Nepharan Domestic Newswire - the Zenith

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Founded: Jun 06, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:54 am

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

Wherever you look to start, you don’t look away from the bloodbath at Lindmark. Ten goals. Ten goals! When Posipal set up Beltrame to make it 3-1 after 50 minutes, you think maybe it’s staunching the bloodflow in an already damaging game for the Spiders. But no, that just gets Athletic mad, and apparently it also gets Mercedes Reeve mad since she’s sent off after her second yellow card and Sabitzer gets a straight red soon after for trying to kill Oscar Coltrane. Shone already tried and failed that, friend. 60 minutes gone, at that stage 4-1, and with half an hour to pile on six more against the nine-man Spiders. Between the posts, Stovar Krieven must surely be instructing his agent to see how life’s looking back at Bishop (not great, but we’ll get to that). Tarala hits the post once and has another shot tipped onto the crossbar by Krieven, and will be feeling filthy over it; no Premiership striker has ever scored more than five, but Tarala does at least match the exalted names of Cheney Bittencourt and, uh, Olgina Harrison, at that level. The other clubs also play some games, Crisisbless consolidating their hold on second with a 3-1 win over Starling, Brinemouth losing to Aries and Treason drawing with Corvistone to fall further behind, Starling, the Chariots and Vermillion (trashed 4-1 by a rebounding Coret) round out the Globe Cup places, Southfell are just outside, and the Moths, held to a 1-1 draw by Newrook, are slumming it in ninth. Really, though, it’s kind of a general scrum from eighth to 20th, no two adjacent teams split by more than a point (bar Stahlburg in 15th to the Bohemians in 16th, though even then, Stahlburg’s two points are offset by inferior GD by seven).

North Sabrefell are looking over their shoulders, and while Newrook and Corvistone are probably too good to go down, you never quite know. Chatswood, Cypher (who crush Southfell 3-0) and Cranequin City (who draw 2-2 with the Harriers) are the next knot of teams, absolutely not too good to go down, fighting to avoid the playoff place. But City, currently occupying it, are six points ahead from a Chenoworth Rovers side who fall flat in a 1-0 defeat to a Creed side in full tailspin. Portia Taani snaps a nine-match scoreless streak to give the Oathmen the win. The Rovers are, at least, four points above the bottom two. Bizarrely, Parrhesia manage to pick up a second straight win, utterly dominating Chatswood. Ystrad beats everyone to head home a Rosborough corner before Vandermark sets up Reus to double their advantage, with a luckless own goal from Bohemund Karling glossing up a 3-0 away win. As River slump to a 4-0 demolition by North Sabrefell, their near neighbours dominating midfield and cruising from there, this means that the Saints are finally not on the bottom of the table. But ten points from even potential safety, it might still be too late.

Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 Hackett
Armstrong 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Brookford Otters 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
AFC Serpentine 2-0 The Strongest
Iron City 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
South Laithland 1-3 Stahlburg Rovers
Goodfeather FC 3-2 Corvette Maulers
Leichhardt 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Belgrave 2-1 Gonen's Bridge
Mantlegrove 4-1 Peregrine
Bishop 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Diamondqueen 0-0 Morningstar

First hosts second, though that’s by quite a distance at this stage. Moreso after the dust settles, and Leichhardt can boast a composed 2-0 victory over Cranequin Wanderers to open up an imperious seven-point gap on them, twelve on the playoff, fifteen on 5th. South Laithland fall back in the race as well, surprisingly beaten by Stahlburg Rovers on home soil. Well-beaten, at that, with Beatrice Colgan impressively orchestrating attacks from leftback and creaking 37-year old Hansi Westerlow coming off the bench to score the final of the 3-1 win. Morningstar in fourth also fail to pick up maximum points, but similarly protect their lead over their hosts, Diamondqueen, in sixth; keeping the prolific Claudia Escrow from firing is basically a win, though Markus Sefton’s midfield dominance keeps Morningstar from creating much of anything themselves. Chardonnay… also lose, splitting the difference. Leaving Leichhardt as the only side of the top six to win. Beneath Morningstar is basically a slurry of identical teams who could but are individually unlikely to overtake them.

Stahlburg Rovers, Armstrong and Bishop all pick up important wins to pull away from the drop; the Rovers, impressively, outplay South Laithland in Dross, while Armstrong, importantly, physically dominate a naive Alliance in a 2-0 win. Alliance are three to four points beneath that cluster, but four points above danger themselves. The Strongest still can’t defend, and lose 2-0 to Serpentine; they remain a point ahead of Dartmouth, who still can’t score, and succumb 1-0 to Iron. Two managers fall to the events beneath them. An impressive Mantlegrove crush Peregrine 4-1, their fifth straight defeat, and one that condemns Esther Mallory to the sack. Sierra Aurtenetxe’s turn-and-strike in the little space afforded her gives Pillars, still bottom, a good away point in Brookford… and one that gets Otters manager Andrea Betancourt the sack, one win in their last eleven matches probably putting paid to their promotion hopes.

Southriver 1-5 Coret Rovers
Greygate 0-1 Extreme Hills
Aries Solitaire 1-0 Barossia United
Falston United 0-0 Sheridan
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Stonegrave
West Brinemouth 2-0 Locksley
Ritter Town 1-0 Ballardine FC
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
AFC Rochford 4-0 Riverkey
Kommissar 0-1 AFC Shale
Brokenarch 1-1 The Hanged Man
Gosmouth Swans 0-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Extreme Hills 1-1 Southriver
Barossia United 2-1 Coret Rovers
Sheridan 1-0 Greygate
Stonegrave 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Locksley 3-3 Falston United
Ballardine FC 3-4 Boltcroft Thorns
Corinthians No Longer 1-7 West Brinemouth
Riverkey 3-0 Ritter Town
AFC Shale 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
The Hanged Man 1-1 AFC Rochford
Lazuli Diamonds 2-1 Kommissar
Gosmouth Swans 0-2 Brokenarch
Southriver 1-1 Barossia United
Extreme Hills 2-0 Sheridan
Coret Rovers 2-1 Stonegrave
Greygate 2-1 Locksley
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Ballardine FC
Falston United 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Boltcroft Thorns 1-2 Riverkey
West Brinemouth 2-0 AFC Shale
Ritter Town 0-0 The Hanged Man
Crisisbless Athletic 2-2 Lazuli Diamonds
AFC Rochford 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Kommissar 1-2 Brokenarch
Sheridan 1-0 Southriver
Stonegrave 0-1 Barossia United
Locksley 6-1 Extreme Hills
Ballardine FC 2-0 Coret Rovers
Corinthians No Longer 3-3 Greygate
Riverkey 0-1 Aries Solitaire
AFC Shale 0-1 Falston United
The Hanged Man 4-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 West Brinemouth
Gosmouth Swans 2-2 Ritter Town
Brokenarch 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Kommissar 1-1 AFC Rochford
Southriver 0-0 Stonegrave
Sheridan 0-1 Locksley
Barossia United 2-2 Ballardine FC
Extreme Hills 5-2 Corinthians No Longer
Coret Rovers 3-0 Riverkey
Greygate 3-0 AFC Shale
Aries Solitaire 1-0 The Hanged Man
Falston United 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Boltcroft Thorns 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
West Brinemouth 1-1 Brokenarch
Ritter Town 2-2 Kommissar
Crisisbless Athletic 3-2 AFC Rochford
Locksley 6-2 Southriver
Ballardine FC 1-1 Stonegrave
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 Sheridan
Riverkey 0-1 Barossia United
AFC Shale 1-2 Extreme Hills
The Hanged Man 3-3 Coret Rovers
Lazuli Diamonds 2-2 Greygate
Gosmouth Swans 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Brokenarch 2-0 Falston United
Kommissar 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
AFC Rochford 1-2 West Brinemouth
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 Ritter Town
Southriver 2-1 Ballardine FC
Locksley 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
Stonegrave 0-0 Riverkey
Sheridan 0-1 AFC Shale
Barossia United 1-1 The Hanged Man
Extreme Hills 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Coret Rovers 4-1 Gosmouth Swans
Greygate 1-0 Brokenarch
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Kommissar
Falston United 0-0 AFC Rochford
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
West Brinemouth 5-2 Ritter Town
Corinthians No Longer 4-1 Southriver
Riverkey 3-0 Ballardine FC
AFC Shale 0-0 Locksley
The Hanged Man 1-1 Stonegrave
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Sheridan
Gosmouth Swans 1-3 Barossia United
Brokenarch 0-1 Extreme Hills
Kommissar 2-2 Coret Rovers
AFC Rochford 1-0 Greygate
Crisisbless Athletic 4-1 Aries Solitaire
Ritter Town 1-1 Falston United
West Brinemouth 4-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Southriver 1-2 Riverkey
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 AFC Shale
Ballardine FC 0-1 The Hanged Man
Locksley 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Stonegrave 3-1 Gosmouth Swans
Sheridan 0-3 Brokenarch
Barossia United 0-0 Kommissar
Extreme Hills 1-0 AFC Rochford
Coret Rovers 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Greygate 0-1 Ritter Town
Aries Solitaire 1-2 West Brinemouth
Falston United 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
AFC Shale 1-2 Southriver
The Hanged Man 0-1 Riverkey
Lazuli Diamonds 2-2 Corinthians No Longer
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 Ballardine FC
Brokenarch 0-4 Locksley
Kommissar 0-1 Stonegrave
AFC Rochford 1-0 Sheridan
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Barossia United
Ritter Town 1-0 Extreme Hills
West Brinemouth 2-2 Coret Rovers
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Greygate
Falston United 0-0 Aries Solitaire
Southriver 1-2 The Hanged Man
AFC Shale 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Riverkey 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Brokenarch
Ballardine FC 1-2 Kommissar
Locksley 2-3 AFC Rochford
Stonegrave 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Sheridan 1-1 Ritter Town
Barossia United 1-3 West Brinemouth
Extreme Hills 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Coret Rovers 0-1 Falston United
Greygate 2-1 Aries Solitaire

Stepping over the broken bodies of nominal promotion rivals in CNL after a brutal 7-1 away win, West Brinemouth remain undefeated. They have thirteen points on even second place. They will be promoted. Hell, they will win the title.
Locksley are second, more prolific in front of goal than even the Gulls, but they have lost five more times - which is to say, five times. Kreisburg and Heaton continue to make the league their bitch. Crisisbless Athletic and Extreme Hills haven’t exactly looked good, per se, but they just have had a way of grinding past difficult opponents, playing through poor form. And that’s why they’ve opened up a gap on pre-season promotion favourites AFC Rochford, marooned in fifth. Just 31 goals, just ten wins; Audrey Carlock is preaching patience, but patience is in short supply. An impressive 3-2 away in Locksley may have just saved her job. Their last four games before that had just three goals total. Brani Saxton has absolutely not been the saviour, having been outscored by centre-half Mendariz thus far, and Wynona Rampart’s crippling lack of end product has not magically been cured by dropping down a league.

There’s a clear drop-off where the flood of teams in the 30s of points ends, abruptly, with a six-point gap down to Boltcroft Thorns. They’re playing poorly, lack defensive worth, but have clung to the goals of Apotheosis Kaskanis, a man who was absolutely still a fringe Premiership player and has massacred the league with fifteen goals from little service. Gosmouth Swans have had roughly the same results, just with the goals spread out better. Still, the two clubs have carved out a little place of their own, five points clear of 20th-placed Shale and 21st-placed Sheridan, who have a mighty 15 and 12 goals respectively. A goal every other match, and Sherries might still stay up? But they defend well. The bottom three have been pretty wretched; Kommissar have already axed their manager, but Janus Morraine has picked up eight points from his five games so far to give them some hope, most recently against Ballardine to drain away most of theirs, with Brokenarch miserably in between.

Star Players: Weirdly enough all of West Brinemouth’s players are destroying everything. Locksley have coaxed an Indian summer out of Detlef Konstantin, an imperious veteran defensive midfielder who wasn’t even meant to start regularly until a serious injury to Dimitri Konstantinopoulos proved a blessing in disguise. Crisisbless Athletic are fortunate to have retained the services of Ursula Qatintiki, fringe Fleftic international and the league’s best stopper, flying from her box to fight fires and generally, these days, getting there in time. Amidst the middle pack of the league, Barossia United’s young, muscular holding midfielder Markus Teamster has attracted admiring eyes from 1Div for his brutal efficiency chopping people and surprisingly good passing range on the ball, and a cannonball of a shot in his right boot. Aries Solitaire have absolutely not clicked, at all, but their fall has coincided with a serious injury to Sascha Dimitrius that ruled her out for the rest of the season, one that really underlines how good she is and how irreplaceable within the squad she was. Falston United’s Ceynes recruits have impressed, proving the surprising value present within the Isles’ fledgeling league, flying stopper Rasmus Garrick particularly good value, while Southriver owe their continued survival to Cyrus Saebener, a man who has spent too much of his career looking bad in 1Div and not enough punching down in 2Div, though this season in particular he seems to have come along another level.

Sutcroft Athletic 2-0 Sutcroft
Fully Sick XI 0-5 Brindleton
Ox River United 1-2 Strephonage
Iron United 2-0 Martella Jazz
Rochford Pilgrims 5-0 Sirencall FC
Autumnstone 7-3 Falston Town
East Laithland Harriers 1-2 South Parrhesia
West Hook 1-3 Hartford Glade
Crossroads Town 4-1 Kensey Town
Ingram Township 2-2 Mapleford
Riverkey Shells 0-2 Long Lake
Caldwick Strand 0-1 Downsparrow
Brindleton 3-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Strephonage 2-0 Sutcroft
Martella Jazz 2-0 Fully Sick XI
Sirencall FC 2-3 Ox River United
Falston Town 2-0 Iron United
South Parrhesia 1-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Hartford Glade 3-2 Autumnstone
Kensey Town 2-2 East Laithland Harriers
Mapleford 2-2 West Hook
Long Lake 0-2 Crossroads Town
Downsparrow 0-2 Ingram Township
Caldwick Strand 3-0 Riverkey Shells
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Strephonage
Brindleton 2-3 Martella Jazz
Sutcroft 3-1 Sirencall FC
Fully Sick XI 4-3 Falston Town
Ox River United 1-1 South Parrhesia
Iron United 1-4 Hartford Glade
Rochford Pilgrims 5-1 Kensey Town
Autumnstone 1-1 Mapleford
East Laithland Harriers 2-0 Long Lake
West Hook 1-1 Downsparrow
Crossroads Town 4-3 Caldwick Strand
Ingram Township 1-1 Riverkey Shells
Martella Jazz 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Sirencall FC 1-1 Strephonage
Falston Town 2-1 Brindleton
South Parrhesia 1-2 Sutcroft
Hartford Glade 3-0 Fully Sick XI
Kensey Town 2-0 Ox River United
Mapleford 1-2 Iron United
Long Lake 1-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Downsparrow 1-3 Autumnstone
Caldwick Strand 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
Riverkey Shells 1-0 West Hook
Ingram Township 2-1 Crossroads Town
Sutcroft Athletic 4-1 Sirencall FC
Martella Jazz 1-0 Falston Town
Strephonage 0-2 South Parrhesia
Brindleton 2-2 Hartford Glade
Sutcroft 1-4 Kensey Town
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Mapleford
Ox River United 0-0 Long Lake
Iron United 0-2 Downsparrow
Rochford Pilgrims 2-4 Caldwick Strand
Autumnstone 1-1 Riverkey Shells
East Laithland Harriers 0-0 Ingram Township
West Hook 1-2 Crossroads Town
Falston Town 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
South Parrhesia 2-0 Sirencall FC
Hartford Glade 1-4 Martella Jazz
Kensey Town 2-0 Strephonage
Mapleford 1-3 Brindleton
Long Lake 2-2 Sutcroft
Downsparrow 0-1 Fully Sick XI
Caldwick Strand 0-2 Ox River United
Riverkey Shells 0-0 Iron United
Ingram Township 0-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Crossroads Town 0-1 Autumnstone
West Hook 0-2 East Laithland Harriers
Sutcroft Athletic 2-3 South Parrhesia
Falston Town 2-1 Hartford Glade
Sirencall FC 0-1 Kensey Town
Martella Jazz 1-0 Mapleford
Strephonage 1-1 Long Lake
Brindleton 3-1 Downsparrow
Sutcroft 1-2 Caldwick Strand
Fully Sick XI 1-1 Riverkey Shells
Ox River United 2-0 Ingram Township
Iron United 3-6 Crossroads Town
Rochford Pilgrims 3-0 West Hook
Autumnstone 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Hartford Glade 5-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Kensey Town 1-1 South Parrhesia
Mapleford 5-1 Falston Town
Long Lake 0-2 Sirencall FC
Downsparrow 1-6 Martella Jazz
Caldwick Strand 0-1 Strephonage
Riverkey Shells 2-3 Brindleton
Ingram Township 0-1 Sutcroft
Crossroads Town 1-0 Fully Sick XI
West Hook 1-0 Ox River United
East Laithland Harriers 0-0 Iron United
Autumnstone 2-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Sutcroft Athletic 1-2 Kensey Town
Hartford Glade 0-2 Mapleford
South Parrhesia 2-0 Long Lake
Falston Town 0-1 Downsparrow
Sirencall FC 2-2 Caldwick Strand
Martella Jazz 2-0 Riverkey Shells
Strephonage 1-0 Ingram Township
Brindleton 1-1 Crossroads Town
Sutcroft 1-3 West Hook
Fully Sick XI 0-6 East Laithland Harriers
Ox River United 2-2 Autumnstone
Iron United 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Mapleford 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Long Lake 2-2 Kensey Town
Downsparrow 0-0 Hartford Glade
Caldwick Strand 2-2 South Parrhesia
Riverkey Shells 4-0 Falston Town
Ingram Township 0-1 Sirencall FC
Crossroads Town 0-1 Martella Jazz
West Hook 0-2 Strephonage
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Brindleton
Autumnstone 2-0 Sutcroft
Rochford Pilgrims 4-1 Fully Sick XI
Iron United 1-0 Ox River United
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Long Lake
Mapleford 2-0 Downsparrow
Kensey Town 3-1 Caldwick Strand
Hartford Glade 1-1 Riverkey Shells
South Parrhesia 0-0 Ingram Township
Falston Town 2-3 Crossroads Town
Sirencall FC 1-1 West Hook
Martella Jazz 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Strephonage 1-1 Autumnstone
Brindleton 0-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Sutcroft 2-3 Iron United
Fully Sick XI 4-0 Ox River United

Pos Team                      P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sabrefell Athletic 23 15 5 3 64 26 +38 50
2 Crisisbless 23 15 4 4 48 19 +29 49
3 Brinemouth 23 14 3 6 40 23 +17 45
4 AFC Treason 23 11 9 3 42 22 +20 42

5 Starling 23 12 4 7 43 26 +17 40
6 Aries Chariots 23 9 10 4 35 32 +3 37
7 Vermillion Rage 23 9 9 5 40 28 +12 36

8 Southfell United 23 9 7 7 37 40 -3 34
9 Sabrefell Moths 23 8 9 6 45 28 +17 33
10 Crisisbless United 23 9 5 9 24 33 -9 32
11 Coret Hawks 23 9 4 10 41 34 +7 31
12 Chenoworth Harriers 23 8 7 8 32 35 -3 31
13 North Laithland 23 8 7 8 37 45 -8 31
14 Creed United 23 9 3 11 32 33 -1 30
15 Stahlburg City 23 7 9 7 26 31 -5 30
16 North Sabrefell 23 7 7 9 35 33 +2 28
17 Newrook City 23 7 7 9 32 33 -1 28
18 AFC Corvistone 23 8 4 11 30 38 -8 28
19 Chatswood 23 8 3 12 25 29 -4 27
20 Cypher Town 23 8 2 13 23 35 -12 26
21 Cranequin City 23 6 6 11 21 36 -15 24
22 Chenoworth Rovers 23 4 6 13 21 43 -22 18
23 Parrhesia United 23 3 5 15 21 51 -30 14
24 Raven River 23 3 5 15 13 54 -41 14

Pos Team                       P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Leichhardt 23 16 4 3 42 16 +26 52
2 Cranequin Wanderers 23 13 6 4 36 23 +13 45
3 South Laithland 23 14 1 8 40 27 +13 43

4 Morningstar 23 11 7 5 29 24 +5 40
5 Chardonnay Rangers 23 10 7 6 35 26 +9 37
6 Diamondqueen 23 11 3 9 42 26 +16 36
7 Mantlegrove 23 10 6 7 30 20 +10 36
8 Corvette Maulers 23 11 3 9 34 30 +4 36
9 Goodfeather FC 23 10 4 9 33 27 +6 34
10 Vermillion Wanderers 23 10 4 9 33 28 +5 34
11 Iron City 23 9 7 7 22 19 +3 34
12 Brookford Otters 23 8 9 6 34 30 +4 33
13 AFC Serpentine 23 8 7 8 26 25 +1 31
14 Gonen's Bridge 23 8 7 8 26 33 -7 31
15 Belgrave 23 8 6 9 40 35 +5 30
16 Hackett 23 8 6 9 26 39 -13 30
17 Stahlburg Rovers 23 7 7 9 33 31 +2 28
18 Armstrong 23 7 7 9 24 24 +0 28
19 Bishop 23 7 6 10 26 34 -8 27
20 Alliance Barossia 23 7 3 13 25 37 -12 24
21 The Strongest 23 5 5 13 25 43 -18 20
22 Dartmouth Terriers 23 6 1 16 14 36 -22 19
23 Peregrine 23 5 4 14 25 48 -23 19
24 Pillars of Southfell 23 3 8 12 16 35 -19 17

Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 West Brinemouth 23 17 6 0 50 16 +34 57
2 Locksley 23 13 5 5 52 26 +26 44
3 Crisisbless Athletic 23 12 8 3 38 21 +17 44

4 Extreme Hills 23 11 8 4 35 28 +7 41
5 AFC Rochford 23 10 8 5 31 20 +11 38
6 Corinthians No Longer 23 10 7 6 40 36 +4 37
7 Barossia United 23 10 5 8 26 25 +1 35
8 Riverkey 23 10 4 9 26 26 +0 34
9 Stonegrave 23 8 9 6 20 17 +3 33
10 The Hanged Man 23 7 11 5 28 23 +5 32
11 Greygate 23 8 8 7 25 22 +3 32
12 Falston United 23 8 8 7 21 22 -1 32
13 Ritter Town 23 8 8 7 24 27 -3 32
14 Aries Solitaire 23 9 4 10 27 24 +3 31
15 Southriver 23 9 4 10 28 35 -7 31
16 Coret Rovers 23 8 6 9 36 34 +2 30
17 Lazuli Diamonds 23 7 9 7 28 33 -5 30
18 Boltcroft Thorns 23 6 6 11 27 38 -11 24
19 Gosmouth Swans 23 6 6 11 27 39 -12 24
20 AFC Shale 23 5 4 14 15 27 -12 19
21 Sheridan 23 4 7 12 12 28 -16 19
22 Kommissar 23 3 8 12 25 40 -15 17
23 Brokenarch 23 4 5 14 15 30 -15 17
24 Ballardine FC 23 3 6 14 20 39 -19 15

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Martella Jazz 23 17 4 2 47 14 +33 55
2 Autumnstone 23 13 9 1 46 25 +21 48
3 Crossroads Town 23 14 4 5 44 27 +17 46

4 Kensey Town 23 13 4 6 37 28 +9 43
5 South Parrhesia 23 12 6 5 32 20 +12 42
6 Mapleford 23 12 4 7 37 23 +14 40
7 East Laithland Harriers 23 10 7 6 40 26 +14 37
8 Hartford Glade 23 10 6 7 39 31 +8 36
9 Strephonage 23 10 5 8 30 28 +2 35
10 Iron United 23 11 2 10 28 32 -4 35
11 Rochford Pilgrims 23 10 4 9 41 28 +13 34
12 Brindleton 23 8 9 6 38 36 +2 33
13 Long Lake 23 7 7 9 21 23 -2 28
14 Caldwick Strand 23 7 5 11 31 35 -4 26
15 West Hook 23 5 9 9 17 25 -8 24
16 Ingram Township 23 6 6 11 18 27 -9 24
17 Downsparrow 23 6 6 11 23 37 -14 24
18 Ox River United 23 4 11 8 22 29 -7 23
19 Sirencall FC 23 5 8 10 29 41 -12 23
20 Fully Sick XI 23 6 5 12 28 43 -15 23
21 Sutcroft 23 6 4 13 27 44 -17 22
22 Sutcroft Athletic 23 5 6 12 32 48 -16 21
23 Riverkey Shells 23 4 8 11 27 37 -10 20
24 Falston Town 23 4 3 16 23 50 -27 15

Pos Team                     P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Crownsend Journey 23 14 5 4 52 22 +30 47
2 Rushe United 23 13 7 3 47 24 +23 46

3 Grovebank 23 11 9 3 37 22 +15 42
4 Iberia Chenoworth 23 13 2 8 46 38 +8 41
5 FC Seierstad 23 13 2 8 38 30 +8 41
6 Fischer 23 9 9 5 28 24 +4 36
7 Courser 23 10 6 7 28 25 +3 36
8 Fenland Albion 23 9 7 7 26 23 +3 34
9 AFC Hellerine 23 8 7 8 41 35 +6 31
10 Lockheed Zenith 23 9 4 10 34 35 -1 31
11 Ringway 23 8 6 9 34 31 +3 30
12 Harrington 23 7 8 8 41 34 +7 29
13 Stonesthrow Town 23 8 5 10 25 27 -2 29
14 Boleyn Town 23 6 10 7 21 23 -2 28
15 Besand's Folly 23 7 5 11 25 39 -14 26
16 Chenoworth Teutons 23 6 5 12 29 34 -5 23
17 AFC Feuerweiss 23 5 7 11 29 47 -18 22
18 Stekelenbright 23 5 6 12 39 56 -17 21
19 Sleetwell Rangers 23 5 5 13 25 49 -24 20
20 Camwell Road 23 4 5 14 18 45 -27 17

Pos Team                       P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin Souths 23 16 4 3 44 21 +23 52
2 New Oakstone Phoenix 23 12 6 5 54 29 +25 42

3 Brookford Vantablack 23 11 9 3 31 17 +14 42
4 The Travellers FC 23 12 6 5 41 31 +10 42
5 Northside Eagles 23 13 3 7 36 26 +10 42
6 Twelvetrees 23 13 3 7 30 20 +10 42
7 Brunyard FC 23 11 8 4 48 29 +19 41
8 AFC Volksgarten 23 11 4 8 21 22 -1 37
9 Bodkin Road 23 10 5 8 29 21 +8 35
10 AFC Davenport 23 10 2 11 24 27 -3 32
11 Corvistone City 23 7 10 6 29 20 +9 31
12 Gridlock 23 8 6 9 22 23 -1 30
13 Rookwall 23 7 7 9 20 22 -2 28
14 AFC Burchess 23 5 8 10 20 26 -6 23
15 Blaze 23 6 5 12 20 38 -18 23
16 Markoni 23 7 1 15 20 45 -25 22
17 Constance Park 23 6 3 14 18 31 -13 21
18 Brookway Town 23 4 9 10 20 37 -17 21
19 Aries Tigers 23 3 8 12 25 40 -15 17
20 Stamper Road 23 4 1 18 15 42 -27 13
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Founded: Jun 06, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:25 am

Southfell United 1-3 Bishop
Lazuli Diamonds 2-5 Stahlburg Rovers
North Sabrefell 0-1 Cranequin City
Creed United 0-3 Corinthians No Longer
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Coret Hawks (0-0 AET, 3-2 PKs)
Brinemouth 2-2 Chardonnay Rangers (2-3 AET)
Brindleton 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Hartford Glade 1-2 Aries Chariots
Chatswood 4-4 Peregrine (4-5 AET)
Parrhesia United 5-2 Sheridan
Locksley 1-1 Corvette Maulers (1-2 AET)
Raven River 2-1 West Brinemouth
Stahlburg City 1-0 Brokenarch
AFC Rochford 0-2 Cypher Town
North Laithland 1-1 AFC Corvistone (1-1 AET, 10-11 PKs)

The field starts to thin. Starting in Brindleton. Weirdly, the historically pretty mediocre club that has never come close to the Premiership has a history of beating Sabrefell Athletic in the Cup, including last year. Well, for the first time, they get to face off against the Moths. The fourth-tier side acquit themselves well, hurling bodies in the way of any chance, against their well-rested but still strong guests. In the end, the only goal comes from a penalty won and slotted home by veteran Joan Vickers, though young Moths Kellard and Garand looked lively… ah, but then it’s literally a fourth-tier side. A midtable one at that. This leaves the Moths the favourites for the Cup, after Brinemouth come unstuck against a vibrant, energetic Chardonnay. Iori Saitou shows his class, strolling through the porous Rangers’ defence, but Alessa Bernat slams home a free kick to make things interesting before Kaya Catley loops what she swears was a shot, not a cross, over Iona Britton. Brinemouth, despite being at home and very good, tire in the second half; the Rangers, staying compact, pounce on the break, Bernat forcing Duerden into a rare error, Dorian Ballard striking the loose ball forward for Cynthia Rayne to take past Windtide and nervelessly slip past Britton, whose 33 years are suddenly showing. A different Ballard, Diandra, is rumoured to be facing the sack. That should be ridiculous. She got Creed promoted, she gave them a strong enough head start they’ll probably stay up, but, uh… no, losing 3-0 to third-tier Corinthians No Longer, that’s unacceptable. CNL literally had a 34-year old Kurtis Siegrist at rightback. Creed left winger Retta Conrad is a current Chromatik international. And yet, Creed’s defence was repeatedly broached, Byron Caldwick suddenly looked very old, and somehow the dominant figure in the midfield was Cranequin reject Emerance fucking Sanborn. Graf Bronze’s brace was supplemented by a flowing attack through a stodgy Creed, finished by assertive leftback Bella Scarratt with a striker’s flourish.

Parrhesia concede two to a failing Sheridan side, which is genuinely scandalous. They’ve scored twelve goals all season! Fortunately, Barota and Teris flat-track bully the door down, McEthinly converts a couple of tap-ins and Makis Kotsonis has finally found a game in which he can contribute and look good. Chatswood have high hopes in their backup goalkeeper, Gerik Knasmuller, so they decide to give the 22-year old Cup privileges. Against Peregrine he was genuinely dreadful. Admittedly, Leigh Fletcher had rested a number of key units, but the Falconers take five shots on target across 120 minutes and they all go in. They’re terrible at the back themselves, but the save-making thing that Connor Risdon has going on works out for them in a 5-4 away win. Pillars of Southfell successfully bore Coret Hawks to death before winning on penalties, outperforming their big brothers, United, who get dunked out 3-1 by Bishop (Vorster and Asquith are seriously Premiership-grade). Cranequin City outlast North Sabrefell in a dire 1-0 win, one where Orban trials a three-man defence (elsewhere seen losing to Alliance Barossia 1-0) and finds out he doesn’t have the personnel with Basmath Clinton’s injury, or in midfield while snubbing Montag, while the Crows have an unremarkable two hours against North Laithland before winning an 11-10 shootout. Babatunde Warrington, taking the third and fourteenth penalties, takes both as panenkas; Kosovare Fairweather can’t make it to either, and the exhausted Irsa Croxteth sends hers into space to hand the Crows victory.

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

“The last match was an aberration,” Hestia Canaan calmly tells the press. It’s not the Cup she’s talking about, though that 28-penalty monstrosity also fits the description; no, she means the 10-1 defeat to Sabrefell Athletic. Against North Sabrefell, she names an unchanged lineup. The Cup game was a blessing in disguise, as Reeve and Sabitzer served their suspensions there; both look fresh and excel against North Sabrefell, a side struggling to figure out what they look like under Mezei Orban. The Bohemians are traditionally a side that’s taken a year to figure out, and so the fans have been surprisingly patient, but that won’t last with more performances like this. They line up in a straight 4-4-2, Montag is dropped, some fans bring out a ‘Justice for the Fat Lass’ tifo, and the Spiders utterly dominate the show. Reeve basically single-handedly dominates the midfield in her minimalistic, efficient way, Lilith Thornwood proves too mobile for the Bohemians’ sluggish back line, and Luke Roberts adds thrust and power cutting in from the right. Their conquerers Sabrefell Athletic, meanwhile, lose 1-1 at home to Cypher Town. Yes, that is the right verb and right scoreline.

Parrhesia host Aries Chariots, a side seemingly purpose-built to destroy them with pace. And, yes, the Chariots immediately destroy them with pace; a clumsy touch from Telviir shows the ball straight to Seamster who sets up Kaelin for 1-0, and while pushing forward a poor pass from… Telviir, again… is cut out by Riske and driven across to Kaelin who sets up Sierra, 2-0. So far so samey, as basically the same thing is happening in equally bad Raven River, but unlike River Parrhesia actually mount a comeback in the second half. Sigrun Barota is taken off and kicks energy drinks around in frustration, but all replacement Jess Silkman has to do is sit back and find her comrades. The venerable winger can still manage that, even today. One lofted over beautifully to Teris, one skimmed across the floor for Reus to toebash home by way of the inside post, and one elegant corner that Zemen Ystrad rises highest to flick past the insufficiently commanding Commerford. A Southfell side that have been cautious in recent times decide, fuck it, they’re going to go out guns blazing against Crisisbless, and they do indeed go down to a 6-3 defeat. The Moths, meanwhile, are just tepid against an energetic and underrated Crisisbless United; why in God’s name was Tim Maitfield sacked from the Pirates? The United fanbase account finds a bunch of recent poor scorelines in Willox Street and puts them into a single Twii, with the innocent caption; “Our gain is your loss.”

Alliance Barossia 5-3 Vermillion Wanderers
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Hackett
The Strongest 3-0 Armstrong
Dartmouth Terriers 2-1 Brookford Otters
Stahlburg Rovers 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Iron City
Cranequin Wanderers 2-3 South Laithland
Gonen's Bridge 4-1 Goodfeather FC
Peregrine 0-1 Leichhardt
Chardonnay Rangers 3-1 Belgrave
Morningstar 2-0 Mantlegrove
Diamondqueen 3-0 Bishop

All four of the promoted sides, struggling at the wrong end of the table, pick up vital home wins; for Alliance, a thrilling 5-3 with Vermillion Wanderers, each side trading blows and a red card apiece, Wanderers failing to cope with the loss of structure and building fatigue in the closing stages as Non, Berisha and Jeweler sparkle in the last half-hour, overturning a 2-3 deficit. Pillars’ win over Hackett is the most six-pointery, The Strongest are the most convincing in a 3-0 demolition of Armstrong with Laegjarn Martyn untouchable in midfield and Dartmouth Terriers, well, continue Brookford Otters’ misery. Elrik Raskine watches on from the stands, and is appointed shortly after as Brookford’s manager. Peregrine, under the new management of Matthew Rickard - a young, hungry manager who briefly took charge at Stahlburg Rovers - stem the bleeding with an honourable 1-0 defeat at home to Leichhardt. Next on the chopping block could well be Bishop manager Cheney Rutherford, who should absolutely never have left Vermillion. They’re easily swatted aside 3-0 by Diamondqueen, and just can’t touch their star playmaker Minka Bronson.

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

A strangely muted week, the only real percussion being Aries Chariots’ hammering down Cranequin City into a thin paste, a 7-2 stabbing orchestrated by wingers Lazarou and Kaelin that City just do not have answers to. How does one imagine Kirsten Gemmill feels about her brace, slickly taken though it was? In fairness, there is good football elsewhere, fewer goals than the Chariots managed on their own but even, balanced on a fine plate. The Coret Hawks have regrouped after a weak start, and visit a Southfell side that can’t stop conceding. It’s a nice chance to see some veteran strikers wheeled out, former Nephara internationals in Dragan Stavanger and Erik Marlowe going head-to-head, but curiously neither really puts their stamp on today. Coret’s hero is Fiona Norval, with a late brace, taken well; one a cross from Caracole, chested down and rifled past Aldous as she fell, the other a clever header flicked over the top, Aldous clawing for the stars to no avail as the ball floated gently into the net. Norval’s start to the season has been poor, but she’s never stopped trying, and helpfully for her career prospects the Hawks, uh, don’t really have any good alternatives. Kasmeer Jewell, anyone? Didn’t think so. For all that, it could have been better. Norval thinks she’s stolen the Hawks a win, but from pretty much nowhere, after a game spent doing pretty much nothing, Erik Marlowe hits the ball really, really hard, blasting it past Lockwood, into the underside of the crossbar, into the ground, into the net and somehow rolling back out of the net along the top of its ceiling. Gundersen hammers home the ball anyway. Can’t be too careful.

The Treason derby is full of thudding and thuggery without really managing to have a true air of danger. Tackles are brutal and cynical, not heroic lunges. All-round nice guy Peter Svensson heads home the only goal off the game from Accardi’s corner - you can bet Leigh Fletcher will be incandescent at the sloppy marking - and waves cheerfully at the Chatswood active support bay. Someone throws a loaf of bread at him, and misses; Svensson keeps it, announcing his desire to take it home and bask in “the taste of victory”. Cypher puncture the Bohemians again, and they are really not having a good time. It should have been more than 1-0, but for the heroics of Paige Daunten in goal. Sabrefell Athletic edge out Crisisbless away, a monumentally important game in the title race but holy shit was it boring. ‘One for the purists’, like hell! Gere scored the only goal, but everyone was too asleep to figure out how.

Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Alliance Barossia 2-2 The Strongest
Hackett 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Armstrong 2-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Brookford Otters 3-0 Corvette Maulers
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Iron City 3-2 Gonen's Bridge
South Laithland 10-3 Peregrine
Goodfeather FC 3-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Leichhardt 0-0 Morningstar
Belgrave 1-1 Diamondqueen
Mantlegrove 0-0 Bishop

Uhhh. Really, there’s only one place to start. And that’s Elrik Raskine’s first match in charge at Brookford, a conclusive 3-0 win at home against Corvette. They’re back to basics in a straightforward 4-4-2, Spinnett and Riitsi running the central midfield, Mithradates and Walsh playing well off each other up front as a big-man-little-woman partnership for the first time of the season, Joscelyn Monroe seemingly thriving in a more orthodox, chalk-on-the-boots role on the right wing. The Maulers were terrible, in fairness. Oh, yeah, and the Southrons put ten past Peregrine. Despite a terrible match from captain Gerhard Hartmuth, his blushes were spared by the casual four goals from Michail on her own, even without help from, well, everyone else. Michail even got subbed off 70 minutes in! So much for Rickard’s defensive reorganisation. “We scored three,” he points out on no less than four different occasions post-match. “Away in Dross, that’s no easy feat!” Yeah. Sure. Serpentine condemn Cranequin to a third straight defeat in a scrappy 1-0, while the ‘bougie derby’ between Belgrave and Diamondqueen is a pretty but indecisive 1-1.

Creed United 3-1 Aries Chariots
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Cranequin City
AFC Treason 8-0 Parrhesia United
Starling 3-2 Brinemouth
Stahlburg City 1-0 Chatswood
Southfell United 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Moths 4-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Sabrefell Athletic 3-0 Coret Hawks
Raven River 1-0 AFC Corvistone
North Sabrefell 0-1 Crisisbless
North Laithland 5-0 Crisisbless United
Newrook City 1-0 Cypher Town

Starling vs. Brinemouth. “Everyone wrote us off before this season,” Christian Berg scoffs at an interview, emphasising his words with pointed prods of the table in front of him. “For how many years have people said, ‘this is the year Starling die?’ I have only been here three years, but I know this is the cycle. And I know it’s always bullshit.” Cocky words, but the Passerines can’t live up to them early on; for the first half-hour, the game is Brinemouth’s. Conjure and Soederquist are content to slot it around to one another, their lack of pace not capitalised on as their psychic understanding evades an unsubtle press. All it’s missing is a goal, though Tidesson strikes the side netting, and Kesteren comes close. But it comes. At the other end, from a corner, Alcander Visser beasting everyone to reward Armstrong’s perfect delivery. Brinemouth are chaotic and frantic, and that costs them, an uncharacteristically poor ball from Marcin Close intercepted by Netzach, who drives it forward to meet Nevaeh Cathar’s run, and with a single elegant dink she takes it past Bull. It should be three, but Cathar misses a far easier chance on the stroke of half-time; no matter. Except that Tidesson pulls one back just before the hour, and then sets up Kesteren to drive home the leveller. He’s the man of the match, without a doubt, and looks like he’s saved the Dockers a point! Until in the 94th minute, Roxel wins a thumping header in midfield, Netzach drifts onto it before feeding Armstrong racing past her, the Euran steamrolls past Conjure and finds his space to pick the bottom corner perfectly, Bull without a chance, to make a thrilling 3-2 win.

Treason are not experiencing much drama themselves. They’ve gone from strength to strength this campaign, and an 8-0 win silences any talk of recovery for Parrhesia United. This is a Stags side that rests Corrello, Svensson, Rauch (suspended) and John Fletcher, and substitutes off heavy hitters Jonsson, Va’Afaja and Metzger for good measure. North Laithland eradicate Crisisbless United 5-0, a startling result given that the Spiders have generally been destroyees more often than destroyers. Goalkeeper Stovar Krieven, who of course conceded ten earlier in the season, is overheard by pitchside mics after the fifth goal bellowing “THAT’S HOW IT FEELS!” Creed finally fire on all cylinders to clean out an inconsistent Aries side 3-1, Trabelsi finally back on the scoresheet, while Newrook City convert twenty-two shots into three on target and one goal from Farrell, which is still enough to beat a passive Cypher.

The Strongest 1-3 Vermillion Wanderers
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Corvette Maulers 3-1 Hackett
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Armstrong
Gonen's Bridge 1-2 Brookford Otters
Peregrine 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Chardonnay Rangers 3-1 Iron City
Morningstar 2-7 South Laithland
Diamondqueen 0-2 Goodfeather FC
Bishop 1-3 Leichhardt
Mantlegrove 2-0 Belgrave

South Laithland are on the warpath. Seventeen goals in two games. This one is even more impressive, if anything; Peregrine are terrible, but smashing seven past Morningstar after the daunting trip to Treason is no easy feat. The Southrons were holding onto a precarious 3-2 lead after a thrilling opening forty minutes before Trifon Draxler reacted… poorly, to a clumsy challenge from Novick. Novick had seemingly injured herself in the process, but wasn’t helped when Draxler gave her an impulsive kick in the ribs. Off he went, and as Stars chased the win in the second half, they gave away four at the other end across a bloody second half. Harriet Michail now has eight goals in her past three matches, continuing her Indian summer. Meanwhile, Dartmouth Terriers’ road to recovery continues, hard-bitten defensive effort from the partnership of Muller and Ciernik protecting a hard-won goal, Mersiades finding the tireless Breisgau, who pressed through two defenders to force a shot past Brookhouse and give the Terriers their third straight win.

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

Chenoworth Rovers against Raven River represents a rare chance for one of two terrible sides to pick up points. Catheline Harper’s job apparently lies on a win here, according to some reports, though the club strenuously denies it. Still, it does not look good, despite a recent upturn in performances. The Ferrymen, meanwhile, have committed to keeping Killanen on no matter what. There’s an acceptance within the squad that the club is in need of rebuilding, and they didn’t hire Killanen to fight fires. That said… oooof. River are truly awful, with even their ordinarily best player, Nikita Crowe, harrassed out of the game by Rashica Horvath who seems to be just about everywhere snuffing out passes. The Rovers have gently the better of the first half but are utterly dominant in the second, Ender Fife’s cross met with a crunching header from lithe converted winger Grey Meisler, a desperate latest attempt to find Nya Murray a strike partner with Patton injured and in poor form / Rodgers dreadfully out of his depth / Vithoulkas a baby, before Meisler skilfully sets up Murray with a neat little cutback threaded between Turnbull’s feet and Anselm Koerner, the exciting teenage winger who supplanted Meisler on the right, hammering one into the stanchion in injury time. Donath gets the ball in the net just before that, thinking she’s made it 2-1, and the desperate glee at snapping a scoreless streak is so, so tragically beautiful on her face, when everyone else in the stadium is watching the linesman’s raised flag.

Coret are helping try and put some intrigue back into the relegation fight, for what it’s worth. They’ve mostly recovered from a bad start to the season, helped significantly by former River striker Fiona Norval finding her feet; she scores the opener in a 3-0 win over a terrible North Sabrefell side, shoving them further towards the pit. Diandra Ballard and Fasolt Senninger, both former Treason goalkeepers, find themselves hosting their former club a- oh, wait, we’ve done this narrative before. Except in the reverse fixture the Oathmen won 1-0 to set the foundations for an unlikely top seven push, and now they’re looking the other end of the table entirely. Senninger plays brilliantly, two marvelous springing saves in particular keeping Metzger and Jonsson off the scoresheet, but just as Creed look like they’ll cling onto a point at 1-1 (thanks to Retta Conrad, regaining some of her early form of late), Lorelei Neptune sweeps inside and outside of Agamemnon Wright, who witlessly bulldozes her into the ground. Senninger’s exasperation is so, so visible. Metzger slots home the penalty, and claps his Cormorants teammate on the shoulder; Senninger’s less than amused.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
The Strongest 1-4 Stahlburg Rovers
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Corvette Maulers
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Hackett 1-3 Gonen's Bridge
Armstrong 2-1 Peregrine
Brookford Otters 6-0 Chardonnay Rangers
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Morningstar
Iron City 3-1 Diamondqueen
South Laithland 2-1 Bishop
Goodfeather FC 2-0 Mantlegrove
Leichhardt 0-4 Belgrave

Belgrave’s form has been appalling, and just one point from their past three matches has put Metzelder under intense pressure. Reports suggest she might only have one match to save her job, which, you know, no pressure; it’s just Leichhardt. Metzelder’s side are unusually cautious in the first half, content to just play slow, careful possession, but 41 minutes in leftback Russett cuts inside and drives a fierce diagonal ball through Leichhardt’s heart, Markus Strand takes it in stride and lofts it over the top of advancing ‘keeper Adekoya to make it 1-0, despite a desperate late dive from Colchester that leaves her tangled in the net. Lara Winter overcompensates for the gut-punch, and Belgrave are so, so prepared to spring free and punish the Stargazers on the break, Sloan’s brace and a lightning strike from Matilda Hamilton finishing a 4-0 demolition job. Meanwhile, in Crisisbless, the axe falls. Bishop certainly stood up creditably against South Laithland, but the relegation danger is genuine after yet another defeat. Lukas Pallister is a surprising choice of firefighter, the 61-year old being yet to manage at this level, but he’s a well-travelled and respected figure who managed Project +90 Treason during its existence. Brookford pulp Chardonnay 6-0, and suddenly Elrik Raskine is the most popular man in town. Just by getting the team to play fast and direct and stop faffing, dropping underperforming favourites in Bairstow and Enfield. Could this be the job to revitalise his career?

Stahlburg Rovers 2-0 Sabrefell Moths
Cypher Town 1-2 Pillars of Southfell
Stahlburg City 2-0 AFC Corvistone
Corvette Maulers 0-3 Parrhesia United
Aries Chariots 1-1 Cranequin City (1-2 AET)
Bishop 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Peregrine 2-2 Alliance Barossia (2-2 AET, 2-3 PKs)
Raven River 3-0 Chardonnay Rangers

The most convincing wins belong to two sides seemingly nailed to the bottom of the Premiership. Parrhesia are too fast, and Corvette make it too easy. The Maulers have lost all but one of their last six, and the last four of those defeats without scoring. A 3-0 defeat at home, even to a Premiership side, makes for mutinous fans. River, meanwhile, dominate the midfield against a Chardonnay team that just lost 6-0, young guns Ruby Gjasula and Lothaire Cromwell on the scoresheet. “I really think I could make the step up to regular Premiership minutes,” says Gjasula firmly. “We’ll not survive playing like we have been. And besides, call it building for the future.” Stahlburg Rovers stun Sabrefell Moths with a determined defensive effort, some great saves from Stefan Bolander (unrecognisable from last season! Incredible what a difference confidence makes) and a crisp second-half brace from Corona Sharpe, characteristically in the right place to stab home inside the box. She celebrates both, extravagantly… against her hometown club. A case she makes post-match; “I was happy, so I wanted to show it. Hiding your emotions is for losers.” And the field of likely winners winnows further; the Chariots’ careless finishing sees them succumb to the tight-knit, focused Cranequin City, Hakan Gryspos’ ability to make the most from scraps seeing them through, while Stahlburg City build on a very quietly competent season by outlasting Corvistone, winning 2-0. Cypher are dragged down by contentious refereeing against Pillars of Southfell, though Andrea Vardalos refuses to blame them… sort of. “The appalling refereeing should never have factored into it,” she laments after the 2-1 home defeat. Bishop edge out CNL 1-0 in Lukas Pallister’s first game in charge, a very young squad tested and standing up to the heat, while Alliance beat Peregrine on penalties. They round out a remarkable array of quarterfinalists; four 1Div sides, and three of the Premiership survivors are embroiled deep in the relegation dogfight. Stahlburg City are clear favourites, with the Saints first in their path; win that, and they might have a mouthwatering Stahlburg derby in the semifinal, with the Rovers getting a decidedly soft match against Pillars that ensures at least one lower-tier side makes the last four.

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

Perhaps buoyed by their Cup win, and certainly benefiting from bringing Cromwell in to replace the cooked Leonard and Gjasula the misfiring Donath, Raven River come out to a deserved 2-1 win over Chatswood. Cromwell set up the opener, a beautifully flighted free kick that was too easy for Turnbull to thunder home, and while a somewhat fluky leveller for Chatswood is a kick in the teeth near half-time - Caulker’s cross flicks horribly off Villaverde’s heel, landing in the perfect position for Garrett to opportunistically slot past Taliadoros’ near post - River’s heads don’t drop, and Gjasula breaks free of her marks to drive home the winner late on. “She doesn’t lack for a spine, I’ll say that,” Eoin Killanen mused after the match. “After her little Moment after the Cup, I told her she had one chance; get a goal, or get exiled to the U23s. She made her choice.”

Sabrefell Athletic outlast Brinemouth in a grim, attritional match. Ens misses from a knock, and Coltrane is brought forward into the hole, with a bitter, cynical double pivot of Dominique and Naumoff bullying Brinemouth off their game. Their winner comes ugly, too, a scramble capitalised on by Sipke Tarala. They all count, though. Crisisbless United get bodied 4-0 in the derby, having already lost 2-0 away. Bragging rights with the Heelers, one thinks, who are hot in the chase at the top. Kurtis Laiota rubs it in more than a little, helpfully Twii-ing; “Is the red and black for the blood and bruises?” Responds United captain Stokes, coolly, also on social media; “Wow. You can read?” Close-ish, to the northeast, Coret make the short trip to Newrook and batter them 3-0. The Rooks just haven’t been right this season, and where Bartolnicci was a furious bastion of anger last season, this season he just looks… tired. He’s got essentially infinite credit in the bank, though, so anything short of relegation probably keeps his job alive.

Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Cranequin Wanderers 4-5 The Strongest
Gonen's Bridge 2-3 Pillars of Southfell
Peregrine 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Chardonnay Rangers 2-3 Hackett
Morningstar 2-3 Armstrong
Diamondqueen 1-1 Brookford Otters
Bishop 4-3 AFC Serpentine
Mantlegrove 0-0 Iron City
Belgrave 3-0 South Laithland
Leichhardt 2-1 Goodfeather FC

Belgrave keep on the warpath. A South Laithland side that haven’t been able to stop scoring lately are shut down with almost insulting ease by the Gargoyles, who simply deny them the ball. “My tactics are inspired by my childhood,” Metzelder informs the press. “This one time, I - a rather short lass - had my wallet stolen by two larger, older kids, who just tossed it over my head to each other while I ran between them. It was the most frustrating experience of my life. Anyway, I got it back by hitting one of them with a chair, but you can’t do that in football, so when it works here it’s unstoppable.” Right. Anyway, it’s a thumping 3-0 margin, a penalty either side of a brilliant bit of skill from Aura Keynes (who has exploded into form over the past couple games, Metzelder’s faith rewarded). Cranequin Wanderers drop the shields and lose track of reality in a bizarre nine-goal thriller against The Strongest, a game including four penalties, one saved and one missed, and three foul throws, all from badly-rattled Wanderers’ rightback Hasret Kaveci, who has maybe the worst game any player has had all season despite a genuinely brilliant season. Wanderers’ stopper Konrad Matheny calls it “the worst day of my life.” Bishop’s 4-3 win over Serpentine isn’t much less chaotic, but it’s certainly a good show of force from Lukas Pallister, who has cut loose much of the old guard and underperforming Premiership off-cuts Swepstone and Best.

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

Coret’s recent string of results have comprised two 3-0 wins, a 3-3 draw and a 3-0 defeat. Few expect this run to continue against a Crisisbless United side who cannot come close to matching them on paper but do look so much more like a team under Tim Maitfield, and the Hawks’ sluggish defence looks easy meat for their swift counterattacks. Fortunately, the Hawks have a number of weapons up their sleeve; first, a muscular midfield of Otalia Kasmiir and Juliet Bezemer who can destroy all-comers, and second, the match-up of their winger Atalanta Skapetis (supported ably by rightback Mei Hamilton) against Giovanni Soto. United wanted to move Soto on in the window, but he had no takers, and the natural replacement, Praxil Law, felt slighted that he wasn’t trusted to make the step up. Soto is a fine player when not dealing with players who are strong or sprint or run towards him with mad grins on their faces. Point is, Coret win 7-1, and when Soto is hooked at half-time for the steadier presence of, uh, Bohemians reject Sanders, the damage is done. Already 3-0, though Tanith Carter then strides through on an almost insolently easy counterattack, but Feeney shouts the complacency out of the Hawks and they finish the job. With interest. Atalanta Skapetis might not be around Coret much longer if they can’t hold their top seven place...

Hooray! North Sabrefell break a six-match streak of losing without scoring! Victoria Maersk wins herself some space and slashes, ungainly but efficiently, past Bull to level the scores. Gareth Blackthorn stalks the touchline, Oliver Spencer beseeches the linesman for an offside call that ain’t coming. Then Kesteren, Tidesson, Kuznetsov and Spencer hammer home four more past Daunten, a consolation drilled from the edge of the box by Petrovic is barely even that, and the Bohemians are in serious trouble. Still, the away end defiantly cheer Orban’s name towards the end, and the manager gives them a terse wave before turning back to the game. The Saints probably have the better chance of the two bottom clubs to get out, but River haul them back with a bizarrely convincing 3-0 win; Gjasula again on the scoresheet, Cromwell again impressing, and another teenager in rightback Steed Beister given the reigns to impress at rightback for good measure. Treason face off and edge out Stahlburg City in a cagey affair settled by Peter Svensson’s headed corner, helping cement the great captain’s legacy in his final season, while Chariots winger Elsa Kaelin gets herself sent off for a reckless challenge in a 2-0 defeat to her hometown club, Starling. “I’m not that kind of player,” she’s overheard begging to the referee. Well, it must be alright, then.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Dartmouth Terriers 0-2 Gonen's Bridge
The Strongest 3-3 Peregrine
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Morningstar
Hackett 0-2 Diamondqueen
Armstrong 1-2 Bishop
Brookford Otters 0-1 Mantlegrove
AFC Serpentine 3-5 Belgrave
Iron City 1-1 Leichhardt
South Laithland 2-0 Goodfeather FC

Serpentine have been strong, solid, reliable, this season. Total opposites of Belgrave, really. So their visit is hotly awaited, and soon rewarded with goals, two towering headers from 21-year old defender Natalia Dreider converting set pieces from Lyndis, Connell could perhaps have come out for each but got lost in the crowd. It should be three by the half-hour mark, but through one-on-one with Connell, Alyssa Greening doesn’t quite reach the corners and quick footwork from the Belgrave goalkeeper redeems himself somewhat. And from there… goals from Strand, Katsura and Keynes pull them back in front by half-time, Katsura hits again to make it four before the hour, and they trade blows once more near the end to seal a dynamic 5-3 Gargoyles win. It makes up for a mostly otherwise dull matchday, along with The Strongest three times taking the lead against Peregrine and three times being pegged back; no other game sees more than three goals, nine see two or fewer, and there’s five 1-0 wins.

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

It’s kind of sad when a match confirms everyone’s suspicions; Sabrefell Moths are one fatal year past their peak. There is no pace in attack, the creaking Brix Hamilton is left ruthlessly exposed time and again, and Tahir Fejzuli just hasn’t been able to replicate past successes. Sur Arora has experimented plenty this season, but it’s still hard to argue with his squad selection against AFC Treason. But Peter Svensson… if you can’t outpace him, you aren’t getting past him, and a 33-year old Solara Vol and 32-year old Claudio Romano aren’t outpacing anyone. McInnes finds the spaces bombing fullback Haines leaves behind with terrifying ease, and Jonsson in turn finds her; she scores one herself, sets up another for John Fletcher, before a late kick in the teeth is provided by substitute rightback Rovena Stride, who is really making a name for herself in her increasingly frequent minutes. The Moths were out-thought, outrun and outplayed. But mostly outrun. Still, expect big moves and shakes in the transfer window. And there’s been a curious phenomenon, the past few days, of Moths fans commenting on internet highlights of Klyde, looking with increasing eagerness / desperation at the exploits of picked-up-and-loaned-back striker Cathal Turner...

Crisisbless United just casually pick themselves up like they haven’t been shelled 11-1 on aggregate over their last couple games and dust off the Harriers almost casually, with Caspar Sanders impressing in a full showing at left-back. This is particularly relevant given his direct opponent, Sigrun Rivers, the former United talisman who left chasing glory. That decision looks now like a decidedly sideways move. Bruun, who is better than Sanders, predictably also shuts down Kou, who is worse than Rivers; shut down the Harriers’ flanks and what’ve they got left, hoping Tom Whittaker does something? He manages an impressive little heel-flick to at test Meixner after overrunning a wayward low cross from Kou, but it’s not much of a test at that. Sabrefell Athletic pulverise Vermillion 6-2 in a match where Gere burnishes her credentials further as one of the best wingers in the game and Vermillion’s Konse, well… is a slightly square peg for the holding midfield hole he’s in. A great midfielder, and when the Rage can keep up the pressure, it works great! But he can’t stem the tide here. All the weak teams pick up points; River draw Creed in a thrilling 3-3, the Rovers stun Crisisbless in injury time before being stunned even later in injury time over a 2-2, Cypher get the odd goal in five over Chatswood (Bereveskos continues to be the best 3m they ever spent), Cranequin edge North Sabrefell 1-0 away and North Laithland are surprisingly out-countered at home by Parrhesia in a match that’s great value with terrible finishing.

Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Gonen's Bridge 0-3 Corvette Maulers
Peregrine 3-4 Stahlburg Rovers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Morningstar 1-0 The Strongest
Diamondqueen 2-1 Pillars of Southfell
Bishop 3-1 Alliance Barossia
Mantlegrove 2-1 Hackett
Belgrave 1-2 Armstrong
Leichhardt 4-2 Brookford Otters
Goodfeather FC 1-3 AFC Serpentine
South Laithland 2-0 Iron City

Peregrine manager Matthew Rickard has the privilege of hosting the Rovers, with whom he started his managerial career. Briefly. He’s seemingly hell-bent on showing them what his new side are capable of, storming to a 3-1 half-time lead; Sylvia Janik’s brace aided by a rare goal from captain Stefi Unbehaun. And then it falls apart in the second half as his side just keep pushing for more goals, and get punched repeatedly by a team that is better than they are - Radcliffe and Carsley in particular really enjoy the room, and the Rovers triumph 4-3. The good people of Peregrine are unimpressed, particularly when Rickard proclaims it a ‘moral victory’. The Wanderers of Cranequin peg back those of Vermillion in a grindy match; Vermillion spend the first half trying and failing to outpass them, then the second trying to hoof it long and failing to break past their three centre-halves. Shona Butcher’s free kick clinches it, and in fairness a couple sharp saves from Konrad Matheny late on are needed to preserve a deserved win.

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

“You know what’s damn frustrating?” Daniel Dostalok rises midway through a press conference to declare, unasked for, and not about to wait for permission. “It’s this whole damn narrative about us having no damn strikers. Just ‘cause some offers came in during the window. You know what Starling has? Starling’s got me! I’m one of the Four fucking Horsemen, bitch! I--” The rest of the interview was cut off as Starling’s PR guy wrestled Dostalok to the ground, but he made his point; the narrative that Starling are fucked just because they lost Andisori and Lovelace at the same time doesn’t hold up. He’s shouldered the burden, with interest, and goes on to score two well-taken strikes to overturn a half-time deficit against Sabrefell Athletic. Beating his chest, kissing the badge… his celebrations underline his newfound swagger, one that he wears well. For Athletic, it’s a damaging result in the title race, as the other heavy-hitters win.

Is it heretical to suggest that even without Nephara’s darling, Daniella Strauss, Southfell United are going to be alright? They outplay Aries Chariots easily in a 3-1 win away, what was meant to be a big season for the Chariots just not coming together. For the Tanners, the centre is key; Hemeyer overcame his dramatic early-season slump because he had to, there were no alternatives, and he’s given Kyshoen Nagy the platform to pull the strings. Marlowe’s still scoring but a hot streak from Amalie Gundersen, who pops up with a brace today, has made the difference, while teenage Equestrian winger Laureline Forestier looks better with every match. Creed United pick up a vital 2-1 win over the Spiders as Delphi Barbarouses gets her swagger back, while Chenoworth Rovers’ fans watch on in dismay as a 2-0 lead evaporates to a 4-2 defeat to Coret.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Peregrine
Corvette Maulers 3-4 Chardonnay Rangers
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Morningstar
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Diamondqueen
The Strongest 2-2 Bishop
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Mantlegrove
Alliance Barossia 1-3 Belgrave
Hackett 1-2 Leichhardt
Armstrong 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Brookford Otters 2-2 South Laithland
AFC Serpentine 0-0 Iron City

At this stage, it’s a two-horse race at the top… an assessment that becomes that little bit more generous after two away trips that both turn out trickier than anticipated. Leichhardt visit a Hackett side in dreadful recent form, and play as poorly as they’ve done in recent times. Hackett keep knocking on the door, but Folami Adekoya stands tall time and again, only unable to stop a tap-in from Gallan. In the second half, the Stargazers play barely more fluently, but Woodruff, flying in from leftback, is toppled clumsily by Nicola Wrexham for a penalty Ingrid Auttenberg converts with ease. Leichhardt grow into the match, and a powerful strike from Stevenson is palmed aside by Kewell, but only as far as Auttenberg, who drives it home with glee. South Laithland are similarly sloppy on the road against Brookford, but the Otters can actually punish them for it, and even grabbing the point still takes a late, desperate cross slung into the box by Novick and missed by everyone on its way through to substitute striker Marcia Barron, who bundles home the leveller.

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

“The bleeding has to stop here.” Minka Kranevitter’s words are direct and plain. It has not been the North Sabrefell captain’s best season, not by any means, but her respect for the club is beyond reproach, and she’s yet to miss a league start. The Bohemians have lost nine in a row, and next up are Starling at home. Orban tinkers further, looking for a solution; comes up with the 4-2-3-1 favoured in Blackwood’s day. It’s a good decision. On the day, the Bohemians play with fervour and confidence, dominating the ball and pressing Starling hard, at times. Laramee sets up Cheney to chest down and strike, but the ball goes well over from a presentable range. Hard, but no crime when Cheney spends the entire match chasing down defenders and pressing them into mistakes. Starling just never get a rhythm, and their most dangerous chances come from frustrated midfielders. A strike from Roebling flashes wide, Netzach hits a crossbar, Armstrong forces a sharp save from Daunten, but nothing punches through. The Bohemians do have a late penalty shout, even, Visser and Cheney getting tangled, but the referee waves it away. Not the win they craved, but they’ll take the point at this stage.

The Crows and Brinemouth fight one another to a rather less likely scoreless occasion, Belfast having rather less compunctions about turtling up, and the sloppy, listless draw between Newrook against Vermillion also ends scoreless, Rage keeper Ramelow saving a poor penalty from Brandtner. In Lindmark, North Laithland snap Treason’s eight-game winning streak, and for large swathes of the game they dominate their fiercest rivals. Lilith Thornwood, former Morningstar striker, uses clever movement, strong arms and a burst of pace to strike twice in the first half, and when Paarsimer Jaan’s enthusiastic physicality lets the Stags back into the game through a penalty (this is not a popular decision), Roberts cuts in and strikes from the right wing. Clavel gets fingers to it, sending it rebounding off the post and straight to Matej Beltrame following it in. But the Stags don’t go down easy; Va’Afaja’s diagonal cross from nearly halfway sails all the way to John Fletcher, who heads almost insultingly easily past a stranded Krieven, before Lorelei Neptune slams home the equaliser in the 92nd minute after ten minutes of almost relentless pressure. The Chenoworth derby goes the way of the form table, with the Harriers just too good against the Rovers, even away. Sigrun Rivers scores the winner from well out, a ball that loops perfectly into the top corner from just otuside the box, celebrates exuberantly enough to forget where she is and winds up crunching the fourth official into a bear hug, the rest of the team piling on from there.

Peregrine 1-5 Vermillion Wanderers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Morningstar 0-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Diamondqueen 4-1 Corvette Maulers
Bishop 1-3 Stahlburg Rovers
Mantlegrove 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Belgrave 0-0 The Strongest
Leichhardt 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Alliance Barossia
South Laithland 3-0 Hackett
Iron City 0-1 Armstrong
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Brookford Otters

Any hope that Elrik Raskine would magically fix everything at Brookford has by now evaporated; after Alyssa Greening strikes late to give the Dragons the win they deserve, the Otters are now on a run of two points from their last five games. It’s been said so often, but they need a rebuild… and to keep ahold of satyr midfieldder Lavinia Riitsi, whch they probably won’t. Vermillion’s season has had plenty of dips and valleys, but their strikers let loose with a brace apiece against a hapless Peregrine, a spectacular own goal from Mensah and an admittedly impressive sub-consolation from Selke rounding out a 5-1 humiliation. The boos ring out at Stone Overlook, and it’s fair to say that the Matthew Rickard Experience has not been a positive one. Diamondqueen crush Corvette 4-1 in a match where striker Marko Fortounis (who made his name with the Diamonds in the first place) cuts a forlorn, nigh-abandoned figure up front. The rangy striker scores with the one decent chance he gets, and has won back his place a while back, but there’s just too few flashes of quality in this team. The forces of chaos are too great in north Sabrefell; Belgrave and the Strongest inexplicably cancel each other out in a scoreless draw. The Gargoyles do, however, hit the post four times. The Strongest ‘keeper Cavan is a lucky man.

Brinemouth 4-0 Directus
Northern Union 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Treason 1-1 Raynor City United
Starling 2-1 Holdenberg

Squint, and all four of these could be Champions Cup finals. Fair to say the Nepharim quartet didn’t get off easy with the draw. Directus, reigning champions of Eura! No fewer than three Nephara internationals in their team! Strongbow and Hawke! Well, as any long-suffering Cormorants fan will tell you, having the world’s best winger and one of its best strikers guarantees you nothing. Directus are abysmal, fall apart completely and get blasted 4-0. Northern Union hunker down against Sabrefell Athletic but get punched on the stroke of half-time, Athletic’s relentless offensive paying dividends from the simple and direct way, Tarala beating Chaumancer in the air to nod down a Westerveld pass, to himself, and hammer it past Farrell. Union are forced to come out of hiding and confront Athletic man-to-man, and the inspiration of phenomenon Calindra Apelles comes up with assists for the plodding Brenecian wingers, Garrard and Hennessey, either side of her, but Xixi Ens feeds Oscar Coltrane free on the corner of the box to fire home the equaliser. Treason share the spoils with RCU, Mikael Jonsson scoring against his old club, while Starling overcome an early goal from Holsteiner to beat back Holdenberg 2-1 in the second half.]
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Postby Nephara » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:26 am

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

Take a moment to admire Stahlburg City. It’s not really anything they do against the Spiders, a routine 3-1 win, but it is one supposes the very fact that it’s routine that stands out. Brujah and Dimitar, who still has it at 35, brutalise the Spiders’ midfield, clearing the way for Aurelie Henry to lift the team through driving, creative play on the front foot. Henry strikes first, breaking suddenly and violently through the Spiders’ line, before driving a shot low and hard past Krieven. The Spiders wake up from that point, pressing hard; Prant-Telew bails them out with some strong saves, but Mathis Orsay manages to compensate for Hasek’s lack of pace in defence. There’s little he can do, however, when Roberts drives at and beats Hasek, slipped between the cracks by a great ball from Cassandra Posipal, and slides the ball calmly between Prant-Telew’s legs. 1-1, they’d take that last season, but now? They press on, not recklessly but confidently, and goals from Camille Lane and Isabella Shi see them through, a highly polished performance from young rightback Linde Rostock the icing on the cake.

Coret have scored 7, 0, 4, 0 and now 5 in their last five games as they clean Parrhesia out 5-0 in Vermillion, the Saints finding no answer to sophisticated tactics like ‘fast wingers cross to big strikers’. Elsewhere in the city, the Rage show their fangs in a 4-1 demolition of Crisisbless United. If you were wondering how United cope after losing Tom Garner to suspension, now you know. Sabrefell Athletic demolish Aries Chariots, who despise them but can’t lay a glove on them, by a 5-1 margin. More accurately, Rowena Sierra lays a glove on them after seven minutes and Athletic extract far more than their pound of flesh in retaliation. Newrook surprisingly overturn Starling 2-0 with Jezdimir Ocokoljic playing like the 72-cycle’s Jezdimir Ocokoljic, the player that never quite left but should pop in more often, while a second straight draw for the Bohemians (2-2 with Southfell) isn’t great, but still represents a healing process.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Peregrine 1-2 Morningstar
Gonen's Bridge 4-4 Diamondqueen
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Bishop
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Mantlegrove
Stahlburg Rovers 1-4 Belgrave
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Leichhardt
The Strongest 2-1 Goodfeather FC
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 South Laithland
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Iron City
Hackett 3-5 AFC Serpentine
Armstrong 0-1 Brookford Otters

Yet another axe! This time… Matthew Rickard, who had ten games to shine at Peregrine and managed precisely two points. His tactics seemed to amount to just suicidally throwing his players forward, except against the Wanderers and Leichhardt, where eleven men behind the ball lead to 1-0 defeats regardless. Here, they’re fortunate to come close to Morningstar, losing 2-1 at home with a late penalty from Peck semi-sparing their blushes. Rebecca Kelsey is next in line, poached from Goodfeather’s coaching staff to take up her first management role. Realistically, though, it’s too late. Serpentine are involved in another 5-3 away win, this time coming out ahead against Hackett. Alyssa Greening has been anything but consistent up front for them, but when she’s firing, she’s firing. Belgrave dumpster Stahlburg 4-1 on their own turf with Kotaro Katsura showing his pedigree, and Gonen’s Bridge and Diamondqueen play out a lawless 4-4 slugfest.

Directus 2-4 Brinemouth
Brinemouth win 8-2 on aggregate.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-4 Northern Union
Northern Union win 6-3 on aggregate.

Raynor City United 2-1 AFC Treason
Raynor City United win 3-2 on aggregate.

Holdenberg 2-2 Starling
Starling win 4-3 on aggregate.

Directus, unsurprisingly, make a better fist of things at home. Rowena Strongbow fires home from outside the box, but in effect, Bryger Tidesson’s equaliser pretty much ends the contest. Directus now need six, and Martel-Burns gives them their second, and then gets sent off as Brinemouth get the better of the second half to win 4-2. Union run the show against Athletic from start to finish, masterful game management and lethal counter-attacking combining to perfect effect. Vega Zeale-Riddick has a first-half hat-trick to her name after being pretty much invisible in the first leg, with a towering Horgan header finishing Apelles’ corner, and Athletic’s chances, despite a Tarala goal sandwiched in there somewhere. RCU show their pedigree against a Treason side that just runs out of legs in the last half-hour and gets picked apart for it, while Starling look doomed for an hour before a triple-substitution from an impatient Lisa Amos turns the game on its head; Varina Roebling rifles home a deflected strike to reward Amos’ faith, before the much-maligned Mateo Padilla charges down a ball from de Aea, one that bounces free for Nevaeh Cathar to unwieldily swipe past Andreas Swoboda. The Dockers and Passerines progress. Brinemouth, surely, are among the very favourites of those remaining.

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

When Sabrefell Athletic succumb to a scoreless draw in North Sabrefell that suits the Bohemians just fine, it finally opens an opportunity at the top; Crisisbless host Treason knowing that either team’s victory will put them atop the league. The Heelers have been good, but the Stags have been better, claiming 28 of their last possible 30 points, and they take the advantage in a game that very quickly becomes a shitfest. Goals from Fletcher and Accardi in the first 15 minutes, the latter a touch fortunately off a massive deflection from Teffeteller, give the Stags something to cling onto. Which they do, fighting tooth and nail for the rest of the game. Va’Afaja, soft-spoken and introverted off the pitch, charges Quintero into an advertising hoarding, picking up a second caution, but for the first time all season Kurtis Laiota picks up a red of his own. Airik Ruhl comes on with the chance to be a hero, but barely gets a sniff of the ball; Treason hold their 2-0 win and surge to pole position. Brinemouth hold their nerve to win a historically difficult trip to Chatswood, opening up an eight-point over fifth; now held by the Moths after a 5-0 demolition of the Spiders (who are presumably getting tired of Sabrefell sides…), vacated by Starling after they’re defeated 3-2 by Crisisbless United, and chased by Coret, who pummel Creed 4-0. Closest in the chasing pack are Stahlburg City and Vermillion Rage, who are defeated 4-1 by a rampant Corvistone (Baba Warrington scoring and ripping off his shirt to reveal a vest demanding “TASTE THE BABA”... and then repeating the trick after scoring again in the second half). Aries and Newrook are in the bottom half, but it’s not too late for them to turn it around.

After a 4-1 humbling by Stahlburg City, Cypher Town are the lowest-ranked side that could really conceivably be relegated, but they still have a seven point and ten-goal buffer; if Creed’s mid-season slump continues it’s not totally unthinkable that they could, too, but they’re six further points above. Realistically, though, the bottom six look isolated. Above the danger zone, Chatswood get key players Severa Conleth and Rehan Garrett, not to mention manager Leigh Fletcher, sent off in a fiery affair with Brinemouth; remarkably, even with nine men, Henderson scores a brutally ugly scuff-in to make it 3-1. North Sabrefell are on a run of three games without defeat… and eleven without a win. Cranequin City very nearly managed to isolate the bottom three but thankfully for the presence of a relegation fight at all, a late brace from Nya Murray overturned a 2-1 deficit and helped the Chenoworth Rovers pull within three points of 21st. It also helped them overhaul Parrhesia, who take a respectable point away from the Harriers, and two above a River side that fights valiantly but just lacks the quality to beat Aries Chariots at their own game. Certainly, neither the Saints nor Ferrymen are nearly as appalling now as they spent the first half of the season. There’s intrigue in this yet.

Morningstar 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Diamondqueen 0-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Bishop 2-1 Peregrine
Mantlegrove 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Belgrave 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Leichhardt 2-0 Corvette Maulers
Goodfeather FC 4-1 Stahlburg Rovers
South Laithland 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Iron City 0-0 The Strongest
AFC Serpentine 5-1 Pillars of Southfell
Brookford Otters 4-0 Alliance Barossia
Armstrong 1-0 Hackett

It’s fairly clear by now that it’s Leichhardt’s title to lose, goals from Stevenson and the lesser-spotted August Peacock securing a 2-0 derby win over Corvette to maintain a seven-point lead over South Laithalnd, who keep pace with a late winner to beat Dartmouth. The Southrons, in turn, open up a ten-point lead over Cranequin Wanderers, who are stunned in a 2-0 defeat to Belgrave; they, in turn, have five points in hand over, well, a bunch of teams on 54 points. Diamondqueen are stuck there after slipping to a 1-0 defeat by Chardonnay, Vermillion catch up by beating Morningstar and, uh, Serpentine? Serpentine claw level with a 5-1 demolition of Pillars of Southfell. It turned out that after Lyndis adapted to the pace and power of Nepharim football, she became terrifying. The list of teams on 50 or more points reaches down to 13th, but doesn’t include either Stahlburg (crushed 4-1 by Kathil Mizumaru. And the rest of Goodfeather, one supposes) or Corvette.

Bishop are looking a lot more comfortable after a few wins, unsurprisingly, and Lukas Pallister steers them to a nervy but welcome 2-1 victory against Peregrine that sets them nine points clear of the drop. Alliance, crushed 4-0 by Brookford, are the highest side in genuine danger. The Strongest, who have had a… weird season, endure a scoreless draw with Iron that’s a decent point to take, and Hackett (defeated by Armstrong) occupy the playoff place a point below. Dartmouth and PIllars have the same problem; they can’t score. Peregrine are terrible, twelve points adrift of even the playoffs, and are doomed; it’s five teams fighting to avoid two and a half places.

Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Southriver
Gosmouth Swans 4-2 The Hanged Man
Brokenarch 0-3 AFC Shale
Kommissar 2-1 Riverkey
AFC Rochford 3-1 Corinthians No Longer
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Ballardine FC
Ritter Town 1-3 Locksley
West Brinemouth 1-1 Stonegrave
Boltcroft Thorns 0-2 Sheridan
Falston United 1-0 Barossia United
Aries Solitaire 1-3 Extreme Hills
Greygate 0-1 Coret Rovers
Southriver 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Lazuli Diamonds 2-0 Brokenarch
The Hanged Man 2-1 Kommissar
AFC Shale 0-1 AFC Rochford
Riverkey 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Ritter Town
Ballardine FC 0-3 West Brinemouth
Locksley 2-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Stonegrave 2-1 Falston United
Sheridan 0-0 Aries Solitaire
Barossia United 0-0 Greygate
Extreme Hills 3-1 Coret Rovers
Brokenarch 0-0 Southriver
Kommissar 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
AFC Rochford 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 The Hanged Man
Ritter Town 0-0 AFC Shale
West Brinemouth 0-1 Riverkey
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 Corinthians No Longer
Falston United 3-1 Ballardine FC
Aries Solitaire 4-0 Locksley
Greygate 0-0 Stonegrave
Coret Rovers 2-0 Sheridan
Extreme Hills 2-1 Barossia United
Southriver 1-1 Kommissar
Brokenarch 0-3 AFC Rochford
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Ritter Town
The Hanged Man 0-2 West Brinemouth
AFC Shale 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Riverkey 1-0 Falston United
Corinthians No Longer 2-2 Aries Solitaire
Ballardine FC 2-3 Greygate
Locksley 2-2 Coret Rovers
Stonegrave 2-0 Extreme Hills
Sheridan 0-1 Barossia United
AFC Rochford 3-1 Southriver
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Kommissar
Ritter Town 2-2 Brokenarch
West Brinemouth 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Falston United 1-1 The Hanged Man
Aries Solitaire 1-1 AFC Shale
Greygate 1-1 Riverkey
Coret Rovers 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
Extreme Hills 2-5 Ballardine FC
Barossia United 0-0 Locksley
Sheridan 0-0 Stonegrave
Southriver 0-2 Crisisbless Athletic
AFC Rochford 0-1 Ritter Town
Kommissar 1-1 West Brinemouth
Brokenarch 3-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Gosmouth Swans 1-7 Falston United
Lazuli Diamonds 2-6 Aries Solitaire
The Hanged Man 0-1 Greygate
AFC Shale 1-1 Coret Rovers
Riverkey 2-0 Extreme Hills
Corinthians No Longer 3-1 Barossia United
Ballardine FC 1-2 Sheridan
Locksley 1-1 Stonegrave
Ritter Town 3-1 Southriver
West Brinemouth 2-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Boltcroft Thorns 2-5 AFC Rochford
Falston United 2-0 Kommissar
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Brokenarch
Greygate 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Coret Rovers 6-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Extreme Hills 0-2 The Hanged Man
Barossia United 0-1 AFC Shale
Sheridan 0-2 Riverkey
Stonegrave 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Locksley 3-1 Ballardine FC
Southriver 1-3 West Brinemouth
Ritter Town 1-4 Boltcroft Thorns
Crisisbless Athletic 3-0 Falston United
AFC Rochford 2-0 Aries Solitaire
Kommissar 1-1 Greygate
Brokenarch 0-0 Coret Rovers
Gosmouth Swans 3-1 Extreme Hills
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Barossia United
The Hanged Man 1-1 Sheridan
AFC Shale 1-0 Stonegrave
Riverkey 0-1 Locksley
Corinthians No Longer 5-0 Ballardine FC
Boltcroft Thorns 4-0 Southriver
Falston United 0-1 West Brinemouth
Aries Solitaire 3-2 Ritter Town
Greygate 0-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Coret Rovers 1-2 AFC Rochford
Extreme Hills 1-3 Kommissar
Barossia United 1-1 Brokenarch
Sheridan 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Stonegrave 0-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Locksley 0-0 The Hanged Man
Ballardine FC 1-1 AFC Shale
Corinthians No Longer 1-2 Riverkey
Southriver 1-1 Falston United
Boltcroft Thorns 3-3 Aries Solitaire
West Brinemouth 1-0 Greygate
Ritter Town 1-1 Coret Rovers
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Extreme Hills
AFC Rochford 1-1 Barossia United
Kommissar 2-0 Sheridan
Brokenarch 0-3 Stonegrave
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Locksley
Lazuli Diamonds 3-1 Ballardine FC
The Hanged Man 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
AFC Shale 0-1 Riverkey
Aries Solitaire 0-0 Southriver
Greygate 1-1 Falston United
Coret Rovers 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Extreme Hills 0-0 West Brinemouth
Barossia United 1-1 Ritter Town
Sheridan 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Stonegrave 1-2 AFC Rochford
Locksley 3-0 Kommissar
Ballardine FC 2-0 Brokenarch
Corinthians No Longer 2-2 Gosmouth Swans
Riverkey 2-2 Lazuli Diamonds
AFC Shale 0-2 The Hanged Man

It took until round 26, and a 1-0 defeat to Riverkey, but West Brinemouth can be beaten. Apparently, they picked up a taste for it, losing their very next home game 2-0 to Gosmouth… who in turn subsequently lost 7-1 to Falston, because it’s a funny old game. Realistically, the Gulls are promoted, and have a 12-point lead over a resurgent AFC Rochford side that have finally figured out how to score goals. A resilient Crisisbless Athletic round out the top three, with free-scoring Locksley occupying the playoff place. Beneath them, things are starting to fall away a bit; Riverkey, CNL and an Extreme Hills side that refuse to die.

Defying pessimistic forecasts before the season, Southriver are probably safe, mostly through being resilient and stubborn. AFC Shale hover barely out of danger, while Kommissar flicker between occasional patches of good form (two straight wins over the Hounds and Sheridan raising hopes). Speaking of Sheridan, their resolute refusal to actually score goals has caught up with them, but it’s not too late. It probably is for Brokenarch and Ballardine FC, though, both seven points adrift of the playoff.

Star Players: Rochford’s charge up the table has in large part been down to the Audioslavian grit of their star defender, Mikolas Mendariz, and their vowel-challenged dynamo Traudl Mrdja. Locksley depend on a more straightforward messiah; Marika Kreisburg has real Premiership experience, and that shows with her dominance at this level at all aspects of the game. Too late for the 34-year old to get her pace back, but she doesn’t need it. Julian Alderweiss has been left, at times, brutally exposed in goal for the Hounds, but the former Bishop goalkeeper is one of the most commanding goalkeepers in the league and has been integral to their strong season. Greygate’s shining light in a fairly miserable season that’s seen hypothetical strong point Klaus Petriak totally forget how to score has been Rostyn Malick, their big, murderous defender. He eats crosses like he was born to, which rather hard-counters the next entry; Southriver’s star turn is Jess Mittelburg, an orthodox winger who knows her limits, keeps the chalk on her boots, and swings in cross after cross to Ismaul Hauer, who can put enough of them in.

Managerial Changes: Davina Hutch got the flick from AFC Shale. It wasn’t any stand-out performance, but the results just aren’t coming; the 1-1 away draw against an appalling Ballardine was the final straw. Hard-bitten journeyman Jasper Harlin takes over. Speaking of Ballardine, they gave Diadora Payne the flick after a disappointing 1-1 home draw with a toothless AFC Shale, Lyn Havelock taking charge but probably too late to secure survival.

