another year. Benjamin Tennyson is the marquee man for a Mierton side perhaps a year past its peak, but they’ve recovered from a poor start to the season to come fourth in the league and, more pertinently, to get here. Even so, the Dockers are favourites, and while there’s some speculation that perhaps they’ll be disheartened by the title slipping out of their reach, the fact is that they’re here in imperious form. The first half bears that out, with Ryan Bull not needing to make a single save - the only goal coming when Tidesson picks out Saitou from halfway down the pitch, and the Hinodejin traps the ball elegantly, takes it inside Reinhold and fires low and hard past Baker. There’s more shots, but the typically taciturn Taeshani defence isn’t letting anything quite kill them off yet.

After the interval, the Dockers do lose a little momentum, somewhat reduced to keeping the ball without really finding that incisive edge. Desya Kuznetsov prowls the penalty area, frustrated. Ultimately, after a fairly dull half-hour, Mierton ensures the game flares back alive when Mathieu, from pretty much nowhere, finds the top corner with an electrifying strike from well outside the box. Some questions are asked of Bull’s positioning, but replays quickly confirm nothing could have kept that out, shy of a minute’s preparation to set up a step-ladder. Brinemouth rise back to the occasion, a visibly jaded, weary core rousing themselves once more. Alyss Montague joins her compatriot Jazmin Dragana in coming off the bench, and after Baker’s forced into a couple more scrambling saves and the Brinemouth formation shifts to a 4-2-3-1, it’s Montague - playing at the point of that central midfield triangle - who seems scandalously free of markers when the ball is slid her way by the overlapping Danijel Brymora, and she turns quickly and slices the Mierton defence apart with a single, simple, elegant diagonal. On the end of it, Dragana - her fellow Chromatika international, not bothering with a steadying touch, just the outside of the right to curl it across a despairing Baker. Further pressure in the final stages, but it’s all from the Dockers, with the midfield not letting go of the ball for love nor money, and it’s as a final shot from Conjure sails over the bar that the final whistle blows, and declares the Dockers regional champions.

Mathieu 77’ // Saitou 27’, Dragana 83’

North Laithland (4-3-3):
12 - Rattin; 23 - Schaefer, 18 - Anderson, 17 - Serjeant, 3 - Posipal; 8 - Sabitzer (c), 4 - Reeve, 25 - Croxteth; 7 - Roberts, 9 - Stokes, 10 - Kendall
Substitutes: 1 - Fairweather; 5 - Traustram, 6 - Lapwing, 11 - Han, 14 - L. Varney, 16 - Ettori, 47 - Garnett

Ritter Town (4-4-2): 12 - Markgraf; 13 - Reuser, 5 - Lucex-Ilinx, 6 - Bismarck (c), 3 - Maina; 22 - Yew, 15 - Espeleta, 8 - Fenchel, 16 - Miller; 9 - Crestwell, 21 - Naga
Substitutes: 30 - Holland; 2 - Riverhound, 4 - Bickermann, 10 - Ganimedes, 11 - Ankergren, 18 - Braun, 23 - Meier

Okay. So. There is obviously only ever going to be one winner here. In the blue corner, the Spiders, fresh off a midtable Premiership finish, best players all rested from the exertions of the final round. In the white corner, the Stallions, fresh off getting relegated to the third tier. Their players, exhausted from final-day defeat at Belgrave.

But football’s never that simple, is it.

Andrea Crowe has vowed, in her final game at the Stallions before her agreed-upon date of mutual departure, that she will bring the Cup home. It’s been a terrible season for the club, marred by bust-ups behind the scenes and the underperformance of key players, but this would make it all worth it. Probably. And they come out with something to prove, despite being… clearly vastly inferior to their well-rested, top-flight opponents, and the Spiders show their quality even in a lethargic start, Luke Roberts shown just a bit too much leg by Maina, and that’s all the invitation he needs to curl a shot low and hard… against the base of the post, with Markgraf stationary. Natalia Bismarck slides in and hooks out a leg to clear, barely preventing Stokes from hammering in the rebound through her quick thinking.

If North Laithland wake up, it could be a slaughter. Everyone remembers Crisisbless’ 8-0 hammering of Extreme Hills on this occasion. Ritter don’t want to relive it. So they tighten up, and surge forward, and when they find an opening, as Rafaela Fenchel bears down on goal, taking two players with her, then plays a disguised pass between them both to find the lithe Daineri Naga… she slots home. And Ritter build on that chance. Former Athletic striker Morten Crestwell forces Rattin into a sharp save, Fenchel does the hard work to craft an opening before blazing high and wide off-balance, but the second goal is coming… and duly does, when a speculative low diagonal from leftback Lesedi Maina misses everyone on its way through the box… but not Augustine Yew, sprinting with all force onto the end of it to take it inside, then bundle it past the fatally hesitant Rattin. North Laithland call foul, for the offside, and for Yew following through into Rattin, but the linesman’s flag remains resolutely by her side. Drunk off their success, the Spiders don’t find it necessary to mark a cross from Posipal, North Laithland’s own leftback, and Deborah Stokes nips in front of Ritter’s aging centre-halves to sidefoot it past an incandescent Markgraf, the red-faced 21-year old goalkeeper shouting profanities at her captain and at a 35-year old.

The general air of anarchy continues into the second half, but at last, North Laithland start to take their chances. Irsa Croxteth is at the heart of it, unsettling the Stallions by shooting, straight from kick-off, if admittedly a gentle arc that carries in the wind straight into Markgraf’s arms. But just two minutes later, she sends a ball towards goal that Deborah Stokes, not normally known for her hold-up play, grapples hard with Lucex-Ilinx to win, then flicks out a boot to take it back to Croxteth as she races into the box, chased vainly by Reuser, and sidefoots decisively past Markgraf to level the scores. On the hour mark, Reuser - a North Laithland youth product - does his hometown club another favour, if you want to be uncharitable. Perhaps he’s too eager to prove himself when Posipal runs inside with the ball, and slides in vain towards her, but the effect is to leave her totally free on the edge of the box, give her a chance to steady herself, and thrash the ball into the top corner from an acute angle with all the viciousness of a striker.

All Ritter’s work, undone in just over 20 minutes of actual match play. Certainly, there are versions of this match where heads drop, and the Spiders win 4- or 5-2 with a veneer of comfort about the occasion, their initial fears forgotten. But this Ritter reacts to Andrea Crowe’s shouts from the touchline in a way they failed to during the actual season, and suddenly the Spiders’ defence is called into action. Now it’s Reuser pressing against Posipal, the Ritter defender using his superior brute force to all but bowl over the dainty leftback, before cutting back for Fenchel to… again, blaze over. The star midfielder’s radar was off all day, sad to say. Further warning shots came from Crestwell hitting the side netting, and a strike from Amethyst Miller that forced Rattin into an acrobatic stop. The portent of doom, however, came from Ganimedes - a hulking juggernaut of a Daineri, polar opposite of countrywoman Naga. It’s an unapologetically route-one move, but when Miller finds his head with a cross, and he knocks it down for Naga to nip in and hook past Rattin, it’s hard to deny its effectiveness. North Laithland flare back with a furious late assault, Markgraf forced into a brilliant double save to deny Griffin Kendall, but the match rolls inexorably to extra time.

By then, though, Ritter’s players are slumping, and Crowe’s decision to use her last substitute taking off the mercurial Fenchel for the stabilising presence of veteran Sherry Bickermann (formerly of Coret Hawks and South Laithland, with plenty of top-flight experience) is an unapologetically cautious one. North Laithland drive up the pressure, but Ritter’s players summon up their last reserves to throw themselves into heroic body-blocks, Bismarck taking one in the face, Reuser another somewhat below the belt. They withstand the first half… they cannot withstand the second. The pressure tells when, for once, Ritter can’t throw a body in front of Irsa Croxteth, whose low shot… is met with a diving save by Markgraf, flicking it past the post. Croxteth races over to take the corner herself, and hooks in a high, powerful effort. Markgraf tries to throw herself into the sea of bodies in the box, but makes no headway, gets lost in the traffic - and nobody’s even close to Raimund Anderson, who calmly adjusts his position, flicks his powerful neck out and powers the ball into the net, Maina on the post desperately flicking out a boot to no avail.

With five minutes left, both teams are spent. Ritter get enough in them for another final, heroic charge, but when Naga’s relatively open while still outside the box, her shot is… tired, dragged low and central, and rolls weakly into Rattin’s arms. When the final whistle blows, both sides slump to the ground, and a couple of more emotional Stallions burst into tears. But they’ve nothing to be ashamed of, and even as they go to collect the humiliation of a finalist’s medal, it’s clear there’s plenty of memories to treasure from the day, perhaps even enough to massage the agony of relegation. But that’s not to get too concerned with the fairytale - it’s important to remember, it’s North Laithland’s day. The Spiders who recovered from an early setback, Irsa Croxteth who pulled the strings and was nigh-untouchable on the night, and Robyn Sabitzer lifting up the trophy. North Laithland may not have been restored to their former glories. For that matter, they might still not even be over their own humiliating relegation. But at least the narrative is smiling on them again.

Stokes 39’, Croxteth 47’, Posipal 60’, Anderson 115’ // Naga 22’ 87’, Yew 36’

Sabrefell Athletic (4-4-2):
1 - Gautier; 2 - Fox, 6 - Farina, 19 - Campbell, 13 - Sigismund; 11 - Ojala, 15 - Coltrane (c), 4 - Naumoff, 10 - Gere; 7 - Tarala, 9 - Ens
Substitutes: 20 - Swepstone; 3 - Jaentti, 8 - Ceulemann, 14 - Celustka, 17 - Vlahos, 21 - Bereveskos, 23 - Uzunlar

Athletic have the chance to cap off a truly remarkable season with just one more win - their determination underlined by the fact that they rested a couple of players while securing the league title. Their opponent, the enigmatic Flanders FC from Commerce Heights, will hope to bring the Globe Cup back to their homeland for the first time since Yuba United in 48… by happenstance, the same cycle that Nephara debuted. Just goes to show, there’s always going to be a stat or coincidence somewhere, if you look hard enough.

Anyway, the pedigree of the nation if not necessarily the club shone through early on, with Athletic’s high press more hesitant than it ever is in the league - fatally so, when a masterful Flanders pass over the top was ever-so-nearly headed clear by Campbell, and you could see, on a sufficiently HD screen, the ball brush across the top of his hair… as it flew over for its intended target to take it past Gautier and fire into an empty net. Something had to change, Athletic needed to take control, but as it so often does in football, the counter came against the run of play. This time, a through-ball from Gere, with Ens on the receiving end, angle closed down on goal. The obvious move, especially from Ens, would have been to centre for Tarala - but Farfish instincts took over, and his eyes were solely on threading the needle through the near post, levelling the scores.

Athletic recovered, revitalised, to dominate the second half - Oscar Coltrane, anonymous in the first half, pulling the strings in the second. It’s he who finds Orsolya Gere making one of her customary piercing runs behind the back line, 4-4-2 becoming 4-2-4 (how very typically Euran) as they sniffed blood, and from there, a one-two with Ens allowed Gere to shoot across the goalkeeper mostly unmolested. It had been a game of individually brilliant moments, too cagey for Athletic to press their luck - Vlahos replaced the buccaneering Fox, and late on, Ceulemann replaced Xixi Ens, who went off to an ovation from the red shirts in the crowd. Gautier still had work to do, spectacularly tipping a late free kick over the bar, but the Rams held on for the win.

Ens 37’, Gere 56’

Northern Union (4-2-3-1):
1 - Farrell; 19 - Carrack, 5 - Chaumancer, 6 - Horgan, 20 - Tambor; 13 - Considine (c), 4 - Capodanno; 21 - Garrard, 8 - Varghese, 10 - Hennessey; 14 - Blaylock
Substitutes: 12 - Blanton; 3 - Holden, 7 - Kvanderwyk, 15 - Valdemarsson, 16 - Riazen, 22 - Bullock, 32 - Apelles

Sabrefell Moths (4-4-2): 1 - Griffin; 2 - Haines, 5 - Elden, 18 - Gayle, 22 - Vicelich; 7 - Townsend, 8 - Fejzuli, 6 - Shone, 11 - Aedelbrandt; 14 - Vol (c), 10 - Romano
Substitutes: 12 - Corridan; 3 - Desantis, 4 - Serra, 13 - Bellinger, 17 - Eisenhauer, 23 - Grant, 26 - Reach

And then there were two. In the white and navy, the thoroughly convalesced Northern Union, one of Brenecia’s two real international household names, the side beloved of the miners and run by the magnates, forever associated with bringing some glamour to the mines. An aging team with no shortage of stardust, full of former Globe Cup champions, but this is their first run on this particular stage. So too, the Moths - it’s easy to forget how many storied names in the domestic game have never gotten this far. After disappointing domestically, their whole season comes down to this, an hour and a half in Turori.

The first half is cautious, though not for the nerves of either side. Union’s old age and treachery has a way of putting opponents off their stride, an unapologetic policy of foul rotation ensuring the slate stays clean for most. But the Moths can take care of themselves, and the first yellow card comes for Tawny Shone just fourteen minutes in, snapping a boot into Rowan Varghese’s shins. A minute later, her unerring pass down to the right is slightly heavily taken in stride by Imriel Townsend, but the Apoxian races onto the end of it, tussling all the way with Tambor, before hooking a slightly rushed shot into the side netting.

