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Nephara
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Posts: 1525
Founded: Jun 06, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Tue Sep 29, 2020 1:58 am

Hartford Glade 2-1 Kensey Town
Fully Sick XI 4-0 Strephonage
Rookwall 1-2 Brindleton
Iberia Chenoworth 1-2 East Laithland Harriers
Sirencall FC 0-1 West Hook
Rochford Pilgrims 0-2 Ingram Township
Coret Rovers 3-0 Riverkey Shells
Mapleford 2-2 Caldwick Strand
Brokenarch 0-0 Downsparrow
New Oakstone Phoenix 1-1 Crownsend Journey
Constance Park 2-2 Cranequin Souths
Martella Jazz 4-3 Southriver

Everything but the title is secured going in, and Mapleford defend it with a last-minute equaliser against Caldwick Strand. Rochford and Ingram will join them in 2Div, the latter for the first time in their history.

AFC Shale 1-0 The Hanged Man
Crossroads Town 1-1 Riverkey
Lockheed Zenith 2-2 Ballardine FC
Kommissar 1-1 Stonegrave
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Extreme Hills
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Greygate
Gonen's Bridge 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Falston United
Sheridan 0-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Locksley 5-1 Ritter Town
West Brinemouth 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Autumnstone 3-1 Hackett

Pillars of Southfell, who hold fourth place by a thread, are very lucky indeed. Falston United score first and retain the better of the play throughout, Garrett Stijnen particularly imperious down the left wing, Pillars indebted to former Coret Hawks goalkeeper Mariam Brookhouse. It takes until after the hour for Van Aspenwood’s cross to take a looping deflection off a heel, Cohen Alexander beasting both markers and driving home from point-blank with sheer desperation, but the Seekers just can’t get a second. Riverkey would have overtaken them with a win… but they draw with already-relegated Crossroads. So would Hackett… but they’re well beaten by Autumnstone. At the bottom, nothing can change, and nothing does.

Meanwhile, Vermillion Wanderers have lost nine of their last seventeen fixtures. It would be really, really funny if they managed one final implosion to ruin their season once and for all.

AFC Serpentine 2-3 Armstrong
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Iron City
Peregrine 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Morningstar 1-1 Mantlegrove
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Bishop
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Diamondqueen
Vermillion Wanderers 0-3 Chardonnay Rangers
The Strongest 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Corinthians No Longer 4-0 Cranequin City
Barossia United 0-1 Raven River
Cypher Town 2-0 AFC Rochford
North Sabrefell 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic

Like that, for instance. Stahlburg labour to a crucial victory over Bishop, with Bishops goalkeeper Frey Strom doing infinitely more to try and bail Vermillion out than any actual Vermillion player on the day (seriously, 3-0 at home to Chardonnay?) but to no avail in the end, an ugly skirmish on the goalmouth seeming to last for years before Harriet Michail forces the ball over the line. Diamondqueen are left breathing a sigh of relief for how fucking terrible Vermillion are; they have to visit the Harriers, and they aren’t pulling their punches. Diamonds do well, but can’t break down the defence and succumb late to a Roxana Coffey strike curled in from the edge of the box - could Manu Keller have done better? It’s immaterial, as they finish third. At the bottom, the Strongest scrabble desperately to a hard-fought draw against Corvette and that’s enough to keep them safe, despite Corvette sending up their goalkeeper (???) for a late corner to, one supposes, try and destroy the Strongest rather than for personal profit. Press beats away the corner and Nizarut almost scores at the other end, but is outstripped for pace by Seraph and has to shoot early and wide. No matter. The point saves them, as Cranequin are slaughtered 4-0 by CNL in a game they had to win and spirited, limited Peregrine get a creditable draw but not the needed win against Goodfeather.

PREMIERSHIP FINALE - MINUTE-BY-MINUTE COVERAGE by MALTE LINHARDT
Well, all the important details have been sorted out, but there remains a ritual. Can Treason finish their season with one final stylish dead rubber? Will Corvistone fend off their rivals in green, the Moths, to maintain a hold over fourth place and the Champions League? Which of the four teams stranded on 51 points will make it to 54? Find out in the

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90 mins -- And the final whistle blows! I’ll be honest, I’m still reeling somewhat about the whole ‘giraffe’ incident at Parrhesia, and I’m sure it’s going to take Babatunde Warrington months to wash all of that out of his hair. The pair of 3-0 wins sees the Moths snatch fourth in what were, at the end, comfortable circumstances, and that was about all left on the agenda regardless. Starling and Stahlburg is the last match to conclude, drawing a curtain on a mutually disappointing season and what might be the final match for Douglas Tibet - and most likely will for Coret manager Nick Feeney after another brutally underwhelming season. Brookford’s win over Chatswood was just sad, while Cranequin Wanderers, after more final-day heroics (even if they were meaningless under these circumstances) go to see if they can make it three times lucky...

FINAL RESULTS
Brinemouth 2-2 Aries Chariots
Brookford Otters 1-0 Chatswood
Creed United 3-1 Coret Hawks
Parrhesia United 3-0 AFC Corvistone
Chenoworth Rovers 2-0 Crisisbless
Belgrave 1-3 Crisisbless United
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Newrook City
South Laithland 0-1 North Laithland
Leichhardt 1-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Vermillion Rage 0-3 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Treason 1-0 Southfell United
Starling 1-1 Stahlburg City

PRO/REL PLAYOFFS
2DIV Kommissar vs. 3DIV Kensey Town

The Sheepdogs have overachieved just to make it this far, and they boast the not inconsiderable advantage of somehow having the slightly alcoholic Rho Efthimiou at this level, who is on paper far better than that. But Kensey have never made it this high before, and attack and press with a relentless hunger. Early on, Brand Hilton flattens probing Kensey forward Vance Tassett, allowing the experienced striker a penalty… which Hilton atones for by tipping onto the post. No matter; Tassett eats up and nods home a cross from the diminutive winger Nikola Reed on the verge of half-time, before Markus Stones breaks through midfield to smash home from thirty yards with pure, delicious power. Five minutes later, Stones is sent off - a yellow card for the initial challenge, another for mouthing off - and Kommissar sense their second chance. Forde hits the outside of the post before lively midfielder Mikael Tanner pounces on confusion in the box to drag home the rebound, but it’s the only chance they get, and they are down.

KOMMISSAR 1 - 2 KENSEY TOWN
Tanner 78’ // Tassett 44’, Stones 60’


1DIV Cranequin City vs. 2DIV Pillars of Southfell
Both sides come out trying to spoil. For Cranequin the plan extends as far as ‘get the ball to Sasha Wheaton and hope she does something’, and the battle-hardened old veteran strives to fulfil her role in the initial minutes. A ball falls to her in midfield, she hooks it over the head of creaking marker Alsatian and rips a powerful volley at goal that would probably have scored in the box but as it stands there’s time for Brookhouse to push it over the top. The game is three minutes old, and that statement of intent is as good as things get for either side in a dreary first half, with both sides mustering just a single other shot on target. But in the second, something breaks; Alsatian nips the ball away from Wheaton and fires it down the left to wily winger Amine Raihani, who waits for Athanasakis to commit and breaks outside him and nips around his back, plays a clever one-two with the target man Alexander and fires low and hard past Matthews’ near post. The goalkeeper spends more effort berating her defence than she did covering her angles, but whoever’s to blame, the Terracotta Army have to pick themselves up and fight back and… don’t. Wheaton is shouted at by Forde for failing to weight a pass well enough. Skiff comes on and shouts at Monroe for a missed tackle. Forde punches the ground when Rodrigues fails to find the admittedly obvious pass and instead swings in a cross to nowhere. Pillars remain united, and stand firm at the back to clinch promotion.

CRANEQUIN CITY 0 - 1 PILLARS OF SOUTHFELL
// Raihani 51’


PREMIER Cranequin Wanderers vs. 1DIV Stahlburg Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers (3-5-2)
1 - Szarbach; 13 - Musgrave, 2 - Traustram, 5 - Stoeva; 6 - Kaveci, 15 - Plibersek, 8 - Mason, 21 - Butcher (c), 3 - Islinger; 9 - Viere, 10 - Koellner
Bench 12 - Cotton; 4 - Kravec, 7 - Grahn, 11 - Keepsake, 17 - Bishop, 22 - Bryant, 36 - Sutter
Manager Jerrell Drake

Stahlburg Rovers (4-2-3-1) 1 - Gilzean; 2 - Wernbloom, 5 - Kresp-Cinic, 6 - Macellan, 3 - Michalak; 4 - Vanderlei (c), 31 - Middleton; 7 - Sebring, 8 - Rookworth, 11 - Taylor; 21 - Radcliffe
Bench 12 - Wever; 9 - Michail, 13 - Fenton, 18 - Mesorounis, 23 - Kunz, 31 - Churchfather, 46 - Audrey
Manager Reinhard Drake

And of course it’s both sets of Cranequin supporters in the former capital, on the same weekend, for the second year in a row - and, yes, of course there are clashes in the streets. But the Terracotta Army’s luck ran out yesterday, while the Wanderers are trying to make it three playoff victories in three years. “It’s a stage and a pressure we’re comfortable with,” says Cranequin’s manager, Jerrell Drake, drily. His opposite man, also called Drake, has little to say, but a lot to do before a ball’s been kicked, managing an injury crisis for a team that limped over the line. Boldly, despite missing primary playmaker Talay, he opts to pack the midfield.

The Wanderers go out to spoil and intimidate, passing safely and killing the game from the first ten minutes onward. Declan Mason is a colossus, metaphorically moreso than literally; so often, promising attacks stall out when bright but callow Page Rookworth runs into Mason and loses the ball somewhere along the way. In the twelfth, there’s more fear - Rookworth finally gets past Mason only to be pulverised by Butcher, and stays down for a time. Are they really going to have to turn to Meliza Audrey, an 18-year old who hasn’t actually started a game all season?

Rookworth carries on, though the Rovers play with ten for three minutes during which a Koellner header flashes wide from point-blank range. It is a profligacy they will shortly pay for, when Rasunda Vanderlei - a 35-year old partnering a teenager as the double pivot - casually sweeps a ball over Mason’s head. It bounces perfectly in front of Rookworth, and she manages to flick the ball forward just as Butcher shoves her down. Radcliffe rises unchallenged, not exactly a fierce aerial presence, and blindly flicks the ball behind her, as Karla Sebring races like hell to get on the end of it and smash past Szarbach with her first touch.

The Wanderers are stunned through the rest of the first half but come out strongly in the second. After Rook Middleton, the son of iconic Rovers goalkeeper and Quebec international Adrian, rashly brutalises Danira Plibersek in a dangerous position, the veteran midfielder repays the kindness by smashing a free kick into the goalframe, Gilzean utterly stationary. Another shot from Koellner is snuffed out by a sliding challenge from Macellan, taking it in the midriff. Kresp-Cinic leaps over their defensive partner to clear, and Macellan gets to his feet, grimacing, trotting forward as Sebring races down the right in search of the clearance, takes advantage of Butcher’s hesitation to drop a shoulder and pass by her, plays in Radcliffe who can only rush a shot which spins off Traustram’s ankle for a corner. Macellan still hustles forward, first to move up the defensive line and now, barely in time to press into the box for the corner, one that Vanderlei swings in. He wrestles with Musgrave, gets ahead of her and manages to just get airborne in time, and...

CRANEQUIN WANDERERS 0 - 2 STAHLBURG ROVERS
// Sebring 37’, Macellan 57’


CdC FINAL
Treason are in party mood even before the game starts. They’ve won the league and remain the only Nepharan side to perform remotely credibly in international competition, and they go out determined to finish their five-tournament marathon in style. This is, improbably, their 70th game of the season. They have 19 players who have made ten or more league appearances. Lothaire Cromwell has started 60 of these games, and he leads the charge from the front, fouling Henry Patterson forty seconds into the game and drawing a caution for it. So, yes, the Stags are up for it.

By the first half, they’ve made that very clear indeed. They’re out for revenge after Directus dumped them out of the Champions League, and one has to wonder where this clinical finish was back then; both sides have three shots on target by half-time, and the score is 3-0 to Treason. But the difference is in the chances made; Hawke with a header under pressure from Lockheed, Strongbow and Martel-Burns trying their luck from outside the box. Every Stags shot is inside the box, as is their one shot on target in the second half, a bullet header from Idai Uster to seal her hat-trick. Does the scoreline reflect the flow of the game? By no means. But it is, one senses, the game by which this Stags outfit can be defined.

DIRECTUS 0 - 4 AFC TREASON
// Uster 13’ 16’ 72’, McInnes 42’


NFA CUP FINAL
Southfell United (4-4-2)
1 - Gavaris; 2 - Bowyer, 5 - Wight, 6 - Ellis, 3 - Evans; 22 - Forestier, 4 - Hensser, 23 - Nagy (c), 11 - Heidke; 21 - Petrov, 17 - Kuzener
Bench 20 - Spyrakis; 8 - Hemeyer, 9 - Borzoi, 13 - Everett, 19 - Stankovic, 26 - Morvan, 31 - Waisman
Manager George Jayson

Sabrefell Moths (4-3-3) 1 - Markgraf; 2 - Bruun (c), 19 - Turnbull, 13 - Brabanzon, 22 - Devante; 7 - Zuniga, 6 - Shone, 17 - Strausz; 10 - Belgrade, 9 - Archer, 16 - Morgenstern
Bench 20 - Carroll; 4 - Timekeeper, 18 - Harper, 20 - Turner, 21 - Parr, 23 - Kellard, 32 - Majerle
Manager Adalheid Metzelder

And as ever the end to the domestic season remains the showpiece, the final. And of course it’s battered, careworn sides in the end that limp to it. The Tanners are missing Lissa Anselm and Amalie Gundersen, with defensive bulwark Stankovic only fit enough for the bench. The Moths, meanwhile, are missing Vivica Muscadin due to an injury sustained in training on international duty, which lead to Adalheid Metzelder claiming the World Cup should be abolished. It’s a pity; this is her 24th birthday.

It proves an omen. Her stand-in, Lorcan Devante, is relentlessly energetic in the opening stages, smashing Forestier’s legs out from under her and somehow getting away without the foul. And, hey, suddenly the wing is wide open. He picks himself up, nips onto the loose ball ahead of Arysa Hensser and goes off on a tear, running out of steam before taking on Bowyer but flicking in a cross that Shiloh Morgenstern, caught a little ahead of the play, instinctively flicks at. It winds up almost being a scorpion kick, providing just enough momentum and force to catch out Ursula Gavaris and see the ball nestle in the top corner. Fluke? No, all skill! Though as ever with these goals the truth is somewhere in between.

Indignant either at the manner of the goal or the blatant foul in the buildup - and the Farham Arena is after all the Moths’ stadium these days, the last season as the national stadium before the new neutral stadium goes up in Corvistone - the Tanners go on to dominate the rest of the first half and relentlessly hammer on the door. It is known that the best way to attack the Moths is, well, to attack them; they aren’t built to survive sustained pressure, and it eventually tells when Heidke scoops out a perfectly weighted ball over the top. Markgraf comes out for it before realising it’s too far, a rare error that Lyzolda Petrov punishes ruthlessly. Late in the half, Petrov thrashes another violent strike at goal, one Markgraf does well to parry aside… but Svenja Bowyer’s made an improbable run to follow in from fullback and slides in with the last of her reserves to hook the ball into the net. She stays on the ground as the interval whistle blows. Kuzener, in the end, has to scoop her up and take her into the tunnel.

The game wears on in the second half, becomes more concussive. Reina Turnbull goes down under the force of her own challenge, and after fretting, Metzelder shifts the satyr fullback Bruun inside and calls on Cleo Harper to come on. Petrov has a scare from a classic Tawny Shone moment, but limps on - though she never quite conjures up another blinding change of pace. Nor do the Tanners, who begin to fade and fall back, but their pressing begins to lack intensity, and spaces open up. Lorena Strausz finds them masterfully, starting a fourteen-pass move and ending it in style, rewarding the Moths’ patience by getting on the end of Harper’s diagonal ball and driving it low past Gavaris.

Both sides pool together what little left they have, and go for it. Gavaris makes a sharp double save from Strausz and Archer in quick succession, Markgraf manages an astonishing reflex save to deny Kuzener, already half-wheeling away thinking she’d scored. Fresh bodies are thrown in to try and make the difference and in the end, one does. Morgenstern clips in a cross under pressure from Bowyer, shoulder-to-shoulder, falling almost gracefully together after it’s in and looking into the box. Gavaris clambers over Archer and punches out, unconvincingly. Belgrade and Ellis hurl themselves at the loose ball, which caroms to nowhere before Evans flicks it towards the edge of the penalty area… just as Bryger Kellard, unsung hero and the son of World champion Michael, to drive home past innumerable sprawling red shirts with his first touch. It proves a fatal blow for the Tanners, who don’t muster a shot in the closing stages bar the single one in anger from Heidke that goes into space and proves the last kick of the match, on the last Cup Final at the Farham, lifted by a satyr in Bruun if not the one who is officially the Moths’ captain, Vol, who may have played her last game at 37 for the side that loves her. And with that, the season draws to a graceful close. It has been a white and red year, on the whole, but here and now is green and black.

SOUTHFELL UNITED 2 - 3 SABREFELL MOTHS
Petrov 34’, Bowyer 45’+1’ // Morgenstern 6’, Strausz 64’, Kellard 86’


PREMIERSHIP
Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 AFC Treason 46 33 6 7 88 25 +63 105
2 Brinemouth 46 30 8 8 100 40 +60 98
3 Crisisbless 46 28 12 6 85 35 +50 96
4 Sabrefell Moths 46 24 13 9 75 47 +28 85

5 AFC Corvistone 46 26 5 15 75 51 +24 83
6 Sabrefell Athletic 46 24 9 13 100 65 +35 81
7 Aries Chariots 46 22 13 11 80 55 +25 79

8 Vermillion Rage 46 22 8 16 71 56 +15 74
9 Stahlburg City 46 20 14 12 54 45 +9 74
10 Southfell United 46 22 8 16 75 68 +7 74
11 Starling 46 20 10 16 84 67 +17 70
12 North Laithland 46 19 9 18 61 57 +4 66
13 Crisisbless United 46 18 11 17 57 72 -15 65
14 Parrhesia United 46 15 9 22 54 88 -34 54
15 Newrook City 46 13 12 21 61 73 -12 51
16 Coret Hawks 46 13 12 21 48 71 -23 51
17 South Laithland 46 15 6 25 51 77 -26 51
18 Chenoworth Rovers 46 12 14 20 54 73 -19 50
19 Creed United 46 14 8 24 54 75 -21 50
20 Belgrave 46 12 8 26 64 99 -35 44
21 Cranequin Wanderers 46 8 17 21 44 70 -26 41
22 Brookford Otters 46 8 10 28 39 94 -55 34
23 Leichhardt 46 7 12 27 43 67 -24 33
24 Chatswood 46 6 8 32 33 80 -47 26
TOP SCORERS
29 - Jackson (BRI)
26 - Benezet (SFA)
24 - Dostalok (STA), Uster (TRE)
23 - Woakes (CRI)
21 - rue Cazade (BRI), Sierra (ARC), Êns (SFA)
AWARDS
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Danielle Jackson (BRI)
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Farago rue Cazade (BRI)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Kendra Ramsey (CHR)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Kahala Murje (TRE)
Team of the Year: Markgraf (SFM); Stride (TRE), Bajnok (CRI), Murje (TRE), Muscadin (SFM); Malkorra (ARC), Cromwell (TRE), rue Cazade (BRI), Bowman (CRI); Benezet (SFA), Jackson (BRI)
Bench: Na’Kefir (CRI); Niedermayer (CVS), Almwood (CVS), Forestier (SFU), Kastriot (CRI), Êns (SFA), Uster (TRE)
Manager of the Year: Grey Holden (ARC)

FIRST DIVISION
Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Chenoworth Harriers 46 33 7 6 88 33 +55 106
2 Iron City 46 26 9 11 75 39 +36 87
3 Diamondqueen 46 25 11 10 69 34 +35 86
4 Stahlburg Rovers 46 24 12 10 82 40 +42 84

5 Vermillion Wanderers 46 25 9 12 71 36 +35 84
6 Armstrong 46 22 12 12 58 44 +14 78
7 Cypher Town 46 23 7 16 49 39 +10 76
8 Mantlegrove 46 21 11 14 64 49 +15 74
9 Raven River 46 20 13 13 69 51 +18 73
10 North Sabrefell 46 21 10 15 59 48 +11 73
11 Goodfeather FC 46 18 15 13 77 58 +19 69
12 Corvette Maulers 46 13 22 11 60 60 +0 61
13 AFC Rochford 46 16 11 19 41 53 -12 59
14 Corinthians No Longer 46 16 11 19 62 77 -15 59
15 AFC Serpentine 46 17 7 22 63 66 -3 58
16 Bishop 46 13 16 17 55 66 -11 55
17 Alliance Barossia 46 16 6 24 36 54 -18 54
18 Chardonnay Rangers 46 13 14 19 62 67 -5 53
19 Barossia United 46 11 17 18 48 62 -14 50
20 The Strongest 46 10 11 25 49 99 -50 41
21 Cranequin City 46 9 13 24 32 64 -32 40
22 Peregrine 46 9 12 25 51 95 -44 39
23 Crisisbless Athletic 46 5 13 28 44 85 -41 28
24 Morningstar 46 3 17 26 32 77 -45 26
AWARDS
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Dulcina Radcliffe (STR) - 29
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Donato Girardi (CHH)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Gareth Pawnbroker (ARM)
Team of the Year: Virtanen (ARM); Bowman (IRC), Everard (DMQ), Letang (CHH), Parissis (VRW); Coffey (CHH), Snowpoint (IRC), Girardi (CHH), Kynda-Sevet (CYT); Kruger (VRW), Radcliffe (STR)
Manager of the Year: Daniel Archer (MAG)

SECOND DIVISION
Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Gonen's Bridge 46 31 6 9 96 44 +52 99
2 Greygate 46 26 11 9 81 48 +33 89
3 Aries Solitaire 46 25 10 11 88 45 +43 85
4 Pillars of Southfell 46 19 18 9 61 41 +20 75

5 Dartmouth Terriers 46 20 15 11 63 53 +10 75
6 Riverkey 46 21 11 14 45 37 +8 74
7 Locksley 46 19 16 11 86 59 +27 73
8 Hackett 46 21 10 15 69 54 +15 73
9 West Brinemouth 46 18 16 12 53 42 +11 70
10 Ritter Town 46 19 11 16 62 61 +1 68
11 Falston United 46 15 20 11 60 55 +5 65
12 Sheridan 46 17 14 15 41 37 +4 65
13 Autumnstone 46 16 15 15 63 63 +0 63
14 Ballardine FC 46 16 13 17 58 65 -7 61
15 Boltcroft Thorns 46 18 5 23 75 83 -8 59
16 Extreme Hills 46 15 12 19 67 72 -5 57
17 Stonegrave 46 14 12 20 42 57 -15 54
18 Gosmouth Swans 46 13 14 19 62 72 -10 53
19 The Hanged Man 46 14 10 22 35 48 -13 52
20 Lazuli Diamonds 46 12 9 25 57 89 -32 45
21 Kommissar 46 10 11 25 51 93 -42 41
22 AFC Shale 46 8 14 24 30 56 -26 38
23 Crossroads Town 46 10 7 29 41 76 -35 37
24 Lockheed Zenith 46 7 16 23 38 74 -36 37
AWARDS
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Roanna Murin (GOB) - 34
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Roanna Murin (GOB)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Ida Lancer (WBR)
Team of the Year: Moore (WBR); Parkes (LCK), Korve (GOB), Strober (RVK), Seitz (GOB); Prowse (ARS), Gillard (RVK), Shrewsbury (DRT), Starmer (GRG); Murin (GOB), Rubesch (LCK)
Manager of the Year: Snowy Brennan (GOB)

THIRD DIVISION
Pos Team                          P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Mapleford 46 30 7 9 99 42 +57 97
2 Ingram Township 46 30 7 9 72 32 +40 97
3 Rochford Pilgrims 46 29 7 10 97 51 +46 94
4 Kensey Town 46 24 9 13 104 62 +42 81

5 New Oakstone Phoenix 46 23 10 13 89 62 +27 79
6 Brindleton 46 23 10 13 75 49 +26 79
7 Southriver 46 22 9 15 77 52 +25 75
8 Caldwick Strand 46 23 5 18 64 60 +4 74
9 Martella Jazz 46 20 11 15 74 61 +13 71
10 Cranequin Souths 46 19 12 15 79 67 +12 69
11 Hartford Glade 46 18 13 15 69 64 +5 67
12 Strephonage 46 17 15 14 57 54 +3 66
13 Coret Rovers 46 15 12 19 52 60 -8 57
14 West Hook 46 16 9 21 45 65 -20 57
15 Brokenarch 46 13 15 18 50 54 -4 54
16 East Laithland Harriers 46 15 9 22 75 85 -10 54
17 Crownsend Journey 46 13 15 18 55 73 -18 54
18 Constance Park 46 13 12 21 46 65 -19 51
19 Riverkey Shells 46 13 10 23 71 94 -23 49
20 Sirencall FC 46 12 11 23 52 82 -30 47
21 Fully Sick XI 46 13 5 28 53 85 -32 44
22 Rookwall 46 10 13 23 40 78 -38 43
23 Iberia Chenoworth 46 11 6 29 60 113 -53 39
24 Downsparrow 46 9 10 27 45 90 -45 37

CONFERENCE WEST
Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Ringway 38 21 9 8 67 43 +24 72
2 Lindmark Falcons 38 20 8 10 94 60 +34 68

3 Fischer 38 19 8 11 67 54 +13 65
4 Chenoworth Teutons 38 17 11 10 56 38 +18 62
5 Lindwurm Delta 38 17 8 13 73 55 +18 59
6 Sutcroft 38 17 8 13 64 55 +9 59
7 Aspen Grove 38 14 14 10 43 33 +10 56
8 Iron United 38 16 6 16 43 46 -3 54
9 Boleyn Town 38 13 13 12 45 42 +3 52
10 Creed Rosebud 38 14 10 14 51 51 +0 52
11 Courser 38 14 9 15 49 49 +0 51
12 FC Seierstad 38 12 12 14 57 52 +5 48
13 Grovebank 38 12 12 14 44 44 +0 48
14 Moxstone Fortune 38 14 6 18 49 62 -13 48
15 Rushe United 38 12 10 16 56 68 -12 46
16 AFC Feuerweiss 38 13 7 18 51 77 -26 46
17 Besand's Folly 38 10 13 15 61 61 +0 43
18 AFC Hellerine 38 10 12 16 39 62 -23 42
19 Harrington 38 10 9 19 46 67 -21 39
20 Sutcroft Athletic 38 8 9 21 35 71 -36 33

Promoted: Grey Egress, AFC Hoxenhaven

CONFERENCE EAST
Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Northside Eagles 38 26 5 7 83 44 +39 83
2 Corvistone City 38 22 11 5 65 31 +34 77

3 Shimmering Quay 38 23 6 9 80 45 +35 75
4 Latin Enclave FC 38 20 8 10 66 40 +26 68
5 Long Lake 38 20 7 11 50 36 +14 67
6 Brunyard FC 38 20 6 12 66 49 +17 66
7 South Parrhesia 38 20 4 14 60 44 +16 64
8 The Travellers FC 38 19 6 13 50 46 +4 63
9 Brookford Vantablack 38 13 12 13 64 52 +12 51
10 Twelvetrees 38 14 8 16 41 42 -1 50
11 Longwinter 38 14 8 16 47 51 -4 50
12 AFC Southsands 38 14 5 19 45 49 -4 47
13 Ox River United 38 11 12 15 37 37 +0 45
14 Advance Lazuli 38 13 5 20 43 63 -20 44
15 AFC Burchess 38 12 5 21 44 64 -20 41
16 Barhara Cavaliers 38 10 10 18 43 64 -21 40
17 Rosary Brinemouth 38 9 11 18 37 61 -24 38
18 Bodkin Road 38 11 3 24 36 63 -27 36
19 AFC Volksgarten 38 7 10 21 40 65 -25 31
20 Aries Tigers 38 6 10 22 33 84 -51 28

Promoted: Mueller’s Crossing, Sharpe Mill
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

Masculine, Feminine and Mixed-Sex Name Generators

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Nephara
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Posts: 1525
Founded: Jun 06, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Wed Oct 21, 2020 4:07 am

Image

This is the final season of the Nepharan Premiership.
There is no cause for alarm. Updates until apocalypse: 11
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

Masculine, Feminine and Mixed-Sex Name Generators

User avatar
Nephara
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Posts: 1525
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:57 pm

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Season 78 Preview
Updates to Apocalypse: 10


There are three scourges afflicting the Premiership. The first is branding. Premier. The Premiership has never really been the Premiership alone. Historically, that’s been Vanorian. And a Premiership is not a Premier League, like those of Eastfield Lodge, Taeshan, Farfadillis & Banija, Abanhfleft, Mercedini, Schottia or Poafmersia… and that’s just from the top 32. Nephara’s league has been exceptional. It is one of the superleagues of multiverse history. Its branding needs to reflect this, and stand out from the pack.

The amendment is expected to pass with a majority of 13-9, with two abstaining.

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League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: The Scythes (36,000)
Nickname: the Chariots
Captain: Katerina Tarrasch
Top Scorers: Sierra (21), Walsh (12), Malkorra (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Senninger (28); 2 - Ashcroft (28), 18 - Rasanamira (25), 4 - Na’Duha (32, c), 12 - Teijeiro (27); 7 - Malkorra (29), 13 - Tokich (23), 22 - Kevaarsen (23), 16 - Porter (25); 15 - Sierra (32), 21 - Coleman (26)
In: Anna Porter (Riverside City FC, 6.5m), Scott Coleman (Stanmorn FC, 5m), Pryna Rasanamira (Leiderkranz FC, 5m), Winabæn Kevaarsen (AFC Vendiir, 5m)
Promoted: Fortuna Schonlau (GK, 19)
Out: Mariza Selke (Herty Hat Tricks, free), Ansom Payne (Anhedron Wanderers FC, free), Lanista Corsey (Teragaseki, free)
Retired: Vance Commerford (GK, 36, COS)

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

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 7th - 79 pts - ChC
76: Premier - 17th - 57 pts
75: Premier - 15th - 52 pts
74: Premier - 12th - 65 pts
73: Premier - 9th - 67 pts

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
Bizarrely, the early pace-setters in the league. It couldn't last. it didn't, not with the squad of cast-offs they had, but for a while it was just like the old days. Evidently, the board have decided to strike while the iron is hot, and an outlay of over twenty million goes to a number of solid signings all across the pitch. None have played at this level of league play, true, but by the same token none are over Coleman's 26; there will be time to learn. The thoroughly deserving Manager of the Year Grey Holden believes a deep IFCF run is his main priority this season; they sealed 7th comfortably, but a repeat feat can't be taken for granted and will certainly be weakened by the Challengers Cup preliminaries. And it's true that their quality is uneven throughout the side, even assuming all the new signings hit the ground. But they boast an unusually solid defence, backed by fringe Cormorant Senninger and with Rasanamira threatening to break open the Na'Duha / Tarrasch duumvirate that has been the iconic back line of the recent period, well, they might finally have some pace this time around. Malkorra tricked and flicked his way into the Team of the Year with a tendency to win games on his own, and he should have more help this time around; Rowena Sierra bursting into form again in her early 30s should help, so long as it lasts. Holden's structure is designed to have a solid core and allow a handful of stars to rise above. Nothing complicated, but managing such a variety of egos is the hard part.

PREDICTION - 7th.
Manager: Grey Holden (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Fasolt Senninger, 20 - Annabelle Press, 30 - Fortuna Schonlau
Defenders: 2 - Harper Ashcroft, 3 - Davor Roskilde, 4 - Kadija Na'Duha (COS), 5 - Katerina Tarrasch (c), 12 - Baldomero Teijeiro (FFD), 17 - Fiora Anders, 18 - Pryna Rasanamira (CBP), 19 - Rook Bolton
Midfielders: 6 - Leila Rzazade (ISK), 7 - Ihazintzu Malkorra (ASG), 8 - Purna Zazagan (SRS), 11 - Eve Luther, 13 - Ivana Tokich, 16 - Anna Porter (CBP), 22 - Winabæn Kevaarsen (MRN), 23 - Randolf Shahin, 24 - Nikolai Steele
Forwards: 9 - Mateus Kujan, 10 - Sloane Walsh, 14 - Delphine Lopar, 15 - Rowena Sierra (CMT), 21 - Scott Coleman (FVA)

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League Finish: 20th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Cherryfields (25,000)
Nickname: the Gargoyles
Captain: Casey Steward
Top Scorers: Strand (16), Prentice (8), Ingram, Steward (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Tristram (31); 23 - Neumann (27), 5 - Kinsey-Hessenford (27), 18 - Bruhn (22), 3 - Russett (27); 11 - Steward (28, c), 4 - Teamster (28), 8 - Prentice (30); 26 - Krause (27), 16 - Strand (29), 10 - Ingram (22)
In: Andrea Krause (Brantisvogan, 4m)
Out: Erica Manson (FC Myrkan, free)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 20th - 44 pts
76: Premier - 19th - 49 pts
75: Premier - 14th - 54 pts
74: 1Div - 4th - 74 pts - Promoted
73: 1Div - 6th - 74 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Sansa Dreyfuss, Alexandra Lazarou, Achileas Tsiolkas
Club Heroes: Kotaro Katsura, Espen Whyte
One-Club Men: Drusilla Naess
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.

OVERVIEW
Some years back, not long after her arrival, the fans wanted Adalheid Metzelder out. She was crass and arrogant even by Marcher standards, and her vaunted strategies to marry relentless energy with flair weren't producing results. Well, they finally got their wish, though one suspects few fans will be jumping for joy at this stage. She wasn't fired, either, but poached by the Moths. All old news, but this was the first full season under Lexus Ulreich, her assistant... and while the Gargoyles stayed up, he did not move out from under her shadow. Injury-hit though the defence was, the were the worst in the league and there's no excuse to concede just one shy of three digits. The board's approach has apparently been to let the existing side settle, buying only a talented Nephar in Krause who has excelled abroad but never played at Premiership level; it's not the most insane idea, as much of Belgrave's squad is in their mid-20s, improving day by day. In terms of strategy, Ulreich isn't quite a Metzelder acolyte, and has favoured a more patient, possession-heavy approach... one that one can't feel would really have benefited from, say, a Rook Timekeeper, who followed Metzelder to the Moths. Andrea Prentice - the incumbent Andrea on the side - will be relied upon to make the play, at the expense of never tracking back or meaningfully putting a shift in off the ball. Markus Strand is, surprisingly, still here, just an able and reliable goalscorer that any other bottom-8 side would kill for, while the unglamorous Casey Steward just makes everything click in the middle. Could Belgrave be squeezed out by the end of the season. The sense is perhaps that they've stagnated, and there isn't far left for them to fall.

PREDICTION - 21st.
Manager: Lexus Ulreich
Goalkeepers: 1 - Leda Tristram, 20 - Franca Pallas, 30 - Bard Holgate
Defenders: 2 - Sander Costly, 3 - Mathilda Russett, 5 - Clover Kinsey-Hessenford (BSE), 6 - Leontios Skapoulis, 13 - Erin Kushner, 18 - Shoshanna Bruhn, 19 - Ginger Stephens, 22 - Ava Washington, 23 - Finn Neumann
Midfielders: 4 - Markus Teamster, 8 - Andrea Prentice, 11 - Casey Steward (c), 13 - Etienne Berkut, 14 - Tarran Seamster (COS), 21 - Laura Ness (SCT)
Forwards: 7 - Meredith Sloan, 9 - Fabienne Sontag, 10 - Dathan Ingram (DEL), 12 - Atlas Vasiliadis, 15 - Keira Fallon, 16 - Markus Strand, 26 - Andrea Krause

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League Finish: 2nd
Cup Run: Third Round
IFCF Run: Champions League Group Stage
Stadium: Brinemouth Eagle’s Club (65,000)
Nickname: the Dockers
Captain: Marcin Close
Top Scorers: Jackson (29), rue Cazade (21), Deventer (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 20 - Heuser (25); 2 - Spencer (28), 5 - Steele (27), 18 - Brosch (29), 3 - Close (30, c); 4 - Shone (29), 8 - Kasmiir (28); 10 - Tauscher (24), 9 - rue Cazade (28), 13 - Deventer (28); 21 - Jackson (24)
In: Ewald Heuser (FC Teussen Stelburg, 20m), Lukas Tauscher (FC Teussen Stelburg, 15m), Tawny Shone (Sabrefell Moths, 15m)
Promoted: Ava Linfield (ST, 19)
Out: Tambra Matalin (Usmer, 5m), Urban Malthus (Easthold Royals, loan)
Retired: Evelyn Conjure (CM, 36, SCT), Desya Kuznetsov (ST, 35, AUD)

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

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 2nd - 98 pts - CL
76: Premier - 3rd - 85 pts - CL
75: Premier - 2nd - 97 pts - CL
74: Premier - 2nd - 95 pts - CL
73: Premier - 2nd - 100 pts - CL

BACKGROUND
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, Desya Kuznetsov, 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.

OVERVIEW
The Dockers will be kicking themselves. They had it in their hands... but just fell to pieces near the end, the 3-0 humiliation in Vermillion proving a catalyst. They just ran out of... legs? Heart? What? Gareth Blackthorn's record is starting to come under question. Performance s have been just about par, sure. But this is his fifth season. They need the trophy. And he cannot say the board haven't backed him. In comes Ewald Heuser, arguably the best emerging goalkeeping prospect in the world. With him, Lukas Tauscher, an imperious winger with the talent and ego to take on Bryger Tidesson's mantle. Oh, and for that extra bite in midfield, they managed to poach Tawny Shone off the Moths, albeit at a painful premium - still, there's no reason to suspect she'll fall off hard in her thirties. Is she a good enough passer? It doesn't matter. They need violence. But that's not to say it's all sunshine and roses; Desya Kuznetsov was a former Galactico, one of the finest strikers of his generation. Evelyn Conjure is a contender for the most exalted player in the club's history. Will it matter? Blackthorn is nothing if not an iconoclast, and he has the tools to perfect his short-passing game and outlast any team in the world. Steele and Brosch can commit violence but also take out the ball comfortably, Marcin Close remains an unparalleled captain, Kasmiir among the world's prime box-to-box midfielders. Danielle Jackson up front is the reigning top scorer; the supply line of rue Cazade and Deventer was a large reason why. None of these players need extensive writeups or rationales; they'll crop up during the season, time and time again, to speak for themselves. Every major bookmaker has them as favourites for the title.

PREDICTION - Champions.
Manager: Gareth Blackthorn
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ryan Bull (EUR), 20 - Ewald Heuser (STL), 25 - Meinhard Gates
Defenders: 2 - Oliver Spencer (RCN), 3 - Marcin Close (c), 5 - Dean Steele (EUR), 6 - Giorgio Magnozzi (MRC), 18 - Ilyana Brosch, 19 - Alphonse Royer, 22 - Flo Eschborn, 27 - Avarice Meriweather
Midfielders: 4 - Tawny Shone, 7 - Bryger Tidesson (COS), 8 - Otalia Kasmiir (MRN), 9 - Farago rue Cazade (FFD), 10 - Lukas Tauscher (STL), 13 - Morena Deventer, 14 - Micha Burkhard, 15 - Mercedes Reeve, 16 - Isabelle Christian, 23 - Dimitri Keldoulis, 26 - Abigail Stancil
Forwards: 17 - Iori Saitou (HIN), 21 - Danielle Jackson (OSR), 37 - Ava Linfield
Out on Loan: 12 - Urban Malthus

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League Finish: Champions (First Division)
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Keel (35,000)
Nickname: the Harriers, the Reds
Captain: Catheline Stensholt
Top Scorers: Coffey (21), Ascalon (17), Girardi (15)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Libuda (25); 2 - Greene (28), 5 - Carroll (33, c), 6 - Letang (25), 3 - Kite (27); 21 - Seidler (24), 8 - North (24); 7 - Coffey (32), 11 - Girardi (24), 13 - Exarchopolous (31); 10 - Makai (28)
In: Ibolya Makai (Brantisvogan, 5m), Olwen North (AFC Serpentine, 4.5m), Claire Libuda (AFC Rochford, 4m), Dimitra Exarchopolous (Miners FC, 2m)
Out: Alfonse Cameron (North Laithland, 3m), Timo Blankman (Haitiens, free), Charybdis Kou (Luton City United, free)

TROPHY CABINET
2 First Division titles (64, 77)

RECENT HISTORY
77: 1Div - 1st - 106 pts - Promoted
76: Premier - 23rd - 39 pts - Relegated
75: Premier - 19th - 46 pts
74: Premier - 17th - 55 pts
73: Premier - 15th - 57 pts

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
It's weirdly reassuring to see Chenoworth Harriers back in the top flight. Midtable mediocrity seemed to suit them, despite their yo-yo reputation in the early years, and they should have what it takes this season to earn their way back to such an exalted status. They won 1Div easily, winning over two thirds of their matches. They had a nineteen-point gap over Iron, scored the most goals and conceded the fewest. What more can you do? What more can you say? To this, they've recruited sensibly; sell a backup goalkeeper for one in Libuda who looks ready for the step up, see too the energetic midfielder North, the reliable goalscorer they craved (well, as much as a 106-point team craves anything) in Makai, and, well, might as well punt on the former international winger Exarchopolous, even at a low career ebb. She'll make a good fit with the other washed-up fringe Nephara winger, Coffey, on the other flank; she ripped apart 1Div last season. The side is solid down the centre, though there's a lot of younger players who will need to grow up fast. There's a suspicion the side is too reliant on Girardi's intrigue and vision - a player they were deeply fortunate to keep on the way down - and it's not impossible to see them crashing and burning. But under the steady, only slightly scary auspices of Vesper and Vyntra, players who knew what success looked like, there's no reason to suggest they shouldn't stay up with relative ease.

PREDICTION - 16th.
Manager: Lienke Vesper
Goalkeepers: 1 - Claire Libuda, 18 - Kiva Sirleaf (COS), 20 - Dimitar Franzen
Defenders: 2 - Corsica Greene (CYI), 3 - Gwen Kite, 5 - Victoria Carroll, 6 - Batsheva Letang, 18 - Palla Koenen, 19 - Claretta Lawlor, 22 - Orithyia Demetriou, 26 - Igrene Sonnen
Midfielders: 4 - Dario Raskin, 7 - Roxana Coffey, 8 - Olwen North, 11 - Donato Girardi (DEL), 12 - Theresa Croll, 13 - Dimitra Exarchopolous, 14 - Jakob Shearer, 16 - Lionel Dalton (KOR), 21 - Xara Seidler, 23 - Riviera Sanders
Forwards: 9 - Sven Ascalon, 10 - Ibolya Makai (PAS), 15 - Marius Cervenka

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League Finish: 18th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Slatefield (32,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Captain: Markus Capradossi
Top Scorers: Custworth (14), Koerner (9), Patton (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Dundalk (24); 17 - Svava (26), 2 - Giannakos (25), 6 - Capradossi (32, c), 18 - Curtis (27); 7 - Aravit (22), 21 - Garai (25), 8 - Forrest (29), 16 - Ramsey (21); 14 - Custworth (30), 10 - Vithoulkas (24)
In: Rook Garai (Starling, 5m), Cairbre Dundalk (Lotus Park, 4m), Jelena Aravit (UFC Flamarion, 2m), Julia Kamasz (returned from loan)
Promoted: Orson Cale (ST, 19), Longinus Fenton (CB, 20)
Out: Anselm Koerner (1830 Cathair, 6.5m), Cassandra Rowell (Steinaux, free), Erika Constance (Joydean FC, free), Klavier Fitzgerald (Flirough 08, free)
Retired: Helene Corridan (GK, 35), Vincent Dupont (DM, 35, AUD)

TROPHY CABINET
2 First Division titles (53, 75)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 18th - 50 pts
76: Premier - 18th - 55 pts
75: 1Div - 1st - 111 pts - Promoted
74: Premier - 21st - 40 pts - Relegated
73: Premier - 18th - 50 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Rashica Horvath, Jakob Mortimer, Kendra Ramsey, Malachi Steinberg
Club Heroes: Markus Capradossi, Karena Hartley, Catherine Parr
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
The Rovers are Chenoworth's big eastern club, and have probably the strongest Jewish association of any major side in Nephara. Like their main rivals, the Harriers, they've tended to flit between the top two tiers over the years. Their fans would contest that's the only similarity. The Rovers were the first club managed by Gethin Ramsey, who also played for them as a hard-bitten defensive midfielder, and it was with the Rovers that Ramsey pioneered the hard-hitting, quick-moving counter-attacking football that would become the early incarnation of the Cormorants. While essentially the tradition of one guy, Ramsey's legacy is such that the Rovers have associated themselves with such play ever since. Despite Chenoworth's reputation as a milquetoast middle-class city, the Rovers and Harriers truly hate one another.

OVERVIEW
Ah, hell. Are the Rovers back to being the crap Chenoworth team again? Not that last season was remarkably poor, or even remarkably anything in particular; no wonder Chris Waller felt he'd taken them as far as he could go, and fucked off to clean up Gerhard Thunder's mess at Ulsa. There's considerable soreness about the exit of Koerner, or more precisely its manner, still more precisely its pricetag; the Rovers held out for more, but the Nephara winger did everything short of stop training to force the move, mostly sulking on social media. Whatever, he's gone, no pressure Jelena! Daniel Kunde is an excellent managerial replacement, despite how things ended with the Southrons - a safe, steady pair of hands who won't shake things up too much. Aravit is a genuine prospect down the right, while young, fresh talents in Garai and the boxy shot-stopper Dundalk represent coups to replace retired veterans Dupont and Corridan. One suspects their tactics will remain more or less identical, focusing on maintaining two sturdy, disciplined banks of four and relying on their vibrant wingers to bear the creative burden. Capradossi and Giannakos remain a central partnership the envy of most of the bottom half, Kendra Ramsey... well, is still weighing up her international allegiances, but there's a reason both Nephara and Schottia want her, while up front this could be a big year for the ruthless, ambitious all-rounder Andrea Vithoulkas, who said early in preseason in an interview she had 'learned from the best' - meaning Patton - 'and am now ready to steal her role in the side'. Now that's solidarity.

PREDICTION - 19th.
Manager: Daniel Kunde (CBR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Cairbre Dundalk (BRE), 12 - Lara Broadhead, 25 - Karla Dowling
Defenders: 2 - Valentinos Giannakos (VDR), 3 - Longinus Fenton, 5 - Lukas Worn, 6 - Markus Capradossi (ETN, c), 17 - Alisandra Svava, 18 - Radamel Curtis, 24 - Bors Neitzel
Midfielders: 4 - June Hartley, 7 - Jelena Aravit (SRS), 8 - Minka Forrest, 11 - Grey Meisler, 13 - Riza Counsell, 16 - Kendra Ramsey, 19 - Julia Kamasz, 20 - Erika Stenlein, 21 - Rook Garai
Forwards: 9 - Sabrina Patton (CBP), 10 - Andrea Vithoulkas, 14 - Brayden Custworth (KSK), 15 - Alhambra Pike, 36 - Orson Cale

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League Finish: 16th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Aviary (30,000)
Nickname: the Hawks
Captain: Kizza Okafor
Top Scorers: Basilisk (17), Saara (9), Okafor (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 20 - Coleman (25); 14 - Silversmith (26), 2 - Vornander (33), 5 - Brand (27), 3 - Burns (27); 13 - Blackburn (22), 6 - Lexmann (25), 23 - Okafor (31, c), 16 - Caracole (25); 9 - Romaine (24), 11 - Saara (27)
In: Erik Romaine (Hecia, 6m), Renat Lexmann (Corvette Maulers, 5m), Bailey Coleman (AFC Corvistone, 3m)
Promoted: Ivan Bader (CM, 20), Demetrius Paschalakis (RM, 19)
Out: Latona Basilisk (Ma Alameome, undisclosed), Raluca Garamond (Sabrefell Athletic, 8m), Nikita Charisteas (Starling, 7m), Andressa Stand (Crisisbless United, 4m), Atalanta Skapetis (Stein-los Turkish, 3.5m)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (56)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 16th - 51 pts
76: Premier - 16th - 57 pts
75: Premier - 11th - 65 pts
74: Premier - 7th - 70 pts - CC
73: Premier - 7th - 75 pts

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
Daniel Archer has supped of the poison chalice. Fresh off a deeply impressive season with Mantlegrove, it was understandable he'd think of Coret as a great next step - okay, he's a former Newrook stalwart, but it's not like that's exactly the fiercest rivalry in world football. He rocked up at training camp with better players than he's ever played with, let alone managed. And then those players... started to vanish. His Cormorant striker, his future Cormorant goalkeeper, a defensive midfielder wanted by Starling, his mercurial winger. And Andressa Stand. This was not the job he signed up for. However, all is not lost - they don't have to succumb to being a lower-midtable operation just yet. Romaine offers both silk and steel going forward, and like Basilisk should benefit from Istria Saara's... bigness next to him. Lexmann is a more limited replacement for Charisteas, but that isn't the worst thing in a side that often, under Feeney, were all dessert and no vegetables. Archer has his hardened core, with Coleman something of an unproven wild-card between the sticks (Lockwood, at 35, is a hardened, proven backup) and that should give enough license to Rasmus Caracole, an excellent orthodox winger, and the talismanic playmaker Okafor. Patience is called for. Not something the Coret board or fandom are known for, but...

PREDICTION - 13th.
Manager: Daniel Archer
Goalkeepers: 1 - Reinhard Lockwood, 20 - Bailey Coleman, 25 - Lowen Arcaster
Defenders: 2 - Konrad Vornander, 3 - Lemuel Burns (AQL), 5 - Satara Brand, 14 - Florin Silversmith, 18 - Michael Koller (SCT), 19 - Sigrid Marner, 22 - Constantine Rabatsch, 26 - Riette Lyons
Midfielders: 4 - Juliet Bezemer, 6 - Renat Lexmann, 8 - Ivan Bader, 13 - Muse Blackburn, 14 - Andressa Stand, 15 - Monika Bandler, 16 - Rasmus Caracole, 23 - Kizza Okafor (BNJ, c), 32 - Demetrius Paschalakis
Forwards: 9 - Erik Romaine (STB), 10 - Cesar Corvalan (CEN), 11 - Istria Saara (MRN), 17 - Eloisa Caldwell, 24 - Alyce Nicolau

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League Finish: 5th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
IFCF Run: Challengers Cup First Knockout Round
Stadium: Phoenix Rise (28,000)
Nickname: the Crows
Captain: Krista Morham
Top Scorers: Warrington (16), Arniston (12), Latimore, Yonen (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Feldman (31); 6 - Kaveci (28), 18 - Verlander (26), 22 - Niedermayer (24), 3 - Almwood (24); 13 - Yonen (32, c), 4 - Keskin (31), 7 - Arniston (23); 15 - Ulreich (29), 9 - Carter (26), 16 - Latimore (24)
In: Tanith Carter (Crisisbless United, 7m), Hasret Kaveci (Cranequin Wanderers, 5m), Dietmar Hanning (AFC Rochford, 3m), Orion Randwick (Vermillion Wanderers, free), Dimitra Karvelas (Mountainside, loan return)
Promoted: Lorenz Clemence (GK, 20)
Out: Ballista Meade (Usmer, 4m), Bailey Coleman (Coret Hawks, 3m), Indartsu Lekea (Iron City, 2m), Imke Diskin (Kirkenes FC, 2m), Kaya Catley (Jamestown City FC, free)
Retired: Maria Kovacic (GK, 35, SLL)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 5th - 83 pts - ChC
76: Premier - 5th - 82 pts - ChC
75: Premier - 4th - 92 pts - CL
74: Premier - 11th - 65 pts
73: Premier - 8th - 71 pts

BACKGROUND
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, 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.

OVERVIEW
The Crows just slipped out of the CL places at the tail end of the season, the battle for fourth being pretty much the only relevant place still in play in the final matchday, and they were pumped 3-0 by Parrhesia. Nevertheless, it was yet another solid season by Hadrian Belfast entrenching them yet further in the higher echelons of the league. Above Athletic and Starling, and it doesn't feel like a shock. They've looked at home rather than abroad, liquidated backup players while they still held some value and strengthened key positions. Much as it pains anyone to admit, 'the' Baba Warrington was starting to slow, and that's fatal for a team that presses so high and so aggressively as the Crows; Tanith Carter is not as ruthless a finisher nor as imposing in the air, but she offers consistent goal threat as well as relentless energy at the spearhead. Kaveci is similarly aggressive, with that hard-working Treason DNA; Belfast bitched more than once about Goodlight Wynder not being enough of a bastard, Kaveci has that covered and more. Hanning and Randwick are backup options, nothing exciting, but keep an eye out for Dimi Karvelas, returning after an impressive spell in Eura and ready to contest for a regular berth on the left side. On the whole, that bulks out a very solid team. Verlander and Niedermayer are an excellent defensive partnership only getting better with time, Almwood has become one of the league's and thus world's premier leftbacks at both ends of the pitch, Rachel Arniston offers the playmaker's touch combined with the water-carrier's eye for rushing people into mistakes, and Clarisse Ulreich is still so much better than anyone has ever given her credit for. They know they're still a touch beneath the true top sides, and still need to make up for it with blood, sweat and tears. If they were any other club, they'd actually be likable.

PREDICTION - 6th.
Manager: Hadrian Belfast
Goalkeepers: 1 - Acatha Feldman, 12 - Orion Randwick, 25 - Lorenz Clemence
Defenders: 2 - Dejanira Trifunovic, 3 - Lucy Almwood (EUR), 5 - Calcipher Heston, 6 - Hasret Kaveci, 17 - Goodlight Wynder (COS), 18 - Cedella Verlander, 20 - Bruenna Savo (SRS), 22 - Tristan Niedermayer (STL)
Midfielders: 4 - Spahi Keskin, 7 - Rachel Arniston (SCT), 8 - Corinne Eriksen (APX), 11 - Krista Morham (SCT, c), 13 - Malia Yonen (MRN), 19 - Dietmar Hanning, 26 - Julian Stance
Forwards: 7 - Chibuzo Afolayan (BNJ), 9 - Tanith Carter, 10 - Dimitra Karvelas, 14 - Kirsten Tybalt, 15 - Clarisse Ulreich, 16 - Sonya Latimore, 21 - Babatunde Warrington (CBR), 23 - Petrus Maslin

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League Finish: 19th
Cup Run: Semifinals
Stadium: Gardengate (26,000)
Nickname: the Oathmen
Captain: Kund Borbely
Top Scorers: Burgess (15), Donau (10), Barbarouses (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 20 - Hartigan (32); 2 - Heward (24), 19 - Borbely (28, c), 6 - Baste (25), 3 - Islinger (23); 12 - Riven (25), 21 - Barbarouses (29), 4 - Mason (27), 11 - Szuban (22); 9 - Burgess (27), 13 - Martin (22)
In: Aidan Hartigan (Metropolis Alligators, 4m), Tanya Islinger (Cranequin Wanderers, 4m)
Promoted: Paige Leslight (LM, 20), Vasya Reisinger (ST, 19)
Out: Retta Conrad (Ephesian FC, undisclosed), Lyre Castor (Ancarea FC, free)
Retired: Tayfun Chester (GK, 36), Portia Taani (ST, 37)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (73)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 19th - 50 pts
76: 1Div - 2nd - 100 pts - Promoted
75: Premier - 22nd - 44 pts - Relegated
74: Premier - 16th - 59 pts
73: 1Div - 1st - 92 pts - Promoted

BACKGROUND
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 traditional powerhouse, 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. However, Corinthians No Longer have recently come to prominence, against whom Creed have defined themselves as the club of soldiers and workers.

OVERVIEW
Creed had just about the season you'd expect. Fifty points. And... only fifty points. But comfortable enough, in the end. They had about the transfer window you'd expect, too, patching up weak points between the posts and at leftback. Islinger's versatility is a boon to a thin squad, as well, while Hartigan is something of a coup and still more or less in his prime as a goalkeeper. Yeah, there's... not a lot of excitement here. Their best player is the centre-half Baste, and she's just good because she's hyper-reliable. It's the kind of club where most neutrals will get their kicks out of just watching Catheline Harper scream on the touchline. Delphi Barbarouses is the creative heart of the team, but at 30 she's starting to slow. She did find some consistency last year, which is important; without her, the team runs dry on options short of lumping the ball forward, though the sprightly young winger Szuban excels at that and should use this as a springboard. They also have the envy of all bottom-half teams in a reliable striker, Burgess. Not someone thrilling, but someone who can just bang home fourteen or fifteen a season and should only get better, as should his lean, austere strike partner Martin. Creed should be fine. Just... fine.

Under normal circumstances.

PREDICTION - 20th.
Manager: Catheline Harper
Goalkeepers: 1 - Marietta Briggs, 18 - Sarah Bentine, 20 - Aidan Hartigan (BRE)
Defenders: 2 - Tricia Heward, 3 - Tanya Islinger, 5 - Tevye Barker, 6 - Svenja Baste (SRS), 18 - Laviska Canticle, 19 - Kund Borbely (PAS), 22 - August Longstreet, 26 - Illyria Landrith
Midfilders: 4 - Nissa Mason, 7 - Femmefatale Rivers, 11 - Ashara Szuban, 12 - Sander Riven, 14 - Andre Havranek (IRN), 16 - Paige Leslight, 17 - Richter Moranis, 21 - Delphi Barbarouses
Forwards: 9 - Scott Burgess (ETN), 10 - Justina Donau, 13 - Camilla Martin, 23 - Oskar Hart, 36 - Vasya Reisinger
Last edited by Nephara on Sat Oct 24, 2020 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nephara » Mon Oct 26, 2020 5:36 pm

Updates to Apocalypse: 9


The second is congestion. 46 matchdays. 24 teams. And some have nothing to play for. The midtable of the Premiership is a quagmire of adequacy, each side having a myriad of talents striving to the best of their ability to finish 14th. Matches that matter are swarmed by those that don't, and the effect is weariness for every player in the league - and for the viewer, as well. It is naive to think this isn't holding Premiership sides back in IFCF, or their players in international tournaments. The load must be lightened.

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League Finish: 2nd
Cup Run: Fourth Round
IFCF Run: Challengers Cup First Knockout Round
Stadium: Godswatch (63,000)
Nickname: the Heelers
Captain: Kósa Bajnok
Top Scorers: Woakes (23), Bowman, Germain (16), Marinkovic (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Na’Kefir (34); 2 - Longship (29), 13 - Teffeteller (28), 4 - Bajnok (33, c), 16 - Strassman (25); 15 - Abylon (29), 14 - Kastriot (27); 41 - Spijkers (20), 8 - Woakes (28), 10 - Bowman (26); 11 - Germain (28)
In: Erwin Spijkers (Oljestaden IF, 40m)
Promoted: Olympe Weaver (GK, 19)
Out: Penumbra Till (Southern Star, 6m), Philoctetes Giannou (Villa, free)

TROPHY CABINET
3 Premiership titles (59, 71, 75)
3 NFA Cups (47, 61, 64)
Cup Winners’ Cup (62)
Copa de Campeones (76)
2 Ramsey Shields (72, 76)
Gang of Six member

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 3rd - 96 pts - CL
76: Premier - 2nd - 92 pts - CL
75: Premier - 1st - 98 pts - CL
74: Premier - 3rd - 93 pts - CL
73: Premier - 6th - 82 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Daniel Cromwell, Gerhard Hartmuth, Sieglinde Lohengrin, Sabrine Portsgate, Camilla Priest, Brigid Kestrel, Lukas Rashford, Marisha Staunton, Bremusa Strassman, 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.

OVERVIEW
One of the three sides locked at the top at the halfway point, Crisisbless got the most acute, immediate and frankly typical vertigo, slipping rapidly out of contention. Still, they were comfortably situated in the Champions League places when all was said and done, so it can't go down as a failure. Transfer season was short but energetic; Penumbra Till was shipped off to Brenecia, the poor bastard, but had to make way for the most high-profile and damnably expensive signing of the window. 40 million on a 20-year old, practically a child, and he rewards you by specifically asking for number 41. Not in reference to his fee, no; "Well, uhm, I'm like an inverted winger. And 14 is the number wingers wear at home, so if I'm like, not, that, then what if I'm, uhm, the reverse of that, so, uh, that's ... why ... that's why I did that." Fortunately Spijkers will be relied upon for his considerable footballing talent, not his public speaking or numerology. And there's plenty of voices to do the shouting for him; Na'Kefir, older and more gnarled than ever, bellowing from his box, Bajnok forcibly maintaining order in the back line, two typically vicious Cormorant fullbacks and another in defensive midfield, and of course Woakes is always talking, often barking, frequently at the referee. Maarsden has built a side that won't shrink in usual Crisisbless fashion; steel married to the silk, often in the same people. Na'Kefir's one of the world's most accomplished shot-stoppers, Kastriot and Bajnok are both smooth and comfortable in possession, Woakes' ferocious energy and overwhelming ego complement Bowman's smooth, calm gliding on the left wing. Crisisbless are built to overwhelm sides, and do so gracefully and attractively. With the Sabrefell sides both in rebuilding stages, they remain among the clear triumvirate of favourites.

PREDICTION - 2nd.
Manager: Chris Maarsden (APX)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Shjegrzh Na'Kefir (COS), 20 - November Besand, 30 - Olympe Weaver
Defenders: 2 - Valeri Longship, 3 - Inaki Villanueva (AUD), 4 - Kósa Bajnok (FFD, c), 5 - Christian Foreman, 13 - Mortola Teffeteller (COS), 16 - Bremusa Strassman, 17 - Syrene Fischer, 22 - Henrik Parrish
Midfielders: 6 - Catheline Marchant, 7 - Cassiopeia Quintero (APX), 8 - Moira Woakes (EUR), 10 - Damion Bowman (EUR), 14 - Mercurio Kastroit, 15 - Maia Abylon (COS), 18 - Lili Marinca, 21 - Farina Luhukay, 23 - Thalassa Fletcher, 24 - Marcela Ward, 41 - Erwin Spijkers (AUD)
Forwards: 9 - Danica Marinkovic, 11 - Valentin Germain (VLD), 12 - Catheline Matthias

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League Finish: 13th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Chessboard (38,000)
Nickname: the Chessmen, the Chequers
Captain: Tom Garner
Top Scorers: Carter (17), Roesler (10), Larsen (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Lazareva (26); 2 - Mosin (23), 5 - Dreider (26), 6 - Coles (22), 18 - Muur (24); 8 - Garner (30, c), 21 - Kurz (29); 10 - Larsen (27), 7 - Stand (25), 15 - Ronayne (25); 9 - Strebinger (24)
In: Andressa Stand (Coret Hawks, 4m)
Promoted: Levi Marriott (ST, 19)
Out: Shiida Roesler (Sabrefell Moths, 10m), Tanith Carter (AFC Corvistone, 7m)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (70)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 13th - 65 pts
76: Premier - 14th - 59 pts
75: Premier - 16th - 51 pts
74: Premier - 14th - 61 pts
73: Premier - 17th - 55 pts

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
The club wherein Tim Maitfield and the boys returned to Crisisbless had ten good players, and was preserved by Maitfield down even to the current season, for they took away the old players as they could be liquidated for funds, putting in new and inferior players in their places, insomuch that this club became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the club remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same. The behaviour is certainly as-you-were for United; briefly look fucked, dramatically haul self to comfortable safety by the end, celebrate by liquidating key and apparently irreplaceable players. Roesler didn't even look like she was particularly going anywhere, now she's flirting with representing Mriin, while Carter was just the perfect industrious spearhead. Who the fuck's Andressa Stand? And of course their striker replacement is nobody, because Maitfield 'trusts the structures in place at the club', sure. The age profile remains 'young but emerging' without really just throwing the kids out to dry, but Stand is a rare signing they expect to lose money on, being an ancient... 25. They're a technically proficient side boasting surprising bulk at the back, thanks to the two satyrs, while Alex Coles is slowly metamorphosing into one of the great defenders of his age just so long as he can hammer out the mistakes. Lazareva behind them is a little weak in the air - does it matter, with Dreider there? - and makes up for it in any case with brilliant distribution and acrobatics between the sticks. Every team, no matter how pretty, needs a bad guy. This is Tom Garner. Closer to the fore is more a blur of 7/10-seeming names, with largely interchangeable replacements waiting to fill in from the reserves - Maitfield's rotation policy is aggressive, and it's rare to see a truly exhausted player on the side despite the intense short-passing quick-pressing style. And yet. And yet. Their best striker and playmaker are gone... again. Can this really keep being the same, safe club as always?

PREDICTION - 18th.
Manager: Tim Maitfield (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Rina Lazareva (HIN), 12 - Brandon Connell, 25 - Riga Demetry
Defenders: 2 - Karius Mosin, 3 - Fafnir Collins, 4 - Davica Hull, 5 - Natalia Dreider (MRN), 6 - Alex Coles (EUR), 17 - June Orenthal, 18 - Tzevaada Muur (MRN), 22 - Patrik Alphonse
Midfielders: 7 - Andressa Stand, 8 - Tom Garner (EUR, c), 10 - Annlaug Larsen (SCT), 13 - Lukas Antelmi, 15 - Casimir Ronayne, 19 - Tamara Ulmer, 20 - Jade Rothbard, 21 - Andrea Kurz, 23 - Minerva Swanmore, 36 - Martine Vossler
Forwards: 9 - Brielle Strebinger, 11 - Riverina Bray, 38 - Levi Marriott

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League Finish: 3rd (First Division)
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The New Overlook (17,500)
Nickname: the Diamonds
Captain: Jessica Everard
Top Scorers: Isring (27), Forrest (15), Bowman (12)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 12 - Szarbach (30); 16 - Pfeiffer (26), 5 - Harker (24), 6 - Everard (26, c), 3 - Rowles (28); 7 - Schmetzer (24), 19 - Lapwing (32), 15 - Najzar (25); 21 - Bowman (24); 9 - Isring (25), 11 - Kinbois (25)
In: Ursa Kinbois (Vermillion Rage, 5m), Dzeneta Harker (Chardonnay Rangers, 4.5m), Marcia Lapwing (Brantisvogan, 3m), Kay Szarbach (Cranequin Wanderers, 3m)
Out: Michael Herndon (Vantanoch FC, free), Leander Frantisek (Liverpool Town, free)
Retired: Claudia Escrow (ST, 35)

RECENT HISTORY
77: 1Div - 3rd - 86 pts - Promoted
76: 1Div - 7th - 70 pts
75: 1Div - 4th - 91 pts
74: 1Div - 8th - 71 pts
73: 1Div - 5th - 75 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Franz Kesteren, Bersant Sale
Club Heroes: Catherine Thackeray, Denisa Thirlwell, Auburn Weber
Premiership Debut: 68
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.

OVERVIEW
While the Diamonds did their best to try and throw promotion away in the closing stages of the season, Elaine Koeller's side did ultimately see it through and return to being the strongest Sabrefell Canal side. They've arrived with a squad that doesn't look the most prepared for the Premiership's rigours, and have only signed Nepharim to bolster the team. Former Crisisbless goalkeeper Szarbach and industrious, versatile forward Kinbois are laden with Premiership experience, and Lapwing has some to boast herself, while Harker is among the picks of the 1Div defences of the generation and well worth a punt at the highest level. Coherent, targeted signings covering every area of the pitch... and still leaving weaknesses. The Diamonds punched above their weight last season, and this is the consequence; needing to repeat the feat to survive. Koeller insists they will not deviate in their tactics, reliant on technique and trickery moreso than physicality. The twin threats of Schmetzer and Najzar exemplify this, though they differ a little in style - Najzar offers substance, while Schmetzer unleashes piledrivers into the top corner if you don't put pressure on him and is a terror over set pieces. Hestia Bowman lives up to her namesake in the range of her passing, but is also hard enough to defend her supply line. Isring is another new player to this level, but the 25-year old's mixture of blinding pace and a sledgehammer of a right boot mean that on paper she should take well to this level, and attract interest even if the Diamonds crash and burn. They are underdogs, yet again. This will not bother them.

PREDICTION - 23rd.
Manager: Elaine Koeller
Goalkeepers: 1 - Manuel Keller, 12 - Kay Szarbach, 20 - Rudolf Solaun
Defenders: 2 - Karen Wiseford, 3 - Jarret Rowles (CMT), 5 - Dzeneta Harker, 6 - Jessica Everard (c), 13 - Matthis Ainsworth, 16 - Dante Pfeiffer, 18 - Markus Gojak, 22 - Darren Charnett
Midfielders: 4 - Gareth Sorrell, 7 - Marduk Schmetzer, 8 - Kosta Nisiotis, 10 - Max Rusnak, 14 - Adnan Broad, 15 - Danitha Najzar (SRS), 19 - Marcia Lapwing, 21 - Hestia Bowman
Forwards: 9 - Kamilla Isring, 11 - Ursa Kinbois, 16 - Uther Caskey, 23 - Bronwyn Forrest, 31 - Nikita Malvick

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League Finish: 2nd (First Division)
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Stargazers
Captain: Isla Snowpoint
Top Scorers: Vermouth (18), Vidler (14), Vylarr (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Olexander (21); 17 - Bowman (26), 5 - Sevecke (25), 2 - Visser (34), 3 - Tsuker (25); 4 - Lekea (31); 23 - Vylarr (29), 8 - Snowpoint (30, c), 13 - Vidler (30), 11 - Remsza (23); 10 - Brimorii (23)
In: Manahaal Brimorii (Maal Daemons, 5m), Shireen Tsuker (South Laithland, 3m), Indartsu Lekea (AFC Corvistone, 2m), Alcander Visser (Urrheddiao, 1m)
Out: Maretta Exeter (Nostromo, free), Hollin Spicer (Yamba FC, free)
Retired: Athena Haagensen (ST, 35, COS), Julian Ilsander (LB, 35), Antoine Kerherve (CB, 36, AUD)

RECENT HISTORY
77: 1DIv - 2nd - 87 pts - Promoted
76: 1Div - 4th - 79 pts
75: 1Div - 7th - 75 pts
74: 1Div - 14th - 62 pts
73: 1Div - 13th - 58 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Rook Aldridge, Elaine Ashdown, Palina Leopold, Katerina Olexander, Tess Wintergren
Club Heroes: Claribel Overfelt, Ida Preussler, Elisabeth Sand
One-Club Men: Lara Winter
Premiership Debut: 47
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.

OVERVIEW
The Knights clawed their way from the playoff to second after a comedy of errors saw their competitors fall over each other to fail. So, it's official! Iron are back. Their social media has made much of their traditional place being in the Premiership. This is true; their traditional place is between 22nd and 24th in the Premiership, followed by immediate re-promotion. Will it be different this time? Nnnno, it probably won't, but at least they've made a fist out of it in terms of their investment. None are sure things. Yes, Visser is a former Starling and Cormorants defender, but he's now 34 and just ate shit in Chromatika, Lekea and Tsuker were both surplus to requirements at their clubs while 23-year old Manahaal Brimorii got his start in Brenecia (ugh). At least he's a satyr, thus tall, thus extremely well-suited to just going it long. But Lara Dixon has a plan. it's not a fancy plan, but it's the plan that's kept worse sides than Iron up. Stay compact and do the little things right. There's precious little experience at this level for the side, though at different ends of the overall experience metric, with 21-year old goalkeeper Katerina Olexander having... not excelled, but done well for a while with boundless room to draw, by contrast with the double pivot of slow, graceful water-carrier Snowpoint and creative fulcrum Vidler, both without a game of Premiership experience, both 30, both expected to play core roles in this campaign. They're typical of a side that just have just a lot of question marks. Maybe they won't be, in months' time. Maybe.

PREDICTION - 22nd.
Manager: Lara Dixon (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Katerina Olexander, 12 - Wotan Hornwood, 25 - Wilhelm Margate
Defenders: 2 - Alcander Visser, 3 - Shireen Tsuker, 5 - Martel Sevecke, 6 - Lukas Storrin, 17 - Anders Bowman, 18 - Ulrich Braun, 20 - Maria Kroger, 33 - Moritz Keane
Midfidlers: 4 - Indartsu Lekea (ASG), 7 - Seth Kreilach, 8 - Isla Snowpoint (c), 11 - Tzeitel Remsza, 13 - Igrene Vidler, 14 - Olsen Birch (AUD), 15 - Seth Kreilach, 19 - Sylvester Mullen, 21 - Andre Gannon, 23 - Taena Vylarr (SRS)
Forwards: 9 - Xandra Vermouth, 10 - Manahaal Brimorii (MRN), 16 - Jonas Myhill

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League Finish: 15th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Twilight Ridge (36,000)
Nickname: the Rooks
Captain: Cressida Voeller
Top Scorers: Duffy (13), Storrev (11), Voeller (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Iarrow (35); 17 - Soeringer (22), 3 - Korkut (32), 6 - Solari (24), 22 - Baer (24); 4 - Niskanen (21), 8 - Voeller (30, c); 19 - Storrev (28), 7 - Bronson (29), 13 - Rozier (27); 10 - Duffy (32)
In: Eero Solari (Bastion, 4m), Juergen Kessler (Goodfeather FC, 2m), Markko Niskanen (Savojars Vinge Virkaja, 2m)
Promoted: James Lysander (DM, 21), Annika Tatasciore (RB, 20)
Out: Reniira Clevinger (Sabrefell Athletic, 10m), Ronan Fallon (Sabrefell Athletic, 4m), Cheney Auburn (AFC Rochford, free), Cassius Swibel (Savusavu AFC, free)
Retired: Miri Windtide (CB, 35, CEN)

TROPHY CABINET
3 NFA Cups (57, 68, 71)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 15th - 51 pts
76: Premier - 15th - 59 pts
75: Premier - 17th - 49 pts
74: Premier - 13th - 64 pts
73: Premier - 11th - 65 pts

BACKGROUND
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 Nepharan 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 strong for sides that more central Nepharim tend to mostly forget about. A brief run as a contender towards the sharp end of the Premiership may not have stuck, but did bankroll a new stadium, arguably the most scenic in the nation.

OVERVIEW
Guys. Guys. Newrook will be fine. They've been somewhere between 13th and 17th since approximately the death of the last King, and the relatively high turnover on paper shouldn't obscure anyone to the fact they'll finish between 13th and 17th here. Rearing Reniira Clevinger, who always looked fetching in the blue and black, results in a serious windfall from Athletic. Who also want panel-beater Ronan Fallon, for some reason. Sure. Anyway, they pocket a lot of money and re-invest it sensibly; two centre-halves, most obviously, Solari by a distance the superior and kind of a steal, considering. Oh, no, you can't make the grade at Directus. By 24. Niskanen might be the most promising, but the 21-year old will need to hit the ground running; even so, he already offers more on the ball than Fallon did. As would have, say, a small tractor. In any case, Newrook look solid, and Gareth Penrooke will marshal them around the same solidity as ever, exemplified by the ever-reliable tall tower Iarrow; yes, that means they're boring, but that does give their more creative talents further forward a chance to shine. On one wing, that means Naiva Storrev, salvaged from Brenecia to find her feet here and an unlikely success story from the off. She always runs, is always direct, and always makes her mark. Rozier on the other flank is rather more mercurial and does need to develop some finishing touch in front of goal, but flashes of brilliance are enough at this end of the table. Similarly, Tom Duffy doesn't need to track back, or meaningfully hold up the ball, or really do anything other than shoot on sight and have it work out more often than not. See, there's entertainment in the Rooks, just so long as you know where to look. But they'll be relevant to the season only inso far as the upsets they pull off against the best teams and the shock losses at the hands of the worst.

PREDICTION - 14th
Manager: Gareth Penrooke
Goalkeepers: 1 - Kaara Iarrow (MRN), 12 - Charis Theoklitos, 25 - Rosanne Alwood
Defenders: 2 - Annika Tatasciore, 3 - Kerem Korkut, 5 - Juergen Kessler, 6 - Eero Solari (COS), 17 - Pristina Soeringer, 18 - Priscilla Graves, 20 - Jana Forde, 22 - Lorelei Baer
Midfielders: 4 - Markko Niskanen (SVJ), 7 - Minka Bronson, 8 - Cressida Voeller (c), 13 - Arkady Rozier (AFT), 14 - Persephone Miller, 15 - James Lysander, 16 - Pernille Brand, 19 - Naiva Storrev (SRS), 21 - Dassi Constantine, 26 - Lena Treatise
Forwards: 9 - Jason Margush, 10 - Tom Duffy (EOT), 23 - Christian Rudloff

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League Finish: 12th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Bluegrass (48,000)
Nickname: the Spiders
Captain: Luke Roberts
Top Scorers: Thornwood (14), Foley (10), Lundell (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Krieven (32); 2 - Rashica (29, c), 5 - Stoeger (28), 6 - Jaan (28), 3 - Garnett (23); 21 - Lundell (24), 4 - Marrable (24), 11 - Asquith (29); 12 - Foley (27), 9 - Thornwood (29), 10 - Sadler (21)
In: Bellona Sadler (Leichhardt, 5m), Alfonse Cameron (Chenoworth Harriers, 3m)
Promoted: Alexis Caldwell (RB, 19), Red Prowatt (LB, 20)
Out: Cassandra Posipal (Stahlburg City, 4m), Eleanor Schaefer (South Laithland, 4m), Griffin Kendall (Chafford, 3.5m), Holger Varney (Kinetik Islanders, free)

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

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
76: Premier - 12th - 62 pts
75: Premier - 10th - 67 pts
74: Premier - 15th - 59 pts
73: Premier - 13th - 59 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Raimund Anderson, Bianca Condotta, Theodora Covenant, Lavender Jameson, Karsten Riordan, Christian Serjeant, Deborah Stokes, Rasunda Vanderlei
Club Heroes: Steed Corren, Brandon Duguid, Gareth Pearce, Chloe Rudden
One-Club Men: Rook Kennedy
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
With their 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.

OVERVIEW
The Spiders had a painfully boring season stranded in midtable. For a side that have tasted the Premiership title, unsatisfying; for a side that have tasted relegation, strangely relieving, and it's important to rememeber North Laithland are the only side to have experienced both. They keep the faith with a manager who has by and large done good things with them, spend three million on a backup goalkeeper, shift three of the seeming horde of interchangeably 7/10 players they have for a tidy profit and, most intriguingly and with by a distance the most implications for the Cormorants, picking up Bellona Sadler from the defeated Stargazers. The sturdy little winger combined pace, industry and an absolute hammer of a left boot to be a shining light for the relegated side, but in a less direct side she'll be expected to do more than just sling crosses in every minute. The Spiders are overall a very solid, reliable outfit, but a few names stand out from the gloom. Krieven has the occasional blowout and remains a great figure to watch for his ever-reliable tendency to scream at his defenders whenever they concede a goal, but it's important to remember that he's not only one of the best shot-stoppers in the league but great at distribution. Jaan stands out just by being really, really tall. Going forward, even if Sadler flickers, Rika Lundell's already shown flashes of genuine brilliance as a smooth, clever and gently mercurial playmaker. So, too, Foley; she more energetic, Lundell more languid. Even their striker is a more subtle operator, Lilith Thornwood up front clever enough to always find the right space and angle to glide into and rifle home any half-chance her way. They'll be fine. But only fine.