Downsparrow 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Caldwick Strand 2-1 Long Lake
Riverkey Shells 1-3 Mapleford
Ingram Township 0-0 Kensey Town
Crossroads Town 2-1 Hartford Glade
West Hook 3-1 South Parrhesia
East Laithland Harriers 2-0 Falston Town
Autumnstone 4-1 Sirencall FC
Rochford Pilgrims 1-2 Martella Jazz
Iron United 1-0 Strephonage
Ox River United 1-1 Brindleton
Fully Sick XI 0-1 Sutcroft
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Caldwick Strand
Downsparrow 0-1 Riverkey Shells
Long Lake 0-0 Ingram Township
Mapleford 0-1 Crossroads Town
Kensey Town 2-0 West Hook
Hartford Glade 1-3 East Laithland Harriers
South Parrhesia 1-0 Autumnstone
Falston Town 1-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Sirencall FC 1-3 Iron United
Martella Jazz 2-0 Ox River United
Strephonage 2-2 Fully Sick XI
Brindleton 3-1 Sutcroft
Riverkey Shells 0-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Ingram Township 0-0 Caldwick Strand
Crossroads Town 2-0 Downsparrow
West Hook 3-0 Long Lake
East Laithland Harriers 0-0 Mapleford
Autumnstone 1-1 Kensey Town
Rochford Pilgrims 3-0 Hartford Glade
Iron United 2-0 South Parrhesia
Ox River United 1-1 Falston Town
Fully Sick XI 3-2 Sirencall FC
Sutcroft 5-3 Martella Jazz
Brindleton 1-0 Strephonage
Sutcroft Athletic 0-0 Ingram Township
Riverkey Shells 1-0 Crossroads Town
Caldwick Strand 1-0 West Hook
Downsparrow 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Long Lake 0-0 Autumnstone
Mapleford 2-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Kensey Town 2-1 Iron United
Hartford Glade 1-2 Ox River United
South Parrhesia 2-1 Fully Sick XI
Falston Town 2-1 Sutcroft
Sirencall FC 1-2 Brindleton
Martella Jazz 1-1 Strephonage
Crossroads Town 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
West Hook 0-0 Ingram Township
East Laithland Harriers 2-3 Riverkey Shells
Autumnstone 1-1 Caldwick Strand
Rochford Pilgrims 3-0 Downsparrow
Iron United 0-0 Long Lake
Ox River United 0-2 Mapleford
Fully Sick XI 4-2 Kensey Town
Sutcroft 2-3 Hartford Glade
Brindleton 2-1 South Parrhesia
Strephonage 2-0 Falston Town
Martella Jazz 2-1 Sirencall FC
Sutcroft Athletic 1-2 West Hook
Crossroads Town 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Ingram Township 1-2 Autumnstone
Riverkey Shells 1-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Caldwick Strand 1-1 Iron United
Downsparrow 0-2 Ox River United
Long Lake 0-2 Fully Sick XI
Mapleford 2-3 Sutcroft
Kensey Town 2-1 Brindleton
Hartford Glade 1-1 Strephonage
South Parrhesia 2-2 Martella Jazz
Falston Town 1-0 Sirencall FC
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Autumnstone 2-0 West Hook
Rochford Pilgrims 2-2 Crossroads Town
Iron United 0-1 Ingram Township
Ox River United 1-0 Riverkey Shells
Fully Sick XI 1-1 Caldwick Strand
Sutcroft 1-2 Downsparrow
Brindleton 1-1 Long Lake
Strephonage 1-0 Mapleford
Martella Jazz 1-0 Kensey Town
Sirencall FC 0-1 Hartford Glade
Falston Town 1-4 South Parrhesia
Sutcroft Athletic 1-8 Autumnstone
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 Rochford Pilgrims
West Hook 2-3 Iron United
Crossroads Town 1-2 Ox River United
Ingram Township 1-3 Fully Sick XI
Riverkey Shells 5-0 Sutcroft
Caldwick Strand 0-1 Brindleton
Downsparrow 3-2 Strephonage
Long Lake 0-2 Martella Jazz
Mapleford 0-1 Sirencall FC
Kensey Town 0-1 Falston Town
Hartford Glade 1-1 South Parrhesia
Rochford Pilgrims 2-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Iron United 0-0 Autumnstone
Ox River United 4-2 East Laithland Harriers
Fully Sick XI 2-2 West Hook
Sutcroft 0-6 Crossroads Town
Brindleton 1-1 Ingram Township
Strephonage 2-0 Riverkey Shells
Martella Jazz 7-0 Caldwick Strand
Sirencall FC 0-1 Downsparrow
Falston Town 1-0 Long Lake
South Parrhesia 3-3 Mapleford
Hartford Glade 1-3 Kensey Town
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Iron United
Rochford Pilgrims 0-1 Ox River United
Autumnstone 2-1 Fully Sick XI
East Laithland Harriers 0-0 Sutcroft
West Hook 2-1 Brindleton
Crossroads Town 2-0 Strephonage
Ingram Township 0-0 Martella Jazz
Riverkey Shells 2-1 Sirencall FC
Caldwick Strand 3-1 Falston Town
Downsparrow 1-1 South Parrhesia
Long Lake 0-2 Hartford Glade
Mapleford 2-3 Kensey Town
Ox River United 1-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Fully Sick XI 2-2 Iron United
Sutcroft 4-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Brindleton 1-1 Autumnstone
Strephonage 4-2 East Laithland Harriers
Martella Jazz 1-0 West Hook
Sirencall FC 2-7 Crossroads Town
Falston Town 0-2 Ingram Township
South Parrhesia 4-2 Riverkey Shells
Hartford Glade 1-1 Caldwick Strand
Kensey Town 2-0 Downsparrow
Mapleford 2-2 Long Lake

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 AFC Treason 34 21 10 3 69 26 +43 73
2 Sabrefell Athletic 34 21 9 4 87 35 +52 72
3 Crisisbless 34 22 5 7 69 29 +40 71
4 Brinemouth 34 20 6 8 64 35 +29 66

5 Sabrefell Moths 34 16 10 8 66 36 +30 58
6 Starling 34 16 8 10 58 40 +18 56
7 Coret Hawks 34 16 5 13 73 46 +27 53

8 Stahlburg City 34 14 11 9 44 38 +6 53
9 Vermillion Rage 34 13 11 10 57 49 +8 50
10 Southfell United 34 12 12 10 56 58 -2 48
11 North Laithland 34 13 9 12 61 64 -3 48
12 Crisisbless United 34 14 6 14 39 62 -23 48
13 Aries Chariots 34 12 11 11 52 55 -3 47
14 Chenoworth Harriers 34 12 11 11 44 47 -3 47
15 Newrook City 34 12 10 12 42 41 +1 46
16 AFC Corvistone 34 13 6 15 47 50 -3 45
17 Creed United 34 12 6 16 44 50 -6 42
18 Cypher Town 34 11 3 20 32 54 -22 36
19 Chatswood 34 9 5 20 32 47 -15 32
20 North Sabrefell 34 7 10 17 40 53 -13 31
21 Cranequin City 34 7 8 19 30 62 -32 29
22 Chenoworth Rovers 34 6 8 20 36 68 -32 26
23 Parrhesia United 34 6 8 20 31 76 -45 26
24 Raven River 34 6 6 22 24 76 -52 24

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Leichhardt 34 23 7 4 59 27 +32 76
2 South Laithland 34 22 3 9 73 41 +32 69
3 Cranequin Wanderers 34 17 8 9 49 37 +12 59

4 Diamondqueen 34 16 6 12 62 41 +21 54
5 Vermillion Wanderers 34 16 6 12 52 40 +12 54
6 AFC Serpentine 34 15 9 10 53 43 +10 54
7 Mantlegrove 34 14 10 10 37 27 +10 52
8 Chardonnay Rangers 34 14 9 11 52 47 +5 51
9 Belgrave 34 14 8 12 64 48 +16 50
10 Brookford Otters 34 13 11 10 57 43 +14 50
11 Goodfeather FC 34 15 5 14 50 44 +6 50
12 Iron City 34 13 11 10 32 29 +3 50
13 Morningstar 34 14 8 12 41 44 -3 50
14 Stahlburg Rovers 34 13 8 13 53 50 +3 47
15 Armstrong 34 12 10 12 38 38 +0 46
16 Corvette Maulers 34 14 4 16 46 49 -3 46
17 Gonen's Bridge 34 11 11 12 46 52 -6 44
18 Bishop 34 11 9 14 43 54 -11 42
19 Alliance Barossia 34 11 4 19 37 55 -18 37
20 The Strongest 34 8 10 16 44 63 -19 34
21 Hackett 34 9 6 19 37 66 -29 33
22 Dartmouth Terriers 34 9 5 20 26 50 -24 32
23 Pillars of Southfell 34 7 10 17 26 48 -22 31
24 Peregrine 34 5 6 23 39 80 -41 21

Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 West Brinemouth 34 23 9 2 64 22 +42 78
2 AFC Rochford 34 19 9 6 55 29 +26 66
3 Crisisbless Athletic 34 18 8 8 51 30 +21 62

4 Locksley 34 17 9 8 67 39 +28 60
5 Riverkey 34 17 6 11 40 33 +7 57
6 Corinthians No Longer 34 15 9 10 60 52 +8 54
7 Extreme Hills 34 15 9 10 49 49 +0 54
8 Stonegrave 34 12 13 9 32 27 +5 49
9 Falston United 34 12 11 11 38 34 +4 47
10 Coret Rovers 34 12 10 12 53 45 +8 46
11 Aries Solitaire 34 12 10 12 48 40 +8 46
12 Gosmouth Swans 34 12 9 13 46 56 -10 45
13 The Hanged Man 34 10 14 10 38 35 +3 44
14 Greygate 34 10 14 10 33 32 +1 44
15 Barossia United 34 11 11 12 33 36 -3 44
16 Lazuli Diamonds 34 11 11 12 44 54 -10 44
17 Ritter Town 34 10 12 12 37 45 -8 42
18 Boltcroft Thorns 34 11 8 15 52 60 -8 41
19 Southriver 34 10 8 16 35 54 -19 38
20 AFC Shale 34 8 9 17 25 36 -11 33
21 Kommissar 34 7 11 16 38 55 -17 32
22 Sheridan 34 6 11 17 19 40 -21 29
23 Brokenarch 34 5 10 19 22 48 -26 25
24 Ballardine FC 34 6 7 21 36 64 -28 25

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Martella Jazz 34 24 7 3 70 24 +46 79
2 Crossroads Town 34 21 6 7 70 36 +34 69
3 Autumnstone 34 18 14 2 67 33 +34 68

4 Kensey Town 34 19 6 9 54 40 +14 63
5 South Parrhesia 34 16 10 8 52 38 +14 58
6 East Laithland Harriers 34 14 10 10 56 42 +14 52
7 Brindleton 34 13 13 8 53 47 +6 52
8 Iron United 34 15 7 12 42 42 +0 52
9 Mapleford 34 14 8 12 53 40 +13 50
10 Strephonage 34 14 8 12 45 41 +4 50
11 Hartford Glade 34 13 9 12 52 49 +3 48
12 Rochford Pilgrims 34 13 6 15 56 43 +13 45
13 Ox River United 34 10 13 11 37 41 -4 43
14 Caldwick Strand 34 11 10 13 42 49 -7 43
15 Fully Sick XI 34 10 9 15 49 60 -11 39
16 Riverkey Shells 34 10 8 16 43 51 -8 38
17 West Hook 34 9 11 14 31 39 -8 38
18 Downsparrow 34 10 8 16 33 53 -20 38
19 Ingram Township 34 8 13 13 24 33 -9 37
20 Sutcroft 34 10 5 19 45 72 -27 35
21 Long Lake 34 7 12 15 25 38 -13 33
22 Falston Town 34 9 4 21 32 65 -33 31
23 Sutcroft Athletic 34 7 9 18 41 68 -27 30
24 Sirencall FC 34 6 8 20 39 67 -28 26

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Rushe United 34 18 8 8 67 40 +27 62
2 Crownsend Journey 34 17 8 9 63 36 +27 59

3 FC Seierstad 34 17 8 9 55 42 +13 59
4 Grovebank 34 14 16 4 53 38 +15 58
5 Fischer 34 15 11 8 49 38 +11 56
6 Courser 34 16 7 11 38 33 +5 55
7 Iberia Chenoworth 34 17 3 14 68 64 +4 54
8 Lockheed Zenith 34 14 9 11 50 43 +7 51
9 AFC Hellerine 34 13 8 13 55 52 +3 47
10 Boleyn Town 34 11 12 11 35 34 +1 45
11 Stonesthrow Town 34 12 8 14 38 38 +0 44
12 Ringway 34 10 13 11 47 46 +1 43
13 Fenland Albion 34 11 9 14 38 43 -5 42
14 AFC Feuerweiss 34 11 9 14 52 64 -12 42
15 Harrington 34 10 11 13 57 55 +2 41
16 Besand's Folly 34 11 8 15 42 56 -14 41
17 Chenoworth Teutons 34 7 13 14 38 46 -8 34
18 Stekelenbright 34 7 11 16 51 71 -20 32
19 Sleetwell Rangers 34 7 10 17 43 70 -27 31
20 Camwell Road 34 7 8 19 33 63 -30 29

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin Souths 34 21 9 4 71 34 +37 72
2 Brunyard FC 34 19 9 6 68 48 +20 66

3 New Oakstone Phoenix 34 19 8 7 88 42 +46 65
4 Brookford Vantablack 34 15 13 6 52 32 +20 58
5 The Travellers FC 34 16 10 8 57 45 +12 58
6 Northside Eagles 34 17 6 11 58 48 +10 57
7 Twelvetrees 34 17 6 11 44 36 +8 57
8 Bodkin Road 34 16 8 10 49 32 +17 56
9 Corvistone City 34 13 13 8 44 28 +16 52
10 AFC Volksgarten 34 15 7 12 37 37 +0 52
11 Rookwall 34 12 12 10 42 33 +9 48
12 AFC Davenport 34 14 3 17 41 47 -6 45
13 Gridlock 34 12 7 15 34 36 -2 43
14 Constance Park 34 10 7 17 32 44 -12 37
15 AFC Burchess 34 8 8 18 34 52 -18 32
16 Aries Tigers 34 7 10 17 41 58 -17 31
17 Markoni 34 9 3 22 36 67 -31 30
18 Blaze 34 7 9 18 33 70 -37 30
19 Brookway Town 34 5 13 16 28 60 -32 28
20 Stamper Road 34 5 5 24 27 67 -40 20
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Postby Nephara » Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:22 am

Stahlburg Rovers 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
Stahlburg City 3-2 Parrhesia United
Cranequin City 1-0 Bishop
Alliance Barossia 2-2 Raven River

The chances of an unlikely Stahlburg derby in the final are dramatically lengthened when the Rovers, standout favourites, fall to pieces against Pillars. It’s an eyesore of a match, just because orange and purple look like shit against each other. Heidi Ishtar orchestrates the win, linking up well with her partners in crime from the right wing. Strikes from Talay and Aurtenetxe secure a likely win, along with rock-solid defensive work. City, meanwhile, endure a late scare against Parrhesia, uncharacteristically careless defence and miscommunication giving Quinn McEthinly room to sneak in and drive home a late goal, and 3-2 is a winnable scoreline. Cranequin City against Bishop is a dull affair; Risdon should put aside a strike from Lizzy Addison, but instead parried it forward, so a lurking Gemmill could tap it home. Alliance and River slug it out, Woodloe Cash managing a goal either end, with a late equaliser from Kristian Non giving Alliance hope and an even later ‘winner’ from substitute Jonas Busch chalked off for offside giving them reason to feel aggrieved; it was marginal at best, but River have the narrow edge.

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

Treason battle hard against Coret, and it took until the 81st minute to find a breakthrough with the Hawks not exactly content to just spoil, but they’re still eager to use Dragan Stavanger as their out ball. Nearly works a few times, but the veteran striker can’t quite direct his headers into the corners, and Clavel’s command is strong. Athletic stay hot in the hunt, battering Kaara Iarrow’s goal - really, the satyr did well to keep the score down to three - but Nygard and Ocokoljic show their class at the other end to spice up the opening stages. Crisisbless can’t find a way past the determined Smiths, who are content to secure the scoreless draw… or would be, had Na’Kefir not saved a penalty from Brujah. Twice. Na’Kefir’s incandescent when Longship’s swipe gives Voegel the excuse to fall over, and gets a strong wrist to bat Brujah’s penalty away… and is more incandescent when the referee spots him leaping egregiously off his line. Kresimir Brujah isn’t easily intimidated, but Na’Kefir seems to manage it. The second penalty is terrible, at a comfortable height, and pushed with ease around the post. The Moths batter Cypher 4-0, but it’s an unlikely race to make it to the top four, as incumbents Brinemouth predictably slam Parrhesia 3-0.

North Sabrefell win a game! Not a good game, by any measure, and against vulnerable opposition in the Chariots, who just haven’t quite come together this season as was hoped. Maersk and Kastriot batter the Chariots’ midfield into submission, and Maersk herself drives home the winning blow from distance, a distance one might hope Commerford has covered. He doesn’t. In fairness, the Chariots have been depleted by injury, but the attacking trident of Lazarou - Sierra - Kaelin remains. It just hasn’t fired. Cranequin City have the chance to seriously narrow the relegation fight with a win against Chatswood, but don’t. That leaves Chenoworth Rovers the big winners at the bottom, winning out in the slugging match against Vermillion. Nya Murray lifts the team on her shoulders yet again with a hat-trick, a perfect one at that. Andrea Vithoulkas is the latest non-solution to be paired alongside her, but at least the young local can run. River do get points for style, though, getting hammered 7-3 at home by North Laithland. Eoin Killanen is thought to have a guarantee from the board that he’ll keep the job even if they get relegated. He needs it.

1. TREASON - 76 - 44
2. ATHLETIC - 75 - 53
3. CRISISBLESS - 72 - 40
4. BRINEMOUTH - 69 - 32
5. MOTHS - 61 - 34
6. STARLING - 59 - 20
18. CYPHER - 36 - -26
19. CHATSWOOD - 35 - -14
20. NORTH SABREFELL - 34 - -12
21. ROVERS - 29 - -30
22. CRANEQUIN - 29 - -33
23. PARRHESIA - 26 - -48
24. RIVER - 24 - -56

Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Diamondqueen
Morningstar 0-1 Bishop
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Mantlegrove
Peregrine 1-6 Belgrave
Gonen's Bridge 3-1 Leichhardt
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Corvette Maulers 3-4 South Laithland
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Iron City
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 AFC Serpentine
The Strongest 5-1 Brookford Otters
Pillars of Southfell 0-2 Armstrong
Alliance Barossia 1-3 Hackett

“Sacked in the morning! You’re getting sacked in the morning…” Belgrave’s away fans are in brutal voice tonight, as their Gargoyles pulverise Peregrine 6-1. It’s Rebecca Kelsey’s second match in charge. To her credit, she’s blooding many young players; the issue is that most young players actually good enough for Peregrine would probably have been tried already. Vermillion Wanderers go direct to bypass the Diamonds’ midfield and beat them with a brace from Saara, the unquestioned star of the season, leapfrogging them to fourth in the table; Serpentine, with a draw against Dartmouth, are a place closer but two points further behind. South Laithland open up the title race, a late flurry of goals seeing them overcome the Maulers 4-3, while Gonen’s surprisingly take out Leichhardt 3-1 and close the gap at the top to four. Meanwhile, Elrik Raskine’s Brookford get pulped 5-1 by the Strongest, finally living up to their name, with Hackett beating Alliance to seriously tighten the relegation fight.

Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Pillars of Southfell win 3-1 on aggregate.

Parrhesia United 2-0 Stahlburg City
Parrhesia United win 4-3 on aggregate.

Bishop 0-0 Cranequin City
Cranequin City win 1-0 on aggregate.

Raven River 2-1 Alliance Barossia
Raven River win 4-3 on aggregate.

The Seekers clinch an early goal, Talay clipping a free kick into the box, bodies slamming into each other and Meghan Alsatian, defensive midfielder, scrabbling home her first goal of the season despite having started nearly every game. Stahlburg Rovers batter the door but only one squeezes past Brookhouse, at her near post, in an otherwise exemplary match. “We are going to win the Cup,” Yura Bartok boldly declares… for good reason, as it’s probably keeping her job alive. It’s certainly the only plausible explanation for why Kaj Aurora is still in a job, though in fairness at least she offers entertainment value. The Saints dominate a passive, stolid Stahlburg City, Abigail Teris flicking home a far-post header before a howitzer blast from Adraan Telviir finishes City off. Bishop dominate the ball against Cranequin City but the final touch is always a little too clumsy, too heavy, and Bruno Kezman impresses between the posts, and a stifling double pivot of Lechleiter and Tsolakis stems the flow in midfield. River beat Alliance comfortably, given the cushion of away goals. Quickly and firmly establishing control of midfield, Zalzaria sets up Villaverde for the opener and though sharp saves from Markus Rose kept the score down for a leveller from Imogen Jeweler to introduce some intrigue, shut down by a flicked header from an unmarked Beridze just three minutes later. “She can’t shoot for shit but you can’t just leave her alone in the box like that,” cackles Eoin Killanen in the light of her POTM display, the River manager being perhaps a little too honest...

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

Treason stumble at the summit, in Rovena Stride’s glorious return to her former club. The cocksure young rightback flights in a peach of a cross at an awkward height and Metzger steals in between Carroll and Dmitriev to stab home, and she’s pretty damn happy about it. This goes down poorly with the home fans, who laugh and jeer when at the other end, towards the tail end of a frustrating game, Kou knocks the ball past Stride and simply races past her, the rightback overcommitting and faceplanting in pursuit… better still when Kou then centres for Whittaker to drive home the winner. Athletic blow their chance to retake the lead, looking tired in a 3-2 defeat to Crisisbless United’s energetic press, while Crisisbless’ hard-fought 1-0 win over a stubborn, determined Sabrefell Moths and Brinemouth’s 4-0 cruising over a hapless Creed both sharpen the picture at the top, and more or less close off any challenge to the top four.

Chenoworth Rovers also help enforce the status quo. There’s questions over their first goal against Starling, Nova Kymeri seemingly barged over by Hartley (seeming because she was) before Rashica Horvath turned, played a neat one-two with Grey Meisler and drove a low, pointed strike past Smordal, but there’s no questions at all about the spectacular volley from Nya Murray that really underlines how she’s scored scarily close to half the Rovers’ goals. A great day at the office sours with late goals from Netzach and Dostalok; neither side wins, either on paper or spiritually. Cypher clean out River 3-0 to underline that little bit of quality, mostly star turn Andrea Bereveskos destroying the deputy leftback Molly Killanen, North Sabrefell take a point from Newrook, while Chatswood impressively topple Vermillion Rage with a number of sharp saves from Williams and two goals off set pieces. Parrhesia and Cranequin, for their part, get the dismal scoreless draw they deserve.

1. TREASON - 77 - 44
2. ATHLETIC - 75 - 52
3. CRISISBLESS - 75 - 41
4. BRINEMOUTH - 72 - 36
5. MOTHS - 61 - 33
6. STARLING - 60 - 20
18. CYPHER - 39 - -23
19. CHATSWOOD - 38 - -12
20. NORTH SABREFELL - 35 - -12
21. ROVERS - 30 - -30
22. CRANEQUIN - 30 - -33
23. PARRHESIA - 27 - -48
24. RIVER - 24 - -59

Bishop 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Mantlegrove 1-2 Diamondqueen
Belgrave 3-0 Morningstar
Leichhardt 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Peregrine
South Laithland 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Iron City 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 3-0 Corvette Maulers
Brookford Otters 0-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Armstrong 3-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Hackett 3-1 The Strongest
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Pillars of Southfell

Nerves as things tighten at the top. South Laithland, shut down by Bridge, rely on an 87th minute winner from Nagisa Habane with shades of offside to them; Leichhardt leave it to the 89th before Erik Klempner makes the difference off the bench against Chardonnay. Both managers, Kunde and Winter, talk after the match about how winning while playing poorly is reflective of a champion’s mentality. Alliance, yet again, lose a home match they can’t afford to; this time it’s Pillars getting the better of them, clinging to an early goal from Monika Talay.

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

Oh. Ohh, wow. Athletic lose a second straight match to Corvistone, and Crisisbless are inexplicably cold-cocked 1-0 by River, with Eoin Killanen jubilant in the aftermath and the ‘fuck-it’ selection of teenage midfielder Lothaire Cromwell paying dividends, as he dominates far more heralded opponents and sets up Cardoso’s winner. But no, all eyes are in Treason. All eyes are on the Classic. From Treason’s end, Cheney Bittencourt openly states, “I’d sacrifice my firstborn for a win here.” Brinemouth’s manager is less dramatic, Gareth Blackthorn settling instead for, “We need to win this game if we’re to snatch the title, and I believe we have to. We must at the very least deny them their eighth, and get there first.” Treason’s play matches their manager’s passion, Brinemouth’s their cool composure, and the second is, one hates to admit, a little more effective on the pitch; time after time a Stag goes in sliding hard for the ball, only for their quarry to turn aside and just pass back to a waiting midfielder. In one such instance, the first is Jonsson (uncharacteristically) and the second is Marcin Close (characteristically) to pass back to Evelyn Conjure, who advances with menace through the gap in midfield. Five sharp passes later, and she’s finished the move off, whipping in a finish unmarked from the corner of the box. Treason go hard to strike back, and continue even when they get one from a deflected strike from Accardi, settling for a draw unthinkable given the baying home fans shouting, “KILL THEM OFF! KILL THEM OFF!” But they can’t. Metzger hits a post, Fletcher, the side netting, while Jonsson never seriously tests Ryan Bull. And it’s from an attack restarted by Bull, opportunistically slinging down the flank when surrounded by bodies, that results in the 89th-minute shank through the ribs; the quietly impressive Oliver Spencer drives forward, across the entire length of the pitch, it seems, cuts inside to draw out the impetuous Konrad Vornander only to release Bryger Tidesson with a flick of the outside boot. From there, even at a narrow angle and with Va’Afaja in pursuit, the most expensive player in Premiership history earns his keep. Brinemouth win 2-1, and there’s now four sides at the top split by two points. The Moths lose to Coret and Starling draw with Chatswood; neither are about to catch up at this stage.

The Saints could probably be forgiven thinking that losing 8-0 to Treason earlier in the year was as bad as it’d get. Oh, poor children, how little they know; they make the short jaunt south to visit the Rage. Losing 4-1 at home was bad enough, but just 26 minutes in they’re 3-0 down. Worse still, Saints local Ramona Porter scores two of them, then sets up two more before being taken off just before the hour, the score 5-0; Cassadore, Fleetwood and Hart finish the job, an 8-0 demolition. River draw level on points, and strangely enough, the goal difference margin has evaporated between them. North Sabrefell pull away from the bottom four as Crisisbless United’s attack shuts down, bar a penalty won by Tanith Carter (who can’t do anything all match apart from falling over under some touch from Armbruster); meanwhile, attacking with pace, verve and conviction, the Bohemians strike back with three in the second half to secure a win they more than deserved. The gap from 20th to 21st is now eight points, and the Bohemians can probably start to breathe easy.

1. TREASON - 77 - 43
2. ATHLETIC - 75 - 51
3. CRISISBLESS - 75 - 40
4. BRINEMOUTH - 75 - 37
5. MOTHS - 61 - 32
6. STARLING - 61 - 20
18. CYPHER - 40 - -23
19. CHATSWOOD - 39 - -12
20. NORTH SABREFELL - 38 - -10
21. ROVERS - 30 - -31
22. CRANEQUIN - 30 - -34
23. PARRHESIA - 27 - -56
24. RIVER - 27 - -58

Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Mantlegrove
Bishop 1-1 Belgrave
Diamondqueen 0-1 Leichhardt
Morningstar 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Chardonnay Rangers 1-3 South Laithland
Peregrine 0-4 Iron City
Gonen's Bridge 0-0 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Brookford Otters
Corvette Maulers 1-3 Armstrong
Stahlburg Rovers 3-2 Hackett
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Alliance Barossia
The Strongest 3-1 Pillars of Southfell

Peregrine are rubbish, getting dumpstered 4-0 at home by an Iron City side that just do not score goals. Brookford flare up abruptly and take advantage of a poor performance from Cranequin Wanderers, displaying that, well, under pressure? It really is possible to hurt Jerrell Drake’s charges. Mostly down the left side, where Jaspen does leave space to attack, and the suspended Hasret Kaveci is badly missed down the right. Vermillion and Mantlegrove slug it out, the teams who should really not quite be fighting for promotion, and it’s the Wanderers that win out; the Dryads do strike first, inevitably through Cantra Duprey - somewhat clumsily, she strikes against the post and sort of stumbles into the rebound to sweep it past the sprawled-out Randwick - but never look good value to hold onto it, Pinnon and Zihark hitting back in the second half. And of course, the two at the top continue to climb despite difficult trips away to dark horses for promotion.

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

The top four all win by three-goal margins, Treason retaining their narrow advantage by battering Cranequin City 3-0. City manager Dan Keel shrugs before the match and says he’s happy to be put under siege; Cheney Bittencourt shrugs and says he’s happier to be the one laying siege. And in Metzger and Fletcher - not that Metzger actually plays, he’s given a rare rest - they have the battering rams to bring them down. Athletic cream Chenoworth Rovers 4-1, with the Harriers across town beating the Moths 3-1 in a match where injuries force veteran rightback Lionel Dalton into defensive midfield, where he excels; suffice to say the red sides in both teams get the bragging rights. Crisisbless ram holes into an exposed North Laithland, while Brinemouth are the most impressive of all, in truth. It’s no easy feet getting past Stahlburg’s iron wall, and the Smiths aren’t minded to oblige them by opening up. If the Dockers want a shot at Prant-Telew, they’ll have to find a way past the old warhorse, Ursa Dimitar, who has won a regular starting berth in the second half of her final season. Which they do, mostly by attacking the flanks instead in the second half; that approach pays dividends, Tidesson with a brace and Dragana on the other flank with the killing blow.

North Sabrefell’s unbeaten streak of five comes to a violent halt when Corvistone smash six past Daunten, Babatunde Warrington declaring himself ‘the Relegator’ on Twii.tur after his hat-trick. But that still requires the teams below them to win games, and that doesn’t look likely when they’re all so… so bad. Then again, perhaps River are showing the embers of recovery? It looks bad for them when Coret take them out 2-0 in the first nine minutes, Caracole and Stavanger capitalising on gaping defensive gaps, and it doesn’t seem too bad that captain Nikolaidis misses a sitter in an increasingly rare start. River strike back, Beridze with a neat little flick to set up Ruby Gjasula to strike home - she does, it’s flagged offside, before the linesman puts his foot down and demands the referee obey his judgement. The linesman is wrong, hilariously, but the referee caves to his conviction and the goal stands. So do others, from Cardoso and Crowe and Crowe again, until Fiona Norval’s glorious goal on her return to the hometown club that rejected her is barely even a consolation, and is then waved offside anyway. Skapetis nets an actual consolation in injury time, and is then sent off when Chuy Villaverde picks up the ball and curls up into the fetal position to stop it being wrested away. Skapetis helps the situation by kicking him in the spine. Parrhesia let a 2-1 halftime lead slip away in defeat to Starling, but even they could still stay up. In theory.

1. TREASON - 80 - 46
2. ATHLETIC - 78 - 54
3. CRISISBLESS - 78 - 43
4. BRINEMOUTH - 78 - 40
5. STARLING - 64 - 21
18. CYPHER - 41 - -23
19. CHATSWOOD - 40 - -12
20. NORTH SABREFELL - 38 - -15
21. ROVERS - 30 - -34
22. CRANEQUIN - 30 - -37
23. RIVER - 30 - -57
24. PARRHESIA - 27 - -57

Belgrave 7-3 Vermillion Wanderers
Leichhardt 2-0 Mantlegrove
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Bishop
South Laithland 3-2 Diamondqueen
Iron City 0-1 Morningstar
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Brookford Otters 2-0 Peregrine
Armstrong 4-0 Gonen's Bridge
Hackett 0-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
The Strongest 2-3 Dartmouth Terriers

Belgrave will never be far from the headlines with Adalheid Metzelder in charge, but today she has the luxury of letting the scoreline speak for itself. Istria Saara’s header - she’s been prolific, but scored just six with her feet all season - is cancelled out by a strike from Katsura, a rare Lithe Bronwyne goal levelled by one rather more common from Markus Strand and then Belgrave just keep scoring, until they have the luxury of missing a late penalty and laughing because, hell, it’s 7-2. 7-3 when the Wanderers get, and convert, a penalty of their own, but they take the plaudits and close the gap. Armstrong are just a more boring version of Gonen’s Bridge, but finishing makes the difference in a game where the Paladins don’t seem to dominate but still win 4-0, burnishing a breakthrough year for the rehabilitated Poppey, a disastrous late own goal from Tyw Salling gives Dartmouth the three points against The Strongest, and the top two keep on grinding out wins. That’s good news for the Stargazers.

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

Okay. It’s been a tough run of fixtures, culminating in a 2-0 defeat to Brinemouth, but… seriously? The Moths have lost four straight! That just doesn’t happen to them, or, well, it didn’t. A second mediocre season in a row from Sur Arora, and this time without the salve of being, uh, the best team in the world. So, no, Arora’s in absolutely no danger of the sack; but still, this isn’t great. Treason pulverise Vermillion 4-1, with Ferena Rauch’s easy control over the match just twisting the knife for the Rage. Crisisbless kept in touch, but had to leave it late, and to Airik Ruhl’s arrival off the bench in the 80th minute - with his first touch, he leathered a pass from Quintero past Ruo in the 81st to seal a 1-0 win over Cypher, though Bereveskos forced a brilliant springing save from Na’Kefir shortly afterwards. This leaves Sabrefell Athletic to choke on the easiest fixture of any of them, hosting a stubborn Chatswood. They go ahead early on, a characteristic Coltrane-to-Ens-to-Tarala-to-Ens-to-Tarala passing sequence dizzying Chatswood and leaving one of the best strikers in the world unmarked in the box, Nova Williams luckless in palming his shot onto the inside of the upright to rebound in anyway. No matter. Williams kept them in the game for the rest of the first half, before Athletic just seemed relatively happy to sit on their lead in the second. Right up until Konstanze Luitgard, seemingly a spent force, a 33-year old pace striker, only playing due to Garrett’s injury, took advantage when Heidt’s low cross squirreled under Campbell’s boot, letting her steal inside and thump a strike past Gautier.

It’s a useful point for Chatswood, and recedes their relegation chances still further. That’s handy, because the bottom four decide this is the time to finally start picking points up. North Sabrefell, somewhat rejuvenated of late, have the chance to hermetically seal off the current bottom four with a win over Chenoworth Rovers. But they seem too relaxed, too confident, and for all they stroke the ball around with confidence, the Rovers’ tireless pressing and willingness to throw bodies in the way shuts down any hope of a Bohemians goal. And when the Rovers attack, it’s with pace and dynamism. Meisler threatens with two presentable strikes put wide, Misha Paterson rattled a strike against the crossbar and finally, teenage firebrand Anselm Koerner gets his first league goal, rifling a ball to Murray’s feet, Murray seeing no way past Armbruster but casually laying the ball back, Koerner breaking past the defensive line and going for pure power, blasting his shot past Daunten into the underside of the crossbar and in. Orban finally turned to his bete noire, Sabine Montag, in the 72nd minute. She had the inspiration to cause a breakthrough… but on the day, looked overweight and demoralised. Which she was. Cranequin City force a point in a dire scoreless draw against Stahlburg City, while the Ferrymen draw 1-1 with the Harriers, Abraham Cardoso’s recent lift in form culminating with a thunderstrike from outside the box that left the aging Sheffield with no chance.

1. TREASON - 83 - 49
2. CRISISBLESS - 81 - 44
3. BRINEMOUTH - 81 - 42
4. ATHLETIC - 79 - 54
18. CHATSWOOD - 42 - -12
19. CYPHER - 41 - -25
20. NORTH SABREFELL - 38 - -16
21. ROVERS - 33 - -33
22. CRANEQUIN - 31 - -37
23. RIVER - 31 - -57
24. PARRHESIA - 27 - -58

Vermillion Wanderers 0-2 Leichhardt
Belgrave 2-1 Goodfeather FC
Mantlegrove 0-2 South Laithland
Bishop 1-1 Iron City
Diamondqueen 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Morningstar 2-2 Brookford Otters
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 Armstrong
Peregrine 1-1 Hackett
Gonen's Bridge 1-2 Alliance Barossia
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Corvette Maulers 0-1 The Strongest
Stahlburg Rovers 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers

No team scores more than twice in a tightly contested round. Dartmouth employ fair means and foul to keep a clean sheet against Stahlburg Rovers, even after being put down to 10 men after just nineteen minutes when Forsyth practically decapitates Diebeck with a flying elbow. “The referee bottled it after that. Like there’d be bad optics for another red card or something,” grumbled Reinhard Drake after the game ends scoreless, a great away point for the Terriers. Alliance Barossia take an early two-goal lead against a poor Gonen’s Bridge, before Aldous Moore is sent off for a second caution after thuggishly fouling, uh, Esmond Moore; the Warriors recover and dominate the last 20 minutes, young Alliance goalkeeper Markus Rose enduring a siege on his goal and conceding just once, Olenna Salthouse finding the top corner from just outside the box… but Bridge’s momentum halts when Fyona Matthews is caught badly out with a long ball over the top from Jeweler, impulsively palming the ball away outside her box before Chance crashes into her, and getting sent off for her trouble. Leichhardt visit Vermillion and come away with a 2-0 win; South Laithland visit Mantlegrove and come away with a 2-0 win.

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

“This is a passionate football club,” says Cheney Bittencourt, stating the obvious, “but at times like this, we need to stay calm. One by one, we need to destroy our competition.” Starling may not really be in contention for the Champions Cup places as things stand, but it’s still by no means an easy opponent. Roxel, Kymeri and Armstrong stand over the midfield like titans, and the Stags find it easier to take the ball to the flanks, where McInnes and Accardi drive with vigour at the opposing fullbacks… until Accardi jinks inside Castor only to be cleaned out by Visser and fall awkwardly, badly, and that’s her out for the season. Treason seem eager to swear revenge and press hard over the rest of the first half, finally getting the breakthrough when Va’Afaja’s cross is headed, looping, into the net by John Fletcher. They aren’t inclined to press their luck, though Armstrong and Dostalok both wind up hitting posts. Both sides feel they should have penalties, as well, though Bittencourt after the game feels relief that “at least the referee wanted to let the game flow.” Starling captain Armstrong: “Well, yeah, he would say that. His lot won.” Crisisbless keep up, brushing a floundering Aries side aside 2-0 with goals from Laiota and Quintero, who it’s fair to say hit the ground running.

Elsewhere, it’s a tough call for the sides near the bottom to pick up points against those near the top; that said, some don’t go down easy. Sabrefell Moths claw back some pride, simply having too much firepower for Cranequin City, Romano and Vol reminding everyone that they aren’t quite all the way over the hill just yet with a goal apiece and a thunderbastard from Swansea Reach glossing the scoreline, while Athletic make heavy weather of defeating a Parrhesia side that’s… for once, happy to just park the bus. Radu Bartok puts in a heroic shift in goal, but a lightning strike from Orsolya Gere after wriggling between two markers is beyond him. Brinemouth also make heavy weather of taking down River, and they don’t have the excuse of an away trip. River get an equaliser through Nikita Crowe, finally finding her feet in Nephara (and only after Harriet Novac was given a run of games in the playmaking role, and crashed, and burned) and five minutes later see Zalzaria sent off for a wild challenge on Franz Kesteren. Bitter, Kesteren does eventualy score the winner in the 89th minute, a piledriver after shrugging off challenges from Ruthers and Cardoso, and celebrates the goal pointedly against the club he left acrimoniously in the off-season. North Sabrefell beat Chatswood to draw closer to safety, Zander and Laramee with the goals, but Maersk making the true difference in midfield. Certainly, the goals aren’t there up front, despite Cheney’s undoubted industry. The gap is now nine points.

1. TREASON - 86 - 50
2. CRISISBLESS - 84 - 46
3. BRINEMOUTH - 84 - 43
4. ATHLETIC - 82 - 55
18. CHATSWOOD - 42 - -14
19. NORTH SABREFELL - 41 - -14
20. CYPHER - 41 - -26
21. ROVERS - 33 - -34
22. CRANEQUIN - 31 - -39
23. RIVER - 31 - -58
24. PARRHESIA - 27 - -59

Goodfeather FC 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
South Laithland 3-1 Leichhardt
Iron City 1-1 Belgrave
AFC Serpentine 0-2 Mantlegrove
Brookford Otters 2-0 Bishop
Armstrong 0-2 Diamondqueen
Hackett 0-1 Morningstar
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Peregrine
The Strongest 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Stahlburg Rovers 0-2 Corvette Maulers

South Laithland and Leichhardt can’t both keep winning… not when the Southrons host the Stargazers, and get the perfect chance to lay a glve on them directly. Both sides are normally content to clamp down in defence, and an away draw would suit Leichhardt just fine… well, that gets more remote when a lethal diagonal ball in from Tanner caroms off Colchester’s knee into Reiziger’s thigh, Cass Lazaridis acting quickly to sweep home the loose ball while everyone’s still wondering where the hell it is. Stevenson misses a clear-cut chance soon afterwards to snatch back the leveller, turning quickly but putting his shot too close to Hartmuth, who scrambled the ball away… but pressing hard, the Stargazers do score through the industrious Reiziger, taking a 1-1 scoreline into half-time. The second half falls back into a predictable pattern, the Southrons hammering on the door. Eventually, Lienen replaces Auttenberg in a transparent attempt to bulk up the midfield, but it backfires; without the sporadic threat on their own goal, the Southrons are emboldened to pour forward; Habane puts Somner on her backside before crossing for Michail to head home, before Ulrich Tanner, undisputed POTM, drives hard inside, survives getting sandwiched by Colchester and Woodruff and toebashes the ball awkwardly past the charging Adekoya to seal a late but deserved 3-1 win, blowing the title race wide open. The Strongest really haven’t fired in attack, but even pitted against Gonen’s Bridge’s 38-year old backup goalkeeper, Morgan Bell, one would expect them to grasp ‘shoot a lot’. Laegjarn Martyn is the one person to grasp it, shooting on sight, and one does sneak under the veteran, but at the other end Esmond Moore forces home a bullet header past Alastair Cavan from point-blank range to share the spoils.

Northern Union 0-2 Brinemouth
CA Paulinthal 1-1 Starling

And again, there are no easy match-ups. But Northern Union, reigning runners-up of the Champions Cup and recent conquerers of Sabrefell Athletic, come unstuck against a Brinemouth side that manage to unlace their defence with pace. Always a side that look a little uncomfortable in the driver’s seat, Union sit back and stay content until Considine bundles over Kesteren for a free kick that Conjure breezily bends over a wall of five and past the goalkeeper Farrell. That means Union need, need their home goal, and they never look comfortable in search of it; Calindra Apelles is a subdued figure in Soederquist’s pocket, and Ryan Bull is barely tested. At the other end, leftback Tambor somewhat naively turns his back on Bryger Tidesson and gets beasted by the marquee man, who drives easily down the throat of the defence and chips breezily over an advancing Farrell to seal the 2-0 win. CAP host Starling, having been unsuccessful in luring Union manager Erin Camden away in the off-season; they play hard, and can be thankful for having the bellowing home advantage mean a referee isn’t too eager to pull out the cards. Liam Armstrong strikes against the run of play in the 37th minute, somehow unmarked on the fringes of the box to drag a shot agonisingly out of Gerber’s reach, and that helps Starling grow into the game, find their rhythm… until Camila Soria Luna strikes back for CAP against the run of play with a wickedly spinning shot through a crowd of legs that the ordinarily rock-solid Smordal arguably should have saved.

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

Near the very tail end of season, and there’s some tired legs being put out… a lot of clubs struggling to rotate, or dealing with injuries. So a few stumbles at the top are understandable. Treason, starting young guns like Vale and Carter and a leftback in Bayliss whose time is coming to move on, stutter to a scoreless draw in Southfell, but Crisisbless’ hot pursuit gets caught up against the Hawks as, missing Quintero through a minor knock, they lack the inspiration to cut through. Brinemouth are forced to hand a first league start to 19-year old Flo Eschborn who endures a torrid time in defence in Lindmark, though late strikes from Kesteren and Tidesson pull back an 80th-minute 3-1 lead to salvage a point, meaning Athletic fall behind as the rest stand still as they fall to a 3-1 defeat hosting Creed, with teenage leftback Alexis Koutros run so ragged by Joel Conway that, after Conway gashes her for the manyth time to centre for Trabelsi to stroke home his second in the 59th minute, Koutros stumbles to the sidelines and vomits on an advertising hoarding. The Moths also fall to defeat in Vermillion; to their credit, Starling become the only team of the established top six to actually win, and facing the toughest opposition at that. Mathis Orsay has done very well for Stahlburg City since leaving Starling, but amidst the hype, he isn’t quite a top-class centre-half; losing track of the ball in flight and letting Mateo Padilla slip past him to score shows why, with a workmanlike tap-in from Dostalok completing the win.

It’s too early to say that the top three of the bottom seven are safe, but they took another step closer by all picking up points. Chatswood gutted out a dire 1-0 win in Newrook, Andreu Bartolnicci going mad on the touchline as Chatswood seemed to get away with murder. Even their goal, from Ivana Henderson, seemed blatantly offside… but replays showed the last touch of the ball had come off Newrook defender Perica Zagorec. North Sabrefell would probably take a point on paper, but at home against Parrhesia it has to be said that failing to score is not exactly impressive. Sabine Montag stays on the bench throughout, crossing her arms, smirking. Yeah, she’s on the way out. Cypher snatch a point against the Harriers, both sides scoring a penalty. As none of the bottom four win, Cranequin and River indeed drawing one another, this leaves them four points adrift of true safety… but the fight over 21st and the playoff is getting downright claustrophobic.

1. TREASON - 87 - 50
2. CRISISBLESS - 85 - 46
3. BRINEMOUTH - 85 - 43
4. ATHLETIC - 82 - 54
18. CHATSWOOD - 45 - -13
19. NORTH SABREFELL - 42 - -14
20. CYPHER - 42 - -26
21. ROVERS - 33 - -35
22. CRANEQUIN - 32 - -39
23. RIVER - 32 - -58
24. PARRHESIA - 28 - -59
15 points left to play for.

Vermillion Wanderers 6-4 South Laithland
Goodfeather FC 0-0 Iron City
Leichhardt 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Belgrave 1-4 Brookford Otters
Mantlegrove 3-3 Armstrong
Bishop 0-0 Hackett
Diamondqueen 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Morningstar 0-1 Pillars of Southfell
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 The Strongest
Peregrine 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Gonen's Bridge 3-5 Stahlburg Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers 1-2 Corvette Maulers

… And right after opening up the title race, South Laithland lose out in an utterly mad 6-4 rout to Vermillion Wanderers. Gerhard Hartmuth, normally the safest pair of hands in the league, falls to pieces when Journey Pike’s routine backpass squirms under his boot and into the net, and the game only gets wilder from there. Hartmuth then drops a cross from Farrier that Kovaleski converts, and the Southrons are chasing the rest of the game; 3-1 at half-time, 6-4 by the end, the Southrons looking faintly shellshocked as Leichhardt race further in front edging Serpentine 2-1, hardly convincing but still with the result. Peregrine get the first win not only of Rebecca Kelsey’s tenure but in this half of the season full-stop, edging Dartmouth 2-1. Scorers Snowpoint and Selke really are their only good players; Janik has been a crushing disappointment. Belgrave get creamed 4-1 by Brookford, Stahlburg batter Bridge 5-3 away and Mantlegrove and Armstrong share the spoils in an unlikely six-goal slugfest.

Brinemouth 1-0 Northern Union
Brinemouth win 3-0 on aggregate.

Starling 2-1 CA Paulinthal
Starling win 3-2 on aggregate.

The Dockers, almost smugly, never lose control on home soil. They don’t press hard for a killer blow against Union, let the ball do the work, and don’t try and force anything. A goal arrives anyway, Kuznetsov stooping to flick a header over the top of Farrell, onto the crossbar, but Tidesson smashes home on the follow-through. Starling’s early nerves are settled when Annika Netzach slips through Asghar to lay a beautiful low cross, splitting the difference between veterans Gerber and Beath, neither getting there before Nevaeh Cathar can push on the afterburners and prod the ball past Gerber. Varina Roebling doubles their advantage, taking advantage of a sporadic start to strut her stuff with a series of shots. One goes into the sky, one shaves the crossbar, one thuds into the post and one shaves the inside on its way in; Roebling looks decidedly smug, it has to be said, but deserves to. Ragnar Targaryen pulls one back at the death, and attempting to stop a lethal second away goal in injury time, Lyre Castor takes one for the team with an unapologetic professional foul, cleaning out Targaryen with the veteran bearing down on goal late on. She’s sent off, but applauds the fans on her way out, and they applaud back; the free kick thuds into the wall, Kymeri reacts quickly to hoof it clear and Starling have made it to the semis.

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

There was always going to be one match to watch, one clear big ticket; yes, Starling’s 2-2 draw with the Moths was quality, but realistically it’s a scrap for 5th given undercard status. And honestly, the Moths’ wretched recent record makes that a disappointing result for the Passerines, if anything. No, eyes go to the northwest, where Treason host Sabrefell Athletic. The Rams’ chances of securing the title are receding by the hour, but realistically, they’re still a dangerous opponent for the Stags. They go hammer and tongs for the throat, and Treason seem off-balance, off-key, unsettled. Clavel has to be at his best to stop a point-blank header from Tarala, who kicks himself for even giving Clavel the chance, before Coltrane and Gere both narrowly miss the target after squeezing past their markers. Inexplicably, it’s still scoreless at half-time, and while the Stags have had their chances it still seems fair and just when Tarala forces another springing save from Clavel, who can only palm it into the path of partner in crime Xixi Ens. Ens then sets up Bryony Westerveld to spring by Va’Afaja, a heavy first touch almost butchering the chance before at the last moment jinking it to Clavel’s side and swiping the ball inelegantly into the empty net. But in the second half, the determined Stags claw their way back, a header off a corner from Svensson followed up just three minutes later when a twisting run from Lysistrata Carter gives her the space to … no, not go for only her second Premiership goal, but pull the ball back unselfishly for an unmarked Jonsson to slam home the leveller. Kaya Naumoff is sent off just five minutes later, and then it’s Athletic clawing for survival in the final fifteen minutes. Through no less than two brilliant last-ditch tackles from Sigismund, and a couple of great saves from Gautier, they manage it. A point suits neither side; Athletic are probably out of the race, as Crisisbless edge out Chenoworth Harriers with an injury-time winner from Allison Swan, and Brinemouth cruise to a 4-0 beating of Cypher. All three level on points, and the Dockers pull above the Heelers on goals scored.

The situation sharpens into focus at the bottom, as two more clubs confirm their safety with wins over midtable sides with nothing to prove. Andrea Prentice, an underrated mastermind in a workmanlike Chatswood side, orchestrates a 3-1 win over Crisisbless United without scoring herself, or even directly laying on an assist; she’s still declared POTM, as is North Sabrefell’s nuclear option, Sabine Montag, whose brace fires the Bohemians to survival. That only leaves Cypher in hypothetical danger, but realistically, do any of the idiots beneath them look likely to reach 42 points in four more games? No, none of them even score this round. for the Rovers and Cranequin City that means routine 2-0 defeats at home in winnable games; for River, a 6-0 demolition at the hands of a Vermillion side that overruns the midfield and does as they please from there. Long-suffering goalkeeper Althea Taliadoros just has her hands on her hips and a helpless expression by the end. Parrhesia split the points with Newrook after a game that’s frankly 2Div quality at times, but they need three if they’re to stay up.

1. TREASON - 88 - 50
2. BRINEMOUTH - 88 - 47
3. CRISISBLESS - 88 - 47
4. ATHLETIC - 83 - 54
20. CYPHER - 42 - -30
21. ROVERS - 33 - -37
22. CRANEQUIN - 32 - -41
23. RIVER - 32 - -64
24. PARRHESIA - 29 - -59
12 points left to play for.

Iron City 1-4 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 1-2 South Laithland
Brookford Otters 1-2 Goodfeather FC
Armstrong 1-0 Leichhardt
Hackett 1-5 Belgrave
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Mantlegrove
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 Bishop
The Strongest 0-1 Diamondqueen
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Morningstar
Stahlburg Rovers 4-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Peregrine
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 Gonen's Bridge

Leichhardt fall flat in probably the most relevant ninety minutes Armstrong have spent all season; certainly, Southrons fans will be happy enough that the terminal midtable nothing side remain. And the Paladins are good value for a 1-0 win. Brogan Poppey curled a hefty blow around Adekoya 26 minutes in, thumping meatily off the inside of the post on its way in, and both Kohr and Rosenstiel came close in the second half. For the most part, though, they were happy to sit on and maintain their lead. South Laithland pull three points back, leaving it late to beat Serpentine 2-1. Stahlburg Rovers pull something from nothing to blow Chardonnay away 4-0, strikers Corona Sharpe and Dulcina Radcliffe with a brace apiece. Foreign statisticians attempt to suggest that the ‘expected goals’ of the teams evened out at around 1.3 each, and that it was essentially a matter of luck. Sharpe takes exception to this, with a loud and explosive Twii rant, a thread lasting nine messages and a lot of swearing. Belgrave clean out Hackett 5-1, Katsura running rampant, while at the bottom, Pillars are the big winners as Monika Talay puts one set piece in each half into each top corner to take down a dominant Bishop side that can’t finish. Sorry, that are ‘unlucky’.

Pillars of Southfell 0-2 Parrhesia United
Cranequin City 2-0 Raven River

Bizarrely, all four semifinalists are odds-on for relegation, and in Pillars’ case that isn’t even from the top flight. But they fail to match the intensity of an unusually driven Parrhesia United, their aging fullbacks destroyed by Fohler and Barota. Both wingers threaten constantly, but none of their shots across Brookhouse’s bows hit. More damaging still, they have no answer in midfield for mastermind Adele Rosborough, who sets up McEthinly and Telviir to strike the winning blows. Radu Bartok has little to do between the posts; having won his place as league goalkeeper, he’s still retained his initial brief by starting every Cup match. Cranequin City also give themselves a massive advantage, the crisp finishing of Hakan Gryspos something that River can only look at and sigh with envy. Frieda Pearce also acquits herself well with some sharp saves in the second half to keep them in the contest, but they just can’t trouble Ledo the same way at the other end.

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

Treason make short of a North Sabrefell side that press hard with intensity and actually score first, Simone Cheney charging down an overly casual Angel Clavel to knee the ball into the unguarded net. It doesn’t last, second-half goals from McInnes, Mastiff and Fraser securing victory. This leaves the Stags looking to Crisisbless, hosting Brinemouth. No matter what happens, the Stags’ position improves as a result. A cagey first half seems to play into Crisisbless’ hands, Maeve Bronte fighting fires with Maia Abylon seeming to be everywhere and, bless her, seemingly shooting on sight to try and break open the deadlock. She doesn’t force anything from Bull, while Desya Kuznetsov squirms free to fire a loose ball hard on target that Na’Kefir reacts brilliantly to keep out with a flying knee. Crisisbless don’t heed the warning. They need a goal, and think they have one when Marisha Staunton celebrates a rare goal, but the flag is up - she controlled Abylon’s pass with her bicep, before rifling past Bull. Brinemouth sharpen up, and prove far less careless in front of goal. Hell, Desya Kuznetsov even gets an assist! Albeit not voluntarily. When Woakes tries and fails to whirl past two men, Soederquist stabs the loose ball to Conjure, who just takes a second to size up her options and go route-one, bypassing Crisisbless’ double pivot to find the Audioslav. The ball bounces once before Kuznetsov lets loose, and again Na’Kefir lunges across to get fingertips to it! The ball spins wildly off the upright, and Na’Kefir looks back, thinking he’s done enough… until, from seemingly nowhere, Tidesson outsprints the veteran Lohengrin to smash home the rebound and triumphantly rip his shirt off, surging into the away end. Crisisbless attack ferociously in the final stages, but the desperation seems to make them careless. Laiota misses a sitter late on, and punches the post hard enough to break a finger; that just about sums up the day for the Heelers. Still. They’re just three points behind. Athletic are still further behind, and almost certainly out of the race after slumping to another 2-2 draw. Stahlburg City lead them 1-0 at half-time, Athletic think they’ve fired back with what they think should be a Sipka Tarala hat-trick, but the third is ruled offisde. Worse still, just a minute later, an awkward high ball is knocked down from Shi to Henry, who twists free of her marker and fires home the equaliser.

Cypher Town just look so, so tired. It’s well-known that Andrea Vardalos doesn’t like to rotate, but her charges are plainly exhausted as they host Cranequin City and it costs them the chance to secure their safety. Lax marking from a corner allows Satotxe to head home the first, an own goal from Foerster makes it worse and while Andrea Bereveskos’ standard moment of individual brilliance sets up Weiss to pull an undeserved goal back in the 61st minute, Madine gets sent off for a second caution just five minutes later. Hakan Gryspos finishes the job in injury time. The Chariots and Crisisbless United are the kind of midtable teams with nothing to play for that should really represent opportunity for the relegation battlers, albeit for the Chariots this represents a hugely disappointing season and for United comfortable safety. But Aries still have enough heart in them to overturn a 2-1 half-time deficit to a flaky Rovers side, perhaps enlivened by being jeered off by their own fans, youngish guns Ruskin and Strausz the catalyst for the turnaround. Parrhesia take the lead over the Chequers just three minutes in, lively leftback Zohar Vandermark looping a huge diagonal switch that evades everyone except Fohler, sprinting in at the far post to smash home from two yards. She almost misses - the ball slams into the underside of the crossbar before going in. River get cleaned out by Starling, and now lie bottom.

1. TREASON - 91 - 52
2. BRINEMOUTH - 91 - 48
3. CRISISBLESS - 88 - 46
4. ATHLETIC - 84 - 54
20. CYPHER - 42 - -32
21. CRANEQUIN - 35 - -39
22. ROVERS - 33 - -38
23. PARRHESIA - 32 - -58
24. RIVER - 32 - -67
9 points left to play for.

Vermillion Wanderers 4-1 AFC Serpentine
Iron City 1-1 Brookford Otters
South Laithland 3-0 Armstrong
Goodfeather FC 4-0 Hackett
Leichhardt 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Belgrave 3-0 Pillars of Southfell
Mantlegrove 4-3 The Strongest
Bishop 1-3 Dartmouth Terriers
Diamondqueen 2-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Morningstar 1-2 Corvette Maulers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Peregrine 0-3 Gonen's Bridge

A second straight 4-1 win for Vermillion, on the back of the bloodbath against the Southrons. Fourteen goals in three games, and Istria Saara’s netted five of them. One imagines she’ll be in the Premiership next season, with or without the Wanderers… There’s little intrigue to be found, with many convincing and easy victories. Gonen’s pulverise Peregrine 3-0 if that’s even an achievement anymore, the resurgent Belgrave shove one of Pillars’ feet into the grave with a 3-0 win of their own, Leichhardt beat Alliance 2-0 without allowing them a shot on target and South Laithland keep pace by defeating Armstrong, their new favourite club, 3-0 (again), and Goodfeather smash Hackett 4-0. Bishop are on a grim winless run, and the last three matches in particular have seen them hand points over to relegation candidates. Dartmouth Terriers are the latest, but worse still for Bishop is throwing away a 1-0 margin at half-time. They fail to mark a corner, Canady gives away a penalty, Huyton misses a sitter she really should level with and a miscommunication between Reiss and Mincham lets Lorraine Paintblack steal between them and stab past the… underwhelmed Frey Strom. Mantlegrove and the Strongest rip shreds into each other, but despite conceding three, Dryads keeper Ilon Venator deserves immense credit for a couple of spectacular saves with an agility belying a 33-year old that kept Mantlegrove’s noses in front late on.

Parrhesia United 2-2 Pillars of Southfell
Parrhesia United win 4-2 on aggregate.

Raven River 0-1 Cranequin City
Cranequin City win 3-0 on aggregate.

For just a while, it seems like the Saints really are going to choke it away. After a dull first half dominated in possession and territory by the hosts, one of the first events of the second sees a corner from Talay flicked on by Prosper and bundled home by an unmarked Elon Cisneros, hauling the Seekers back into the tie. Six minutes later, a sluggish pass from Symond murders a long spell of Saints pressure and, worse, is hoofed into space by Prosper. Into the space where rightback Symond isn’t, and Amine Raihani is. The Barbary winger takes it in stride, and rather than just centre for Aurtenetxe to convert the easy chance, does it the hard way, cuts viciously inside Altman and fires past Bartok’s near post. The other Bartok, Yura, is elated in the opposing dugout. It doesn’t last; Rosborough impatiently tries her luck given an inch of space from midfield and beats a stranded Brookhouse, and Zohar Vandermark pops up with a late leveller that seals the tie. Fewer thrills in Sabrefell, where a limp River don’t put up a fight against City. Disappointing, though it’s remarkable that both sides put out their best XIs, seemingly resigned to relegation or just trying to squeeze blood from stones.
WCC Grand Slam champion.
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Arlington City 0-3 Brinemouth
Bastion 0-0 Starling

Brinemouth return triumphantly to Arlington! The Zwangzug side fought Brinemouth to two breathless 2-2 draws in the group stages, the only points the Dockers dropped. This… does not happen the same way again. The Dockers are taking no chances, rolling out a full-strength side, presumably to get the tie over and done with, and realistically, they do. Kuznetsov’s brace sandwiches a towering header from Tidesson, who has really made this his year, and an off-balance City can’t get a foothold back in the game. Bastion host Starling, and despite a lot of high-octane running around… not a lot happens. Visser nearly scores a freakish own goal when Jan Gersten’s cross is dramatically heel-flicked into the crossbar, but that’s about all of worth.

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

Exhaustion at the top. Treason have a history with Newrook City, or rather, Newrook’s history includes Treason. But then, whose doesn’t? A while back, Newrook beat Treason to win the Cup and deny the Stags the double… the week after getting relegated from the Premiership. Supposedly it’s a story like that that helped attract Jezdimir Ocokoljic to the club. He’s injured today, but unfortunately for the Stags, Newrook have found in Ronan Fallon a brute willing to knit together the midfield. 0-0 the final score, a number of scrambling saves from Kaara Iarrow. Similarly, Brinemouth are worn down by Coret with an unchanged lineup to the side that beat down Arlington days back, allowing Crisisbless to claw back some ground with an easy 2-0 win over Cranequin City. This leaves the Sabrefell derby, and this… this is a grim, spiteful, bitty affair. It reflects Athletic’s rapidly falling title aspirations, the Moths’ failure to even reach the top four. Only Tawny Shone seems to be having a good time, kicking people merrily all night, but it ends scoreless, complete with Claudio Romano winning and then skying a penalty. It’s officially over for the Stags, but it’s anyone’s game.

The formality of Cypher’s survival is finally secured after a 2-2 draw against Vermillion, Coretta Rooke’s pace twice gashing their open opponents, who are congratulatory after the final whistle as the Eagles slump to the ground. Andrea Vardalos just made survival look easy, even after having to hand eleven starts to Anton Roben, or considering Goldleague flop Morgan Halfhill a marquee acquisition. In fairness, Halfhill has made massive strides since being forced into the deep end here. Well, in any case, it’s now about 21st, a position that Chenoworth Rovers consolidate with a solid 1-0 win in Chatswood, Leigh Fletcher compromising the relegation fight by resting a bunch of her exhausted best players… predictably there’s an outcry from the other relegated teams, to which Fletcher curtly replies, “Their fates were in their own hands when the season started. I won’t have them blaming us for their predicament.” And in fairness they are pretty wretched. River very nearly hold out for a point against Southfell in the rare sight of a Sabrefell downpour, but Erik Marlowe rounds a despairing, sliding Zalzaria, curls a shot beyond Taliadoros and shrugs to further damn their near neighbours. The Saints, meanwhile, clamber as close to potential safety as they’ve been since the early embers of the season; a careless Corvistone are opened up too easily by a relentless seven-man assault on all fronts, goals from Bastia Fohler (dreadful early in the season, restored to the team recently after a Teris injury and much-improved), McEthinly and Vandermark sealing a victory.

1. TREASON - 92 - 52
2. BRINEMOUTH - 92 - 48
3. CRISISBLESS - 91 - 48
21. ROVERS - 36 - -37
22. CRANEQUIN - 35 - -41
23. PARRHESIA - 35 - -56
24. RIVER - 32 - -68
6 points left to play for.

Brookford Otters 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Armstrong 3-0 AFC Serpentine
Hackett 1-1 Iron City
Alliance Barossia 2-1 South Laithland
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Goodfeather FC
The Strongest 1-2 Leichhardt
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Belgrave
Stahlburg Rovers 1-4 Mantlegrove
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Bishop
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Diamondqueen
Gonen's Bridge 1-2 Morningstar
Peregrine 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers

The picture is thinning, and the Southrons blink again; Leichhardt are tight and punish The Strongest’s errors ruthlessly, even with Ernie Stevenson’s hand bandaged up - accident with a fire pit, apparently, around the qualifying draw - while South Laithland are undone by an energetic Alliance, playing with verve. Imogen Jeweler, who has come alive with the keys to Alliance’s midfield, lays on assists for Non and Berisha, and Markus Rose makes no less than five excellent saves. And a couple routine ones, for good measure. Mantlegrove keep up the style, four wins in an unbeaten five, now blowing Stahlburg Rovers away and hauling them out of the promotion picture, and Cranequin’s dull 1-0 win over their promotion rivals, Diamondqueen, is hugely significant… and keeps Belgrave looking good, despite stumbling to a draw with Dartmouth. Hackett pick up a point against nearby Iron City, but realistically, the Merry Boys are looking for three. Bishop arrest their dramatic slide to confirm their safety with a vicious smash-and-grab win over Corvette, who are sad and terrible.

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

Inexorable. There has been no other word to describe the hunt for the title between Treason and Brinemouth. The Stags stay in pole position, pulverising Crisisbless United 6-0. Aristide Metzger, that laughing man, with a hat-trick. Brinemouth are more measured… extending a run to 17 games unbeaten after a 4-0 win over Chenoworth Harriers. It might be Alyss Montague’s last game for the club, but she rolls back the years with a goal and two assists as the Harriers’ soft centre caves in. And Crisisbless? Crisisbless draw 1-1 with Vermillion, their heeling instinct kicking in at long last, dealing themselves out of the title race. Athletic round out the top ten, and are safe there; Starling, following a hard-fought 1-0 win over Cypher, now have an eight-point buffer beneath Athletic and an eight-point buffer above the Moths, who at least edge out the Bohemians. Defeat for Coret potentially cracks open the top seven… except Stahlburg City fold in Newrook. The home fans there aren’t exactly delighted to do their rivals a solid, there. Stahlburg can technically make seventh still, but they’re looking at something like a 24-0 win to do so.

Coret’s downfall came at home, at the hands of a driven and bitterly determined Cranequin City who held firm for eighty minutes and punched back twice late on, through Gemmill and Skiff, late on; Gyenis hit the crossbar with the last kick of the game, underlining that this was no fluke. Unfortunately, it’s the same three points as those rather less impressively won, Chenoworth Rovers just outlasting Parrhesia. Anders Rowett’s goal was peppered with shots all game, but he was rarely seriously tested; Radu Bartok had little to do, but was helpless to act when Rowell’s cross found the diving header of Meisler at the far post. The former Athletic forward slammed shoulder-first into the post, and crumpled into a heap. Patton replaced her, but she’ll be fit for the finale, with the Rovers in the driving seat. The Saints fought back valiantly and even had a creditable penalty shout from Bastia Fohler turned down near the death, which had the normally amiable Kaj Aurora throwing a clipboard at the fourth referee’s head (she escaped punishment by claiming it was an accident); it’s no use. They lose 1-0, and finally slip out of the league. So, too, do River, spirited but ultimately fatally limited in a 2-1 defeat to Athletic, brash young striker Gjasula celebrating her late consolation with rather too much enthusiasm given the circumstances.

Vermillion Wanderers 2-0 Armstrong
Brookford Otters 3-2 Hackett
AFC Serpentine 4-3 Alliance Barossia
Iron City 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
South Laithland 3-0 The Strongest
Goodfeather FC 2-3 Dartmouth Terriers
Leichhardt 3-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Belgrave 4-1 Corvette Maulers
Mantlegrove 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Bishop 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Diamondqueen 5-1 Peregrine
Morningstar 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers

There’s many exciting possibilities for a title race should results go a certain way, and the Southrons do their part with a cruisy 3-0 win over the Strongest. In Leichhardt, however, the match swings; Dulcina Radcliffe opens the scoring for Stahlburg Rovers, and the Southrons can hope. Ernie Stevenson clips a backheeled flick over Bolander where a simple sidefoot would do, and then gets bundled over for a penalty… which Hartmuth beats away. Leichhardt do claim the lead off a corner, somehow nobody minding Mahe Beitar, before veteran Mariska Woodspur fires home low from distance to make it 3-1. Lance Diebeck strikes back from a set piece, and Sharpe and Morgan come close, but… the final whistle blows, and Leichhardt have won the league! Nobody could say they didn’t deserve it. Cranequin Wanderers are secure in third and defeat today to Mantlegrove (in their red-hot form) doesn’t damage them, while Belgrave batter Corvette 4-1 to stay in the playoff place, with Vermillion beating Armstrong 2-0 to stay in hot pursuit.

Alliance’s slim chances of relegation are extinguished despite defeat to a Serpentine side in a tailspin, a spectacular 4-3 scoreline followed by a party atmosphere at both ends, grateful enough to have survived. There’s a late surge beneath them, and after Dartmouth’s come-from-behind 3-2 triumph over Goodfeather and Pillars grind out a scoreless draw against Iron, there’s now three sides locked on 45 points. Hypothetically, Hackett could join them… but an injury-time heartbreaker from hit-and-miss Otters winger Granit Nizarut ensured that Hackett are three points adrift and… and too many goals away. Peregrine, dumpstered 5-1 by Diamondqueen, will not be missed. Nobody expected them to be good, but this bad?

Brinemouth 4-1 Arlington City
Brinemouth win 7-1 on aggregate.

Starling 1-0 Bastion
Starling win 1-0 on aggregate.

Arlington do their best, but again just can’t replicate their earlier resilience as a Dockers side in a terrifying rhythm swat their opponents aside, even with extensive rotation made. They get a little more help from the flaky Arlington goalkeeper, Fahrenthold, a hero of the groups but a liability here. Bastion’s defensive midfielder, a certain Monica Rowland, gets a… an… let’s say an enthusiastic welcome in Starling. Someone throws a pumpkin at her, which ultimately explodes a couple of metres away from her and has to be rushed off by ball boys. The Passerines shade the cagey affair but never look comfortable, a grass-cutter from Liam Armstrong diverted with a clever little dink from Nevaeh Cathar, leaving acrobatic but callow Matthew Tyler springing helplessly the wrong direction. Twice, Avelione gets the opportunity to redress the balance, one-on-one with Smordal… twice, the Vanorian goalkeeper holds firm to deny what would be the fatal away goal. And with that… yes, that is an all-Nepharim final in the DIT!

Southriver 0-1 Greygate
Aries Solitaire 1-2 Coret Rovers
Falston United 3-0 Extreme Hills
Boltcroft Thorns 0-0 Barossia United
West Brinemouth 1-0 Sheridan
Ritter Town 2-1 Stonegrave
Crisisbless Athletic 5-3 Locksley
AFC Rochford 1-0 Ballardine FC
Kommissar 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Brokenarch 1-0 Riverkey
Gosmouth Swans 1-2 AFC Shale
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 The Hanged Man
Coret Rovers 3-1 Southriver
Extreme Hills 0-2 Greygate
Barossia United 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Sheridan 0-1 Falston United
Stonegrave 0-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Locksley 0-0 West Brinemouth
Ballardine FC 1-0 Ritter Town
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Riverkey 0-1 AFC Rochford
AFC Shale 2-0 Kommissar
The Hanged Man 2-0 Brokenarch
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Southriver 4-2 Extreme Hills
Coret Rovers 2-2 Barossia United
Greygate 1-2 Sheridan
Aries Solitaire 0-2 Stonegrave
Falston United 0-1 Locksley
Boltcroft Thorns 1-3 Ballardine FC
West Brinemouth 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Ritter Town 0-1 Riverkey
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 AFC Shale
AFC Rochford 2-0 The Hanged Man
Kommissar 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Brokenarch 1-3 Gosmouth Swans
Barossia United 1-0 Southriver
Sheridan 0-2 Extreme Hills
Stonegrave 2-0 Coret Rovers
Locksley 1-0 Greygate
Ballardine FC 0-3 Aries Solitaire
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Falston United
Riverkey 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
AFC Shale 0-0 West Brinemouth
The Hanged Man 0-2 Ritter Town
Lazuli Diamonds 2-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Gosmouth Swans 0-3 AFC Rochford
Brokenarch 2-3 Kommissar
Southriver 1-0 Sheridan
Barossia United 0-1 Stonegrave
Extreme Hills 0-3 Locksley
Coret Rovers 0-2 Ballardine FC
Greygate 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Aries Solitaire 0-0 Riverkey
Falston United 0-0 AFC Shale
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 The Hanged Man
West Brinemouth 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Ritter Town 2-4 Gosmouth Swans
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Brokenarch
AFC Rochford 1-1 Kommissar
Stonegrave 0-1 Southriver
Locksley 3-1 Sheridan
Ballardine FC 0-1 Barossia United
Corinthians No Longer 0-3 Extreme Hills
Riverkey 1-0 Coret Rovers
AFC Shale 0-1 Greygate
The Hanged Man 0-2 Aries Solitaire
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Falston United
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Brokenarch 0-3 West Brinemouth
Kommissar 0-0 Ritter Town
AFC Rochford 3-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Southriver 2-1 Locksley
Stonegrave 3-2 Ballardine FC
Sheridan 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Barossia United 1-1 Riverkey
Extreme Hills 1-1 AFC Shale
Coret Rovers 1-0 The Hanged Man
Greygate 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Aries Solitaire 3-2 Gosmouth Swans
Falston United 0-1 Brokenarch
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Kommissar
West Brinemouth 0-2 AFC Rochford
Ritter Town 0-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Ballardine FC 3-1 Southriver
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Locksley
Riverkey 0-1 Stonegrave
AFC Shale 2-1 Sheridan
The Hanged Man 1-1 Barossia United
Lazuli Diamonds 2-2 Extreme Hills
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Coret Rovers
Brokenarch 2-2 Greygate
Kommissar 1-2 Aries Solitaire
AFC Rochford 1-0 Falston United
Crisisbless Athletic 5-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Ritter Town 3-0 West Brinemouth
Southriver 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Ballardine FC 1-2 Riverkey
Locksley 0-1 AFC Shale
Stonegrave 1-0 The Hanged Man
Sheridan 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Barossia United 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
Extreme Hills 8-1 Brokenarch
Coret Rovers 2-1 Kommissar
Greygate 0-1 AFC Rochford
Aries Solitaire 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Falston United 2-1 Ritter Town
Boltcroft Thorns 3-3 West Brinemouth
Riverkey 3-0 Southriver
AFC Shale 0-2 Corinthians No Longer
The Hanged Man 0-0 Ballardine FC
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Locksley
Gosmouth Swans 3-3 Stonegrave
Brokenarch 2-0 Sheridan
Kommissar 0-1 Barossia United
AFC Rochford 0-1 Extreme Hills
Crisisbless Athletic 3-0 Coret Rovers
Ritter Town 2-1 Greygate
West Brinemouth 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Boltcroft Thorns 3-0 Falston United
Southriver 0-1 AFC Shale
Riverkey 1-1 The Hanged Man
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Ballardine FC 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Locksley 4-2 Brokenarch
Stonegrave 0-0 Kommissar
Sheridan 1-2 AFC Rochford
Barossia United 3-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Extreme Hills 1-0 Ritter Town
Coret Rovers 1-0 West Brinemouth
Greygate 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Aries Solitaire 0-0 Falston United

Holy shit. At the halfway mark of the season, West Brinemouth were unbeaten and held a nineteen-point lead over AFC Rochford in fifth. Eleven games later, the Owls were second, the gap twelve. And now, as the Gulls flounder to a 1-0 defeat, hard-earned by Coret Rovers and swinging on Haroun Maynard’s header and a string of saves from former Cypher goalkeeper Fallowland, the gap is one. One point in Rochford’s favour. Yes, with one game left the Owls are in the driving seat, as most people predicted before the start of the season but nobody thought like this. Rochford even beat West Brinemouth 2-0 in their own backyard, Minka Forrest with a brace to underline her immense value to the side. In third, Crisisbless Athletic lose their grip against Barossia United, Qatintiki getting sent off and Young swiping a killer owl goal to let go of a 3-0 half-time lead into a 3-3 disaster… but they are still third. Free-scoring Locksley are in fourth, two points behind and two in front of Corinthians No Longer. Riverkey slip out of contention with a 1-1 draw, but there’s an honourable mention to Extreme Hills’ run of form, unbeaten in six and on three straight wins; one 8-1 over a hapless Brokenarch, followed up with a win over Rochford that’s impressive regardless of scoreline.

Like in the Premiership, the bottom four are a safe buffer away from the safely mediocre teams. AFC Shale have recovered under their new management, with Lazuli and Southriver cresting the fifty-point mark and Boltcroft safe as well, for all their wild inconsistency. With seven points from their last four, Ballardine have scrambled their way to the playoff place, overtaking a Kommissar side who have one win from twelve. Janus Morraine remains in the job, saved by the fact that the side never really look wretched… they just draw a lot, including one against Rochford. Brokenarch are doomed by their goal difference - the 8-1 didn’t exactly help, but it wouldn’t have made all that much difference, such was their penchant for getting battered and not scoring goals. And Sheridan have just one win from their past 15, and were beaten by Brokenarch right after the 8-1. Suffice to say they ran out of steam after an early start.

Star Players: Rochford haven’t really had a star player... with a single exception. Minka Forrest is undoubtedly the best midfielder in the league this season, probably best player full-stop, her stocky, futsal-looking build belying a balletic grace in possession and wondrous eye for a pass. For Locksley, Marika Kreisburg just keeps scoring, but it’s not like the 34-year old striker creates all her own chances. Stonegrave goalkeeper Jove de Lisle has made a series of stunning saves of late, even when the solid defence in front of him fails, and in his last season before retirement has had maybe his best. Aries Solitaire have endured a horribly disappointing season despite their promise, but Jess Seselja has, at least, excelled, celebrating her 21st birthday a while back with a consolation goal against West Brinemouth… her sixth of the season, from leftback. Ballardine’s late resurgence, meanwhile, has owed much to Melody Forster. A canny 25-year old poacher who plays like a 35-year old, but has pace on her side; all she has is a nose for goal, and that’s all she needs at this level, no? Pity nobody else can score for the Harpers...

Managerial Changes: Ritter Town parted ways with Peter Alabaster after back-to-back 1-0 defeats to Ballardine and Riverkey, signing up Pernille Raphael, beating East Laithland Harriers into shape at the time.