It’s not long before Cass Farrell’s being tested, though, as Tahir Fejzuli tries his luck from well outside the box - it’s a nothing shot until it caroms off Horgan’s knee, spinning madly towards goal, and the wrong-footed Farrell does brilliantly to reverse her momentum and claw the ball around the post. The Moths’ pressure isn’t over yet, though; the corner, from Aedelbrandt, comes straight to Solara Vol’s chest… but it doesn’t quite sit right for her as it comes down, and as she fires, Horgan and Carrack both hurl themselves in the way and it deflects over the top of both. Another corner, again to Vol, this time a header straight at Farrell. Union see out the half safely, and indeed, as they go down the tunnel, their fans are still kvetching about what they felt was a nailed-on penalty when Elyn Hennessey was dispossessed by Haines on the edge of the box, shoulder-to-shoulder.

Hennessey does not return for the second half - Union need something different, and hope to find it in the veteran winger Kit Kvanderwyk. Even at 36, the wily Cosumarite’s got more than enough in the tank to cause the Moths trouble. With his first touch, as a long ball from Capodanno finds him free down the left, Haines makes the mistake of giving him space and showing him an inside track - immediately the veteran cuts inside and unleashes a strike with his favoured right, only barely past the post. Robert Griffin didn’t quite have it covered. Not long afterwards, Union should have taken the lead. Kvanderwyk rolling the ball to the overlapping Tambor, who floats in a cross. Blaylock and Elden both go for it, neither more than glances, and it comes to Cu Roi Garrard before the winger’s ready. The winger tries to take it down with his chest at short notice, and Griffin rushes out to close down the angle. Garrard shoots, but Griffin’s made himself big enough to turn it aside.

The Moths make them pay. The corner comes to nothing, except to fashion a chance on the break when Griffin’s punch thumps it clear to Romano, who takes the ball right down the enemy’s throat with a run that sends him fully half the length of the pitch before a covering challenge from Eliwulf Tambor blindsides him, sweeping away both ball and man. The fans call for a red, but the chance wasn’t clear enough - a yellow results, and Tambor’s quickly taken off for Saskia Holden. Tahir Fejzuli takes the free kick, from a dangerous position… and thuds it wetly into the wall of burly Union bodies. The ball spins away to Townsend, who takes a low, skittering shot of her own that only just goes wide.

Soon the battle turns to aerial prowess yet again, Dakota Blaylock - who had a mildly successful spell in Nephara but has really come into his own in Brenecia - beats Gayle and forces Griffin to sprawl for the save, before at the other end, Vol’s header is tipped over the bar by Cass Farrell, before she falls into the net. But just as this looks to be devolving into a route-one maulfest, the ball comes to Tahir Fejzuli on the edge of the box, a cutback rather than the cross from Vicelich everyone expected. The incisive Mytenar sprints inside the box, not picked up by the defenders on Vol and Romano, and rifles decisively across the dithering Farrell.

Erin Camden, the Union manager, starts mashing buttons. On come the teenager Calindra Apelles and the veteran striker Kilizo Riazen, reshuffling into a very Euran 4-2-2-2, while the Moths bring on Sigrid Eisenhauer to strike on the counter and, just as the calm defender Theresa Desantis warms up on the sidelines, Apelles springs free down the right past the wearying Vicelich, bears down on goal, then passes along unselfishly to Blaylock, whose first touch is heavy - Griffin hurls himself at the ball and Blaylock does not change his trajectory, culminating in his boot following through into Griffin’s face.

A stretcher comes out as an all-out brawl threatens to consume the match before Solara Vol, the Moths unmistakable captain, forcibly restores calm. Helene Corridan, called up but never capped by the Cormorants, goes on to try and seize a chance at becoming a hero, though her first uninspiring touch is to hoof the free kick out for a throw-in. But just as the Moths have lost their goalkeeper, so too have the Union lost their momentum. Apelles takes a couple of strikes from distance, and Corridan gets down well but ultimately comfortably to save both, before the heart-stopping moment of a Kvanderwyk ball that gets through to Riazen, who pokes out a leg to cut in front of the last defender, but Corridan readjusts to claw the ball out of trouble, falling gratefully on it. Could Blaylock have followed through more decisively? Yes… but his hesitation, given the circumstances, is understandable.

The Moths keep up the threat deep into injury time, and when Zoe Aedelbrandt finds herself found free on the left by Fejzuli, with the Union defence scattered and overcommitted, she ignores the desperate calls to take it into the corner and bears down on goal. Farrell comes flying out, her indecision for the goal not soon forgotten, and when Aedelbrandt tries to power it home past her near post, Farrell flicks out her hands to palm it aside. A corner, then - and this opportunity to time-waste isn’t missed, Aedelbrandt rolling it to Eisenhauer to sandbag at the corner flag, Carrack desperately raking her studs against her calves-- but to no avail as the whistle rings out, once, twice, thrice! And it’s over. Union have come a long way just to be here. Their very presence is a victory, in a way. For the Moths, this is their time to redeem an underwhelming domestic campaign, to vindicate their claim as a truly world-class club. But for Nephara? To put paid to the last few years of underwhelming performances, the humiliation of falling out of the top four… this moment, as Solara Vol lifts the trophy, so soon after Stig Soederquist and Oscar Coltrane did the same, is priceless.

Fejzuli 71’

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Sabrefell Athletic 46 31 10 5 95 32 +63 103
2 Brinemouth 46 31 7 8 117 44 +73 100
3 AFC Treason 46 27 9 10 91 46 +45 90
4 Starling 46 26 12 8 77 40 +37 90
5 Sabrefell Moths 46 24 11 11 90 52 +38 83

6 Crisisbless 46 24 10 12 78 54 +24 82
7 Coret Hawks 46 20 15 11 76 62 +14 75

8 AFC Corvistone 46 20 11 15 77 70 +7 71
9 Aries Chariots 46 17 16 13 79 63 +16 67
10 Southfell United 46 18 12 16 62 61 +1 66
11 Newrook City 46 17 14 15 66 61 +5 65
12 Vermillion Rage 46 14 17 15 67 65 +2 59
13 North Laithland 46 15 14 17 56 69 -13 59
14 North Sabrefell 46 14 16 16 58 58 +0 58
15 Chenoworth Harriers 46 16 9 21 54 63 -9 57
16 Stahlburg City 46 16 8 22 46 58 -12 56
17 Crisisbless United 46 14 13 19 64 89 -25 55
18 Chenoworth Rovers 46 13 11 22 52 71 -19 50
19 Chatswood 46 10 15 21 55 79 -24 45
20 Raven River 46 7 21 18 53 83 -30 42
21 Cypher Town 46 10 10 26 37 70 -33 40
22 Cranequin Wanderers 46 8 15 23 55 91 -36 39
23 Corvette Maulers 46 6 11 29 50 103 -53 29
24 Stahlburg Rovers 46 7 7 32 45 116 -71 28
34 - Kuznetsov (BRI)
29 - Metzger (TRE)
28 - Tarala (SFA)
26 - Romano (SFM)
21 - Sierra (ARC), Saitou (BRI), Stavanger (COH)
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Desya Kuznetsov (BRI)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Oscar Coltrane (SFA)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Swansea Reach (SFM)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Orsolya Gere (SFA)
Team of the Year: Gautier (SFA); Hamilton (COH), Bajnok (CRI), Campbell (SFA), Close (BRI); Townsend (SFM), Jonsson (TRE), Coltrane (SFA), Gere (SFA); Kuznetsov (BRI), Metzger (TRE)
Bench: Smordal (STA); Asghar (STA), Svensson (TRE), Tidesson (BRI), Soederquist (BRI), Woakes (CRI), Tarala (SFA)
Manager of the Year: Lisa Amos (STA)

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Creed United 46 26 14 6 77 36 +41 92
2 Cranequin City 46 26 12 8 61 40 +21 90
3 Parrhesia United 46 25 8 13 92 58 +34 83

4 South Laithland 46 23 7 16 65 45 +20 76
5 Diamondqueen 46 21 12 13 78 44 +34 75
6 Belgrave 46 22 8 16 87 58 +29 74
7 Brookford Otters 46 19 15 12 91 60 +31 72
8 Hackett 46 20 10 16 58 58 +0 70
9 Bishop 46 18 15 13 56 43 +13 69
10 Leichhardt 46 17 15 14 49 39 +10 66
11 Armstrong 46 17 14 15 42 44 -2 65
12 Goodfeather FC 46 16 14 16 61 59 +2 62
13 Iron City 46 14 16 16 43 49 -6 58
14 Vermillion Wanderers 46 15 11 20 52 57 -5 56
15 Mantlegrove 46 15 11 20 46 58 -12 56
16 Morningstar 46 16 8 22 51 67 -16 56
17 Chardonnay Rangers 46 14 13 19 57 73 -16 55
18 AFC Serpentine 46 15 9 22 48 76 -28 54
19 Peregrine 46 14 10 22 53 79 -26 52
20 Gonen's Bridge 46 13 11 22 47 77 -30 50
21 West Brinemouth 46 12 13 21 32 49 -17 49
22 Ritter Town 46 12 12 22 46 62 -16 48
23 Crisisbless Athletic 46 11 13 22 53 81 -28 46
24 Rochford 46 8 15 23 32 65 -33 39
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Markus Strand (BEL) - 27
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Delphi Barbarouses (CRD)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Catheline Novick (SLA)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Arleta Radcliffe (PAR)
Team of the Year: Ledo (CRC); Novick (SLA), Koller (LEI), Ystrad (DMQ), Strasbourg (CRC); Conway (CRD), Barbarouses (CRD), Radcliffe (PAR), Neury (HCK); Strand (BEL), Trabelsi (CRD)
Manager of the Year: Lara Winter (HCK)

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Dartmouth Terriers 46 26 10 10 73 35 +38 88
2 The Strongest 46 26 9 11 105 67 +38 87
3 Pillars of Southfell 46 23 13 10 58 29 +29 82
4 Alliance Barossia 46 23 13 10 61 36 +25 82

5 Riverkey 46 21 16 9 60 37 +23 79
6 Locksley 46 22 10 14 75 65 +10 76
7 Coret Rovers 46 22 9 15 70 66 +4 75
8 AFC Shale 46 20 14 12 47 32 +15 74
9 Extreme Hills 46 20 13 13 69 58 +11 73
10 Stonegrave 46 19 12 15 54 48 +6 69
11 Aries Solitaire 46 18 11 17 70 61 +9 65
12 Greygate 46 18 11 17 71 64 +7 65
13 Barossia United 46 18 10 18 63 66 -3 64
14 Southriver 46 18 10 18 59 67 -8 64
15 Corinthians No Longer 46 18 9 19 63 60 +3 63
16 Sheridan 46 15 13 18 33 39 -6 58
17 Falston United 46 14 12 20 60 73 -13 54
18 Ballardine FC 46 11 18 17 46 58 -12 51
19 The Hanged Man 46 12 13 21 28 43 -15 49
20 Boltcroft Thorns 46 12 13 21 51 75 -24 49
21 Autumnstone 46 8 16 22 50 83 -33 40
22 East Laithland Harriers 46 12 4 30 46 79 -33 40
23 West Hook 46 7 13 26 44 74 -30 34
24 Crossroads Town 46 7 12 27 47 88 -41 33

Pos Team                    P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Kommissar 46 31 9 6 93 44 +49 102
2 Brokenarch 46 28 10 8 106 50 +56 94
3 Gosmouth Swans 46 29 7 10 79 42 +37 94
4 Lazuli Diamonds 46 27 10 9 105 57 +48 91

5 Brindleton 46 27 7 12 70 51 +19 88
6 Martella Jazz 46 23 11 12 84 70 +14 80
7 Ox River United 46 22 11 13 60 40 +20 77
8 Mapleford 46 21 11 14 70 54 +16 74
9 Kensey Town 46 21 10 15 86 70 +16 73
10 Strephonage 46 17 14 15 63 48 +15 65
11 South Parrhesia 46 19 8 19 74 66 +8 65
12 Falston Town 46 20 5 21 76 75 +1 65
13 Hartford Glade 46 17 11 18 61 71 -10 62
14 Rochford Pilgrims 46 16 12 18 63 80 -17 60
15 Sirencall FC 46 13 13 20 63 85 -22 52
16 Iron United 46 14 9 23 48 57 -9 51
17 Sutcroft Athletic 46 12 15 19 51 72 -21 51
18 Fully Sick XI 46 12 13 21 56 81 -25 49
19 Sutcroft 46 12 11 23 53 65 -12 47
20 Long Lake 46 13 7 26 34 55 -21 46
21 FC Seierstad 46 9 16 21 51 71 -20 43
22 Brunyard FC 46 13 4 29 53 83 -30 43
23 Stamper Road 46 10 7 29 52 94 -42 37
24 Rushe United 46 7 7 32 42 112 -70 28

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ingram Township 38 21 8 9 54 25 +29 71
2 Riverkey Shells 38 20 8 10 64 39 +25 68

3 Fischer 38 19 9 10 72 41 +31 66
4 Crownsend Journey 38 19 8 11 74 49 +25 65
5 Lockheed Zenith 38 19 7 12 54 46 +8 64
6 Courser 38 16 10 12 47 42 +5 58
7 Chenoworth Teutons 38 17 6 15 42 51 -9 57
8 Iberia Chenoworth 38 16 8 14 64 48 +16 56
9 Ringway 38 15 11 12 55 48 +7 56
10 Stonesthrow Town 38 14 13 11 45 40 +5 55
11 Fenland Albion 38 13 13 12 33 35 -2 52
12 Grovebank 38 13 11 14 48 43 +5 50
13 Sleetwell Rangers 38 12 12 14 51 59 -8 48
14 Boleyn Town 38 11 14 13 35 35 +0 47
15 Harrington 38 12 10 16 51 55 -4 46
16 AFC Feuerweiss 38 12 6 20 50 62 -12 42
17 AFC Hellerine 38 10 10 18 48 73 -25 40
18 Camwell Road 38 8 13 17 34 60 -26 37
19 Aspen Grove 38 7 15 16 44 61 -17 36
20 Swag Hill Rovers 38 7 6 25 43 96 -53 27