PREDICTION - 12th.
Manager: Catherine Sedgwick
Goalkeepers: 1 - Stovar Krieven (SRS), 12 - Alfonse Cameron, 25 - Gilgamesh Dance
Defenders: 2 - Sebastian Rashica, 3 - February Garnett, 5 - Marit Stoeger, 6 - Paarsimer Jaan (MRN), 20 - Red Prowatt, 23 - Bram Levin, 26 - Caeda Warhurst, 34 - Alexis Caldwell
Midfielders: 4 - Celia Marrable (KOR), 8 - Nicola Brindell, 11 - Chloe Asquith, 14 - Arnesa Darroze, 16 - Sander Moritz, 21 - Rika Lundell (SVJ)
Forwards: 7 - Luke Roberts (ETN, c), 9 - Lilith Thornwood, 10 - Bellona Sadler, 12 - Jewell Foley (EFL), 15 - Sara Garrett, 19 - Andrea Bellmare, 22 - Constantine Brown

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League Finish: 14th
Cup Run: Third Round
IFCF Run: LBCT First Knockout Round
Stadium: Knightsgrave (43,000)
Nickname: the Saints
Captain: Zemen Ystrad
Top Scorers: Zanzala (13), Celustka (10), Mueller (9)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Laisne (27); 17 - Spitz (28), 13 - Ystrad (33, c), 5 - Vuurmeier (30), 3 - Feist (23); 8 - Mueller (25), 18 - Sefton (29), 21 - Celustka (26); 15 - Fohler (28), 14 - Zanzala (29), 19 - Swann (22)
In: Markus Sefton (Alnio, 3m)
Promoted: Isolde Reader (LW, 18)
Out: Rudi Moisander (Bohemians Metropolis, 4.2m), Adraan Telviir (Acacoyagua, free), Laura Belfry (Goodfeather FC, free)

TROPHY CABINET
2 First Division titles (63, 76)
2 NFA Cups (51, 59)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 14th - 54 pts
76: 1Div - 1st - 125 pts - Promoted
75: 1Div - 9th - 68 pts
74: Premier - 23rd - 38 pts - Relegated
73: 1Div - 3rd - 83 pts - Promoted

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Christian Beckcamp, Rudolf Blondel, Erin Camden, Georgia Kite, Ramona Porter, Gabrielle Reinhardt, Ursula Rowan, Monica Rowland, Catheline Stockinger
Club Heroes: Alastair Brun, Christian Frei, Elaine Koeller
One-Club Men: Matt Sebastian
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
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.

OVERVIEW
Well... it wasn't a smooth ride by any stretch. Indeed, the Saints were genuinely terrible for the early stretches of the season, disjointed, many fine parts with a yawning chasm in defensive midfield. Oh, God, they worked it out in the end but they needed a reliable defensive midfielder. Sorry, Laura. Sorry, Adraan. And Annika Miller, well, she'll get there. But Markus Sefton was the player they needed, bruising Stahlburg DNA honing into a fine-tuned passer at Diamondqueen and Alnio and more than ready to make his return. Winger Moisander was another player who just struggled to make the step up, but the ever-eccentric Obasi didn't fancy potential replacements and has just put his faith in Swann. Does the side still look disjointed? Yeah. There's a solid but incredibly slow central defensive partnership and that's a perilous combination with their high line, with Trude Spitz arguably their best signing of last season for her ability to just... be everywhere that was needed, and more importantly, keep a cool head no matter where she found herself. Former Athletic playmaker Celustka looked disinterested and jaded for most of the early part of last session, disgusted by the inferior players she found herself surrounded with, but stepped up in the second half alongside the reigning 1Div player of the season Mueller, a hugely impressive box-to-box presence. Up front, Zanzala ran a lot and provided a slightly disappointing goal return, but Bastia Fohler drifting off the right put paid to any question of her ability at this level, a complete winger provided you don't ask for a left foot. The Saints have flashes of brilliance, but they will need to step up sooner and more decisively this season.

PREDICTION - 17th.
Manager: Emeka Obasi (CBR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Typhenon Laisne (OAM), 12 - Veluca Austen, 25 - Garnet Bexley
Defenders: 2 - Bullova Reyson, 3 - Vesuvius Feist, 5 - Bairn Vuurmeier (MRN), 6 - Praline Saunders, 13 - Zemen Ystrad (SRS, c), 17 - Trude Spitz (STL), 22 - Matrona Croxteth, 23 - Nikki Freeman
Midfielders: 4 - Annika Miller, 8 - Ilia Mueller, 11 - Adele Rosborough, 16 - Tricia Cray, 18 - Markus Sefton, 21 - Elsebeth Celustka
Forwards: 9 - Ann Reus (COS), 10 - Davor Kurtishi, 14 - Esmerelda Zanzala (APX), 15 - Bastia Fohler, 19 - Nikola Swann, 20 - Sander Linn, 37 - Isolde Reader

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League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
IFCF Run: Challengers Cup Group Stage
Stadium: The Barbarossa (72,000)
Nickname: the Rams
Captain: Reece Lucas
Top Scorers: Benezet (26), Êns (21), Katsura (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 20 - Garamond (23); 2 - Fox (30), 5 - Clevinger (22), 22 - Reinhardt (30), 3 - Lucas (29, c); 23 - Westerveld (26), 19 - Katsura (26), 8 - Dominique (27), 18 - Isusi (27); 14 - Benezet (26), 9 - Tomlinson (26)
In: Reniira Clevinger (Newrook City, 10m), Raluca Garamond (Coret Hawks, 8m), Ronan Fallon (Newrook City, 4m), Renira Schanzer (Armstrong, loan return)
Promoted: Sonya Belltower (CM, 19)
Out: Xixi Ens (Di Maozoxe, undisclosed), Ferret Tioux (Oakstone, 7m), Alyssa Broad (Partisan Sjoedrhavn, 5.5m)
Retired: Oscar Coltrane (CM, 37), Kaya Naumoff (DM, 35)

TROPHY CABINET
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

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 6th - 81 pts - ChC
76: Premier - 6th - 79 pts - ChC
75: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CL
74: Premier - 4th - 91 pts - CL
73: Premier - 1st - 103 pts - DIT

BACKGROUND
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 the city, 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.

OVERVIEW
On the bright side, the Rams scored a hundred goals last season, so it's hard to be too underwhelmed with how the season panned out... but then, sixth just isn't good enough, combined with mediocrity in IFCF. And this for Oscar Coltrane's last season and, against the club's wishes, that of Xixi Ens, though commendably they did not stand in the way of his homecoming. Ens' vanishing act lead to a hilarious about-turn with Isaac Tomlinson, who they went from actively trying to force out of the club to offering regular minutes and Ens' vacant #9 shirt - no pressure! Most of their efforts were concentrated towards tightening them up; Garamond and Clevinger are both experienced campaigners already and surely near-future Cormorants, while Fallon is just a straight replacement for Naumoff, a handy brute off the bench in lieu of the marquee defensive midfielder they were shopping for. So what does this leave them with? Well, take a moment to admire the fact that Tony Dalton's favoured midfield four and strike partnership are 26, 26, 26, 27, 26 and 26. Moment taken? Good, because it isn't all sun and roses. Garamond and Clevinger bolster a defence just about coming to the end of its peak, and the fullbacks have already lost half a step. Kotaro Katsura has proven to be an excellent playmaker as hoped, but not quite the Coltrane stand-in as dreamed of. Tomlinson, too, has some intimidating shoes to fill, though his diligent probing should make a good foil for the more drifting, technical Benezet. And of course they are merely striving to live up to very high standards indeed. Athletic will win most of their games, blasting teams aside with their assertive, high-pressing, sweeping maneuvres. But will they be consistent enough over the course of the year?

PREDICTION - 4th.
Manager: Tony Dalton (EUR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Aurelian Gautier (ESH), 20 - Raluca Garamond, 25 - Tanith Arrowsmith
Defenders: 2 - Steve Fox (EUR), 3 - Reece Lucas (EUR, c), 4 - Mercedes Knauth, 5 - Reniira Clevinger, 13 - Theodore Sigismund (STB), 16 - Alexis Koutros, 17 - Petria Brincat, 22 - Gabrielle Reinhardt
Midfielders: 6 - Ronan Fallon (BRE), 8 - Jean-Michel Dominique (KOR), 10 - Orsolya Gere (PAS), 18 - Bartol Isusi (AUD), 19 - Kotaro Katsura (HIN), 21 - Violet Siverson, 23 - Bryony Westerveld, 26 - Thisbe Rouvas, 37 - Sonya Belltower
Forwards: 7 - Sipke Tarala (VIL), 9 - Isaac Tomlinson (EUR), 11 - Renira Schanzer, 14 - Thibault Benezet (VLD), 27 - Melusina Rose
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Sun Nov 01, 2020 6:40 pm

Updates to Apocalypse: 8


The third is--

Ah, it doesn't matter. The results have just come in.
15 votes in favour. One abstention - Creed United, for one reason or another. 8 against, mostly those with the most to lose at the bottom of the table.
This will be the Premiership's final season. Five will go down. One playoff place. Chaos further down the pyramid. An outcry. Remind yourselves this is for the greater good.

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League Finish: 4th
Cup Run: Champions
Stadium: Farham Arena (88,000)
Nickname: the Moths
Captain: Solara Vol
Top Scorers: Morgenstern (17), Turner (12), Belgrade (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Markgraf (26); 2 - Bruun (29), 5 - Jabelon (28), 13 - Brabanzon (23), 3 - Muscadin (24); 7 - Zuniga (24), 4 - Timekeeper (21), 21 - Roesler (24); 10 - Belgrade (22), 13 - Petrov (27), 16 - Morgenstern (26)
In: Lyzolda Petrov (Southfell United, 12m), Shiida Roesler (Crisisbless United, 10m), Irene Vintner (Leichhardt, 4m)
Out: Tawny Shone (Brinemouth, 15m), Lorena Strausz (Anomalies, 9m)
Retired: Solara Vol (ST, 38, MRN)

TROPHY CABINET
4 Premiership titles (47, 60, 68, 69)
3 NFA Cups (58, 65, 85)
3 Ramsey Shields (66, 69, 70)
Champions Cup (73)
2 Globe Cups (64, 67)
Super Cup (73)
Gang of Six member

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 4th - 85 pts - CL CWC
76: Premier - 8th - 71 pts
75: Premier - 5th - 90 pts - CC
74: Premier - 6th - 72 pts - CL
73: Premier - 5th - 83 pts

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
Triumph for Adalheid Metzelder. Just as predicted by Adalheid Metzelder, Adalheid Metzelder's biggest fan. They took decisive advantage of the Crows' final-day implosion to sneak into fourth and followed it up with victory in the Cup. Southfell's first goal against them in the Cup was scored by Lyzolda Petrov. They immediately bought Lyzolda Petrov, and followed it up with Shiida Roesler to keep the satyr quotient even as club hero Solara Vol hangs up her boots at last. They also had, at the last minute, Tawny Shone snatched from them by Brinemouth. Okay, so they lost Nephara's no. 4. Metzelder's unconcerned, just as she is about the departure of the mercurial Strausz - Vintner is here as backup, nothing more. All like-for-like in positions, but none, precisely, in terms of form; this is a more physical, dynamic side than it was, aided by another year in the legs of their young guns, the flying sweeper-keeper Markgraf, the leg-snapping defender Brabanzon, dynamic leftback Muscadin (fresh off missing Nephara's World Cup, to the nation's detriment), flamboyant winger Belgrade and, of course, the reason Metzelder isn't so concerned about losing Shone; her golden boy, Rook Timekeeper. Resolute defensively, confident on the ball, and a 6'2" lumberjack of a physique, he has it all at just 21. The top three of the league feel as solid as they've ever been; the Moths, at the moment, look best of the rest.

PREDICTION - 4th.
Goalkeepers: 1 - Alexandra Markgraf, 12 - Yves Carroll, 25 - Hanna Bayliss
Defenders: 2 - Karii Bruun (MRN), 3 - Vivica Muscadin, 5 - Wil Jabelon (COS), 6 - Miska Brabanzon, 18 - Cleo Harper, 19 - Reina Turnbull, 21 - Viola Parr, 22 - Lorcan Devante
Midfielders: 4 - Rook Timekeeper, 7 - Kateryna Zuniga (CMT), 8 - Swansea Reach, 14 - Irene Vintner, 21 - Shiida Roesler, 23 - Bryger Kellard
Forwards: 9 - Tryphon Archer, 10 - Ysabet Belgrade, 11 - Zoe Aedelbrandt (COS), 13 - Lyzolda Petrov (SRS), 16 - Shiloh Morgenstern (TAE), 20 - Cathal Turner (COS), 26 - Nasir Majerle

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League Finish: 17th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Covenground (27,000)
Nickname: the Southrons
Captain: Kelly O’Connell
Top Scorers: Riise (16), Bergander (9), Forward (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Velazquez (28); 2 - Schaefer (26), 5 - O’Connell (28, c), 19 - Pike (27), 3 - Harkhan (24); 15 - Jurman (26), 14 - Menat (27); 7 - Forward (27), 21 - Brind (22), 8 - Dionne (29); 10 - Riise (29)
In: Felicia Brind (Leichhardt, 6m), Eleanor Schaefer (North Laithland, 4m), Valda Harkhan (Brasta, 3.5m), Donovan Velazquez (Birdingstone United, 1m), Talia Nisarizo (Project Olimpo Jutsii, free)
Promoted: Valerie Campbell (AM, 20), Felix Coulson (LB, 19), Logan Haas (GK, 18)
Out: Catheline Novick (Starling, 7m), Konstantin Vyland (Langmere Green Rovers FC, 4m), Karena Ruther (Real Dawson, 3.3m), Shireen Tsuker (Iron City, 3m), Aries Kohler (Istria City FC, 3m), Victoria Remeikis (Alliance Barossia, 2m), Gerhard Hartmuth (Leicester Village, free), Corren Mueller (Foxhampton, free)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 17th - 51 pts
76: Premier - 11th - 65 pts
75: Premier - 12th - 61 pts
74: 1Div - 2nd - 97 pts - Promoted
73: 1Div - 4th - 76 pts

BACKGROUND
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...)

OVERVIEW
Daniel Kunde leaves South Laithland after the beautiful, sturdy house he built abruptly caught fire and exploded. Not to worry, as Leigh Fletcher returned from a sabbatical she seems to have spent inhaling suet by the stick to save the day. So what'll you do with the remains of the house? Gut it all. There is literally not enough space to go over, player-by-player, the destruction Fletcher has wrought; suffice to say that their captain being released isn't even top billing. Novick is the only player who left that Fletcher wanted to keep, but Schaefer's a roughly good-enough stand-in who deserved better than the bench up north. The overall effect of the reshuffle ended in a more stacked midfield, one taking the controversial tack of leaning on a Leichhardt playmaker - granted, Brind combines industry, pace, vision and youth, just don't let her shoot. And she is at the tip of a rock-solid foundation, with Fletcher having sensibly left the central defence of O'Connell and Pike alone, now giving them the industrious double pivot of Jurman and Menat as double cover. Needless to say, a lot of the creative burden falls to the wingers, both delicate, versatile creatives, while Aron Riise is an excellent striker by the standards of the bottom half. It's a bold overhaul, but it's likely that it will keep the Southrons afloat.

PREDICTION - 15th.
Manager: Leigh Fletcher
Goalkeepers: 1 - Donovan Velazquez (ETN), 20 - Nadine Cirjak, 30 - Logan Haas
Defenders: 2 - Eleanor Schaefer, 3 - Valda Harkhan (SRS), 5 - Kelly O'Connell (CBP, c), 6 - Bran Goldford, 17 - Tremeka Seward, 19 - Journey Pike (EFL), 24 - Lars Sandalwood, 36 - Felix Coulson
Midfielders: 4 - Basil Lylac, 7 - Lysander Forward (KOR), 8 - Remy Dionne (KSK), 11 - Nagisa Habane (KIR), 12 - Valerie Campbell, 13 - Kurtis Conrad, 14 - Gareth Menat, 15 - Constantine Jurman, 21 - Felicia Brind, 23 - Talia Nisarizo (SRS)
Forwards: 9 - Manna Radler, 10 - Aron Riise (COS), 16 - Matthias Bergander

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League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Runners-up
Stadium: Scipio Arena (38,000)
Nickname: the Tanners
Captain: Kyshoen Nagy
Top Scorers: Petrov (20), Gundersen (15), Forestier (12)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Gavaris (25); 2 - Bowyer (27), 19 - Stankovic (30), 6 - Ellis (32), 12 - Brandt (24); 22 - Forestier (23), 4 - Hensser (24), 23 - Nagy (29, c), 16 - Anselm (28); 17 - Kuzener (24), 10 - Gundersen (30)
Promoted: Petrarch Corbay (ST, 20), Pascal Ritter (LB, 19), Matthias Slade (CM, 20)
Out: Lyzolda Petrov (Sabrefell Moths, 12m), Sergei Evans (FC Caross, free)
Retired: Ivan Hemeyer (DM, 35, COS)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 10th - 74 pts
76: Premier - 9th - 68 pts
75: Premier - 9th - 69 pts
74: Premier - 10th - 66 pts
73: Premier - 10th - 66 pts

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
Another almost-excellent season for Southfell, always on the fringes of the IFCF without actually making it, Cup finalists but not victors. Are the board interested at all in taking that next step? No. Lyzolda Petrov departs, one of the league's most reliable goalscorers even without world-class service, and there was talk they'd have to move on her partner in crime on the wing Lissa Anselm as well. Not in the end, no. And they wind up with a fat twelve million to spend on... ... ... ... ... Ivan 'the Haymaker' Hemeyer also hangs up the boots, one of the league's most feared destroyers. He immediately slots into a coaching role, so beware the next generation of bone-crunching Tanners midfielders. Anyway, expect much of the same from Southfell this season, just with a measure less sharpness in front of goal, though spring-heeled forward Lieschen Kuzener has shown a promising opportunism. Laureline Forestier is also, at 23, really starting to kick on from her early promise, a lean, electrifying livewire equally comfortable on the right wing or in a free role closer to the centre. Right now, the axis of cool-headed water-carrier Hensser and smooth operative Nagy keeps the midfield ticking over, and if anyone gets past them, Nathan Ellis is there to probably come as close to homicide as the Laws of the Game allow. They'll be fast. They'll be attractive. The fans will go home happy, most days. What more can one ask for?

PREDICTION - 11th.
Manager: George Jayson (EQS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ursula Gavaris, 20 - Angela Spyrakis, 25 - Christine Tabard
Defenders: 2 - Svenja Bowyer, 5 - Holger Wight, 6 - Nathan Ellis (HAP), 12 - Ferry Brandt, 18 - Cale Schindler, 19 - Antun Stankovic (PAS), 26 - Fortuna Morvan, 37 - Pascal Ritter
Midfielders: 4 - Arysa Hensser, 8 - Matthias Slade, 11 - Calla Heidke, 15 - Roxi Pryce, 16 - Lissa Anselm, 22 - Laureline Forestier (EQS), 23 - Kyshoen Nagy (OSR, c), 31 - Malka Waisman
Forwards: 9 - Christian Borzoi, 10 - Amalie Gundersen (VAL), 13 - Martina Everett, 17 - Lieschen Kuzener, 21 - Petrarch Corbay

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League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Ludd’s Hammer (59,000)
Nickname: the Smiths
Captain: Kresimir Brujah
Top Scorers: Phoenix (17), Delfour (10), Cooke (5)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 12 - Rosmarin (25); 2 - Rostock (24), 18 - Cynav-Ozolx (30), 25 - Cooke (28), 3 - Posipal (29); 21 - Ballard (26); 7 - Reed (20), 4 - Brujah (31, c), 8 - Neuwirth (25), 23 - Delfour (25); 9 - Phoenix (28)
In: Cassandra Posipal (North Laithland, 4m), Canute Bresonik (Chardonnay Rangers, 3m)
Promoted: Jasper Morbihan (LM, 19)
Out: Neimi Tschauner (La Querida, undisclosed), Isadora Markkanen (CF Outineau, 3m), Garrick Pearce (Elephant Valley FC, free)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 9th - 74 pts
76: Premier - 7th - 72 pts - ChC
75: Premier - 7th - 76 pts - ChC
74: Premier - 8th - 70 pts
73: Premier - 16th - 56 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Sheila Kilgallon, Rusalka Klein, Elsa Layland, Sophia Moloney, Linde Rostock
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.

OVERVIEW
The hype is dead. And, okay, given the recent outrages and humiliations inflicted on the Smiths (including, this season, a 7-0 defeat that is an IFCF record for a Premiership side…), you know, 9th in the Premiership is not the worst thing in the world. Not so long ago it would've been a triumph. But the board have designs on higher things... sort of. Were they able to invest heavily in the market? Apparently not. A slight upgrade at leftback, a backup defensive midfielder, and liquidating a decent winger in Tschauner - little excitement there. But they have allowed Douglas Tibet to leave at the expiry of his contract. In has arrived Vanessa Rossum, the first Zwangzug manager in the Nepharan leagues, and she's interpreted her debrief as a need to tighten things up further. Climb the ranks, .5 points at a time, if that's what it takes! But despite the quiet transfer window, she has already shaken things up in favour of younger blood, with lanky goalkeeper Xander Rosmarin, hard-elbowed metronome Neuwirth and, most intriguingly, the aquiline, severe figure of 20-year old Severine Reed, who looms as the most incisive and immediately dangerous figure of a mostly workmanlike side. Some fine workmen, to be sure; Rostock is a Cormorant, an impeccable defensive fullback who will cover Reed's tracks, while Delfour showed both flair and industry as he prowled the wing and Lewis Phoenix was more than willing to do the hard yards in his lone furrow while also, reliably, finding the net when found. Another year has been a mixed bag for them, and the side's not without question marks - how will Rossum adapt? Can the homicidal Brujah sustain another year's wear and tear, or will spite sustain him forever? But you can rely on the Smiths to, at the least, grind out results.

PREDICTION - 9th.
Manager: Vanessa Rossum (ZWZ)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Prant-Telew Wek (QUS), 12 - Xander Rosmarin, 20 - Gilmore Strattan
Defenders: 2 - Linde Rostock, 3 - Cassandra Posipal, 5 - Xandra Cooke, 14 - Rook Drabsch, 17 - Fiona Lyons, 18 - Cynav-Ozolx Jan (QUS), 19 - Gawain Warden, 22 - Mathis Orsay
Midfielders: 4 - Kresimir Brujah (c), 6 - Canute Bresonik, 7 - Severine Reed, 8 - Marita Neuwirth, 10 - Aurelie Henry (OSR), 13 - Camille Lane (OSR), 21 - Dorian Ballard, 23 - Maurice Delfour (CBR), 26 - Malachite Riester, 32 - Jasper Morbihan
Forwards: 9 - Lewis Phoenix (EUR), 11 - Isabella Shi (SLL), 15 - Viviana Strephon

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League Finish: 4th (First Division)
Cup Run: Second Round
Stadium: Griffindon (36,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Captain: Kresp-Cinic Jan
Top Scorers: Radcliffe (29), Talay (13), Michail, Sebring (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 12 - Laurnagaray (28); 17 - Svennsdottir (27), 5 - Kresp-Cinic (32, c), 6 - Macellan (30), 3 - Michalak (26); 7 - Sebring (29), 4 - Vanderlei (35), 10 - Talay (28), 14 - Romanov (27); 15 - Huang (25), 21 - Radcliffe (26)
In: Jelena Romanov (FK Torpedo Pawlograd, 2m), Huang Shedong (Beian City, 1.5m), Aurre Laurnagaray (Athletic Club Olarria, 1m), Else Svennsdottir (Gunzlach, 1m)
Promoted: Meliza Audrey (CM, 18)
Out: Serge Lawless (FC Zlaysley, free), Rinus Wever (Walstreim Lions, free), Olof Hoare (Honeybadgers, free), Jack Churchfather (CVD Speelvelden Wiclyf, free)

RECENT HISTORY
77: 1Div - 4th - 84 pts - Promoted
76: Premier - 24th - 32 pts - Relegated
75: 1Div - 3rd - 98 pts - Promoted
74: 1Div - 9th - 68 pts
73: Premier - 24th - 28 pts - Relegated

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Romola Carolan, Orion Etzebeth, Johan Haukmann, Dorian Halfpike, Catheline Harper, Spyridon Kolitsidakis, Raquel Naeher, Conan Lineker, Alexandra Saravakos, Amber Steelshrift
Club Heroes: Alex Chapin, Vadim Illich-Svitych, Catheline Jurist, Maddy Mackenna, Adrian Middleton, Aziz Senturk
One-Club Men: Reinhard Drake
Iconic Manager: Reinhard Shale
Premiership Debut: 49
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.

OVERVIEW
How can one frame Stahlburg Rovers' prospects with optimism... well, they'll be high on confidence after coming an unexpected fourth in 1Div, bouncing back at the first time of asking. Last season was undeniably good. And, uh... yep, the board sure have been frugal, that's one way to put it! A solid, proven Premiership starter retails around five or six million these days. The Rovers spent five and a half million on four different guys, none of them sure things, though tiny, adorable striker Huang has the keen eye for goal that's in-fashion at any level of the game. Drake's project, though, is Romanov - a wunderkind not so long ago, now 27 and already somehow washed-up, but still with the ability to change games when she's of a mind. She'll need to be of a mind a lot. The rest of the side is, well, much as it was last time they were found out as horribly inadequate at this level, and the time before. There's a difference in holding midfield, which is now marshalled by a 35-year old Rasunda Vanderlei and backed up by 20-year old Rook Middleton, son of club hero Adrian (who has, in fact, taken the number 20 that the elder Middleton wore for most of his days). Dulcina Radcliffe is the other part of the little-and-little strike partnership, and has proven a threat at this level; the reigning Iron Boot for 1Div is demonstrably capable of making the step up. Macellan, Michalak, Sebring, Talay... nobody disgraced themselves last time, truly. But it's an open side full of players who are just ... not of the standard.

PREDICTION - 24th.
Manager: Reinhard Drake
Goalkeepers: 1 - Rook Gilzean, 12 - Aurre Laurnagaray (ASG), 25 - Raul Kellond
Defenders: 2 - Ninian Wernbloom, 3 - Valery Michalak, 5 - Kresp-Cinic Jan (QUS), 6 - Rainer Macellan, 13 - Erik Fenton, 17 - Else Svennsdottir (GRF), 18 - Kyriakos Mesorounis, 19 - Bors Warwick
Midfielders: 4 - Rasunda Vanderlei, 8 - Page Rookworth, 10 - Monika Talay, 11 - Nikica Taylor, 14 - Jelena Romanov (SVJ), 20 - Rook Middleton (QUE), 23 - Danielle Kunz, 36 - Meliza Audrey
Forwards: 9 - Harriet Michail, 15 - Huang Shedong (YZH), 16 - Dimitar Guzan, 21 - Dulcina Radcliffe (EFL), 34 - Martyn Barrett

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League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Jade Park (28,000)
Nickname: the Passerines
Captain: Daniel Dostalok
Top Scorers: Dostalok (24), Duchemin (15), Roebling (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Smørdal (32); 23 - Novick (26), 5 - Berg (33), 6 - Kaba (29), 18 - Vandermark (29); 15 - Roebling (26), 14 - Charisteas (26), 11 - Stone (25); 10 - Flaxwood (23); 7 - Dostalok (31, c), 9 - Duchemin (28)
In: Nicki Stone (Riverside City FC, 8m), Nikita Charisteas (Coret Hawks, 7m), Catheline Novick (South Laithland, 6m), Leif Flaxwood (loan return)
Promoted: Florian Berkut (ST, 19)
Out: Sander Katarec (CA Paulinthal, 7.5m), Rook Garai (Chenoworth Rovers, 5m), Bernard Zeman (Walstreim Lions, 4.25m), Franz Kesteren (Walstreim Lions, 1.2m), Alexandra Price (La Querida, free)

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

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 11th - 70 pts
76: Premier - 4th - 85 pts - CL
75: Premier - 8th - 70 pts
74: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - ChC
73: Premier - 4th - 90 pts - DIT

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
Remember that last time you were in Cranequin for the Carnival with your partner, and that street hawker was promising you fresh Rochford clams, and you were like, 'this feels a bit far in-land to be selling fresh Rochford clams', but your partner was like, 'hey, we can't just get fresh Rochford clams anywhere', and you wanted to be like, 'yeah, you can only get them in Rochford' but they looked really optimistic so fuck it, you get some clams, and then find out they are possibly from Rochford but assuredly not fresh and spend the night staring into your toilet bowl? That's the best metaphor for Starling's season. It was a bad night on a good fiesta that might just be drawing to a close. You rifle through your pockets; who is Gisella Riaz? How did she get here? You don't remember buying Zohar Vandermark, either, but have a vague intrusive memory of trying to put her on the wrong flank after an ACL injury. Your bag feels light. Did someone take your leftback, your promising defensive midfielder, your redoubtable veteran playmaker? Even a vague memory you might have had some kind of 'Bernard' 'Zeman' - sounds fake, honestly. You stumble to the bar for some hair of the dog. Yes. Yes! You'll overhaul the entire midfield. That'll be the ticket. Throw in a proper rightback, too, that'll do the trick. Ignore the voice in your head asking why your three best players, Smordal, Berg and Dostalok, are starting to slow in their early 30s. It's fine. It's fine. You will go back to the Carnival tomorrow, but it won't feel the same, and maybe next year you'll just stay home and watch Mardi Gras on the stream.

PREDICTION - 8th.
Manager: Lisa Amos (CMT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Sean Smørdal (VAL), 12 - Romola Carolan, 25 - Elida Katter
Defenders: 2 - Raphael Cole, 3 - Caracal Page, 5 - Christian Berg (PAS), 6 - Kawsu Kaba (BNJ), 13 - Claire Griffith, 18 - Zohar Vandermark (APX), 19 - Garrick Rustak, 23 - Catheline Novick
Midfielders: 4 - Octavian Eversong, 8 - Valentine Roxel (SCT), 10 - Leif Flaxwood, 11 - Nicki Stone, 14 - Nikita Charisteas, 15 - Varina Roebling, 20 - Gisella Riaz (EFL), 21 - Nova Kymeri (CEN)
Forwards: 7 - Daniel Dostalok (MRC, c), 9 - Antoine Duchemin (KOR), 16 - Vanna Pearce, 17 - Davina Ashmore, 36 - Florian Berkut

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League Finish: Champions
Cup Run: Fourth Round
IFCF Run: Champions League First Knockout Round
CWC Run: Semifinals
CdC Run: Champions
Stadium: The Gauntlet (65,000)
Nickname: the Stags
Captain: Q'orianka Va’Afaja
Top Scorers: Uster (24), Metzger (17), Cromwell (12)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Clavel (33); 2 - Stride (25), 13 - Lockheed (28), 6 - Murje (23), 3 - Va’Afaja (30, c); 20 - Malone (21), 4 - Rauch (29), 8 - Robshaw (27), 16 - McInnes (28); 22 - Fletcher (32), 9 - Uster (27)
In: Vincent Robshaw (Northern Union, 25m), Bobby Malone (Old Boys Club, 12m), Leila Ramelow (Vermillion Rage, 1m)
Promoted: Zasha Covach (ST, 19)
Out: Lothaire Cromwell (AC Izotz Zubia, 35m), Aristide Metzger (Spartangrad, 8.5m), Lysistrata Carter (Aleiusia Capital, 6m)
Retired: Loris Aldous (GK, 36)

TROPHY CABINET
10 Premiership titles (48, 49, 52, 56, 57, 65, 66, 74, 76, 77)
2 NFA Cups (49, 76)
2 Cope de Campeones (67, 77)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (57)
Ramsey Shield (77)
Gang of Six member

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 1st - 105 pts - CL
76: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CL CWC
75: Premier - 6th - 84 pts - CC
74: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CL
73: Premier - 3rd - 90 pts - DIT

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Reinhard Armstrong, Diandra Ballard, Sarah Carmady, Claudia Cautcher, Violet Clarion, Malachi Gallagher, Rachael Green, Saskia Kantaroff, Calliope Katskalidis, Aventurine Kolar, 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, who were briefly bought out to use as a feeder club.

OVERVIEW
People doubted Treason. That was a mistake. Despite a lack of creativity and cutting edge by the highest standards, Treason gutted their way to the top and they did it ugly, grinding out a seven-point advantage at the top, almost managing the greatest defence in league history (23; they were on-track for much of the season, but ultimately conceded 25). The window was a mixed bag. Treason needed the best striker they could find; they sold Metzger, a little past the peak of his powers, and ultimately did not find a replacement. They unexpectedly lost Lothaire Cromwell and managed a similar replacement in Vincent Robshaw, but one a little older, less dynamic, more streetwise. Another Euran, Bobby Malone, unexpectedly swept in towards the end of the window, a winger with the makings of great things hoping to stamp down a marker. That 12 million could prove a coup, or a millstone. Ramelow for Aldous is just a slight upgrade in experienced backup goalkeepers, no excitement there; there was talk of grooming a young heir to Clavel, but none was found. A lot of time on preparation, but Treason warrant it. Yet again they go in as a dark horse against the glamour favourites of Brinemouth and Crisisbless. Clavel stays between the posts, Iron Fist winner Kahala Murje might have the potential to be the the best centre-half in the league, Rovena Stride's already arguably the best fullback in the world, while the inexhaustible captain Va'Afaja always leaves scars in the minds of wingers and referees alike. Up front, Idai Ister and John Fletcher will be left as the little-and-large partnership at the top of a 4-4-2. Straightforward, yes. Even workmanlike. But that's the recipe for success Cheney Bittencourt has perfected over the past two seasons and league titles, and he sees it as his best shot of making it three.

PREDICTION - 3rd.
Manager: Cheney Bittencourt
Goalkeepers: 1 - Angel Clavel (AUD), 12 - Leila Ramelow, 25 - Christian Pisces
Defenders: 2 - Rovena Stride, 3 - Q'orianka Va'Afaja (COS, c), 5 - Bersant Sale, 6 - Kahala Murje (SAJ), 13 - Gabriel Lockheed, 18 - Pavel Lockhart, 19 - Diocletian Vale, 24 - Karolin Faust
Midfielders: 4 - Ferena Rauch, 7 - Raquel Accardi (EFL), 8 - Vincent Robshaw (EUR), 10 - Mikkel Jonsson (VAL), 11 - Roanne Fairfax, 15 - Reis Becker, 16 - Kelly McInnes (SCT), 20 - Bobby Malone (EUR), 26 - Aventurine Kolar
Forwards: 9 - Idai Uster (BNJ), 14 - Felix Sebastian, 17 - Basilica Coxeter, 22 - John Fletcher (EUR), 38 - Zasha Covach

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League Finish: 8th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: The Iron Hill (49,500)
Nickname: the Rage
Captain: Victoria Maersk
Top Scorers: Mrdja (19), Heward (10), Fleetwood (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Hartnett (23); 17 - Salek (27), 18 - Anderson (29), 5 - Toivonen (27), 3 - Rouphos (31); 7 - Marshall (24), 6 - Maersk (31, c), 14 - Fleetwood (27); 10 - Mrdja (24), 21 - Bestatter (26), 23 - Porter (30)
In: Jonte Bestatter (Tanrisal, free)
Promoted: Auberine Peridot (GK, 18)
Out: Ursa Kinbois (Diamondqueen, 5m), Leila Ramelow (AFC Treason, 1m)
Retired: Eduardo (AM, 35, VLD)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (50)
NFA Cup (75)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (62)

RECENT HISTORY
77: Premier - 8th - 74 pts
76: Premier - 10th - 66 pts
75: Premier - 13th - 60 pts - CWC
74: Premier - 9th - 68 pts
73: Premier - 12th - 59 pts

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
Too good to drop, too inconsistent to make a serious play for the top 7, yeah, Rage had a very Rage season and have done little in the market to suggest they'll do anything different this time around. That isn't to say it's without merit. Last season, Danica Heward just stopped being able to physically keep up to her uncompromising, high-pressing role; Kinbois, who was often her stand-in but wasn't quite up to the task, got shifted to Diamondqueen, and uh... an internationally proven striker, from Tanrisal, still just 26, for free? Bestatter could've retailed 10 million, maybe 12. Now he's Vermillion's. Ramelow departs to see out her career as a backup for Treason, while the mercurial Eduardo will be missed but, roughly, Vermillion look about as good this season as they did last. Of course they still have wild-cards. Fiona Hartnett is now the unchallenged #1, an assertive, acrobatic shot-stopper and sweeper. Terrible in the air. Has an error in her. These things will probably be ironed out eventually. Rouphos attempted to secure her retirement abroad but will have to keep running at 31, maybe find a new dimension to a game that's always relied on blinding pace. The midfield three of Marshall, Maersk and Mfleetwood combine guile, cunning and technique, able to grift their way into any game and dominate midfield. Porter, like Rouphos, faces a challenge to reinvent herself, but Vermillion have been the making of vowel-challenged Traudl Mrdja, unlikely World Cup runner-up with Nephara, a versatile and incisive inside-forward who any side would be happy to call their own. They'll... do what they do. It will be fine. Just fine.

PREDICTION - 10th.
Manager: Cralt-Nirlo Fox (QUS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Fiona Hartnett, 20 - Gaetan Riggs, 25 - Auberine Peridot
Defenders: 2 - Ophelia Schrader, 3 - Nike Rouphos, 5 - Liam Toivonen (MRC), 13 - Ilayda Cannon, 17 - Melosa Salek (EFL), 18 - Cierra Anderson (CMT), 19 - Dimitri Skondreas, 22 - Ari Maurer
Midfielders: 4 - Constance Hooper, 6 - Victoria Maersk (SVJ, c), 7 - Danica Marshall, 8 - Jarobi Konse (COS), 14 - Syrene Fleetwood, 24 - Marek Fifield
Forwards: 9 - Danica Heward, 10 - Traudl Mrdja, 11 - Salvia Farrier, 12 - Anezka Rennet, 16 - Alysia Moyer, 21 - Jonte Bestatter (SCT), 23 - Ramona Porter
WCC Grand Slam champion.
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Postby Nephara » Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:53 pm

First Division Preview


This is not the end of the First Division. There will, however, be nine automatic relegation places. Good luck, lads!

1. Chatswood
Last Season: 24th (Premier)
Home Colours: Sky blue / navy / sky blue
Away Colours: White / sky blue / white
Stadium: Westcroft (28,000)
Nickname: the Woodsmen
Manager: Lyn Havelock (54)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Nova Williams (31, CMT); 17 - Eloise Markus (22), 5 - Ozolx-Alfan Ixi (32, QUS), 6 - Christian Imhoff (26), 3 - Valeria Hammond (29); 15 - Kolinda Bischoff (27), 21 - Chloe Vishca (25); 13 - Severa Conleth (29), 10 - Bethany Madine (32), 11 - Alex Woodrow (29, ETN); 9 - Kanerva Herron (25)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Matt Sallow (34), 25 - GK - Micaiah Parrish (21); 4 - DM - Brandon Rivan (33), 7 - RW - Gedeon Volz (24), 8 - CM - Heiko Vollath (23), 14 - ST - Vanessa Mulder (20), 16 - LW - Laura Rustu (23), 20 - CB - Chris Bishop (34, SCT), 22 - LB - Artem Pariah (21), 23 - ST - Labinot Ruscoe (24)

BACKGROUND 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. Their main rivals are AFC Treason, but the 'minor Treason derby' against Morningstar has been a fiery affair of late. 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.

OVERVIEW There is one automatic place to fight over, and Chatswood look best-placed to secure it. Wary of the prospect of being dismantled after relegation, Chatswood clamped down on their prizes and are left with, without question, the league's meanest-looking defence. Lyn Havelock, the heroine of Ballardine, remains in situ despite failing to arrest the Woodsmen's backslide. Anything shy of a serious promotion push will have her out the door.

2. Brookford Otters
Last Season: 22nd (Premier)
Home Colours: Navy with orange sash / navy / white
Away Colours: Pink with navy sash / navy / pink
Manager: Rebecca Kelsey (48)
Stadium: The Rock (20,000)
Nickname: the Otters
(4-3-3) 1 - Damir Wright (25); 2 - Misha Symond (33), 5 - Joseph Cameron (33, vc), 21 - Kurtis Holden (27), 3 - Pavel Cicak (27, DEL); 8 - Scout Morwen (30, BRE), 4 - Luthienne Koetter (25), 11 - Isobel Foster (30); 7 - Linoan Waters (24, BRE), 9 - Aurora Jewel (30, DRK), 10 - Annika Cashin (24)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Cedric Pardons (33), 25 - GK - Olivia Cheney (20); 6 - CB - Rafi Enfield (33, c), 13 - CM - Anja Spinnett (33), 14 - CB - Liam Cullis (24), 16 - ST - Jhanna Bartre (23), 17 - RB - Gareth Hail (22), 18 - LW - Andrine Samsa (22), 19 - LB - Diane Hateley (33), 22 - ST - Helmina Turner (24), 23 - CM - Russ Shallows (21)

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.

OVERVIEW Nobody expected Brookford to stay up. They duly didn't. But they did put a decent fight, and a few of their players proved some doubters wrong - hell, Linoan Waters wound up at the World Cup. Elrik Raskine called time on the project, figured he'd done enough to rehabilitate his reputation - he has, considering how many unlikely promotions he's managed - and they've brought in Rebecca Kelsey from relegated Peregrine, because that worked out so well for Vermillion. They've kept many of their best, including what looks the most lethal front three in the league. There's cause to think a high-pressing outfit with the weapons to punish teams could thrive.

3. Vermillion Wanderers
Last Season: 5th
Home Colours: Green / green / yellow
Away Colours: Yellow / green / green
Stadium: New Falstaff (35,000)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Jakob Mortimer (48)
(4-3-3) 1 - Esther Press (24); 20 - Anna Shepherd (25), 5 - Tiffany Moss (33, CBP), 18 - Claudia Bohr (30), 3 - Madonna Parissis (26); 4 - Asher Vedder (25), 23 - Sophara Hayes (21), 10 - Serra Maier (24); 7 - Johanna Rosen (30), 15 - Isabelle Kruger (29, STL), 11 - Declan Wharton (25, ETN)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Stefan Heidenreich (33), 25 - GK - Bertha Reproach (22); 8 - CM - Catric Pinnon (34, c), 14 - CM - Lucius Prohaska (20), 16 - ST - Holly Keynes (21), 19 - LB - Bohemund Karling (32), 21 - DM - Franziska Corren (31)

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.

OVERVIEW After an overhaul in the window, the Wanderers are confident that they won't run out of steam like they did last season... which is odd, because by and large the squad look thinner. Actually, 'run out of steam' is too charitable. 'Self-immolation' might be more accurate. They went from sniffing at the title to, ten defeats from eighteen later, failing to even make the fucking playoff. So... yeah, not the highest ebb, and already Jakob Mortimer has a rod to his back. His concussive, brutish side should maul their way to an acceptable finish, of course.

4. Raven River
Last Season: 9th
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: Michi Leonard (38)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Selina Carver (25); 2 - Chuy Villaverde (29, FFD), 5 - Aurelian Niehaus (24), 19 - Dennis Lampshire (31, KOR), 3 - Kvenna Melander (23); 21 - Athena Sinodinos (22), 4 - Octavia Zahra (23), 11 - Asger Moonshine (25); 8 - Esteve Soler (24, HIN); 10 - Lauren Beridze (28, SCT), 9 - Asli Crowe (23)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Karolas Stoll (24); 13 - DM - Prisma Zalzaria (33, COS), 15 - CM - Misha Paterson (34), 17 - RB - Steed Beister (24), 18 - CB - Matteo Beasley (25)

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.

OVERVIEW Eoin Killanen was a brilliant footballer, approaching world-class. He was an intelligent man with a refined understanding of the game and an understated love for strategy. He was absolute piss as a manager. Now that River have squandered the past few years kow-towing to an egomaniac, they're now throwing their weight behind Michi Leonard, the youngest manager in the pyramid, who has set herself about rejuvenating the midfield. It's got a young, fresh look to it now, and players like Zahra, Crowe and new signing Sinodinos will find their way to the Premiership... with or without River.

5. Cranequin Wanderers
Last Season: 21st (Premier)
Home Colours: Green / white / red
Away Colours: Red / red / white
Stadium: Ebony Lane (48,000)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Jerrell Drake (45, COS)
(3-5-2) 1 - Shanna Cotton (25); 13 - Lyn Musgrave (26), 23 - Grant Carlin (34, SCT), 5 - Eliza Stoeva (31, STL); 17 - Ashley Bishop (24), 15 - Danira Plibersek (35), 16 - Bastia Swanson (23), 21 - Shona Butcher (31, c), 18 - Rhoda Treeswallow (26, BSE); 7 - Imrishka Grahn (31, FLK), 10 - Karolin Forde (24)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Chara Mylonas (33), 20 - GK - Sandra Thorgan (21); 2 - CB - Gabriel Traustram (34), 4 - DM - Vasya Kravec (33, AUD), 8 - CM - Alexis Sutter (20), 9 - ST - Nissa Viere (34, MRN), 11 - CM - Valletta Keepsake (22), 16 - ST - Dorotea Baro (23), 19 - CB - Paul Trebalka (21), 22 - CB - Christian Bryant (21)

BACKGROUND 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 three 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. At six relegations, have set the record for the worst Premiership side.

OVERVIEW Three playoffs. Two wins. But it couldn't last forever. The third coinflip came up tails, but that still represents a good run from Jerrell Drake, and the manager remains in situ to keep on with a side that have done an alright job keeping their core together. Mostly, and here's the kicker, because their core wasn't particularly desirable. They'll continue to choke sides down with oppressive possession play, boasting players of undeniably qualiity in Stoeva, Butcher and Plibersek... but a dangerous-looking age profile.

6. Goodfeather FC
Last Season: 11th
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / green / white
Stadium: Steelchurch (32,500)
Nickname: the Quakers
Manager: Jessica Loque (58)
(4-3-1-2) 12 - Leyland Brincat (26); 2 - Dala Etoka (23, SRS), 5 - Zoltan Moser (28), 22 - Kalia Tolsii (36, MRN), 3 - Lyfaia Marav (27, SRS); 7 - Yente Shulthis (23), 19 - Laura Belfry (33), 21 - Cordelia Lorzer (25); 11 - Kathil Mizumaru (26, HIN); 9 - Bastet North (23), 10 - Tremeka Godwin (27, APX)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Anya Beraht (34); 6 - CB - Natalia Bismarck (34), 8 - CM - Hecate Dransfeld (34), 15 - ST - Angela Braugher (33), 17 - RB - Rain Methven (22)

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.

OVERVIEW Will the real Goodfeather please stand up? Two years ago they were meant to be mediocre, they were really good. Last year we adjusted expectations; they would be really good! They were mediocre. But it doesn't seem as simple as a reversion to the mean, either. They scored the third-most goals, had the sixth-best goal difference and managed improbably to keep their key attacking weapons, all a step closer to their prime. To this picture, they've added a defensive overhaul. Keep the good bit, change the shit bit, and... yeah, they should do alright this year. Pity there's so few scraps to figt over.
7. Leichhardt
Last Season: 23rd (Premier)
Home Colours: Yellow / blue / yellow
Away Colours: All navy, yellow trim
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Stargazers
Manager: Cyrus Kroger (45)
(4-4-2) 20 - Luka Laczko (24, PAS); 6 - Asp Somner (28), 5 - Tess Saunders (25), 19 - Agate Whitespire (31), 3 - Lenna Berwick (23); 15 - Castor Meier (27), 4 - Shrike Hagaz (32, SRS), 8 - Ferri Kubala (31), 11 - Efrain Arbizu (31, AUD); 21 - Ernie Stevenson (31, HAP), 14 - Emil Klempner (27, SCT)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Folami Adekoya (35, CBR), 25 - GK - Sigmund Perth (24); 2 - RB - Rena Kinross (22), 7 - RM - Rebecca Soutar (24), 9 - ST - Gloria Kewell (23), 13 - ST - Uther Johnson (23), 17 - ST - Lucian Buikema (20), 18 - CB - Sarah Foreman (35, CBP)

BACKGROUND A small city and the largest settlement in the Northern Vale, Leichhardt has traditionally flitted between Premiership relegation battles and the top half of the First Division, usually playing defensive football in the process. Its primary rivals are Corvette, the second-largest Vale settlement, but they've both been overshadowed by nearby Starling of late. Their nickname stems from the clear Vale skies, as opposed to the cloudier cities across the rest of the country.

OVERVIEW Leichhardt were the most surprising of the relegated sides, and as a result have lost the most upon going down. They look... uninspiring, for this go-around, though they've retained their enviable solidity at the back and the danger of Ernie 'shoot-on-sight' Stevenson up front, alongside the industrious Klempner. But is there the necessary class in midfield? Shrike Hagaz provides a proven, experienced short-term defensive midfielder, but one still senses weakness unless former youth international Ferri Kubala can return to his imperious best. Fortunately for their novice manager, they aren't expected to come straight back up.

8. Armstrong
Last Season: 6th
Home Colours: All navy with cyan/white trim
Away Colours: Yellow / navy / yellow
Stadium: Swolefens (25,000)
Nickname: the Paladins
Manager: Gratia Barker (46)
(4-4-2) 1 - Jarkko Virtanen (32, SVJ); 2 - Maarten Hope (30, EFL), 5 - Markus Diallo (25), 19 - Laurin Asbjornsson (26, GRF), 18 - Lynda Suttock (26); 7 - Emily Kohr (27, APX), 6 - Heather Curate (29), 8 - Lucina Xavier (24), 11 - Helena Loxton (32); 9 - Gareth Pawnbroker (21), 16 - Ivana Henderson (33)
Notable Reserves: 10 - ST - Brogan Poppey (32, COS), 13 - ST - Branko Kurz (30), 22 - CB - Istvan Kendrick (34)

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 Nepharan tradition.

OVERVIEW Another surprisingly good season from the Paladins; are we, collectively, sleeping on Gratia Barker's managerial gifts? They've doubled down on their directness this season, it seems, going from the little-and-large provided as Renira Schanzer proved an excellent foil for the hulking Pawnbroker to, uh, large-and-larger, Ivana Henderson a cultured hold-up player with plentiful Premiership experience. Wild card defender Asbjornsson is also in the 'absolute unit' category. Suffice to say they look well-placed to smash their way up the table, but with just two places to fight over promotion looks a distant shot.

9. North Sabrefell
Last Season: 10th
Home Colours: White / black / white
Away Colours: Blue / white / blue
Stadium: Frangipani Court (16,000)
Nickname: the Bohemians
Manager: Lukas Sparr (41)
(4-4-2) 12 - Rena Perch (25); 17 - Diadora Reeve (23), 5 - Gabriel Sesay (31), 19 - Natalia Levack (23), 3 - Thea Wolff (24, HIN); 32 - Kaisa Gyldenstroem (19, SVJ), 23 - Zoroaster Keynes (20), 8 - Lothar Zander (28), 10 - Fabrice Laramee (33, VAL); 9 - Holden Beckwith (28), 21 - Mytti Numenen (24, HIN)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Marnid Volland (27); 2 - RB - Cecille Petrovic (31, EFL), 4 - DM - Brandon Cordwood (30), 13 - CB - Nils Armbruster (34), 15 - ST - Reinhard Geist (30), 22 - LB - Ondrej Polacek (32, PAS), 25 - ST - Markus Sturdevant (21)

BACKGROUND 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. They're rivals with nearby, more affluent Belgrave.

SUMMARY As the Mezei Orban experiment came to its fiery conclusion, Lukas Sparr steadied the ship and his extensive rebuilding effort has been bankrolled loyally by the board. Granted, this is... extremely a transitional stage, with a breadth of old guard being shoved out the door, a drastic change in formation - a back four, most obviously - an experienced striker in Beckwith, a serious talent in Gyldenstroem backed up by another, in Keynes, from the academy. It'll be intriguing to see how it all plays out, but moderate expectations.

10. Mantlegrove
Last Season: 8th
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Cygnet Street (12,000)
Nickname: the Dryads
Manager: Constantine Beckett (46)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Arneth Kolaghan (27, SRS); 17 - Cameron Basalaj (25), 18 - Capella Everton (22), 21 - Angelyna Rinehart (26), 22 - Arran Marr (27); 8 - Amerill Londe (28, CMT), 3 - Marisa Ohashima (26, HIN), 10 - Yolanda Sparrow (29); 13 - Alexandra Lazarou (32); 20 - Condor Madrid (24, USD), 11 - Kikumi Kondou (26, HIN)
Notable Reserves: 5 - CB - Reynald Etzel (34), 9 - ST - Lothar Cash (24), 23 - CM - Chelsi Byron (22)

BACKGROUND A founder club of the Conference, 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.

OVERVIEW Halfway through the season, the Dryads - who are not a good side, on paper! - were third. With a cushion. And, okay, yes - they faltered towards the end as injuries mounted up, they've lost the reigning Manager of the Year in Daniel Archer, and it's unlikely that Lazarou - frankly, robbed of a place in the Team of the Year - will manage a similarly world-beating performance as she managed in her first season in an unusual central role. But Constantine Beckett is here after earning decent reviews as an assistant at Newrook, and he has a stable platform to build on. And a guy literally called Condor Madrid. You just know he'll come up with goals.

11. Cypher Town
Last Season: 7th
Home Colours: All blue, red trim
Away Colours: All red, white trim
Stadium: Velvet Meadow (28,000)
Nickname: the Eagles
Manager: Dan Keel (51)
(4-1-4-1) 1 - Ruo Xiaolan (35, YZH); 2 - Kearney Smith (29), 19 - Canas Meulenstein (24), 13 - Meghan Foerster (28), 3 - Jacqui Merritt (24); 4 - Yuri Ghislaine (23); 7 - Heidi Ishtar (27, CMT), 21 - Azrael Whyte (23), 10 - Alessa Marconi (33), 23 - Kynda-Sevet Pec (26, QUS); 17 - Raymond Carels (22, NAC)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Anna Rochester (25); 8 - DM - Caspar Madine (32), 9 - ST - Louise Ruiter (23), 11 - LM - Kaaren Lothar (21, VAL), 18 - RB - Paul Zweig (21), 32 - CB - Chelsi Ponder (18)

BACKGROUND A large town situated on the Westermark - 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 Westermark, 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 Westmarker 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.

OVERVIEW An early promotion tilt, spurred on by an excellent defence and, well, many tight results (a +4 goal difference by the halfway mark put them in 5th, sandwiched by +19 and +16) just couldn't quite sustain itself. It isn't difficult to see why; they ended with the lowest goal count of the top half of the table, but they did still, well, end in the top half of the table. Comfortably so. They've gradually transitioned from an experienced side to a remarkably young one, and that's left them relying on new signing Raymond Carels to hit the ground running. So... expect the defence to do the bulk of the work again.

12. Chardonnay Rangers
Last Season: 18th
Home Colours: Teal / white / teal
Away Colours: Yellow / black / yellow
Stadium: Floriade Park (17,500)
Nickname: the Rangers
Manager: Rudi Schubert (48)
(4-4-2) 1 - Bryony Lindt (25); 2 - Jhoira Kambol (23, SRS), 5 - Remus Antrim (31), 6 - Orion Pryor (24), 3 - Perparim Vestager (25); 23 - Miroslav Lodge (25), 4 - Hans Kattis (23), 8 - Alessa Bernat (29), 11 - Andreas Lindwurm (26); 9 - Sylvia Wright (27), 10 - Cynthia Rayne (28, DOG)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Rufus Holland (24); 14 - ST - Justice Pearce (31, EFL), 17 - RB - Ellen Mifsud (34), 18 - CB - Barth Guzman (22)

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.

OVERVIEW Poor form in the second half of the season put the Rangers firmly in the bottom half. Thirteen points from harm last season. That would be down, this. Can we, the media, stop obsessing over Sylvia Wright long enough to acknowledge Chardonnay might be spinning their wheels here? We get it! She has one eye! So did Jack Tariff, and all he ever was was Not William Chalrek. Anyway, due to the ritual bloodletting in the transfer window that keeps them from ever truly making the progress they crave, another Sisyphean season awaits.
13. AFC Serpentine
Last Season: 15th
Home Colours: Jade / navy / jade
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Aventurine Street (20,000)
Nickname: the Dragons
Manager: Kurtis Rakeruth (45)
(4-4-2) 12 - Markus Rose (29); 2 - Shanna Oakes (23), 5 - Ignatz Bull (28), 6 - Corren Toure (26), 3 - Blaithin Kendrick (26, SCT); 23 - Oriane Marc (24, CMT), 4 - Janus Tanzer (22), 8 - Sven Gillard (24), 11 - Vivienne Morgan (31); 21 - Kitti Menander (24), 10 - Alyssa Greening (29)
Notable Reserves: 7 - RM - Oiji Nanemoru (32, HIN), 9 - ST - Cass Lazaridis (31)

BACKGROUND One of the two big Westermark 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. Westmarker neighbours Cypher Town are their traditional rivals.

OVERVIEW The power midgets of Serpentine scrambled to a mediocre finish, not really impressing anyone but never looking in danger, either. The window has seen them freshen up the side a little, shooing out underperforming veterans in the hope that Sven Gillard and Kitti Menander can make the step up from 2Div smoothly. And they're one of a sheaf of sides to put their faith in a young local to plug a gap in holding midfield. They'll play fast, expansive football, which will make up for the lack of excitement on the table.

14. Corvette Maulers
Last Season: 12th
Home Colours: Yellow and black stripes / black / yellow
Away Colours: Green / green / white
Stadium: The Bullrush (30,000)
Nickname: the Maulers
Manager: Stefan Crowton (57)
(4-3-3) 1 - Emilien Marisnick (24); 2 - Amalia Florenzi (25, SVG), 5 - Elsa Durant (32), 22 - Jacqueline Mastiff (24), 6 - Canaya Seraph (31, ISK); 8 - Auburn Daescher (21), 4 - Mari Brighton (23), 10 - Darren Halfhill (32); 22 - Seth Blunt (28), 9 - Tania Brummer (24), 13 - Jennifer Betancourt (26, QCY)
Bench: 7 - RW - Brady Innes (23), 19 - RB - Lena Auteberry (31, FPT)

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.

OVERVIEW Corvette futzed around in midtable all season, good players but not a good team regressing to the mean before being plundered in the transfer window. Young guns were replaced by younger guns, and the Maulers look to have a keenly-honed counterattacking machine improved by Tania Brummer, fresh off a 27-goal season in 2Div with Ritter. The Maulers will just find themselves somewhere in the middle.

15. Barossia United
Last Season: 19th
Home Colours: Terracotta / terracotta / white
Away colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Woden Avenue (28,000)
Nickname: the Shrikes
Manager: Dorian Brindle (61)
(4-2-3-1) 12 - Maela Ran (24, CMT); 2 - Lytitia Carpenter (23), 5 - Ida Roesling (24), 6 - Sigurd Cooke (23), 3 - Adze Beckerman (28); 23 - Amanda Bader (24), 21 - Saturn Mastiff (34); 7 - Wrenn Killmorgen (24, SCT), 11 - Lysander Ciman (25), 16 - Kieron Serduchka (26); 10 - Ulrike Jensen (32)
Notable Reserves: 13 - CB - Jordi Rowe (34), 17 - RB - Tosca Cordyn (26)

BACKGROUND Formerly named Rhagant, Barossia United's catchment now counts the confluence of large towns that ultimately coalesced into the city of Covenant. A wild sprawl, layer upon layer in an oddly heartbreaking ambition, Covenant is an apt backdrop for the chaotic club it calls its own. United have a proud history, an inaugural Premiership side, but they fell long and hard into crushing disrepair before their recent renaissance. They've always played a hard-nosed, direct brand of football.

OVERVIEW A precarious season; United struggled for goals, a certain lack of creativity hamstringing them. They have by and large failed to address this in the window, Brindle keeping faith in a tough, young side, and to be fair that isn't insane. Certainly the defensive foundation is there, and that core of Ran behind Cooke (brother to Stahlburg's Xandra) and Roesling has Premiership sides circling. Ulrike Jensen will need to produce another all-round excellent season, doing all the running and all the finishing - is that sustainable, at 32?

16. AFC Rochford
Last Season: 13th
Home Colours: Blue and black stripes / black / blue
Away Colours: White / blue / white
Stadium: Brinegate Park (18,000)
Nickname: the Owls
Manager: Audrey Carlock (56)
(4-4-2) 12 - Cordrut Malanta (25, SRS); 2 - Baldwyn Evans (23), 5 - Viktor Raleigh (24), 6 - Baral Mailar (29, SRS), 3 - Jenni Radic (22, SCT); 7 - Diana Kaskanis (28), 4 - Ares Finnan (21), 8 - Scylla Perish (23), 11 - Marita Crozier (23); 14 - Lasse Scharnberg (31), 9 - Kristian Non (27, CMT)
Notable Reserves: 17 - RB - Cheney Auburn (33), 18 - CB - Mikolas Mendariz (33, AUD)

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.

OVERVIEW "The lack of continuity is disgusting," said Audrey Carlock in a withering interview three days before the start of the season. "The fans don't understand, I want us to succeed, but that requires keeping a team together and the board just doesn't have the appetite for it." The former Sabrefell Moths assistant kept her job despite this - of course there was a public reprimand and an extremely fake apology - but she definitely has a point as they enter the season down a couple more prize youths. They will need to hit the ground running to stay up, replicating last season's bloody-minded resilience, not replicating last season's terminal lack of goal output.

17. Alliance Barossia
Last Season: 17th
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: Yellow / green / yellow
Stadium: Companions Field (26,000)
Nickname: Alliance
Manager: Rachael Schroeder (48)
(4-4-2) 1 - Kari Vidmar (25); 13 - Dimitri Rashad (27, ISK), 18 - Gregor Strober (25), 19 - Tuco Durrig (29, SRS), 3 - Rodi Lancaster (26); 7 - Szalai Fowler (22), 4 - Olga Kitzbichler (33), 8 - Kurtis Bristoll (34), 20 - Catheline Blissett (26); 21 - Matthew Chance (29), 10 - Victoria Remeikis (23)
Notable Reserves: 5 - CB - Jancis Hearn (30), 11 - ST - Arjen Schonlau (27), 15 - CM - Aldous Moore (31), 16 - LM - Rinat Stubbs (33)

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.

OVERVIEW Their feet were against the fire for a time but Alliance managed to haul themselves away from a drop they looked certain for; this might require the greatest escape act of all. For a side that couldn't buy a goal even when things were going well, an ambitious young striker in Remeikis is not just a good move but the only move, one that should give them a shout of survival. Old Premiership-hardened grognards in the centre, a tough back line, and a manager in Rachael Schroeder who's already shown she has what it takes at this level. Don't count Alliance out.

18. Gonen's Bridge
Last Season: Champions (2Div)
Home Colours: White and red quarters / red / red
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Floriade Park (7,500)
Nickname: the Warriors
Manager: Snowy Brennan (51)
(4-4-2) 1 - November Reiner (26); 17 - Gareth Unworth (31), 22 - Soren Clement (25), 6 - Iskar Serket (33, ISK), 3 - Malura Seitz (23); 23 - Mia Gruether (24), 4 - Lucia Strickland (29), 8 - Page Resch (20), 16 - Matze Connell (26); 15 - Marnus Sutton (25), 10 - Roanna Murin (23)
Notable Reserves: 7 - RM - Toni Dresden (33), 9 - ST - Kosta Kolar (31), 11 - LM - Olenna Salthouse (34)

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

OVERVIEW Easily top and now building a new stadium, Bridge are up against it to stay up in this environment, but they have genuine 1Div quality at their disposal to make a proper fight of it. Serket represents something of a coup to reinforce an already sturdy back line, Gruether should make the step up smoothly, but mostly Bridge have placed faith in the youths they had. And with Page Resch and reigning 2Div Iron Boot AND Ball Murin at your disposal, wouldn't you? Expect a rather more... multi-dimensional side than they've been in the past.
19. Corinthians No Longer
Last Season: 14th
Home Colours: Black / black / yellow
Away Colours: Sky / navy / sky
Stadium: Pinnacle Park (22,000)
Nickname: CNL, ex-Corinthians
Manager: Anders Barrett (51)
(4-3-3) 12 - Anders Rowett (34); 2 - Adrian Feruga (26), 4 - Lazarus Pepper (30), 22 - Garrick Fraser (31), 6 - Siri Cattalock (34, BRE); 15 - Xavier Barron (24), 20 - Timoth Mariner (26), 10 - Clovis Klein (26); 23 - Erinys Hart (31), 9 - Anibal Troche (26, TEQ), 16 - Drea Bouman (24, CYI)
Notable Reserves: 5 - CB - Daniel Axweald (33), 8 - CM - Emerance Sanborn (34)

BACKGROUND The growing city of Creed has traditionally been dominated by Creed United, but CNL are actually their oldest club; Creed Corinthians are proudly one of the oldest clubs in the nation. For a century, they resolutely refused to turn professional, staying true to their amateur status and club name... until, on their centennial anniversary, they reversed this. The club has benefited from Creed's growth, and capitalised on their potential as they bounded rapidly up the divisions. They will probably strike up a rivalry with Creed once they actually play them in a league fixture; most of their true rivals remain mired in the state leagues.

OVERVIEW A strong showing throughout the season as a disciplined, athletic outfit was stretched to its limits. They got in peoples' faces, argued with referees... not the most dignified of supposed Corinthian spirits, but it worked. And, God, Anibal Troche was a gem, wasn't he? CNL are, unfortunately, looking like some of the big losers of this campaign, but a repeat performance would keep them safe even amidst the reshuffle.

20. Greygate
Last Season: 2nd (2Div)
Home Colours: All slate grey with red sash
Away Colours: All white with blue trim
Stadium: Dourhead (23,000)
Nickname: the Wardens
Manager: Goran Verbeck (49)
(4-2-3-1) 12 - Onef Haessler (27); 19 - Marcela Harnik (25), 4 - Andrey Mincham (31), 6 - Andrea Mavrias (24), 3 - Faye Ruprecht (25); 18 - Sara Brett (23), 16 - Gareth Temple (33); 23 - Merric Cooper (25), 15 - Bryce Leicester (28), 11 - Jadzia Starmer (26); 10 - Brandon Mkrtchyan (22, ISK)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Erin Naylor (32); 9 - ST - Klaus Petriak (34)

BACKGROUND Greygate hope to entrench themselves as Stahlburg's third club, though realistically Armstrong are more important. They're based in the city's north, and the titular 'Grey Gate' was the site of a few great battles in Nephara's turbulent history of civil war. In calmer times, it now represents a small but rising club, ranks swelled in recent years with dissenters from the increasingly wayward way that Stahlburg City's been run, to the point where they've been able to build a new stadium. As a result, they're looking forward to the chance to stick the boot into the Smiths, and the feeling is very much reciprocated.

OVERVIEW Greygate might be in with a shot, though any side relying on a 22-year old striker with no experience at this level is courting disaster, no matter how unpronounceable their name. A muscular and well-balanced side, Greygate's age profile is pleasantly almost all in their prime, despite the lack of real standout stars.

21. Bishop
Last Season: 17th
Home Colours: All black with white trim
Away Colours: White / red / white
Stadium: Crossgate (23,000)
Nickname: the Bishops
Manager: Mixu Durran (55)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Frey Strom (32, AUD); 2 - Patrice Garrick (26), 5 - Parallel Scowsmith (24), 6 - Hector Reiss (33), 18 - Visca Konrad (22); 4 - Feodor Linz (26), 8 - Toni Bliss (30); 7 - Isla Leskosek (23), 21 - Fortuna Irlinger (24), 11 - Lenora Zender (23); 9 - Simone Cheney (32)
Notable Reserves: 3 - LB - Brigid Eather (34), 12 - RW - Faiza Huyton (30, EFL)

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.

OVERVIEW Durran is already beloved in Bishop, largely for making them competitive while continuing to develop young guns, but the club that was the most outspoken opponent of the reforms looks set to lose out as a result of them. A number of players have left, though by some miracle the lethal wingers Leskosek and Lenora Zender remain. 'LeLe' will need to shine brighter still to haul Bishop out of the fire, but one suspects they'll be playing in 1Div next season one way or another.

22. The Strongest
Last Season: 20th
Home Colours: Burgundy / white / burgundy
Away Colours: Sky blue / navy blue / sky blue
Stadium: Heathcliff Ridge (13,500)
Nickname: the Strongest
Manager: Markus Horst (59)
(4-3-3) 12 - Elaine Verlinden (25); 17 - Marius Sanwald (25), 5 - Namara Beresford (24), 13 - Lene Wiseman (32), 3 - Aloysian March (23); 14 - Cheney Masters (23), 4 - Gervase Ascham (23), 8 - Hans Korchnoi (27); 23 - Tulaska Sunstroem (27, COS), 10 - Kylene Rotariu (24), 16 - Tamika Porter (28)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Alastair Cavan (34); 2 - RB - Bernard Peacock (32), 11 - LW - Granit Nizarut (33)

BACKGROUNDThe Strongest are one of the oldest clubs in Nephara, and had been set up by a curate under the philosophy of Muscular Christianity. However, it had languished in obscurity until a recent decision made to go professional. This lead to a gradual rise out of the state leagues in recent years, but there's a concern among some of the club steadfast that they've become 'just another club' - especially as their once-suicidally aggressive football has been replaced by a more conventional attacking tradition. Based out of Treason.

OVERVIEW Another successful charge from the Children's Crusade, but one suspects this will prove one too far. The signs were already there, the Strongest haemorrhaged goals last season and have done something between fuck and all to solve that. Actually, something less than that; Esther Press' departure patched over adequately but not made up for with Crisisbless Athletic's Verlinden. They'll be fun to watch. For a neutral.

23. Aries Solitaire
Last Season: 3rd (2Div)
Home Colours: White / black / white
Away Colours: Red / white / red
Stadium: Patience Road (18,000)
Nickname: Solitaire
Manager: Katrina Wheelhouse (47)
(4-4-2) 12 - Janneke Chaeffer (32); 2 - Franzi Brill (30), 22 - Berthold Albrecht (34), 22 - Karel Montag (21), 19 - Drachma Karagounis (32); 15 - Karl Prowse (24), 23 - Gisela Feistle (24), 8 - Sofia Tatra (33), 16 - Keshet Brenner (24), 9 - Jacinth Coen (27), 10 - Claire Mordhau (25)
Notable Reserves: 6 - CB - Amelia Breukelen (34, IRN), 11 - LM - Marcin Faehrmann (33)

BACKGROUND An ambitious side that have only recently come to prominence, Solitaire represent the emerging city of Magdeferry, to Sabrefell's west. Impressively, they've already managed to carve out a reputation as a side who will choke on sure things.

OVERVIEW Solitaire have made the holy land. Solitaire's chances of actually staying up in the holy land look, well, shall we say 'slim'? They did impressively to get this far, and one might rate them a chance were there, you know, not a massive gaping crevasse at the tail end of the table. But; there is. So; you don't.

24. Pillars of Southfell
Last Season: 4th (2Div)
Home Colours: Purple / black / white
Away Colours: White / purple / white
Stadium: Vesper Road (11,000)
Nickname: the Seekers
Manager: Kay Meriweather (48)
(4-2-3-1) 12 - Mariam Brookhouse (33); 2 - Johan Flowers (24), 18 - Helena Schmidt (24, CMT), 6 - Pearce Hennessey (25), 3 - Libena Freischutz (24); 8 - Rutger Shand (25), 4 - Parma Tollett (26); 13 - Van Aspenwood (23), 11 - Ulrica Rannon (34), 10 - Francine Cohen (23, CMT); 9 - Hana Yorke (23)
Notable Reserves: 16 - LW - Amine Raihani (33, BBS), 22 - ST - Cohen Alexander (34), 23 - DM - Meghan Alsatian (34)

BACKGROUND Southfell is traditionally a one-club city - Southfell United, originally a factory club, serves as that. But Pillars of Southfell, originally set up by the police force for the benefit of disaffected youths, appears to have muscled in on some of United's market share of late. On the one hand, a very hands-on approach with community work and grassroots has won them favour over the comparatively more high-handed United - on the other, the financial muscle of the Crisisbless-based consortium backing them has dragged them into the second tier. Leona Rafford is their most famous product.

OVERVIEW The Seekers' reaction to being promoted has essentially resembled a shrug. They tore up everything after their relegation, totally overhauled the squad, based it around youth and unexpectedly won immediate re-promotion, and they are absolutely not equipped for this. Not before, and not after signing on a couple of Chromatik students and Rutger fucking Shand. Making 21st would've been hard. Making 14th?


Second Division

1. Cranequin City
Colours
Terracotta and gold
Nickname the Terracotta Army
Manager Corinne Mersiades (38)
Key Players Fyona Matthews (GK, 32), Ulysses Athanasakis (RB, 26), Adonis Satotxe (CB, 32, COS), Thucydides Soros (CB, 26), Joanna Rodrigues (LB, 25, GRU), Altena Monroe (DM, 25), Harriet Skiff (CM, 34), Louise Tsolakis (CM, 25), Hakan Gryspos (ST, 34, SRS), Heron Paara (ST, 27, MRN)
Summary Crashed and burned last season, but on paper they have a squad that should be nowhere near this level. Players like Matthews, Tsolakis, Paara... Monroe was courted by about half the First Division but refused to leave her hometown club in their hour of need. Easy favourites to bounce back, with Stars in the state they're in.

2. Morningstar
Colours
Black and pink
Nickname the Warriors, Stars
Manager Prisca Stenet (42)
Key Players Catra Paderborn (GK, 24), Ward Cullen (RB, 25), Karl Linstead (CB, 33), Sherry Brosnan (CB, 24, CYI), Beck Gannon (LB, 24), Leila Chaseling (RM, 25), Coridan Ryder (CM, 30), Florian Banneret (CM, 19), Cassandra Preston (LM, 26, GRU), Sandro Quintal (ST, 32, AUD), Roxanna Strong (ST, 29)
Summary Sacking Serra Chilton made a lot of sense at the time, but the none games that Stars won after that made it look a little more dubious. Stenet has a rebuild on her hands, a proper one this time, but on paper Stars still look too good for the division.

3. Locksley
Colours
Burgundy and white
Nickname the Brewers
Manager Ulrich Esperance (48)
Key Players Jade Chorus (GK, 28), Anyta Parkes (RB, 29), Alexis Tymon (CB, 26), Natasa Rotival (LB, 32), Reno Stubbs (CM, 26), Carver Heaton (ST, 30), Petra Rubesch (ST, 24)
Summary Scored a ton, conceded a ton. The Brewers' squad was just... uneven, and letting the clay set in the oven might not have the effect desired. Still, Esperance is highly rated for a good reason.

4. Peregrine
Colours
Green and white
Nickname the Falconers
Manager Jess Hearn (47)
Key Players Artemis Tsipras (GK, 24), Brindle Taukroger (RB, 31), Providence Mensah (CB, 33), Avram Beyard (CB, 32), Audrey Curran (CB, 20), Avis Montagne (LB, 27, CMT), Stefi Unbehaun (DM, 34), Loftus Fitford (CM, 25), Julia Roberts (RW, 23), Felix Luthier (LW, 23), Sylvia Janik (ST, 33, GLX), Dauntless Carrick (ST, 21)
Summary Nobody expected Peregrine to stay up. They duly didn't. But they've kept enough danger in their lines to have a decent shout at an immediate return, and may even be better for the experience with the young guns in the side.

5. Dartmouth Terriers
Colours
Sky and navy
Nickname the Terriers
Manager Rainer Hildebrandt (52)
Key Players Florian Latrobe (RB, 27), Dominik Ciernik (CB, 31, NOV), Ruth Paraffin (LB, 26), Coretta Mauk (RM, 29), Fiona Shrewsbury (CM, 33), Jakob Forsyth (CM, 31), Sasha Pfaelzisch (CM, 22), Gabriel Prosper (ST, 33)
Summary Only goal difference kept them out of the playoffs last time; tehy were disappointingly open at times, and not exactly thrilling up front to make up for it. But their solidity will keep them in decent stead.

6. Crisisbless Athletic
Colours
Navy and white
Manager Lysander Pierson (47)
Key Players Rasmus Garrick (GK, 28, CYI), Andre Oenning (RB, 23), Crispin Galloway (CB, 33), Tristan Young (CB, 33), Sabien Rhodes (LB, 30), July Valente (DM, 30, IRN), Kimon Heidelberg (CM, 32), Amethyst Miller (LW, 27), Dionysius Lyritzis (ST, 33)
Summary The roof came in. They went down and it wasn't even close, and their cream was relatively easy to pick out to not leave a whole lot left. Short-term signings like Lyritzis will stabilise them, but only that.

7. Riverkey
Colours
White and purple
Nickname the Seagulls
Manager Janus Gligor (50)
Key Players Zuza Martin (RB, 24, CMT), Alexis Rudkine (LB, 33), Anneliese Coe (RM, 30), Lowen Barr (LM, 32), Cornelian Stryger (ST, 30), Radja Martelbach (ST, 29)
Summary Shorn of their best player in Sven Gillard, but Riverkey still look in decent shape. They just... really need a supply line to Martelbach, who has cut an increasingly agitated figure up front. Few complaints at the back, and they boast the best defensive record in the league.

8. Hackett
Colours
Red and white
Nickname the Merry Boys
Manager Ersan Barton (46)
Key Players Nicola Wrexham (RB, 33), Roderick Munoz (CB, 33, ETN), Myriam Lockett (CB, 24, CMT), Connor Wettin (LB, 28), Arran Grey (CM, 32), Viktor Key (CM, 31), Drusilla Moxey (LW, 34)
Summary Merry Boys or Golden Girls? A managerial change revitalised them last season, very nearly got them to promotion, but the old guard are staying in place one last year for one last battle.

9. West Brinemouth
Colours
Orange and black
Nickname the Gulls
Manager Marko Gaston (49)
Key Players Ingrid Moore (GK, 26), Arminia Margate (RB, 25), Tomas Castanon (CB, 33, AUD), Niadra Anneaux (CB, 27, CMT), Denisa Wilhelm (LB, 25), Adelard Chambers (CM, 34), Laegjarn Martyn (CM, 33), Ida Lancer (AM, 20), Ferran Guegan (ST, 32, AUD), Haroun Maynard (ST, 31)
Summary The less said about last season the better. On paper, the Gulls simply must do better. What can Haroun Maynard achieve now that he isn't shackled to the sinking (now sunken) ship of Coret Rovers?

10. Boltcroft Thorns
Colours
Green and black
Nickname the Thorns
Manager Miron Campbell (54)
Key Players Morgana Carlisle (GK, 26), Belaskita Skalak (RB, 34), Constance Jameson (CM, 25), Anders Haskell (LM, 28), Jakob Spinnett (ST, 34), Sigrid Blaxland (ST, 26)
Summary The Thorns are basically just 'where Exene Fletcher came from' as things stand. They need to hammer things down at the back, but Blaxland's throwback charm produces the goods going forward.

11. Ballardine FC
Colours
Purple and white
Nickname the Harpers
Manager Radeka Mulholland (44)
Key Players Dion Pearce (RB, 25), Gabriel Bragg (CB, 27), Mikael Tanner (CM, 22), Matthias Vasquez (RW, 29), Tigran Montague (AM, 29, ISK), Melita Briskey (LW, 23), Melody Forster (ST, 30)
Summary Reversion to the mean, and now without Lyn Havelock. Even so, they've made the most of their time in the sunlight, reinforced themselves and look ready to dig in their heels.

12. Autumnstone
Colours
Red and yellow
Nickname the Archers
Manager Kurtis Mallory (57)
Key Players Georgia Hoffman (GK, 26), Barst Huebner (CB, 32), Matt Hephernan (RM, 33), Xene Vourvoulias (RM, 22), Jill Sunderland (CM, 24), Immanuel Leifer (LM, 26), Evander Trueman (ST, 26)
Summary Increasingly exciting, Autumnstone look young, vibrant and dangerous, but sometimes callow in tight situations.

13. Gosmouth Swans
Colours
White and blue
Nickname the Swans
Manager Lukas Farrell (53)
Key Players Dalibor Redcliff (GK, 26), Alanna Clemens (CB, 29), Hawke Ziegenhorn (ST, 29, CEN)
Summary One of the greatest Cup runs of all time. The rehabilitation of Hawke Ziegenhorn. And, best of all, Lukas Farrell's turned down the Crisisbless Athletic job! For... some reason.

14. Ritter Town
Colours
White and orange
Nickname the Stallions
Manager Pernille Raphael (50)
Key Players Jasper Kirkland (GK, 33), Rickard Berardi (RB, 23), Goran Martell (CB, 33), Odo Vorstead (CB, 26), Lesedi Maina (LB, 31, FPT), Augustine Yew (RM, 33), Garrett Fairbank (CM, 28), Gabriel Haines (LM, 33)
Summary Ritter have just about stabilised themselves, their faith in Pernille Raphael more or less paying off. The departure of Tania Brummer, however, leaves them looking old and mediocre.