Sutcroft Athletic 0-0 Fully Sick XI
Ox River United 3-0 Sutcroft
Iron United 2-0 Brindleton
Rochford Pilgrims 0-3 Strephonage
Autumnstone 0-1 Martella Jazz
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Sirencall FC
West Hook 1-0 Falston Town
Crossroads Town 2-3 South Parrhesia
Ingram Township 0-2 Hartford Glade
Riverkey Shells 1-4 Kensey Town
Caldwick Strand 0-3 Mapleford
Downsparrow 1-0 Long Lake
Sutcroft 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Brindleton 1-0 Fully Sick XI
Strephonage 0-1 Ox River United
Martella Jazz 1-0 Iron United
Sirencall FC 1-3 Rochford Pilgrims
Falston Town 2-4 Autumnstone
South Parrhesia 2-2 East Laithland Harriers
Hartford Glade 0-1 West Hook
Kensey Town 3-0 Crossroads Town
Mapleford 1-0 Ingram Township
Long Lake 1-1 Riverkey Shells
Downsparrow 0-2 Caldwick Strand
Sutcroft Athletic 0-1 Brindleton
Sutcroft 1-4 Strephonage
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Martella Jazz
Ox River United 2-1 Sirencall FC
Iron United 2-1 Falston Town
Rochford Pilgrims 2-0 South Parrhesia
Autumnstone 3-1 Hartford Glade
East Laithland Harriers 4-3 Kensey Town
West Hook 0-1 Mapleford
Crossroads Town 5-0 Long Lake
Ingram Township 1-1 Downsparrow
Riverkey Shells 0-2 Caldwick Strand
Strephonage 1-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Martella Jazz 2-0 Brindleton
Sirencall FC 0-1 Sutcroft
Falston Town 0-0 Fully Sick XI
South Parrhesia 0-1 Ox River United
Hartford Glade 1-0 Iron United
Kensey Town 1-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Mapleford 1-1 Autumnstone
Long Lake 2-1 East Laithland Harriers
Downsparrow 0-6 West Hook
Caldwick Strand 0-1 Crossroads Town
Riverkey Shells 1-2 Ingram Township
Sutcroft Athletic 2-2 Martella Jazz
Strephonage 2-0 Sirencall FC
Brindleton 2-1 Falston Town
Sutcroft 2-1 South Parrhesia
Fully Sick XI 3-1 Hartford Glade
Ox River United 1-2 Kensey Town
Iron United 1-1 Mapleford
Rochford Pilgrims 2-0 Long Lake
Autumnstone 8-1 Downsparrow
East Laithland Harriers 3-2 Caldwick Strand
West Hook 0-1 Riverkey Shells
Crossroads Town 3-1 Ingram Township
Sirencall FC 2-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Falston Town 0-1 Martella Jazz
South Parrhesia 1-1 Strephonage
Hartford Glade 0-1 Brindleton
Kensey Town 2-0 Sutcroft
Mapleford 2-0 Fully Sick XI
Long Lake 0-1 Ox River United
Downsparrow 1-1 Iron United
Caldwick Strand 1-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Riverkey Shells 0-4 Autumnstone
Ingram Township 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Crossroads Town 3-0 West Hook
Sutcroft Athletic 2-1 Falston Town
Sirencall FC 1-3 South Parrhesia
Martella Jazz 5-2 Hartford Glade
Strephonage 1-1 Kensey Town
Brindleton 1-0 Mapleford
Sutcroft 1-0 Long Lake
Fully Sick XI 2-2 Downsparrow
Ox River United 1-1 Caldwick Strand
Iron United 4-2 Riverkey Shells
Rochford Pilgrims 0-0 Ingram Township
Autumnstone 2-1 Crossroads Town
East Laithland Harriers 0-0 West Hook
South Parrhesia 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Hartford Glade 3-0 Falston Town
Kensey Town 2-1 Sirencall FC
Mapleford 3-0 Martella Jazz
Long Lake 1-2 Strephonage
Downsparrow 0-3 Brindleton
Caldwick Strand 0-0 Sutcroft
Riverkey Shells 2-0 Fully Sick XI
Ingram Township 1-0 Ox River United
Crossroads Town 3-0 Iron United
West Hook 0-1 Rochford Pilgrims
East Laithland Harriers 0-2 Autumnstone
Sutcroft Athletic 0-2 Hartford Glade
South Parrhesia 1-1 Kensey Town
Falston Town 0-6 Mapleford
Sirencall FC 0-2 Long Lake
Martella Jazz 0-1 Downsparrow
Strephonage 2-0 Caldwick Strand
Brindleton 1-0 Riverkey Shells
Sutcroft 1-1 Ingram Township
Fully Sick XI 0-1 Crossroads Town
Ox River United 0-0 West Hook
Iron United 5-1 East Laithland Harriers
Rochford Pilgrims 4-1 Autumnstone
Kensey Town 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Mapleford 3-0 Hartford Glade
Long Lake 0-1 South Parrhesia
Downsparrow 1-1 Falston Town
Caldwick Strand 2-0 Sirencall FC
Riverkey Shells 3-0 Martella Jazz
Ingram Township 1-1 Strephonage
Crossroads Town 5-0 Brindleton
West Hook 0-1 Sutcroft
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Fully Sick XI
Autumnstone 1-0 Ox River United
Rochford Pilgrims 2-1 Iron United
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Mapleford
Kensey Town 1-2 Long Lake
Hartford Glade 2-0 Downsparrow
South Parrhesia 0-2 Caldwick Strand
Falston Town 2-1 Riverkey Shells
Sirencall FC 1-1 Ingram Township
Martella Jazz 2-1 Crossroads Town
Strephonage 0-0 West Hook
Brindleton 2-2 East Laithland Harriers
Sutcroft 1-2 Autumnstone
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Ox River United 0-0 Iron United

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 AFC Treason 45 27 14 4 91 33 +58 95
2 Brinemouth 45 29 8 8 93 41 +52 95
3 Crisisbless 45 28 8 9 84 36 +48 92
4 Sabrefell Athletic 45 25 13 7 105 51 +54 88

5 Starling 45 23 11 11 83 51 +32 80
6 Sabrefell Moths 45 20 12 13 83 52 +31 72
7 Coret Hawks 45 21 7 17 89 59 +30 70

8 Stahlburg City 45 17 16 12 53 48 +5 67
9 Vermillion Rage 45 17 14 14 81 65 +16 65
10 Southfell United 45 16 15 14 68 72 -4 63
11 AFC Corvistone 45 17 11 17 65 62 +3 62
12 Aries Chariots 45 16 14 15 68 73 -5 62
13 Newrook City 45 15 16 14 56 53 +3 61
14 Crisisbless United 45 18 7 20 52 85 -33 61
15 North Laithland 45 16 11 18 78 83 -5 59
16 Creed United 45 16 10 19 59 68 -9 58
17 Chenoworth Harriers 45 13 15 17 54 69 -15 54
18 Chatswood 45 13 9 23 45 58 -13 48
19 North Sabrefell 45 11 13 21 52 67 -15 46
20 Cypher Town 45 12 7 26 41 73 -32 43
21 Chenoworth Rovers 45 10 9 26 53 89 -36 39
22 Cranequin City 45 9 11 25 36 75 -39 38
23 Parrhesia United 45 8 11 26 38 95 -57 35
24 Raven River 45 8 8 29 37 106 -69 32

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Leichhardt 45 31 7 7 77 39 +38 100
2 South Laithland 45 31 3 11 102 57 +45 96
3 Cranequin Wanderers 45 23 9 13 62 48 +14 78

4 Belgrave 45 21 11 13 98 62 +36 74
5 Vermillion Wanderers 45 22 7 16 75 59 +16 73
6 Brookford Otters 45 19 13 13 76 58 +18 70
7 Mantlegrove 45 19 12 14 56 44 +12 69
8 Diamondqueen 45 20 8 17 77 55 +22 68
9 Stahlburg Rovers 45 19 10 16 74 66 +8 67
10 Armstrong 45 18 11 16 57 51 +6 65
11 Morningstar 45 18 11 16 51 56 -5 65
12 Goodfeather FC 45 18 10 17 65 55 +10 64
13 AFC Serpentine 45 17 13 15 66 62 +4 64
14 Iron City 45 15 17 13 43 39 +4 62
15 Chardonnay Rangers 45 16 14 15 63 63 +0 62
16 Corvette Maulers 45 18 5 22 59 68 -9 59
17 Bishop 45 13 15 17 51 65 -14 54
18 Gonen's Bridge 45 13 14 18 60 71 -11 53
19 Alliance Barossia 45 15 4 26 49 72 -23 49
20 The Strongest 45 11 12 22 62 83 -21 45
21 Dartmouth Terriers 45 12 9 24 41 66 -25 45
22 Pillars of Southfell 45 11 12 22 33 61 -28 45
23 Hackett 45 11 9 25 50 88 -38 42
24 Peregrine 45 6 10 29 47 106 -59 28

Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 AFC Rochford 45 28 10 7 72 33 +39 94
2 West Brinemouth 45 27 12 6 76 35 +41 93
3 Crisisbless Athletic 45 23 12 10 75 45 +30 81

4 Locksley 45 23 10 12 85 52 +33 79
5 Corinthians No Longer 45 22 11 12 77 65 +12 77
6 Riverkey 45 22 9 14 51 40 +11 75
7 Extreme Hills 45 20 11 14 69 65 +4 71
8 Stonegrave 45 18 16 11 46 35 +11 70
9 Barossia United 45 16 16 13 47 45 +2 64
10 Greygate 45 16 15 14 45 41 +4 63
11 Coret Rovers 45 17 11 17 64 60 +4 62
12 Aries Solitaire 45 16 13 16 61 51 +10 61
13 Falston United 45 16 13 16 46 43 +3 61
14 Gosmouth Swans 45 16 10 19 63 75 -12 58
15 Ritter Town 45 14 13 18 49 58 -9 55
16 The Hanged Man 45 11 19 15 43 46 -3 52
17 AFC Shale 45 13 13 19 34 42 -8 52
18 Lazuli Diamonds 45 12 15 18 53 68 -15 51
19 Southriver 45 14 9 22 46 70 -24 51
20 Boltcroft Thorns 45 12 13 20 64 78 -14 49
21 Ballardine FC 45 11 8 26 49 76 -27 41
22 Kommissar 45 8 16 21 47 69 -22 40
23 Brokenarch 45 9 11 25 36 74 -38 38
24 Sheridan 45 7 12 26 26 58 -32 33

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Martella Jazz 45 31 8 6 86 37 +49 101
2 Autumnstone 45 26 15 4 95 45 +50 93
3 Crossroads Town 45 28 6 11 95 47 +48 90

4 Kensey Town 45 24 10 11 74 52 +22 82
5 Mapleford 45 21 11 13 75 44 +31 74
6 Brindleton 45 20 14 11 65 59 +6 74
7 South Parrhesia 45 20 13 12 66 52 +14 73
8 Rochford Pilgrims 45 21 8 16 75 52 +23 71
9 Strephonage 45 19 13 13 62 48 +14 70
10 Iron United 45 19 10 16 58 55 +3 67
11 East Laithland Harriers 45 17 14 14 73 64 +9 65
12 Hartford Glade 45 18 9 18 66 65 +1 63
13 Ox River United 45 15 16 14 47 47 +0 61
14 Caldwick Strand 45 15 12 18 54 61 -7 57
15 Sutcroft 45 15 7 23 55 85 -30 52
16 Ingram Township 45 11 18 16 33 44 -11 51
17 West Hook 45 12 14 19 39 46 -7 50
18 Riverkey Shells 45 13 9 23 55 71 -16 48
19 Downsparrow 45 12 12 21 41 79 -38 48
20 Fully Sick XI 45 11 12 22 57 75 -18 45
21 Long Lake 45 10 13 22 33 54 -21 43
22 Sutcroft Athletic 45 8 14 23 48 82 -34 38
23 Falston Town 45 10 6 29 40 88 -48 36
24 Sirencall FC 45 7 10 28 48 88 -40 31
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Postby Nephara » Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:50 am

There’s little left to decide in the third tier. Martella have already secured the title comfortably, and a draw with East Laithland does nothing to change that; Autumnstone and Crossroads can potentially switch places, but don’t, and Kensey rest a number of key players in preparation for the promotion playoff they’re already destined for. They still beat Caldwick Strand 4-1 away. Long Lake need to win for a chance at salvation, hosting bottom side Sirencall… and an injury-time equaliser sinks them as they search to pad their goal difference, as the Fully Sick XI’s apathetic scoreless draw meant they were level on 46 points with a Lake win but held a slender advantage on goal difference, and scored. Falston Town are among those relegated, but they also blink out of existence entirely. Now that Ceynes has its own league, and three other professional sides in Falston, there just isn’t a reason for old Town to exist any more, sadly. A familiar old name in Rushe United are one of the teams to replace them in 3Div, with Crownsend Journey, Cranequin Souths and Brunyard FC the others.

Long Lake 0-1 Sutcroft Athletic
Downsparrow 1-1 Mapleford
Caldwick Strand 1-4 Kensey Town
Riverkey Shells 1-0 Hartford Glade
Ingram Township 2-0 South Parrhesia
Crossroads Town 0-0 Falston Town
West Hook 2-2 Sirencall FC
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Martella Jazz
Autumnstone 0-0 Strephonage
Rochford Pilgrims 1-2 Brindleton
Iron United 0-0 Sutcroft
Ox River United 0-0 Fully Sick XI

Reflect that Rochford have clawed back a nineteen-point deficit from the midway mark of the season. They are irresistable force and immovable object. That said, they have to beat Locksley to seal the deal, West Brinemouth facing the easier opposition of a disappointing Barossia United. The Gulls take an early lead, Hera Poxay driving into a pocket with verve belying her age, twisting clear of Teamster and sliding across for a sliding Geist to skid home at the far post. This puts Rochford under severe pressure to beat a Locksley side that can beat anyone on their day… and need to. CNL can overtake them by beating doomed little Brokenarch… and they’re destined to lose 3-1, inexplicably, but Locksley don’t know that. Not yet. So Rochford are cautious and reluctant to overextend, though they do now need a victory. Also in need of victory are Kommissar, who get a great shot at their direct rivals, Ballardine. One side of them will get a second chance in the playoff, but Ballardine only need a point - and their bid gets helped when Forster slides home an elegant strike from an acute angle, and Broadhead should have had it covered. Kommissar strike back through Micah Horner’s towering header after a bombing run from midfield, but Curate strikes back to sink them and save the Harpers. Well, give them a chance, anyway. And Rochford, for their part, their players staring at the trophy on the sideline… they leave it late, and nervous. Twice, Georgia Petrie stands tall to keep the clean sheet. And just once, Locksley’s marking slackens … and that lets Traudl Mrdja let fly. Iselin leaps aside and flicks the ball away, into the ground. Where Wynona Rampart is following up, and thumps home, and secures the title for the Owls. The comeback was, in fact, on.

The Hanged Man 1-0 Southriver
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 AFC Shale
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Riverkey
Brokenarch 3-1 Corinthians No Longer
Kommissar 1-2 Ballardine FC
AFC Rochford 1-0 Locksley
Crisisbless Athletic 3-0 Stonegrave
Ritter Town 2-1 Sheridan
West Brinemouth 1-0 Barossia United
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Extreme Hills
Falston United 1-0 Coret Rovers
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Greygate

The picture is straightforward enough at the top. The title race is secured, so now it’s about if Belgrave can hold off Vermillion Wanderers, with essentially a point and a half of difference. Belgrave visit secure Gonen’s Bridge, Vermillion go to dead men walking Hackett. Both are favourites to win. At the bottom, three clubs locked on 45 points have 1.5 safe places to fight over; the Strongest are best-off and host Serpentine, Dartmouth host Iron City and Pillars host Brookford. They’ll probably stay in that order if all get the same result, but a large enough swing to shake that off isn’t inconveivable.

The Strongest immediately drop away from the rest, just eighty seconds in. They aren’t exactly the hardest markers. Alyssa Greening seems almost stunned at the space she has to bury her chance. Before anyone else of relevance manages to score, the Strongest pull one back, Natasa Rotival rushing forward from leftback to finish an extensive passing move. And before anyone else manages to score, Serpentine… are back ahead, a header from Langbauer; through Stijnen, they’re 3-1 up by the half. By then, Saara and Sebring have traded blows and Hackett have just about held it together, despite being under the pump, while a nervy affair at the Bridge remains scoreless. With a slick injury-time passing move converted by Aurtenetxe, Pillars lead Brookford, and thus the pack at the bottom.

But that doesn’t last long; minute 45+2 and minute 47 might be the same on the clock, in a weird way, but it says something about the half-time. The Otters pull one back through Mithradates, then another through the muscular striker; Pillars are suddenly clinging for life, Casserley loses his grip and gets sent off, and a late killer blow from Bairstow cuts Pillars adrift. The Strongest and Serpentine have continued to have fun; 2-3, then 2-5. So the Terriers already look to be yawning their way to victory… and yet, they get a goal anyway, Mersiades swinging in a corner and hulking Rainer Macellan crashing through the massed ranks of disinterested Iron to head home the only goal of the game. The Terriers survive! The Strongest, well, they’ll get a second chance. But an overmatched Pillars side won’t be so fortunate. And at the top? Belgrave suffer a hammer-blow, a header from Esmond Moore. Then another in quick succession, struck on the counter as they search for a goal, and while they get one from Aura Keynes it’s only one. Fans are left hugging each other in the stands, frantically checking the results from Stahlburg. Vermillion’s press is relentless, the pressure on Kewell’s goal intolerable. Surely - surely! - the breakthrough must be coming. And yet...

Hackett 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Armstrong
Pillars of Southfell 1-3 Brookford Otters
The Strongest 2-5 AFC Serpentine
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Iron City
Stahlburg Rovers 1-1 South Laithland
Corvette Maulers 3-2 Goodfeather FC
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 Leichhardt
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Belgrave
Peregrine 1-2 Mantlegrove
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 Bishop
Morningstar 2-3 Diamondqueen

Title Race

Brinemouth (4-2-3-1) 1 - Bull; 2 - Spencer, 6 - Magnozzi, 5 - Windtide, 3 - Close; 21 - Soederquist (c), 10 - Conjure; 7 - Tidesson, 8 - Kesteren, 13 - Deventer; 4 - Kuznetsov
Aries Chariots (4-3-3) 20 - Briggs; 19 - Ashcroft, 5 - Tarrasch, 4 - Na’Duha, 14 - Law; 21 - Strausz, 6 - Rzazade, 11 - Riske (c); 12 - Lazarou, 15 - Sierra, 10 - Ruskin
Unsurprisingly, Brinemouth are going all-out. They have pretty much a clean bill of health, and host mediocre opposition with nothing to play for. Realistically, they need to better Treason’s result. If they annihilate the Chariots and Treason only edge the Crows, they could potentially overtake them. They’re six goal difference behind, but lead on goals scored.

AFC Treason (4-4-2) 1 - Clavel; 19 - Stride, 5 - Svensson (c), 13 - Lockheed, 3 - Va’Afaja; 11 - Neptune, 4 - Rauch, 10 - Jonsson, 16 - McInnes; 21 - Metzger, 22 - Fletcher
AFC Corvistone (4-3-3) 12 - Kovacic; 2 - Muhren, 22 - Green, 4 - Brosch, 36 - Almwood; 13 - Yonen, 8 - Eriksen, 11 - Morham (c); 15 - Ulreich, 21 - Warrington, 10 - Beretti
Still, a win for Treason secures them the eighth title, and that seems likely hosting another midtable underachiever. The Stags are missing Accardi and Vornander through injury, but otherwise maintain full strength; Corvistone are missing Wynder and Heston from a depleted defence.

Battle for the Playoff
Cranequin City (4-3-1-2) 12 - Kezman; 2 - Rashica, 5 - Satotxe, 6 - Kreis, 3 - Strasbourg; 15 - Tsolakis, 18 - Lechleiter (c), 8 - Skiff; 7 - Addison; 10 - Kolar, 16 - Gryspos
Chenoworth Harriers (4-2-3-1) 1 - Cameron; 2 - Greene, 31 - Demetriou, 6 - Braylock, 18 - Kite; 12 - Kutris (c), 21 - Charisteas; 23 - Coleman, 34 - Croll, 14 - Shearer; 17 - Wright
Using slightly insane logic, Bruno Kezman starts between the posts for Cranequin City; as Dan Keel reasoned, he went all the way in the Cup and did well but will be dropped for the Final, and deserves a Premiership appearance to remember. Still, with survival on the line… ? Gemmill is also injured, but will return for the final. The Harriers… the Harriers are not making much effort to stop the Rovers from getting relegated. This is a popular squad selection locally. It’s captain Kutris’ last match, though, so look out for him in defensive midfield.

Creed United (4-4-2) 20 - Senninger; 17 - Kolaj, 19 - Rodrigues (c), 4 - Brehanu, 18 - Seip; 7 - Conway, 21 - Barbarouses, 15 - Beckner, 23 - Conrad; 16 - Taani, 13 - Trabelsi
Chenoworth Rovers (4-4-2) 20 - Rowett; 13 - Fife, 19 - Ibex, 6 - Capradossi (c), 22 - Laslow; 37 - Koerner, 8 - Horvath, 10 - Paterson, 12 - Rowell; 11 - Meisler, 17 - Murray
Outcry from the Rovers, then, at the Harriers’ blatant attempts to get them killed. They, looking rather different to how they started the season, will be safe with a win. They’re a point ahead; if they lose and City draw against the Harriers’ U23s, they will need to avoid losing by four. The Oathmen haven’t exactly been prolific this season, and their defence, thanks to an injury to Orient, weighs in at the ages of 22, 32, 35 and 33. So, vulnerable to Meisler and Murray’s pace.

Dead Rubbers
Vermillion Rage (4-3-3) 1 - Ramelow (c); 17 - Salek, 18 - Anderson, 19 - Skondreas, 40 - Maurer; 8 - Konse, 4 - Hooper, 21 - Eduardo; 15 - Hart, 9 - Heward, 23 - Porter
Coret Hawks (4-4-2) 1 - Lockwood; 2 - Hamilton, 18 - Koller, 6 - Pollard, 3 - Burns; 7 - Skapetis, 8 - Kasmiir, 14 - Stand, 16 - Caracole; 22 - Jewell, 15 - Stavanger
Both sides have had quietly good seasons, and for Coret that means… well, in theory it should mean a third consecutive Globe Cup qualification. It’ll count this time, though. Due to a smattering of defensive injuries, 18-year old Ari Maurer makes his third appearance at leftback for Rage.

Stahlburg City (4-4-2) 1 - Prant-Telew; 5 - Mifsud (c), 22 - Orsay, 25 - Cooke, 3 - Markkanen; 13 - Lane, 4 - Brujah, 10 - Henry, 16 - Tschauner; 11 - Shi, 42 - Strephon
Crisisbless United (4-2-3-1) 25 - Lazareva; 2 - Bruun, 5 - Verlander, 19 - Stokes (c), 18 - Sanders; 8 - Garner, 35 - Marshall; 10 - Tamba, 13 - Antelmi, 15 - Ronayne; 21 - Lennox
Mathematically, Stahlburg City can still reach seventh. But Douglas Tibet isn’t going all-in on a 24-0 win here. Viviana Strephon is set to debut, as Tibet won’t let a rash of injuries up front stop him experimenting with two up front. Crisisbless United have also overachieved, despite a similar minor injury crisis, and one of these two managers is likely to get the award of the season.

Southfell United (4-4-2) 1 - Aldous; 17 - Bowyer, 5 - Grant (c), 6 - Ellis, 3 - Evans; 36 - Forestier, 8 - Hemeyer, 23 - Nagy, 16 - Anselm; 9 - Marlowe, 10 - Gundersen
Cypher Town (4-2-3-1) 1 - Ruo; 19 - Skapoulis, 13 - Foerster, 6 - Brind, 3 - Anderton (c); 8 - Madine, 11 - Weiss; 22 - Bereveskos, 10 - McCosgraigh, 23 - Vanstrattan; 17 - Rooke
Southfell have done well this season, as have Cypher just to stay up. But both are still bringing out their strongest possible lineups given injuries, with Cypher particularly stretched at the moment. They’ve looked more like a 4-2-3-1 than a 4-1-4-1 recently, giving aging wingers Bereveskos and Vanstrattan less duty to track back; injuries to both first-choice fullbacks hasn’t helped.

Sabrefell Moths (4-4-2) 1 - Griffin; 2 - Haines, 18 - Jabelon, 19 - Tipton, 22 - Vicelich; 7 - Townsend, 26 - Reach, 4 - Serra, 36 - Cashin; 14 - Vol (c), 24 - Beyard
Newrook City (4-3-1-2) 1 - Iarrow; 18 - Pakkanen, 22 - Reinhardt, 6 - Zagorec (c), 3 - Kohler; 12 - Brandtner, 23 - Fallon, 13 - Couturiaux; 8 - Voeller; 21 - Ocokoljic, 11 - Nygard
Both sides have endured poor seasons, but at least for the Moths they have sixth place. And the salve of being, very possibly, the final champions of UICA history. Newrook have rather less going for them, and with Andreu Bartolnicci having fallen out with a couple of squad members (and countless referees), they might be looking for a replacement come the end of the season.

Sabrefell Athletic (4-4-2) 1 - Gautier; 2 - Fox, 5 - Broad, 13 - Sigismund, 3 - Lucas; 23 - Westerveld, 15 - Coltrane (c), 8 - Dominique, 10 - Gere; 7 - Tarala, 16 - Caszely
North Laithland (4-3-3) 12 - Krieven; 23 - Schaefer, 5 - Black, 6 - Jaan, 3 - Posipal; 21 - Beltrame, 4 - Reeve, 25 - Croxteth (c); 34 - Brown, 7 - Roberts, 11 - Han
Athletic’s title challenge tailed off in recent months, and a recent injury to Xixi Ens hasn’t helped. Alyssa Broad will get, remarkably, just her second league start of the season, with Athletic’s defence having been remarkably consistent over the year. The Spiders have done roughly as well as expected, with Matej Beltrame continuing to keep captain Robyn Sabitzer out of the team.

Raven River (4-3-1-2) 1 - Taliadoros; 2 - Villaverde, 18 - Beasley, 19 - Lampshire, 12 - Killanen; 21 - Leonard (c), 13 - Zalzaria, 23 - de Vries; 8 - Crowe; 10 - Beridze, 32 - Gjasula
North Sabrefell (3-5-2) 1 - Daunten; 6 - Clinton, 13 - Armbruster, 22 - Polacek; 2 - Petrovic, 11 - Maersk, 14 - Kastriot, 4 - Madine, 3 - Karagounis; 15 - Kranevitter (c), 9 - Cheney
The Bohemians have been shunted horribly into a 3-5-2, but they are alive and River are not. Eoin Killanen is giving a last rodeo to his sister and brother-in-law. There’s nothing at stake. Hell, realistically, River can’t even escape bottom place.

Someone Is Trying To Throw This
Parrhesia United (4-3-3) 30 - Austen; 2 - Reyson, 5 - Altman (c), 18 - George, 3 - Mezo-Rosa; 4 - Kotsonis, 41 - Miller, 8 - Mueller; 7 - Teris, 9 - Reus, 45 - Swann
Chatswood (4-4-2) 12 - Williams; 22 - Antosch, 5 - Rashkin (c), 20 - Bishop, 3 - Karling; 32 - Volz, 15 - Bischoff, 21 - Prentice, 11 - Caulker; 10 - Henderson, 14 - Guilder
The Saints have rotated out pretty much everyone they expect to start the Cup final. It’s a first league appearance for Veluca Austen, Nikola Swann and Annika Miller. As Chatswood aren’t fielding a reserve side, they should walk this.

Starling (4-3-1-2) 1 - Smørdal; 17 - Hoscutt, 5 - Berg (c), 6 - Loredan, 19 - Paterson; 13 - Padilla, 14 - Garai, 15 - Roebling; 22 - Netzach; 7 - Dostalok, 10 - Corvalan
Crisisbless (4-2-3-1) 1 - Na’Kefir (c); 2 - Longship, 13 - Teffeteller, 22 - Parrish, 16 - Strassman; 15 - Abylon, 21 - Luhukay; 7 - Quintero, 8 - Woakes, 23 - Danning; 9 - Marinkovic
Starling have the DIT final in a week, but Lisa Amos is wary, pre-match, of losing too much momentum. She rests only the weariest legs, though Visser’s out through suspension anyway. Crisisbless have a nominal shot at the title, but their apathy is reflected by resting a couple exhausted players and giving a rare start to homegrown striker and U21 international Danica Marinkovic.

1 mins - Already, a Twii bombardment towards Chenoworth Harriers’ account. And an unfortunate Sarah Charrier, who goes by @charriers. The Rovers fans have spotted the red side’s squad selection and they are unimpressed.

2 mins - As usual, our primary focus is on the key fixtures, but we’ll report goals (and particularly noteworthy moments) from other games as they go in.

3 mins - Feel free as well to email in with your questions, trivia, clarifications, philosophical quandaries, whatever.

4 mins - I’m not stalling until something happens. You’re stalling until something happens.

5 mins - GOAL! SFU 1-0 CYT. Finally! It’s been a quiet opening stage on these twelve monitors, here in my poorly-lit room. Does the official NFA site care about the health and stress of its drudges? No, you have your answer. Anyway, a poor pass from Foerster is cut out as Amalie Gundersen sprints onto it, finds the run of Forestier into the box and the Equestrian does the rest.

6 mins - Treason have looked decidedly the better side against Corvistone thus far, but lack that final touch. Kovacic is yet to be tested. Clavel has, nominally, Morham trying her luck just now from out. Way out.

7 mins - No less than seven of you fucking ingrates have just sent me the trolley problem. Variations in wording of: “Five guys are tied to a train track on one path, and one to another. The train is going to kill five people, but you can switch the tracks to kill one person. Do you do it, and live with that decision?” You’ll have to do better than THAT. I pull.

8 mins - GOAL! VRR 0-1 COH.Rasmus Caracole has had a brilliant breakthrough season thus far from the left wing, and must surely be in the Cormorants running sooner rather than later. All he does here is break past Melosa Salek and float in a high cross, Dragan Stavanger knocks down, Kasmeer Jewell reacts quickly to skid home.

9 mins - Brinemouth, by contrast to Treason, haven’t quite settled. The Chariots are dominating midfield as things stand. Leila Rzazade has been crowded out physically by Brinemouth’s muscular midfield,

10 mins - Mara Cornell from Lindmark does better than that. It’s still a variation of the trolley problem, but it’s my favourite one. “The train is going to kill five people. You don’t have a lever, you’re standing on the bridge over the top, but there’s this woman I know from my old workplace, Pernille, who is extraordinarily fat to the point where if you threw her onto the tracks, it would stop the train and save the five people.” I would shove Pernille. The needs of the many, etc.

11 mins - GOAL! STC 1-0 CRU. Stahlburg City have pretty much kept their heel on Crisisbless United’s throat. Aurelie Henry’s had a free reign in midfield, and that’s dangerous; she slides past Tom Garner, who slips in pursuit, before skimming a diagonal ball past everyone to find the blazing run of Neimi Tschauner. The callow winger just hits and hopes, and strikes the ball cleanly into the stanchion.

12 mins - Sagittarius Wright almost puts the Harriers in front against City! Soren Coleman takes on Monika Strasbourg, seemingly backed into a corner but manages to nutmeg her; Strasbourg’s hands are on his shirt before he can get past, but overlapping fullback Greene races onto the end and hooks in a cross, to which Wright steams ahead of City’s sluggish defenders and heads low towards the corner, Kezman has to fly to claw the ball away! The away fans cheer, Wright drinks it in. The away fans start chanting Kezman’s name. Wright is unamused.

13 mins - Treason’s first serious chance! Lorelei Neptune, deployed out on the right due to an injury to Raquel Accardi, hurdles a challenge from Lucy Almwood. Her run takes her wide, she goes for goal, but drives the shot against the outside of the near post. Kovacic had it covered, anyway.

14 mins - GOAL! CRD 1-0 CHR. Oh! A palpable event! But really, it would help if the Rovers had a defensive shape and didn’t just lunge into tackles that Retta Conrad evades with ease before rattling a shot past Anders Rowett at close range. Rowett sarcastically applauds his defence after the fact. He’s a good goalkeeper who has done well since winning his place, but he’s kind of a prick.

15 mins - Pernille Carpenter from Lindmark has mailed in to-- oh dear. Has emailed in to say that “That bitch Mara’s just imprinting on me from her tubby hag of a wife. Maybe she was traumatised at work because she couldn’t handle simple things like ‘counting past ten’. I would throw them both in front of a train to save five people.”

16 mins - The Rovers should pull back level, but God hates them! Grey Meisler skids past Seip and Brehanu, should go for it herself, but instead pulls back for Misha Paterson who rifles the ball against the crossbar. The rebound gets to Nya Murray, who chests it down and rushes a shot at goal that deflects off Rodrigues’ thigh and onto the outside of the post, and out! The corner, by contrast, floats off for a throw-in at the other end.

17 mins - GOAL! SFA 1-0 NLA. The Spiders, sluggish and disorganised, should have cut out this chance before it started. There were a million opportunities to take the ball off left-of-centre schemers Gere, Lucas and Coltrane in and around the edges of the box before Lucas, unmarked, slides through a ball to danger man Tarala. His shot is uncharacteristically too close to Krieven, who palms it aside with spectacular force… but Salavat Caszely thumps home the loose ball at the far post anyway.

18 mins - Already a shout for a red card in Brinemouth… when Stig Soederquist blindsides Lorena Strausz with a late challenge, honestly one that might be said could have been on time when Soederquist was a younger man, it’s like shooting Bambi and hanging a trophy on the wall, especially as Strausz stays down for some time. The decision is a caution. It’s probably the right one.

19 mins - GOAL! SFA 2-0 NLA. Game over already. The Spiders do a great imitation of being shell-shocked, and nobody acts when Westerveld releases Fox to hammer in a cross. Tarala has only to glance it in, with Jaan three metres off where he ought to stand.

20 mins - How are the Harriers reserves on top of Cranequin City? Okay, so the Terracotta Army are still handing minutes to Harriet Skiff, and if Skiff is the answer, what exactly is the question? But an inelegant but crucial save from Kezman’s thigh stops Wright from putting the Harriers ahead. Alfonse Cameron hasn’t been tested, which is a pity because the 21-year old debutant is presumably there to be tested.

21 mins - GOAL! SFU 2-0 CYT. This game literally does not matter, and Cypher’s defence absolutely seems to know it. Meghan Foerster is a bright prospect for the Eagles who has done well this season, but yet again she has a clearance rushed down by Erik Marlowe, hardly a pace merchant, straight into his knee. Ruo has to stretch to claw the ball down and away, but the foot-race between Gundersen and Brind is only ever gonna have one winner.

22 mins - Gareth Steiner offers the following from Brinemouth; “Does it change anything if either the one or the five are Brenecians?” If the one is Brenecian, I pull the lever with slightly more nationalistic venom. If the five are Brenecian, I pull the lever with slightly more regret. But the decision is unchanged. Also, my pre-emptive congratulations / commisserations on how things unfold tonight.

23 mins - Mara from Lindmark has sent in pictures of Pernille from her old workplace. I still don’t think she could stop a train.

24 mins - City put a shot on target! Their three strikers aren’t that inspiring; Gryspos can finish, Gemmill can run and Kolar can fight, and Gemmill remains on the bench for now. Unfortunately, when Louise Tsolakis hooks a clever little chip over the defence, it falls to Kolar, who chests it down clumsily straight into Cameron’s hands. And then runs into him. They’re both still down, so this may take a while.

25 mins - GOAL! STA 1-0 CRI. Early lead for Starling U23s, Mateo Padilla making an increasingly rare showing of why they shelled out 13 million for him ages ago. It’s his industry that slides in to wrest possession off Farina Luhukay; it’s his vision, when Roebling passes back to him, that slides a perfect ball for Cylia Hoscutt to race clear onto; it’s his finishing touch, when the cross gets stuck under Teffeteller’s heel and sees Marinkovic and Strassman practically slam into each other digging the ball out, that finds the bottom corner past Na’Kefir.

26 mins - The Dockers almost get caught playing it out from the back, absolutely refusing to just hoof it long, but the Chariots have swarmed their third and there just isn’t a man free. Ryan Bull throws his hands in the air in frustration and hoofs it long towards Tidesson. Manager Gareth Blackthorn can be clearly overheard swearing on the touchline.

27 mins - GOAL! VRR 1-1 COH. Erinys Hart for the Cormorants, anyway? No? Well, maybe not, but one can’t deny that she’s impressed this season for a desperation signing. With a Rage attack and Coret defence clustered on the left wing, Maurer delegates to Jarobi Konse, who actually !!looks up!! and flicks the ball over to where Hart has sidled free. One touch to kill it, one to strike it past Lockwood, shades of offside but nothing concrete.

28 mins - Corvistone are ahead! But as you know because this didn’t start with GOAL! T-- etc., it doesn’t count! That isn’t stopping ‘The’ Baba Warrington from celebrating, though. Morham slides him in smoothly with a beautiful pass, Warrington is inches too far forward, but that doesn’t stop him rifling the ball into the top corner. The flag is up. He doesn’t notice. He races forward! He jumps into the active support! It’s the home active support! He grabs a flare out of someone’s hand and rips it! He does some pelvic thrusts with a tactically-placed flare! He screams! He throws the flare back into the crowd! He poses! He preens! He sees the flag. Babatunde Warrington is an unhappy man.

29 mins - GOAL! SFM 1-0 NRC. Hey, Marten Beyard, a non-descript depth striker for the Moths, scores with a frankly ludicrous flick of his heel. What helped is that he’s left totally unmarked by Newrook’s hapless defenders, and Iarrow’s hand to it is backed by somewhat less of an iron wrist. The ball bounces in, horrifically slowly. Beyard doesn’t care how shonky it all looks, he loves it.

30 mins - Glancing over to the shitshow in central Sabrefell for a moment, holy shit, Kimus de Vries is not up to the standard. I get Eoin Killanen wanted a happy family reunion or whatever, but bluntly, he’s an idiot.

31 mins - GOAL! CRD 2-0 CHR. Delphi Barbarouses is just a really, really fun player. She sees an opening from the fringes of the box, she lets fly, Rowett is rooted to his feet as the ball caroms off the inside of the post and in. Rowett blames his defence, because of course he does, but for once there was little they really could have done.

32 mins - Cranequin are busying themselves not looking great against Harriers’ reserves; they’re still not home and dry until they win. Surely they’ll win, right? Even if they do, it’s really hard to see either of these sides beating Belgrave. Both these sides have fans who would kill their firstborns for Kotaro Katsura or Markus Strand.

33 mins - “When the train could potentially drive down either the one guy tied to the tracks or the five, are all six simultaneously alive and dead until the train is past the track switch?” ponders Silas Moritz from Cranequin. Hey, Silas, I hope you got bullied constantly in school.

34 mins - GOAL! RVR 1-0 NSF. … Anyway, yeah, de Vries scored. He kisses his wife in celebration.

35 mins - Treason against Corvistone remains goalless but it’s undeniably been the highest-quality of the four relevant games. The Crows pass it beautifully out of pressure at the back, but then Lucy Almwood gets cleaned out by Neptune and a lightning-quick pass of the spilled ball from Rauch splits them open. Metzger and Brosch shove each other hard in pursuit, Metzger just about gets his toe on the ball but Kovacic flicks out a boot to deflect it, and Olexander Green gets back to clear it off the line.

36 mins - GOAL! SFM 1-1 NRC. Robert Griffin just doesn’t make mistakes like this, or he didn’t use to. But he comes out for a cross from Pakkanen and just gets lost in no-man’s land, flicking just about half a knuckle onto the end of it. The ball makes it across to the opposite fullback, Aries Kohler, who takes a quick touch to settle himself before firing the ball towards goal. A diving header from Wil Jabelon looks to have saved the Moths in spectacular fashion, but Couturiaux rises high to head it back into danger, and a scissor kick from Ocokoljic finishes a scrappy move in a beautiful way. Griffin’s made his way back across, but his desperate dive is just inches too late.

37 mins - There haven’t been many clear-cut chances in Brinemouth, but stunningly, one is received and squandered by Desya Kuznetsov. Deventer draws markers away before a delicate backheel to Close in behind, who strokes the ball along to the Audioslavian wild-man, who has the entire goal at his mercy! He puts it… not quite down Briggs’ throat, but she doesn’t have to go far to claw it away at her near post with both hands, and looks equally grateful and confused at the lifeline.

38 mins - That said! Yet another disallowed goal! Brinemouth’s corner is taken beautifully by Conjure, Tidesson stoops to flick it home, he goes to celebrate-- but the whistle’s blown. For good reason, it turns out. Katerina Tarrasch has had a poor season, but she still would easily have cleared the ball before it got to Tidesson had Magnozzi not shoved her down with a hand in the small of the spine, then gone down belatedly a second after to pretend it was shoulder-to-shoulder. Defenders rarely make good divers.

39 mins - GOAL! TRE 0-1 CVS. Now here’s a turn-up! Can’t say it hasn’t been deserved, either, as the Crows’ pressure finally tells! Some lovely one-touch football between Yonen and Ulreich, then Yonen and Muhren, sees the rightback pick out the free winger Ulreich as Va’Afaja is caught between them. Clarisse Ulreich, a Treason homegrown talent, curls the ball around Clavel and keeps her celebration restricted to a quiet little fist-pump. Still furore from the stands, already taunted by and slightly on fire due to Warrington earlier.

40 mins - Cranequin City have calmed down and reasserted some control against Harriers Reserves. The net result is that nothing’s happened for like five minutes. That’s still not good enough for City, unless Creed score twice more against the Rovers without reply. And, okay, that doesn’t seem unlikely at this stage.

41 mins - Chenoworth Rovers come close to pulling one back. Really, Grey Meisler should score, springing onto the end of a Paterson pass, racing on the inside straight of Seip and finding plenty of space and maybe just getting a little too casual, firing across the face of goal but not quite on target. Harper claps encouragingly. Maybe even patronisingly.

42 mins - Malte update: your boy is on his third can of First Wind of the night. I’m out of Molten Red and straight onto the Vibrant Chartreuse. “You won’t need a second” my arse.

43 mins - You’d expect Treason to go hard for an equaliser, but… they aren’t. They seem a little taken aback, or perhaps Corvistone’s fearless pressing is just doing its job, snuffing out chances. Katenza Muhren misses an initial challenge on Kelly McInnes, who thinks she has all the time in the world to stall and pick out the perfect cross, but doesn’t as Muhren catches up to blindside her with a sliding challenge. She’s 31.

44 mins - GOAL! CRD 2-1 CHR. A bad mistake from Abate Brehanu, who doesn’t make those kinds of errors. Koerner beats Seip, who looks every one of his 33 years, swings in a cross - Brehanu has it, and doesn’t get out of the way when Senninger calls for it (and should have it comfortably), and as the goalkeeper crashes into him, the veteran defender knocks it down beautifully for an opportunistic Meisler to lash home from point-blank range.

45 mins - Brinemouth have been testing Briggs sorely these past few minutes. The Chariots’ goalkeeper is an excellent shot-stopper, but there’s a definite weakness in the air that crosses from Deventer and Tidesson have looked to exploit. Fortunately, Na’Duha’s been there to bail her out more often than not, and stocky Audioslavian Kuznetsov is hardly a towering target anyway.

Injury time - Nothing doing. Cranequin and Brinemouth both get corners, but neither goes anywhere.

Brinemouth 0-0 Aries Chariots
Parrhesia United 0-0 Chatswood
Cranequin City 0-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Creed United 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Coret Hawks
AFC Treason 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Starling 1-0 Crisisbless
Stahlburg City 1-0 Crisisbless United
Southfell United 2-0 Cypher Town
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Newrook City
Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 North Laithland
Raven River 1-0 North Sabrefell
As it stands: Brinemouth win the league, Chenoworth Rovers make the playoff.

46 mins - We return. Treason need a result. Cranequin City still need a goal, or for Creed to fucking leather the Rovers.

47 mins - GOAL! SFU 3-0 CYT. Forestier to Nagy to Anselm to Nagy to Forestier to Gundersen to Forestier, suddenly standing alone surrounded by disoriented blue shirts who never quite put pressure on their opponents, and cuts inside and shoots under Ruo, who should do better. When Ruo’s letting the Eagles down, it’s really not their day. But the shot should never have come off in the first place.

48 mins - RED CARD! Classic Chatswood. It’s a nothing game against Parrhesia’s reserves, so, Bohemund Karling, what exactly is the point in trying to snap Abigail Teris’ knees like twigs? Teris goes down like a poleaxed ox, referee Martella Price shows no hesitation or mercy. Karling doesn’t improve the situation with some choice words, or an energetic pumping salute to the home fans mocking him around the tunnel.

49 mins - Penalty shout in Creed! The lone spark in a dire season, besides the sheer amount of money they’re about to get from whenever an actual good team buys Murray, has been teenage winger Anselm Koerner. The muscular midfielder went shoulder to shoulder with Seip bearing down on goal, the former Blue Coast man sensed he was losing and flicked out a boot to clear the ball out and clean out Koerner, though did the Rovers winger drag back a leg to get caught? Should it matter? Still, Koerner (and Harper on the touchline) are incandescent. Seip shrugs.

50 mins - “If you pull a train lever irresponsibly, regardless of whether or not people are tied down to the tracks,” reasons Amelia Rickenbacker from Stahlburg, “you are still potentially endangering lives so long as the possibility exists. While a drink driver is penalised more harshly should they kill someone, they are still punished for the same actions even if there is no concrete action. Therefore-” It goes on for some time. And more importantly, there’s a--

51 mins - GOAL! STC 1-1 CRU. Maybe this ‘passing from the back’ lark really does have legs. Rina Lazareva starts it, metronomically reliable between the posts, eventually finding Bruun in plenty of space. Bruun, by way of a clever one-touch passing exchange with Garner, streaks free down the right before rolling the ball aside for Tamba, who pivots and fires across for Casimir Ronayne, bombing in from the left wing. Ronayne fires, Prant-Telew beats it powerfully away but only as far as Jessica Lennox, who controls the unwieldy bounce well with her initial touch before rolling the ball into the unguarded net.

52 mins - Brinemouth nearly take the lead, but Marietta Briggs can add her name to an exalted roster. A quickly-taken throw from Spencer unaccountably takes the Chariots’ defence off-guard and Tidesson flicks it cleverly over the top of everyone, Desya Kuznetsov runs onto the end of it, he must score! He doesn’t! Briggs makes herself big and then drops a knee at the decisive moment that blocks the low strike, and Tarrasch atones by hooking clear!

53 mins - GOAL! STC 2-1 CRU. That didn’t last long. Viviana Strephon forces Lazareva into a sharp save with a clever dipping volley, and the resulting corner is swung in by Aurelie Henry, bounces up off Mathis Orsay’s head and into the path of fellow centre-half Xandra Cooke, who powers home her first senior goal.

54 mins - GOAL! TRE 1-1 CVS. The breakthrough for the Stags! They’ve had the better of the match since half-time, and though this is as simple as a corner smashed home by Peter Svensson at the near post (Svensson has scored seven goals in all competitions this season…) they all count the same in the end. Metzger collects the ball, Svensson whips up the active support into a frenzy.

55 mins - Really, though, it’s hard to imagine a draw will be enough. Brinemouth should beat the Chariots, and they’ve finally started to click in the second half. The Chariots have snuffed out every fire so far, bar the Kuznetsov chance earlier, and star centre-half Kadija Na’Duha is having a great match. She’s reported to already be a target for the Dockers next season, and if this is her audition, she’s acing it.

56 mins - Jonsson shoots! Kovacic claws it away. Metzger follows it up! Kovacic palms it skywards - Olexander Green races back in time to head it off the line, a second goalline clearance of the day. Neptune tries to get on the end of it, but her overenthusiastic approach sees her booked for a high boot that nearly cuts down Yonen at the trunk.

57 mins - GOAL! SFA 3-0 NLA. Mercedes Reeve lunges desperately to take out Coltrane, and misses. Coltrane makes the most of the acres of space and picks out the bottom corner, Krieven agonisingly brushing fingers against it at full stretch. Worse still, Reeve has to limp off, Kurt Ettori crossing himself no less than three times before running on to replace her.

58 mins - Bruno Kezman spills a routine cross from Corsica Greene, but just about manages to fall onto the rebound. Sagittarius Wright tries to get on the end of it, and does manage to force a boot onto it and force it home! Just, kneeing Kezman in the cheek with her left and scraping her studs across his face with her right. She’s nonplussed to get the goal chalked off, let alone get cautioned for reckless play.

59 mins - GOAL! SFU 4-0 CYT. Kurt Ettori should have crossed himself a couple more times. A calamitous and entirely avoidable error. Posipal passes up to him, routine, no pressure from anywhere; Ettori turns rather than controlling on the spot, overbalances and slips. The unattended ball gets to a nonplussed Coltrane, who almost casually clips a ball over the top. Again, willing servant Caszely plays provider, diving and flicking a header across the face of goal for Tarala to crash past an incandescent Krieven, who spends the next while shouting at Ettori along with Posipal.

60 mins - Chenoworth Rovers have just about looked the better team against Creed, but sometimes their momentum just gets thrown by a bit of carelessness, or an overly rabid tackle from the murderous Ender Fife. Or, this time, from Misha Paterson getting the ball from Rowell in plenty of space, with anyone in the team to pick out with a pass, and picking out none of them with a ball that just rolls dismally out of play without touching anyone.

61 mins - Corvistone should retake the lead, surely! But you can’t blame them. Morham thumps a shot into a sea of bodies, then slides the rebound to Katenza Muhren, who hooks a cross over the top; Warrington and Lockheed both go for it, neither wins, and the ball finds its way down to Lucy Almwood, of all people. The leftback tries her luck with a powerful half-volley that caroms off Svensson’s thigh, but Clavel, with no time at all to react, somehow springs across to claw the ball desperately out of the top corner! Time seemed to stand still!

62 mins - Sequel Bathanay replaces Sagittarius Wright and his one-man quest to relegate Cranequin City. Bathanay’s big and bluff and has all of three league goals this season from 17 appearances. She’s a far more comfortable arrival. But City still need to test Alfonse Cameron!

63 mins - The Rovers have the ball in the net! But they’ll have to do better than that. Paterson does better this time, a brilliant flicked pass to Koerner, but the impish winger needs a slight and literal helping hand to control the ball before centring it for Murray to drive home. No dice. It’s pulled back.

64 mins - GOAL! VRR 2-1 COH. Ramona Porter with a rare goal, twisting through three defenders with pace and verve before figuring, fuck it, may as well force the ball past Ramelow’s near post. Her fellow fringe Nephara international pushes out a boot, but only succeeds in diverting the ball faster and more immediately into her own net. But it would’ve found the bottom corner regardless, and Porter gets the goal.

65 mins - Stahlburg City are now on for seventh and a Globe Cup berth. All they need is to score one goal every minute until full time. The pressure is on for 18-year old debutant Viviana Strephon.

66 mins - Proud son of Treason Markus Stroud offers; “There is one man tied to one path of tracks, and one man tied to the other path of tracks. Knowing nothing about either, you have the power over the lever to decide who lives and who dies. Do your actions still hold meaning?” Yes. Obviously. Try telling the family of the steaming pile of organs I choose to destroy that my actions don’t matter.

67 mins - GOAL! TRE 1-2 CVS. Oof! Fuck! But really, was there much more the Stags could have done? For all people talk of there being no goals in football without mistakes, five short, sharp and inch-perfect passes to feet get the ball to Clarisse Ulreich, who beautifully curls a strike beyond a desperate, diving Clavel. She didn’t celebrate her first. With her second, she sinks to her knees, realising she may well have just handed that key eighth title back to the Dockers...

68 mins - Speaking of Ramona Porter from before; she actually has a sister, Tamika, who is a lot worse at football than she is. That said, she still looked sharp and lively in the third tier with CNL, and could be good value for a First Division side. Maybe Morningstar, if they’re ready to ditch the Trifon Draxler Experience.

69 mins - Treason immediately don’t quite get back level, but they should be. They should be! It’s a clever pass from substitute Saturn Mastiff that slices open the Corvistone defence, and Metzger only has Kovacic to beat! And… pulls it wide! It clanks off the foot of the post and skims out before Neptune can convert!

70 mins - GOAL! STA 1-1 CRI. A lazy crossfield ball from Bremusa Strassman is trapped easily by Quintero on the edge of the box, and she just needs a little one-two with Woakes to run free on the inside track and chip insolently over Smordal’s charge. Berg comes agonisingly close to clearing it off the line. Agonisingly close.

71 mins - … And Berg has pulled up. That could be really, really bad, if they go into the DIT Final missing their best defender. Amos’ decision to still pick a fairly strong side might wind up backfiring… but he’s good to keep going, after a good twenty seconds or so with Passerine hearts in mouths.

72 mins - Hey, Ida Cornwell from Riverkey has a good one. “Mara is tied to one set of tracks, Pernille the other, yourself to a third. By blinking Morse Code, you can signal a guy at the lever who to redirect the train to.” Sorry, Mara.

73 mins - GOAL! BRI 0-1 ARC. And… suddenly the trophy’s back in Treason?? After failing to break the deadlock, the Dockers are made to pay - Soederquist slides in to hook away a pass from Rzazade to Strausz and it’s big and imprsesive, except that the ball then comes to Praxil Law, who can do things in possession. Law runs forward, a deft one-two with Giselher Ruskin frees him to swing in a cross. Bull punches clear, but Anise Riske nips just ahead of Conjure and pulls off a clever lob into the empty net!

74 mins - This is stupid.

75 mins - Cue the desperation substitutions. Franz Kesteren has done basically nothing for Brinemouth; on comes Iori Saitou. They’ll be going more direct, chances are. Treason take off Fletcher and drag on the 37-year old carcass of Roddy Fraser, who has a knack for coming up with goals even at this age. City, meanwhile, have to look to… uhm… a 35-year old Niko Rosmalen, currently warming up on the sidelines. Sad. Gemmill and Gyenis have already come on, so Dan Keel’s about to be out of options.

76 mins - GOALS! SFU 4-1 CYT, SFM 1-2 NRC. Southfell can afford some complacency but falling asleep at a throw-in is a bit much. A quick throw from Anderton flicked over the top from Weiss, inadvertantly flicked on by Grant as he contested Vanstrattan for the ball falling well for the opportunistic Rahn to score with his first touch off the bench. The Moths’ day gets worse; brilliant work from Newrook leftback Kohler sees him knock through Moths like pins, before pulling back inside and rolling across for Cressida Voeller to nip in, pass everyone chasing Kohler and drive into the corner past Griffin.

77 mins - Okay, so I know Cypher have been predicted to go down by basically everyone for the past couple years, but. Leichhardt, South Laithland and Cranequin Wanderers? Those are three extremely strong promoted clubs, sides that are legitimately comfortable at this level. The Stargazers in particular are probably like a couple midfield signings from not even having to think about relegation next season. But maybe that’s premature. People said that about the Saints.

78 mins - Are both title contenders seriously going to lose at home to midtable underachievers with nothing to play for? This is ridiculous. Treason are looking the more likely to draw level, with the Crows tiring, but with Brinemouth’s quality and the Chariots’ flakiness all it would take there is one moment. The first to score looks good value for the title at this point.

79 mins - GOAL! PAR 1-0 CHT. After a rare Chatswood attack breaks down, Veluca Austen confidently claiming a poor cross from Volz, the goalkeeper hurls the ball down the right for Bullova Reyson to race clear. She pulls it back for Kotsonis, who turns and hoofs one over the top - that’s all it takes, Reus taking it in stride with both glacial opposing centre-halves backing up and giving her plenty of time to wait for it to sit nicely and blast it past Nova Williams. Leigh Fletcher is furious on the sidelines! She’s calling for offside, but there’s no chance.

80 mins - Parrhesia celebrate by bringing on Sanger Linn, a seventeen-year old with a squad number of 58. He enters the field replacing Teris, and dabs. The game’s gone.

81 mins - Brilliant save from Marietta Briggs! Evelyn Conjure always magics up a-- fuck, I fucked it, but, still! She always makes something happen! And given just a little too much respect from a presentable range, she looks sure to find the top corner, but no! Briggs, at full stretch and with both hands, pushes it onto the top of the crossbar and out for a corner! The corner, also from Conjure, is caught rather more routinely by Briggs.

82 mins - Felix Karlton of Crisisbless wonders, “There’s a trolley and two tracks that stretch along infinitely. One track has one guy strapped to it every kilometre; the other, a guy strapped to it every mile. You have the opportunity to switch it to the mile track. Either way, an infinite number of people die, but one is a smaller and more gradual infinity than the other.” I… that’s bullshit. Fuck you.

83 mins - The Gauntlet erupts when McInnes is taken out by Katenza Muhren on the fringes of the box. It’s the kind of penalty that home advantage will sometimes win you on a good day, but Muhren got plenty of ball and she got it first.

84 mins - GOAL! SFA 4-0 NLA. Mara from Lindmark. Pernille from Lindmark. Your club is terrible. I’m not sorry, and I hate you both.

85 mins - GOAL! CRD 2-2 CHR. The Rovers secure themselves a little further against the guaranteed drop, Misha Paterson continuing to play her heart out. She thoroughly deserves an assist here, wresting possession off Barbarouses and arrowing a far-post ball to Sabine Patton, coming off the bench to make an impact with a decisive toebashed finish. Cranequin’s situation hasn’t changed; they still need to score. That still doesn’t look likely.

86 mins - Briggs with another great save! Fuck! This is far less photogenic, a chance given simply off Morena Deventer’s pace as she blasts past Ashcroft, chips in an almost dainty cross that’s found and flicked towards the bottom corner of the net with vicious force from Saitou… and yet, Briggs claws it away! But the ball gets to Kuznetsov, pressured by Tarrasch and with a narrowing angle, but he still gets off a shot - and Briggs somehow gets to that, too, desperately slapping the ball past the near post! The away fans are chanting her name!

87 mins - We’re on First Wind #5 of the night. If I stop focusing on all twelve screens at once, I start to see the shapes and colours. I must not let my focus wander.

88 mins - GOAL! PAR 2-0 CHT. Literal baby Sanger Linn sort of starts this with a terrible cross that Williams clambers over Antosch to punch out commandingly. But Bischoff, who should have it, misjudges the ball in the air; Makis Kotsonis beasts her at the last moment to knock the ball down towards Ilia Mueller, who takes a deep breath, sizes up the angles and with a perfect side-volley sends a pearler of a strike beyond Williams.

89 mins - A Premiership debut for 17-year old winger Kendra Ramsey as she’s thrown on for Cassandra Rowell in the dying moments against Creed United. Granddaughter to Gethin, daughter to Triffid, both adoptive. Rumour has it she considers herself Schottic, for such trivial reasons as having been born in Schottia to Schottic biological parents and going on to live in Schottia for her childhood, culminating in a callup to Schottia youth representation. She’ll come around. A couple minutes on a dusty pitch in Creed will surely show her the way.

90 mins - GOAL! SFU 5-1 CYT. Nagy with a surprisingly rare goal, one warranted from his contribution. But it’s not in Brinemouth. So it doesn’t matter.

Injury time - GOAL! But where? Brinemouth press hard, desperately cooking the ball upfield - so do the Stags. Kuznetsov curls a ball low into the corner, but Briggs, yet again, pushes it out. Mastiff prays and thwacks it at goal, it bounces out for a corner off Green’s knee. And improbably, both goalkeepers, Bull and Clavel, wind up running up for corners… Bull has rather the advantage in that department. Full time in Cranequin; they’re relegated, scarcely believing it. The Harriers fans are bitter. They made the quick jaunt east with promises of the Rovers going down, but City couldn’t score against the child between the posts. The Rovers are safe. They cling each other. Jonsson slings in a corner. Clavel rises… the ball goes over the top, it glances off Svensson’s head, but only into Green’s chest and Lekea thumps a clearance away… Conjure slings in a corner. Bull rises. And… ! RVR 2-0 NSF. Michi Leonard’s final gift to her fans, the River captain in what is likely to be her last professional game, hammering a loose ball past Daunten from close range and taking her time soaking up the ambience. The Ferrymen are down, but not out. Not forever. Leonard will be remembered.

And Brinemouth do not score. Treason, incredibly, despite all logic saying they threw it all away, have won their eighth Premiership title.

Brinemouth 0-1 Aries Chariots
Parrhesia United 2-0 Chatswood
Cranequin City 0-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Creed United 2-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Coret Hawks
AFC Treason 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Starling 1-1 Crisisbless
Stahlburg City 2-1 Crisisbless United
Southfell United 5-1 Cypher Town
Sabrefell Moths 1-2 Newrook City
Sabrefell Athletic 4-0 North Laithland
Raven River 2-0 North Sabrefell
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:52 am

2DIV Ballardine FC / 3DIV Kensey Town

The battle of the hicks, as it’s called by the sneering media. Still, it’s not every day that you see this; the third-largest town of the Laith coming to challenge the third-largest town of the Vale. Kensey have enjoyed a stronger season than most expected, perhaps fuelled, as some superstitious locals like to suggest, by the presence of the Godhead unearthed here. But the Valesiders take an early lead, a ball thudding dismally into the dry pitch and flicked over the top of everyone by Tigran Montague, falling kindly for Forster to drive home. Tricky winger Catheline Blissett wins a penalty for Kensey just three minutes later, dipping between her markers and dragging out a leg when Theo Stamocostas comes to help and getting obligingly cleaned out, but Stamocostas redeems himself, standing tall to claw captain Deanna Brenner’s penalty away. Worse still, two minutes into a two-minute injury time in the first half, Montague goes it alone to make it 2-0. Blissett pulls one back late on, but suffice to say luck isn’t Kensey’s way this time, let alone when Marc Carlyle has a late ‘goal’ chalked off for a frankly brazen offside. Ballardine are saved, and Lyn Havelock has fulfilled her brief. Can they build on that next season? For Kensey, they’ll have to lick their wounds and hope to keep ahold of their bright young talents.

Forster 14’, Montague 45+2’ // Blissett 79’

1DIV The Strongest / 2DIV Locksley
This is set to be a goalfest. The Strongest have kept in the fight purely through their attacking trident; Locksley have been fired to the top through their strike partnership, of muscular brawler Heaton and uh… muscular brawler Kreisburg. It’s the latter who makes the breakthrough, battering her way through Salling and Peacock to smash home a rather speculative ball over the top from veteran Detlef Konstantin. Goalkeeper Cavan hedged his bets, and managed to neither effectively close her down nor guard his line. Still, the Strongest had started the stronger of the two sides, and their leveller is unsurprising, even from the unlikely source of leftback Rotival, finding herself on the end of a raking crossfield ball from Tulaska Sunstroem.

Level at the break, then - and level after ninety minutes, too, with a second half full of running and excitement and utterly devoid of end product. Cavan atones with a couple sharp saves to deny Heaton, but that’s about it. The Strongest tail off in the last eleven minutes, as playmaker Laegjarn Martyn limps off. Extra time it is, then, and both sides seem to have worn one another down. It’s fitting, then, that it’s a pair of fresh legs that finish the match; Dimitri Konstantinopoulos alone has the energy to blaze a trail when Fernwood’s typically excellent cross is knocked down by the battling Kreisburg - the midfielder chests it in stride and hammers it past Cavan to seal the match. The Strongest desperately try and claw back the win, and Locksley are forced back against the wall. Camilla Arkwright gets sent off for a blatant professional foul, 118 minutes in, and the resulting free kick forces Iselin into a sharp save. But there’s no way through, and the Strongest have blown their second chance. Locksley shall take their place.

Rotival 28’ // Kreisburg 13’, Konstantinopoulos 97’

PREMIER Chenoworth Rovers / 1DIV Belgrave
Belgrave have been promoted twice, both times through winning promotion playoffs; they’ve never lost one, and they don’t plan to start now. This is a straightforward clash of brawn vs. brain, on paper. And it feels like it’s that Premiership physicality that’s making the difference early on. Belgrave stroke the ball around with confidence, but not quite the pace to seriously damage the Rovers; by the time a pass is picked out, it seems a Rover is already there to snuff out the danger. So naturally, Kotaru Katsura tires of this game and decides to settle it himself, flighting a strike into the underside of the crossbar past a stunned Anders Rowett, a goal that was frankly an injustice. But it would prove a rallying cry for the Gargoyles, who improved to see out the second half - though a scuffed clearance from goalkeeper Connell should have been converted by Meisler, who was forced under pressure from Kinsey to rush her shot over the bar of the empty net.

Belgrave came out of the gates running in the second half, early shots from Katsura and Sloan forcing Rowett into fine saves. But there’s little the goalkeeper can do when Aura Keynes cuts inside to utterly wrongfoot Fife (who spitefully kicks out at her anyway), finds her opposite winger Sloan, who hooks inside Laslow and outside the charging Rowett, who hurls himself bodily at the ball. He punches it clear, but Sloan’s dragging boot is unsurprisingly caught, and she goes down like a sack of bones. Rowett’s mixed day continues; Strand’s penalty is saved, but only because Rowett leapt almost comically far off his line before palming the ball away; retaken, an unruffled Strand sticks, and Rowett twists. 2-0, with Belgrave looking good value. Brandon Connell in the opposing goal earns his keep with scrambling saves against Meisler and Paterson, and while when Nya Murray finally gets a sniff of goal, she finds the corner, there’s still a vague sense she’s eying up a fat contract from elsewhere in Nephara (Coret and Southfell rumoured to be potential takers). There’s just that sense that a lamentably inconsistent side chose to wane rather than wax, with the worst possible timing. And as a result… Belgrave make it three. Catheline Harper is relieved of her duties two days later; in her absence, the Rovers will have plenty of time to soul-search in the second tier.

Murray 72’ // Katsura 33’, Strand 56’ pen

Parrhesia United (4-3-3) 12 - Bartok; 6 - Symond (c), 13 - Ystrad, 19 - Bohr, 22 - Vandermark; 16 - Telviir, 20 - Ward, 11 - Rosborough, 15 - Fohler, 10 - McEthinly, 14 - Silkman
Bench: 1 - Spyrakis; 3 - Meso-Roza, 5 - Altman, 7 - Teris, 8 - Mueller, 9 - Reus, 21 - Radcliffe

Cranequin City (4-3-1-2) 1 - Ledo; 2 - Rashica, 5 - Satotxe, 6 - Kreis, 3 - Strasbourg; 15 - Tsolakis, 18 - Lechleiter (c), 13 - Gyenis; 11 - Rosmalen; 10 - Kolar, 16 - Gryspos
Bench: 12 - Kezman; 4 - Kalyvas, 7 - Addison, 8 - Skiff, 19 - Heller, 20 - Sembrant, 23 - Gemmill

Two relegated sides in the Cup. Incredible scenes, and no clear favourite. Cranequin City were certainly more functional, but the Cup is about special teams pulling off special moments, and that’s more the Saints’ area. Remarkably, neither side have ditched their managers, though Kaj Aurora is understood to be leaving at the end of the season; Dan Keel, well, the board’s just happy he got them this far. Sigrun Barota is injured for Parrhesia, though, and is a crippling miss.

Parrhesia hit the tracks running, City already put on the back foot. A couple optimistic strikes from Telviir and Rosborough have the desired effect of pegging City back in their tracks, while Jess Silkman, former fringe Nephara international, has a couple speculative scoops towards McEthinly cut out by Satotxe. Silkman has been badly behind pace all season, and is 35. Now has got to be her time to redeem herself. It is. Third time proves the charm when she cuts almost casually inside Rashica to find the far post with her right boot, not a traditional strength - Bastia Fohler hurls herself at the ball in flight and manages a spectacular diving header into the ground and past Ledo. City try to shift gears, but only look sluggish in the process - sluggish enough that when Niko Rosmalen’s heavy touch is hammered clear by Ystrad, Zohar Vandermark can run past pretty much everyone, including Silkman ahead, to find a beautiful diagonal pass to split the defence with her first touch. McEthinly, running full tilt herself, laces it past Ledo with her first touch as Kreis and Satotxe fail to lumber back in time.

Cranequin City try and pull back in the second half, and do reassert some measure of control. What they can’t manage is to pick out the right passes to break through as the Saints hurl bodies at any potential threat. Kosta Kolar works his way to an acute angle, wrestling with Bohr and eventually working his way through her to everyone’s surprise, cutting centrally and surely Rosmalen must score! But… he blasts it over. Immediately, Keel hauls him off for Skiff, who singes Bartok’s fingertips with her first intervention. But when City weary late in the game, and Bartok punches clear a cross from substitute Strasbourg, and substitute Ilia Mueller turns into acres of space… the result is predictable. City are in sixes and sevens, Mueller goes it alone, cutting through them all like a hot knife and as Ledo comes to challenge, turning aside and sidefooting the ball in low and hard. It’s the Saints’ day, after a long, hard, terrible season. One that will be fondly remembered in some time, when the scars heal - Newrook can tell them how, perhaps. It may not have been the success they were hoping for at the start of the season, but Cup glory - their third, drawing level with Crisisbless and Newrook - resounds far, far further than simple survival.

Fohler 36’, McEthinly 43’, Mueller 87’

Brinemouth (4-4-2) 1 - Bull; 2 - Spencer, 6 - Magnozzi, 5 - Windtide, 3 - Close; 7 - Tidesson, 21 - Soederquist (c), 10 - Conjure, 13 - Deventer; 4 - Kuznetsov, 17 - Saitou
Bench: 20 - Britton; 8 - Kesteren, 11 - Duerden, 12 - Montague, 14 - Dragana, 18 - Morlock, 19 - Royer

Starling (4-3-1-2) 1 - Smørdal; 2 - Asghar, 5 - Berg, 4 - Visser, 3 - Castor; 11 - Armstrong (c), 21 - Kymeri, 8 - Roxel; 22 - Netzach; 7 - Dostalok, 9 - Cathar
Bench: 25 - Carolan; 6 - Loredan, 10 - Corvalan, 13 - Padilla, 14 - Garai, 15 - Roebling, 19 - Paterson

So this is it, the de facto Champions Cup final. The season kicked off with a test between two Nepharim sides to see which was the multiverse’s best; we end on the same note, but with different protagonists. Brinemouth, narrowly the bridesmaid in the league, such talent in their lineup! Starling, the side everyone thought would run out of steam without Andisori or Lovelace, still with a shot at glory, and a respectable fifth in the league.

The first half is a cautious affair. One for the purists. Both sides are tired out of the gates, though it isn’t exactly a placid affair - not the way that Roxel crashes into countrywoman Conjure. Gareth Blackthorn has taken the unusual step of favouring two up front, and it’s Iori Saitou who looks to prove the wisdom of that, his run breaking free from Kuznetsov to find its way to an angled ball off the top by Deventer. He takes a touch, perhaps fatally, and his shot is snuffed out, thumping into the diving and thankfully fit Berg. This only galvanises the Passerines into action, and several pretty passing moves seem to put Dostalok, Cathar, Netzach, Armstrong in good positions… and yet there’s never quite a clear opening, more than a routine save coaxed from Ryan Bull.

Fortunately, the marketing execs seem to have put a word in the ear of both sides; out of seemingly nowhere both sides are out for blood in the second half. It’s everything an all-Nepharim final should be, blood and thunder and bravery, and that fearlessness extends to possession as well. There’s a place for Valentine Roxel putting all three parts of a goal together, crunching Deventer to win the ball, getting it rolling the other way with a simple but incisive pass to Castor, and when the cross flies back in towards goal he’s been running like hell into the opposing box, in the right place to leap tall and crash home the opening header. But there’s a place, too, for the bravery of Bryger Tidesson, taking on three, four men on his way into the box, and when a greater ego would have tried to go it alone for the final touch presented with Smordal guarding an acute angle, he instead thrashed a ferocious ball across the face of goal waiting only on a final touch. Kuznetsov, as always, provides.

1-1 after ninety minutes; 1-1 after a hundred and twenty, as well, both sides breathless and some chances opening up just through the gaps - still, the final product was lacking with Nevaeh Cathar most culpable, running onto a beautiful ball from Armstrong, chesting it down too heavily and screaming in frustration as Bull just… picks it up. She would get her chance to make up for that. Daniel Dostalok, however, would be first - and dispatched powerfully into the top right. Kuznetsov, as if answering a dare, went the same way, slightly further into the corner, with slightly more power - Smordal, motionless. Liam Armstrong next, Starling captain, but his slightly staggered walk fails to pay off as his Euran countryman calls his bluff, holds his ground until the final moment and doesn’t have far to claim a sputtering penalty. Soederquist’s could well have been saved, but Smordal guesses wrong; similarly, Kymeri’s.

Bryger Tidesson stepped up with the chance to make it 3-2, and he doesn’t stagger his run. Indeed, there’s no hesitation at all as the most expensive signing in Premiership history puts his foot through the ball and puts that ball into the crowd. He can scarcely believe it. Neither can Dockers’ fans. But the Passerines have a lifeline, one Cathar doesn’t squander with a firm and decisive penalty, answered by a nerveless one from the Nepharim captain Close, answered by… Varina Roebling, who substituted Roxel - it’s a cruel game, but the Schottic was dead on his feet, and received a standing ovation from the fans in green - who sends hers thundering into the underside of the crossbar. A few hearts in mouths, and now Ilona Duerden, herself a Nepharim substitute for a Schottic veteran in midfield, must score. She’s brave to step up. Nobody denies this. And she strikes the ball firmly, following through with a kiai. Then watching on, in horror, as Smordal makes the right call for the first time in the shootout and with an iron wrist clubs the ball to safety with violence. Nobody can believe it. But somehow, for the second time, lowly Starling from south of the Vale stand atop the world.

Kuznetsov 77’ // Roxel 51’

STARLING win 4-3 on penalties.
Dostalok ✔ Armstrong X Kymeri ✔ Cathar ✔ Roebling ✔
Kuznetsov ✔ Soederquist ✔ Tidesson X Close ✔ Duerden X

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 AFC Treason 46 27 14 5 92 35 +57 95
2 Brinemouth 46 29 8 9 93 42 +51 95
3 Crisisbless 46 28 9 9 85 37 +48 93
4 Sabrefell Athletic 46 26 13 7 109 51 +58 91

5 Starling 46 23 12 11 84 52 +32 81
6 Sabrefell Moths 46 20 12 14 84 54 +30 72
7 Coret Hawks 46 21 7 18 90 61 +29 70

8 Stahlburg City 46 18 16 12 55 49 +6 70
9 Vermillion Rage 46 18 14 14 83 66 +17 68
10 Southfell United 46 17 15 14 73 73 +0 66
11 AFC Corvistone 46 18 11 17 67 63 +4 65
12 Aries Chariots 46 17 14 15 69 73 -4 65
13 Newrook City 46 16 16 14 58 54 +4 64
14 Crisisbless United 46 18 7 21 53 87 -34 61
15 North Laithland 46 16 11 19 78 87 -9 59
16 Creed United 46 16 11 19 61 70 -9 59
17 Chenoworth Harriers 46 13 16 17 54 69 -15 55
18 Chatswood 46 13 9 24 45 60 -15 48
19 North Sabrefell 46 11 13 22 52 69 -17 46
20 Cypher Town 46 12 7 27 42 78 -36 43
21 Chenoworth Rovers 46 10 10 26 55 91 -36 40
22 Cranequin City 46 9 12 25 36 75 -39 39
23 Parrhesia United 46 9 11 26 40 95 -55 38
24 Raven River 46 9 8 29 39 106 -67 35
31 - Tarala (SFA)
27 - Kuznetsov (BRI)
26 - Metzger (TRE)
23 - Stavanger (COH), Dostalok (STA)
20 - Woakes (CRI), Vol (SFM), Heward (VRR)
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Sipke Tarala (SFA)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Bryger Tidesson (BRI)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Lucy Almwood (CVS)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Maia Abylon (CRI)
Team of the Year: Na’Kefir (CRI); Asghar (STA), Svensson (TRE), Sigismund (SFA), Va’Afaja (TRE); Tidesson (BRI), Abylon (CRI), Jonsson (TRE), Gere (SFA); Tarala (SFA), Metzger (TRE)
Bench: Clavel (TRE); Orsay (STC), Close (BRI), Quintero (CRI), Shone (SFM), Aedelbrandt (SFM), Kuznetsov (BRI)
Manager of the Year: Tim Maitfield (CRU)

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Leichhardt 46 32 7 7 79 39 +40 103
2 South Laithland 46 31 4 11 103 58 +45 97
3 Cranequin Wanderers 46 23 9 14 62 50 +12 78
4 Belgrave 46 21 11 14 99 64 +35 74

5 Vermillion Wanderers 46 22 8 16 76 60 +16 74
6 Brookford Otters 46 20 13 13 79 59 +20 73
7 Mantlegrove 46 20 12 14 58 45 +13 72
8 Diamondqueen 46 21 8 17 80 57 +23 71
9 Stahlburg Rovers 46 19 11 16 75 67 +8 68
10 AFC Serpentine 46 18 13 15 71 64 +7 67
11 Armstrong 46 18 11 17 57 52 +5 65
12 Morningstar 46 18 11 17 53 59 -6 65
13 Goodfeather FC 46 18 10 18 67 58 +9 64
14 Iron City 46 15 17 14 43 40 +3 62
15 Chardonnay Rangers 46 16 14 16 64 65 -1 62
16 Corvette Maulers 46 19 5 22 62 70 -8 62
17 Bishop 46 14 15 17 53 66 -13 57
18 Gonen's Bridge 46 14 14 18 62 72 -10 56
19 Alliance Barossia 46 16 4 26 50 72 -22 52
20 Dartmouth Terriers 46 13 9 24 42 66 -24 48
21 The Strongest 46 11 12 23 64 88 -24 45
22 Pillars of Southfell 46 11 12 23 34 64 -30 45
23 Hackett 46 11 10 25 51 89 -38 43
24 Peregrine 46 6 10 30 48 108 -60 28
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Harriet Michail (SLA) - 32
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): Kotaro Katsura (BEL)
Team of the Year: Matheny (CRW); Auburn (VRW), Garrick (MTG), Pike (SLA), Woodruff (LEI); Sloan (BEL), Vintner (LEI), Katsura (BEL), Habane (SLA); Michail (SLA), Stevenson (LEI)
Manager of the Year: Henrick Barden (MTG)

Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 AFC Rochford 46 29 10 7 73 33 +40 97
2 West Brinemouth 46 28 12 6 77 35 +42 96
3 Crisisbless Athletic 46 24 12 10 78 45 +33 84
4 Locksley 46 23 10 13 85 53 +32 79

5 Corinthians No Longer 46 22 11 13 78 68 +10 77
6 Riverkey 46 22 9 15 51 42 +9 75
7 Extreme Hills 46 20 11 15 69 66 +3 71
8 Stonegrave 46 18 16 12 46 38 +8 70
9 Aries Solitaire 46 17 13 16 63 52 +11 64
10 Falston United 46 17 13 16 47 43 +4 64
11 Barossia United 46 16 16 14 47 46 +1 64
12 Greygate 46 16 15 15 46 43 +3 63
13 Coret Rovers 46 17 11 18 64 61 +3 62
14 Gosmouth Swans 46 17 10 19 65 75 -10 61
15 Ritter Town 46 15 13 18 51 59 -8 58
16 The Hanged Man 46 12 19 15 44 46 -2 55
17 Lazuli Diamonds 46 13 15 18 54 68 -14 54
18 AFC Shale 46 13 13 20 34 43 -9 52
19 Boltcroft Thorns 46 13 13 20 65 78 -13 52
20 Southriver 46 14 9 23 46 71 -25 51
21 Ballardine FC 46 12 8 26 51 77 -26 44
22 Brokenarch 46 10 11 25 39 75 -36 41
23 Kommissar 46 8 16 22 48 71 -23 40
24 Sheridan 46 7 12 27 27 60 -33 33
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Marika Kreisburg (LCK) - 30
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Minka Forrest (RCH)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Traudl Mrdja (RCH)
Team of the Year: Qatintiki (CBA); Devine (WBR), Young (CBA), Anneaux (WBR), Avery (RVK); Mrdja (RCH), Valente (CBA), Forrest (RCH), Fernwood (LCK); Kreisburg (LCK), Bronze (CNL)
Manager of the Year: Mixu Durran (EXH)

Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Martella Jazz 46 31 9 6 88 39 +49 102
2 Autumnstone 46 26 16 4 95 45 +50 94
3 Crossroads Town 46 28 7 11 95 47 +48 91

4 Kensey Town 46 25 10 11 78 53 +25 85
5 Brindleton 46 21 14 11 67 60 +7 77
6 Mapleford 46 21 12 13 76 45 +31 75
7 South Parrhesia 46 20 13 13 66 54 +12 73
8 Rochford Pilgrims 46 21 8 17 76 54 +22 71
9 Strephonage 46 19 14 13 62 48 +14 71
10 Iron United 46 19 11 16 58 55 +3 68
11 East Laithland Harriers 46 17 15 14 75 66 +9 66
12 Hartford Glade 46 18 9 19 66 66 +0 63
13 Ox River United 46 15 17 14 47 47 +0 62
14 Caldwick Strand 46 15 12 19 55 65 -10 57
15 Ingram Township 46 12 18 16 35 44 -9 54
16 Sutcroft 46 15 8 23 55 85 -30 53
17 West Hook 46 12 15 19 41 48 -7 51
18 Riverkey Shells 46 14 9 23 56 71 -15 51
19 Downsparrow 46 12 13 21 42 80 -38 49
20 Fully Sick XI 46 11 13 22 57 75 -18 46
21 Long Lake 46 10 13 23 33 55 -22 43
22 Sutcroft Athletic 46 9 14 23 49 82 -33 41
23 Falston Town 46 10 7 29 40 88 -48 37
24 Sirencall FC 46 7 11 28 50 90 -40 32

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Rushe United 38 22 8 8 77 42 +35 74
2 Crownsend Journey 38 20 9 9 75 41 +34 69

3 FC Seierstad 38 19 9 10 62 47 +15 66
4 Grovebank 38 16 16 6 61 44 +17 64
5 Iberia Chenoworth 38 20 3 15 85 71 +14 63
6 Lockheed Zenith 38 17 9 12 55 46 +9 60
7 Fischer 38 16 11 11 51 49 +2 59
8 Courser 38 16 8 14 39 37 +2 56
9 AFC Hellerine 38 15 8 15 63 57 +6 53
10 Stonesthrow Town 38 13 10 15 43 42 +1 49
11 Ringway 38 11 15 12 51 51 +0 48
12 AFC Feuerweiss 38 13 9 16 58 68 -10 48
13 Harrington 38 12 11 15 60 59 +1 47
14 Boleyn Town 38 11 14 13 39 43 -4 47
15 Fenland Albion 38 12 10 16 40 51 -11 46
16 Besand's Folly 38 12 9 17 47 63 -16 45
17 Sleetwell Rangers 38 11 10 17 56 73 -17 43
18 Chenoworth Teutons 38 8 14 16 42 54 -12 38
19 Stekelenbright 38 7 11 20 51 78 -27 32
20 Camwell Road 38 8 8 22 37 76 -39 32

Promoted: Lindmark Falcons, AFC Mittelmarch

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin Souths 38 25 9 4 84 37 +47 84
2 Brunyard FC 38 23 9 6 74 48 +26 78

3 New Oakstone Phoenix 38 22 9 7 106 44 +62 75
4 Twelvetrees 38 20 6 12 51 38 +13 66
5 Corvistone City 38 16 14 8 51 30 +21 62
6 Bodkin Road 38 17 11 10 54 36 +18 62
7 Brookford Vantablack 38 16 14 8 56 39 +17 62
8 The Travellers FC 38 17 11 10 61 50 +11 62
9 Northside Eagles 38 17 10 11 61 51 +10 61
10 AFC Volksgarten 38 16 7 15 40 43 -3 55
11 Rookwall 38 13 12 13 45 38 +7 51
12 AFC Davenport 38 14 5 19 45 56 -11 47
13 Gridlock 38 12 9 17 37 41 -4 45
14 Constance Park 38 10 9 19 36 53 -17 39
15 Blaze 38 9 10 19 39 76 -37 37
16 AFC Burchess 38 9 9 20 40 66 -26 36
17 Aries Tigers 38 8 11 19 46 68 -22 35
18 Markoni 38 10 4 24 38 73 -35 34
19 Brookway Town 38 6 14 18 32 65 -33 32
20 Stamper Road 38 6 5 27 33 77 -44 23

Promoted: Latin Enclave FC, Longwinter, Barhara Cavaliers
Falston Town folded after relegation.
WCC Grand Slam champion.
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Postby Nephara » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:27 am

Season 75 Preview


League Finish: 12th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Scythes (36,000)
Nickname: the Chariots
Captain: Katerina Tarrasch
Top Scorers: Sierra (14), Lazarou (11), Seamster, Kaelin (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 20 - Briggs (28); 2 - Ashcroft (25), 5 - Tarrasch (30, c), 4 - Na’Duha (29), 14 - Law (28); 7 - Seamster (28), 6 - Rzazade (30), 21 - Strausz (24); 12 - Lazarou (29), 15 - Sierra (29), 10 - Ruskin (26)
In: Oskar Burnside (returned from loan)
Promoted: Fiora Anders (RB, 19), Rook Bolton (CB, 19), Eve Luther (LW, 20), Nikolai Steele (CM, 18)
Out: Elsa Kaelin (Crisisbless United, 2.5m), Anise Riske (Myana, 2m), Alexis Brill (Z'ai'ai, 1.5m), Barak Strauss (Morningstar, free), Mirka Ceciu (FK Torpedo Pawlograd, free)

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

74: Premier - 12th - 65 pts
73: Premier - 9th - 67 pts
72: Premier - 8th - 74 pts
71: Premier - 10th - 69 pts
70: Premier - 9th - 73 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.

After drawing eight of their first eleven games, the Chariots hit form and a briefly promising season that fell apart in the second half. Twelfth isn't bad, but that's all it is, and surely the Chariots could have expected more in the season they were really expected to put it all together. Has Safarova taken them as far as they can go?

Not the pushing-on one might hope, though the clearing-out of aging deadwood was productive; mournful farewells to the likes of Nephara international Kaelin, captain Riske and hand-reared defender Brill, all for the greater good. But they made no deals, failing to find a midfielder who suited their needs.

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.

The Chariots aren't exactly known for their defensive resilience. Perhaps they should be. Kadija Na'Duha serves a dual role one rarely sees of Nepharim centre-halves; while the Vloo can absolutely cripple attacks with the best of them, she also starts many of the team's attacks, taking the ball easily and confidently into the midfield and getting things rolling in the right manner.

Giselher Ruskin arrived a while back, young and raw and very Okay. Last season - his last before his contract was up for expiry - proved a true breakthrough. As Kaelin slowed and became more fragile, Ruskin's athleticism and pace saw him injected off the bench more and more, and slowly - finally! - develop an end product. Judging by recruitment and preseason, Safarova regards him as an integral part of the trident.

This could still be their year. It is still unlikely to be. Further backsliding could be the downfall of the Safarova project.

Manager: Isla Safarova (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Vance Commerford (COS), 20 - Marietta Briggs, 25 - Annabelle Press
Defenders: 2 - Harper Ashcroft, 3 - Oskar Burnside, 4 - Kadija Na'Duha (COS), 5 - Katerina Tarrasch (c), 14 - Praxil Law, 18 - Ansom Payne, 37 - Rook Bolton, 39 - Fiora Anders
Midfielders: 6 - Leila Rzazade (ISK), 7 - Tarran Seamster (COS), 8 - Achileas Tsiolkas, 13 - Ivana Tokich, 21 - Lorena Strausz, 33 - Nikolai Steele
Forwards: 9 - Mateus Kujan, 10 - Giselher Ruskin, 11 - Eve Luther, 12 - Alexandra Lazarou, 15 - Rowena Sierra (CMT), 17 - Isabella Chaplain, 23 - Silke Gutenberg


League Finish: 4th (1Div, won playoff)
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Cherryfields (25,000)
Nickname: the Gargoyles
Captain: Drusilla Naess
Top Scorers: Strand (27), Katsura (17), Sloan (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Connell (30); 23 - Neumann (24), 5 - Kinsey-Hessenford (24), 6 - Skapoulis (31), 3 - Russett (24); 11 - Steward (25), 14 - Lechleiter (31), 8 - Katsura (23); 7 - Sloan (27), 16 - Strand (26), 10 - Keynes (30)
In: Casey Steward (Gonen's Bridge, 2.5m), Leontios Skapoulis (Vermillion Rage, 2m), Ninian Lechleiter (Cranequin City, 2m), Katenza Muhren (AFC Corvistone, free), Alexa Ferryman (Cypher Town, free)
Out: Matilda Hamilton (Hisar FK, 2m), Vasili Giatrakis (Armstrong, 1m), Pontus Roderick (Gavixbeck Weiss Gelb, free), Journey Flintoff (New Bastion, free), Diana Lake (West Brinemouth, free)

74: 1Div - 4th - 74 pts - Promoted
73: 1Div - 6th - 74 pts
72: 1Div - 10th - 68 pts
71: Premier - 24th - 29 pts - Relegated
70: 1Div - 4th - 79 pts - Promoted

Notable Products: Sansa Dreyfuss, Alexandra Lazarou, Achileas Tsiolkas
Club Heroes: Espen Whyte
Premiership Debut: 67
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.

An appalling first half of the season saw the Gargoyles in the bottom half of the table. They should probably have sacked Adalheid Metzelder. Nobody could have foreseen the turnaround, surging up from 15th to 4th and outplaying Chenoworth Rovers in the playoff.

Surprisingly understated, but precise. Ferryman and Muhren, though long past their best, are comfortable at this level and can step up where needed. Skapoulis is an unglamorous signing, but look closer; an experienced centre-half, accustomed to passing the ball around and working with a high line. In a way, he's perfect. Lechleiter, similarly, is unthrilling but steady, but there's intrigue in Steward, a clever little operator between the lines in line for her first Premiership minutes.