Promoted: Besand's Folly, Stekelenbright

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Caldwick Strand 38 22 11 5 65 42 +23 77
2 Downsparrow 38 21 11 6 71 40 +31 74

3 Pravenna Saints 38 21 8 9 62 30 +32 71
4 Bodkin Road 38 18 11 9 50 37 +13 65
5 Cranequin Souths 38 16 10 12 61 47 +14 58
6 Northside Eagles 38 15 12 11 65 50 +15 57
7 Corvistone City 38 14 14 10 47 36 +11 56
8 Gridlock 38 16 8 14 37 29 +8 56
9 Brookford Vantablack 38 12 16 10 50 47 +3 52
10 Constance Park 38 11 17 10 33 32 +1 50
11 Rookwall 38 13 10 15 37 42 -5 49
12 The Travellers FC 38 11 12 15 51 50 +1 45
13 AFC Volksgarten 38 10 15 13 43 42 +1 45
14 Twelvetrees 38 10 14 14 39 42 -3 44
15 Brookway Town 38 11 10 17 34 47 -13 43
16 AFC Burchess 38 10 10 18 45 58 -13 40
17 Markoni 38 9 10 19 37 62 -25 37
18 Blaze 38 8 13 17 50 82 -32 37
19 South Brill 38 5 17 16 38 62 -24 32
20 Corby Hubris 38 7 11 20 43 81 -38 32

Promoted: Aries Tigers, AFC Davenport
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Postby Nephara » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:29 pm

Season 74 Preview


League Finish: 9th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Scythes (36,000)
Nickname: the Chariots
Captain: Anise Riske
Top Scorers: Sierra (21), Lazarou (12), Riske (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Commerford (32); 19 - Ashcroft (23), 5 - Tarrasch (28), 4 - Na’Duha (28), 14 - Law (26); 7 - Seamster (27), 6 - Rzazade (28), 11 - Riske (30, c); 12 - Lazarou (27), 15 - Sierra (27), 16 - Kaelin (29)
In: Praxil Law (Crisisbless United, 2.5m), Leila Rzazade (Ma Alameome, free)
Promoted: Annabelle Press (GK, 18), Ivana Tokich (CM, 18)
Out: Laura Belfry (Belgrave, 2m), Erhard Klein (La Gorlions, free), Molly Cunning (Old Boys Club, free), Oskar Burnside (Dartmouth Terriers, loan)

2 NFA Cups (55, 63)
Globe Cup (58)
Super Cup (58)
Gang of Six member

73: Premier - 9th - 67 pts
72: Premier - 8th - 74 pts
71: Premier - 10th - 69 pts
70: Premier - 9th - 73 pts
69: Premier - 11th - 62 pts

Notable Products: Uli Alsatian, Trajan Bruyne, Brigitte Coppinger, Claudia Escrow, Paula Morgan, Logan Murdoch, Adnan Szalai
Club Heroes: Croft Drinkwater, Emanuele Riviello, Nate Walker
One-Club Men: Jess Leinster
Iconic Manager: Gareth Sumner
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
The Chariots are not one of the largest sides in Sabrefell by any means, but they can point to a devoted and vibrant fanbase operating out of the eastern suburbs and to a history of punching well above their weight, at one stage finishing as high as second and winning a Globe Cup, then being the first Nepharim side to claim a Super Cup. They have thrived with the increasing levels of immigration into the country over the past couple of decades, and their catchment is particularly lush with Licentian diaspora, hence the more recent decision to switch from white to a blue and gold away kit. In more recent years, the giants of Nephara have re-established themselves, and the Chariots have switched gears to focusing on youth and infrastructure, though they dream of a return to the glory days. Their only real rivals are Sabrefell Athletic, who they revile after incidents of fan clashes - a bond they share with Raven River, which has always been a somewhat friendly rivalry.

The good times continue to roll for the Chariots, an established force in the Nepharim game once more. But they’re no closer to reclaiming their former glory, at least on paper...

Again, quiet, but they might just have the bargain of the season. Against the odds, they sniped Ma Alameome’s holding midfielder on a free, Rzazade. Okay, you might say, she was the holding midfielder on a team that conceded about three goals a game while winning titles, but she’s exceptionally tidy with the ball at her feet, and really is no slouch as an anchor. Consider what she was up against. Praxil Law is another left-field pickup. Crisisbless United didn’t think they could use him; the bid from the Chariots should have really given them pause, and maybe it did, but Law was determined to force his exit. Defensive midfielder Belfry leaves, Brill nearly followed but backup leftback Burnside wound up being farmed out for more experience.

The Chariots are fast, technical, and excel at gashing teams on the counter - but they don’t lack ways to break opponents down, either. Safarova’s really cultivated this team, iterating year on year to get every aspect just so. The result is coming into its prime; look how many of the players are in their mid-late-twenties.

There’s a slight suspicion that without a truly lethal number 9, the Chariots might struggle to break down massed defences. Fortunately, they have one in the converted winger Sierra, the kind of lethal finisher who only needs one chance, and can rack up plenty more than that with her intelligent running and change of pace.

Lorena Strausz looked sharp in pre-season against lower-league opposition, the technical midfielder belying her 22 years with assured performances. It could be argued she lacks a certain urgency, and that could cost her at this level, but she’s ready to make a serious contribution. By all accounts the captain, Riske, has taken her under her wing...

… but for now, Riske herself remains near-undroppable, a welcome bit of (relative) old age and treachery combined with a sweet left boot. Behind her, Na’Duha is an indomitable defender at this level, which is handy considering how exposed they sometimes leave themselves; her passing helps them strike back quickly, too. And while Elsa Kaelin wasn’t quite the world-beater Nepharim briefly hoped she could be, she’s still got flickers of that promise remaining, and more than enough guile and craft to cut through defences with an insolent single touch.

This team is approaching their peak, but one suspects they’re still a step away from true greatness. Another window, perhaps. For now, they continue to iterate.

Manager: Isla Safarova (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Vance Commerford (COS), 20 - Marietta Briggs, 30 - Annabelle Press
Defenders: 2 - Barak Strauss, 3 - Alexis Brill (COS), 4 - Kadija Na'Duha (COS), 5 - Katerina Tarrasch, 13 - Mirka Ceciu, 14 - Praxil Law, 18 - Ansom Payne, 19 - Harper Ashcroft
Midfielders: 6 - Leila Rzazade (ISK), 7 - Tarran Seamster (COS), 8 - Achileas Tsiolkas, 11 - Anise Riske (c), 21 - Lorena Strausz, 34 - Ivana Tokich
Forwards: 10 - Giselher Ruskin, 12 - Alexandra Lazarou, 15 - Rowena Sierra (CMT), 16 - Elsa Kaelin, 17 - Isabella Chaplain, 23 - Silke Gutenberg, 33 - Mateus Kujan
Out on Loan: 22 - Oskar Burnside


League Finish: 2nd
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
UICA Run: Champions Cup Semifinals
CdC Run: Champions
Stadium: Brinemouth Eagle’s Club (65,000)
Nickname: the Dockers
Captain: Stig Soederquist
Top Scorers: Kuznetsov (34), Saitou (21), Tidesson (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Bull (29); 2 - Spencer (23), 6 - Magnozzi (28), 5 - Windtide (30), 3 - Close (25); 21 - Soederquist (32, c), 10 - Conjure (31); 7 - Tidesson (27), 8 - Kesteren (28), 13 - Deventer (23); 4 - Kuznetsov (27)
In: Oliver Spencer (Recuecn FC, 8m), Franz Kesteren (Raven River, 6.5m)
Promoted: Micha Burkhard (CM, 18), Flo Eschborn (CB, 19), Urban Malthus (GK, 18)
Out: Danijel Brymora (Herzegovina City FC, 4.5m), Pablo Scotti (Hapilopper City Soldiers, 3m), Simon Robinson (Rudar Trkev, free), Constantine Koellner (Kyoshiku Island, loan)
Retired: Gianluigi Calabrese (CB, 37, OSR)

7 Premiership titles (53, 54, 55, 61, 62, 70, 72)
NFA Cup (62)
Ramsey Shield (73)
Gang of Six member

73: Premier - 2nd - 100 pts - CC
72: Premier - 1st - 103 pts - CC
71: Premier - 7th - 80 pts - GC
70: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CC
69: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CC

Notable Products: Penumbra Amokachi, Tessa Bayliss, Danijel Brymora, Chris Christon, Croft Drinkwater, Karin Drinkwater, Dimitra Exarchopolous, Konrad Gosforth, Gerry Malone, Sabine Montag, Diligence Nkembe, Temperance Nkembe, Lasse Scharnberg, Lucia Silkemark
Club Heroes: Augustine Breton, Jonathan Bosetti, Tana Colbright, Evelyn Conjure, Erica Kenney, Kunibert Mathias, Darek Norgen, Stig Soederquist, Ronda Judit Styrn, James Watt
Iconic Manager: Larissa Garrotte
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
Despite the earthy nickname conjuring images of teamsters and burly shirtless men, Brinemouth is a largely affluent city, particularly the coastal east, and their football club became nouveau-riche just in time for the Premiership to join the international scene. They have, as a result, been far more successful post-UICA than pre-, and their seven titles are only matched by AFC Treason - indeed, the Premiership's ascension into the ranks of serious leagues worldwide seemed to coincide with an era of dominance for the two clubs on each end of the country, overshadowing the 'Sabrefell giants' of Athletic and the Moths who had dominated prior to the modern era. Unlike Treason, their playing identity is based around expensive marquee talent playing beautiful attacking football - locals are considered a nice bonus, but not essential. They want the ball, and they want to be flashy with it. West Brinemouth are their only real rivals for fanbase in the city, but are too weak on the pitch to make a proper rival in Brinemouth's eyes. Instead, they save their ire for the Classic, against their philosophical opposites and equals AFC Treason.

Another century of points, and most years, that’s enough to win. You can’t sniff at that. It was an honourable way for the manager to bow out. Oh, and another absolute bucket of goals for Desya...

Lujendra Mescalin was only ever meant to be a short-term option. Yeah, that didn’t last. And, under him, neither did Brinemouth’s trophy drought. But all things must come to an end, and he was a legitimately old man, late into last season… it was time to move on, for everyone. Gareth Blackthorn arrives from North Sabrefell with a brief to do whatever the fuck he wants. Apparently that starts with Franz Kesteren and Oliver Spencer, Kesteren forcing a move out when River seemed to falter in the window, Spencer an unproven but extremely talented rightback with extensive international experience. And unapologetically shed are the Nepharim international Brymora and the old stalwart striker, Scotti, with another striker in young Koellner being shipped on loan to Cobrio. Osarian veteran defender Gianluigi Calabrese hangs up the boots after over a decade of proud service to the club.

There’s been a shift in emphasis that’s been plain to see even in pre-season. Blackwood wants Brinemouth to properly dominate the ball. There’s a nervousness in Nephara about passing backwards or sideways, but Blackwood’s Bohemians never seemed hurried in possession, always confident; now with world-class players at his disposal, one can assume they’ll do it faster, stronger, slicker. Oh, and with the world’s most prolific marksman at the spearhead...

Bryger Tidesson is the most expensive player in Premiership history, a man used to shining brightest among a galaxy of stars, be it his siblings, his national team, or his former haunt, Real Azuris. He is almost certainly the best in his position worldwide, and after adapting to the Nepharim way, now being pushed further forward under Blackwood with Spencer a more aggressive fullback behind him, this is expected to be the season where he really, seriously, stomps the shit out of the league.

Morena Deventer was the breakout star of last season, arguably overshadowing even Tidesson on the opposite flank. Relentlessly quick and fearless in the attack, she’s an arrogant little shit by all accounts, but she can more than back it up on the pitch. She works hard, too, and will never stop running to carve out chances for herself - ones she finishes with flair, intelligence, and two equally lethal boots.

Blackthorn’s countryman Bull is the kind of goalkeeper who really is the eleventh outfielder, the sweeper, with an easy confidence and passing range. He’s also a brute who effortlessly claims crosses, and will never be beaten one-on-one. Marcin Close is a quietly brilliant fullback in all phases of play, doesn’t shout himself around, just moves and acts with perfect precision. Desya Kuznetsov describes himself as the ‘best goaler in world’. His record leaves no room for argument.

As always, the Dockers will be in the chase. This is, by their lofty standards, likely to be a transitional year. Blackwood has preached patience. He’ll get it… for a season. But their sights must still be on the title.