15. The Hanged Man
Colours
Red and black
Nickname THM
Manager Lind Scholar (45)
Key Players Marcel Evans (RB, 33), Mia Geoghan (CB, 34), Ranulf Gatcan (CB, 33), Alex Levine (LB, 24), Merope Spyropoulos (DM, 26), Nikola Stavros (RM, 25), Robyn Parker (LM, 25)
Summary Warren Orwell is out, his protege Scholar in, but THM remain much the same. They won't score, they won't concede, and they'll be battling to stay on the good side of the line.

16. Stonegrave
Colours
Sky and black
Nickname the Diggers
Manager Alysia Garrett (57)
Key Players Pamela Flush (GK, 27), Caleb Fisher (RB, 25), Osman Lambert (CB, 26), Dew Wilston (CB, 25), Ira Dovaston (DM, 31), Micah Horner (CM, 32), Erika Stenlein (CM, 22), Stefan Curtiz (LM, 23), Chloe Lehrer (ST, 33)
Summary Tough at the back, nonexistent at the front. Stonegrave have set their stall on just being solid and unpleasant to break down.

17. Sheridan
Colours
Green and orange
Nickname Sherries
Manager Henna Morgan (44)
Key Players Marget Veld (GK, 26), Gerwyn Clarke (CM, 35), Matthew Rawson (CM, 31), Aris Daskalakis (ST, 33)
Summary Sherries solidified their presence in the top half, despite less than a goal a game. But theirs is an old, short-term side, and one worries for where they're at now.

18. Falston United
Colours
White and black
Nickname the Eels
Manager Alaric Jansen (50)
Key Players Ilary Townes (RB, 31), Robyn Cormack (CB, 27), Casper Slate (LB, 26), Raphael Passlach (CM, 33), Kat Mundine (CM, 23, CYI), Cedric Willas (ST, 26), Garrett Stijnen (LW, 31)
Summary A stable season, but Falston seem to lack a decisive edge in either box and are now down their excellent goalkeeper, Garrick.

19. Lazuli Diamonds
Colours
Yellow and blue
Nickname the Diamonds
Manager Phoenix Holler (49)
Key Players Brand Hilton (GK, 26), Hadrian Chalmond (RB, 26), Geoff Packer (CB, 28), Franziska Jaspen (LB, 34), Sujet Carsley (RM, 33), Chester Regis (CM, 25), Andreas Davis (LM, 23), Romeo Varrick (ST, 31)
Summary Diamonds will need to do more than just excite to be in with a genuine chance this season.

20. Extreme Hills
Colours
Orange and black
Nickname the Hounds
Manager Diadora Payne (48)
Key Players Julian Alderweiss (GK, 33), Dorian Webster (GK, 19), Stefan Oughtred (RB, 31), Cherry Whiteside (RM, 25), Stefan Ermine (LM, 31), Nori Harcutt (ST, 34), Meredith Lincoln (ST, 25)
Summary The only logical conclusion over the past few years is this: God hates Extreme Hills.

21. Mapleford
Colours
Orange and black
Nickname the Bantams
Manager Corryn Barnard (48)
Key Players Ange Shackell (GK, 34), Delilah Stamatopolous (CB, 28), Genevieve Taylor (LB, 33), Michael Chiscott (CM, 28)
Summary The four

22. Ingram Township
Colours
White and black
Nickname the Hussars
Manager Josip Smeltz (52)
Key Players Xanthe Peters (CB, 24, CMT), Allen Slayback (ST, 34)
Summary promoted sides

23. Rochford PIlgrims
Colours
Jade and black
Nickname the Pilgrims
Manager Gerrit Schnatter (47)
Key Players Noah Wyclif (LB, 29), Loris Vanmeter (CM, 23, CMT), Narcissa Barnes (LM, 28)
Summary are all

24. Kensey Town
Colours
White and orange
Nickname the Thylacines
Manager Theo Lindberg (45)
Key Players Ruth Jesper (RB, 32), Orane Warner (RM, 24)
Summary no-hopers.
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Nephara
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Founded: Jun 06, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:48 pm

The Ramsey Shield… should sort of by default go to Treason, no? Ah, but the show must go on. It’s yet to actually involve a Ramsey, despite some rumoured Stags interest in the latest scion, Kendra, but the Godhead is at least in attendance. And it watches… well, the first real test for Brinemouth, who have spent extensively - even extravagantly - in the window, and whose manager Gareth Blackthorn is under intense pressure to finally, well, win something. He’s won a Shield by the end of this, Treason’s midfield looking flat, the Dockers running the show. It looks like it could be a smash-and-grab for Treason. They hold out goalless ‘til half-time, before John Fletcher, goal gaping, sends a header straight at Heuser. They’re the beneficiaries of the joint lack of clinical edge, on the whole. Crisp low strikes from Deventer and, off the bench, Bryger Tidesson (imagine that being a sequence of words you have the privilege to produce) uitimately give the Dockers a deserved victory.

IFCF results are disappointing. Just five sides make it to the groups. But it’s just the preliminaries - plenty of time to turn things around yet.


Aries Chariots 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Brinemouth 4-1 Diamondqueen
Coret Hawks 4-0 Iron City
AFC Corvistone 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless 3-0 Creed United
Crisisbless United 2-1 Parrhesia United
Newrook City 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
North Laithland 0-2 Belgrave
Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 South Laithland
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Vermillion Rage
Southfell United 0-0 AFC Treason
Stahlburg City 1-0 Starling

Welcome to the final season of the Premiership. After today, there are 45 matches to go before the curtains draw. The new sides queue up for their ritual face-meltings at the hands of far wealthier sides. Stahlburg Rovers are the only ones to defy their fate, the Harriers go down respectably, narrowly, to the Crows, while Diamondqueen… well, they play like a recently promoted side facing off against one of the strongest club outfits assembled in the history of the spot. They try their best. But they just don’t have the space or the time to maneuvre like they had back in 1Div, and faster, fitter players with supernatural senses of anticipation cut moves out before they can start. The Diamonds didn’t come here to hoof in low crosses to be deflected fortunately into the path of Kamilla Isring, but that is how they find their lead. It doesn’t last. Yet again, Brinemouth wait ‘til the second half to find a finishing touch; yet again, it comes when required, four strikes leaving the beleagured Szarbach without a chance.

So far, so expected. But what is a rather poor sign regarding survival prospects is Iron City’s glorious return to the league after well over a decade. They were once a perennial yo-yo club, but they’ve tasted the third tier more recently than the top flight. The symptoms of the match are similar to the circumstances in Brinemouth, except it’s not Brinemouth. It’s Coret, just north. Romaine and Saara eat up everything they touch, and having each scored en route to a 3-0 lead on the hour, neither finishes out the game. Why bother? It’s sorted, even before teenage winger Paschalakis curls home an exquisite debut goal. Iron are slow enough they’re made to look sluggish by Coret, whose entire heartbeat runs at the pace of Okafor’s stroll, and barely test Coleman between the sticks. Stahlburg City play Starling, a match between the most glaring of last season’s underachievers, and Lewis Phoenix’s far-post header is enough; Cassandra Posipal’s cross sets it up, and the leftback’s former clubs, North Laithland and Belgrave, see out an elegant, gliding affair of great passing football… where the only two goals come off an airswing and a penalty-provoking handball from young Spiders centre-half Caeda Warhurst.

Armstrong 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
AFC Serpentine 2-2 Aries Solitaire
Goodfeather FC 1-2 Greygate
Mantlegrove 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Bishop 2-1 Chatswood
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Leichhardt
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Brookford Otters
Raven River 2-1 Cranequin Wanderers
AFC Rochford 1-3 Alliance Barossia
North Sabrefell 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Cypher Town 3-1 The Strongest
Barossia United 0-1 Corinthians No Longer

The First Division rolls in with an overpowering wave of ennui. But, wait! This is normal! It’s just that this time the ennui is with the crap teams like the Strongest who are going down anyway. But now there’s intrigue for mediocre sides like Rochford and Alliance Barossia, the latter of whom talked Portia Taani out of retirement or returning home at the death over the window just in time to shove an extra-tall yellow shirt over her and watch her net a decisive brace of headers against the former. Michi Leonard’s River secure a promising early result, new signing Esteve Soler notching up a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Cranequin; Soler’s former club, Bishop, overcome a half-time deficit to give Chatswood a rude awakening upon their return to the division. Indeed, all four relegated sides score precisely once, and none of them win.

Diamondqueen 1-1 Aries Chariots
Iron City 0-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Brinemouth
Creed United 0-0 Coret Hawks
Parrhesia United 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Crisisbless
Belgrave 0-1 Crisisbless United
South Laithland 1-1 Newrook City
Vermillion Rage 4-1 North Laithland
AFC Treason 1-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Starling 1-2 Sabrefell Moths
Stahlburg City 2-2 Southfell United

The story is already in Stahlburg. Not even in Stahlburg, but the Rovers, tipped by all and sundry to get hammered through the season, have six points before so much as their first home game. While it was a pure smash-and-grab affair on the first week in Aries, Laurnagaray making nine saves on his debut and substitute Harriet Michail sniping home her only shot of the match, their win in Iron is a more … well, how to put this, ‘deserved’ affair. Jelena Romanov is indisputable POTM, the Savojar winger relentless in showing Anders Bowman his limitations, and it’s only fitting she carves out the only goal with a beautiful arcing strike that cuts across Olexander in the 54th. Could Reinhard Drake do it?

But at the end of the day that is just two underdogs against each other. The true underdog story of the day, most will argue, is Lienke Vesper masterminding victory ver Brinemouth. It’s lucky as hell, nobody can surely deny that, Roxana Coffey’s winner being rather generously awarded given the hand Dean Steele’s hip had in guiding it past Heuser, but dirty, gutsy, hearty play in the centre helped the Harriers gut out victory. Former Treason stalwarts Vesper and Vyntra will love that. Starling lead early against Sabrefell Moths, a first-time shot from Leif Flaxwood rising and blazing past Markgraf from well outside the box, but the Moths’ relentless pressing and harrying pays eventual dividends. So too their depth, with last season’s scapegoat Cathal Turner coming off the bench to drive home near-identical tap-ins in the 82nd and 87th minutes to clinch the win. Starling, then, remain without a point. Treason edge out Athletic through Fletcher’s insultingly simple header, Diamondqueen snatch a crowd-pleasing home point from Aries in the 96th minute courtesy of Najzar’s free kick, while Vermillion are the only side to score more than twice as they bury the Spiders 4-1.

Aries Solitaire 1-2 Armstrong
Greygate 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Gonen's Bridge 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Chatswood 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Leichhardt 0-1 Mantlegrove
Brookford Otters 4-2 Bishop
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Vermillion Wanderers 5-0 Raven River
The Strongest 1-0 AFC Rochford
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 North Sabrefell
Barossia United 1-1 Cypher Town

Okay, the signs are now a little less rosy for River, who come up against Vermillion Wanderers… come up short against Vermillion Wanderers. Two minutes in, Shepherd’s low cross is swept home by Kruger; nine minutes in, Shepherd’s high cross is headed home by Kruger. Now that’s versatility. She’ll even bundle in a medium-height cross from Wharton before the end, with a Maier strike and a first senior goal for Sophara Hayes securing a 5-0 win. There’s not an excess of excitement elsewhere, five 1-0 wins, and the best goal of the round doesn’t even count. Alliance winger Szalai Fowler nips in to steal a Corvette throw, goes on a blistering run towards goal, beats Seraph and Mastiff and whips a high shot past Marisnick that should level the scores, but is called off for the minor transgression that to nip the ball off Betancourt he had to break her nose with a flying elbow. The game’s gone.

Aries Chariots 3-2 Iron City
Diamondqueen 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Stahlburg Rovers 0-2 Creed United
Brinemouth 4-1 Parrhesia United
Coret Hawks 1-0 Chenoworth Rovers
AFC Corvistone 0-0 Belgrave
Crisisbless 0-1 South Laithland
Crisisbless United 0-2 Vermillion Rage
Newrook City 1-3 AFC Treason
North Laithland 0-1 Starling
Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 Stahlburg City
Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Southfell United

Sometimes, you just… need to be a bit of a shit to get what you want. That’s the lesson Crisisbless learn at the grubby hands of South Laithland, a side who may lack a 40-million pound embryo on the right wing, or former Galacticos, but in the dual pivot of Menat and Jurman have two brutal, bruising masters of shithousery. Oh, Moira. You thought you could nip away with the ball just by being a better and faster footballer? While your body is blocking line of sight from the referee, letting your shirt be covertly tugged without notice? Naive. Oh, Maia, sweetie, you thought you’d ever get the chance to build up a head of steam? Not with niggling fouls every step of the way. Moira Woakes eventually lashes out in her frustration, kicking at Jurman’s thigh as he trots away feigning innocence. She gets away without a red, but it doesn’t matter; Gareth Menat’s heavily, heavily deflected shot deceives Na’Kefir to give South Laithland a 78th-minute winner.

Diamondqueen look the best of the promoted sides, albeit with the easiest brief; hosting their fellows, the Harriers. It’s a first Premiership goal for Kamilla Isring, followed shortly by a second. Sort-of shortly. They’re in the 44th and 46th minutes, anyway, both crisply powered home from the corner of the box. Aries Chariots belatedly get their first win of the season in their run of the four promoted sides in succession - it’s Iron who cough up the points, but only under duress. Any questions as to whether Manahaal Brimorii was a shrewd enough striker up front for this level have decisively been anwswered, not just through a brace of thumping headers that give Iron the half-time lead, but through his all-round hold-up play and ability to interplay well with the cunning, experienced midfield behind him. But Aries show off the value of a veteran late on, Rowena Sierra coming off the bench and coming away with a brace of her own, both opportunistically plundered from mistakes of the luckless, overawed Martel Sevecke. Southfell United fans get to see their old star striker, Lyzolda Petrov, again. She gets on the scoresheet and comes up with a deft assist for Zuniga as the Moths pump them 3-0.

Armstrong 6-4 Greygate
Aries Solitaire 4-0 Gonen's Bridge
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Chatswood
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Leichhardt
Goodfeather FC 3-3 Brookford Otters
Mantlegrove 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Bishop 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Corvette Maulers 1-0 The Strongest
Raven River 0-0 Corinthians No Longer
AFC Rochford 1-1 Barossia United
North Sabrefell 0-1 Cypher Town

Leichhardt… have… already fired their manager. The season, the astute will note, is three matches old. The Stargazers’ chairman comes out quickly with a statement, merely a day after a poor 2-0 defeat in Serpentine. “A transition season is always a difficult one, both for our club and for the league structure.” Fair enough. “The nightmare scenario is back-to-back relegations; any backslide towards that needed to be nipped in the bud.” Oh. Yeah, that. Diandra Ballard arrives after a couple of years away from the game, hoping to follow in the footsteps of her WC74 teammates Vyntra and Vesper, and has in the past promoted Creed. Solitaire get a stunningly convincing victory over fellow promotes Gonen’s Bridge, four unanswered goals from four different scorers including both fullbacks, while Armstrong narrowly get the better of Greygate in a bizarre, absorbing contest that sees both sides a man down in the first half, young Greygate striker Mkrtchyan hammering a hat-trick on the losing side as Armstrong rally late with goals from Pawnbroker and Kohr to win win 6-4.

Chenoworth Harriers 2-4 Aries Chariots
Creed United 1-0 Iron City
Parrhesia United 2-0 Diamondqueen
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Belgrave 1-3 Brinemouth
South Laithland 1-2 Coret Hawks
Vermillion Rage 1-0 AFC Corvistone
AFC Treason 0-3 Crisisbless
Starling 1-3 Crisisbless United
Stahlburg City 0-1 Newrook City
Southfell United 0-2 North Laithland
Sabrefell Moths 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic

The Sabrefell derby arrives unusually early, with, as is rare, a clear favourite. The Moths have won all their matches so far; Athletic have yet to win at all. Four minutes in, the Moths have the ball in the net, Belgrade taking advantage of a neat one-two with Petrov before blasting past Garamond… offside, barely but rightly. Nine minutes in, Roesler rockets a shot against the crossbar from outside the box, not quite taking advantage of sloppy marking. The Moths must surely win. They don’t. The Rams hold the line through the first half, helped by Raluca Garamond’s flying saves and bellows at her back four, before an errant bounce in midfield is opportunistically hooked over the top by Katsura and smashed home by Benezet. Siverson comes off the bench to make it 2-0 in the 89th minute, a smash-and-grab win. Markgraf doesn’t even make a save, and Adalheid Metzelder looks disgusted with it all.

At least the Moths came out swinging. Treason go down flat, a “frankly shameful” performance in the words of Cheney Bittencourt, as Crisisbless run roughshod over them. Maybe they worked a little too hard on getting Vincent Robshaw hyped up for the occasion - he’s booked in the 33rd minute and again to be sent off in the 37th, both for largely identical scything challenges on Mercurio Kastriot, a man who knows rather better how to hack at someone and get away with it. But they can’t blame him for everything; Spijkers and Marinkovic have the Heelers up 2-0 by then, and a shot from Woakes is uncharacteristically spilled by Clavel for Marinkovic to drive home towards the end. The Rovers play each other. It’s dismal, and not worth talking about, outside that the Rovers are now on seven points from three away fixtures through Talay’s late strike, while Starling lose track of a win over Crisisbless United when Smordal, uncharacteristically, loses track of a cross, wanders into the path of his own defender Berg and gets flattened. Laursen equalises from the loose ball, Smordal limps off in a concussed daze and backup ‘keeper Romola Carolan concedes twice more in the last 16 minutes to give the suddenly-clinical Chequers a 3-1 win.

Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Armstrong
Chatswood 0-1 Greygate
Leichhardt 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Brookford Otters 5-2 Pillars of Southfell
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Alliance Barossia 0-4 Goodfeather FC
Vermillion Wanderers 0-0 Mantlegrove
The Strongest 1-4 Bishop
Corinthians No Longer 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Barossia United 3-0 Corvette Maulers
Cypher Town 1-1 Raven River
North Sabrefell 0-1 AFC Rochford

Diandra Ballard’s first task as Leichhardt manager is to mastermind victory over a Solitaire side sky-high in confidence with nothing to lose, fresh off hammering Bridge 4-0. It immediately goes wrong; Solitaire’s first shot on target, courtesy of former Dartmouth winger Keshet Brenner, flies true and sails past a flat-footed Laczko, who has already picked up a fun nickname: ‘the Statue’. But he redeems himself minutes later when Brenner plays Coen in past the last man - Laczko flies in and comes away with the ball, barely releasing it in time as his momentum takes him out of the box and scrambling to his feet just in time to send the ball down the left, where Arbizu plays in Klempner to level the scores. With Whitespire’s header off Arbizu’s corner, Leichhardt secure victory late on. Bishop bulldoze the Strongest through four lethal counterattacks, taking clinical advantage of increased desperation, while Tremeka Godwin nets all four unanswered goals against Alliance to open her account for the season in spectacular fashion.

Aries Chariots 1-1 Creed United
Chenoworth Harriers 0-3 Parrhesia United
Iron City 0-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Diamondqueen 1-2 Belgrave
Stahlburg Rovers 1-2 South Laithland
Brinemouth 2-2 Vermillion Rage
Coret Hawks 0-1 AFC Treason
AFC Corvistone 6-1 Starling
Crisisbless 1-1 Stahlburg City
Crisisbless United 0-2 Southfell United
Newrook City 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
North Laithland 2-0 Sabrefell Athletic

Sean Smordal is rushed back into the field for Starling, and just in time; the Passerines have Corvistone next up, a rival for the Challengers Cup places. More importantly, a rival in narrative - have likable Starling been outshone and outsmarted by plastic bastards Corvistone? Well… on the evidence of tonight… it starts out bad, a defensive miscalculation making fools of the Passerines. Berg thinks Kaba’s got it. Kaba thinks Berg’s got it. Smordal thinks he’s got it. None of it’s true. Tanith Carter has it, nipping between the three of them and sliding a casual finish past Smordal. Poor marking from a corner allows Tristan Niedermayer to head home the Crows’ second, but inspired by Lisa Amos’ cursing and berating from the touchline, the Passerines get it together. Duchemin forces Feldman into a sharp double save, Flaxwood hits the crossbar before Nicki Stone slips past two markers and drives home her first goal for her new club, just on the stroke of half-time. Does it have a galvanising effect? Yes. On Corvistone. Carter steals a brace, then a hat-trick, by the hour mark; two opportunistic tap-ins, as Ulreich and Karvelas curl in more technically impressive strikes from the wings.

Elsewhere, Vincent Robshaw opens his account for Treason in spectacular fashion. It’s a boon for the Stags, facing a Coret side operating with rare discipline under Daniel Archer. Indeed, Coret should have been ahead - twice Romaine, playing alone up front, was through on goal, but twice he put his shots too close to Clavel. And that means Robshaw’s entirely self-created chance, well… who can be blamed when the man puts his boot through the ball hard enough to leave a crack in the crossbar as it flies past Coleman. Brinemouth think they have an edge on Vermillion, who injuries have already forced to call up 18-year old leftback Radeka Lind. Lukas Tauscher licks his lips. Lukas Tauscher doesn’t get a goal or an assist; Lind gets one of each, racing up and down the flanks with frantic energy, and only a late scramble converted by Saitou gives Brinemouth a share of the spoils on home soil. Parrhesia pummel Harriers 3-0 away - they certainly haven’t started as slow as they did last season - with Celustka looking motivated for once, while a six-pointer in central Sabrefell sees Belgrave edge Diamondqueen by dint of Andrea Krause’s brace and Najzar’s missed penalty.

Armstrong 0-1 Chatswood
Gonen's Bridge 0-2 Leichhardt
Greygate 1-2 Brookford Otters
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Pillars of Southfell 1-2 Alliance Barossia
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Goodfeather FC 4-0 The Strongest
Mantlegrove 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Bishop 1-2 Barossia United
Chardonnay Rangers 0-2 Cypher Town
Corvette Maulers 0-2 North Sabrefell
Raven River 1-1 AFC Rochford

The Premiership’s been sleeping on Goodfeather striker Tremeka Godwin. Perhaps not now, since Godwin, following a brace against the Strongest that puts her at eight goals on the season and extends her lead as top scorer, puts out a Twii declaring: ‘Premiership sleeping on me @TGodderz10 !!’ followed by tagging every single Premiership side, with a single fire emoji in between each tag. Actually, not every; she excludes the seven who qualified for IFCF last season, so at least she has some sense of realism. Anyway, the histrionics aside, the Quakers still fucking cane the alleged Strongest 4-0. The River-are-chokers narrative is emboldened when they fail to break down the gates of 10-man Rochford for 64 minutes, while Cranequin goalkeeper Shanna Cotton gets so irritated with online trolling about her shakiness this season that she has the offending tweets printed onto a jersey, wearing it against Solitaire. And then drops a Brenner cross that allows Mordhau to score an easy equaliser late on.

Parrhesia United 2-3 Aries Chariots
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Creed United
Belgrave 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
South Laithland 0-1 Iron City
Vermillion Rage 6-0 Diamondqueen
AFC Treason 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Starling 0-1 Brinemouth
Stahlburg City 1-3 Coret Hawks
Southfell United 0-2 AFC Corvistone
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Athletic 3-2 Crisisbless United
North Laithland 1-3 Newrook City

Vermillion Rage, understandably, hand another start to Radeka Lind. The teenager comes up with another two assists, free to surge forward relentlessly against a Diamondqueen side permanently on the back foot. Apart from a single goal, where Szarbach, under pressure from Bestatter, passes straight to Mrdja - oops! - the Diamonds’ goalkeeper is blameless, arguably their best player in the 6-0 defeat. Speaks volumes, no? And it’s a brutally unhappy homecoming for Diamonds striker Ursa Kinbois, who swapped shirts with Maersk and just kind of… stared longingly into the orange shirt for a while, seeming to reminisce.

In Starling, this feels decisive. Not … on the surface. But sixty-five minutes into the game, Brinemouth leading 1-0 through a clever bit of interplay slotted home neatly by Tauscher, some guy in the crowd clears his throat and shouts: “Amos out!” It starts a fight. But… you can see where he’s coming from. Starling failed to test Heuser in the last half-hour, and slump to a fifth defeat in six. A fifth defeat. In six. Starling. They have had a tough draw of things so far, in fairness, but Amos shakes her head post-match when a guy throws her the bone. “It shouldn’t matter. We should look to win every game, regardless.” Similar thoughts from Cheney Bittencourt, tossed an easy game - hosting Stahlburg Rovers - and only narrowly beating them. “Against a real team, there’s no way we’d come away with a point.” Maybe a little too blunt, there. Coret’s good start continues with a decisive win in Stahlburg against City, Athletic concede a 90th-minute equaliser against Crisisbless United only to have Tomlinson drive home a 93rd-minute winner, while Iron get their first Premiership win in ages in somewhat dubious circumstances.

Leichhardt 1-0 Armstrong
Brookford Otters 2-1 Chatswood
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Gonen's Bridge
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Greygate
Vermillion Wanderers 3-0 Aries Solitaire
The Strongest 2-1 Pillars of Southfell
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Barossia United 1-3 Goodfeather FC
Cypher Town 0-0 Mantlegrove
North Sabrefell 1-1 Bishop
AFC Rochford 2-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Raven River 4-0 Corvette Maulers

River in crisis? Nahhh. Try Corvette in crisis. The Maulers have lost their last three games 3-0, 2-0 and now 4-0, former Starling playmaker Darren Halfhill looking somewhere between jaded and terrible as their supposed talisman and withdrawn before the hour. Emilien Marisnick is going from one of the league’s most promising stoppers to letting everything through, striker Brummer is yet to hit the ground running (or, you know, score) and whenever they call on the bench, the replacement is some terrible 22-year old hick nobody’s ever heard of. Brookford and Chatswood, early pace-setters hoping to make an immediate Premiership return, play off in a classy affair that does, indeed, look like a lower-Premiership duel. Chatswood lead in the 12th through Herron’s header, Brookford pull back through the electric winger Waters in the 19th, but Otters midfielder Foster settles the affair with a thunderous free kick from 30 yards that powers past Williams to secure the points late on.

Aries Chariots 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Parrhesia United 2-1 Belgrave
Creed United 1-3 South Laithland
Chenoworth Harriers 1-3 Vermillion Rage
Iron City 1-0 AFC Treason
Diamondqueen 0-3 Starling
Stahlburg Rovers 0-2 Stahlburg City
Brinemouth 4-1 Southfell United
Coret Hawks 2-1 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Corvistone 1-5 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless 1-1 North Laithland
Crisisbless United 2-2 Newrook City

It’s time to give some love to Coret. Famously flaky, yes. Horribly imbalanced as a squad, yes. But Daniel Archer has added some much-needed pragmatism to the side, even making deeply unpalatable calls where necessary. Going for one up front against Treason almost paid off and now he rests Kizza Okafor, his captain and easily his best player, for the visit of the Moths. “We knew they’d come up at us hard, with pace,” he reasons to the press. “We needed water-carriers to survive, before springing forward at pace.” So it went; a double pivot of Lexmann and Bezemer was devoid of creativity, but it did largely keep the Moths out of dangerous positions. A single moment of inspiration from Roesler gave Morgenstern the opening to drive home the opener, but the Hawks held their nerve and, sure enough, gaps opened up in the second half. Romaine and Muse Blackburn, an early revelation of the season, snatched the win. Coret are nestled towards the top of the table.

Treason’s Achilles heel thus far has been goals. They aren’t scoring any. John Fletcher is their leading scorer on two, and as he’s rested against Iron City, replacement Felix Sebastian (and his replacement, Coxeter) fail to find the target. Iron throw bodies at everything, Olexander makes seven often spectacular, if ugly, reflex saves, and Brimorii gets the better of Murje to crash home a late header. Brimorii’s third goal, one will note. Athletic seem to salve their concerns with a clinical 5-1 victory, but it’s important to note that Corvistone played over an hour with ten men following Calcipher Heston’s cynical leg-breaker early on; Stahlburg City surprise nobody by winning the derby in fairly comfortable fashion, goalkeeper Xander Rosmarin pantomime-yawning and doing stretches in a routine 2-0 win over the Rovers. Romanov almost wipes the smug smile off his face by chipping home from past halfway… but the ball bounces off the top of the crossbar and over.

Armstrong 0-3 Brookford Otters
Leichhardt 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Chatswood 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Gonen's Bridge 3-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Greygate 3-5 The Strongest
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 Barossia United
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Cypher Town
Goodfeather FC 4-2 North Sabrefell
Mantlegrove 3-2 AFC Rochford
Bishop 0-0 Raven River
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Corvette Maulers

You know what managers appreciate? Consistency. Cranequin Wanderers, for example, earn their fourth consecutive 1-1 draw when Butcher’s penalty salvages a hardly-deserved point against Leichhardt. But then, there’s something to be said for a bit of unpredictability; take Armstrong, usual models of dour defensive solidity, totally losing their shit in a 3-0 hammering by Brookford. Virtanen, the most boring-reliable goalkeeper in the league, is beaten by Waters at his near post. The other two goals come off set pieces. Gratia Barker looks a tired woman, by the end. The Strongest put five past Greygate, two from enterprising leftback March, while Pillars of Southfell finally scrape a win through a dodgy penalty. So what if Hana Yorke tripped Barossia goalkeeper Ran at the ankles late on, ensuring Tollett’s desperate strike would beat her? “Yorke wasn’t offside at the time,” Seekers manager Kay Meriweathre says, enigmatically. Then winks.

Belgrave 2-3 Aries Chariots
South Laithland 1-3 Chenoworth Rovers
Vermillion Rage 3-1 Parrhesia United
AFC Treason 1-0 Creed United
Starling 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Stahlburg City 1-0 Iron City
Southfell United 1-2 Diamondqueen
Sabrefell Moths 6-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Sabrefell Athletic 0-3 Brinemouth
North Laithland 3-2 Coret Hawks
Newrook City 2-0 AFC Corvistone
Crisisbless United 3-2 Crisisbless

The Vermillion derby is a fiery occasion, but it’s over by the end of the first half; a tangle of arms between Moyer and Spitz on the left flank doesn’t stop the Vermillion winger digging out a cross for Traudl Mrdja to trap on her chest and smash past Laisne as it comes down, and similarly classy, decisive efforts from Fleetwood and Farrier mean that Rage can laugh off the minor injury of Jonte Bestatter and continue to claim top spot. Brinemouth and the Moths win in still more impressive fashion - the Dockers bludgeoning a disjointed, dispirited Athletic 3-0, the Moths pummeling Stahlburg Rovers 6-1 - to round out the top three, Coret (Coret???) fourth in spite of defeat in the Laith, while Crisisbless United’s narrow victory in the Crisisbless derby comes through a disputed, decisive penalty and puts them seventh. After some initial scepticism, Andressa Stand is the toast of the red-and-black side of the city following her goal, assist, and … well, let’s say coaxing the final handball from Teffeteller, who was outraged after the game with a perception the ball was drilled directly and intentionally into her wrist. Which it was. Crisisbless, Corvistone and Athletic are mired in midtable following their defeats, but it could be worse. For instance...

A dull 1-1 draw in Starling represents two things. For one, Olwen North’s deflected hit-and-hope leveller - not unwarranted on the passage of play - snaps Chenoworth Harriers’ run of five straight defeats, though it keeps them mired at the bottom of the table. Second, it means that Starling… are occupying the relegation playoff place. Yes, key players in the spine Berg and Roebling are injured, but it shouldn’t matter that much. They just look… strangely sluggish. Four of the clubs occupying the bottom five are the sides who just came up, of whom Diamondqueen are the only ones to win; Danitha Najzar’s clever work in the centre of the park forces openings for Bowman, then substitute Bronwyn Forrest, to lash home shots from the edge of the box past Southfell keeper Gavaris; the Tanners are inexplicably second-last so far.

Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Armstrong
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Brookford Otters
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Leichhardt
The Strongest 0-5 Chatswood
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Barossia United 2-3 Greygate
Cypher Town 2-0 Aries Solitaire
North Sabrefell 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
AFC Rochford 5-0 AFC Serpentine
Raven River 2-1 Goodfeather FC
Corvette Maulers 2-1 Mantlegrove
Chardonnay Rangers 3-0 Bishop

Brookford Otters are not surprising front-runners, as things stand, though it’s a position they’ve achieved in striking fashion. The only unbeaten side remaining, some rotation against Alliance Barossia sees second-string forwards struggle to bring down the fort, but a hit-and-hope effort from Morwen deflects fortituously off Durrig, and Turner reacts fastest to drive home the only goal of the game. That extends a five-point gap at the top; Chatswood, nearest rivals, are tight at the back but show their teeth in a 5-0 evisceration of the Strongest, with Cypher, Vermillion and, surprisingly, a miserly Corinthians No Longer still in the hunt with wins; with how tight things are, Goodfeather’s defeat to River sees them fall from 2nd to 6th.

Remember that the bottom nine will go down automatically. So that’s pretty bad news already for Pillars of Southfell, easily bested by North Sabrefell to be cut four points adrift at the bottom. But the Bohemians, as things stand, would go down; the win was deceptively vital, Lukas Sparr’s first full season in charge going to a rocky start, but the decisive, direct attacking play finds reward through Beckwith and their talisman Laramee. Corvette Maulers are the other standout name currently slated for the drop, though in terms of trajectory, well, it’s been coming. A win over Mantlegrove gives some breathing room, Tania Brummer finally getting off the mark with a brace. Greygate, as things stand, will stay up. They’ve actually scored 15 goals, thus far… but have conceded the second-most goals in the league, raising questions about how sustainable it really is.

MATCHDAY 1
The Hanged Man 1-3 Kensey Town
Riverkey 3-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Ballardine FC 3-0 Ingram Township
Stonegrave 1-0 Mapleford
Extreme Hills 1-1 Morningstar
Falston United 0-1 Peregrine
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 Cranequin City
Ritter Town 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Hackett 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Autumnstone 1-1 Sheridan
West Brinemouth 1-1 Locksley
MATCHDAY 2
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 The Hanged Man
Ingram Township 2-0 Kensey Town
Mapleford 2-1 Riverkey
Morningstar 2-2 Ballardine FC
Peregrine 3-2 Stonegrave
Cranequin City 3-1 Extreme Hills
Crisisbless Athletic 1-3 Falston United
Lazuli Diamonds 0-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Ritter Town
Sheridan 4-2 Gosmouth Swans
Locksley 2-1 Hackett
West Brinemouth 1-3 Autumnstone
MATCHDAY 3
The Hanged Man 0-0 Ingram Township
Rochford Pilgrims 2-2 Mapleford
Kensey Town 2-2 Morningstar
Riverkey 2-0 Peregrine
Ballardine FC 0-2 Cranequin City
Stonegrave 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Extreme Hills 4-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Falston United 3-3 Dartmouth Terriers
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Sheridan
Ritter Town 4-4 Locksley
Gosmouth Swans 2-3 West Brinemouth
Hackett 1-0 Autumnstone
MATCHDAY 4
Mapleford 3-1 The Hanged Man
Morningstar 3-1 Ingram Township
Peregrine 4-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Cranequin City 2-0 Kensey Town
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Riverkey
Lazuli Diamonds 1-0 Ballardine FC
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Stonegrave
Sheridan 1-1 Extreme Hills
Locksley 3-1 Falston United
West Brinemouth 0-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Autumnstone 0-3 Ritter Town
Hackett 3-0 Gosmouth Swans
MATCHDAY 5
The Hanged Man 0-2 Morningstar
Mapleford 3-6 Peregrine
Ingram Township 0-1 Cranequin City
Rochford Pilgrims 2-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Kensey Town 0-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Riverkey 0-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Ballardine FC 2-0 Sheridan
Stonegrave 0-4 Locksley
Extreme Hills 2-0 West Brinemouth
Falston United 0-4 Autumnstone
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Hackett
Ritter Town 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
MATCHDAY 6
Peregrine 1-0 The Hanged Man
Cranequin City 2-0 Morningstar
Crisisbless Athletic 4-0 Mapleford
Lazuli Diamonds 3-0 Ingram Township
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Sheridan 2-0 Kensey Town
Locksley 2-0 Riverkey
West Brinemouth 2-1 Ballardine FC
Autumnstone 3-0 Stonegrave
Hackett 2-0 Extreme Hills
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 Falston United
Ritter Town 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
MATCHDAY 7
The Hanged Man 0-1 Cranequin City
Peregrine 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Morningstar 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Mapleford 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Ingram Township 2-0 Sheridan
Rochford Pilgrims 0-3 Locksley
Kensey Town 2-2 West Brinemouth
Riverkey 0-1 Autumnstone
Ballardine FC 0-2 Hackett
Stonegrave 0-0 Gosmouth Swans
Extreme Hills 1-1 Ritter Town
Falston United 4-3 Boltcroft Thorns
MATCHDAY 8
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 The Hanged Man
Lazuli Diamonds 4-2 Cranequin City
Dartmouth Terriers 3-1 Peregrine
Sheridan 1-2 Morningstar
Locksley 4-0 Mapleford
West Brinemouth 1-1 Ingram Township
Autumnstone 2-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Hackett 1-0 Kensey Town
Gosmouth Swans 0-0 Riverkey
Ritter Town 0-1 Ballardine FC
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 Stonegrave
Falston United 2-0 Extreme Hills

PREMIERSHIP
Pos Team                     P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Vermillion Rage 8 6 1 1 22 7 +15 19
2 Brinemouth 8 6 1 1 22 8 +14 19
3 Sabrefell Moths 8 5 1 2 16 8 +8 16
4 Coret Hawks 8 5 1 2 14 7 +7 16
5 AFC Treason 8 5 1 2 7 5 +2 16
6 Aries Chariots 8 4 3 1 16 12 +4 15
7 Crisisbless United 8 4 1 3 13 13 +0 13
8 Newrook City 8 3 3 2 11 9 +2 12
9 Stahlburg City 8 3 3 2 8 7 +1 12
10 Chenoworth Rovers 8 2 5 1 9 6 +3 11
11 Sabrefell Athletic 8 3 2 3 11 10 +1 11
12 AFC Corvistone 8 3 2 3 11 10 +1 11
13 South Laithland 8 3 2 3 10 10 +0 11
14 Crisisbless 8 2 4 2 12 8 +4 10
15 Belgrave 8 3 1 4 10 10 +0 10
16 Parrhesia United 8 3 1 4 13 14 -1 10
17 North Laithland 8 3 1 4 10 13 -3 10
18 Creed United 8 2 3 3 5 8 -3 9
19 Starling 8 2 1 5 8 14 -6 7
20 Stahlburg Rovers 8 2 1 5 5 14 -9 7
21 Diamondqueen 8 2 1 5 7 20 -13 7
22 Iron City 8 2 0 6 4 12 -8 6
23 Southfell United 8 1 2 5 6 15 -9 5
24 Chenoworth Harriers 8 1 1 6 7 17 -10 4

FIRST DIVISION
Pos Team                       P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brookford Otters 8 6 2 0 21 10 +11 20
2 Chatswood 8 5 0 3 12 5 +7 15
3 Cypher Town 8 4 3 1 10 5 +5 15
4 Vermillion Wanderers 8 4 2 2 15 8 +7 14
5 Corinthians No Longer 8 4 2 2 9 7 +2 14
6 Goodfeather FC 8 4 1 3 20 11 +9 13
7 Raven River 8 3 4 1 10 9 +1 13
8 Chardonnay Rangers 8 3 3 2 11 9 +2 12
9 AFC Serpentine 8 3 3 2 12 12 +0 12
10 Armstrong 8 4 0 4 10 12 -2 12
11 Mantlegrove 8 3 2 3 8 7 +1 11
12 Leichhardt 8 3 2 3 8 8 +0 11
13 Cranequin Wanderers 8 2 4 2 8 8 +0 10
14 Greygate 8 3 1 4 15 18 -3 10
15 Alliance Barossia 8 3 1 4 7 11 -4 10
16 Corvette Maulers 8 3 1 4 6 13 -7 10
17 AFC Rochford 8 2 3 3 13 11 +2 9
18 Bishop 8 2 3 3 11 13 -2 9
19 The Strongest 8 3 0 5 10 21 -11 9
20 Barossia United 8 2 2 4 11 12 -1 8
21 North Sabrefell 8 2 2 4 9 10 -1 8
22 Aries Solitaire 8 2 2 4 11 13 -2 8
23 Gonen's Bridge 8 2 2 4 7 13 -6 8
24 Pillars of Southfell 8 1 1 6 7 15 -8 4

SECOND DIVISION
Pos Team                      P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin City 8 7 0 1 14 5 +9 21
2 Locksley 8 6 2 0 23 7 +16 20
3 Autumnstone 8 5 1 2 14 6 +8 16
4 Hackett 8 5 1 2 12 5 +7 16
5 Peregrine 8 5 0 3 17 13 +4 15
6 Morningstar 8 4 3 1 13 9 +4 15
7 Ritter Town 8 4 2 2 13 8 +5 14
8 Dartmouth Terriers 8 4 2 2 11 7 +4 14
9 Falston United 8 4 1 3 14 15 -1 13
10 Crisisbless Athletic 8 3 3 2 12 9 +3 12
11 Lazuli Diamonds 8 4 0 4 13 11 +2 12
12 Boltcroft Thorns 8 3 2 3 10 9 +1 11
13 Ballardine FC 8 3 1 4 9 9 +0 10
14 West Brinemouth 8 2 4 2 10 12 -2 10
15 Sheridan 8 2 3 3 10 11 -1 9
16 Extreme Hills 8 2 3 3 10 12 -2 9
17 Riverkey 8 2 2 4 7 8 -1 8
18 Ingram Township 8 2 2 4 6 11 -5 8
19 Stonegrave 8 2 1 5 4 13 -9 7
20 Mapleford 8 2 1 5 10 21 -11 7
21 Rochford Pilgrims 8 1 3 4 8 17 -9 6
22 Gosmouth Swans 8 1 2 5 7 14 -7 5
23 Kensey Town 8 1 2 5 7 14 -7 5
24 The Hanged Man 8 0 3 5 4 12 -8 3

THIRD DIVISION
Pos Team                         P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Southriver 8 6 1 1 9 1 +8 19
2 Lockheed Zenith 8 6 1 1 11 5 +6 19
3 Brokenarch 8 6 0 2 14 9 +5 18
4 New Oakstone Phoenix 8 5 2 1 24 12 +12 17
5 Kommissar 8 5 0 3 10 7 +3 15
6 Coret Rovers 8 4 3 1 10 9 +1 15
7 East Laithland Harriers 8 4 2 2 16 9 +7 14
8 Caldwick Strand 8 4 2 2 9 7 +2 14
9 AFC Shale 8 4 1 3 11 7 +4 13
10 Martella Jazz 8 4 0 4 18 14 +4 12
11 Strephonage 8 4 0 4 15 17 -2 12
12 Brindleton 8 3 2 3 9 7 +2 11
13 Corvistone City 8 3 1 4 5 6 -1 10
14 West Hook 8 3 1 4 6 9 -3 10
15 Crownsend Journey 8 3 0 5 15 16 -1 9
16 Hartford Glade 8 2 2 4 14 10 +4 8
17 Cranequin Souths 8 2 2 4 10 15 -5 8
18 Lindmark Falcons 8 2 2 4 10 16 -6 8
19 Crossroads Town 8 2 2 4 9 15 -6 8
20 Riverkey Shells 8 2 2 4 10 17 -7 8
21 Northside Eagles 8 2 1 5 11 16 -5 7
22 Ringway 8 2 1 5 6 16 -10 7
23 Sirencall FC 8 1 2 5 7 13 -6 5
24 Constance Park 8 1 2 5 6 12 -6 5
WCC Grand Slam champion.
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Nephara
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:29 pm

Aries Chariots 0-1 South Laithland
Belgrave 0-2 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 AFC Treason
Parrhesia United 1-4 Starling
Creed United 1-0 Stahlburg City
Chenoworth Harriers 1-2 Southfell United
Iron City 0-2 Sabrefell Moths
Diamondqueen 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Stahlburg Rovers 3-4 North Laithland
Brinemouth 3-0 Newrook City
Coret Hawks 4-0 Crisisbless United
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Crisisbless

Bibgate overtakes any actual event of relevance this week. Head over to Creed - not something you’d ever want to do for non-footballing reasons, I know - and to Stahlburg City’s visit. Catheline Harper is Creed manager. Stahlburg Rovers legend. AFC Treason legend. So, she hates City and City hate her. Unfortunately, substantial quantities of City’s gear goes missing en route to the match, for reasons opaque to anyone; no balls, no bibs. They go out to warm up on the pitch before the match. Creed are a Premiership side; there should be plenty of supplies on hand. No? The referee tosses them a few match-balls before Creed intervene, stop them getting more balls, any cones or bibs. City’s players are outraged; Harper can be overheard talking shit about how they really should just get their own stuff together. So, what, do they do shirts vs. skins? Linde Rostock starts to take her shirt off, but the referee stops her. Vanessa Rossum throws up her hands in frustration. This is stupid. This is stupid. Dorian Ballard steals a bunch of Creed’s water bottles to use as cones, and a bunch of players rip their shirts off when the exasperated referee isn’t looking. They do some possession game, but perhaps their heart isn’t really in it; Creed centre-half Kund Borbely bundles home the only goal of the game 53 minutes in off Barbarouses’ corner.

Southfell visit the Harriers in a battle of the bottom two, a must-win for both sides. The Harriers have two goals chalked off in a goalless first half, Ascalon’s correctly for handball, Girardi’s more dubiously for offside. Southfell, abysmal until the interval, rally to win; two shots on target, two goals. That sounds clinical except that they had thirteen shots in total, but they still limp across the line despite Coffey’s late consolation. Coret actually are clinical, with Istria Saara capping off her welcome return to form with a hat-trick. And then an injury. Can’t win ‘em all. North Laithland get the best-of-seven against a surprisingly clinical Stahlburg Rovers undone by errors at the back, while Danitha Najzar misses what looks like Diamondqueen’s last chance at an equaliser from the penalty spot, before winning and converting another four minutes later to sink the Rams.

Armstrong 0-3 Alliance Barossia
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Brookford Otters 2-0 The Strongest
Leichhardt 0-0 Corinthians No Longer
Chatswood 1-3 Barossia United
Gonen's Bridge 2-3 Cypher Town
Greygate 0-1 North Sabrefell
Aries Solitaire 1-2 AFC Rochford
Pillars of Southfell 0-2 Raven River
AFC Serpentine 2-2 Corvette Maulers
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Mantlegrove 2-0 Bishop

Chatswood have one of those days against Barossia United. Conleth wins an early penalty but gets too cute, tries to loft it over Maela Ran, watches on in dismay as the keeper just… stands there and plucks it out. Armstrong’s reputation for defensive solidity is evaporating; Alliance punch three goals past them by half-time, the little-and-fucking-massive combination of Remeikis and Taani paying dividends. Two knockdowns converted smoothly by the former South Laithland striker, with a third and final killing blow coming from Kurtis Bristoll, with a throwback late arrival into the box. You almost forgot he was in his mid-30s as he crushed Fowler’s cutback into the bottom corner, but really, someone ought to have stopped him. North Sabrefell earn a lifeline against Greygate through Numenen’s half-volley, while Cypher Town climb to second thanks to centre-half Meulenstein’s headed brace off set plays against Bridge.

Vermillion Rage 2-0 Aries Chariots
AFC Treason 1-1 South Laithland
Starling 3-4 Belgrave
Stahlburg City 2-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Southfell United 1-0 Parrhesia United
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Creed United
Sabrefell Athletic 4-0 Chenoworth Harriers
North Laithland 1-1 Iron City
Newrook City 1-2 Diamondqueen
Crisisbless United 5-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Crisisbless 2-2 Brinemouth
AFC Corvistone 4-1 Coret Hawks

Crisisbless and Brinemouth are the standout favourites for the league. Only Brinemouth have looked the part so far, though; Crisisbless have actually drawn a majority of their games thus far. It’s a feisty affair, and one can sense the frustration in the Crisisbless fans and indeed players. They come eager to spoil and hack and harry, and nobody - not Spijkers, not Woakes - is above it. That’s a good thing, it does them credit, and it earns them the first goal when Woakes puts her feet through Kasmiir and Spijkers curls home the loose ball despite understandable protestations from the Dockers. Jackson almost levels on the verge of half-time, but Na’Kefir tips over at full stretch; not to worry, as Jackson plays provider with a low, scything cross for Tauscher to rifle home fluidly 51 minutes in. Crisisbless get back ahead in the 87th minute, against the run of play; Spijkers races free on the break, found by a long ball from Kastriot, and … ‘invites contact’ from Close. Penalty given, penalty slotted away by Germain… only for Brinemouth to pull back level in injury time, an ugly scramble off a corner that burly centre-half Dean Steele somehow forces through a sea of bodies. Crisisbless’ trend continues with draw number six. For Brinemouth, a point gained more than two lost.

Crisisbless United recover from a comically awful start. ‘Alphonse 3’ (og)’ doesn’t do it justice; the centre-half, pressed by Radcliffe, tries to send it back to goalkeeper Lazareva. He blindly hits it a little too hard and a little too far from her; Lazareva’s studs get caught in the turf, and she falls over, helpless to stop the ball rolling in. Evidently, though, that just makes the Chequers mad; they’re 5-1 up by half-time, Huang’s late consolation not even really that. Starling capitulate late against Belgrave, passing the ball around confidently, missing any chance to put the sword to porous opposition… and being made to pay through a brace of Strand headers and a beautifully-hit free kick from Tarran Seamster. Early pace-setters Rage put down the Chariots without Hartnett so much as facing a shot on target; Jonte Bestatter extends his case as the greatest free transfer of all time with his eighth goal in ten games. Surely it’s unsustainable, but...

Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Armstrong
The Strongest 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Barossia United 2-0 Brookford Otters
Cypher Town 1-1 Leichhardt
North Sabrefell 1-0 Chatswood
AFC Rochford 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Raven River 1-0 Greygate
Corvette Maulers 2-0 Aries Solitaire
Chardonnay Rangers 2-2 Pillars of Southfell
Bishop 2-2 AFC Serpentine
Mantlegrove 1-3 Goodfeather FC

Props to Barossia United: they beat Chatswood when they were second, and now they’ve inflicted Brookford’s first defeat of the season. Hardly a smash-and-grab, either; Brookford had most of the ball, but Barossia always looked comfortable, never let them into the box, and Ran easily dealt with shots from distance. Ulrike Jensen scored first, lashing home when Serduchka’s cross was badly misjudged and allowed to bounce in the box, before Saturn Mastiff, veteran midfielder and undoubted player of the match, smashed home the second from distance with violent force. Chatswood lose again, Bohemians midfielder Lothar Zander with an imperious performance capped off by a masterful assist for Geist, while Serpentine’s late equaliser is soured somewhat when striker Alyssa Greening celebrates her impressive half-volley with a somersault that lands badly and winds up knocking her ankle out of commission for a few weeks.

Aries Chariots 1-0 AFC Treason
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Starling
South Laithland 0-1 Stahlburg City
Belgrave 0-3 Southfell United
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 Sabrefell Moths
Parrhesia United 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Creed United 0-1 North Laithland
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Newrook City
Iron City 0-0 Crisisbless United
Diamondqueen 0-0 Crisisbless
Stahlburg Rovers 4-1 AFC Corvistone
Brinemouth 6-0 Coret Hawks

Coret have earned a reputation early in the season for taking on the best sides, toe-to-toe, using discipline and grit. But one suspects Daniel Archer might have hyped up the lads a bit too much, today… the lack of creativity between Lexmann and Bezemer costs them as they’re constantly pressed into errors, and the overzealous pressing leads to foul after foul. That’s a viable strategy when you need to break your opponents’ momentum. That’s not a viable strategy when rue Cazade puts two free kicks into the top corner before the first half is out. Not that letting Brinemouth run rampant does much better; Deventer makes it three before the hour, Ivan Bader’s sent off for a reckless challenge on Tauscher, Jackson heads home number four and substitutes Keldoulis and Stancil finish the job. 6-0: a demolition.

Stahlburg Rovers have shown more teeth this season than they’ve been given credit for. Reinhard Drake deserves credit for instilling a front-foot mentality across the side, legitimately pressuring their opponents even in defeat. It’s that kind of pressure that sees Corvistone defender and Nephara international Cedella Verlander’s pocket picked twelve minutes in, not noticing the manlet Huang stealing in behind her; a confident finish puts the Rovers up 1-0, a lead they hold to the break. After which, Hanning gets sent off, Kaveci gives away a penalty, Romanov curls one in direct from a corner and the hope Ulreich gives is wiped out by a towering header from substitute Rook Middleton, his first Premiership goal. Southfell show more than a few signs of life in a 3-0 evisceration of Belgrave, Chariots keeper Fasolt Senninger denies his hometown club time and again as they beat the Stags 1-0, while Diamondqueen ride their luck against Crisisbless, lucky not to concede a penalty in the first half, luckier still that Abylon missed one in the second. Starling lose to Vermillion Rage. They are now, unaccountably, 21st.

Armstrong 1-1 The Strongest
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Barossia United
Cranequin Wanderers 3-1 Cypher Town
Brookford Otters 2-0 North Sabrefell
Leichhardt 0-0 AFC Rochford
Chatswood 2-0 Raven River
Gonen's Bridge 2-2 Corvette Maulers
Greygate 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Aries Solitaire 2-2 Bishop
Pillars of Southfell 0-4 Mantlegrove
AFC Serpentine 3-2 Goodfeather FC

Serpentine overcome Goodfeather, mildly surprising, with the aid of a fish, somewhat more surprising. Leyland Brincat, Goodfeather’s goalkeeper is… well, he’s high-strung. The kind who bounds up to his feet to berate his defence for every goal that gets past him, including when, say, Oriane Marc just beats him at his near post, as happens for the opener. Though Goodfeather pull back level, some enterprising home fan sees him too easy a target and, uh, how exactly did he get a fish in there? Hurled fish smacks Brincat in the back of the head; Brincat, not overreacting at all, clambers over the hoardings to fight approximately the entire active support section at once. He’s thrown back down onto the pitch and sent off; the Dragons score twice more to win when their momentum was flagging. Yolanda Sparrow runs the show for Mantlegrove, and chalks up assists on all four unanswered goals in a cataclysmic destruction of Pillars, while a Three Sisters derby between the clubs-named-Barossia sees more red cards than goals, former Premiership veteran midfielders Bristoll and Mastiff getting into a delicious little punch-up in the centre of the pitch.

Latin Enclave FC 1-0 Downsparrow
Lindmark Falcons 2-1 Constance Park
AFC Hellerine 3-0 Brookford Vantablack
Corvistone City 2-1 Twelvetrees
Barhara Cavaliers 1-1 Sharpe Mill (1-1 AET, 8-7 PKs)
Iberia Chenoworth 4-1 Iron United
Sutcroft 1-1 Southriver (1-1 AET, 3-1 PKs)
Grey Egress 1-4 Cranequin Souths
Chenoworth Teutons 0-1 Advance Lazuli
Long Lake 0-0 Grovebank
Northside Eagles 0-1 Hartford Glade
Ringway 3-0 AFC Southsands
Coret Rovers 0-1 Caldwick Strand
The Travellers FC 0-0 Brunyard FC (0-1 AET)
Bodkin Road 0-3 Lockheed Zenith
AFC Feuerweiss 0-1 Strephonage
Longwinter 0-2 AFC Shale
Boleyn Town 0-1 Rosary Brinemouth
New Oakstone Phoenix 6-2 Mueller's Crossing
Courser 0-3 Crownsend Journey
South Parrhesia 1-4 Kommissar
Ox River United 0-4 Riverkey Shells
West Hook 2-0 Rookwall
Rushe United 1-0 Moxstone Fortune
Creed Rosebud 1-1 FC Seierstad (1-1 AET, 3-0 PKs)
Aspen Grove 1-2 Sirencall FC
Besand's Folly 1-1 AFC Burchess (1-2 AET)
Shimmering Quay 0-0 AFC Hoxenhaven (1-0 AET)
Fischer 0-3 Brokenarch
Lindwurm Delta 1-4 Brindleton
Martella Jazz 1-1 Crossroads Town (1-1 AET, 2-1 PKs)
East Laithland Harriers 2-1 Fully Sick XI

It is also not the last season of the NFA Cup, though it’s the last time the first round will take this precise form, for better or worse. One knock-on effect of the restructures means that the Third Division will be fully professional, not a weird blend of pros and semi-pros and full-time teams across the league. Little to report, so early - though take a moment to admire the uselessness of Seierstad’s penalty takers, who miss all three of their attempts. Not even saved. Missed. Crossroads Town don’t do much better in defeat to Martella Jazz - 2-1 on penalties after a fairly sad affair. Both these sides were 1Div outfits not so long ago.

Starling 2-0 Aries Chariots
Stahlburg City 1-1 AFC Treason
Southfell United 4-0 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 South Laithland
Sabrefell Athletic 1-6 Belgrave
North Laithland 3-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Newrook City 4-3 Parrhesia United
Crisisbless United 0-1 Creed United
Crisisbless 1-2 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Corvistone 1-0 Iron City
Coret Hawks 2-3 Diamondqueen
Brinemouth 2-0 Stahlburg Rovers

The Rams have been faltering of late, but this is… well, this is something special. They host Belgrave, a side who could nominally overtake them on the ladder but only with something ridiculous like victory by a five-goal margin. Victory against a banana skin would help set the Rams back on the right path, and… and there’s really no point pretending there was any suspense in the game, at all. Things went wrong almost immediately, Reniira Clevinger wincing and limping off after stretching for a tackle resulted in a calf strain. Theodore Sigismund replaces her. A former Galactico! A former Galactico from a long time ago. And, yeah, the years are showing; he misses a tackle as Krause whirls by him to lash home the first, and he’s simply outpaced and outmuscled by Strand as he drives home the third. Kotaro Katsura pulls one back against his old club shortly before half-time, but 24-year old leftback Ava Washington scores her first Premiership goal in injury-time. Athletic nearly get some glimmer of hope, a frankly luscious no-look pass from drifting forward Benezet feeding Tomlinson, who smashes home … from a marginally offside position, if at all. But the goal is chalked off, and Strand and Krause complete braces soon after. Athletic slide to the bottom half. Belgrave leapfrog them to 12th on goal difference.

Crisisbless are another listing giant; they go down to a disappointing defeat as well, though a significantly less spectacular one. The Harriers’ aging wingers, Coffey and Exarchopolous, each get on the scoresheet with curling strikes on the edges of the penalty area, while seven fine-to-inspired saves from Claire Libuda help the Harriers over the line. Newrook come out best in a seven-goal thriller against Parrhesia; unfortunately, Voeller’s red card with twenty minutes to play doesn’t open up the game, but rather shuts it down as City switch to a hard-nosed defensive approach. It pays off. Hated rivals Stahlburg City and Treason play out a typically bad-tempered 1-1 draw, the highlight coming when Ferena Rauch ‘accidentally’ stands on Marita Neuwirth’s thigh with both studded feet for about ten seconds, Neuwirth resolutely clamping down her lip and refusing to cry out, the referee not noticing, while Vermillion suffer an abrupt and violent reverse, shattered 4-0 by Southfell, for whom 20-year old striker Petrarch Corbay enjoyed a brace and a breakthrough in his first start. Not, one suspects, his last.

Corinthians No Longer 3-3 Armstrong
Barossia United 0-1 The Strongest
Cypher Town 0-2 Vermillion Wanderers
North Sabrefell 4-0 Alliance Barossia
AFC Rochford 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Raven River 0-2 Brookford Otters
Corvette Maulers 3-1 Leichhardt
Chardonnay Rangers 0-4 Chatswood
Bishop 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Mantlegrove 0-2 Greygate
Goodfeather FC 3-1 Aries Solitaire
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Pillars of Southfell

A hard-fought but surprisingly clean Northern Vale derby sees Maulers playmaker Darren Halfhill run the show - a former Starling man, he’s intimately aware of what it means to hate Leichhardt - but Auburn Daescher wins the plaudits. A lean young midfielder, full of drive and with a hammer of a left foot, she scores both decisive second-half goals just by pinging to the corners from distance, a couple of beautiful grass-cutters. She celebrates post-match with a delightful interview, talking about how ‘delicious’ it was to ‘beat the tar out of the ‘gazers’ in her disgusting hick Vale accent. Internet darling status: secure. Cap her, Dani. Chatswood massacre Chardonnay Rangers with four unanswered goals, while North Sabrefell do much the same to Alliance but with far more style. 70 minutes in: 0-0. 80 minutes in: 1-0. 90 minutes in: 3-0. FT: 4-0. Suffiice to say, Kaisa Gyldenstroem arriving off the bench in the 68th minute does not feel like a coincidence.

Aries Chariots 2-0 Stahlburg City
Starling 2-1 Southfell United
AFC Treason 2-0 Sabrefell Moths
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
South Laithland 0-1 North Laithland
Belgrave 2-1 Newrook City
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Crisisbless United
Parrhesia United 2-1 Crisisbless
Creed United 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Coret Hawks
Iron City 0-1 Brinemouth
Diamondqueen 7-4 Stahlburg Rovers

Oh, dear. Stahlburg Rovers have been somewhat anarchic already this season, but this really is a little much. Ten minutes in, things are fairly tranquil in central Sabrefell… and then a penalty’s called against Stahlburg when Svennsdottir’s hand intercepts a . Luckless more than stupid, but stonewall in any case; Auregarray saves, but the rebound goes straight back to Najzar, who just slots home at the second time of asking. And from there, chaos reigns. A free kick from Najzar thunders off the crossbar and is inadvertently headed in by Macellan; a Huang header makes it 2-1, another Huang header makes it 2-2 before Jelena Romanov skins Pfeiffer and drives home a diffident third for the Rovers. Two minutes later, Diamondqueen think they’ve levelled, but Kinbois was offside when she played in Isring. Two minutes after that, Isring sets up Kinbois to score, and this time, onside. 4-3 in first-half injury time, Rowles with a mishit cross that arcs over Auregarray.

So far, so even - but the near-equilibrium breaks, along with Lapwing’s ankle, following a dreadful challenge from Rook Middleton. She’s off, he’s off, Stahlburg are down to ten… and almost immediately score, the Diamonds slow to react to a throw-in, Sebring quick to hook it over the top, Radcliffe chesting down and stroking home through a heavy deflection off Harker’s thigh. Harker and Szarbach blame one another, loudly; they’re still going off by the time that, 86 seconds later, Max Rusnak smashes home the fifth for the Diamonds; Forrest and Nisiotis come off the bench to finish the job late on, with Rovers by now scattered and broken. The Laithland derby is usually friendly, but here, downright placid - nobody even really looks upset when Sadler races to the far post and crashes home an inspired long ball from Lundell to secure the game - while the Rage are left disappointed by failing to beat the Rams at home, Cralt-Nirlo telling the press “we need to beat midtable opposition if we’re to sustain this top four push.” With a straight face, even.

Armstrong 0-3 Barossia United
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Cypher Town
The Strongest 0-1 North Sabrefell
Vermillion Wanderers 3-0 AFC Rochford
Alliance Barossia 1-4 Raven River
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Brookford Otters 3-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Leichhardt 3-2 Bishop
Chatswood 1-0 Mantlegrove
Gonen's Bridge 1-3 Goodfeather FC
Greygate 4-0 AFC Serpentine
Aries Solitaire 1-0 Pillars of Southfell

Two surprising shows from sides not content to accept their destiny… and more worrying signs at an Armstrong side that seem to have melted between years. Would a great defence concede to a corner within two minutes? Would a great defence allow itself to be split open to such a point where Ulrike Jensen, who turns 33 next week, can just beat Asbjornsson in a foot-race and hammer home past Virtanen on the edge of the box? Jensen flicks on for Serduchka to make it 3-0 for Barossia United by half-time, and while the Paladins shape up in the second half, that’s all they’re able to do. Greygate, for their parts, continue to show their teeth. Who really expected Brandon Mkr… Brandon Mkrtch… who really expected Greygate’s young striker to hit the ground running? And yet his brace marks goals seven and eight of the season in a 4-0 thumping of Serpentine, one of whose sides who could, conceivably, let their heads dip below the waterline.

Southfell United 0-2 Aries Chariots
Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Stahlburg City
Sabrefell Athletic 1-3 Starling
North Laithland 2-0 AFC Treason
Newrook City 0-0 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless United 1-0 South Laithland
Crisisbless 3-1 Belgrave
AFC Corvistone 6-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Coret Hawks 1-4 Parrhesia United
Brinemouth 4-0 Creed United
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Diamondqueen 2-1 Iron City

Athletic and Starling have both made appalling starts to the season, but given the open nature of the year so far either or both could still work their way back to the IFCF places. So there’s plenty of intrigue when the Passerines come to the former capital, and understandably given recent results and the daunting task ahead, Lisa Amos rolls the dice. Gisella Riaz returns for a first start of the season. This time last season she had twelve. Maybe she was the wrong scapegoat, and an early, clever goal, enabled by a deft flick over Reinhardt’s head, goes some way to making that case. Usual suspect Daniel Dostalok makes it 2-0 on the half-hour, before playing provider for Flaxwood, who can only fire into a maze of bodies… not to worry, as Nicki Stone picks up where he left off and chips the stranded keeper Garamond. 3-0 down by the half; the fans have turned on the Rams, who perform better in the second half. Violet Siverson pulls a goal back, but perhaps misjudges the audience, celebrating a trifle hard and ducking under a shower of hurled coins. Perhaps that kills Athletic’s motivation to fight back. 3-1 it ends.

Any dream the Hawks had of passing for ‘defensively solid’ has melted away. The first half, sure, that ends scoreless, but Parrhesia smash them for four in the second half, Elsebeth Celustka’s diffident brilliance claiming another kill. North Laithland get one over their hated rivals Treason, a sharp technical performance backed by real teeth in midfield. Both goals may have come off set plays, well-worked ones, but 1) those still count and 2) in any case they reflected the run of play, though a genuinely spectacular double save from Stovar Krieven late on stopped Bobby Malone making things interesting late on.The promoted sides play off; Stahlburg Rovers get an invaluable win over the Harriers through Huang’s continued good form and defensive midfielder Vanderlei’s continued ability to ignore the ravages of time, while Diamondqueen overturn Iron’s deficit on the hour, when goalscorer Xandra Vermouth gets herself sent off and the Diamonds’ army of small, incisive technicians takes ruthless advantage of the space.

Cypher Town 1-1 Armstrong
North Sabrefell 1-0 Barossia United
AFC Rochford 2-0 Corinthians No Longer
Raven River 2-3 The Strongest
Corvette Maulers 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Chardonnay Rangers 3-0 Alliance Barossia
Bishop 0-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Mantlegrove 0-0 Brookford Otters
Goodfeather FC 1-2 Leichhardt
AFC Serpentine 0-3 Chatswood
Pillars of Southfell 3-1 Gonen's Bridge
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Greygate

Just as they were threatening to look competent, Raven River throw things away. 2-0 up by half-time over The Strongest, defensive midfielder Octavia Zahra has a horror five minutes to open the second half, first having a shot from Korchnoi deflect heavily off her and past Carver, then getting sent off for a vicious lunge on opposite number Gervase Ascham. From there, The Strongest work their way into the ascendancy through brute force, powerhouse striker Kylene Rotariu not scoring herself but opening gaps in the line through her powerful hold-up play, leaving space for Nizarut and Masters to seal the win. There’s another damaging defeat for Serpentine and another statement of intent from Chatswood; three goals for the Woodsmen, zero shots on target for the Dragons, who just look an eroded shadow of what they were, while Brookford finally fail to fire in Mantlegrove thanks in no small part to Dryads goalkeeper Arneth Kolaghan.

Orga City 0-1 Sabrefell Moths

The opener here should, were there poetic justice in the world, have come through Shiloh Morgenstern’s exquisite scorpion-kick on the verge of half-time… but the keeper tips it over the bar. Pity. As it stands, the only goal of the game comes through Brabanzon heading home Roesler’s free kick late on, just about edging a rather flat affair.

Aries Chariots 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Southfell United 4-0 Sabrefell Athletic
Stahlburg City 2-0 North Laithland
Starling 1-1 Newrook City
AFC Treason 0-0 Crisisbless United
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Crisisbless
South Laithland 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Belgrave 0-2 Coret Hawks
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 Brinemouth
Parrhesia United 2-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Creed United 0-1 Diamondqueen
Chenoworth Harriers 0-0 Iron City

Brinemouth fans must barely believe their eyes. Okay, so defeat to lowly-but-resilient Chenoworth Rovers, who lean on their goalkeeper Dundalk and benefit from a spectacular Vithoulkas scissor-kick, wasn’t great, but they retain a four-point lead on the Rage and eleven-point lead on their nearest realistic title challengers, the Moths. The rest of the top four is no less chaotic; the Rage draw with Crisisbless (more on them later…), North Laithland are beaten 2-0 by Stahlburg City (who move up to 5th) and the Chariots draw the Moths, with lowly Diamondqueen rounding out the IFCF places despite a poor goal difference as Marduk Schmetzer’s goal is enough to take down Creed. Corvistone and Treason hover just outside, after both draw midtable opposition; Coret’s dawn looks now to be false, though a clean 2-0 win in Belgrave is nothing to sniff at.

Raluca Garamond’s confidence is shot. Southfell winger Lissa Anselm tests her with what should be an easy save from distance, no matter how much power on the shot; Garamond parries it back into the path of Kuzener, who drives in the rebound. Okay, so that explains one goal, but it’s sheer sluggishness in midfield and indifferent defending that betrays Athletic for the other three. Yeah, that’s right; Southfell 4-0 Athletic, and that leaves the Rams 20th. If the season ended now, they would be relegated. A side with Kotaro Katsura, Thibault Benezet, Reece Lucas… are level on points with Crisisbless. Wait, Crisisbless? Yeah, they’re 17th on 17 points but somehow have a positive goal difference and just three wins. Title challenge already toast, you’d imagine. Who else isn’t doing so crash-hot? Well, Creed United’s defeat leaves them fourth-last, normally the playoff place, while Stahlburg Rovers lose to Parrhesia despite a late, abortive comeback and an offside ‘equaliser’ from Radcliffe. The Harriers and Iron, the bottom two, play out a truly dismal scoreless draw. Of course they do.

Armstrong 2-3 North Sabrefell
Cypher Town 3-1 AFC Rochford
Barossia United 1-0 Raven River
Corinthians No Longer 1-2 Corvette Maulers
The Strongest 4-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Bishop
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Mantlegrove
Cranequin Wanderers 3-1 Goodfeather FC
Brookford Otters 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Leichhardt 1-0 Pillars of Southfell
Chatswood 2-0 Aries Solitaire
Gonen's Bridge 2-2 Greygate

Brookford remain the standout best side thus far, six points clear at the top - and top spot is required for automatic promotion. But they leave it late to beat a Serpentine side who rally with an experimental lineup, the Otters ultimately relieved when Andrine Samsa comes on and smashes home with a first shot she probably shouldn’t have taken, and that Markus Rose probably should have saved… but they’ll take it. Chatswood’s simple win over Solitaire sees them overtake Vermillion Wanderers, while North Sabrefell have rallied to fourth after their poor start. They’re honestly far from their best against Armstrong, but Fabrice Laramee takes the game by the scruff and hauls them over the line in the second half.

The Strongest pulp Chardonnay 4-1, absolutely take them to the cleaners, to sit in 10th… but that’s just three points above the drop. This is a weird season, and mediocrity is not going to be enough. Pressure is mounting in Armstrong and Serpentine, while the further down you go the more you sense some teams will lose hope long before the end. Pillars hold out to a mere 1-0 defeat in Leichhardt, and are already 11 points from safety. But there’s signs of life elsewhere; Bishop haul themselves to third-last with a win over Vermillion, and they do so the ‘right’ way, playing clever, short-passing football through the lines as Scowsmith and Reiss repel the Wanderers’ direct ball. You wouldn’t quite count out anyone yet. Well, except Pillars.

Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Orga City
Sabrefell Moths win 4-0 on aggregate.

A bullet header from Kateryna Zuniga at the far post sets the Moths on the right track just six minutes in. Reach and Aedelbrandt finish it in the second half, Archer coming off the bench to hit a post with enough force the ball comes back off the post and smacks him hard in the face. Minor embarrassments aside, the Moths clear through easily enough.

Riverkey 1-0 Hartford Glade
Stonegrave 3-1 Corvistone City
New Oakstone Phoenix 1-0 Peregrine
Sutcroft 1-3 Autumnstone
Cranequin Souths 0-7 Ballardine FC
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Strephonage
Chatswood 1-2 North Sabrefell
Cypher Town 3-2 Martella Jazz
Latin Enclave FC 0-3 Mapleford
Rosary Brinemouth 1-2 Rushe United
East Laithland Harriers 2-2 Gosmouth Swans (2-3 AET)
Gonen's Bridge 0-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Locksley 3-4 Raven River
Leichhardt 3-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Brokenarch 2-3 Ingram Township
Riverkey Shells 0-0 AFC Hellerine (1-0 AET)
Rochford Pilgrims 2-1 Cranequin City
Hackett 4-0 Shimmering Quay
Barhara Cavaliers 0-8 Alliance Barossia
Brookford Otters 3-0 Armstrong
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Kommissar
Pillars of Southfell 2-2 Extreme Hills (4-2 AET)
Corvette Maulers 3-1 Crownsend Journey
Morningstar 0-0 West Brinemouth (0-0 AET, 2-3 PKs)
Brindleton 0-0 Crisisbless Athletic (0-1 AET)
Sheridan 2-1 West Hook
Caldwick Strand 2-3 Ritter Town
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 Goodfeather FC
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers (1-1 AET, 3-0 PKs)
AFC Rochford 3-0 AFC Shale
Barossia United 1-1 Kensey Town (2-1 AET)
The Hanged Man 1-0 Lindmark Falcons
Falston United 2-2 Bishop (2-3 AET)
Iberia Chenoworth 2-3 The Strongest
Sirencall FC 2-1 Creed Rosebud
AFC Burchess 0-8 Corinthians No Longer
Mantlegrove 2-1 Long Lake
Greygate 1-1 Lockheed Zenith (2-1 AET)
Brunyard FC 0-0 Advance Lazuli (1-1 AET, 2-4 PKs)
Lazuli Diamonds 3-1 Ringway

Ah, see, yeah, this is the fun round. A few hapless semi-pros have the tar beaten out of them by real teams. Barhara Cavaliers only recently made it to the Conference, and getting pulverised 8-0 at home by Alliance Barossia was… yeah, well might their manager say there was a ‘gulf in class’. Imagine letting Matthew Chance score a hat-trick against you. Burchess, struggling just to stay up in the Conference East,, lose by the same scoreline to a Drea Bouman-inspired Corinthians No Longer, while 3Div Cranequin Souths get pumped 7-0 by 2Div Ballardine FC. Chardonnay Rangers get the no-scored-penalties mark of shame fhis time, beaten by Serpentine… though ironically, Rangers’ 86th-minute equaliser was a penalty. And yet, goalscorer Justice Pearce didn’t take a penalty in the shootout. “I’m a believer in the shooter with the steadiest nerves taking the fourth kick,” manager Rudi Schubert fronted up after the fact. “Sadly, well… we didn’t get that far, did we.” How far have Morningstar and West Brinemouth fallen? Far enough their 0-0 draw after 120 minutes is the most eye-bleaching agony of the round. They live in purgatory.