The Gargoyles have never adapted to the Premiership. Perhaps related, they have never survived in the Premiership. No matter the odds they will continue to play fearless possession-based football, one with plenty of bite and fluidity under Metzelder and fuelled by an exceptionally high line.

Markus Strand kind of came out of nowhere to immediately start firing in the second tier, and he'll need to be at his best to keep Belgrave up. He definitely goes through occasional listless form, but is electrifying at this best. Better still, he's more than a goalscorer, entirely comfortable drifting to the flanks and playing provider.

Should the Gargoyles go down, it would be a miracle if Kotaro Katsura went with them. He hit the ground running in his first year as a professional, combining the vision of a born playmaker with dynamism and workrate. Often arrives late into the box to get on the end of crosses, but loves to take on defenders, too. The issue is; how will this translate to the cruel world of the Premiership?

Nobody really likes Belgrave. But they play good football, in this version, and Metzelder is good value. Better value than she is a manager, probably. Most likely they will crash and burn, entertainingly.

Manager: Adalheid Metzelder
Goalkeepers: 1 - Brandon Connell, 20 - Odessa Bonds, 25 - Franca Pallas
Defenders: 2 - Katenza Muhren, 3 - Mathilda Russett, 4 - Drusilla Naess (c), 5 - Clover Kinsey-Hessenford (BSE), 6 - Leontios Skapoulis, 13 - Erin Kushner, 22 - Ava Washington, 23 - Finn Neumann
Midfielders: 8 - Kotaro Katsura (HIN), 11 - Casey Steward, 14 - Ninian Lechleiter, 17 - Laura Belfry, 19 - Alexa Ferryman, 21 - Emeraude Tanner (EFL)
Forwards: 7 - Meredith Sloan, 9 - Cohen Alexander, 10 - Aura Keynes, 12 - Atlas Vasiliadis, 15 - Keira Fallon, 16 - Markus Strand, 24 - Erica Manson


League Finish: 2nd
Cup Run: Fourth Round
DIT Run: Runners-up
Stadium: Brinemouth Eagle’s Club (65,000)
Nickname: the Dockers
Captain: Stig Soederquist
Top Scorers: Kuznetsov (27), Tidesson (18), Saitou (12)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Bull (31); 2 - Spencer (25), 6 - Magnozzi (30), 18 - Brosch (26), 3 - Close (27); 15 - Reeve (26), 10 - Conjure (33, c); 7 - Tidesson (28), 8 - Kesteren (30), 13 - Deventer (25); 4 - Kuznetsov (29)
In: Ilyana Brosch (AFC Corvistone, 8m), Mercedes Reeve (North Laithland, 6m), Constantine Koellner (returned from loan)
Promoted: Abigail Stancil (LW, 19)
Out: Zara Cormann (Workers Union, 6m), Ilona Duerden (Hoima Warriors, 5m), Gerik Morlock (Tanrisal, 4.5m), Alyss Montague (Z'ai'ai, free), Jazmin Dragana (Myana, free)

7 Premiership titles (53, 54, 55, 61, 62, 70, 72)
NFA Cup (62)
Ramsey Shield (73)
Gang of Six member

74: Premier - 2nd - 95 pts - CC
73: Premier - 2nd - 100 pts - CC
72: Premier - 1st - 103 pts - CC
71: Premier - 7th - 80 pts - GC
70: Premier - 1st - 95 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.

Bridesmaids of both the league and, de facto, the world. Closing an excellent season on defeats to a Chariots side with nothing to play for and the Passerines, whose league season ended ten points out of top four contention, will leave a sour taste in the mouth. Blackthorn regards it as an excellent platform for future success, but only that.

Modest, but intelligent. You can't splash out big every window. Cormann, Duerden and Morlock were all fine players, too fine to be satisfied with ten league appearances a year. Montague and Dragana, no longer stars but still quality, boost the profile of their thrice-formed home league. Ilyana Brosch is Nephara's No. 6, determined if mercurial, and more than capable of adapting to a dominant side; Reeve, similarly, has made her name as an intelligent and quietly effective anchor.

There’s been a shift in emphasis, eased into place over the past year. Blackthorn wants Brinemouth to properly dominate the ball. There’s a nervousness in Nephara about passing backwards or sideways, but Blackthorn’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...

Evelyn Conjure is old, now. Evelyn Conjure doesn't run so much anymore, doesn't really do much defensively. And yet, the ball sings at her feet. Reeve is there to do her running for her, an unapologetic water-carrier that beloved Soederquist no longer has the legs for. Blackthorn demands that his team presses, but Conjure doesn't rouse herself anymore. She doesn't need to. She's worth it.

Nobody really expected Oliver Spencer to hit the ground running, despite a chunky fee. And in fairness, he took some time to acclimatise to the physicality and stamina required of him. He spent a little time around midseason hovering in and out of the team, but it did not pass unnoticed that they always suffered without him, and by the final stretch Blackthorn had declared to hell with easing him in. He played every minute of the last fifteen league games, and the Dwile Invitational knockouts. One wonders how long it will take him this year to stop running, and stop his already lethal rapport with Kuznetsov and Tidesson.

Blackthorn will fancy his chances at the top, but the failure to acquire a truly world-class playmaker continues to hold them back.

Manager: Gareth Blackthorn
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ryan Bull (EUR), 12 - Urban Malthus, 20 - Iona Britton
Defenders: 2 - Oliver Spencer (RCN), 3 - Marcin Close, 5 - Miri Windtide (CEN), 6 - Giorgio Magnozzi (MRC), 18 - Ilyana Brosch, 19 - Alphonse Royer, 22 - Flo Eschborn, 24 - Jens Vauxton
Midfielders: 7 - Bryger Tidesson (COS), 8 - Franz Kesteren, 10 - Evelyn Conjure (SCT), 11 - Tambra Matalin, 13 - Morena Deventer, 14 - Micha Burkhard, 15 - Mercedes Reeve, 21 - Stig Soederquist (COS, c), 23 - Dimitri Keldoulis, 32 - Abigail Stancil
Forwards: 4 - Desya Kuznetsov (AUD), 9 - Constantine Koellner, 17 - Iori Saitou (HIN)


League Finish: 18th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Westcroft (28,000)
Nickname: the Axes, the Woodsmen
Captain: Ivana Henderson
Top Scorers: Henderson (12), Conleth (6), Garrett, Prentice (5)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 12 - Williams (28); 2 - Heidt (27), 5 - Ozolx-Alfan (29), 20 - Bishop (31), 3 - Hammond (26); 13 - Conleth (26), 15 - Bischoff (24), 21 - Prentice (27), 11 - Caulker (29); 9 - Moore (23), 10 - Henderson (30, c)
In: Esmond Moore (Gonen's Bridge, 3.5m), Valeria Hammond (Armstrong, 2.5m), Ozolx-Alfan Ixi (KF Werzin, free), Alisander Seip (Creed United, free)
Promoted: Kolin Bruster (CB, 19), Eloise Markus (RB, 19), Micaiah Parrish (GK, 18), Heiko Vollath (CM, 20)
Out: Bohemund Karling (Vermillion Wanderers, 1.75m), Konstanze Luitgard (Anchors FC, free), Crispin Galloway (Tiugz FC, free), Machalat Sauber (Bakir FK, free)
Retired: Serdjan Aleksovic (GK, 37, COS), Damocles Kouroglou (CM, 35), Darius Rashkin (CB, 35), Raquel Woods (LB, 35)

First Division title (51)
NFA Cup (56)

74: Premier - 18th - 48 pts
73: Premier - 19th - 45 pts
72: 1Div - 3rd - 90 pts - Promoted
71: 1Div - 8th - 75 pts
70: 1Div - 6th - 77 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, Darius Rashkin, 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.

Chatswood got one really, really good season out of Rehan Garrett. This would not be a second, but that's okay. The rest of the team stood up to the challenge. They flirted with the drop at times but never looked in serious danger.

Quietly good business, not without risk. Esmond Moore, a colossus, is the big signing up front, but far from finished. Hammond represents a younger, fresher upgrade over Karling, snapped up by the ambitious Wanderers, but neither has played at the top level before. At the last second, they also managed to pick up Qusmo international Ozolx-Alfan, stranded at a loose end. Old warhorse leftback Seip comes in on a one-year deal to replace old warhorse leftback Woods, with Aleksovic, Kouroglou and Rashkin - an underrated defender who spent over a decade at the club - also hanging up the boots.

Increasingly Route One as the season went on and it became clear that the muscular Henderson was the lynchpin. Inserting the towering Moore into the system will underline that. Chatswood basically remain Chatswood; they're rough, hard-bitten and hell to play against, and have predictably racked up the most cards and fouls in the league last year.

Henderson gets to be the lynchpin because Henderson was the perfect signing for them. She never quite had the star power or goal tally expected of her at the Hawks, and was criminally underrated as she battled her way into regular starts. She is a battering ram, a tireless chaser of lost causes, and a hold-up ogre. And she scores enough.

Dominik Antosch was probably set to start day in and day out if they didn't get the deal for Ozolx-Alfan over the line. Still, he won't have to bide his time much longer, one suspects. Not the tallest timber one can find for the position, rather a low-slung bruiser and general menace to knees and ankles. His change of pace can help snuff out attacks, too.

It should, if all goes to plan, be a nice, boring midtable season for the Axes.

Manager: Leigh Fletcher
Goalkeepers: 1 - Gerik Knasmuller, 12 - Nova Williams (CMT), 30 - Micaiah Parrish
Defenders: 2 - Yulia Heidt (COS), 3 - Valeria Hammond, 5 - Ozolx-Alfan Ixi (QUS), 6 - Alisander Seip, 20 - Chris Bishop (SCT), 22 - Dominik Antosch, 31 - Eloise Markus, 36 - Kolin Bruster
Midfielders: 4 - Ella Grear (SCT), 7 - Gedeon Volz, 8 - Heiko Vollath, 11 - Reis Caulker, 13 - Severa Conleth, 15 - Kolinda Bischoff, 16 - Fiete Tannhaeuser, 21 - Andrea Prentice
Forwards: 9 - Esmond Moore, 10 - Ivana Henderson (c), 14 - Christian Guilder, 17 - Rehan Garrett (ETN), 23 - Labinot Ruscoe


League Finish: 17th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Keel (35,000)
Nickname: the Harriers, the Reds
Captain: Catheline Stensholt
Top Scorers: Whittaker (14), Rivers (10), Marconi (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 20 - Matthews (29); 2 - Greene (25), 19 - Carroll (30), 19 - Dmitriev (32), 3 - Kite (24); 21 - Charisteas (23), 10 - Stensholt (30, c); 7 - Rivers (29), 11 - Marconi (30), 13 - Kou (27); 9 - Whittaker (28)
In: Tristan Niedermayer (FC Einhaut Marnau, 4m), Fyona Matthews (Gonen's Bridge, 3m), Medea Tsicaderis (AFC Corvistone, free)
Promoted: Marius Cervenka (ST, 19), Dimitar Franzen (GK, 20), Riviera Sanders (RW, 19), Igrene Sonnen (RB, 19)
Out: Nike Rouphos (Vermillion Rage, 3.5m), Matthew Braylock (Eyrods, 3m), Theold Bracewell (Cazadores Cathair, free), Sequel Bathanay (Landsmark Industrie, free), Soren Coleman (Tentai Astros, free)
Retired: Diogenes Kutris (DM, 36), Markus Sheffield (GK, 36, SLL)

First Division title (64)

74: Premier - 17th - 55 pts
73: Premier - 15th - 57 pts
72: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
71: Premier - 9th - 72 pts
70: Premier - 8th - 76 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.

A very mediocre season for the Harriers, who backslide for the fourth year in a row. That said, after a disastrous transfer window, just staying out of the relegation battle was enough. And under Snowy Brennan, they did so comfortably.

Understated, but it has to be chalked down as a success. Fyona Matthews, one of the most impressive second-tier shot-stoppers, finally gets her shot at the big-time, while they gazumped the big dogs in Teusland to snap away promising centre-half Niedermayer at the last moment. Tsicaderis is on approximately her nineteenth Premiership club by now. Nike Rouphos, contract a year off expiry, is reluctantly liquidated to replace Katarec, who largely supplanted her in international football, while Braylock gets shipped out, deserving chances to shine he wasn't getting. Markus Sheffield is probably the goalkeeper most fans would put as the club's finest ever (are Flynn King stans still a thing?), while Diogenes Kutris was an exemplary captain.

Snowy Brennan has plenty of Premiership experience… just, not as a manager, last year being her first in the hot seat after impressing in charge of 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.

Sigrun Rivers has always been a very good player at this level. Rivers has never been great. Lanky, two-footed, enough pace even if not precisely a speed daemon but as time goes on she's become more versatile, more intelligent, to make up for it. Neither's really the right word. Cunning is closer to it. She finds avenues that nobody else on the squad can, and she's got a few more years left in her. Ah, but she's still no Brae Crowther... but then, at the wrong end of the table, you probably want a day-in-day-out 7/10 over someone who could be anywhere from 10 to 4. Maybe.

Gwen Kite's been entrusted to step up in Rouphos' absence, and close club-watchers have known she's had potential for a while. Tiny and compact, Kite practically exudes energy, and spends it in short, sharp bursts. Hell, she might even be able to keep up with notorious speed-daemon-and-that's-it Kou. Defensively, she needs work, and one imagines she'll always lack grunt, but Rouphos' departure need not be crippling.

Further consolidation is likely. More midtable football. The slow integration of young talent who can go further.

Manager: Snowy Brennan
Goalkeepers: 1 - Alphonse Cameron, 20 - Fyona Matthews, 25 - Dimitar Franzen
Defenders: 2 - Corsica Greene (CYI), 3 - Gwen Kite, 5 - Victoria Carroll, 6 - Tristan Niedermayer (STL), 18 - Medea Tsicaderis, 19 - Valery Dmitriev (AUD), 22 - Orithyia Demetriou, 33 - Igrene Sonnen
Midfielders: 7 - Sigrun Rivers, 10 - Catheline Stensholt (c), 11 - Alessa Marconi, 12 - Theresa Croll, 13 - Charybdis Kou, 14 - Jakob Shearer, 15 - Darius Nagant, 16 - Lionel Dalton (KOR), 21 - Nikita Charisteas, 32 - Riviera Sanders
Forwards: 9 - Tom Whittaker (EUR), 17 - Sagittarius Wright, 31 - Marius Cervenka


League Finish: 2nd (First Division)
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Ebony Lane (48,000)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Captain: Shona Butcher
Top Scorers: Viere (16), Grahn (13), Riaz (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 12 - Matheny (23); 23 - Carlin (31), 22 - Woodpress (31), 5 - Stoeva (28); 6 - Kaveci (25), 20 - Riaz (22), 8 - Mason (27), 21 - Butcher (28, c), 18 - Treeswallow (23); 7 - Grahn (28), 9 - Viere (31)
In: Declan Mason (Newport City FC, 3m), Grant Carlin (Lammerton, 3m)
Promoted: Tanya Islinger (LWB, 20)
Out: Franziska Jaspen (Foretham Coven, free), Ruth Mulberry (Peynol-Lunas, free)

2 First Division titles (57, 72)

74: 1Div - 3rd - 78 pts - Promoted
73: Premier - 22nd - 39 pts - Relegated
72: 1Div - 1st - 101 pts - Promoted
71: 1Div - 9th - 69 pts
70: 1Div - 13th - 57 pts

Notable Products: Malachi Hawkshaw, Konrad Matheny, Matt Payne, Bernadette Pietersen, Markus Salone, Rowena Strongbow
Club Heroes: Diandra Behan, Ciprian Jantzer, Olga Pardew
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
Cranequin is Nephara's smallest state capital, with a generally cultural focus and bohemian reputation. It was a one-club city - that club being the Wanderers - for a while, but Cranequin City's prominence of late has created a rivalry. Usually found in the bottom half of the Premiership, the Wanderers have suffered four relegations to the second tier in the modern era but they tend to bounce back quickly. Their primary tactical legacy has been pioneering controversial patient possession football in Nephara, to some success - it's a blueprint they've since returned to.

Halfway into the season it looked like the Wanderers were cantering into the Premiership and making a serious run at the title, but they rather limped over the line towards the end just to make third. A thin squad was stretched to its limits.

Disappointingly muted. It's very hard to say that this side is better than the one that went down, because it isn't. Grant Carlin would have constituted an incredible signing a decade ago, but as it stands it's a reclamation job for Jerrell Drake. Declan Mason cracks skulls, and that's pretty much all he needs to do. Seriously, though, they don't have a 20-goal striker in 1Div and they didn't feel the need to buy one?

Drake plays a cautious, defensive style, reliant on tight discipline and dominance of the central areas. His team rack up safe passes, waiting for openings, rarely coughing up the ball. At least, they didn't in 1Div. Most controversially, Drake favours a back three, freeing relentless wingbacks to shuttle up and down the pitch.

Judging by her preseason model work, there's a reason the Wanderers' captain is called Shona Butcher and not Shona... uh, Femmer. She is a lot of things that Drake needs in the side, energetic, reliable under pressure, excellent in tight spaces, and dogged in the press. Last time in the Premiership she seemed a little overwhelmed by the standard, but she was one of the standouts of the league last season. This time, she's confident, she's ready.

Treason would have been happy to keep Hasret Kaveci on their bench pretty much forever. But the rightback had greater ambitions, and went to fulfil them in the second tier. A vicious harrier, Kaveci has little trouble keeping up to Drake's exacting standards, and combines being one of the team's primary creators (cross after cross after cross - to a satyr, some will stick) with a relentless defensive workrate.

Is the money not there? Drake hasn’t been backed in the window - though, in fairness, attempts were made. They just fell through. That will probably be their doom, though it shouldn’t necessarily be Drake’s.

Manager: Jerrell Drake (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Kiva Sirleaf (COS), 12 - Konrad Matheny, 25 - Shanna Cotton
Defenders: 2 - Gabriel Traustram, 5 - Eliza Stoeva (STL), 13 - Lyn Musgrave, 19 - Sheeda Baines, 22 - Susanna Woodpress, 23 - Grant Carlin
Midfielders: 3 - Tanya Islinger, 4 - Vasya Kravec (AUD), 6 - Hasret Kaveci, 8 - Declan Mason (CBP), 11 - Leonardo Ford (ETN), 15 - Elaine Foray, 17 - Ashley Bishop, 18 - Rhoda Treeswallow (BSE), 20 - Gisella Riaz (EFL), 21 - Shona Butcher (c)
Forwards: 7 - Imrishka Grahn (FKR), 9 - Nissa Viere (MRN), 14 - Ortzi Ariztegi (AUD), 16 - Dorotea Baro, 24 - Paul Leonhardsen


League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Aviary (30,000)
Nickname: the Hawks
Captain: Dragan Stavanger
Top Scorers: Stavanger (23), Skapetis, Norval (14), Kasmiir (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Lockwood (32); 2 - Hamilton (30), 18 - Koller (31), 5 - Brand (24), 3 - Burns (24); 7 - Skapetis (28), 8 - Kasmiir (25), 23 - Okafor (26), 16 - Caracole (22); 10 - Corvalan (29), 15 - Stavanger (33)
In: Cesar Corvalan (Starling, 5m), Kizza Okafor (Lakiska SC, 5m), Satara Brand (Brookford Otters, 3.5m)
Promoted: Alyce Nicolau (ST, 19), Constantine Rabatsch (CB, 20)
Out: Kasmeer Jewell (Blades ex Magnaeus, free), Sigmund Ambrose (New Bastion, free), Athanasios Nikolaidis (Rosbank Town, free)
Retired: Ambrosio Constantini (CB, 37, MBT), Dario Pavlovic (CB, 36, PAS)

First Division title (56)

74: Premier - 7th - 70 pts - GC
73: Premier - 7th - 75 pts
72: Premier - 6th - 80 pts - GC
71: Premier - 13th - 66 pts
70: Premier - 12th - 65 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.

An appalling start; a thunderous finish. Through Dragan Stavanger's 23 goals they held seventh under fierce pressure through an overwhelming goal difference advantage.

Extremely strong. Granted, having the defensive heart cut out of the team with the retirements of stalwarts Constantini and Pavlovic stings; Satara Brand brings immense promise (and a lot of hair, contrasting with likely partner Koller) but will be afforded little patience. Cesar Corvalan is a short-term signing, yes, but has proven year-on-year with Starling he deserves the chance to stamp down his mark somewhere; Okafor is an exceptional if mercurial playmaker, lured to Nephara by the prospect of his three wives maintaining their legal recognition.

Year on year Nick Feeney's Hawks seem to get a little more aggressive, but this is ridiculous; he has pretty much an entire midfield that doesn't track back. And fullbacks that like to attack as well. There's no respite, only relentless forward momentum, and a fluid attacking system outside of the constant spearhead, Stavanger. The expectation is to pass and move, always quickly, a far cry from the retirement team the side seemed some years back.

Otalia Kasmiir is the closest the side has to a defensive midfielder, which is to say that she's an attacking midfielder but is a hulking satyr. She took some time to adapt to the pace of the league, but once she got rolling she didn't stop. Ambitious and mercenary, she's a good fit for the league in terms of temperament, and showed her worth on the pitch as a determined playmaker who smashes her way into space and makes the most of it. Satyrs peak late. She could be set for the top.

Lemuel Burns understands the charge, but not the brace. Not yet. Terrifyingly fast, Burns is always precisely where he'd needed in attacking phases, and a couple years ago was always precisely two metres away from where he was needed in defence. Now it's only about half a metre. Experience is beating the naivete out of him, honing him into one of the league's premier fullbacks.

Slightly insane team composition aside, the Hawks have bolstered their quality further and look a good bet for yet another top seven finish.

Manager: Nick Feeney (EUR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Reinhard Lockwood, 12 - Malta Stark, 20 - Raluca Garamond
Defenders: 2 - Mei Hamilton (COS), 3 - Lemuel Burns (AQL), 5 - Satara Brand, 6 - Gerome Pollard, 14 - Florin Silversmith, 18 - Michael Koller (SCT), 19 - Sigrid Marner, 22 - Constantine Rabatsch
Midfielders: 4 - Juliet Bezemer, 7 - Atalanta Skapetis, 8 - Otalia Kasmiir (MRN), 11 - Leila Crowford, 13 - Raquel Naeher, 14 - Andressa Stand, 16 - Rasmus Caracole, 23 - Kizza Okafor (BNJ)
Forwards: 9 - Fiona Norval, 10 - Cesar Corvalan (CEN), 15 - Dragan Stavanger (c), 17 - Eloisa Caldwell, 34 - Alyce Nicolau


League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Phoenix Rise (28,000)
Nickname: the Crows
Captain: Krista Morham
Top Scorers: Warrington (19), Morham (10), Beretti (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Feldman (28); 17 - Wynder (25), 5 - Heston (31), 22 - Green (24), 3 - Almwood (21); 13 - Yonen (29), 4 - Keskin (28), 11 - Morham (30, c); 15 - Ulreich (26), 21 - Warrington (28), 10 - Catley (27)
In: Spahi Keskin (Creed United, 4m), Kaya Catley (Chardonnay Rangers, 3.5m), Acatha Feldman (Corvette Maulers, 3m), Rachel Arniston (Kirston Union, 2m), Bruenna Savo (Algolia AC, 1m), Ulysses Mithradates (Brookford Otters, 750k)
Promoted: Imke Diskin (LB, 21), Penelope Garner (CB, 21), Petrus Maslin (RW, 19), Julian Stance (CM, 19), Kirsten Tybalt (ST, 20)
Out: Ilyana Brosch (Brinemouth, 8m), Bryson Vilna (Venanga Tropic, 3.5m), Charmine Beretti (Norrion Rovers, 3.5m), Corinne Eriksen (CS Saint-Remy, 2.5m), Medea Tsicaderis (Chenoworth Harriers, free), Bryce Leicester (Anfanhar City, free), Katenza Muhren (Belgrave, free), Cass Rayle (AFC Whittorians, free)
Retired: Chibuzo Afolayan (RW, 35, BNJ), Kathryn Kvanderwyk (ST, 35, COS), Ivan Pangallo (AM, 35, AUD)

74: Premier - 11th - 65 pts
73: Premier - 8th - 71 pts
72: Premier - 11th - 69 pts
71: Premier - 14th - 62 pts
70: Premier - 15th - 58 pts

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.

Disappointing, on the whole. A poor start was never truly put behind them as they just about made it to the top half.

Possibly the most activity of any Premiership side in history. Reform, everywhere. For much of it, their hand was forced; three key players retiring, including in Afolayan perhaps the single signing that ushered in their new era, and Ilyana Brosch was poached by Brinemouth. There was a fine goalkeeper lurking in Vilna, but last season ran out of chances for it to be coaxed out; he goes back to his fans in Osarius, the more proven Feldman is plucked from the second tier as a medium-term solution. Beretti and Eriksen were liquidated while value remained. Incoming? Mithradates and Savo are good depth options, one veteran striker and one versatile defender. Keskin is a high-class defensive midfielder. Arniston is an electrifying talent. Catley has promise in spades and is starting to blossom, but this may prove a difficult leap up the table for her.

The Crows played a more cautious game this time around, perhaps to their detriment. They were able to lean on a staunch back line and a dominant technical midfield, and while the former has weakened, the latter has not. Corvistone absolutely have the nous and bulk to mix it with all-comers, but they're at their best with the ball moving quickly and confidently along the floor, and there's plenty of people who can get it from there to the net.

Malia Yonen stepped up and clicked into gear last season, thriving in a role where she was expected to be everywhere and do everything. Freer than at Cranequin. Higher expectations. She stepped up to them and helped knit the side together, starting every game bar one (suspension) despite her relentless role. No mere water carrier, for certain.

Clarisse Ulreich showed embers of her potential last season. It was an on-off season, not quite the flaring to life she might have hoped, but she started and ended solidly in the first-team picture so it can't have been a failure. This needs to be a breakthrough season, after years of fitful minutes at the Stags. She does little that's flashy, but thrashes the ball around mercilessly with a vicious right boot, and has the pace and finesse to ease between markers. A bit more of a final touch and, perhaps...

Even if all the signings pay off, it should take a season to gel, and to acclimate to the loss of Brosch. But they’ll be in and around the chase.

Manager: Hadrian Belfast
Goalkeepers: 1 - Acatha Feldman, 12 - Maria Kovacic (SLL), 25 - Bailey Coleman
Defenders: 2 - Dejanira Trifunovic, 3 - Lucy Almwood (EUR), 5 - Calcipher Heston, 17 - Goodlight Wynder (COS), 18 - Penelope Garner, 19 - Imke Diskin, 20 - Bruenna Savo (SRS), 22 - Olexander Green
Midfielders: 4 - Spahi Keskin, 6 - Indartsu Lekea (ASG), 7 - Rachel Arniston (SCT), 8 - Corinne Eriksen (APX), 11 - Krista Morham (SCT, c), 13 - Malia Yonen (MRN), 32 - Julian Stance
Forwards: 7 - Chibuzo Afolayan (BNJ), 9 - Ulysses Mithradates, 10 - Kata Catley, 14 - Kirsten Tybalt, 15 - Clarisse Ulreich, 16 - Sonya Latimore, 21 - Babatunde Warrington (CBR), 33 - Petrus Maslin
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Postby Nephara » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:50 pm


League Finish: 16th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Gardengate (26,000)
Nickname: the Oathmen
Captain: Georgia Rodrigues
Top Scorers: Trabelsi (14), Taani (13), Conway (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Senninger (25); 2 - Kolaj (23), 19 - Rodrigues (33, c), 6 - Baste (22), 5 - Castor (30); 7 - Conway (27), 21 - Barbarouses (27), 15 - Beckner (27), 23 - Conrad (28); 16 - Taani (34), 13 - Trabelsi (30)
In: Lyre Castor (Starling, 2.5m), Svenja Baste (Rudlit Rovers, 1m), Tayfun Chester (Corinthians No Longer, 300k), Andre Havranek (South Laithland, free)
Promoted: Illyria Landrith (RB, 18), Camilla Martin (ST, 19)
Out: Spahi Keskin (AFC Corvistone, 4m), Alisander Seip (Chatswood, free), Mircea Boleyn (Samarga United, free), Agamemnon Wright (Sporting Jaglan, free)
Retired: Byron Caldwick (GK, 37), Dejan Corvell (ST, 35)

First Division title (73)

74: Premier - 16th - 59 pts
73: 1Div - 1st - 92 pts - Promoted
72: Premier - 22nd - 40 pts - Relegated
71: Premier - 15th - 61 pts
70: Premier - 17th - 50 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.

An electrifying start gave way to an appalling midseason slump, but despite a couple tentative calls for Diandra Ballard's head, they had close to half again as many points as the best relegated team.

Pretty understated, and the usual sort of story for a lower midtable side; lose your best player (defensive midfielder Spahi Keskin) and make up for it with a spread of small, deft replacements across the pitch. While no direct replacement to Keskin was made - Havranek will not get many minutes - the signings were entirely defensive in nature, with aging Starling leftback Castor and emerging Remnant centre-half Baste jetting in. Oh, and Tayfun Chester, keeping goal in lowly third-tier CNL's 3-0 win over Creed in the Cup. If you can beat 'em, join 'em, I guess. He's there to replace Byron Caldwick, a mediocre but devoted one-club man, while journeyman poacher Dejan Corvell also hangs up the boots.

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.

Retta Conrad is one of those players you kind of expect to stay 22 forever - to a lesser extent, the same applies to Joel Conway. But no, she is no longer a fearless young dynamo, but an established force at domestic and international level. Lithe, direct, light on her feet, Conrad doesn't really do the generic Nepharim winger thing of launching crosses into the sky. She goes it alone, perhaps a little to a fault, and she gets results.

Morgana Kolaj earned her way into regular starts towards the end of the season, when Creed's form started to pick up again. Correlation may not be causation, but she proved herself a pretty damn tidy player. An exceptionally diligent and resilient defender who uses her pace and low centre of gravity well, she's cautiously beginning to get more comfortable upfield. Still, the arrangement of a winger playing away and a fullback staying nice and cozy at home is the Euran tradition, and probably a comfort to Conway.

Keskin’s departure is a blow, but the Oathmen should be fine.

Manager: Diandra Ballard
Goalkeepers: 1 - Fasolt Senninger, 18 - Sarah Bentine, 20 - Tayfun Chester
Defenders: 2 - Morgana Kolaj, 3 - Rudolph Orient (APX), 4 - Abate Brehanu (BNJ), 5 - Lyre Castor, 6 - Svenja Baste (SRS), 19 - Georgia Rodrigues (SLL, c), 22 - August Longstreet, 31 - Illyria Landrith
Midfielders: 7 - Joel Conway (EOT), 11 - Petrarch Karaiskakis, 12 - Sander Riven, 14 - Andre Havranek (IRN), 15 - Sophia Beckner, 17 - Richter Moranis, 21 - Delphi Barbarouses, 23 - Retta Conrad (CMT)
Forwards: 10 - Justina Donau, 13 - Anis Trabelsi (AUD), 16 - Portia Taani (MRN), 25 - Eva Lincoln, 36 - Camilla Martin


League Finish: 3rd
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Godswatch (63,000)
Nickname: the Heelers
Captain: Kósa Bajnok
Top Scorers: Woakes (20), Laiota (13), Ruhl, Quintero (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Na’Kefir (31); 2 - Longship (26), 13 - Teffeteller (25), 4 - Bajnok (30, c), 3 - Villanueva (26); 15 - Abylon (26), 14 - Kastriot (24); 7 - Quintero (28), 8 - Woakes (25), 10 - Bowman (23); 17 - Laiota (28)
In: Damion Bowman (Hornchurch, 25m), Inaki Villanueva (AC Izotz Zubia, 10m), Mercurio Kastriot (North Sabrefell, 5m), Philoctetes Giannou (Brookford Otters, 2m)
Promoted: Syrene Fischer (RB, 18), Thalassa Fletcher (AM, 18), Christian Foreman (CB, 20), Catheline Matthias (ST, 19), Penumbra Till (RW, 20)
Out: Airik Ruhl (Maal Daemons, 6m), Marisha Staunton (Rozelle, 5m), Kay Szarbach (Felswyr, 4m), Ayn Zwayer (Urrheddiao, 3m), Sieglinde Lohengrin (Devlet-Bira Fabrika Takimi, 1.5m), Allison Swan (Vermillion Rage, 1.5m), Danica Marinkovic (Marionville, loan)
Retired: Andrea Molovi (CB, 36, EQS)

2 Premiership titles (59, 71)
3 NFA Cups (47, 61, 64)
Cup Winners’ Cup (62)
Ramsey Shield (72)
Gang of Six member

74: Premier - 3rd - 93 pts - CC
73: Premier - 6th - 82 pts
72: Premier - 9th - 71 pts
71: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CC
70: Premier - 2nd - 92 pts - CC

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.

So close and so far away, never quite making first place at any meaningful stage of the season but never more than a couple wins away, either. It was agonising. It was extremely on-brand.

In a fairly lowkey international transfer window, Damion Bowman was the name on everyone's lips, and Crisisbless were the ones to land him. Not quite a Tidesson, perhaps, but not far off. Villanueva will have his back this season, snapped up from Zozi, with intelligent defensive midfielder Kastriot coming up from Sabrefell and Giannou, well, hopefully not getting any minutes. And how did they raise the money? Ruhl is out the door, past his prime and a liability in the dressing room, Staunton is surplus to requirements, Szarbach is a third-chocie goalkeeper, Zwayer is forgettable and forgotten, while Lohengrin and Swan, loyal veterans of past years, were both... well, they were both 33. Lohengrin was incensed at being forced out, but there's something sexy about a new, ruthless Crisisbless. Expect plenty of bad puns if hot prospect Thalassa Fletcher links up well with Bowman. Molovi calls it a day after not one, but two long careers.

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.

Obviously, it's Moira Woakes. She's the one player given true freedom to roam in the Maarsden Plan, though she goes above and beyond to occasionally lay into a challenge anyway. Mostly, though, she sees what has to get done and does it, whether through flicks, tricks and flair or through her bottomless well of bloody-minded determination. Bowman might have cost 25m, but you'd expect Crisisbless to sell either of his partners for more...

Never in a match will Mortola Teffeteller actually stand out. It's just how she likes it. Chenoworth Rovers were her finishing school, not an easy place to learn a craft, but the humble, low-key defender is learning to assert herself on the pitch. She'll never be a swaggering, dominant type, one suspects. Rather, she'll just steadily, mechanically eradicate all mistakes from her play as the years roll by.

Even without a top-class striker, the unexpected coup of Bowman hints at Crisisbless as narrow favourites.

PREDICTION - Champions.
Manager: Chris Maarsden (APX)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Shjegrzh Na'Kefir (COS), 20 - Philoctetes Giannou, 25 - November Besand
Defenders: 2 - Valeri Longship, 3 - Inaki Villanueva (AUD), 4 - Kósa Bajnok (FFD, c), 5 - Christian Foreman, 13 - Mortola Teffeteller (COS), 16 - Bremusa Strassman, 22 - Henrik Parrish, 31 - Syrene Fischer
Midfielders: 6 - Maeve Bronte (PCR), 7 - Cassiopeia Quintero (APX), 8 - Moira Woakes (EUR), 10 - Damion Bowman (EUR), 14 - Mercurio Kastroit, 15 - Maia Abylon (COS), 18 - Penumbra Till, 21 - Farina Luhukay, 23 - Beruka Danning, 24 - Marcela Ward
Forwards: 12 - Brigitte Coppinger, 17 - Kurtis Laiota, 34 - Catheline Matthias
Out on Loan: 9 - Danica Marinkovic


League Finish: 14th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Chessboard (38,000)
Nickname: the Chessmen, the Chequers
Captain: Jasmine Stokes
Top Scorers: Carter (11), Antelmi (8), Tamba, Solbachen (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Meixner (32); 2 - Bruun (26), 5 - Verlander (23), 19 - Stokes (32, c), 18 - Sanders (26); 8 - Garner (27), 11 - Solbachen (29); 10 - Tamba (31), 13 - Antelmi (29), 16 - Kaelin (31); 9 - Carter (23)
In: Elsa Kaelin (Aries Chariots, 2.5m), Istvan Kendrick (Raven River, 1m)
Promoted: Fafnir Collins (LB, 19), Riga Demetry (GK, 18), Davica Hull (CB, 19), Shiida Roesler (AM, 21), Jade Rothbard (CM, 20), Minerva Swanmore (RW, 19)
Out: Andrya Novkovic (Chafford, 2m), Olga Kitzbichler (AFC Serpentine, free), Sasha Wheaton (Almat JK, free), Moray Banerman (ISC Catalan City, free), Besart Schankelen (Bondstad Treason, free), Giovanni Soto (Anubia Kairi, free), Casimir Ronayne (CS Saint-Remy, loan), Patrik Alphonse (Stonegrave, loan)

First Division title (70)

74: Premier - 14th - 61 pts
73: Premier - 17th - 55 pts
72: Premier - 17th - 51 pts
71: Premier - 20th - 45 pts
70: 1Div - 1st - 102 pts - Promoted

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.

Despite a genuinely appalling goal difference, thanks to a couple of humiliating thrashings, relegation-tipped United were a lucky 21 points clear of the drop and Maitfield got the Manager of the Year award for basically ensuring nothing exciting happened.

Thanks for your service, various journeymen, but Maitfield's brief (after survival) is rejuvenation, and there's little space for guys on the wrong end of 30. Particularly with what is honestly a fairly promising catchment of youth, including the half-satyr heir presumptive to star man Lukas Antelmi. Despite all that, though, former fringe international winger Kaelin and panel-beater Kendrick arrive as useful stopgaps.

Maitfield is a man of straightforward principles. Pass and move. Keep passing. Keep moving. It's an attractive, assertive style of football, and it's been drilled hard into the players. They rarely 'panic', in Maitfield's words, by going long or refusing to play their way out of trouble, and while that can lead to the occasional hammering against superior opposition, it earns them more points than it loses.

Lukas Antelmi is the one everyone watches, but he's free to do what he does because Tom Garner is behind him, and the team collapses without him. The typically steady, sober Euran rarely oversteps his boundaries, rarely gives away fouls, still hasn't been sent off on these shores. The side will tick on, reluctantly, without any other player... but not Garner.

Danica Marshall might yet be the best of a promising crop, a sturdy and energetic midfielder who exemplifies what the club is about. Versatile enough to play pretty much anywhere in midfield, but she's most comfortable as the freer of a double pivot, breathing down Solbachen's neck to take her place. It's a little hard to talk about her just because she does so many things very well. Not yet the finished article.

Minimal changes to a blueprint that Maitfield lead to breezy safety last time. He’s shown it can be done. But a lot can happen in a second season.

Manager: Tim Maitfield (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Reinhard Meixner, 12 - Rina Lazareva (HIN), 30 - Riga Demetry
Defenders: 2 - Karii Bruun (MRN), 4 - Istvan Kendrick, 5 - Cedella Verlander, 18 - Caspar Sanders, 19 - Jasmine Stokes (c), 25 - Karius Mosin, 32 - Davica Hull, 34 - Fafnir Collins
Midfielders: 6 - Danica Marshall, 7 - Shiida Roesler, 8 - Tom Garner (EUR), 10 - Alanso Tamba (BNJ), 11 - Asha Solbachen, 13 - Lukas Antelmi, 16 - Elsa Kaelin, 20 - Jade Rothbard, 23 - Drusilla Moxey, 35 - Danica Marshall
Forwards: 9 - Tanith Carter, 14 - Brielle Strebinger, 21 - Jessica Lennox (SCT)
Out on Loan: 15 - Casimir Ronayne, 22 - Patrik Alphonse


League Finish: 20th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Velvet Meadow (28,000)
Nickname: the Eagles
Captain: Andrea Bereveskos
Top Scorers: Rooke (9), McCosgraigh (7), Voeller (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Ruo (32); 2 - Skapoulis (23), 5 - Holden (24), 6 - Ynoa (33), 18 - Halfhill (29); 8 - Madine (29); 22 - Bereveskos (33, c), 11 - Weiss (25), 10 - McCosgraigh (30), 23 - Kynda-Sevet (23); 17 - Rooke (29)
In: Kurtis Holden (Mantlegrove, 3m), Emily Ynoa (KF Qastyr, free), Kynda-Sevet Pec (KF Koflir, free), Berit Lienen (Leichhardt, free), Janna Sauthier (returned from loan)
Promoted: Jacqui Merritt (LB, 21), Louise Ruiter (ST, 20), Azrael Whyte (CM, 20), Paul Zweig (RB, 18)
Out: Thorn Tristram (Newrook City, 3m), Karo Vanstrattan (Maltesa Rokishima, free), Athana Finchcleft (Locksley, free), Alexa Ferryman (Belgrave, free), Brigitte Anderton (Anfanhar City, free), Andros Hertzka (Morningstar, free), Anton Roben (Baywall Athletic, free), Malte Cairn (Old Boys Club, free)
Retired: Marika Brind (CB, 34), Borbas Tihamer (ST, 36, PAS)

First Division title (69)
NFA Cup (72)

74: Premier - 20th - 43 pts
73: Premier - 21st - 40 pts
72: Premier - 20th - 48 pts - CWC
71: Premier - 16th - 52 pts
70: Premier - 16th - 53 pts

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.

Cypher survived, not convincingly but frankly it remains an impressive achievement. 20th was a triumph. It will be difficult to replicate.

The bad news started early, with Vardalos' departure a foregone conclusion, and only got worse from there; defensive bulwark Marika Brand picked up a double-CL injury in preseason that basically ended her year before it started. Reluctantly, she's taken the decision to accelerate her retirement and join the coaching staff through the remainder of her contract. A hell of a lot of people left, though Thorn Tristram's departure will probably be weathered okay given the promise of Skapoulis. Holden and Ynoa (on her third Premiership club) are jetted in to bolster the heart of defence, Kynda-Sevet is a true, sprightly winger, and Lienen adds depth to midfield.

Why Kurtis Holden? Because the new manager is Henrick Barden, the man behind Mantlegrove's inexplicable promotion charge, and he trusts his old charge. Sure, he's old for a first tilt at the Premiership, turned 58 in preseason, but he presided over a masterfully disciplined defensive unit that ground out results ugly but consistently. Fringe Qusmi international Kynda-Sevet represents an upgrade on the left wing, while Lienen is a solid warm body with some experience at this level.

Cypher stayed up because age is meaningless to Andrea Bereveskos. She started out here, cut her teeth here, made her name here and when Athletic had no further use for her she was only too happy to do one last job for her home. The fans, unsurprisingly, adore her. Surprising nobody, she doesn't have the pace anymore - though she has more than defenders suspect, sometimes - but makes up for it with guilt, treachery, and two perfect feet.

But she can't play every game, not at her age and with the amount Cypher need of her. Janna Sauthier is fresh off cutting her teeth at Mayville, after making some impact for Cypher as a teenager. Tall, elegant and cocky, Sauthier could someday become as good as she thinks he is, or as the Eagles need her to be. If she's able to stand on her own, perhaps that will free options elsewhere... in any case, she's one of precious few aces up Cypher's sleeve.

Cypher may seem weirdly unsinkable, but on paper, they aren’t very good.

Manager: Andrea Vardalos
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ruo Xiaolan (YZH), 12 - Rainer Burgnich, 25 - Anna Rochester
Defenders: 2 - Echidna Skapoulis, 3 - Jacqui Merritt, 5 - Kurtis Holden, 6 - Emily Ynoa (SLL), 13 - Meghan Foerster, 18 - Morgan Halfhill, 19 - Canas Meulenstein, 33 - Paul Zweig
Midfielders: 4 - Berit Lienen, 7 - Janna Sauthier, 8 - Caspar Madine, 10 - Freya McCosgraigh (SCT), 11 - Radek Weiss, 16 - Giacomo Tripodi (AUD), 21 - Azrael Whyte, 22 - Andrea Bereveskos (c), 23 - Kynda-Sevet Pec (QUS), 36 - Kaaren Lothar (VAL)
Forwards: 9 - Louise Ruiter, 17 - Coretta Rooke, 24 - Augustine Rahn


League Finish: Champions (1Div)
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Stargazers
Captain: Helena Loxton
Top Scorers: Stevenson (26), Klempner (12), Auttenberg (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Adekoya (32); 6 - Somner (25), 5 - Korkut (29), 22 - Colchester (25), 17 - Woodruff (26); 15 - Meier (24), 4 - Vintner (26), 8 - Paterson (31), 23 - Loxton (29, c); 21 - Stevenson (28), 14 - Klempner (24)
In: Kerem Korkut (Canalave Dragons, 3m), Misha Paterson (Chenoworth Rovers, 2.5m)
Promoted: Rena Kinross (RB, 19), Uther Johnson (ST, 20), Rebecca Soutar (RM, 21)
Out: Berit Lienen (Cypher Town, free)
Retired: Mahe Beitar (CB, 36), Dorian Fletchclair (ST, 36), Diligence Nkembe (RB, 36), Mariska Woodspur (RM, 35)

First Division title (74)

74: 1Div - 1st - 103 pts - Promoted
73: 1Div - 10th - 66 pts
72: 1Div - 12th - 65 pts
71: Premier - 23rd - 39 pts - Relegated
70: Premier - 20th - 41 pts

Notable Products: Nikita Griffiths, Rebecca Larkland, Sheila Maddon, Rebecca Stubbs
Club Heroes: Miralem Fowler, Jacqui Rowlins, Lara Silverstein
Premiership Debut: 51
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. Their nickname stems from the clear Vale skies, as opposed to the cloudier cities across the rest of the country.

Comfortably top of the table pretty much all season. Not quite a cruise, especially after that early goal flurry faded, but not far off.

All things considered, pretty understated. The foundations were there. Solid centre-half Korkut rocks up from an extended stay in Valladares, while Misha Paterson's mix of energy and creativity makes her a valuable short-term signing. As for the retirements (fun trivia game: they have one cap between them. Who has it?) all will be missed, all having spun out respectable careers over the years. Woodspur and Beitar are the most damaging, but others will step up.

Lara Winter has not forgotten the player she once was. A disciplined defender has formed a disciplined, defensive outfit, and yet compared to the Takilan methods of the last guy, Bruno Hawke, she's practically Farfish. Now in the top flight, a point is more valuable than ever, and most of the time Winter will unashamedly take a scoreless draw. Their spine cannot be shattered, and there's enough players capable of moments to scrap goals here and there. Enough, with the right defence.

Then again, Ernie Stevenson doesn't really 'scrap' goals, he pumps them home with great vigour. Especially against Brenecians, given that his international performances were what attracted him to the Stargazers in the first place. A striker's striker, he's most at home with the wind at his back, the ball at his feet and facing the goal. He's damn good, and the mildly annoying thing is that he knows it. This is his chance to truly prove it on the hardest stage of all.

Irene Vintner has a chip on her shoulder. Creed United let her go, figuring Keskin was better, more fully-formed - maybe they were right, and after all Keskin's on a better stage right now. But Vintner has excelled for the Stargazers, having pretty much every gift but pace. She breaks down attacks with contemptuous sweeps of the boot and moves it forward cautiously and cleverly.

The Stargazers should stay up. But the moment they think safety is assured, they’re done for.

Manager: Lara Winter
Goalkeepers: 1 - Folami Adekoya (CBR), 20 - Gerrard Baumann, 25 - Sigmund Perth
Defenders: 3 - Stavroula Portokalos, 5 - Kerem Korkut, 6 - Asp Somner, 17 - Marisa Woodruff, 19 - Tess Saunders, 22 - Portia Colchester, 23 - Lenna Berwick, 37 - Rena Kinross
Midfielders: 4 - Irene Vintner, 7 - Rebecca Soutar, 8 - Misha Paterson, 10 - August Peacock (AUD), 15 - Castor Meier, 16 - Lavender Cohen, 18 - Connie Reiziger, 23 - Helena Loxton (c)
Forwards: 9 - Gloria Kewell, 11 - Ingrid Auttenberg, 13 - Uther Johnson, 14 - Emil Klempner (SCT), 21 - Ernie Stevenson (HPI)


League Finish: 13th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Anchorwright Arena (30,000)
Nickname: the Rooks
Captain: Mordecai Brandtner
Top Scorers: Nygård (16), Farrell (11), Ocokoljic (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Iarrow (32); 2 - Tristram (28), 5 - Nkembe (36), 19 - Acland (25), 3 - Kohler (26); 12 - Brandtner (28, c), 4 - Fallon (26), 8 - Voeller (27); 7 - Bronson (26); 10 - Duffy (29), 11 - Nygård (30)
In: Tom Duffy (Ulsa, 7m), Minka Bronson (Diamondqueen, 3.5m), Thorn Tristram (Cypher Town, 3m), Orestis Kalyvas (Cranequin City, free)
Promoted: Pernille Brand (CM, 19), Reniira Clevinger (CB, 19), Dassi Constantine (ST, 20), Pristina Soeringer (RB, 19), Cassius Swibel (DM, 20)
Out: Jezdimir Ocokoljic (Crvena Zvezda, undisclosed), Gabrielle Reinhardt (Sabrefell Athletic, 6m), Maladict Farrell (Dynamo Novaya Russica, 4.5m), Mats Hedlund (Pearlham SC, 3.5m), Ville Pakkanen (Advernians, 3.3m), Tarry Hareide (Depri Sanar, free), Moxie Crowe (Brookford Otters, free)
Retired: Avila Wardenier (AM/ST, 35), Perica Zagorec (CB, 36, PAS)

3 NFA Cups (57, 68, 71)

74: Premier - 13th - 64 pts
73: Premier - 11th - 65 pts
72: Premier - 5th - 82 pts - GC
71: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC CWC
70: Premier - 7th - 77 pts - GC

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.

Not... good. And the gradual collapse under Bartolnicci over the past few years cost the cult legend and managerial prodigy his job. The side just looked every kind of burned out.

Massive overhauls. Most of them outward, most of them painful. And it's impossible to talk about the incoming without putting them into the context of the outgoing, as most are poorer relations. Jezdimir Ocokoljic gave Newrook a transcendent first year and then some pretty damn good memories after that, but due to a growing homesickness, he's back at his beloved Crvena. Minka Bronson, the consolation, has been probably the best playmaker in the second tier of late. Ville Pakkanen makes his departure a year too late, after his pace had flagged, and is replaced by Thorn Tristram, a decent short-term solution. Tom Duffy is honestly an upgrade over the unassuming but efficient Farrell, but how long will he stick around if Newrook can't turn it around? And the replacement for Gabrielle Reinhardt, disastrously yanked by Athletic, is, uh... talking Nkembe out of retirement, because they couldn't get it from captain Zagorec. Club legend Hedlund also calls it a day, supposedly sick of the toxicity, and former fringe international Avila Wardenier also hangs up the boots. Pay no mind to Kalyvas, he merely underlines Newrook's desperation.

Rainer Hildebrandt, once journeyman defender, of late respected assistant, now gets his first chance on the hot seat. He was at the club last season to try and 'moderate' Bartolnicci's excesses, and look how that ended up? Even so. Hildebrandt looks to favour a balanced style reliant on a strong core and short, quick passes down it. Defensive solidity would probably be a high priority if he'd at all been backed in the window to revamp it.

Cressida Voeller is exactly the kind of nippy, flighty midfielder one would expect to be able to blame for the past couple years. The first, maybe. But last season she was one of the Rooks' most consistent performers, always driving, always probing, always backing herself to make a positive difference. Voeller tries shit, right? And you need someone like that. Especially when nothing else is going well and heads have dropped.

Ronan Fallon managed the unthinkable and pried Hedlund out of his place at the base of the diamond. Tall, burly, good at putting a bit of stick about. And that was the kind of steel the side needed last season, though it never really goes out of style in Nephara anyway. He does nothing fancy, and excels at it; there's a reason he was at the World Cup just prior, called up by Brenecia due to his heritage.

The players who made them successful are old or sold now, and without Bartolnicci’s magic - or any magic left in Bartolnicci - well, their golden age was nice while it lasted.

Manager: Rainer Hildebrandt
Goalkeepers: 1 - Karena Hesketh, 20 - Rook Gilzean, 25 - Charis Theoklitos
Defenders: 2 - Thorn Tristram, 3 - Aries Kohler, 5 - Temperance Nkembe, 18 - Orestis Kalyvas, 19 - Mikael Acland, 22 - Lorelei Baer, 32 - Pristina Soeringer, 36 - Reniira Clevinger
Midfielders: 4 - Ronan Fallon (BRE), 7 - Minka Bronson, 8 - Cressida Voeller, 12 - Mordecai Brandtner (c), 13 - Will Couturiaux (COS), 14 - Persephone Miller, 15 - Cassius Swibel, 35 - Pernille Brand
Forwards: 9 - Jason Margush, 10 - Tom Duffy (EOT), 11 - Olivia Nygård (VAL), 16 - Tatiana Brandis, 21 - Dassi Constantine


League Finish: 15th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Bluegrass (48,000)
Nickname: the Spiders
Captain: Luke Roberts
Top Scorers: Thornwood (17), Roberts (11), Beltrame (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Krieven (29); 2 - Rashica (26), 5 - Black (26), 6 - Jaan (25), 3 - Posipal (26); 21 - Beltrame (24), 4 - Ettori (24), 11 - Asquith (26); 7 - Roberts (27, c), 9 - Thornwood (26), 10 - Kendall (26)
In: Chloe Asquith (Bishop, 3m), Sebastian Rashica (Cranequin City, 3m)
Promoted: Andrea Bellmare (LW, 19), Sander Moritz (DM, 21), Caeda Warhurst (CB, 19)
Out: Mercedes Reeve (Brinemouth, 6m), Ga-yeong Han (Alnio, 5m), Dorian Kendrick (Knetyohai, free), Christian Serjeant (Parrhesia United, free), Robyn Sabitzer (Raven River, free)

Premiership title (51)
2 NFA Cups (67, 73)

74: Premier - 15th - 59 pts
73: Premier - 13th - 59 pts
72: Premier - 18th - 51 pts
71: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
70: Premier - 6th - 82 pts - GC

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.

Pretty unremarkable. The Spiders never got involved with the excitement at either end of the table.

The good thing with the Spiders is that there's a lot of bored, muscular Laithside hicks with nothing better to do than play football. Mercedes Reeve was a great signing for them some years ago, but they're free to liquidate her now and just let serviceable local Ettori do the job. Han, supplanted by another local in Kendall, is also free to - well, no, is five million to go back home. At a tidy profit, they're able to bring in Rashica, a definite upgrade at rightback, and Asquith, whose shot at this level was long overdue.

Hestia 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.

A side like this needs a striker who can do more than just poach. Lilith Thornwood is not the pure goalscorer that predecessor Deborah Stokes was, perhaps. And she lacks physical bulk, though a 5'10" frame can still get on the end of crosses every now and again. But her primary assets are her wits, and knowing when to hang off the shoulder or when to drift back to link up with midfield. She's got it all in her locker... but, yes, she does score goals too. Quite a few last season.

Matej Beltrame is yet another local who proved his value last season. Compact, but broad, he can take care of himself in the mix of things and is no stranger to defensive work, be it a deft boot in the right place or a more workmanlike elbow to the ribs. Really, though, Beltrame wants to be flitting around the edge of the box, hustling into positions where he can slip between the line and in turn make the killer pass, or sometimes rifle on goal. Beltrame is always present, and always of use.

Steady, steady iteration. The Spiders won’t be involved in the action at either end of the table.

Manager: Hestia Canaan
Goalkeepers: 1 - Kosovare Fairweather, 12 - Stovar Krieven (SRS), 20 - Holger Varney
Defenders: 2 - Sebastian Rashica, 3 - Cassandra Posipal, 5 - Carin Black, 6 - Paarsimer Jaan (MRN), 13 - Marit Stoeger, 18 - February Garnett, 23 - Eleanor Schaefer, 33 - Caeda Warhurst
Midfielders: 4 - Kurt Ettori, 8 - Nicola Brindell, 11 - Chloe Asquith, 16 - Sander Moritz, 21 - Matej Beltrame, 25 - Irsa Croxteth
Forwards: 7 - Luke Roberts (ETN, c), 9 - Lilith Thornwood, 10 - Griffin Kendall, 14 - Lexander Varney, 15 - Sara Garrett, 22 - Constantine Brown, 34 - Andrea Bellmare


League Finish: 19th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Frangipani Court (16,000)
Nickname: the Bohemians
Captain: Victoria Maersk
Top Scorers: Cheney (11), Montag (8), Laramee (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (3-5-2) 1 - Daunten (26); 5 - Sesay (28), 6 - Clinton (34), 13 - Armbruster (31); 2 - Petrovic (28), 11 - Maersk (28, c), 4 - Cordwood (27), 10 - Laramee (30), 22 - Poláček (29); 16 - Norwood (25), 9 - Cheney (29)
In: Gabriel Sesay & Brandon Cordwood (Stahlburg Rovers, 5m), Mytti Numenen (Kameria University, free), Thea Wolff (Rakun Biologic Academy, free)
Promoted: Natalia Levack (CB, 20), Shannon Petry (CM, 19), Markus Sturdevant (ST, 18)
Out: Mercurio Kastriot (Crisisbless, 5m), Sabine Montag (Admiral Storevik, 4.5m), Minka Kranevitter (AS Marcadia, 1.25m), Drachma Karagounis (Maltesa Rokishima, free), Bethany Madine (Jaglan Royals, free), Amber Broadis (Exiles United, free), Alexis Stinnett (Maltesa Rokishima, free)

74: Premier - 19th - 46 pts
73: Premier - 14th - 58 pts
72: Premier - 10th - 71 pts
71: Premier - 19th - 49 pts
70: 1Div - 2nd - 99 pts - Promoted

Notable Products: Minka Kranevitter, Josie Webster
Club Heroes: Milan Aubeck, Alcuin Sharp, Erika Wolff
Premiership Debut: 71
North Sabrefell haven't really made an impact on Nephara, traditionally speaking, but they've risen respectably of late. It's regarded, sometimes derided, as something of a bohemian wasteland full of drug-addled students, and they've embraced the nickname accordingly. They've recently had a cash injection from Brenecian mining tycoon Bruce Harker, but strict Nepharim ownership rules prevent him from taking a majority share - even so, expect him to influence the side forwards. At this stage, they aspire to Premiership stability. They're rivals with nearby, more affluent Belgrave.

An eleven-game winless run very nearly plunged the Bohemians into serious relegation danger, but they fought their way out late on as Orban stuck to his guns.

Mezei Orban would characterise the dealings as a success. Kastriot's departure will sting, but Karagounis was a bad influence, Kranevitter didn't fit into his system, and he hated Montag perhaps more than anyone has hated any of their charges despite having to lean on her a couple times last season. No longer. Sesay and Cordwood are poached from Stahlburg Rovers, solid and redoubtable folk who can help cover the Bohemians' tracks, while a couple of prospects are unearthed from Hinodejin academies. One-club man Jesper Thorn was released, but a month later after he had failed to find a new club (with no will to sign elsewhere in Nephara) and the Bohemians had failed to add defensive cover, he was brought back on reduced terms.

Mezei Orban is a divisive figure among the stands. His arrival has coincided with the team's aggressive backslide, but one could also point to the club shedding all its best players. Everyone knows what a Mezei Orban player is; hard-working, resilient, and willing to stamp their mark on the game. They must take risks, but be prepared to go in hard to win the ball back should they fail to come off. Honestly, it can be exhausting just to watch, but is enthralling at its best.

Victoria Maersk is left as the side's clear star, having remarkably been picked up on a free transfer. She's bought into Orban's system, and is an integral part of it, slipping just where she's needed, laying down a pass just so, working with an intense precision in all things for ninety minutes a game. She is the irreplaceable link in the chain; without her, the team collapses. The new captain after Kranevitter’s departure, and carries universal respect in a fractured dressing room.

Paige Daunten is growing into her role. Her ability as a shot-stopper was never in question, nor her ability to build play from the back through cautious, accurate, intelligent distribution. But there always was a certain weakness in the air... until, towards the end of last season, she just started to catch crosses and didn't really stop. Now, the Bohemians have the complete article between the posts and a player only likely to improve further. Or more likely she'll just get bought by a big club when she too falls out with Orban…

The party looks over, with all their best players gone and backsliding hard. There’s plenty of strength left, but is this even really still North Sabrefell, or is it Orban’s vanity project?

Manager: Mezei Orbán (PAS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Paige Daunten (ZWZ), 12 - Rena Perch, 20 - Marnid Volland
Defenders: 5 - Gabriel Sesay, 6 - Basmath Clinton, 13 - Nils Armbruster, 18 - Jesper Thorn, 19 - Natalia Levack, 25 - Roy Coyner
Midfielders: 2 - Cecille Petrovic (EFL), 3 - Thea Wolff (HIN), 4 - Brandon Cordwood, 8 - Lothar Zander, 10 - Fabrice Laramee (PAS), 11 - Victoria Maersk (SVJ, c), 17 - Diadora Reeve, 22 - Ondřej Poláček (VAL), 23 - Daniel Laverne, 36 - Shannon Petry
Forwards: 9 - Simone Cheney, 14 - Elihu Levy, 16 - Garrett Norwood, 21 - Mytti Numenen (HIN), 35 - Markus Sturdevant
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Postby Nephara » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:31 am


League Finish: 4th
Cup Run: Third Round
DIT Run: First Knockout Round
Stadium: The Barbarossa (72,000)
Nickname: the Rams
Captain: Oscar Coltrane
Top Scorers: Tarala (31), Êns (19), Gere (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Gautier (32); 2 - Fox (27), 22 - Reinhardt (27), 13 - Sigismund (28), 3 - Lucas (26); 23 - Westerveld (23), 15 - Coltrane (34, c), 8 - Dominique (24), 10 - Gere (29); 7 - Tarala (32), 9 - Êns (28)
In: Gabrielle Reinhardt (Newrook City, 6m)
Promoted: Tanith Arrowsmith (GK, 18), Petria Brincat (RB, 20), Melusina Rose (ST, 19), Thisbe Rouvas (RM, 21)
Out: Salavat Caszely (Chromatik, 8m), Hakki Ojala (Workers Union, 4m), Arden Luther (Port Patrick United, free), Alyssa Broad (Libertas Bergheim, loan)
Retired: Maeon Vlahos (RB, 36)

4 Premiership titles (50, 58, 67, 73)
2 NFA Cups (50, 66)
2 Ramsey Shields (67, 68)
2 Globe Cups (56, 73)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (59)
Gang of Six member

74: Premier - 4th - 91 pts - CC
73: Premier - 1st - 103 pts - DIT
72: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CC
71: Premier - 4th - 86 pts - CC
70: Premier - 3rd - 90 pts - CC

Notable Products: Karena Braham, Orpheus Clement, Alicia Cleveland, Gareth Corvine, Alysia Dorne, Alexa Ferryman, Daniel Fitzmarten, Kurtis Fitzmarten, Daniel Kruse, Harry Grimm, Robyn Lauren, Theo Michaels, Darren Parrett, Lind Pressinger, Markus Rhein, Snowy Sleet
Club Heroes: Coalan Bray, Michael Campbell, Karelline Charmwell, Oscar Coltrane, Xixi Ens, Rowan Gawain, Ole Oehman, Yupanqui Sarracena
One-Club Men: Matt Breen, Lukas Strongnesse
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
Athletic have always been a force to be reckoned with in the Nepharim game, and no matter what Moths fans insist, will never be completely in their shadow. The 56 cycle cemented that, when they secured the first-ever UICA silverware for the nation, ensuring the Premiership's arrival as a major player. Despite occasional spells in the wilderness, infamously following up their first modern title win with 11th, 12th and 17th-placed finishes, Athletic have always bounced back from adversity, backed by a loud, aggressive and outspoken fanbase. While the Moths are defined by union ties, Athletic are twinned informally with the military, and by urban Nepharim standards tend to have right-wing elements - though both the club and its fanbase have always worked quickly and tirelessly to stamp out any hint of fascism. Athletic are the most widely disliked club in, largely due to incidents of fan violence alienating them from River and the Chariots, as well as their mutual hatred of Sabrefell Moths. To be an Athletic fan is to embrace the siege mentality and relish the looks on the haters' faces when you win.

A graceful end to a bountiful era, Tom Benedict not replicating the successes of the previous year but still mounting a respectable title challenge until falling apart towards the end, still taking fourth comfortably with the most goals in the league and a 10-1 annihilation of North Laithland.

Something of a 'lost' window for Athletic in a sense, only bringing in a new manager towards the end and as a result only being able to make a single signing. Tony Dalton is a rebuilder. Next year, he will have to rebuild. But fringe Nephara international Gabrielle Reinhardt is a solid and intelligent defender, and a good start. Caszely had been a stalwart rotational player whose shot as a big fish in a small pond was long overdue, while Hakki Ojala was getting old and Vlahos, obviously, had got older.

Picking up Tony Dalton represents a victory. He'll have his eye on a few years from now, managing the transition to a post-Gautier/Campbell/Coltrane/Tarala era, and the board has money to back him. A top-quality manager who can pick a player... ah, but in the short-term, in a tactical sense, little is likely to change. Athletic will continue to launch themselves hammer-and-tongs at their opponents with a fluid front four at times, overwhelming opponents with both physical intensity and the incision of their passes.

Xíxì Êns forms one half of what is perhaps the strongest strike partnership in world football. There is no player quite like him, the shifting wild card as Athletic slip seamlessly between 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1, drifting to just where he's needed and turning on a burst of pace to be just behind the guy he needs to be. With either foot and in any position on the pitch, Êns is always ready to make the decisive movement, whether shot, pass or run.

Bryony Westerveld wasn't really meant to be the breakthrough star of last season, an FC Endeavour castoff picked up at a loose end. And yet, as Ojala was dropped and his confidence shattered as a result, she had to step up into the gulf and make a name for herself, and the ambitious, diligent winger did the job. She knows she's got one clear season before Dalton decides on whether or not to replace her. One suspects she'll make the most of it.

An aging, transitioning Athletic side are probably a year away from total collapse. Then Dalton will have the opportunity to rebuild it in his image. For now, they are just slightly removed from likely title contention.

Manager: Tony Dalton (EUR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Aurelian Gautier (ESH), 20 - Ferret Tioux (CMT), 30 - Tanith Arrowsmith
Defenders: 2 - Steve Fox (EUR), 3 - Reece Lucas (EUR), 6 - Graciano Farina (OSR), 13 - Theodore Sigismund (STB), 16 - Alexis Koutros, 17 - Petria Brincat, 19 - Michael Campbell (PCR), 22 - Gabrielle Reinhardt
Midfielders: 4 - Kaya Naumoff, 8 - Jean-Michel Dominique (KOR), 10 - Orsolya Gere (PAS), 11 - Hakki Ojala (COS), 14 - Elsebeth Celustka, 15 - Oscar Coltrane (EUR, c), 18 - Anja Ruthenbeck, 21 - Violet Siverson, 23 - Bryony Westerveld, 26 - Thisbe Rouvas
Forwards: 7 - Sipke Tarala (VIL), 9 - Xíxì Êns (FFD), 11 - Renira Schanzer, 12 - Harriet Corver, 37 - Melusina Rose
Out on Loan: 5 - Alyssa Broad


League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Farham Arena (88,000)
Nickname: the Moths
Captain: Solara Vol
Top Scorers: Vol (20), Romano (17), Townsend (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Griffin (34); 2 - Haines (30), 5 - Jabelon (25), 21 - Hamilton (34), 22 - Vicelich (30); 7 - Townsend (29), 6 - Shone (26), 8 - Reach (23), 11 - Aedelbrandt (28); 14 - Vol (35, c), 20 - Turner (23)
In: Alexandra Markgraf (Finbar Stalwarts, 4m), Cathal Turner (returned from loan), Vivica Muscadin (returned from loan)
Promoted: Ysabet Belgrade (RM, 19), Miska Brabanzon (CB, 20), Cleo Harper (RB, 20)
Out: Tahir Fejzuli (Mytenar Reclamation, undisclosed), Kodiak Grant (Wexax United, 5m), Glory Bellinger (Felswyr, 5m), Marten Beyard (Reedostown, 3m), Corentin Tausig (Depri Lanar, 3m), Joachim Elden (Kirkenes FC, 2m)
Retired: Theresa Desantis (LB, 36, ETN)

4 Premiership titles (47, 60, 68, 69)
2 NFA Cups (58, 65)
3 Ramsey Shields (66, 69, 70)
Champions Cup (73)
2 Globe Cups (64, 67)
Super Cup (73)
Gang of Six member

74: Premier - 6th - 72 pts - CC
73: Premier - 5th - 83 pts
72: Premier - 2nd - 99 pts - CC
71: Premier - 2nd - 88 pts - CC
70: Premier - 5th - 85 pts - GC

Notable Products: Valencia Ashburner, Nevaeh Cathar, Rook Cathar, Sasha Christener, Gudrun Growley, Kirsten Cliving, Juergen Evans, Michael Kellard, Ashley Kresinger, Catheline Marchant, Scheherazade Meier, Rona Morgantrau, Cheney Rosewood, Tawny Shone, Everard Tawney, Carsten Thunder, Tess Wyclif, Lux Vicelich
Club Heroes: Robert Griffin, Aaliyah Johnson, James Macbeth, Gerhard Thunder, Imriel Townsend, Solara Vol
One-Club Men: Lucia Pembroke, James Yorke
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
The biggest and proudest club in Nephara's biggest and proudest city, the former capital of Sabrefell; a giant fortified metropolis whose layers of walls and distinctive flat, forceful architecture betray the cities origins as a stronghold first and a place to live second. The moths of Sabrefell themselves are notorious for their size, number and, topically for the club, resilence. The original giants of the Nepharim league, the Moths had, by a distance, the most titles in the pre-UICA Premiership and have remained very competitive in modern times, generally playing a very fast, attacking brand of football, and particularly loving a prolific striker - Gerhard Thunder, homegrown Rook Cathar, five-time Iron Boot winner Aaliyah Johnson and Solara Vol have all become club legends. Their pull is best summarised by the fact that, when the time came to retire the crumbling Gargoyle's Court, they simply moved into the Farham Arena, hitherto only for Cormorants games and Cup finals. Though they present themselves as 'Nephara's club', they in theory represent the west of Sabrefell, and have historically been associated with hard-left elements, and while they count a large base of casual support their ultras have been guilty of violence in the past. More positively, their pyro and banner displays are among the finest in the world. Their fiercest rivals are Athletic, in the east of the city.

A decidedly poor season for the Moths, perhaps hungover from the admittedly resplendent glory of winning the last ever Champions Cup and Super Cup. Without those glories one would suspect Arora's time would be over. But is it really his fault, with the side allowed to get so decrepit?

A... strange window. The one 'signing' in a proper sense was Alexandra Markgraf, at a premium, after one exceptional season for Finbar. At 23, she is just straight-up the heir to Griffin. Cathal Turner returns from being loaned back to his former club, the only way the transfer could have gone through (at least for the price the Moths were willing to pay), a top-class striker in the making ready to play his first game for the Moths. Oh, and the small matter of perhaps the best class of graduating youth in memory. Any or all could earn Cormorants' wings! And then half the senior players walk out the door, for fat fees. Mostly seasoned locals, though Fejzuli's departure was unplanned, Elden milked for what money was there and Desantis calling time after a solid career.

Some managers forget the player they once were. Not Sur Arora. The one-time Crisisbless striker loves seeing goals fly in, and while sometimes his reputation as a thrill-seeker undermines his firm grasp of tactics and eye for a game-changing substitution, the constant among his teams is that they’re damn good value. Defensively, the Moths go in hard and to kill.

Imriel Townsend is the one real standout player who can get pulses racing. Now 29, time is ticking, but she's at the peak of her powers. The Moths need her at the peak of her powers. She is one of the world's prime wingers, a dauntless runner boasting lightning pace, all too happy to go right down the throat of the enemy, round the goalkeeper and blast home. If that's what's required. If the vulgar simplicity of an unerring near-post cross will do the job, that can be made to happen as well. She eliminates opponents in swathes with every swing of the boot.

Tahir Fejzuli's loss is not a disaster. His form slipped last season, anyway, and by the end it was Swansea Reach taking his place. Now 23, Reach has an almost memetic penchant for thumping home screamers from outside the box with her hammer of a left boot, like some kind of Igrene Cantor throwback from deeper in the field, but that does a disservice to her mastery of the subtler arts, darting between the lines and prodding clever little passes to feet. And occasionally just going in two-footed on some poor bastard who has it coming.

The Moths need surgery. It will, apparently, have to wait another year of relative mediocrity.

Manager: Sur Arora (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Robert Griffin (EUR), 12 - Alexandra Markgraf, 25 - Yves Carroll
Defenders: 2 - Jon Haines (EUR), 3 - Vivica Muscadin, 5 - Wil Jabelon (COS), 13 - Miska Brabanzon, 18 - Cleo Harper, 19 - Charade Tipton, 21 - Brix Hamilton (EQS), 22 - Lux Vicelich
Midfielders: 4 - Federico Serra (OSR), 6 - Tawny Shone, 7 - Imriel Townsend (APX), 8 - Swansea Reach, 11 - Zoe Aedelbrandt (COS), 16 - Annika Cashin, 23 - Bryger Kellard, 33 - Ysabet Belgrade
Forwards: 9 - Joan Vickers, 10 - Claudio Romano (PAS), 14 - Solara Vol (MRN, c), 20 - Cathal Turner (COS), 24 - Catheline Garand


League Finish: 2nd (First Division)
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: Covenground (27,000)
Nickname: the Southrons
Captain: Gerhard Hartmuth
Top Scorers: Michail (32), Lazaridis (19), Habane (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Hartmuth (31, c); 2 - Novick (23), 5 - O’Connell (25), 19 - Pike (24), 3 - Youabian (29); 7 - Rosen (27), 15 - Jurman (23), 8 - Dionne (26), 11 - Habane (27); 16 - Bergander (29), 10 - Michail (31)
In: Matthias Bergander (Metropolis Alligators, 4m), Remy Dionne (Trenton AC, 3m), Kelly O'Connell (Jamestown City, 3m), Johanna Rosen (Morningstar, 3m)
Promoted: Nadine Cirjak (GK, 19), Basil Lylac (CM, 20), Victoria Remeikis (ST, 20)
Out: Emery Russell (Damogran SC, 3m), Goran Martell (Maltesa Rokishima, free), Andre Havranek (Creed United, free), Marcia Barron (Real Oakwood, free)
Retired: Richard Kester (RM, 34, ETN), Natasha (CM, 36, DAI), Chufti Waters (ST, 36)

First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

74: 1Div - 2nd - 97 pts - Promoted
73: 1Div - 4th - 76 pts
72: 1Div - 8th - 73 pts
71: Premier - 21st - 44 pts - Relegated
70: 1Div - 3rd - 83 pts - Promoted

Notable Products: Morgan Ashdown, Rutger Connacht, Sigrid Cooper, Catheline Novick, Jason Petratos
Club Heroes: Samantha Allbeck, Gratia Barker, Josephus Flaccus
One-Club Men: Leila Pryde
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
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...)

The Southrons opened their campaign scoring seventeen goals over their first ten matches, a slightly slow start. They would go on, later, to score 17 in two. When free transfer Harriet Michail decided to have the season of her life, the Southrons flared into gear and smashed up the competition. Couldn't quite haul in the Stargazers, but weren't far off.

Frenzied. For good reason. The Premiership is rarely forgiving for those unwilling to chop and change. O'Connell is what you would hope for in a centre-half, someone ready to steady the ship now but with plenty of room to grow, someone who just doesn't make mistakes. Kelssek international Dionne is versatile, hard-running and dynamic, Rosen is a somewhat flighty but flamboyant winger while - yes! - this time South Laithland steal one of Treason's (former) players! Bergander is coming off a successful time in Valladares, a massive target man who knows where the goal is. Emery Russell, after far too long on the bench, is liquidated at her own insistence. Of those retired, Natasha will be by far the most mourned as the team's creative heart, though the other two had parts to play last year.

Daniel Kunde is known and respected, at this stage. This is, man for man, his team, that he built, and most every one of them would run through a wall for him. He deploys in a straightforward 4-4-2, but relentlessly drills defensive pressing and attacking combinations into his players, and if any heads drop, it falls apart. So, it’s a good thing heads never drop, isn’t it? They wouldn’t dare.

Harriet Michail couldn't consistently get into the Southfell side, despite flickers of promise. She has something like a decade of mediocrity weighing against her, and precisely one year of relentlessly jumping up and down on the First Division. She isn't fast, isn't the strongest, is kind of tall. Mostly, though, she's intelligent and has a hammer of a left boot, and last year at least found a way to consistently get it on the end of passes, stroking home confidently on the first touch.

When looking for up-and-coming prospects, it's fairly clear-cut to look at Nephara's starting rightback at the last DBC and the reigning U21 player of the year. Catheline Novick is these things. As one would hope of a young fullback, she boasts incredible pace and likes to use it in bursts, springing into action down the flanks at the decisive moment. She's developing a penchant for getting on the end of attacks, too, and notched up six goals last season. And, of course, she can defend. So, yes, the perfect all-round fullback... but at Premiership level, will she be the jack of all trades, or the master of none?

Throwing money at their problems should work. It’s a patchy side, but run capably, and should get results.

Manager: Lyn Hartmann
Asst. Manager: Morgan Cole
Manager: Daniel Kunde (CBR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Gerhard Hartmuth (c), 12 - Corren Mueller, 30 - Nadine Cirjak
Defenders: 2 - Catheline Novick, 3 - Merlyn Youabian (COS), 5 - Kelly O'Connell (CBP), 6 - Bran Goldford, 17 - Louise Barton, 18 - Duviel de Naam (COS), 19 - Journey Pike (EFL), 24 - Lars Sandalwood
Midfielders: 4 - Basil Llac, 7 - Johanna Rosen, 8 - Remy Dionne (KSK), 11 - Nagisa Habane (KIR), 13 - Ulrich Tanner, 14 - Gareth Menat, 15 - Constantine Jurman, 23 - Konstantin Vyland
Forwards: 9 - Karena Ruther, 10 - Harriet Michail, 16 - Matthias Bergander, 21 - Cass Lazaridis, 22 - Victoria Remeikis


League Finish: 10th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Scipio Arena (38,000)
Nickname: the Tanners
Captain: Chris Grant
Top Scorers: Gundersen (16), Marlowe (11), Nagy (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Aldous (33); 17 - Bowyer (24), 5 - Grant (34, c), 6 - Ellis (29), 3 - Evans (27); 7 - Marko (27), 8 - Hemeyer (32), 23 - Nagy (26), 16 - Anselm (25); 21 - Petrov (24), 10 - Gundersen (27)
In: Lyzolda Petrov (Syneca AC, 5m), Sigmar Ward (Parrhesia United, free)
Promoted: Calla Heidke (LM, 20), Fortuna Morvan (RB, 18), Christine Tabard (GK, 18), Holger Wight (CB, 20)
Out: Roanne Fairfax (AFC Treason, 2m), Vander Kruse (Blackfields, free), Fantine Vercauteren (Chenoworth Rovers, free), Hasdrubal Stubbs (Wildeport Wanderers, free), Incubus Stratton (Wildeport Wanderers, free)
Retired: Johan Kovach (DM, 36)

First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

74: Premier - 10th - 66 pts
73: Premier - 10th - 66 pts
72: Premier - 16th - 57 pts
71: Premier - 11th - 67 pts
70: Premier - 13th - 63 pts

Notable Products: Svenja Bowyer, Dale Brightley, Jess Carragher, Malachi Chalk, Gretchen Hathaway, Marica Kuepper, Chrysanthe Scafidis, Leyland Stallion
Club Heroes: Chris Grant, Ivan Hemeyer, Rachel Schroeder
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
Southfell's a large town, once a fortress, just south of Sabrefell and just inland of the coast. Indeed, the easiest way to get into a fight with people from Southfell is to claim that, really, it's just a glorified district of Sabrefell. United started out as the factory team for leatherworkers, of all things, leading to their current nickname of 'Tanners'. Southfell have mostly been a Premiership side in the modern era, and their fans mostly consider themselves to be such, but they haven't had the best of things lately - that said, they were competing at the sharp end of the top flight when the modern era began. Stylistically, the Tanners have generally been fairly flashy and attack-minded, but there's been times where a long-ball style has prevailed. They have a friendly rivalry with the Sabrefell Moths, and indeed pretty much with every Sabrefell side.

Pretty good, pretty solid. There were times where it seemed as though the defence would collapse in a stiff breeze, others where it looked almost solid. And the Tanners haven't been in a position to be disappointed in a top-half finish in maybe twenty-five years.

Ambitious striker Lyzolda Petrov's fee might seem steep at five million for a player who has essentially just had one breakout season, but the management at Southfell are confident she'll be worth it. Sigmar Ward is, well, a warm body, an inferior version of Ivan Hemeyer. Little more is expected, and he's only on for a year. Straightforward winger Fairfax is snapped up on the last year of her contract, but the management is relaxed with this, Lissa Anselm ready to step up. Kovach retires after a respectable journeyman career, but was well behind Premiership pace last season.

George Jayson took a while to finally get into the hot seat. Most managerial careers are over by 55, God forbid starting there. He's taken to it rather well, though. The Tanners press high, run hard and pass along the floor, harrying opponents into errors and capitalising immediately. It's the kind of football you can only play if you're disciplined, well-drilled and buying in.

Kyshoen Nagy is pretty much Southfell exemplified, pretty much as stereotypical an Osarian midfielder as they come. He sews together the side's attack, working tirelessly to get into positions with seemingly limitless energy and then backing himself to do something daring, dauntless, to break down the enemy. He hasn't been here long, but already the fans idolise him.

While she might not fit into Southfell's strongest XI just yet, this could be a massive year for Laureline Forestier, who has already made some damaging cameos for the Tanners. The Equestrian can slot in nicely to the centre of the park, though she doesn't track back much, but has mostly played as a dangerous, flamboyant winger. Physicality and consistency are the two areas left to sharpen.

George Jayson can handle the job, little doubt remains of that. But as things stand, ‘the job’ remains hovering in the lower reaches of the top half.

Manager: George Jayson (EQS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Loris Aldous, 20 - Ursula Gavaris, 30 - Christine Tabard
Defenders: 2 - Svenja Bowyer, 3 - Sergei Evans, 5 - Chris Grant (SCT, c), 6 - Nathan Ellis (HAP), 12 - Ferry Brandt, 18 - Holger Wight, 19 - Krista Staniels (APX), 31 - Fortuna Morvan
Midfielders: 4 - Sigmar Ward, 7 - Karolina Marko (PAS), 8 - Ivan Hemeyer (COS), 11 - Calla Heidke, 15 - Roxi Pryce, 16 - Lissa Anselm, 22 - Laureline Forestier (EQS), 23 - Kyshoen Nagy (OSR)
Forwards: 9 - Erik Marlowe, 10 - Amalie Gundersen (VAL), 13 - Martina Everett, 17 - Lieschen Kuzener, 21 - Lyzolda Petrov (SRS)


League Finish: 8th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Ludd’s Hammer (59,000)
Nickname: the Smiths
Captain: Ellen Mifsud
Top Scorers: Henry (11), Shi (10), Lane (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Prant-Telew (31); 2 - Rostock (21), 22 - Orsay (32), 25 - Cooke (25), 3 - Markkannen (26); 21 - Ballard (23); 13 - Lane (26), 4 - Brujah (28), 10 - Henry (27), 23 - Voegel (28); 11 - Shi (29)
In: Dorian Ballard (Chardonnay Rangers, 3m), Cynav-Ozolx Jan (KF Atlov, free)
Promoted: Rook Drabsch (LB, 19), Gilmore Strattan (GK, 20), Viviana Strephon (ST, 19), Gawain Warden (CB, 19)
Out: Evander Keane (FC St. Jakob, 3m), Tomas Ruthven (Dartmouth Terriers, free), Masquerade Bryson (Autumnstone, free)
Retired: Ursa Dimitar (DM, 36), Nneoma Hasanu (GK, 36, COS), Cassidy Hasek (CB, 36)

74: Premier - 8th - 70 pts
73: Premier - 16th - 56 pts
72: 1Div - 2nd - 95 pts - Promoted
71: 1Div - 5th - 82 pts
70: 1Div - 11th - 64 pts

Notable Products: Sheila Kilgallon, Rusalka Klein, Elsa Layland, Sophia Moloney
Club Heroes: Jill Austen, Didier Bernard, William Čalrek, Michael Keane, Georgia Kite
One-Club Men: Grubiša Jelić
Iconic Manager: Daniel Brunet
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
Once considered a keystone member of the Premiership, Stahlburg City once lead the league on the 45th matchday. But, at the last minute, they collapsed, and their fierce rivals Treason overtook them. They've arguably never recovered, with relegation coming at the end of a long, drawn-out malaise. Stahlburg is a polluted, hyperindustrial clump, and City claims rather grandly to represent it all - this has been less true of late with the success of their local rivals, the Rovers. Traditionally they have played an unexciting, direct and physical brand of football, and its supporters value powerful, committed veterans and winning at any cost. Used to be named Maximum City, but when the city elected to change its name back to its ancestral title, the two major clubs followed suit.