Manager: Gareth Blackthorn
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ryan Bull (EUR), 20 - Iona Britton, 30 - Urban Malthus
Defenders: 2 - Oliver Spencer (RCN), 3 - Marcin Close, 5 - Miri Windtide (CEN), 6 - Giorgio Magnozzi (MRC), 18 - Gerik Morlock, 19 - Alphonse Royer, 24 - Jens Vauxton, 31 - Flo Eschborn
Midfielders: 7 - Bryger Tidesson (COS), 8 - Franz Kesteren, 10 - Evelyn Conjure (SCT), 11 - Ilona Duerden, 12 - Alyss Montague (CMT), 13 - Morena Deventer, 14 - Jazmin Dragana (CMT), 21 - Stig Soederquist (COS, c), 23 - Dimitri Keldoulis, 32 - Micha Burkhard, 35 - Tambra Matalin
Forwards: 4 - Desya Kuznetsov (AUD), 9 - Zara Cormann, 17 - Iori Saitou (HIN)
Out on Loan: 36 - Constantine Koellner


League Finish: 19th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Westcroft (28,000)
Nickname: the Axes, the Woodsmen
Captain: Darius Rashkin
Top Scorers: Garrett (14), Luitgard (8), Conleth, Prentice (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 12 - Williams (26); 2 - Heidt (25), 5 - Rashkin (33, c), 20 - Bishop (29), 3 - Karling (27); 13 - Conleth (24), 15 - Bischoff (22), 21 - Prentice (25), 11 - Caulker (27); 10 - Henderson (28), 17 - Garrett (29)
In: Ivana Henderson (Coret Hawks, 3.5m), Yulia Heidt (Iron City, 2.5m), Nova Willliams (Eyrods, free)
Promoted: Labinot Ruscoe (ST, 19), Gedeon Volz (RM, 19)
Out: Abishai Vestal (Tyrisier, free), Bernhard Duisberg (AFC Shale, free), Baltasar Gensch (Boltcroft Thorns, free), Julian Ilsander (Armstrong, free), Matt Hephernan (Chardonnay Rangers, free)

First Division title (51)
NFA Cup (56)

73: Premier - 19th - 45 pts
72: 1Div - 3rd - 90 pts - Promoted
71: 1Div - 8th - 75 pts
70: 1Div - 6th - 77 pts
69: 1Div - 7th - 74 pts

Notable Products: Claire Beresford, Ulrich Beresford, Helmut Chilmark, Tzipporah Cohen, Ace Flynn, Dieter Konoval
Club Heroes: Gary Corsie, Mikko Haagensen, Devane Miller, Marijana Kuralay, Vince Riggs, Alhambra Shrike
One-Club Men: Brescia Stubbs
Iconic Manager: Emery Lineker
Premiership Debut: 51
Treason's second club, in the West of the city. It's got a hard-nosed, physical reputation, fanned by many a successful, battling Premiership performance. After years of punching above their weight and sporadically managing UICA qualification, it seems as though the Woodsmen have come crashing down to earth, and settled into a more yo-yo pattern. Their main rivals are AFC Treason, which is considered to be the major Treason derby; they also have a strong and relatively recent hate for Morningstar, who are nearby, share Emery Lineker as their first Premiership manager, and share a general club ethos. After quirks of fixturing lead to a series of steel vs. silk clashes on final Premiership matchdays, in which Chatswood constantly played spoiler, there's also a fierce rivalry with Brinemouth. But Chatswood have always kind of had an 'us against the world' mentality. They're chippy, and you will always remember playing them; they take pride in that.

The brief was simple; stay up. After a weird and intense start where Rehan Garrett just about fired enough goals to make up for a struggling defence, a long winless streak coincided with his goalless run. Late on, though, they showed the guts to pull away.

Garrett fired the goals to keep the Axes up, but Luitgard, tragically, couldn’t keep up. So they’ve boldly splashed out and brought Ivana Henderson, an unexceptional but reliable goalscorer by the standards of the upper echelons; at this stage, the tall, athletic striker is exactly what Fletcher needs. Yulia Heidt offers craft down the right, as well as a degree. Nova Williams is an internationally proven goalkeeper, in place of the regrettably… vintage Aleksovic. Three clear weak points last season patched over with three relatively proven names.

The expected sharpness at the back didn’t quite stand up to this level, but Chatswood were strong, resilient and determined. They were expertly drilled in set pieces, and brutally direct in finding Garrett, particularly from their quick, incisive wingers. They’ll not go down easily.

Garrett got the plaudits, but it was Andrea Prentice helping supply the bullets. Chatswood were able to stand up technically far better than they were given credit, and it was Prentice’s calm in the centre of the park that was responsible. It was her first season in the Premiership, but the tall midfielder never seemed to run out of time on the ball, never seemed hurried, just picked her time and place with precision.

Kolinda Bischoff was an injury-enforced throw of the dice last season, but she worked out. She’s the kind of player everyone hates to play against, a nasty, bitty anchor woman who fouls relentlessly and tactically without ever quite doing enough to risk a red card. Plenty of that sort of player in the league, to be sure - few who are 22 with plenty of room to grow.

Some expected Darius Rashkin to struggle with the step up, but the dignified veteran brought much needed calm to a sometimes frantic back line. He was dropped a couple of times last season for his lack of pace, but it never worked out. The brash winger Caulker was close to leaving the club after their promotion; Axes fans will thank God he didn’t. The standard kind of winger with chalk on his boots, a lot of pace, a forceful left peg and no right to speak of. Rehan Garrett proved arguably the bargain of the window for sheer goal output, but he’s no poacher; he’s a true complete forward, who should play wonderfully off the more balanced Henderson.

That was the hard part. They’ve sharpened usefully in the window, and shown the grit to survive at this level. They can, and ought, do it again.

Manager: Leigh Fletcher
Goalkeepers: 1 - Serdjan Aleksovic (COS), 12 - Nova Williams (CMT), 25 - Gerik Knasmuller
Defenders: 2 - Yulia Heidt (COS), 3 - Bohemund Karling, 5 - Darius Rashkin (c), 6 - Crispin Galloway, 19 - Raquel Woods, 20 - Chris Bishop (SCT), 22 - Dominik Antosch, 23 - Machalat Sauber
Midfielders: 4 - Ella Grear (SCT), 8 - Damocles Kouroglou, 11 - Reis Caulker, 13 - Severa Conleth, 15 - Kolinda Bischoff, 16 - Fiete Tannhaeuser, 21 - Andrea Prentice, 32 - Gedeon Volz
Forwards: 9 - Konstanze Luitgard, 10 - Ivana Henderson, 14 - Christian Guilder, 17 - Rehan Garrett (ETN), 37 - Labinot Ruscoe


League Finish: 15th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Keel (35,000)
Nickname: the Harriers, the Reds
Captain: Diogenes Kutris
Top Scorers: Crowther (12), Whittaker (11), Marconi (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 20 - Sheffield (34); 16 - Dalton (32), 19 - Carroll (28), 19 - Dmitriev (30), 3 - Rouphos (26); 10 - Stensholt (28), 12 - Kutris (34, c); 7 - Rivers (27), 11 - Marconi (28), 13 - Kou (25); 9 - Whittaker (26)
In: Sigrun Rivers (Crisisbless United, 4m), Corsica Greene (Roschester Pride, 1.25m)
Promoted: Alfonse Cameron (GK, 20), Theresa Croll (CAM, 19)
Out: Brae Crowther (Port Sebastian, 8m), Rovena Stride (AFC Treason, 6m), Katja Christensen (Liju, 3.5m), Bonifacio Sanna (Dynapolis United, 2m), Leonard Patterson (released)

First Division title (64)

73: Premier - 15th - 57 pts
72: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
71: Premier - 9th - 72 pts
70: Premier - 8th - 76 pts
69: Premier - 8th - 75 pts

Notable Products: Hadrian Belfast, Tanya Bottlegreen, Angela Braugher, Victoria Carroll, Patricia Martyn, Hesterine Mercator, Klaus Murdoch, Nike Rouphos, Gerhard Thunder, Gareth Westmead
Club Heroes: Steven Rexmont, Markus Sheffield, Raphael Somner
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
Based in northwest Chenoworth and with strong Hellenic roots, the Harriers are one of the two real giants of a city that has never really looked able to fit any more. A notorious yo-yo club in the early days of the modern era, the Harriers can 'boast' four relegations - three coming between cycles 55 and 60 alone. In more recent times, though, cautious and targeted spending has ensured they can not only stay afloat in the top flight, but have at times approached the UICA places. Unsurprisingly, they count the Rovers as their only serious rivals, and tend to be the more technical and cerebral of the two sides - though Rovers fans tend to prefer 'flimsy'. For all their mixed results, though, the Harriers undoubtedly have a far stronger pedigree in youth development.

It’s been a long time now since the Harriers managed to do better than their last finish. Last season was… rough. They were safe enough by the end, and, okay, for a long time in their history, 15th in the Premiership would’ve suited the Harriers just fine. Now, not so much. By the halfway mark they were level on points with the relegation playoff place, and that wasn’t acceptable.

A window that fell just short of disastrous. Having axed Sedder, the board desperately chased for replacements, big names like Sillian Parker or up-and-comers like Gareth Penrooke, and got rejected by pretty much everyone. Oh, and their best player, Crowther, agitated for and got a move to the second coming of the SPL. And their best talent, Stride, was poached by Treason. Christensen and Sanna were good players, too, though at least their departures were planned. Rivers comes in from Crisisbless United, a proven and consistent threat at this level, but Crowther has won a World Cup; Rivers is uncapped for Nephara. Greene is a left-field option, an impetuous fullback plucked from the obscurity of Ceynes.

Snowy Brennan has plenty of Premiership experience… just, not as a manager. The former journeywoman goalkeeper has been promoted from the reserves. She cuts a pretty unmistakable figure on the touchline, her albinism making her a pretty clear mark. Tactically, she appears to favour a counter-attacking approach tailored around making better use of the Harriers’ blistering pace, and with an uncompromising physicality reminiscent of their cousins in white and blue.

Nike Rouphos was the shining light of last season - she, too, was linked with a massive move to Treason, and indications were that she wanted it before having her head turned by a fat contract at home. No pushover defensively, but her best work comes driving forward and inside, using her lightning pace and strong instincts to good effect. A poor run of form for the Harriers coincided with her injury, and the one-trick nature of Kou was shown up without Rouphos’ support.

Keep an eye out for Nikita Charisteas to make her mark this year. The 21-year old has the composure in possession that the team badly needed last season, and can be deployed either deeper, where her patience in possession can calm down a side, or up front, where her powerful (if wayward) shooting can be better used. Not the finished product, but she could be gently eased into the picture.

Valery Dmitriev has a wealth of experience to draw on, and while he rarely does anything exceptional, rarer still does he put a foot wrong - the type of centre-half you’re reassured by. Catheline Stensholt is the beating heart of the team, always running, always chasing, always quick to try her arm with a shot on goal. At 26, the arrogant striker Tom Whittaker seriously needs to turn it on this season. His talent is obvious, and a one-in-four goal return is absolutely not enough from the team’s spearhead.

They’re weaker this season than last, but they have more than enough quality to stay out of the relegation picture.

Manager: Snowy Brennan
Goalkeepers: 1 - Alphonse Cameron, 20 - Markus Sheffield (SLL), 25 - Theold Bracewell
Defenders: 2 - Corsica Greene (CYI), 3 - Nike Rouphos, 5 - Victoria Carroll, 6 - Matthew Braylock, 16 - Lionel Dalton (KOR), 18 - Gwen Kite, 19 - Valery Dmitriev (AUD), 31 - Orithyia Demetriou
Midfielders: 7 - Sigrun Rivers, 8 - Bonifacio Sanna (OSR), 10 - Catheline Stensholt, 11 - Jakob Shearer, 12 - Diogenes Kutris (c), 13 - Charybdis Kou, 15 - Darius Nagant, 21 - Nikita Charisteas, 23 - Soren Coleman, 31 - Theresa Croll
Forwards: 9 - Tom Whittaker (EUR), 17 - Sagittarius Wright, 22 - Sequel Bathanay


League Finish: 18th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Slatefield (32,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Captain: Markus Capradossi
Top Scorers: Murray (14), Patton (11), Paterson (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Chaeffer (27); 2 - Skalak (29), 21 - Rathskeller (32), 6 - Capradossi (27, c), 22 - Laslow (27); 11 - Meisler (27), 8 - Horvath (21), 10 - Paterson (29), 12 - Rowell (25); 9 - Patton (26), 17 - Murray (26)
In: Belaskita Skalak (Stahlburg Rovers, 2.5m), Sigrun Rathskeller (FC Kaldukosic, 2m), June Hartley (Gonen's Bridge, 1.5m)
Promoted: Riza Counsell (CM, 19), Anselm Koerner (RM, 18), Andrea Vithoulkas (ST, 19)
Out: Mortola Teffeteller (Crisisbless, 8m), Luella Svenskah (Wrexton FC, free), Camilla Arkwright (Locksley, free), Julia Thane (ADP, free), Lexi Farrakhan (Raynor City FC, free)
Retired: Florencio Lozada (CM, 36, AUD)

First Division title (53)

73: Premier - 18th - 50 pts
72: Premier - 13th - 66 pts
71: 1Div - 2nd - 91 pts - Promoted
70: 1Div - 7th - 76 pts
69: 1Div - 15th - 58 pts

Notable Products: Rashica Horvath, Jakob Mortimer, Malachi Steinberg
Club Heroes: Karena Hartley, Catherine Parr
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
The Rovers are Chenoworth's big eastern club, and have probably the strongest Jewish association of any major side in Nephara. Like their main rivals, the Harriers, they've tended to flit between the top two tiers over the years. Their fans would contest that's the only similarity. The Rovers were the first club managed by Gethin Ramsey, who also played for them as a hard-bitten defensive midfielder, and it was with the Rovers that Ramsey pioneered the hard-hitting, quick-moving counter-attacking football that would become the early incarnation of the Cormorants. While essentially the tradition of one guy, Ramsey's legacy is such that the Rovers have associated themselves with such play ever since. Despite Chenoworth's reputation as a milquetoast middle-class city, the Rovers and Harriers truly hate one another.

Twenty-seven games into the season, the Rovers had 44 points to their name. Fresh off a 5-0 demolition of North Laithland, they were pushing into the UICA places. Then they racked up the longest winless run in the competition’s history, failing to win again all season.

Mortola Teffeteller was snapped up by Crisisbless, leaving a tidy profit but a big gap in defence. Fortunately, former Nephara international Sigrun Rathskeller has been drafted in from a career chiefly spent in Cosumar, and boasts plenty of experience. Particularly in the sort of relegation dogfight the Rovers hope to avoid. Skalak has been brought in, one of the better players from the other Rovers, and June Hartley, who boasts a smattering of Premiership experience with Leichhardt, adds depth as a holding midfielder. Florencio Lozada, a very important player for the Rovers over the past few years, hangs up the boots.

Physically uncompromising, the Rovers will give anyone in the league a fight. Fast, strong and athletic, they aren’t the most technical outfit, but they don’t need to be. Catheline Harper, former captain of Nephara, can be relied upon to get her charges pumped and motivated.