MATCHDAY 9
The Hanged Man 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Cranequin City 1-0 Sheridan
Peregrine 1-1 Locksley
Morningstar 1-2 West Brinemouth
Mapleford 2-0 Autumnstone
Ingram Township 0-2 Hackett
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Kensey Town 2-6 Ritter Town
Riverkey 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Ballardine FC 0-1 Falston United
Stonegrave 2-0 Extreme Hills
MATCHDAY 10
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 The Hanged Man
Sheridan 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Locksley 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
West Brinemouth 0-1 Cranequin City
Autumnstone 0-2 Peregrine
Hackett 0-1 Morningstar
Gosmouth Swans 3-0 Mapleford
Ritter Town 1-0 Ingram Township
Boltcroft Thorns 5-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Falston United 0-1 Kensey Town
Extreme Hills 1-2 Riverkey
Stonegrave 3-0 Ballardine FC
MATCHDAY 11
The Hanged Man 0-1 Sheridan
Dartmouth Terriers 3-0 Locksley
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 West Brinemouth
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Autumnstone
Cranequin City 1-1 Hackett
Peregrine 6-1 Gosmouth Swans
Morningstar 1-1 Ritter Town
Mapleford 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Ingram Township 0-1 Falston United
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Extreme Hills
Kensey Town 2-1 Stonegrave
Riverkey 0-0 Ballardine FC
MATCHDAY 12
Locksley 2-1 The Hanged Man
West Brinemouth 1-1 Sheridan
Autumnstone 1-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Hackett 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Gosmouth Swans 1-4 Crisisbless Athletic
Ritter Town 0-2 Cranequin City
Boltcroft Thorns 2-2 Peregrine
Falston United 0-2 Morningstar
Extreme Hills 2-1 Mapleford
Stonegrave 1-0 Ingram Township
Ballardine FC 2-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Riverkey 0-1 Kensey Town
MATCHDAY 13
The Hanged Man 1-0 West Brinemouth
Locksley 2-0 Autumnstone
Sheridan 0-2 Hackett
Dartmouth Terriers 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Lazuli Diamonds 1-2 Ritter Town
Crisisbless Athletic 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Cranequin City 2-0 Falston United
Peregrine 1-0 Extreme Hills
Morningstar 0-0 Stonegrave
Mapleford 2-0 Ballardine FC
Ingram Township 2-0 Riverkey
Rochford Pilgrims 2-0 Kensey Town
MATCHDAY 14
Autumnstone 1-1 The Hanged Man
Hackett 4-0 West Brinemouth
Gosmouth Swans 2-2 Locksley
Ritter Town 2-0 Sheridan
Boltcroft Thorns 2-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Falston United 3-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Extreme Hills 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Stonegrave 0-1 Cranequin City
Ballardine FC 1-2 Peregrine
Riverkey 0-2 Morningstar
Kensey Town 3-0 Mapleford
Rochford Pilgrims 3-0 Ingram Township
MATCHDAY 15
The Hanged Man 1-3 Hackett
Autumnstone 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
West Brinemouth 0-0 Ritter Town
Locksley 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Sheridan 0-1 Falston United
Dartmouth Terriers 6-2 Extreme Hills
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Stonegrave
Crisisbless Athletic 3-1 Ballardine FC
Cranequin City 1-0 Riverkey
Peregrine 3-1 Kensey Town
Morningstar 3-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Mapleford 1-2 Ingram Township


PREMIERSHIP
Pos Team                      P   W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 15 11 2 2 41 12 +29 35
2 Vermillion Rage 15 9 4 2 30 14 +16 31
3 North Laithland 15 8 2 5 22 21 +1 26
4 Aries Chariots 15 7 4 4 22 18 +4 25

5 Stahlburg City 15 7 4 4 15 11 +4 25
6 Sabrefell Moths 15 7 3 5 23 16 +7 24
7 Diamondqueen 15 7 3 5 23 29 -6 24

8 AFC Corvistone 15 6 5 4 26 19 +7 23
9 AFC Treason 15 6 5 4 12 11 +1 23
10 Coret Hawks 15 7 2 6 25 25 +0 23
11 Crisisbless United 15 6 4 5 19 20 -1 22
12 Southfell United 15 6 2 7 21 20 +1 20
13 Starling 15 6 2 7 24 24 +0 20
14 Parrhesia United 15 6 2 7 26 27 -1 20
15 Belgrave 15 6 1 8 23 25 -2 19
16 Chenoworth Rovers 15 4 7 4 17 20 -3 19
17 Crisisbless 15 3 8 4 21 17 +4 17
18 South Laithland 15 4 5 6 14 16 -2 17
19 Newrook City 15 4 5 6 18 21 -3 17
20 Sabrefell Athletic 15 4 5 6 20 26 -6 17
21 Creed United 15 4 4 7 9 17 -8 16
22 Stahlburg Rovers 15 4 1 10 21 36 -15 13
23 Chenoworth Harriers 15 3 3 9 13 27 -14 12
24 Iron City 15 2 3 10 6 19 -13 9

FIRST DIVISION
Pos Team                        P   W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brookford Otters 15 11 3 1 32 15 +17 36
2 Chatswood 15 10 0 5 25 9 +16 30
3 Vermillion Wanderers 15 8 4 3 24 11 +13 28

4 North Sabrefell 15 8 2 5 20 14 +6 26
5 Corvette Maulers 15 7 4 4 18 19 -1 25
6 Goodfeather FC 15 7 2 6 34 23 +11 23
7 Cypher Town 15 6 5 4 20 17 +3 23
8 Leichhardt 15 6 5 4 16 15 +1 23
9 Raven River 15 6 4 5 19 18 +1 22
10 The Strongest 15 7 1 7 21 28 -7 22
11 Mantlegrove 15 6 3 6 16 13 +3 21
12 Barossia United 15 6 2 7 20 16 +4 20
13 Cranequin Wanderers 15 5 5 5 16 13 +3 20
14 Chardonnay Rangers 15 5 5 5 22 23 -1 20
15 Corinthians No Longer 15 5 5 5 15 16 -1 20
16 AFC Rochford 15 5 4 6 19 19 +0 19
17 Greygate 15 5 3 7 24 25 -1 18
18 AFC Serpentine 15 4 6 5 21 28 -7 18
19 Armstrong 15 4 4 7 18 27 -9 16
20 Gonen's Bridge 15 4 4 7 17 26 -9 16
21 Alliance Barossia 15 5 1 9 12 25 -13 16
22 Bishop 15 3 5 7 19 26 -7 14
23 Aries Solitaire 15 3 4 8 17 25 -8 13
24 Pillars of Southfell 15 2 3 10 13 27 -14 9

SECOND DIVISION
Pos Team                       P   W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin City 15 13 1 1 23 6 +17 40
2 Crisisbless Athletic 15 10 3 2 28 12 +16 33
3 Hackett 15 10 2 3 26 9 +17 32

4 Peregrine 15 10 2 3 34 19 +15 32
5 Locksley 15 9 4 2 33 17 +16 31
6 Morningstar 15 8 5 2 23 13 +10 29
7 Ritter Town 15 8 4 3 25 14 +11 28
8 Dartmouth Terriers 15 7 4 4 24 16 +8 25
9 Falston United 15 8 1 6 20 21 -1 25
10 Boltcroft Thorns 15 5 4 6 22 20 +2 19
11 Lazuli Diamonds 15 5 3 7 20 21 -1 18
12 Stonegrave 15 5 3 7 12 17 -5 18
13 Rochford Pilgrims 15 5 3 7 17 27 -10 18
14 Autumnstone 15 5 2 8 16 18 -2 17
15 Kensey Town 15 5 2 8 17 26 -9 17
16 West Brinemouth 15 3 7 5 13 20 -7 16
17 Riverkey 15 4 3 8 11 16 -5 15
18 Gosmouth Swans 15 4 3 8 17 27 -10 15
19 Sheridan 15 3 5 7 13 19 -6 14
20 Ballardine FC 15 4 2 9 13 20 -7 14
21 Ingram Township 15 4 2 9 10 20 -10 14
22 Mapleford 15 4 1 10 16 32 -16 13
23 Extreme Hills 15 3 3 9 15 26 -11 12
24 The Hanged Man 15 1 5 9 9 21 -12 8

THIRD DIVISION
Pos Team                          P  W  D  L For  Ag  +/- Pts
[color=#008000] 1 Lockheed Zenith 15 10 3 2 33 18 +15 33
2 New Oakstone Phoenix 15 9 5 1 42 20 +22 32
3 Brokenarch 15 9 3 3 24 15 +9 30

4 Kommissar 15 9 3 3 19 10 +9 30
5 Southriver 15 9 2 4 15 8 +7 29
6 AFC Shale 15 7 4 4 18 12 +6 25
7 East Laithland Harriers 15 6 6 3 25 17 +8 24
8 Coret Rovers 15 7 3 5 20 24 -4 24
9 Martella Jazz 15 7 2 6 28 24 +4 23
10 Caldwick Strand 15 6 4 5 20 19 +1 22
11 Riverkey Shells 15 6 3 6 30 30 +0 21
12 Strephonage 15 7 0 8 21 24 -3 21
13 Corvistone City 15 6 3 6 12 15 -3 21
14 Brindleton 15 5 5 5 18 16 +2 20
15 Crossroads Town 15 5 4 6 28 29 -1 19
16 Northside Eagles 15 5 3 7 22 24 -2 18
17 Lindmark Falcons 15 5 3 7 22 29 -7 18
18 Cranequin Souths 15 4 5 6 21 24 -3 17
19 Constance Park 15 3 5 7 13 24 -11 14
20 West Hook 15 4 2 9 12 25 -13 14
21 Crownsend Journey 15 3 4 8 28 32 -4 13
22 Hartford Glade 15 3 3 9 19 20 -1 12
23 Ringway 15 3 2 10 11 26 -15 11
24 Sirencall FC 15 1 5 9 12 28 -16 8
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Nephara
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:54 pm

Sabrefell Athletic 1-2 Aries Chariots
North Laithland 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
Newrook City 2-1 Southfell United
Crisisbless United 0-1 Stahlburg City
Crisisbless 4-1 Starling
AFC Corvistone 2-4 AFC Treason
Coret Hawks 1-1 Vermillion Rage
Brinemouth 3-2 South Laithland
Stahlburg Rovers 1-3 Belgrave
Diamondqueen 2-2 Chenoworth Rovers
Iron City 0-0 Parrhesia United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Creed United

This week will down in infamy. Three days, three sacked managers at top clubs, an unimaginable blood-letting. First to go is Crisisbless manager Chris Maarsden, before the weekend’s games. His last game was a draw against Vermillion - not the worst thing - but only three wins in the league so far, combined with back-to-back defeats to CF Outineau in the CL that have probably put paid to their chances of progression? He’s out the door. And they get the holy grail; Michael Brandon returns from Eura, a mixed stint to be certain but not without its high points, and certainly he’s a marquee buy. Indeed, did Crisisbless hurry Maarsden out the door prematurely in order to get Brandon first? But he does have a connection to the club, through his half-brother, Augustine, a one-club man at Crisisbless. And he gets off to a winning start; the side look sharper, more muscular, solid, as they make short work of Starling. Danica Marinkovic dinks Smordal neatly from twenty yards, the mark of a striker full of confidence, and thunderbolts from Fletcher and Woakes find the top corners either side of the interval. Ever-reliable Daniel Dostalok pulls one back, and for a while, Starling look like rallying, until a pass from Berg is cut out by Woakes, who sets up the impressive Fletcher to slot home the fourth.

That proves the end for Lisa Amos, the Premiership’s longest-serving manager. Her legacy remains a positive one, but last season was genuinely dreadful and this one is shaping up to be worse still. Former Manager of the Season Tim Maitfield comes in from Crisisbless United, shortly after overseeing defeat to Vanessa Rossum’s resilient Smiths. The final skull comes from Sabrefell, more specifically in the East Sabrefell derby between Athletic and the Chariots. Athletic score first, a powerful strike from Bartol Isusi crashing in off the inside of the far post. It’s far more aesthetically pleasing than the Chariots’ two second-half tap-ins, but that doesn’t make it worth anymore. Tony Dalton, then, follows Maarsden and Amos out the door. They’d been linked heavily with Brandon, too - the former Eura manager could get back in touch with three internationals - but they wind up plucking Tana Colbright off Northern Stallions. The former Nephara goalkeeper has done brilliantly in Brenecia, including a title win. In a weird domino effect, Ole Oehman, long-time assistant at Sabrefell Athletic, takes over the United job.

AFC Rochford 1-1 Armstrong
Raven River 4-3 North Sabrefell
Corvette Maulers 2-0 Cypher Town
Chardonnay Rangers 1-4 Barossia United
Bishop 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Mantlegrove 1-0 The Strongest
Goodfeather FC 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Brookford Otters
Greygate 0-1 Leichhardt
Gonen's Bridge 0-2 Chatswood

The good thing about the second tier is that… look, Nephara has a lot of fantastic referees. In the Premiership. But fantastic referees are hard to come by, so in the second tier you have ‘slightly damaged’ ones like Domenika Rivers, whose response to Rochford midfielder Ares Finnan and Armstrong defender Lynda Suttock punching each other in the face is to give each a… yellow card. “It’s a contact sport, and just a bit of banter, it’s fine,” she insists. Solitaire scrape a late draw against Brookford thanks to Jacinth Coen’s remarkable refusal to go down under pressure. She could have won a penalty, sure, but she kept trying to pull away from Holden, eventually managed it and stabbed home al loose ball. Now that ref - who said he was prepared to give a penalty if she missed - should be looked at for the Premiership. The Maulers’ strong form continues with a 2-0 win over Cypher, Tania Brummer’s brace putting paid to her doubters.

Aries Chariots 1-1 North Laithland
Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Newrook City
Sabrefell Moths 2-0 Crisisbless United
Southfell United 2-2 Crisisbless
Stahlburg City 0-2 AFC Corvistone
Starling 2-1 Coret Hawks
AFC Treason 0-2 Brinemouth
Vermillion Rage 1-2 Stahlburg Rovers
South Laithland 3-0 Diamondqueen
Belgrave 1-2 Iron City
Chenoworth Rovers 2-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Parrhesia United 1-4 Creed United

The Classic rolls into town and, as always, dominates the talking points. There isn’t a clear favourite, because there is never a clear favourite, but on form there really ought to be; Treason have endured a mediocre start to the season, while Brinemouth have been as spectacular in the league as they’ve been a national disgrace in IFCF. Unfortunately for the Stags, they’re in top form today, rolling the ball around with poise and confidence, Treason looking jaded and unable to keep up. Tawny Shone nets her first Dockers goal in the 39th minute, when Deventer’s shot is blocked by one Stag, rue Cazade’s follow-up parried by Clavel only for Shone, arriving last into the box, to seize her moment and hammer the ball into the net. Jackson draws a penalty for rue Cazade to score late on, but in the 40 minutes in between Treason fail to trouble Ewald Heuser. “We need to redraw our battle lines,” Cheney Bittencourt concedes. “That just wasn’t acceptable, and shouldn’t be accepted.”

It’s the first day in the job for new Athletic manager Colbright and old Athletic assistant Oehman; the latter gets a chance to do his old side a solid when his Chequers visit the Moths. Oehman was a great midfielder for the Rams back in the day, too - the Moths faithful haven’t forgotten this, and give him a hearty jeer as he strolls on. Unfortunately for Oehman, United are very much second-best on the day, Petrov and Reach sealing the day with goals either side of half-time. Colbright’s Athletic beat Newrook 1-0, a cagey affair settled by a single wonder-strike from Orsolya Gere - “A good performance,” but Colbright tacitly admits “this isn’t a sustainable way to get back to the top four.” Starling also get off to a winning start under Maitfield, though they leave it late, an injury-time header from substitute Vanna Pearce beating a backsliding Coret. A hard-fought Chenoworth derby is surprisingly electrifying, one of those games that needs an early goal. Sure enough, Girardi duly puts one just out of Dundalk’s reach, the Rovers come out roaring to pull two back by half-time and keep pressing to kill off the game, and are instead gashed on the break by 22-year old substitute Marius Cervenka. High-flying Vermillion have their wings clipped by a muscular Stahlburg Rovers at home.

Armstrong 1-0 Raven River
AFC Rochford 1-1 Corvette Maulers
North Sabrefell 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Cypher Town 2-1 Bishop
Barossia United 1-2 Mantlegrove
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Goodfeather FC
The Strongest 6-4 AFC Serpentine
Vermillion Wanderers 2-2 Pillars of Southfell
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Aries Solitaire
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Greygate
Brookford Otters 2-0 Gonen's Bridge
Leichhardt 2-1 Chatswood

Pressure increases on the Dragons; they’re at the stage where a bad season means relegation rather than just continued mediocrity. “I won a World Cup,” manager Kurtis Rakeruth tells the press for approximately the four hundredth time. “I know how to construct a winning mentality.” But while they arrive on a high owing to a composed 2-0 win over Alliance, they shit the bed almost immediately to the Strongest, goalkeeper Markus Rose spacing out and letting Shanna Oakes’ backpass slip under his boot. Nobody involved seems to have composure, except for, naturally, the Strongest’s forwards. 5-1 by half-time after a cascade of goals, and Rakeruth’s had enough - 22-year old Gerrard Tell comes out in goal for the second half, and is almost immediately chipped from halfway by Hans Korchnoi. Remarkably, Serpentine muster some sort of fightback to 6-4, largely through Sven Gillard, who celebrates in the post-game interview by, uh, demonstrating his loyalty to the manager. “Any doubters should be hanged,” he says, mildly. Leichhardt hobble Chatswood, a spectacular scissor-kick by Ernie Stevenson winning late on, while River choke and lose to 10-man Armstrong late on when a long shot from Kohr rebounded off the post, smacked Carver in the face and bounced in.

Newrook City 0-1 Aries Chariots
Crisisbless United 2-4 North Laithland
Crisisbless 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Coret Hawks 1-1 Southfell United
Brinemouth 1-1 Stahlburg City
Stahlburg Rovers 0-2 Starling
Diamondqueen 1-2 AFC Treason
Iron City 2-3 Vermillion Rage
Chenoworth Harriers 0-1 South Laithland
Creed United 1-2 Belgrave
Parrhesia United 0-2 Chenoworth Rovers

An underexposed talking point amidst the strange parity of this last and ?greatest? Premiership season has been the rise and rise of North Laithland. Name their manager. Go on, I’ll wait. Or, name their last league finish. I had to look it up. But yes, Catherine Sedgwick is in the process of marshalling her side to … if not glory, then at least the Challengers Cup. It’s no real surprise to see them dominate Ole Oehman’s United, who look a little confused and a little ill-disciplined, though a spectacular top-corner drive from Lukas Antelmi does give them an early lead. North Laithland leftback February Garnett sweeps in from nowhere to level the scores soon after, before goals from Thornwood and Brindell put the Spiders on their way by half-time, Bellmare finishing the job on the hour, and the Spiders climb to 5th in the table… and just a point behind the Moths, two beneath the Chariots.

Starling take a routine 2-0 win in Stahlburg against the Rovers, but it’s not just a win. Duchemin and Flaxwood’s goals, and Smordal’s clean sheet, mean that, at long last, Starling have won as many as they’ve lost. Vermillion Rage keep up the pressure in second, but they’re made to sweat for it, Iron City getting a rare early goal through Anderson’s own goal, the experienced defender mixing up her feet horribly and stabbing Remsza’s cross home. Fleetwood and Vidler exchange blows before the half’s up, and it takes until the 90th minute for Ramona Porter to pop up at the far post and shoulder home a cross from Mrdja, and two minutes after that for Porter to return Mrdja the favour and give the Rage victory. Brinemouth are held by the Smiths, while Chenoworth Rovers beat Parrhesia with centre-half Giannakos scoring both goals from headers off set pieces.

Corvette Maulers 0-0 Armstrong
Chardonnay Rangers 3-1 Raven River
Bishop 0-1 AFC Rochford
Mantlegrove 1-3 North Sabrefell
Goodfeather FC 3-0 Cypher Town
AFC Serpentine 3-1 Barossia United
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Aries Solitaire 1-1 The Strongest
Greygate 1-4 Vermillion Wanderers
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Chatswood 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Leichhardt 0-0 Brookford Otters

Don’t sleep on Goodfeather. Cypher Town were the big-shots at the opening of the season, but they’ve since fallen away. Goodfeather’s combination of veterans, damaged goods - Laura Belfry has become a standout performer after a rocky start and poor past couple years - and, oh, you know. The best strike partnership in the league. Tremeka Goodwin had the early form, and she still slides an elegant little knife past Ruo’s near post today, but now Bastet North is in the ascendancy. Not the tallest, but what a jump! And it’s those delicately brutal downward headers that are becoming her trademark; two in the second half sink Cypher. Serpentine rally behind Rakeruth with a convincing victory over the Shrikes, while Corvette vs. Armstrong becomes a weirdly exhilarating scoreless draw dominated by both goalkeepers. Marisnick makes nine saves, Virtanen eight.

Aries Chariots 5-1 Crisisbless United
Newrook City 1-1 Crisisbless
North Laithland 0-2 AFC Corvistone
Sabrefell Athletic 4-3 Coret Hawks
Sabrefell Moths 1-2 Brinemouth
Southfell United 1-3 Stahlburg Rovers
Stahlburg City 2-0 Diamondqueen
Starling 1-2 Iron City
AFC Treason 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Creed United
South Laithland 1-2 Parrhesia United
Belgrave 2-0 Chenoworth Rovers

Apart from Diamondqueen, who are sailing merrily in midtable, the three other promoted sides have been shitting up the league this season. Sorry, but that’s just how it is. Iron City’s problem is straightforward enough: they’re at the bottom because they don’t score goals. Manahaal Brimorii runs around a lot, but uh… never actually gets the ball. He’s scored just four goals all season, the rest of the team combined just six. But he does, at least, get on the scoresheet early against Starling, who were already opened up early by failing to close down Igrene Vidler. 30 and unproven at this level, yes, but she can still pick out the bottom corner if given space. 2-0 up with over an hour to play is daunting. Iron are unapologetically and brutally negative, and Starling still pull one back, though they’re forced to bring Dostalok - who they wanted to rest - off the bench.

That dumps the Harriers on the bottom of the table. Their issue… is harder to diagnose, but in large part players have just failed to look convincing on the step up, or new signings failed to hit the ground running. There’s been goals from midfield, but not up front, while the defense has caved at key moments. But Donato Girardi extends his lead as the side’s top scorer with five, a crisp strike curled around Clavel from distance to sink the Stags, who can find no significant answers in the second half. That puts Stalhburg Rovers on the bottom on goal difference… but against an unconvincing Southfell, they have the easiest task. They do remain unfancied, but Huang’s spectacular diving header equalises Nagy’s early strike, before tap-ins from Radcliffe and Kunz finish the job and intensify the pressure in Southfell. Tawny Shone gets sent off on her return to Sabrefell Moths, and is cheered by the adoring home fans - they’re less happy when a screamer from Tauscher gives Brinemouth the win anyway.

Armstrong 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Corvette Maulers 3-0 Bishop
Raven River 2-2 Mantlegrove
AFC Rochford 1-1 Goodfeather FC
North Sabrefell 2-1 AFC Serpentine
Cypher Town 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
Barossia United 3-1 Aries Solitaire
Corinthians No Longer 2-0 Greygate
The Strongest 2-2 Gonen's Bridge
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Chatswood
Alliance Barossia 0-1 Leichhardt
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Brookford Otters

The Wanderers against Chatswood always promised to be a terse affair, and so it proves. Both sides are built around defensive discipline first and foremost, though they certainly have the weapons to crack one anothers’ armour. Indeed, Isabelle Kruger thinks she’s done just that fourteen minutes in - pity was that Maier waited too long before playing her in, and found her strayed offside. At the other end, with the Woodsmen failing to break a way through conventionally, their best avenue of attack winds up being the disaffected winger Severa Conleth - clearly a step too good for this level - shooting on sight from outside the box, twice hitting the post. Inevitably, the tense match is decided from a set piece. Claudia Bohr, the definition of a yo-yo player, rises highest and most decisively to glance home Wharton’s corner and secure the Wanderers a valuable win at the top. Goodfeather stall at Rochford, where the most decisive outcome may in fact be an ankle injury sustained by top scorer Godwin; Cypher are held scoreless yet again, this time hosting bottom-feeders Pillars.

Ingram Township 0-1 Belgrave
Diamondqueen 2-2 Southfell United (2-3 AET)
Ballardine FC 1-1 Riverkey Shells (1-2 AET)
Gosmouth Swans 0-0 Alliance Barossia (0-1 AET)
Rushe United 1-6 South Laithland
Aries Chariots 1-1 Corvette Maulers (2-1 AET)
Sheridan 0-1 Stahlburg City
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Crisisbless United
Strephonage 1-2 AFC Rochford
Goodfeather FC 0-0 Newrook City (0-0 AET, 7-6 PKs)
Ritter Town 0-0 North Laithland (0-0 AET, 6-5 PKs)
Mapleford 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 West Brinemouth (2-1 AET)
The Strongest 0-0 Crisisbless (0-1 AET)
North Sabrefell 1-1 Pillars of Southfell (1-1 AET, 4-3 PKs)
Brookford Otters 1-2 Cypher Town
Bishop 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Creed United 0-5 Aries Solitaire
AFC Serpentine 1-3 Parrhesia United
Starling 2-2 New Oakstone Phoenix (2-3 AET)
Leichhardt 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Coret Hawks 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Greygate
Mantlegrove 0-0 The Hanged Man (0-1 AET)
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Autumnstone 1-0 Hackett
Brinemouth 0-2 Vermillion Rage
Barossia United 0-1 Iron City
AFC Treason 3-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Rochford Pilgrims 4-1 Advance Lazuli
Stonegrave 1-2 Raven River
Riverkey 3-0 Sirencall FC

“We’ll make the Cup a priority this season,” Creed manager Catheline Harper breezily tells the press. “I think we can get survival and silverware, easy. But of course I’m taking the chance to rest a couple key players against… you know, lower-league opposition.” Yeah, a couple. No Hartigan, no Borbely, no Barbarouses, no Burgess, an admittedly very promising teenager in Vasya Reisinger up front. But Solitaire are resting players, too, hoping to survive the especially vicious 1Div drop in their first season at this height. And theirs is a thin squad to start with; random teenagers Renate March and Karena Gothel get run-outs. And score twice, each, in a 5-0 rout. Wait, what? Yeah, Creed concede within thirty seconds when Gothel sweeps up and stabs home an errant backpass from Nissa Mason and it, well, it, uhm, it doesn’t get. Any better, from there. 5-0. #HarpsOut? There’s other shocks around, other surprising shows of resilience - Crisisbless’ malaise is never more highlighted than by failing to score past The fucking Strongest in 90 minutes - but at least the oh God. Oh, no. Starling. Starling host New Oakstone, who are in the fourth fucking tier, and, uhm, yeah, they fucking lose. 3-2 after extra time. Tim Maitfield’s normally everpresent smile is strained; yes, it was a second- or third-string side, but come the fuck on! The gods of the draw are kind, and throw up a top-flight Chenoworth derby - the Rovers triumph largely through the electrifying presence of Kendra Ramsey - and a cross-league Crisisbless derby, where the vastly superior United cave Athletic’s skull in. Goodfeather and Ritter Town beat Newrook and North Laithland on penalties after truly dire scoreless draws, while Diamondqueen, Brinemouth (!) and Stahlburg Rovers go out to fellow Premiership opposition.

Crisisbless 1-0 Aries Chariots
AFC Corvistone 5-3 Crisisbless United
Coret Hawks 0-4 Newrook City
Brinemouth 2-0 North Laithland
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Diamondqueen 2-0 Sabrefell Moths
Iron City 0-0 Southfell United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-2 Stahlburg City
Creed United 0-2 Starling
Parrhesia United 0-2 AFC Treason
Chenoworth Rovers 1-4 Vermillion Rage
Belgrave 2-0 South Laithland

Diamondqueen are, as things stand, the weakest Sabrefell side in the Premiership. That’s bad. But that puts them 13th. That’s good. The often-overlooked university side have punched well above their weight so far, and despite the fact that they’ve been reduced to starting whatever a Darren Charnett is supposed to be, from time to time, they do actually look sustainable. No one player punching above their natural level. No supernaturally clear bill of health. Just a decent squad, playing like a team. And that’s enough to catch out the mercurial Moths, today. The Moths rush about and surge into things; the Diamonds hold firm, and two goals are the produce of clean, deft passing, with crisp finishes from Isring and the closest thing they have to a star, Najzar, enough on the back of Szarbach’s fine work in goal.

Tiring of their indifferent form, Cheney Bittencourt has Treason line out in a 4-2-3-1 against Parrhesia and instantly they seize a result with a minimum of fuss. Vincent Robshaw is not Lothaire Cromwell. Vincent Robshaw is Vincent Robshaw. And Mikkel Jonsson, who turns 32 next week, still has it left in him to pull the strings in an advanced role. A northeastern derby between Coret and Newrook is… is… one-sided. And one-halved. The first half is stultifying, until injury time, where Naiva Storrev chances her arm from 30 yards, Coleman dives far enough but somehow the ball gets through her hands. A screamer, albeit with a culpable keeper - it deflates the Hawks, the Rooks come out in the second half and complete a 4-0 rout with goals from Margush, Rozier and Baer. Corvistone go into the break 4-3 up against Crisisbless United. It should be a thriller! But neither side quite has it in them to keep up the pace, with Yonen’s penalty the only goal of the second half to extend the Crows’ lead. Pity. Ole Oehman’s wait for his first point goes on.

Bishop 0-4 Armstrong
Mantlegrove 1-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Goodfeather FC 2-0 Corvette Maulers
AFC Serpentine 0-3 Raven River
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 AFC Rochford
Aries Solitaire 1-2 North Sabrefell
Greygate 0-3 Cypher Town
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Barossia United
Chatswood 0-0 Corinthians No Longer
Leichhardt 3-1 The Strongest
Brookford Otters 2-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 Alliance Barossia

River’s normally mild-mannered Michi Leonard, youngest manager in the pyramid, has some words for Kurtis Rakeruth. “We get it. You were on the bench while Nephara won the World Cup - we fucking get it! It’s probably been good training for slouching in the technical area while more talented players win the game for you. Except there’s not ben much of that, has there?” Jesus. Yeah, so, no handshakes in the technical area when Serpentine play River. Michi Leonard demonstrates her commitment to passive-aggression by keeipng her hand outstretched all the way into twelve minutes into the game, before the fourth official eventually tells her to shove it. But River are already 1-0 up by then, and ultimately crush the Dragons 3-0. Armstrong pulverise Bishop 4-0 away, Gareth Pawnbroker with another Premiership audition in a heroic showing up front, while Brookford and Vermillion play out an electrifying but oddly sloppy 2-2 draw.

Group D
P                            	Pl  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD Pts 	ShC	Smd	ATr	HoW
1 Shamrock Cathair AUD 6 3 1 2 10 10 0 10 * - 2-1 1-0 2-2
2 Schemerdrecht SVV KOR 6 3 1 2 17 13 4 10 * 4-1 - 2-2 4-3

3 AFC Treason NPH 6 3 1 2 13 13 0 10 * 3-2 2-4 - 2-1

4 Hoima Warriors BNJ 6 1 1 4 12 16 -4 4 0-2 3-2 3-4 -
*Tie broken by head to head results

(PS: Shamrock Cathair and Schemerdrecht SVV's positions should be swapped based on Head-to-head results - Schemerdrecht SVV 7, Shamrock Cathair 6, AFC Treason 4)

Group E
P                            	Pl  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD Pts 	WsL	Trc	FpU	Brm
1 Walstreim Lions SNL 6 4 2 0 12 6 6 14 - 0-0 1-0 1-0
2 Tropicorp FC TUR 6 3 2 1 9 6 3 11 1-1 - 0-1 2-1

3 Freeport United FPT 6 2 1 3 6 8 -2 7 1-4 1-3 - 3-0

4 Brinemouth NPH 6 0 1 5 7 14 -7 1 4-5 2-3 0-0 -


Group H
P                            	Pl  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD Pts 	CFO	Dir	Csb	Ibn
1 CF Outineau KSK 6 3 2 1 8 4 4 11 - 1-1 3-1 0-0
2 Directus EUR 6 2 3 1 8 6 2 9 1-2 - 0-0 3-1

3 Crisisbless NPH 6 2 2 2 7 6 1 8 0-2 1-1 - 4-0

4 Ibini FC VAL 6 1 1 4 3 10 -7 4 1-0 1-2 0-1 -

<Writeup redacted due to excessive profanity and wordcount running to the thousands>

Group F                       	P  W  D  L   F   A  GD Pts 	DAR	KSK	NPH	TUR
1 MTK Kingsville DAR 6 4 1 1 9 7 2 13 - 1-0 2-1 2-5
2 Strathcona Intls KSK 6 4 0 2 13 8 5 12 0-2 - 2-1 3-1

3 Sabrefell Athletic NPH 6 2 0 4 9 9 0 6 0-1 2-4 - 4-0
4 FC Almintora TUR 6 1 1 4 8 15 -7 4 1-1 1-4 0-1 -

Group K P W D L F A GD Pts VIL ASG NPH AUD
1 Eastal Lunar VIL 6 6 0 0 15 2 13 18 - 4-1 2-0 3-1
2 Urbizania Wanderers ASG 6 2 1 3 7 10 -3 7 0-1 - 1-1 1-0

3 AFC Corvistone NPH 6 1 2 3 5 10 -5 5 0-3 3-2 - 1-2
4 Bombarralense AUD 6 1 1 4 4 9 -5 4 0-2 1-2 0-0 -

<Writeup redacted due to excessive profanity and wordcount running to the thousands>

   Group E                  	Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD Pts 	CWH	CEL	DSC	CSE
1 Chenoworth Harriers NPH 6 4 1 1 13 9 4 13 * - 1-1 4-5 2-1
2 CdF Celtade AUD 6 4 1 1 11 8 3 13 * 0-2 - 3-1 1-0

3 Duntho Sporting Club BNJ 6 2 1 3 9 11 -2 7 0-1 1-2 - 1-0
4 Cisne Senzapa TEQ 6 0 1 5 7 12 -5 1 2-3 3-4 1-1 -
* Chenoworth Harriers ahead of CdF Celtade on head-to-head results

Naturally the Harriers ace the one tournament that has no effect on the coefficient. The only Nepharan side to actually break through their group this cycle. It’s a bizarrely hot run of form for Jakob Shearer, who starts all six games and scores five times, but otherwise not really worth comment.

Sabrefell Moths 3-0 Navel Sharks

Another routine 3-0 home win abroad for the Moths. Imagine if they’d, you know, actually bothered to qualify for the IFCF group stages. Ha ha.

Aries Chariots 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Crisisbless 2-1 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless United 3-2 Brinemouth
Newrook City 2-2 Stahlburg Rovers
North Laithland 3-1 Diamondqueen
Sabrefell Athletic 3-0 Iron City
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Southfell United 1-3 Creed United
Stahlburg City 0-1 Parrhesia United
Starling 3-1 Chenoworth Rovers
AFC Treason 2-1 Belgrave
Vermillion Rage 1-0 South Laithland

Ole Oehman’s United host Brinemouth in search of something daunting; his first points. Hey, no pressure, right? But Oehman accepts, or at least claims after the fact to have accepted, “We were gonna get blown out if we just sat back and tried to wait out the tie.” And so: they went for it. Early shots across the bow from Larsen and Stand flew wide, and then Stand was forced to limp off, injured. On came Antelmi, who set up Larsen with a delicate forward ball that Larsen slotted home. A strike from Ronayne was tipped onto the post by Heuser and smashed home on the rebound on the half-hour. The pressure kept on until the half, but Brinemouth were always capable of pulling out something special - Bryger Tidesson, 30 yards, thunderbastard, top corner, 44th minute. But United kept up the intensity, the satyr centre-half Dreider headed home a corner on the hour and, despite a second yellow card for hatchetman Garner, United held on despite a late consolation from Saitou.

Newrook and Stahlburg Rovers play out an interesting match, but ‘interesting’ isn’t enough for two sides that really just want points. It’s prefaced with Tom Duffy’s remarkable Twii ([sic] in advance): ‘hard 2 get up this mornin … like w/e its just orange stahlberg well win 50 anyway lollll :joy:’. Mysteriously, Duffy winds up sitting on the bench when it comes to the game, and even chasing the game with half an hour to go, it’s the versatile Dassi Constantine that Penrooke turns to, not Duffy. That winds up paying off when Constantine reacts fastest when Macellan, trying to ?clear a cross out for a corner? or something, winds up kicking a ball into his own face. 2-2, in ignominious circumstances, and an unpalatable point for either side. Southfell’s malaise continues as they’re beaten easily by a Creed side who spend 40 minutes with ten men, while Kizza Okafor misses a late penalty after running the show for Coret against Crisisbless. He’s still given the man of the match award, not only despite the penalty but despite the fact it would have and didn’t give the Hawks a draw.

Armstrong 0-1 Mantlegrove
Bishop 0-1 Goodfeather FC
Chardonnay Rangers 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Corvette Maulers 3-1 Pillars of Southfell
Raven River 0-2 Aries Solitaire
AFC Rochford 1-1 Greygate
North Sabrefell 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Cypher Town 1-1 Chatswood
Barossia United 1-1 Leichhardt
Corinthians No Longer 1-5 Brookford Otters
The Strongest 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Alliance Barossia

Is it time to examine whether Armstrong are… you know, in trouble? Gratia Barker’s been unanimously agreed to have punched above her weight during her tensure, but results are not good this season, and they’re witless, one-paced and ultimately beaten by Mantlegrove more comfortably than a 1-0 scoreline suggests. Curate looks out of her depth, Kohr and Pawnbroker look jaded, Loxton and Hope look past it, and Barker looks unable or unwilling to switch things up meaningfully. At the top, a sheaf of excellent sides drop points, but North Sabrefell’s inexorable march continues when Beckwith’s flying stoppage-time header breaks open a seeming stalemate with lowly Bridge, and Brookford continue to glide free as they pulp CNL 5-1, riding on Scout Morwen’s sheer class.

AFC Treason 2-0 Altendalur

Altendalur settle in for the long haul against Treason. Their best chance is always going to be damage limitation before pulling out all the stops at home, and they have some success. Treason win a penalty early, a rare lapse of concentration from Nepharan rightback Thorn Tristram (formerly of West Brinemouth and Cypher Town) hacking down Uster at the ankle. Mikkel Jonsson steps up, but smashes his penalty into the crossbar. The Chessmen hold out for the next hour, and almost snatch a lead through Darren Hunt, denied sharply by Ramelow one-on-one, but pinpoint passes from Jonsson find Sebastian, then overlapping fullback Karolin Faust, who secure the win late on.

Navel Sharks 0-1 Sabrefell Moths
Sabrefell Moths win 4-0 on aggregate.

Another capable, solid performance from the Moths. They’re yet to concede in the CWC.

Coret Hawks 1-2 Aries Chariots
Brinemouth 5-1 AFC Corvistone
Stahlburg Rovers 1-4 Crisisbless
Diamondqueen 2-0 Crisisbless United
Iron City 1-2 Newrook City
Chenoworth Harriers 0-2 North Laithland
Creed United 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Parrhesia United 2-0 Sabrefell Moths
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Southfell United
Belgrave 0-4 Stahlburg City
South Laithland 1-1 Starling
Vermillion Rage 0-1 AFC Treason

Corvistone have relished their ability to take the fight to the best teams in prior years, but it’s relied on a dynamism that has been largely absent in recent times. There isn’t that level of concussive brutality anymore. So understandably, though boldly, Hadrian Belfast rolls the dice against Brinemouth, with little to lose and everything to gain. Inexperienced Dietmar Hanning slides in as a double pivot alongside Spahi Keskin, Arniston and Carter play up front, 4-4-2. Less fucking around through the centre, more pace and zest and whip. And it… doesn’t work, it doesn’t work at all, Brinemouth run the show from the first minute on and lead from the third, ceding the midfield battle to the most fluent side in the league is actually suicide, Jackson comes away with a hat-trick and Corvistone are buried 5-1. The chemistry isn’t quite working, yes; but that was not the answer.

A side that does stil retain its snap and dynamism is Parrhesia United, who have been gliding to a far better start to this season than last and are comfortably on course to beat the drop. Sabrefell Moths try to match them pace for pace, and they do wind up carving out plenty of chances, but their profligacy costs them - as well as one spectacular, even outrageous double save from Laisne. And they leave gaps at the back which former Rams playmaker Elsebeth Celustka is only too happy to exploit, setting up second-half strikes for Swann and Reus to drive home. Vermillion come unstuck against Treason, simply unable to drive a wedge into the rock-solid defensive line, while Crisisbless United fail to kick on and are easily taken down in Diamondqueen.

Goodfeather FC 3-1 Armstrong
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Mantlegrove
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 Bishop
Aries Solitaire 3-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Greygate 2-0 Corvette Maulers
Gonen's Bridge 0-2 Raven River
Chatswood 2-0 AFC Rochford
Leichhardt 2-1 North Sabrefell
Brookford Otters 1-2 Cypher Town
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Barossia United
Alliance Barossia 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 The Strongest

Pillars against Bishop is a stultifying draw with just one goal. Pillars: four shots, three on target, zero goals; Bishop: seven shots, two on target, zero goals; random streaker: one shot, one on target, one goal. Bishop goalkeeper Frey Strom doesn’t, to be fair, make much attempt to save the shot; instead, the Audioslavian spear-tackles the streaker, wrestles him to the ground and ohhh that looked really, really painful. Corvette get pummeled by Greygate both physically and on the scoreboard, a phalanx of brutes forcing a way through for Bryce Leicester to pump in shot after shot from the edge of the box. It works, the Wardens winning 2-0. Goodfeather’s shrimp play between the lines and outfox Armstrong’s giants, while the Otters are finally stymied by the resilience of Cypher.

Altendalur 2-0 AFC Treason (3-1 AET)
3-3 on aggregate. AFC Treason progress on away goals.

It’s almost a very good day for Karolin Faust. Another start at rightback, and she almost opens the scoring with a looping cross that goes over Quinnipag’s head… and crashes off the crossbar. It’s the only lapse of Quinnipag’s game; the goalkeeper from Zwangzug has a spectacular performance as Treason struggle to find their rhythm and make up for it by lashing long shots at goal. No dice, but scoreless at the break. Altendalur need goals, but they have a secret weapon: Tyler Prentice’s free kicks. One leads to an unedifying goalmouth scramble that Hunt has the presence of mind to slot home, the other just finds the top corner after shaving off the head of Kolar in the wall. It goes to extra time, but Treason rally, finding Basilica Coxeter past a tiring defence. The young striker’s first touch is heavy, but she makes up for it with a deft, desperate stab between Quinnipag’s legs. Wolfgangsdóttir pulls one back in the 119th minute, but it’s not enough; the away goal is the Stags’.

Aries Chariots 3-1 Brinemouth
Coret Hawks 3-1 Stahlburg Rovers
AFC Corvistone 3-0 Diamondqueen
Crisisbless 0-1 Iron City
Crisisbless United 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Newrook City 2-0 Creed United
North Laithland 0-2 Parrhesia United
Sabrefell Athletic 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Belgrave
Southfell United 0-0 South Laithland
Stahlburg City 2-1 Vermillion Rage
Starling 1-2 AFC Treason

It isn’t over yet, not by a long shot. Aries come at Brinemouth with a vengeance, playing hard, even brutal football, but backed up with ambitious passing between the lines and a masterful performance from Winabaen Kevaarsen to dominate in midfield despite a lack of numbers. Three clinical first-half strikes from Scott Coleman prove too much for Brinemouth to pull back - Rowena Sierra continues to delight in a more supporting role, drifting on the right. Brinemouth have now lost their last two away games; Vermillion, in second, lose their second on the spin as Maurice Delfour’s brilliant solo goal, running through four exhausted Rage markers, crashes home a late winner for Stahlburg City. And that’s the top four, with Treason - who edge out Starling - out on goal difference, Corvistone and North Laithland in the IFCF places, Belgrave beating the Moths to catch up on points, and at long last most of the usual suspects appear to be catching up. Apart from Crisisbless, who are 13th.

It’s a sign of a greater malaise than could be fixed by simply sacking Chris Maarsden, as Crisisbless’ terminal lack of cutting edge, and Erwin Spijkers’ dangerous, youthful tunnel vision, contrive to see them beaten 1-0 by Iron City. At home. With South Laithland and Southfell drawing one another in fairly stultifying fashion - the Fletcher revolution just hasn’t quite hit the ground running, while Southfell just look stale, almost as if they’ve signed practically no first-team players in the past three seasons - and Creed outplayed comprehensively by Newrook, it represents a big opportunity for Iron to keep in the fight. Stahlburg City have a glimmer of hope, as well, while a Chenoworth Harriers side that just don’t look right are losing theirs.

Armstrong 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Goodfeather FC 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Mantlegrove 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Bishop 1-1 Greygate
Chardonnay Rangers 2-3 Gonen's Bridge
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Chatswood
Raven River 1-1 Leichhardt
AFC Rochford 1-1 Brookford Otters
North Sabrefell 0-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Cypher Town 2-1 Alliance Barossia
Barossia United 0-3 Vermillion Wanderers
Corinthians No Longer 4-2 The Strongest

With one exception, things are tight to the point of a knife-edge at the top. Brookford Otters are the exception, six points clear, though in truth they rather labour just to secure a draw against Rochford. Damir Wright, normally rock-solid between the posts, fumbles a cross for Non to bury, and the Owls are unapologetic about clinging on as far as they can, Cordrut Malanta having a fine game in goal. Ultimately, a curling shot from Annika Cashin proves unsaveable in injury time. Goodfeather FC are, narrowly, best of the rest following a routine win over Pillars, but Vermillion Wanderers crush Barrosia United, North Sabrefell take a point against Cranequin Wanderers and Leichhardt, resurgent of late, draw River to stay in convtention. Corvette scrape a 1-0 win over Chatswood, but both sides have fallen away a little, of late; River and Cranequin are nowhere near the discussion.

Chardonnay Rangers, beaten at the last gasp by Gonen’s Bridge, are on track to go down, on 29 points. These are not ordinary circumstances. More damningly, they could claim Armstrong, who are decidedly lacklustre in defeat to similarly troubled Serpentine. This does mean, however, that the gap is beginning to look… daunting, for a few sides at the bottom. Solitaire and Bridge are nine points from safety already; Bishop and Pillars, fourteen.

Goodfeather FC 3-0 Riverkey Shells
Stahlburg City 6-0 New Oakstone Phoenix
Crisisbless 1-0 Leichhardt
Raven River 1-0 The Hanged Man
AFC Rochford 1-3 Aries Chariots
Crisisbless United 2-0 AFC Treason
Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 South Laithland (1-0 AET)
Iron City 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers (1-1 AET, 3-2 PKs)
Cypher Town 0-0 Belgrave (1-0 AET)
Vermillion Rage 3-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Southfell United 2-2 AFC Corvistone (3-2 AET)
Sabrefell Moths 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
Alliance Barossia 0-3 North Sabrefell
Parrhesia United 3-2 Aries Solitaire
Autumnstone 2-1 Riverkey
Ritter Town 0-3 Coret Hawks

The Fourth Round is where it starts to get serious. At least, for the top sides; for the likes of New Oakstone, it’s always been serious, every round a victory. Every 6-0 defeat a victory, if it means being pounded to a fine paste in Ludd’s Hammer by an almost bored Stahlburg City. Viviana Strephon and Isabella Shi wreak havoc in a strike partnership, 19-year old Jasper Morbihan excels on the wing, and it’s, well, it’s a curiosity, nothing more, because the Phoenix are terrible. But they have a good time. Southfell United manager George Jayson insists his side have the luxury of ‘focusing’ on the Cup despite their awful league form, and duly sends out a largely first-choice XI against a second-string Corvistone. Both sides play with an imprecise energy, but it’s settled at the death by, yes, the Baba Warrington, who underlines his continued value to the side with a pinpoint header followed by an elaborate dance routine at the corner flag, followed by hurling it like a javelin into the crowd when a guy calls him a shitcunt from the stands. He’s sent off, but the Crows hold out for victory. There’s another sending-off in Sabrefell, with Adalheid Metzelder growing steadily more exasperated with the referee and eventually storming on the pitch to whip him with her jacket when he called off a late Moths ‘equaliser’ because of a bluntly flagrant offside. Corinthians No Longer have one shot on target. It sneaks by Carroll. It’s that kind of day. Cypher manage a late scalp over a similarly luckless Belgrave - well, not luckless, according to Dan Keel. “Their strikers were incompetent. That’s all this was. A decent side would have buried us by half-time given those chances.” Crisisbless eke past Leichhardt, Crisisbless United stun Treason, Athletic edge South Laithland and Iron beat the Harriers on penalties as the Premiership field winnows further.

MATCHDAY 16
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 The Hanged Man
Ritter Town 1-1 Hackett
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 Autumnstone
Falston United 0-1 West Brinemouth
Extreme Hills 2-3 Locksley
Stonegrave 1-1 Sheridan
Ballardine FC 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Riverkey 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Kensey Town 3-4 Crisisbless Athletic
Rochford Pilgrims 1-3 Cranequin City
Ingram Township 1-1 Peregrine
Mapleford 0-4 Morningstar
MATCHDAY 17
The Hanged Man 1-1 Ritter Town
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Hackett 0-0 Falston United
Autumnstone 6-1 Extreme Hills
West Brinemouth 1-0 Stonegrave
Locksley 4-1 Ballardine FC
Sheridan 0-0 Riverkey
Dartmouth Terriers 3-0 Kensey Town
Lazuli Diamonds 3-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Crisisbless Athletic 2-3 Ingram Township
Cranequin City 2-0 Mapleford
Peregrine 2-1 Morningstar
MATCHDAY 18
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 The Hanged Man
Falston United 1-0 Ritter Town
Extreme Hills 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Stonegrave 0-2 Hackett
Ballardine FC 2-1 Autumnstone
Riverkey 2-0 West Brinemouth
Kensey Town 1-3 Locksley
Rochford Pilgrims 0-2 Sheridan
Ingram Township 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Mapleford 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Morningstar 2-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Peregrine 3-0 Cranequin City
MATCHDAY 19
The Hanged Man 0-1 Falston United
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Extreme Hills
Ritter Town 0-1 Stonegrave
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Ballardine FC
Hackett 1-2 Riverkey
Autumnstone 0-0 Kensey Town
West Brinemouth 2-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Locksley 1-0 Ingram Township
Sheridan 0-1 Mapleford
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Morningstar
Lazuli Diamonds 1-5 Peregrine
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Cranequin City
MATCHDAY 20
Extreme Hills 3-3 The Hanged Man
Stonegrave 1-1 Falston United
Ballardine FC 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Riverkey 2-1 Ritter Town
Kensey Town 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Rochford Pilgrims 1-2 Hackett
Ingram Township 1-3 Autumnstone
Mapleford 0-2 West Brinemouth
Morningstar 3-4 Locksley
Peregrine 3-0 Sheridan
Cranequin City 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Lazuli Diamonds
MATCHDAY 21
The Hanged Man 1-0 Stonegrave
Extreme Hills 3-2 Ballardine FC
Falston United 1-3 Riverkey
Boltcroft Thorns 5-0 Kensey Town
Ritter Town 1-3 Rochford Pilgrims
Gosmouth Swans 2-3 Ingram Township
Hackett 1-1 Mapleford
Autumnstone 0-2 Morningstar
West Brinemouth 0-1 Peregrine
Locksley 3-1 Cranequin City
Sheridan 0-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Dartmouth Terriers 1-2 Lazuli Diamonds
MATCHDAY 22
Ballardine FC 0-0 The Hanged Man
Riverkey 1-1 Stonegrave
Kensey Town 0-2 Extreme Hills
Rochford Pilgrims 0-2 Falston United
Ingram Township 2-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Mapleford 1-0 Ritter Town
Morningstar 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
Peregrine 1-0 Hackett
Cranequin City 3-0 Autumnstone
Crisisbless Athletic 1-0 West Brinemouth
Lazuli Diamonds 0-4 Locksley
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Sheridan
MATCHDAY 23
The Hanged Man 1-1 Riverkey
Ballardine FC 0-0 Kensey Town
Stonegrave 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Extreme Hills 0-2 Ingram Township
Falston United 0-0 Mapleford
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Morningstar
Ritter Town 2-4 Peregrine
Gosmouth Swans 1-0 Cranequin City
Hackett 1-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Autumnstone 6-1 Lazuli Diamonds
West Brinemouth 2-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Locksley 0-2 Sheridan

PREMIERSHIP
Pos Team                      P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 23 16 3 4 59 23 +36 51
2 Vermillion Rage 23 13 5 5 43 24 +19 44
3 Aries Chariots 23 13 5 5 38 25 +13 44
4 Stahlburg City 23 12 5 6 27 17 +10 41

5 AFC Treason 23 12 5 6 25 19 +6 41
6 AFC Corvistone 23 10 6 7 43 34 +9 36
7 North Laithland 23 11 3 9 33 35 -2 36

8 Sabrefell Moths 23 10 4 9 33 26 +7 34
9 Belgrave 23 11 1 11 35 35 +0 34
10 Starling 23 10 3 10 37 35 +2 33
11 Sabrefell Athletic 23 9 6 8 33 34 -1 33
12 Parrhesia United 23 10 3 10 34 36 -2 33
13 Crisisbless 23 7 10 6 35 25 +10 31
14 Newrook City 23 8 7 8 31 28 +3 31
15 Diamondqueen 23 9 4 10 31 44 -13 31
16 Coret Hawks 23 8 4 11 36 42 -6 28
17 Chenoworth Rovers 23 6 10 7 27 34 -7 28
18 Crisisbless United 23 8 4 11 30 41 -11 28
19 South Laithland 23 6 7 10 22 25 -3 25
20 Southfell United 23 6 7 10 28 32 -4 25
21 Creed United 23 6 6 11 21 30 -9 24
22 Iron City 23 5 5 13 14 29 -15 20
23 Stahlburg Rovers 23 6 2 15 31 53 -22 20
24 Chenoworth Harriers 23 4 5 14 19 39 -20 17

FIRST DIVISION
Pos Team                        P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brookford Otters 23 14 7 2 45 22 +23 49
2 Goodfeather FC 23 13 4 6 49 27 +22 43
3 Vermillion Wanderers 23 12 6 5 39 20 +19 42

4 North Sabrefell 23 13 3 7 33 23 +10 42
5 Leichhardt 23 11 8 4 27 20 +7 41
6 Chatswood 23 12 3 8 32 15 +17 39
7 Corvette Maulers 23 11 6 6 28 25 +3 39
8 Cypher Town 23 10 7 6 30 26 +4 37
9 Mantlegrove 23 10 5 8 27 24 +3 35
10 Raven River 23 9 6 8 32 30 +2 33
11 Corinthians No Longer 23 8 8 7 26 27 -1 32
12 Cranequin Wanderers 23 8 7 8 23 18 +5 31
13 Barossia United 23 9 3 11 31 29 +2 30
14 AFC Rochford 23 7 9 7 26 26 +0 30
15 The Strongest 23 9 3 11 34 44 -10 30
16 Chardonnay Rangers 23 8 5 10 33 37 -4 29
17 AFC Serpentine 23 7 7 9 33 42 -9 28
18 Armstrong 23 7 6 10 26 33 -7 27
19 Alliance Barossia 23 8 2 13 20 34 -14 26
20 Greygate 23 6 5 12 29 39 -10 23
21 Aries Solitaire 23 5 6 12 27 37 -10 21
22 Gonen's Bridge 23 5 6 12 23 39 -16 21
23 Bishop 23 3 7 13 22 40 -18 16
24 Pillars of Southfell 23 3 7 13 18 36 -18 16

SECOND DIVISION
Pos Team                       P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Peregrine 23 17 3 3 54 24 +30 54
2 Cranequin City 23 17 2 4 35 16 +19 53
3 Locksley 23 16 4 3 55 27 +28 52

4 Morningstar 23 13 6 4 40 21 +19 45
5 Crisisbless Athletic 23 14 3 6 41 25 +16 45
6 Hackett 23 12 5 6 34 18 +16 41
7 Boltcroft Thorns 23 10 7 6 38 26 +12 37
8 Falston United 23 11 4 8 26 26 +0 37
9 Dartmouth Terriers 23 9 6 8 33 25 +8 33
10 Riverkey 23 9 6 8 23 21 +2 33
11 West Brinemouth 23 8 7 8 21 24 -3 31
12 Gosmouth Swans 23 9 4 10 28 36 -8 31
13 Ritter Town 23 8 6 9 31 28 +3 30
14 Lazuli Diamonds 23 9 3 11 31 40 -9 30
15 Autumnstone 23 8 3 12 33 30 +3 27
16 Stonegrave 23 7 6 10 18 25 -7 27
17 Ingram Township 23 8 3 12 23 32 -9 27
18 Sheridan 23 5 7 11 18 28 -10 22
19 Rochford Pilgrims 23 6 3 14 24 44 -20 21
20 Mapleford 23 6 3 14 20 43 -23 21
21 Ballardine FC 23 5 5 13 19 31 -12 20
22 Extreme Hills 23 5 5 13 28 45 -17 20
23 Kensey Town 23 5 4 14 22 45 -23 19
24 The Hanged Man 23 2 9 12 16 31 -15 15

THIRD DIVISION
Pos Team                          P   W  D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Lockheed Zenith 23 16 3 4 49 29 +20 51
2 Southriver 23 14 4 5 34 16 +18 46
3 New Oakstone Phoenix 23 13 6 4 58 29 +29 45

4 Brokenarch 23 13 5 5 39 25 +14 44
5 AFC Shale 23 11 7 5 36 20 +16 40
6 East Laithland Harriers 23 11 7 5 42 27 +15 40
7 Kommissar 23 10 7 6 31 25 +6 37
8 Brindleton 23 10 6 7 33 24 +9 36
9 Corvistone City 23 10 6 7 20 19 +1 36
10 Hartford Glade 23 9 4 10 36 28 +8 31
11 Crossroads Town 23 8 7 8 41 38 +3 31
12 Martella Jazz 23 9 4 10 36 40 -4 31
13 Coret Rovers 23 9 4 10 27 35 -8 31
14 Lindmark Falcons 23 9 4 10 33 42 -9 31
15 Cranequin Souths 23 8 6 9 38 41 -3 30
16 Riverkey Shells 23 8 4 11 41 51 -10 28
17 Strephonage 23 9 1 13 25 38 -13 28
18 Caldwick Strand 23 6 8 9 29 35 -6 26
19 Northside Eagles 23 6 5 12 29 41 -12 23
20 Crownsend Journey 23 6 4 13 40 44 -4 22
21 West Hook 23 5 5 13 22 37 -15 20
22 Constance Park 23 4 8 11 19 35 -16 20
23 Sirencall FC 23 4 8 11 23 40 -17 20
24 Ringway 23 4 5 14 17 39 -22 17
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Nephara
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Tue Dec 08, 2020 5:37 am

Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Aries Chariots
Diamondqueen 0-0 Brinemouth
Iron City 0-2 Coret Hawks
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Creed United 1-2 Crisisbless
Parrhesia United 2-2 Crisisbless United
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Newrook City
Belgrave 0-0 North Laithland
South Laithland 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Vermillion Rage 2-1 Sabrefell Moths
AFC Treason 0-0 Southfell United
Starling 1-0 Stahlburg City

Corvistone striker Babatunde Warrington’s PR team, which appears to consist of Babatunde Warrington, comes out with a diplomatic Twii: ‘Statement from the Baba: This punishment is with the heavy hands, because if you are watching you can see the Baba clearly did not throw to kill, na.’* Nevertheless, the Crows travel to Chenoworth without Warrington, and Tanith Carter pulls up in the buildup to give an unexpected start to Kirsten Tybalt as a 24th birthday present. That… turns into a nightmare. Six minutes in and six yards out from goal, Libuda nowhere, Tybalt finds her way onto a pass from Ulreich and somehow misses. Seventy minutes in, by which point clinical strikes from the edge of the box by veteran midfielders Coffey and Stensholt have put the Harriers 2-0 up, Tybalt is again played through on goal… and just stops for a fatal moment to trap the ball and really set her stance, allowing Victoria Carroll to catch up and blindside her with a perfectly-timed tackle. The Crows do ultimately pull one back, the Harriers’ failure to mark a corner costing them, and in injury time, Corsica Greene hacks out needlessly at Dimitra Karvelas. Crows penalty. Tybalt takes the ball, eager to make amends… and while her penalty isn’t terrible, it isn’t quite drilled into the corners, and it’s at a comfortable height, so within reach for Libuda to guess right and push the ball around the post.

Southfell manager George Jayson resigns after - despite? - the Cup win between league matches, citing a desire to ‘end on a high’. They go for the left-field option to fill the gap, taking on Volga Hoellerer, Alexis Spurlock’s assistant at Handon United. Just like last round, the result is a scoreless draw clinging more than a little to good luck and the shot-stopping of Ursula Gavaris. This time, though, it’s in a visit to Treason. Diamondqueen also keep Brinemouth quiet, though that’s less a virtuoso performance from Kay Szarbach and a more collective effort, players throwing themselves into tackles and blocks, Danitha Najzar sent off for a professional foul late on. It seems their luck runs out late on, when Tauscher’s cross caroms off Harker’s knee straight at goal… but a spectacular clawing save from Szarbach puts it over the crossbar, and there isn’t even time to take the corner. Stahlburg Rovers get an unlikely win against the Chariots, and while, yes, Dulcina Radcliffe was offside when she played in Sebring for the winner, Reinhard Drake talks for about twelve minutes about refereeing decisions evening themselves out in the end.

Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Armstrong
Aries Solitaire 0-3 AFC Serpentine
Greygate 4-1 Goodfeather FC
Gonen's Bridge 0-0 Mantlegrove
Chatswood 3-2 Bishop
Leichhardt 3-1 Chardonnay Rangers
Brookford Otters 1-2 Corvette Maulers
Cranequin Wanderers 3-2 Raven River
Alliance Barossia 2-1 AFC Rochford
Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 North Sabrefell
The Strongest 0-0 Cypher Town
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Barossia United

The dour but efficient Wardens are unfancied hosts for the tap-dancing midgets of Goodfeather, particularly a Goodfeather side ecstatic to see Tremeka Godwin return from injury. Godwin does indeed score, slickly converting a penalty won by strike partner Bastet North. It’s an 87th-minute consolation in a 4-1 defeat. Greygate are dominant all over the pitch, physically and tactically, with towering defensive midfielder Gareth Temple scoring his first two goals of the season with thrashed shots from well outside the box. Rebecca Kelsey’s Brookford get off to a strong start against Corvette, Annika Cashin putting them ahead in the 8th minute and then sent off in the 13th for a scything challenge on Amalia Florenzi - Corvette break through late on, Betancourt and Innes scoring in the 85th and 89th minutes as the exhausted Otters just can’t hold out to the end. North Sabrefell overtake Vermillion into the third and final promotion place, leaving it late - a game with a lot of promising build-up play but little end product settled in the end by a direct free kick from Fabrice Laramee.

Aries Chariots 2-1 Diamondqueen
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Iron City
Brinemouth 3-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Coret Hawks 2-0 Creed United
AFC Corvistone 4-2 Parrhesia United
Crisisbless 3-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Crisisbless United 1-4 Belgrave
Newrook City 1-1 South Laithland
North Laithland 2-1 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 AFC Treason
Sabrefell Moths 1-3 Starling
Southfell United 3-1 Stahlburg City

Belgrave have been the quiet overachievers in the league. Backed by many to drop through the extended trapdoor this season, they’ve instead thrived, keeping cool heads as all those around them are losing theirs. They’re just ahead of Crisisbless, Athletic and the Moths. A side that’s relegation fodder on paper but thriving in practice? Sounds like they’re muscling in on Crisisbless United’s turf, but on a visit east they showcase precisely why the tables have turned, a composed, mature performance that gets off to a great start when Andrea Prentice hits the postage stamp with a 2nd-minute free kick. United’s plan to counter falls apart, and they’re dominated in midfield throughout, with Dathan Ingram’s brace putting Belgrave 3-0 up by the half before Andrea Krause, on the other flank, nips in at the far post to stab home a diagonal ball from Sander Costly to make it 4. Ronayne’s hit-and-hope consolation is nothing more, and barely even that.

Helping to burnish Lexus Ulreich’s legacy is the continued flakiness of the Moths, where his former boss Adalheid Metzelder is left gnawing her nails to the quick as a clinical Starling put them to the sword, 3-1 away from home. Four shots, three on target, three goals - an off-night for Markgraf between the sticks, not truly at fault for any, but could perhaps have done better on all. After the travails of Kirsten Tybalt, Corvistone understandably opt to start Rachel Arniston up front against Parrhesia; the Schottic star has invited comparisons to the ‘takilante’ role that’s starting to become a thing in Farfadillis. It also provides an opportunity to link back up with her countrywoman and mentor, the club legend Krista Morham, who takes up Arniston’s usual attacking midfield role. While old and immobile at this stage, Morham still plays three perfect passes for Arniston to lash home three perfect finishes in a 4-2 win. Iron City sink Stahlburg Rovers in a vital six-pointer, Remsza scything inside Svennsdottir and curling an exquisite strike past Laurnagaray for the only goal of the game, while the top-vs.-bottom clash between Brinemouth and the Harriers ends in a wholly predictable 3-0 win, though Sven Ascalon does at least hit a post against his former side. All this without mentioning Athletic’s 1-1 draw against Treason, which doesn’t feel much like a loss.

Armstrong 0-0 Aries Solitaire
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Greygate
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Gonen's Bridge
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Chatswood
Mantlegrove 0-2 Leichhardt
Bishop 0-3 Brookford Otters
Chardonnay Rangers 2-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Corvette Maulers 0-1 Alliance Barossia
Raven River 2-0 Vermillion Wanderers
AFC Rochford 2-2 The Strongest
North Sabrefell 1-3 Corinthians No Longer
Cypher Town 0-0 Barossia United

Greygate follow up their great success by thinking they’re in a place where they can rest players, even in a visit to Pillars of Southfell. They aren’t. Klaus Petriak is past-it, a couple others drafted in never had it, and a long diagonal ball from Tollett is unaccountably left undefended, the bouncing ball chested down and crashed in by Yorke. North Sabrefell concede twice from set pieces to drop the game to CNL, but Vermillion Wanderers in the chasing pack are outplayed comprehensively by Raven River, for whom Athena Sinodinos is fast becoming one of the best signings in recent memory. Granted, River’s recent memory has largely consisted of underachieving garbage, but hey, here they are. So that puts Leichhardt in a strong position, gliding into second place. with a 2-0 win over Mantlegrove. While they do disproportionately rely on Ernie Stevenson’s goal output, his 12 swell to 14 and another clean sheet for the increasingly safe hands of Laczko get the job done.

Iron City 1-2 Aries Chariots
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Diamondqueen
Creed United 3-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Parrhesia United 1-0 Brinemouth
Chenoworth Rovers 3-0 Coret Hawks
Belgrave 3-2 AFC Corvistone
South Laithland 0-2 Crisisbless
Vermillion Rage 4-0 Crisisbless United
AFC Treason 1-1 Newrook City
Starling 4-3 North Laithland
Stahlburg City 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Southfell United 0-2 Sabrefell Moths

There’s still a feeling in Starling that they can lose track of games, just let things get away from them… and they do, early on against North Laithland. Their first mistake: scoring. What? No, but when a poor pass out of the back from Jaan is cut out by Flaxwood, who off-balance and off-the-cuff manages to play a scruffy through-ball for Riaz to drive past the furious Krieven, Starling are evidently inclined to rest on their laurel judging by the fact that Lilith Thornwood heads home an equaliser within a minute, before Jewell Foley drives home the second just three minutes later and, in failing to defend a long throw from Rashica, the Passerines open themselves up to Chloe Asquith smashing home a third in first-half injury time through a maze of bodies. In the first half of the season, perhaps, that would’ve been it - but now they have fight, and heart, and enough inside them to have overturned the deficit by the hour and to keep pressing, high and hard, before a gap opens up - again in injury time - for Nicki Stone to glide in unmarked through the ranks and drive home a clever disguised pass from substitute Eversong. Yes, Starling take three points, but perhaps more importantly, they prove a point.

Signs of recovery in Chenoworth? “These are signs of recovery,” insists Harriers manager Lienke Vesper after a narrow victory over Diamondqueen, a heavily deflected strike from captain Catheline Stensholt snatching the win late on. The Harriers play with ragged technique, but undoubted heart. Moreso, still, on the white half of the city, as the Rovers pulp Coret 3-0. That’s still remarkable as the Hawks dominate the first half, Cairbre Dundalk’s heroics between the sticks keeping the scores level going into the break before the Rovers come out with a vengeance in the second half, Vithoulkas, Forrest and Aravit hammering home what looks a convincing win. Vermillion crunch Crisisbless United 4-0 with Jonte Bestatter once again proving how astute a signing he was, while Parrhesia take a smash-and-grab win away from Brinemouth after the exhausted, foiled Dockers slip up late on the break, Kasmiir dispossessed by Mueller, teenage winger Isolde Reader racing onto the through-ball and driving past Heuser with the clinical edge and cool head of a veteran centre-forward.

Greygate 1-4 Armstrong
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Chatswood 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Leichhardt 2-0 AFC Serpentine
Brookford Otters 0-0 Goodfeather FC
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Mantlegrove
Alliance Barossia 1-5 Bishop
Vermillion Wanderers 3-0 Chardonnay Rangers
The Strongest 0-2 Corvette Maulers
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Raven River
Barossia United 1-1 AFC Rochford
Cypher Town 2-0 North Sabrefell

Bishop fans are losing patience with Mixu Durran, despite his heroics last year. The Bishops are last. Their chances of survival, in this bizarre season, are astronomical. Their thin squad has been ravaged by injuries, and while Durran’s unearthed a couple of decent teenagers, they’re … teenagers. But today, against Alliance Barossia, that’s enough - more than enough. 18-year old Klaus Marvell excels at the back, and as overused as the phrase ‘imperious’ undoubtedly is, he gets his head in the way of a couple goalbound efforts. But one effort still spills through Strom’s legs. Good job, then, that there’s the lethal trident of Leskosek, Zender and the teenager Cassi Burbank in attacking midfield positions - each gets on the scoresheet in what winds up a 5-1 rout, smooth and confident play belying their position on the table. Vermillion get back to winning ways, smashing Chardonnay 3-0, while Brookford stall against Goodfeather to allow Leichhardt to creep up just three points shy of the top.

Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Marinos Metropolis

They leave it late… and, in proper Moths fashion, cheat to do so. Metropolis lead early through a Craviotto strike, deftly chested down and rifled home before anyone could react, but Shiloh Morgenstern craftily gives the Moths the means to pull back when he sends a lob not so much at Lyzolda Petrov as at Zarama’s arm. It pays off, in roundabout fashion. Markus Portsman saves Petrov’s penalty, but only palms it straight back where it came from, and Ysabet Belgrade sprints ahead of the rest to hammer in the rebound. Rook Timekeeper gets a second caution late on, but there’s time enough for Belgrade to wriggle clear of scrutiny down the right, cut inside and drive a vicious low shot home with her left boot to steal the late win.

Aries Chariots 2-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Iron City 1-1 Creed United
Diamondqueen 2-1 Parrhesia United
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Brinemouth 5-0 Belgrave
Coret Hawks 1-2 South Laithland
AFC Corvistone 0-1 Vermillion Rage
Crisisbless 0-1 AFC Treason
Crisisbless United 1-1 Starling
Newrook City 0-3 Stahlburg City
North Laithland 2-1 Southfell United
Sabrefell Athletic 5-2 Sabrefell Moths

As always, the country stops when the Sabrefell derby hits the streets, though it doesn’t stop Michael Brandon - Crisisbless manager, Brinemouth-raised - asking sarcastically why all the press focus is on a ‘midtable clash’. But both managers, Colbright and Metzelder, are confident this can be a springboard to the top. A flying save from Raluca Garamond prevents Lyzolda Petrov from opening the scoring in just the second minute, and Clevinger hooking the ball desperately down the left flank in reply leads to Gere pulling back for Katsura to smash home the opener. It’s a reversal that leaves the Moths stunned through the whole affair; Benezet and Petrov trade blows before a curling strike from Athletic’s deputy right winger Thisbe Rouvas puts the Rams in the driving seat leading into half-time. Rouvas in particular plays like a daemon in the second half, setting up Tomlinson and the substitute Violet Siverson to make it 5-1. By the time Roesler hits an injury-time consolation from just outside the box, several of the notoriously resilient away fans have already left.

Perhaps Brandon ought to be grateful; after all, scrutiny could instead have been placed on Crisisbless’ rather toothless 1-0 defeat to Treason. Treason have the better of the match throughout, but struggle to put shots on target as has been an issue for them all season. A strike lashed at goal by Jonsson stretches Na’Kefir, though, who can only parry down to Felix Sebastian, gamely following the ball in to smash home. Crisisbless have the ball in the net late on, Woakes playing in Marinkovic to thrash home an undeserved leveller, but she strayed offside in so doing and Treason keep the points. Tim Maitfield is welcomed warmly upon his return to Crisisbless United, who play out an amiable draw with Starling, Chenoworth prove the strongest of the Rovers with Jelena Aravit’s wonder-goal the only event of a dire match, while Brinemouth pulverise Belgrave 5-0 as their close control finds the tiny gaps in Belgrave’s midfield, time after time.

Armstrong 0-1 Gonen's Bridge
Greygate 3-1 Chatswood
Aries Solitaire 0-2 Leichhardt
Pillars of Southfell 3-3 Brookford Otters
AFC Serpentine 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Goodfeather FC 2-0 Alliance Barossia
Mantlegrove 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Bishop 2-0 The Strongest
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 Corinthians No Longer
Corvette Maulers 3-2 Barossia United
Raven River 2-1 Cypher Town
AFC Rochford 0-1 North Sabrefell

A day for the underdogs to bite back. Brookford fall victim to an anarchic day in Southfell, Pillars losing control but embracing it, three clinical finishes making the difference to snatch a point at the death, while the heroics of Greygate goalkeeper Onef Haessler help burnish a comfortable-looking win over Chatswood, winger Jadzia Starmer opening with a goal-of-the-season contender, a roundhouse-kick volley with such power to turn her away from the goal so she doesn’t even see it arc past Williams. Leichhardt fail to succumb to the banana skin, effortlessly beating Solitaire, but Bishop, not to be outdone, manage victory over the Strongest with a brace from Isla Leskosek, the one man of their one-man band.

Marinos Metropolis 0-2 Sabrefell Moths
Sabrefell Moths win 4-1 on aggregate.

Less cheating, more straightforward. Ashton forces Markgraf into a brilliant early save, but past that point it’s all Moths, Zuniga and Petrov doing the damage in the second half.

Vermillion Rage 3-0 Autumnstone
Aries Chariots 5-1 Goodfeather FC
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless 3-2 North Sabrefell
Southfell United 1-0 Iron City
Stahlburg City 1-1 Parrhesia United (1-2 AET)
Sabrefell Athletic 0-2 Cypher Town
Crisisbless United 1-0 Raven River

The round is oddly, relatively short of all-Premiership ties. Southfell dominate Iron, but it takes until injury time before Iron’s resistance is finally broken in cruel fashion, Olexander flapping at a cross from Anselm after 90 indomitable minutes and Petrarch Corbay kneeling to chest home the winner. Stahlburg City miss a near-identical chance to break a near-identical stalemate against Parrhesia, Strephon heading wide when it would have been easier to score, and they’re made to pay late on when Rosborough rolls back the years to split their exhausted back line and 20-year old Tricia Cray capitalises to score her first goal for the club. Autumnstone are the last 2Div side remaining in the competition, but Kurtis Mallory’s Archers are just not up to the task against Vermillion Rage, the difference of quality clear throughout in a 3-0 win; Goodfeather are ripped to shreds by Aries in a 5-1 rout, despite actually stealing the first goal of the night. Other 1Div sides fare rather better; North Sabrefell and Raven River put up respectable showings in defeat to Crisisbless and Crisisbless United, with Crisisbless - the white and blue ones - manager Michael Brandon admitting his side had to ‘dig deep’ to overcome the Bohemians’ 2-1 half-time lead, while CNL secure a proper smash-and-grab against Coret Hawks, Anibal Troche with a spectacular rabona from outside the box that stuns the crowd into silence as it lashes beyond Coleman, Anders Rowett superhuman at the other end backed up by Premiership rejects in Pepper and Fraser playing Praetorian. But the result everyone looks at comes in Sabrefell, with Athletic assuming they can finally rest players. They are wrong. Cypher Town do lean on a few excellent saves from Anna Rochester, yes - not evne the number 1, but hoping to convince the Eagles they don’t need a new ‘keeper in the offseasson when club legend Ruo finally retires. But their goals are both from open play, both following off composed sequences of confident short passing, with Ishtar and Whyte applying the finishing touches on the edge of the box and securing a memorable 2-0 win on enemy ground.

Creed United 1-0 Aries Chariots
Parrhesia United 0-3 Chenoworth Harriers
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Iron City
Belgrave 3-2 Diamondqueen
South Laithland 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Vermillion Rage 3-2 Brinemouth
AFC Treason 1-1 Coret Hawks
Starling 0-2 AFC Corvistone
Stahlburg City 0-2 Crisisbless
Southfell United 4-0 Crisisbless United
Sabrefell Moths 1-1 Newrook City
Sabrefell Athletic 3-1 North Laithland

Second plays first, always hotly-anticipated. In the blue corner, five points clear at the top, are the visitors Brinemouth - apart from their abysmal international record, they’re doing about as well as expected of them, unlike most of the other heavy-hitters of whom only Treason are showing anywhere near the form they ought. In the orange corner, in second… are Vermillion Rage? Well, they are probably the most expected of unexpected overachievers, the kind of club who would do shit like this. The duel is Victoria Maersk, once picked up by North Sabrefell on a free transfer, against Brinemouth’s marquee man, rue Cazade… and tonight, rue Cazade falls silent. Apart from one flash of brilliance in the 8th minute, twirling past Maersk then cutting back inside of her, past her, and lashing the opening goal into the top corner past a stationary Hartnett. But Vermillion fight back, hard - not always fair, either. Teenage sensation leftback Radeka Lind whips in a cross and Bestatter rises highest to head home, though he appears to be grabbing Brosch’s hair as a boost. The referee doesn’t pick up on it, they go into the half level and that doesn’t last long, a close-range half-volley from Mrdja clawed away by Heuser but driven home on the rebound by Bestatter regardless, before Lind - again! - shapes to cross to trick Spencer, before dragging a ball across the edge of the box for Syrene Fleetwood to drive home. Brinemouth try and get back into the game - Kasmiir hits the post with a speculative effort, before an effort from Tauscher is clawed onto the crossbar by Hartnett and headed to safety by Cierra Anderson, before at long last Bryger Tidesson comes off the bench to smash one home with his first touch. But with ten minutes to spare, rue Cazade, frustrated by Maersk’s tender attentions, lashes out with an elbow. Maersk goes down, rue Cazade goes off, and Brinemouth’s chances die away.

What is it about Crisisbless United and conceding precisely four goals? Captain Tom Garner, model of consistency over the past few years, seems to have fallen off a cliff; certainly there’s nothing he can do against Southfell United, whose bold, attacking football against Volga Hoellerer takes the fight to the Chequers’ doorstep. Pretty much the entire game seems to take place in and around their box, and Rina Lazareva between the posts has an excellent game… just, is left totally exposed for two tap-ins and falls victim to two other wonder-strikes from midfielders nobody put pressure on. There’s more hope for the Harriers, who batter a rotated Saints side 3-0 as Ibolya Makai finally gets his third goal of the season, and the relief is clear on the beleagured striker’s face. Creed put the wind out of the Chariots’ sails, as they simply outlast a side that can’t put their myriad chances away. Camilla Martin gets one, and slots it away. Corvistone ease past Starling while Stahlburg City’s lack of bite up front and general negativity even on home soil means Crisisbless hold the initiative, and find a couple of openings through sheer quality alone.

Chatswood 1-0 Armstrong
Leichhardt 0-2 Gonen's Bridge
Brookford Otters 3-1 Greygate
Cranequin Wanderers 2-1 Aries Solitaire
Alliance Barossia 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 AFC Serpentine
The Strongest 6-5 Goodfeather FC
Corinthians No Longer 2-2 Mantlegrove
Barossia United 0-0 Bishop
Cypher Town 1-4 Chardonnay Rangers
North Sabrefell 2-3 Corvette Maulers
AFC Rochford 1-3 Raven River

4’: Kylene Rotariu wins a penalty, the big lass improbably bundled over by the miniscule Rain Methven. Converted easily by Cheney Masters. STR 1-0 GDF.
7’: Rotariu stands firm. Tamika Porter’s cross reaches her. She nods it in. STR 2-0 GDF.
9’: Hans Korchnoi hits the post. What the fuck is going on?
16’: Aloysian March mishits a cross. It flies over Brincat’s head anyway. STR 3-0 GDF.
25’: Poor composure from Marav sees her cough up possession to Sunstroem; deft one-two lets the Cosumarite winger slot a clinical ball underneath the outraged Leyland Brincat. STR 4-0 GDF.
31’: The Strongest rightback Marius Sanwald sent off for trying to murder Marav, running forward on the overlap.
37’: The chase begins. Lorzer’s shot is too hard for Verlinden to handle, Godwin bundles it home. STR 4-1 GDF.
45+1’: Penalty through a senseless handball from Peacock, the veteran fullback and Sanwald’s replacement. Good work, Bernard. Easily slotted home by Godwin. STR 4-2 GDF.
48’: Goodfeather fall asleep as Porter thwacks in a cross, and Rotariu is somehow allowed to chest down and hammer past Brincat from close range. STR 5-2 GDF.
49’: Fed up with Brincat, Loque impulsively calls on Anya Beraht to replace him in goal. She looks a little embarrassed when she realises she’s made a like-for-like defensive substitution when she needs three goals.
53’: Verlinden fails to properly either come out for or stay on the line for a diagonal from Lorzer; North eats it up. STR 5-3 GDF.
59’: North seems to get her second; she’s offside.
68’: North scores from an offside position again.
73’: Finally! A swerving volley from Shulthis. STR 5-4 GDF.
77’: Oh for fuck’s sake. Rotariu unmarked in the box; STR 6-4 GDF.
90+1’: Substitute Hecate Dransfeld smashes a piledriver into the top corner. North is flattened by Wiseman when she tries to get the ball back to the centre. It doesn’t matter. 6-5 is the final score.

AFC Treason 2-0 Cyrene Bay

A fairly routine win, started and finished by the defence; Gabriel Lockheed is a dominant figure at the back, and heads home a 12th-minute corner, with Accardi popping up at the far post to probably secure the tie late on.

Aries Chariots 5-1 Parrhesia United
Creed United 1-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Chenoworth Harriers 2-1 Belgrave
Iron City 2-2 South Laithland
Diamondqueen 0-2 Vermillion Rage
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 AFC Treason
Brinemouth 2-0 Starling
Coret Hawks 1-2 Stahlburg City
AFC Corvistone 1-0 Southfell United
Crisisbless 0-4 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless United 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Newrook City 2-0 North Laithland

The clash of the round is Crisisbless’ visit to the Moths, as both sides continue to try and find their feet. The formula just isn’t quite right for either side, though both managers have come out to vocally defend prize assets; Brandon defends lukewarm winger Spijkers as ‘a kid whose price tag is twice his age’, while Metzelder denies any talk of her favourite, Rook Timekeeper, being remotely in over his head. Timekeeper, in the event, plays exceptionally. Spijkers does not. The result is a hammering, a 4-0 hammering - though in fairness, it’s ‘just’ 2-0 leading into the hour, before Valeri Longship makes up for being beaten for pace by Shiloh Morgenstern with a homicidal challenge that sees her shown the door. Against ten, the Moths are ruthless, and only the increasingly incandescent Na’Kefir between the sticks keeps the score remotely respectable… but it is, in truth, a humiliation.

Brinemouth against Starling is a showcase of a team who have made it against a side of rapidly falling stars, though at least under Maitfield the defender Kawsu Kaba has regained his form. Twice he throws his body on the line to block surely goalbound efforts from rue Cazade and Tauscher… and it doesn’t matter, because rue Cazade curls one beyond Smordal on the hour before Jackson takes advantage of a slip from callow leftback Caracal Page to drill one between Smordal’s feet. Vermillion Rage remain hot in the chase, an easy, routine win over Diamondqueen. When things are looking easy or routine for Vermillion, this is an unusually strong vintage. Aries bury Parrhesia 5-1, though two of their goals come through Ihazintzu Malkorra having a moment of magic enabled by Ihazintzu Malkorra elbowing Nikki Freeman in the teeth; the Harriers claw three more much-needed points back thanks to the bold move to bring forward ‘keeper Libuda for the final corner with the scores level. Libuda gets nowhere near the ball, of course, but it might well have made some kind of Sound-of-Thunder impact elsewhere in the box as Tristram dithers on her line and Letang heads home the winner.