Fair to say the Douglas Tibet Experience is paying dividends. After a bizarrely symmetrical start - 12/24, 4-4-4, 16-16 - they slipped a little, then bruised their way to level on points with the Challengers Cup places. First 16th, then 8th... perhaps, this year, the title? Or, uh, 0th?

For all the bodies in Stahlburg's spine, Dorian Ballard has the potential to be a standout. There's an excitability to his play and the way he absolutely batters people around the park, while carefully shepherding the ball in possession. Fringe Qusmi international Cynav-Ozolx is a clever free pickup, and a contender for regular minutes. Evander Keane, a serviceable defensive fullback at this level, is sold on to Savojarna; of those retired, ultimate journeywoman Ursa Dimitar will be by far the most lamented after a strange and productive career taking in Belgrave, Starling, Brookford, Goodfeather and Raven River, and a league/CC double in her one year with the Passerines.

Douglas Tibet’s flamboyant dress shouldn’t fool anyone; Stahlburg are dour as hell. And that suits the fans, and the club, perfectly. The Smiths are entirely happy to hold the line with every nasty trick in the book in front of their packed crowd of baying fans, before winning it late on by bundling home a long throw off Shi’s substantial arse. Not that they don’t have serious teeth, mind. But mostly, you’ll have your hands full just laying a glove on them.

Aurelie Henry didn't seem like a natural pick for the side, but even a proudly workmanlike outfit like the Smiths have a place for a playmaker, one who favours a floating, deep-lying role - sometimes dropping deeper still to form a double pivot - and is kind of a defensive passenger, but can be relied upon to put passes where they need to go. She's also on set piece duty basically wherever possible, adding a necessary extra edge to Stahlburg's goal threat.

There's high hopes for Linde Rostock, after breaking her way into the team last season over the captain no less. As one expects of someone from Stahlburg, she is dour and defensive, but brings an intelligence and sharpness to her defending that sets her apart even at a young age. She doesn't bring much to the attacking phase, but at 21, there's time to sharpen. Besides, it's not like Mifsud did much of that either.

Okay, okay. Stahlburg are finally back. Still, last season was punching above their weight to some degree. They are returning to their former profile, but there remains a lot of work to do.

Manager: Douglas Tibet (COS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Prant-Telew Wek (QUS), 12 - Xander Rosmarin, 20 - Gilmore Strattan
Defenders: 2 - Linde Rostock, 3 - Isadora Markkannen, 5 - Ellen Mifsud (c), 18 - Cynav-Ozolx Jan (QUS), 22 - Mathis Orsay, 25 - Xandra Cooke, 32 - Rook Drabsch, 35 - Gawain Warden
Midfielders: 4 - Kresimir Brujah, 6 - Garrick Pearce, 7 - Saskia Kantaroff, 8 - Marita Neuwirth, 10 - Aurelie Henry (OSR), 13 - Camille Lane (OSR), 14 - Justine Booker, 16 - Neimi Tschauner, 21 - Dorian Ballard, 23 - Catheline Voegel
Forwards: 11 - Isabella Shi (SLL), 15 - Drago Ward, 34 - Viviana Strephon


League Finish: 5th
Cup Run: Third Round
DIT Run: Champions
Stadium: Jade Park (28,000)
Nickname: the Passerines
Captain: Liam Armstrong
Top Scorers: Dostalok (23), Cathar (16), Netzach (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Smørdal (29); 2 - Asghar (28), 5 - Berg (30), 4 - Visser (31), 3 - Katarec (26); 11 - Armstrong (31, c), 21 - Kymeri (29), 8 - Roxel (28); 22 - Netzach (25); 7 - Dostalok (28), 9 - Cathar (30)
In: Sander Katarec (Vermillion Rage, 5.5m)
Promoted: Davina Ashmore (ST, 19), Leif Flaxwood (AM, 20), Elida Katter (GK, 19), Claire Griffith (CB, 21), Caracal Page (LB, 18)
Out: Dario Paterson (Alnio, 6m), Cesar Corvalan (Coret Hawks, 5m), Mateo Padilla (Fontvielle Impact, 4.5m), Lyre Castor (Creed United, 2.5m)
Retired: Taddeo Loredan (CB, 36, COS), Andreas Sparwasser (GK, 36, BRE)

2 Premiership titles (63, 64)
NFA Cup (70)
First Division title (60)
Champions Cup (64)
Super Cup (64)
Dwile Invitational (74)
Ramsey Shield (71)

74: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - GC
73: Premier - 4th - 90 pts - DIT
72: Premier - 7th - 75 pts
71: Premier - 3rd - 87 pts - CC
70: Premier - 4th - 89 pts - CC CWC

Notable Products: Evangeline Aschenbach, Lyre Castor, Estrella Hawke, Elsa Kaelin, Konrad Lovelace, Reinhard Meixner, Hyacinth Surman
Club Heroes: Keira Andisori, Liam Armstrong, Justinian Hargrave, Deirdre McNessa, Kurtis Warner
Premiership Debut: 59
Starling are the standout 'Football Manager' story of Nephara, perhaps even the world. In the Passerines' first Premiership season, they were relegated despite a strong side on paper. In their second, they stayed up. In their third... they won the league. In their fourth, they won the league and Champions Cup. They've never looked back, and incorporated a golden star and golden trim into their crests and kits to commemorate these victories. Starling is a small city to the north of Crisisbless, the first sign of civilisation heading south from the Northern Vale. As a result, they have a firmly established antipathy against Crisisbless and the two main Valesider clubs, Corvette and Leichhardt, without being the main rival of any of them. They've used the proceeds of their victories carefully, trying to build the club's infrastructure up and provide a platform to keep competing; they may not have the catchment or wealth to be entrenched as one of the big dogs forever, but their Golden Age has made them one of Nephara's most recognised sides abroad regardless.

For the second time, Starling are the de facto best club in the world. In the league, they were pretty consistently in the IFCF places, but fell away a little in the second half of the season as other commitments mounted to drop off the Champions' League hunt.

Yet more profits for Starling, the familiar dance of trying to make up for wages with transfer fees. For a second successive season they seem short up front - shorter now that Corvalan has left for Coret at 29, impatient for a true breakthrough that just never came. Nephara international Katarec is an upgrade at leftback over Paterson or Castor, the latter commanding a surprisingly low fee, even at 30. Padilla just looked worn out in Nephara by the end, though leaves with well-wishes and some memories. Taddeo Loredan, defensive rock and Cosumar international, hangs up the boots; so does Andreas Sparwasser, well-travelled goalkeeper, Brenecian by descent but milking it for a handful of caps.

Having felt for a while like a distinctly young side, it’s a surprise to see the years add up as more… mature. They’ve evolved, emphasising technique over athleticism, and patiently, confidently start attacks from the back, with intelligent zonal marking quashing attacks, dominating the midfield and pushing most attacks through the centre of the park. Lisa Amos isn’t wedded to one way of playing, however, and can make the difference in a match in the balance with a single switch of personnel or emphasis.

Christian Berg is the bulwark of the side, and the main cause of their recent defensive security. 30 years old and better than ever, the burly Pasargan never puts a foot wrong, has enough pace to never quite get skinned, and has muscle in spades. He stands tall in defence like a nightclub bouncer, and is just as unforgiving.

Varina Roebling is practically bursting with energy on the sidelines. She can't have expected to just be thrown into the firing lines, can she? But the 23-year old firebrand's versatility might just be her bane, capable as advanced playmaker, deeper-lying technician or box-to-box sprinter, and even played 90 minutes at leftback. Still developing her craft, still with time on her side, and might just have half an eye on the captain's place...

The money is drying. They are weaker this window than last. How soon until the bubble bursts? A year closer, but probably not yet.

Manager: Lisa Amos (CMT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Sean Smørdal (VAL), 12 - Romola Carolan, 30 - Elida Katter
Defenders: 2 - Amalie Asghar (VAL), 3 - Sander Katarec, 4 - Alcander Visser, 5 - Christian Berg (PAS), 13 - Claire Griffith, 17 - Cylia Hoscutt, 18 - Victor Sorloth, 34 - Caracal Page
Midfielders: 8 - Valentine Roxel (SCT), 10 - Leif Flaxwood, 11 - Liam Armstrong (EUR, c), 14 - Rook Garai, 15 - Varina Roebling, 21 - Nova Kymeri (CEN), 22 - Annika Netzach, 23 - Fernand Way
Forwards: 7 - Daniel Dostalok (CEN), 9 - Nevaeh Cathar, 16 - Vanna Pearce, 20 - Bernard Zeman, 33 - Davina Ashmore


League Finish: Champions
Cup Run: Third Round
DIT Run: First Knockout Round
Stadium: The Gauntlet (65,000)
Nickname: the Stags
Captain: Peter Svensson
Top Scorers: Metzger (26), J. Fletcher (19), Jonsson (12)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Clavel (27); 2 - Stride (22), 13 - Lockheed (25), 19 - Vornander (30), 3 - Va’Afaja (27, c); 7 - Accardi (27), 4 - Rauch (26), 10 - Jonsson (28), 16 - McInnes (25); 21 - Metzger (27), 22 - Fletcher (29)
In: Bersant Sale (Diamondqueen, 4m), Roanne Fairfax (Southfell United, 3m)
Promoted: Reis Becker (CM, 18), Basilica Coxeter (ST, 18), Pavel Lockhart (LB, 19)
Out: Lorelei Neptune (Tihon, 6m), Adelaide Tallow (Farrenton Athletic, 4.5m), Rian Corrello (Port Sebastian, 3m), Tessa Bayliss (Miners FC, 2m)
Retired: Roddy Fraser (ST, 38, AUD), Peter Svensson (CB, 37, COS)

8 Premiership titles (48, 49, 52, 56, 57, 65, 66, 74)
NFA Cup (49)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (57)
Copa de Campeones (67)
Gang of Six member

74: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CC
73: Premier - 3rd - 90 pts - DIT
72: Premier - 4th - 86 pts - GC
71: Premier - 6th - 81 pts - GC
70: Premier - 10th - 72 pts

Notable Products: Reinhard Armstrong, Diandra Ballard, Sarah Carmady, Claudia Cautcher, Violet Clarion, Malachi Gallagher, Rachael Green, Saskia Kantaroff, Calliope Katskalidis, Kyle Lawrence, Nikola Lindgren, Servet Misidjan, Tamika November, Kurtis Quinn, Aristide Metzger, Tanith Rainsford, Sigurd Rustwyth, Fasolt Senninger, Konrad Vornander, Scylla Vyntra
Club Heroes: Roque Acosta, Josephus Flaccus, Roddy Fraser, Catheline Harper, Tosca Marlowe, Russ Miller, Peter Svensson, Lienke Vesper
One-Club Men: Markus Anderton, Gideon Fletcher, Cathy Stokes
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
The city of Treason is the large, parochial industrial powerhouse of the northwest, the place where the last king of Nephara was executed. Ask most people there about the many vibrant clubs, and they'll concede the Stags are the best show in town. Treason were always a big side, but along with Brinemouth became an iconic titan of the league as it rose up the UICA rankings - currently, the two sides are matched on seven titles apiece. Treason have a very strong local identity based on physicality, professionalism and hard work. They have a proud tradition of youth development, and have always relied heavily on their academy to provide for their roster. They also have the largest fanbase of any Nepharim side. They are Chatswood's fiercest rivals, and Brinemouth's (in 'the Classic'), and North Laithland's due to being their nearest urban rival, and South Laithland's due to stealing most of their best players over the years, and Stahlburg City's following a long history of violent match-ups and infamously 'stealing' their best chance at a modern title. Following an implausible number of international clashes, they also sparked a friendly rivalry with Buyanese side Blau-Weiss Pallstadt, and upon the recent return to UICA of the Buyan league they bought Blau-Weiss out to use as a feeder club. However, at this time, the relationship appears dormant.

Eight points off the top at the halfway mark, Treason mounted an inexorable climb. Despite dropping the ball at the last moment, so did their fierce rivals Brinemouth. The deadlock is broken, in the Stags' favour - no other side commands eight titles.

Treason fans are in mourning. Roddy Fraser, heroic striker with a weird and unnatural knack for goal, and Peter Svensson, legendary captain and exemplar of the club, call time after securing the title that reaffirms their superiority over the Dockers. Neptune and Corrello will also be missed, but their time had come; so too Tallow and Bayliss, though with less decisive roles. Still, it's not all doom and gloom - Fairfax is a marginally younger discount Neptune, sure, but in 22-year old Bersant Sale, they might have the heir to Svensson on the books. Maybe.

Cheney Bittencourt used to prowl the Gauntlet as a lethal striker. Now, in Metzger and Fletcher, he has two of his own to play with. His side are steeped in the proud traditions of the club. They attack quickly and powerfully, and every player is ready to put their whole body on the line in defence. At the end of the day, the Treason way is about full commitment and unbridled white line fever, never accepting defeat and never slowing to walking pace.

Aristide Metzger is a curiously underrated striker at times. He doesn't really do hold-up play, which is one could consider a fault, but then that's what Fletcher's for, isn't it? Tall and athletic, and with pace to burn, Metzger thrives facing goal, battering his way into positions and knifing the ball into the net under immense pressure. "He only scores screamers," is the entirely sarcastic refrain. But he does score immense feats of willpower, brute force and, yes, positional intelligence.

Rovena Stride needed only wait until Corrello's notoriously fragile stamina gave way to crowbar occasional starts into regular ones. While she was picked up from the Harriers largely for her bombarding runs down the right and sweeping crosses into the box, Treason saw in her the potential as a... well, as a defender, one they are doing everything to hone. The lass is a bit special, and eager to prove her worthiness of the #2 shirt.

Reigning champions, yes, but their signings were aimed at the long-term, not the present. They will remain in the running. They are not ahead of the pack.

Manager: Cheney Bittencourt
Goalkeepers: 1 - Angel Clavel (AUD), 18 - Karena Hesketh, 25 - Damir Wright
Defenders: 2 - Rovena Stride, 3 - Q'orianka Va'Afaja (COS, c), 5 - Bersant Sale, 6 - Konrad Vornander, 13 - Gabriel Lockheed, 18 - Diocletian Vale, 19 - Thorn Tristram, 31 - Pavel Lockhart
Midfielders: 4 - Ferena Rauch, 7 - Raquel Accardi (EFL), 8 - Saturn Mastiff, 10 - Mikkel Jonsson (VAL), 11 - Roanne Fairfax, 15 - Machua Cronin, 16 - Kelly McInnes (SCT), 23 - Lysistrata Carter, 35 - Reis Becker
Forwards: 9 - Roddy Fraser (AUD), 14 - Felix Sebastian, 17 - Lukas Boldfont, 21 - Aristide Metzger, 22 - John Fletcher (EUR), 32 - Basilica Coxeter


League Finish: 9th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Iron Hill (49,500)
Nickname: the Rage, the Lads
Captain: Hecia Barksdale
Top Scorers: Heward (20), Eduardo (11), Cassadore, Anastasiadis (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Ramelow (31); 17 - Salek (24), 18 - Anderson (26), 5 - Barksdale (33, c), 3 - Rouphos (28); 14 - Fleetwood (24), 8 - Konse (29), 21 - Eduardo (32); 15 - Hart (28), 9 - Heward (28), 23 - Porter (27)
In: Nike Rouphos (Chenoworth Harriers, 3.5m), Allison Swan (Crisisbless, 1.5m)
Promoted: Ilayda Cannon (CB, 20), Ari Maurer (LB, 19), Anezka Rennet (RW, 19)
Out: Sander Katarec (Starling, 5.5m), Catheline Anastasiadis (Myana, 4m), Leontios Skapoulis (Belgrave, 2m), Isabella Cassadore (Dragons de Massagui, 1.5m), Aysu Damjana (Felswyr, free)
Retired: Ryan Paulsson (AM, 36, VLD)

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

74: Premier - 9th - 68 pts
73: Premier - 12th - 59 pts
72: Premier - 14th - 62 pts
71: Premier - 8th - 71 pts
70: Premier - 11th - 67 pts

Notable Products: Elaine Candell, Gazzincha, Saskia Hasselbaink, Sander Katarec, Rachael Kellen, Eurydice Papadopolou, Claire Rathlinker, Ferena Rauch, Leontios Skapoulis, Birgit Sternberg
Club Heroes: Hye Min Jeong, Kunibert Rosenfeld, Marios Tzavellas, Morgan Underwood
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
Vermillion could perhaps have been a real giant of Nepharim football were it not for timing. They were a prominent challenger in the pre-UICA era, fuelled by a blatant money-laundering operation, but just a couple of years into the modern era, the Rage slammed face-first into financial ruin, got relegated, and never fully recovered. Arguably a sleeping giant, Vermillion have always been more concerned with looking good and flashy than grinding out results. While still not exactly Takil - this is still Nephara - anything less than an attractive, attack-minded, fast-paced style of football would not be tolerated either by the fans or the board. Vermillion's brand is to entertain. While they don't exactly love the upstart Vermillion Wanderers to the south, their true rivals are Parrhesia United to the north. The two sides have both had their own boom-and-bust cycles; presently, Vermillion are enjoying Parrhesia's spectacular bust even more than their own relative boom, and have managed to seriously annoy the Saints by poaching their players. Indeed, while very few players tend to cross rivalry divides across the rest of Nephara, the Saints and the Rage have a penchant for trying to grab each others' talent.

Basically slummed it in upper midtable all season, about as expected. Really, Vermillion fans probably got more excitement watching Parrhesia get mauled than they did from their own position.

Largely, the window did not go to plan; instead of key targets being acquired, the Rage were forced to swap Nephara's second-choice leftback for its third. Which, in fairness, isn't nothing - Rouphos is a very good player, but there's a reason she didn't cost what Katarec did, besides just two years older. 33-year old midfielder Cassadore was sold for 1.5m in the hopes of finding a younger replacement, but they had to plump for spending 1.5m on 33-year old midfielder Allison Swan. Not much excitement there. Anastasiadis hadn't done enough at this level, Skapoulis was eager for starts that weren't coming, while Ryan Paulsson retires with dignity after a good career.

Cralt-Nirlo Fox is as crafty as a, well, as their namesake. They rocked up promising free-flowing attacking football, but that didn’t quite materialise. So the narrative shifted to getting the basics right, a solid and mobile defence set to spring forward en masse at pace. They have so much speed in their front three, and more than enough technique and passing range in midfield to supply them.

Ask Ramona Porter a question and she'll probably answer it with some variety of "I just want to get back into the Cormorants' reckoning." She's driven, you can't deny that - she shows it on the pitch every day, seeming almost to sprint for ninety minutes without pause and playing nearly every match at that. She isn't a subtle player, though she's more clever than people expect and is finding a real finishing touch of late.

Cralt-Nirlo didn't want to throw Syrene Fleetwood into the front lines, one suspects, but the young midfielder certainly considers herself ready. Armed with the longest head of hair in the league, kept back by a thick headband on the pitch, Fleetwood is, appropriately, fleet of foot, and combines it with a certain deftness that helps her weave between the lines making mischief with nasty little arrowed passes to feet.

Vermillion continue to be Vermillion, a bizarrely entertaining ennui. There is no reason that state of affairs should end now.

Manager: Cralt-Nirlo Fox (QUS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Leila Ramelow, 20 - Sylvia Hargreaves, 25 - Gaetan Riggs
Defenders: 2 - Esther Austad, 3 - Nike Rouphos, 5 - Hecia Barksdale, 13 - Ilayda Cannon, 17 - Melosa Salek (EFL), 18 - Cierra Anderson (CMT), 19 - Dimitri Skondreas, 36 - Ari Maurer
Midfielders: 4 - Constance Hooper, 7 - Allison Swan (CEN), 8 - Jarobi Konse (COS), 14 - Syrene Fleetwood, 21 - Eduardo (VLD), 24 - Marek Fifield
Forwards: 9 - Danica Heward, 10 - Carlos Conte (VLD), 11 - Ursa Kinbois, 15 - Erinys Hart, 16 - Alysia Moyer, 23 - Ramona Porter, 33 - Anezka Rennet
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Postby Nephara » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:54 am

First Division Preview

1. Chenoworth Rovers
Last Season: 21st (Premier)
Home Colours: White / blue / white
Away Colours: Navy / navy / red
Manager: Chris Waller (50, EUR)
Stadium: Slatefield (32,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
(4-4-2) 1 - Anders Rowett (31); 2 - Belaskita Skalak (31), 21 - Sigrun Rathskeller (34), 6 - Markus Capradossi (29, ETN, c), 22 - Karla Laslow (29); 7 - Anselm Koerner (20), 4 - June Hartley (31), 8 - Minka Forrest (26), 12 - Cassandra Rowell (27, SCT); 11 - Grey Meisler (29), 9 - Sabrina Patton (28, CBP)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Lara Broadhead (26); 3 - CB - Klavier Fitzgerald (22), 10 - ST - Andrea Vithoulkas (21), 13 - CM - Riza Counsell (21), 17 - RB - Fantine Vercauteren (33), 18 - LB - Radamel Curtis (24), 23 - ST - Erika Constance (23)
Out on Loan: 37 - LM - Kendra Ramsey (18, SCT)

BACKGROUND Chenoworth is a two-club city (for the most part), with the Harriers representing the northwest geographically and Hellenics culturally, and the Rovers Jewish, eastern and by reputation more affluent. In the early years of the modern era, both sides could regularly be seen yo-yoing wildly between the top two tiers, with seven Premiership relegations between them. Of late, however, the Harriers' fortunes have soared and the Rovers' have soured, until a recent resurgence has left them yet again eyeing the top flight.

LAST SEASON A fairly unmitigated disaster, with iconic manager Catheline Harper axed after losing the playoffs. They didn't deserve to stay up, their talent squandered by predictable tactics and ruptures behind the scenes.

TRANSFERS As expected, a flood of departures. But there remains a solid core. Minka Forrest is the key signing, an energetic playmaker from Rochford who crushed 2Div under her heel last season. Chris Waller, once an iconic goalkeeper, signs on as manager in search of redemption.

STRENGTHS The overall strongest matchday squads of any side in the league. Meisler and Patton offer pace and finesse up front; the latter should slaughter at this level. Investment in the academy means plenty of promising young bloods, Koerner especially, but with an experienced spine.

WEAKNESSES None present themselves, unless Forrest fails to make the step up (and she's played at this level before). Even then, there's plenty of assists down the wings, and the forwards will take any chance they get.

2. Vermillion Wanderers
Last Season: 5th
Home Colours: Green / green / yellow
Away Colours: Yellow / green / green
Stadium: New Falstaff (35,000)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Seneca Matthews (50)
(4-4-2) 1 - Orion Randwick (28); 2 - Cheney Auburn (30), 5 - Tiffany Moss (30, CBP), 18 - Claudia Bohr (27), 19 - Bohemund Karling (29); 13 - Daniel Zihark (28), 21 - Franziska Corren (28), 8 - Catric Pinnon (31, c), 11 - Chantal Kalevi (20); 9 - Istria Saara (24, MRN), 10 - Valery Kovaleski (30, AUD)
Notable Reserves: 3 - LB - Lithe Bronwyne (31), 6 - CB - Marcia Falchuk (32), 7 - RM - Anneliese Coe (27), 14 - LM - Alexis Farrier (29, AUD), 17 - CB - Julen Zendegi (33, AUD), 22 - ST - Finlay McCloud (27, AUD), 23 - CM - Yolandi Heimat (30)

BACKGROUND The Wanderers had a dramatic rise from the semi-professional levels that saw them in the Premiership for three seasons, and they remain its latest club in the alphabet. 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.

LAST SEASON A collapse of form leading into the halfway point of the season was Wanderers' relative downfall. They started strongly and were powerful through the second half of the season, only pipped to fourth on goal difference. The new stadium, unimaginatively named, has been completed.

TRANSFERS Keeping Saara was the big victory. But they've signed serious Premiership experience in Karling and Heimat, and stiffened an already-strong defence with Saints defender Bohr, who Matthews is convinced will flourish with structure. Nothing flash. Just stout and correct.

STRENGTHS Bohr isn't even the best defender they have. Scoring against the Wanderers is an ordeal, strong in every defensive position (including goalkeeper) and with the exceptional Tiffany Moss running the show. The offensive strategy of hitting crosses at Saara is effective.

WEAKNESSES Creative lynchpin Pinnon is aging and perhaps losing a little sparkle; without him, the team is one-dimensional. Nobody in the team can seem to hit a penalty worth a damn.

3. Raven River
Last Season: 24th (Premier)
Home Colours: Indigo w/ green chevron / indigo / white
Away Colours: White w/ indigo chevron / green / white
Stadium: Rookridge (42,000)
Nickname: River, the Ferrymen
Manager: Eoin Killanen (42, SCT)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Frieda Pearce (26); 2 - Chuy Villaverde (26, FFD), 5 - Samson Turnbull (29), 19 - Dennis Lampshire (30, KOR), 3 - Kvenna Melander (20); CM - Robyn Sabitzer (33), 13 - Prisma Zalzaria (30, COS), 11 - Lothaire Cromwell (20); 8 - Nikita Crowe (29, BRE); 10 - Lauren Beridze (25, SCT), 21 - Ruby Gjasula (21)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Karolas Stoll (21); 7 - AM - Harriet Novac (24), 9 - ST - Merric Summers (24), 15 - DM - Aline Ruthers (25), 17 - RB - Steed Beister (21), 18 - CB - Matteo Beasley (22)

BACKGROUND River are one of the many secondary Sabrefell sides that have had plenty of time bouncing between the two top tiers. The titular River splits west Sabrefell from east, and the club's stadium overlooks it - a fitting legacy of their humble beginnings, formed by the city's ferrymen. It has never really had ideas beyond its station, and has always cultivated a good relationship with other Sabrefell sides, particularly the sister club Diamondqueen that it helped lift out of obscurity with a series of loans and profile-boosting friendlies. The exception is Athletic, and River are one of the three main sides who absolutely cannot stand the Rams - in their case, the grievance stems back to an incident of fan violence that's by now decades old, where a River fan was attacked in a case of totally mistaken identity. When Chariots ultras retaliated by beating up the Athletic supporters responsible, it created a particularly strong bond between the two sides.

LAST SEASON Scored the second-fewest goals in the league, conceded by far the most and were rooted to the bottom of the table. A club that had been allowed to rot. Some fans remain that don't blame Killanen, yet.

TRANSFERS A swathe of players departed, but defensive bulwark Lampshire was surprisingly not among them despite interest from Chatswood and abroad. Robyn Sabitzer is the main key import, an experienced and resolute leader and still of Premiership class, if not pace.

STRENGTHS Eoin Killanen is confident; "If we don't get promoted, I will jump into the canal, naked." Fittingly, the former playmaker's key strength is in midfield, where their diamond could and should wrest control of games.

WEAKNESSES River have been able to lean on an excellent youth system to provide talent, but relegation shaved them to the bone, and there's little experience in reserve. Defensively, Lampshire aside, they seem a bit ordinary.

4. Iron City
Last Season: 14th
Home Colours: Red / red / white
Away Colours: Black / black / red
Stadium: Swordgarden (35,000)
Nickname: the Knights, the Iron
Manager: Lara Dixon (51, SCT)
(4-1-4-1) 12 - Wotan Hornwood (32); 17 - Anders Bowman (23), 4 - Antoine Kerherve (30, AUD), 6 - Mizia Thuun (35, MRN), 3 - Maretta Exeter (27); 20 - Hollin Spicer (28); 7 - Palina Leopold (22), 8 - Isla Snowpoint (27), 14 - Olsen Birch (25, AUD), 11 - Marcin Faehrmann (30, c); 9 - Xandra Vermouth (22)
Notable Reserves: 2 - RB - Julian Ilsander (32), 10 - ST - Athena Haagensen (32, COS), 18 - CB - Jordi Rowe (31), 21 - CM - Sophia Petridis (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.

LAST SEASON Scored and conceded less than a goal a game. Reece Benedict was let go at the end of it all; he'd steadied the ship where asked, but was he the man to really take them forward?

TRANSFERS Lara Dixon takes the hot seat, one of the Christopheran 'Island Generation', a respected coach in her first top role. Thuun and Moths reject Bowman sharpen the defence further, while Isla Snowpoint has plenty to offer in the centre of the park.

STRENGTHS Iron are, as ever, going to be hard to break down, with a strong core of experienced players. Meanwhile, there's youth and freshness in midfield, livewire Leopold especially.

WEAKNESSES Lack creativity down the centre, and are perhaps overly reliant on crosses and set pieces for goals. Even that won't be enough unless rangy young Vermouth scores.

5. Stahlburg Rovers
Last Season: 9th
Home Colours: Orange and black hoops / black / orange
Away Colours: All white with orange trim
Stadium: Griffindon (36,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Manager: Reinhard Drake (48)
(4-4-2) 1 - Stefan Bolander (32); 2 - Ninian Wernbloom (27), 5 - Kresp-Cinic Jan (29, QUS), 6 - Rainer Macellan (27), 3 - Beatrice Colgan (31, SCT); 7 - Sujet Carsley (30), 4 - Marcia Sable (22), 10 - Monika Talay (25, ISK), 11 - Vivienne Morgan (28); 9 - Corona Sharpe (31, c), 21 - Dulcina Radcliffe (24, EFL)
Bench: 12 - GK - Rinus Wever (23, AUD); 8 - CM - Lance Diebeck (33), 18 - LB - Kyriakos Mesorounis (21)

BACKGROUND Historically very much Stahlburg's second team, the Rovers went from being a second-tier fixture to a Premiership fixture just in time for Nephara to enter UICA. Apart from a couple of scrapes with the sharp end of the league, however, the Rovers traditionally scraped lower-midtable finishes year after year, seemingly immune to stability. Fans are hoping to go straight back up. Formerly known as Maximum Rovers.

LAST SEASON The Rovers legitimately found themselves in a battle to avoid a second successive relegation towards the beginning of the season, but quickly pulled away. A deep Cup run, including a 2-0 win over the Moths, salved the year.

TRANSFERS Cordwood and Sesay move to the Bohemians in the Premiership. Pillars' bright spot Monika Talay will be entrusted to run the show as a playmaker, while burly Rainer Macellan was key to Dartmouth's survival.

STRENGTHS Cunning poachers Sharpe and Radcliffe form a strike partnership worthy of a title challenge. But they are solid all through the core, while supply from the flanks just has to consist of repeated low crosses.

WEAKNESSES The Rovers' depth is shockingly poor, and would be crippled by injury to basically any of their regular starters. Reinhard Drake's record as a manager is unconvincing to date.

6. Parrhesia United
Last Season: 23rd (Premier)
Home Colours: Green / white / red
Away Colours: White / green / white
Manager: Mixu Durran (52)
Stadium: Knightsgrave (43,000)
Nickname: the Saints
(4-3-3) 1 - Angela Spyrakis (30); 6 - Misha Symond (30, c), 13 - Zemen Ystrad (30, SRS), 6 - Christian Serjeant (33), 3 - Vesuvius Feist (20); 16 - Adraan Telviir (29, MRN), 4 - Gareth Shotbolt (30, BRE), 11 - Adele Rosborough (30); 15 - Bastia Fohler (25), 9 - Ann Reus (28), 23 - Sigrun Barota (32)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Veluca Austen (21); 2 - RB - Bullova Reyson (22), 8 - CM - Ilia Mueller (22), 17 - ST - Raven Dallas (22), 18 - CB - Ruby George (23), 32 - DM - Annika Miller (19), 33 - RW - Sanger Linn (18), 37 - LW - Nikola Swann (19)

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. The nickname doesn't really stem from any piety of the club's, or any association with places of worship, but rather its obscure origins have been traced back to regional pride - downtown Vermillion is a godless hellhole, so therefore the northsiders were saints by comparison. A proud club, but has fallen on harder times of late. Bitter rivals with Vermillion Rage, who keep stealing the Saints' players. Have 'done a Newrook' in 74, being relegated and winning the Cup in the same season.

LAST SEASON A staggeringly awful Premiership return. Most expected a poor defence, few expected under a goal a game. Never looked like surviving. And yet, they won the Cup... ?

TRANSFERS Mostly, the side haemorrhaged players. But there was still room to bring in, much-needed, redoubtable veteran defender Serjeant on a free and midfield destroyer Shotbolt from Brenecia.

STRENGTHS A small number of players are too good for this level; Ystrad and Symond at the back, Rosborough supplying the bullets for the untouched attacking trident. Injury to any of them would be disastrous, of course. But if nothing goes wrong they could return.

WEAKNESSES The management has signalled they will go hard for the CWC, which will stretch a lean squad. The best players are showing their age, the weakest are children. Something will go wrong.
7. Brookford Otters
Last Season: 6th
Home Colours: All cyan with pink trim
Away Colours: Black / black / cyan
Manager: Elrik Raskine (56)
Stadium: The Rock (20,000)
Nickname: the Otters
(4-3-3) 1 - Aranea Provost (20); 2 - Moxie Crowe (30), 5 - Joseph Cameron (30, ASU), 6 - Rafi Enfield (30), 19 - Diane Hateley (30); 8 - Lavinia Riitsi (24, MRN), 4 - Luthienne Koetter (22), 11 - Monica Bairstow (33, c); 22 - Joscelyn Monroe (30), 20 - Sloane Walsh (24), 10 - Granit Nizarut (30)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Jenna Marquette-Dunsinane (33, SLL); 3 - LB - Erika Arweiler (31), 13 - CM - Anja Spinnett (30), 15 - DM - Brandon Rivan (30), 18 - CB - Claudia Solwood (32), 23 - LW - Dejana Petersen (34)

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 their vapourwave-inspired 'aesthetic' kits. A Cup win remains their proudest achievement, though it was somewhat marred by their playoff relegation immediately beforehand.

LAST SEASON A trainwreck of a season under Andrea Betancourt salvaged by Elrik Raskine, though any hope of him being a permanent panacea should be subdued. Still, he has plenty of credit.

TRANSFERS Massive overhauls, largely through necessity. The defence has been entirely overhauled, with even goalkeeper Giannou snapped up as Crisisbless' backup; only Enfield remains of the expected starters. Mithradates leaves as well, but was perhaps a couple of seasons past his formidable peak.

STRENGTHS A strong core of experienced, proven players ensure that the Otters have the ability to turn games, without looking like age has defanged them yet. Riitsi and Brand are Premiership-grade talents. Very confident in possession.

WEAKNESSES No matter the manager, the Otters are just a fundamentally dysfunctional side who can come to pieces at the slightest bit of pressure and with the worst possible timing.

8. Diamondqueen
Last Season: 8th
Home Colours: White / blue / white
Away Colours: Green / white / green
Stadium: The New Overlook (17,500)
Nickname: the Diamonds
Manager: Elaine Koeller (47)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Leda Tristram (28); 16 - Dante Pfeiffer (23), 13 - Matthis Ainsworth (25), 19 - Marika Brind (34), 3 - Jarret Rowles (25, CMT); 8 - Carina Taheri (31, EFL), 4 - Markus Sefton (26), 23 - Willow Creek (30); 21 - Hestia Bowman (21); 9 - Dionysius Lyritzis (30), 11 - Claudia Escrow (32)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Manuel Keller (24); 5 - DM - Leander Frantisek (27), 20 - ST - Elias Carmine (24)

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.

LAST SEASON Early on, beat Hackett 10-1 and came back from 3-0 down to beat Corvette, but the results weren't coming in less spectacular fashion. Recovered somewhat to stay in the hunt for fourth, finishing three points out.

TRANSFERS Star playmaker Minka Bronson is shipped up to Newrook and youth international defender Sale to the Stags. Veteran centre-half Marika Brind is the only major signing, strong and solid but 34. Largely, they have looked in-house for solutions.

STRENGTHS Though now 32, if Claudia Escrow gets a chance, she will finish it; a proven goalscorer counts for much. The passing range of Taheri and Creek can find anyone on the pitch at any moment, and Sefton is an inspired shield.

WEAKNESSES It is handy that Sefton is an inspired shield, because this ramshackle back four looks ready to fall apart at the seams. Escrow lacks a fitting strike partner; Lyritzis is athletic, and Carmine a spirited trier, but that's about it.

9. AFC Serpentine
Last Season: 10th
Home Colours: Jade / navy / jade
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Aventurine Street (20,000)
Nickname: the Dragons
Manager: Gareth Penrooke (49)
(4-4-2) 1 - Ellen Wheelock (33); 2 - Shanna Oakes (20), 5 - Ignatz Bull (25), 21 - Natalia Dreider (23, MRN), 3 - Blaithin Kendrick (23, SCT); 7 - Oiji Nanemoru (29, HIN), 21 - Olga Kitzbichler (30), 8 - Lyndis (30, DAI), 11 - Garrett Stijnen (28); 9 - Lanista Corsey (23), 10 - Alyssa Greening (26)
Notable Reserves: 14 - ST - Coraline Langbauer (33), 17 - RB - Connor Moran (32, ETN), 18 - Hunter Delvalle (32, ETN)

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.

LAST SEASON Season before last, a club expected by everyone to go down stayed up by a margin. Last season, a club expected to look over their shoulders floated safely in midtable, briefly flirting with promotion. This season... ?

TRANSFERS Another side mainly reliant on promotion from within. Harisis' retirement stings, but after an Indian summer at Premiership level Sigmar Ward is an overqualified direct replacement.

STRENGTHS A spirited and extremely fit side, Serpentine score many of their goals late in the game and are well-drilled from set pieces both in attack and defence. Nanemoru is a wild card, but can sometimes win games on her own.

WEAKNESSES Serpentine have been playing above their level for some time, aided and abetted by an excellent manager. There's a risk, particularly as the team ages, of a fall-off; let alone if Penrooke is poached by a top-flight side midseason.

10. Cranequin City
Last Season: 22nd (Premier)
Home Colours: All terracotta, gold trim
Away Colours: All sky blue, black trim
Stadium: Claringstone (26,000)
Nickname: the Terracotta Army
Manager: Dan Keel (48)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Stefan Ledo (32, ABJ); 2 - Ulysses Athanasakis (23), 5 - Adonis Satotxe (29, COS), 6 - Heinz Kreis (33), 3 - Tzevaada Muur (21, MRN); 15 - Louise Tsolakis (22), 4 - Arysa Hensser (21), 8 - Harriet Skiff (31); 7 - Lizzy Addison (35, SCT); 21 - Kosta Kolar (28), 16 - Hakan Gryspos (31, SRS)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Linoan Pinkett (22); 9 - ST - Karolin Forde (21), 13 - CM - Gedeon Gyenis (30, PAS), 14 - CB - Thucydides Soros (23)

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.

LAST SEASON A nearly season for City, who took the lowest wage bill in the Premiership to within a match of potential safety and within a match of winning the Cup. And yet, they never really felt like they'd stay up.

TRANSFERS Surprisingly few significant figures left the club, departures headlined by fullbacks Strasbourg and Rashica. Perhaps this is because there was little value in the squad as it stood. Muur arrives to replace the former, but it's her first professional year.

STRENGTHS City are best at either end of the pitch; Satotxe and Kreis, backed up by Ledo, held up to Premiership standard admirably, while Hakan Gryspos did a lot with scraps. Keel is a very good manager who changes a lot of games after half-time.

WEAKNESSES The squad is either too young or too old, with very few players actually in their prime. Lizzy Addison, though excellent under no pressure, is practically immobile.

11. Armstrong
Last Season: 10th
Home Colours: All navy with cyan/white trim
Away Colours: Yellow / navy / yellow
Stadium: Swolefens (25,000)
Nickname: the Paladins
Manager: Warner Dranz (51)
(4-4-2) 1 - Constantine Yeoman (32); 2 - Maarten Hope (27, EFL), 5 - Vasili Giatrakis (30), 4 - Mats Eriksson (32, SEM), 19 - Lynda Suttock (23); 7 - Emily Kohr (24, APX), 6 - Heather Curate (26), 8 - Leo Rosenstiel (30, c), 16 - Jasmine Furrier (28); 13 - Branko Kurz (27), 10 - Brogan Poppey (29, COS)
Notable Reserves: 3 - LB - Yehoshua Riesling (34), 15 - CM - Olivia Sigournay (33), 17 - RB - Jasmine Kaeman (34), 19 - CB - Gary Boatman (33)

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.

LAST SEASON Flirted briefly with relegation around the halfway mark of the season, but recovered strongly. Dranz remains in situ, but has he done all he can? This season will be the test.

TRANSFERS Giatrakis arrives from Belgrave to muscle up the back line, while cultured holding player Curate makes the step up from keeping Ballardine alive in the third tier. Valeria Hammond is sold up.

STRENGTHS Nobody just scores goals against Armstrong. They deploy in two low, compact banks of four, and combine power with discipline. Excellent at set pieces.

WEAKNESSES The Paladins lack creativity, with an excessive burden placed on the lean winger Kohr, and none of the strikers are individually capable enough to make up for it.

12. Chardonnay Rangers
Last Season: 15th
Home Colours: Teal / white / teal
Away Colours: Yellow / black / yellow
Stadium: Floriade Park (17,500)
Nickname: the Rangers
Manager: Brandon Laithstrider (47)
(4-4-2) 1 - Jacqui Edmond (32); 17 - Raynor Burchardt (27, AUD), 5 - Remus Antrim (28), 6 - Micaiah Cohen (35, c), 3 - Perparim Vestager (22); 7 - Matt Hephernan (30), 4 - Canute Bresonik (22), 8 - Alessa Bernat (26), 11 - Andreas Lindwurm (23); 14 - Justice Pearce (28, EFL), 10 - Cynthia Rayne (25, DOG)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Rufus Holland (21); 21 - CM - Carina Bielert (34), 22 - LB - Sabien Rhodes (27)

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.

LAST SEASON For the second season in a row, Chardonnay started exceptionally only to collapse in the second half of the season. Another good start may be needed for an ambitious board to keep Laithstrider's head.

TRANSFERS It is useful that the Rangers are a young side, as no major arrivals were made to make up for losing midfielders Ballard and Catley to the Premiership.

STRENGTHS Chardonnay's best weapon is pace, all across the pitch - Cohen an obvious exception. They defend compactly, in numbers, and spring hard and efficient on the break.

WEAKNESSES With a couple of obvious exceptions, this is a very young side. There's plenty of money in the bank but they're interested in sustainability, not short-term success.
13. Goodfeather FC
Last Season: 13th
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / green / white
Stadium: Steelchurch (32,500)
Nickname: the Quakers
Manager: Jessica Loque (55)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Anya Beraht (31); 17 - Alisandra Svava (23), 18 - Juergen Kessler (26), 6 - Natalia Bismarck (31), 3 - Lewyn Harnwell (31); 4 - Marisa Leitner (34, c), 19 - Jancis Waldau (24), 8 - Hecate Dransfeld (31); 11 - Kathil Mizumaru (23, HIN); 9 - Gabriel Prosper (30), 10 - Tremeka Godwin (24, APX)
Notable Reserves: 2 - RB - Sylvia Aviston (31), 13 - CM - Rafaela Fenchel (34), 15 - ST - Catheline Durren (26), 21 - AM - Wynona Short (33)

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.

LAST SEASON Stranded in midtable all season. Kathil Mizumaru proved a revelation, Leitner still has it, but mostly, the Quakers just floated.

TRANSFERS Keeping Mizumaru was the main thing, which is useful as the squad remains largely stagnant.

STRENGTHS The Quakers are high on technical skill all around the pitch, and their pass accuracy was the best in the division last season. Marisa Leitner remains too high-class a player for this level, shackled here by loyalty alone.

WEAKNESSES Vulnerable to attack down the flanks; the best years of Harnwell and Aviston are behind them, Svava is somewhat promising but at her best going forward, and there's little support.

14. Corvette Maulers
Last Season: 16th
Home Colours: Yellow and black stripes / black / yellow
Away Colours: Green / green / white
Stadium: The Bullrush (30,000)
Nickname: the Maulers
Manager: Stefan Crowton (54)
(4-3-3) 1 - Taurus Rhind (32, BRE); 19 - Lena Auteberry (28, FPT), 5 - Elsa Durant (29), 3 - Gloria King (32, APX), 6 - Canaya Seraph (28, ISK); 20 - Andrea Kurz (26), 8 - Renat Lexmann (22), 10 - Gerwyn Clarke (32, c); 22 - Seth Blunt (25), 9 - Aristomenios Karnezis (27), 13 - Jennifer Betancourt (23, QCY)
Bench: 18 - GK - Emilien Marisnick (21); 4 - DM - Maria Petridis (33), 7 - RW - Brady Innes (20), 11 - ST - Marko Fortounis (34), 14 - CM - Cato Breiburg (33)
Out on Loan: 34 - DM - Mari Brighton (20)

BACKGROUND The Northern Vale's second prominent club, from it's second-largest town. It's traditionally something of a yo-yo club, with three promotions to and subsequent relegations from the top flight - impressive considering a fairly small catchment and limited finances. It claims to represent the Vale as a whole - Leichhardt, a thriving large town, just represents itself, and the two sides are fierce rivals. The fans appreciate fast-paced, aggressive football, which again forms a contrast with traditionally more defensive Leichhardt. For all that, the two sides share yellow as a primary colour.

LAST SEASON Stefan Crowton did not exactly stick the landing of his first season in charge, and he'll have to keep their heads above water this time around. They weren't in direct danger last time, and that's about all that was good.

TRANSFERS Pretty muted. The main thing was keeping ahold of Andrea Kurz, which they did, and of Acatha Feldman, which they did not. Brenecian journeyman Taurus Rhind rocks up as a stop-gap, but Marisnick is the future.

STRENGTHS A well-balanced side that has muscle at the back, technique in midfield and pace up front. All of them, hard-working. Kurz still offers some X-Factor.

WEAKNESSES Lack any real consistent goal threats, wanting for a truly reliable striker. Absolutely no strength in depth. Overwhelmed by ennui.

15. Morningstar
Last Season: 12th
Home Colours: Black / black / pink
Away colours: Yellow / black / yellow
Stadium: Woden Avenue (28,000)
Nickname: the Warriors, Stars
Manager: Morena Camberwell (49)
(4-4-2) 1 - Jakob Carter (34); 17 - Barak Strauss (31), 5 - Karl Linstead (30), Andros Hertzka (33), 3 - Gareth Carney (27); 15 - Leila Chaseling (22), 14 - Coridan Ryder (27), 4 - Ana Kuijer (35, c), 23 - Thanasi Holland (29); 9 - Roxanna Strong (26), 16 - Ballista Meade (24)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Arran Ritchard (24); 2 - RB - Marko Bozanic (35), 10 - ST - Aris Daskalakis (30), 11 - LM - Trifon Draxler (34)

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". They've always been combative, and their nickname befits that. 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.

LAST SEASON Stars were briefly in the promotion hunt, but fell away towards the back half of the season, finding goals hard to come by.

TRANSFERS Experienced heads Strauss and Hertzka come into the team, making up for Kirkland's retirement. Johanna Rosen is poached by the Southrons for a Premiership tilt, Thanasi Holland returning from Holland on the other wing.

STRENGTHS Two strong emerging strikers mean a lot of output from few chances. Carter is an exceptional goalkeeper at this level. Exceptionally well-drilled from set pieces, defending and attacking.

WEAKNESSES Agonisingly short on pace across the team's back six. Overreliant on the fitness of Kuijer, now 35, to keep the side ticking.

16. AFC Rochford
Last Season: Champions (2Div)
Home Colours: Blue and black stripes / black / blue
Away Colours: White / blue / white
Stadium: Brinegate Park (18,000)
Nickname: the Owls
Manager: Audrey Carlock (53)
(4-4-2) 1 - Georgia Petrie (33); 2 - Ilary Townes (28), 18 - Mikolas Mendariz (27, AUD), 6 - Baral Mailar (26, SRS), 16 - Sarina Neville (28, EFL); 7 - Traudl Mrdja (21), 4 - Dietmar Hanning (23), 8 - Igrene Vidler (22), 19 - Mariza Selke (27); 14 - Lasse Scharnberg (28), 10 - Wynona Rampart (28)
Notable Reserves: 5 - CB - Sigma Hantas (34), 11 - LM - Cathy Alweather (33), 14 - ST - Brani Saxton (34), 22 - LB - Nelle Bradford (27)

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.

LAST SEASON The Owls were in fifth and nineteen points behind the Gulls at the halfway mark of the season; they won the league. So, yeah, they have guts and momentum on their side.

TRANSFERS Scharnberg, formerly of Brinemouth and Lajuno, has more pedigree than appearances on his record but on paper makes a good fit for this level. Baral Mailar, meanwhile, offers stability at the core. They've lost Minka Forrest, but replaced her with more classic playmaker Vidler, who has a couple Cup appearances for the Moths on her resume - a handy connection of Carlock's. Selke adds incision to the wing.

STRENGTHS Very quick, fit and agile across the board. Disciplined and compact defence. Showed strong mentality across the second half of last season.

WEAKNESSES Extremely young and inexperienced midfield likely to lack nous at this level. Strength and pace up front but no proven reliable finishers.

17. Bishop
Last Season: 17th
Home Colours: All black with white trim
Away Colours: White / red / white
Stadium: Crossgate (23,000)
Nickname: the Bishops
Manager: Lukas Pallister (62)
(4-2-3-1) 20 - Frey Strom (26, AUD); 18 - Kearney Smith (26), 5 - Zoltan Moser (25), 6 - Hector Reiss (30), 36 - Visca Konrad (19); 4 - Constance Best (26), 8 - Tory Jeanes (33); 12 - Faiza Huyton (27, EFL), 21 - Esteve Soler (21, HIN), 11 - Esther Vorster (23); 9 - Holden Beckwith (25)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Alistair Swepstone (30); 2 - RB - Amelia Canady (32), 3 - LB - Brigid Eather (31), 15 - DM - Feodor Linz (23), 17 - LAM - Ingrid Feisser (32)

BACKGROUND Crisisbless is known as Nephara's City of Churches, and while Goodfeather holds its Protestant enclave, Bishop hold the Catholics, 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.

LAST SEASON The Bishops were legitimately plunging towards the drop, before Lukas Pallister just about steadied the ship. They were propped up by Asquith and Vorster.

TRANSFERS Upheaval. Young gun Soler and veteran Jeanes bolster the midfield but after falling out of favour Ulrike Jensen steps down a division to go flick dicks for Barossia United. Chloe Asquith's loss is hugely damaging, picked up by the Spiders.

STRENGTHS Canny, creative wingers in Vorster and Huyton make the team click. At their best passing the ball short and confident to feet, though how will they fare without Asquith?

WEAKNESSES No real consistent goal threat in the side; Beckwith has talent but isn't a one-in-two man. Weak at goalkeeper, with Swepstone goodish and Strom confident and neither having the other's quality.

18. Mantlegrove
Last Season: 7th
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Cygnet Street (12,000)
Nickname: the Dryads
Manager: Beth Garrick (36)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Ilon Venator (34, COS); 2 - Tricia Heward (21), 5 - Reynald Etzel (31), 6 - Beth Garrick (36, c), 3 - Marisa Ohashima (23, HIN); 8 - Amerill Londe (25, CMT), 14 - Gordon Burgess (33, ETN), 15 - Ruaridh Crow (27, AUD); 10 - Isobel Foster (27); 13 - Cantra Duprey (31), 11 - Kikumi Kondou (23, HIN)
Notable Reserves: 4 - CM - Caspar Radston (34), 17 - RB - Leo Bryant (30), 22 - LB - Arnau Mon (33, AUD)

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.

LAST SEASON The Dryads did brilliantly after a mediocre start to mount a legitimate promotion challenge, with the third-fewest goals conceded in the league.

TRANSFERS Lost manager Barden to Cypher, and best defender Holden with him, the seasoned Etzel his replacement. They've gone for the... unconventional route of making the other centre-half take over the managerial role. Which is a first in modern history for the top two Nepharim tiers (not counting Catheline Harper, registered as a player but injured for the rest of the season when she first took charge).

STRENGTHS Have that rarest and most blessed of things - Duprey is a ruthless finisher. Have that second-rarest and most blessed of things - a great playmaker in Foster. Defensively very sound.

WEAKNESSES Weak base of midfield can lead to those at the front being cut off. They are actually trying to make a player-manager work, which never does.
19. Alliance Barossia
Last Season: 19th
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: Yellow / green / yellow
Stadium: Companions Field (26,000)
Nickname: Alliance
Manager: Terracotta Ambrose (47)
(4-4-2) 1 - Markus Rose (26); 13 - Dimitri Rashad (24, ISK), 5 - Jancis Hearn (27), 22 - Woodloe Cash (32, BSE, c), 19 - Valery Michalak (23); 7 - Karla Sebring (26), 15 - Aldous Moore (28), 10 - Imogen Jeweler (33), 16 - Rinat Stubbs (30); 21 - Matthew Chance (26), 11 - Kristian Non (25, CMT)
Notable Reserves: 3 - LB - Armisael (29, DAI), 4 - CM - Antony Stamp (33), 5 - CB - Jason Godfrey (33), 23 - RM/ST - Swanhilda Berisha (34)

BACKGROUND Based out of the industrial sprawl of Bismuth, third and southernmost of Barossia's Three Sisters, Alliance arose, recent and vitalised by grassroots support, to challenge the crumbling giant of Rhagant; until the latter rebranded to Barossia United and sought new investment. The two have been in a death-struggle for supremacy for years, and loathe one another. Alliance have a vibrant fan culture, and seem to be the only Barossians really allowed to visibly enjoy themselves. They're connected to the Guayabalense diaspora; Alliance is the Anglicised form of 'Alianza', the traditional Guayabalense powerhouse, but there is no official link between the clubs.

LAST SEASON In constant danger and yet Alliance's head never quite bobbed under the surface of the water. By the end, they were seven points clear of the drop.

TRANSFERS A thankfully quiet window, in which star striker Kristian Non resisted the pull of his homeland and higher up the ladder. Canny winger Karla Sebring is the key acquisition to help phase out the cooked Berisha.

STRENGTHS A well-balanced side with a strong first XI. Pace and incision down the wings - fulllbacks included - combine with Jeweler's creativity and set piece ability to create a number of avenues of attack.

WEAKNESSES Would melt if basically any regular starter - save Michalak or Moore - was injured. Jeweler is a necessary creative player but a total passenger in midfield.

20. West Brinemouth
Last Season: 2nd (2Div)
Home Colours: Orange / black / orange
Away Colours: Pink / black / pink
Stadium: Volkstadion (31,000)
Nickname: the Gulls
Manager: Ulrich Esperance (45)
(4-3-1-2) 12 - Clovis Terrano (30, CCN); 2 - Arminia Margate (22), 5 - Niadra Anneaux (24, CMT), 22 - Tomas Castanon (28, AUD), 19 - Joan Casemere (32); 7 - Adelard Chambers (31), 6 - Nissa Mason (24), 21 - Laegjarn Martyn (30); 8 - Diana Lake (32); 16 - Ferran Guegan (26, AUD), 10 - Reinhard Geist (27)
Notable Reserves: 3 - LB - Genevieve Taylor (30), 11 - AM - Hera Poxay (35, COS), 13 - CM - Karel Jaffe (32), 14 - DM - Rook Trestleman (32)

BACKGROUND Brinemouth's west is the relatively poor, working-class part of the city, away from the affluent, 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.

LAST SEASON One could say that the Gulls' season will be remembered for a very convincing promotion, an ironclad defence and a firm title challenge. It won't be, but one could say it.

TRANSFERS A fairly understated window, but journeywoman Martyn and veteran Lake bolster the technique in midfield. Still, though, no striker?

STRENGTHS Strong core of the defence, skilled at distribution and generally solid. A disciplined team who are comfortable without the ball but rarely foul to get it back.

WEAKNESSES Woefully lacking for pace all across the side. Overreliant on fullbacks - one too young, one too old - to provide width in attack.

21. Dartmouth Terriers
Last Season: 20th
Home Colours: Sky blue / navy blue / sky blue
Away Colours: Orange / black / orange
Stadium: The Ridge (18,000)
Nickname: the Terriers
Manager: Eliwood Austen (49)
(4-4-2) 12 - Stefan Heidenreich (30); 17 - Florian Latrobe (24), 5 - Tomas Ruthven (32), 13 - Dominik Ciernik (28, NOV), 3 - Shireen Tsuker (22); 7 - Coretta Mauk (26), 4 - Jakob Forsyth (28), 11 - Fiona Shrewsbury (30), 16 - Gabriel Haines (30); 21 - Bronwyn Forrest (26), 15 - Klaus Breisgau (33, vc)
Notable Reserves: 2 - RB - Bernadette Pietersen (34), 9 - ST - Lorraine Paintblack (31, c)

BACKGROUND A large town in western Lazuli, Dartmouth's become something of a gateway to and from Brinemouth over the years, and trade has thrived as a result. As often happens, the Terriers have thrived with it, and boast a recent, very modern boutique stadium. They've mostly bounced between third and fourth tiers over their history, but they have the ambition, scope and financial backing to establish themselves at this level.

LAST SEASON Dartmouth scored four goals in their first 14 matches, rooted to the foot of the table, and then beat The Strongest 3-0. They clawed their way to safety with a win over Iron on the final day. 1-0, of course.

TRANSFERS A defensive overhaul, partially enforced with the departure of star man Rainer Macellan and the return from loan of Oskar Burnside - still, Ruthven makes for an experienced replacement. Former Brookford midfielder Shrewsbury is brought in hoping to put a disastrous year in Schottia behind her, while Forrest was a bright spot in the Strongest.

STRENGTHS Shrewsbury and Mauk both excel at long passes to break teams up on the counter. A side with no real stars but the dogged workrate to make up for it, pun not intended.

WEAKNESSES Lacking badly for pace down the spine of the team. Breisgau and Forrest are both very hard-working, athletic strikers, but is either a natural goal threat?

22. Gonen's Bridge
Last Season: 18th
Home Colours: White and red quarters / red / red
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Floriade Park (7,500)
Nickname: the Warriors
Manager: Jakob Mortimer (45)
(4-4-2) 20 - Augustine Catapan (26); 17 - Gareth Unworth (28), 5 - Artur Bierofka (33, c), 18 - Ramaz Korve (33, SRS), 3 - Malura Seitz (20); 7 - Toni Dresden (30), 4 - Lucia Strickland (26), 8 - Matt Joanson (32), 11 - Olenna Salthouse (31); 9 - Jakob Spinnett (31), 13 - Kanerva Herron (22)
Notable Reserves: 2 - RB - Markus Tawney (33), 19 - LB - Jasmine Bartley (34, SCT)

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.

LAST SEASON Secure by a safe distance, which was pretty much all that they could ask for.

TRANSFERS The Warriors lose prized striker Esmond Moore, midfielder Casey Steward, loanee defender Vivica Muscadin and goalkeeper Fyona Matthews and pick up an eclectic smorgasboard of replacements. Unworth is a stalwart rightback, Catapan an already experienced 'keeper (once of Treason), while Matt Joanson returns from time in Pasarga.

STRENGTHS Perhaps the largest and strongest club in the division, and they know how to throw their weight around. Very direct style.

WEAKNESSES Weak in midfield, with uninspiring central midfielders and aging wingers. Reliant on somewhat overweight local lass to replace a Nepharim U21-capped striker.

23. Crisisbless Athletic
Last Season: 3rd (2Div)
Home Colours: Navy / navy / white
Away Colours: All white with navy trim
Stadium: Sunflow (16,000)
Nickname: Athletic
Manager: Bess Gannon (48)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Ursula Qatintiki (33, AFT); 2 - Barack Schuyler (32), 5 - Cale Balfour (33, c), 6 - Tristan Young (30), 19 - Madonna Parissis (23); 4 - Kimon Heidelberg (29), 15 - July Valente (27, IRN); 7 - Diana Kaskanis (25), 10 - Simon Bradden (31), 16 - Amethyst Miller (24); 22 - ST - Jacinth Coen (24)
Notable Reserves: 3 - LB - Janne Heitinger (34), 9 - ST - Chris Suttner (34), 11 - LAM - Tasha Kite (32)

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.

LAST SEASON Recovered from a poor start with a strong run of form and, improbably, back the yo-yo club of the 1/2Div bridge have come.

TRANSFERS Not... enough... ? Plenty of weaknesses remain that were not patched over. Highly-rated winger Miller is snapped up from Ritter for a princely 2m.

STRENGTHS Plenty of experience across the side, unlikely to be overawed by the pressure. Tough and disciplined defensive unit, impeccably drilled and comfortable without the ball.

WEAKNESSES Unless Simon Bradden becomes as good as he believes himself to be, there are not enough goals in this side to stay up. They still look basically the same side that just went down.

24. Locksley
Home Colours: Burgundy / white / burgundy
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Ashen Grove (14,000)
Nickname: the Brewers
Manager: Hydrangea Dimitriades (63)
(4-4-2) 12 - Jade Chorus (25); 17 - Anyta Parkes (26), 6 - Bertolf Geoffrey (34, c), 19 - Antoine Kerherve (30, AUD), 22 - Natasa Rotival (29); 15 - Athana Finchcleft (33), 4 - Jasmine Colindon (32), 10 - Reno Stubbs (23), 11 - Lukas Fernwood (32); 21 - Carver Heaton (27), 9 - Marika Kreisburg (35)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Iselin (34, DAI); 2 - RB - Camilla Arkwright (34), 3 - LB - Christian Ledger (33), 7 - RM - Rudi Thurman (32), 8 - CM - Dimitri Konstantinopoulos (29)

BACKGROUND A northeastern town that tends to go overlooked in the greater scheme of things, roughly triangulated by Brinemouth, Crisisbless and Sabrefell. Historically famous for its beer, hence the club nickname of 'Brewers'. The club has yo-yoed freely between second and third tiers since the modern era began, at one point managing six consecutive seasons of either promotion to or relegation from the First Division. They have a surprisingly heated rivalry with nearby Rochford.

LAST SEASON Locksley rode a powerful start to keep ahold of a top four place, before beating the Strongest 2-1 in extra time. They were the most prolific scorers in the division, but conceded by a distance the most of the promoted sides.

TRANSFERS The issue with marshalling an aging squad falling apart at the seams to promotion is it's likely to look even worse the following year. Colindon, Finchcleft and Rotival, among others, are brought in to try and freshen up the side.

STRENGTHS Not applicable.

WEAKNESSES Despite a flurry of transfers to patch over weaknesses, they remain reliant on 32- and 33-year old wingers swinging in crosses for a 35-year old striker.
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Postby Nephara » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:59 am

Lower Down the Pyramid

Second Division
1. Barossia United
Terracotta and white
Nickname the Boars
Manager Dorian Brindle (58)
Key Players Josef Colmeyer (GK, 29), Andre Sciberras (RB, 32), Rose Benedict (CB, 34), Adze Beckerman (LB, 25), Markus Teamster (DM, 25), Vasilis Nikas (CM, 34), Sarah Bernard (RW, 33), Lysander Ciman (AM, 22), Ulrike Jensen (ST, 29)
Summary Easily the best team in the league at this stage, having stapled together an impressive quantity of experienced players. Uncompromising at the back, lethal up front, and under proven leadership; it is difficult to see them slipping. Jensen is far too good for this level.

2. The Strongest
Burgundy and white
Nickname the Strongest
Manager Markus Horst (56)
Key Players Alastair Cavan (GK, 31), Fiete Kinnett (RB, 33), Bernard Peacock (RB, 29), Tyw Salling (CB, 35, AUD), Lene Wiseman (CB, 29), Hippolyta Theophile (DM/CM, 32), Karel Machin (CM, 30), Tulaska Sunstroem (RW, 24, COS), Sylvia Wright (ST, 24), Nathan Proctor (LW, 33)
Summary Largely the Strongest have stuck the landing, keeping most of their best players. Wright is an intriguing prospect, fresh off scoring 41 goals in 37 matches for New Oakstone in the Conference East, while manager Horst was Amos' long-serving assistant at Starling.

3. Corinthians No Longer
Black and yellow
Nickname CNL
Manager Anders Barrett (48)
Key Players Daniel Axweald (CB, 30), Garrick Fraser (CB, 28), Bella Scarratt (LB, 31), Timoth Mariner (DM, 23), Emerance Sanborn (CM, 31), Graf Bronze (ST, 28), Tamika Porter (LW, 25)
Summary Solid from tip to tail, though shot-stopper Chester will be missed. Barrett shall not be spared if they fail again.

4. Aries Solitaire
White and black
Nickname Solitaire
Manager Sasha Breighthauser (47)
Key Players Alexandru Zaparas (GK, 34), Franzi Brill (RB, 27), Amelia Breukelen (CB, 31, IRN), Sascha Dimitrius (RM, 35), Sofia Tatra (CM, 30), Yolanda Sparrow (CM, 26), Rudi Moisander (LM, 22), Sirena Va'Drevu (ST, 34, COS)
Summary Didn't quite get the job done last time. Or come close. Dimitrius is fit and firing again, but she is also 35. Even so, their midfield is lethal, and Va'Drevu can find the target.

5. Pillars of Southfell
Purple and black
Nickname the Seekers
Manager Yura Bartok (50)
Key Players Mariam Brookhouse (GK, 30), Asmir Casserley (RB, 33), Eli Prosper (CB, 33), Everard Muslin (CB, 32), Libena Freischuetz (LB, 21), Meghan Alsatian (DM, 31), Elizabeth Bellard (CM, 34), Heidi Ishtar (RW, 24, CMT), Elon Cisneros (AM, 30), Amine Raihani (LW, 30, BBS), Rho Efthimiou (ST, 30)
Summary Rho Efthimiou has a career of disappointment to overturn. Pillars did well just to almost stay up last time, and their near-untouched defence should be impenetrable at this level.

6. Peregrine
Green and white
Nickname the Falconers
Manager Rebecca Kelsey (45)
Key Players Connor Risdon (GK, 33), Brindle Taukroger (RB, 28), Providence Mensah (CB, 30), Avram Beyard (CB, 29), Avis Montagne (LB, 24, CMT), Stefi Unbehaun (DM, 31), Asger Moonshine (CM, 22), Leon Rinehart (RW, 31), Fabiola Brookes-Qureshi (RW, 32, EFL), Lorcan Peck (AM, 33, ETN), Jasper Dyer (LW, 31), Sylvia Janik (ST, 30, GLX)
Summary After last season's waking nightmare, Peregrine's more pessimistic fans are just hoping to stay up. On paper, though, they could mount an immediate comeback. Much depends on if Janik can reclaim her Coret form.

7. Riverkey
White and purple
Nickname the Seagulls
Manager Clarissa Burnes (56)
Key Players Tameka Halsall (GK, 34), Ruth Jesper (RB, 29), Terelius Giovinazzo (CB, 31, AUD), Tasha Avery (LB, 34), Lowen Barr (LM, 29), Cornelian Stryger (ST, 27), Radja Martelbach (ST, 26)
Summary Still lacking goal threat, but Stryger from Diamondqueen should help address that. Defensively solid but lacking woefully in creativity and X-Factor. Another season of Purgatory, then.

8. Hackett
Red and white
Nickname the Merry Boys
Manager Yorick Lee (47)
Key Players Darroll Kewell (GK, 32, EFL), Nicola Wrexham (RB, 30), Wanya Belsky (CB, 30, AUD), Roderick Munoz (CB, 30, ETN), Connor Wettin (LB, 25), Arran Grey (CM, 29), Viktor Key (CM, 28), Simeon Lucan (RW, 32), Frey Sylvine (ST, 32), Delta Amberstone (LW/AM, 34), Felix Luthier (LW, 20)
Summary Gutted after relegation, Hackett are far too off-balance to make it back at the first attempt. The remaining players form a well-balanced side, nothing more.

9. Greygate
Grey and red
Nickname the Wardens
Manager Pavel Stenhouse (48)
Key Players Erin Naylor (GK, 29), Jari Ricketts (RB, 32), Rostyn Malick (CB, 33), Andrey Mincham (CB, 28), Tormod Joiner (RM, 34), Gareth Temple (CM, 30), Matthew Rawson (CM, 28), Jadzia Starmer (LM, 23), Constance Strober (ST, 32), Klaus Petriak (ST, 31)
Summary Greygate are still Greygate, playing direct, one-dimensional football and doing an unexceptional job. Mincham is a good purchase to stiffen the defence. Otherwise things remain much as they were.

10. Ritter Town
White and orange
Nickname the Stallions
Manager Pernille Raphael (47)
Key Players Jasper Kirkland (GK, 30), Harald Reuser (RB, 32), Ulrich Braun (CB, 25), Odo Vorstead (CB, 23), Lesedi Maina (LB, 28, FPT), Augustine Yew (RM, 30), Cosette Espeleta (CM, 33), Garrett Fairbank (CM, 25), Morten Crestwell (ST, 33), Ganimedes (ST, 33, DAI)
Summary Ritter remain far from their glory days, and have done little (aside from shoring up their finances) to fix the situation. They have the goals to remain in the top half, and a few talents deserving of a better stage.

11. AFC Shale
Jade and navy
Nickname the Grafters
Manager Jasper Harlin (54)
Key Players Vicki Bassett (GK, 30), Olivia Ryghseter (RB, 29), Jack Bufford (CB, 34), Barry Inkster (CB, 27), Marc Fenton (LB, 31), Cheney Corder (RM, 32), Xavier Barron (CM, 21), Artur Litton (LM, 30), Bernhard Duisberg (ST, 31)
Summary Shale's heads risked dipping beneath the waterline last season, but a few desperate signings such as the cautious fullback Ryghseter should lift them a little. But their best players are distinctly aging.

12. Stonegrave
Sky and black
Nickname the Diggers
Manager Alysia Garrett (54)
Key Players Meg Owley (RB, 34), Maximian Trent (CB, 32), Patrik Alphonse (CB, 22), Verdigris Kennet (LB, 31), Ira Dovaston (DM, 28), Casper Jeavons (RM, 33), Celeste Colton (CM, 32), Micah Horner (CM, 29), Stefan Curtiz (LM, 20), Chloe Lehrer (ST, 30)
Summary No Peril, no party. Mercurial winger Whiteside has left for Chromatika, but the rest of the side has largely strengthened. Alphonse, loaned from Crisisbless United, adds freshness to one of the tightest defences in the league, so expect much the same results but even duller fare.

13. Falston United
White and black
Nickname the Eels
Manager Alaric Jansen (47)
Key Players Rasmus Garrick (GK, 25, CYI), Sapphire Riverhound (RB, 32), Sherry Brosnan (CB, 21, CYI), Jade Heller (RM, 32, CYI), Raphael Passlach (CM, 30), Cornucopia Younis (AM, 33), Esther Fortune (ST, 31, CYI)
Summary The system of plucking what passes for the talent of the Ceynes league continues to pay dividends for a young, vibrant Falston side. They're still consolidating, but looking to push up.

14. Coret Rovers
Blue and white
Nickname the Rovers
Manager Valery Cain (44)
Key Players Brandon Fallowland (GK, 27), Parvana Evans (RB, 34, ISK), Dave Chenoweth (CB, 32), Robyn Cormack (CB, 24), Barrett Routledge (LB, 32), Alastair Spinnett (RM, 30), Bosko Roman (DM, 32, IRN), Erik Paston (CM, 28), Luther Spendthrift (LM, 31), Rodger Covington (ST, 34, ETN), Haroun Maynard (ST, 28)
Summary One of many vintage-looking sides at this level, Coret have looked to freshen up in the window to try and rejuvenate for a push up the table. They're still a cycle away, though.

15. The Hanged Man
Red and black
Nickname THM
Manager Warren Orwell (61)
Key Players Olivia Selkie (GK, 35), Marcel Evans (RB, 30), Mia Geoghan (CB, 31), Ranulf Gatcan (CB, 30), Nikola Stavros (RM, 22), Callum Chandler (CM, 33), Fotoula Madonis (CM, 32), Jackie Mulberry (LM, 32), Jonas Busch (ST, 32)
Summary Antique striker Djite did the job and kept a markedly improved THM up. Retired now, of course, replaced by Busch. Old age and treachery will have to do the job again, but what happens in another two years when pretty much all are gone? They'll worry about it when it happens.

16. Extreme Hills
Orange and black
Nickname the Hounds
Manager Jess Hearn (44)
Key Players Julian Alderweiss (GK, 30), Stefan Oughtred (RB, 28), Arthur Levitt (CB, 32, ETN), Magdalena Spiro (LB, 30), Gavin Handspiker (CM, 31), Stefan Ermine (LM, 28), Nori Harcutt (ST, 31), Ivor Roxham (ST, 30)
Summary The price of punching above their weight last season was losing their manager, Durran, to the Saints. Still, the Hounds' new generation is beginning to come through.

17. Boltcroft Thorns
Green and black
Nickname the Thorns
Manager Miron Campbell (51)
Key Players Baltasar Gensch (GK, 34), Henrik Raubell (RB, 33), Exene Fletcher (CM, 19), Anders Haskell (LM, 25), Apotheosis Kaskanis (ST, 35)
Summary Not quite living up to their potential at the moment, but survival remains a victory. Clever midfielder Fletcher has been a revelation in preseason, one of many exciting players but fairly uncommon in being hand-reared, not a cast-off.

18. Gosmouth Swans
White and blue
Nickname the Swans
Manager Lukas Farrell (50)
Key Players Dalibor Redcliff (GK, 23), Hilda Stannion (CM, 33), Ygor Raspas (LB, 30), Hawke Ziegenhorn (ST, 26, CEN)
Summary Gosmouth will be fine with ease if mercurial Ziegenhorn (not the good one, his inferior brother) can finally throw off the shackles and live up to his potential. Last year was a very encouraging start, with 20 goals and just a glimmer of discontent behind the scenes.

19. Lazuli Diamonds
Yellow and blue
Nickname the Diamonds
Manager Flavellio Spalaflaccio (49, AUD)
Key Players Dave Cassen (GK, 33), Alanna Clemens (CB, 26), Isla Leskosek (RM, 20), Kosta Nisoitis (CM, 27), Sharon Kitteman (LM, 34), Niko Boldman (ST, 35), Romeo Varrick (ST, 28)
Summary Weirdly subdued last season, but the defence held up to scrutiny. Clemens is an exceptional purchase to fortify further; they've recruited well generally. But can their ex-Stars strike partners keep up the threat?

20. Ballardine FC
Purple and white
Nickname the Harpers
Manager Lyn Havelock (51)
Key Players Selina Carver (GK, 22), Gabriel Bragg (CB, 24), Matthias Vasquez (RW, 26), Tigran Montague (AM, 26, ISK), Melody Forster (ST, 27)
Summary Endured a difficult season, but a fresh new generation of players will look to clean the slate.

21. Autumnstone
Red and yellow
Nickname the Archers
Manager Kurtis Mallory (54)
Key Players Barst Huebner (CB, 29), Andrea Mavrias (CB, 21), Mari Brighton (DM, 20), Tess Pell (RW, 33), Masquerade Bryson (ST, 34)
Summary Autumnstone have tried to climb up the leagues the right way, promising youth rather than experience. They've had to be a little more pragmatic, but do Bryson and Pell still have what it takes? And is shaking up last season's very successful forward line the right idea?

22. Martella Jazz
White and green
Nickname Jazz
Manager Rose Fenwick (49)
Key Players Tosca Cordyn (RB, 23), Jacqueline Mastiff (CB, 21), Cheney Masters (CM, 20), Jasper Stalworth (LM, 31), Hansel Fortesquire (ST, 30)
Summary Won 2Div at a canter last season but have barely strengthened. This will prove a tough test for a young and emerging side, particularly their back line.

23. Southriver
Black and sky
Nickname the Rusalki
Manager Christian Fleck (57)
Key Players Dane Rednic (CB, 31), John Reinhardt (CB, 22), Simone Waehner (LB, 33), Cyrus Saebener (CM, 34), Jess Mittelberg (LM, 27), Ismael Hauer (ST, 29)
Summary Comfortably safe last season, but key players are, well, a year older now. It will be another mountain to climb for Fleck amidst a strong cluster of promoted sides.

24. Crossroads Town
White and red
Nickname the Valiants
Manager Leon Magdalene (45)
Key Players Kieron Schmetter (CB, 23), Casper Slate (LB, 23), Olwen North (CM, 21), Ismael Volga (LM, 24), Alanna Halmark (ST, 33)
Summary Their best player in Iordanou retired, and the rest don't quite look up to scratch. There will be talents here that better sides pick up after they get relegated.

Third Division
Rochford Pilgrims look like favourites to get promoted, but the young club is already making a name for itself for fumbling seemingly sure things. Of those recently relegated, Brokenarch look the most intact bet to come straight back up, but an extensive rebuild at Sheridan might just pay dividends for a proud club. At the other end, freshly-promoted Crownsend Journey and Cranequin Souths have the air of ambition around them, while Rushe United still smell a little of carrion.
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Postby Nephara » Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:25 am

UICA is back!

Wait, no.

IFCF is ba-- is here! International football is back! The difficult transitional period is over, there is no more doubt as to whether or not a year lasts longer than a year, and Nephara has a delicious five entrants to the Champions League. It’s winnowed to four as Crisisbless, faced with an unforgiving fixture list, mount a bizarre run of four consecutive 1-1 draws, beating Northern Union on penalties but then getting knocked out by Kionao Locals the same way. They make short work of obscure Duncanshire FC to make it to the Challengers Cup, however. Bizarrely, no other Nepharim side even has to navigate the preliminaries at all.

Unless you’re counting the LBCT, where all three sides have to. Two of them manage it; Cranequin batter Loughderry and Mytos-Turin 12-1 as a combined scoreline, Leichhardt cruise past Rozelle Alliance, while South Laithland beat Exmouth but are unable to make up for a tepid home defeat to Seniors FC of Eastfield Lodge.

Meanwhile, the Ramsey Shield has reigning champions AFC Treason face off against mercurial, now second-tier Parrhesia United. It’s only ever going to have one winner…the Saints, of course, who take an early lead when Rosborough’s clever flick sets up Bastia Fohler to drive inside Va’Afaja and slam a shot under Clavel. Treason hammer on the door, but an imperious performance from the Saints - Zemen Ystrad earning POTM honours, Symond perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty, Shotbolt hugely influential on debut - means that Ann Reus’ deft curl across Clavel from an acute angle just kills off the affair. A portent? Or perhaps more sign that the Saints are just kind of liminal?

Aries Chariots 1-1 Belgrave
Brinemouth 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Chatswood 1-1 South Laithland
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Leichhardt
Coret Hawks 2-1 Creed United
AFC Corvistone 5-1 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless 1-0 AFC Treason
Crisisbless United 1-0 Starling
Cypher Town 0-0 Stahlburg City
Newrook City 0-1 Southfell United
North Laithland 0-0 Sabrefell Moths
North Sabrefell 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic

Markers set down in a broadly cagey opening weekend, the obvious exception being Corvistone cleaning out Vermillion 5-1. Changes have been staggering in the offseason, and yet it’s largely old names on the scoresheet, stalwarts like Morham, enterprising rightback Wynder, and ‘the’ Baba Warrington with a brace and a flourish as he dances through defenders. Cralt-Nirlo Fox’s expression curdles on the sidelines as Warrington bows mockingly towards the thinning crowd of away fans at 4-0. A well struck free kick from Fleetwood at least makes it 4-1, but Rachel Arniston comes off the bench, replacing captain and compatriot Morham, and soon afterwards squirrels clear of two markers to slide home a cross from Almwood. Predictably, headlines focus on this being a passing of the baton.

The usual quirk of the fixture calculator sees the four newly-promoted sides visit established outfits, and three of them scrape 1-1 draws. Cranequin Wanderers are the exception, trying to control the affair against Brinemouth. It’s a brave effort but quickly falls flat, Kesteren and Tidesson score in the first half-hour, capitalising on errors in possession; the Wanderers switch to a containment strategy, too late to be of use. Crisisbless host Treason in a cagey affair, the vaunted league debut of Damion Bowman being fairly muted in the end. But Crisisbless do dominate the centre of park, just fail to turn it into chances, and fail to turn those chances into goals. Treason are clinical at the other end, but not quite enough - Na’Kefir faces three shots on target and makes three brilliant saves, clearing the way for Stride to let Bowman behind her just once, clip his heels and give away a penalty for Abylon to blast past Clavel.

Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 Locksley
Armstrong 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Brookford Otters 3-0 West Brinemouth
AFC Serpentine 1-1 AFC Rochford
Iron City 0-3 Raven River
Goodfeather FC 2-1 Parrhesia United
Mantlegrove 1-1 Cranequin City
Bishop 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Diamondqueen 4-1 Alliance Barossia
Morningstar 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-4 Stahlburg Rovers
Gonen's Bridge 2-2 Corvette Maulers

Despite how wretched last season was for the Saints, they’re technically on a run of three wins on the spin; their last league match, the Cup and the Shield, with an aggregate score of 7-0. Any thought of that form continuing is extinguished as their sluggish midfield is out-thought by Goodfeather’s, they’re choked out of possession and goals from Dransfeld and Godwin steal a deserved 2-1 win at the death. River have a far better start, despite the forbidding task of taking on touted Iron in Barossia - they smash their teeth in 3-0 with free-flowing football and a magnificent performance from Robyn Sabitzer, who looks a cut above the level. Beth Garrick substitutes herself off in her first match in charge after she’s culpable for Cranequin City’s goal, and gets to see from the sidelines as Kikumi Kondou stabs home the leveller at the other end.

Cranequin Wanderers 3-0 Aries Chariots
South Laithland 1-0 Belgrave
Leichhardt 0-2 Brinemouth
Creed United 0-0 Chatswood
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Treason 1-1 Coret Hawks
Starling 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Stahlburg City 1-2 Crisisbless
Southfell United 0-2 Crisisbless United
Sabrefell Moths 4-2 Cypher Town
Sabrefell Athletic 4-1 Newrook City
North Sabrefell 2-1 North Laithland

Newrook lost one of last year’s starting centre-halves to retirement and the other to Sabrefell Athletic, who now come calling with perhaps the world’s best strike partnership. Unsurprisingly, Ens and Tarala wreak merry havoc on the makeshift Nkembe, talked out of retirement, and Mikael Acland, a three-star kind of player. Two assists and a goal for Ens, two goals and an assist for Tarala, and a free kick from Gere that slips through Iarrow’s hands on its way over the wall and into the net for good measure. Thorn Tristram netting one back for Newrook from rightback is little consolation - he’s basically the only Newrook player with anything to shout about.

Cranequin are other big winners, and Jerrell Drake’s cautious master plan means that all too often the Chariots are stuck passing into dead lanes, and all too often just run into them regardless, cough up turnovers and concede. Despite a convincing 3-0 scoreline, the Wanderers have some trouble with penetration from open play; their goals come from two free kicks, one direct from Riaz and the other glanced home by Viere, and a penalty won by canny wingback Treeswallow and slotted home by Butcher. Still, the Chariots barely get a sniff. South Laithland choke out Belgrave and win 1-0 when Habane flicks to Bergander, who heads back for her to drive home at the far post, while Cypher get steamrolled by the Cathal Turner show after a strong first half. Crisisbless United have two wins without conceding after taking out Southfell, no sign of a second-year slump under Maitfield, while Starling are yet to score or get a goal as they’re outfought by Corvistone, unable to capitalise on the few chances they get past a disciplined defence and fall asleep as Baba Warrington chests down a cross from Ulreich, takes it smoothly past the glacial Visser and smashes it into the top of the net.

Crisisbless Athletic 2-3 Vermillion Wanderers
West Brinemouth 5-0 Locksley
AFC Rochford 0-1 Armstrong
Raven River 1-4 Brookford Otters
Parrhesia United 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin City 1-1 Iron City
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Goodfeather FC
Alliance Barossia 2-1 Mantlegrove
Dartmouth Terriers 1-3 Bishop
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Diamondqueen
Corvette Maulers 3-1 Morningstar
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers

This is going to be a long season for Locksley. Already fairly conclusively beaten by Vermillion Wanderers, they have higher hopes to get a result at similarly freshly-promoted West Brinemouth… and don’t. Chambers puts them up 1-0 within six minutes with a thumping header, then Martyn with a half-volley either side of a brace of Geist tap-ins… and it’s 4-0 by half-time. 5-0 by the hour, when a corner from Martyn is cleared by nobody and swept home by centre-half Castanon. River’s excellent start is undermined as Brookford play them off the park, Sloane Walsh with the first hat-trick of the season and Provost with some sharp saves to respectively salve losses at either side of the pitch. Chardonnay’s slow start continues, beaten by a sturdy Gonen’s Bridge - did they let too much of a good team go? But then, Bridge were shredded themselves. Nobody could accuse Kanerva Herron of being shredded, but the bulky striker gets both Bridge’s goals.