Misha Paterson was a crucial player in the Rovers' promotion, and proved to be even more crucial in their survival. A late-blooming midfielder, 5'2", stocky and unimpressive physically, Paterson quickly established herself as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the league. She runs hard, never stopping, snaps into challenges and presses high. On the ball, she likes to take players on, and isn't so much one for the long Hollywood passes - preferring to make short, incisive passes, often splitting defences in half to set up the strikers.

With Luella Svenskah’s release - to the fourth high-class league of her career - Rashica Horvath will need to step up. But that’ll suit her just fine. The Rovers’ academy has been almost comically unprolific compared to that of their cousins, the Harriers. They have never produced a full Nephara international. Horvath will aim to change that. A burly holding midfielder who sharply and cynically ends attacks before they start, Horvath is the captain of the revived Nephara U21s. For good reason.

Markus Capradossi is probably the standout technician of the team, and he’s, well, their best centre-half. But he never plays his way into trouble, knows when to just hoof it out, and is just as reliable as, well, a defender. Sturdy little Misha Paterson is a reliable bellwether in midfield who keeps things ticking over, running hard and passing quickly and precisely. The Rovers don’t carve out too many chances, and Nya Murray sometimes seemed almost to get in Patton’s way with a sharply reduced goal tally. But her quality is undeniable. They’ll need her firing like she’s capable of.

Not too good to go down, but their spine is rock-solid. The future looks bright if they can weather the loss of Teffeteller.

Manager: Catheline Harper
Goalkeepers: 1 - Janneke Chaeffer, 20 - Anders Rowett, 25 - Friedrich Church
Defenders: 2 - Belaskita Skalak, 3 - Klavier Fitzgerald, 6 - Markus Capradossi (ETN, c), 13 - Ender Fife (APX), 18 - Radamel Curtis, 19 - Yeri Ibex (CMT), 21 - Sigrun Rathskeller, 22 - Karla Laslow
Midfielders: 4 - June Hartley, 8 - Rashica Horvath, 10 - Misha Paterson, 11 - Grey Meisler, 12 - Cassandra Rowell (SCT), 16 - Jasper Dyer, 35 - Riza Counsell, 37 - Anselm Koerner
Forwards: 9 - Sabrina Patton (CBP), 15 - Yannick Rodgers, 17 - Nya Murray (EFL), 23 - Erika Constance, 30 - Andrea Vithoulkas


League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Aviary (30,000)
Nickname: the Hawks
Captain: Athanasios Nikolaidis
Top Scorers: Stavanger (21), Skapetis (12), Amokachi (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Lockwood (30); 2 - Hamilton (29), 18 - Koller (29), 20 - Constantini (35, c), 3 - Burns (22); 7 - Skapetis (26), 8 - Kasmiir (23), 4 - Bezemer (29), 16 - Caracole (20); 9 - Norval (30), 15 - Stavanger (31)
In: Fiona Norval (Corvette Maulers, 3m), Michael Koller (Leichhardt, 3m), Otalia Kasmiir (Gryst Brewers, 3m),
Promoted: Eloisa Caldwell (ST, 19), Raluca Garamond (GK, 18), Sigrid Marner (LB, 19), Andressa Stand (CM, 20)
Out: Ivana Henderson (Chatswood, 3.5m), Lithe Bronwyne (Vermillion Wanderers, 1.75m), Constance Best (Bishop, 1.75m), Thorsten Croft (RLSK Pawlograd, free), Mariam Brookhouse (Pillars of Southfell, free), Beatrice Stubbs (Kirk Preston United, free)
Retired: Penumbra Amokachi (ST, 37)

First Division title (56)

73: Premier - 7th - 75 pts - GC
72: Premier - 6th - 80 pts - GC
71: Premier - 13th - 66 pts
70: Premier - 12th - 65 pts
69: Premier - 12th - 61 pts

Notable Products: Trifon Draxler, Gerry Duffy, Isidra Jeurissen, Harald Matheson, Atalanta Skapetis, Vedran Tarashaj
Club Heroes: Gabriella Antonio, Cormak Lethbridge, Alyssa Montague, Eudoxia Tzavaras
One-Club Men: Alex Beckett
Premiership Debut: 49
Originally the Valkyrja Hawks, back when the Nepharim league included foreign sides from the Serenes region it used to be a part of, the Hawks eventually moved to the northeastern town of Coret to stay relevant. Historically, they've tended to be something of a yo-yo side, but in more recent times they've been a fixture of the top half, though struggling to break that UICA glass ceiling to such an extent it seemed at times there must be a curse. They have a substantial following abroad in Chromatika thanks to the signings of Alyss Montague and Gabriella Antonio, which they have tapped into with tours and targeted marketing; the latter, arguably their greatest ever player, retired at 28 to start a family. Under new management of late, Coret finally broke into the top six and now appear intent on staying there, at least for a time. Coret Rovers, the less flashy incumbents in the city, see the Hawks as upstarts, while Newrook City are their most prominent regional rivals.

The Hawks spent pretty much the entire season nestled in the Globe Cup places, punching just slightly above their weight.

They didn’t push the boat out like last time. Really, the money wasn’t there. They’re past the Ivana Henderson phase of their existence, but struggled mightily to find a replacement. Fiona Norval - the new generation’s Maxine Lynwood, the ultimate in Reliable Journeywoman Premiership Striker - eventually rocked up from the Maulers. A fine player... but one who is arguably worse than Henderson, and certainly offers less all-round threat and athleticism. That transparent desperation signing aside, they’ve brought in big, bald, bad Michael Koller to sharpen things up at the back - okay, he too was from a 1Div side, but he’s long deserved another shot at the big time - and ambitious satyr Kasmiir rounds it out to bulk up the midfield. Bronwyne and Best are sold on, surplus to requirements. The headline, though, must surely be the retirement of Penumbra Amokachi, legendary striker for the national team. Maybe she wasn’t quite the world-beater that she thought she was, but for stretches, for flashes, at her peak, she was unmatched in world football. She forced her breakthrough in one of the most competitive Brinemouth teams in memory. She hauled Nephara to the World Cup, Eastweald to breaking their duck. Ma Alameome to, well, continuing to score fucktons of goals. And Coret to relevance. She will be missed.

The key for the Hawks remains old age and treachery, under the rehabilitated figure of Nick Feeney. They boast pace down the flanks and solidity (and, well, mass) down the spine. The squad is a little fresher, just crucially - they were almost comically vulnerable to pace last time around. Now, though? There’s plenty of technical teams, plenty of teams with pace, plenty who can bully their opponents into submission. Through a slightly uneven squad, the Hawks have elements of all of these. But especially bullying.

Not all prodigal sons come back and set the league on fire. Dragan Stavanger has done exactly that, returning from Valladares to take the league in a headlock and scrape his knuckles against its scalp. A tall tower of a striker, he held up the ball effortlessly with his back to goal and lashed in goals head-on, near unmatched in the air and with thunderous power in his feet. Okay, he’s slow. Whatever. Who cares? Does it matter? Maybe a little. Still, Norval couldn’t hope for much better a strike partner.

There are immense hopes on Rasmus Caracole’s slender shoulders. The young winger is expected to wrest the mantle away from Naeher sooner rather than later, but is in a similar kind of mould. The platonic left midfielder probably looks something like him; blond, rangy, lightning-fast, with beautiful crossing ability and chalk dust on his studs. He’s like Naeher except he can actually shoot.

Ambrosio Constantini must break you. Atalanta Skapetis is a swaggering, almost flamboyant winger, but there’s plenty of steel to back up that silk - she’s easy on the eye but always finds an incisive route to goal, no matter how many players are in her way. Juliet Bezemer is a quiet achiever who just… gets things done, takes the ball and recycles possession, though she has the ambition to occasionally pull off something greater. Mostly, though, she just never slips up.

They’re still within striking distance of their aim, but without landing key targets - or, at least, ideal versions of those key targets - they’re more in the dark horse category.

Manager: Nick Feeney (EUR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Reinhard Lockwood, 12 - Malta Stark, 30 - Raluca Garamond
Defenders: 2 - Mei Hamilton (COS), 3 - Lemuel Burns (AQL), 5 - Dario Pavlovic (PAS), 6 - Gerome Pollard, 14 - Florin Silversmith, 18 - Michael Koller (SCT), 20 - Ambrosio Constantini (MBT), 34 - Sigrid Marner
Midfielders: 4 - Juliet Bezemer, 7 - Atalanta Skapetis, 8 - Otalia Kasmiir (MRN), 10 - Athanasios Nikolaidis (c), 11 - Leila Crowford, 13 - Raquel Naeher, 14 - Andressa Stand, 16 - Rasmus Caracole
Forwards: 9 - Ivana Henderson, 15 - Dragan Stavanger, 17 - Sigmund Ambrose, 22 - Kasmeer Jewell, 31 - Eloisa Caldwell


League Finish: 8th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Phoenix Rise (28,000)
Nickname: the Crows
Captain: Krista Morham
Top Scorers: Kvanderwyk (16), Morham (12), Afolayan (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Vilna (23); 17 - Wynder (24), 5 - Heston (29), 4 - Brosch (24), 36 - Almwood (19); 13 - Yonen (27), 6 - Lekea (26), 11 - Morham (28, c); 15 - Ulreich (24), 21 - Warrington (26), 10 - Beretti (29)
In: Babatunde Warrington (Jraxville FC, 9m), Malia Yonen (Cranequin Wanderers, 4m), Clarisse Ulreich (AFC Treason, 4m), Goodlight Wynder (AC Holmenkollen, 2.5m), Bryson Vilna (returned from loan)
Out: Erica Manson (Belgrave, 800k), Robby Stanford (Nakurusu Red Jewels, free), Silvester Streeton (FC Kaiserhaven, free), Rain Delacruz (Aminey, free)
Retired: Seth Veloz (GK, 38, AUD)

73: Premier - 8th - 71 pts
72: Premier - 11th - 69 pts
71: Premier - 14th - 62 pts
70: Premier - 15th - 58 pts
69: 1Div - 2nd - 89 pts - Promoted

Notable Products: Ilyana Brosch
Club Heroes: Chibuzo Afolayan, Krista Morham
Premiership Debut: 70
The most controversial and, yes, hated club in Nephara. Corvistone is the new planned capital of Nephara, projected to step into that role in a couple of years, and AFC Corvistone was made explicitly to be a club worthy of the capital. But the capital isn't fully formed and the club, which struggles to even half-fill its fantastic stadium, faces constant pressure for buying success and in all fairness it has never shied away from that, splurging money freely to drag themselves to the top flight. Their fans relish the hate, though, and the club makes the most of its siege mentality.

Corvistone’s defence was the leakiest in the top half; indeed, they conceded the same number of goals (70) as 21st-placed Cypher. But they also scored forty more goals than Cypher. Still, it couldn’t quite take them to UICA.

Their work was… extensive, after a slow start held up by a suicidal bid for Cathal Turner, then another bid for Brancaleone Arcuri aborted by paperwork discrepancies. They might just have failed upwards, though, with Babatunde Warrington, the Cobre striker. In his own words? “Scoring goals is the purpose of the Babatunde.” So like a slightly worse Desya Kuznetsov, one might hope. Certainly in preseason he’s allayed any concerns about making the step up to Premiership grade. Yonen adds some power and guile to midfield, while canny winger Ulreich is a last-minute pickup from the Stags, and reportedly didn’t want to leave. Goodlight Wynder brings her inferiority complex to rightback, chances are finally unseating club stalwart Katenza Muhren, and Bryson Vilna returns from a successful loan stint expecting to challenge Maria Kovacic, coming off a shaky season, for the gloves. Their backup right winger is picked up by Belgrave to become their backup right winger, and veteran goalkeeper Seth Veloz calls it a day at 38, immediately becoming goalkeeping coach.

The Crows didn’t leak goals because they were poor defensively - they just had a very high-pressing, assertive style that left them exposed at the back. One might say that’s the same as being bad in defence. Still, what was undeniable was that they were brilliant to watch at their best, and now with the side having been freshened up in the window, there’s expected to be more emphasis on pace than technique at their spearhead this time around.

Ilyana Brosch had opportunities to leave in the window, but had no interest in leaving Belfast’s tutelage. Maybe the former Nephara captain saw a little of his own days at Dwile Warriors in Brosch - the athletic, uncompromising defender tasked with cleaning up the busy work of an attacking team. But it’s probably fair to say that while Brosch may not be the best defender in the world, as Belfast was at his peak, she offers somewhat more craft on the ball than her mentor ever aspired to.

Definitely keep an eye out for Lucy Almwood. Leftback has traditionally been a problem position for Corvistone, but in a way the last few attempts have been intentional stopgaps - within the club there has always been a confidence that the Oakstone-born, Corvistone-reared asylum seeker would step up and make herself known. While her pace is unmatched, she’s just lacking that little bit of end product, and her crosses too often get cleared at the first man, but Belfast’s gently encouraged her more cynical defensive aspects. Not someone you want to go up against.

It’s unclear who of Vilna or Kovacic will take the gloves even come the first matchday, but the Crows have probably the tightest goalkeeping competition of any side in the competition, with even third-choice Bailey Coleman impressing over a couple of chances last season. Krista Morham is a genuine club legend, by far the most beloved in the fans’ eyes. Okay, some people - especially back home in Schottia - consider her a mercenary, but what a mercenary, with pace, brains and lethal incision at her disposal. Charmine Beretti isn’t the flashiest player, but made the step up from A-League to Premiership look smooth as butter, and has just quietly achieved week-in and week-out since her arrival.

Regrettably, they do look good enough to realise their UICA ambitions.