Armstrong 0-0 Leichhardt
Chatswood 1-0 Brookford Otters
Gonen's Bridge 1-3 Cranequin Wanderers
Greygate 4-1 Alliance Barossia
Aries Solitaire 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 The Strongest
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Corinthians No Longer
Goodfeather FC 2-2 Barossia United
Mantlegrove 1-0 Cypher Town
Bishop 3-1 North Sabrefell
Chardonnay Rangers 2-1 AFC Rochford
Corvette Maulers 2-3 Raven River

Armstrong fail to score for a third straight match, though given the opposition it’s forgivable - a resurgent Leichhardt with eyes on the prize - and they’d certainly have taken it in the 81st minute, when Ernie Stevenson stepped up for a penalty. But the cocky Hapilopper international goes for … well, he goes for something, and lofts the spot-kick into the stands. Neither pace, accuracy or trickery - a remarkably shit pen. In a clash at the top, Chatswood eke out a narrow win over Brookford, who were denied an equaliser at the death when Annika Cashin plays home Turner from an offside position; Greygate again turn on the style and hammer Alliance 4-1, while Bishop get a rare result in a weirdly comfortable 3-1 win over North Sabrefell.

Cyrene Bay 0-1 AFC Treason
AFC Treason win 3-0 on aggregate.

The Stags have been somewhat out of sorts this season, yes, but they can still grind out an ugly away result when they have to. Felix Sebastian ploughs a lonely furrow up front, right up until a missed header from a Cyrene defender lets him pounce. It’s his only shot on target of the match, and it’s all he needs to secure the tie.

Chenoworth Rovers 2-4 Aries Chariots
Belgrave 0-2 Parrhesia United
South Laithland 1-0 Creed United
Vermillion Rage 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
AFC Treason 0-0 Iron City
Starling 3-0 Diamondqueen
Stahlburg City 4-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Southfell United 0-2 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Moths 4-0 Coret Hawks
Sabrefell Athletic 1-2 AFC Corvistone
North Laithland 1-5 Crisisbless
Newrook City 2-1 Crisisbless United

You love-hate to see it, but looking at the top end of the table, it’s starting to look a bit more… normal. The big six are all by now in the top ten, at most two points out of the IFCF places. Brinemouth remain the standout favourites for the title, a straightforward win in Southfell matched by Vermillion’s dogged 1-0 win over the Harriers, while Aries leave it ‘til a late brace from sprightly young midfielder Purna Zazagan snatches glory away from Chenoworth Rovers to keep the established top three in situ. Treason already faced a hard job breaking into that, and that was before a dismal scoreless draw against Iron City. Stahlburg City cream the Rovers 4-0 in a thoroughly one-sided Stahlburg derby, one from which Kresimir Brujah is suspended and so cannot collect his traditional pointless red card for attempted homicide; but of course there must still be one, and it falls to Else Svennsdottir for clattering Delfour to the delfloor and following up by planting her studs in his inner thigh. Corvistone edge out Sabrefell Athletic late on, Niedermayer with a very Hadrian Belfast-like performance; scoring the winning goal off a corner, making sure it stayed the winning goal due to a blatant professional foul that sees him sent off with a clap on the shoulder. Crisisbless annihilate North Laithland to round out the top seven.

Coret Hawks are left to look over their shoulder, just three points away from danger and doing precisely nothing to dispel that notion as the Moths crush them 4-0. Daniel Archer is less than impressed; “Everything that could be aligned to being good at football, we did it worse and less and they did it better and more. They ran harder, they shot better, they defended more intelligently, we were a shitshow. Only good thing about the game is it’s over.” Injuries certainly haven’t helped - Konrad Vornander’s been absent most of the season, and they’ve badly missed his stability at the back - but right now it’s the strike pairing of Romaine and Saara that are keeping their heads above water. Diamondqueen, easily beaten by Starling, are also just above danger, with Creed succumbing to a sad defeat in the Laith to occupy the playoff place. At Southfell, worries are starting to accumulate, while United have been unable to arrest their slump. The Harriers, Iron and Stahlburg Rovers are all running badly out of time.

Brookford Otters 1-1 Armstrong
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Leichhardt
Alliance Barossia 1-3 Chatswood
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Gonen's Bridge
The Strongest 0-1 Greygate
Corinthians No Longer 1-2 Aries Solitaire
Barossia United 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Cypher Town 2-1 AFC Serpentine
North Sabrefell 1-2 Goodfeather FC
AFC Rochford 0-2 Mantlegrove
Raven River 3-2 Bishop
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Chardonnay Rangers

Things are deliciously open at the top in 1Div, with Chatswood narrowing the gap to the Otters by a point as Brookford come aground in Armstrong. Sure, the Paladins are still in the engorged drop zone, a mediocre season under normal circumstances threatening disaster, but they have what it takes to just leave no gaps for an Otters attack that loves to drive into space that is not, tonight, there. Chatswood’s win over Alliance is easy, and also lifts them two points above Leichhardt, who are far less than prolific and split the points in Cranequin. Corvette leave it late to beat Chardonnay, Darren Halfhill rushed back from injury to come off the bench and save the day, while Goodfeather recover from their recent humiliations to beat North Sabrefell. And yet, with how this season is going, none of those sides could wind up promoted; it’s anyone’s game, just thirteen points splitting first from 11th, and nobody’s giving up hope. At the bottom, Aries try to defy talk of doom and gloom with a late winner over CNL, but Bishop and Pillars can probably already start to plan for the third tier, with Rochford and Bridge already in a hole, though Bridge getting one over Vermillion Wanderers and former manager Jakob Mortimer was a nice jolt to the heart.

MATCHDAY 24
Kensey Town 0-0 The Hanged Man
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Riverkey
Ingram Township 0-0 Ballardine FC
Mapleford 0-2 Stonegrave
Morningstar 5-0 Extreme Hills
Peregrine 0-0 Falston United
Cranequin City 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 Ritter Town
Lazuli Diamonds 0-2 Gosmouth Swans
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Hackett
Sheridan 1-0 Autumnstone
Locksley 1-1 West Brinemouth
MATCHDAY 25
The Hanged Man 0-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Kensey Town 0-2 Ingram Township
Riverkey 1-1 Mapleford
Ballardine FC 0-6 Morningstar
Stonegrave 0-0 Peregrine
Extreme Hills 0-1 Cranequin City
Falston United 3-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Ritter Town 4-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Gosmouth Swans 0-0 Sheridan
Hackett 0-1 Locksley
Autumnstone 3-3 West Brinemouth
MATCHDAY 26
Ingram Township 1-1 The Hanged Man
Mapleford 1-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Morningstar 5-1 Kensey Town
Peregrine 3-0 Riverkey
Cranequin City 1-1 Ballardine FC
Crisisbless Athletic 2-2 Stonegrave
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Extreme Hills
Dartmouth Terriers 2-1 Falston United
Sheridan 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Locksley 2-8 Ritter Town
West Brinemouth 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Autumnstone 1-3 Hackett
MATCHDAY 27
The Hanged Man 2-1 Mapleford
Ingram Township 0-1 Morningstar
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Peregrine
Kensey Town 2-5 Cranequin City
Riverkey 1-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Ballardine FC 3-2 Lazuli Diamonds
Stonegrave 0-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Extreme Hills 0-0 Sheridan
Falston United 1-0 Locksley
Boltcroft Thorns 2-1 West Brinemouth
Ritter Town 0-3 Autumnstone
Gosmouth Swans 1-1 Hackett
MATCHDAY 28
Morningstar 2-0 The Hanged Man
Peregrine 1-2 Mapleford
Cranequin City 2-0 Ingram Township
Crisisbless Athletic 3-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Kensey Town
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Riverkey
Sheridan 0-1 Ballardine FC
Locksley 1-0 Stonegrave
West Brinemouth 3-0 Extreme Hills
Autumnstone 1-2 Falston United
Hackett 1-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Gosmouth Swans 2-1 Ritter Town
MATCHDAY 29
The Hanged Man 0-1 Peregrine
Morningstar 0-1 Cranequin City
Mapleford 3-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Ingram Township 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Rochford Pilgrims 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Kensey Town 0-0 Sheridan
Riverkey 1-1 Locksley
Ballardine FC 1-4 West Brinemouth
Stonegrave 3-3 Autumnstone
Extreme Hills 2-3 Hackett
Falston United 1-1 Gosmouth Swans
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 Ritter Town
MATCHDAY 30
Cranequin City 0-2 The Hanged Man
Crisisbless Athletic 4-3 Peregrine
Lazuli Diamonds 1-3 Morningstar
Dartmouth Terriers 1-1 Mapleford
Sheridan 2-0 Ingram Township
Locksley 6-2 Rochford Pilgrims
West Brinemouth 2-0 Kensey Town
Autumnstone 2-1 Riverkey
Hackett 3-0 Ballardine FC
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 Stonegrave
Ritter Town 6-0 Extreme Hills
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Falston United

PREMIERSHIP
Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 30 20 4 6 73 27 +46 64
2 Vermillion Rage 30 19 5 6 57 29 +28 62
3 Aries Chariots 30 18 5 7 54 33 +21 59
4 AFC Treason 30 14 10 6 30 22 +8 52

5 Stahlburg City 30 15 6 9 38 25 +13 51
6 AFC Corvistone 30 14 6 10 55 43 +12 48
7 Crisisbless 30 12 10 8 49 32 +17 46

8 Starling 30 14 4 12 49 44 +5 46
9 Sabrefell Athletic 30 12 9 9 48 44 +4 45
10 Sabrefell Moths 30 13 5 12 48 37 +11 44
11 Belgrave 30 14 2 14 46 49 -3 44
12 North Laithland 30 13 4 13 42 51 -9 43
13 Newrook City 30 10 11 9 39 36 +3 41
14 Parrhesia United 30 12 4 14 43 52 -9 40
15 South Laithland 30 9 10 11 31 33 -2 37
16 Chenoworth Rovers 30 8 12 10 34 43 -9 36
17 Coret Hawks 30 10 5 15 43 54 -11 35
18 Diamondqueen 30 10 5 15 37 57 -20 35
19 Creed United 30 9 7 14 28 36 -8 34
20 Southfell United 30 8 8 14 36 40 -4 32
21 Crisisbless United 30 8 6 16 36 60 -24 30
22 Chenoworth Harriers 30 8 5 17 28 48 -20 29
23 Iron City 30 6 9 15 19 36 -17 27
24 Stahlburg Rovers 30 7 2 21 33 65 -32 23

FIRST DIVISION
Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brookford Otters 30 16 10 4 56 30 +26 58
2 Chatswood 30 18 3 9 44 21 +23 57
3 Leichhardt 30 15 10 5 37 24 +13 55

4 Corvette Maulers 30 16 6 8 41 34 +7 54
5 Goodfeather FC 30 15 6 9 61 41 +20 51
6 Vermillion Wanderers 30 15 6 9 47 28 +19 51
7 Raven River 30 14 7 9 48 40 +8 49
8 North Sabrefell 30 15 3 12 40 36 +4 48
9 Mantlegrove 30 13 7 10 34 30 +4 46
10 Cranequin Wanderers 30 12 9 9 36 27 +9 45
11 Cypher Town 30 12 9 9 36 34 +2 45
12 Barossia United 30 11 7 12 39 35 +4 40
13 Chardonnay Rangers 30 11 6 13 44 49 -5 39
14 Corinthians No Longer 30 9 10 11 34 38 -4 37
15 AFC Serpentine 30 10 7 13 41 49 -8 37
16 Armstrong 30 9 9 12 32 37 -5 36
17 The Strongest 30 10 6 14 43 57 -14 36
18 Greygate 30 10 5 15 43 50 -7 35
19 Alliance Barossia 30 11 2 17 28 49 -21 35
20 AFC Rochford 30 7 11 12 32 39 -7 32
21 Gonen's Bridge 30 8 8 14 30 45 -15 32
22 Aries Solitaire 30 7 8 15 33 47 -14 29
23 Bishop 30 6 8 16 36 51 -15 26
24 Pillars of Southfell 30 4 9 17 23 47 -24 21

SECOND DIVISION
Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin City 30 21 3 6 45 22 +23 66
2 Morningstar 30 19 6 5 62 24 +38 63
3 Locksley 30 19 6 5 67 40 +27 63

4 Peregrine 30 19 5 6 62 31 +31 62
5 Crisisbless Athletic 30 17 5 8 54 37 +17 56
6 Hackett 30 16 7 7 46 24 +22 55
7 Boltcroft Thorns 30 15 9 6 50 31 +19 54
8 Falston United 30 14 7 9 35 33 +2 49
9 West Brinemouth 30 12 9 9 37 32 +5 45
10 Dartmouth Terriers 30 11 9 10 38 33 +5 42
11 Ritter Town 30 11 7 12 51 38 +13 40
12 Gosmouth Swans 30 11 7 12 35 42 -7 40
13 Riverkey 30 9 9 12 28 32 -4 36
14 Stonegrave 30 9 9 12 26 32 -6 36
15 Autumnstone 30 10 5 15 46 43 +3 35
16 Ingram Township 30 10 5 15 27 38 -11 35
17 Rochford Pilgrims 30 9 5 16 30 54 -24 32
18 Sheridan 30 7 10 13 21 30 -9 31
19 Lazuli Diamonds 30 9 4 17 36 54 -18 31
20 Mapleford 30 8 6 16 29 51 -22 30
21 Ballardine FC 30 7 7 16 25 47 -22 28
22 Kensey Town 30 6 6 18 26 59 -33 24
23 The Hanged Man 30 4 11 15 21 37 -16 23
24 Extreme Hills 30 5 7 18 31 64 -33 22

THIRD DIVISION
Pos Team                          P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Lockheed Zenith 30 20 6 4 67 34 +33 66
2 New Oakstone Phoenix 30 18 7 5 79 35 +44 61
3 AFC Shale 30 16 9 5 47 22 +25 57

4 Brokenarch 30 16 7 7 50 32 +18 55
5 Southriver 30 16 5 9 42 28 +14 53
6 Kommissar 30 15 8 7 44 34 +10 53
7 East Laithland Harriers 30 15 7 8 55 38 +17 52
8 Brindleton 30 13 8 9 42 32 +10 47
9 Crossroads Town 30 11 10 9 55 45 +10 43
10 Cranequin Souths 30 12 6 12 50 55 -5 42
11 Martella Jazz 30 11 8 11 47 50 -3 41
12 Corvistone City 30 10 10 10 26 32 -6 40
13 Lindmark Falcons 30 11 7 12 41 48 -7 40
14 Northside Eagles 30 11 6 13 44 52 -8 39
15 Coret Rovers 30 10 7 13 33 44 -11 37
16 Strephonage 30 11 4 15 32 47 -15 37
17 Hartford Glade 30 10 5 15 44 44 +0 35
18 Caldwick Strand 30 8 11 11 39 45 -6 35
19 Riverkey Shells 30 8 7 15 51 69 -18 31
20 Sirencall FC 30 6 10 14 32 54 -22 28
21 Crownsend Journey 30 7 6 17 46 54 -8 27
22 Constance Park 30 5 11 14 24 46 -22 26
23 West Hook 30 5 8 17 27 47 -20 23
24 Ringway 30 5 7 18 22 52 -30 22


* This written by Osarius on the Discord.
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Nephara
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Sun Dec 13, 2020 3:43 am

Aries Chariots 2-1 Belgrave
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 South Laithland
Parrhesia United 1-2 Vermillion Rage
Creed United 0-1 AFC Treason
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Starling
Iron City 1-3 Stahlburg City
Diamondqueen 0-3 Southfell United
Stahlburg Rovers 1-3 Sabrefell Moths
Brinemouth 2-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Coret Hawks 0-2 North Laithland
AFC Corvistone 0-2 Newrook City
Crisisbless 3-1 Crisisbless United

A Crisisbless derby sees the white and blue in the ascendancy and United trying to halt a backslide. For the Chequers, the issue is pretty simple, and thrown into sharp relief within the first half. Tactically, the side’s basically the same as it was for the start of the season. Or the end of last season. But under Maitfield, Brielle Strebinger has the confidence to drill an early, unmarked shot under Na’Kefir, not wide. Under Maitfield, Tom Garner commits to a challenge against countrywoman Woakes, doesn’t let her dance past him and blaze one into the top corner. And under Maitfield, Rina Lazareva comes out for a Bowman cross, doesn’t dither and simply let Germain head home. Andressa Stand does pull back a goal in world-on-her-shoulders form, dragging possession off the lingering Luhukay, racing past Kastriot and ripping a high strike past the helpless Na’Kefir. A glimmer of hope… one put out just two minutes later when yet again the crisis of confidence tells, Coles is caught in possession by the opportunistic Spijkers, who hammers home the decisive third off the underside of the crossbar.

Brinemouth face off against the Rams hoping to defend a strong lead at the top of the table, and like the Chequers go down two goals fairly early on, Kotaro Katsura running the show in the first half. Unlike the Chequers, the Dockers have players who can conjure moments of magic and save the day; lightning strikes from Tauscher and Saitou take a not-especially-deserved point away from the game. It’s still two points dropped, as Aries make heavy weather of Belgrave but still eventually get through, Pryna Rasanamira proving her grit by pushing past two men to nod home a stoppage-time corner, while Vermillion face off against an obstructive-to-blatantly-cheating Parrhesia. In the first hour, against eleven men, there’s no way through; by the end, against nine, a looping header from substitute Danica Heward finally gets the better of Laisne. The Harriers scrape a point against Starling thanks to Olwen North’s shot taking two massive deflections in the box on its way past Smordal, while Southfell show some life under Volga Hoellerer and put Diamondqueen to the sword in a 3-0 win.

Armstrong 0-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Brookford Otters 3-2 Alliance Barossia
Leichhardt 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Chatswood 2-0 The Strongest
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Corinthians No Longer
Greygate 1-3 Barossia United
Aries Solitaire 0-1 Cypher Town
Pillars of Southfell 0-0 North Sabrefell
AFC Serpentine 1-1 AFC Rochford
Goodfeather FC 4-3 Raven River
Mantlegrove 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Bishop 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers

Armstrong and Cranequin face off, both badly in need of a boost. Armstrong think they have an edge early on, a corner that the usually rock-solid Butcher air-swings at, somehow winding up bundled in by Asbjornsson. There’s just one problem - hulking target man Pawnbroker wrestling goalkeeper Shanna Cotton to the floor is, just a bit, a foul. Armstrong’s concussive playstyle still gets them level into the half, but Cranequin’s composure pays off in the second half, crisply-taken strikes from the veteran Plibersek and the sprightly Forde making the difference. Pillars get another point in a frustrating draw with North Sabrefell, Leichhardt fizzle out in a scoreless draw with Vermillion Wanderers while the only goal in a perhaps-pivotal promotion chase between Mantlegrove and Corvette comes in the 72nd minute. Basalaj brings down Brady Innes in the box, no controversy there, and the Maulers slot home the penalty, but Darren Halfhill’s “hop, skip and a jump”, in the derisive words of Dryads manager Constantine Beckett, “makes him look a right berk.”

South Laithland 1-0 Aries Chariots
Vermillion Rage 2-2 Belgrave
AFC Treason 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Starling 2-3 Parrhesia United
Stahlburg City 1-0 Creed United
Southfell United 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Moths 6-0 Iron City
Sabrefell Athletic 4-0 Diamondqueen
North Laithland 0-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Newrook City 1-3 Brinemouth
Crisisbless United 0-1 Coret Hawks
Crisisbless 3-2 AFC Corvistone

Southfell United are trying very hard not to become a cautionary tale. The side that held faith in the nexus and refused to reinvest for years and years, now battling not to be brought low by the expanded trapdoor. Injuries haven’t helped. Angela Spyrakis, 34 as of last week, is a serviceable enough goalkeeper with experience at this level, but is still beaten too easily at her near post when Roxana Coffey’s played through by fellow former-international veteran winger Exarchopolous, and simply goes low with power. Too easy, and that puts the Harriers 1-0 up by 20 minutes, a lead they keep hold of through the first half and then past the hour, threatening to extend it. Makai does smash a theoretical second home, only to look positively heartbroken when he sees the flag’s up for offside. And then comes the punishment. Two perfectly-weighted through-balls by Kyshoen Nagy, two lethal finishes from the young substitute striker Petrarch Corbay, three points won and one point proven: they still have the quality to break teams in a heartbeat.

The Sabrefell giants have a fun time getting to play the flat-track bully. Iron City win an early penalty against the Moths, Alexandra Markgraf coming out too fast and too strong and clattering the inexperienced and largely ineffectual winger Sylvester Mullen. Isla Snowpoint steps up for the penalty, normally so reliable if slow and somewhat limited at this level… and pulls it wide. Iron don’t recover; they’re 5-0 down by the half, a withering array of chances smashed in at the other end, and there’s a final sixth, a trickling own goal from the rather un-aptly named Constance Best. Athletic, meanwhile, make fairly short work of a Diamondqueen side that, as manager Elaine Koeller ruefully observed, “came out against Premiership opposition to play Premiership football with Conference hesitation.” Chenoworth Rovers haven’t had a lot to get excited about this season, but Cairbre Dundalk’s form between the posts has to qualify as one of them. The Rovers’ one shot on target is a forceful downward header by Brayden Custworth that’s too hot for Clavel to handle, while Dundalk makes nine saves at the other end, including a spectacular double to deny Idai Uster, to intensify his claims for a Brenecia callup.

Alliance Barossia 1-1 Armstrong
Vermillion Wanderers 2-1 Cranequin Wanderers
The Strongest 1-6 Brookford Otters
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Leichhardt
Barossia United 0-0 Chatswood
Cypher Town 2-1 Gonen's Bridge
North Sabrefell 2-2 Greygate
AFC Rochford 0-0 Aries Solitaire
Raven River 3-1 Pillars of Southfell
Corvette Maulers 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 Goodfeather FC
Bishop 1-3 Mantlegrove

As always, the Strongest tend to attract somewhat liminal matches, but this one’s straightforward enough as the vastly superior Otters put six past the beleagured Elaine Verlinden. Really, the breakthrough star is Linoan Waters - the fringe Brenecia international on the right wing - who proves time and again she’s too good for this level, dancing and weaving in and out of the exhausted leftback Aloysian March, driving home two goals and two assists by the end and getting a standing ovation from the away fans upon being subbed off in the 76th. The battle of the Wanderers sees Vermillion come out ahead, and through a throwback, too - Catric Pinnon, 35 and past it, abruptly smashing a piledriver in off the underside of the bar to settle affairs late on, giving himself a little fistpump as he turned away. Corvette slip up against Serpentine in luckless fashion, the normally excellent goalkeeper Marisnick letting a feeble shot from Marc trickle weakly and horribly between his legs, while Rochford have something exciting happen for once! Scylla Perish is sent off for two cautions within six minutes in a scoreless draw against Solitaire.

Burnaby SC 0-3 Crisisbless
Strathcona Internationals 4-1 AFC Treason

Two Nepharan sides visit Kelssek at the same time, a funny little coincidence thrown up by the fixture generator. With the coefficient in ruins, or at least on track to slip out of top spot, Crisisbless restore some pride for a nation whose current favourite to win the league managed precisely a single point from a possible 18 in the groups with a decisive 3-0 win in Burnaby. And the less said about Treason’s involvement, or continued existence as a football club, the better!

Port City FC 2-3 Chenoworth Harriers

Make that three Nepharan sides in Kelssek. An anarchic game allows young guns like Marius Cervenka to thrive. With the Harriers’ troubles in front of goal plain to all, maybe they should give the 22-year old a shot after a brace borne of good pace and clever movement secures an away win.

Sabrefell Moths 2-0 Directus

But who even needs or cares about the IFCF when there’s the ancillary competitions to conquer? The Cup Winners Cup often finds itself with underdogs infiltrating the later reaches, but this, the Moths against Directus, could be a worthy semifinal in the Champions Cup. Directus are favourites, packed with elite veterans, including the fresh trident of Hawke, Martel-Burns and Strongbow that are unencumbered by international football and all the more deadly for it, though the first great chance of the game comes when the overlap and overload from nominal leftback Deli Acs cuts open the Moths’ defence. Unfortunately for Directus, the Pasargan can only shoot straight at Markgraf. They don’t find an easy opening again, while the Moths’ confident play - in particular the domineering Kateryna Zuniga, though she’s forced off with an injury after 79 minutes - opens up the field. Swansea Reach takes advantage of an injury-enforced start to swat one into the top corner on the edge of halftime before, not long into the second half, deft interplay between Zuniga, Bruun and Belgrade makes an opening for Lyzolda Petrov, silent in the first half, deadly with her first touch of the second. A towering header from Hawke late on threatens an away goal, but Markgraf scrambles to tip it over and there’s not even time for a final corner.

Aries Chariots 0-1 Vermillion Rage
South Laithland 0-0 AFC Treason
Belgrave 2-0 Starling
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 Stahlburg City
Parrhesia United 1-1 Southfell United
Creed United 1-3 Sabrefell Moths
Chenoworth Harriers 3-4 Sabrefell Athletic
Iron City 1-1 North Laithland
Diamondqueen 1-1 Newrook City
Stahlburg Rovers 4-0 Crisisbless United
Brinemouth 0-1 Crisisbless
Coret Hawks 1-0 AFC Corvistone

A thunderous shot from Damian Bowman and hard-nosed, disciplined defence mean that Crisisbless bring down Brinemouth, opening up a chance for the Chariots and for Vermillion… against one another. Oh dear. For the first time all season, the pressure seems to get to both high-flying sides, the ball bogged down in midfield, nobody feeling confident in playing forward passes. Vermillion’s young sensation at leftback, Radeka Lind, puts Senninger to full stretch to claw a long shot from the top corner, but that’s about it. It’s the young bloods who step up in the second half, with Purna Zazagan setting up overlapping rightback Fiora Anders to pull the trigger within seconds of the restart, but the exhausted defender produces an exhausted defender’s finish, blazing Aries’ best chance over the bar before falling over, Lind protesting her innocence. Vermillion ease into the ascendancy, and a goal feels inevitable despite many fine saves from Fasolt Senninger. When Fifield splits their defence and Bestatter and Mrdja race free of any red shirt, well, it’s a foregone conclusion. Senninger has to commit, Bestatter slides it across and Mrdja slides home the only goal of the game.

South Laithland against Treason is one of many hot-blooded encounters Treason have to endure. Makes you wonder: is the fact that like nine teams hate and want to destroy Treason, while nobody really cares about Brinemouth (except West Brinemouth, which… you have to laugh) a competitive advantage for the Dockers? South Laithland cheat and bruise relentlessly, and poor finishing at a couple decisive openings from Uster lets down the Stags. Stahlburg Rovers massacre Crisisbless United 4-0, and Ole Oehman just looks helplessly out of his depth on the sideline. Nothing’s going right! Karla Sebring celebrates her 30th birthday by slicing open United at will… a 30-year old winger who’s been relegated twice from the second tier, for Christ’s sake. They can’t even get a consolation, Riverina Bray butchering a late opportunity handed to her by the generosity of the Rovers’ defence. The Harriers let a 3-1 lead slip to lose to Athletic, while teenage striker Nikita Malvick salvages a late point for Diamondqueen against North Laithland. Only her second Premiership goal, followed by injuring herself in the goal celebration.

Armstrong 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Alliance Barossia 0-0 The Strongest
Cranequin Wanderers 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Brookford Otters 1-2 Barossia United
Leichhardt 0-0 Cypher Town
Chatswood 2-0 North Sabrefell
Gonen's Bridge 1-1 AFC Rochford
Greygate 0-1 Raven River
Aries Solitaire 2-4 Corvette Maulers
Pillars of Southfell 2-1 Chardonnay Rangers
AFC Serpentine 1-0 Bishop
Goodfeather FC 2-3 Mantlegrove

Plenty of slips at the top, Chatswood alone cruising through a genuine banana skin in North Sabrefell. Nova Williams doesn’t face a shot from inside the box, though Fabrice Laramee tests her a couple times outside it; still, at the other end, Woodrow and Herron get it sorted with close-range tap-ins in the second half. But Leichhardt come unstuck against Cypher Town, thanks in large part to Ruo Xiaolan’s brilliant reflexes, thanks also to Ernie Stevenson missing an open goal from two yards out, even if he did have to slide in in chase of the cross, even if, he insists, there was a slight bobble. Points dropped compared to the Woodsmen, but a point gained relative to Brookford, rotating out striker Aurora Jewel for the visit of Barossia United and made to pay as Helmina Turner endures a beleagured 90 minutes, her every touch slightly off. Pillars win a game. Hard not to at least remark on that, and it’s bad news for an inconsistent Chardonnay.

Crisisbless 1-2 Burnaby SC
Crisisbless win 4-2 on aggregate.

AFC Treason 2-1 Strathcona Internationals
Strathcona Internationals win 5-3 on aggregate.

And another one bites the dust. But a heavily-rotated Crisisbless endure defeat on home soil, and they alone will carry the banner going forward, at least in IFCF.

Chenoworth Harriers 3-0 Port City FC

On home soil, the Vesper/Vyntra axis is willing to risk more of their key players to try and get some confidence back. An assured showing and 3-0 win showcase the Harriers’ too often unrealised potential, and Ibolya Makai’s goal should hopefully spark something.

Directus 1-1 Sabrefell Moths
Sabrefell Moths win 3-1 on aggregate.

The Moths are known as street rats. They play hard, play rough, play dirty. Unashamedly going out to spoil, with Timekeeper and Vintner as an unforgiving double pivot, they snag an early away goal when Directus overextend and get slaughtered on the counter, a long hoof from Brabanzon to towering half-satyr Roesler, who heads on through for Lyzolda Petrov to administer the crippling knife between the ribs. Martel-Burns wrestles possession off a careless Jabelon before smashing home a leveller on the hour, but it’s too much to bring back.

AFC Treason 0-1 Aries Chariots
Starling 2-0 Vermillion Rage
Stahlburg City 2-0 South Laithland
Southfell United 3-1 Belgrave
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Sabrefell Athletic 0-0 Parrhesia United
North Laithland 2-1 Creed United
Newrook City 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Crisisbless United 0-2 Iron City
Crisisbless 2-0 Diamondqueen
AFC Corvistone 3-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Coret Hawks 1-2 Brinemouth

So what has been so good about the Chariots this season? A visit to the Gauntlet quickly splits opinions in to the ‘they’re gonna be found out horribly’ camp vs. the ‘hey, they’re in form and Treason can’t score for shit’ camp. What arises is a disjointed game that’s constantly nearly split open by moments of inspiration. Here’s Ivana Tokich dropping the shoulder and slipping between Robshaw and Rauch, who practically run into each other in slapstick fashion, before she screws her shot wide. Here’s an unexpected overhead kick from the ungainly John Fletcher that quick reactions from Fasolt Senninger manage to push onto the bar. Predictably, it comes down to a long throw from Baldomero Teijeiro, chested down and passed back by Coleman, and the Farfish leftback hits and hopes and curls one beyond Clavel for the decisive, and only, goal. Treason’s goalless run now extends to three league games.

Southfell continue to haul themselves out of relegation danger, meeting Belgrave from the northern end of the canal, and ripping them apart. Their key weapon under Volga Hoellerer has quickly become a counterattack, with young Petrarch Corbay getting most of the attention but Lieschen Kuzener, today, firing home all three of the Tanners’ goals. Too often Belgrave try to play their way out of trouble and get caught out, most egregiously with Leda Tristram being tackled by Kuzener in the 78th minute - the young striker just rolls the ball home while laughing, seemingly genuinely unable to believe her luck. Crisisbless United, by contrast, continue trying to mire themselves in trouble, rolling around in filth and setting themselves on accelerated fire, a shitshow of a defensive performance taken advantage of mercilessly by Manahaal Brimorii, Iron City’s big man up-front. Meanwhile, in Corvistone, Babatunde Warrington scores twice against Stahlburg Rovers and is sent off with a second caution for dissent, apparently for demanding why the referee didn’t celebrate his goal with him. In fairness, it was a hell of a scorpion kick.

The Strongest 1-3 Armstrong
Corinthians No Longer 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Barossia United 3-0 Alliance Barossia
Cypher Town 1-1 Cranequin Wanderers
North Sabrefell 0-1 Brookford Otters
AFC Rochford 0-2 Leichhardt
Raven River 1-1 Chatswood
Corvette Maulers 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Greygate
Bishop 4-4 Aries Solitaire
Mantlegrove 2-0 Pillars of Southfell
Goodfeather FC 0-4 AFC Serpentine

Bishop and Solitaire may be slumming it at the wrong end of the table, but it appears they can still have fun from time to time. A breathless 4-4 draw shows that a few of their players, at least, are at home at this level; yes, people won’t shut up about Bishop winger Leskosek, but it’s for good reason, while the pinpoint deliveries of old-school Solitaire winger Keshet Brenner also prove worth attention. Even if the defending on both sides is fucking abject. Goodfeather get hammered 4-0 out of nowhere by Serpentine, even a Serpentine side down to 10 men for the last eight minutes. No matter, the damage is done by then, and everyone’s trying to work out what’s happened. United win the Battle of the Barossias, in conclusive fashion. It’s simply a matter of outmuscling, leading shots and fouls by a massive margin en route to a 3-0 thumping.

Vermillion Rage 0-1 Aries Chariots
Corinthians No Longer 1-2 Crisisbless
Southfell United 3-1 Parrhesia United
Cypher Town 0-1 Crisisbless United

At the quarterfinal stage, the draw finally stops being randomised at every stage and settles down into a sure thing. This edition, it settles down into something grossly imbalanced. On one half of the draw, two unexpected frontrunners for the league, one expected but unfulfilled frontrunner for the league, and CNL for some reason. On the other, two relegation battles, a 1Div side and a midtable Premiership side. But for Parrhesia fans thinking they could just breeze through to the final, Southfell dash any hopes of an easy win by cantering to a 3-0 lead inside the first 70 minutes, with only a late, desperate diving header from teenage winger Isolde Reader - throwing herself into the path of Nathan Ellis’ boot, and bleeding extensively for it - giving the Saints a chance. An imploding Crisisbless United make relatively short work of Cypher Town, putting out a full-strengh side to do so… and mostly looking exhausted, but okay, Lukas Antelmi’s thunderbastard is enough to beat Rochester. In the good half of the draw, meanwhile, Aries clamp down after an early tap-in from Coleman, much to every neutral’s disappointment, while Crisisbless look easily the safest bet to progress, even if the ex-Corinthians made them sweat for it. A scruffy near-post tap-in by Drea Bouman, who actually hit the post at the first time of asking, and then a whole lot of good old-fashioned throwing-bodies-in-the-way defending. They even have a somewhat okay claim for a late penalty, but wily veteran Siri Cattalock was deemed to have made rather too much of shoulder-to-shoulder contact.

AFC Treason 3-1 Directus

A genuine marquee clash. And, yes, the day does belong to Eurans… specifically, to Bobby Malone and Vincent Robshaw. Malone gets the better of Acs, one of the world’s premier leftbacks, consistently finding the spaces in behind and while he might not technically get a goal or assist on the night, the clever young winger’s behind everything good. Robshaw, though, is a triumph in midfield; dominating elite opposition, bulldozing the likes of Patterson and Strongbow, and twice in the second half managing the late runs into the box through tired bodies to administer ruthless, powerful finishes that his predecessor, Lothaire Cromwell, so excelled at. That turns 1-1 into 3-1, and puts the Stags in a good position going into the next leg.

Aries Chariots 1-1 Starling
AFC Treason 1-1 Stahlburg City
Vermillion Rage 2-0 Southfell United
South Laithland 1-5 Sabrefell Moths
Belgrave 4-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Chenoworth Rovers 1-0 North Laithland
Parrhesia United 3-1 Newrook City
Creed United 4-0 Crisisbless United
Chenoworth Harriers 0-3 Crisisbless
Iron City 0-2 AFC Corvistone
Diamondqueen 2-1 Coret Hawks
Stahlburg Rovers 1-2 Brinemouth

Finally, panic is starting to settle in Crisisbless United. A win in Cypher didn’t accomplish much for their confidence, it seems, as they roc up to the far northwest only to get their teeth smacked out. Missing Alex Coles through injury, Dreider and Alphonse insist on playing like him anyway, and are non-coincidentally both rushed down into making possession errors repeatedly by Creed’s hard-pressing forwards Martin and Burgess. Once, it leads to a goal, another comes off more miscellaneous sloppy defending, a third is in ludicrous circumstances as Rivers’ cross caroms off Dreider’s arse right into the path of Ashara Szuban, who rifles home. By the time Barbarouses has made it four, well… what conclusion can you draw, really? Safe to say the switch to Brandon Connell in goal, a 33-year old veteran, did not pay off.

So United have lost their last eight league games, by a combined 3-22 score… and even after their last point, against Starling, over the course of Oehman’s 11 games in charge they were rock-bottom of the form table. Southfell were second-worst over that stretch… and beat the Chequers 4-0 in their very next game to kickstart their own recovery. Oehman has to go, and duly does. By contrast, a rather less farcical affair plays out in Treason. Cheney Bittencourt emphasises calm (!) and restraint (!) as the Smiths, their hated rivals, come a-calling. For the first time in what feels like a long while, there’s no red cards, not even really any senseless fouls not committed by Kresimir Brujah, who is insane and does not count. 1-1 winds up being the scoreline, the same scoreline as it was at half-time in South Laithland’s hosting the Moths. It is not the same scoreline as at full-time of South Laithland’s hosting the Moths; Lyzolda Petrov comes off the bench to score with her left foot, right foot and, uh, arm, to manage two goals and a third chalked off. Not to worry, as Roesler and fellow substitute Majerle get the job done late on, 5-1 the final score.

Armstrong 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
The Strongest 0-1 Barossia United
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Cypher Town
Alliance Barossia 0-2 North Sabrefell
Cranequin Wanderers 0-2 AFC Rochford
Brookford Otters 2-0 Raven River
Leichhardt 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Chatswood 0-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Gonen's Bridge 0-1 Bishop
Greygate 2-4 Mantlegrove
Aries Solitaire 1-5 Goodfeather FC
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 AFC Serpentine

Do not question Goodfeather’s powers of recovery. Okay, yes, it’s only Solitaire, and they even start the game poorly. Bastet North hits a post early on when it would be easier to score, and only a favourable ricochet allows Mizumaru to convert on the follow-up… and then within three minutes, Solitaire hit back, Brenner setting up Coen, Coen returning the favour cleverly for the winger to slot past Brincat’s near post. All smiles for Solitaire, and then hulking satyr defender Kalia Tolsii heads home a corner on the brink of half-time and Solitaire, well, fold. Like a house of cards. And North scores a hat-trick in the second half to secure a 5-1 win. Leichhardt edge out the Vale derby despite missing Ernie Stevenson to injury, a deft half-volley from Castor Meier proving enough, while Chatswood slip to a third draw in four against the Rangers.

Aries Chariots 5-4 Vermillion Rage
Aries Chariots win 6-4 on aggregate.

Crisisbless 0-0 Corinthians No Longer
Crisisbless win 2-1 on aggregate.

Parrhesia United 2-3 Southfell United
Southfell United win 6-3 on aggregate.

Crisisbless United 2-1 Cypher Town
Crisisbless United win 3-1 on aggregate.

The Chariots and Rage mutually go crazy. The Chariots start out playing fairly conservative, defensive football. Ha! They have an away goal, the advantage is decisive, and then Vermillion score twice in the first ten minutes, so the Chariots have to score twice in the next fifteen minutes and the pace doesn’t really slow down much from there, until Rowena Sierra’s left to haul her exhausted carcass up in stoppage time and fucking spank home a shot, while screaming, from thirty yards or so to finally put the tie to bed. 5-4 it ends, 6-4 on aggregate. Crisisbless observe that their opponents are playing a 35-year old Brenecian utility woman on the left wing, and have no fear. But Cattalock does give them an early scare; her cross is overzealously scuffed at by Parrish, a ball he didn’t need to go for, and headed into the crossbar. Troche gets onto the rebound but is unable to get a shot away before bodies crowd him out, and that’s the closest CNL get to either of the goals they need in a dull, disciplined draw. Parrhesia pull back level on aggregate by half-time, leading on away goals… and then run out of steam, scythed through by yet more of Nagy’s perfect passes and enigmatic smiles to the camera, losing the tie fairly decisively in the end. Crisisbless United, meanwhile, win with a heavily rotated side under a caretaker manager as they await their third of the season. Young guns Ulmer and Vossler make the difference on the night.

Directus 2-1 AFC Treason
AFC Treason win 4-3 on aggregate.

Estrella Hawke takes any complacency out of Treason’s sails by plugging a goal back just five minutes in, chesting down a diagonal ball from Strongbow, pausing just enough to put Murje off her stride on the approach before hammering a shot beyond Clavel. Treason clamp down from there, and the first half fizzles out. Directus still need a goal, and get it in the 48th minute. Strongbow’s initial shot is too hot for Clavel to handle, and he fumbles only to be bailed out by Lockheed… but Strongbow’s resulting corner is headed home forcefully by centre-half Ralf Bader. Treason pick themselves up and battle back. Up goes John Fletcher, the formation switches to 4-4-2, and Kelly McInnes lumps one up. Fletcher rises high, nods down, Idai Uster slips away from - yes - Bader, and with an inch of space and a half-second of time, stabs home the goal that takes Treason to the final.

Stahlburg City 0-1 Aries Chariots
Southfell United 1-0 Starling
Sabrefell Moths 1-0 AFC Treason
Sabrefell Athletic 3-0 Vermillion Rage
North Laithland 2-2 South Laithland
Newrook City 2-1 Belgrave
Crisisbless United 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Crisisbless 1-1 Parrhesia United
AFC Corvistone 1-0 Creed United
Coret Hawks 4-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Brinemouth 3-0 Iron City
Stahlburg Rovers 2-1 Diamondqueen

It’s widely reported that Crisisbless United’s first choice of a firefighter is Jessica Loque, a seasoned campaigner doing great things with Goodfeather… and she turns them down flat. They wind up with Cyrus Kroger, the guy Leichhardt sacked three games into the season. Fan reception is… lukewarm. But he does at least arrest the immediate slide, albeit, uhm… doing so with a weird 4-6-0 formation, with the closest thing to a striker being wingers Swanmore and Ronayne. It’s Ronayne who scores early against Chenoworth Rovers, and while the veteran Sabrina Patton pulls one back just after the hour, hey, it’s a point, they’d started to forget what those looked like.

The Laithland derby is a good bit of fun, albeit not with a whole lot riding on it this season. That’s bad news for the North, great news for the South and fantastic news for 20-year old Southrons striker Manna Radler, who has taken advantage of Aron Riise’s injury and the relatively low stakes to force her way into the team. Her silky finish combines with the more traditional value of blinding pace to give the Southrons a way back into the game slipping away by half-time. “Technique and control are no match for being really, really fucking fast,” she boasts to the press after her brace steals a share of the points. The Rams stir the pot with a convincing 3-0 win over Vermillion Rage, Thibault Benezet at his mesmerising best in his flexible, floating role on the right side of attack, Rage failing to find answers as he chips in a goal and two deft little assists, while the Moths prove they can get it done dirty too with a bitty, niggly 1-0 win over Treason. For the first time in living memory, fault lies with Stags keeper Clavel; Petrov’s shot from the edge of the box is just too hot to handle, and he paws his parry only as far as Shiloh Morgenstern, who smashes home the only goal. Coret turn on the class and batter the Harriers 4-1, while Stahlburg Rovers get a rare win against a disjointed Diamondqueen side who are unrecognisable from their confident early form.

Barossia United 0-0 Armstrong
Cypher Town 3-3 Corinthians No Longer
North Sabrefell 2-0 The Strongest
AFC Rochford 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Raven River 5-1 Alliance Barossia
Corvette Maulers 0-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Chardonnay Rangers 3-0 Brookford Otters
Bishop 1-2 Leichhardt
Mantlegrove 1-0 Chatswood
Goodfeather FC 3-0 Gonen's Bridge
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Greygate
Pillars of Southfell 3-2 Aries Solitaire

Predictably, there isn’t much talk about how Chardonnay midfielder Hans Kattis dominates the centre of the park against a far better-credentialled Brookford, or about Bryony Lindt clawing a headed corner out of the top corner just three minutes into the game, or Alessa Bernat’s sumptuous late half-volley. Not much talk about the Rangers, really, in their own 3-0 victory, because the pervasive narrative is just that Brookford continue to be bizarrely flaky. Mantlegrove do what they do and shake things up at the top, Yolanda Sparrow chipping Williams from just inside the box to secure a win against Chatswood, while River absolutely bury Alliance 5-1 in a match which does showcase what, on a good day, the deeply mercurial Ferrymen are capable of.

Altendalur 0-1 Crisisbless

The Heelers brave freezing rain, lashing winds, relentless sleet, the looming shadow of kraken and many large men to snatch a grim 1-0 win in Graentfjall. Germain drifts down the left and puts in a perfect cross for Quintero, drifting inside, to head home.

Aries Chariots 2-1 Southfell United
Stahlburg City 3-4 Sabrefell Moths
Starling 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
AFC Treason 2-0 North Laithland
Vermillion Rage 2-2 Newrook City
South Laithland 1-0 Crisisbless United
Belgrave 2-0 Crisisbless
Chenoworth Rovers 1-2 AFC Corvistone
Parrhesia United 2-0 Coret Hawks
Creed United 0-3 Brinemouth
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Iron City 2-1 Diamondqueen

For the third time in four league games, Treason front up to a team that loathe them. This time it’s North Laithland, very much the intermediate of the threats compared to Stahlburg City (ooh!) and South Laithland (ehh.), currently floating in midtable and one of very few sides this season who can just kind of afford to do whatever. Right now, ‘whatever’ means a midfield diamond, or really more a midfield square, with Moritz and Marrable acting as a double-pivot of spoilers and Darroze and Brindell acting as a double-pivot of slightly more advanced spoilers, with Lundell alongside Foley as… dual false nines or something, Thornwood on the bench and Sadler and Asquith injured. Well, the weird 4-2-2-2 prism succeeds in that it stifles Treason’s mdifield, except that Treason just shift their focus to mercilessly overloading the wings instead. Alfonse Cameron in goal does well to keep the scores down, but both goals come off deft crosses to the big head of the resurgent striker John Fletcher, while North Laithland fail to muster a shot on target from inside the box all game.

By this point, the four promoted teams from last season could all well go straight back down this season, so there’s a real tension in the air as they play off. Nobody should be surprised at the narrow, edgy clashes that result. Makai has the ball in the net for Chenoworth Rovers early on, only to be pulled back because as he was chesting down Coffey’s ball, Shearer had slammed into Rovers keeper Laurnagaray and set them both sprawling into the net. No matter, as a low drive from Girardi finds the bottom corner on the edge of the first half. Iron, meanwhile, battle back from an early deficit to twice pounce on cheap defensive errors, Diamondqueen’s bane this season. Belgrave show their teeth, ruthless finishes from Strand and Sloan leaving Na’Kefir with no chance - though would a younger man have got to the corners? - as Crisisbless’ profligacy costs them, while Stahlburg City are forced to open up after conceding early to Moths midfielder Reach and are made to pay for it, scoring thrive but still losing. Which just doesn’t sound right.

Armstrong 0-1 Cypher Town
Barossia United 0-2 North Sabrefell
Corinthians No Longer 3-2 AFC Rochford
The Strongest 0-3 Raven River
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Corvette Maulers
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Bishop
Brookford Otters 1-1 Mantlegrove
Leichhardt 1-0 Goodfeather FC
Chatswood 2-0 AFC Serpentine
Gonen's Bridge 1-2 Pillars of Southfell
Greygate 1-2 Aries Solitaire

Whisper it. But some of the crap teams - the genuinely shit teams who have been scraped along the bottom of the table all season - might just be starting to rebel against their fate. Mixu Durran’s Bishops lean on a powerful defensive block and Cranequin Wanderers’ complete and abject lack of creativity before Faiza Huyton, injected and inverted on the left wing, abruptly punches home the only goal of the game in the 87th minute. Pillars, similarly, rely on structure and patience to put two goals past November Reiner in the last five minutes, and Solitaire suffer then benefit from Greygate centre-half Andrey Mincham’s ‘one goal, one own goal’ game before defensive midfielder Gisela Feistle tries her luck from distance and gets a massive deflection off Mavrias to drive home her first goal of the season, and a decisive Solitaire winner.

Crisisbless 0-0 Altendalur
Crisisbless win 1-0 on aggregate.

Understandably when set against the outrageous plutocracy of Crisisbless’ attacking trident, Altendalur come to spoil, and maybe nick one off a set piece, and succeed at one of these. If you’ve ever wondered what Thorn Tristram was up to these days, now you know; he’s throwing his head in the line of shot after shot for the Chessmen. That nickname, incidentally, causes a bunch of Chequers fans to rock up at the stadium and barrack relentlessly for Altendalur, before at least some of them go out and hit the town together. The bit of cultural interaction leads to some United fans at their next match, rather endearingly, chanting that quisling goalkeeper Alexander Leonardsson is a cunt.

Sabrefell Moths 1-2 Aries Chariots
Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Southfell United
North Laithland 0-0 Stahlburg City
Newrook City 0-2 Starling
Crisisbless United 0-4 AFC Treason
Crisisbless 2-2 Vermillion Rage
AFC Corvistone 1-1 South Laithland
Coret Hawks 2-1 Belgrave
Brinemouth 3-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Stahlburg Rovers 1-1 Parrhesia United
Diamondqueen 3-2 Creed United
Iron City 3-0 Chenoworth Harriers

The situation continues to settle at the top of the table. There has been little so far to dissuade the notion that Brinemouth are the only credible title winners, and an easy 3-0 win over Chenoworth Rovers isn’t about to change any minds on the subject. The real excitement arrives as Aries Chariots and Vermillion Rage have the chance to defend their positions in tough away trips, 4th vs. 2nd and 5th vs. 3rd. Luck’s on the Chariots’ side - 1-1, late on, Purna Zazagan smashes a hopeful free kick into the box, it slips under Brabranzon’s boot, caroms off Jabelon’s knee and is opportunistically smashed home by Sloane Walsh - while Vermillion go toe-to-toe with the Heelers, sharing the points after an entertaining 2-2 draw. The Moths remain best of the rest, Crisisbless, Treason and City completing an ordinary-looking ChC group, Athletic and Corvistone just outside and Starling, though 10th, far closer to the relegation places than IFCF (though they have at least stabilised to not be in touch of either).

South Laithland, Coret and Chenoworth Rovers are looking somewhat over their shoulders, though in a normal season they would have long cut the bottom five adrift. Southfell appear to be mounting an escape, albeit it runs aground against Athletic, simply not able to find purchase in uncharacteristic rain before Isaac Tomlinson buries one from outside the box. Diamondqueen vs. Creed is the crunch match, with the Oathmen pegged back within three minutes by Najzar before clawing their way into the lead with a crisp brace from Martin, only for a harsh red card on Nissa Mason to open them up to be taken down late in the second half. That lets the Diamonds open up a five-point gap from automatic relegation, though Iron at least manage to put down a marker of intent with a hugely convincing 3-0 win over the Harriers that’s every bit as decisive as the numbers imply. Manahaal Brimorii’s found his feet at this level, and a brace and a deft little assist for Seth Kreilach proves as much. That’s a third win in five, all wins against the teams around them, the defeats to high-fliers Corvistone and Brinemouth. The Harriers, Stahlburg Rovers and Crisisbless United, still going strikerless only to be hammered 4-0 by a Treason side left furiously looking up who the fuck Alexander Leonardsson even is, are looking for a miracle.

North Sabrefell 1-2 Armstrong
AFC Rochford 0-1 Cypher Town
Raven River 2-0 Barossia United
Corvette Maulers 5-2 Corinthians No Longer
Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 The Strongest
Bishop 0-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Mantlegrove 4-2 Alliance Barossia
Goodfeather FC 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
AFC Serpentine 1-5 Brookford Otters
Pillars of Southfell 0-1 Leichhardt
Aries Solitaire 0-4 Chatswood
Greygate 0-1 Gonen's Bridge

All the top seven sides win, meaning time stays on the side of the top three - normally that means promotions for all, now they’ve just a place and a half to fight over. While Brookford and Chatswood absolutely hammer Serpentine and Solitaire by four-goal margins respectively, Leichhardt leave it very late and very janky, a Hail Mary cross from Rebecca Soutar that Stargazers striker Klempner and Pillars goalkeeper Brookhouse both come out for. It just about glances off the striker, and loops in off the inside of the post. But they all count, and that leaves Leichhardt in pole position, with Corvette best of the rest.

Vermillion Wanderers round out the top eight and are probably the last side to have any aspirations of promotion, but the guns fall silent against a diligent, determined Bishop in a scoreless draw, one that a brilliant double save from Esther Press salvages from Cheney in the dying moments. But really, the situation at the bottom is… winnowing, fast. Bridge, the Strongest, Rochford, Alliance, Greygate, Bishop, Pillars and Solitaire are all at least six points from even potential safety, and Armstrong manager Gratia Barker takes some degree of pressure off when Gareth Pawnbroker, whose year has been deeply inconsistent, manages a brace of headers to put down North Sabrefell. CNL ship five goals to Corvette to slip beneath, while Cranequin Wanderers, Chardonnay Rangers and AFC Serpentine float four points clear of the drop.

MATCHDAY 31
The Hanged Man 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Cranequin City 4-3 Lazuli Diamonds
Peregrine 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Morningstar 1-2 Sheridan
Mapleford 1-0 Locksley
Ingram Township 0-1 West Brinemouth
Rochford Pilgrims 1-0 Autumnstone
Kensey Town 2-1 Hackett
Riverkey 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Ballardine FC 2-2 Ritter Town
Stonegrave 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Extreme Hills 2-0 Falston United
MATCHDAY 32
Lazuli Diamonds 1-2 The Hanged Man
Dartmouth Terriers 2-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Sheridan 1-1 Cranequin City
Locksley 3-2 Peregrine
West Brinemouth 1-0 Morningstar
Autumnstone 1-1 Mapleford
Hackett 2-1 Ingram Township
Gosmouth Swans 2-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Ritter Town 1-1 Kensey Town
Boltcroft Thorns 2-2 Riverkey
Falston United 0-1 Ballardine FC
Extreme Hills 1-1 Stonegrave
MATCHDAY 33
The Hanged Man 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Lazuli Diamonds 0-2 Sheridan
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Locksley
Cranequin City 1-0 West Brinemouth
Peregrine 4-0 Autumnstone
Morningstar 0-1 Hackett
Mapleford 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Ingram Township 1-0 Ritter Town
Rochford Pilgrims 0-2 Boltcroft Thorns
Kensey Town 0-1 Falston United
Riverkey 4-2 Extreme Hills
Ballardine FC 2-0 Stonegrave
MATCHDAY 34
Sheridan 1-1 The Hanged Man
Locksley 1-0 Dartmouth Terriers
West Brinemouth 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Autumnstone 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic
Hackett 1-2 Cranequin City
Gosmouth Swans 0-4 Peregrine
Ritter Town 1-2 Morningstar
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Mapleford
Falston United 3-3 Ingram Township
Extreme Hills 1-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Stonegrave 1-1 Kensey Town
Ballardine FC 1-0 Riverkey
MATCHDAY 35
The Hanged Man 0-1 Locksley
Sheridan 0-1 West Brinemouth
Dartmouth Terriers 1-0 Autumnstone
Lazuli Diamonds 3-4 Hackett
Crisisbless Athletic 0-0 Gosmouth Swans
Cranequin City 2-1 Ritter Town
Peregrine 0-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Morningstar 2-0 Falston United
Mapleford 1-0 Extreme Hills
Ingram Township 0-2 Stonegrave
Rochford Pilgrims 1-3 Ballardine FC
Kensey Town 2-0 Riverkey
MATCHDAY 36
West Brinemouth 1-1 The Hanged Man
Autumnstone 1-2 Locksley
Hackett 0-0 Sheridan
Gosmouth Swans 0-2 Dartmouth Terriers
Ritter Town 1-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Boltcroft Thorns 0-2 Crisisbless Athletic
Falston United 0-5 Cranequin City
Extreme Hills 3-2 Peregrine
Stonegrave 1-2 Morningstar
Ballardine FC 4-0 Mapleford
Riverkey 0-0 Ingram Township
Kensey Town 0-0 Rochford Pilgrims
MATCHDAY 37
The Hanged Man 2-0 Autumnstone
West Brinemouth 0-1 Hackett
Locksley 2-0 Gosmouth Swans
Sheridan 0-1 Ritter Town
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Lazuli Diamonds 1-1 Falston United
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 Extreme Hills
Cranequin City 1-0 Stonegrave
Peregrine 1-1 Ballardine FC
Morningstar 0-0 Riverkey
Mapleford 1-1 Kensey Town
Ingram Township 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
MATCHDAY 38
Hackett 1-0 The Hanged Man
Gosmouth Swans 0-1 Autumnstone
Ritter Town 2-1 West Brinemouth
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 Locksley
Falston United 1-0 Sheridan
Extreme Hills 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Stonegrave 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Ballardine FC 0-3 Crisisbless Athletic
Riverkey 0-0 Cranequin City
Kensey Town 4-1 Peregrine
Rochford Pilgrims 3-7 Morningstar
Ingram Township 0-2 Mapleford

PREMIERSHIP
Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 38 26 5 7 91 33 +58 83
2 Aries Chariots 38 23 6 9 63 39 +24 75
3 Vermillion Rage 38 22 8 8 68 41 +27 74
4 Sabrefell Moths 38 20 5 13 73 46 +27 65

5 Crisisbless 38 17 12 9 64 40 +24 63
6 AFC Treason 38 17 12 9 38 26 +12 63
7 Stahlburg City 38 18 8 12 49 34 +15 62

8 Sabrefell Athletic 38 17 11 10 65 53 +12 62
9 AFC Corvistone 38 18 7 13 66 51 +15 61
10 Starling 38 16 6 16 57 53 +4 54
11 Belgrave 38 17 3 18 60 62 -2 54
12 Parrhesia United 38 15 8 15 55 60 -5 53
13 North Laithland 38 15 8 15 49 58 -9 53
14 Newrook City 38 13 13 12 49 48 +1 52
15 South Laithland 38 11 14 13 38 44 -6 47
16 Coret Hawks 38 14 5 19 53 64 -11 47
17 Chenoworth Rovers 38 11 14 13 42 53 -11 47
18 Southfell United 38 12 9 17 47 48 -1 45
19 Diamondqueen 38 12 6 20 45 74 -29 42
20 Creed United 38 10 7 21 36 50 -14 37
21 Iron City 38 9 10 19 28 52 -24 37
22 Chenoworth Harriers 38 9 6 23 35 66 -31 33
23 Stahlburg Rovers 38 9 4 25 42 76 -34 31
24 Crisisbless United 38 8 7 23 38 80 -42 31

FIRST DIVISION
Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Leichhardt 38 21 12 5 45 25 +20 75
2 Brookford Otters 38 21 11 6 75 40 +35 74
3 Chatswood 38 22 6 10 55 23 +32 72

4 Corvette Maulers 38 20 8 10 54 42 +12 68
5 Goodfeather FC 38 20 6 12 79 54 +25 66
6 Raven River 38 19 8 11 66 49 +17 65
7 Mantlegrove 38 19 8 11 52 39 +13 65
8 Vermillion Wanderers 38 18 10 10 53 32 +21 64
9 Cypher Town 38 16 12 10 45 40 +5 60
10 North Sabrefell 38 18 5 15 49 43 +6 59
11 Barossia United 38 15 9 14 48 41 +7 54
12 Cranequin Wanderers 38 13 11 14 41 37 +4 50
13 Chardonnay Rangers 38 14 8 16 54 56 -2 50
14 AFC Serpentine 38 14 8 16 52 60 -8 50
15 Armstrong 38 11 13 14 39 44 -5 46
16 Corinthians No Longer 38 11 13 14 46 54 -8 46
17 Gonen's Bridge 38 10 10 18 36 54 -18 40
18 The Strongest 38 11 7 20 46 74 -28 40
19 AFC Rochford 38 8 14 16 38 48 -10 38
20 Alliance Barossia 38 11 4 23 35 69 -34 37
21 Greygate 38 10 6 22 49 67 -18 36
22 Bishop 38 8 11 19 45 62 -17 35
23 Pillars of Southfell 38 8 10 20 33 57 -24 34
24 Aries Solitaire 38 8 10 20 44 69 -25 34

SECOND DIVISION
Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin City 38 27 5 6 61 28 +33 86
2 Locksley 38 25 7 6 79 45 +34 82
3 Morningstar 38 23 7 8 76 33 +43 76

4 Peregrine 38 22 6 10 77 43 +34 72
5 Hackett 38 21 8 9 57 32 +25 71
6 Boltcroft Thorns 38 18 12 8 58 39 +19 66
7 Crisisbless Athletic 38 19 8 11 62 44 +18 65
8 Dartmouth Terriers 38 16 10 12 48 37 +11 58
9 West Brinemouth 38 16 10 12 44 37 +7 58
10 Falston United 38 16 9 13 41 47 -6 57
11 Ritter Town 38 14 9 15 60 47 +13 51
12 Gosmouth Swans 38 13 9 16 40 54 -14 48
13 Ballardine FC 38 12 9 17 39 54 -15 45
14 Riverkey 38 10 13 15 35 41 -6 43
15 Ingram Township 38 12 7 19 34 49 -15 43
16 Stonegrave 38 10 12 16 32 41 -9 42
17 Mapleford 38 11 9 18 36 59 -23 42
18 Autumnstone 38 11 7 20 50 55 -5 40
19 Sheridan 38 9 13 16 27 36 -9 40
20 Kensey Town 38 9 10 19 37 65 -28 37
21 Rochford Pilgrims 38 10 7 21 38 71 -33 37
22 Extreme Hills 38 9 9 20 42 73 -31 36
23 Lazuli Diamonds 38 9 6 23 45 71 -26 33
24 The Hanged Man 38 6 14 18 28 45 -17 32

THIRD DIVISION
Pos Team                          P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Lockheed Zenith 38 25 7 6 84 45 +39 82
2 New Oakstone Phoenix 38 24 7 7 102 47 +55 79
3 Kommissar 38 21 9 8 60 38 +22 72

4 East Laithland Harriers 38 21 8 9 73 47 +26 71
5 AFC Shale 38 20 10 8 57 28 +29 70
6 Southriver 38 21 6 11 53 36 +17 69
7 Brokenarch 38 20 8 10 62 41 +21 68
8 Brindleton 38 18 10 10 54 36 +18 64
9 Crossroads Town 38 15 11 12 70 59 +11 56
10 Martella Jazz 38 15 9 14 63 61 +2 54
11 Lindmark Falcons 38 14 10 14 55 62 -7 52
12 Cranequin Souths 38 14 8 16 62 72 -10 50
13 Corvistone City 38 12 13 13 35 43 -8 49
14 Caldwick Strand 38 12 11 15 54 64 -10 47
15 Strephonage 38 13 8 17 41 55 -14 47
16 Hartford Glade 38 12 6 20 53 58 -5 42
17 Northside Eagles 38 11 9 18 52 69 -17 42
18 Riverkey Shells 38 10 11 17 61 76 -15 41
19 Constance Park 38 9 13 16 34 52 -18 40
20 Coret Rovers 38 10 9 19 45 67 -22 39
21 Sirencall FC 38 7 12 19 38 68 -30 33
22 Ringway 38 8 8 22 31 67 -36 32
23 Crownsend Journey 38 8 7 23 52 72 -20 31
24 West Hook 38 5 12 21 33 61 -28 27
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Nephara
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Mon Dec 21, 2020 4:12 pm

Aries Chariots 1-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 North Laithland
Southfell United 1-0 Newrook City
Stahlburg City 1-1 Crisisbless United
Starling 0-2 Crisisbless
AFC Treason 2-0 AFC Corvistone
Vermillion Rage 1-1 Coret Hawks
South Laithland 0-1 Brinemouth
Belgrave 5-2 Stahlburg Rovers
Chenoworth Rovers 5-2 Diamondqueen
Parrhesia United 5-2 Iron City
Creed United 0-0 Chenoworth Harriers

Athletic can give Treason a run for their money in terms of being the most hated side in the league… well, they’re a very distant second, anyway. And one of the sides that hate them is the Chariots and, after an initial simmering period, the feeling is nwo very much mutual. The issue appears to be that today, Grey Holden’s charges are too happy to glide and try and elevate themselves above the scrap. This doesn’t work, and the crowd really just want Kevaarsen to haul off and hit somebody. Stubbornly, Kevaarsen does not haul off and hit somebody. In fact, there’s an argument to say that’s what the match could’ve done with; too much calm, the Chariots let the Rams run all over them, 3-0 down by the half thanks to two tap-ins and a penalty. Another penalty at the other end is slotted home by Sierra at the second time of asking, Garamond initially saving but only with about two metres’ jump off her line, but it’s little consolation.

It’s great news for Brinemouth, as Vermillion also contrive to drop points against lowly Coret as the Dockers edge out South Laithland, the kind of dodgy 1-0 away win against a tough opponent that’s the stuff of champions. 89 minutes of ugly, one rue Cazade goal of beautiful, and their lead grows. In Chardonnay, another lesser-spotted rivalry between Starling and Crisisbless is no less one-sided in the away team’s favour. Yes, Starling are starting to get some mojo back, but they have precisely none of it to show as Crisisbless dominate the midfield, crisply-taken strikes from Bowman and Woakes offering the least they deserve after flaky finishing - and the saves of Smordal - deny them more. There’s three 5-2 wins towards the bottom of the table, with Belgrave, Chenoworth Rovers and the Saints the beneficiaries, while Creed’s scoreless draw against the Harriers is enough to make the most hardened neutral switch off on the hour. Corsica Greene made three foul throws, for fuck’s sake.

Armstrong 1-1 AFC Rochford
North Sabrefell 2-1 Raven River
Cypher Town 1-0 Corvette Maulers
Barossia United 2-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Corinthians No Longer 2-3 Bishop
The Strongest 3-3 Mantlegrove
Vermillion Wanderers 1-4 Goodfeather FC
Alliance Barossia 1-0 AFC Serpentine
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
Brookford Otters 3-2 Aries Solitaire
Leichhardt 2-0 Greygate
Chatswood 2-0 Gonen's Bridge

With easy wins for Leichhardt and Chatswood, Brookford have to dig in deep to match them, showing a resolve the club aren’t usually associated with but that Rebecca Kelsey has undoubtedly managed to instil. A poor defensive error lets Solitaire centre-forward Jacinth Coen nip in and drive home the opener, and while Kurtis Holden atones by heading home a corner at the other end, attack-minded fullback Karagounis drives inside and beats Damir Wright at his near post to keep Solitaire in the lead… and then, on the hour, the Otters lose a man, veteran rightback Misha Symond hacking down Karagounis and paying the price. No matter; two pinpoint crosses, two perfect headers from Aurora Jewel, and a desperate double save from Wright at the death steal the points. Bishop leftback Visca Konrad scores two decisive goals in victory over CNL, while Vermillion Wanderers fall entirely to pieces as a comparitively miniscule Goodfeather just drive holes in their lumbering back line and canter to a 4-1 win.

Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 Brinemouth 39 27 5 7 92 33 +59 86
2 Vermillion Rage 39 22 9 8 69 42 +27 75
3 Aries Chariots 39 23 6 10 64 42 +22 75
...
15 Chenoworth Rovers 39 12 14 13 47 55 −8 50
16 Southfell United 39 13 9 17 48 48 0 48
17 Coret Hawks 39 14 6 19 54 65 −11 48
18 South Laithland 39 11 14 14 38 45 −7 47
19 Diamondqueen 39 12 6 21 47 79 −32 42
20 Creed United 39 10 8 21 36 50 −14 38
21 Iron City 39 9 10 20 30 57 −27 37
22 Chenoworth Harriers 39 9 7 23 35 66 −31 34
23 Crisisbless United 39 8 8 23 39 81 −42 32
24 Stahlburg Rovers 39 9 4 26 44 81 −37 31
...
1 Leichhardt 39 22 12 5 47 25 +22 78
2 Brookford Otters 39 22 11 6 78 42 +36 77
3 Chatswood 39 23 6 10 57 23 +34 75


North Laithland 1-1 Aries Chariots
Newrook City 1-5 Sabrefell Athletic
Crisisbless United 3-2 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 2-3 Southfell United
AFC Corvistone 1-2 Stahlburg City
Coret Hawks 3-0 Starling
Brinemouth 2-0 AFC Treason
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Vermillion Rage
Diamondqueen 0-3 South Laithland
Iron City 1-2 Belgrave
Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Creed United 5-1 Parrhesia United

The Classic comes around. Admittedly, it tends to feel like a more special occasion when one side is cantering to victory in the league and the other is like fifth or something, and the Dockers get a further morale boost going into the match. Not only have Aries run aground at North Laithland, Zazagan required off the bench to fire them level in a stodgy draw against North Laithland, but Vermillion succumb to an inexplicable defeat against Stahlburg Rovers. Well, actually, it’s perfectly explicable; the Rovers defend in a valiant low block, and Jelena Romanov manages one moment of true class in a rare Rovers attack, scything inside Radeka Lind hard enough to leave her on her arse before cutting back outside of Anderson, leaving her floundering, and driving the finish between Hartnett’s legs. So there’s not, really, that much excitement as Brinemouth, a better-rested side prioritising the league, score once in each half to put down an overstretched and jaded Treason. Brinemouth are now thirteen points clear at the top.

There’s some truly eye-catching results at the bottom. The Chenoworth derby is not one of them, a drab 1-1 between drab teams. Instead, look to the far northeast - where Newrook get hammered 5-1 by Sabrefell Athletic, the side that took, in Reinhardt and Clevinger, two former Rooks as their defensive partnership, and where Coret manage a rather more impressive showing against Starling, with sturdy young Erik Romaine getting the slightest of touches on a low Caracole cross to peg the Passerines back on the edge of half-time and prompt a shift in the scales, one that prompts a Hawks side full of confidence to batter Smordal’s goal in the second half and, late on, get number 2 and 3 from Blackburn and Nicolau. Then look to the far northeast, where Creed look to keep their heads above water. They’ve found goals hard to come by this season, and Delphi Barbarouses has looked past her best… but when the playmaker has it on, she has it on. She orchestrates everything against Parrhesia side, finding holes that aren’t apparent until her pass makes them look gaping, flicking casual nutmegs between feet, and just, generally… having fun, as the Oathmen race to a 4-0 lead by half-time and finish it 5-1. Still, as things stand, they would be relegated if the season ended here.

Raven River 2-0 Armstrong
Corvette Maulers 0-1 AFC Rochford
Chardonnay Rangers 0-2 North Sabrefell
Bishop 1-1 Cypher Town
Mantlegrove 0-1 Barossia United
Goodfeather FC 0-1 Corinthians No Longer
AFC Serpentine 3-0 The Strongest
Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Greygate 1-2 Cranequin Wanderers
Gonen's Bridge 3-4 Brookford Otters
Chatswood 1-1 Leichhardt

With the promotion and title races essentially down to three teams already, Chatswood vs. Leichhardt looks to be the obvious key match of the round, though certainly Brookford’s kind of shambolic come-from-behind 4-3 win over no-hopers Bridge beats it for entertainment. The Woodsmen against the Stargazers is essentially a tight affair between two solid but unprolific sides, and should either manage promotion, well… this match is not the most auspicious of signs. Strikers Klempner and Herron miss chances that would’ve been easier to score, and the Stargazers badly miss the injured Ernie Stevenson. Chatswood get the opening goal when Leichhardt ‘keeper Laczko dwells overmuch on possession and gets caught by Alex Woodrow, who simply nips the ball away and stabs it into the empty net, but they’re countered on the brink of half-time when an awkward, bouncing throw-in is not dealt with at all by Ozolx-Alfan. The ball bounces off their chest and is swept away by Klempner, who desperately drives the ball across the face of goal only for Chatswood’s other centre-half, Imhoff, to stab the ball helpfully into his own net. Next year’s Premiership sides won’t be trembling with fear.

Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 Brinemouth 40 28 5 7 94 33 +61 89
2 Aries Chariots 40 23 7 10 65 43 +22 76
3 Vermillion Rage 40 22 9 9 69 43 +26 75
...
15 Southfell United 40 14 9 17 51 50 +1 51
16 Coret Hawks 40 15 6 19 57 65 −8 51
17 Chenoworth Rovers 40 12 15 13 48 56 −8 51
18 South Laithland 40 12 14 14 41 45 −4 50
19 Diamondqueen 40 12 6 22 47 82 −35 42
20 Creed United 40 11 8 21 41 51 −10 41
21 Iron City 40 9 10 21 31 59 −28 37
22 Chenoworth Harriers 40 9 8 23 36 67 −31 35
23 Crisisbless United 40 9 8 23 42 83 −41 35
24 Stahlburg Rovers 40 10 4 26 45 81 −36 34

1 Brookford Otters 40 23 11 6 82 45 +37 80
2 Leichhardt 40 22 13 5 48 26 +22 79
3 Chatswood 40 23 7 10 58 24 +34 76


Rozelle 1-1 Crisisbless

Crisisbless head to the Brenecian capital to face Derdriu Wright’s impressive team of young talents, with the likes of defensive midfielder Schofield and winger Fife having excelled thus far. But the impetuousness of youth cuts both ways, goalkeeper Tiarnan Cove allowing himself to be drawn out and suckered into bundling over Damian Bowman on the edge of the box… for which he atones, going low and early to save an indifferent penalty from Germain. No matter, as Bowman sets up Germain rather more directly on the half-hour mark - the Valladar forward delayed just a second, allowing Dybvik to overcommit, before a decisive finish slams past Cove. But Rozelle show their teeth on the fringe of half-time, a cross from Levaani evading every Heeler before being nodded, somehow, wide at the near post by Julia Mueller, a normally lethal marksman. But she atones in the Germain mould, finding the bottom corner with a far more difficult finish in the 78th minute, while holding off Teffeteller’s attention. The scores are level, but Crisisbless will fancy their chances at home.

Chenoworth Harriers 1-1 Brighthaven Town

For the Harriers, international silverware is starting to look more likely than actual survival. Nevertheless, a cagey home draw leaves plenty to do in Ko-oren, never a good place to go needing a result. That away goal feels crucial.

Aries Chariots 2-0 Newrook City
North Laithland 1-3 Crisisbless United
Sabrefell Athletic 3-2 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 AFC Corvistone
Southfell United 0-0 Coret Hawks
Stahlburg City 1-0 Brinemouth
Starling 2-1 Stahlburg Rovers
AFC Treason 0-0 Diamondqueen
Vermillion Rage 0-2 Iron City
South Laithland 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Belgrave 3-2 Creed United
Chenoworth Rovers 2-3 Parrhesia United

While there is literally nothing more obnoxious than ‘why aren’t you talking about X ??’, well… why aren’t people talking about Stahlburg City? Is it just because their excellence stems from grim solidity and they’re honestly fucking dreary to watch? Well… yes, probably. But Vanessa Rossum’s doing an excellent job so far. The Smiths were muscular before, but discipline lapsed last season at times. Here, not the case; Brinemouth get swallowed up by the unforgiving midfield trio of Brujah, Ballard and Riester, not the usual trio but the right tools for the job, and a blistering run from Severine Reed on the counter is capped off when she chips over Heuser to lay on the assist for Maurice Delfour to awkwardly chest home. The big Sabrefell sides manage narrow home wins against tough opponents in Crisisbless and the Crows; particularly impressive from the Moths, a man down from 33 minutes due to Zuniga’s homicidal challenge on Morham with the score 1-1 and managing a gritty smash-and-grab win regardless through Cathal Turner.

While Aries manage to gain on the top with a fairly breezy win over Newrook, Vermillion are favoured to do the same against Iron City. As the astute reader can probably tell from phrasing like ‘are favoured to do the same’, they don’t. Lowly City marshal their defence expertly, with Lara Dixon prowling the touchline. “I told them where to stand in training,” she tells the press afterwards. “I told them when to close down, when to lay off. I told them not to leave gaps. But Igrene [Vidler]’s brace, well… that was a nice bonus.” One goal comes from a seamless counter, Remsza tricking Salek by shaping for the cross before driving instead to Vidler on the outside of the box and a deflected strike beating Hartnett, but the second was a moment of pure quality, the ball held protectively in midfield before a sudden one-two opened up space for Vidler to drive the ball into the top corner. It isn’t the only good result at the bottom; North Laithland are made to suffer by their former man Lukas Antelmi, thriving in a false nine role for Crisisbless United by using his unusual power for a creative playmaker to score two deft headers, while Diamondqueen hold out desperately against Treason and seem surprised when they actually get the draw.

Armstrong 3-1 Corvette Maulers
Raven River 0-0 Chardonnay Rangers
AFC Rochford 1-1 Bishop
North Sabrefell 2-2 Mantlegrove
Cypher Town 2-3 Goodfeather FC
Barossia United 2-0 AFC Serpentine
Corinthians No Longer 0-0 Pillars of Southfell
The Strongest 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Vermillion Wanderers 1-2 Greygate
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Chatswood
Brookford Otters 1-2 Leichhardt

And yet another top three clash, this time opened up a little as Chatswood run aground in Cranequin Wanderers’ midfield, a miserable quagmire oon a painful, windy day with the only goals coming off set pieces. So now it’s Leichhardt’s order against Brookford’s chaos, and the Otters strike an early blow for chaos when Scout Morwen’s hammer-blow is parried down and away by Laczko, but to his despair Linoan Waters is there to drive in the rebound, more diligent following through than Leichhardt’s sluggish defenders. But Ferri Kubala has some chaos of his own, winning a free kick on the edge of the area with some… streetwise play to induce contact, and he drives in a low free kick that squirrels underneath Leichhardt’s jumping wall and is slid home by Shrike Hagaz, his first goal of the season. Brookford threaten, even have a fair penalty shout turned down, but Leichhardt bring on Ernie Stevenson in his return from injury with twenty minutes to play. Twenty? He just needs two, before driving home the winner on the edge of the box, just delaying long enough for Holden to hurl himself into the distance trying to help. Leichhardt now have a five-point lead on Chatswood, two on the Otters, and just five matches to play.

Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 Brinemouth 41 28 5 8 94 34 +60 89
2 Aries Chariots 41 24 7 10 67 43 +24 79
3 Vermillion Rage 41 22 9 10 69 45 +24 75
...
15 Southfell United 41 14 10 17 51 50 +1 52
16 Newrook City 41 13 13 15 50 56 −6 52
17 Coret Hawks 41 15 7 19 57 65 −8 52
18 Chenoworth Rovers 41 12 15 14 50 59 −9 51
19 Diamondqueen 41 12 7 22 47 82 −35 43
20 Creed United 41 11 8 22 43 54 −11 41
21 Iron City 41 10 10 21 33 59 −26 40
22 Crisisbless United 41 10 8 23 45 84 −39 38
23 Chenoworth Harriers 41 9 8 24 37 69 −32 35
24 Stahlburg Rovers 41 10 4 27 46 83 −37 34

1 Leichhardt 41 23 13 5 50 27 +23 82
2 Brookford Otters 41 23 11 7 83 47 +36 80
3 Chatswood 41 23 8 10 59 25 +34 77

15 points left to play for.


Crisisbless 2-1 Rozelle
Crisisbless win 3-2 on aggregate.

Again, Crisisbless and Rozelle trade blows, this time early in the match. Stemmon Perrodien finds the top corner with a thunderbolt of a free kick that cracks magnificently off the intersection of bar and post on its way past countryman Na’Kefir, Germain has an almost immediate equaliser in the first passage of play after the restart chalked off for Spijkers’ handball in the build-up, but the free kick is headed straight back where it came from and ultimately ends up back at Spijkers’ feet, the Audioslav cutting viciously inside Levaani and managing an ugly but effective finish. For a while, the pattern holds with few breakthroughs on either side. But late on, Crisisbless’ experience and nerve holds, and Sofia Falcon’s attempt at the spectacular is brutally cut out by Mercurio Kastriot, who just whacks it forward. Out springs the substitute forward Danica Marinkovic, nipping the ball away from Raeff and racing free before lofting a nerveless finish past the ironically exposed Cove.

Brighthaven Town 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Brighthaven Town win 2-1 on aggregate.

The Harriers dominate possession but consistently poor work in the final third mean they fail to convert it into the goals they needed, and pay the price.