Aries Chariots 0-2 South Laithland
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Leichhardt
Belgrave 4-1 Creed United
Brinemouth 5-0 Vermillion Rage
Chatswood 0-2 AFC Treason
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Starling
Coret Hawks 1-1 Stahlburg City
AFC Corvistone 2-2 Southfell United
Crisisbless 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless United 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Cypher Town 0-2 North Sabrefell
Newrook City 0-0 North Laithland

Belgrave manager Adalheid Metzelder has been in typical form upon reaching the promised land, saying things like “Someday I will destroy this league” and “This is the year that the Premiership learns to respect genius”, but the fact is that they’re tipped by basically everyone for relegation. Maybe fewer, now. They visit a dour Creed sidde and make them look horribly dated and out of pace, the slick passing and clever movement of Premiership newcomers Steward and Katsura running rings in the gap between Creed’s banks of four. A slack touch from Beckner is pounced on by Steward and given to Katsura to slam into the stanchion from well outside the box, but when Taani scraps home a leveller against the run of play, heads could easily drop. They don’t. Belgrave are more dominant still in the second half and tidy finishes from Strand, Sloan and Vasiliadis ensure a commanding margin of victory.

The Treason derby seems to lack its usual bite, Treason gliding to victory without really having to to battle for it. Permissive goalkeeping from Nova Williams helps, Accardi curling a strike between her arm and body at her near post, Jonsson with the killer late on. Chatswood’s key striker signing, Esmond Moore, mostly just lumps around the park like an expensive maidenhead, just looking pitiably below the pace. Brinemouth pulverise Vermillion 5-0 as Blackthorn goes with two up front and is rewarded as Saitou and Kuznetsov just punch through the lines again and again, and the double pivot of Reeve and Conjure continues to impress. Crisisbless’ 1-0 defeat to the Moths is the kind of match where you wonder how much not buying a world-class striker will cost them, as Laiota misses three presentable chances while Cathal Turner smashes home his first for the Moths from a deadly acute angle, sheer force and placement beating Na’Kefir at the near post, slamming against the far and bouncing narrowly in. The Harriers beat an uninspired Starling by the same scoreline, Whittaker following up a spectacular solo goal by leaping into the fans, burying himself in adulation, finally getting extracted after a full minute and facing a second caution. Despite forty minutes to make something of the man advantage, the Passerines just can’t stretch Fyona Matthews or the defence ahead of her.

Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 West Brinemouth
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 AFC Rochford
Locksley 1-2 Raven River
Armstrong 1-1 Parrhesia United
Brookford Otters 1-0 Cranequin City
AFC Serpentine 0-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Iron City 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Goodfeather FC 3-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Mantlegrove 0-3 Stahlburg Rovers
Bishop 0-0 Corvette Maulers
Diamondqueen 4-0 Gonen's Bridge
Morningstar 0-0 Chardonnay Rangers

Vermillion Wanderers appear to have what it takes, if you’re looking for ugly wins. They’re scrapping them, day after day, most recently against a resilient West Brinemouth side clinging desperately to an ugly goal off a long throw. Bohr stabs home a corner at the other end and the Wanderers just keep pushing for the clincher, through the centre and Pinnon at first, before bombarding them with crosses at the end. Young gun Kalevi hits the decisive one, Terrano needs to come for it and doesn’t, Saara gladly storms it home. Cranequin City don’t even mount a shot on target against Brookford, kept at arm’s length all game; Dejana Petersen dusts off the cobwebs and comes off the bench to smash home a screamer for the Otters’ late winner.

Leichhardt 0-2 Aries Chariots
Creed United 1-2 South Laithland
Vermillion Rage 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
AFC Treason 3-0 Belgrave
Starling 4-2 Brinemouth
Stahlburg City 1-0 Chatswood
Southfell United 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Moths 3-2 Coret Hawks
Sabrefell Athletic 1-3 AFC Corvistone
North Sabrefell 0-2 Crisisbless
North Laithland 3-3 Crisisbless United
Newrook City 0-3 Cypher Town

Starling and Brinemouth have been the talk of the league so far, very much for opposite reasons. Brinemouth have crushed everyone in their path, nine unanswered goals; Starling are on three 1-0 defeats in a row. Gareth Blackthorn stays the course while Lisa Amos desperately switches up her strategy, putting Roebling and Netzach behind Dostalok in a tree formation to try and exert control over midfield and seemingly telling everyone to run rabidly at the opponent at all times. It works. For half an hour, the Dockers’ attempts to play the ball through the middle are stymied by feverish pressing, and just as Starling think they’ve halted the tide, a deft passing move from Conjure to Kesteren to Kuznetsov who has the presence of mind to slide the ball across for Tidesson to thump home the opener… it’s a cruel game. Most of the time Kuznetsov would be happy just to thump it into Visser’s face. But that seemingly just pushes the Passerines on, and a deft passing sequence of their own leads to Varina Roebling driving home from the corner of the box, before Roebling sets up Dostalok, and Katarec makes it 3-1 from leftback. Iori Saitou comes off the bench and makes it interesting again after the hour mark with a diving header that left nobody with any chance, but a thumping strike from Roxel can only be parried by Bull, and substitute Nevaeh Cathar is there to drive home the rebound and kill off the game.

Athletic face Corvistone after both have made impressive starts to the season. Hadrian Belfast’s new-look side have pressed with relentless drive and pace, and make absolutely no attempt at caution here. It worked against Starling. It works again, after braving an early flurry - Acatha Feldman’s twice called into action and once found wanting, beaten at her near post by Gere and only the quick action of Olexander Green hooks the spilled ball off the line. But a beautiful cross from Catley is nodded home by the Baba and it’s 1-0, easy as that; 2-0 when Ulreich does the same thing from the other flank. Westerveld hits a post before Tarala pulls one back on the stroke of half-time, and again Athletic ease into the ascendancy in the second half… before keeper Gautier’s lack of pace is caught out, a perfectly placed release from Arniston letting Warrington nip out ahead and complete his hat-trick. North Laithland go blow-for-blow with Crisisbless United as their former playmaker, Lukas Antelmi, scores and is later sent off for a brutal two-footed lunge; it winds out 3-3 when United, a man down, still find a way through as Kaelin’s beautiful low curled cross is stabbed home by Tamba on the other flank, while South Laithland keep up the pace with a third straight win, stolen late in injury time over Creed, as the normally-reliable Senninger fumbles and Michail capitalises.

AFC Rochford 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Raven River 3-0 West Brinemouth
Parrhesia United 3-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Cranequin City 4-0 Locksley
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Armstrong
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Brookford Otters
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Iron City
Corvette Maulers 0-0 Goodfeather FC
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Mantlegrove
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 Bishop
Morningstar 0-2 Diamondqueen

City flare into life, Hakan Gryspos slotting home his first three goals of the season with his only three shots of the game against a simply porous Locksley. The Brewers are just… not good, fairly obviously, already. Stahlburg against Iron is precisely the kind of dour contest one expects, perhaps the standout moment being late on, with Iron leading through satyr defender Mizia Thuun thumping home an unchallenged corner, when Stahlburg look to be breaking free the other end… and Spicer just cleans out Radcliffe from behind, knee raised. A teeth goes flying, and Spicer does at least have the courtesy to find and retrieve it before accepting his marching orders.

Aries Chariots 1-2 Creed United
Leichhardt 3-1 Vermillion Rage
South Laithland 1-3 AFC Treason
Cranequin Wanderers 0-3 Starling
Belgrave 1-3 Stahlburg City
Brinemouth 2-1 Southfell United
Chatswood 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Chenoworth Harriers 3-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Coret Hawks 1-2 North Sabrefell
AFC Corvistone 1-0 North Laithland
Crisisbless 1-0 Newrook City
Crisisbless United 1-1 Cypher Town

South Laithland and Treason have history. For one, it’s the most rural side in the league against their nearby big city rivals; for another, Treason have a long and proud tradition of taking the Southrons’ best players. But seventeen minutes in, without much having really happened, Habane skims past Stride and centres for Treason product Matthias Bergander, who bulldozes Vornander, takes a rather clumsy first touch on the shin before stretching and scooping the ball over Clavel. Not celebrating, he evidently decides, is for losers; he races the length of the away end, alternately shushing and kissing his badge. That seems to just get Treason mad, though stuns them for a while. It takes them ‘til first-half injury time to get a ball, Metzger seizing on some uncertain pinball defending, before the Stags come back revitalised in the second half to dominate play and, through McInnes and Jonsson, kill off the game.

Starling bury Cranequin after a laboured first half, doing something to address their terrible early form. The Christmas tree formation appears to have the Wanderers’ number and Varina Roebling may have made her breakthrough, scoring and laying on an assist for Netzach in a 3-0 win, though it could have been a very, very different game if Imrishka Grahn hadn’t contrived to miss from two, three yards on the stroke of half-time, no markers within a metre. Vermillion look to throw off the shackles against a defensive Leichhardt side, taking an early lead through a rare Erinys Hart goal before the flying winger wins them a twentieth-minute penalty, sent flying by Somner. Konse steps up… and a penalty too close to the centre is clawed clear by Adekoya, and everything just goes wrong from there. Leichhardt’s first shot on target from Paterson is tipped around the post by Ramelow for a first corner, and that corner, from Loxton, is swept assertively home by the burly defender Korkut. Vermillion collapse, and in the second half, Ernie Stevenson’s brace kills them off.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Raven River
AFC Rochford 2-1 Parrhesia United
West Brinemouth 1-1 Cranequin City
Crisisbless Athletic 2-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Locksley 1-4 Alliance Barossia
Armstrong 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Brookford Otters 0-2 Stahlburg Rovers
AFC Serpentine 2-2 Corvette Maulers
Iron City 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Goodfeather FC 2-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Mantlegrove 0-2 Morningstar
Bishop 1-2 Diamondqueen

The Lara Dixon experience hasn’t exactly hit the ground running. Iron, hosting Bridge, dominate the ball but just seem at a loss for what to do with it, Palina Leopold occasionally running down channels but getting overcome by tunnel vision, Xandra Vermouth getting into good positions but butchering her chances. They don’t get a goal against weak opposition and, worse, when young leftback Malura Seitz is tossed around like a ragdoll in their box by Ilsander, who really should know better, Joanson buries the spot-kick. At the second attempt - the first is pulled back after Hornwood saves but springs about a metre off his line to do so. Morningstar striker Ballista Meade scores the opener against Mantlegrove, does a somersault in celebration, buckles, collapses and gets stretchered off. That’s a medium-term one, and a painful loss, though they do at least clinch the win on the day.

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

Treason against Creed has plenty of narrative klaxons blaring. Ballard and Senninger back home, et cetera, all the big talking points used last season. Eighteen minutes in, Accardi - formerly of Creed, in turn - is sent tumbling by Lyre Castor, struggling to adapt to not quite being as fast as she used to be, Metzger plants the penalty, lashes it high and hard… and Senninger goes flying, tips it over and around the posts! Senninger’s the hero twice more in the first half, and that gives Taani the oxygen to batter through an unnerved Treason defence and get her head on the end of a Kolaj cross. Not to worry, Metzger atones on the stroke of half-time, Creed should crumble, right? Nope. Or, they start to - but they just about hold up, and Svenja Baste follows up a brilliant hooked tackle with a bullet header off a corner not two minutes later. Conrad and Barbarouses finish the job with piledrivers from outside the box - Conrad’s heavily deflected, Barbarouses’ beautifully clean - with a gloss that Bittencourt bitches about, saying “2-1 would be defeat, 3-1 would be an aberration, 4-1 is gonna mean headlines.”

This is a day for thrashings across the board. The Moths dismantle Belgrave with sickening ease, Metzelder’s optimistic high line penetrated time and time again and Connell, a couple of times, found wanting between the posts. Twice, beaten a touch too easily by shots; once, a little more damning for a reliably progressive goalkeeper, caught being too clever and simply getting thumped by Solara Vol, who rolls the ball bemused into the unguarded net. Keynes’ consolation is the pick of the bunch, but the Moths thoroughly deserved the win. The Crisisbless derby is brutally one-sided as well, United getting pummeled in the centre of the park and Kurtis Laiota with a well-taken brace in the 4-0 slaughter to belatedly get off the mark for the season. Corvistone crush Cypher by the same scoreline, though Warrington is apoplectic - Hadrian Belfast dares rest the Baba? His backup, Mithradates, gets on the scoresheet in his first start, and it’s a near perfect performance in the first real test of the Crows’ depth. Oddly, Cypher manager Henrick Barden acts affronted by the rotation after the match, as if he hadn’t just been smashed against the rocks.

Parrhesia United 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Cranequin City 0-1 Raven River
Chenoworth Rovers 3-0 AFC Rochford
Alliance Barossia 0-2 West Brinemouth
Dartmouth Terriers 2-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Stahlburg Rovers 4-0 Locksley
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Armstrong
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Brookford Otters
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Morningstar 0-0 Iron City
Diamondqueen 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Bishop 2-1 Mantlegrove

Barring matches against Locksley - battered 4-0 by a Carsley-inspired Stahlburg - Cranequin City have conceded precisely one goal in every game and won none of them. Today, they’re edged 1-0 by River, Ruby Gjasula leading a merry dance of three or four defenders, drawing out Ledo and chipping the only goal over him. Chenoworth lay down a marker with a 3-0 demolition of Rochford, and they still have time for goalkeeper Anders Rowett to forget where he is, get caught out and sharply save from Wynona Rampart… outside his box. A move that had former goalkeeper Chris Waller shaking his head, of course. Out of subs, Sabrina Patton makes the remarkable hat-trick of one goal, one assist and one save, a rather pedestrian header from Scharnberg deep into injury time. Bridge pick off a Brookford side in hot form through a corner scuffed home by Korve, as new goalkeeper Catapan does his best to keep the departed Fyona Matthews out of the fans’ minds.

Aries Chariots 0-3 AFC Treason
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Starling
Creed United 0-2 Stahlburg City
Leichhardt 1-1 Southfell United
South Laithland 1-0 Sabrefell Moths
Cranequin Wanderers 2-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Belgrave 3-3 North Sabrefell
Brinemouth 1-1 North Laithland
Chatswood 0-1 Newrook City
Chenoworth Harriers 3-1 Cypher Town
Coret Hawks 3-0 Crisisbless United
AFC Corvistone 1-2 Crisisbless

Eyes are already turning to a surprise six-pointer at the bottom of the table. Chatswood have two points and two goals so far; Newrook, just the one, and only a single pathetic goal from the first six games. Reports are starting to seep out from either camp that Leigh Fletcher’s hardline methods are grating after years, and Rainer Hildebrandt’s similarly hardline methods … after a couple of months? Predictably, it is not a good game. It is a fascinatingly poor game, Newrook having absolutely no width or variety in attack, Chatswood just having nothing, with Andrea Prentice’s alarming backslide in form resulting in her being hooked 57 minutes in. Just six minutes later, Minka Bronson gets the only goal of the game - Cressida Voeller, who is at least lively, dipping ahead of Vollath to snatch a pass from her feet and driving a searching ball forward, Bronson rushing past Bischoff and curling past Williams from just outside the box. In injury time, Chatswood winger Conleth should surely have given Esmond Moore the chance to level it, but shoots from an acute angle instead of centring, and Iarrow snaffles it with ease. But then, with Moore clearly shorn of confidence, would he have just skied it anyway? He still waits for his first Premiership goal, and Chatswood for their first win of the season.

By contrast, the North Sabrefell derby is always likely to prove good value, and doesn’t disappoint. The Gargoyles have impressed, if not quite achieved the results they would have hoped, while North Sabrefell’s physical and mental resilience has kept them clawing desperately-needed points on the board. This match, then, goes to type. Belgrave have 74% possession by the 20th minute, and by finally getting on the scoresheet, Katsura bursting from nowhere down the middle to find and convert a pinpoint diagonal ball from Steward (a clearly well-rehearsed maneuvre), and it’s 2-0 by the break through leftback Russett’s piledriver… but then a pair of inelegant tap-ins from Simone Cheney put them level by the hour. Strand puts Belgrave back in the lead, Nils Armbruster chests home a free kick from Laramee in injury time. South Laithland’s strong opening to the season gets a little more gloss, Habane with the only goal of the game against a Moths side that huff and puff but just can’t blow the house down, Brinemouth midfielder Mercedes Reeve does her former club North Laithland a solid by getting her legs twisted up and scoring an equalising own goal, deftly converting a Kendall cross with her ankle, while Corvistone just can’t quite keep up with Crisisbless in a surprising top-of-the-table clash, fortunate to be in the game at 1-1 and thankful for Feldman between the posts by ninety minutes, but Laiota’s shithousery clearing a path for Woakes to set up Bowman for a dramatic late Heelers winner.

Vermillion Wanderers 5-0 Cranequin City
Parrhesia United 1-4 Chenoworth Rovers
Raven River 2-1 Alliance Barossia
AFC Rochford 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
West Brinemouth 0-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 Corvette Maulers
Locksley 1-6 Gonen's Bridge
Armstrong 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Brookford Otters 3-0 Morningstar
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Diamondqueen
Iron City 1-0 Bishop
Goodfeather FC 2-0 Mantlegrove

Through pace and power, Vermillion wipe the floor with a tepid Cranequin City, simply overrunning their area and playing through and over them with ease, an absolute volleyed screamer from Catric Pinnon getting them started before the usual bombardment of crosses - Saara, Kovaleski and Saara again - before Chantal Kalevi gets one of her own, cannily slipping through in possession and stabbing insolently between Ledo’s feet. 5-0 by the hour, and somewhat disappointingly, 5-0 it stays. Manager Seneca Matthews criticises the ‘drop-off in effort; we should have made it seven or eight’. Gonen’s Bridge’s visit to Locksley should be a relegation six-pointer; instead, a 6-1 annihilation of Locksley and everything they stand for cements Bridge in the promotion places. A dysfunctional Parrhesia get wasted 4-1 by Chenoworth Rovers, while Morningstar get destroyed 3-0 by Brookford without landing a punch in anger, save the literal one a frustrated Carney lays on Sloane Walsh late on.

Starling 0-1 Aries Chariots
Stahlburg City 4-0 AFC Treason
Southfell United 4-2 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Creed United
Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 Leichhardt
North Sabrefell 0-1 South Laithland
North Laithland 3-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Newrook City 2-3 Belgrave
Cypher Town 0-1 Brinemouth
Crisisbless United 2-1 Chatswood
Crisisbless 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Corvistone 4-2 Coret Hawks

Oh, God. Heads drop around Stahlburg. Shock pervades Ludd’s Hammer. And not the exultant home fans, or their players. The Smiths took on their hated rivals, the Stags… and three minutes in, Orsay slipped clear (somehow? The centre-half isn’t exactly stealthy) at a corner to thrash home at the near post, nine minutes in a screamer from Brujah. Thirty-three, Rauch pulverises Brujah - already booked, she gets a straight red anyway, studs having left the ground. 43rd minute, Henry swivels inside and flicks an insolent pass diagonally across the heart of the defence, making the Treason defence look like morons as Shi walks the ball into an empty net. 76, Bittencourt gets sent off for the touchline for another sign that this year is bringing a bitchy streak from him; 79, Neimi Tschauner finishes the job with a genuine screamer. Stahlburg City climb to fourth; beneath only a bulletproof Crisisbless, who beat the Harriers, Corvistone who fire past Coret, and the Moths, who edge Creed. South Laithland beat North Sabrefell to overtake them, and with Brinemouth and Athletic as expected, they round out the top eight that Treason aren’t in. Neither are Starling - toothlessly beaten by Aries Chariots (1-0 again!) they languish in the bottom half of th etable.

It isn’t long into the season, but Belgrave manager Adalheid Metzelder has already proclaimed herself a genius after goalscoring substitutes Aura Keynes (returning from an inconvenient injury) and Cohen Alexander (who is tall, and,) turn the game around against Newrook City, leaving the Rooks mired in second-last and looking, uh, genuinely fucking abysmal. Worse still, their 3-2 defeat represents half the goals they’ve scored all season. Tom Duffy is yet to get off the mark. The rest of the one-win club round out the bottom four; Leichhardt try to cling to a 2-0 half-time lead and partially weather the storm to take a point at the Barbarossa against Athletic while Cypher’s bravery goes unrewarded, beaten 1-0 by Brinemouth. Chatswood are lucky only to be beaten 2-1 by Crisisbless United, who should really have buried them if not for careless finishing. Ivana Henderson buries a penalty on the hour mark - she has three goals, the entire rest of the Axes have precisely zero between them.

Chenoworth Rovers 3-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Cranequin City
Dartmouth Terriers 2-2 Parrhesia United
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Raven River
Corvette Maulers 2-1 AFC Rochford
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 West Brinemouth
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Morningstar 1-2 Locksley
Diamondqueen 0-2 Armstrong
Bishop 1-3 Brookford Otters
Mantlegrove 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Goodfeather FC 2-2 Iron City

It’s congested at the top, but already some sides are excelling themselves. Chenoworth Rovers go toe-to-toe with Vermillion, and it’s a match played at a vicious pace; goals for forwards Meisler and Saara, young wingers Kalevi and Koerner, a second caution for Hartley and a straight red for Zihark, before Koerner skips past a missed tackle from Karling and hooks a wicked low cross for Patton to smash home. The Rovers, then, the only unbeaten side, with the other Rovers close behind after bruising past River to a 2-1 win, overtaking them in the process. Bridge are there too, puzzlingly, Kanerva Herron chesting home the only goal of the game against a tepid West Brinemouth. The Otthers, River, Wanderers, Diamondqueen and Armstrong are all in the chase; Iron will be disappointed to have fallen away, and Cranequin are nowhere near.

There’s a couple curiosities towards the bottom. Parrhesia are among them, 2-0 after 90 minutes against Dartmouth Terriers, 2-2 by full time. Mantlegrove, too, mount a late comeback against a stumbling Serpentine to break a run of six straight defeats… but they’re still winless, as are Crisisbless Athletic, but Locksley finally get off the board as Marika Kreisburg finally scores her first goal of the season, converting under the pressure of a hand on her collar seemingly through sheer spite to take down Morningstar. Who aren’t doing so hot, themselves. Alliance, beaten comfortably by Cranequin at home, round out the bottom four.

Southriver 0-4 Autumnstone
The Hanged Man 1-0 Crossroads Town
AFC Shale 2-1 Martella Jazz
Riverkey 0-0 Peregrine
Corinthians No Longer 2-2 Hackett
Ballardine FC 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Stonegrave 0-3 The Strongest
Barossia United 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Extreme Hills 3-0 Gosmouth Swans
Coret Rovers 2-2 Ritter Town
Greygate 3-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Falston United
Crossroads Town 1-2 Southriver
Martella Jazz 7-2 Autumnstone
Peregrine 2-1 The Hanged Man
Hackett 1-1 AFC Shale
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Riverkey
The Strongest 0-4 Corinthians No Longer
Lazuli Diamonds 0-4 Ballardine FC
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Stonegrave
Ritter Town 1-4 Barossia United
Boltcroft Thorns 1-3 Extreme Hills
Falston United 1-1 Coret Rovers
Aries Solitaire 1-2 Greygate
Southriver 1-1 Martella Jazz
Crossroads Town 0-4 Peregrine
Autumnstone 3-4 Hackett
The Hanged Man 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
AFC Shale 0-2 The Strongest
Riverkey 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Corinthians No Longer 3-0 Gosmouth Swans
Ballardine FC 3-3 Ritter Town
Stonegrave 0-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Barossia United 2-1 Falston United
Extreme Hills 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Coret Rovers 1-1 Greygate
Peregrine 3-0 Southriver
Hackett 3-1 Martella Jazz
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Crossroads Town
The Strongest 0-1 Autumnstone
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 The Hanged Man
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 AFC Shale
Ritter Town 1-1 Riverkey
Boltcroft Thorns 0-4 Corinthians No Longer
Falston United 1-0 Ballardine FC
Aries Solitaire 0-0 Stonegrave
Greygate 0-1 Barossia United
Coret Rovers 0-1 Extreme Hills
Southriver 1-1 Hackett
Peregrine 2-1 Pillars of Southfell
Martella Jazz 3-0 The Strongest
Crossroads Town 2-4 Lazuli Diamonds
Autumnstone 0-0 Gosmouth Swans
The Hanged Man 2-0 Ritter Town
AFC Shale 0-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Riverkey 2-0 Falston United
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 Aries Solitaire
Ballardine FC 2-5 Greygate
Stonegrave 1-1 Coret Rovers
Barossia United 0-1 Extreme Hills
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Southriver
The Strongest 2-1 Hackett
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Peregrine
Gosmouth Swans 0-0 Martella Jazz
Ritter Town 6-2 Crossroads Town
Boltcroft Thorns 3-2 Autumnstone
Falston United 2-0 The Hanged Man
Aries Solitaire 2-1 AFC Shale
Greygate 0-0 Riverkey
Coret Rovers 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
Extreme Hills 0-0 Ballardine FC
Barossia United 0-0 Stonegrave
Southriver 4-2 The Strongest
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Hackett 0-0 Gosmouth Swans
Peregrine 2-0 Ritter Town
Martella Jazz 0-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Crossroads Town 1-4 Falston United
Autumnstone 1-2 Aries Solitaire
The Hanged Man 1-1 Greygate
AFC Shale 2-0 Coret Rovers
Riverkey 2-1 Extreme Hills
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Barossia United
Ballardine FC 0-2 Stonegrave
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Southriver
Gosmouth Swans 5-2 The Strongest
Ritter Town 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Hackett
Falston United 1-1 Peregrine
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Martella Jazz
Greygate 4-2 Crossroads Town
Coret Rovers 2-2 Autumnstone
Extreme Hills 0-3 The Hanged Man
Barossia United 1-1 AFC Shale
Stonegrave 1-0 Riverkey
Ballardine FC 2-1 Corinthians No Longer

Corinthians No Longer are on top of the roost, though they are fresh off a 2-1 upset against Ballardine. A win streak of six included wins over serious promotion rivals, too; starting with a 4-0 away cruising over the Strongest that may prove to define both their seasons. Predictably, Ulrike Jensen has powered her way to seven goals already and sits atop the scoring charts, having a combination of athleticism and finishing touch that’s proving impossible to hold back.

Peregrine are hot on the chase despite a recent setback of their own; the colossus Risdon in goal seems unbeatable, and they’ve conceded just four. And yet, for all that, Sylvia Janik doesn’t quite seem at the peak of her powers as a striker who once dominated at this level. Did last season’s travails just… break her?

Falston United’s impressive run has been in large part due to their… well, their actual local brigade, often honed in the Ceynes Super League. Rasmus Garrick has impressed as a rare young goalkeeper in a league of veterans, Sherry Brosnan has really stood out as a defensive bulwark, while striker Esther Fortune appears to be having something of a renaissance at 31, putting her international experience to good use.

The Strongest have been largely terrible, with sort-of inexperienced manager Markus Horst preaching the values of the process. Or is it just a big sea change going from working with Liam Armstrong to Nathan Proctor? Their first five matches saw them either win with a clean sheet or lose without scoring, but now they’ve graduated to just plain having a bad defence, conceding nine in five.

Crossroads Town are probably already screwed. It just… isn’t working for them, and they’ve lost all their matches so far. They have some threats to goal, Halmark is an okay striker and all, Olwen North deserves a shot at 1Div... but they’ve already leaked 26 goals. Even on matchday 6, which saw no fewer than five scoreless draws and two 1-0 wins, they were bodied 6-2 by Ritter, Morten Crestwell notching a hat-trick.

Mapleford 0-0 Brunyard FC
Kensey Town 1-1 Cranequin Souths
Hartford Glade 3-2 Crownsend Journey
South Parrhesia 5-6 Rushe United
Strephonage 1-0 Sheridan
Brindleton 1-3 Kommissar
Sutcroft 2-4 Brokenarch
Fully Sick XI 1-0 Downsparrow
Ox River United 0-1 Caldwick Strand
Iron United 1-0 Riverkey Shells
Rochford Pilgrims 3-4 Ingram Township
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 West Hook
Cranequin Souths 3-3 Mapleford
Crownsend Journey 1-1 Brunyard FC
Rushe United 0-2 Kensey Town
Sheridan 0-2 Hartford Glade
Kommissar 6-0 South Parrhesia
Brokenarch 0-1 Strephonage
Downsparrow 2-2 Brindleton
Caldwick Strand 1-1 Sutcroft
Riverkey Shells 2-2 Fully Sick XI
Ingram Township 1-0 Ox River United
West Hook 1-0 Iron United
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Mapleford 3-0 Crownsend Journey
Cranequin Souths 1-1 Rushe United
Brunyard FC 3-5 Sheridan
Kensey Town 2-1 Kommissar
Hartford Glade 1-2 Brokenarch
South Parrhesia 2-2 Downsparrow
Strephonage 2-1 Caldwick Strand
Brindleton 3-0 Riverkey Shells
Sutcroft 0-1 Ingram Township
Fully Sick XI 1-0 West Hook
Ox River United 1-1 East Laithland Harriers
Iron United 3-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Rushe United 0-1 Mapleford
Sheridan 0-1 Crownsend Journey
Kommissar 2-0 Cranequin Souths
Brokenarch 0-0 Brunyard FC
Downsparrow 1-1 Kensey Town
Caldwick Strand 2-0 Hartford Glade
Riverkey Shells 1-2 South Parrhesia
Ingram Township 1-1 Strephonage
West Hook 0-0 Brindleton
East Laithland Harriers 4-2 Sutcroft
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Fully Sick XI
Iron United 1-0 Ox River United
Mapleford 0-1 Sheridan
Rushe United 1-2 Kommissar
Crownsend Journey 1-1 Brokenarch
Cranequin Souths 1-1 Downsparrow
Brunyard FC 2-2 Caldwick Strand
Kensey Town 3-2 Riverkey Shells
Hartford Glade 1-1 Ingram Township
South Parrhesia 3-1 West Hook
Strephonage 0-2 East Laithland Harriers
Brindleton 1-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Sutcroft 1-3 Iron United
Fully Sick XI 1-3 Ox River United
Kommissar 1-0 Mapleford
Brokenarch 1-1 Sheridan
Downsparrow 3-2 Rushe United
Caldwick Strand 2-0 Crownsend Journey
Riverkey Shells 2-3 Cranequin Souths
Ingram Township 1-0 Brunyard FC
West Hook 2-1 Kensey Town
East Laithland Harriers 2-3 Hartford Glade
Rochford Pilgrims 3-1 South Parrhesia
Iron United 2-0 Strephonage
Ox River United 1-0 Brindleton
Fully Sick XI 0-2 Sutcroft
Mapleford 2-1 Brokenarch
Kommissar 2-4 Downsparrow
Sheridan 1-0 Caldwick Strand
Rushe United 1-1 Riverkey Shells
Crownsend Journey 0-3 Ingram Township
Cranequin Souths 3-0 West Hook
Brunyard FC 3-3 East Laithland Harriers
Kensey Town 4-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Hartford Glade 1-2 Iron United
South Parrhesia 2-2 Ox River United
Strephonage 2-1 Fully Sick XI
Brindleton 5-2 Sutcroft
Downsparrow 0-3 Mapleford
Caldwick Strand 2-3 Brokenarch
Riverkey Shells 2-2 Kommissar
Ingram Township 0-1 Sheridan
West Hook 2-1 Rushe United
East Laithland Harriers 1-3 Crownsend Journey
Rochford Pilgrims 5-1 Cranequin Souths
Iron United 3-2 Brunyard FC
Ox River United 0-0 Kensey Town
Fully Sick XI 0-2 Hartford Glade
Sutcroft 3-1 South Parrhesia
Brindleton 1-2 Strephonage
Harrington 2-2 Sirencall FC
Lockheed Zenith 0-2 Sutcroft Athletic
Chenoworth Teutons 0-1 FC Seierstad
Lindmark Falcons 1-0 Fischer
AFC Hellerine 1-1 Boleyn Town
Stonesthrow Town 1-1 Ringway
Courser 0-0 AFC Mittelmarch
AFC Feuerweiss 2-1 Iberia Chenoworth
Grovebank 0-2 Fenland Albion
Sleetwell Rangers 3-2 Besand's Folly
Sutcroft Athletic 0-2 Harrington
FC Seierstad 1-0 Sirencall FC
Fischer 0-1 Lockheed Zenith
Boleyn Town 1-1 Chenoworth Teutons
Ringway 1-0 Lindmark Falcons
AFC Mittelmarch 1-2 AFC Hellerine
Iberia Chenoworth 1-0 Stonesthrow Town
Fenland Albion 2-0 Courser
Besand's Folly 2-4 AFC Feuerweiss
Sleetwell Rangers 1-4 Grovebank
Harrington 1-1 FC Seierstad
Sutcroft Athletic 2-4 Fischer
Sirencall FC 1-1 Boleyn Town
Lockheed Zenith 3-0 Ringway
Chenoworth Teutons 1-0 AFC Mittelmarch
Lindmark Falcons 6-1 Iberia Chenoworth
AFC Hellerine 3-1 Fenland Albion
Stonesthrow Town 2-1 Besand's Folly
Courser 1-2 Sleetwell Rangers
AFC Feuerweiss 0-2 Grovebank
Fischer 1-2 Harrington
Boleyn Town 2-2 FC Seierstad
Ringway 0-2 Sutcroft Athletic
AFC Mittelmarch 1-0 Sirencall FC
Iberia Chenoworth 0-3 Lockheed Zenith
Fenland Albion 2-0 Chenoworth Teutons
Besand's Folly 1-2 Lindmark Falcons
Sleetwell Rangers 1-1 AFC Hellerine
Grovebank 0-2 Stonesthrow Town
AFC Feuerweiss 3-1 Courser
Harrington 2-2 Boleyn Town
Fischer 0-2 Ringway
FC Seierstad 0-0 AFC Mittelmarch
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 Iberia Chenoworth
Sirencall FC 2-1 Fenland Albion
Lockheed Zenith 1-1 Besand's Folly
Chenoworth Teutons 1-1 Sleetwell Rangers
Lindmark Falcons 1-0 Grovebank
AFC Hellerine 1-0 AFC Feuerweiss
Stonesthrow Town 1-1 Courser
Ringway 3-0 Harrington
AFC Mittelmarch 1-1 Boleyn Town
Iberia Chenoworth 0-0 Fischer
Fenland Albion 0-2 FC Seierstad
Besand's Folly 0-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Sleetwell Rangers 0-0 Sirencall FC
Grovebank 1-0 Lockheed Zenith
AFC Feuerweiss 0-1 Chenoworth Teutons
Courser 1-0 Lindmark Falcons
Stonesthrow Town 0-3 AFC Hellerine
Harrington 0-1 AFC Mittelmarch
Ringway 2-2 Iberia Chenoworth
Boleyn Town 1-1 Fenland Albion
Fischer 0-1 Besand's Folly
FC Seierstad 3-2 Sleetwell Rangers
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Grovebank
Sirencall FC 1-1 AFC Feuerweiss
Lockheed Zenith 3-1 Courser
Chenoworth Teutons 0-0 Stonesthrow Town
Lindmark Falcons 2-1 AFC Hellerine
Iberia Chenoworth 6-0 Harrington
Fenland Albion 0-0 AFC Mittelmarch
Besand's Folly 1-2 Ringway
Sleetwell Rangers 2-0 Boleyn Town
Grovebank 4-0 Fischer
AFC Feuerweiss 2-2 FC Seierstad
Courser 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Stonesthrow Town 1-0 Sirencall FC
AFC Hellerine 2-3 Lockheed Zenith
Lindmark Falcons 3-1 Chenoworth Teutons
Rookwall 0-3 Barhara Cavaliers
Brookford Vantablack 0-0 Long Lake
The Travellers FC 0-1 Longwinter
Twelvetrees 4-2 Bodkin Road
Corvistone City 1-1 Gridlock
Markoni 1-1 New Oakstone Phoenix
Aries Tigers 1-2 Latin Enclave FC
AFC Volksgarten 1-0 Constance Park
AFC Burchess 2-2 Northside Eagles
Blaze 1-5 AFC Davenport
Long Lake 1-0 Rookwall
Longwinter 1-1 Barhara Cavaliers
Bodkin Road 5-0 Brookford Vantablack
Gridlock 1-1 The Travellers FC
New Oakstone Phoenix 2-0 Twelvetrees
Latin Enclave FC 2-1 Corvistone City
Constance Park 2-1 Markoni
Northside Eagles 1-2 Aries Tigers
AFC Davenport 1-3 AFC Volksgarten
Blaze 1-0 AFC Burchess
Rookwall 2-1 Longwinter
Long Lake 3-2 Bodkin Road
Barhara Cavaliers 1-0 Gridlock
Brookford Vantablack 0-1 New Oakstone Phoenix
The Travellers FC 1-1 Latin Enclave FC
Twelvetrees 0-1 Constance Park
Corvistone City 2-1 Northside Eagles
Markoni 3-1 AFC Davenport
Aries Tigers 1-1 Blaze
AFC Volksgarten 2-0 AFC Burchess
Bodkin Road 2-1 Rookwall
Gridlock 1-1 Longwinter
New Oakstone Phoenix 3-1 Long Lake
Latin Enclave FC 4-4 Barhara Cavaliers
Constance Park 1-2 Brookford Vantablack
Northside Eagles 2-0 The Travellers FC
AFC Davenport 2-2 Twelvetrees
Blaze 0-1 Corvistone City
AFC Burchess 1-1 Markoni
AFC Volksgarten 4-2 Aries Tigers
Rookwall 1-0 Gridlock
Bodkin Road 1-3 New Oakstone Phoenix
Longwinter 4-2 Latin Enclave FC
Long Lake 0-1 Constance Park
Barhara Cavaliers 2-4 Northside Eagles
Brookford Vantablack 2-0 AFC Davenport
The Travellers FC 0-1 Blaze
Twelvetrees 2-1 AFC Burchess
Corvistone City 2-0 AFC Volksgarten
Markoni 1-3 Aries Tigers
New Oakstone Phoenix 1-2 Rookwall
Latin Enclave FC 4-0 Gridlock
Constance Park 1-1 Bodkin Road
Northside Eagles 1-1 Longwinter
AFC Davenport 1-2 Long Lake
Blaze 4-2 Barhara Cavaliers
AFC Burchess 0-3 Brookford Vantablack
AFC Volksgarten 1-1 The Travellers FC
Aries Tigers 2-1 Twelvetrees
Markoni 2-0 Corvistone City
Rookwall 3-2 Latin Enclave FC
New Oakstone Phoenix 1-2 Constance Park
Gridlock 0-1 Northside Eagles
Bodkin Road 1-0 AFC Davenport
Longwinter 4-3 Blaze
Long Lake 0-1 AFC Burchess
Barhara Cavaliers 0-2 AFC Volksgarten
Brookford Vantablack 1-1 Aries Tigers
The Travellers FC 2-1 Markoni
Twelvetrees 2-1 Corvistone City
Constance Park 1-0 Rookwall
Northside Eagles 1-3 Latin Enclave FC
AFC Davenport 0-4 New Oakstone Phoenix
Blaze 0-2 Gridlock
AFC Burchess 2-2 Bodkin Road
AFC Volksgarten 1-1 Longwinter
Aries Tigers 1-2 Long Lake
Markoni 1-1 Barhara Cavaliers
Corvistone City 1-0 Brookford Vantablack
Twelvetrees 1-0 The Travellers FC

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

Pos Team                      P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Chenoworth Rovers 8 7 1 0 18 5 +13 22
2 Stahlburg Rovers 8 6 1 1 17 4 +13 19
3 Gonen's Bridge 8 6 1 1 14 8 +6 19
4 Brookford Otters 8 6 0 2 16 5 +11 18
5 Raven River 8 6 0 2 15 9 +6 18
6 Vermillion Wanderers 8 5 1 2 19 11 +8 16
7 Diamondqueen 8 5 0 3 15 8 +7 15
8 Armstrong 8 4 3 1 8 5 +3 15
9 Goodfeather FC 8 3 3 2 11 9 +2 12
10 Iron City 8 3 3 2 7 7 +0 12
11 Corvette Maulers 8 2 5 1 9 7 +2 11
12 AFC Rochford 8 3 2 3 7 9 -2 11
13 Cranequin City 8 2 3 3 9 10 -1 9
14 Dartmouth Terriers 8 2 3 3 9 11 -2 9
15 Chardonnay Rangers 8 2 3 3 8 11 -3 9
16 West Brinemouth 8 2 2 4 9 10 -1 8
17 AFC Serpentine 8 1 5 2 10 12 -2 8
18 Bishop 8 2 1 5 7 10 -3 7
19 Parrhesia United 8 1 3 4 12 17 -5 6
20 Morningstar 8 1 3 4 4 10 -6 6
21 Alliance Barossia 8 2 0 6 8 16 -8 6
22 Crisisbless Athletic 8 0 3 5 9 14 -5 3
23 Locksley 8 1 0 7 6 29 -23 3
24 Mantlegrove 8 0 2 6 5 15 -10 2

Pos Team                       P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Corinthians No Longer 8 6 1 1 18 5 +13 19
2 Peregrine 8 5 2 1 14 4 +10 17
3 Barossia United 8 4 2 2 11 6 +5 14
4 Falston United 8 4 2 2 11 7 +4 14
5 The Hanged Man 8 4 2 2 9 5 +4 14
6 Boltcroft Thorns 8 4 2 2 14 13 +1 14
7 Greygate 8 3 4 1 16 11 +5 13
8 Extreme Hills 8 4 1 3 10 8 +2 13
9 Hackett 8 2 5 1 13 11 +2 11
10 Riverkey 8 2 5 1 7 5 +2 11
11 Aries Solitaire 8 3 2 3 8 8 +0 11
12 AFC Shale 8 3 2 3 8 9 -1 11
13 Pillars of Southfell 8 2 4 2 6 5 +1 10
14 Stonegrave 8 2 4 2 5 7 -2 10
15 Lazuli Diamonds 8 3 1 4 7 12 -5 10
16 Martella Jazz 8 2 3 3 14 11 +3 9
17 Ballardine FC 8 2 3 3 12 13 -1 9
18 Ritter Town 8 2 3 3 14 16 -2 9
19 Southriver 8 2 3 3 8 13 -5 9
20 The Strongest 8 3 0 5 11 18 -7 9
21 Autumnstone 8 2 2 4 15 18 -3 8
22 Gosmouth Swans 8 1 4 3 6 10 -4 7
23 Coret Rovers 8 0 5 3 7 11 -4 5
24 Crossroads Town 8 0 0 8 8 26 -18 0

Pos Team                         P  W  D  L For  Ag +/- Pts
1 Iron United 8 7 0 1 15 7 +8 21
2 Ingram Township 8 5 2 1 12 6 +6 17
3 Kommissar 8 5 1 2 19 10 +9 16
4 Strephonage 8 5 1 2 9 8 +1 16
5 Kensey Town 8 4 3 1 14 8 +6 15
6 Mapleford 8 4 2 2 12 6 +6 14
7 East Laithland Harriers 8 4 2 2 17 14 +3 14
8 Hartford Glade 8 4 1 3 13 11 +2 13
9 Sheridan 8 4 1 3 9 8 +1 13
10 Brokenarch 8 3 3 2 12 10 +2 12
11 Caldwick Strand 8 3 2 3 11 9 +2 11
12 Downsparrow 8 2 4 2 13 14 -1 10
13 Cranequin Souths 8 2 4 2 13 15 -2 10
14 West Hook 8 3 1 4 7 11 -4 10
15 Brindleton 8 2 3 3 13 11 +2 9
16 Ox River United 8 2 3 3 7 7 +0 9
17 Rochford Pilgrims 8 2 2 4 17 17 +0 8
18 Fully Sick XI 8 2 2 4 7 12 -5 8
19 Crownsend Journey 8 2 2 4 8 14 -6 8
20 South Parrhesia 8 2 2 4 16 24 -8 8
21 Sutcroft 8 2 1 5 13 19 -6 7
22 Brunyard FC 8 0 5 3 11 15 -4 5
23 Rushe United 8 1 2 5 12 17 -5 5
24 Riverkey Shells 8 0 3 5 10 17 -7 3

Pos Team                    P  W  D  L For  Ag +/- Pts
1 Lindmark Falcons 8 6 0 2 15 6 +9 18
2 Lockheed Zenith 8 5 1 2 14 7 +7 16
3 FC Seierstad 8 4 4 0 12 7 +5 16
4 AFC Hellerine 8 4 2 2 14 9 +5 14
5 Ringway 8 4 2 2 11 9 +2 14
6 Grovebank 8 4 1 3 12 7 +5 13
7 Sleetwell Rangers 8 3 3 2 12 12 +0 12
8 Stonesthrow Town 8 3 3 2 7 7 +0 12
9 AFC Feuerweiss 8 3 2 3 12 11 +1 11
10 Fenland Albion 8 3 2 3 9 8 +1 11
11 Sutcroft Athletic 8 3 2 3 8 8 +0 11
12 AFC Mittelmarch 8 2 4 2 4 4 +0 10
13 Chenoworth Teutons 8 2 3 3 5 8 -3 9
14 Harrington 8 2 3 3 9 16 -7 9
15 Iberia Chenoworth 8 2 2 4 11 14 -3 8
16 Courser 8 2 2 4 6 11 -5 8
17 Boleyn Town 8 0 7 1 9 11 -2 7
18 Sirencall FC 8 1 4 3 6 8 -2 7
19 Besand's Folly 8 1 2 5 9 14 -5 5
20 Fischer 8 1 1 6 5 13 -8 4

Pos Team                      P  W  D  L For  Ag +/- Pts
1 AFC Volksgarten 8 5 2 1 14 7 +7 17
2 New Oakstone Phoenix 8 5 1 2 16 7 +9 16
3 Constance Park 8 5 1 2 9 6 +3 16
4 Latin Enclave FC 8 4 2 2 20 15 +5 14
5 Longwinter 8 3 4 1 14 11 +3 13
6 Twelvetrees 8 4 1 3 12 11 +1 13
7 Corvistone City 8 4 1 3 9 8 +1 13
8 Long Lake 8 4 1 3 9 9 +0 13
9 Rookwall 8 4 0 4 9 11 -2 12
10 Bodkin Road 8 3 2 3 16 14 +2 11
11 Northside Eagles 8 3 2 3 13 12 +1 11
12 Aries Tigers 8 3 2 3 13 13 +0 11
13 Brookford Vantablack 8 3 2 3 8 9 -1 11
14 Blaze 8 3 1 4 11 15 -4 10
15 Markoni 8 2 3 3 11 11 +0 9
16 Barhara Cavaliers 8 2 3 3 14 16 -2 9
17 The Travellers FC 8 1 3 4 5 9 -4 6
18 Gridlock 8 1 3 4 5 10 -5 6
19 AFC Burchess 8 1 3 4 7 13 -6 6
20 AFC Davenport 8 1 1 6 10 18 -8 4
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Postby Nephara » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:48 am

Aries Chariots 1-1 Stahlburg City
Starling 0-2 Southfell United
AFC Treason 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Vermillion Rage 1-6 Sabrefell Athletic
Creed United 1-0 North Sabrefell
Leichhardt 0-2 North Laithland
South Laithland 0-2 Newrook City
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Cypher Town
Belgrave 0-1 Crisisbless United
Brinemouth 2-2 Crisisbless
Chatswood 1-3 AFC Corvistone
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Coret Hawks

Crisisbless visit Brinemouth looking to protect their lead at the top, and find their way to an early lead when Mercurio Kastriot, in an advanced position, rips the ball out from Evelyn Conjure’s feet and arrows it across into Damion Bowman’s path, a beautiful pass met with a rather scuffed finish that owes some of its lethal trajectory to Ilyana Brosch’s thigh. They follow it up with a second in quick succession - or do they? No, Woakes’ goal is called back since it was enabled largely by Laiota putting Bull in a camel clutch, and though Woakes does it all over again for it to count on the stroke of half-time there’s a sense of the lead being somewhat… artificial. Still, all they have to do is not concede within a minute to Desya Kuznetsov-- oh, shit. Well, all they have to do is hold out- but that becomes a desperate mission when Kastriot goes from hero to zero, horribly mistiming a challenge and crunching wetly into Franz Kesteren’s knee. Kesteren can continue; fellow Sabrefolk Kastriot cannot, receiving his marching orders. Maeve Bronte replaces Woakes and pulls out a brilliant defensive performance to stem the bleeding, but the man advantage pays off in injury time, the Heelers just short of a man to stop Bryger Tidesson cutting violently inside and lashing a brutal strike into the top corner in injury time.

Bottom of the table Chatswood have little hope against Corvistone and are duly put to the sword 3-1 and, holy shit, the Crows are top? Elsewhere in Treason, the Stags have one of their characteristic poor performances, a grinding match where nothing quite seems to work against the Moths but they very nearly scrape a draw regardless. In such circumstances, Swansea Reach adopts a shoot on sight policy and does, in the 83rd minute, finally bury a screamer past an unsighted Clavel. Starling’s season goes from bad to worse, genuinely outplayed by a Southfell side who unhook them with pace time and again, Anselm and Gundersen taking turns to set up the lethal Lyzolda Petrov. Maybe the Passerines should have bought her instead? Certainly, Nevaeh Cathar does little in her cameo to suggest she isn’t a spent force at the top. Newrook perhaps start to recover with a hard-earned 2-0 win over South Laithland in Dross, while Athletic put six past Vermillion.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Cranequin City 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Parrhesia United 2-3 Corvette Maulers
Raven River 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
AFC Rochford 0-4 Chardonnay Rangers
West Brinemouth 0-1 Morningstar
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 Diamondqueen
Locksley 0-2 Bishop
Armstrong 1-0 Mantlegrove
Brookford Otters 1-0 Goodfeather FC
AFC Serpentine 2-2 Iron City

All four promoted sides get turned over at home without scoring. Okay, so for Locksley that’s no surprise, well-beaten by Bishop, already the reeking stench of carrion overhead, but… the Gulls losing to Morningstar without even troubling Jakob Carter in goal? That should be concerning. Diana Lake just isn’t quite getting the job done as a creative fulcrum, used to a slightly deeper role with Belgrave, but that role’s being occupied by Martyn. For Stars, Holland just drills across for the maligned Daskalakis to drive home the goal of the game in the 72nd minute from basically nowhere. Crisisbless Athletic come unstuck predictably against a slick Diamondqueen, but Rochford collapse completely against Chardonnay, offering all the resistance of a flan against a sledgehammer in a 4-0 thrashing.

Southfell United 2-2 Aries Chariots
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Stahlburg City
Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 Starling
North Sabrefell 0-3 AFC Treason
North Laithland 1-0 Vermillion Rage
Newrook City 4-0 Creed United
Cypher Town 0-1 Leichhardt
Crisisbless United 1-1 South Laithland
Crisisbless 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
AFC Corvistone 2-0 Belgrave
Coret Hawks 1-1 Brinemouth
Chenoworth Harriers 0-0 Chatswood

What… happened, in Newrook? Abysmal for pretty much the first eight matches, recovering with a win last match, and now… ? Creed United go down in a hail of bullets, Fasolt Senninger left exposed time and again, the match’s pattern established just thirteen minutes in as Minka Bronson jinks all too easily past Beckner, jerks past the flying Baste - whose studs get caught in the turf, and she winds up getting stretchered off in the aftermath - to roll across for Tom Duffy, who suddenly makes it seem like the easiest thing in the world to nonchalantly curl a shot across Senninger. As if the seven-million pound man hadn’t been scoreless all season, or a direct replacement for a legitimate club hero in Maladict Farrell. Best part is? He notches up another two in the second half, one with his right and the other with his head, a perfect hat-trick garnished by a screamer from Voeller that, bluntly, Senninger should have kept out. Diandra Ballard insists his performance was flawless post match, which is inexplicable until it’s over and one realises she spent the entire time talking about her goalkeeper and no time talking about what a fucking travesty her club’s performance was.

The Crows’ lead at the top extends; their 2-0 win over Belgrave is straightforward, early goals from Ulreich and Warrington before just efficiently shutting up shop, and my, hasn’t Olexander Green stepped up to replace Ilyana Brosch so well? The Moths stall against Stahlburg, Cathal Turner semi-redeeming a poor match with a thunderous equaliser late on that Prant-Telew, cruelly, after an exceptional match, let slip through their hands. Crisisbless also come unstuck against Cranequin Wanderers, just getting bogged down in the centre of the park and having no actual penetration. The exceptional Shona Butcher sets up a goal for the glacial powerhouse Viere before having a wayward shot carom off Villanueva’s face and screw over the line past a wrong-footed Na’Kefir, a farcical winner after a composed performance. Athletic and Starling share the spoils as a blundered Reinhardt pass lets Dostalok ram home a late leveller, a scissor kick from Ernie Stevenson is the one moment of inspiration from the Stargazers that sinks Cypher, while calls intensify for Chatswood boss Leigh Fletcher’s head after a scoreless draw in Chenoworth means they remain winless.

Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Stahlburg Rovers 4-0 Alliance Barossia
Corvette Maulers 0-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Cranequin City
Chardonnay Rangers 4-3 Parrhesia United
Morningstar 1-2 Raven River
Diamondqueen 1-0 AFC Rochford
Bishop 2-1 West Brinemouth
Mantlegrove 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Goodfeather FC 2-1 Locksley
Iron City 0-1 Armstrong
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Brookford Otters

The Beth Garrick Experience is over; after a dire 1-1 draw at home against Crisisbless Athletic, the winless Mantlegrove player-manager is informed she is now just a player, a decision she accepts gracefully if not without disappointment. “Well, it was a nice idea,” she tells the press in the aftermath. Was it really, though? The general mediocrity of Branko Kurz causes an Armstrong debut for 6’7” teenager Gareth Pawnbroker, who duly chests down and batters home a cross from Hope like it’s the easiest thing in the world, the only goal of the game against an Iron side struggling to click. The Rangers and Saints trade blows, four different Rangers scorers outpacing Ann Reus’ unsupported hat-trick. Mixu Durran’s team look good fun, if not exactly promotion contenders. Stahlburg Rovers put two past Alliance, get Marcia Sable sent off for a needless second caution, and score twice more in the last half-hour anyway.

Olympia FC 4-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Brinemouth 2-0 Black Hawks NFX
Wanda Island Wanderers 1-0 Sabrefell Moths
Oldem Knights 2-0 AFC Treason

A pretty wretched opening set of results. Olympia FC dominate Sabrefell Athletic in every single way, shape, form… it’s 4-0 by the end, ugly viewing, and absolutely no mitigating circumstances. Brinemouth are quietly efficient in taking down Black Hawks, the sole Nepharim goalscorers of the day, but the Moths just fall totally flat in Wanda Island. The Stags are greeted by a familiar face in Servet Misidjan, whose dominant midfield performance for the Knights shows that maybe she should never have been sold in the first place; at the other end, goals from Konrad Gosforth and Jack Jevđenijević get the job done.

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

Belgrave’s form has taken a worrying turn for the worse lately, and all the attractive football in the world doesn’t matter if you make basic defensive errors time after time, letting a mediocre Harriers side smash holes everywhere in your back line. They go a straightforward 4-4-2 and just go direct, bypassing midfield, trusting things to happen through the mobility and danger of Sagittarius Wright up front - a hat-trick ensues in a 4-2 rout. Certainly, the Gargoyles have a show in them. Katsura has some flicks, Steward knows some tricks, and Strand can find the goal when givens chances. But defensively they’re wide, wide open. Metzelder, of course, insists that her side were the better team and were robbed off the points by scandalous refereeing - she’s slapped with a one-match ban by the NFA, and will miss an unforgiving trip to Brinemouth.

Elsewhere… uhhhhh… ? The Chariots demolish the Moths 5-0 in a game that both managers admit is an aberration. Certainly the Chariots deserved victory, but they had 52% possession, took seven shots, put five on target and Griffin didn’t make a save. Largely because the finishes gave him no chance, though a couple of times, one wonders… well, he’ll be 35 by the end of the season. At the other end, Marietta Briggs makes eight saves, sometimes spectacular. Vermillion Rage go some way to redeeming recent poor form by smacking Cypher aside in a 3-0 win, Cralt-Nirlo Fox rolling the dice and coming up with good results. Cypher just don’t seem up to the fight anymore. Corvistone dig deep to find a late winner from an unlikely source, a desperate Spahi Keskin hitting and hoping from a loose ball late on and finding the bottom corner past Hartmuth to beat South Laithland 2-1, cementing his place in the heart of the fans - his hometown club Crisisbless keep up the pace by brushing aside Leichhardt despite conceding from a set piece five minutes in.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Cranequin City 1-1 Morningstar
Parrhesia United 1-4 Diamondqueen
Raven River 6-0 Bishop
AFC Rochford 0-1 Mantlegrove
West Brinemouth 0-1 Goodfeather FC
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Iron City
Locksley 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Armstrong 0-1 Brookford Otters

Only three teams score more than once in a mostly cagey weekend, though once is enough for Mantlegrove, who turn to a new face in Daniel Archer rather than a proven firefighter and manage to make the most of it, Kikumi Kondou’s goal enough to beat a toothless Rochford on Archer’s 44th birthday. Chenoworth Rovers confidently sweep Chardonnay aside 2-0, a dominant showing from Minka Forrest showing Rochford what they missed by letting her go for just two million. Parrhesia lead Diamondqueen at the break 1-0 and somehow lose 4-1, and River top the lot, crushing Bishop 6-0 as they just take hold of midfield and refuse, terrier-like, to let go.

Kensey Town 1-2 Ox River United
Brunyard FC 1-2 Aries Tigers
Cranequin Souths 0-2 Boleyn Town
Rookwall 2-2 Longwinter (2-2 AET, 4-3 PKs)
Sirencall FC 2-0 Riverkey Shells
FC Seierstad 4-2 Gridlock
AFC Feuerweiss 1-0 Twelvetrees
Brindleton 5-1 Barhara Cavaliers
AFC Mittelmarch 0-3 East Laithland Harriers
Markoni 0-9 Mapleford
AFC Hellerine 5-0 Blaze
Chenoworth Teutons 0-4 Kommissar
Iron United 2-0 Fischer
Long Lake 1-0 Northside Eagles
Courser 2-0 Grovebank
Sheridan 5-0 Ringway
Brokenarch 0-2 West Hook
Brookford Vantablack 2-1 Sutcroft
Sleetwell Rangers 1-2 Ingram Township
Corvistone City 2-4 Rochford Pilgrims
The Travellers FC 1-2 Harrington
Besand's Folly 2-4 Fully Sick XI
Strephonage 5-0 AFC Volksgarten
Stonesthrow Town 1-3 AFC Burchess
Crownsend Journey 0-3 Latin Enclave FC
Sutcroft Athletic 0-3 Iberia Chenoworth
South Parrhesia 2-0 Constance Park
Lockheed Zenith 2-3 Caldwick Strand
Rushe United 1-0 Bodkin Road
AFC Davenport 2-2 Downsparrow (2-2 AET, 7-8 PKs)
New Oakstone Phoenix 0-2 Hartford Glade
Fenland Albion 0-1 Lindmark Falcons

As usual, for anything but true football tragics (or, well, actual fans of fourth- or fifth-tier clubs), there’s little to be gleaned from the first round of the Cup save for big scorelines. Fortunately, there’s a standout there - Markoni get dumpstered 9-0 by Mapleford on their own turf, the difference between part-time and full-time players brutally exposed by the promotion-chasing Third Division side. Sheridan also show their stuff, hammering Conference side Ringway 5-0; their manager says, bullishly, that it’s the first First Round tie in their history and it will be their last. It’s the first First Round tie for the promoted state league sides, too - two from five win, Lindmark Falcons beat Fenland 1-0, rising as the once-relevant Albion fall, Latin Enclave crushing Crownsend Journey 3-0 away.

Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 Aries Chariots
North Sabrefell 0-3 Sabrefell Moths
North Laithland 1-0 Southfell United
Newrook City 0-0 Stahlburg City
Cypher Town 1-4 Starling
Crisisbless United 1-1 AFC Treason
Crisisbless 3-0 Vermillion Rage
AFC Corvistone 4-1 Creed United
Coret Hawks 3-0 Leichhardt
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 South Laithland
Chatswood 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Brinemouth 4-2 Belgrave

Creed take the trip to the capital to be shown precisely what they’re missing, in the form of Spahi Keskin. Corvistone’s athletic holding midfielder duly gets himself a minor injury in training, but that’s okay. There’s more than enough in the Crows’ locker to put an end to the Oathmen. In midfield, Barbarouses and Beckner lack grunt and authority, while Corvistone’s stand-in Lekea does the job of silencing them. On the wings, Wynder and Almwood hold the line against the dangerous Creed wingers, Almwood in particular effortlessly keeping Conway out of the game. And up front, Baba Warrington converts his first shot, sweeping home a neat through-ball from Catley, before a piledriver from Morham crashes against the crossbar only to be followed in by countrywoman Arniston. The hulking Heston makes it 3-0 by forty minutes, crashing home a corner from Ulreich, and … honestly, Creed’s one-note play is just ruthlessly exposed by a multi-layered, superior opponent. At least there’s respect between the managers, both teammates in the same era for the Cormorants.

The Bohemians find a new way to give away a penalty when, already one down to the Moths, Clinton is bulldozed and beaten by Vol, desperately claws out at her and manages to yank her hard by the tail. It doesn’t work out so well, as Vol converts the penalty herself in a 3-0 Moths win. Athletic and the Chariots loathe one another, but neither can get on the scoresheet, too busy thumping one another in the middle of the park. It’s a good day for Chariots’ goalkeeper Briggs, though, who has to pounce quickly more than once on the interplay between Ens and Tarala. Belgrave go down swinging in a 4-2 defeat to Brinemouth that still leaves the viewer with the sense that the Dockers never really needed to enter top gear.

Corvette Maulers 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Gonen's Bridge 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Morningstar 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Diamondqueen 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Bishop 2-0 Cranequin City
Mantlegrove 0-0 Parrhesia United
Goodfeather FC 1-2 Raven River
Iron City 1-0 AFC Rochford
AFC Serpentine 0-0 West Brinemouth
Brookford Otters 4-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Armstrong 3-0 Locksley

Another day, another brace for Istria Saara - the Wanderers striker has simply mastered the art of looming in good positions, easily found by Kalevi or Zihark from the wings. Corvette just can’t touch her, though a dipping strike from Betancourt makes the game look closer than it is. There’s another headed brace in Crisisbless, for Bishop centre-half Zoltan Moser. Bluntly, the Bishops should bury Cranequin City, but their poor finishing and Ledo’s excellent goalkeeping mean they have to rely on the big defender to do the job for them. The final brace of the day belongs to Corona Sharpe, though it could have been more. Five minutes in against an in-form Bridge, Vivienne Morgan shows a bit of leg to draw a penalty from Unworth, but Sharpe’s is too near the centre, beaten away by Catapan - by the half, Bridge lead through Olenna Salthouse’s deflected piledriver. But the experienced poacher comes good in the second half, flashing two finishes across Catapan from unfavourable narrow angles.

Sabrefell Athletic 0-1 Tanrisal
Northern Stallions 1-1 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Moths 4-1 Rozelle
AFC Treason 2-1 Kingsgrove

Things go from bad to worse for Athletic, who are cold-cocked 1-0 by a disciplined Tani on home soil. Fortunately, the other three Nepharim sides only have to play Brenecians. For Brinemouth, that means a brush with Tana Colbright, who was a goalkeeper of some renown for them. Her Stallions prove a resilient outfit, difficult to shake and near impossible to kill off. Only Tidesson converts any of a litany of chances, before a slick move on the break sees Stallions leftback Deimne Watermark dip inside and rifle the leveller past Bull. The Moths bulldoze Rozelle, hot property Julia Mueller opening the scoreline but overshadowed by four goals at the other end, while Treason’s brutal physicality edges Kingsgrove off two elegantly-worked set plays, though they had largely kept the Royals at bay bar a true screamer from Penhallow.

Aries Chariots 5-0 North Sabrefell
Sabrefell Athletic 1-4 North Laithland
Sabrefell Moths 2-3 Newrook City
Southfell United 6-2 Cypher Town
Stahlburg City 2-1 Crisisbless United
Starling 1-1 Crisisbless
AFC Treason 0-3 AFC Corvistone
Vermillion Rage 2-3 Coret Hawks
Creed United 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Leichhardt 1-1 Chatswood
South Laithland 1-2 Brinemouth
Cranequin Wanderers 1-2 Belgrave

Who wins between form and pedigree? Often, a side full of talented players - or more effectively, a tight-knit squad used to fighting as a team - can pull out a result on days they play badly and suddenly get back into form. But that doesn’t happen this time. As the Crows visit Treason, Krista Morham slides in a ruthlessly clever ball for Catley to make it 1-0 within ninety-three seconds of the game starting. And that’s fitting - Malia Yonen’s late run into the box is finished with a powerful header from Almwood to make it 3-0 in the ninety-third minute, with the irrepressible Warrington scoring in between. Treason just don’t look entirely… right, and it’s not just that Metzger’s actually being caught offside rather than hovering on the brink. The squad, it seems, is jaded, and maybe some players (not naming any names, Rauch) stepped up beyond their natural level last season and have regressed aggressively since.

The Chariots do what they’ve been recently doing, crushing North Sabrefell 5-0, leaving them for dead in a dizzying hail of passes. Giselher Ruskin has been on fire of late, crushing people with power, pace and poise down the left, showing again why he was so valued a few years back. North Laithland, for their part, manage a crushing 4-1 win over Athletic that owes much to their young, vibrant midfield. Beltrame and Asquith each manage a goal and an assist, and anchor man Ettori between them is a bulwark. Chatswood, meanwhile, really, really, really need to pick up points. Ivana Henderson holds back three Leichhardt defenders to find a layoff for Prentice to drill underneath Adekoya at close range, but Chatswood never really look comfortable, and a driving header from Klempner gives the Stargazers a point that is the least they deserve. Enough is enough. Leigh Fletcher is given the axe in her sixth season with the club - a successful spell on aggregate, but still winless at this stage… ?

Vermillion Wanderers 5-0 Gonen's Bridge
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Stahlburg Rovers 1-2 Morningstar
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Diamondqueen
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Bishop
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 Mantlegrove
Cranequin City 2-2 Goodfeather FC
Parrhesia United 1-0 Iron City
Raven River 2-1 AFC Serpentine
AFC Rochford 0-0 Brookford Otters
West Brinemouth 0-3 Armstrong
Crisisbless Athletic 4-1 Locksley

Few expected a depleted Bridge to keep up their good form, but few expected a fundamentally solid side to just… collapse in Vermillion. What’s surprising, too, is that it’s not even like the Wanderers just did their one move - no, they had other strings to their bow. Pinnon scores a free kick and sets up Kovaleski with a brilliant through-ball. Saara thumps an arcing shot past Catapan under insufficient pressure. Zihark converts a diving far-post header, and leftback Lithe Bronwyne gets her first Wanderers goal with a swerving effort from distance that Catapan misjudges. Dartmouth Terriers scrape a draw against Diamondqueen in injury time, when goalkeeper Stefan Heidenreich comes up for a final corner and manages to awkwardly swipe at it after a deflection, continuing to help it on for Gabriel Haines to thump home.

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

Let it not be said that Chatswood are slow to act. But then, let it not be said, either, that they are particularly inspired. They see Armstrong’s improbable promotion challenge and they act, grabbing their 51-year old manager Warner Dranz - someone accustomed to making a dour western outfit tick, having conceded a league-low six goals this season. Not a sexy choice. Or, is he? Esmond Moore is given the nod after having been dropped the last few games and, belatedly, gets his first goal. It’s an inelegant thing, following the precarious bouncing ball before thumping it into the net past Ramelow, whose form has been in question. Certainly it’s questioned when Severa Conleth beats her at her near post. Allison Swan nets a free kick before putting another into Danica Heward’s path to put the Rage back, undeserved in Chatswood’s mind - the balance of play is restored to the sheet when Prentice makes it 3-2 on the verge of half-time with a swerving strike, the livewire Conleth and jet-heeled Porter trading blows in the second half to secure an electrifying win for Chatswood and make things look rather grim for the Rage.

Fyona Matthews, Harriers’ goalkeeper, is anything but a model of consistency. Sometimes that means coughing up easy goals, sometimes it means a genuine blinder, nothing the Stags do getting past her. She flies, pillar to post, with a seemingly superhuman agility; at the other end, Corsica Greene bursts down the line to get on the end of a long ball from Kou and drag it back for Sigrun Rivers to drive home the game’s only goal. Coret, armed with an embittered Cesar Corvalan, come calling for Starling - the Cenian striker nets twice against his long-time former club, showing no bones at all about celebrating in an emphatic 4-1 win. Another returning long-timer is Cypher’s Andrea Bereveskos, who scores direct from a corner six minutes in against Sabrefell Athletic. Pity is, Cypher aren’t good, and Tarala, Gere and Westerveld hit back harder, a deflected strike from McCosgraigh making things interesting late on but rarely threatening the win. The Moths wipe the floor with Crisisbless United in a 5-0 win while Aries have now scored twelve without reply in their last four games after a 2-0 win over the Spiders.

Chardonnay Rangers 4-3 Vermillion Wanderers
Morningstar 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Diamondqueen 4-2 Corvette Maulers
Bishop 2-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Mantlegrove 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Goodfeather FC 2-1 Alliance Barossia
Iron City 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Cranequin City
Brookford Otters 1-1 Parrhesia United
Armstrong 0-1 Raven River
Locksley 1-5 AFC Rochford
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 West Brinemouth

Corvette manager Stefan Crowton is left clutching at straws after his Maulers throw away a 2-1 lead at half-time to lose 4-2 to a Diamondqueen side that are cruising by the end, a gift from goalkeeper Taurus Rhind letting Lyritzis level before Hestia Bowman and Carina Taheri drive home killer blows from range. Crowton insists, “any finish between 5th and 20th may as well be the same,” which sure is one way to try and keep ahold of a job. Crisisbless Athletic edge out West Brinemouth through first-half goals from Kaskanis and Coen, but Geist drags the Gulls back in late before Mason draws a penalty. Up steps Martyn… but her effort is well saved by Qatintiki. But wait! The Fleftic international had leapt well off her line. It’s retaken. No matter - Qatintiki just saves it again, and with it the three points.

Jinja City FC 5-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Brinemouth 2-0 AS Virtus 1904
AS Bezieres 0-2 Sabrefell Moths
Keppal Cosmos 1-1 AFC Treason

Athletic’s League is all but over. But if it had to happen, let it be like this - a virtuoso performance from Vatan Ersetin to the point where, as the Timur is taken off at eighty-seven minute with the score already 5-2, the away fans rise to applaud him. Really, though, Athletic didn’t help by being a defensive shambles. Can Coltrane still cover his tracks? It’s relatively smooth going for the others, though - goals from Tidesson and Deventer get the job done for Brinemouth against Virtus, the Moths beat Bezieres with young striker Catheline Garand scoring her first international goal. Treason chase Kippal relentlessly, and there’s a sense of inevitability to the goal, the slightest moment of panic in the box seized upon by Metzger. The Cosmos deserved at least a point, though - it’s one of those games where both sides left feeling aggrieved.

Viltvodle United 2-2 Parrhesia United

Oh, Lord. Well, humiliatingly, Nephara gets to be represented in international competition by actual meme club Parrhesia United. Viltvodle absolutely play better from a team perspective, pressing hard and effectively, Luk and Peikola dominating the centre of the park while being outnumbered. Nin Prantist, a striker with a point to prove, marks a crisply-taken brace. The difference, though, is the Saints just have that little bit of individual quality… a brilliant screamer from Rosborough equalises Prantist's first goal, while a beautiful heel-flick from Telviir lets Barota loft an instinctive first-touch finish over Gnau for the leveller.

Aries Chariots 1-1 Newrook City
North Laithland 1-0 Cypher Town
North Sabrefell 1-2 Crisisbless United
Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Moths 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Southfell United 2-1 Coret Hawks
Stahlburg City 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Starling 2-0 Chatswood
AFC Treason 0-2 Brinemouth
Vermillion Rage 0-1 Belgrave
Creed United 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Leichhardt 2-0 South Laithland

“This is happening.” We know it’s happening because Hadrian Belfast said it, to all the press, after strikes from Catley and Yonen overturn Cathal Turner’s opener and steal a 2-1 win against the Moths in Sabrefell. It’s deserved, too, and with Athletic edging Crisisbless 2-1 thanks to a late hammerblow from Tarala, that gives the Crows a five-point lead at the top and 31 games to defend it. What else is deserved, and what else is somehow unsurprising, is Brinemouth easing past the twitching corpse of the 75 Stags. 2-0 at the Gauntlet in what is hardly a classic Classic. Five of those six clubs are the current top five; Treason are 13th. Stahlburg City can only draw with the Harriers, but have still only lost once thus far, while Coret and North Laithland look best-placed to compete for the top seven as things stand.

“This is my world, and you’re all just living in it.” Adalheid Metzelder’s Belgrave have been anything other than defensively sharp - indeed between them, going into a match against Vermillion, the sides have conceded a combined 71 goals. And yet, Belgrave keep their composure, grab a goal through Casey Steward’s wriggling run and deft finish and, somehow, keep a clean sheet. To leave Vermillion mired, somehow, in the bottom three, and let Belgrave leap out of it. Leichhardt also make a desperately-needed stride, beating a backsliding South Laithland 2-0, while Creed and a thriving Cranequin share the spoils. North Sabrefell, now in the playoff place, are outplayed at home by Crisisbless United; Chatswood understandably stall at Starling, while Cypher, at the very foot of the table, just can’t do a job against the Spiders.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Morningstar
Chardonnay Rangers 0-2 Diamondqueen
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Bishop
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Mantlegrove
Stahlburg Rovers 2-2 Goodfeather FC
Dartmouth Terriers 0-3 Iron City
Alliance Barossia 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Chenoworth Rovers 1-2 Brookford Otters
Cranequin City 2-0 Armstrong
Parrhesia United 1-1 Locksley
Raven River 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
AFC Rochford 2-0 West Brinemouth

It’s looking good for Central Sabrefell at this early juncture, River still top by three points despite being disappointingly held by Athletic, Diamondqueen in hot pursuit following a routine 2-0 win over Chardonnay. Brookford, perhaps surprisingly, are third, having seemingly been anything but consistent in recent years, but an experienced defence and young crop of youth appear to be working well together - they overhaul both sets of Rovers, after a late winner from substitute Anja Spinnett steals the points in Chenoworth and leaves Stahlburg clinging to fourth. Vermillion Wanderers manage a dull win over Morningstar to stay in the hunt, while Armstrong looked a lot better before new manager Reece Benedict could only guide the team to consecutive defeats. Bridge, despite recently backsliding form and a home draw against Bishop, remain an unlikely eighth.

While Morningstar and Cranequin City convince themselves they’re too good to go down, they at least have a point a game to their names. Stars’ ten goals are the equal-fewest in the division, though. Dartmouth, following a chastening 3-0 defeat to Iron City, aren’t doing too hot with just two wins thus far, a point above Crisisbless and, mystifyingly, the Saints. Yes, Parrhesia only have twelve points thus far, hover above the danger zone on goal difference, and are fresh off handing Locksley just their fourth point of the season. Mixu Durran’s future hangs by a thread, and is promptly snipped as the sharp-dressed, flamboyant Emeka Obasi steps up. If anyone has the strength of personality to overturn this listing ship, it's him. Alliance have four wins, more than City in 17th, but no draws to their name, and langush in the playoff place on goal difference. Mantlegrove and the Gulls lie beneath them, and Locksley look doomed already. They’ve conceded 47 goals already, somehow.

Parrhesia United 2-0 Viltvodle United
Parrhesia United win 4-2 on aggregate.

The Saints look more confident and, bluntly, competent when on home soil, and a deft early finish from Ann Reus sets the tone for a far breezier occasion. This time, Telviir, Shotbolt and Rosborough do manage to clamp down the midfield, Christian Serjeant manages to role-play like he’s the Christian Serjeant of five years ago and Fohler finishes them off late on.

Southriver 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Ritter Town
The Strongest 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Falston United
Hackett 3-1 Aries Solitaire
Peregrine 3-1 Greygate
Martella Jazz 3-1 Coret Rovers
Crossroads Town 0-3 Extreme Hills
Autumnstone 0-2 Barossia United
The Hanged Man 0-0 Stonegrave
AFC Shale 1-0 Ballardine FC
Riverkey 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Ritter Town 3-0 Southriver
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Falston United 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Aries Solitaire 0-1 The Strongest
Greygate 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Coret Rovers 2-2 Hackett
Extreme Hills 1-4 Peregrine
Barossia United 6-1 Martella Jazz
Stonegrave 0-1 Crossroads Town
Ballardine FC 1-2 Autumnstone
Corinthians No Longer 2-0 The Hanged Man
Riverkey 0-1 AFC Shale
Southriver 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Ritter Town 1-1 Falston United
Gosmouth Swans 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Greygate
The Strongest 4-2 Coret Rovers
Pillars of Southfell 3-1 Extreme Hills
Hackett 1-2 Barossia United
Peregrine 4-0 Stonegrave
Martella Jazz 3-1 Ballardine FC
Crossroads Town 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Autumnstone 0-2 Riverkey
The Hanged Man 0-2 AFC Shale
Falston United 1-0 Southriver
Aries Solitaire 3-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Greygate 2-0 Ritter Town
Coret Rovers 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Extreme Hills 4-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Barossia United 3-3 The Strongest
Stonegrave 2-1 Pillars of Southfell
Ballardine FC 2-2 Hackett
Corinthians No Longer 2-0 Peregrine
Riverkey 4-1 Martella Jazz
AFC Shale 1-1 Crossroads Town
The Hanged Man 3-2 Autumnstone
Southriver 0-0 Aries Solitaire
Falston United 2-0 Greygate
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Coret Rovers
Ritter Town 2-1 Extreme Hills
Gosmouth Swans 0-0 Barossia United
Lazuli Diamonds 0-3 Stonegrave
The Strongest 7-0 Ballardine FC
Pillars of Southfell 1-3 Corinthians No Longer
Hackett 1-0 Riverkey
Peregrine 0-3 AFC Shale
Martella Jazz 2-2 The Hanged Man
Crossroads Town 1-0 Autumnstone
Greygate 3-1 Southriver
Coret Rovers 2-3 Aries Solitaire
Extreme Hills 3-0 Falston United
Barossia United 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Stonegrave 1-0 Ritter Town
Ballardine FC 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Riverkey 2-2 The Strongest
AFC Shale 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
The Hanged Man 1-0 Hackett
Autumnstone 4-4 Peregrine
Crossroads Town 2-0 Martella Jazz
Southriver 1-2 Coret Rovers
Greygate 2-3 Extreme Hills
Aries Solitaire 2-5 Barossia United
Falston United 1-0 Stonegrave
Boltcroft Thorns 4-5 Ballardine FC
Ritter Town 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Riverkey
Lazuli Diamonds 3-1 AFC Shale
The Strongest 1-0 The Hanged Man
Pillars of Southfell 4-0 Autumnstone
Hackett 1-1 Crossroads Town
Peregrine 1-0 Martella Jazz

Barossia united
look to have momentum on their side in the chase for the top, Dorian Brindle’s side matching youth with experience for a winning formula. Unlike the recent trend for 2Div sides to be bogged down by the availability of Homecoming journeymen, he recognises the value in letting his young guns shine, and 22-year old playmaker Lysander Ciman - occupying the only real free role in a conservative side - looks a cut above.

Jess Hearn has made a strong start to her management career with Extreme Hills who are mounting an unlikely promotion push. Strangely enough, her willingness to ditch old and bad players like Handspiker and Spiro and actually do what the Hounds do best and promote new blood is paying dividends. They’ve had the occasional collapse, losing 4-1 to Peregrine at home, but overturning a 2-0 half-time deficit to beat Greygate shows there’s steel in this side.

Ritter Town winger Catheline Blissett is a moonlighting singer, shouldn’t quit her day job. Partially because she isn’t very good at singing, but mostly because she might be in line for a more lucrative footballing career down the line. Bought for a song in the offseason from Kensey, Blissett’s been the lively bright spark in what is otherwise yet another disappointing year for the Stallions.

Crossroads Town have escaped the mire with an almost comical new manager bounce. They lost their first nine games, brought in Davina Hutch after a hapless 3-0 home defeat to Extreme Hills, and haven’t lost since. Mostly, the defence just looks in good shape, and 21-year old Olwen North has suddenly become an all-action superhero from her nominal position in a double pivot.

Coret Rovers could be the next club to axe their manager, with young Valery Cain’s head on the chopping block as a recently 1Div side battles relegation. But goals from Haroun Maynard and Robyn Cormack - and sharp saves from Brendan Fallowland - gave them a priceless win in Southriver that probably saved Cain’s job for the time being. Still, just two points split 20th and 24th, and just four split 17th from bottom, so it’s still very even thus far.