Manager: Hadrian Belfast
Goalkeepers: 1 - Bryson Vilna (EFL), 12 - Maria Kovacic (SLL), 25 - Bailey Coleman
Defenders: 2 - Katenza Muhren, 3 - Medea Tsicaderis, 4 - Ilyana Brosch, 5 - Calcipher Heston, 17 - Goodlight Wynder (COS), 22 - Olexander Green, 32 - Dejanira Trifunovic, 36 - Lucy Almwood (EUR)
Midfielders: 6 - Indartsu Lekea (ASG), 8 - Corinne Eriksen (APX), 11 - Krista Morham (SCT, c), 13 - Malia Yonen (MRN), 20 - Bryce Leicester, 23 - Ivan Pangallo (AUD)
Forwards: 7 - Chibuzo Afolayan (BNJ), 9 - Kathryn Kvanderwyk (COS), 10 - Charmine Beretti (EFL), 14 - Cass Rayle, 15 - Clarisse Ulreich, 21 - Babatunde Warrington (CBR), 33 - Sonya Latimore


League Finish: 2nd (First Division)
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Claringstone (26,000)
Nickname: the Terracotta Army
Captain: Ninian Lechleiter
Top Scorers: Gemmill (19), Kolar (11), Skiff, Rosmalen (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Ledo (30); 2 - Rashica (24), 5 - Satotxe (28), 6 - Kreis (31), 3 - Strasbourg (22); 13 - Gyenis (29), 18 - Lechleiter (29, c), 8 - Skiff (29); 7 - Addison (33); 23 - Gemmill (30), 16 - Gryspos (29)
In: Hakan Gryspos (Damogran FC, 2.5m), Lizzy Addison (Kings Park, 1.5m), Adonis Satotxe (FC Kaldukosic, 1m)
Out: Delta Amberstone (Hackett, free), Oleg Biscan (Gryst Brewers, free)
Retired: Leofric Woadswell (ST, 35)

73: 1Div - 2nd - 90 pts - Promoted
72: 1Div - 5th - 82 pts
71: 1Div - 15th - 55 pts
70: 2Div - 1st - 84 pts - Promoted
69: 2Div - 7th - 72 pts

Notable Products: Diedrich Frostmarris, Louise Merson, Lara Silverstein, Apostolos Tsattalios
Club Heroes: Reinhard Buchanan
Premiership Debut: 53
Cranequin is the smallest of the state capitals, and 'lucky club' City is dwarfed by the Wanderers. Still, they've managed to compete with their rivals over the past few years, and a remarkable string of seasons under Edmund Agincourt saw an unlikely series of survivals with a side that just seemed to get worse and worse on paper but always found a way to cling to survival, until they suddenly didn't. They've dipped wildly between first and third tiers over the years, but the narrative of successful underdogs has stuck. Terracotta is considered the luckiest colour in Nephara, and that's said to have rubbed off on them.

Surprising everyone, the Terracotta Army entrenched themselves in the title race and stayed there through sheer stubbornness, force of will and defensive steel.

Fairly understated. On paper it’s difficult to avoid the sense this is the weakest side in the league, but Keel spoke strongly about not wanting to spend for its own sake. Gryspos is a lethal striker with prenatural finishing, exactly the kind of poacher they need, but no pushover physically either. Addison isn’t over the hill - okay, maybe a little over the hill - but she was a seriously good player in her day and age has only heightened her guile. She won’t need to run when the ball is round. Adonis Satotxe is huge. Two-club stalwart Leofric Woadswell calls it a day at the right time, a second-tier striker at his best. This would have been a year too far.

City are an… old side. Discounting the fullbacks, they don’t have a single player below 28 expected to start regularly, and key midfield backups like Sembrant and Rosmalen are in their mid-30s. They’re slow-paced, muscular and cunning, and stay compact to avoid getting slashed open on the break. They could have gone harder in the window, sure, but Dan Keel knows this squad, and with clever rotation and tcactical switches he expects to keep their heads above water.

Stefan Ledo’s shot at the top flight has been long overdue. The Abaja international has long been among the second-tier’s most reliable goalkeepers, never putting a step wrong. Perhaps it’s that lack of flashy acrobatics that kept him there, or his indifferent distribution, but he does what he needs to. Especially what City need him to. He’s going to get tested early and often throughout the season, and not having some clown who will try and overthink things is going to be their salvation.

Time to cheat. This is not a side that is exactly big on young talent, but look for the fullbacks, the babies of the team at 24 and 22, to shine in their first Premiership seasons. Each bears the burden of carrying the side’s attacking width, as well as providing the pace; Rashica’s crosses are lethal, while Strasbourg is defensively resolute beyond her years. They’re widely anticipated to make the step up seamlessly - and should City go straight back down, they won’t be hanging around long.

Heinz Kreis is another who has taken his damn time to get to this level, but the towering centre-half should be right at home at this level. He has absolutely no pace, but is still rarely caught out of position, and is indomitable in the air. Harriet Skiff is a player who really needed to leave the nest in Chenoworth to come into her own - her pace and precision passing is the team’s glue, and she’ll do more than her fair share of defensive yards. Kirsten Gemmill does have experience at this level, sort of - she experienced the SPL at its peak, and thrived there. She, like Grypsos, will need to convert every half-chance she gets if City are to survive, though she relies more on clever anticipation than brute strength.

It would be great if Cranequin City stayed up. That’d be a proper Story. But… they just have too many miles on the clock without enough experience at this level to make up for it.

Manager: Dan Keel
Goalkeepers: 1 - Stefan Ledo (ABJ), 12 - Bruno Kezman, 25 - Linoan Pinkett
Defenders: 2 - Sebastian Rashica, 3 - Monika Strasbourg, 4 - Orestis Kalyvas, 5 - Adonis Satotxe (COS), 6 - Heinz Kreis, 14 - Thucydides Soros, 17 - Ulysses Athanasakis, 19 - Bernard Heller
Midfielders: 7 - Lizzy Addison (SCT), 8 - Harriet Skiff, 11 - Niko Rosmalen, 13 - Gedeon Gyenis (PAS), 15 - Louise Tsolakis, 18 - Ninian Lechleiter (c), 20 - Jacqueline Sembrant, 21 - Bertrand Verdier (EFL)
Forwards: 9 - Athena Kagioglou, 10 - Kosta Kolar, 16 - Hakan Gryspos (SRS), 23 - Kirsten Gemmill, 36 - Karolin Forde
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Postby Nephara » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:29 pm


League Finish: Champions (First Division)
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: Gardengate (26,000)
Nickname: the Oathmen
Captain: Georgia Rodrigues
Top Scorers: Trabelsi (21), Barbarouses (12), Corvell, Conway (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 20 - Senninger (23); 2 - Wright, 19 - Rodrigues (31, c), 4 - Brehanu (35), 3 - Orient (29); 7 - Conway (25), 21 - Barbarouses (25), 6 - Keskin (26), 23 - Conrad (26); 16 - Taani (32), 13 - Trabelsi (28)
In: Retta Conrad (Belgrave, 4m), Fasolt Senninger (AFC Treason, 3m), Portia Taani (Cranequin Wanderers, 2.5m), Abate Brehanu (Herzegovina City FC, free)
Promoted: Richter Moranis (CM, 19)
Out: Irene Vintner (Leichhardt, 1.75m), Menelaus Theoharous (Brham United, 1.5m), Eupraxia Teuton (Bara Waves, free), Micaiah Cohen (Chardonnay Rangers, free)

First Division title (73)

73: 1Div - 1st - 92 pts - Promoted
72: Premier - 22nd - 40 pts - Relegated
71: Premier - 15th - 61 pts
70: Premier - 17th - 50 pts
69: Premier - 16th - 54 pts

Notable Products: Corvid Alemane, Tara Dante, Anthoulis Matraxis, Abigail Mueller, Dragan Stavanger
Club Heroes: Karena Bittner, Stefan Herron, Georgia Rodrigues
One-Club Men: Byron Caldwick
Premiership Debut: 62
Creed is a small city in the far northwest of Nephara, and it has a similar kind of dry, rough-edged character to the rest of Crownsend. United are its only club of prominence, and have only really recently managed to crack the top tier thanks to a golden generation, staying there for a shade under nine years and at one point managing to get into the knockout rounds of the Globe Cup. The hope was that they'd 'pull a Starling' - the reality was that selling their best players for huge fees and having a questionable record of reinvestment meant they eventually reverted to the mean. Still, like many of Nephara's lesser cities, Creed is growing in size and prominence, and being their single relevant club has significant benefits for the Oathmen - a nickname that stems from a legendary regiment of halberdiers that made a name for themselves during the Wars of the Long Marches, and the oath each swore to fight to the last.

Gritty, gutsy, resilient. Fourteen draws tell the story of a team that may have struggled to put teams away, and needed a few more goals in them, but they battled their way to the top with a game to spare.

Diandra Ballard was never going to rest on her laurels. Survival in the Premiership is a serious undertaking, both in planning and finance. They've spent accordingly - the excellence of breakout Chromatik winger Conrad adds bite, Taani adds an imposing, experienced presence up front, veteran defender Brehanu shores up the back line. All three have international experience, and the fourth might follow. Senninger decided, understandably, starting here beat Treason’s bench, the same decision Ballard herself made a couple decades ago. The useful defensive midfielder Irene Vintner was too good to be stuck behind Keskin, but the issue is now that Keskin's injury or suspension would be disastrous; Vintner still got 13 starts last season. Similarly, Theoharous is a useful player at this level, but was no match for Conrad.

Diandra Ballard, legendary goalkeeper on these shores, sets up her team in a nice, solid, straightforward 4-4-2. An experienced, if … vintage, back four, supported by a quick, nippy, tricksy midfield, and a physical front line set to eat up crosses. The Oathmen were especially well-drilled threats at set pieces through the season. They might be a little vulnerable to pace, but the fundamentals are stamped down.

Georgia Rodrigues is the captain for a reason. A cultured, intelligent defender with plenty of international experience to boast, Rodrigues is an even six foot and no pushover. Pace is her one weakness, and the geriatric Brehanu will hardly help much to cover her in that regard, but assuming the Oathmen keep a conservative line to protect them, Creed can lean on their commanding, imposing defensive presence to shield them.

Too much hope was thrust on Delphi Barbarouses’ slender shoulders, too soon. She cut a callow and inadequate figure as Creed were relegated. Ballard, however, kept the faith in the deft little playmaker. She returns to the Premiership as reigning Player of the Season, the surging creative thrust of the team, its heart and soul. Does this by now compensate for her lack of physicality? We shall see.

Spahi Keskin offers more than enough physicality alongside Barbarouses, however. Just 5’7”, but broad-shouldered and muscular, and exceptionally dirty. Efficient. Conway is another who did not quite flare to life in the top flight, but at 25, has time on his side to prove he can offer the necessary incision at this level. Anis Trabelsi is a very typically Audioslavian little poacher, someone who forces his way into the right positions and stabs out a foot at the right moments, a nightmare to mark with National League experience on his side.

Injuries could cripple Creed, pace could be their undoing. But they do not look like a promoted side, right now. Certainly, they do not look like a relegated one.

Manager: Diandra Ballard
Goalkeepers: 1 - Byron Caldwick, 20 - Fasolt Senninger, 30 - Sarah Bentine
Defenders: 2 - Agamemnon Wright, 3 - Rudolph Orient (APX), 4 - Abate Brehanu (BNJ), 5 - Mircea Boleyn, 17 - Morgana Kolaj, 18 - Alisander Seip, 19 - Georgia Rodrigues (SLL), 22 - August Longstreet
Midfielders: 6 - Spahi Keskin, 7 - Joel Conway (EOT), 11 - Petrarch Karaiskakis, 12 - Sander Riven, 15 - Sophia Beckner, 21 - Delphi Barbarouses, 23 - Retta Conrad (CMT), 31 - Richter Moranis
Forwards: 9 - Dejan Corvell, 10 - Justina Donau, 13 - Anis Trabelsi (AUD), 16 - Portia Taani (MRN), 25 - Eva Lincoln


League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Godswatch (63,000)
Nickname: the Heelers
Captain: Sieglinde Lohengrin
Top Scorers: Woakes (18), Ruhl (16), Coppinger (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Na’Kefir (30); 2 - Longship (24), 13 - Teffeteller (24), 4 - Bajnok (28), 3 - Lohengrin (31, c); 15 - Abylon (25), 6 - Bronte (31); 7 - Quintero (26), 8 - Woakes (23), 10 - Staunton (26); 14 - Ruhl (30)
In: Cassiopeia Quintero (Dwile Warriors, 20m), Maia Abylon (Olask Islanders, 15m), Mortola Teffeteller (Crisisbless, 8m)
Promoted: Marcela Ward (CM, 19)
Out: Johanna Sutton (Lajuno, 5m), Birgit Snowe (Neahri Angels, 5m), Osmosis Gandhi (Willox Street Pirates, 4m)
Retired: Ror Jevdjevic-Hadsic (AM, 35, FFD)

2 Premiership titles (59, 71)
3 NFA Cups (47, 61, 64)
Cup Winners’ Cup (62)
Ramsey Shield (72)
Gang of Six member

73: Premier - 6th - 82 pts - GC
72: Premier - 9th - 71 pts
71: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CC
70: Premier - 2nd - 92 pts - CC
69: Premier - 6th - 77 pts - GC

Notable Products: Daniel Cromwell, Gerhard Hartmuth, Sieglinde Lohengrin, Sabrine Portsgate, Camilla Priest, Brigid Kestrel, Lukas Rashford, Marisha Staunton, Methuselah Tregajorran, Amelia Warner
Club Heroes: Anders Engstroem, Fabricio Gallardo, Ror Jevjdevic-Hadsic, Osric Keast, Erick Khan, Espen Knutsen, Pawlo Marciak, Lucia Oakwood, Leona Rafford, Luxulya St. Cleer, Isaia Urso
One-Club Men: Augustine Brandon
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
The dominant force of the towering major city of Crisisbless, and in theory one of the dominant forces within Nephara itself, but there was a time at which they were technically outperformed by little Starling just above in terms of titles. They have a reputation as bottlers, just lacking the fortitude to turn their ability into league wins; hence their name, the Heelers, nominally after the dog but more an appropriated insult at their status trailing in the wake of the biggest clubs. But they've generally been consistent, rarely falling completely out of the business end of things, and have something of a reputation as Cup specialists. They still do have plenty of silverware to their name, and their proud fans regard their club as a match for anyone in the world. Crisisbless are one of those teams that kind of wants to fight everyone in the vicinity; primarily Crisisbless United, their greatest rival in their own city, but there's a level of rivalry with nearby, upstart Starling as well.