Crisisbless United 1-2 Aries Chariots
Crisisbless 3-0 Newrook City
AFC Corvistone 2-2 North Laithland
Coret Hawks 0-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Brinemouth 2-2 Sabrefell Moths
Stahlburg Rovers 3-1 Southfell United
Diamondqueen 1-0 Stahlburg City
Iron City 5-2 Starling
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 AFC Treason
Creed United 1-5 Vermillion Rage
Parrhesia United 0-0 South Laithland
Chenoworth Rovers 0-0 Belgrave

Iron City host a Starling side for whom Tim Maitfield has not been the magical cure-all panacea they hoped. Bluntly, it’s becoming clear that there’ll need to be a substantial rebuild… or an acceptance of a place as a mere top-half side. The issue is that that status is sustained by a handful of players - Smordal, Berg, the indefatigable Dostalok - who are not only not going to be content with that, but are old. But then again, maybe Berg is past it, and Nova Kymeri certainly is; when Nikita Charisteas pulls up in training minutes before kickoff, Kymeri’s rushed in and, after just 40 minutes, rushed out again. By then, Iron City - hardly prolific! - are 4-1 up. 4-1! Iron! Against Starling! Vidler has another brace, Brimorii’s powerful header made it three and a cross from Seth Kreilach is inadvertently dragged past Smordal by Claire Griffiths, and there’s still time for a fifth from a corner and former Starling centre-half Alcander Visser in the second half, killing remote hopes of a fightback.

It isn’t the only impressive result at the bottom, either. The shit teams bit back tonight. Not Crisisbless United, though they were valiant in defeat to the Chariots - in the end, they just never found an answer to relentless Purna Zazagan’s driving runs through midfield - but Diamondqueen follow up their scoreless draw in Treason with a narrow win over Stahlburg City. Bluntly, it relies on the Smiths’ poor finishing as well as Szarbach’s excellence between the posts, but it’s enough to ensure that when Ursa Kinbois forces a powerful low shot underneath Rosmarin in injury time, they get the points. Stahlburg Rovers outplay a Southfell side starting to feel a little more confident in escaping danger and resting a couple of players, but even so a 3-1 win is an impressive achievement; dwarfed, in all fairness, by the Harriers’ genuinely dominant 2-0 win over Treason, former stomping ground of their management team Vesper and Vyntra. It’s been an unhappy season for the Harriers, but their fans should remember for a while the night where midfield double-pivot Xara Seidler and Catheline Stensholt looked like world-beaters.

Chardonnay Rangers 0-1 Armstrong
Bishop 0-3 Corvette Maulers
Mantlegrove 5-2 Raven River
Goodfeather FC 0-0 AFC Rochford
AFC Serpentine 0-1 North Sabrefell
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Cypher Town
Aries Solitaire 0-0 Barossia United
Greygate 1-0 Corinthians No Longer
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 The Strongest
Chatswood 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Leichhardt 1-1 Alliance Barossia
Brookford Otters 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers

A bizarrely quiet match-day; all but two games have a clean sheet, all but two games have fewer than three goals scored, the one true moment of anarchy coming as Mantlegrove, not normally the most vicious of sides, drive the boot into a 10-man River in a 5-2 win. A man down means plenty of space, plenty of space means Alexandra Lazarou and Kikumi Kondou do what they want, and that means a win. It’s no less consequential a matchday at the top of the table, though. Leichhardt concede an injury-time equaliser to Alliance midfielder Szalai Fowler, transparently hitting and hoping and unexpectedly finding the top corner, albeit aided by the failure of exhausted Arbizu to properly press the winger, while Brookford are choked out by Cranequin Wanderers and, worse than the defeat, lose star winger Annika Cashin for the rest of the season to a non-contact injury, just falling awkwardly from contesting a header with Bishop. And that allows Chatswood to reel themselves right back into relevance, Damir Wright earning his corn in goal as he survives a late bombardment from Vermillion to hand Chatswood three points off the back of Severa Conleth’s moment of brilliance. It’s all Conleth does all game, and all she needs.

Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 Brinemouth 42 28 6 8 96 36 +60 90
2 Aries Chariots 42 25 7 10 69 44 +25 82
3 Vermillion Rage 42 23 9 10 74 46 +28 78
...
15 Southfell United 42 14 10 18 52 53 −1 52
16 Coret Hawks 42 15 7 20 57 66 −9 52
17 Chenoworth Rovers 42 12 16 14 50 59 −9 52
== Newrook City 42 13 13 16 50 59 −9 52
19 Diamondqueen 42 13 7 22 48 82 −34 46
20 Iron City 42 11 10 21 38 61 −23 43
21 Creed United 42 11 8 23 44 59 −15 41
22 Chenoworth Harriers 42 10 8 24 39 69 −30 38
23 Crisisbless United 42 10 8 24 46 86 −40 38
24 Stahlburg Rovers 42 11 4 27 49 84 −35 37

1 Leichhardt 42 23 14 5 51 28 +23 83
2 Brookford Otters 42 23 11 8 83 48 +35 80
3 Chatswood 42 24 8 10 60 25 +35 80

12 points left to play for.


Aries Chariots 2-0 Crisisbless
Southfell United 2-2 Crisisbless United

In the matchup between the top sides, the Chariots come out with a solidity that has been foreign to them until Grey Holden’s arrival. Hell, they’re looking like Gareth Sumner’s old squad, except new and sharp and with a hulking satyr in midfield who, today, eats every ball that comes in or around the centre circle. The Chariots narrowly edge the first half but don’t get on the scoresheet, though Porter hits the crossbar and Coleman forces Na’Kefir into a brilliant point-blank save. Na’Kefir will want to cling to that save, because he won’t want to remember how a heavily deflected cross from Malkorra came at him sharply off Coleman’s knee, he knelt to take it but it somehow went in off his collarbone, between his knee and in. Ridiculous to break it down, of course, it all happened in a flash… but it was a farcical goal to concede, for a world-class goalkeeper. Nobody could fault him for the Chariots’ second, though, the prolific Zazagan finding the top corner after failed pressure from Teffeteller. But why wasn’t Senninger pressed more at the other end? The other match is lower in technique but higher in excitement, Southfell trying to go direct to their strikers, the Chequers trying to dominate possession. It evens out, but the Chequers go away feeling they had the better of the game. The issue is the excellence of Gavaris between the Tanners’ posts, and the clinical striker Lieschen Kuzener at their spearhead, meaning the scores come away locked.

Aries Chariots 0-1 Crisisbless
Crisisbless United 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Newrook City 2-1 Coret Hawks
North Laithland 2-0 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Athletic 10-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Sabrefell Moths 3-1 Diamondqueen
Southfell United 0-2 Iron City
Stahlburg City 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Starling 1-1 Creed United
AFC Treason 1-0 Parrhesia United
Vermillion Rage 1-0 Chenoworth Rovers
South Laithland 1-1 Belgrave

The Premiership only has a few rounds left, so why not wave in a scorigami? And, such being the nature of things, there’s only really room for proper thrashings left. Teams have scored ten before; Southfell United against Belgrave in cycle 70, Treason past Crisisbless United in 73, Sabrefell Athletic past the Spiders the year after. But all have conceded one treacherous goal. Perhaps Raluca Garamond is unaware of this; she’s visibly bored between the sticks, having little to do besides pluck the occasional cross out of the air as the Rovers go from hope to desperation to vain attempt to avoid humiliation, leaving more and more bodies back that only invites more and more pressure. Veteran poacher Sipke Tarala goes from two to five league goals on the season with a hat-trick and he only even comes on in the second half. Yes; 10-0 the final score, not a typo but, in fact, history.

The amount of relevant games are shrinking, and of those some have swiftly become exercises in theoretical arithmetic. North Laithland put together their performance of the season against Brinemouth, a coordinated effort of heart and technique aligned, an opportunistic tap-in and a sublime header from Lilith Thornwood up front, Stovar Krieven with a spectacular late save to keep the clean sheet… and they’ll still finish midtable, and Brinemouth will still win the league. Newrook City conquer Coret late on, the maligned figure of Tom Duffy coming off the bench to hammer home a rising strike into the underside of the crossbar and in, his celebration being to mime-exaggerate a limp presumably to send up those criticising him as old and past it. Iron, though… they’re starting to believe. Strong, disciplined, tough, they outlast Southfell, Katerina Olexander comfortably equal to the task of all the shots they muster before Vylarr and Vermouth keep their composure late on with two excellent finishes. A 2-0 win on the day, deserved… and a third straight victory that lifts them to 19th, the playoff place.

Armstrong 3-0 Bishop
Chardonnay Rangers 1-2 Mantlegrove
Corvette Maulers 0-2 Goodfeather FC
Raven River 1-2 AFC Serpentine
AFC Rochford 1-1 Pillars of Southfell
North Sabrefell 1-4 Aries Solitaire
Cypher Town 1-2 Greygate
Barossia United 3-1 Gonen's Bridge
Corinthians No Longer 0-1 Chatswood
The Strongest 1-1 Leichhardt
Vermillion Wanderers 1-3 Brookford Otters
Alliance Barossia 1-4 Cranequin Wanderers

Another day, another two points eroded away at the top with Leichhardt scoring early but also going down a man early, Emil Klempner’s attempts to pressure the goalkeeper translatng to bulldozing Verlinden and leaving her a puddle on the ground, frowned upon even in this most physical of leagues. Second caution, the Gazers are left hanging on, but they tire in the closing stages and Tulaska Sunstroem takes full advantage. The other two top sides both win; perhaps of more interest is Armstrong’s emphatic 3-0 win over Bishop, all three goals scored by a man in Gareth Pawnbroker who looks to be making up for his slow start to the season right at the nick of time. Oh, and a doomed Solitaire somehow smash North Sabrefell 4-1, this time with no red cards or extenuating factors in play. Solitaire remain good on their day - a day that just has not come around nearly enough, this season.

Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 Brinemouth 43 28 6 9 96 38 +58 90
2 Aries Chariots 43 25 7 11 69 45 +24 82
3 Vermillion Rage 43 24 9 10 75 46 +29 81
...
14 South Laithland 43 13 16 14 44 47 −3 55
15 Newrook City 43 14 13 16 52 60 −8 55
16 Southfell United 43 14 10 19 52 55 −3 52
17 Coret Hawks 43 15 7 21 58 68 −10 52
18 Chenoworth Rovers 43 12 16 15 50 60 −10 52
19 Iron City 43 12 10 21 40 61 −21 46
20 Diamondqueen 43 13 7 23 49 85 −36 46
21 Creed United 43 11 9 23 45 60 −15 42
22 Chenoworth Harriers 43 10 8 25 39 70 −31 38
23 Crisisbless United 43 10 8 25 46 87 −41 38
24 Stahlburg Rovers 43 11 4 28 49 94 −45 37

1 Leichhardt 43 23 15 5 52 29 +23 84
2 Brookford Otters 43 24 11 8 86 49 +37 83
3 Chatswood 43 25 8 10 61 25 +36 83

9 points left to play for.


Crisisbless 1-2 Aries Chariots
Aries Chariots win 4-1 on aggregate.

Crisisbless United 1-2 Southfell United
Southfell United win 4-3 on aggregate.

League, Cup and Challengers Cup - something has to give for the overstretched Heelers, and few are surprised to see a few of the big players sit out against Aries. So, you know… Cass Quintero gets a run-out, along with the likes of former Cormorant Catheline Marchant and U21 international Thalassa Fletcher. Nevertheless, the Chariots outlast them, striking first through Rowena Sierra and hitting them on the break just before the half. Crisisbless get it together in the second half, but Lili Marinca’s goal isn’t anywhere near enough. A defensive mix-up between Coles and Alphonse is pounced upon and driven home by the opportunistic Lieschen Kuzener just eight minutes in, with the Southfell striker playing provider for Roxi Pryce on the hour mark. Crisisbless United’s consolation comes from something of a redemption by Alex Coles, the big Euran neatly dispossessing Corbay before effortlessly drilling a brilliant crossfield diagonal to Vossler, who sets up the substitute Swanmore to drive home at the far post, and the Chequers get a chance to level the scores late on when Riverina Bray, another substitute, dispossesses Hensser close to the box and … has more time and space than she thought, but instead panics and fires straight at Gavaris. Chariots against Tanners it is, then, an all-Aries affair.

AFC Corvistone 1-2 Aries Chariots
Coret Hawks 0-2 Crisisbless
Brinemouth 1-1 Crisisbless United
Stahlburg Rovers 0-1 Newrook City
Diamondqueen 1-3 North Laithland
Iron City 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Chenoworth Harriers 4-4 Sabrefell Moths
Creed United 3-2 Southfell United
Parrhesia United 3-3 Stahlburg City
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Starling
Belgrave 0-6 AFC Treason
South Laithland 0-0 Vermillion Rage

Brinemouth vs. Crisisbless United is the big match that matters going into the weekend. The Dockers can secure the title with victory, while United need a win to keep their remote survival hopes afloat. Brinemouth bring all the big guns to bear. United have a local teenager at left wing. But that teenager, Martine Vossler, proves again she isn’t just some random guy off the street early on, trusting in her left where others would cut inside and forcing a brilliant fingertip save from Ewald Heuser, who understandably berates deputising rightback Meriweather for not closing down enough. The lesson isn’t heeded; Vossler hits in a low cross in the 11th minute, false nine Lukas Antelmi smashes it into the body of the covering defender Steele and the rebound falls kindly to Andressa Stand, who makes use of the time and space to pick her spot and find the top corner.

It can’t last, but for a desperate hour, United hope. Lazareva’s forced into a fine save by Tauscher, a brilliant one by rue Cazade, and Bryger Tidesson, starting on the ‘wrong’ side of the trident through an injury to Deventer, gets his feet twisted up to miss a genuine sitter. But he atones in the 79th minute. By falling over. Despite Dreider’s protestations, it’s ruled a penalty, and Jackson promptly drills it low past Lazareva. Brinemouth knock on the door late on but the best chance actually falls, again, to Andressa Stand, picked out masterfully by Laursen, unmarked on the edge of the box… firing straight at Heuser, throwing herself to the ground, beating her fists. A 1-1 draw in the Eagles Club is, by all rights, a fantastic result. It relegates them. Similar feelings in Chenoworth, as the Harriers somehow claw from behind four times to draw with the Moths, a result Lienke Vesper hails as evidence ‘the lads never gave up hope’ and presumably leverage to keep her in the job. But the Harriers are down, and so too the Rovers, shellshocked and empty in a soulless 1-0 defeat to Newrook. At the top, well… the Chariots, despite a bold come-from-behind win against the Crows, have a merely mathematical hope of victory now. The trophy will be choppered to the capital in anticipation of the Dockers’ visit. Marcin Close will most likely get the chance to lift it.

Mantlegrove 0-2 Armstrong
Goodfeather FC 1-1 Bishop
AFC Serpentine 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
Pillars of Southfell 5-5 Corvette Maulers
Aries Solitaire 1-1 Raven River
Greygate 1-0 AFC Rochford
Gonen's Bridge 0-3 North Sabrefell
Chatswood 3-1 Cypher Town
Leichhardt 1-1 Barossia United
Brookford Otters 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 The Strongest
Alliance Barossia 2-1 Vermillion Wanderers

A third straight 1-1 draw for Leichhardt, though not in especially dramatic circumstances; Meier’s long-range shot in the 50th-minute is cancelled out by Wrenn Killmorgen’s, seven minutes later - though Laczko, who has been letting errors slip into his game in the run-in, should probably have made it to a shot that wasn’t quite in the bottom corner. It’s a result Brookford match against a CNL side low on quality but high on grit - “they reminded me of my Peregrine,” sighs Otters manager Rebecca Kelsey in what might be something of a backhanded compliment given they were relegated from a bottom three-and-a-half - but Chatswood hold their nerve in the face of an early Cypher goal, Nova Williams saving a penalty to keep them out of a hole in the first twenty minutes before the Woodsmen ease into supremacy in the second half, leaving the first quite forgotten. If it’s goals you’re after, though, there’s ten shared equally in Southfell, a side that have not exactly been trigger-happy over their tenure in this league. Typically, manager Kay Meriweather spends far more time betrating her defence than, say, talking up hat-trick heroine Hana Yorke, a beleagured young centre-forward who goes up from four to seven goals for the season.

Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 Brinemouth 44 28 7 9 97 39 +58 91
2 Aries Chariots 44 26 7 11 71 46 +25 85
...
17 Southfell United 44 14 10 20 54 58 −4 52
18 Coret Hawks 44 15 7 22 58 70 −12 52
19 Iron City 44 12 10 22 41 63 −22 46
20 Diamondqueen 44 13 7 24 50 88 −38 46
21 Creed United 44 12 9 23 48 62 −14 45

1 Chatswood 44 26 8 10 64 26 +38 86
2 Leichhardt 44 23 16 5 53 30 +23 85
3 Brookford Otters 44 24 12 8 87 50 +37 84

6 points left to play for.


Crisisbless 1-2 Megabrantid SC

The final hurdle en route to the Final as Crisisbless hope to salvage the coefficient, Megabrantid are known for being loaded as hell and having no history to back it up. They’ve overcome significant trials in the offseason, such as the explosion of their winger, and a tough defence is marshalled by former Moths centre-half Cressida Gayle. But Crisisbless still go in as massive favourites, and play like it for 70 minutes. The veteran Gelan-Yivix Eva steals in at the back post to poach an early lead for MSC, and from there it’s all hands on deck at the back, Crisisbless passing around confidently and capably, Woakes finally zipping the decisive pass for Spijkers to finish in the 56th minute. On they press, and on and on - Gayle getting away at one point with a truly brutish challenge on Germain - before a substitution proves decisive. Left winger Chiranjivi Dast comes on and immediately makes an impact, scything past a tired Longship and curling a perfectly-taken winner across Na’Kefir, tucking into the bottom corner from an unforgiving angle.

Aries Chariots 2-0 Coret Hawks
AFC Corvistone 1-3 Brinemouth
Crisisbless 9-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Crisisbless United 4-0 Diamondqueen
Newrook City 0-1 Iron City
North Laithland 2-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Sabrefell Athletic 5-1 Creed United
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Parrhesia United
Southfell United 3-0 Chenoworth Rovers
Stahlburg City 2-2 Belgrave
Starling 2-1 South Laithland
AFC Treason 2-0 Vermillion Rage

It is done. Aries do their part, easily beating Coret 2-0 to keep what passed for the pressure on just so long as they backed themselves to score thirty or forty goals on the final matchday, but Brinemouth could still clinch it beyond all doubt with a win in the capital. Corvistone have looked all season like a side that have asked just ever-so-slightly too much of stalwarts like Keskin, Ulreich and Feldman, but they still have quality, and former Treason winger Ulreich reminds everyone of her allegiance when she stabs home the first goal running just ahead of Close, races to the crowd and, uh, rips off her green shirt to reveal a fresh tattoo of the Stags’ crest. Weird flex, but okay - Lukas Tauscher flicks a ball over countryman Niedermayer’s head before burying an equaliser on the stroke of half-time, before the more orthodox (on the pitch, at least) Deventer sets up Jackson and Kasmiir to end it. Marcin Close lifts the trophy, snapping a title drought that’s lasted years. More relief than joy on Gareth Blackthorn’s face - given the godawful IFCF performance, this saved his job. But the fans won’t be thinking beyond the victory rush, and nor should they.

Stahlburg Rovers, already relegated, throw out a bunch of youth prospects, random children and street-cats to produce another last-ditch scorigami in Crisisbless. 9-0! What a first Premiership start for Raul Kellond in goal, wow! Presumably this was some sort of punishment for the reserves, captained by 25-year old leftback Kyriakos Mesorounis who has managed seven league starts all season. But casting one’s eyes up further to the actual relevant parts of the relegation battle, Iron City threaten to pull up the drawbridge with a dogged victory in Newrook, experienced midfielder Isla Snowpoint finding the top corner from distance when nobody bothered to put pressure on, Olexander with another clean sheet. Diamondqueen and Creed fail to keep chase… well, that’s arguably too generous. Both get slaughtered by four-goal margins, the Diamonds’ fatal lack of width exploited relentlessly by the fluid attacking unit presented by the Chequers, Creed simply outclassed with ease by the Rams, and go down with a whimper, not a bang. Diamondqueen can, mathematically, make it to the playoff; Coret can, mathematically, slip into it. But by limiting oneself to realistic swings of goal difference, the season’s done; Iron in the playoff, a massive victory considering where they came from.

Armstrong 0-1 Goodfeather FC
Mantlegrove 1-1 AFC Serpentine
Bishop 2-1 Pillars of Southfell
Chardonnay Rangers 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Corvette Maulers 2-2 Greygate
Raven River 3-1 Gonen's Bridge
AFC Rochford 1-1 Chatswood
North Sabrefell 0-0 Leichhardt
Cypher Town 0-1 Brookford Otters
Barossia United 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Corinthians No Longer 1-0 Alliance Barossia
The Strongest 0-1 Vermillion Wanderers

When Leichhardt fans say they feel sick by recent form, apparently they mean it. One hefty lass sways gently in the Sabrefell breeze for seventy minutes before depositing her lunch on the terraces, and the reason for that? Leichhardt just can’t string two passes together. The one time they do open up the Bohemians, thanks to a clever disguised ball from Kubala - the home crowd hold their breath - Stevenson glides through and shoots straight at Rena Perch. He doesn’t miss shots like that. In theory. At the other end, Laczko does brilliantly to salvage the clean sheet, and winds up man of the match, but a fourth consecutive draw just is not good enough. Fortunately for them, Chatswood also slip on the banana peel of already-relegated Rochford, with SRS goalkeeper Cordrut Malanta masterful between the posts and a Scylla Perish wonderstrike levelling late on for the Owls. For 85 minutes, Brookford thin they’ll fail to take advantage… until a cross is smashed in from roughly the halfway line by Misha Symond, and somehow Andrine Samsa nips in ahead of Meulenstein and smashes the ball into the roof of the net as it drops. She falls, tumbles, gets back to her feet and goes over to the corner flag; the Otters’ fate is in their own hands.

CNL are struggling and they know it, but Anibal Troche curls in a strike beyond Kari Vidmar from the corner of the box ten minutes in and the Creed side cling to it grimly. Already-relegated Alliance try to fight back, mostly through pinging crosses at Portia Taani who twice succeeds in knocking down to Victoria Remeikis… except Remeikis is injured, and Matthew Chance is there instead, and he’s shit, twice blazing over from close range. Chardonnay Rangers are left hugely disappointed to concede to Solitaire at the death, another doomed side with delusions of relevance, but the point is at least enough to kill off Greygate’s fairly academic hopes of survival, combined with the Wardens’ admittedly very respectable 2-2 draw in Corvette. That means that relegation is just down to those two sides and to Serpentine, who take a respectable point from Mantlegrove; eight sides are down already.

Megabrantid SC 3-2 Crisisbless
Megabrantid SC win 5-3 on aggregate.

MSC have done the hard work on away soil. If they aren’t already favourites to hold their lead, they become that just thirteen minutes in with another early goal from Gelan-Yivix. Twice, Crisisbless equalise but never manage to overhaul, and a late, decisive winner from Isperia Marrish on the edge of the box is the least she deserves after her exceptional performance over the two legs.

MATCHDAY 39
The Hanged Man 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Hackett 0-0 Ritter Town
Autumnstone 1-3 Boltcroft Thorns
West Brinemouth 1-1 Falston United
Locksley 2-3 Extreme Hills
Sheridan 1-0 Stonegrave
Dartmouth Terriers 0-0 Ballardine FC
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Riverkey
Crisisbless Athletic 2-1 Kensey Town
Cranequin City 4-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Peregrine 2-1 Ingram Township
Morningstar 2-1 Mapleford
MATCHDAY 40
Ritter Town 2-0 The Hanged Man
Boltcroft Thorns 0-1 Gosmouth Swans
Falston United 2-0 Hackett
Extreme Hills 1-4 Autumnstone
Stonegrave 0-0 West Brinemouth
Ballardine FC 1-1 Locksley
Riverkey 2-0 Sheridan
Kensey Town 3-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Rochford Pilgrims 1-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Ingram Township 1-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Mapleford 2-1 Cranequin City
Morningstar 1-1 Peregrine
MATCHDAY 41
The Hanged Man 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Ritter Town 0-0 Falston United
Gosmouth Swans 1-2 Extreme Hills
Hackett 1-0 Stonegrave
Autumnstone 1-0 Ballardine FC
West Brinemouth 3-0 Riverkey
Locksley 2-0 Kensey Town
Sheridan 2-0 Rochford Pilgrims
Dartmouth Terriers 2-0 Ingram Township
Lazuli Diamonds 4-1 Mapleford
Crisisbless Athletic 1-1 Morningstar
Cranequin City 2-1 Peregrine
MATCHDAY 42
Falston United 1-0 The Hanged Man
Extreme Hills 1-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Stonegrave 1-0 Ritter Town
Ballardine FC 1-0 Gosmouth Swans
Riverkey 1-2 Hackett
Kensey Town 3-5 Autumnstone
Rochford Pilgrims 2-2 West Brinemouth
Ingram Township 0-0 Locksley
Mapleford 1-1 Sheridan
Morningstar 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Peregrine 3-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Cranequin City 1-3 Crisisbless Athletic
MATCHDAY 43
The Hanged Man 1-2 Extreme Hills
Falston United 3-3 Stonegrave
Boltcroft Thorns 2-2 Ballardine FC
Ritter Town 2-1 Riverkey
Gosmouth Swans 3-1 Kensey Town
Hackett 2-1 Rochford Pilgrims
Autumnstone 3-1 Ingram Township
West Brinemouth 4-1 Mapleford
Locksley 1-2 Morningstar
Sheridan 2-1 Peregrine
Dartmouth Terriers 0-1 Cranequin City
Lazuli Diamonds 0-1 Crisisbless Athletic
MATCHDAY 44
Stonegrave 0-1 The Hanged Man
Ballardine FC 2-4 Extreme Hills
Riverkey 0-0 Falston United
Kensey Town 3-3 Boltcroft Thorns
Rochford Pilgrims 1-4 Ritter Town
Ingram Township 2-1 Gosmouth Swans
Mapleford 0-1 Hackett
Morningstar 5-1 Autumnstone
Peregrine 1-0 West Brinemouth
Cranequin City 2-1 Locksley
Crisisbless Athletic 0-2 Sheridan
Lazuli Diamonds 0-0 Dartmouth Terriers
MATCHDAY 45
The Hanged Man 1-1 Ballardine FC
Stonegrave 0-1 Riverkey
Extreme Hills 3-0 Kensey Town
Falston United 2-2 Rochford Pilgrims
Boltcroft Thorns 1-0 Ingram Township
Ritter Town 0-2 Mapleford
Gosmouth Swans 2-2 Morningstar
Hackett 3-3 Peregrine
Autumnstone 3-0 Cranequin City
West Brinemouth 2-0 Crisisbless Athletic
Locksley 2-1 Lazuli Diamonds
Sheridan 1-1 Dartmouth Terriers

PREMIERSHIP
Pos Team                      P   W   D   L For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 45 29 7 9 100 40 +60 94
2 Aries Chariots 45 27 7 11 73 46 +27 88
3 Sabrefell Athletic 45 24 11 10 94 59 +35 83
4 Vermillion Rage 45 24 10 11 75 48 +27 82

5 Sabrefell Moths 45 24 7 14 91 59 +32 79
6 Crisisbless 45 22 12 11 85 46 +39 78
7 AFC Treason 45 21 13 11 49 30 +19 76

8 Stahlburg City 45 21 11 13 59 42 +17 74
9 Belgrave 45 20 6 19 73 76 -3 66
10 AFC Corvistone 45 19 8 18 73 64 +9 65
11 North Laithland 45 18 10 17 61 69 -8 64
12 Starling 45 18 8 19 65 67 -2 62
13 Parrhesia United 45 17 10 18 68 75 -7 61
14 Newrook City 45 15 13 17 53 61 -8 58
15 South Laithland 45 13 17 15 45 49 -4 56
16 Southfell United 45 15 10 20 57 58 -1 55
17 Chenoworth Rovers 45 12 17 16 51 64 -13 53
18 Coret Hawks 45 15 7 23 58 72 -14 52
19 Iron City 45 13 10 22 42 63 -21 49
20 Diamondqueen 45 13 7 25 50 92 -42 46
21 Creed United 45 12 9 24 49 67 -18 45
22 Crisisbless United 45 11 9 25 51 88 -37 42
23 Chenoworth Harriers 45 10 9 26 44 76 -32 39
24 Stahlburg Rovers 45 11 4 30 49 104 -55 37

FIRST DIVISION
Pos Team                        P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brookford Otters 45 25 12 8 88 50 +38 87
2 Chatswood 45 26 9 10 65 27 +38 87
3 Leichhardt 45 23 17 5 53 30 +23 86

4 Goodfeather FC 45 24 8 13 90 59 +31 80
5 Mantlegrove 45 21 11 13 65 51 +14 74
6 Raven River 45 21 10 14 76 60 +16 73
7 North Sabrefell 45 22 7 16 60 50 +10 73
8 Corvette Maulers 45 21 10 14 65 56 +9 73
9 Vermillion Wanderers 45 19 11 15 59 45 +14 68
10 Barossia United 45 19 11 15 57 44 +13 68
11 Cranequin Wanderers 45 17 14 14 52 42 +10 65
12 Cypher Town 45 17 13 15 51 51 +0 64
13 Armstrong 45 15 14 16 49 49 +0 59
14 AFC Serpentine 45 16 9 20 58 68 -10 57
15 Chardonnay Rangers 45 15 10 20 58 64 -6 55
16 Corinthians No Longer 45 13 15 17 51 60 -9 54
17 Greygate 45 14 7 24 58 75 -17 49
18 AFC Rochford 45 9 19 17 43 53 -10 46
19 Alliance Barossia 45 13 7 25 41 77 -36 46
20 Bishop 45 10 14 21 53 74 -21 44
21 Gonen's Bridge 45 11 11 23 43 69 -26 44
22 The Strongest 45 11 11 23 52 86 -34 44
23 Aries Solitaire 45 9 15 21 54 77 -23 42
24 Pillars of Southfell 45 9 15 21 43 67 -24 42

SECOND DIVISION
Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin City 45 31 5 9 72 39 +33 98
2 Morningstar 45 27 10 8 91 41 +50 91
3 Locksley 45 27 9 9 88 54 +34 90

4 Hackett 45 25 10 10 66 39 +27 85
5 Peregrine 45 25 8 12 89 52 +37 83
6 Boltcroft Thorns 45 21 14 10 70 49 +21 77
7 Crisisbless Athletic 45 22 9 14 69 52 +17 75
8 West Brinemouth 45 19 13 13 56 42 +14 70
9 Falston United 45 18 14 13 50 53 -3 68
10 Dartmouth Terriers 45 17 13 15 52 44 +8 64
11 Ritter Town 45 17 11 17 68 52 +16 62
12 Autumnstone 45 16 7 22 68 68 +0 55
13 Gosmouth Swans 45 15 10 20 48 63 -15 55
14 Sheridan 45 13 15 17 36 41 -5 54
15 Riverkey 45 13 14 18 41 48 -7 53
16 Ballardine FC 45 13 13 19 46 63 -17 52
17 Extreme Hills 45 14 9 22 58 86 -28 51
18 Ingram Township 45 14 8 23 39 58 -19 50
19 Mapleford 45 13 10 22 44 72 -28 49
20 Stonegrave 45 11 14 20 36 48 -12 47
21 The Hanged Man 45 9 15 21 34 51 -17 42
22 Kensey Town 45 10 11 24 48 83 -35 41
23 Rochford Pilgrims 45 10 10 25 46 88 -42 40
24 Lazuli Diamonds 45 10 8 27 51 80 -29 38

THIRD DIVISION
Pos Team                          P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 New Oakstone Phoenix 45 30 8 7 115 52 +63 98
2 Lockheed Zenith 45 30 8 7 102 53 +49 98
3 Southriver 45 26 8 11 70 39 +31 86

4 Kommissar 45 25 11 9 71 43 +28 86
5 Brokenarch 45 24 9 12 75 51 +24 81
6 East Laithland Harriers 45 23 10 12 82 57 +25 79
7 AFC Shale 45 22 11 12 60 34 +26 77
8 Brindleton 45 21 13 11 61 40 +21 76
9 Crossroads Town 45 18 11 16 82 74 +8 65
10 Caldwick Strand 45 17 13 15 71 75 -4 64
11 Cranequin Souths 45 18 8 19 70 79 -9 62
12 Martella Jazz 45 16 10 19 71 80 -9 58
13 Corvistone City 45 14 15 16 42 51 -9 57
14 Lindmark Falcons 45 15 11 19 60 72 -12 56
15 Strephonage 45 15 10 20 48 63 -15 55
16 Hartford Glade 45 16 6 23 63 64 -1 54
17 Northside Eagles 45 13 10 22 60 83 -23 49
18 Constance Park 45 11 15 19 41 60 -19 48
19 Riverkey Shells 45 12 11 22 65 87 -22 47
20 Coret Rovers 45 11 11 23 51 79 -28 44
21 Sirencall FC 45 10 12 23 50 85 -35 42
22 Crownsend Journey 45 11 8 26 63 83 -20 41
23 Ringway 45 9 11 25 37 76 -39 38
24 West Hook 45 6 14 25 45 75 -30 32
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Nephara
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:58 am

SECOND DIVISION
Riverkey 0-1 The Hanged Man
Kensey Town 0-1 Ballardine FC
Rochford Pilgrims 3-2 Stonegrave
Ingram Township 2-1 Extreme Hills
Mapleford 2-1 Falston United
Morningstar 2-1 Boltcroft Thorns
Peregrine 4-0 Ritter Town
Cranequin City 1-2 Gosmouth Swans
Crisisbless Athletic 0-1 Hackett
Lazuli Diamonds 2-6 Autumnstone
Dartmouth Terriers 0-2 West Brinemouth
Sheridan 0-0 Locksley

THIRD DIVISION
Strephonage 3-0 Hartford Glade
Corvistone City 0-2 Brindleton
Northside Eagles 1-2 East Laithland Harriers
Lindmark Falcons 2-1 West Hook
Ringway 2-1 Riverkey Shells
AFC Shale 1-0 Caldwick Strand
Crossroads Town 1-1 Crownsend Journey
Lockheed Zenith 6-1 Cranequin Souths
Kommissar 1-1 Southriver
Sirencall FC 1-4 Martella Jazz
Coret Rovers 3-0 Constance Park
Brokenarch 2-2 New Oakstone Phoenix


Well, unfortunately, it appears as though we’ve all rather been let down. Mathematically, several positions remain in play, in the last game (!) of the Premiership season… in practice, all but the fight for fourth are academic. In the relegation playoff Iron City are three points behind Coret Hawks and three above Creed, but… look at their goal difference. They won’t overtake the Hawks, they won’t be overtaken by the Oathmen.

As a final matchday it is, honestly, a disappointing prospect.

It is however also the final match of the 24-team First Division...

FIRST DIVISION FINALE - MINUTE-BY-MINUTE COVERAGE by CLEO SUTTER
TITLE RACE
Brookford Otters (4-3-3) 1 - Wright; 17 - Hail, 5 - Cameron, 21 - Holden, 3 - Cicak; 8 - Morwen, 4 - Koetter, 11 - Foster; 7 - Waters, 9 - Jewel, 18 - Samsa
Form Guide: 2W - 1D - 2L
AFC Rochford (4-4-2) 12 - Malanta; 17 - Auburn, 5 - Raleigh, 6 - Mailar, 3 - Radic; 7 - Kaskanis, 4 - Finnan, 8 - Perish, 11 - Crozier; 22 - Kane, 9 - Non
Form Guide: 0W - 4D - 1L
Despite the tension of the occasion, there is still a clear favourite at the top. The Otters have the easiest brief against relegated opponents that can’t remember their last win. They currently hold 1st by the slimmest margin - goals scored, while Leichhardt are a point further behind with an insurmountably poor goal difference. Brookford mostly have a clean bill of health… with the rather crippling exception of talismanic winger Annika Cashin. The Owls are more or less intact.

Chatswood (4-2-3-1) 1 - Williams; 17 - Markus, 5 - Ozolx-Alfan, 20 - Bishop, 3 - Hammond; 15 - Bischoff, 8 - Vollath; 13 - Conleth, 10 - Madine, 11 - Woodrow; 9 - Herron
Form Guide: 3W - 2D - 0L
Corvette Maulers (4-3-3) 1 - Marisnick; 2 - Florenzi, 13 - Baxton, 22 - Mastiff, 6 - Seraph; 8 - Daescher, 4 - Brighton, 21 - Banks; 7 - Innes, 9 - Brummer, 13 - Betancourt
Form Guide: 1W - 2D - 2L
Chatswood must beat Brookford’s result, but a win by another goal would do. Anything less opens them up to being overtaken by the Stargazers. Their biggest absences are deft midfielder Vishca and imposing centre-half Imhoff, but their depth is strong. A couple of changes for Maulers mean that locals with typical weird Valesider names get injected into the team, with ‘Cat Baxton’ and ‘Hawker Banks’ making rare starts; with usual playmaker Halfhill’s form tailing off in the back end of the season, it’s a chance for Banks to assert himself, while muscular Brady Innes has a 29th straight start due to Seth Blunt’s ACL injury.

Leichhardt (4-2-3-1) 20 - Laczko; 6 - Somner, 5 - Saunders, 18 - Foreman, 3 - Berwick; 4 - Hagaz, 36 - Tapper; 15 - Meier, 8 - Kubala, 16 - Petrus; 21 - Stevenson
Form Guide: 1W - 4D - 0L
Raven River (4-3-1-2) 1 - Carver; 17 - Beister, 5 - Niehaus, 19 - Lampshire, 3 - Melander; 21 - Sinodinos, 4 - Zahra, 15 - Paterson; 8 - Soler; 10 - Beridze, 9 - Crowe
Form Guide: 1W - 2D - 2L
Just a point behind, but the Stargazers are obvious long shots. Goal difference doesn’t factor; they need a win, they need Brookford and Chatswood to drop points. Diandra Ballard has shifted from her usual 4-4-2 to try and exert more control over River’s packed midfield; precocious teenager Feo Tapper will have a lot of work to do. Journeywoman Misha Paterson will be playing her last professional game tonight, and adds experience to a callow midfield.

RELEGATION RACE
AFC Serpentine (4-4-2) 1 - Tell; 2 - Oakes, 5 - Bull, 6 - Toure, 3 - Kendrick; 23 - Marc, 4 - Tanzer, 8 - Gillard, 13 - Rhine; 21 - Menander, 10 - Greening
Form Guide: 1W - 1D - 3L
Armstrong (4-4-2) 1 - Virtanen; 2 - Hope, 5 - Diallo, 19 - Asbjornsson, 3 - Lax; 7 - Kohr, 6 - Curate, 8 - Xavier, 11 - Loxton; 9 - Pawnbroker, 16 - Henderson
Form Guide: 4W - 0D - 1L
Serpentine’s fate is in their own hands, but their goal difference leaves them vulnerable. A draw pulls them out of automatic relegation, but a victorious CNL would overhaul them and take them to a playoff; defeat means that wins for either would overtake them, and both, of course, doom them. For Serpentine, their strikers - miniscule Menander and lean Greening - will have their hands full just surviving the hulking Asbjornsson. With #10 Brogan Poppey on the bench, Armstrong are just one substitution from having their numerical first XI on the pitch. Despite their tepid season, they’re the second-most in-form side in the league, behind only Greygate.

Gonen’s Bridge (4-4-2) 1 - Reiner; 17 - Unworth, 22 - Clement, 6 - Serket, 3 - Seitz; 23 - Gruether, 35 - Bedesman, 8 - Resch, 16 - Connell; 15 - Sutton, 10 - Murin
Form Guide: 1W - 1D - 3L
Chardonnay Rangers (4-4-2) 1 - Lindt; 2 - Kambol, 5 - Antrim, 6 - Pryor, 3 - Vestager; 23 - Lodge, 4 - Kattis, 20 - Wallcroft, 11 - Lindwurm; 9 - Wright, 10 - Rayne
Form Guide: 1W - 2D - 2L
All possibilities are open to the Rangers, but victory would guarantee they at least aren’t relegated tonight. Bridge’s embryonic midfield core consists of two 20-year olds, though Page Resch’s birthday is tomorrow. Rangers will miss key playmaker Alessa Bernat, and there’s a suspicion that Cynthia Rayne’s been rushed back from a hamstring strain. One to watch if the Dogsmouth international goes down heavily.

The Strongest (4-3-3) 12 - Verlinden; 17 - Sanwald, 5 - Beresford, 13 - Wiseman, 3 - March; 14 - Masters, 4 - Ascham, 8 - Korchnoi; 23 - Sunstroem, 10 - Rotariu, 11 - Nizarut
Form Guide: 0W - 3D - 2L
Corinthians No Longer (4-3-3) 12 - Rowett; 34 - Commons, 4 - Pepper, 5 - Axweald, 6 - Cattalock; 15 - Barron, 20 - Mariner, 10 - Klein; 23 - Hart, 9 - Troche, 16 - Bouman
Form Guide: 1W - 2D - 2L
Unless Chardonnay get absolutely pasted - which is possible, the Strongest are nothing if not unpredictable - CNL will need a win to stay in with a chance of survival. An injury to Garrick Fraser and a terribly-timed suspension for domineering rightback Adrian Feruga mean that CNL’s back line is three creaking veterans and a teenage rightback. The Strongest have been hit by a couple of injuries themselves, but the key men - Masters, Sunstroem, Rotariu - are all there and able to do some damage.

DEAD RUBBERS
Pillars of Southfell vs. Goodfeather FC
Aries Solitaire vs. Mantlegrove
Greygate vs. Bishop
Cranequin Wanderers vs. North Sabrefell
Alliance Barossia vs. Cypher Town
Vermillion Wanderers vs. Barossia United

KICK-OFF!!!

1 mins - And we’re underway. Untouched by the Premiership’s corruption, 1Div enjoys a blessedly anarchic and relevant close to the season. It also enjoys shitters like Mia Gruether who wouldn’t be fit to lace the boots of a Premiership player, but that’s part of the joy.

2 mins - Chardonnay Rangers get the ball to Sylvia Wright on the edge of the box; she does what she does and shoots on sight. Well wide, and covered by November Reiner, but that’s not the point; she’s up for this, and the quick, rueful dusting-off of hands and sharp breath should be taken as a portent of the apocalypse for the Warriors.

3 mins - In the early stages, Brookford have played a lot like a team winning the 1Div against a side floating around in doomed lower-midtable, which is what’s happening.

4 mins - As ever, though our focus is on the actual relevant matches, we’ll still be bringing goals, red cards and anything else significant from the who-gives-a-shit fixtures. Like so...

5 mins - GOAL! POS 0-1 GDF. Now there’s a trigramme that reflects how Pillars have been playing over the course of the season. For instance, not closing down Bastet North, just retreating and retreating until she whips one into the bottom corner. Her 35th goal of a massively prolific breakthrough season.

6 mins - We’re like five minutes in and already Armstrong’s plan is clear. It’s the same plan they’ve had for the past decade or so. Defend in packs, sling crosses forward at the big lads. Serpentine are doing a convincing impression of a side that somehow had no idea they’d do that. Here Gerrard Tell is, dropping a cross like a moron.

7 mins - Chatswood should be ahead! As the cliche goes, Kanerva Herron does the hard part - deftly trapping a diagonal from Severa Conleth in the air, letting it bounce at her feet as Baxton retreats, before crashing past the defender - and then blows the easy part, strolling one-on-one with Marisnick only to blast over.

8 mins - GOAL! GRG 1-0 BIS. Bishop do a lot of fancy and pleasant things, and have a lot of fancy and pleasant players who are sure to be picked up by fancy and pleasant clubs in the off-season. They also can’t defend crosses for shit. Mkrtchyan takes advantage.

9 mins - GOAL! SRP 1-0 ARM. First goal in one of the relevant matches, and it’s completely against the run of play. Another interminable Armstrong cross is headed away to midfield by Corren Toure, Sven Gillard overpowers Curate, turns her and whips a defence-splitting pass down the left. Rhine’s first touch slots it to the far post, where the Chromatik winger Marc slots home. A beautifully-executed counter, against a side rarely open enough to be.

10 mins - And the Dragons almost get a second in quick succession! Another clever passing move, Kitti Menander whips in a vicious shot but Virtanen’s reactions are incredible to push it around the post.

11 mins - Leichhardt aginst River is the big clash on paper, but isn’t doing so hot on paper. Leichhardt are capable in midfield and composed at the back; uncharacteristically, so are River. But when it comes to something weird and mercurial, that’s something River are known for, have the weapons for.

12 mins - Rochford get their first shot on target against the Otters, but it’s a fairly pedestrian effort, Scylla Perish wriggling free of Koetter and Morwen only to have her shot easily beaten away by Damir Wright. Wright is arguably the best goalkeeper in the league, while opposite number Cordrut Malanta has shown himself to be easily good enough for this level.

13 mins - GOAL! BRO 0-1 RCH. Rochford get their second shot on target against the Otters. Diana Kaskanis advances with danger down the right, before playing a deft one-two with veteran rightback Cheney Auburn that cuts out Cicak. Kaskanis cuts a low cross across the face of goal, and Kristian Non can only stretch a toe to it, glancing the ball against the post… but it bounces back favourably for Perish, thinking fast, to quickly readjust her positioning and drive home with her first touch!

14 mins - The news reaches Chatswood. There’s cheers in the stands - as things stand they’ll win the league - but they’ll be mindful the job’s far from over. If they score, however, things start to look great for the Woodsmen.

15 mins - GOAL! STR 0-1 CNL. The Strongest get caught sloppily on the break, and all for an attack that petres out when Marius Sanwald’s cross is caught easily by Anders Rowett. The veteran keeper hoofs it up down the left, where jet-heeled Drea Bouman is able to, well, linger in the space her nominal marker Sanwald isn’t, and race clear. She should really centre for a teammate when Verlinden comes out, but manages to drive a strike past the rushing keeper’s near post regardless.

16 mins - GOAL! ARS 0-1 MTG. More synergy between trigramme and form spotted, methinks. Alexandra Lazarou, who is extremely good, makes a mazy run through Feistle, Montag and whoever is the fucking backup to Berthold fucking Ruprecht, who are collectively not. The shot slots through Chaeffer’s legs and Lazarou races to the away fans, whipping off her shirt - wahey! - to reveal a tank-top devoted to ‘TRIX - FOR ALL THE GOOD TIMES ; )’. The smiley is actually one of those ‘emoji’ you see around sometimes.

17 mins - Chardonnay Rangers have looked comfortably superior against a Gonen’s Bridge side starring an embryonic central midfield. The issue is the lack of creativity in their own midfield, leading to a lot of the ball but, so far, not a lot of the ball at Sylvia Wright’s feet.

18 mins - … seriously, though, who the fuck is Trix?

19 mins - A defence-splitting pass from Ferri Kubala, well, splits River’s defence. Ernie Stevenson’s on the end of it, looks up, shoots - blocked well by an amazing covering challenge from Steed Beister - and the followup falls to Feo Tapper, whose shot is pulled well, well wide.

20 mins - GOAL! SRP 1-1 ARM. A great reflex save from Gerrard Tell denies Gareth Pawnbroker, who overpowers his mark brilliantly to forge the opening and beats his fist against the ground at the mis… but it doesn’t matter, since hulking war criminal Asbjornsson lumbers up and forces home the corner anyway. Back to square one, then.

21 mins - The Strongest’s leftback, March, has just been guilty of a foul throw. Sigh.

22 mins - Bridge almost take the lead against Chardonnay Rangers! More patient play at the back leads to the sluggish centre-half Remus Antrim having his pocket picked by vivacious Roanna Murin, who turns and spins to fire off a shot - but Pryor comes flying in with a sliding challenge to block the ball and send it to the stands. Antrim, very much the seasoned veteran of the defence, looks like a man whose blushes have just been spared.

23 mins - One of the commentators might have a lead on Lazarou’s Trix. She apparently went to the same high school as a Trixi Sanders. My high school was fucking devoid of good times, I’ll tell you that much.

24 mins - GOAL! CHT 1-0 CVM. Chatswood solidify their place at the top, their bodies in midfield telling against a fresh and naive Corvette. Heiko Vollath cuts out a sloppy touch from the neophyte Banks, plays a deft pass down the flank to Woodrow and arrives late in the box to finish the move, five passes later. An exquisite performance from what is ordinarily a very safe and functional midfielder, and it’s put one hand around the title trophy.

25 mins - The news has reached Brookford, whose fans exhort their players forward, forward! Scout Morwen gets told to shoot! She obliges! That was a mistake.

26 mins - GOALS! GRG 2-0 BIS; VRW 1-0 BAU. Neither in a game that matters. For Greygate, Andrey Mincham heads home an excellent corner from Cooper. For Vermillion, Kruger’s power and footballing intelligence let her carve an opening she unselfishly centres for Maier to finish.

27 mins - Brilliant save from Laczko saves Leichhardt after an uncharacteristically sloppy pass in defence - Berwick tries to pass along to Foreman but it’s rapidly cut out by Asli Crowe, whose snap-shot is brilliantly pawed out of the top corner.

28 mins - I’m looking up Trix online. I can watch my phone-screen and twelve different streams at the same time. It’s not just that Malte freak.

29 mins - GOAL! CHT 1-1 CVM. Corvette have had just a single shot on target thus far, but their second hits paydirt. A graceful touch from Daescher, turning, spotting the run of Florenzi down the right, playing a deft one-two and blasting low past Williams’ near post. Did she see it late through the bodies?

30 mins - Chatswood will still win with the scores as they are, though. Obviously it’s a lot more fragile now. They shoot from the first passage of play from the restart, but Conleth’s shot is well outside the box and floats safely to Marisnick’s hands.

31 mins - GOAL! GBR 0-1 CDR. A vital goal from Chardonnay Rangers! A diagonal ball from Lindwurm is headed back weakly by Iskar Serket, and no white-and-red shirt touches it again. Bedesman can only exert weak pressure as Cynthia Rayne traps the rebound, turns back and feeds in the unheralded Wallcroft, who shoots with his only touch and finds the bottom corner.

32 mins - Valerie Marcovaldo, from Cranequin, volunteers she follows a camgirl called Trixie Fenwick. A… Brenecian, apparently. You’re from Cranequin and you have to outsource your hot people? Look outside your window, sweetheart!

33 mins - GOAL! GBR 0-2 CDR. Bridge are a mess, and November Reiner won’t want to see that one again. After Anders Wallcroft hits a thumping header forward, Sylvia Wright nips ahead of Serket to get on it and fires low and hard, but straight at Reiner. Nevertheless, the ball somehow smacks downwards through her hands and into the net. Reiner stares at her gloves.

34 mins - Already getting another couple Fenwick fans in my inbox. Look, it is known that Brenecians look weird and blocky and not in the hot, solid kind of way. They’re all chunky but don’t have curves somehow and have sleet in their hair and mud in their shoes and a weird glassy look in their eyes that betrays the fact they can’t read. I will concede that, upon looking up Fenwick, she may have some honest Marcher blood in her, and/or be from Westpike.

35 mins - GOAL! ARS 0-2 MTG. Another goalkeeping error, which perhaps goes sme way to explaining why these are, you know, 1Div and not Premiership goalkeepers. A cross from Amerill Londe could easily have been claimed by Chaeffer if she’d stepped at all off her line, but she hesitates and Condor Madrid nods home Mantlegrove’s second.

36 mins - Armstrong might have lead, but Emily Kohr follows up a clever run that leaves Kendrick in her dust with a mishit strike that trickles feebly to Tell. At roughly the same time, River make a creditable opening that lets Beridze force a save from Laczko at full stretch… but Soler, setting her up, was offside in any case.

37 mins - GOAL! POS 1-1 GDF. Ulrica Rannon will always be a danger over a set piece. Won cheaply, punished severely, she sticks it right in the corner.

38 mins - Goodfeather have done very well in two of the past three seasons, but the landscape is going to change significantly next year. And, besides, they realistically can’t keep ahold of Bastet North, who has been sensationally called up for the coming Eagles’ Cup. She’ll be a Cormorant, if a somewhat second-string one, without a Premiership appearance to her name.

39 mins - GOAL! STR 1-1 CNL. It’s been coming. CNL have rested on their lead, and a side with dangerous weapons can punish you. And every side except Pillars have a dangerous weapon in this league. Today, it’s Tulaska Sunstroem.

40 mins - GOAL! BRO 1-1 RCH. Brookford have also been knocking on the door, dominating possession since Rochford’s goal, and now they finally have it. A no-look pass with the outside of the boot from Foster cuts through the defence, but Cordrut Malanta comes out flying to deny Andrine Samsa, before a rushed rebound from Morwen is also clawed away. But Aurora Jewel overpowers Viktor Raleigh in search of the final rebound, and she has an empty net to tap into as Malanta desperately tries to return to his post.

41 mins - The Otters will now win it all as things stand. They’re an impressive side, albeit built on their absolutely brilliant wingers… one of whom, Cashin, isn’t even here. The other, Linoan Waters, has been quiet thus far against the diligent Jenni Radic.

42 mins - Feh, my inbox. People accusing me of ‘discriminating’ against ‘Brenecians’, as if they’re ‘people’. The ignorance here.

43 mins - GOAL! LEI 1-0 RVR. River go forward, but the killer ball from Sinodinos is cut out by the sliding Feo Tapper, and Shrike Hagaz takes it up the other end. He goes a long way before making use of his options before letting Asp Somner cut inside him on the overlap, and Somner in turn cuts back for Ferri Kubala to trap, glide past Niehaus and hammer past Carver to put his hometown club in a hole. As things stand, Leichhardt will now be champions!

44 mins - PENALTY IN SERPENTINE! Emily Kohr is shown rather too much leg by her impetuous marker, Sander Lax. She obliges by dragging her own leg as she cuts outside him and, oops, there she tumbles inside the box. Cleverly-won but objectively the right call.

45 mins - GOALS! SRP 1-2 ARM; CRW 1-0 NSF. Ivana Henderson makes no mistake from the penalty spot, Tell going the right way but nowhere near as far as Henderson drills it. Meanwhile, Cranequin take the lead over North Sabrefell with a boring, patient passing move eventually making a gap that Rhoda Treeswallow takes advantage to stab home from.

Injury time - GOAL! GRG 2-1 BIS. Listen, Bishop might be screwed, but Isla Leskosek’s agent is going to be busy-busy-busy in the off-season. Why? Because of times where she can just dazzle past two men and curl one into the top corner, as she, well, almost does now. But her shot caroms off the underside of the crossbar; good thing Burbank’s following up to drive in the rebound and give Bishop some semblance of hope.

HALF-TIME!

Brookford Otters 1-1 AFC Rochford
Chatswood 1-1 Corvette Maulers
Leichhardt 1-0 Raven River
Permutations: Leichhardt will win the league, and with it, automatic promotion. Brookford and Chatswood will play off for the chance to play the Premiership playoff candidate (realistically, Iron City).

AFC Serpentine 1-2 Armstrong
Gonen's Bridge 0-2 Chardonnay Rangers
The Strongest 1-1 Corinthians No Longer
Permutations: Chardonnay Rangers are safe, Serpentine have a playoff against the winner of Morningstar and Locksley, while Corinthians No Longer will be automatically relegated.

Pillars of Southfell 1-1 Goodfeather FC
Aries Solitaire 0-2 Mantlegrove
Greygate 2-1 Bishop
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 North Sabrefell
Alliance Barossia 0-0 Cypher Town
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Barossia United
Permutations: Aries Solitaire take the wooden spoon from Pillars.

RESTART!!!

46 mins - Nyna Kane, Kanerva Herron, Asli Crowe, Alyssa Greening, Granit Nizarut and Cynthia Rayne get us back underway. Nizarut’s pass is immediately cut out by Clovis Klein. Auspicious.

47 mins - Linoan Waters, who has had a quiet first half for the Otters, cuts through Crozier, plays a deft one-two with Isobel Foster to dart in past Mailar, one-on-one with goalkeeper Cordrut Malanta… but her finishing touch deserts her, and Malanta’s quick reflexes block the shot.

48 mins - PENALTY IN LEICHHARDT! Listen. Listen! Lauren Beridze doesn’t score much for a striker, but she presses high from the front and makes small contributions and excels in subtle things. Like a cheeky little dink to Soler that’s really a cheeky little dink to Berwick’s awkwardly-placed arm.

49 mins - GOAL! LEI 1-1 RVR. Not sure if that should be a penalty, but it was, and Misha Paterson sends Laczko the wrong way. All three promotion-vying sides are now locked in 1-1 stalemates, which favours Brookford.

50 mins - And of those three, who would even be the best to survive in the Premiership? Leichhardt have solidity, but little flash; Brookford have brilliant talents but an aging side with a few players demonstrably not up to snuff; Chatswood look the best on paper, but even they would need heavy improvements. Maybe not a striker, though, as Kanerva Herron’s come along wonderfully.

51 mins - Another great save from Cordrut Malanta! Then another, in quick succession! First, Waters puts him at full stretch to claw it around the post, and the resulting corner is headed firmly on target by Kurtis Holden but caught on the full by the Owls keeper.

52 mins - GOAL! STR 1-2 CNL. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Calamitous defending. The Strongest’s goalkeeper, Elaine Verlinden, has been an excellent shot-stopper… not so good in the air, and she fumbles a corner expertly delivered by Siri Cattalock and gets in a tangle with Wiseman as Erinys Hart, quick to react, stabs home the loose ball. As things stand, CNL are now safe. 16-win, 57-point Serpentine are going down. What a season!

53 mins - Lazarou’s Trix update: some tabloid journalist has made an unsubstantiated rumour that Trix is the sex worker Lazarou considers a favourite at her local brothel. Variety’s the spice of life, Alexandra. Live a little.

54 mins - GOAL! CHT 1-2 CVM. Cheap foul given away on the wing, Alex Woodrow tracking back only to drag down Brady Innes. Oh, they are made to pay for that. Daescher drills the free kick low and Betancourt drifts away from her marker, turns and fires low past an immobile Williams.

55 mins - Corvette have looked slightly the better of the two teams thus far, and the lead is warranted. Chatswood themselves have not exactly been prolific this season, but the simple combination of Alex Woodrow’s brilliant crossing and Kanerva Herron’s commanding heading, or of Severa Conleth just doing something, or even the overwhelmed young Cat Baxton having a brain fade… well, it’s far from over. Still, as it stands, Chatswood are third.

56 mins - “At the risk of being one of those people who says ‘this is one of those days for Brookford’,” says Kevan Lister, in the awkward position of being a Brookford fan living in Rochford, “this is turning into one of those days for Brookford.” Well, Kevi, I’ve got some bad news for you...

57 mins - GOAL! GBR 1-2 CDR. Things are interesting again at the Bridge. Chardonnay Rangers had been sailing, but Roanna Murin boasts the chutzpah to try to chip a ball over a defender’s head, the technique to actually pull it off, and the pace to race around the puzzled figure of Kattis, cut across Antrim and drive a low shot past Lindt. A genuine solo goal in an era of weak foreign concepts like ‘teamwork’.

58 mins - Diandra Ballard readies Leichhardt’s first change of the night; 24-year old striker Gloria Kewell comes on for Feo Tapper, the teenage midfielder who played a part in their goal and had an excellent first half, but now is the time, it seems, to go direct on a day where only a win will do. Emil Klempner’s injury may cost them, though his virtues have never included a prolific eye for goal.

59 mins - GOALS! POS 1- 2 GDF; ALB 0-1 CYT. Goals in two dead rubbers. Kathil Mizumaru’s strike is horribly deflected off Helena Schmidt’s instep to spin past Brookhouse, while Kynda-Sevet cleverly starts and deftly finishes a sleek passing move from Cypher that leaves Alliance heads spinning.

60 mins - Brookford are left to kick themselves yet again! Koetter wins the ball, plays in Samsa, who plays forward the overlapping Pavel Cicak, who centres low and hard, Jewel gets on the end of it-- she must score! She doesn’t! Toebashed just wide from four yards! Rochford defender Raleigh laughs, unable to believe their luck. Jewel looks about ready to kill him.

61 mins - GOAL! CHT 1-3 CVM. That could be Chatswood done. Brady Innes surges forward and is chopped down brutally by Vollath, but the referee plays advantage as the ball keeps rolling on to Tania Brummer, who goes for power over placement and is vindicated as the ball goes through Williams’ hands, what might have been a sharp if routine save denied by the force of the shot. Brummer’s taking her time with the celebration, milking it in with the away fans. The atmosphere’s turning mutinous.

62 mins - Lyn Havelock mashes all the buttons and pulls all the levers. Laura Rustu, Labinot Ruscoe and some teenager I’ve never heard of all warm up, and it looks like, like Leichhardt, Chatswood are going to shift to God’s own 4-4-2. Corvette ready a defensive substitution of their own, the more cautious and experienced rightback Lena Auteberry to replace Florenzi and batten down the hatches.

63 mins - Idle observation: six of the rightbacks involved in the six relevant fixtures (though neither Florenzi nor Auteberry) are wearing the number 17.

64 mins - RED CARD FOR ARMSTRONG! Maarten Hope will ‘Hope’ they never play that clip around him again. And, well, Maddox Rhine will ‘Hope’ to retain the full motion of his left leg. That was a genuinely brutal, awful challenge from Armstrong’s rightback, he’s making a little praying, worried motion by the referee, she ain’t buying it. He’s off. Armstrong still lead, but what now?

65 mins - Experienced striker Cass Lazaridis warms up for Serpentine. Of their two strikers, Kitti Menander has been threatening, and Alyssa Greening has not; that’s an easy choice for Kurtis Rakeruth. Without a natural rightback on the bench, Gratia Barker resorts to bringing on 35-year old centre-half Istvan Kendrick and having the burly Diallo shift out right; predictably, a striker in Ivana Henderson is sacrificed, though will her intelligent hold-up play be missed?

66 mins - Two people have already got in touch with the official broadcast to claim that they are Lazarou’s Trix, neither of whom answers to a Trix Martell of Treason, who emails me now to claim she is Trix. “She totally looked in my eyes when she was signing her autograph,” she sighs. Is… is that it?

67 mins - Auburn Daescher is having a brilliant game for the Maulers. Tall, lean, offering a deft touch and a wealth of footballing intelligence, she’s absolutely killing Chatswood’s cloggers in the middle of the park. And she’s still only 22! Surely Premiership-bound. Well… top flight-bound, anyway.

68 mins - GOAL! GRG 3-1 BIS. Gareth Temple overpowers Burbank as a promising Bishop passing move breaks down, and Mavrias hammers the ball forward. Scowsmith misjudges its trajectory. Mkrtchyan does not, takes full advantage when it bounces over his head and races on to score.

69 mins - I’ve never rated Scowsmith. He’s the kind of defender who looks sharp and tidy for a couple nice highlights every game, pulls off a miraculous covering challenge every few matches, and constantly fucks up and costs his side points. He can stay down in the third tier, I think. Hector Reiss’ injury has been a massive blow for Bishop.

70 mins - “Who bloody cares about Greygate?” whines Belaskita Griffin from Stahlburg, and I do agree in principle. “Focus on the games that actually matter rather than cluttering up the place!” I don’t disagree and, hell, trust me, my job would me a whole lot easier. But it’s not my brief.

71 mins - GOAL! LEI 2-1 RVR. And the Stargazers are back on top! What’s that name on the scoresheet? Gloria Kewell. Diandra Ballard looks smug; Meier swings in a cross, Stevenson and Niehaus both go for it, the ball skims off some combination of them away from goal but Selina Carver’s relief is short-lived as Kewell, the extra new man in the box, almost slips to readjust, trap the ball and drag it low beyond Carver before Lampshire can come over to help.

72 mins - Leichhardt have been doing great since the tactical change was made, ignoring the centre of the park and overloading the flanks, so River look to match it. The impressive Athena Sinodinos comes off for composed striker Iris Miles; Soler and Beridze drift wide as improvised wingers. Is Michi Leonard overthinking things? Does Misha Paterson have the last twenty minutes in her creaking legs?

73 mins - GOAL! ALB 0-2 CYT. More interplay down the left from Cypher lets Kynda-Sevet play leftback Jacqui Merritt in on goal. The clever fullback rounds Vidmar and rolls the ball in, Tuco Durrig desperately sliding in on the line only to drive the ball further into the net.

74 mins - Conspicuous silence from Trix Martell, but there may be a decisive lead from a more reliable tabloid hack, from the Westerner, a twii from which now alleges that there is a Domina Clarrett she’s been seen with at nightclubs from time to time. Domina-trix. There’s a cute pet name in there, somewhere, and now we know more about Lazarou than anyone perhaps wanted.

75 mins - River almost equalise, but a scrambling save from Luka Laczko, who has otherwise had a fairly uneventful second half, stops Beridze scoring from the edge of the area, and Tess Saunders scampers onto the rebound to clear before Miles can run onto it.

76 mins - GOAL! SRP 2-2 ARM. It’s been coming! Armstrong have been tiring, and there haven’t really been gaps in their lines, but it’s clearly exhausting their players to keep up. So it’s little surprise when Curate carelessly coughs up the ball to Sven Gillard and just doesn’t have it in her to chase convincingly, Gillard tears at goal before playing it safely sideways to Oriane Marc, who whips a confident finish low past Virtanen with her second touch. The reshuffle: Chardonnay safe, Serpentine in the playoff, CNL down.

77 mins - Should be a goal in Brookford, but it’s shit, I hate this league sometimes! Massive air-swing from Andrine Samsa! Cashin would have buried that and judging by the filthy look the stand-in winger just got shot by Aurora Jewel, we may soon need to bury Samsa. And Jewel’s night is over; on comes Helmina Turner, essentially like-for-like.

78 mins - GOAL! GBR 2-2 CDR. Roanna Murin, again! The ball gets congested down the right flank before a sweeping crossfield pass from Unworth frees it, finding Matze Connell, the Rangers have overcommitted, their defence scrambles but Connell finds Sutton who centres for his strike partner to drive past Lindt, and now the Rangers are down as things stand--

79 mins - GOAL! BRO 1-2 RCH. -- and Leichhardt, suddenly, are clear at the top with ten minutes to play, multiple goals now needed in either other fixture! Rochford have only had one shot on target in the second half, and it’s Scylla Perish into the postage stamp, Damir Wright’s fingertips brushing against the strike.

80 mins - Leichhardt fans are going wild in the stands. It’s premature! The Otters can get two goals. Chatswood-- well, Chatswood probably can’t get three. But River could get one, oh so easily, though Esteve Soler will need to do better than a cross like that, easily headed clear by Saunders.

81 mins - Malte Linhardt from Brinemouth emailing in to-- oh, you motherfucker. I’m not giving you screentime here, you fucking hack! With your ‘lighter’ brand of comedy, and your under-the-table deal with First Wind!

82 mins - Just because the bosses love the metrics you bring! Just because they promoted you over my head, gave you the office above mine, the one with the fan and the window! Just because--

83 mins - GOAL! GRG 4-1 BIS. I don’t care! The brass might love you, Malte! You might have a legion of fans!! You might have the sexy job with the league above mine and, hell, you may even have slept with my husband during the office Christmas party! But! This is my corner, and I will fight it, you slick-haired freak!

84 mins - Anyway, football.

85 mins - GOAL! CRW 1-1 NSF. The dying embers of a dead rubber play host to the goal of the round, a curling strike from the hugely impressive Kaisa Gyldenstroem that sizzles past Shanna Cotton on its way in from the edge of the box. Nobody closed her down, nobody thought they’d need to.

86 mins - Promising attack for the Otters! Koetter loses the ball in midfield then immediately wins it back, plays in the substitute Shallows, who plays in Foster, Samsa, back to Foster, Turner-- but it’s already being called back, Foster delayed the first pass too long, Samsa strayed offside, and now they’re arguing fault with each other as Rochford have zero intention of actually restarting until they have to...

87 mins - No such signs of defiance in Chatswood, who already look defeated. A long, thumping cross from Rustu is claimed well by Emilien Marisnick, who falls on it and takes every second he can before getting to his feet.

88 mins - GOAL! SRP 3-2 ARM. Serpentine were already probably safe, but another deft passing move pays dividends. Armstrong’s weariness is telling; Curate misses a tackle on Gillard, and when Menander’s initial effort is driven off the post nobody’s able to get back in time to stop super-sub Lazaridis driving home the rebound, a classic poaching move from a classic poacher. Serpentine overtake Armstrong on the table, though the Paladins are in no danger.

89 mins - My worthless husband is emailing in to deny everything. Don’t even bother, sweetheart! I know what you’ve done!

90 mins - Tick-tock, tick-tock. Just two minutes of stoppage time for the Otters. Three for Armstrong, four for the Rangers; both would need to score for it to matter. Rochford are time-wasting; they’ve no love for nearby Brookford, and Cheney Auburn’s booked for wasting a heroic amount of time to take a throw-in.

Injury time - GOAL! LEI 3-1 RVR. A cross from Petrus. A weak punch away from Carver. Niehaus hesitates at the crucial moment; fresh substitute Kewell does not. Can they do it? Have they done it? Diandra Ballard throws on some kid to waste precious time, but there’s barely time left before the final whistle regardless. And then, like dominoes, the one in Chatswood that seals their defeat to Corvette. Then the one in Brookford that seals their defeat to Rochford. Leichhardt, in a season where they sacked their manager after just three games, have done it… they wil lift the trophy and join the first season of the-- but are we forgetting something? A desperate final free kick forward by Lindt, the goalkeeper putting her all into it. Wallcroft rises high to head it further forwards… and Clement clears it. Chardonnay Rangers have a creditable away point at a difficult venue to go… and it isn’t enough, as both other relegation battlers win to consign them to the third tier. Their record suggests they can never be counted out. Next season, at least, they should be a terror. And so...

FINAL RESULTS
Brookford Otters 1-2 AFC Rochford
Chatswood 1-3 Corvette Maulers
Leichhardt 3-1 Raven River

AFC Serpentine 3-2 Armstrong
The Strongest 1-2 Corinthians No Longer
Gonen's Bridge 2-2 Chardonnay Rangers

Pillars of Southfell 1-2 Goodfeather FC
Aries Solitaire 0-2 Mantlegrove
Greygate 4-1 Bishop
Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 North Sabrefell
Alliance Barossia 0-2 Cypher Town
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Barossia United

THE FINAL DAY OF THE PREMIERSHIP …

… is, as stated, mostly an anticlimax.

Brinemouth 2-0 Aries Chariots
Stahlburg Rovers 1-3 Coret Hawks
Diamondqueen 0-0 AFC Corvistone
Iron City 3-3 Crisisbless
Chenoworth Harriers 0-2 Crisisbless United
Creed United 3-0 Newrook City
Parrhesia United 0-4 North Laithland
Chenoworth Rovers 1-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Belgrave 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
South Laithland 3-1 Southfell United
Vermillion Rage 2-0 Stahlburg City
AFC Treason 2-0 Starling

Creed offer too little, too late, hammering Newrook 3-0, but even their nominal hopes of survival are torpedoed when a heavily rested lineup of Iron manage a spectacular 3-3 draw against Crisisbless, beleagured striker Xandra Vermouth - very much in Brimorii’s shadow all season - ecstatic in scoring a brace that takes her to three league goals. It’s a bone to throw to 36-year old Wotan Hornwood, as well, their backup goalkeeper who has never played in the top flight but gets the opportunity in his final match before retirement. He isn’t very good, failing to claim a cross headed in by Germain and beaten at his near post by Lili Marinca, but that isn’t the point. Vermillion, the only side with anything to defend, hold onto their Champions League place with a 2-0 win over Stahlburg City, while Moths manager Metzelder is more than happy just to pulverise her old protege at Belgrave, 4-1. First plays second and, well... as always, the Chariots are respectable. But, as always this season, Brinemouth are just too good in the end, and second-half strikes from substitutes Tidesson and Saitou win the day and, with that, the final Premiership season. They will not keep the trophy long; after the next season runs its course, the Premiership trophy is going to Treason permanently, which won 10 of the things. Next year, a new trophy. A new brand. A new pinnacle of the game.

The first season of the Zenith.

PLAYOFFS
3Div vs. 2Div
New Oakstone Phoenix 1-0 Southriver
Ballardine FC 2-2 New Oakstone Phoenix (2-4 AET)

So nearly the Cinderella story of a couple years back, Ballardine get sucked into a nightmare and dumped into the fourth tier. New Oakstone, once Mainstream Fist, have Premiership pedigree. From… a while back, granted.

2Div vs. 1Div
Morningstar 2-0 Locksley
Corinthians No Longer 1-2 Morningstar

CNL surprise everyone by collapsing at the death; Morningstar’s frantic yo-yoing continues.

1Div vs. Premier
Brookford Otters 3-2 Chatswood
Iron City 2-1 Brookford Otters

Brookford draw Chatswood into their kind of anarchy and carve them open on the break, a late fightback initiated by Beth Madine not enough to overturn the deficit. Iron City won’t, and don’t, make the same mistake, and the Otters’ legs are heavy. Xandra Vermouth scores first, a surprise start after an injury in training to Manahaal Brimorii terrifies the fans, but her diving header proves she’s up to the task, and it’s her knockdown of Remsza’s cross that allows Isla Snowpoint to drive home the decisive goal. Otters rightback Gareth Hail somehow becomes the furthest man forward to nip in a late consolation, but Iron hold out.

CWC FINAL
Arrayed against a powerful and disciplined Union, the Moths take an early lead, a blistering passing move thumped home with venom by Lyzolda Petrov. They think they have a second, but Belgrade’s narrowly offside when she breaks the defensive line, and they’re made to pay through the danger woman, Calindra Apelles, who spins past two men and curls a deft finish beyond Markgraf with the outside of the boot late on. Again, in extra time, the Moths take the lead; again, Union claw it back last, Apelles this time setting up the substitute VZR. The shootout is… well, not one to write home about. Markgraf makes two saves and watches Cu Roi Garrard balloon his into the stands, and even then, the Moths lose out.

Northern Union 1-1 Sabrefell Moths (2-2 AET, 2-1 pens)

CDC FINAL
The regional affair is dry, two jaded, weary teams opting for safety first. There’s flashes of danger every now and again, but it feels inevitable that it will come down to penalties, though that’s threatened with the last kick of the 90 minutes when Kelly McInnes sends a piledriver into the underside of the post. It bounces down… and away, and that’s Treason’s best chance. The last penalty brushes underneath Clavel’s hand on its way past him, as CAP secure victory.

CA Paulinthal 0-0 AFC Treason (0-0 AET, 4-3 pens)

CUP FINAL
Following the theme, there’s little intrigue in the Cup final despite what seems at the outset like a sizzling fixture. Laureline Forestier is pivotal to the key events of a quiet first half, first scoring with a coolly-drilled strike from outside the box, then getting brutalised by Ivana Tokich, who is sent off without fanfare 27 minutes in. For the Chariots, it’s been a long, long season, and they falter almost immediately after equalising on the hour through Purna Zazagan; Kuzener scores in the 64th and draws a penalty for Nagy to smash home in the 68th, and in injury time, Nathan Ellis heads home the fourth and final nail in the coffin off Heidke’s corner.