Mapleford 2-1 Caldwick Strand
Downsparrow 0-3 Riverkey Shells
Brokenarch 1-0 Ingram Township
Kommissar 1-1 West Hook
Sheridan 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Rushe United 3-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Crownsend Journey 1-1 Iron United
Cranequin Souths 3-1 Ox River United
Brunyard FC 2-4 Fully Sick XI
Kensey Town 3-2 Sutcroft
Hartford Glade 1-1 Brindleton
South Parrhesia 2-1 Strephonage
Riverkey Shells 1-2 Mapleford
Ingram Township 2-0 Caldwick Strand
West Hook 1-0 Downsparrow
East Laithland Harriers 1-0 Brokenarch
Rochford Pilgrims 2-0 Kommissar
Iron United 0-0 Sheridan
Ox River United 1-0 Rushe United
Fully Sick XI 4-0 Crownsend Journey
Sutcroft 1-2 Cranequin Souths
Brindleton 2-0 Brunyard FC
Strephonage 4-1 Kensey Town
South Parrhesia 2-2 Hartford Glade
Mapleford 3-0 Ingram Township
Riverkey Shells 2-1 West Hook
Caldwick Strand 0-1 East Laithland Harriers
Downsparrow 0-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Brokenarch 2-1 Iron United
Kommissar 0-1 Ox River United
Sheridan 4-0 Fully Sick XI
Rushe United 1-3 Sutcroft
Crownsend Journey 2-1 Brindleton
Cranequin Souths 1-1 Strephonage
Brunyard FC 1-4 South Parrhesia
Kensey Town 1-0 Hartford Glade
West Hook 1-1 Mapleford
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Ingram Township
Rochford Pilgrims 3-1 Riverkey Shells
Iron United 1-1 Caldwick Strand
Ox River United 1-0 Downsparrow
Fully Sick XI 0-1 Brokenarch
Sutcroft 1-3 Kommissar
Brindleton 0-1 Sheridan
Strephonage 2-2 Rushe United
South Parrhesia 0-2 Crownsend Journey
Hartford Glade 0-0 Cranequin Souths
Kensey Town 2-0 Brunyard FC
Mapleford 1-2 East Laithland Harriers
West Hook 1-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Ingram Township 2-1 Iron United
Riverkey Shells 2-1 Ox River United
Caldwick Strand 1-1 Fully Sick XI
Downsparrow 0-1 Sutcroft
Brokenarch 0-1 Brindleton
Kommissar 0-0 Strephonage
Sheridan 3-1 South Parrhesia
Rushe United 6-2 Hartford Glade
Crownsend Journey 3-1 Kensey Town
Cranequin Souths 1-2 Brunyard FC
Rochford Pilgrims 0-3 Mapleford
Iron United 2-3 East Laithland Harriers
Ox River United 0-1 West Hook
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Ingram Township
Sutcroft 0-1 Riverkey Shells
Brindleton 1-1 Caldwick Strand
Strephonage 3-0 Downsparrow
South Parrhesia 1-1 Brokenarch
Hartford Glade 2-1 Kommissar
Kensey Town 1-1 Sheridan
Brunyard FC 5-2 Rushe United
Cranequin Souths 2-3 Crownsend Journey
Mapleford 1-1 Iron United
Rochford Pilgrims 1-3 Ox River United
East Laithland Harriers 3-0 Fully Sick XI
West Hook 0-1 Sutcroft
Ingram Township 0-1 Brindleton
Riverkey Shells 2-0 Strephonage
Caldwick Strand 2-2 South Parrhesia
Downsparrow 1-1 Hartford Glade
Brokenarch 2-0 Kensey Town
Kommissar 6-0 Brunyard FC
Sheridan 3-0 Cranequin Souths
Rushe United 1-5 Crownsend Journey
Harrington 1-0 Fenland Albion
Iberia Chenoworth 4-0 Besand's Folly
AFC Mittelmarch 2-2 Sleetwell Rangers
Ringway 2-0 Grovebank
Boleyn Town 1-0 AFC Feuerweiss
Fischer 0-2 Courser
FC Seierstad 2-0 Stonesthrow Town
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 AFC Hellerine
Sirencall FC 1-0 Lindmark Falcons
Lockheed Zenith 3-1 Chenoworth Teutons
Besand's Folly 4-2 Harrington
Sleetwell Rangers 1-0 Fenland Albion
Grovebank 2-0 Iberia Chenoworth
AFC Feuerweiss 1-2 AFC Mittelmarch
Courser 0-2 Ringway
Stonesthrow Town 0-2 Boleyn Town
AFC Hellerine 1-0 Fischer
Lindmark Falcons 1-4 FC Seierstad
Chenoworth Teutons 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Lockheed Zenith 1-2 Sirencall FC
Harrington 2-1 Sleetwell Rangers
Besand's Folly 0-0 Grovebank
Fenland Albion 2-3 AFC Feuerweiss
Iberia Chenoworth 1-1 Courser
AFC Mittelmarch 0-0 Stonesthrow Town
Ringway 1-0 AFC Hellerine
Boleyn Town 0-2 Lindmark Falcons
Fischer 2-1 Chenoworth Teutons
FC Seierstad 1-1 Lockheed Zenith
Sutcroft Athletic 1-1 Sirencall FC
Grovebank 2-0 Harrington
AFC Feuerweiss 0-0 Sleetwell Rangers
Courser 0-1 Besand's Folly
Stonesthrow Town 2-0 Fenland Albion
AFC Hellerine 0-0 Iberia Chenoworth
Lindmark Falcons 2-0 AFC Mittelmarch
Chenoworth Teutons 1-1 Ringway
Lockheed Zenith 5-2 Boleyn Town
Sirencall FC 1-1 Fischer
Sutcroft Athletic 2-0 FC Seierstad
Harrington 3-0 AFC Feuerweiss
Grovebank 1-1 Courser
Sleetwell Rangers 0-0 Stonesthrow Town
Besand's Folly 4-3 AFC Hellerine
Fenland Albion 0-2 Lindmark Falcons
Iberia Chenoworth 1-3 Chenoworth Teutons
AFC Mittelmarch 1-1 Lockheed Zenith
Ringway 0-2 Sirencall FC
Boleyn Town 1-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Fischer 1-5 FC Seierstad
Courser 1-2 Harrington
Stonesthrow Town 1-2 AFC Feuerweiss
AFC Hellerine 1-0 Grovebank
Lindmark Falcons 3-1 Sleetwell Rangers
Chenoworth Teutons 1-2 Besand's Folly
Lockheed Zenith 2-0 Fenland Albion
Sirencall FC 3-4 Iberia Chenoworth
Sutcroft Athletic 1-0 AFC Mittelmarch
FC Seierstad 3-1 Ringway
Fischer 2-0 Boleyn Town
Harrington 0-2 Stonesthrow Town
Courser 2-2 AFC Hellerine
AFC Feuerweiss 0-1 Lindmark Falcons
Grovebank 0-2 Chenoworth Teutons
Sleetwell Rangers 0-2 Lockheed Zenith
Besand's Folly 0-1 Sirencall FC
Fenland Albion 2-0 Sutcroft Athletic
Iberia Chenoworth 3-2 FC Seierstad
AFC Mittelmarch 0-1 Fischer
Ringway 2-0 Boleyn Town
Rookwall 0-2 Northside Eagles
Constance Park 2-0 AFC Davenport
Latin Enclave FC 1-1 Blaze
New Oakstone Phoenix 3-1 AFC Burchess
Gridlock 0-1 AFC Volksgarten
Bodkin Road 3-1 Aries Tigers
Longwinter 1-1 Markoni
Long Lake 0-1 Corvistone City
Barhara Cavaliers 0-2 Twelvetrees
Brookford Vantablack 1-0 The Travellers FC
AFC Davenport 3-4 Rookwall
Blaze 0-4 Northside Eagles
AFC Burchess 1-1 Constance Park
AFC Volksgarten 1-2 Latin Enclave FC
Aries Tigers 2-0 New Oakstone Phoenix
Markoni 0-0 Gridlock
Corvistone City 1-1 Bodkin Road
Twelvetrees 0-2 Longwinter
The Travellers FC 0-1 Long Lake
Brookford Vantablack 1-1 Barhara Cavaliers
Rookwall 5-0 Blaze
AFC Davenport 0-1 AFC Burchess
Northside Eagles 3-0 AFC Volksgarten
Constance Park 2-2 Aries Tigers
Latin Enclave FC 6-0 Markoni
New Oakstone Phoenix 0-0 Corvistone City
Gridlock 0-1 Twelvetrees
Bodkin Road 1-3 The Travellers FC
Longwinter 1-2 Brookford Vantablack
Long Lake 2-0 Barhara Cavaliers
AFC Burchess 0-1 Rookwall
AFC Volksgarten 8-1 Blaze
Aries Tigers 1-2 AFC Davenport
Markoni 4-0 Northside Eagles
Corvistone City 0-0 Constance Park
Twelvetrees 1-0 Latin Enclave FC
The Travellers FC 3-2 New Oakstone Phoenix
Brookford Vantablack 6-0 Gridlock
Barhara Cavaliers 2-1 Bodkin Road
Long Lake 0-2 Longwinter
Rookwall 1-0 AFC Volksgarten
AFC Burchess 3-1 Aries Tigers
Blaze 3-1 Markoni
AFC Davenport 1-1 Corvistone City
Northside Eagles 2-0 Twelvetrees
Constance Park 2-0 The Travellers FC
Latin Enclave FC 0-3 Brookford Vantablack
New Oakstone Phoenix 4-0 Barhara Cavaliers
Gridlock 1-0 Long Lake
Bodkin Road 1-4 Longwinter
Aries Tigers 0-0 Rookwall
Markoni 0-1 AFC Volksgarten
Corvistone City 1-0 AFC Burchess
Twelvetrees 1-0 Blaze
The Travellers FC 1-0 AFC Davenport
Brookford Vantablack 1-2 Northside Eagles
Barhara Cavaliers 2-1 Constance Park
Long Lake 2-2 Latin Enclave FC
Longwinter 0-0 New Oakstone Phoenix
Bodkin Road 0-1 Gridlock
Rookwall 2-1 Markoni
Aries Tigers 1-0 Corvistone City
AFC Volksgarten 0-2 Twelvetrees
AFC Burchess 0-3 The Travellers FC
Blaze 6-3 Brookford Vantablack
AFC Davenport 2-1 Barhara Cavaliers
Northside Eagles 1-3 Long Lake
Constance Park 3-1 Longwinter
Latin Enclave FC 0-2 Bodkin Road
New Oakstone Phoenix 2-0 Gridlock

Pos Team                      P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 AFC Corvistone 15 12 2 1 38 13 +25 38
2 Brinemouth 15 10 3 2 31 13 +18 33
3 Crisisbless 15 10 2 3 26 11 +15 32
4 Sabrefell Athletic 15 8 5 2 35 24 +11 29

5 Sabrefell Moths 15 9 2 4 29 18 +11 29
6 Stahlburg City 15 7 7 1 21 9 +12 28
7 Coret Hawks 15 7 4 4 29 20 +9 25

8 North Laithland 15 7 4 4 21 15 +6 25
9 Southfell United 15 6 4 5 24 21 +3 22
10 Starling 15 6 3 6 22 19 +3 21
11 Cranequin Wanderers 15 6 3 6 17 19 -2 21
12 Aries Chariots 15 5 5 5 22 17 +5 20
13 AFC Treason 15 6 2 7 19 19 +0 20
14 Crisisbless United 15 5 5 5 15 23 -8 20
15 Chenoworth Harriers 15 4 6 5 20 20 +0 18
16 Newrook City 15 5 3 7 16 20 -4 18
17 South Laithland 15 5 3 7 13 18 -5 18
18 Leichhardt 15 4 4 7 14 21 -7 16
19 Creed United 15 4 3 8 13 25 -12 15
20 Belgrave 15 4 2 9 20 32 -12 14
21 North Sabrefell 15 4 2 9 14 27 -13 14
22 Vermillion Rage 15 3 1 11 19 40 -21 10
23 Chatswood 15 1 5 9 10 22 -12 8
24 Cypher Town 15 1 2 12 12 34 -22 5

Pos Team                       P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Raven River 15 11 2 2 30 14 +16 35
2 Diamondqueen 15 10 2 3 29 13 +16 32
3 Brookford Otters 15 10 2 3 25 11 +14 32

4 Stahlburg Rovers 15 9 4 2 31 13 +18 31
5 Chenoworth Rovers 15 9 4 2 25 10 +15 31
6 Vermillion Wanderers 15 9 3 3 33 18 +15 30
7 Armstrong 15 8 3 4 16 9 +7 27
8 Gonen's Bridge 15 7 4 4 19 19 +0 25
9 Goodfeather FC 15 6 5 4 21 18 +3 23
10 AFC Serpentine 15 5 7 3 20 17 +3 22
11 Corvette Maulers 15 5 7 3 20 18 +2 22
12 Iron City 15 5 6 4 15 13 +2 21
13 Chardonnay Rangers 15 6 3 6 22 23 -1 21
14 AFC Rochford 15 5 3 7 14 17 -3 18
15 Bishop 15 5 3 7 16 21 -5 18
16 Morningstar 15 4 4 7 10 16 -6 16
17 Cranequin City 15 3 6 6 16 20 -4 15
18 Dartmouth Terriers 15 2 7 6 13 21 -8 13
19 Crisisbless Athletic 15 2 6 7 20 24 -4 12
20 Parrhesia United 15 2 6 7 21 30 -9 12
21 Alliance Barossia 15 4 0 11 12 26 -14 12
22 Mantlegrove 15 2 5 8 10 20 -10 11
23 West Brinemouth 15 2 3 10 11 21 -10 9
24 Locksley 15 1 1 13 10 47 -37 4

Pos Team                        P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Corinthians No Longer 15 10 2 3 29 11 +18 32
2 Barossia United 15 9 4 2 30 13 +17 31
3 Peregrine 15 9 3 3 30 15 +15 30

4 Falston United 15 8 3 4 17 13 +4 27
5 Extreme Hills 15 8 1 6 26 20 +6 25
6 Greygate 15 7 4 4 26 20 +6 25
7 AFC Shale 15 7 4 4 18 14 +4 25
8 The Strongest 15 7 3 5 31 27 +4 24
9 The Hanged Man 15 6 4 5 15 14 +1 22
10 Aries Solitaire 15 6 3 6 19 21 -2 21
11 Boltcroft Thorns 15 6 3 6 25 28 -3 21
12 Pillars of Southfell 15 5 5 5 18 13 +5 20
13 Hackett 15 4 8 3 23 20 +3 20
14 Stonegrave 15 5 5 5 11 14 -3 20
15 Riverkey 15 4 7 4 16 13 +3 19
16 Ritter Town 15 5 4 6 21 22 -1 19
17 Martella Jazz 15 4 4 7 24 28 -4 16
18 Southriver 15 4 4 7 14 23 -9 16
19 Lazuli Diamonds 15 5 1 9 13 24 -11 16
20 Gosmouth Swans 15 3 5 7 13 17 -4 14
21 Crossroads Town 15 4 2 9 16 32 -16 14
22 Ballardine FC 15 3 4 8 21 34 -13 13
23 Coret Rovers 15 2 6 7 18 26 -8 12
24 Autumnstone 15 3 3 9 23 35 -12 12

Pos Team                          P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sheridan 15 9 3 3 22 10 +12 30
2 East Laithland Harriers 15 9 2 4 27 19 +8 29
3 Ingram Township 15 9 2 4 19 13 +6 29

4 Mapleford 15 8 4 3 25 12 +13 28
5 Iron United 15 7 4 4 22 17 +5 25
6 Brokenarch 15 7 4 4 19 14 +5 25
7 Strephonage 15 7 4 4 20 16 +4 25
8 Kensey Town 15 7 4 4 23 20 +3 25
9 Kommissar 15 7 3 5 30 17 +13 24
10 Crownsend Journey 15 7 3 5 24 24 +0 24
11 Ox River United 15 6 3 6 15 14 +1 21
12 Brindleton 15 5 5 5 20 16 +4 20
13 Rochford Pilgrims 15 6 2 7 28 28 +0 20
14 Hartford Glade 15 5 5 5 21 23 -2 20
15 Riverkey Shells 15 5 3 7 22 24 -2 18
16 Cranequin Souths 15 4 6 5 22 26 -4 18
17 West Hook 15 5 3 7 13 18 -5 18
18 South Parrhesia 15 4 5 6 28 36 -8 17
19 Sutcroft 15 5 1 9 22 29 -7 16
20 Caldwick Strand 15 3 6 6 17 19 -2 15
21 Fully Sick XI 15 4 3 8 17 25 -8 15
22 Rushe United 15 3 3 9 27 37 -10 12
23 Downsparrow 15 2 5 8 14 25 -11 11
24 Brunyard FC 15 2 5 8 21 36 -15 11

Pos Team                     P   W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Lindmark Falcons 15 11 0 4 26 12 +14 33
2 Lockheed Zenith 15 9 3 3 29 14 +15 30

3 FC Seierstad 15 8 5 2 29 16 +13 29
4 Ringway 15 8 3 4 20 15 +5 27
5 AFC Hellerine 15 6 5 4 22 17 +5 23
6 Grovebank 15 6 3 6 17 13 +4 21
7 Sirencall FC 15 5 6 4 17 15 +2 21
8 Harrington 15 6 3 6 19 26 -7 21
9 Stonesthrow Town 15 5 5 5 12 13 -1 20
10 Iberia Chenoworth 15 5 4 6 24 25 -1 19
11 Sutcroft Athletic 15 5 4 6 13 14 -1 19
12 Chenoworth Teutons 15 5 4 6 15 17 -2 19
13 AFC Feuerweiss 15 5 3 7 18 21 -3 18
14 Sleetwell Rangers 15 4 6 5 17 21 -4 18
15 Besand's Folly 15 5 3 7 20 25 -5 18
16 AFC Mittelmarch 15 3 7 5 9 12 -3 16
17 Boleyn Town 15 3 7 5 15 22 -7 16
18 Fenland Albion 15 4 2 9 13 19 -6 14
19 Courser 15 3 5 7 13 20 -7 14
20 Fischer 15 4 2 9 12 23 -11 14

Pos Team                       P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Constance Park 15 8 4 3 20 12 +8 28
2 Rookwall 15 9 1 5 22 17 +5 28

3 Twelvetrees 15 9 1 5 19 15 +4 28
4 New Oakstone Phoenix 15 8 3 4 27 13 +14 27
5 AFC Volksgarten 15 8 2 5 25 16 +9 26
6 Northside Eagles 15 8 2 5 27 20 +7 26
7 Longwinter 15 6 6 3 25 18 +7 24
8 Brookford Vantablack 15 7 3 5 25 19 +6 24
9 Corvistone City 15 6 5 4 13 11 +2 23
10 Long Lake 15 7 2 6 17 16 +1 23
11 Latin Enclave FC 15 6 4 5 31 25 +6 22
12 Aries Tigers 15 5 4 6 21 23 -2 19
13 Bodkin Road 15 5 3 7 25 26 -1 18
14 The Travellers FC 15 5 3 7 15 16 -1 18
15 Blaze 15 5 2 8 22 38 -16 17
16 Barhara Cavaliers 15 4 4 7 20 29 -9 16
17 Markoni 15 3 5 7 18 24 -6 14
18 AFC Burchess 15 3 4 8 13 23 -10 13
19 Gridlock 15 3 4 8 7 20 -13 13
20 AFC Davenport 15 3 2 10 18 29 -11 11
Last edited by Nephara on Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Nephara » Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:22 am

The Hanged Man 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Strephonage 1-1 Armstrong (1-3 AET)
Stahlburg Rovers 3-0 Courser
Barossia United 3-0 Aries Tigers
Extreme Hills 3-1 Aries Solitaire
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 West Brinemouth
Mantlegrove 3-0 Brindleton
Ritter Town 1-2 Hartford Glade
Latin Enclave FC 1-2 Ox River United
Raven River 2-0 Ingram Township
The Strongest 0-0 Lazuli Diamonds (0-0 AET, 5-3 PKs)
Goodfeather FC 2-2 Boltcroft Thorns (2-2 AET, 1-3 PKs)
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Coret Rovers (2-3 AET)
Sheridan 0-1 Bishop
Lindmark Falcons 0-3 Ballardine FC
Locksley 1-1 Morningstar (1-1 AET, 1-1 agg, 2-4 PKs)
Kommissar 1-1 Crossroads Town (1-2 AET)
Dartmouth Terriers 2-4 Gonen's Bridge
Downsparrow 7-0 Long Lake
AFC Burchess 1-1 Mapleford (1-1 AET, 2-4 PKs)
Crisisbless Athletic 3-1 South Parrhesia
AFC Shale 0-3 Iron City
Alliance Barossia 0-0 West Hook (1-0 AET)
Falston United 2-2 Stonegrave (2-2 AET, 3-2 PKs)
Brookford Vantablack 0-1 Greygate
FC Seierstad 0-6 Hackett
Southriver 2-0 Fully Sick XI
Cranequin City 1-2 AFC Rochford
Parrhesia United 3-1 Autumnstone
Iron United 3-0 Rookwall
Sirencall FC 1-2 Peregrine
Vermillion Wanderers 4-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Caldwick Strand 9-0 AFC Feuerweiss
Gosmouth Swans 2-0 Rushe United
Rochford Pilgrims 1-2 Diamondqueen
Harrington 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Iberia Chenoworth 2-6 Pillars of Southfell
AFC Serpentine 0-2 Brookford Otters
Martella Jazz 2-0 Boleyn Town
Riverkey 2-1 AFC Hellerine

Intriguing clashes as everyone outside the Premiership gets their shot. And yet the most convincing win of the day is from a fourth-tier side against a fifth, Caldwick Strand just blowing Feuerweiss away, cantering to a 9-0 scoreline. Downsparrow distract themselves from a relegation dogfight to pile on a 7-0 slaughter of Long Lake, while FC Seierstad’s Conference West promotion push gets shown some humility, Hackett showing them just how far there is to go as they come out to a 6-0 win away. Chenoworth Rovers’ visit to Vermillion Wanderers is easily the strongest bout of this, pretty much the toughest draw possible, but Chris Waller picks a weakened side that duly gets turned over 4-1. “It was chastening, it showed some of the young lads just how much further there is to go until they’re ready,” he said after the game, spinning it into a parable. Corvette stall out against THM, West Brinemouth are outplayed by CNL, Goodfeather’s glass jaw is shown up by Boltcroft Thorns before a defeat on penalties, Cranequin City can’t get it done against Rochford, while Serpentine’s flat performance sees them well beaten by a confident Brookford.

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

A stumble at the top. As football fans bicker about whether the Crows maybe doing a Starling is good because it staves off the death of modern football, or if it is bad because it is a fake club that epitomises modern football, they host a Bohemians side that don’t really have a lot going for them. Mezei Orban is still playing with one hand tied behind his back - he has the players for the system he wants, but they’re worse players. But, crucially, Laramee and Maersk remain. Victoria Maersk immediately catches the eye, counterpressing the Crows’ midfield and more than matching their physicality, and it’s little surprise to see her turn that industry into a beautiful little flick over the top of the defence. Garrett Norwood gets on the end of it and cracks a shot on target, Feldman beats it away, but Laramee glides onto the end of it to drive home the opener. The Crows panic, and Paige Daunten is deeply pressured at the other end, but the finishing touch isn’t quite there… until Mytti Numenen comes on for the Bohemians. He’s been fairly gently eased into the frame thus far - this is his first league appearance for over fifteen minutes - and he rewards the faith with a darting run inside, a deft one-two with Cheney, and blasting a killer blow past Feldman.

The chasing pack draws close - Brinemouth with a hugely convincing 4-0 win over Stahlburg, passing through low block and press like neither was there, Crisisbless putting five past North Laithland’s Stovar Krieven as Kurtis Laiota has his personal game of the season, taking the game by the scruff. At the opposite end of the table, Henrick Barden tries a more open approach against Aries and is rewarded, the Chariots not really seeming to expect an assault. A Christmas tree formation with Bereveskos and McCosgraigh behind Rooke. It’s a nice idea. But there’s not the structure behind them to quite make it work, though they’ll take the point after a cutting drive from Bereveskos gives them a 3-3 draw. Leichhardt’s win over Creed is a dire affair, but perhaps made worth the price of admission by the only goal of the game, an overhead kick from Ernie Stevenson hit beautifully clean to sail by Senninger.

Diamondqueen 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Bishop 1-2 Morningstar
Mantlegrove 2-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Goodfeather FC 3-1 Gonen's Bridge
Iron City 2-1 Corvette Maulers
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Brookford Otters 4-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Armstrong 0-0 Alliance Barossia
Locksley 1-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Cranequin City
West Brinemouth 0-1 Parrhesia United
AFC Rochford 1-1 Raven River

Bridge are a good team full of flawed parts, and one of them, Augustine Catapan, has already picked up a cute name. Specifically, ‘the Statue’ - and the reason why is exposed brutally against a Goodfeather side that excels in quick, precise pass-and-move football, Catapan’s resolute refusal to leave his line under any circumstance leaving him rooted in more ways than one as Leitner orchestrates ways to exploit Mizumaru and Godwin’s pace. Parrhesia’s win over West Brinemouth, featuring a composed defensive midfeld performance from Annika Miller and a lethal strike from Ilia Mueller, should not be a six-pointer, and yet it is. Crisisbless Athletic fans are left in outrage as a blatantly offside Harriet Skiff drifts onto an overhit pass from Muur and cuts inside for Hakan Gryspos to convert the winner. Skiff tries to talk post-match about how she definitely thought she was in line, but breaks kayfabe with guffawing laughter through her hands as her apologetic PR guy tries to drag her away from the cameras.

Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Jinja City FC
AS Virtus 1904 1-3 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 AS Bezieres
AFC Treason 3-3 Keppal Cosmos

Athletic finally get their first points of the campaign, an impressive injury-enforced appearance from winger Thisbe Rouvas capped with the only goal of the game, though it seems that both Athletic and Jinja will already be stuck fighting for third. Brinemouth make fairly short work of Virtus, Iori Saitou leading the line with aplomb and burnishing his case for more regular minutes, while the Moths leave it late before sparky substitute Ysabet Belgrade’s pinpoint cross is just stretched to and tapped home by fellow substitute Joan Vickers, a bit-player by 34 but still with worth, it seems. Treason and Keppal are drawn into a brutally uncompromising shootout, neither goalkeeper exactly excelling. The draw is a fair result, but the Stags in particular will be kicking themselves.

Aries Chariots 1-0 Crisisbless United
Cypher Town 0-3 Crisisbless
Newrook City 1-1 AFC Corvistone
North Laithland 1-0 Coret Hawks
North Sabrefell 0-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 Chatswood
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Brinemouth
Southfell United 2-1 Belgrave
Stahlburg City 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Starling 4-1 South Laithland
AFC Treason 0-0 Leichhardt
Vermillion Rage 2-2 Creed United

The Sword of Damocles hangs over Vermillion, with cunning Qusmi manager Cralt-Nirlo surely kept in the job only by virtue of past glories. Their reluctance to shuffle the pack isn’t helping - but then, what options do they have? Versatile forward Ursa Kinbois is given her first start of the season on the right wing, and fortunately for her, Lyre Castor is injured. Rudolph Orient is decent, unambitious… 31. And Melosa Salek offers overlapping runs. The two of them pluck up an understanding and between them, drive the momentum behind a 2-0 half-time lead over fellow strugglers Creed United. But United have their own lethal winger, and for all Salek’s forward runs she doesn’t do the best job tracking back. Operating in that space, Retta Conrad sets up a brilliant looping cross over the top for Joel Conway to drive home unmarked at the other post, before a clever interplay with the powerful glacier Taani sees her flick a neat one-two and stroke the return pass beyond a stranded Ramelow. A decent point for Creed - are Vermillion really too good to go down? “No,” says Cralt-Nirlo Fox, grimly. Oh.

Are the Crows already getting vertigo? The Rooks are looking better of late, and defensively especially hold out well against Corvistone’s attack - the 1.5 satyrs at the back, Iarrow behind local teenager Reniira Clevinger, contributing more than their share. The Rooks absolutely still have a glass jaw, and benefit from some poor finishing as well, but Tom Duffy’s rare bit of unselfishness to set up Minka Bronson with a clear sight of goal gives them a deserved point. Crisisbless eat up the lead with a convincing 3-0 win in Cypher, but Brinemouth are pegged back by the directness and vigour of the Moths. Nevaeh Cathar perhaps begins to play her way into favour for the Passerines, coming on from the bench to strike twice in twenty minutes to snuff out an attempted fightback from the Southrons, while Stahlberg’s physicality goes from a strength to a liability when two prospective winners in a tightly-contested match with Cranequin are chalked off, for Shi and then for Brujah grappling too vigorously at set pieces.

Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 Bishop
Diamondqueen 0-0 Mantlegrove
Morningstar 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Chardonnay Rangers 0-0 Iron City
Gonen's Bridge 3-1 AFC Serpentine
Corvette Maulers 2-2 Brookford Otters
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Armstrong
Dartmouth Terriers 2-2 Locksley
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Chenoworth Rovers 3-2 West Brinemouth
Cranequin City 1-0 AFC Rochford
Parrhesia United 1-1 Raven River

Remember last season? How the Gulls had a totally insurmountable lead in the second tier and completely beefed it? Well, for an hour they were in Chenoworth, taking the fight to one of the strongest sides in the league, and dominant. With a 2-0 lead, at that, goals from Margate and Martyn backed up by brilliant defensive work from Niadra Anneaux. Anyway, the Rovers win 3-2, a thunderbolt from Forrest paving the way for Patton’s brace, and the Gulls even threw away the chance to level when Martyn draws, and then skies, a penalty. Vermillion are hoist by their own petard, Istria Saara powering home a header off a corner. A corner taken by Bishop’s Faiza Huyton. Cranequin City look composed and confident in a 1-0 victory over Rochford that nobody really expected to be dragging them away from the bottom - they look like they’ve been stripped bare, and Kosta Kolar seems to have been destroyed by his Premiership inadequacy - 21-year old Karolin Forde gets the only goal of the game here.

Crisisbless 1-1 Aries Chariots
AFC Corvistone 2-1 Crisisbless United
Coret Hawks 0-0 Cypher Town
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Newrook City
Chatswood 2-1 North Laithland
Brinemouth 1-1 North Sabrefell
Belgrave 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Cranequin Wanderers 2-2 Sabrefell Moths
South Laithland 2-1 Southfell United
Leichhardt 1-1 Stahlburg City
Creed United 3-2 Starling
Vermillion Rage 0-1 AFC Treason

Is Diandra Ballard the manager a match for Ballard the goalkeeper? So far, signs are pointing to no. Creed have not managed to arrest their backslide starting from halfway into last season. They’re missing Keskin appallingly, injuries have ravaged the squad, and the only consistent goalscorer is a satyr who turns 35 next week. But the Passerines have hardly been in the best shape, either, not quite the disaster of their early stumbles but nor are they exactly clicking, Amos shuffling pieces looking for a winning formula. On this evidence, Victor Sorloth and Fernand Way aren’t any part of it - neither homegrown player does too well for themselves rotated in, though a screamer from Varina Roebling gets things going in the right stead. But permissive finishing from Netzach and Dostalok give Senninger the chance to make saves he shouldn’t, before a brace of Barbarouses free kicks sandwich Morgana Kolaj’s unexpected but increasingly frequent run and finish from deep. It’s the rightback’s third goal of the season, somehow? And that puts the game out of reach, and nobody’s fooled when Sorloth doesn’t quite make up for his defensive inadequacy by heading home a corner late on. Fasolt Senninger’s still called into action twice more from sharp strikes out of the box, but when the match is over, the Oathmen celebrate like they’ve won the World Cup and Lisa Amos grimaces like she’s just been force-fed a raw slug.

No other game has as many as those five goals, in a fairly tense weekend. Chatswood fight back from a goal down from the Spiders, with a quite literal helping hand from Severa Conleth to control a fairly shabby ball over the top from Hammond. The finish afterwards was spectacular, lofting the cushioned ball beautifully over Stovar Krieven. Krieven, even more beautifully, passive-aggressively strips his gloves and presses them into Conleth’s hands as she celebrates the goal, which comes damn near close to clearing the benches to fight. Paarsimer Jaan tries to headbutt the vastly shorter Andrea Prentice, and misses; Matej Beltrame does subtly punch Caulker in the spleen, and the referee does catch this one. Beltrame sees red, and the fresh gap in midfield lets Prentice fire home a late and vital winner. Against South Laithland, Southfell goalkeeper Loris Aldous pulls up after 81 minutes, just a minute and a half after George Jayson used his last substitute. Erik Marlowe, at the tail end of his career and making a rare start, is less than pleased to be putting on the gloves - it’s a less than fairytale appearance, either, as he fumbles a very savable shot from Remy Dionne and flails it into the net, the Southrons’ winning goal. At the top of the table, the Crows pick up again. Like Crisisbless and Brinemouth, they’re 1-1 hosting weaker visitors going into injury time; unlike either of them, Rachel Arniston finds a way to break through Meixner with a searing strike.

Mantlegrove 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Bishop
Iron City 2-0 Diamondqueen
AFC Serpentine 3-1 Morningstar
Brookford Otters 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Armstrong 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Locksley 4-0 Corvette Maulers
Crisisbless Athletic 2-4 Stahlburg Rovers
West Brinemouth 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
AFC Rochford 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Raven River 1-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Parrhesia United 2-2 Cranequin City

Utterly bizarre scenes in Locksley. Out of nowhere - absolutely nowhere! - they take the Maulers apart, Taurus Rhind’s indecisiveness at dealing with crosses so brutally exposed that at half-time, with Marika Kreisberg having gone from two to four goals on the season and Finchcleft driving home the third, Rhind goes into the tunnel and Emilien Marisnick comes out. The callow 21-year old does a little better, but could still have saved a strike from Reno Stubbs that winds up being the fourth and final, and the Maulers can’t even get a goal of their own against one of the worst defences the league has ever seen. And after the match, Hydrangea Dimitriades… immediately announces her resignation. No, her retirement. “I’m an old woman, now, with nothing left to prove,” she says, which isn’t quite true - she never did quite crack the Premiership, truly. “I want to go out on a high, and this season is going to offer precious few highs before we crash out. Better to give the team the maximum opportunity to rebuild.” Corren Meadows takes over from the reserves.

Sabrefell Athletic 0-2 Olympia FC
Black Hawks NFX 1-0 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Wanda Island Wanderers
AFC Treason 0-1 Oldem Knights

It’s hard to imagine a worse day of results in Nepharim history, in terms of expectations - everyone but Brinemouth was a top seed hosting a bottom seed, for fuck’s sake! Though there’s no shame in losing to any of these opponents. Such is the nature of the Champions League.

Aries Chariots 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Crisisbless 1-0 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless United 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Cypher Town 1-0 Chatswood
Newrook City 1-2 Brinemouth
North Laithland 1-2 Belgrave
North Sabrefell 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Sabrefell Athletic 2-0 South Laithland
Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Leichhardt
Southfell United 2-2 Creed United
Stahlburg City 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Starling 1-3 AFC Treason

Starling and Treason are two sides in need of a turnaround. Both have struggled domestically and neither has exactly lit it up abroad, either. Injuries have played their part, especially for the Stags - if everyone was fit, Fairfax, Cronin and 37-year old goalkeeper Karena Hesketh would not be in line to start today, but the Passerines are missing Liam Armstrong. Badly, as it turns out. It starts even, but when a ball spins clear of the box after being sloppily hacked away by Visser, Mikkel Jonsson moves quickly to take it down beautifully and strikes it even more beautifully past however many gormless defenders and the stationary goalkeeper Smordal. Again, luck plays a part - Dostalok lashes a strike across everyone, Hesketh relieved beyond words to see it hammer the post behind her, and that means Accardi’s goal (set up from Fairfax from the opposite wing) is the killer, on the hour. Va’Afaja’s cross is headed home by Metzger just two minutes later, giving the scoreline a rather unfair gloss. A thumping header in return from Roxel in the 84th minute makes it a little more reflective of the flow of the game.

Aside from that, it was a day of hugely important 1-0 wins. Tense. Ones for purists. Corvistone and Crisisbless both won against tough opponents, with goalkeepers Feldman and Na’Kefir both hugely influential, while the Moths failed to keep chase as an unashamedly defensive Leichhardt kept tight at the back, holding midfielder Vintner and goalkeeper Adekoya excelling themselves (and, in fairness, the Moths having two very credible penalty shouts turned down) before a spectacular scissor-kick from Stevenson was… rather disappointingly, parried by Griffin, but Connie Reiziger was there to pick off the scraps. North Sabrefell edge out Cranequin in the battle of the back threes, a stifling game with many bodies and few chances, an optimistic effort from Petrovic diverted home by a stretching Victoria Maersk. And at the very bottom, struggling Cypher Town have seen Henrick Barden roll just about every kind of dice. An intriguing concept to put Andrea Bereveskos up front pays dividends when Janna Sauthier hits her in stride with a beautiful pass as she strides through a static Chatswood defence, before drilling low past Nova Williams.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Mantlegrove 2-0 Iron City
Bishop 0-4 AFC Serpentine
Diamondqueen 0-0 Brookford Otters
Morningstar 0-2 Armstrong
Chardonnay Rangers 0-0 Locksley
Gonen's Bridge 2-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Corvette Maulers 2-0 West Brinemouth
Stahlburg Rovers 2-0 AFC Rochford
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Raven River
Alliance Barossia 0-3 Parrhesia United
Chenoworth Rovers 3-1 Cranequin City

Armstrong have gone from a promotion push under Warner Dranz to one point in five games (and being taken to extra time by lowly fourth-tier Strephonage in the Cup) under Reece Benedict, and there’s a bitterness in the away end. Bluntly, it’s been a while since anything exciting happened for the Paladins. So there’s a good chance that Kohr and Pawnbroker’s goals - the teenager had initially been shelved by Benedict - and Yeoman’s clean sheet against Morningstar just saved his job. Alliance’s 3-0 defeat to Parrhesia United shows the difference between genuine relegation material and good players just toying with shitness; Bishop’s 4-0 defeat to Serpentine is even worse. New Locksley manager Corren Meadows, restoring Daineri veteran goalkeeper Iselin to the starting lineup, gets a clean sheet as a reward. If it’s good enough for pretty much every National League side, well...

Armstrong 0-1 Southfell United
Greygate 0-1 South Laithland
Caldwick Strand 1-5 Vermillion Rage
Southriver 3-3 Newrook City (4-3 AET)
Crossroads Town 2-2 Raven River (2-2 AET, 5-4 PKs)
Hartford Glade 2-6 Downsparrow
Aries Chariots 3-4 Cranequin Wanderers
Extreme Hills 3-1 North Laithland
Cypher Town 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Brinemouth 2-2 Peregrine (2-5 AET)
AFC Rochford 0-1 Diamondqueen
Coret Rovers 1-0 The Strongest
Barossia United 1-1 Parrhesia United (1-2 AET)
North Sabrefell 0-0 Alliance Barossia (1-0 AET)
Riverkey 1-2 Creed United
Crisisbless 2-0 Bishop
Brookford Otters 3-2 Mapleford
Gonen's Bridge 2-2 Gosmouth Swans (2-3 AET)
Chenoworth Harriers 3-0 Starling
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 AFC Treason
Falston United 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers (1-1 AET, 7-6 PKs)
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Morningstar
Sabrefell Athletic 0-1 Coret Hawks
Leichhardt 5-0 Iron City
AFC Corvistone 0-0 Corinthians No Longer (1-1 AET, 4-5 PKs)
Crisisbless United 5-0 Iron United
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Martella Jazz
Chatswood 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Ox River United 1-1 Mantlegrove (2-2 AET, 3-4 PKs)
Belgrave 3-2 Stahlburg City
The Hanged Man 1-0 Hackett
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Ballardine FC

The Premiership sides have arrived. It’s a rough day for the city of Iron - United face off against Crisisbless United and get flattened 5-0, which is little surprise because the Chequers have a history of Cup annihilations and Iron United aren’t very good, but more surprisingly, City get pumped by the same scoreline by Leichhardt. Gloria Kewell gets her first minutes of the season, and rewards her side with a hat-trick by the hour mark. Jess Hearn’s Hounds pummel an on-paper vastly superior North Laithland in a Laith derby, with Spiders manager Hestia Canaan decrying that “these morons get paid too damn much to concede a brace to Nori fucking Harcutt!” Corvistone-Corinthians and Ox River-Mantlegrove both end up going to extra time, both sides scoring in extra time, and a penalty win for the away side. Newrook come unstuck against a clinical Southriver, though it would help if Rook Gilzean could make just a single save, even with Hauer and Saebener firing straight down his throat. Kaara Iarrow’s place in goal, one imagines, just got secured tighter than ever. Southriver’s defence isn’t exactly ironclad either, but in extra time they get the scalp. Not a scalp, but still impressive - the Harriers ruthlessly expose Starling’s lack of depth, a 3-0 win also helping rehabilitate troublemaking striker Tom Whittaker’s image with a tidy and, yes, professional performance. But that’s not the most humiliating defeat, the title of which undoubtedly lands at the feet of Brinemouth. Hosting third-tier Peregrine, fine, sure, make all the changes you want, hand out some debuts. 2-2 by ninety minutes, well, that isn’t good. Isn’t great. Conceding three goals in extra time? Iona Britton’s caught on camera muttering “I need to fucking retire” after a pinpoint Lorcan Peck pass leaves the veteran goalkeeper exposed yet again. Henrick Barden doesn’t follow the Andrea Vardalos ‘no rotation, no retreat’ mantra - his B-List get beaten 2-1 at home by third-tier Boltcroft, Apotheosis Kaskanis bullying the second-string defence and technical midfielder Exene Fletcher showcasing her talents. Caldwick Strand, straight off pulping a bottom-tier club 9-0, get pulped 5-1 at home by Vermillion. That’s how it feels, eh? Belgrave lure Stahlburg’s second-string into a shootout, and they come out ahead, the Wanderers score four to beat the Chariots, and the Moths make heavy weather of visiting and beating Chatswood in a full-blooded clash.

Coret Hawks 2-1 Aries Chariots
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Chatswood 3-3 Crisisbless
Brinemouth 7-5 Crisisbless United
Belgrave 2-0 Cypher Town
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 Newrook City
South Laithland 2-0 North Laithland
Leichhardt 3-1 North Sabrefell
Creed United 3-6 Sabrefell Athletic
Vermillion Rage 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Treason 2-1 Southfell United
Starling 1-2 Stahlburg City

It’s 5pm Sunday at the Eagles Club. Brinemouth are flying. Crisisbless United are adequate, which by the standards of their wage bill also means they are flying. And they score first, dipping volley from Solbachen parried by Bull, cleared by Windtide but not far, Antelmi blocking it with his chest and rattling home. Dockers level in the 11th minute through Kuznetsov, then lead in the 14th through… Kuznetsov. Teenage winger Minerva Swanmore gets her first Premiership goal to equalise in the 19th. The football is fast, fluid, proficient. Meixner pulls off a brilliant save from Kuznetsov, then a routine one from Kesteren, but there’s nothing he can do against Deventer; 3-2 Brinemouth. 4-2 on the stroke of half-time, United fail to clear a corner, but it’s not through yet; 4-3 on the 50th minute, 4-4 by the 58th, Tanith Carter’s turn for a brace. And then back in the lead, Carter twisting clear and unselfishly centring to the far post, Elsa Kaelin deftly tapping home. 73rd minute, Brinemouth penalty, a contentious decision - 74th minute, Brinemouth are level. From there, regrettably, United lose their heads - Garner takes a second caution - and their cool, and the game. They hold fast for a while but are clearly tiring, tiring enough to leave Saitou an unmarked header in the area. Saitou, who has a brilliant cameo all things considered, then plays provider - it’s Tambra Matalin who makes it 7-5 and secures the first match of that scoreline in modern Premiership history, tying the record for the most goals in a game with a couple of 8-4s. One of which… was Athletic 8-4 Crisisbless United, back in Cycle 59.

They aren’t the only ones to feel the goal-rush, as Sabrefell Athletic decide to stop trying to defend crosses and set pieces and still comfortably beat Creed 6-3. Xixi Ens arguably makes the difference on his own with a virtuoso performance. Crisisbless themselves also get sucked into a goalfest, basic defensive errors costing them dear against a limited but determined Chatswood, Ivana Henderson’s brace securing a 3-3 draw late on. Starling just can’t put a game to bed against Stahlburg City, and a Stahlburg City putting a teenager up front at that. Viviana Strephon (favoured to Ward with Shi injured) might not get on the scoresheer, but she does make good runs and leave room for Osarian duo Henry and Lane to get the job done. And the long-awaited resumption of semi-hostilities in the Laith ends in a 2-0 win for the Southrons, Gareth Hartmuth immense in goal for them and big man Matthias Bergander’s brace ensuring that this may be the first of many to come.

Iron City 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 1-3 Goodfeather FC
Brookford Otters 6-0 Mantlegrove
Armstrong 2-0 Bishop
Locksley 0-4 Diamondqueen
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 Morningstar
West Brinemouth 2-3 Chardonnay Rangers
AFC Rochford 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Raven River 2-1 Corvette Maulers
Parrhesia United 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Cranequin City 2-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Alliance Barossia

Everyone knew Brookford had the potential to go flying out of the gates, and against a permissive Mantlegrove they get the chance to show it. Moxie Crowe, a rightback playing an unfamiliar role on the right wing, opens the scoring by hitting, hoping and finding the top corner, before breaking clear of the defence and centring for an unmarked Walsh to roll home past the hopelessly exposed Ilon Venator. Venator was then beaten at his near post by Dejana Petersen, the veteran winger making a rare start, before Bairstow, Walsh again and Riitsi finished them off. For the second time this season, Corona Sharpe misses a penalty and goes on to score a brace, though admittedly the first is directly off the rebound from that penalty save by Spyrakis - it’s enough to see them past the injury-hit Saints, for whom teenage winger Nikola Swann nets a first senior goal. Iron and Vermillion cancel one another out in a dire occasion, Hornwood and Randwick just catching cross after cross after cross.

Tanrisal 3-4 Sabrefell Athletic
Brinemouth 0-1 Northern Stallions
Rozelle 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Kingsgrove 0-2 AFC Treason

Tanrisal and Athletic just go all-out for each other, though that’s basically been the way that Tani’s played it with everyone in the group - by the time the dust settles, they’ve scored sixteen goals, but Athletic have seized the day through the odd goal in seven. Rightback Steve Fox, in the event, popping up with the decisive blow. Brinemouth go down rather miserably to the Stallions, Andre Naulo scoring all too easily at the far post, the Dockers lacking fluency. A promotional deal cracked up between the Moths and Stags subsidises fans who want to stay in Rozelle for the long haul, going straight from the Moths’ match to the later Stags one on the same night. The result is a red, white and green wave hitting Brenecia’s capital, and well-rewarded - first, Cathal Turner and Zoe Aedelbrandt outshoot Ivo Romanov, and then Kingsgrove are simply mauled, goals from McInnes and Fletcher getting the job done. Handy it’s the Moths and Stags; what other club in the nation doesn’t hate Treason?

Group A                                                      	EFL	PAS	NPH	BNJ
1 Olympia FC EFL 6 4 2 0 13 3 10 14 - 1-1 4-0 2-1
2 Tanrısal PAS 6 3 2 1 16 10 6 11 1-1 - 3-4 6-3

3 Sabrefell Athletic NPH 6 2 0 4 7 15 -8 6 0-2 0-1 - 1-0
4 Jinja City FC BNJ 6 1 0 5 10 18 -8 3 0-3 1-4 5-2 -

Group B                                                      	NPH	BRE	NFX	LIS
1 Brinemouth NPH 6 3 1 2 8 4 4 10 - 0-1 2-0 2-0
2 Northern Stallions BRE 6 2 3 1 7 6 1 9 * 1-1 - 0-3 1-1

3 Black Hawks NFX NFX 6 3 0 3 7 7 0 9 * 1-0 0-3 - 0-2
4 AS Virtus 1904 LIS 6 1 2 3 5 10 -5 5 1-3 1-1 0-3 -
Northern Stallions above Black Hawks NFX by goal difference

Group F                                                      	AFT	NPH	BRE	VLD
1 Wanda Island Wanderers AFT 6 4 1 1 11 7 4 13 * - 1-0 1-0 4-2
2 Sabrefell Moths NPH 6 4 1 1 12 5 7 13 * 1-1 - 4-1 2-1

3 Rozelle BRE 6 2 0 4 8 10 -2 6 3-1 1-2 - 3-1
4 AS Bezieres VLD 6 1 0 5 6 15 -9 3 1-3 0-3 1-0 -
Wanda Island Wanderers ahead of Sabrefell Moths by head to head results

Group H                                                      	APX	NPH	ZWZ	BRE
1 Oldem Knights APX 6 4 2 0 7 1 6 14 - 2-0 3-1 1-0
2 AFC Treason NPH 6 2 2 2 8 8 0 8 0-1 - 3-3 2-1

3 Keppal Cosmos ZWZ 6 1 3 2 8 10 -2 6 0-0 1-1 - 1-2
4 Kingsgrove BRE 6 1 1 4 4 8 -4 4 0-0 0-2 1-2 -

Athletic’s victory is by far too little too late to secure a second-round berth, but does at least grab third place. Brinemouth top a narrow group, despite defeat against the Stallions. The Moths’ victory is largely immaterial, but it always feels good to take a win from Brenecia - Treason get the same result in the same city and need it to clamber over the competition.

Group A                                                      	COS	NPH	FFD	STL
1 Crawford City FC COS 6 4 0 2 16 12 4 12 - 1-2 1-2 4-3
2 Starling NPH 6 3 2 1 9 5 4 11 1-2 - 0-0 3-1

3 René Skaé FFD 6 2 3 1 7 8 -1 9 0-3 1-1 - 2-2
4 Energija Chernovets STL 6 0 1 5 11 18 -7 1 4-5 0-2 1-2 -

Group F                                                      	BNJ	SCT	NPH	VIL
1 Herzegovina City FC BNJ 6 4 2 0 18 3 15 14 - 1-1 2-2 6-0
2 Port Sebastian SCT 6 3 2 1 8 6 2 11 0-3 - 1-0 0-0

3 Coret Hawks NPH 6 2 1 3 10 7 3 7 0-2 0-2 - 5-0
4 Eastal Lunar VIL 6 0 1 5 2 22 -20 1 0-4 2-4 0-3 -

Group G                                                      	NPH	SCT	STL	VLD
1 Crisisbless NPH 6 3 2 1 9 6 3 11 - 3-0 2-0 1-1
2 Cornellians SCT 6 3 0 3 8 8 0 9 1-2 - 1-0 3-0

3 FC Teussen Stelburg STL 6 2 1 3 6 7 -1 7 3-0 1-3 - 0-0
4 Metropolis Alligators VLD 6 1 3 2 5 7 -2 6 1-1 2-0 1-2 -

Pretty staid performances across the board, Starling and Crisisbless qualifying with three wins, Coret falling short with two. And Coret’s wins were both against a… a weirdly terrible Eastal Lunar? 8-0 on aggregate? Unfortunately, they only score two goals against the other teams.

   Group A                  	Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD Pts 	BRE	EUR	NPH	BRN
1 Rosbank Town BRE 6 3 1 2 8 5 3 10 * - 0-0 0-1 0-1
2 Whitepill EUR 6 3 1 2 8 6 2 10 * 1-3 - 2-0 1-3

3 Leichhardt NPH 6 3 0 3 7 8 -1 9 0-2 0-3 - 5-1
4 Dynamo Rogak BRN 6 2 0 4 7 11 -4 6 2-3 0-1 0-1 -
* Rosbank Town ahead of Whitepill on head-to-head results

   Group F                  	Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD Pts 	BNJ	COS	VAL	NPH
1 Bwubanza City SC BNJ 6 4 0 2 8 4 4 12 - 0-1 3-0 0-3
2 Fevelo Colony COS 6 2 2 2 4 4 0 8 0-2 - 1-1 0-0

3 Samarga United VAL 6 2 1 3 4 8 -4 7 * 0-2 0-2 - 1-0
4 Cranequin Wanderers NPH 6 2 1 3 4 4 0 7 * 0-1 1-0 0-2 -
* Samarga United ahead of Cranequin Wanderers on head-to-head results

Leichhardt stayed focused on a gruelling relegation battle and their results suffered for it in a bizarre group where leaders Rosbank won all their away matches and didn’t even get a goal at home, while Cranequin can be proud of a 3-0 win in Bwubanza but still go home in last place.

Port Sebastian 0-3 Parrhesia United

Unusually for Nepharim sides, the Saints go in as distinct underdogs. But even an apparently mediocre First Division side is decent. And it is hardly a vintage showing from Porty. Adele Rosborough is allowed to run the game from midfield, shielded expertly by Telviir and brutally by a Gareth Shotbolt out for redemption after poor league form - Rosborough snaps home a strike from the edge of the box on the half-hour just as it looked like Porty were seriously going to test the Saints’ defences, and goals from Fohler and

Aries Chariots 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Coret Hawks 0-1 Chatswood
AFC Corvistone 0-0 Brinemouth
Crisisbless 2-0 Belgrave
Crisisbless United 2-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Cypher Town 0-1 South Laithland
Newrook City 1-1 Leichhardt
North Laithland 0-0 Creed United
North Sabrefell 1-3 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Athletic 1-2 AFC Treason
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 Starling
Southfell United 0-0 Stahlburg City

Why are the Rage so, so bad? The answer is easy - a crisis in recruitment meaning that when the established guns stop firing, nobody is ready to step up. Some aren’t really their fault. Defensively, in particular, Cierra Anderson and Nike Rouphos should be better than this, but teenager Ari Maurer starts this game at leftback after Rouphos is found making bitter comments to the press about how this was supposed to be her move up in the world. Which, it was. Striker Danica Heward has a creditable eight goals but there are too few contributions elsewhere. North Sabrefell, meanwhile, are sliding precipitously and need to overturn it badly. But just six minutes in, Syrene Fleetwood has already threaded Danica Heward through the Bohemians’ three flat-footed defenders, Heward centres for the run of Kinbois and hurdles the charging Daunten and Kinbois… well, rather scuffs it into the net, really. Two minutes later, Maersk has already struck level with a thumping strike. But Vermillion aren’t perturbed, and stay the course. Paige Daunten keeps the Bohemians in it in the first half, but an angled volley from Heward and a first goal of the season for midfielder Marek Fifield secure a vital and deserved 3-1 win that might just save Cralt-Nirlo’s job. For now.

Elsewhere, there’s a series of big-ticket occasions at the top of town, even if each is individually a less interesting game. Hadrian Belfast still knows caution, you don’t open yourself up in front of Brinemouth. The Crows do have the better of the game, but a couple of Gareth Blackthorn’s unglamorous recent signings prove their undoing in front of goal, most painfully including Ilyana Brosch who only just left the Crows. The Moths get bogged down in midfield by Starling, but is that really the best the Passerines can aspire to? It doesn’t work, in any case, becuase Solara Vol is fucking massive and Zoe Aedelbrandt could find a far smaller target with ease in any case. And Cheney Bittencourt regains some trust for Treason elsewhere in Sabrefell, as young defenders Lockheed and Sale manage to shut down Ens and Tarala. No easy feat, that. Athletic still take an early lead, a grasscutter from Orsolya Gere skimming past Hesketh’s fingertips, but second-half goals from Jonsson and Metzger give the Stags the win they deserve.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Iron City 1-1 Brookford Otters
Goodfeather FC 3-0 Armstrong
Mantlegrove 2-1 Locksley
Bishop 2-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Diamondqueen 5-3 West Brinemouth
Morningstar 1-0 AFC Rochford
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Raven River
Gonen's Bridge 0-3 Parrhesia United
Corvette Maulers 4-0 Cranequin City
Stahlburg Rovers 3-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Alliance Barossia

Perhaps buoyed by their CWC performance, the Saints pick up a vital and unexpected three points at Gonen’s Bridge with a crushing 3-0 win. Not that anyone was expecting Bridge to go in as standout favourites against Parrhesia at the start of the season. Bridge aren’t awful, just off the pace by a touch, which is far better than one could say for a deplorable Armstrong, whose limp 3-0 defeat to a Mizumaru-driven Goodfeather intensifies calls for Reece Benedict’s head, or Cranequin City, annihilated 4-0 by Corvette. Stahlburg Rovers outshoot Chenoworth Rovers in a fiercely contested promotion clash, a proper old-school tussle in harsh winds, while West Brinemouth’s rare and startling output of three goals against Diamondqueen is outweighed by sloppy defending giving the Diamonds five of their own.

Parrhesia United 2-2 Port Sebastian
Parrhesia United win 5-2 on aggregate.

With the tie basically settled, there’s a thematic striker’s duel between Keeva Crowe and Raven Dallas - each gets on the scoresheet in the first half. Former Premiership mainstay Brae Crowther puts Porty in the lead just before the hour, a scything cross converted by Katherina Meyer, a leftback evidently trying to attract the attention of the Nepharim scouts in the crowd judging by a strong performance overall, and Colvin Brooks - eligible for Nephara, apparently - comes off the bench to rattle a strike against the crossbar just before the ninetieth minute. Pity he didn’t; Saints winger Nikola Swann celebrates the eve of her 20th birthday with the equaliser in injury time.

Chatswood 1-0 Aries Chariots
Brinemouth 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Belgrave 1-4 Coret Hawks
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 AFC Corvistone
South Laithland 0-1 Crisisbless
Leichhardt 0-1 Crisisbless United
Creed United 0-1 Cypher Town
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Newrook City
AFC Treason 3-3 North Laithland
Starling 1-0 North Sabrefell
Stahlburg City 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Southfell United 1-2 Sabrefell Moths

Who are Treason’s fiercest rivals? They’re certainly Brinemouth’s fiercest rivals, and also Chatswood’s. Most likely still Stahlburg City’s. Certainly South Laithland’s. Hell, they even had a running rivalry with Blau-Weiss Pallstadt when Buyan’s league was in its pomp. But really, really, it’s North Laithland that Treason most want to beat every year. Certainly the Spiders play like it, pressing enthusiastically and aggressively, Beltrame and Roberts both picking up early bookings for scything down their marks. But that pays off - all it takes is a poor pass from Ferena Rauch, perhaps rushed back too soon from injury, to be eaten up by Ettori, slid to Chloe Asquith and, from there, a neat interplay with Griffin Kendall, Asquith stepping over the return ball to fool Stride and Matej Beltrame behind her rifling home on the first-time. But Treason are Treason; inexorable. In the 41st minute, after the Spiders think they’ve kept up the pressure, Mikkel Jonsson strikes back from nowhere. Just after half-time the Spiders pick up where they left off, a long passing move culminates in a smooth finish from leftback Posipal… and then John Fletcher heads home at the other end. Luke Roberts earns a penalty, sends it too close to Hesketh but converts the rebound… and then Jonsson sets up Fairfax to rifle home the leveller. “You just can’t squash the bastards, they’re like roaches,” says a weary Spiders manager, Hestia Canaan, after the final whistle.

Stahlburg City take an early lead against Sabrefell Athletic courtesy of the effervescent Aurelie Henry, buoyed on by Douglas Tibet. Unfortunately for the Smiths, they’re too passive from there, trying to sit on the goal rather than build on it. It can’t last forever, despite a heroic effort from their defence, as Prant-Telew fumbles a strike from Coltrane that’s too hot to handle and Tarala sweeps home the parry. They’re still happy to take the point… but lose even that, when a tired, slack pass from Dorian Ballard is stolen by Dominique, diverted to Westerveld, and crossed for Xixi Ens to whip under the sprawling Prant-Telew. Creed choose an absolutely awful time to fall flat at home, Ruo Xiaolan repelling a wide variety of mediocre strikes, Kynda-Sevet played through by Bereveskos to stroke home the winner for Cypher. And on a round of no fewer than ten one-goal victories, Coret Hawks stand out by destroying Belgrave 4-1 away, Dragan Stavanger’s muscle too much to cope with and resulting in a tidy second-half hat-trick.

Brookford Otters 0-3 Vermillion Wanderers
Armstrong 3-0 AFC Serpentine
Locksley 1-2 Iron City
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Goodfeather FC
West Brinemouth 0-1 Mantlegrove
AFC Rochford 0-1 Bishop
Raven River 0-1 Diamondqueen
Parrhesia United 0-0 Morningstar
Cranequin City 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Chenoworth Rovers 4-0 Gonen's Bridge
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Corvette Maulers
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 Stahlburg Rovers

Mantlegrove snatch a vital three points in Brinemouth, Marisa Ohashima deployed in a more comfortable midfield role (“It feels wrong giving a defensive midfielder the number 3, but it works,” Daniel Archer reflects) and Duprey setting up Foster for the only goal. Another axe falls, as it becomes more and more obvious that the Gulls badly overestimated their squad and underestimated the need to rejuvenate. Curiously, the Gulls precede their official statement with ‘Sorry, Ulrich…’ which sort of makes sense given the undeniable success he brought the club, but results aren’t good enough. Marko Gaston steps up in his place from the reserves. Not inspiring. Vermillion crush Brookford 3-0 away, Saara heading one in and setting up Kovaleski with a luscious knock-down, Yolandi Heimat coming off the bench to add the finishing touch. Chenoworth cruise past Bridge 4-0, Sabrina Patton dancing into open space time and again and finishing with a hat-trick, capping off explosive recent form in style.
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Aries Chariots 2-2 Brinemouth
Chatswood 0-0 Belgrave
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Coret Hawks 1-2 South Laithland
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Leichhardt
Crisisbless 3-1 Creed United
Crisisbless United 2-0 Vermillion Rage
Cypher Town 2-2 AFC Treason
Newrook City 1-2 Starling
North Laithland 1-0 Stahlburg City
North Sabrefell 2-1 Southfell United
Sabrefell Athletic 4-0 Sabrefell Moths

The Crows teeter, but they remain triumphantly on top. They’ll feel aggrieved they didn’t take three points against a Leichhardt side that really appears to be finding its feet at this level, but Feldman had her own scrambling saves to make. A 1-1 draw keeps them in the lead, but Crisisbless shred the lead to a single point after taking down Creed breezily, resting the overworked Bowman and Abylon in the process. Most strikingly, Athletic cruise into third off the back of a derby win, one that will remain near and dear to Rams’ hearts for some time. Tarala and Gere open the score, Solara Vol has a penalty clawed around the post by Gautier, Townsend hits the upright with a half-volley and Tarala hits them back after a protracted counter, and Oscar Coltrane - who else? - finishes them off. Brinemouth can only draw with the Chariots and Treason, mystifyingly, with Cypher - that rounds out the top six, with Stahlburg, despite a limp defeat to the Spiders, hanging onto seventh. Starling close the gap to two points after beating a revitalised Newrook, with North Laithland and Coret Hawks rounding out the top ten.

The relegation picture is striking, not only for those it does include but those it does not, at present; Cranequin Wanderers are five points clear, Leichhardt eight, South Laithland eleven. Crisisbless United, another side tipped to struggle, are also looking to be guided clear by rising managerial star Tim Maitfield and the goals of Tanith Carter. Safe? Not yet. But they’d have taken this, if offered at the start of the season. So too, most likely, would the north Sabrefell sides - most obviously North Sabrefell through goals from Numenen and Polacek accounting for a disjointed Southfell, but also Belgrave, who show resilience and desire to gut out a scoreless draw in Chatswood despite an uninspired attacking performance, former Treason winger Keynes the only one to rise to the occasion. The Gargoyles draw level with and in between Newrook and Creed, straddling 19th and 21st after defeats, with the Axes in 22nd. Vermillion are easily beaten by Crisisbless United, but Cralt-Nirlo retains their job - Cypher, at the foot of the table, look doomed. But even now, three wins on the spin could change that.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Armstrong
Brookford Otters 2-2 Locksley
AFC Serpentine 1-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Iron City 0-0 West Brinemouth
Goodfeather FC 4-2 AFC Rochford
Mantlegrove 0-4 Raven River
Bishop 0-1 Parrhesia United
Diamondqueen 2-1 Cranequin City
Morningstar 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Chardonnay Rangers 2-2 Alliance Barossia
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Corvette Maulers 1-3 Stahlburg Rovers

Victory for three of the top four solidifies the promotion situation, as Brookford’s disappointing home draw against Locksley means there’s now a five-point gap between fourth and fifth (now Vermillion, after a 1-0 win over Armstrong). Stahlburg Rovers are at the top of the roost with a three-point gap of their own, following a convincing 3-1 win in Corvette masterminded by the irrepressible Monika Talay, with the other Rovers not far off despite slipping in Morningstar, outmuscled with a brutality that has Chris Waller criticising the permissiveness of Nepharim referees as a whole. Diamonds and River round out the top four, the former having too much for Cranequin City, the latter hammering Mantlegrove 4-0 in Treason.

Both those opponents will be looking over their shoulders, as are a Bishop side that are the latest victims of a suddenly in-form Parrhesia side putting some room between themselves and the drop. Crisisbless Athletic pull out of the danger zone as the excellence of wingers Kaskanis and Miller lets them outshoot a Serpentine side that simply didn’t have answers for between the lines of their flat formation, leaving Rochford in 20th. The Terriers also manage a hugely impressive, resilient victory, brutish Bronwyn Forrest’s bullet header the only goal of the game against Gonen’s Bridge, Stefan Heidenreich with nine saves to keep the clean sheet. And the bottom three, despite everything, all draw. That’s a good result for Alliance, holding Rangers in Chardonnay, but rather too little, too late, for a West Brinemouth side who can only snap a run of nine straight defeats by drawing Iron but who still haven’t won since literally Matchday 6, and a Locksley team who have been pretty much doomed since the first game kicked off.

Extreme Hills 2-1 Crisisbless Athletic
North Sabrefell 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Crossroads Town 1-1 Gosmouth Swans (2-1 AET)
Leichhardt 2-2 AFC Treason (3-2 AET)
Boltcroft Thorns 1-3 South Laithland
Belgrave 2-1 Mantlegrove
Cranequin Wanderers 3-0 Corinthians No Longer
Coret Hawks 2-1 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 1-4 Brookford Otters
Falston United 2-2 Creed United (3-2 AET)
Diamondqueen 4-2 Crisisbless United
Coret Rovers 0-2 The Hanged Man
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Morningstar (2-1 AET)
Ballardine FC 1-1 Southfell United (1-2 AET)
Southriver 1-1 Peregrine (1-1 AET, 8-9 PKs)
Downsparrow 1-6 Parrhesia United

Credit is due to Downsparrow, the last club outside the top three divisions to stay in the competition, but enough is quite enough as Parrhesia prove a bridge too far. Raven Dallas’ hat-trick paves the way to a 6-1 win, and that’s enough of that. In Crisisbless, the student overcomes the master, as the Heelers’ backup goalkeeper Philoctetes Giannou gets a runout against his former club, Brookford. But Brookford were never really all that fussed about selling Giannou when the spectacular Aranea Provost was waiting in the wings, and Provost promptly makes eight saves against the Heelers as Giannou makes precisely zero, shipping four to a clinical, beautiful Brookford side who can really flow when on-form. They aren’t the only heavy-hitter to bow out, as the Hawks knock out the Moths and Leichhardt triumph over the Stags in extra time, meaning the field suddenly looks very open indeed. Extreme Hills manager Jess Hearn continues to burnish a growing legend, masterminding a 2-1 scalp over Crisisbless Athletic, while a rare goal from Cornucopia Younis sees Falston United overcome Creed in extra time. A couple other Second Division sides scrape through, with Southriver and Peregrine playing one another and following up 120 minutes of indifferent football with a hugely engaging penalty shootout, a 9-8 scoreline in Peregrine’s favour through fourteen rounds of penalties. Crisisbless United manager Tim Maitfield talks a really good game about taking advantage of midtable stability to really go for the Cup and promptly gets turned over 4-2 by an exuberant Diamondqueen looking to crush everyone in their path. If you ever doubt that Elaine Koeller is doing an impressive job for the Diamonds, remember that their most expensive player is a 33-year old Claudia Escrow, who scores a decisive second-half brace here. North Sabrefell edge out the Harriers in a very… ennui clash, neither side properly energised as a Cup run should offer.

Extreme Hills 2-0 Southriver
Barossia United 3-2 Coret Rovers
Stonegrave 1-1 Greygate
Ballardine FC 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Corinthians No Longer 6-1 Falston United
Riverkey 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
AFC Shale 1-1 Ritter Town
The Hanged Man 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Autumnstone 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Crossroads Town 6-7 The Strongest
Martella Jazz 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
Peregrine 2-1 Hackett
Southriver 0-3 Barossia United
Extreme Hills 1-0 Stonegrave
Coret Rovers 0-0 Ballardine FC
Greygate 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Aries Solitaire 1-0 Riverkey
Falston United 1-2 AFC Shale
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 The Hanged Man
Ritter Town 4-1 Autumnstone
Gosmouth Swans 0-2 Crossroads Town
Lazuli Diamonds 2-2 Martella Jazz
The Strongest 1-0 Peregrine
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Hackett
Stonegrave 2-1 Southriver
Ballardine FC 0-3 Barossia United
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Extreme Hills
Riverkey 0-1 Coret Rovers
AFC Shale 0-1 Greygate
The Hanged Man 1-3 Aries Solitaire
Autumnstone 6-1 Falston United
Crossroads Town 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Martella Jazz 2-2 Ritter Town
Peregrine 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Hackett 3-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 The Strongest
Southriver 1-0 Ballardine FC
Stonegrave 3-0 Corinthians No Longer
Barossia United 4-0 Riverkey
Extreme Hills 2-1 AFC Shale
Coret Rovers 1-1 The Hanged Man
Greygate 5-2 Autumnstone
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Crossroads Town
Falston United 1-1 Martella Jazz
Boltcroft Thorns 0-3 Peregrine
Ritter Town 2-2 Hackett
Gosmouth Swans 1-3 Pillars of Southfell
Lazuli Diamonds 3-9 The Strongest
Corinthians No Longer 6-0 Southriver
Riverkey 0-2 Ballardine FC
AFC Shale 3-0 Stonegrave
The Hanged Man 1-0 Barossia United
Autumnstone 5-4 Extreme Hills
Crossroads Town 1-2 Coret Rovers
Martella Jazz 0-1 Greygate
Peregrine 0-0 Aries Solitaire
Hackett 6-1 Falston United
Pillars of Southfell 3-2 Boltcroft Thorns
The Strongest 3-2 Ritter Town
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Southriver 0-0 Riverkey
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 AFC Shale
Ballardine FC 1-1 The Hanged Man
Stonegrave 0-0 Autumnstone
Barossia United 2-4 Crossroads Town
Extreme Hills 3-2 Martella Jazz
Coret Rovers 1-0 Peregrine
Greygate 1-1 Hackett
Aries Solitaire 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Falston United 1-0 The Strongest
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Ritter Town 2-2 Gosmouth Swans
AFC Shale 3-0 Southriver
The Hanged Man 1-1 Riverkey
Autumnstone 2-6 Corinthians No Longer
Crossroads Town 2-1 Ballardine FC
Martella Jazz 3-1 Stonegrave
Peregrine 0-1 Barossia United
Hackett 5-2 Extreme Hills
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Coret Rovers
The Strongest 2-4 Greygate
Lazuli Diamonds 3-5 Aries Solitaire
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 Falston United
Ritter Town 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Southriver 2-1 The Hanged Man
AFC Shale 0-1 Autumnstone
Riverkey 1-0 Crossroads Town
Corinthians No Longer 5-0 Martella Jazz
Ballardine FC 1-0 Peregrine
Stonegrave 4-1 Hackett
Barossia United 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Extreme Hills 2-4 The Strongest
Coret Rovers 4-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Greygate 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Aries Solitaire 2-3 Ritter Town
Falston United 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns

As expected, Dorian Brindle’s Barossia United rule the roost, though in honesty none of the top sides have blown anyone away through this stretch. Ulrike Jensen is up to seventeen goals on the season and the rest of the team isn’t slacking, either. Oh, and in Markus Teamster they might just have the closest to Premiership-ready asset in the league; the holding midfielder just snaps up the ball mercilessly, and the Boars have lost two of the three games he’s missed.

After this sequence of events...
Crossroads Town 6-7 The Strongest
The Strongest 1-0 Peregrine
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 The Strongest
Lazuli Diamonds 3-9 The Strongest

… it’s safe to say that The Strongest are batshit insane. They have scored the most goals in the league; they have conceded the fourth-most. Sylvia Wright, after a slow start, has eighteen league goals, the same as Southriver; Tulaska Sunstroem is on eleven, with fourteen assists. And then in defence they have… the ghost of Tyw Salling.

Falston United are in freefall, their impressive start wiped out by horrific recent form. For how admirable it is to try and promote local youth, there aren’t that many good players in Ceynes, and the lack of a core of Nepharim journeymen appears to be costing them as Raphael Passlach’s injury appears to have cut them off at the knees. They’ve gone from chasing promotion to treading water in the back end of the table, losing three consecutive games 6-1. But they’ve won two shootouts in a row in the Cup, for what it’s worth...

Autumnstone have been rewarded for their faith in Kurtis Mallory, as recent strong form has catapulted them out of the dogfight. They’re still looking over their shoulders, of course. They’ve had a rather Strongest-esque run of results, too; 1-0 wins over Lazuli and Shale, a 6-1 win over Falston (the result that kickstarted all this) and a 5-4 win over the Hounds, and shipping five and six to Greygate and CNL. Masquerade Bryson can find the net with ease at this level.

The relegation picture itself rests on a knife-edge, with the two clubs below Autumnstone on 23 points and the three below them on 22. Deliciously, all the 22-point teams have a higher goal difference than Crossroads and Ballardine, who are currently in the safe zone. Gosmouth should be safe, but Hawke Ziegenhorn’s gone quiet - Martella are callow and Ballardine just don’t seem to be living up to their potential.

Ox River United 0-1 Mapleford
Fully Sick XI 2-0 Iron United
Sutcroft 2-5 Rochford Pilgrims
Brindleton 1-0 East Laithland Harriers
Strephonage 1-0 West Hook
South Parrhesia 1-1 Ingram Township
Hartford Glade 4-1 Riverkey Shells
Kensey Town 4-0 Caldwick Strand
Brunyard FC 2-1 Downsparrow
Cranequin Souths 1-1 Brokenarch
Crownsend Journey 0-1 Kommissar
Rushe United 2-5 Sheridan
Mapleford 3-0 Fully Sick XI
Ox River United 2-1 Sutcroft
Iron United 0-1 Brindleton
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Strephonage
East Laithland Harriers 2-4 South Parrhesia
West Hook 0-1 Hartford Glade
Ingram Township 0-0 Kensey Town
Riverkey Shells 1-1 Brunyard FC
Caldwick Strand 2-1 Cranequin Souths
Downsparrow 4-2 Crownsend Journey
Brokenarch 0-0 Rushe United
Kommissar 2-1 Sheridan
Sutcroft 1-2 Mapleford
Brindleton 2-2 Fully Sick XI
Strephonage 1-0 Ox River United
South Parrhesia 1-2 Iron United
Hartford Glade 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Kensey Town 6-0 East Laithland Harriers
Brunyard FC 3-0 West Hook
Cranequin Souths 1-0 Ingram Township
Crownsend Journey 1-3 Riverkey Shells
Rushe United 0-2 Caldwick Strand
Sheridan 2-0 Downsparrow
Kommissar 2-2 Brokenarch
Mapleford 0-0 Brindleton
Sutcroft 1-2 Strephonage
Fully Sick XI 2-1 South Parrhesia
Ox River United 1-1 Hartford Glade
Iron United 1-3 Kensey Town
Rochford Pilgrims 4-2 Brunyard FC
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Cranequin Souths
West Hook 2-0 Crownsend Journey
Ingram Township 1-0 Rushe United
Riverkey Shells 0-2 Sheridan
Caldwick Strand 4-1 Kommissar
Downsparrow 0-2 Brokenarch
Strephonage 1-0 Mapleford
South Parrhesia 1-3 Brindleton
Hartford Glade 2-2 Sutcroft
Kensey Town 2-1 Fully Sick XI
Brunyard FC 2-1 Ox River United
Cranequin Souths 3-0 Iron United
Crownsend Journey 2-5 Rochford Pilgrims
Rushe United 1-3 East Laithland Harriers
Sheridan 1-0 West Hook
Kommissar 0-0 Ingram Township
Brokenarch 1-1 Riverkey Shells
Downsparrow 1-2 Caldwick Strand
Mapleford 2-1 South Parrhesia
Strephonage 0-2 Hartford Glade
Brindleton 0-0 Kensey Town
Sutcroft 1-2 Brunyard FC
Fully Sick XI 0-7 Cranequin Souths
Ox River United 0-0 Crownsend Journey
Iron United 2-0 Rushe United
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Sheridan
East Laithland Harriers 0-2 Kommissar
West Hook 2-3 Brokenarch
Ingram Township 1-0 Downsparrow
Riverkey Shells 1-3 Caldwick Strand
Hartford Glade 2-5 Mapleford
Kensey Town 5-5 South Parrhesia
Brunyard FC 0-2 Strephonage
Cranequin Souths 0-2 Brindleton
Crownsend Journey 1-1 Sutcroft
Rushe United 1-1 Fully Sick XI
Sheridan 2-0 Ox River United
Kommissar 2-1 Iron United
Brokenarch 4-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Downsparrow 4-2 East Laithland Harriers
Caldwick Strand 1-1 West Hook
Riverkey Shells 1-0 Ingram Township
Mapleford 1-0 Kensey Town
Hartford Glade 1-1 Brunyard FC
South Parrhesia 4-2 Cranequin Souths
Strephonage 2-1 Crownsend Journey
Brindleton 0-1 Rushe United
Sutcroft 0-2 Sheridan
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Kommissar
Ox River United 0-2 Brokenarch
Iron United 5-1 Downsparrow
Rochford Pilgrims 3-2 Caldwick Strand
East Laithland Harriers 3-0 Riverkey Shells
West Hook 1-0 Ingram Township

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 AFC Corvistone 23 16 5 2 45 18 +27 53
2 Crisisbless 23 16 4 3 45 18 +27 52
3 Sabrefell Athletic 23 15 5 3 55 31 +24 50
4 Brinemouth 23 14 6 3 49 24 +25 48

5 Sabrefell Moths 23 14 3 6 43 27 +16 45
6 AFC Treason 23 11 5 7 33 27 +6 38
7 Stahlburg City 23 8 11 4 27 20 +7 35

8 Starling 23 10 3 10 35 30 +5 33
9 North Laithland 23 9 6 8 30 29 +1 33
10 Coret Hawks 23 9 5 9 36 28 +8 32
11 South Laithland 23 9 4 10 22 28 -6 31
12 Southfell United 23 8 6 9 34 32 +2 30
13 Crisisbless United 23 8 6 9 28 37 -9 30
14 Aries Chariots 23 7 8 8 32 27 +5 29
15 Leichhardt 23 7 8 8 22 26 -4 29
16 Chenoworth Harriers 23 7 7 9 25 30 -5 28
17 Cranequin Wanderers 23 7 5 11 23 29 -6 26
18 North Sabrefell 23 7 4 12 22 36 -14 25
19 Newrook City 23 5 6 12 23 32 -9 21
20 Belgrave 23 6 3 14 27 45 -18 21
21 Creed United 23 5 6 12 24 42 -18 21
22 Chatswood 23 4 7 12 17 31 -14 19
23 Vermillion Rage 23 5 4 14 29 53 -24 19
24 Cypher Town 23 3 5 15 19 45 -26 14

Pos Team                       P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Stahlburg Rovers 23 16 5 2 48 20 +28 53
2 Chenoworth Rovers 23 15 5 3 45 19 +26 50
3 Diamondqueen 23 15 4 4 43 20 +23 49

4 Raven River 23 15 4 4 41 20 +21 49
5 Vermillion Wanderers 23 13 5 5 42 23 +19 44
6 Brookford Otters 23 12 7 4 41 22 +19 43
7 Goodfeather FC 23 11 5 7 36 26 +10 38
8 Armstrong 23 11 4 8 24 16 +8 37
9 Gonen's Bridge 23 10 5 8 27 33 -6 35
10 Iron City 23 8 10 5 22 18 +4 34
11 Corvette Maulers 23 8 8 7 33 31 +2 32
12 Morningstar 23 8 6 9 17 23 -6 30
13 AFC Serpentine 23 7 8 8 31 32 -1 29
14 Chardonnay Rangers 23 7 8 8 29 32 -3 29
15 Parrhesia United 23 6 9 8 33 35 -2 27
16 Cranequin City 23 6 8 9 26 33 -7 26
17 Bishop 23 7 3 13 21 34 -13 24
18 Mantlegrove 23 6 6 11 18 33 -15 24
19 Crisisbless Athletic 23 5 7 11 33 38 -5 22
20 AFC Rochford 23 6 4 13 18 28 -10 22
21 Dartmouth Terriers 23 4 9 10 20 31 -11 21
22 Alliance Barossia 23 6 2 15 16 36 -20 20
23 West Brinemouth 23 2 4 17 18 38 -20 10
24 Locksley 23 2 4 17 21 62 -41 10

Pos Team                        P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Barossia United 23 15 4 4 48 20 +28 49
2 Corinthians No Longer 23 15 3 5 55 20 +35 48
3 Peregrine 23 12 4 7 37 21 +16 40

4 The Strongest 23 12 3 8 57 46 +11 39
5 Greygate 23 11 6 6 40 29 +11 39
6 Pillars of Southfell 23 11 5 7 29 19 +10 38
7 AFC Shale 23 11 5 7 29 20 +9 38
8 Extreme Hills 23 12 2 9 43 38 +5 38
9 Aries Solitaire 23 11 5 7 34 30 +4 38
10 Ritter Town 23 8 8 7 39 36 +3 32
11 The Hanged Man 23 8 8 7 23 23 +0 32
12 Hackett 23 7 10 6 42 33 +9 31
13 Stonegrave 23 8 7 8 22 24 -2 31
14 Boltcroft Thorns 23 9 4 10 34 40 -6 31
15 Falston United 23 9 4 10 24 37 -13 31
16 Riverkey 23 6 9 8 19 22 -3 27
17 Coret Rovers 23 6 8 9 29 32 -3 26
18 Autumnstone 23 7 4 12 41 55 -14 25
19 Crossroads Town 23 7 2 14 33 49 -16 23
20 Southriver 23 6 5 12 18 40 -22 23
21 Gosmouth Swans 23 5 7 11 21 29 -8 22
22 Martella Jazz 23 5 7 11 34 45 -11 22
23 Ballardine FC 23 5 7 11 27 42 -15 22
24 Lazuli Diamonds 23 5 3 15 23 51 -28 18

Pos Team                          P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sheridan 23 15 4 4 38 15 +23 49
2 Mapleford 23 14 5 4 39 17 +22 47
3 Strephonage 23 13 5 5 30 21 +9 44

4 Kommissar 23 12 5 6 42 26 +16 41
5 Brokenarch 23 11 8 4 34 21 +13 41
6 Kensey Town 23 11 7 5 43 28 +15 40
7 Ingram Township 23 11 5 7 22 17 +5 38
8 East Laithland Harriers 23 12 2 9 39 38 +1 38
9 Brindleton 23 9 8 6 29 20 +9 35
10 Hartford Glade 23 9 8 6 36 34 +2 35
11 Rochford Pilgrims 23 10 4 9 49 44 +5 34
12 Iron United 23 10 4 9 33 30 +3 34
13 Caldwick Strand 23 8 7 8 33 31 +2 31
14 Cranequin Souths 23 7 7 9 38 37 +1 28
15 Ox River United 23 7 5 11 19 24 -5 26
16 Riverkey Shells 23 7 5 11 30 39 -9 26
17 Crownsend Journey 23 7 5 11 31 42 -11 26
18 South Parrhesia 23 6 7 10 46 55 -9 25
19 West Hook 23 7 4 12 19 28 -9 25
20 Brunyard FC 23 6 7 10 34 47 -13 25
21 Fully Sick XI 23 6 5 12 26 43 -17 23
22 Sutcroft 23 5 3 15 31 47 -16 18
23 Downsparrow 23 4 5 14 25 43 -18 17
24 Rushe United 23 4 5 14 32 51 -19 17

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Lindmark Falcons 23 15 1 7 39 23 +16 46
2 Lockheed Zenith 23 14 3 6 42 23 +19 45

3 Ringway 23 12 6 5 32 22 +10 42
4 FC Seierstad 23 11 7 5 40 25 +15 40
5 AFC Hellerine 23 11 5 7 33 25 +8 38
6 Iberia Chenoworth 23 11 4 8 44 33 +11 37
7 Grovebank 23 10 5 8 28 18 +10 35
8 Besand's Folly 23 8 8 7 33 33 +0 32
9 Sirencall FC 23 8 8 7 26 28 -2 32
10 Sutcroft Athletic 23 9 5 9 24 26 -2 32
11 Stonesthrow Town 23 7 7 9 18 23 -5 28
12 Harrington 23 8 4 11 30 40 -10 28
13 Chenoworth Teutons 23 7 6 10 21 26 -5 27
14 AFC Feuerweiss 23 8 3 12 26 33 -7 27
15 Fischer 23 8 3 12 25 32 -7 27
16 Boleyn Town 23 6 8 9 23 32 -9 26
17 Courser 23 6 7 10 24 29 -5 25
18 AFC Mittelmarch 23 4 11 8 15 22 -7 23
19 Sleetwell Rangers 23 5 7 11 21 38 -17 22
20 Fenland Albion 23 5 6 12 19 32 -13 21

Pos Team                       P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Constance Park 23 11 9 3 27 14 +13 42
2 New Oakstone Phoenix 23 11 7 5 37 19 +18 40

3 Latin Enclave FC 23 11 6 6 54 39 +15 39
4 Corvistone City 23 11 6 6 32 21 +11 39
5 Rookwall 23 12 2 9 33 28 +5 38
6 Brookford Vantablack 23 10 7 6 36 27 +9 37
7 Bodkin Road 23 11 3 9 41 30 +11 36
8 AFC Volksgarten 23 11 3 9 31 25 +6 36
9 Twelvetrees 23 10 4 9 24 23 +1 34
10 Northside Eagles 23 10 3 10 42 38 +4 33
11 The Travellers FC 23 10 3 10 30 26 +4 33
12 Long Lake 23 9 6 8 22 22 +0 33
13 Longwinter 23 8 8 7 38 32 +6 32
14 Barhara Cavaliers 23 8 5 10 34 43 -9 29
15 Markoni 23 6 8 9 26 34 -8 26
16 Aries Tigers 23 7 5 11 33 46 -13 26
17 Gridlock 23 6 7 10 17 29 -12 25
18 AFC Burchess 23 5 6 12 23 37 -14 21
19 Blaze 23 6 3 14 27 54 -27 21
20 AFC Davenport 23 5 3 15 28 48 -20 18
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Postby Nephara » Sun Mar 01, 2020 2:36 am

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

Belgrave are treading water, and for all Adalheid Metzelder’s brave talk about taking the fight to the Premiership, surely even she knows she would bite someone’s hand off to stay in 20th ‘til the end of the season. Particularly with the news of an injury that will knock out inspired signing Casey Steward for a month or so. 34-year old veteran Alexa Ferryman suits up, hardly offering the impish Steward’s pace, and Chariots reject Laura Belfry sits alongside her for Aries’ visit. It’s her poor pass that leads up to Lorena Strausz’s opening goal, one that perhaps Brandon Connell could have saved. But at the other end, a quick kick taken by Connell after claiming Ruskin’s cross finds a way to Kotaro Katsura, who almost casually lifts up a boot to cushion the high-bounding ball, lets it bounce again - just once - and slams a crushing half-volley past Briggs, juddering into the bottom of the crossbar and rebounding in. After that, Belgrave don’t look back; Katsura sets up Sloan for a second and Markus Strand’s diving header makes it 3-1 by half-time, Ferryman’s free kick is headed home by Skapoulis for 4, and a late brace from Belgrave homegrown Lazarou does little to change the feeling that maybe Belgrave do have the X-factor to stay in this.