Crisisbless were hot in the title chase right up until the final quarter. Then they managed precisely two wins, two draws and seven defeats from their last eleven games. That freefall cost them everything… but they’re still better off than last season.

Undoubtedly, the Heelers have done the most to strengthen their squad of any team in the league. Quintero is a genuinely complete winger who had nothing left to prove in Apox, and now looks to test herself where things are that crucial little bit quicker, sharper and punchier. Not so long ago that the trajectory carried players the other way. Maia Abylon slots in as instantly one of the league’s quickest players, but to focus overmuch on that undercuts her ability. She can do everything but shoot. Another Cosumarite, Teffeteller, is brought in after the finishing-school experience of Chenoworth Rovers. Sutton, Snowe and Gandhi were all very strong depth options, but costs had to be cut somewhere, and they deserved to start.

Chris Maarsden’s Heelers are defensively rock-solid and aim to dominate midfield, not shy about using their physicality to their advantage. Games against Crisisbless are rarely easy and often frustrating, with weaker sides in particular often just failing to land a glove on their opponents before being undone by one moment of brilliance, then another in quick succession. It’s a team full of moments and inspiration, but with the hard-bitten spine to grind out results regardless - Brosque’s legacy, for a once famously flaky team.

The Heelers tried to offload Sieglinde Lohengrin in the window. They reckoned they could get a younger, sharper option. Unfortunately, just about every other club in the league was looking for a leftback, and Lohengrin never found a club she could countenance going to. So they’re stuck with a 31-year old leftback… with over a hundred Nephara caps, an inspirational leader with the respect of the dressing room and the club beating through her veins, as well as a vicious cross and a genuine defensive acumen that never leaves her exposed. Poor them.

Moira Woakes has so far been everything the Heelers hoped and prayed for, a dynamic playmaker with the freedom provided by the water-carriers behind to rampage freely. She outscored anyone on the team last season, and just has that kind of edge - she does what she wants, and her desires just come off through technique backed by force of will. But every so often, there’s a little reminder through overconfidence that she isn’t quite the finished article… beat the kinks out of her game, and the result could be one of the best players ever to grace the league.

Don’t let national profiling fool you - there are few centre-halves in the world game that are Kosa Bajnok’s equal. Naturally, as a Farf, he has the ball skills of a midfielder, but he’s an uncompromising and ruthless defender who never gets caught out, with razor-sharp reactions to throw himself into the line of fire at the right moment. Maeve Bronte chops people down with a cold, clinical brutality, and as a pure defensive midfielder there’s not many better in the sport. Today’s Airik Ruhl is no longer a force of nature, and could find his place challenged by Coppinger, Laiota or even 20-year old Marinkovic. But if Maarsden can return him to his peak and truly unleash the brute inside… that could be the difference in the title race.

Fourth is perhaps a touch harsh. Crisisbless are getting back to the sharp end, but do they have the goals in them? And a serious title challenge is hardly unthinkable.

Manager: Chris Maarsden (APX)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Shjegrzh Na'Kefir (COS), 20 - Kay Szarbach, 30 - November Besand
Defenders: 2 - Valeri Longship, 3 - Sieglinde Lohengrin (c), 4 - Kósa Bajnok (FFD), 5 - Andrea Molovi (EQS), 13 - Mortola Teffeteller (COS), 16 - Bremusa Strassman, 18 - Ayn Zwayer, 22 - Henrik Parrish
Midfielders: 6 - Maeve Bronte (PCR), 7 - Cassiopeia Quintero (APX), 8 - Moira Woakes (EUR), 10 - Marisha Staunton, 11 - Allison Swan (CEN), 12 - Brigitte Coppinger, 15 - Maia Abylon (COS), 21 - Farina Luhukay, 23 - Beruka Danning, 33 - Marcela Ward
Forwards: 9 - Danica Marinkovic, 14 - Airik Ruhl (COS), 17 - Kurtis Laiota


League Finish: 17th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Chessboard (38,000)
Nickname: the Chessmen, the Chequers
Captain: Jasmine Stokes
Top Scorers: Rivers (13), Lennox (10), Antelmi (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Meixner (30); 17 - Bruun (24), 5 - Verlander (21), 19 - Stokes (30, c), 3 - Soto (27); 8 - Garner (25), 11 - Solbachen (27); 10 - Tamba (29), 13 - Antelmi (27), 23 - Moxey (29); 9 - Carter (21)
In: Drusilla Moxey (Stahlburg Rovers, 2m), Rina Lazareva (Kameria University, free), Caspar Sanders (North Sabrefell, free)
Promoted: Patrik Alphonse (CB, 20), Danica Marshall (CM, 19), Karius Mosin (RB, 18), Brielle Strebinger (ST, 19)
Out: Sigrun Rivers (Chenoworth Harriers, 4m), Praxil Law (Aries Chariots, 2.5m), Admir Casserley (Pillars of Southfell, free), Laura Naismith (Miracle FC Izaki, free), Zouheir Na'Ryibi (Zoe Eisetsu, free), Beth Pike (AC Valanari, free), Rebecca Schmidt (Sorenberg Park FC, free)

First Division title (70)

73: Premier - 17th - 55 pts
72: Premier - 17th - 51 pts
71: Premier - 20th - 45 pts
70: 1Div - 1st - 102 pts - Promoted
69: 1Div - 8th - 69 pts

Notable Products: Andrea Cawdor, Jade Irwin, Andreas Sparwasser
Club Heroes: Pablo Corderro, Rook Klinsmann, Samantha Rhinestone, Sigrun Rivers, Andreas Rourke
One-Club Men: Rebecca Strachan
Iconic Manager: Matilda Heisenberg
Premiership Debut: 48
One of Crisisbless' secondary sides, United's deliberate study of contrasts of kit compared to the Heelers' has lead to plenty of jibes. But few people have been laughing at United since they've become a Premiership fixture, in which they won a lot of friends with forthright attacking football and survived for many years against the odds. To wear the red-and-black chequers is to embrace pace, fluidity, elan.... which has given them something of a rapport with FC Samotath from distant Cosumar, a side with a similar stylistic tradition and a near-identical taste in fashion. Homegrown United goalkeeper Phoebe Etton solidified the sister relationship, spending over a decade there and becoming a two-club woman between them (spurring a taste in Nepharim goalkeepers for Samo that would later include World Champion Diandra Ballard and the less-heralded Simon Ardley). They consider the match against Crisisbless to be the 'true' Crisisbless derby, and given Goodfeather's mediocrity in more recent terms, they're probably right.

A strongish start, a weakish end. Not much to say for a club mostly just happy to never have been struggling with the drop.

Konrad Evans had been a quietly efficient manager, and it was a matter of time until something better came along. That turned out to be the Chromatika gig. The club got a hefty compensation packet, at least, and they parted amicably. Anyway, Tim Maitfield should fill his shoes well enough. Unfortunately, the window has not been kind. Was Drusilla Moxey really the best option? Decent at a couple million, but… just a little limited at this level. And they picked up a third-choice goalkeeper and a backup leftback for free. Sure. For this, they lost their own best leftback, who was apparently left rather cold by his lack of trust and picked up by a better team at a knockdown price, and their talismanic winger, Sigrun Rivers. So, definitely weaker this season compared to last.

Maitfield won the SPL with Willox Street and was rewarded for it with the sack. United are more appreciatiive of their managers, and he supposedly leapt at the straightforward objectives - just stay up and develop some talent along the way. He’s expected to dial back the attack a little compared to Evans, but will still play assertive, attacking football. Everyone runs and everyone fights to win every ball.

With Rivers gone, Lukas Antelmi becomes the team’s new creative fulcrum. He’s built like a centre-half, 6’1”, broad-shouldered and lantern-jawed, with an attractively exotic Sameban heritage that has regrettably attracted at least a couple of online death threats from idiots in the past. He’s not some fancy dan who can be knocked off the ball. He wants it, and he wants to drive down your throat with it, and then score. He’ll shoulder the burden and thrive with it.

Tanith Carter’s explosive pace and… well, her explosive pace is a serious weapon. The 21-year old showed a little more in her locker when she started to win regular starts towards the end of last season, and has evidently impressed Maitfield over his own countrywoman, Lennox (though she remains a potent and reliable option). Carter’s a pretty straightforward striker, sure, and her hold-up play is fairly negligible. But she’s got guile beyond her years, ways of finding herself in good positions, unmarked.

You wouldn’t think it would be a good year for United’s defensive players, but you’d be wrong. Reinhard Meixner is crucial to the way they play, a natural athlete who is at his best plucking crosses out of the sky, but lacks for nothing in the department of an all-round sweeping goalkeeper. Karii Bruun is no longer just an emerging defender; the satyr has emerged. Never a slouch defensively and obviously no physical pushover, her attacking play bounded forward brilliantly last season, and she’s now a genuine threat with a head of steam behind her. Bruun, Carter and Verlander might not stick around long. Tom Garner is another who has attracted some attention, a high-class enforcer who likes to gently but firmly ease his opponents off the ball, rarely picking up so much as a foul.

United … don’t look great. Maitfield is a good manager, but he’ll need to prove himself in an entirely different kind of challenge, with depleted resources.

Manager: Tim Maitfield (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Reinhard Meixner, 20 - Besart Schankelen, 25 - Rina Lazareva (HIN)
Defenders: 2 - Karii Bruun (MRN), 3 - Giovanni Soto (CEN), 5 - Cedella Verlander, 6 - Moray Banerman (SCT), 18 - Caspar Sanders, 19 - Jasmine Stokes (c), 31 - Patrik Alphonse, 34 - Karius Mosin
Midfielders: 7 - Sasha Wheaton, 8 - Tom Garner (EUR), 10 - Alanso Tamba (BNJ), 11 - Asha Solbachen, 13 - Lukas Antelmi, 14 - Olga Kitzbichler, 15 - Casimir Ronayne, 16 - Andrya Novkovic (SCT), 23 - Drusilla Moxey, 35 - Danica Marshall
Forwards: 9 - Tanith Carter, 21 - Jessica Lennox (SCT), 38 - Brielle Strebinger


League Finish: 21st
Playoff Result: 1-0 vs. South Laithland
Cup Run: Semifinals
CWC Run: Semifinals
Stadium: Velvet Meadow (28,000)
Nickname: the Eagles
Captain: Brigitte Anderton
Top Scorers: Rooke (9), McCosgraigh (7), Voeller (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Ruo (30); 2 - Tristram (26), 4 - Hertzka (31), 6 - Brind (32, c), 18 - Halfhill (27); 8 - Madine (27); 22 - Bereveskos (31), 11 - Weiss (23), 10 - McCosgraigh (28), 16 - Tripodi (29); 17 - Rooke (27)
In: Andrea Bereveskos (Sabrefell Athletic, 3m), Radek Weiss (Goodfeather FC, 2.5m), Morgan Halfhill (Ulsa Rovers, 1m), Malte Cairn (returned from loan)
Promoted: Canas Meulenstein (CB, 19), Anna Rochester (GK, 20)
Out: Cressida Voeller (Newrook City, 4.5m), Vuesala Frey (Hokuto Senateurs, free), Agate Whitespire (AFC Hosingr, free), Kari Bardiche (Usmer, free), Brendan Fallowland (Coret Rovers, free), Janna Sauthier (AFC Mayville, loan)

73: Premier - 21st - 40 pts
72: Premier - 20th - 48 pts - CWC
71: Premier - 16th - 52 pts
70: Premier - 16th - 53 pts
69: 1Div - 1st - 101 pts - Promoted

First Division title (69)
NFA Cup (72)

Notable Products: Andrea Bereveskos, Athanasios Nikolaidis, Lukas Sparr, Talisca Sorrell, Katerina Tarrasch, Jess Teagan
Club Heroes: Kurtis Muscat, Ruo Xiaolan
Premiership Debut: 55
A large town situated on the Western Marches - the traditional border between Laithland and civilisation - Cypher hosts a fairly prominent side that has traditionally flitted between the top two tiers. It has a reputation as smug and arrogant, considering itself too big for the Marches, but has traditionally had to rely on very solid, defensive football to mix it with the big boys. Cypher is mostly noted for having attracted the unrequited rivalry of a staggering number of clubs - fellow Marcher side Serpentine has the geography to think about, its fairly extravagant livery has earned it the hilarious ire of pretty much all the true Laith clubs, while Parrhesia United (northern Vermillion and much of the northern region in general) also clashes shoulders with it.

Andrea Vardalos has always held that going hard in minor tournaments galvanises her teams, but, well, does it really? The middle part of the season was brilliant; Cypher clawed their way over heralded opponents to reach the semifinals of both the Cup and CWC, and built up a substantial buffer from the relegation places. Then they lost their last nine league matches. Somehow, they broke a streak of seven straight First Division victories in the relegation playoff, Cressida Voeller’s goal making the difference.