Aries Chariots 1-4 Southfell United

PREMIERSHIP
Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Brinemouth 46 30 7 9 102 40 +62 97
2 Aries Chariots 46 27 7 12 73 48 +25 88
3 Vermillion Rage 46 25 10 11 77 48 +29 85
4 Sabrefell Athletic 46 24 12 10 95 60 +35 84

5 Sabrefell Moths 46 25 7 14 95 60 +35 82
6 Crisisbless 46 22 13 11 88 49 +39 79
7 AFC Treason 46 22 13 11 51 30 +21 79

8 Stahlburg City 46 21 11 14 59 44 +15 74
9 North Laithland 46 19 10 17 65 69 -4 67
10 AFC Corvistone 46 19 9 18 73 64 +9 66
11 Belgrave 46 20 6 20 74 80 -6 66
12 Starling 46 18 8 20 65 69 -4 62
13 Parrhesia United 46 17 10 19 68 79 -11 61
14 South Laithland 46 14 17 15 48 50 -2 59
15 Newrook City 46 15 13 18 53 64 -11 58
16 Southfell United 46 15 10 21 58 61 -3 55
17 Coret Hawks 46 16 7 23 61 73 -12 55
18 Chenoworth Rovers 46 12 18 16 52 65 -13 54
19 Iron City 46 13 11 22 45 66 -21 50
20 Creed United 46 13 9 24 52 67 -15 48
21 Diamondqueen 46 13 8 25 50 92 -42 47
22 Crisisbless United 46 12 9 25 53 88 -35 45
23 Chenoworth Harriers 46 10 9 27 44 78 -34 39
24 Stahlburg Rovers 46 11 4 31 50 107 -57 37
TOP SCORERS
27 - Petrov (SFM), Jackson (BRI)
25 - Tomlinson (SFA)
24 - rue Cazade (BRI), Bestatter (VRR)
23 - Benezet (SFA)
21 - Germain (CRI)
AWARDS
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Lyzolda Petrov (SFM) [Fewer penalties]
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Farago rue Cazade (BRI)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Radeka Lind (VRR)
Iron Fist (Debutant of the Year): Lukas Tauscher (BRI)
Team of the Year: Senninger (ARC); Rostock (STC), Anderson (VRR), Murje (TRE), Teijeiro (ARC); Mrdja (VRR), Shone (BRI), rue Cazade (BRI), Bowman (CRI); Jackson (BRI), Petrov (SFM)
Bench: Heuser (BRI); Stride (TRE), Muscadin (SFM), Tauscher (BRI), Maersk (VRR), Woakes (CRI), Bestatter (VRR)
Manager of the Year: Grey Holden (ARC)

FIRST DIVISION
Pos Team                      P   W   D   L  For   Ag  +/- Pts
1 Leichhardt 46 24 17 5 56 31 +25 89
2 Brookford Otters 46 25 12 9 89 52 +37 87
3 Chatswood 46 26 9 11 66 30 +36 87
4 Goodfeather FC 46 25 8 13 92 60 +32 83
5 Mantlegrove 46 22 11 13 67 51 +16 77
6 Corvette Maulers 46 22 10 14 68 57 +11 76
7 North Sabrefell 46 22 8 16 61 51 +10 74
8 Raven River 46 21 10 15 77 63 +14 73
9 Vermillion Wanderers 46 20 11 15 60 45 +15 71
10 Barossia United 46 19 11 16 57 45 +12 68
11 Cypher Town 46 18 13 15 53 51 +2 67
12 Cranequin Wanderers 46 17 15 14 53 43 +10 66
13 AFC Serpentine 46 17 9 20 61 70 -9 60
14 Armstrong 46 15 14 17 51 52 -1 59
15 Corinthians No Longer 46 14 15 17 53 61 -8 57
16 Chardonnay Rangers 46 15 11 20 60 66 -6 56
17 Greygate 46 15 7 24 62 76 -14 52
18 AFC Rochford 46 10 19 17 45 54 -9 49
19 Alliance Barossia 46 13 7 26 41 79 -38 46
20 Gonen's Bridge 46 11 12 23 45 71 -26 45
21 Bishop 46 10 14 22 54 78 -24 44
22 The Strongest 46 11 11 24 53 88 -35 44
23 Aries Solitaire 46 9 15 22 54 79 -25 42
24 Pillars of Southfell 46 9 15 22 44 69 -25 42
AWARDS
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Bastet North (STR) - 35
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Linoan Waters (BRO)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Kaisa Gyldenstroem (NSF)
Team of the Year: Williams (CHT); Markus (CHT), Cooke (BAU), Saunders (LEI), Cicak (BRO); Waters (BRO), Hagaz (LEI), Mizumaru (GDF), Cashin (BRO); Crowe (RVR), North (GDF)
Manager of the Year: Diandra Ballard (LEI)

SECOND DIVISION
Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Cranequin City 46 31 5 10 73 41 +32 98
2 Morningstar 46 28 10 8 93 42 +51 94

3 Locksley 46 27 10 9 88 54 +34 91
4 Hackett 46 26 10 10 67 39 +28 88
5 Peregrine 46 26 8 12 93 52 +41 86
6 Boltcroft Thorns 46 21 14 11 71 51 +20 77
7 Crisisbless Athletic 46 22 9 15 69 53 +16 75
8 West Brinemouth 46 20 13 13 58 42 +16 73
9 Falston United 46 18 14 14 51 55 -4 68
10 Dartmouth Terriers 46 17 13 16 52 46 +6 64
11 Ritter Town 46 17 11 18 68 56 +12 62
12 Autumnstone 46 17 7 22 74 70 +4 58
13 Gosmouth Swans 46 16 10 20 50 64 -14 58
14 Sheridan 46 13 16 17 36 41 -5 55
15 Ballardine FC 46 14 13 19 47 63 -16 55
16 Riverkey 46 13 14 19 41 49 -8 53
17 Ingram Township 46 15 8 23 41 59 -18 53
18 Mapleford 46 14 10 22 46 73 -27 52
19 Extreme Hills 46 14 9 23 59 88 -29 51
20 Stonegrave 46 11 14 21 38 51 -13 47
21 The Hanged Man 46 10 15 21 35 51 -16 45
22 Rochford Pilgrims 46 11 10 25 49 90 -41 43
23 Kensey Town 46 10 11 25 48 84 -36 41
24 Lazuli Diamonds 46 10 8 28 53 86 -33 38
AWARDS
Iron Boot (Goals Scored): Sandro Quintal (MOS) - 32
Iron Ball (Player of the Year): Louise Tsolakis (CRC)
Iron Heart (U-21 Player of the Year): Leshi Bell (LCK)
Team of the Year: Matthews (CRC); Parkes (LCK), Lockett (HCK), Anneaux (WBR), Rodrigues (CRC); Chaseling (MOS), Mundine (FAU), Tsolakis (CRC), Haskell (BCT); Quintal (MOS), Carrick (PER)
Manager of the Year: Alaric Jansen (FAU)

THIRD DIVISION
Pos Team                          P   W   D   L  For  Ag  +/-  Pts
1 Lockheed Zenith 46 31 8 7 108 54 +54 101
2 New Oakstone Phoenix 46 30 9 7 117 54 +63 99

3 Southriver 46 26 9 11 71 40 +31 87
4 Kommissar 46 25 12 9 72 44 +28 87
5 East Laithland Harriers 46 24 10 12 84 58 +26 82
6 Brokenarch 46 24 10 12 77 53 +24 82
7 AFC Shale 46 23 11 12 61 34 +27 80
8 Brindleton 46 22 13 11 63 40 +23 79
9 Crossroads Town 46 18 12 16 83 75 +8 66
10 Caldwick Strand 46 17 13 16 71 76 -5 64
11 Cranequin Souths 46 18 8 20 71 85 -14 62
12 Martella Jazz 46 17 10 19 75 81 -6 61
13 Lindmark Falcons 46 16 11 19 62 73 -11 59
14 Strephonage 46 16 10 20 51 63 -12 58
15 Corvistone City 46 14 15 17 42 53 -11 57
16 Hartford Glade 46 16 6 24 63 67 -4 54
17 Northside Eagles 46 13 10 23 61 85 -24 49
18 Constance Park 46 11 15 20 41 63 -22 48
19 Riverkey Shells 46 12 11 23 66 89 -23 47
20 Coret Rovers 46 12 11 23 54 79 -25 47
21 Crownsend Journey 46 11 9 26 64 84 -20 42
22 Sirencall FC 46 10 12 24 51 89 -38 42
23 Ringway 46 10 11 25 39 77 -38 41
24 West Hook 46 6 14 26 46 77 -31 32

CONFERENCE WEST
Pos Team                     P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Creed Rosebud 38 27 9 2 97 32 +65 90
2 Sutcroft 38 23 7 8 73 31 +42 76
3 Lindwurm Delta 38 21 5 12 75 52 +23 68
4 FC Seierstad 38 19 10 9 73 45 +28 67
5 Downsparrow 38 20 7 11 77 50 +27 67
6 Iberia Chenoworth 38 21 4 13 89 67 +22 67
7 Chenoworth Teutons 38 19 4 15 51 43 +8 61
8 Besand's Folly 38 16 11 11 59 47 +12 59
9 AFC Hoxenhaven 38 17 8 13 53 48 +5 59
10 Fischer 38 16 6 16 57 57 +0 54
11 Grey Egress 38 15 5 18 51 68 -17 50
12 Grovebank 38 11 13 14 42 48 -6 46
13 Moxstone Fortune 38 12 9 17 45 65 -20 45
14 Aspen Grove 38 10 12 16 36 46 -10 42
15 Courser 38 10 12 16 42 61 -19 42
16 Rushe United 38 10 8 20 52 75 -23 38
17 Iron United 38 10 6 22 35 72 -37 36
18 AFC Feuerweiss 38 8 10 20 43 78 -35 34
19 Boleyn Town 38 9 5 24 29 50 -21 32
20 AFC Hellerine 38 8 5 25 38 82 -44 29

Promoted: Coleman Ridge

CONFERENCE EAST
Pos Team                       P   W   D   L For  Ag  +/- Pts
1 Latin Enclave FC 38 24 8 6 91 33 +58 80
2 Shimmering Quay 38 20 11 7 67 38 +29 71
3 South Parrhesia 38 22 4 12 81 59 +22 70
4 Long Lake 38 20 10 8 53 31 +22 70
5 Brookford Vantablack 38 19 11 8 69 50 +19 68
6 The Travellers FC 38 17 9 12 58 47 +11 60
7 Rookwall 38 16 10 12 63 49 +14 58
8 Fully Sick XI 38 15 13 10 54 49 +5 58
9 Brunyard FC 38 17 5 16 60 56 +4 56
10 Longwinter 38 16 7 15 51 50 +1 55
11 Twelvetrees 38 15 10 13 52 53 -1 55
12 Ox River United 38 13 14 11 36 32 +4 53
13 Mueller's Crossing 38 12 14 12 42 44 -2 50
14 Rosary Brinemouth 38 15 5 18 55 63 -8 50
15 AFC Southsands 38 12 10 16 49 68 -19 46
16 Barhara Cavaliers 38 10 13 15 59 63 -4 43
17 Sharpe Mill 38 7 9 22 44 81 -37 30
18 Advance Lazuli 38 7 9 22 46 89 -43 30
19 Bodkin Road 38 5 8 25 32 68 -36 23
20 AFC Burchess 38 5 6 27 35 74 -39 21

Promoted: Rhyburn Swifts
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Nephara
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Mon Mar 08, 2021 8:29 pm

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League Finish: 2nd
Cup Run: Runners-up
Stadium: The Scythes (36,000)
Nickname: the Chariots
Captain: Katerina Tarrasch
Top Scorers: Coleman (19), Sierra (14), Malkorra (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Senninger (29); 17 - Acosta (27), 18 - Rasanamira (26), 4 - Na’Duha (33, c), 12 - Teijeiro (28); 7 - Malkorra (30), 8 - Zazagan (22), 22 - Kevaarsen (24), 16 - Porter (26); 10 - Taleb (25), 21 - Coleman (27)
In: Shaheen Taleb (Sleepy Hollow, 9m), Alejandro Acosta (Nacional, 5m)
Promoted: Dirk Russell (ST, 20)
Out: Sloane Walsh (Avondale City FC, 4.5m), Fiora Anders (North Laithland, 4m), Mateus Kujan (Molding, 3m)

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

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 2nd - 88 pts - CL
77: Premier - 7th - 79 pts - ChC
76: Premier - 17th - 57 pts
75: Premier - 15th - 52 pts
74: Premier - 12th - 65 pts

BACKGROUND
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 Nepharan 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.

OVERVIEW
An absolutely brilliant season, but not without its hint of melancholy. There's been plenty of doubles over Premiership history, but how often has a side come second in both league and Cup? Nevertheless, given the Chariots' budget and relative lack of ambition, Grey Holden did brilliantly to take them that far, and is a deserved Manager of the Year; better still the board have decided to back him with all their might, securing expensive upgrades at rightback and, intriguingly, up front, where the deft forward Shaheen Taleb will hope to drop a little off Coleman or Sierra and link them up to midfield. Mostly, though, they've just done what they can to keep ahold of what they've got, with only fringe players departing.

Last season, the Chariots were so eeffective because they were able to keep up the pressure high enough to ensure the ball stayed right in the teeth of the opposition. Win turnovers high up the pitch and, well, that's all the less work that has to be done. But if the ball does slip through the net, there's more than enough stability at the back - Fasolt Senninger was a deserving goalkeeper of the year, matching peerless distribution to his shot-stopping and command, while the veteran Na'Duha benefited from a youngef foil in Rasanamira. Judging by preseason, Holden will put his faith in Purna Zazagan and her dynamism to be paired with the brute, Kevaarsen. Ihazintzu Malkorra down the right remains the creative fulcrum, and though his pace isn't what it once was, his technique ensures he can keep up to the standard. Taleb's versatility, at least, means less of the creative burden will be on his shoulders. Coleman couldn't ask for better service, all in all. So maybe the Chariots aren't consistent top four material, and may even struggle with the greater workload... but they aren't just about to sink down the drain, either.

PREDICTION - 6th.
Manager: Grey Holden (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Fasolt Senninger, 20 - Annabelle Press, 25 - Fortuna Schonlau
Defenders: 2 - Harper Ashcroft, 3 - Davor Roskilde, 4 - Kadija Na'Duha (COS), 5 - Katerina Tarrasch (c), 12 - Baldomero Teijeiro (FFD), 17 - Alejandro Acosta (VLD), 18 - Pryna Rasanamira (CBP), 19 - Rook Bolton
Midfielders: 6 - Leila Rzazade (ISK), 7 - Ihazintzu Malkorra (ASG), 8 - Purna Zazagan (SRS), 11 - Eve Luther, 13 - Ivana Tokich, 16 - Anna Porter (CBP), 22 - Winabæn Kevaarsen (MRN), 23 - Randolf Shahin, 24 - Nikolai Steele
Forwards: 9 - Dirk Russell, 10 - Shaheen Taleb (KSK), 14 - Delphine Lopar, 15 - Rowena Sierra (CMT), 21 - Scott Coleman (FVA)

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League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Cherryfields (25,000)
Nickname: the Gargoyles
Captain: Casey Steward
Top Scorers: Ingram (14), Strand (13), Krause, Prentice (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Tristram (32); 6 - Nijland (33), 12 - Brown (24), 18 - Bruhn (23), 3 - Russett (28); 11 - Steward (29, c), 4 - Ness (23), 8 - Prentice (31); 26 - Krause (28), 7 - Kondou (27), 10 - Ingram (23)
In: Kikumi Kondou (Mantlegrove, 5m), Raphael Brown (Capital FC, 2.5m), Andries Nijland (1830 Cathair, 1.25m)
Promoted: Jasmine Francis (LW, 18), Matthaus Gianniotis (DM, 20), Augustine Slate (LW, 20)
Out: Markus Teamster (Kingsgrove, 5m), Meredith Sloan (Chenoworth Rovers, free), Atlas Vasiliadis (ASC Arvika, free), Keira Fallon (Callodown, free), Sander Costly (New Oakstone Phoenix, loan)
Retired: Leontios Skapoulis (CB, 35)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 11th - 66 pts
77: Premier - 20th - 44 pts
76: Premier - 19th - 49 pts
75: Premier - 14th - 54 pts
74: 1Div - 4th - 74 pts - Promoted

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Sansa Dreyfuss, Alexandra Lazarou, Achileas Tsiolkas
Club Heroes: Kotaro Katsura, Espen Whyte
One-Club Men: Drusilla Naess
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.

OVERVIEW
The Gargoyles had an exceptional season just as many expected them to struggle, not only avoiding any trace of the extended relegation battle but finishing tucked neatly into the top half. Lexus Ulreich could have been in the running for Manager of the Season had Grey Holden not, well, been blatantly the strongest candidate. Their success lead to the departure of Markus Teamster to Kingsgrove, not a great sign in a side with a fragile defence that let in 80 goals, but they chose to reinforce the back line directly with arguably Sylestone's best player in Brown and, well, a guy from 1830 Cathair, ignore the age. Actually, don't ignore the age, that's a useful data point; you don't buy a 33-year old rightback unless you're thinking short-term, and so Belgrave evidently are still concerned, rightly, about hovering above 18th. A late move for Kikumi Kondou should help, a more flexible, tactical striker than the 30-year old poacher Strand.

And Belgrave are at the end of the day nothing if not a flexible, tactical team, not the quickest or most physical but hoping to pass their way out of trouble and into the net. Lexus Ulreich is fond of the term 'head in the freezer', emphasing the importance of keeping cool under pressure. Tristram and Bruhn help underline this point; a fine shot-stopper and defender in their own right, Bruhn being looked at by higher clubs, but both boasting excellent and reliable distribution. Ness, in theory, should offer the same - but she isn't the destroyer Teamster was. Steward is the side's best player, most likely, offering box-to-box leadership and a tidy pass. Prentice is an excellent playmaker but something of a defensive passenger, especially as the years pile up. The wingers Krause and Ingram often cut inside, and Ingram especially often got in Strand's way and vice versa - with Kondou, perhaps, they can forge a better understanding. Belgrave will be looking over their shoulders this season, but that isn't going to make them compromise on their principles. Nothing could.

PREDICTION - 17th.
Manager: Lexus Ulreich
Goalkeepers: 1 - Leda Tristram, 20 - Franca Pallas, 25 - Bard Holgate
Defenders: 3 - Mathilda Russett, 5 - Clover Kinsey-Hessenford (BSE), 6 - Andries Nijland (AUD), 12 - Raphael Brown (SYL), 18 - Shoshanna Bruhn, 19 - Ginger Stephens, 22 - Ava Washington, 23 - Finn Neumann
Midfielders: 4 - Laura Ness (SCT), 8 - Andrea Prentice, 11 - Casey Steward (c), 13 - Etienne Berkut, 14 - Tarran Seamster (COS), 15 - Matthaus Gianniotis
Forwards: 7 - Kikumi Kondou (HIN), 9 - Fabienne Sontag, 10 - Dathan Ingram (DEL), 16 - Markus Strand, 17 - Augustine Slate, 26 - Andrea Krause, 32 - Jasmine Francis
Out on Loan: 2 - Sander Costly

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League Finish: Champions
Cup Run: Third Round
IFCF Run: Champions League Group Stage
Stadium: Brinemouth Eagle’s Club (65,000)
Nickname: the Dockers
Captain: Marcin Close
Top Scorers: Jackson (27), rue Cazade (24), Tauscher (13)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Heuser (26); 2 - Spencer (29), 5 - Steele (28), 18 - Brosch (30), 19 - Almwood (23); 4 - Shone (30), 8 - Kasmiir (29, c); 10 - Tauscher (25), 9 - rue Cazade (29), 13 - Deventer (29); 21 - Jackson (25)
In: Lucy Almwood (AFC Corvistone, 10m), Lilith Thornwood (North Laithland, 4m), Urban Malthus (returned from loan)
Promoted: Rebecca Laskaris (AM, 20)
Out: Dimitri Keldoulis (Ma Alameome, undisclosed), Alphonse Royer (Energija Chernovets, 4m), Ava Linfield (FK Arsika, loan)
Retired: Ryan Bull (GK, 35, EUR)

TROPHY CABINET
8 Premiership titles (53, 54, 55, 61, 62, 70, 72, 78)
NFA Cup (62)
Ramsey Shield (73)
Gang of Six member

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 1st - 97 pts - CL
77: Premier - 2nd - 98 pts - CL
76: Premier - 3rd - 85 pts - CL
75: Premier - 2nd - 97 pts - CL
74: Premier - 2nd - 95 pts - CL

BACKGROUND
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, Desya Kuznetsov, 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.

OVERVIEW
Gareth Blackthorn needed to win the league to save his job, and yes, Brinemouth did achieve that. It was very comfortable in the end, no other big side truly living up to therir billing, 18 points ahead of Crisisbless and Treason. It's a pity that the UICA run was an absolute shambles, one with serious repercussions for the Nepharan coefficient. There were no earth-shattering moves in the window, a pre-arranged transfer with Corvistone bringing in their long-term leftback Almwood to replace the aging Close and departed Royer, while the hope is that former fringe Cormorant Lilith Thornwood will give the team a little more depth in attack for competing on multiple fronts. Of course, the playmaker Dimitri Keldoulis' departure does injure that, but he justifiably wanted better than Brinemouth's bench, particularly with a shorter 38-match league season ahead. Linfield, a promising striker probably never of starting calibre but certainly Zenith potential, goes out on loan.

The Dockers feel like a side that has built towards... aptly, a zenith. They're some of the best players in the world at every position. Bryger Tidesson isn't even starting most games anymore! Lukas Tauscher outplayed him last season and pinned down his position, but that's getting ahead of ourselves; it's Tauscher's countryman, Heuser, between the sticks, Steele and Brosch as cultured but brutal defenders, Spencer dashing down the right. Shone is the tricky midfield destroyer that makes the side click, with Kasmiir the legs behind all-round conquerer and takilante, Farago rue Cazade. What does a takilante mean? It means someone who chalks up over a goal or assist every match and can still fuck you up with pressing. Not for nothing is rue Cazade considered one of the best in the game, enough to make 87-cap Nephara winger Deventer pedestrian by comparison. And, of course, Danielle Jackson, who has blossomed from poacher to a truly complete forward. Brinemouth play to dominate the ball and simply pass enemies out of the game, and they do it well. One of the finest sides in world football. Time to actually prove it in the Champions League.

PREDICTION - Champions.
Manager: Gareth Blackthorn
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ewald Heuser (STL), 12 - Urban Malthus, 25 - Meinhard Gates
Defenders: 2 - Oliver Spencer (RCN), 3 - Marcin Close (c), 5 - Dean Steele (EUR), 6 - Giorgio Magnozzi (MRC), 18 - Ilyana Brosch, 19 - Lucy Almwood (EUR), 22 - Flo Eschborn, 27 - Avarice Meriweather
Midfielders: 4 - Tawny Shone, 7 - Bryger Tidesson (COS), 8 - Otalia Kasmiir (MRN), 9 - Farago rue Cazade (FFD), 10 - Lukas Tauscher (STL), 13 - Morena Deventer, 14 - Micha Burkhard, 15 - Mercedes Reeve, 16 - Isabelle Christian, 20 - Rebecca Laskaris, 26 - Abigail Stancil
Forwards: 11 - Lilith Thornwood, 17 - Iori Saitou (HIN), 21 - Danielle Jackson (OSR),
Out on Loan: 37 - Ava Linfield

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League Finish: 18th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Slatefield (32,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Captain: Markus Capradossi
Top Scorers: Custworth (12), Vithoulkas (8), Considine (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Dundalk (25); 17 - Svava (27), 2 - Giannakos (26), 6 - Capradossi (33, c), 18 - Curtis (28); 7 - Aravit (23), 21 - Garai (26), 13 - Counsell (25), 11 - Kamasz (22); 14 - Custworth (31), 10 - Vithoulkas (25)
In: Anasophia Esteban (CCCU, free), Meredith Sloan (Belgrave, free)
Promoted: Dawn Bishop (CM, 19), Milo Kevan (LM, 21), Cordelia Norwood (ST, 19)
Out: Kendra Considine (AFC Treason, 9m), Grey Meisler (AFC Rochford, free), Karla Laslow (Greygate, free)
Retired: June Hartley (DM, 35), Sabrina Patton (ST, 35, CBP)

TROPHY CABINET
2 First Division titles (53, 75)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 18th - 54 pts
77: Premier - 18th - 50 pts
76: Premier - 18th - 55 pts
75: 1Div - 1st - 111 pts - Promoted
74: Premier - 21st - 40 pts - Relegated

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Rashica Horvath, Jakob Mortimer, Kendra Considine, Malachi Steinberg
Club Heroes: Markus Capradossi, Karena Hartley, Catherine Parr
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
The Rovers are Chenoworth's big eastern club, and have probably the strongest Jewish association of any major side in Nephara. Like their main rivals, the Harriers, they've tended to flit between the top two tiers over the years. Their fans would contest that's the only similarity. The Rovers were the first club managed by Gethin Ramsey, who also played for them as a hard-bitten defensive midfielder, and it was with the Rovers that Ramsey pioneered the hard-hitting, quick-moving counter-attacking football that would become the early incarnation of the Cormorants. While essentially the tradition of one guy, Ramsey's legacy is such that the Rovers have associated themselves with such play ever since. Despite Chenoworth's reputation as a milquetoast middle-class city, the Rovers and Harriers truly hate one another.

OVERVIEW
A nice, boring season saw the Rovers nestled in lower midtable, 54 points, fairly generically solid and with enough goals to more or less stay out of the relegation battle. There's one real issue: 18th is only good enough for the playoff this season. The battlefield has changed around them, and the Rovers... have lost their best player, Kendra Considine (formerly Ramsey), to AFC Treason. There has been no replacement, nor for the redoubtable Hartley, nor for Patton, who retained danger off the bench even towards the end. Instead, they have cover on the right wing to replace the veteran Meisler, and a university graduate to contest Curtis at leftback.

A solid side built on a firm structure, the Rovers lean on quick wingers and a strong core, but might be somewhat vulnerable to the wings. Dundalk is an excellent shot-stopper who got plenty of practice last season, and should get more still this time around, while Capradossi and Giannakos are both workmanlike, brutalist bulwarks. Aravit will be expected to pick up the bulk of the creative work, a young, clever player with quick feet and a bright future, and the experienced striker Custworth can consistently smash through goals from half-chances as well as make diligent hold-up play. They aren't a creative side by any means, with Counsell more of a box-to-box player compared to the aging Forrest; perhaps the pace of Vithoulkas will add an extra dimension up front. Daniel Kunde's remit for a par performance has essentially become to die with dignity; survival will be a serious feat, but even if he does not, there will be suitors elsewhere in Nephara.

PREDICTION - 19th.
Manager: Daniel Kunde (CBR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Cairbre Dundalk (BRE), 12 - Lara Broadhead, 25 - Karla Dowling
Defenders: 2 - Valentinos Giannakos (VDR), 3 - Longinus Fenton, 5 - Lukas Worn, 6 - Markus Capradossi (ETN, c), 17 - Alisandra Svava, 18 - Radamel Curtis, 24 - Bors Neitzel
Midfielders: 7 - Jelena Aravit (SRS), 8 - Minka Forrest, 11 - Julia Kamasz, 13 - Riza Counsell, 16 - Milo Kevan, 19 - Meredith Sloan, 20 - Erika Stenlein, 21 - Rook Garai, 37 - Dawn Bishop
Forwards: 9 - Orson Cale, 10 - Andrea Vithoulkas, 14 - Brayden Custworth (KSK), 15 - Alhambra Pike, 36 - Cordelia Norwood

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League Finish: 17th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: The Aviary (30,000)
Nickname: the Hawks
Captain: Kizza Okafor
Top Scorers: Romaine (13), Saara (11), Okafor (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Coleman (26); 14 - Silversmith (27), 5 - Brand (28), 4 - Steelhenge (33), 3 - Burns (28); 13 - Blackburn (23), 6 - Lexmann (26), 23 - Okafor (33, c), 15 - Bandler (22); 9 - Romaine (26), 11 - Saara (28)
In: Monika Rourke (Northern Stallions, 2m), Dragora Steelhenge (Ibini FC, 1.5m), Bruno Kezman (Ulsa Rovers, 1m), Catheline Stensholt (Chenoworth Harriers, 500k)
Promoted: Elaine Calare (ST, 19)
Out: Rasmus Caracole (Cazadores Cathair, 8m), Eloisa Caldwell (Nottingham United, free)
Retired: Juliet Bezemer (DM, 35), Michael Koller (CB, 35, SCT), Reinhard Lockwood (GK, 36)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (56)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 17th - 55 pts
77: Premier - 16th - 51 pts
76: Premier - 16th - 57 pts
75: Premier - 11th - 65 pts
74: Premier - 7th - 70 pts - CC

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Rasmus Caracole, 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 Nepharan 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.

OVERVIEW
Daniel Archer endured a tepid, if not torrid, first season in charge of the listing Coret Hawks. A bright start quickly gave way to the yawning chasm of mediocrity, damning for a club that was once great - albeit has not traditionally been so. "We've got some big characters hanging it up at the end of the season," Archer remarked towards the end of the campaign. "I'd like to hope the management will be earmarking some experience to replace them." Experience was his phrasing. Not, one is fairly sure, 'I want to turn Coret into a retirement home'. They lose their international winger Caracole to Rook Cathar's Caza, and buy... a 30-year old Brenecian winger, a 33-year old centre-half, a 32-year old backup goalkeeper and a 34-year old midfielder. Okay, then.

Still, there's quality all over the pitch. Despite the acquisition of Kezman after a somewhat shaky first season, Coleman is still expected to enter the season as first choice, a quality 'keeper but somewhat error-prone. Brand is rock-solid and good with her feet - a good complement to the more old-school Steelhenge - but there's some concern at fullback, with Silversmith kind of mediocre and Burns far better going forward than covering his tracks. Kizza Okafor is something of a talisman for the team, status that will not stop just because he's now 33; Lexmann is there just to carry his water. Blackburn and Bandler are both young, promising locals, Blackburn in particular boasting an improvisational streak that can hurt clubs, while Saara's power and Romaine's pace complement each's own ruthless streak to make for an intimidating and effective strike partnership. The Hawks really shouldn't be in actual trouble, but don't expect them do do much that's special.

PREDICTION - 14th.
Manager: Daniel Archer
Goalkeepers: 1 - Bailey Coleman, 20 - Bruno Kezman, 25 - Lowen Arcaster
Defenders: 2 - Konrad Vornander, 3 - Lemuel Burns (AQL), 4 - Dragora Steelhenge, 5 - Satara Brand, 14 - Florin Silversmith, 19 - Sigrid Marner, 22 - Constantine Rabatsch, 26 - Riette Lyons
Midfielders: 6 - Renat Lexmann, 7 - Demetrius Paschalakis, 8 - Ivan Bader, 13 - Muse Blackburn, 15 - Monika Bandler, 16 - Monika Rourke (BRE), 18 - Catheline Stensholt, 23 - Kizza Okafor (BNJ, c)
Forwards: 9 - Erik Romaine (STB), 10 - Cesar Corvalan (CEN), 11 - Istria Saara (MRN), 14 - Alyce Nicolau, 33 - Elaine Calare

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League Finish: 10th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
IFCF Run: Challengers Cup Group Stage
Stadium: Phoenix Rise (28,000)
Nickname: the Crows
Captain: Krista Morham
Top Scorers: Arniston (15), Carter (12), Almwood, Latimore (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Feldman (32); 6 - Kaveci (29), 22 - Niedermayer (25), 18 - Verlander (27), 3 - Almwood (25); 8 - Marrish (24), 4 - Zahra (24), 7 - Arniston (24); 15 - Leskosek (24), 9 - Carter (27), 16 - Latimore (25)
In: Isperia Marrish (Megabrantid, 6m), Octavia Zahra (Raven River, 5m), Camilla Auskas (Marque, 4m), Isla Leskosek (Bishop, 3m)
Promoted: Ida Sevet-Stokes (CB, 19)
Out: Lucy Almwood (Brinemouth, 10m), Clarisse Ulreich (Northern Stallions, 3m), Spahi Keskin (Kempsey United, 2m)
Retired: Calcipher Heston (CB, 35)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 10th - 66 pts
77: Premier - 5th - 83 pts - ChC
76: Premier - 5th - 82 pts - ChC
75: Premier - 4th - 92 pts - CL
74: Premier - 11th - 65 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Ilyana Brosch, Sonya Latimore
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, 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.

OVERVIEW
An unimpressive season on the whole from the Crows saw them 13 points out of the IFCF places, and not exactly pulling up trees internationally either. In fairness, it vindicated Hadrian Belfast's need for additional investment. A side playing the football of their lives had reverted to the mean, and now, belatedly, the club bids its fond, blameless farewell to winger Ulreich, the doughtly holding midfielder Keskin and the retiring Heston. So too to Lucy Almwood, though rather less willingly; one of the league's best leftbacks leaves in a reminder that Corvistone aren't truly at the top table just yet. And is there not something a little cut-price about bringing in an admittedly impressive winger whose side was just relegated to the third tier? She'll need to hit the ground running, as will the intelligent holding player Zahra and former fringe Brenecia international leftback Auskas. Isperia Marrish is the undoubted marquee of the lot, a league and Challengers Cup double winner who brings everything except goal threat.

So where does this leave Corvistone? In fairly good shape, with most of their starting players in their prime. Feldman, 32, is an exception, and perhaps could have been improved upon. That isn't old for a goalkeeper, but nevertheless Feldman took an appreciable step back from the prime that got her international recognition. Verlander and Niedermayer are the kind of long-named, deft centre-halves who both can play the possession-from-the-back game of a strong club but have experience with their backs to the wall for the weak Chequers and Harriers under their belts. Up front, Rachel Arniston is developing into one of the club's talismans and supposedly has the NFA sniffing around her for eligibility and desire - safe to say that when it comes to her and Morham, apprentice has outstripped master. Up front, Tanith Carter must shake off the shackles of a somewhat underwhelming season, ideally by developing another trick beyond her pace. Still, if she can't, that means more of the Baba to go around, and that means everyone wins. Expect the Crows to make a better fist of it this time around, as an ambitious transfer window is exactly what they needed.

PREDICTION - 7th.
Manager: Hadrian Belfast
Goalkeepers: 1 - Acatha Feldman, 12 - Orion Randwick, 25 - Lorenz Clemence
Defenders: 2 - Dejanira Trifunovic, 3 - Camilla Auskas (BRE), 6 - Hasret Kaveci, 17 - Goodlight Wynder (COS), 18 - Cedella Verlander, 20 - Bruenna Savo (SRS), 22 - Tristan Niedermayer (STL), 36 - Ida Sevet-Stokes
Midfielders: 4 - Octavia Zahra, 7 - Rachel Arniston (SCT), 8 - Isperia Marrish (SRS), 11 - Krista Morham (SCT, c), 13 - Malia Yonen (MRN), 19 - Dietmar Hanning, 26 - Julian Stance
Forwards: 9 - Tanith Carter, 10 - Dimitra Karvelas, 14 - Kirsten Tybalt, 15 - Isla Leskosek, 16 - Sonya Latimore, 21 - Babatunde Warrington (CBR), 23 - Petrus Maslin

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League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Semifinals
IFCF Run: Challengers Cup Semifinals
Stadium: Godswatch (63,000)
Nickname: the Heelers
Captain: Kósa Bajnok
Top Scorers: Germain (21), Bowman (17), Woakes (15)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Chamoun (26); 2 - Longship (30), 13 - Teffeteller (29), 4 - Bajnok (34, c), 16 - Strassman (26); 21 - Nzo (25), 14 - Kastriot (28); 41 - Spijkers (22), 8 - Woakes (29), 10 - Bowman (27); 11 - Germain (29)
In: Mzukisi Nzo (Yaton FC, 12m), Lucien Chamoun (Fontvielle Impact, 7.5m)
Promoted: Milot Stein (CM, 20)
Out: Farina Luhukay (Istria City FC, 5.75m), Marcela Ward (Carsby, 5m)
Retired: Shjegrzh Na'Kefir (GK, 35, COS)

TROPHY CABINET
3 Premiership titles (59, 71, 75)
3 NFA Cups (47, 61, 64)
Cup Winners’ Cup (62)
Copa de Campeones (76)
2 Ramsey Shields (72, 76)
Gang of Six member

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 6th - 79 pts - ChC
77: Premier - 3rd - 96 pts - CL
76: Premier - 2nd - 92 pts - CL
75: Premier - 1st - 98 pts - CL
74: Premier - 3rd - 93 pts - CL

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Daniel Cromwell, Gerhard Hartmuth, Sieglinde Lohengrin, Sabrine Portsgate, Camilla Priest, Brigid Kestrel, Lukas Rashford, Marisha Staunton, Bremusa Strassman, 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.

OVERVIEW
What threatened to become an awful season for the Heelers was successfully turned around. Parting ways with Chris Maarsden was hard, but at least in part motivated by the availability of Michael Brandon, former Nephara and Eura manager, and that paid dividends as the Heelers miraculously clambered back into the IFCF places. They've enjoyed a safe, unspectacular window; Nzo is one of the best midfielders in the game and adds more balance to a midfield that sometimes looked too easy to split into the muscular double pivot and the skilful attacking trident. The Valladar Lucien Chamoun steps into the shoes of giants, with the retirement of the combustible club legend Na'Kefir, while Luhukay and Ward were perfect backups who needed space to assert their own careers. They'll be missed, but not so much as they would've been in another 46-match season.

These additions will significantly help a defence which might just be in need of further, more direct reinforcements. Kosa Bajnok was one of the great defenders of his generation, but much of the pace and dynamism which made him such a sudden and forceful threat has, understandably, evaporated by 34; Teffeteller's very good, but not world-class, with the thuggish Longship and elegant Strassman in the same vein. Still, they're shielded very ably by Mercurio Kastriot, a man Michael Brandon sees himself in; can there be a greater compliment for a defensive midfielder? Woakes' form dipped last season but at her best the mercurial playmaker is the heartbeat of the team going forward, while Spijkers can easily overcome his inconsistent start to blossom into a world-class player, and was beginning to show that by the end of the season. Damian Bowman is perhaps their greatest threat and player, an incisive and thoroughly modern winger. With that attacking midfield trident, it's essential to have an intelligent and athletic striker who knows when to make the run and when to play the supporting role; Germain is tailor-made for the part. Crisisbless play tight, disciplined, muscular football, but Brandon knows to give his midfield talents something of a free hand going forward. They're more than the sum of their parts, but have perhaps missed their shot at a fourth title. Far from impossible, though.

PREDICTION - 3rd.
Manager: Michael Brandon
Goalkeepers: 1 - Lucien Chamoun (VLD), 20 - November Besand, 25 - Olympe Weaver
Defenders: 2 - Valeri Longship, 3 - Inaki Villanueva (AUD), 4 - Kósa Bajnok (FFD, c), 5 - Christian Foreman, 13 - Mortola Teffeteller (COS), 16 - Bremusa Strassman, 17 - Syrene Fischer, 22 - Henrik Parrish
Midfielders: 6 - Catheline Marchant, 7 - Cassiopeia Quintero (APX), 8 - Moira Woakes (EUR), 10 - Damion Bowman (EUR), 14 - Mercurio Kastriot, 15 - Maia Abylon (COS), 18 - Lili Marinca, 21 - Mzukisi Nzo (BNJ), 23 - Thalassa Fletcher, 26 - Milot Stein, 41 - Erwin Spijkers (AUD)
Forwards: 9 - Danica Marinkovic, 11 - Valentin Germain (VLD), 12 - Catheline Matthias

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League Finish: 19th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Stargazers
Captain: Isla Snowpoint
Top Scorers: Brimorii (12), Remsza (6), Snowpoint (5)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 1 - Olexander (22); 17 - Bowman (27), 5 - Sevecke (26), 2 - Visser (35), 3 - Tsuker (26); 4 - Lekea (32); 7 - Snowpoint (26), 8 - Snowpoint (31, c), 15 - Liu (23), 11 - Zender (24); 10 - Brimorii (24)
In: Lenora Zender (Bishop, 3m), Silke Gutenberg (Brigham, 3m), Liu Huiying (Tractor Club Sawayama, 1.5m), Ophelia Rattin (Raynor City FC, 1m)
Out: Tzeitel Remsza (Vermillion Rage, 6m), Seth Kreilach (Menomonie United, 3m), Constance Best (Cypher Town, free)
Retired: Wotan Hornwood (GK, 36)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 19th - 50 pts
77: 1DIv - 2nd - 87 pts - Promoted
76: 1Div - 4th - 79 pts
75: 1Div - 7th - 75 pts
74: 1Div - 14th - 62 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Rook Aldridge, Elaine Ashdown, Palina Leopold, Katerina Olexander, Tess Wintergren
Club Heroes: Claribel Overfelt, Ida Preussler, Elisabeth Sand
One-Club Men: Lara Winter
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
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.

OVERVIEW
Expected by many to sink without trace, Iron City stayed up even with the extended trapdoor, a late flurry of goals from deputy striker Xandra Vermouth playing a pivotal role. Their best player was making her top-flight debut at 30, but a mid-30s Alcander Visser ran her close. They broke all the rules by surviving. Of course, they then subscribed to the rules by selling their most talented player in Remsza, but between him and Kreilach they've opened up something of a war chest for themselves. Zender is an impressive player but lacks Remsza's more physical edge, granted, but the well-travelled Silke Gutenberg's skills match her name. Liu is the most intriguing of all, more of a roving shadow forward - a takilante, perhaps - who totally reshapes the feel of the midfield, if that's where she's deployed, though she can also play up front. 34-year old Rattin's just a better backup goalkeeper than the retiring Hornwood, who was badly out of depth in the one game he played.

So how will it play out? Well, Lara Dixon's a canny old hand and recognises that her best hopes continue to reside in extensive work and drilling. Everyone knows their job. Their job is usually not complicated. There's a reason she's entirely content to have cautious, conservative fullbacks, while Olexander's gifts are all in the realm of shot-stopping, not distribution. Alcander Visser and Indartsu Lekea remain around, veteran destroyers far more than craftsmen. In midfield, Isla Snowpoint had about as good a season as any 30-year old debutant to the league could expect, lacking pace but having a quiet brilliance to her movement. Suffice to say the Elaine Ashdown comparisons have been made. Extensively. Up front, Brimorii has a gift for an ugly, scuffed finish, and being a satyr will naturally physically dominate almost any match-up. Perhaps more than any other individual, he made the difference. A shorter season should be a boon to a thin squad, with little game-changing quality in reserve. They aren't a popular choice to stay up, but there's no reason to think they'll be weaker this season than last.

PREDICTION - 18th.
Manager: Lara Dixon (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Katerina Olexander, 12 - Ophelia Rattin, 25 - Wilhelm Margate
Defenders: 2 - Alcander Visser, 3 - Shireen Tsuker, 5 - Martel Sevecke, 6 - Lukas Storrin, 17 - Anders Bowman, 18 - Ulrich Braun, 20 - Maria Kroger, 22 - Moritz Keane
Midfidlers: 4 - Indartsu Lekea (ASG), 7 - Silke Gutenberg, 8 - Isla Snowpoint (c), 11 - Lenora Zender, 13 - Igrene Vidler, 14 - Olsen Birch (AUD), 15 - Liu Huiying (YZH), 19 - Sylvester Mullen, 21 - Andre Gannon, 23 - Taena Vylarr (SRS)
Forwards: 9 - Xandra Vermouth, 10 - Manahaal Brimorii (MRN), 16 - Jonas Myhill

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League Finish: Champions (1Div)
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Capricorn Plaza (23,500)
Nickname: the Stargazers
Captain: Shrike Hagaz
Top Scorers: Stevenson (20), Klempner (8), Kubala (5)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Laczko (25); 6 - Somner (29), 5 - Saunders (26), 13 - Dreider (27), 3 - Berwick (24); 15 - Meier (28), 4 - Hagaz (33, c), 8 - Uche (36), 16 - Petrus (21); 21 - Stevenson (32), 10 - Strebinger (25)
In: Natalia Dreider (Crisisbless United, 4m), Brielle Strebinger (Crisisbless United, 4m), Amadi Uche (Busembe Timberwolves, 1.5m)
Promoted: Sinric Aston (GK, 18)
Out: Uther Johnson (AFC Serpentine, 2.5m), Ferri Kubala (Lakiska SC, 2m)
Retired: Folami Adekoya (GK, 36, CBR), Sarah Foreman (CB, 36, CBP)

TROPHY CABINET
2 First Division titles (74, 78)

RECENT HISTORY
78: 1Div - 1st - 89 pts - Promoted
77: Premier - 23rd - 33 pts - Relegated
76: Premier - 13th - 61 pts
75: Premier - 18th - 48 pts
74: 1Div - 1st - 103 pts - Promoted

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Nikita Griffiths, Rebecca Larkland, Sheila Maddon, Rebecca Stubbs
Club Heroes: Miralem Fowler, Jacqui Rowlins, Lara Silverstein, Ernie Stevenson
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.

OVERVIEW
Leichhardt weren't pretty like Brookford, or Goodfeather, and didn't have the budget of Chatswood. What they had was ruthlessness. Not necessarily in front of goal, though Ernie Stevenson certainly brought his share of that, but behind the scenes. Three winless games into the season, Cyrus Kroger got the axe and Diandra Ballard came in to see them through. Kroger wound up failing to arrest the backslide of Crisisbless United. So who have the Stargazers signed since arriving in the top flight? United's best defender in Dreider, and the striker in Brielle Strebinger who notched a respectable twelve goals last season but was unceremoniously cut out of Kroger's strikerless plans.

The marquee, though, is the cheapest on paper, though Amadi Uche's wages are second only to Stevenson's. Why throw all that at a 36-year old? Because of what he represents. Uche might have the approximate turning circle of a barge, but with the ball at his feet he can spray it anywhere on the park. He helped Banija to third in WC85 and first in WC86, and the fact he's here to try and prop Leichhardt up is a miracle that relegates the rest of the team to supporting cast. Laczko is a sharp, excellent shot-stopper, and the defensive four look rock-solid, though can a 33-year old Shrike Hagaz continue to stay at the pace of the Zenith? Meier isn't the fastest but can hit the eye of a needle with a cross or set piece; Petrus, handily, probably is the fastest. Strebinger's pace makes up for the veteran poacher Stevenson's lack of such. Leichhardt are easy to define. They'll be hard to break down, but they won't score a lot and won't move about much. It's very hard to see how the relegation battle will play out in this smaller season, but very hard not to see them embroiled in it.

PREDICTION - 20th.
Manager: Diandra Ballard
Goalkeepers: 1 - Luka Laczko (PAS), 12 - Sigmund Perth, 30 - Sinric Aston
Defenders: 2 - Rena Kinross, 3 - Lenna Berwick, 5 - Tess Saunders, 6 - Asp Somner, 13 - Natalia Dreider (MRN), 19 - Agate Whitespire, 22 - Rhys Vanney, 32 - Clement Luther
Midfielders: 4 - Shrike Hagaz (SRS, c), 7 - Rebecca Soutar, 8 - Amadi Uche (BNJ), 11 - Efrain Arbizu (AUD), 15 - Castor Meier, 16 - Ninian Petrus, 18 - Claudia Jennings, 36 - Feo Tapper
Forwards: 9 - Gloria Kewell, 10 - Brielle Strebinger, 14 - Emil Klempner (SCT), 17 - Lucian Buikema, 21 - Ernie Stevenson (HPI)

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League Finish: 15th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Twilight Ridge (36,000)
Nickname: the Rooks
Captain: Cressida Voeller
Top Scorers: Storrev (9), Duffy (8), Voeller, Constantine (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-2-3-1) 1 - Iarrow (36); 17 - Heward (25), 3 - Korkut (33), 6 - Solari (25), 22 - Baer (25); 4 - Niskanen (22), 8 - Voeller (31, c); 19 - Storrev (29), 10 - Zumalakarregi (21), 13 - Rozier (28); 21 - Constantine (24)
In: Tricia Heward (Creed United, 4m), Abarrotz Zumalakarregi (KT Koroatuz, 1.5m)
Promoted: Casey Roehampton (RW, 19)
Out: Pristina Soeringer (Stein-los Turkish, 9m), Persephone Miller (SC Rinaldi, 3.25m), Tom Duffy (Fligsive FC, 1m)

TROPHY CABINET
3 NFA Cups (57, 68, 71)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 15th - 58 pts
77: Premier - 15th - 51 pts
76: Premier - 15th - 59 pts
75: Premier - 17th - 49 pts
74: Premier - 13th - 64 pts

BACKGROUND
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 Nepharan 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 strong for sides that more central Nepharim tend to mostly forget about. A brief run as a contender towards the sharp end of the Premiership may not have stuck, but did bankroll a new stadium, arguably the most scenic in the nation.

OVERVIEW
People who, understandably, expected the contraction of the league to mean that Newrook would have to approach the league with any sense of urgency were mistaken, in the end. Another 15th-placed finish. What does a club like Newrook do? Keep ahold of Gareth Penrooke, carefully liquidate assets - one of Nephara's brightest rightbacks in Soeringer and a versatile midfielder in Mileer - bring in cheap replacements, the stalwart Heward and, in Zumalakarregi, a player used to being the bright light in gloomy surroundings. Tom Duffy is also given a rather forceful shove through the door, the penultimate relic of a more decadent era.

Kaara Iarrow's that last link now. If you're going to be 36, it's probably best to be a satyr goalkeeper who was never the most convincing sweeper anyway - you could see her making it to 40 without missing a step. Kerem Korkut won't, but the seasoned, muscular defender still represents a handy security bold; he tends to sit and let the younger Solari sweep out from the back. Cressida Voeller might face a battle to keep regular starts, but as the captain's lost some of her pace she's made up for it with still better and more confident passing, and a deeper role may suit her. Mercurial Rozier offers a lot in terms of pacy dribbling while rarely troubling the scoresheet directly; that's more Naiva Storrev's role, someone with a hammer of a right boot. As for who starts up front, Penrooke's shown some flexibility; versatile converted winger Dassi Constantine is a fluid, hard-running all-around threat, but Margush is an athletic target man with surprising pace but erratic final product. Newrook play a tidy, well-balanced style, eager to unleash their pace going forward and compact at the back.

PREDICTION - 13th
Manager: Gareth Penrooke
Goalkeepers: 1 - Kaara Iarrow (MRN), 12 - Charis Theoklitos, 25 - Rosanne Alwood
Defenders: 2 - Annika Tatasciore, 3 - Kerem Korkut, 5 - Juergen Kessler, 6 - Eero Solari (COS), 17 - Tricia Heward, 18 - Priscilla Graves, 20 - Jana Forde, 22 - Lorelei Baer
Midfielders: 4 - Markko Niskanen (SVJ), 7 - Minka Bronson, 8 - Cressida Voeller (c), 10 - Abarrotz Zumalakarregi (ASG), 13 - Arkady Rozier (AFT), 15 - James Lysander, 16 - Pernille Brand, 19 - Naiva Storrev (SRS), 26 - Lena Treatise, 33 - Casey Roehampton
Forwards: 9 - Jason Margush, 21 - Dassi Constantine, 23 - Christian Rudloff
Last edited by Nephara on Thu Mar 11, 2021 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nephara » Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:22 pm

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League Finish: 9th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: The Bluegrass (48,000)
Nickname: the Spiders
Captain: Luke Roberts
Top Scorers: Thornwood (18), Lundell (9), Foley (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Krieven (33, c); 2 - Anders (23), 5 - Stoeger (29), 6 - Jaan (29), 3 - Garnett (24); 21 - Lundell (25), 4 - Marrable (25), 8 - Brindell (25); 12 - Foley (28), 9 - Lazelis (24), 10 - Sadler (22)
In: Chirstoforos Lazelis (FC Limassol, undisclosed), Fiora Anders (Aries Chariots, 4m)
Promoted: Chris Fisken (ST, 19)
Out: Lilith Thornwood (Brinemouth, 4m), Sebastian Rashica (Rozelle United, 2m), Sara Garrett (Shirley Metros Ladies FC, free)

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

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 9th - 67 pts
77: Premier - 12th - 66 pts
76: Premier - 12th - 62 pts
75: Premier - 10th - 67 pts
74: Premier - 15th - 59 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Raimund Anderson, Bianca Condotta, Theodora Covenant, Lavender Jameson, Karsten Riordan, Christian Serjeant, Deborah Stokes, Rasunda Vanderlei
Club Heroes: Steed Corren, Brandon Duguid, Gareth Pearce, Chloe Rudden
One-Club Men: Rook Kennedy
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
With their 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.

OVERVIEW
The Spiders had a season of ups and downs. As is best for a midtable side, the ups came first - third with a third of the season played, still clinging to IFCF football after a half, victory over the hated Stags and for a while, the Spiders could dream. But their form suffered after the break and, while 9th remains a strong position, they were far out of genuine contention. They've made cautious iterations to the squad; in have come Lazelis, a hotshot young striker, and Anders, an excellent box-to-box fullback; they've replaced 30-year olds, albeit very strong ones, with Thornwood potentially very missed should Lazelis fail to hit the ground running.

Catherine Sedgwick was a beautiful technical player who glided across the pitch in her playing days, but she knows that isn't necessarily how to construct a winning team today. Her Spiders have become a more athletic, physical team every year, with the sometimes erratic but always worthwhile Krieven acting as the final backstop behind the function-first partnership of Stoeger and Jaan. Passing is Marrable's job, an intelligent craftswoman in the pivot role. The fullbacks, by contrast, push up, supporting very different wingers in the inside-forward Foley and the more conventional, one-footed Sadler. But of course Sedgwick still has room for a player like herself... truthfully, significantly better than she ever was. Rika Lundell makes the side tick, stroking the ball from flank to flank with quiet confidence, prowling the area with restless eagerness to make a decisive difference, and given more freedom than anyone to use her best instincts. A rock-solid side with a clear talisman that elevates them above those around them, the Spiders should look to push into the top seven.

PREDICTION - 11th.
Manager: Catherine Sedgwick
Goalkeepers: 1 - Stovar Krieven (SRS), 12 - Alfonse Cameron, 25 - Gilgamesh Dance
Defenders: 2 - Fiora Anders, 3 - February Garnett, 5 - Marit Stoeger, 6 - Paarsimer Jaan (MRN), 17 - Alexis Caldwell, 20 - Red Prowatt, 23 - Bram Levin, 26 - Caeda Warhurst
Midfielders: 4 - Celia Marrable (KOR), 8 - Nicola Brindell, 11 - Chloe Asquith, 14 - Arnesa Darroze, 16 - Sander Moritz, 21 - Rika Lundell (SVJ)
Forwards: 7 - Luke Roberts (ETN, c), 9 - Chirstoforos Lazelis (VDR), 10 - Bellona Sadler, 12 - Jewell Foley (EFL), 19 - Andrea Bellmare, 22 - Constantine Brown, 37 - Chris Fisken

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League Finish: 13th
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: Knightsgrave (43,000)
Nickname: the Saints
Captain: Zemen Ystrad
Top Scorers: Zanzala (15), Celustka (13), Fohler (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 12 - Austen (25); 17 - Spitz (29), 6 - Saunders (24), 5 - Vuurmeier (31), 3 - Feist (24); 8 - Sinodinos (23), 18 - Sefton (30), 21 - Celustka (27); 15 - Fohler (29, c), 14 - Zanzala (30), 19 - Swann (23)
In: Athena Sinodinos (Raven River, 6m), Aline Ruthers (AC Damogran, free)
Out: Ilia Mueller (AFC Treason, 8m), Annika Miller (Rozelle, 5m)

TROPHY CABINET
2 First Division titles (63, 76)
2 NFA Cups (51, 59)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 13th - 61 pts
77: Premier - 14th - 54 pts
76: 1Div - 1st - 125 pts - Promoted
75: 1Div - 9th - 68 pts
74: Premier - 23rd - 38 pts - Relegated

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Christian Beckcamp, Rudolf Blondel, Erin Camden, Georgia Kite, Ramona Porter, Gabrielle Reinhardt, Ursula Rowan, Monica Rowland, Catheline Stockinger
Club Heroes: Alastair Brun, Christian Frei, Elaine Koeller
One-Club Men: Matt Sebastian
Premiership Debut: Inaugural
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.

OVERVIEW
A far more boring path to an essentially identical result compared to last season, the Saints winning friends and thrilling fans on the way to midtable again, this time without the exciting early period of being genuinely dogshit. Despite the club essentially meeting its target again, it was still surprising to hear Emeka Obasi say he didn't really plan to make any changes in the squad for the upcoming yet, but the football gods are never so obliging and they found two of their midfielders plucked away by top clubs both at home and abroad. Ilia Mueller was the side's best player, consistently - hence the interest from Treason - but Sinodinos is worth her shot at the Zenith, and is a box-to-box player in a similar mould. Ruthers, by contrast, is less likely to seriously press for minutes.

No matter. Obasi will find a way, and the fans adore a man known for his explosive fashion tastes as much as his tactical proficiency. His side blend attractive, stylish football with hard work and graft, and that's a winning formula. A priority this season will be shaping up at the back, where local girl Veluca Austen hopes to oust the indifferent Laisne. An excellent reflex stopper with brilliant distribution, she's started throughout most of preseason. Two internationals in Spitz and Vuurmeier help bolster the backline, though it could be argued neither's quite at their peak anymore. Markus Sefton missed much of last season through an ACL injury, and Miller in his place showed the form that interested Rozelle; the 30-year old thus has a lot to prove as he takes up his place behind the midfield. Still, the real gems are up front - the mercurial playmaker Celustka with her awful, disinterested body language suggesting she's not far off just lighting up a cigarette on the spot, with the incision of Fohler and Swann on the wings. Zanzala, however, hasn't quite made the most of the chances she's been given - could the 21-year old Kurtishi make a push for regular minutes?

PREDICTION - 16th.
Manager: Emeka Obasi (CBR)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Typhenon Laisne (OAM), 12 - Veluca Austen, 25 - Garnet Bexley
Defenders: 2 - Bullova Reyson, 3 - Vesuvius Feist, 5 - Bairn Vuurmeier (MRN), 6 - Praline Saunders, 13 - Zemen Ystrad (SRS, c), 17 - Trude Spitz (STL), 22 - Matrona Croxteth, 23 - Nikki Freeman
Midfielders: 4 - Aline Ruthers, 8 - Athena Sinodinos, 11 - Adele Rosborough, 16 - Tricia Cray, 18 - Markus Sefton, 21 - Elsebeth Celustka
Forwards: 9 - Ann Reus (COS), 10 - Davor Kurtishi, 14 - Esmerelda Zanzala (APX), 15 - Bastia Fohler, 19 - Nikola Swann, 20 - Sander Linn, 37 - Isolde Reader

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League Finish: 6th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
IFCF Run: Challengers Cup Group Stage
Stadium: The Barbarossa (72,000)
Nickname: the Rams
Captain: Reece Lucas
Top Scorers: Tomlinson (25), Benezet (23), Katsura (12)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 20 - Garamond (24); 17 - Brincat (24), 5 - Clevinger (23), 6 - Szalay (29), 3 - Lucas (30, c); 23 - Westerveld (27), 19 - Katsura (27), 8 - Dominique (27), 18 - Isusi (29); 14 - Benezet (27), 9 - Tomlinson (27)
In: Asztrik Szalay (Handon United, 5m)
Out: Ronan Fallon (Union Cathair, 2m)
Retired: Theodore Sigismund (CB, 36, STB)

TROPHY CABINET
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

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 4th - 84 pts - CL
77: Premier - 6th - 81 pts - ChC
76: Premier - 6th - 79 pts - ChC
75: Premier - 3rd - 94 pts - CL
74: Premier - 4th - 91 pts - CL

BACKGROUND
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 Nepharan 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 the city, 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.

OVERVIEW
Sabrefell Athletic were in the relegation zone after sixteen matches played, with just four wins and 28 goals conceded. So fell Tony Dalton, and indeed his assistant, Ole Oehman, a former winger for the Rams who was later hired and fired as United's manager. Tana Colbright rocked up from a hugely successful stint in Brenecia, once winning the league with a side not called 'Union', 'Kingsgrove' or 'Rozelle', and saved the day, not only bringing Athletic to safety or respectability, but the Champions League places. Still, despite an ambitious list of targets the board claimed there weren't the right people available, save for the excellent Pasargan centre-half Szalay from Handon; he'll replace Sigismund, a stalwart defender and former Galactico for whom last season was just a year too far, while the Brenecian butcher Fallon leaves for Audioslavia, a nation which loves such things.

A liability during the first stretch of the season, Raluca Garamond somehow played 44 league games last season, with Colbright only briefly turning to Gautier to 'keep Garamond out of the line of fire'. Yeah, right. Except, actually, yes - Colbright was a former 'keeper herself, and giving Garamond time to rest and recharge ensured she came back one of the league's best. She's, on paper, ably supported by a mixture of youth and experience in the back line - Clevinger just was never trusted by Dalton, but was a rock under Colbright - while Kotaro Katsura remains the creative fulcrum of the side, a rampaging force of nature in the mould of Hawk. Or rue Cazade. Up front, as is tradition, are the Rams' greatest riches in the international strikers Benezet and Tomlinson, both intelligent and incisive forwards who know when to drift and when to strike. Colbright knows her team can't compete with the top for sheer bling, or for that matter balance, and has drilled them well to make up for it and exploit the same hard pressing that was so effective in Brenecia. All in all, they don't look nearly as complete as some of their contenders at the top... but there won't be a repeat of last season's aberration. Won't there?

PREDICTION - 5th.
Manager: Tana Colbright
Goalkeepers: 1 - Aurelian Gautier (ESH), 20 - Raluca Garamond, 25 - Tanith Arrowsmith
Defenders: 2 - Steve Fox (EUR), 3 - Reece Lucas (EUR, c), 4 - Mercedes Knauth, 5 - Reniira Clevinger, 13 - Theodore Sigismund (STB), 16 - Alexis Koutros, 17 - Petria Brincat, 22 - Gabrielle Reinhardt
Midfielders: 6 - Ronan Fallon (BRE), 8 - Jean-Michel Dominique (KOR), 10 - Orsolya Gere (PAS), 18 - Bartol Isusi (AUD), 19 - Kotaro Katsura (HIN), 21 - Violet Siverson, 23 - Bryony Westerveld, 26 - Thisbe Rouvas, 37 - Sonya Belltower
Forwards: 7 - Sipke Tarala (VIL), 9 - Isaac Tomlinson (EUR), 11 - Renira Schanzer, 14 - Thibault Benezet (VLD), 27 - Melusina Rose

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League Finish: 5th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
CWC Run: Runners-up
Stadium: Farham Arena (88,000)
Nickname: the Moths
Captain: Solara Vol
Top Scorers: Petrov (27), Roesler (15), Morgenstern (11)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Markgraf (27); 2 - Bruun (30), 19 - Sinton (25), 13 - Brabanzon (24), 3 - Muscadin (25); 7 - Zuniga (25), 4 - Timekeeper (22), 21 - Roesler (25); 10 - Belgrade (23), 13 - Petrov (28), 16 - Morgenstern (27)
In: Joey Sinton (Ashton Olympic, 8m)
Out: Reina Turnbull (South Saints, 5m)

TROPHY CABINET
4 Premiership titles (47, 60, 68, 69)
3 NFA Cups (58, 65, 85)
3 Ramsey Shields (66, 69, 70)
Champions Cup (73)
2 Globe Cups (64, 67)
Super Cup (73)
Gang of Six member

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 5th - 82 pts - ChC
77: Premier - 4th - 85 pts - CL CWC
76: Premier - 8th - 71 pts
75: Premier - 5th - 90 pts - CC
74: Premier - 6th - 72 pts - CL

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
Relatively consistent, in a season where most of the top sides at least wobbled somewhat, the Moths will still be disappointed not to make the Champions League places and to have been edged out in the CWC Final through their absoute incompetence at spot-kicks. The Moths, like their hated rivals the Rams, have also just brought in and watched leave a centre-half, but for them it makes far more sense. They were alerted to the availability of Joey Sinton thanks to the parsimony of an Audioslavian side - nipping in late with a far fatter brown envelope, they got their man. Vacating the space, and #19, is Reina Turnbull, that exact level of good Moths backup who leaves to become a good midtable Zenith starter or good player for a top side in a top 32 league; she's taken the latter path, heading to Ethane.

That's a lot of words on very little upheaval. But it's easy to write about Adalheid Metzelder, a mercurial and explosive touchline figure with more than a touch of megalomania - and it's easy to see why she's kept faith in a young squad growing strong. Markgraf is an alert and agile stopper with a penchant for sweeping, Brabanzon is the sometimes impetuous defender who gave away four penalties last season but was somehow worth it regardless, while Bruun and Muscadin are two of the finest attacking fullbacks in the league - Muscadin, for that matter, in the world. Timekeeper is a brilliant progressive holding midfielder who just needs to get that little bit more clever off the ball (read: cunning (read: cynical (read: dirty))) to truly step into Shone's shoes, while Zuniga does the running of three fit men and Roesler continues her growth into a towering talisman of the team, missing only pace. That's more than made up for by a vivacious, creative and unpredictable front three, spearheaded by the league's reigning top scorer in Lyzolda Petrov, that can gash any side. They play fast, expansive and risky football, and extensive rotation helps keep everyone fresh. Expect a shorter season to favour them, and help push for the top four again.

PREDICTION - 4th.
Manager: Adalheid Metzelder
Goalkeepers: 1 - Alexandra Markgraf, 12 - Yves Carroll, 25 - Hanna Bayliss
Defenders: 2 - Karii Bruun (MRN), 3 - Vivica Muscadin, 5 - Wil Jabelon (COS), 6 - Miska Brabanzon, 18 - Cleo Harper, 19 - Joey Sinton (KRY), 21 - Viola Parr, 22 - Lorcan Devante
Midfielders: 4 - Rook Timekeeper, 7 - Kateryna Zuniga (CMT), 8 - Swansea Reach, 14 - Irene Vintner, 21 - Shiida Roesler, 23 - Bryger Kellard
Forwards: 9 - Tryphon Archer, 10 - Ysabet Belgrade, 11 - Zoe Aedelbrandt (COS), 13 - Lyzolda Petrov (SRS), 16 - Shiloh Morgenstern (TAE), 20 - Cathal Turner (COS), 26 - Nasir Majerle

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League Finish: 14th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
Stadium: Covenground (27,000)
Nickname: the Southrons
Captain: Kelly O’Connell
Top Scorers: Riise (11), Forward (8), Brind (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Velazquez (29); 2 - Schaefer (27), 5 - O’Connell (29, c), 19 - Pike (28), 3 - Harkhan (25); 15 - Jurman (27), 23 - Nisarizo (22); 7 - Forward (28), 21 - Brind (23), 11 - Kynda-Sevet (27); 10 - Riise (30)
In: Kynda-Sevet Pec (Cypher Town, 5m)
Promoted: Jakob Burnes (CM, 20)
Out: Nagisa Habane (Shaleport Rangers, free), Basil Lylac (Meriador FC, free)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (55)
NFA Cup (48)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 14th - 59 pts
77: Premier - 17th - 51 pts
76: Premier - 11th - 65 pts
75: Premier - 12th - 61 pts
74: 1Div - 2nd - 97 pts - Promoted

BACKGROUND
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...)

OVERVIEW
It is difficult to write much for South Laithland in this section. Leigh Fletcher's face-lifted, uglier side were... essentially fine. They never really looked in serious danger of relegation, scoring and conceding slightly over a goal a game and finishing nine points above the playoff. What changes did they want to make? Board and manager were content enough to lure Kynda-Sevet from Cypher, where they'd impressed on the left wing. For much of the rest of the squad, improvement comes simply through being a year older and wiser.

The Southrons are solid all around the pitch, and it's unsurprising. Fletcher's plan is to construct a plan that minimises the impact of an individual failure, which makes Donovan Velazquez a somewhat surprising and avant-garde fit. He easily cost the side points in errors over the season... and easily earned them twice as many in 'unsavable' one-on-one situations. The rest of the back four - no, not that Harkhan, the other one - is far more functional, as is Jurman, the epitome of an average Zenith-standard box-to-box player. But there's still a need for a side like this to have some creativity and incision; Nisarizo's intelligence and passing range, and the improvisation and dribbling skill of Brind, are essential to carve teams apart, while Forward excelled last season as a drifting inside-forward. Riise is a blandly 7/10 player who gets the ball in the net enough. There's little to suggest they're in any danger this season. Most likely they're just going to be... there.

PREDICTION - 15th.
Manager: Leigh Fletcher
Goalkeepers: 1 - Donovan Velazquez (ETN), 20 - Nadine Cirjak, 30 - Logan Haas
Defenders: 2 - Eleanor Schaefer, 3 - Valda Harkhan (SRS), 5 - Kelly O'Connell (CBP, c), 6 - Bran Goldford, 17 - Tremeka Seward, 18 - Felix Coulson, 19 - Journey Pike (EFL), 24 - Lars Sandalwood
Midfielders: 4 - Jakob Burnes, 7 - Lysander Forward (KOR), 8 - Remy Dionne (KSK), 11 - Kynda-Sevet Pec (QUS), 12 - Valerie Campbell, 13 - Kurtis Conrad, 14 - Gareth Menat, 15 - Constantine Jurman, 21 - Felicia Brind, 23 - Talia Nisarizo (SRS)
Forwards: 9 - Manna Radler, 10 - Aron Riise (COS), 16 - Matthias Bergander

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League Finish: 11th
Cup Run: Champions
Stadium: Scipio Arena (38,000)
Nickname: the Tanners
Captain: Kyshoen Nagy
Top Scorers: Kuzener (14), Forestier (11), Gundersen (10)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Gavaris (26); 2 - Bowyer (28), 19 - Stankovic (31, c), 6 - Ellis (33), 12 - Brandt (25); 22 - Forestier (24), 4 - Hensser (25), 13 - Lorzer (26), 11 - Heidke (24); 7 - Murin (24), 17 - Kuzener (25)
In: Cordelia Lorzer (Goodfeather FC, 6m), Roanna Murin (Gonen's Bridge, 4m)
Promoted: Nik Marville (LM, 20)
Out: Lissa Anselm (Brham United, 5m), Roxi Pryce (Raven River, 3m), Martina Everett (Cantonment Club, free)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (55)
2 NFA Cups (48, 78)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 16th - 55 pts - CWC
77: Premier - 10th - 74 pts
76: Premier - 9th - 68 pts
75: Premier - 9th - 69 pts
74: Premier - 10th - 66 pts

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
Last season, Southfell did their best to offer an alternative theory to that of Theseus' blanket. Instead of patching over the original piece until nothing remains, what if instead one just gave away random slices of it and left the rest to rot? The answer is apparently an unexpected brush with relegation, as their nurtured star Lyzolda Petrov raced away to earn the Iron Boot with the Moths. New manager Volga Hoellerer struggled at first to right the ship, but not only attained survival with some degree of comfort but came away with the Cup with a stunning 4-1 win over the Chariots. Still; refurbishment was not optional, and so the club have looked to the league below. Roanna Murin is one of the most promising strikers in the pyramid despite Bridge's relegation, while Lorzer was the glue that held together a brilliant, mercurial Goodfeather. Anselm had served her time with the Tanners and probably didn't have long to secure a fat contract abroad, while Pryce never really got the chance to shine for her hometown club.

They emerge from the window a stronger side, with many key players emerging from early- to mid-20s. The defensive axis of Stankovic and Ellis - weirdly, the only men in the regular XI - do not fit this description, but in centre-halves that could be seen as a compliment. Their roles are clearly delineated; Stankovic is the cool, calm, steely head in a crisis, while Ellis tries to kill people. It works. Bowyer is somehow still around the club, despite having hovered subtly above the Tanners' level her entire career and never quite got a Cormorants callup - is she just here forever? Laureline Forestier won't be. Without her, the Tanners would have gone down and certainly would not have a Cup to their names, a player of genuine star quality who nominally plays on the right but realistically goes wherever she goddamn wants. Hensser covers her tracks and gives her the ball. Up front, the boxy, mouthy figure of Lieschen Kuzener scraps and bites and runs for every chance of a goal, a welcome selfishness backed up by a killing edge. Relegation should not be on the cards this time.

PREDICTION - 12th.
Manager: Volga Hoellerer
Goalkeepers: 1 - Ursula Gavaris, 20 - Angela Spyrakis, 25 - Christine Tabard
Defenders: 2 - Svenja Bowyer, 3 - Pascal Ritter, 5 - Holger Wight, 6 - Nathan Ellis (HAP), 12 - Ferry Brandt, 18 - Cale Schindler, 19 - Antun Stankovic (PAS), 26 - Fortuna Morvan
Midfielders: 4 - Arysa Hensser, 8 - Matthias Slade, 11 - Calla Heidke, 13 - Claudia Lorzer, 15 - Malka Waisman, 16 - Nik Marville, 22 - Laureline Forestier (EQS), 23 - Kyshoen Nagy (OSR, c)
Forwards: 7 - Roanna Murin, 9 - Christian Borzoi, 10 - Amalie Gundersen (VAL), 17 - Lieschen Kuzener, 21 - Petrarch Corbay

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League Finish: 8th
Cup Run: Fifth Round
Stadium: Ludd’s Hammer (59,000)
Nickname: the Smiths
Captain: Kresimir Brujah
Top Scorers: Phoenix (18), Delfour (8), Neuwirth, Reed (4)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-1-4-1) 12 - Rosmarin (26); 2 - Rostock (25), 5 - Cooke (29), 22 - Baste (26), 20 - Varnham (24); 21 - Ballard (27); 7 - Reed (21), 10 - Makatsch (21), 8 - Neuwirth (26), 23 - Delfour (26); 9 - Phoenix (29, c)
In: Svenja Baste (Creed United, 5m), Cora Varnham (National Academy, 3m), Claudia Makatsch (Willox Street Pirates, 3m)
Promoted: Medusa Strand (GK, 18)
Out: Aurelie Henry (Neahri Angels, 3m), Rook Drabsch (FC Kaiserhaven, free)
Retired: Prant-Telew Wek (GK, 35, QUS), Mathis Orsay (CB, 36)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 8th - 74 pts
77: Premier - 9th - 74 pts
76: Premier - 7th - 72 pts - ChC
75: Premier - 7th - 76 pts - ChC
74: Premier - 8th - 70 pts

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Sheila Kilgallon, Rusalka Klein, Elsa Layland, Sophia Moloney, Linde Rostock
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.

OVERVIEW
The Smiths almost took advantage of the chaos at the top; by the halfway mark of the season, they were 4th, ahead of the hated Stags on goal difference, while Xander Rosmarin oversaw the meanest defence in the division. But their lack of goal threat cost them when the defence, powerful but not invulnerable, started to leak. When Mathis Orsay went, he went fast - and hanging up the boots was a graceful end to a brilliant career, the Smiths benefiting from his best. Prant-Telew and the silky Aurelie Henry will also be remembered fondly, but Rossum has sought to regenerate with clear eyes. Svenja Baste and Cora Varnham add an extra, relatively youthful shine to a defence that risked growing stale, while 21-year old Makatsch is an exhilarating, intriguing signing, someone who can add polish to a workmanlike midfield.

First and foremost, Rossum’s charges are resilient; in a disciplined sense, well-drilled and never breaking their lines for anything. Sometimes, it could be argued, a little too rigid, form quite literally over function… but the work pays off more often than not, and often sides just can’t find a way through. Even when they do, Xander Rosmarin is one of the most nerveless, reliable stoppers in the league, a local who clearly loves the club but never lets that emotion get the better of him. Rostock is the jewel of the back line, a deserving Cormorant who never overstretches her runs and can cross from deep enough to make up for it, while Ballard offers a clean, unambitious link to midfield. On the wings are something of a maverick edge; Delfour has thrived on the left basically being free to do whatever, a necessary wild card in a side otherwise too predictable, while on the right the local girl Reed has more than proven herself. Up front, Lewis Phoenix is perfect for the job, offering intelligent, muscular hold-up play and finishing every chance he gets.

PREDICTION - 10th.
Manager: Vanessa Rossum (ZWZ)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Prant-Telew Wek (QUS), 12 - Xander Rosmarin, 20 - Gilmore Strattan
Defenders: 2 - Linde Rostock, 3 - Cassandra Posipal, 5 - Xandra Cooke, 14 - Rook Drabsch, 17 - Fiona Lyons, 18 - Cynav-Ozolx Jan (QUS), 19 - Gawain Warden, 22 - Mathis Orsay
Midfielders: 4 - Kresimir Brujah (c), 6 - Canute Bresonik, 7 - Severine Reed, 8 - Marita Neuwirth, 10 - Aurelie Henry (OSR), 13 - Camille Lane (OSR), 21 - Dorian Ballard, 23 - Maurice Delfour (CBR), 26 - Malachite Riester, 32 - Jasper Morbihan
Forwards: 9 - Lewis Phoenix (EUR), 11 - Isabella Shi (SLL), 15 - Viviana Strephon

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League Finish: 12th
Cup Run: Third Round
Stadium: Jade Park (28,000)
Nickname: the Passerines
Captain: Daniel Dostalok
Top Scorers: Dostalok (17), Flaxwood (10), Stone (6)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) 1 - Smørdal (33); 23 - Novick (27), 13 - Griffith (25), 6 - Kaba (31), 3 - Page (22); 15 - Roebling (27), 14 - Charisteas (27), 11 - Stone (26); 16 - Bowman (25), 10 - Flaxwood (24); 7 - Dostalok (32, c)
In: Hestia Bowman (Diamondqueen, 5m)
Promoted: Johan Ark (LB, 20), Gretchen Polikeit (AM, 19)
Out: Vanna Pearce (Stahlburg Rovers, 5m), Davina Ashmore (Luton City United, 4m), Zohar Vandermark (FK Finansijskigrade, 3.5m)

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

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 12th - 62 pts
77: Premier - 11th - 70 pts
76: Premier - 4th - 85 pts - CL
75: Premier - 8th - 70 pts
74: Premier - 5th - 81 pts - ChC

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
The end of an era. The Big Seven is now the Big Six; Starling have reverted to the mean, the byproduct of a system where success had to sustain success. Well, the wheels came off in Lisa Amos' final eighteen months, and Tim Maitfield's here to pick up the pieces. Starling finished twelfth, which technically isn't even top-half anymore, with a negative goal difference. Smordal, Berg and Dostalok are all that are really left of the golden age, and they're old now. Tim Maitfield brought in a playmaker from relegated Diamondqueen and called it a day.

The squad continues to look strung-out and disjointed; they might have the best backup goalkeeper in the league in Carolan, but various youths are likely to get regular minutes. Smordal remains one of the premier shot-stoppers in the league and at 33 isn't at a bad age for a 'keeper - really, a top four side could buy him, and Crisisbless were linked - but Berg's ancient now, and the more dynamic Griffith has been favoured in pre-season for offering pace, albeit with a slightly flaky edge. The midfield helps form a Christmas tree shape, Charisteas backing the resilient Roebling and the artisan Stone, while Bowman or Riaz join Leif Flaxwood in freer roles behind the striker, the indomitable captain Daniel Dostalok who the fans have taken to more and more by the day. Maitfield prized counterattacking football at Crisisbless United, but doesn't have the personnel for it here; instead, the challenge will be integrating a more technical, skilful style, and if that midfield can click into a rhythm Starling might just be back at the right end of the table.

PREDICTION - 9th.
Manager: Tim Maitfield (SCT)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Sean Smørdal (VAL), 12 - Romola Carolan, 25 - Elida Katter
Defenders: 2 - Raphael Cole, 3 - Caracal Page, 5 - Christian Berg (PAS), 6 - Kawsu Kaba (BNJ), 13 - Claire Griffith, 18 - Johan Ark, 19 - Garrick Rustak, 23 - Catheline Novick
Midfielders: 4 - Octavian Eversong, 8 - Valentine Roxel (SCT), 10 - Leif Flaxwood, 11 - Nicki Stone, 14 - Nikita Charisteas, 15 - Varina Roebling, 20 - Gisella Riaz (EFL), 21 - Nova Kymeri (CEN)
Forwards: 7 - Daniel Dostalok (MRC, c), 9 - Antoine Duchemin (KOR), 16 - Florian Berkut

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League Finish: 7th
Cup Run: Fourth Round
IFCF Run: Challengers Cup First Knockout Round
CdC Run: Runners-up
Stadium: The Gauntlet (65,000)
Nickname: the Stags
Captain: Q'orianka Va’Afaja
Top Scorers: Uster (14), Malone (11), Fletcher (8)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2) 1 - Clavel (35); 2 - Stride (26), 13 - Lockheed (29), 6 - Murje (24), 18 - Jorse (22); 8 - Robshaw (28), 14 - Mueller (26); 20 - Malone (22), 21 - Rosenblatt (22), 11 - Considine (22); 9 - Uster (29)
In: Silja Jorse (Stormers FC, 10m), Morgan Rosenblatt (Cassadaigua, 10m), Kendra Considine (Chenoworth Rovers, 9m), Ilia Mueller (Parrhesia United, 8m)
Out: Felix Sebastian (Rozelle, 6m), Pavel Lockhart (Marque, 4m), Zasha Covach (Oakstone, 2m), Aventurine Kolar (Sportiva Montelcampo, loan)
Retired: Roanne Fairfax (LW, 33)


TROPHY CABINET
10 Premiership titles (48, 49, 52, 56, 57, 65, 66, 74, 76, 77)
2 NFA Cups (49, 76)
2 Cope de Campeones (67, 77)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (57)
Ramsey Shield (77)
Gang of Six member

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 7th - 79 pts - ChC
77: Premier - 1st - 105 pts - CL
76: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CL CWC
75: Premier - 6th - 84 pts - CC
74: Premier - 1st - 95 pts - CL

BACKGROUND
Notable Products: Reinhard Armstrong, Diandra Ballard, Sarah Carmady, Claudia Cautcher, Violet Clarion, Malachi Gallagher, Rachael Green, Saskia Kantaroff, Calliope Katskalidis, Aventurine Kolar, 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, who were briefly bought out to use as a feeder club.

OVERVIEW
The Stags endured a difficult season, but as is so typical, they endured. They scored the fewest goals in the top half, and had the best defence in the league; it wasn't too much of a surprise to draw a scoreless stalemate in the CdC Final after 120 minutes, only losing to CAP on penalties. 'Staying the course' got them one season too far, an aging squad clearly in need of rehabilitation, especially up front. Well, that's arrived in spectacular fashion. Silja Jorse slides right on in alongside Kahala Murje, and the league's second Sajnur international is complemented by its second-ever Dagan, with Morgan Rosenblatt among the world's most promising attacking midfield talents. Kendra Considine, granddaughter of former Stags manager Gethin Ramsey, slides neatly into a terrifying attacking midfield trident, while Ilia Mueller is easily the least glamorous or mysterious signing but makes a world of sense, a reliable box-to-box player at this level. Of course there have to be departures - the strikers Sebastian and Covach are surplus to requirements, as is the leftback Lockhart, while Roanne Fairfax hangs up the boots. But the Stags undeniably look stronger this season than last.

They're built to resist pressure and outmuscle sides, workrate and discipline backed by lethal skill and ruthless edge up front. Angel Clavel has one last season between the posts, still surprisingly spry given his years, deft footwork ensuring he's always in the right place. Lockheed is the steel to Murje's combination of silk and more steel, while Stride down the right is one of the game's premier fullbacks in both attack and defence, a crucial weapon for the side. Vincent Robshaw's presence dominates the game, a true commander on the pitch, while his creative, incisive countryman Malone now has more like-minded friends - three 22-year olds in the attacking midfield trident. Up front, Idai Uster isn't coming off the best season, but has enjoyed a productive pre-season; the fans are hoping she'll be able to slot home the bullets that Malone, Rosenblatt and Considine slide her way. The Stags are surely among the favourites this season.

PREDICTION - 2nd.
Manager: Cheney Bittencourt
Goalkeepers: 1 - Angel Clavel (AUD), 12 - Leila Ramelow, 25 - Christian Pisces
Defenders: 2 - Rovena Stride, 3 - Q'orianka Va'Afaja (COS, c), 5 - Bersant Sale, 6 - Kahala Murje (SAJ), 13 - Gabriel Lockheed, 18 - Silja Jorse (SAJ), 19 - Diocletian Vale, 24 - Karolin Faust
Midfielders: 4 - Ferena Rauch, 7 - Raquel Accardi (EFL), 8 - Vincent Robshaw (EUR), 10 - Mikkel Jonsson (VAL), 11 - Kendra Considine, 14 - Ilia Mueller, 15 - Reis Becker, 16 - Kelly McInnes (SCT), 20 - Bobby Malone (EUR), 21 - Morgan Rosenblatt (CDG)
Forwards: 9 - Idai Uster (BNJ), 17 - Basilica Coxeter, 22 - John Fletcher (EUR)
Out on Loan: 26 - Aventurine Kolar

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League Finish: 3rd
Cup Run: Quarterfinals
Stadium: The Iron Hill (49,500)
Nickname: the Rage
Captain: Victoria Maersk
Top Scorers: Bestatter (24), Mrdja (19), Fleetwood (7)
Predicted Starting XI: (4-3-3) 1 - Hartnett (24); 2 - Schrader (21), 18 - Anderson (30), 5 - Toivonen (28), 37 - Lind (19); 7 - Marshall (25), 6 - Maersk (32, c), 14 - Fleetwood (28); 10 - Mrdja (25), 21 - Bestatter (27), 16 - Remsza (24)
In: Tzeitel Remsza (Iron City, 6m), Valletta Keepsake (Cranequin Wanderers, 5m)
Promoted: Radeka Lind (LB, 19)
Out: Alysia Moyer (Paulinthal FC, 4m), Nike Rouphos (Giants, 2m)

TROPHY CABINET
First Division title (50)
NFA Cup (75)
Campionato Esportivano di Campeones (62)

RECENT HISTORY
78: Premier - 3rd - 85 pts - CL
77: Premier - 8th - 74 pts
76: Premier - 10th - 66 pts
75: Premier - 13th - 60 pts - CWC
74: Premier - 9th - 68 pts

BACKGROUND
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.