Chatswood pick up a vital win at the bottom of the table, a jaunt across to the Laith seeing them come away with a win over the uninspired Southrons. Nova Williams did a little more for her damaged reputation with some sharp saves from range, and a neat little play seeing Heidt’s cross knocked down by Moore for Andrea Prentice, advancing with menace, putting vicious power into a winning goal. They aren’t alone; Vermillion beat the Crows 2-0 through goals from Kinbois and the lesser-spotted Eduardo and a string of saves from Ramelow, and the Crows are relieved to also see Crisisbless lose 1-0 to Treason and Brinemouth stall out to a surprisingly open 3-3 draw with Cranequin. Starling absolutely hammer Crisisbless United 5-0 in a less than happy homecoming for Elsa Kaelin and Reinhard Meixner, and the kind of quietly dominant performance that should be inching Annika Netzach closer to a Cormorants callup.

Locksley 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Crisisbless Athletic 3-0 Armstrong
West Brinemouth 2-3 Brookford Otters
AFC Rochford 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Raven River 1-1 Iron City
Parrhesia United 4-1 Goodfeather FC
Cranequin City 1-0 Mantlegrove
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Bishop
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Diamondqueen
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Morningstar
Stahlburg Rovers 3-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Gonen's Bridge

If Crisisbless Athletic stay up, they owe it in very large part to their wingers, and to the ability of young striker Jacinth Coen to step up. They’d openly shopped around for a more proven striker, and failed to find one - well, the rangy Coen is doing a job, with her tall, languid style and carefully cushioned first touch give her ample room to score a brace against Armstrong, with a hapless own goal from Maarten Hope - trying to slide in and tackle Coen! Not helping! - finishing a genuine demolition. Careless defensive play - and a rare error from Aranea Provost - sees the Otters let the Gulls race to a 2-0 lead by the half-hour mark. The Gulls seem so puzzled at their fortune that they forget to mark Riitsi at a corner; 2-1. They hold out for the rest of the ninety minutes, but goals from Kelsen and Petersen in injury time pull the rug out from under them. Dartmouth score a hard-earned 1-0 win over Morningstar, Stahlburg burnish their credentials by trashing Chardonnay 3-0, while Parrhesia come back from a goal down at the break to beat a Goodfeather side 4-1 after a half-time team talk from Emeka Obasi that Saints winger Fohler calls “inspiring, a little terrifying, maybe illegal.”

Aries Chariots 0-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Belgrave 1-3 South Laithland
Brinemouth 5-1 Leichhardt
Chatswood 1-1 Creed United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Coret Hawks 0-1 AFC Treason
AFC Corvistone 1-0 Starling
Crisisbless 1-0 Stahlburg City
Crisisbless United 1-1 Southfell United
Cypher Town 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Newrook City 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
North Laithland 3-1 North Sabrefell

The funny thing about having a whole team of mercurial operators is not so much that you never know what to get; it’s that with enough of them on the books it kind of evens itself out, and really, the Harriers have been remarkably consistently mediocre. A struggling Vermillion side in improved recent form pay them a visit, and Snowy Brennan knows she’ll give the remote relegation fears a crunch with a win here. Nike Rouphos, whose naked ambition forced a move to Vermillion that has really not worked out, is jeered every time she steps on the ball. But she does get a penalty, when Ramona Porter takes on Corsica Greene only to roll the ball behind her to Rouphos, and the Ceynes rightback enthusiastically plows into her with both boots. Fyona Matthews, whose form has been wildly inconsistent all season, manages to paw Jarobi Konse’s penalty away… only to, three minutes later, let a strong-but-too-close strike from Hart sneak through her near post. Worse still, when Kou’s jinking run and permissive fall over Austad’s leg gives the Harriers a penalty, Tom Whittaker grabs it over captain Stensholt’s protests and promptly blazes it over the bar… only to, in the 57th minute, score a brilliant bicycle kick set up by the bull-headed persistance of penalty-conceding Greene. “It’s all swings and roundabouts,” Brennan sighs post-match. Really, it must get exhausting.

Stahlburg City’s lack of a top-class finisher costs them, as Isabella Shi’s wayward finishing means that Damion Bowman’s single spectacular goal, pirouetting through Ballard and Brujah in sequence, playing a clever one-two with Woakes to cut Orsay out of circulation before deftly chipping Prant-Telew proves decisive in an otherwise uninspired sequence. Sabrefell Athletic have Newrook on the ropes all game, even a ten-man Newrook after the hour thanks to a senseless challenge from Swibel nearly murders Coltrane, but Kaara Iarrow keeps all but a single header from Tarala from her net. All this, and Minka Bronson dips inside in injury time and falls over the weary leg of Sigismund… only for Aurelian Gautier to stand tall in goal, saving the spot-kick from Brandtner, Newrook’s only shot on target of the game. Goals from sprightly wingbacks Kaveci and Islinger see a hugely impressive Cranequin outshoot the Chariots, while Starling go missing against Corvistone on an uninspired day and lose out to burly centre-half Calcipher Heston’s header off a set piece on his return to his hometown club.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Locksley 0-2 West Brinemouth
Armstrong 1-2 AFC Rochford
Brookford Otters 1-0 Raven River
AFC Serpentine 4-1 Parrhesia United
Iron City 1-0 Cranequin City
Goodfeather FC 0-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Mantlegrove 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Bishop 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Diamondqueen 1-4 Stahlburg Rovers
Morningstar 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Gonen's Bridge

West Brinemouth win the clash of the doomed sides at the bottom of the league, with goals from Martyn and Geist and a spectacular clearance off the line from Niadra Anneaux having real ‘come and get me’ vibes for the rest of the league. Martyn, the Gulls’ best midfielder by a distance, turned 31 last week and has had a truly journeywoman career; there’s already links with Barossia United materialising. Goodfeather’s remote promotion hopes take a kicking as Chenoworth Rovers show them the gulf to the top in a 3-0 win, leaving the Quakers on three defeats in four. Parrhesia’s flakiness manifests as they’re thrashed 4-1 by Serpentine, ambitious fullbacks Oakes and Kendrick opening the scoring for the Dragons before the rather more conventional source of up-and-coming striker Lanista Corsey completes the rout in the second half. Alliance edge out Mantlegrove in a six-pointer, as Rochford’s 2-1 win in Armstrong inspires more calls for Reece Benedict’s head.

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

There has not been a lot to say about the Hawks this season, which is not to say they’re bad value - quite the opposite. But their brief tenure as the clear ‘best of the rest’ outside the big six is in serious jeopardy. Most obviously, Corvistone are inexplicably in a title challenge, but a Stahlburg side have also emerged that are everything Coret aren’t. Dour. Defensive. Function over form. The Hawks come calling, Nick Feeney talking a noble game about how Stahlburg’s fans must be “dying of boredom in the stands.” Maybe. But they can get results, and even on their day prove almost prolific. Kizza Okafor and Otalia Kasmiir are both brilliant midfielders, but they just get in each others’ way against an unflashy Brujah and Ballard, and do nothing to stop Aurelie Henry running the show all game. The end result is that the Smiths somehow get 52% possession, and with it threaten Lockwood’s goal constantly. The goalkeeper does what he can in the first half but there’s nothing he can do when Henry picks out Orsay from a corner for the centrehalf to head back across goal, meeting defensive partner Xandra Cooke, who bundles home. Henry makes it two by the hour, wriggling into space and blasting high past Lockwood, and Feeney belatedly hooks the jaded Stavanger for Juliet Bezemer to add more midfield control. It doesn’t make a difference, Linde Rostock firing a sharp low cross that Isabella Shi cushions with her substantial midriff before cutting across the face of goal, Brand unable to readjust and clear, Smiths winger Voegel and Hawk defender Koller both sliding to meet it at the far post. It winds up in the back of the net - it takes a slow motion camera to figure out Koller hooked it away but only as far as Voegel’s studs, ricocheting into the net for the fatal third.

Crisisbless, too, have impressive midfielders - indeed, surely none in the league can stand up to the trident of Quintero, Woakes and Bowman. Maybe none in the world. But they know you need a platform behind it, and the stable water carriers of Abylon and Kastriot give them the room to operate in a 4-1 hammering of the Moths in Sabrefell, Kurtis Laiota starting and finishing the bloodletting and helping quiet any talk that he doesn’t quite stand up to the rest of the squad. Which, in fairness, he doesn’t. Crisisbless United repeat the feat in the same city hours later, beating Athletic 3-2 with Danica Marshall sparkling in midfield. Chatswood manager Warner Dranz vows to take the fight to the Stags in a heated Treason derby, one that’s good value for the football as much as the violence. Andrea Prentice, by far Chatswood’s shining light this season, sets up Esmond Moore to miss a sitter just eight minutes gone, and they’re made to regret it when Jonsson, Metzger and Metzger again make it 3-0 by half-time. Or just before half-time; a towering Henderson header makes it 3-1 with the last touch of the first half, Gedeon Volz strikes in the 59th to make things interesting and that’s before Va’Afaja gets sent off, fouled badly by Volz to send both sprawling to the truf but retaliating with a boot to the jawline… but they hold out. Corvistone batter Southfell 5-2, Creed and Belgrave claw each other to a desperate 2-2 with ten men apiece by the end, while Leichhardt and North Sabrefell claw out vital 1-0 home wins against fellow relegation contenders in Cranequin and Cypher.

West Brinemouth 0-2 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Rochford 2-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Raven River 0-0 Locksley
Parrhesia United 1-1 Armstrong
Cranequin City 0-1 Brookford Otters
Chenoworth Rovers 4-2 AFC Serpentine
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Iron City
Dartmouth Terriers 2-2 Goodfeather FC
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Mantlegrove
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Bishop
Gonen's Bridge 3-0 Diamondqueen
Chardonnay Rangers 4-0 Morningstar

Chardonnay’s ambition has not been matched by results in a fairly indifferent season thus far, but when they fre, they fire. And today they fire against Morningstar. Stars’ issue is chiefly in midfield, where Ana Kuijer has rarely been fit and, when on the pitch, struggled to keep up the pace at 36 - they need an Alessa Bernat, someone small and sharp and boxy and able to truly go box-to-box, relentlessly harrying off the ball but with things to say in possession. Little surprise that Bernat assists the first goal, charging down a sloppy clearance from Carney, driving inside and pulling across for Andreas Lindwurm to open the score. Morningstar just can’t get back in the game, and the floodgates open in the second half; it ends 4-0, Stars broken, Rangers ascendant. Gonen’s Bridge trash Diamondqueen 3-0 just through repeated crosses and defensive solidity, Chenoworth Rovers come out the better in a shoot-out with Serpentine as Sabine Patton continues to make the difference, and Raven River somehow stall out to a scoreless draw against Locksley.

Hellinic Rouge 2-3 Parrhesia United

Emeka Obasi is in fine form on the sidelines for the Saints, gesticulating and remonstrating in a searing cyan suit. He’s got plenty to remonstrate about after the first goal, clumsily bundled home by the tall timber of Fox Charnwood through a scandalously permissive defence. There’s shades of handball, to be sure, but the Cobre manager’s oddly quiet when Fohler sets up Swann to level the scores, despite Mueller having released Fohler about a foot offside. Mueller herself makes it 2-1 with a thunderous strike and Fohler herself snaps up a farcial third, quickest to react after a ball going straight to Ann Reus is airswung horribly, but Jakki Montelius’ late free kick - glanced on its way off Ystrad’s head - keeps Hellinic in the tie.

Aries Chariots 3-3 Leichhardt
South Laithland 0-0 Creed United
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 Vermillion Rage
Belgrave 2-1 AFC Treason
Brinemouth 2-1 Starling
Chatswood 2-1 Stahlburg City
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 Southfell United
Coret Hawks 2-3 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Corvistone 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless 5-1 North Sabrefell
Crisisbless United 1-2 North Laithland
Cypher Town 0-2 Newrook City

“The thing with the Crows,” Tony Dalton opines, unasked, before his Athletic side visit Corvistone, “is that these are footballers at the peak of their careers, at a club at the peak of its potential. Save a couple of their younger guns, maybe Arniston or Almwood, it’s never going to get better for them than this. But we’re operating at maybe 60% of where I see us right now. One full transfer window and I can build a dynasty here.” It’s a tough match, with the technicality befitting a top-of-the-table clash, and just seven minutes in Sipke Tarala is somehow free to latch onto a bobbling ball. Acatha Feldman rushes out and dives, the shot flashes - CLANK! - and caroms off the far post. The Crows are more guarded from that point, Hadrian Belfast having of course been a master of cynicism and the dark arts in his playing days, and Spahi Keskin has absolutely learned from the master - he at one point slides in to hack down Coltrane and stays down as if he himself was injured. No card. Soon, as well, they actually have something to guard - Almwood releasing Morham’s run, Morham jinking and feinting outside Lucas before driving a lethal diagonal inside him with the outside of her boot, and Baba Warrington is there-- no, Gautier saves-- but no, Ulreich reacts fast, skidding in the turf to hook home the rebound! And the Crows defend it with their lives, and harry and shove, and then a quick throw from Almwood catches everyone off-guard. Catley runs free for two fatal seconds before managing to get off a long ball over the top. Warrington lets it bounce, once, then catches it beautifully to send it over an ineffectually stranded Gautier. For Athletic’s part, Xixi Ens hits a post of his own late on before providing an assist for Gere to lash home a late consolation, but few can deny Corvistone denied it. Another test, passed.

Elsewhere at the top, Brinemouth dominate Starling in the middle of the field, hauling them back after Berg bundles home Armstrong’s corner to give Starling an early lead. Berg’s attempt to deflect a low cross from Deventer sort-of works, sending it into the post only for Kuznetsov to instinctively drag home the rebound, and late on Bryger Tidesson does what he does to take the points. The ball seems to spend most of the time in the air in Chatswood’s hosting Stahlburg, but Ivana Henderson makes the most of it to score a first-half brace and give the Axes three vital points. Crisisbless absolutely dominate North Sabrefell, scoring six goals. Kosa Bajnok gets one at each end, but who’s counting? A last-minute equaliser, a scorching strike from Lorena Strausz that a blindsided Adekoya fails to cover, does at least secure the Chariots from losing four straight fixtures against all the newly-promoted sides. But they still haven’t won in six.

Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 AFC Rochford
West Brinemouth 1-2 Raven River
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Parrhesia United
Locksley 2-0 Cranequin City
Armstrong 1-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Brookford Otters 2-0 Alliance Barossia
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Iron City 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Goodfeather FC 3-3 Corvette Maulers
Mantlegrove 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Bishop 0-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Diamondqueen 2-0 Morningstar

Cranequin City under Dan Keel look… sickly. You can’t sack Keel, not for everything he’s done, but really the Terracotta Army should not be looking over their shoulders, let alone losing 2-0 in Locksley. The strikes, from Heaton and Rotival, are well-taken; Cranequin are depleted byinjury, callow backups in Pinkett and Soros not standing up to the pressure. But it’s still not good enough. Diamondqueen’s 2-0 win over Morningstar means that Stars have lost the last four games without so much as scoring. Thankfully, Ballista Meade is finally due back from her self-inflicted injury soon… deputy Aris Daskalakis has just two goals all season. Iron City go back to basics, shutting down Stahlburg to an almost embarrassing failure to penetrate the area, Isla Snowpoint’s screamer proving the difference.

Parrhesia United 1-0 Hellinic Rouge
Parrhesia United win 4-2 on aggregate.

A surprisingly dull affair back at Knightsgrave. The best entertainment is looking at Emeka Obasi’s suit - magenta with white pinstripes - though Telviir’s header isn’t bad either, one of those that just seemed to stay in the air forever on its way lofting over Hutchins. A solid win on aggregate, as underdogs. Parrhesia will take it.

Southfell United 0-1 Belgrave
Peregrine 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Crossroads Town 1-2 North Sabrefell
Coret Hawks 2-0 Falston United
Vermillion Rage 2-0 South Laithland
Brookford Otters 1-1 Extreme Hills (2-2 AET, 1-4 PKs)
The Hanged Man 3-0 Diamondqueen
Leichhardt 2-3 Parrhesia United

Eight matches, and only one can be described as straightforward natural selection, Coret Hawks resting a few players and still handily beating Falston 2-0. Vermillion’s win over South Laithland is also fairly straightforward, Cralt-Nirlo Fox refusing to rotate out players despite the disastrous way the league season’s going. Belgrave edge out Southfell thanks in large part to fine goalkeeping from Odessa Bonds, and a single deft finish from substitute Erica Manson at the other end - brought on after six minutes due to Sloan’s injury, cropping up with the winner after sixteen. North Sabrefell make heavy weather of beating Crossroads Town, just seeming to lose their composure after Volga puts the Valiants ahead against the run of play half an hour in, reliant on veterans coming in off the bench to steady their nerves; Cranequin Wanderers, similarly, should not be so laboured against Peregrine but still get the job done. Brookford exhaust themselves at the Rock, a bucket of changes but inefficient finishing dooming them against the Hounds, Ivor Roxham making the most of defensive mishaps once in 90 minutes and once in extra time to force, and then win, a shootout. Leichhardt take advantage of a rare opportunity to open up and play attacking football, and bungle it, the Saints ripping them apart on the counter. Parrhesia absolutely aren’t getting promoted, but might they just make a second straight Cup win? Surely not. Elaine Koeller understandably thinks she can rest most of her Diamonds against The Hanged Man, but she’s wrong; Diamondqueen are terrible, THM imperious at the back and clinical at the front in a 3-0 win.

Creed United 0-5 Aries Chariots
Vermillion Rage 0-0 Leichhardt
AFC Treason 3-2 South Laithland
Starling 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Stahlburg City 3-1 Belgrave
Southfell United 3-2 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 Chatswood
Sabrefell Athletic 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
North Sabrefell 2-3 Coret Hawks
North Laithland 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Newrook City 0-1 Crisisbless
Cypher Town 0-1 Crisisbless United

Southfell United have been something less than consistent this season, but on aggregate they’re in the CC chase. Which used to mean something a little bigger, of course… but in any case, they undoubtedly have goals. Mostly due to Lyzolda Petrov, quickly becoming one of the signings of the season even at a meaty five million. And just five minutes in against Brinemouth, Lissa Anselm - nearly goalless herself, but with a real eye for a cross - wins a free kick. Evans steps up and then takes it quickly, playing Anselm past a flat-footed Spencer and Anselm, in turn, striking a low cross that Petrov inelegantly but efficiently shins underneath Bull and in for the opener. Brinemouth pull back - Evans and Anselm aren’t the most defensively robust and, well, Bryger Tidesson exists - but Petrov puts Southfell back in front just before half-time, a loose ball trickling after Gundersen’s shot was blocked, letting her dip through startled Dockers’ defenders, turn sharply and sidefoot past Bull with her right. Brinemouth pull back yet again just after the hour mark, Marcin Close’s cross lost in the breeze by Aldous, caroming off the crossbar behind the flailing goalkeeper and chested home by Kuznetsov, a man who knows how to make the most of a farce, but it’s with a strange inevitability that Petrov steers home a near-post header (could Bull have done better?) to give the Tanners the win with a perfect hat-trick.

Aries snap their poor run of form by absolutely crunching a Creed United side in even poorer form. Diandra Ballard gambles with hopefuls like Illyria Landrith and Camilla Martin who look overawed by the occasion, and a veteran in Andre Havranek who just doesn’t look good enough; by the end, it’s yet another of the Chariots’ 5-0s. Vermillion are strangely happy to be dragged into a brutalist scoreless draw against Leichhardt in which not much of anything happens. South Laithland choke on a 2-0 half-time lead against a tenacious Treason, aided by some… generous refereeing calls. “Home advantage is part of the game,” says a deadpan Cheney Bittencourt, “with everything that entails.” Tom Whittaker caps off strong recent form with a goal against Athletic, bursting down the middle to hit an incisive through-ball between Gautier’s legs, and leaps into the stands to celebrate, grabbing someone’s beer and, God bless the lad, slamming down the whole damn thing. He is, notably, a little behind the pace for the last few minutes, but the Harriers hold onto their share of the spoils. Corvistone are held to a draw by a tenacious North Laithland; Crisisbless, edging Newrook City 1-0 despite dominating the run of play, finally clamber onto the summit.

Raven River 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Parrhesia United 1-1 AFC Rochford
Cranequin City 2-2 West Brinemouth
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Locksley
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Armstrong
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Brookford Otters
Corvette Maulers 3-3 AFC Serpentine
Gonen's Bridge 2-2 Iron City
Chardonnay Rangers 0-2 Goodfeather FC
Morningstar 3-0 Mantlegrove
Diamondqueen 1-1 Bishop

Armstrong under Warner Dranz: 8-3-2. Armstrong under Reece Benedict: 3-2-8. You want to see managers given a chance, but the Paladins have just been turned over by a succession of relegation candidates, their shot at promotion has melted, and enough is enough; Benedict is out, so is his entire coaching staff (after Dranz took his own people to Chatswood) and that leaves, weirdly, Gratia Barker - Leigh Fletcher’s assistant at Chatswood before her axing - to take charge on a deal lasting to the end of the season. Armstrong’s statement properly throws Reece Benedict under the bus, too. “We regret that this club has paid the price for a lazy appointment based more on experience than talent…” Ouch!

AFC Treason 4-2 Lokomotive Jarnstad

Few are expecting this to be the entertainment fixture of the round, it has to be said. Treason aren’t exactly the most thrilling side to watch, while Lokomotive are known for an efficient, grinding, workmanlike style of football that has been effective at outlasting domestic opposition. But it does show the value of an early goal changing a game. Here, it’s Treason’s - McInnes whipping in a cross and Ullqvist’s clearance is poor, angling it down riiight into Aristide Metzger, who reacts quickly to smash it past Nurminen. Lokomotive have to- well, no, they could sit on the 1-0 defeat, but they don’t. The game’s better for it. Metzger again hits them, this time on the break, and a later piledriver from Jonsson is only parried by Nurminen into Lukas Boldfont’s path. But Lokomotive finally get the goal their attacking play has warranted. Indeed, like with a bus, you wait long enough and two come at once… Metanov thunders home a corner at the near post before clever interplay culminates in Henrik Ljurbyn rifling home their second, in the 70th and 73rd minutes. It looks like a good result, away goals and the next leg in mind… but there’s time, still, for Raquel Accardi to beat Nurminen at his near post with pure, beautiful power.

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

Freshly atop the table, Crisisbless come to ruin United’s day. The Chequers have had, all things considered, a very cruisy season. This is bizarre as their players are, on the whole, slightly crap. Certainly Tanith Carter and Danica Marshall have enjoyed breakthrough seasons, but mostly it’s just that Tim Maitfield has got the most from limited parts. And they would love nothing more than to ruin the Heelers’ day in return. Corvistone, unsurprisingly, do their part by putting Cypher to the sword; their fans are already flicking onto their phones with thirty minutes to play as it kicks off in Crisisbless. And just seven minutes in, a trademark counterattack winds up with Carter playing provider, dragged wide by Bajnok but able to pull back for Lukas Antelmi to thump home. Karii Bruun gives away a penalty, Damion Bowman using some level of dark arts… but no matter, as Abylon’s solid enough spot-kick is blocked to spin away by Reinhard Meixner! Could it be? No. Reality happens in the second half, as Crisisbless don’t panic, ease into control and ratchet up goals from Quintero, Woakes and the substitute Coppinger. Still, it was a nice thought… and Crisisbless host the Crows next match.

Newrook score four against Coret and their notoriously open midfield… and ship six. Enough is enough, Rainer Hildebrandt is axed and a rather better-known figure in Gareth Penrooke takes up the job. He has his work cut out for him, but has experience guiding Wofford Town out of relegation troubles in the ANL, as well as guiding a Serpentine side everyone tipped to go down to consistent safety. Belgrave, fresh off beating Treason 2-1 in their last home match, repeat the trick against Sabrefell Moths. The once-maligned Laura Belfry continues to show her worth in a mature defensive midfield performance - she’s done so much better in the top flight than she did in 1Div last season - and Turner’s strike - seriously, don’t leave him unmarked in the box! - is cancelled out by efforts from Casey Steward - returning from injury - and Kotaro Katsura, increasingly talismanic as the season goes on. North Laithland hammer the Harriers 4-1 in Chenoworth with Stovar Krieven clocking up an assist from goalkeeper, his thumping goal-kick letting loose Griffin Kendall to score on the break, while Brinemouth put Athletic in their place with a cold, merciless midfield dominance and a brace from Tidesson.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Parrhesia United
Raven River 2-0 Cranequin City
AFC Rochford 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
West Brinemouth 0-2 Alliance Barossia
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Locksley 1-4 Stahlburg Rovers
Armstrong 2-0 Corvette Maulers
Brookford Otters 2-1 Gonen's Bridge
AFC Serpentine 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Iron City 1-1 Morningstar
Goodfeather FC 1-2 Diamondqueen
Mantlegrove 1-1 Bishop

Publications get angry tweets from both north and south Vermillion whenever Wanderers play Parrhesia. No, it’s not a derby. It’s a derby when either of them plays Vermillion Rage, but not one another. For all that, it’s a tight contest marked by brutal defending with a goal either side, Ilia Mueller sent off for a brutal challenge and Daniel Zihark lucky not to follow her. Is it any wonder they’re mistaken for rivals? Gratia Barker gets off the mark, Armstrong beating Corvette 2-0 in her first game in charge as she rolls the dice by introducing a bunch of young, hungry players in Gareth Pawnbroker’s mould - Pawnbroker himself scores the second. Morningstar break their goal drought in horribly unlucky circumstances; Palina Leopold hammers a shot against the post, and it caroms into Stars keeper Jakob Carter’s back and into his own net. But Ballista Meade gets one at the other end to at least give the Warriors a point, and this time, after last time, her celebration is… muted.

Lokomotive Jarnstad 1-2 AFC Treason
AFC Treason win 6-3 on aggregate.

The second leg goes a little more to type, though nobody in the Stags’ camp is treating this with complacency and a strong side marches out to face them. John Fletcher marks a return from injury by chesting down a dinked pass from Jonsson, turning and twisting past Metanov and smashing home the only goal of the first half, but not long into the second, Halvard Oystein slips onto the end of a clever backheel and quickly whips a leveller under Clavel. Lokomotive hold firm through the rest of the game, pressing hard for the goals they need without leaving themselves exposed, but concentration just slackens near the very end to let McInnes find Lysistrata Carter’s far post run - thanks to Metzger knowing to step over it to fool Ullqvist rather than try and beat him - to kill off the game.

AFC Treason 4-0 Aries Chariots
Starling 0-0 Vermillion Rage
Stahlburg City 3-0 Creed United
Southfell United 1-1 Leichhardt
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 South Laithland
Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
North Sabrefell 1-1 Belgrave
North Laithland 3-3 Brinemouth
Newrook City 2-2 Chatswood
Cypher Town 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless United 0-1 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless 1-2 AFC Corvistone

Crisisbless are on a high when the Crows finally come calling. They have the opportunity to consolidate their lead, a win here would take them five points above the crows and eight against more, bluntly, serious opposition - and, hell, nine minutes in, Crisisbless are all over the Crows, and here’s a ball from Abylon finding Damion Bowman in space, darting outside then in then firing low across Feldman, 1-0, easy as that! Only it never is, is it? These Crows just will not die. Crisisbless hold firm, stay disciplined, keep their boots on Corvistone’s throats, Feldman makes three solid plunging saves… and then in the 44th minute, Goodlight Wynder under pressure clips a ball into the middle, flicked on by Keskin, chested down by Yonen into the path of Krista Morham who just… hits it first-time. And it keeps going. And going. And it practically bursts the net on the other side of the helplessly diving Na’Kefir. Crisisbless never quite get their composure back, still looking rattled out the other end of half-time, and a powerful strike from ‘the’ Baba Warrington in the 57th minute is sat on for the rest of the game. The Crows perch atop the league once more. Brinemouth scrape a 3-3 draw with the Spiders, while the Moths’ marginal win over South Laithland sees them clamber over Athletic - held by the Wanderers - into fourth. Treason eviscerate the Chariots 4-0 to consolidate sixth, and it looks unlikely that any will fall out with Stahlburg currently seventh and nine points behind.

The Chariots will be looking over their shoulders, as will the Harriers, who could only draw 1-1 with Cypher. They’re five points clear, though, for now. Belgrave and North Sabrefell are also currently out of harm’s way, just about, hoping a 1-1 draw with one another in a characteristically heated North Sabrefell derby is a point gained for them both, not two dropped. It’s definitely two points dropped for Gareth Penrooke’s Newrook City, the new manager getting an unfortunate view of his new charges’ glass jaws, a 2-0 lead in Chatswood choked by laughably poor set piece defence. That keeps the Axes just out of the drop zone on goal difference, with Vermillion also drawing to stay in the playoff place, Newrook 22nd, and Creed - utterly toothless against Stahlburg, and losing 3-0 - four points from safety and looking nervous. The only team in the bottom eight to lose. Cypher are thirteen away from safety and surely doomed.

Cranequin City 0-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 Parrhesia United
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Raven River
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 AFC Rochford
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 West Brinemouth
Corvette Maulers 3-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Locksley
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Armstrong
Morningstar 0-1 Brookford Otters
Diamondqueen 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Bishop 1-1 Iron City
Mantlegrove 2-0 Goodfeather FC

Yet again it’s both Rovers on top of the table; Chenoworth edging out Parrhesia 1-0, Stahlburg rather more feebly edging West Brinemouth. Chenoworth are very likely to go up with a ten-point buffer; Stahlburg have seven. The next four clubs are split by just one point, with Diamondqueen’s own unconvincing 1-0 win over Serpentine putting them in front of the pack in third; the three beneath them in Vermillion (who beat Cranequin 2-0 with fair ease), Brookford (go to Morningstar and claim a 1-0 win) and River (the highest side to actually concede, but still victorious against Alliance) all with a better goal difference than the Diamonds. There’s then a fourteen-point chasm down to Iron in seventh, who have scored barely over a goal a game.

Lower midtable is all much of a muchness, and pretty much anyone under the Saints - who are at this stage firmly rejuvenated under Obasi, going from winning just two from their first fifteen to six of the next - could plausibly go down. That said, even 18th-placed Mantlegrove have a six-point buffer to work with; Dartmouth, tipped by most to struggle, are above that. Needless to say Gonen’s Bridge are long safe, barring something spectacular. Rochford and Cranequin have a gap of just four, both sides having arrived in 1Div last season by a different route and threatening to go straight back down / down again immediately, but Rochford’s win makes the task of Athletic and Alliance that much harder. They’re fighting each other for the playoff, first and foremost, and Locksley eight points behind (and, in fairness, at a hilarious GD deficit) could maybe hypothetically challenge that. The Gulls are nailed to the foot of the table at this stage, and look truly sunk.

Autumnstone 2-1 Southriver
Crossroads Town 1-2 The Hanged Man
Martella Jazz 0-3 AFC Shale
Peregrine 4-2 Riverkey
Hackett 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Ballardine FC
The Strongest 3-1 Stonegrave
Lazuli Diamonds 2-2 Barossia United
Gosmouth Swans 1-6 Extreme Hills
Ritter Town 2-1 Coret Rovers
Boltcroft Thorns 0-0 Greygate
Falston United 1-0 Aries Solitaire
Southriver 1-0 Crossroads Town
Autumnstone 1-1 Martella Jazz
The Hanged Man 0-0 Peregrine
AFC Shale 0-1 Hackett
Riverkey 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 The Strongest
Ballardine FC 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Stonegrave 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Barossia United 3-0 Ritter Town
Extreme Hills 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Coret Rovers 0-1 Falston United
Greygate 1-4 Aries Solitaire
Martella Jazz 1-1 Southriver
Peregrine 4-1 Crossroads Town
Hackett 1-1 Autumnstone
Pillars of Southfell 2-2 The Hanged Man
The Strongest 0-0 AFC Shale
Lazuli Diamonds 2-1 Riverkey
Gosmouth Swans 3-5 Corinthians No Longer
Ritter Town 2-1 Ballardine FC
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 Stonegrave
Falston United 0-2 Barossia United
Aries Solitaire 2-2 Extreme Hills
Greygate 0-0 Coret Rovers
Southriver 1-2 Peregrine
Martella Jazz 1-4 Hackett
Crossroads Town 0-2 Pillars of Southfell
Autumnstone 2-2 The Strongest
The Hanged Man 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
AFC Shale 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Riverkey 0-2 Ritter Town
Corinthians No Longer 3-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Ballardine FC 0-0 Falston United
Stonegrave 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Barossia United 1-1 Greygate
Extreme Hills 1-0 Coret Rovers
Hackett 2-1 Southriver
Pillars of Southfell 3-1 Peregrine
The Strongest 2-0 Martella Jazz
Lazuli Diamonds 2-1 Crossroads Town
Gosmouth Swans 1-4 Autumnstone
Ritter Town 0-1 The Hanged Man
Boltcroft Thorns 0-2 AFC Shale
Falston United 1-2 Riverkey
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Greygate 2-0 Ballardine FC
Coret Rovers 0-2 Stonegrave
Extreme Hills 1-1 Barossia United
Southriver 1-2 Pillars of Southfell
Hackett 4-0 The Strongest
Peregrine 2-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Martella Jazz 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Crossroads Town 2-0 Ritter Town
Autumnstone 3-1 Boltcroft Thorns
The Hanged Man 2-1 Falston United
AFC Shale 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Riverkey 2-2 Greygate
Corinthians No Longer 4-4 Coret Rovers
Ballardine FC 0-4 Extreme Hills
Stonegrave 0-0 Barossia United
The Strongest 2-2 Southriver
Lazuli Diamonds 0-3 Pillars of Southfell
Gosmouth Swans 2-2 Hackett
Ritter Town 1-0 Peregrine
Boltcroft Thorns 4-3 Martella Jazz
Falston United 2-0 Crossroads Town
Aries Solitaire 1-2 Autumnstone
Greygate 1-1 The Hanged Man
Coret Rovers 1-1 AFC Shale
Extreme Hills 0-2 Riverkey
Barossia United 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Stonegrave 0-1 Ballardine FC

Barossia United remain, predictably, at the top of the table; with sixteen games to play, they have a five-point buffer over second and eleven points over fourth, meaning they can probably pretty much be marked down as one of the promoted sides at this stage. The concern is, of course, how they reinforce and how the players at hand step up. The gap between second and third tier is probably the highest of any two steps in the pyramid; veteran midfielder Vasilis Nikas is just two steps above everyone here, but it’s hard to see the 35-year old even keeping up to 1Div pace anymore. If they’re smart, they’re already lining up transfers for next year.

Yura Bartok’s Pillars of Southfell are the form team at the top after winning their last four, despite having by a distance the fewest goals of the top seven teams. Heidi Ishtar has electrified at this level, contributing nine goals and eight assists; not far off having a hand in half the team’s tally. Mostly, though, the team’s strength comes from the aging double pivot of Alsatian and Bellard, and in Mariam Brookhouse arguably the best goalkeeper in the league.

The ambitions of Aries Solitaire have once again not matched results at this level, and after a 2-1 defeat at home to Autumnstone left them languishing in midtable, Sasha Breighthauser was given her marching orders with Katrina Wheelhouse promoted from within to reside over the rebuild. With Zaparas, Dimitrius and possibly Na’Drevu all set for retirement, it is certain to be extensive. The Archers, meanwhile, are unbeaten in eight and now well and truly out of the relegation fight.

Riverkey have also bid farewell to Clarissa Burnes, slightly earlier - with one win in ten, a limp 2-0 defeat at home to Ritter Town proved the tipping point. Janus Gligor comes in with some promising experience in 3Div and the Conference; this is his first shot at this level. The Seagulls were expected to challenge for promotion, but their side is old and bad and, most damningly, they have absolutely no midfield presence. Gligor’s made a positive initial impact that has at least pulled Riverkey away from an unthinkable relegation scrap.

That said, they are probably above the relegation dogfight at this stage, which can probably be confined to the bottom seven. An away win for Ballardine gives them a slight buffer, but just five points separate the bottom six; Coret and Gosmouth out of trouble for now, Southriver straddling, with Crossroads, a recovering Lazuli and an utterly wallowing Martella under the orange line. The Jazz, at least, have scored as many goals as Pillars in third. Southriver are at least by this stage outscoring Sylvia Wright, though on 24 goals she remains currently in the lead for the Boot.

Brunyard FC 2-2 Mapleford
Cranequin Souths 1-1 Kensey Town
Crownsend Journey 0-0 Hartford Glade
Rushe United 0-0 South Parrhesia
Sheridan 2-0 Strephonage
Kommissar 3-0 Brindleton
Brokenarch 5-2 Sutcroft
Downsparrow 0-1 Fully Sick XI
Caldwick Strand 0-1 Ox River United
Riverkey Shells 1-2 Iron United
Ingram Township 0-2 Rochford Pilgrims
West Hook 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
Mapleford 1-2 Cranequin Souths
Brunyard FC 1-2 Crownsend Journey
Kensey Town 1-2 Rushe United
Hartford Glade 2-1 Sheridan
South Parrhesia 0-2 Kommissar
Strephonage 1-0 Brokenarch
Brindleton 1-3 Downsparrow
Sutcroft 0-2 Caldwick Strand
Fully Sick XI 0-0 Riverkey Shells
Ox River United 0-0 Ingram Township
Iron United 1-0 West Hook
Rochford Pilgrims 0-3 East Laithland Harriers
Crownsend Journey 1-4 Mapleford
Rushe United 1-1 Cranequin Souths
Sheridan 2-0 Brunyard FC
Kommissar 1-2 Kensey Town
Brokenarch 2-0 Hartford Glade
Downsparrow 1-2 South Parrhesia
Caldwick Strand 2-0 Strephonage
Riverkey Shells 0-2 Brindleton
Ingram Township 5-1 Sutcroft
West Hook 2-0 Fully Sick XI
East Laithland Harriers 4-3 Ox River United
Rochford Pilgrims 3-1 Iron United
Mapleford 3-2 Rushe United
Crownsend Journey 0-0 Sheridan
Cranequin Souths 2-1 Kommissar
Brunyard FC 0-3 Brokenarch
Kensey Town 1-2 Downsparrow
Hartford Glade 2-3 Caldwick Strand
South Parrhesia 1-0 Riverkey Shells
Strephonage 0-0 Ingram Township
Brindleton 3-0 West Hook
Sutcroft 1-2 East Laithland Harriers
Fully Sick XI 1-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Ox River United 1-1 Iron United
Sheridan 0-0 Mapleford
Kommissar 0-0 Rushe United
Brokenarch 1-1 Crownsend Journey
Downsparrow 1-3 Cranequin Souths
Caldwick Strand 1-1 Brunyard FC
Riverkey Shells 0-4 Kensey Town
Ingram Township 2-0 Hartford Glade
West Hook 2-0 South Parrhesia
East Laithland Harriers 0-1 Strephonage
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Brindleton
Iron United 0-1 Sutcroft
Ox River United 2-0 Fully Sick XI
Mapleford 1-0 Kommissar
Sheridan 0-0 Brokenarch
Rushe United 4-1 Downsparrow
Crownsend Journey 1-1 Caldwick Strand
Cranequin Souths 3-1 Riverkey Shells
Brunyard FC 0-1 Ingram Township
Kensey Town 3-2 West Hook
Hartford Glade 2-0 East Laithland Harriers
South Parrhesia 1-3 Rochford Pilgrims
Strephonage 3-1 Iron United
Brindleton 0-2 Ox River United
Sutcroft 1-3 Fully Sick XI
Brokenarch 1-0 Mapleford
Downsparrow 1-0 Kommissar
Caldwick Strand 1-3 Sheridan
Riverkey Shells 1-1 Rushe United
Ingram Township 1-1 Crownsend Journey
West Hook 1-2 Cranequin Souths
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Brunyard FC
Rochford Pilgrims 2-1 Kensey Town
Iron United 0-1 Hartford Glade
Ox River United 0-1 South Parrhesia
Fully Sick XI 1-1 Strephonage
Sutcroft 1-1 Brindleton

Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 AFC Corvistone 30 21 6 3 58 25 +33 69
2 Crisisbless 30 21 4 5 60 24 +36 67
3 Brinemouth 30 18 8 4 68 36 +32 62
4 Sabrefell Moths 30 19 3 8 55 36 +19 60

5 Sabrefell Athletic 30 17 7 6 65 43 +22 58
6 AFC Treason 30 17 5 8 49 33 +16 56
7 Stahlburg City 30 12 11 7 39 26 +13 47

8 North Laithland 30 12 9 9 44 39 +5 45
9 Starling 30 13 5 12 45 34 +11 44
10 Coret Hawks 30 13 5 12 51 43 +8 44
11 Southfell United 30 12 8 10 46 43 +3 44
12 South Laithland 30 12 5 13 32 35 -3 41
13 Crisisbless United 30 10 7 13 35 51 -16 37
14 Leichhardt 30 8 12 10 29 37 -8 36
15 Cranequin Wanderers 30 9 7 14 32 39 -7 34
16 Aries Chariots 30 8 9 13 45 47 -2 33
17 Chenoworth Harriers 30 7 12 11 30 39 -9 33
18 Belgrave 30 9 5 16 40 59 -19 32
19 North Sabrefell 30 8 6 16 31 52 -21 30
20 Chatswood 30 6 10 14 27 42 -15 28
21 Vermillion Rage 30 7 7 16 38 59 -21 28
22 Newrook City 30 6 8 16 33 45 -12 26
23 Creed United 30 5 9 16 29 59 -30 24
24 Cypher Town 30 3 6 21 20 55 -35 15

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Chenoworth Rovers 30 22 5 3 59 22 +37 71
2 Stahlburg Rovers 30 21 5 4 61 24 +37 68
3 Diamondqueen 30 19 5 6 51 29 +22 62

4 Vermillion Wanderers 30 18 7 5 53 27 +26 61
5 Brookford Otters 30 18 7 5 51 26 +25 61
6 Raven River 30 18 7 5 49 25 +24 61
7 Iron City 30 11 14 5 31 23 +8 47
8 Goodfeather FC 30 12 7 11 45 42 +3 43
9 Corvette Maulers 30 11 10 9 45 42 +3 43
10 Armstrong 30 12 6 12 30 26 +4 42
11 Gonen's Bridge 30 11 9 10 36 41 -5 42
12 AFC Serpentine 30 10 10 10 45 44 +1 40
13 Parrhesia United 30 8 12 10 43 44 -1 36
14 Chardonnay Rangers 30 8 11 11 36 41 -5 35
15 Morningstar 30 9 7 14 21 33 -12 34
16 Dartmouth Terriers 30 7 12 11 28 37 -9 33
17 Bishop 30 8 8 14 26 40 -14 32
18 Mantlegrove 30 8 8 14 22 39 -17 32
19 AFC Rochford 30 8 6 16 26 37 -11 30
20 Cranequin City 30 7 9 14 29 43 -14 30
21 Crisisbless Athletic 30 6 8 16 40 49 -9 26
22 Alliance Barossia 30 8 2 20 21 45 -24 26
23 Locksley 30 4 6 20 28 72 -44 18
24 West Brinemouth 30 3 5 22 25 50 -25 14

Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Barossia United 30 18 8 4 58 24 +34 62
2 Corinthians No Longer 30 17 6 7 69 31 +38 57
3 Pillars of Southfell 30 15 7 8 41 24 +17 52

4 Peregrine 30 15 6 9 50 31 +19 51
5 Extreme Hills 30 15 4 11 58 46 +12 49
6 The Strongest 30 14 7 9 66 55 +11 49
7 Hackett 30 12 12 6 58 39 +19 48
8 AFC Shale 30 13 9 8 37 24 +13 48
9 Greygate 30 12 11 7 47 37 +10 47
10 The Hanged Man 30 12 11 7 33 28 +5 47
11 Aries Solitaire 30 12 9 9 44 39 +5 45
12 Ritter Town 30 12 8 10 46 44 +2 44
13 Boltcroft Thorns 30 12 5 13 43 52 -9 41
14 Falston United 30 12 5 13 30 43 -13 41
15 Autumnstone 30 11 7 12 56 63 -7 40
16 Stonegrave 30 9 10 11 27 32 -5 37
17 Riverkey 30 8 11 11 28 33 -5 35
18 Ballardine FC 30 8 8 14 32 51 -19 32
19 Coret Rovers 30 6 11 13 35 43 -8 29
20 Gosmouth Swans 30 6 10 14 32 49 -17 28
21 Southriver 30 7 7 16 26 51 -25 28
22 Crossroads Town 30 8 2 20 38 62 -24 26
23 Lazuli Diamonds 30 7 5 18 32 64 -32 26
24 Martella Jazz 30 5 9 16 41 62 -21 24

Pos Team                          P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Sheridan 30 18 7 5 46 18 +28 61
2 Mapleford 30 17 7 6 50 25 +25 58
3 Brokenarch 30 15 10 5 46 25 +21 55

4 Strephonage 30 16 7 7 36 27 +9 55
5 Rochford Pilgrims 30 16 4 10 62 51 +11 52
6 Kensey Town 30 14 8 8 56 38 +18 50
7 Ingram Township 30 14 8 8 31 21 +10 50
8 East Laithland Harriers 30 16 2 12 50 48 +2 50
9 Kommissar 30 14 6 10 49 32 +17 48
10 Cranequin Souths 30 12 9 9 52 44 +8 45
11 Hartford Glade 30 12 9 9 43 42 +1 45
12 Brindleton 30 11 9 10 36 30 +6 42
13 Caldwick Strand 30 11 9 10 43 39 +4 42
14 Iron United 30 12 5 13 39 40 -1 41
15 Ox River United 30 10 7 13 28 30 -2 37
16 South Parrhesia 30 9 8 13 51 63 -12 35
17 West Hook 30 10 4 16 28 37 -9 34
18 Crownsend Journey 30 8 10 12 37 50 -13 34
19 Fully Sick XI 30 8 7 15 32 51 -19 31
20 Riverkey Shells 30 7 7 16 33 52 -19 28
21 Rushe United 30 6 9 15 42 58 -16 27
22 Brunyard FC 30 6 9 15 39 60 -21 27
23 Downsparrow 30 7 5 18 34 55 -21 26
24 Sutcroft 30 6 4 20 38 65 -27 22

Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Lockheed Zenith 30 18 5 7 59 34 +25 59
2 FC Seierstad 30 16 8 6 55 35 +20 56

3 Lindmark Falcons 30 18 1 11 49 32 +17 55
4 Ringway 30 14 7 9 39 36 +3 49
5 Besand's Folly 30 13 9 8 49 40 +9 48
6 Sirencall FC 30 13 8 9 35 34 +1 47
7 Grovebank 30 13 7 10 42 30 +12 46
8 AFC Hellerine 30 13 7 10 42 38 +4 46
9 Iberia Chenoworth 30 13 6 11 57 50 +7 45
10 Harrington 30 13 4 13 43 48 -5 43
11 Sutcroft Athletic 30 12 5 13 33 38 -5 41
12 Boleyn Town 30 9 12 9 31 36 -5 39
13 Stonesthrow Town 30 10 8 12 26 30 -4 38
14 Courser 30 8 10 12 33 38 -5 34
15 Chenoworth Teutons 30 9 7 14 26 33 -7 34
16 Fischer 30 9 6 15 35 44 -9 33
17 AFC Feuerweiss 30 8 7 15 30 40 -10 31
18 AFC Mittelmarch 30 6 12 12 21 33 -12 30
19 Fenland Albion 30 7 7 16 27 40 -13 28
20 Sleetwell Rangers 30 6 8 16 31 54 -23 26

Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Constance Park 30 14 12 4 35 16 +19 54
2 Rookwall 30 17 2 11 43 34 +9 53

3 New Oakstone Phoenix 30 14 10 6 49 29 +20 52
4 Latin Enclave FC 30 14 8 8 69 49 +20 50
5 Brookford Vantablack 30 13 9 8 46 32 +14 48
6 Corvistone City 30 14 6 10 37 25 +12 48
7 Long Lake 30 13 8 9 33 28 +5 47
8 Bodkin Road 30 13 7 10 50 38 +12 46
9 The Travellers FC 30 13 5 12 41 35 +6 44
10 Northside Eagles 30 13 5 12 51 46 +5 44
11 AFC Volksgarten 30 13 5 12 38 33 +5 44
12 Twelvetrees 30 12 7 11 30 30 +0 43
13 Longwinter 30 11 9 10 44 41 +3 42
14 Barhara Cavaliers 30 9 9 12 39 50 -11 36
15 Aries Tigers 30 9 7 14 42 57 -15 34
16 Gridlock 30 8 9 13 22 35 -13 33
17 Markoni 30 8 8 14 32 48 -16 32
18 AFC Burchess 30 8 7 15 34 52 -18 31
19 AFC Davenport 30 6 6 18 36 59 -23 24
20 Blaze 30 6 5 19 31 65 -34 23
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Postby Nephara » Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:36 am

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

A study of contrasts in Sabrefell. Belgrave are very much in Adalheid Metzelder’s image; brash, flamboyant, confident and very, very good value. Newrook are… similarly dysfunctional, and now Gareth Penrooke will need to be the man who fixes it. A Moths stalwart midfielder in his playing days, a journeyman with experience in three nations in his coaching career, and with a quiet but intense force of personality. Penrooke realises that his central defence is spectacularly inadequate, a 19-year old and a 37-year old, and they need cover first and foremost, so a double pivot of brutalist Fallon and workhorse Brandtner offers control and protection. He also recognises that Olivia Nygard is past her best, so Duffy sticks it alone up front, backed up by a fluid attacking trident of Voeller, Bronson and, strangely, Dassi Constantine - a 20-year old more known as a striker, but the team doesn’t really have natural wingers. Here, it works. Duffy opens and closes the scoreline, with Constantine setting up Voeller with an assist on her first league start of the season. “I respect my predecessor greatly,” Penrooke bluntly says after the match, “but he tried the same thing for twenty-nine league games and it kept not working. I believe in my players to adapt to a working system.”

Creed score for the first time in four games against Sabrefell Moths… and go down 4-1 regardless. Their last three had ended in an aggregate 11-0. They haven’t won in twelve games. Diandra Ballard may be a World Cup winner, but she just hasn’t had it in her to arrest this slide. Catheline Harper takes over, having just been relegated with Chenoworth Rovers… but damn it, she can motivate a team. Despite all the palaver of last match, Corvistone slip from the top again; Coret have the firepower and panache, cantering to a 3-1 lead at half-time, and goals from wingers Ulreich and Catley can only level the scores while Crisisbless blaze past Chenoworth. Treason look, for one, like they’re taking the high path in a 2-0 win against Stahlburg, more brain than brawn in beating their hated rivals, North Sabrefell and Vermillion claim three invaluable points over midtable sides and Sabrefell Athletic smash six unanswered goals past Folami Adekoya in Leichhardt.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Cranequin City 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Parrhesia United 3-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Raven River 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
AFC Rochford 1-1 Corvette Maulers
West Brinemouth 4-1 Gonen's Bridge
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Locksley 2-1 Morningstar
Armstrong 1-2 Diamondqueen
Brookford Otters 2-1 Bishop
AFC Serpentine 3-1 Mantlegrove
Iron City 1-0 Goodfeather FC

Maybe at the very bottom there is still hope? Crisisbless Athletic can be at least somewhat content with a draw against Chardonnay, Tristan Young’s thumping header at one end making up somewhat for a scuffed pass leading to the Rangers’ goal at the other, and Alliance fall flat against Cranequin with usual hero Non missing two chances he should had buried. But though Morningstar get a rare goal to take the lead over a porous Locksley, they’re too passive over the next hour; Kreisburg’s goal in the 80th and Stubbs’ in injury time hands the Brewers a deserved victory, for all Morena Camberwell rages about imagined offsides. And West Brinemouth pulverise Gonen’s Bridge 4-1, though at this stage their season is just a matter of their better players auditioning to stay in the league, not the club itself.

Stahlburg City 0-2 Aries Chariots
Southfell United 2-3 Starling
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 AFC Treason
Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Vermillion Rage
North Sabrefell 0-2 Creed United
North Laithland 3-0 Leichhardt
Newrook City 2-1 South Laithland
Cypher Town 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Crisisbless United 0-2 Belgrave
Crisisbless 0-2 Brinemouth
AFC Corvistone 2-1 Chatswood
Coret Hawks 3-3 Chenoworth Harriers

Corvistone make heavy weather of Chatswood, suddenly seeming weary and heavy-legged for a scoreless first hour. Eventually, inevitably, Caulker finds space to curl in a lethal low cross, Rehan Garrett hops over it in flight and Ivana Henderson drives home her twelfth league goal of a standout season. It would be so easy for Corvistone’s heads to drop… but they don’t. They dominate the rest of the game, Yonen levels with a lofted header that Williams scrambles to fail to save before Baba Warrington bursts through the heart of the Axes’ defence to smash home a crafty through-ball from Rachel Arniston. So that passes the buck to Crisisbless… who try and fail to contain Brinemouth, a strong layered defence appearing oddly static in the face of Brinemouth’s passing, a beautiful passing move flowing from Spencer through five others to Tidesson heading home at the far post, leaping like a salmon over a flat-footed Teffeteller. Crisisbless get a way back in through a penalty, Quintero slammed to the floor by an unusually foolhardy Close… but the Heelers have oddly failed to find a good penalty taker this season. Abylon, Laiota and Bowman have all missed, and now so has Moira Woakes, who smashes hers against the crossbar. Desya Kuznetsov does what he does to make it 2-0 late on; the Dockers are back in the chase, and the Crows are back on top of the table.

Elsewhere at the top, Sabrefell Moths just have too much drive and vision for an overly static Treason side. It ends 2-0; it could have been more, but Angel Clavel is in fine form between the posts. And Cathal Turner misses a chance to complete a hat-trick by complacently air-swinging at Reach’s far post pass. Coret get into a second straight 3-3, Fiona Norval with a brace on a rare start, but the Harriers fighting back from 3-1 down at half-time through Stensholt’s penalty and a wickedly swerving winner from Sigrun Rivers, who absolutely still has it at 30. Belgrave’s own aging winger, Aura Keynes, celebrates her 31st birthday with a goal and an assist against Crisisbless United. There’s speculation that Karii Bruun, given a rest today, might be headed to the Moths next season; on this evidence, backup Karius Mosin has some way to go to match her after giving Keynes too much respect. Newrook also get a much-needed boost, South Laithland squandering their chances. Mostly, though, their issue is that they keep trying to cross, a fine idea since it’s about all Johanna Rosen can do anyway, except that heading crosses out is about all that the antique Nkembe can do these days, and certainly it’s no issue for the 1.5 satyrs in Newrook’s defence. Duffy and Bronson strike at the other end. Creed dominate Southfell in Catheline Harper’s first game, and God is Harper delighted on the sidelines. Given a rare start, Justina Donau doubles her goal tally for the season, to four, showing enough liveliness to suggest maybe she should’ve been here the entire time.

Alliance Barossia 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Cranequin City
Corvette Maulers 2-0 Parrhesia United
Gonen's Bridge 0-2 Raven River
Chardonnay Rangers 3-1 AFC Rochford
Morningstar 0-1 West Brinemouth
Diamondqueen 6-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Bishop 4-0 Locksley
Mantlegrove 2-2 Armstrong
Goodfeather FC 0-0 Brookford Otters
Iron City 1-1 AFC Serpentine

Another win for West Brinemouth, another offensive performance with all the punch of an overcooked tagliatelli from Morningstar, the Gulls dominant in midfield and resolute at the back, and a rare goalkeeping error from Jakob Carter proving Stars’ downfall. Their back line was being pressed, Strauss rolled the ball back to Carter, Carter took his eye off the ball, swung for a kick and scuffed it into Guegan, who was just about alert enough to drag the ball into the empty net. Locksley, unlike the Gulls, can’t make it two from two; Bishop plow them down 4-0, while Diamondqueen crush Crisisbless Athletic 6-0, and Alliance are the only ones of the bottom four to score but lose regardless. Dartmouth manage to hold Chenoworth silent, a weirdly virtuoso performance from former Crisisbless striker Klaus Breisgau who might not manage to get on the scoresheet but manages to waste a staggering amount of the Rovers’ time whenever anyone hoofs the ball his way...

AFC Treason 1-1 Olympia FC
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 Oldem Knights
Spartangrad 5-1 Brinemouth

Treason and Olympia clash in a slightly dull tactical affair, but Treason are thrown off just seven minutes in, Natasa Horvat playing provider for strike partner Auguste Alder to smash home an inelegant but efficient opener. Treason have the faintly better of the game from there, but it takes until the 89th minute for them to finally make good on that, Metzger finds a different way to play provider. By smashing into Persson in search of a ball from Jonsson, letting John Fletcher drive home the loose ball. Goals from Aedelbrandt and Vol make for a relatively comfortable evening in Sabrefell for the Moths, Konrad Gosforth’s return to Nephara marked in style through Tawny Shone repeatedly ankle-tapping him. Brinemouth can’t say the same. Bluntly, Spartangrad pulverise them. 3-0 by half-time with Lui Wceil running the show, 5-1 by full time, the tie’s over before it started.

Sabrefell Athletic 3-0 Venividicci
Starling 1-2 Jungle Strike FC
Marque 0-0 Crisisbless

Mixed results across the new CC, though it might not be the equivalent to the old CC. Sabrefell Athletic cruise to victory against Venividicci, Oscar Coltrane turning back the years with just that little bit more room to operate. He doesn’t directly get any of the three goals or their assists, but he’s running the show regardless. Starling, by contrast, are deeply indifferent against Jungle Strike in arguably the marquee clash of the round, but Valentine Roxel boldly hurls himself into a lost cause to flick on a header for Dostalok, reacting fast, to whip past the ‘keeper on the first touch. A lifeline. A resolute defensive showing from the Privateers shuts down Crisisbless, but the bluntly indifferent (and indifferently blunt) quality of Marque’s forwards betrays them on a day when none can bury their chances.

AC Izotz Zubia 2-0 Parrhesia United

For the first time in a tournament where the Saints have acquitted themselves so, so well, they just come up against an opponent bigger, harder, more cynical and better at football than they are. Parrhesia’s highest-paid attacker is Sigrun Barota, who is 33, spent her prime in Chromatika and is regarded broadly as a troublemaker. Zozi have Laborious Hawk behind Valrauncion and Thor Audbjornsson. The Saints barely get a sniff, trying just to survive more than anything with Reus left to carve a lonely furrow in attack in the vague hopes that someone finds her on the break. They don’t.

Aries Chariots 0-4 Southfell United
Stahlburg City 0-0 Sabrefell Moths
Starling 3-4 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Treason 2-0 North Sabrefell
Vermillion Rage 1-0 North Laithland
Creed United 1-2 Newrook City
Leichhardt 1-0 Cypher Town
South Laithland 2-3 Crisisbless United
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 Crisisbless
Belgrave 3-2 AFC Corvistone
Brinemouth 3-2 Coret Hawks
Chatswood 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers

Starling fans will be having nightmares about this one for some time. Maybe feeling even worse now than they did at half-time, which would be impressive since at half-time they were standing around like idiots, 3-0 down, on home soil. But then in the 47th minute, something special happens. Liam Armstrong, over a set piece, always dangerous. Arcs it hard over the wall - well, not quite, as Gabrielle Reinhardt’s head helps glance it juuuust past Aurelian Gautier. And then Armstrong plays in Netzach, who cuts cleverly back for Roebling, who cuts it across the face of goal for Dostalok to slide in and tap home another. And then a thumping strike from Roebling can only be palmed onto the inside of the post by Gautier, bouncing helplessly back across the line, and Dostalok sprinting fast to stab home the loose ball. 3-3. And Starling in the ascendancy. And-- wait, no, absolutely senselessly Amalie Asghar goes in murderously for Anja Ruthenbeck, who’s just kind of loitering arond the edge of the box. Ruthenbeck obliges by falling over, Tarala obliges by driving home the penalty.

Stahlburg City’s scoreless draw against the Moths can be taken in one of two ways. Positives: it’s a strong, resolute performance, a point against a powerful opponent. Cathal Turner looks particularly infuriated by the final whistle, with Xandra Cooke having marked him out of the game. But, negatives: if they really want to think of themselves as being in the higher echelons of the Premiership, should they not have tried a little… harder, to win? Corvistone and Crisisbless both lose to relegation fighters, Newrook edge Creed in the fight of the clubs who desperately fired their managers, Vermillion edge out North Laithland due to Erinys Hart, who scores the only goal of the game against her hometown club, hwile Southfell absolutely demolish Aries.

Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Corvette Maulers
Cranequin City 1-2 Gonen's Bridge
Parrhesia United 3-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Raven River 1-1 Morningstar
AFC Rochford 0-1 Diamondqueen
West Brinemouth 0-1 Bishop
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Mantlegrove
Locksley 0-5 Goodfeather FC
Armstrong 1-1 Iron City
Brookford Otters 1-2 AFC Serpentine

Goodfeather smash Locksley 5-0 away, continuing the theme of a very solid season that might just grease a Premiership move for Tremeka Godwin or Kathil Mizumaru, each bought on a free a year and a half ago, now potentially valued over three million apiece. And continuing Locksley’s theme of being trash. West Brinemouth’s mini-renaissance also stalls out with a pathetic showing to Bishop, penned in their own half - any hope of a glorious fightback dead by the half-hour, with Vorster driving home the winner by 23 minutes in and Chambers getting senselessly sent off four minutes later. Cranequin City’s backslide has largely passed under the radar, but after Gonen’s Bridge punch through them, one has to ask; could they make it two in a row in the worst way?

Olympia FC 1-1 AFC Treason (1-1 AET)
2-2 on aggregate. Olympia FC win 3-2 on penalties.

Oldem Knights 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Sabrefell Moths win 3-0 on aggregate.

Brinemouth 0-1 Spartangrad
Spartangrad win 6-1 on aggregate.

Few goals on the whole, and the tension is all in Eastfield Lodge. Again, Olympia score first, but this time it’s in line with the run of play as the wily Horvat nutmegs Lockheed with a perfectly-timed ball that finds the bursting run of Mihaljevic, who need only slide it past Clavel as he flies out past him. Treason have to play against the metaphorical wind, pushing against fate, and Angel Clavel makes more than a few good saves. But late on, a ferocious header from Lockheed can only be tipped onto the post by Persson, and unglamorous substitute Saturn Mastiff reacts fastest to poke home the rebound. Pity that none of it matters; Persson excels himself in the shootout, and Clavel’s no pushover either, but Bawany drives home the winner after three consecutive misses between the two sides. Sabrefell stroll to victory in Oldem, bringing out veteran striker Joan Vickers for a rare start, the relic having been a hero in the city. For Mechanical. Sadly, she doesn’t score, but Reach does. Brinemouth and Spartangrad, well, that isn’t even a match at this stage.

Venividicci 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Sabrefell Athletic win 5-0 on aggregate.

Jungle Strike FC 0-1 Starling
2-2 on aggregate. Jungle Strike FC win on away goals.

Crisisbless 1-0 Marque
Crisisbless win 1-0 on aggregate.

Athletic labour through most of the match against Venividicci, but an early strike from Lucas and a late one from Harriet Corver finish off the tie. Starling go to Vilita, and almost immediately go down… or so they think, when Marica Kuepper’s strike is chalked off for offside. They can’t make the most of the reprieve, Armstrong’s only goal of the game insufficient to turn the tide. Crisisbless are resilient but uninspired against Marque, who are also resilient but uninspired. Privateer goalkeeper Scanlan Pritchard makes an impressive double save from Abylon, then Woakes, but can only spill that into the path of Cass Quintero, who does finally score.

Parrhesia United 1-0 AC Izotz Zubia
AC Izotz Zubia win 2-1 on aggregate.

Strange, isn’t it, just how much easier it can be on home soil? Suddenly Parrhesia look across the pitch and just see 11v11. Zozi are defensively disciplined and with a hotly contested title race to, well, contest, are using the opportunity to rest a couple star forwards, but it’s still a real feat when young leftback Vesuvius Feist slides a ball across for Barota, who nutmegs her man to get it back to Feist, who shapes for the cross, stutters, and cuts back instead to meet the run of Adele Rosborough… Rosborough clearly wants to hit it first time but she knows better, takes the touch and then guides it low past Breeze. Parrhesia crash out anyway, but it’s a nice win in isolation. They’ve done the league credit, and shown people the strength of depth of the Nepharim pyramid.

Sabrefell Moths 2-0 Aries Chariots
Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Southfell United
North Sabrefell 1-3 Stahlburg City
North Laithland 0-3 Starling
Newrook City 2-4 AFC Treason
Cypher Town 1-2 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless United 2-1 Creed United
Crisisbless 3-0 Leichhardt
AFC Corvistone 3-3 South Laithland
Coret Hawks 4-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 Belgrave
Chatswood 1-0 Brinemouth

Wasn’t so long ago that Cypher and Vermillion were languishing around at the bottom of the table, but the Rage have been on the rise lately. This despite refraining from the tactic of giving Cralt-Nirlo the flick… related note, Creed and Newrook both lose today. Today the Rage have a trip to the Marches (as in, the southeast border between the Laith and civilisation, not Nephara generally, do keep up, foreigners) to play Cypher, who have made no fist at all at survival but mostly just inconvenienced people. Predictably, Kynda-Sevet sets up Andrea Bereveskos - who has been setting about this season like a personal ordeal for her beloved hometown - to almost golf-wedge home a chip over Leila Ramelow, who has picked up a terrible wandering habit this season. So they have an hour to overcome that. Fortunately, Cypher also have a once-great goalkeeper picking up eccentricities in their early 30s, a cross from Hart floating into the net with Ruo Xiaolan declining to really do anything about it on its way over her head. And Hart, who has had a bizarrely strong renaissance over the past couple of weeks, then slips past the sluggish Morgan Halfhill before playing Syrene Fleetwood through, and from there the midfielder shoots hard, across Ruo. Still an excellent shot-stopper, Ruo does get hands on it… but only to push it into Danica Heward’s knee, the striker falling over Ruo’s prostrate body to follow her winning goal into the net.

At the top of the table, it continues rather to seem as though everyone’s getting vertigo. Chatswood beat Brinemouth in what is a typical fixture between two sides that really do not like one another after one too many final-day clashes, and for all that Nova Williams has occasionally been erratic, she makes nine fine saves in a true all-hands-on-deck performance. As, honestly, the Axes beat the shit out of the Dockers every chance they get. It’s a brutal game, and surprisingly the normally cultured Prentice gets sent off (Bischoff and Heidt should really follow), but Severa Conleth manages the only goal of the game and continues to burnish her legend. Coret eviscerate Cranequin 4-0 even without a contribution up front, as Kasmiir and Okafor - backed up by Bezemer’s moral support, rather than having a second striker ahead of them - stride confidently through the midfield, interplay splendidly with one another, and smash home two goals apiece.

Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Alliance Barossia
Chardonnay Rangers 0-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Morningstar 0-2 Cranequin City
Diamondqueen 4-6 Parrhesia United
Bishop 2-1 Raven River
Mantlegrove 1-0 AFC Rochford
Goodfeather FC 1-1 West Brinemouth
Iron City 3-0 Crisisbless Athletic
AFC Serpentine 4-1 Locksley
Brookford Otters 4-0 Armstrong

Bishop get their third straight win against a strong opponent, with River over-reliant on long shots. “I told the lads to test their boy, Strom,” says River manager Eoin Killanen post-match, before clarifying, “because he’s shit.” Indeed, one from Crowe slips by that shouldn’t have, but Beckwith and the veteran Jeanes make up for it at the other end. Brookford point out to Armstrong fans that their woes aren’t over just yet, massacring them 4-0 as Gratia Barker stalks the touchline looking unimpressed. Parrhesia and Diamondqueen go hammer-and-tongs at one another until the Diamonds run out of steam with twenty minutes to go. The Saints do not, and a brace off the bench from Raven Dallas helps massage their recovery.

Belgrave 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
North Sabrefell 0-1 Coret Hawks
Vermillion Rage 4-2 Extreme Hills
The Hanged Man 2-1 Parrhesia United

With a draw this hilariously top-loaded, you’d swear the NFA wanted another lower-league champion. But at least one half of it will be a Premiership side, most likely Coret, the only ones of the four not in a relegation dogfight. That said, nobody here rests players. They can sense glory. Belgrave and Cranequin perhaps let the pressure get to them - one way or another, theirs is a stifled game, and while Belgrave don’t cope well with being choked down one moment of inspiration from Kotaro Katsura secures a slim advantage. Coret also come calling in north Sabrefell, and a professional performance backed by a screamer from Otalia Kasmiir that slammed off the inside of the crossbar on its way in secures an away goal and a lead going into the home leg. That leaves Vermillion, who one imagines should make short work of Jess Hearn’s Extreme Hills, but that doesn’t quite materialise. Poor defensive work gives the Hounds their chances, and while the Rage go into the break 2-1 up and finish the game 4-2, there’s a sense that anything could happen in the Laith. Parrhesia, meanwhile, come somewhat unstuck at The Hanged Man, who know how to attack set pieces that the Saints can’t defend and also how to hold out under immense pressure. The Saints command 72% possession, but it matters not when nobody can actually get the ball past the surprisingly spry veteran goalkeeper Olivia Selkie.

Spartangrad 4-0 AFC Treason

Jesus Christ! What is with Spartangrad’s uncanny ability to fucking dismantle Nepharim sides over the past month or so? First Brinemouth, and that had the Stags laughing, but now...

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

One dusty night in Creed, with its typical rust-coloured air and angry people who make paralytically strong craft beer. Ten goals. The Oathmen’s new manager could never have been accused of being sophisticated; Catheline Harper’s tactics appear to boil down to ‘rush the cunts’, and arrayed against Hadrian Belfast’s rather more technical pressing game, it has a bit of a rugby feel to it. Just feel sorry for Goodlight Wynder, who has a lazy clearance optimistically blocked by a high boot from a rushing Conway, the bounce flukily falling for Donau to cut back for Barbarouses to drive home the opener. The Crows have to press higher… and get done on the break, twice, Donau notching a brace. Senninger’s forced into action at last, brilliantly tipping over a strike from Morham… only for Morham’s corner to be smashed home by the hulking Calcipher Heston. Not to worry; Taani’s header makes it 4-1 in the 41st minute, fellow satyr Yonen makes it 4-2 in the 43rd, and Catley hits a post in injury time. Anyone ask their team to calm down in the second half? No; Belfast needs the goals, and Harper’s… herself. Creed extend their lead through Conrad and from there it’s just Corvistone chasing, Ulreich pulling one back before the big gun of Warrington’s finally brought off the bench, just in time for Barbarouses to make it 6-3 with a vicious free kick that Feldman spills, and in injury time, a rejuvenated Lyre Castor - dropped by Ballard, restored by Harper - makes everything worse by scoring her second of the season to make it seven.

You could have got slightly over half that level of excitement in Sabrefell, mathematically speaking, as North Sabrefell score first through Simone Cheney and then try and keep up the momentum rather than doing the sensible thing of holding back defensively. As a result, they get torn apart. Belgrave, too, try to a fault to play their own game against Brinemouth, who play the same thing but three times as well. 4-1 is the result, and not in the Gargoyles’ favour, though their fans do applaud them off for the effort. Starling get five goals themselves, utterly destroying a Cypher side for whom, really, can they really still say that Henrick Barden is the best choice for parachuting them into the First Division? With a record like this? And Chatswood absolutely dominate Cranequin Wanderers, rather gliding to victory. Mostly, even their wins have felt laboured to date, struggling for midfield presence and sheer goals, but in a 4-2-3-1 that just lets Ivana Henderson rove as the lone spearhead, the hidden benefit is that Andrea Prentice can run the show, chalking up all three assists on the night as Bischoff and Vollath cover her tracks.

Vermillion Wanderers 3-1 Corvette Maulers
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Alliance Barossia 1-1 Morningstar
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 Diamondqueen
Cranequin City 0-0 Bishop
Parrhesia United 4-4 Mantlegrove
Raven River 4-0 Goodfeather FC
AFC Rochford 0-2 Iron City
West Brinemouth 0-0 AFC Serpentine
Crisisbless Athletic 1-5 Brookford Otters
Locksley 0-1 Armstrong

Yet again, Parrhesia? Yes, the irrepressible Saints have racked up yet another meme scoreline, going 4-4 against Mantlegrove. In fairness, Obasi is focusing on the Cup right now (as well he might; the Saints aren’t going up or down) but a very young side impresses. Up front. For the likes of Reyson and George, it may be a while longer before they’re thrown at the deep end. Bridge continue to stick their nose where it doesn’t belong, a heroic rearguard action denying Stahlburg Rovers before the simple action of a Tawney cross, a Herron knockdown and a Spinnett finish see them off. A typically mercurial River thrash Goodfeather 4-0, with a typically Farfish Chuy Villaverde scoring twice from rightback against a side rigid to a fault, while Brookford make similarly, brutally short work of a Crisisbless Athletic side badly missing Kimon Heidelberg.

Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Belgrave
Belgrave win 2-1 on aggregate.

Coret Hawks 2-0 North Sabrefell
Coret Hawks win 3-0 on aggregate.

Extreme Hills 0-4 Vermillion Rage
Vermillion Rage win 8-2 on aggregate.

Parrhesia United 0-1 The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man win 3-1 on aggregate.

Coret make short work of North Sabrefell, cruising to victory without conceding a goal over the two legs. Vermillion surprise people as well by not wilting under pressure. They just go to the Laith, they face Extreme Hills - a vastly inferior side - put four goals past Alderweiss in fairly workmanlike fashion and go home. But they will be denied their Vermillion derby, just as Belgrave - ultimately triumphant over Cranequin Wanderers, thanks to a 87th minute diving header from Meredith Sloan that broke a deadlock - were denied theirs. The Saints invite THM home. And… nothing happens. They can’t pass with the swiftness or incision or purpose they need, and THM just kind of sit there in unblinking formation, shuffling from flank to flank, until a long ball over the top from Madonis is headed to the flank by Busch, the Saints defence freezes, Nikola Stavros takes the ball on the chest and fires past an incandescent Veluca Austen. The only goal of the game, though Parrhesia fans will make much of a penalty shout that, realistically, Sigrun Barota milked the hell out of.

AFC Treason 0-2 Spartangrad
Spartangrad win 6-0 on aggregate.

Spartangrad 12-1 The Classic. Massacre, humiliation. Lui bloody Wceil.

North Sabrefell 1-1 Aries Chariots
North Laithland 0-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Newrook City 0-3 Sabrefell Moths
Cypher Town 1-1 Southfell United
Crisisbless United 0-2 Stahlburg City
Crisisbless 3-0 Starling
AFC Corvistone 3-1 AFC Treason
Coret Hawks 1-4 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Creed United
Chatswood 2-0 Leichhardt
Brinemouth 3-0 South Laithland
Belgrave 2-2 Cranequin Wanderers

It seems inevitable at this stage that Starling’s golden age is coming to an end… though such things are relative. Fifteen years ago, the thought of Starling finishing in the top ten with a 15m striker keeping a former Nephara international out of the side would have seemed fanciful, a pipe dream. But a visit to Crisisbless shows just how high the standard is at the top, and how miraculous it was that Starling were ever able to keep up. Amos’ Christmas tree seems to offer three markers in midfield, one for each of that lethal trident of Quintero, Woakes and Bowman… but they’re all players to eclipse their chasers, and each scores a goal in a 3-0 rout. Crisisbless are honed to such a fine point that it’s difficult to see precisely how they could be improved beyond a truly world-class striker. Starling… well, Starling’s three substitutes were Nevaeh Cathar, struggling to get back to her best at 31, Leif Flaxwood at 20, and Fernand Way, who shouldn’t really be in the 25 at all.

Their competitors keep chase, though; Brinemouth sweep South Laithland away by the same scoreline, with the double-layered midfield outmaneuvring the Southrons’ two blunt ranks at every turn, while Corvistone have to dig deep to beat the Stags; 1-1 by the 80th minute, Rachel Arniston and Sonya Latimore come off the bench to pull them ahead at the death. Vermillion also take yet another impressive win, with the makeshift midfield of Konse, Hooper and Fleetwood appearing to finally be the winning formula. They dominate the ball against Coret, and with that, dominate Coret themselves; the Hawks have absolutely no control over the match, and with Ramona Porter having by far the better of the aging rightback Hamilton, all Vermillion have to do is hit balls over the top down the vulnerable flank. The result; a valiant 4-1 win away from home. Chatswood show they have some teeth even missing Ivana Henderson through an ill-timed suspension, Esmond Moore leading the line with a rare confidence as he and Conleth sink a toothless Leichhardt 2-0, while Newrook suffer a reality check as the Moths bulldoze them 3-0.

Gonen's Bridge 1-4 Vermillion Wanderers
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Morningstar 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Diamondqueen 5-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Bishop 1-2 Alliance Barossia
Mantlegrove 0-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Goodfeather FC 3-0 Cranequin City
Iron City 4-0 Parrhesia United
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Raven River
Brookford Otters 2-0 AFC Rochford
Armstrong 0-1 West Brinemouth
Locksley 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic

Parrhesia’s remarkable run of conceding four goals in two straight league games becomes three, as Iron City come to town. It’s considerate of Obasi, already growing a good reputation for developing Nepharim youth, to help Palina Leopold and Xandra Vermouth to a brace apiece. Leopold is Premiership-bound without a doubt, a peerless winger at this level, while Vermouth has everything but the finishing touch. West Brinemouth’s 1-0 win in Armstrong mounts for calls for Gratia Barker, for what would make a record four managers in one season… but the bulk of the base knows it’s premature, and there’s no talk from the club of her axing. Cranequin City are mauled 3-0 by Goodfeather, who make them look utterly prehistoric with their smooth passing. Dan Keel is only in the job for his past remarkable feats, a fact he’s at pains to point out to the press. But then he adds, more cryptically, “when I leave, it will be by my decision alone.” When, not if. Which, yes, of course he’ll not be bound to the club ‘til the day he dies, but...

Grisisbless 1-0 Galatica
Sabrefell Athletic 0-2 Jungle Strike FC

Strike again! What luck for Athletic! And sadly it appears the Vilitan giants have rather the measure of Nepharim sides this year, Marica Kuepper helping them to a comfortable 2-0 win at the Barbarossa. Crisisbless enjoy rather better fortune against Galatica, controlling the tempo of the match through their cultured midfield, but a solid rearguard action limits their chances. Damion Bowman’s quiet way of finding or making breaches pays off, but they might be made to regret not running up the score.

Aries Chariots 2-1 North Laithland
North Sabrefell 1-1 Newrook City
Sabrefell Athletic 3-1 Cypher Town
Sabrefell Moths 4-0 Crisisbless United
Southfell United 2-2 Crisisbless
Stahlburg City 1-0 AFC Corvistone
Starling 1-7 Coret Hawks
AFC Treason 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Vermillion Rage 2-0 Chatswood
Creed United 0-3 Brinemouth
Leichhardt 1-4 Belgrave
South Laithland 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers

A brilliant weekend for the Dockers. Corvistone can’t break down the characteristically resilient Stahlburg City, and slide to fourth after it just seems like they’re running a little short on legs. The Moths overtake them by pulverising Crisisbless United 4-0, an uncharacteristic trainwreck of an evening for the Chequers’ emerging star centre-half Cedella Verlander. And when you have a bad day facing Vol and Turner, you get found out. Crisisbless slip from the top as Southfell equalise late with one of those goals where time just seems to stand still - oh, God, is that ricochet of the post really falling straight to Lyzolda Petrov in injury time? - allowing Brinemouth to crush Creed 3-0 and ride to the top on goal difference. Three points split the top four. Athletic’s win and Treason’s disappointing home draw against Chenoworth entrench them in the top six, with Stahlburg pulling up the rope ladder somewhat. Starling are crab-syndromed by Coret in brutal fashion to fall four points adrift. Starling 1, Coret 7. And yes, Cesar Corvalan - who has not, really, been a good signing - gets a hat-trick against his estranged former side, fairly restrained at the first, shushing the home fans by the third. 7-1! How does that even happen?

Pick your favourite stat; after Vermillion beat down Chatswood 2-0, have they won seven from nine in all competitions, or lost just one from thirteen? Whichever way you slice it, Cralt-Nirlo’s turned it around, Vermillion are now 14th and don’t look likely to be sucked into the relegation battle any longer. Chatswood themselves don’t entirely convince, while Belgrave’s 4-1 thrashing of Leichhardt underlines which way the wind is blowing; both Axes and Stargazers are just three points above the drop, with Cranequin closer still after a poor performance in South Laithland exacerbates a recent poor stretch. They’re both relieved to see Newrook and North Sabrefell, occupying the top 1.5 slots of death, grind each other down to a frustrating 1-1 draw, Tom Duffy getting himself sent off for yellow cards consisting of ‘dissent’ and ‘booting a ball away’ to really steam Gareth Penrooke’s beans. Creed are six points adrift despite recent small-scale successes. Cypher are all but gone.

Vermillion Wanderers 5-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Gonen's Bridge 1-0 Morningstar
Corvette Maulers 2-0 Diamondqueen
Stahlburg Rovers 6-1 Bishop
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 Mantlegrove
Alliance Barossia 1-5 Goodfeather FC
Chenoworth Rovers 3-0 Iron City
Cranequin City 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Parrhesia United 3-0 Brookford Otters
Raven River 5-0 Armstrong
AFC Rochford 1-0 Locksley
West Brinemouth 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic

The top four all entrench themselves, with Brookford and Diamondqueen both beaten without scoring to see River overhaul them both. Chenoworth Rovers batter Iron 3-0, yet another frictionless victory for Chris Waller’s smooth operation. Vermillion Wanderers hold onto second with a 5-1 thrashing of Chardonnay while, not to be undone, Stahlburg crush Bishop 6-1. River, to take the playoff place, batter a very young-looking Armstrong 5-0. Iron’s defeat to Chenoworth not only shows Lara Dixon the magnitude of her task at hand but also widens the game to a surely insurmountable fourteen points away from even potential promotion, though they are at least the best of the rest by now.

The big news at the bottom is that after Laegjarn Martyn’s brutal strike is palmed away by Qatintiki but can only spin wildly behind her into the net, and after that proves the only thing separating West Brinemouth from Crisisbless Athletic, the Gulls are now well and truly back in the relegation dogfight. Which, okay, not great, but it beats the hell out of being truly dead and buried as everyone assumed. They’re three points adrift, now; Alliance are two, having been the latest name on Goodfeather’s recent chopping block, Markus Rose shipping five. And Athletic themselves are ‘it’, and three points adrift from true safety as Rochford… well, Rochford get to play Locksley, and while they make slightly heavy weather of it, Mariza Selke’s strike is the game’s only goal (despite a tense finale, with Ilary Townes quite lucky not to give away a penalty for an arguable late handball) and so they do come away with three points. That reins in the likes of Dartmouth and Mantlegrove, who draw one another scoreless, and the too-good-to-go-down-surely-right-maybe teams in Cranequin and Morningstar, both defeated. Gonen’s Bridge remain, stubbornly, nowhere to be seen. But good for them, one supposes.

Galatica 1-2 Crisisbless
Crisisbless win 3-1 on aggregate.

Jungle Strike FC 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Jungle Strike FC win 4-1 on aggregate.

When Brancaleone Arcuri - once briefly linked with Corvistone - opens the scoring for Galatica, you always believe the Heelers can get back into it, despite the derogatory feelings of what makes a Heeler (losing at key moments, mostly). They duly do, Laiota and Quintero killing off their opponents with style and swagger. When Strike open the scoring, you believe the tie’s over. Which it is.

Southriver 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
The Strongest 1-3 Gosmouth Swans
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Ritter Town
Hackett 1-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Peregrine 0-0 Falston United
Martella Jazz 1-3 Aries Solitaire
Crossroads Town 3-2 Greygate
Autumnstone 1-1 Coret Rovers
The Hanged Man 3-2 Extreme Hills
AFC Shale 0-2 Barossia United
Riverkey 1-2 Stonegrave
Corinthians No Longer 3-1 Ballardine FC
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Southriver
Ritter Town 4-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Boltcroft Thorns 1-2 The Strongest
Falston United 0-1 Pillars of Southf