Voeller’s reward was that Newrook City snapped her up for a pretty sum - Cypher wanted desperately to keep her, but Voeller could hardly be blamed for seeking the exit. Worse still? Teenage winger Janna Sauthier laid on Voeller’s assist on the back of a strong late run of form, Controversially, she’s been shipped off to Mayville on loan. Which begs the question; if you’re good enough that a Goldleague side wants you, surely you’re ready for the Premiership? Maybe so, and certainly she had more to offer than the dud signing of Finchcleft. But Vardalos had a bigger talent in mind. Andrea Bereveskos was somehow available for three million just because she’s a little old, and she was surprisingly eager to come back to her hometown club. All their hopes now rest on the 35-cap Nephara international and her vicious, incisive movement. Maybe not all - Radek Weiss has been a sharp, clever midfield operative the tier below for some time, while Halfhill showed he could do a job at Goldleague level and has some Premiership experience. Cairn did not have the greatest time slumming it in the third tier with Extreme Hills, but was arguably their best player, and has earned another shot at this level.

Vardalos is surely along the best managers in the league, and it’s only so long until she’s given the chance at a bigger club. Still, Cypher fans adore her, just as those of Leichhardt did. Not for the beauty of her football - God, no, perish the thought. Vardalos-ball is about playing a conservative low block of four, with a midfield destroyer for good measure. Sit back, absorb pressure, spring on the counter down the flanks and master set pieces. Everyone has to do their part for the team to survive. Her players would run through fire for her.

One of Vardalos’ rare miscalculations came last season, as for a brief time Ruo Xiaolan was being kept out of the team following her return from injury by Rainer Burgnich. Burgnich is 34 and, bluntly, not very good. Ruo is terrible in the air, and that’s admittedly very bad, but she more than makes up for it with her flying shot-stopping. She’s under constant threat, but always steps up to the challenge. She’ll need to be at her best again to keep the Eagles up.

While Hertzka and Brind have a strong understanding that underpins Cypher’s defence, at 23 Meghan Foerster is more than ready, and hopefully able, to step up if required. Six foot even, Foerster’s a more modern kind of defender than her agricultural seniors, confident and assertive in possession, measured out of it. Not for her the scything homicidal challenges that are the Nepharim standard. Which makes her a touch boring, really.

Thorn Tristram is not only a sharp defender, but he always finds a way to get upfield and join attacks without ever seemingly being caught out at the back. Caspar Madine enjoyed probably the breakout season of his career last season, adding more strings to his bow through patient work in possession that stopped Cypher from getting too one-paced, as well as doing the important work of fouling people. Freya McCosgraigh has also enjoyed a renaissance after a difficult start for the Eagles. Without her, the side lack inspiration; with her, they can suddenly create chances in open play, ever. And she’s still the best set piece taker at the club, Bereveskos or no.

They’re still up against it. You know, like they were the last couple seasons.

Manager: Andrea Vardalos
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ruo Xiaolan (YZH), 12 - Rainer Burgnich, 25 - Anna Rochester
Defenders: 2 - Thorn Tristram, 3 - Brigitte Anderton (c), 4 - Andros Hertzka, 6 - Marika Brind, 13 - Meghan Foerster, 18 - Morgan Halfhill, 19 - Echidna Skapoulis, 31 - Canas Meulenstein
Midfielders: 5 - Anton Roben (USD), 7 - Athana Finchcleft, 8 - Caspar Madine, 10 - Freya McCosgraigh (SCT), 11 - Radek Weiss, 14 - Malte Cairn, 16 - Giacomo Tripodi (AUD), 21 - Alexa Ferryman, 22 - Andrea Bereveskos, 23 - Karo Vanstrattan
Forwards: 9 - Borbas Tihamer (PAS), 17 - Coretta Rooke, 24 - Augustine Rahn
Out on Loan: 33 - Janna Sauthier


League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Anchorwright Arena (30,000)
Nickname: the Rooks
Captain: Perica Zagorec
Top Scorers: Nygård (17), Ocokoljic (11), Farrell (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Iarrow (30); 18 - Pakkanen (30), 22 - Reinhardt (25), 6 - Zagorec (35, c), 3 - Kohler (24); 12 - Brandtner (26), 4 - Hedlund (26), 8 - Voeller (25); 21 - Ocokoljic (25); 7 - Farrell (29), 11 - Nygård (29)
In: Cressida Voeller (Cypher Town, 4.5m), Kaara Iarrow (Chafford, 3m), Moxie Crowe (Gamba Calix, free), Tarry Hareide (Goodfeather FC, free)
Promoted: Jason Margush (ST, 20), Charis Theoklitos (GK, 19)
Out: Ifrit Coynborough (Exton FC, 3.5m), Karena Hesketh (AFC Treason, 1.5m), Claudia Solwood (Brookford Otters, free), Jess Oaktree (Azulon City, free), Alan Bothroyd (Rogerton Valladar CF, free), Orson Deckard (AFC Mayville, free)

3 NFA Cups (57, 68, 71)

73: Premier - 11th - 65 pts
72: Premier - 5th - 82 pts - GC
71: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC CWC
70: Premier - 7th - 77 pts - GC
69: Premier - 9th - 65 pts

Notable Products: Kurtis Brace, Maladict Farrell, Rowan Gawain, Maxine Lynwood, Alessa Marconi, Francesca Marquon, Chase Wingett
Club Heroes: Jezdimir Ocokoljic, Raquel Woods, Perica Zagorec
One-Club Men: Catheline Keenan
Iconic Manager: Andreu Bartolnicci
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
Founding members of the modern-era Premiership, the Rooks have endured a lot of heartbreak in their time, and their five relegations are an equal record. But it’s the kind of club that appreciates success when it comes; its three Cups are also a record, and one season saw both come at once. It’s still remembered fondly as a blaze of glory. Once considered a more broad-church club across the whole of regional far northeast Nephara, the growth of Newrook into a proper, well, city - absorbing a number of small frontier settlements on the Nepharim end of the Gelderlish border in the process - has mirrored the growth of its one major football club. Northeasterners are considered strange, distant and intense, just sort of off by the standards of the rest of the country. Newrook aren't far off Coret, and the two sides' rivalry is weirdly intense for sides that more central Nepharim tend to mostly forget about.

Oh dear. Bartolnicci kind of lost it, didn’t he. A desperately inconsistent season saw Newrook take on the world and win some days and get pulverised others. So, naturally, they finished around midtable.

A quixotic window. Voeller comes in from Cypher off the back of a very strong season, and having found her footing at this level looks to be going from strength to strength. She’ll offer some guile in midfield to replace the aging Couturiaux… if she pans out. Iarrow is an excellent goalkeeper brought in from Chafford, a satyr who thrived under the rain, physicality and general shittiness of the Brenecian north, and should do well here. Former Brinemouth rightback Crowe will look to prove she still has it at this level, but is unlikely to seriously contest Pakkanen for starts. Hareide has some experience, too. But both are stopgaps, 28 years old.

Andreu Bartolnicci was, not for nothing, regarded as a candidate for the Cormorants vacancy. Okay, so that was probably a little optimistic, but you could see why when you look at how the furious Cosumarite runs his team, constantly gesturing and correcting and shouting but in a way that his players actually listen to. He's instilled a fast-paced approach based around a physically imposing midfield platform and a tight trident of attacking threats, with the fullbacks providing the width.

Mordecai Brandtner is probably the one player last season whose head never dropped, who always put out consistent 8/10 performances. Strong and fast, a proper Beast™ in WCC 83 fandom parlance, the team looks a shadow of itself without Brandtner there to patch up the cracks. Fortunately, he’s reliable as hell, almost never injured. And his faith in the manager is unshakable… which was at a premium, last season, in a fractured dressing room.

Jezdimir Ocokoljic has two Premiership seasons under his belt. Last season, he looked like a good Premiership all-round attacker, technical and versatile, with a good eye for goal. Two seasons ago he was unexpectedly one of the league’s very best players, hauling the Rooks to fifth with over twenty goals and a similarly ungodly number of assists. So one might understand why last season came across as somewhat disappointing. Which is the real Ocokoljic? Even if it’s the former, that shouldn’t hurt his immense popularity with the fanbase, as the Mytenar has truly taken the club to his heart. They reward that kind of loyalty here.

Pakkanen’s 30 now, but shows no signs of slowing. Okay, shows a couple signs of slowing. Still, as long as his legs last, he’s the archetypical overlapping fullback who adds much-needed width to help switch up the attack. Gabrielle Reinhardt is one of the few players to have really stepped up last season, making the most of the uncertainty elsewhere in defence. She was a brick, rarely beaten, and once she’d forced Nkembe out of the side nobody looked back. Maladict Farrell is an often underrated striker, not the tallest for a target man at ‘just’ 5’11”, but sheer grit and determination mean nobody strips the ball off him. He’s a decent finisher, and has struck up a good rapport with the pacy Nygard.

Was this a reversion to the mean? Honestly, you look at this side and you think maybe so. You wouldn’t really be surprised to see them back in the UICA places, though.

Manager: Andreu Bartolnicci (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Karena Hesketh, 20 - Rook Gilzean, 30 - Charis Theoklitos
Defenders: 2 - Moxie Crowe, 3 - Aries Kohler, 5 - Temperance Nkembe, 6 - Perica Zagorec (PAS, c), 18 - Ville Pakkanen (COS), 19 - Mikael Acland, 22 - Gabrielle Reinhardt, 33 - Lorelei Baer
Midfielders: 4 - Mats Hedlund (BYN), 8 - Cressida Voeller, 10 - Tarry Hareide, 12 - Mordecai Brandtner, 13 - Will Couturiaux (COS), 14 - Persephone Miller, 21 - Jezdimir Ocokoljic (MYT), 23 - Ronan Fallon
Forwards: 7 - Maladict Farrell, 9 - Jason Margush, 11 - Olivia Nygård (VAL), 15 - Avila Wardenier, 16 - Tatiana Brandis


League Finish: 13th
Cup Run: Champions
Stadium: The Bluegrass (48,000)
Nickname: the Spiders
Captain: Robyn Sabitzer
Top Scorers: Stokes (16), Roberts (12), Croxteth (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Krieven (27); 2 - Kendrick (30), 5 - Black (24), 6 - Jaan (23), 3 - Posipal (24); 8 - Sabitzer (31, c), 4 - Reeve (24), 25 - Croxteth (30); 7 - Roberts (25), 9 - Thornwood (24), 10 - Kendall (24)
In: Carin Black (Raven River, 5m), Lilith Thornwood (Morningstar, 3m), Stovar Krieven (Bishop, 3m), Paarsimer Jaan (Weldsmith, 2m)
Promoted: Nicola Brindell (CM, 19), Constantine Brown (RW, 18), February Garnett (LB, 18)
Out: Raimund Anderson (Pelethas United, 7.5m), Deborah Stokes (Cornellians, 5m), Marcia Lapwing (Brantisvogan FC, 3m), Ophelia Rattin (Raynor City FC, free), David Maskin (Blue Coast 1981, free), Erinys Hart (Vermillion Rage, free), Gabriel Traustram (Cranequin Wanderers, free)

73: Premier - 13th - 59 pts
72: Premier - 18th - 51 pts
71: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
70: Premier - 6th - 82 pts - GC
69: 1Div - 3rd - 83 pts - Promoted

Premiership title (51)
2 NFA Cups (67, 73)

Notable Products: Raimund Anderson, Bianca Condotta, Theodora Covenant, Lavender Jameson, Karsten Riordan, Christian Serjeant, Deborah Stokes, Rasunda Valderlei
Club Heroes: Steed Corren, Brandon Duguid, Gareth Pearce, Chloe Rudden
One-Club Men: Rook Kennedy
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
With a recent relegation reducing the 'Gang of Seven' to six, North Laithland become the first former Premiership champions to drop down a level. Unfortunately for the Spiders, that season Nephara was disqualified from UICA entry due to persistent crowd incidents. Situated, unsurprisingly, in the northern Laith, they're specifically based from the large town of Lindmark but represent the entire region and draw their fanbase from a wide variety of northwest Crownsend towns. Other Laith teams have risen and fallen over the years, but the North has retained a power base both on and off the pitch that has made them difficult to dislodge. This is in large part due to a strong reputation for youth development, and they have produced a disproportionate amount of Cormorants, though it's been less productive in recent times. They have a friendly rivalry going with South Laithland and a decidedly unfriendly one with AFC Treason.

The bleeding stopped under Hestia Canaan’s watch. Variable league form, including being pulverised 7-0 by mighty Brinemouth and 5-0 by modest Chenoworth Rovers, left them in midtable, and they almost choked in the Cup final to a Ritter Town side that had just been relegated to the third tier. But they seized victory from the jaws of, well, a missed opportunity.

Canaan’s overhauls continue. This time, some of them aren’t exactly welcome… young star defender Anderson decides he wants foreign pastures, and joins up to play under former Spiders midfielder Catherine Sedgwick. But the club insists at all levels that Deborah Stokes’ departure was planned, a 28-year old sold on at peak value and replaced by a young, spry Lilith Thornwood, who probably kept a floundering Morningstar from a humiliating second successive relegation. Anderson’s fee pays for not one but two centre-halves, the coolly efficient Black and the satyr Jaan, who has the air of a bouncer who knows exactly how hard to hit a difficult patron without spilling their brains over the cobblestones. Krieven comes in, a proven international with a track record in Nephara, because the sad fact is that Fairweather’s form imploded last season. Defensive midfielder Lapwing also leaves, looking for regular minutes.

Canaan loves many things; attractive football, fast movement, intense drilling and herself. She is a divisive figure, particularly at the clubs she’s left behind; to this day you can get easy soundbites of her marvelling that her great work at Creed unravelled so quickly without her. She works her side to the bone on the training pitch so they can run all day at the Bluegrass, and her ability to improve players makes her a natural fit here.

Irsa Croxteth’s career looked basically over when Canaan took over, which was impressive since she was only 28 and had spent most of her years at Crisisbless. But a trying stint at Zakhoro ending in a shock relegation had seemingly broken her, and she was ter