OVERVIEW
Chaos proved the Rage's opportunity. While not the flashiest up front they've been in their history, strict discipline married to a sharp technical edge and everyone just knowing what they were doing somehow took the Rage into the top four, where they didn't leave all season. Understandably, Cralt-Nirlo Fox has seen little reason for tearing up and starting over, though there's still iterations to be made; Remsza represents a young, hungry upgrade down the right wing, while Keepsake should push for regular minutes or at least ease the burden on Syrene Fleetwood. Oh, yeah, and Radeka Lind officially gets listed on the senior team. Lind, who made 38 Premiership starts last season, while wearing the number 46. Out go Moyer, serviceable but ultimately not going to carve regular starts for herself, and Nike Rouphos, an aging player reliant on pace and crippled by injury last season, out for a last glorious charge in Hebitaka.

A large part of their unexpected success came from the unexpected solidity of their defence, one that refused to be overly compromised by their avant-garde fullbacks. This is due, in large part, to the discovery of Hartnett, a vivacious sweeper-keeper with brilliant distribution and acrobatic shot-stopping, the international defensive partnership of Toivonen and Anderson, and the additional shield of beloved captain Maersk, able to drop in where required or start attacks where preferred. Marshall provides the link to attack, Fleetwood so often provides the final ball, a pure playmaker not indulged by the club, one willing to muck in and help press and keep the shape. Up front Jonte Bestatter's making a decent case for being the best free agent in the league's history, but arguably even more important was the winger playing off his right, the relentless Traudl Mrdja who plays with a permanent chip on her shoulder and an unerring eye for goal. Another identical success might prove beyond the Rage, but make no mistake; the foundations are solid.

PREDICTION - 8th.
Manager: Cralt-Nirlo Fox (QUS)
Goalkeepers: 1 - Fiona Hartnett, 20 - Gaetan Riggs, 30 - Auberine Peridot
Defenders: 2 - Ophelia Schrader, 5 - Liam Toivonen (MRC), 13 - Ilayda Cannon, 17 - Melosa Salek (EFL), 18 - Cierra Anderson (CMT), 19 - Dimitri Skondreas, 22 - Ari Maurer, 37 - Radeka Lind
Midfielders: 4 - Constance Hooper, 6 - Victoria Maersk (SVJ, c), 7 - Danica Marshall, 8 - Jarobi Konse (COS), 14 - Syrene Fleetwood, 15 - Valletta Keepsake, 24 - Marek Fifield
Forwards: 9 - Danica Heward, 10 - Traudl Mrdja, 11 - Salvia Farrier, 12 - Anezka Rennet, 16 - Tzeitel Remsza, 21 - Jonte Bestatter (SCT), 23 - Ramona Porter
WCC Grand Slam champion.
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Postby Nephara » Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:08 pm

First Division Preview

1. Creed United
Last Season: 20th (Premier)
Home Colours: Burgundy / white / burgundy
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Gardengate (23,000)
Nickname: the Oathmen
Manager: Goran Verbeck (50)
(4-4-2) 20 - Aidan Hartigan (33, BRE); 2 - Illyria Landrith (22), 19 - Kund Borbely (29, PAS), 6 - Ashrata Barkaan (24, SRS), 3 - Tanya Islinger (24); 12 - Sander Riven (26), 4 - Nissa Mason (28), 8 - Alyss Driver (31), 11 - Ashara Szuban (23); 9 - Scott Burgess (28, ETN), 10 - Aquila Kovac (27, PFA)
Notable Reserves: 18 - GK - Sarah Bentine (25); 5 - CB - Tevye Barker (21), 7 - RM - Femmefatale Rivers (21), 14 - ST - Vasya Reisinger (20), 16 - LM - Paige Leslight (21), 17 - CM - Richter Moranis (25), 18 - LB - Laviska Canticle (21), 22 - CB - August Longstreet (26), 23 - ST - Oskar Hart (21)

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

SUMMARY Relegation was a disappointing fate for the ambitious Oathmen, whose squad was on paper good enough to survive. Fortunately, while the expected departures - headlined by defender Baste, the striker Martin and primary playmaker Barbarouses - have undoubtedly hurt the club. Goran Verbeck's an interesting choice of new manager, someone who under normal circumstances would have guided a poor Greygate side to easy safety, playing a similarly muscular, athletic, disciplined style as is the norm in Nephara's furthest northwest city. While the intelligent shadow striker Kovac should masterfully complement the lethal Burgess up front, Ashrata Barkaan's backed herself not to be in the shadow of countrywoman Baste, and former Brenecia international Aidan Hartigan's probably the best goalkeeper in the league. Veteran midfielder Alyss Driver is another shrewd signing, one who gives the spine a rock-solid feel. Creed must go in as favourites.

2. Chatswood
Last Season: 3rd
Home Colours: Sky blue / navy / sky blue
Away Colours: White / sky blue / white
Stadium: Westcroft (28,000)
Nickname: the Woodsmen
Manager: Lyn Havelock (55)
(4-4-2) 1 - Nova Williams (32, CMT); 17 - Eloise Markus (23), 5 - Ozolx-Alfan Ixi (33, QUS), 6 - Christian Imhoff (27), 3 - Serena Lamontagne (22, SVG); 7 - Gedeon Volz (25), 15 - Kolinda Bischoff (28), 21 - Chloe Vishca (26), 11 - Alex Woodrow (30, ETN); 9 - Kanerva Herron (26), 13 - Victoria Remeikis (24)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Matt Sallow (35), 25 - GK - Micaiah Parrish (22); 4 - DM - Brandon Rivan (34), 8 - CM - Heiko Vollath (24), 10 - AM - Bethany Madine (33), 14 - ST - Vanessa Mulder (21), 16 - LW - Laura Rustu (24), 22 - LB - Artem Pariah (22), 23 - ST - Labinot Ruscoe (25)

BACKGROUND 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. Their main rivals are AFC Treason, but the 'minor Treason derby' against Morningstar has been a fiery affair of late. 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.

OVERVIEW Expected by most to come first, Lyn Havelock was not quite able to wrestle the league into submission in her first season. But third would have been enough under normal circumstances, and would make a playoff this time around. Their main issue is the flood of teams like Creed and the Harriers who add to the competition - but their investment might have kept them ahead of the pack, with the bright prospect of Lamontagne anchoring the left flank and Victoria Remeikis a serious goal threat that can play off the burly Herron. Chatswood look a more potent, punchy attacking threat this season, but have not by any means surrendered their trademark brutalist edge.

3. Chenoworth Harriers
Last Season: 23rd (Premier)
Home Colours: Red / red / white
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: The Keel (35,000)
Nickname: the Harriers
Manager: Lienke Vesper (42)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Claire Libuda (26); 26 - Igrene Sonnen (23), 5 - Victoria Carroll (34), 6 - Batsheva Letang (26), 3 - Gwen Kite (28); 21 - Xara Seidler (25), 8 - Olwen North (25); 23 - Riviera Sanders (23), 11 - Donato Girardi (25, DEL), 13 - Dimitra Exarchopolous (32); 10 - Ibolya Makai (29, PAS)
Notable Reserves: 18 - GK - Kiva Sirleaf (33, COS), 20 - GK - Dimitar Franzen (24); 4 - CM - Dario Raskin (22), 7 - RW - Roxana Coffey (33), 15 - ST - Marius Cervenka (23), 18 - LB - Palla Koenen (21), 19 - CB - Claretta Lawlor (22), 22 - CB - Orithyia Demetriou (24)

BACKGROUND 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.

SUMMARY Did Vesper and Vyntra set up expectations too high, too soon? The Harriers, despite their impressive billing, played like a side that had very little top-flight experience and were thoroughly found out at Premiership level. Nevertheless, the World champions (as players...) remain in situ, albeit by a thread. Time may not be on their side - Roxana Coffey is not going to have the impact at 33 she did at 31 - but keeping ahold of Claire Libuda, very much against the goalkeeper's wishes, is kind of like a signing. The Harriers have some room to grow, but as it stands they're well-equipped to play steady, effective passing football built around a sturdy double pivot.

4. Crisisbless United
Last Season: 22nd (Premier)
Home Colours: Black-chequered red / black / red
Away Colours: Red-chequered white / red / white
Stadium: The Chessboard (38,000)
Nickname: the Chequers, the Chessmen
Manager: Cyrus Kroger (46)
(4-2-4-0) 1 - Rina Lazareva (27, HIN); 2 - Karius Mosin (24), 22 - Patrik Alphonse (26), 6 - Esther Vannatter (33), 3 - Fafnir Collins (23); 5 - Ewout Broon (32, COS), 19 - Tamara Ulmer (22); 10 - Annlaug Larsen (28, SCT), 7 - Andressa Stand (26), 13 - Ava Rose Donaldson (29, SCT), 21 - Martine Vossler (20)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Brandon Connell (34); 4 - CB - Davica Hull (23), 11 - ST - Riverina Bray (23), 15 - CM/AM - Beatrice Stubbs (31), 17 - RB - June Orenthal (21), 20 - CM - Jade Rothbard (24), 23 - RW - Minerva Swanmore (23), 28 - ST - Levi Marriott (20)

BACKGROUND 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 Nepharan 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.

SUMMARY Crisisbless United really were Tim Maitfield's team. Without him, they imploded, going through Oehman before finally settling on Cyrus Kroger, who emerged with a fair amount of credit but was, for the second time in as many seasons, unable to halt a decline that set in before he arrived. He remains manager, not without controversy, and aims to instill a strikerless 4-2-4 in play - selling top scorer Brielle Strebinger is a move akin to cutting the lifeboats from the pleasure barge. They live or die on whether this works. Ava Rose Donaldson is a shrewd ... let's just say forward, someone with the wits to glue it together, while former international defender Esther Vannatter is something of a coup at the back. But with the contracted nature of the league, a promotion push is unlikely, on the balance of things.

5. Brookford Otters
Last Season: 2nd
Home Colours: Navy with orange sash / navy / white
Away Colours: Pink with navy sash / navy / pink
Manager: Rebecca Kelsey (48)
Stadium: The Rock (20,000)
Nickname: the Otters
(4-3-3) 1 - Damir Wright (26); 2 - Eloise Kielseng (32), 5 - Joseph Cameron (34, ASU, vc), 21 - Kurtis Holden (28), 3 - Pavel Cicak (28, DEL); 8 - Scout Morwen (31, BRE), 4 - Luthienne Koetter (26), 11 - Isobel Foster (31); 7 - Phillippa Asprotamidis (27), 9 - Aurora Jewel (31, DRK), 10 - Annika Cashin (25)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Cedric Pardons (34), 25 - GK - Olivia Cheney (21); 6 - CB - Rafi Enfield (34, c), 13 - CM - Anja Spinnett (34), 14 - CB - Liam Cullis (25), 16 - ST - Jhanna Bartre (24), 17 - RB - Gareth Hail (23), 18 - LW - Andrine Samsa (23), 19 - LB - Hywel Wodework (32), 22 - ST - Helmina Turner (25), 23 - CM - Russ Shallows (22)

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.

OVERVIEW That was Brookford's chance. It's hard to see them going one better. Linoan Waters, the best player in the division, left for Banija to try and force her way back into national team contention, though the Otters were fortunate to hang onto Annika Cashin, linked at one point with Vermillion Rage and certainly of top-flight quality. The two wingers were the heart and soul of the team last time around, and an extra year in the legs of their aging midfielders won't help them, let alone a back line undeniably improved but not exactly freshened up by Eloise Kielseng, a former Cormorant who represents something of a coup. Aspropotamidis will have to hit the ground running if the Otters are to patch over the issues in an exhilarating but essentially patchwork squad.

6. Goodfeather FC
Last Season: 4th
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / green / white
Stadium: Steelchurch (32,500)
Nickname: the Quakers
Manager: Jessica Loque (59)
(4-3-1-2) 12 - Leyland Brincat (27); 2 - Dala Etoka (24, SRS), 5 - Zoltan Moser (29), 6 - Leo Emmerich (23), 3 - Lyfaia Marav (28, SRS); 7 - Yente Shulthis (24), 19 - Laura Belfry (34), CM - Andrea Kurz (30); 11 - Kathil Mizumaru (27, HIN); 9 - Dashaun Howard (21, DEL), 10 - Tremeka Godwin (28, APX)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Anya Beraht (35); 15 - ST - Angela Braugher (34), 17 - RB - Rain Methven (23), 22 - CB - Kalia Tolsii (37, MRN)

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.

OVERVIEW Goodfeather were exceptional last season... but not quite good enough. With the tired 'under normal circumstances' condition, yeah, they'd have earned a playoff. Most remarkably, Jessica Loque managed to resurrect Laura Belfry's career, putting the veteran holding midfielder at the heart of a flowing midfield unit - that's now without Cordelia Lorzer, a star of yesteryear, but ably replaced by seasoned veteran Andrea Kurz. But the most painful departure, the 35 goals of Bastet North, have been replaced by a free... but what a free! Dashaun Howard might not have quite been ready for the top of the Vanorian league, but his blinding pace and keen eye for goal should mean he clicks into place here. Still, it does appear the Quakers might well be crowded out of the picture... but they'll have fun in the process, probably.

7. Diamondqueen
Last Season: 21st (Premier)
Home Colours: White / blue / white
Away Colours: Green / white / green
Stadium: The New Overlook (17,500)
Nickname: the Diamonds
Manager: Arden Kolar (46)
(4-3-1-2) 12 - Kay Szarbach (31); 16 - Dante Pfeiffer (27), 5 - Dzeneta Harker (25), 6 - Jessica Everard (27), 3 - Jarret Rowles (29, CMT); 7 - Marduk Schmetzer (25), 19 - Marcia Lapwing (33), 21 - Flora Brown (19, EUR); 10 - Max Rusnak (26); 23 - Bronwyn Forrest (30), 11 - Ursa Kinbois (26)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Manuel Keller (28), 20 - GK - Rodulf Solaun (21); 4 - DM - Gareth Sorrell (23), 9 - ST - Nikita Malvick (20), 13 - CB - Matthis Ainsworth (29), 14 - CM - Adnan Broad (22), 17 - ST - Uther Caskey (23),18 - CB - Markus Gojak (22), 22 - LB - Darren Charnett (21)

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

SUMMARY Squeezed out of the league, where 21st would ordinarily be enough for a playoff place, the Diamonds suffered the fate of all relegated sides with a few standout players, losing in Najzar, Bowman and Isring the key strands of their midfield and attack. Their defence remains intact but, not to put too fine a point on it, there was a reason there wasn't a feeding frenzy for a back line that shipped 92 goals. With their main signing being a cautious, capable loanee in Brown, it's safe to say the Diamonds see this as a development and consolidation season, with U23s manager Arden Kolar stepping up to hopefully bring the best out of a small, fragile but deft squad following Koeller's resignation.

8. Stahlburg Rovers
Last Season: 24th (Premier)
Home Colours: Orange and black hoops / black / orange
Away Colours: All white with orange trim
Stadium: Griffindon (36,000)
Nickname: the Rovers
Manager: Arland Hawes (47)
(4-4-2) 1 - Aurre Laurnagaray (29, ASG); 17 - Else Svennsdottir (28, GRF), 5 - Kresp-Cinic Jan (33, QUS), 13 - Erik Fenton (27), 18 - Kyriakos Mesorounis (25); 23 - Danielle Kunz (27), 20 - Rook Middleton (21, QUE), 10 - Monika Talay (29, ISK), 14 - Jelena Romanov (28, SVJ); 15 - Huang Shedong (26, YZH), 21 - Vanna Pearce (27)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Raul Kellond (23); 8 - CM - Page Rookworth (22), 9 - ST - Harriet Michail (35), 16 - ST - Dimitar Guzan (22), 19 - CB - Bors Warwick (22), 24 - ST - Martyn Barrett (20), 36 - CM - Meliza Audrey (19)

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.

SUMMARY As everyone expected, the Rovers flew too close to the sun, proving unable to keep up with the quality of the Premiership and getting glued to the bottom of the league. Rather harshly, commentators have used their yo-yo status as a means to argue for shrinking the league... but you can see where they're coming from. Reinhard Drake, blameless, called it quits - Hawes, Stahlburg City's (!!!!) assistant manager, takes over. So, unsurprisingly, the fans are less than elated with him already, but the board insist he was the best man for the job. It makes some degree of sense, as undoubted talents like Rook Middleton - a 21-year old who plays like he's 34 - deserve polish, and while top scorer Dulcina Radcliffe may have gone, Vanna Pearce from Starling may end up being a side-grade. Keep an eye out for the mercurial Jelena Romanov, as well. On the whole, there's enough to be hopeful for... but just keep expectations moderate.

9. Vermillion Wanderers
Last Season: 9th
Home Colours: Green / green / yellow
Away Colours: Yellow / green / green
Stadium: New Falstaff (35,000)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Jakob Mortimer (49)
(4-3-3) 1 - Esther Press (25); 20 - Anna Shepherd (26), 5 - Tiffany Moss (34, CBP), 18 - Claudia Bohr (31), 3 - Madonna Parissis (27); 4 - Asher Vedder (26), 23 - Sophara Hayes (22), 10 - Serra Maier (25); 23 - Tamara Fowler (29, BRE), 15 - Isabelle Kruger (30, STL), 11 - Declan Wharton (26, ETN)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Stefan Heidenreich (34), 25 - GK - Bertha Reproach (23); 14 - CM - Lucius Prohaska (21), 16 - ST - Holly Keynes (22), 19 - LB - Bohemund Karling (33)

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.

OVERVIEW Jakob Mortimer is a man under pressure. His side aren't pretty to watch, they haven't been successful, and they've probably missed their shot at getting their foot in the Zenith door. And this time, he can't claim the board haven't backed him - Tamara Fowler is slumming it here from Kingsgrove, and immediately looks the best in her position in the league on paper, someone who can put a cross anywhere it needs to go and should link up well with the industrious forward Kruger, who also cut her teeth in the A-League. But the Wanderers remain the same - strong at the back, strong up front, weak in between and almost no depth. Injuries crippled them last season, Mortimer's defenders will say, and they have a point.

10. Raven River
Last Season: 8th
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: Michi Leonard (39)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Selina Carver (26); 17 - Steed Beister (25), 5 - Aurelian Niehaus (25), 18 - Chris Lang (29, DEL), 3 - Kvenna Melander (24); 13 - Roxi Pryce (25), 4 - Priscilla Avery (22), 11 - Asger Moonshine (26); 8 - Esteve Soler (25, HIN); 10 - Lauren Beridze (29, SCT), 9 - Asli Crowe (24)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Karolas Stoll (25); 2 - RB - Chuy Villaverde (30, FFD), 13 - DM - Prisma Zalzaria (34, COS), 22 - ST - Iris Miles (24)

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.

OVERVIEW Eoin Killanen was a brilliant footballer, approaching world-class. He was an intelligent man with a refined understanding of the game and an understated love for strategy. He was absolute piss as a manager. Now that River have squandered the past few years kow-towing to an egomaniac, they're now throwing their weight behind Michi Leonard, the youngest manager in the pyramid, who has set herself about rejuvenating the midfield. It's got a young, fresh look to it now, and players like Zahra, Crowe and new signing Sinodinos will find their way to the Premiership... with or without River.

11. Corvette Maulers
Last Season: 6th
Home Colours: Yellow and black stripes / black / yellow
Away Colours: Green / green / white
Stadium: The Bullrush (30,000)
Nickname: the Maulers
Manager: Stefan Crowton (58)
(4-3-3) 1 - Emilien Marisnick (25); 2 - Amalia Florenzi (26, SVG), 5 - Elsa Durant (33), 22 - Jacqueline Mastiff (25), 6 - Kang Enlai (25, YZH); 8 - Auburn Daescher (22), 4 - Mari Brighton (24), 10 - Darren Halfhill (33); 22 - Julia Roberts (24), 9 - Tania Brummer (25), 13 - Jennifer Betancourt (27, QCY)
Notable Reserves: 7 - RW - Brady Innes (24), 11 - CM - Matilda Hamilton (31), 18 - CB - Cat Baxton (23), 19 - RB - Lena Auteberry (32, FPT), 21 - AM - Hawker Banks (22)

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.

OVERVIEW The Maulers surprised everyone by clawing their way to 6th; Stefan Crowton was arguably unlucky not to get Manager of the Year billing. A physical and disciplined team whose pre-season fitness drills are the stuff of legend, it will be interesting to see if their advanced fitness won't matter as much in a shorter season, or will allow them to run and press even harder. Kang and Roberts slide into the team, but most importantly, they've kept ahold of their most prized asset, the driving runner Daescher.

12. North Sabrefell
Last Season: 7th
Home Colours: White / black / white
Away Colours: Blue / white / blue
Stadium: Frangipani Court (16,000)
Nickname: the Bohemians
Manager: Lukas Sparr (42)
(4-4-2) 1 - Rena Perch (26); 17 - Diadora Reeve (24), 5 - Gabriel Sesay (32), 19 - Natalia Levack (24), 3 - Thea Wolff (25, HIN); 7 - Kaisa Gyldenstroem (20, SVJ), 23 - Zoroaster Keynes (21), 8 - Lothar Zander (29), 11 - Perilous Whiteside (28); 9 - Holden Beckwith (29), 21 - Mytti Numenen (25, HIN)
Notable Reserves: 20 - GK - Georgia Hoffman (27); 2 - RB - Cecille Petrovic (32, EFL), 4 - DM - Brandon Cordwood (31), 15 - ST - Reinhard Geist (31), 22 - LB - Ondrej Polacek (33, PAS), 25 - ST - Markus Sturdevant (22)

BACKGROUND 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. They're rivals with nearby, more affluent Belgrave.

SUMMARY The Bohemians were legitimately in an unexpected but welcome promotion push last season, with Lukas Sparr's side setting the bar for confident, progressive passing play. While they didn't trouble the scoresheet quite as often as their midfield play warranted,
Kaisa Gyldenstroem, reigning U21 player of the year, lived up to the hype with a series of dazzling, if mercurial performances, though she seemed to grow somewhat jaded by the end of the 46-game marathon; perhaps the restructure will suit her. Perilous Whiteside returns from a stint abroad to take the left wing, but otherwise the Bohemians will look to do the same thing, just better, a young squad benefiting from another year.

13. Cranequin Wanderers
Last Season: 12th
Home Colours: Green / white / red
Away Colours: Red / red / white
Stadium: Ebony Lane (48,000)
Nickname: the Wanderers
Manager: Jerrell Drake (46, COS)
(3-5-2) 1 - Shanna Cotton (26); 13 - Lyn Musgrave (27), 4 - Filip Barker (26, SNL), 5 - Eliza Stoeva (32, STL); 6 - Ilya Netrayev (23, SVJ), 11 - Mikael Tanner (23), 16 - Bastia Swanson (24), 21 - Shona Butcher (32, c), 18 - Rhoda Treeswallow (27, BSE); 7 - Imrishka Grahn (32, FLK), 10 - Karolin Forde (25)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Chara Mylonas (34), 20 - GK - Sandra Thorgan (22); 2 - CB - Gabriel Traustram (35), 8 - CM - Alexis Sutter (21), 9 - ST - Nissa Viere (35, MRN), 16 - ST - Dorotea Baro (24), 17 - RWB - Ashley Bishop (25), 19 - CB - Paul Trebalka (22), 22 - CB - Christian Bryant (22)

BACKGROUND 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 three 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. At six relegations, have set the record for the worst Premiership side.

OVERVIEW The Wanderers weren't actually that close to the extended drop - nine points clear, with a favourable goal difference - but it was a far less than stellar season for Jerrell Drake's freshly-relegated side. Danira Plibersek's final season before retirement was cruelled by injury, making just 27 appearances, and now she's gone. But the breakout star in her absence, Valletta Keepsake... is also gone. So here's Mikael Tanner from Ballardine, one supposes. Yeah, suffice to say the Wanderers look... somewhat blunt, unless Karolin Forde can find the genuinely ruthless edge to add to her admirably intelligent runs. Still, they're more than solid at the back and marshalled by a still-young manager with, last season aside, a track record of success.

14. Mantlegrove
Last Season: 5th
Home Colours: Green / white / green
Away Colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Cygnet Street (12,000)
Nickname: the Dryads
Manager: Constantine Beckett (47)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Arneth Kolaghan (28, SRS); 17 - Cameron Basalaj (26), 18 - Capella Everton (23), 21 - Angelyna Rinehart (27), 22 - Arran Marr (28); 8 - Amerill Londe (29, CMT), 3 - Marisa Ohashima (27, HIN), 10 - Yolanda Sparrow (30); 13 - Alexandra Lazarou (33); 9 - Lothar Cash (25), 20 - Condor Madrid (25, USD)
Notable Reserves: 23 - CM - Chelsi Byron (23)

BACKGROUND A founder club of the Conference, 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.

OVERVIEW A hugely impressive debut season from Constantine Beckett saw the Dryads continue to push above their weight, dragging themselves to 5th. The top flight was well and truly watching by now, and recognising that Kikumi Kondou was the vibrant heart of the attack, she was snapped up by Belgrave. That's.... bad, as the Dryads have been unable to replace her. But the platform she worked from remained, disciplined, bizarrely clean defensive play, confident short passing and their remaining talisman, Alexandra Lazarou, a winger by trade finding a true second wind as an attacking midfielder. They should at the very least stay up... in order to lose, most likely, yet another crucial player before next season.

15. Cypher Town
Last Season: 11th
Home Colours: All blue, red trim
Away Colours: All red, white trim
Stadium: Velvet Meadow (28,000)
Nickname: the Eagles
Manager: Dan Keel (52)
(4-1-4-1) 20 - Anna Rochester (26); 2 - Arminia Margate (26), 19 - Canas Meulenstein (25), 13 - Meghan Foerster (29), 3 - Jacqui Merritt (25); 6 - Constance Best (30); 7 - Heidi Ishtar (28, CMT), 21 - Azrael Whyte (24), 12 - Lukas Antelmi (33), 11 - Kaaren Lothar (22, VAL); 17 - Raymond Carels (23, NAC)
Notable Reserves: 1 - GK - Ruo Xiaolan (36, YZH); 4 - DM - Yuri Ghislaine (24), 8 - DM - Caspar Madine (33), 9 - ST - Louise Ruiter (24), 10 - AM - Alessa Marconi (34), 18 - RB - Paul Zweig (22), 32 - CB - Chelsi Ponder (19)

BACKGROUND A large town situated on the Westermark - 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 Westermark, 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 Westmarker 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.

OVERVIEW For a second straight season, the Eagles rode a very strong start to a solid midtable finish, a penchant for tight results dragging them ten points clear of danger. Dan Keel is back to his 'steady, overachieving hand at the tiller' ways, it seems. There's been something of a midfield reshuffle, the departure of Kynda-Sevet allowing the hugely-talented Kaaren Lothar to finally take centre stage, while veterans Best and Antelmi bolster the side and Margate slips into the back line. But it's hard to see things changing too much; Cypher remain a technical side with a cutting edge, likely to maintain their approximate midtable status in the reshuffle.

16. Barossia United
Last Season: 10th
Home Colours: Terracotta / terracotta / white
Away colours: White / black / white
Stadium: Woden Avenue (28,000)
Nickname: the Shrikes
Manager: Dorian Brindle (62)
(4-2-3-1) 1 - Maela Ran (25, CMT); 2 - Lytitia Carpenter (24), 5 - Ida Roesling (25), 6 - Sigurd Cooke (24), 3 - Adze Beckerman (29); 23 - Amanda Bader (25), 8 - Augustin Dirac (25, SVG); 7 - Wrenn Killmorgen (25, SCT), 11 - Lysander Ciman (26), 16 - Kieron Serduchka (27); 9 - Kylene Rotariu (25)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Culak-Pilta Rax (34, QUS); 10 - ST - Ulrike Jensen (33)

BACKGROUND Formerly named Rhagant, Barossia United's catchment now counts the confluence of large towns that ultimately coalesced into the city of Covenant. A wild sprawl, layer upon layer in an oddly heartbreaking ambition, Covenant is an apt backdrop for the chaotic club it calls its own. United have a proud history, an inaugural Premiership side, but they fell long and hard into crushing disrepair before their recent renaissance. They've always played a hard-nosed, direct brand of football.

OVERVIEW Barossia needed to step it up, and managed to; Dorian Brindle's side managed to eke out just enough goals up front and kept it vacuum-sealed at the back, the excellence of their defensive line and the agility of Maela Ran, who has conclusively proven wrong any doubters. Dirac adds bite to the midfield but the star signing is Kylene Rotariu, someone who can boast Jensen's finishing touch and intelligent hold-up play while also being five inches taller and in her playing prime. A disciplined side that like to play it safe on the ball, United are in good stead to survive, but do still face a fight.

17. Armstrong
Last Season: 14th
Home Colours: All navy with cyan/white trim
Away Colours: Yellow / navy / yellow
Stadium: Swolefens (25,000)
Nickname: the Paladins
Manager: Gratia Barker (47)
(4-4-2) 1 - Jarkko Virtanen (33, SVJ); 23 - Kodiak Grant (31), 5 - Markus Diallo (26), 19 - Laurin Asbjornsson (27, GRF), 18 - Lynda Suttock (27); 7 - Emily Kohr (28, APX), 4 - Alcuin Sharp (34), 8 - Lucina Xavier (25), 11 - Helena Loxton (33); 9 - Ashleigh Sweeney (23, TKT), 16 - Ivana Henderson (34)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Riga Demetry (22); 2 - RB - Maarten Hope (31, EFL), 3 - LB - Sander Lax (21), 6 - CM - Heather Curate (30), 10 - ST - Brogan Poppey (33, COS), 13 - ST - Branko Kurz (31)

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 Nepharan tradition.

OVERVIEW Last season's mediocrity almost got Armstrong relegated. After largely punching above the Paladins' weight during her tenure, Gratia Barker struggled to overturn a general malaise within the squad, one that it's doubtful has been much helped with the 'fresh' blood of, uh, two 30+ defensive players in Grant and Sharp, a goalkeeper in Demetry who might be the future and, in Ashleigh Sweeney, someone stepping into the giant, terrifying shoes of the giant, terrifying Gareth Pawnbroker. They could be in genuine trouble this season, and may hope to find a dimension beyond muscular defence - exemplified by the brutish Asbjornsson - and direct attacking play.

18. AFC Serpentine
Last Season: 13th
Home Colours: Jade / navy / jade
Away Colours: Navy / navy / white
Stadium: Aventurine Street (20,000)
Nickname: the Dragons
Manager: Kurtis Rakeruth (46)
(4-4-2) 1 - Gerrard Tell (23); 2 - Shanna Oakes (24), 5 - Ignatz Bull (29), 6 - Corren Toure (27), 3 - Blaithin Kendrick (27, SCT); 23 - Oriane Marc (25, CMT), 4 - Janus Tanzer (23), 8 - Sven Gillard (25), 13 - Maddox Rhine (23); 9 - Uther Johnson (24), 21 - Kitti Menander (25)
Notable Reserves: 12 - GK - Markus Rose (30); 10 - ST - Alyssa Greening (30), 11 - LM - Vivienne Morgan (32)

BACKGROUND One of the two big Westermark 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. Westmarker neighbours Cypher Town are their traditional rivals.

OVERVIEW Despite winning 17 games, the Dragons left it until the last day of the season to secure their survival. Such was the way of the chaotic season. They've bolstered their resources cautiously, only snapping up Uther Johnson from Leichhardt for 2.5 million; fortunately, last season's lower-league pickups Gillard and Menander were among their best players and certainly helped keep them up. They're definitely looking over their shoulders these days rather than content to sit in midtable, but that won't stop them playing fast, aggressive, expansive football based around a young core.

19. Morningstar
Last Season: 2nd (2Div)
Home Colours: Black / black / pink
Away colours: Yellow / black / yellow
Stadium: Woden Avenue (28,000)
Nickname: the Warriors, Stars
Manager: Prisca Stenet (43)
(4-4-2) 1 - Catra Paderborn (25); 17 - Karen Wiseford (28), 18 - Damon Pearce (29, FVA), 6 - Sherry Brosnan (25, CYI), 22 - Valeria Hammond (30); 15 - Leila Chaseling (26), 14 - Coridan Ryder (31), 8 - Kitti Jadeane (22), 11 - Cassandra Preston (26, GRU); 9 - Roxanna Strong (30), 21 - Deborah Stokes (34)
Notable Reserves: 2 - RB - Ward Cullen (26), 3 - LB - Beck Gannon (25), 5 - CB - Karl Linstead (34), 10 - ST - Sandro Quintal (35, AUD), 23 - CM - Florian Banneret (20)

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.

OVERVIEW Mercurial Stars found their way back up in the end, empowered by the goal threat of Quintal and the refusal to concede goals. Prisca Stenet's brought back what used to be great about the club - the technical edge to hurt teams with a minimum of wasted chances, and cynical brutality to prevent anyone laying a glove on them. Nobody will like playing Stars this season, but the side has dealt with so much upheaval over the years that there may still be a lack of chemistry. Expect new signing and top earner Deborah Stokes to fill her boots, however - not for nothing was the former North Laithland and Cornellians striker once on the Cormorants' radar.

20. Cranequin City
Last Season: Champions (2Div)
Home Colours: All terracotta, gold trim
Away Colours: All sky blue, black trim
Stadium: Claringstone (26,000)
Nickname: the Terracotta Army
Manager: Corinne Mersiades (39)
(4-3-1-2) 1 - Fyona Matthews (33); 2 - Ulysses Athanasakis (27), 5 - Adonis Satotxe (33, COS), 6 - Georgia Pryce (24), 3 - Joanna Rodrigues (26, GRU); 15 - Louise Tsolakis (26), 4 - Altena Monroe (26), 22 - Amelia Ibsdóttir (23, GRF); 8 - Valerie Webber (32); 9 - Justina Donau (31), 21 - Heron Paara (28, MRN)
Notable Reserves: 14 - CB - Thucydides Soros (27)

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.

OVERVIEW The Teracotta Army surprised many by taking the league by storm, despite lacking a particularly intimidating front line or clear source of goals. That... may be more of an issue this time around. Of course they've done a lot to sharpen the side's teeth - Donau is an experienced and clinical striker, Webber something of a wild card but boasting pedigree - but it's still clear they'll be relying on their back line to tamp down threats, with the man-eater Satotxe striking terror into the hearts of men.


Second Division

1. Chardonnay Rangers
Colours
Teal and white
Nickname the Rangers
Manager Esther Mallory (53)
Key Players Rufus Holland (GK, 25), Jhoira Kambol (RB, 24, SRS), Remus Antrim (CB, 32), Orion Pryor (CB, 25), Barth Guzman (CB, 23), Perparim Vestager (LB, 26), Miroslav Lodge (RM, 26), Alessa Bernat (CM, 30), Hans Kattis (CM, 24), Anders Wallcroft (CM, 22), Andreas Lindwurm (LM, 27), Justice Pearce (ST, 32, EFL), Cynthia Rayne (ST, 29, DOG)
Summary The standout favourites; the Rangers still look like a 1Div side and would've been nowhere near the drop under regular circumstances. Most of their best remain at the club, and playes like Antrim, Bernat, Lindwurm and Rayne are just leagues above 2Div standard.

2. AFC Rochford
Colours
Blue and black
Nickname the Owls
Manager Henna Morgan (45)
Key Players Cordrut Malanta (GK, 26, SRS), Cheney Auburn (RB, 34), Baldwyn Evans (RB, 24), Baral Mailar (CB, 30, SRS), Viktor Raleigh (CB, 25), Jenni Radic (LB, 23, SCT), Diana Kaskanis (RM, 29), Franziska Corren (CM, 32), Scylla Perish (CM, 24), Ares Finnan (CM, 22), Marita Crozier (LM, 24), Grey Meisler (ST, 33), Lasse Scharnberg (ST, 32), Nyna Kane (ST, 23)
Summary Rochford, as a club, just can't seem to catch a break. Henna Morgan comes in with an excellent record from Sherries thus far; you can't reasonably count a relegation last season as a demerit. She'll inherit a side with a combination of defensive grit and genuinely promising youth that is a mixture she's used to. Former Athletic forward Grey Meisler looks a deeply intriguing signing up front.

3. Corinthians No Longer
Colours
Black and yellow
Nickname CNL
Manager Anders Barrett (52)
Key Players Gareth Hartmuth (GK, 35), Adrian Feruga (RB, 27), Sumeria Commons (RB, 20), Daniel Axweald (CB, 34), Garrick Fraser (CB, 32), Lazarus Pepper (CB, 31), Timoth Mariner (DM, 27), Clovis Klein (CM, 27), Xavier Barron (CM, 25), Erinys Hart (RW, 32), Anibal Troche (ST, 27, TEQ), Drea Bouman (LW, 25, CYI)
Summary Stacked on paper, but so are so many of these teams. The fact is, we don't really know what the level of the current division is. Former Crisisbless goalkeeper Gerhard Hartmuth is a shrewd acquisition, while Troche and Bouman should provide the goals. It's impossible not to see them as among the favourites.

4. Peregrine
Colours
Green and white
Nickname the Falconers
Manager Jess Hearn (48)
Key Players Artemis Tsipras (GK, 25), Brindle Taukroger (RB, 32), Providence Mensah (CB, 34), Avram Beyard (CB, 33), Audrey Curran (CB, 21), Avis Montagne (LB, 28, CMT), Loftus Fitford (CM, 26), Kirsten Howlett (RW, 32), Memphis Commons (AM, 27, CYI), Felix Luthier (LW, 24), Sylvia Janik (ST, 34, GLX), Dauntless Carrick (ST, 22)
Summary The Falconers look the strongest of the eight incumbent 2Div sides. Carrick notched a tally of 28 goals last season and look to be going from strength to strength, scoring seven in pre-season against some hapless state league team, while international Commons and top-flight veteran Howlett slip seamlessly into the attacking midfield, though the departure of Roberts will sting. Still, for the first time in her managerial career Jess Hearn appears to be enjoying herself.

5. Greygate
Colours
Grey and red
Nickname the Wardens
Manager Hecubah Statkis (42)
Key Players Erin Naylor (GK, 33), Marcela Harnik (RB, 26), Andrey Mincham (CB, 32), Andrea Mavrias (CB, 25), Faye Ruprecht (LB, 26), Gareth Temple (CM, 34), Sara Brett (CM, 24), Merric Cooper (RW, 26), Bryce Leicester (AM, 29), Jadzia Starmer (LW, 27), Meredith Lincoln (ST, 26)
Summary Surprisingly good last season, but not good enough. They're becoming something of a yo-yo side. While they retain a solid spine, a major concern, after the retirement of Klaus Petriak and departure of Brandon Mkrtchyan is the striking position. Meredith Lincoln arrives from relegated Hills to take the 9, but does she have what it takes?

6. Locksley
Colours
Burgundy and white
Nickname the Brewers
Manager Ulrich Esperance (49)
Key Players Jade Chorus (GK, 29), Dorian Webster (GK, 20), Anyta Parkes (RB, 30), Alexis Tymon (CB, 27), Karla Laslow (LB, 33), Johanna Rosen (RM, 31), Kosta Nisiotis (CM, 31), Reno Stubbs (CM, 27), Leshi Bell (LM, 21), Carver Heaton (ST, 31), Petra Rubesch (ST, 25)
Summary Only just got denied promotion, a porous defence costing them compared to their more resolute peers; no side in the top eight conceded more. They've taken the interesting tack of, uh, not really reinforcing it. Does Karla Laslow count? Should she? Bell is one of the most impressive young players in the division, and provided the lean-and-large strikeforce of Rubesch and Heaton with cross after cross.

7. Gonen's Bridge
Colours
White and red
Nickname the Warriors
Manager Snowy Brennan (52)
Key Players November Reiner (GK, 27), Gareth Unworth (RB, 32), Iskar Serket (CB, 34, ISK), Soren Clement (CB, 26), Undine Heisserer (LB, 34), Mia Gruether (RM, 25), Lucia Strickland (CM, 30), Page Resch (CM, 21), Lars Bedesman (CM, 20), Matze Connell (LM, 27), Marnus Sutton (ST, 26)
Summary Keeping faith in Snowy Brennan, Bridge were happy with the fact that they'd have stayed up in a regular season. A direct, brutalist side with a relentless verticality, they won 2Div a couple seasons back. Suffice to say that is not on the cards this time, though Page Resch is a promising up-and-comer who Zenith sides might have half an eye on.

8. Alliance Barossia
Colours
Green and white
Nickname Alliance
Manager Rachael Schroeder (49)
Key Players Kari Vidmar (GK, 26), Dimitri Rashad (RB, 28, ISK), Tuco Durrig (CB, 30, SRS), Gregor Strober (CB, 26), Rodi Lancaster (LB, 27), Olga Kitzbichler (CM, 34), Aldous Moore (CM, 32), Catheline Blissett (LM, 27), Portia Taani (ST, 38, MRN), Matthew Chance (ST, 30)
Summary Alliance had the dubious honour of the worst goal difference in the second tier last season, so it's little surprise to see them in the third. Signs in preseason are that an aging squad will be built around their top-flight and international veteran Taani up front, while Durrig and Strober form an intimidating defensive partnership.

9. Aries Solitaire
Colours
White and black
Nickname Solitaire
Manager Katrina Wheelhouse (48)
Key Players Janneke Chaeffer (GK, 33), Franzi Brill (RB, 31), Karel Montag (CB, 22), Drachma Karagounis (LB, 33), Karl Prowse (RM, 25), Sofia Tatra (CM, 34), Gisela Feistle (CM, 25), Renate March (CM, 20), Marcin Faehrmann (LM, 34), Keshet Brenner (LM, 25), Jacinth Coen (ST, 28), Claire Mordhau (ST, 26), Karena Gothel (ST, 20)
Summary Rooted to the bottom of the table for most of the season, though they ultimately escaped the wooden spoon by the ultimate tiebreaker, 'goals scored'. Understandably under such circumstances, star winger Keshet Brenner actively sought an exit but was unable to find one. Look to this as a transition season, with young guns such as March and Gothel beginning to take over.

10. Bishop
Colours
Black and white
Nickname the Bishops
Manager Mixu Durran (56)
Key Players Frey Strom (GK, 34, AUD), Patrice Garrick (RB, 27), Hector Reiss (CB, 34), Parallel Scowsmith (CB, 25), Klaus Marvell (CB, 19), Toni Bliss (CM, 31), Feodor Linz (CM, 27), Faiza Huyton (RW, 31, EFL), Fortuna Irlinger (AM, 25), Cassi Burbank (AM, 20), Simone Cheney (ST, 33)
Summary Keeping the faith with Mixu Durran, the Bishops look a remote shot to go straight back up. While there is quality within the side, their wingers Leskosek and Zender both defected to Zenith sides. That's a mark of their quality, and of what an otherwise fairly poor Bishop side is losing. Simone Cheney should still be a lethal marksman at this level, though; can Huyton supply her the bullets?

11. The Strongest
Colours
Burgundy and white
Nickname the Strongest
Manager Ole Oehman (49, COS)
Key Players Elaine Verlinden (GK, 26), Marius Sanwald (RB, 26), Lene Wiseman (CB, 33), Namara Beresford (CB, 25), Aloysian March (LB, 24), Gervase Ascham (DM, 24), Hans Korchnoi (CM, 28), Cheney Masters (CM, 24), Tulaska Sunstroem (RW, 28, COS), Tamika Porter (LW, 29)
Summary Predictably, the Strongest crashed and burned and had a pretty good time doing it. The loss of Kylene Rotariu will hurt them, but there were too many goals in the side to ever be attributed to one player. Masters and Sunstroem will be lethal given that little bit more space, and the overworked Verlinden should thrive given a bit more of a platform to distribute the ball. Promotion looks a long shot, though - they're too incomplete.

12. Pillars of Southfell
Colours
Purple and Black
Nickname the Seekers
Manager Kay Meriweather (49)
Key Players Mariam Brookhouse (GK, 34), Johan Flowers (RB, 25), Pearce Hennessey (CB, 26), Helena Schmidt (CB, 25, CMT), Libena Freischutz (LB, 25), Parma Tollett (CM, 27), Rutger Shand (CM, 26), Van Aspenwood (RW, 24), Francine Cohen (AM, 24), Hana Yorke (ST, 24)
Summary After an agonising season spent being scraped across the bottom of the second tier, there's been something of a clearout for the Seekers. The result is a surprisingly young and refreshing squad, one with scope to grow together but vanishingly little immediate hope of promotion.

13. Dartmouth Terriers
Colours
Sky and navy
Nickname the Terriers
Manager Rainer Hildebrandt (53)
Key Players Erhard Klein (GK, 31), Florian Latrobe (RB, 28), Dominik Ciernik (CB, 32, NOV), Ruth Paraffin (LB, 27), Coretta Mauk (RM, 30), Fiona Shrewsbury (CM, 34), Sasha Pfaelzisch (CM, 23), Gabriel Prosper (ST, 34)
Summary Barely avoiding the drop, which is actually a hugely impressive achievement under the circumstances. The Terriers boast a solid enough defence, in which Ciernik is a true gem at this level, but going forward they're almost embarassingly reliant on the playmaker Shrewsbury, who notched 17 assists last season.

14. Crisisbless Athletic
Colours
Navy and white
Manager Lysander Pierson (48)
Key Players Rasmus Garrick (GK, 29, CYI), Ayn Zwayer (RB, 33), Andre Oenning (RB, 24), Crispin Galloway (CB, 34), Jancis Hearn (CB, 31), Sabien Rhodes (LB, 31), July Valente (DM, 31, IRN), Kimon Heidelberg (CM, 33), Amethyst Miller (LW, 28), Dionysius Lyritzis (ST, 34)
Summary A creaking Athletic stayed up with relative ease, but another year will not be kind. Amethyst Miller, at 28 the baby of the squad, will need to be in imperious form to keep Athletic out of trouble.

15. New Oakstone Phoenix
Colours
Red and black
Nickname the Phoenix
Manager Valery Cain (48)
Key Players Sander Costly (RB, 21), Orane Warner (RM, 25), Sigrid Xenophon (CM, 32), Rachel Xenophon (ST, 34)
Summary The Xenophon sisters are back in the pyramid, and Costly's been brought in on loan. But the real intrigue will be seeing how a young, brilliant side cobbled together from the off-cuts of top academies or the state leagues' best can cope at this level, and whether Valery Cain can refurbish her tarnished image.

16. West Brinemouth
Colours
Orange and black
Nickname the Gulls
Manager Marko Gaston (50)
Key Players Ingrid Moore (GK, 27), Tristan Brand (RB, 34), Niadra Anneaux (CB, 28, CMT), Denisa Wilhelm (LB, 26), Laegjarn Martyn (CM, 34), Ida Lancer (AM, 21), Ferran Guegan (ST, 34, AUD), Haroun Maynard (ST, 32)
Summary Surprisingly, the Gulls stayed up with the power of a handful of figures that almost singlehandedly un-debunked the Great Men theory of history. Moore, Anneaux, Lancer and Maynard gave the squad a rock-solid spine and plenty of goal threat, and they've somehow managed to keep them all. Everyone else is either old or terrible.

17. Boltcroft Thorns
Colours
Green and black
Nickname the Thorns
Manager Miron Campbell (55)
Key Players Morgana Carlisle (GK, 27), Belaskita Skalak (RB, 35), Diane Hateley (LB, 34), Constance Jameson (CM, 26), Anders Haskell (LM, 29), Sigrid Blaxland (ST, 27)
Summary Even though the squad at times resembled nothing more than an elaborate mechanism to deliver the ball to Sigrid Blaxland, her goals fired the Thorns to comfortable safety. The intriguing combination of two top-tier veteran fullbacks with a combined age of 69 will be worth watching; Skalak, on the right, is one of the clearest and most commanding captains in the division.

18. Hackett
Colours
Red and white
Nickname the Merry Boys
Manager Ersan Barton (47)
Key Players Kearney Smith (RB, 30), Roderick Munoz (CB, 34, ETN), Myriam Lockett (CB, 25, CMT), Connor Wettin (LB, 29), Arran Grey (CM, 33), Nikola Stavros (RW, 26), Radja Martelbach (ST, 30)
Summary Hackett's golden generation gave it one last go and came very close to a stunning promotion, but a swathe of retirements and releases followed and now Kearney fucking Smith qualifies as an exciting signing. It's hard to see where the goals will come from, with Martelbach intelligent and hard-working but not exactly prolific.

19. Lockheed Zenith
Colours
Green and white
Nickname the Raptors
Manager Sakis Galanis (47)
Key Players Carmilla Bowen (CB, 27), Robyn Nestor (CB, 25), David Maskin (LB, 33), Janus Burchard (RM, 26), Cantra Duprey (ST, 35)
Summary The evergreen Cantra Duprey is still around, and still has what it takes; 48 league goals is a record in the Nepharan pyramid, as she was just way too good for 3Div. Zenith are about as good as a 3Div side ever gets, but the question is, is that good enough in a dramatically more concentrated 2Div?

20. Falston United
Colours
White and black
Nickname the Eels
Manager Alaric Jansen (51)
Key Players Leoni Joyce (GK, 22, CYI), Ilary Townes (RB, 32), Robyn Cormack (CB, 28), Casper Slate (LB, 27), Raphael Passlach (CM, 34), Kat Mundine (CM, 24, CYI), Magda Hill (ST, 29), Cedric Willas (ST, 27), Garrett Stijnen (LW, 32)
Summary Few expected the Eels to stay up, but Alaric Jensen's charges defied all expectations. Despite the absence of a clear goalscorer - Magda Hill's 10 topped the charts - a proficient and intelligent counter-press was able to keep the trouble out the other end of the pitch, and the hope is that a young, impressionable squad will be able to replicate it.
Last edited by Nephara on Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nephara » Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:16 pm

Brinemouth 3-1 Southfell United

Perhaps there’s something in the air. Or, perhaps, the public have finally taken the Ramsey Shield to heart; in any case, Brinemouth against Southfell sells out the Phoenix Rise for the first time in the competition’s history. There is a readiness, it seems, for football to be back, as the Premiership’s last ever champions open the scoring when Lukas Tauscher blitzes past Pascal Ritter and then thumps a deft strike into the top corner, never breaking his stride for a goal at warp-speed. Southfell sit back and weather the storm for the rest of the first half, never laying a glove up front, but the plan almost works… almost. Another shot from Tauscher, this deflecting heavily off Stankovic to leave Gavaris twisting in the wind.

Southfell found some spirit in the second half, attacking Brinemouth’s line with vigour. Only a spectacular save from Heuser prevents Roanna Murin opening her account on debut with her carefully placed downward header - Murin did everything right, but somehow Heuser got a boot into the bottom corner. But there was nothing Heuser could do when Brinemouth’s press collapsed for just a moment, Murin racing free on goal before unselfishly playing Petrarch Corbay a sideways pass for him to thump home. 2-1 with 20 minutes to play, so it was especially cruel when the Tanners conceded just two minutes later, a lightning counterattack culminating in rue Cazade lacing a strike just inside Gavaris’ near post to seal the deal for the Dockers.

Aries Chariots 5-0 Leichhardt
Brinemouth 1-2 Iron City
Coret Hawks 1-1 Parrhesia United
AFC Corvistone 1-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Crisisbless 1-2 Belgrave
Newrook City 1-1 South Laithland
North Laithland 1-0 Vermillion Rage
Sabrefell Athletic 1-2 AFC Treason
Sabrefell Moths 3-3 Starling
Southfell United 2-0 Stahlburg City

Anticipation is high. The Zenith kicks off with good early signs; bumper crowds, great ratings, and some seismic early results. Not to get ahead of ourselves, of course. Brinemouth fans pack out the Eagles Club, flush off victory in the Ramsey Shield and still displaying the Premiership trophy. Better still, Iron City are here and ripe for the slaughter in what is tritely and immediately dubbed the Elaine Ashdown Derby. Rue Cazade’s the first to put the ball in the net, no surprises there, but the cheers turn to smoke in the fans’ mouths when the linesman flags - Jackson was clearly offside at the time of the decisive pass. Barely three minutes later, Snowpoint thumps in a free kick from absolutely nowhere that glides over everyone but the satyr Brimorii, who outmuscles Steele to glance the ball home. Brinemouth panic, Kasmiir has possession cut out by Snowpoint, who feeds Liu, who tests Heuser sharply to force another corner… and then drives that corner in for Visser to nudge home at the near post. Brinemouth have a half of football to turn it around, and get halfway there, but a fearless save diving in at Jackson’s feet allows Olexander to seal the points in injury time.

Crisisbless also endure an early stumble. But at least Brinemouth dominated their game, on paper; the Gargoyles look the better team against the disjointed Heelers, walking the ball into the net twice, and only a moment of absolute individual brilliance from Spijkers - twisting past four men before chipping Tristram from outside the box - lights up the drab Crisisbless display. If Leichhardt are hoping for a similar underdog story, they’re in for disappointment. The Chariots show no complacency, only ruthlessness, their young, spry midfield duo overcoming Leichhardt’s ancient one, Purna Zazagan racking up three assists in a 5-0 demolition that sees Leichhardt defender Natalia Dreider eventually sent off on debut for two cautions. Treason go for Athletic with a vibrance in attack that was missing last season, Rosenblatt with a goal and assist on league debut, while Starling fight back from a goal down three times to draw with the Moths, the last leveller scored by ten men after Roebling saw red for a spiteful flick at Zuniga.

Armstrong 3-1 Morningstar
AFC Serpentine 2-0 Cranequin City
Goodfeather FC 2-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Mantlegrove 1-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Corvette Maulers 1-4 Crisisbless United
Raven River 0-2 Diamondqueen
North Sabrefell 1-3 Creed United
Cypher Town 0-1 Chatswood
Barossia United 2-5 Brookford Otters
Vermillion Wanderers 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers

While some of the influx from the Premiership strut their stuff on the first day, others stumble. Lienke Vesper, under fire for Harriers’ disappointingly limp relegation, cuts a furtive figure as her Harriers dominate the ball but only get one shot on target against Mantlegrove, and they’re lucky it slips underneath Kolaghan, a clinical finish from substitute Coffey. It’s enough for a point, at least; more than the Rovers get, looking practically primitive against Goodfeather’s slick passing game, with Howard notching a brace on debut. Creed batter North Sabrefell 3-1, though, having a better time of things, while a slick, strikerless Crisisbless United ease past Corvette to silence their sceptics, while in the Canal derby between River and Diamondqueen, the men in white ease to victory through first-half strikes from Rusnak and Kinbois.

Iron City 1-1 Aries Chariots
Parrhesia United 1-1 Leichhardt
Chenoworth Rovers 0-3 Brinemouth
Belgrave 1-2 Coret Hawks
South Laithland 1-3 AFC Corvistone
Vermillion Rage 3-1 Crisisbless
AFC Treason 2-0 Newrook City
Starling 1-0 North Laithland
Stahlburg City 1-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Southfell United 1-6 Sabrefell Moths

The Moths might not be easy on the fan’s heart, but they’re certainly easy on the neutral’s eye this season. While Joey Sinton is yet to fully gel with the intense pace of the back line - he plays well overall today, but slips up to give Southfell their only goal, caught out for Kuzener to run by and slot low past Markgraf - well… it doesn’t matter. Lyzolda Petrov is back in her old stomping ground and in absolutely no mood to take prisoners, kept initially quiet in the first half - though a couple of shots force sharp low saves from Gavaris - but she comes alive after the interval, hitting a low grass-cutter sweetly into the bottom corner from outside the box, one of those fuck-you unsavable shots from nowhere. She couldn’t resist a little fist-pump there, or after two deft finishes punched in from inside the box to secure her hat-trick in a dominant 6-1 win.

Crisisbless’ wait for a point goes on. They were hit by more than their share of injuries in pre-season, but even then, a midfield of Abylon and Marchant should have exhibited some control over Vermillion. But then, the Rage mostly just bypass the midfield entirely, brave attacks down the wings culminating in both fullbacks getting on the scoresheet, as well as the rather more traditional method of Bestatter heading home Mrdja’s near-post cross. Leichhardt get a much-anticipated first point of the season following a nervy draw with Parrhesia, riding their luck many times as the Saints twice hit the post and Laczko excels in goal. Morgan Rosenblatt continues to hit the ground running with a goal and an assist against Newrook, while Liu Huiying spends an hour and a half as Iron City’s ray of sunshine in a dismal match against the Chariots before diving spectacularly to win a penalty that Snowpoint converts to earn a scarcely-deserved point.

Cranequin City 1-1 Armstrong
Stahlburg Rovers 3-1 Morningstar
Chenoworth Harriers 3-4 AFC Serpentine
Crisisbless United 2-2 Goodfeather FC
Diamondqueen 1-1 Mantlegrove
Creed United 3-1 Corvette Maulers
Chatswood 3-1 Raven River
Brookford Otters 1-0 North Sabrefell
Cranequin Wanderers 0-1 Cypher Town
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Barossia United

People are already crying for Lienke Vesper’s head, after the disappointments of last season. The Harriers are keeping patience with a young manager who has shown much promise and enjoyed success in Qusmo, but nights like tonight make that hard at times, the Harriers leading 3-1 by the hour and still losing as Alyssa Greening scores a brace off the bench. Goodfeather have scored four goals this season, another two flying past Lazareva in a hard-earned draw with Crisisbless United; all four have been scored by Dashaun Howard.

Aries Chariots 2-7 Parrhesia United
Iron City 0-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Leichhardt 2-0 Belgrave
Brinemouth 2-1 South Laithland
Coret Hawks 3-2 Vermillion Rage
AFC Corvistone 1-1 AFC Treason
Crisisbless 3-0 Starling
Newrook City 1-0 Stahlburg City
North Laithland 1-2 Southfell United
Sabrefell Athletic 1-1 Sabrefell Moths

Crisisbless need a break, but instead they’re getting Starling, the closest thing they have to a derby at the moment. They get a boost before the game as Nzo is finally fit to make his league debut, and immediately the Banija international proves his worth. Just 64 seconds have passed when he sizes up the angles, spots the gap in the Passerines’ line and slots a diagonal ball into it; Spijkers races onto the end of it, rounds Smordal and drives home the opener. Starling never really recover. Smordal saves a rather slack penalty from Germain that could have killed them off leading into the interval, but it doesn’t shake the Passerines awake, only gets the Heelers more determined to kill them off. Bowman and Marinkovic duly do so, stabbing home close-range finishes.

That might be the pick of the matches for significance, but it can’t match what happens in east Sabrefell for spectacle. No, not the derby - it’s actually something of a muted, grinding affair, Athletic seemingly reasoning that they need to stop the Moths in their tracks moreso than playing their own game, Adalheid Metzelder predictably calling it a ‘moral victory’ as they share the spoils - but the manic 7-2 demolition at the Scythes. The Chariots score first and go into the second half just 3-2 down after Parrhesia score every shot on target they muster, but Malkorra and Kevaarsen are already on the cautions they’ll turn into red cards in the second half. Shorn of two key players by the hour mark, the Chariots totally lose their shape and get cut to ribbons by the end. The Rovers and Stargazers pick up wins in what already seem like six-pointers, whie the Hawks continue their strong start with a late win over Vermillion.

Armstrong 2-1 Stahlburg Rovers
Cranequin City 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Morningstar 2-3 Crisisbless United
AFC Serpentine 1-1 Diamondqueen
Goodfeather FC 2-2 Creed United
Mantlegrove 1-1 Chatswood
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Brookford Otters
Raven River 1-0 Cranequin Wanderers
North Sabrefell 1-0 Vermillion Wanderers
Cypher Town 1-4 Barossia United

Flying Delaclava international Dashaun Howard again puts Goodfeather in front, slipping entrancingly between Islinger and Barkaan before lashing a strike high past Hartigan, and when Mason is sent off for a harsh red Creed look in desperate trouble. But Goran Verbeck’s men find a way back; Kovac earns, then scores a penalty. Kurz rifles home Goodfeather’s first non-Howard goal of the season from outside the box before a spectacular double save from Hartigan stops the Quakers going out of sight, and that’s important when a missed tackle from Leo Emmerich lets Kovac drive in on goal before unselfishly sliding across for Driver to smash home the leveller. Mantlegrove complete a run of having drawn all three of their matches 1-1, a moment of magic from Lazarou cancelling out a workmanlike header from Chatswood striker Ruscoe, while a Barossia United side that aren’t usually known for being prolific batter four goals past Cypher, Rotariu with a brace but more importantly showcasing her excellent hold-up play to let Killmorgen and Ciman in on the fun.

Chenoworth Rovers 0-3 Aries Chariots
Belgrave 3-2 Parrhesia United
South Laithland 3-0 Iron City
Vermillion Rage 3-0 Leichhardt
AFC Treason 2-0 Brinemouth
Starling 2-2 Coret Hawks
Stahlburg City 1-1 AFC Corvistone
Southfell United 1-1 Crisisbless
Sabrefell Moths 3-3 Newrook City
Sabrefell Athletic 2-1 North Laithland

Lick your lips and rub your thighs. Four matches in and already it’s time for the Classic. Both sides in good form but not flawless, and there’s a little raggedness in the opening half, both sides pressing hard and extracting mistakes from the other, neither side ever quite getting the right final ball through. But in the second half, the trident clicks. Suddenly, every white and red shirt seems to have two open options, short, efficient passing dizzying the Dockers; Brinemouth in essence get Brinemouthed. It’s almost reassuring when the first goal just comes off a corner lumped in by Rosenblatt and headed powerfully past Heuser by centre-half Sale, but Kendra Considine rifles home a decisive finish in injury time to kill off the game.

The Moths are back at it again. Bryger Kellard, playing in a holding midfield role, runs the gamut of slotting an own goal past Markgraf from Constantine’s cross, scoring at the other end with a strike his father Michael would be proud of, and then getting sent off for a brutal challenge on Zumalakarregi, who is subsequently pivotal in ensuring the Rooks turn their man advantage into an equaliser. 3-3, again. Aries go from conceding seven to conceding… none, a clean sheet on league debut for Annabelle Press, though Grey Holden insists she’s just there for a match to give reigning goalkeeper of the year Senninger a chance to recover. The Chariots make short work of the Rovers in the end, Starling score twice in the last ten minutes to steal a point aganist Coret, while South Laithland bury Iron 3-0.

Chenoworth Harriers 4-0 Armstrong
Crisisbless United 6-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Diamondqueen 1-1 Cranequin City
Creed United 2-0 Morningstar
Chatswood 0-1 AFC Serpentine
Brookford Otters 2-1 Goodfeather FC
Cranequin Wanderers 1-0 Mantlegrove
Vermillion Wanderers 5-4 Corvette Maulers
Barossia United 0-1 Raven River
Cypher Town 2-0 North Sabrefell

Some sides absolutely catch fire tonight. Crisisbless United’s strikerless system works perfectly against Stahlburg Rovers, Arland Hawes’ charges unable to deal with a fluid attack that seems to come from everywhere at once. Kresp-Cinic is stretchered off with whiplash after 79 minutes, an aging centre-half with no way to cope with whatever United are doing, and not even pulling off striker Huang for midfielder Rookworth can put a stop to the bloodletting in a 6-0 rout. The Harriers’ slow start to the season comes to a sudden and violent end at the expense of Armstrong, Donato Girardi running the show in a 4-0 demolition, while both Vermillion Wanderers and the Maulers come alive at the others’ expense. The Maulers notch four past Esther Press, and that still represents a stellar performance from the Wanderers’ goalkeeper. Emilien Marisnick in Corvette’s goal on the other hand gets the jitters, beaten at his near post by Wharton for the second before passing straight to Fowler, who obligingly levels the scores for Vermillion shortly before Maier strokes home number five to win it.

Aries Chariots 2-0 Belgrave
Chenoworth Rovers 2-1 South Laithland
Parrhesia United 2-2 Vermillion Rage
Iron City 0-1 AFC Treason
Leichhardt 0-2 Starling
Brinemouth 2-0 Stahlburg City
Coret Hawks 3-2 Southfell United
AFC Corvistone 0-5 Sabrefell Moths
Crisisbless 2-1 Sabrefell Athletic
Newrook City 2-1 North Laithland

Both Vermillion sides have been involved in their share of entertaining fixtures, so the derby is naturally high on most peoples’ list to check out. Both sides play attractive, open brands of football… and neither is averse to getting stuck in, especially on derby day. Predictably, the fans in orange are lively in reminding those in green about the, uh, disparity in their recent successes, and that only makes those in green happier when lazy-eyed goddess Celustka flicks a ball cynically into Schrader’s hand to draw a barely-fair penalty, then chips Hartnett. Still, scarcely four minutes later Vermillion are ahead, new guy Remsza’s cross dragged into the net by Bestatter’s heel, before a thunderbolt from Mrdja crashes against the crossbar on the edge of half-time only to be bundled in by the opportunistic Bestatter regardless. But Parrhesia aren’t choking it away tonight. The Rage are so eager to kill off the game that Veluca Austen can scythe them in two by quickly catching a poor Remsza cross and quickly hurling it down the exposed left, where jet-heeled substitute Isolde Reader becomes a local hero by eschewing her passing options and simply racing past Anderson, rounding Hartnett and driving the ball into the empty net.

Surprisingly few transfers go from the A-League to the Zenith, so sometimes you can forget the disparity in class between the two. Well, Corvistone letback Camilla Auskas knows intimately about the step up now - in pace, intensity and skill. One of the A-League’s classiest fullbacks she might have been, but a replacement for Lucy Almwood? That will take work. She’s far from the only reason Corvistone lose to the Moths, of course, but being skinned repeatedly by Belgrade probably doesn’t help as the Crows get absolutely thumped, 5-0. Belfast suddenly races up the standings in the betting on the first axe of the season. Daniel Archer was at the head of those standings at the start of the season but his Hawks have yet to lose a match, a result which stays when super-substitutes Alyce Nicolau and Monika Rourke turn the game late against Southfell. Ursula Gavaris’ form between the posts has been… questionable thus far, but Murin had the chances to bury the Hawks regardless, another player not finding it easy going in the top tier. Treason eventually manage to put Iron down, while Crisisbless edge out Athletic thanks to a spectacular bicycle kick from Spijkers… bouncing off the post and getting nudged home by Germain’s shins.

Armstrong 0-4 Crisisbless United
Chenoworth Harriers 1-0 Diamondqueen
Stahlburg Rovers 2-2 Creed United
Cranequin City 0-2 Chatswood
Morningstar 1-1 Brookford Otters
AFC Serpentine 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Goodfeather FC 1-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Mantlegrove 1-1 Barossia United
Corvette Maulers 1-0 Cypher Town
Raven River 2-5 North Sabrefell

Cranequin City manager Corinne Mersiades appears to be running into an issue early in the season; Valerie Webber is utterly cooked. The midfield trio of Tsolakis, Monroe and Amelia help earn the Terracotta Army most of the possession against Chatswood, but none of them have the creativity to supply Justina Donau. Even on an off-day, by contrast, the Woodsmen can rely on crossing from the wings to find a target in the hulking Kanerva Herron, who scores once herself before knocking down another for Remeikis to drive home. The Chequers, fresh off romping against the Rovers, visit Armstrong, freshly romped. The result is, perhaps, predictable, another 4-0 defeat for the Paladins as Ava Donaldson’s Midas touch in front of goal continues. North Sabrefell recover from a catastrophic own goal in the 6th minute, Levack panicking at the threat of Crowe and dealing with it by, uh, thumping a top-corner finish past an incredulous Rena Perch. That they do so owes much to wingers Gyldenstroem and Whiteside, who take the fight to the opposition and notch up two assists apiece in a 5-2 comeback over River. Who else?

Sutcroft 1-4 Rosary Brinemouth
Rookwall 1-2 Downsparrow
Iron United 1-1 Brunyard FC (1-1 AET, 6-5 PKs)
Aspen Grove 0-0 Lindwurm Delta (0-0 AET, 4-2 PKs)
Longwinter 1-2 AFC Hoxenhaven
Rushe United 0-4 Crownsend Journey
Ox River United 2-2 Brookford Vantablack (2-2 AET, 2-3 PKs)
Corvistone City 0-1 Long Lake
Besand's Folly 3-0 Fischer
Cranequin Souths 1-0 Sirencall FC
Northside Eagles 1-1 Coret Rovers (2-1 AET)
West Hook 2-0 Sharpe Mill
Courser 1-2 South Parrhesia
Hartford Glade 1-1 Constance Park (1-1 AET, 2-3 PKs)
AFC Southsands 1-2 Ringway
Coleman Ridge 0-0 Grey Egress (1-0 AET)
Martella Jazz 0-0 Shimmering Quay (0-0 AET, 4-3 PKs)
Mueller's Crossing 3-0 Lindmark Falcons
Iberia Chenoworth 2-4 FC Seierstad
Chenoworth Teutons 1-1 Moxstone Fortune (2-1 AET)
Fully Sick XI 1-3 Barhara Cavaliers
Rhyburn Swifts 2-0 Twelvetrees
The Travellers FC 1-1 Grovebank (1-2 AET)
Riverkey Shells 2-1 Strephonage

In the restructured NFA Cup, the first round is now solely fought between the two expanded Conferences. Due to the general shift, they’re now full-time leagues, though at the very low ebb of them; many players retain alternative sources of employment, or study. The general shunting down of professional-tier talent means the leagues look higher-quality than ever, and there’s a few decent highlights, best of all Mueller’s Crossing’s third in a shock win over Lindmark that busts the net open with its impact. Still, for the most part, these sides exist to be knocked down in later rounds.

South Laithland 4-5 Aries Chariots
Vermillion Rage 4-1 Belgrave
AFC Treason 3-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Starling 2-1 Parrhesia United
Stahlburg City 1-2 Iron City
Southfell United 3-0 Leichhardt
Sabrefell Moths 1-3 Brinemouth
Sabrefell Athletic 1-0 Coret Hawks
North Laithland 0-1 AFC Corvistone
Newrook City 0-2 Crisisbless

Back in the day, Stahlburg City and Iron City had something approaching a rivalry. Barossia’s largest and, well, once second-largest (since eclipsed by Covenant) cities going head to head. But with Iron’s fall and the Smiths’ subsequent heated rivalry with Treason, it fell somewhat by the wayside. Perhaps that will end after tonight. Certainly, both sides come ready for it, and psychopathic bruiser Kresimir Brujah makes his first start of the campaign in Stahlburg’s midfield. It risks backfire when he elbows Silke Gutenberg in the face after just seven minutes, jostling for a high ball, but he gets away with it. But it sets the tone, and Gutenberg’s eager to get even, but the winger takes the high road to do so, jinking inside and outside and through two men before supplying Zender, ghosting in at the far side, to tap home Iron’s first. Gutenberg gets another assist for Iron’s second, albeit her cross is too high - Liu ends up having to control it with her throat, but nobody closes her down and she lashes a vicious volley past Rosmarin. The Smiths fight back in the second half but by then Iron are just hunkering down completely, and only one chance opens up. Bowman gives away a late, exhausted penalty, raking Delfour’s calves with his studs, and the winger chips Olexander to give the home fans something to smile about. Not enough, though, as Iron take home the points.

The Moths host Brinemouth and predictably people expect fireworks. In the end, however, the star of the show is the former Moth Tawny Shone, who knows all her old crew’s tricks, and spoils relentlessly to stop them building any momentum in the midfield. At one point she even throws herself under the feet of Shiida Roesler, which is rather like throwing oneself under a galloping horse, just to bring her down. She gets a boot in the ribs and a yellow card, but it does stop an attack. The Moths still score first through a Zuniga header, but three second-half goals give the Dockers a deserved win. Leigh Fletcher’s Southrons play a very chaotic and un-Fletcher-like 5-4 defeat to the Chariots, but have reason to be pleased with the attacking midfielder Brind and, rolling back the years, deputising striker Matthias Bergander who earns a brace. Southfell clean Leichhardt’s clock to the tune of a 3-0 win inspired by Forestier, while Vermillion batter Belgrave 4-1 despite an injury to Bestatter in the warmup that sees Mrdja move to the striker role and chalk up a brace. Still, injuries are already piling up for the Rage.

Diamondqueen 3-2 Armstrong
Creed United 1-1 Crisisbless United
Chatswood 0-1 Chenoworth Harriers
Brookford Otters 1-3 Stahlburg Rovers
Cranequin Wanderers 2-0 Cranequin City
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Morningstar
Barossia United 3-1 AFC Serpentine
Cypher Town 3-0 Goodfeather FC
North Sabrefell 3-0 Mantlegrove
Raven River 4-1 Corvette Maulers

A momentous matchweek, arguably least so for a Cranequin derby that ends in predictable fashion, the Wanderers easing to a 2-0 victory. A Cypher side anticipated to struggle this season manage to throw off the shackles at one end and contain Goodfe-- and contain Dashaun Howard at the other, Anna Rochester making amends for an error last round that cost the game against Cypher with spectacular, brave sweeping to deny the Quakers today. Lothar, Carels and Antelmi all score in the second half to make it 3-0, the same score as North Sabrefell beat a sickly-looking Mantlegrove - Gyldenstroem is again the star, and plainly growing above this level. Chatswood against the Harriers is anticipated to be a top of the table clash on paper even in this unpredictable season, and it’s a test the Harriers pass, overcoming brutal tackling, a partisan crowd and an indifferent referee, not to mention Libuda saving a penalty from Bischoff. Exarchopolous rattles in a spectacular strike from outside the box that arcs beyond a diving Williams; this feels a momentous narrow victory, and Vesper’s delighted.

Aries Chariots 2-1 Vermillion Rage
South Laithland 2-4 AFC Treason
Belgrave 1-2 Starling
Chenoworth Rovers 0-1 Stahlburg City
Parrhesia United 4-0 Southfell United
Iron City 1-4 Sabrefell Moths
Leichhardt 1-3 Sabrefell Athletic
Brinemouth 1-2 North Laithland
Coret Hawks 2-3 Newrook City
AFC Corvistone 0-1 Crisisbless

Another often overlooked derby - and not one that’s ever really died down - is the northeast derby between Coret and Newrook. Yes, places people think of as fairly mild-mannered and, dare it be said, largely irrelevant, but as they’ve together failed to do much of anything in the league the derby has taken on greater and greater significance. How a neutral regards the first half depends on whether or not you are a basketball fan. If you are a basketball fan, you would appreciate the back-and-forth, hectic nature of the game, end-to-end stuff leading into a 2-2 scoreline at the break. If you are not a basketball fan, it seemed rather like basketball, and the second half may have been more palatable - a more patient, probing affair lit up by occasional moments of individual brilliance. While Coret on balance have more of them, it’s Dassi Constantine’s that makes the difference, quickly switching positions with Storrev over the course of a deft one-two before rifling a shot hard on goal, palmed down by Coleman but only as far as Storrev, who hammers home the winner.

Chirstoforos Lazelis has looked impressive up front for North Laithland… in terms of making good, intelligent runs and seeming up to the pace athletically. But the Vdara international was yet to get on the scoresheet, to the point of being dropped against Brinemouth. Still, when Luke Roberts achieves nothing in the opening 56 minutes, Lazelis gets another chance to shine in a scoreless game. With his first touch, he takes a rolling pass from Marrable past Kasmiir; with his second, he lashes a lightly curving strike beyond Heuser. With his third, some minutes later, a diving header puts the Spiders 2-0 up, and suddenly his doubters are quiet; Brinemouth pull one back through former 65-million man Bryger Tidesson, not a bad option off the bench, but can’t get back in the points. Parrhesia cold-cock Southfell 4-0 as Elsebeth Celustka continues to be in the form of her life in the free role, while Aries Chariots edge out injury-stricken Vermillion in a match between last season’s IFCF CL bolters, Shaheen Taleb making the difference with a goal and an assist.

Armstrong 0-2 Creed United
Diamondqueen 1-0 Chatswood
Crisisbless United 1-1 Brookford Otters
Chenoworth Harriers 2-0 Cranequin Wanderers
Stahlburg Rovers 3-1 Vermillion Wanderers
Cranequin City 0-3 Barossia United
Morningstar 1-1 Cypher Town
AFC Serpentine 2-0 North Sabrefell
Goodfeather FC 1-3 Raven River
Mantlegrove 0-1 Corvette Maulers

Barossia take Cranequin City by the throat and slam them into the floor in a 3-0 away win. There’d actually been cause for concern prior to the game, with the Shrikes’ goalkeeper Ran contracting food poisoning, leaving mentor figure Culak-Pilta to step up between the sticks. They make zero saves. Crisis averted, while Rotariu up front gets the opportunity to work in tandem with Ulrike Jensen as they lay waste to the Terracotta Army together, a clever switch to Route One that City have no answer to. Armstrong keep up their worrying habit of losing without scoring, this time to a Creed side whose effortless killer edge makes them look a Zenith side already, while people start to realise Dashaun Howard hasn’t actually scored since netting Goodfeather’s first five goals of the campaign, and has a profligate day at the office as River win 3-1. A confidence player, perhaps… ?

AFC Treason 2-0 Aries Chariots
Starling 3-2 Vermillion Rage
Stahlburg City 3-0 South Laithland
Southfell United 3-2 Belgrave
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
Sabrefell Athletic 3-0 Parrhesia United
North Laithland 1-0 Iron City
Newrook City 1-2 Leichhardt
Crisisbless 0-3 Brinemouth
AFC Corvistone 6-1 Coret Hawks

Crisisbless and Brinemouth are two of the league’s titans in its current era, and it’s anyone’s game going into it. With a bit more composure from Quintero, Crisisbless could be 1-0 up within five minutes; instead, they’re 2-0 down within thirty. First, a botched play at the back, Teffeteller to Chamoun to Bajnok to ???, winds up seeing Jackson sweep away with the ball before sweeping a pass across for Tauscher to hammer home, before Tauscher wins a free kick just outside the box that Farago rue Cazade flicks into the top corner with a little help from Teffeteller’s shoulder. Crisisbless briefly power back, Woakes and Quintero forcing sharp saves from Heuser while a last-ditch tackle from Marcin Close stops the lively Quintero, deputising for the injured Spijkers, from offering Germain a tap-in. But first-half injury time sees, of all things, a long throw from Spencer butchered by Teffeteller, with Jackson taking clinical advantage of the airswing to kill off the game.

To maximise one’s enjoyment - if one did not particularly value competitiveness - one might then switch to the second half of Sabrefell Athletic’s 3-0 win over Parrhesia in which all the goals happened. Elsebeth Celustka played like a daemon for 40 minutes of the first half, but none of her teammates were on the same level… and then she planted her feet awkwardly and limped off the pitch. Benezet lead the decisive fightback for the Rams. For three goals in each half, one would have to look for Corvistone absolutely battering Coret Hawks - there’s even a Nicolau consolation mixed in for good measure. Bobby Malone races out of Rosenblatt’s shadow to score both goals against the Chariots, and a 97th-minute winner from Starling substitute Riaz dashes Vermillion’s hopes of a valuable away point.

Chatswood 1-0 Armstrong
Brookford Otters 3-0 Creed United
Cranequin Wanderers 3-2 Diamondqueen
Vermillion Wanderers 1-0 Crisisbless United
Barossia United 1-5 Chenoworth Harriers
Cypher Town 1-1 Stahlburg Rovers
North Sabrefell 0-1 Cranequin City
Raven River 0-1 Morningstar
Corvette Maulers 3-2 AFC Serpentine
Mantlegrove 3-3 Goodfeather FC

Creed make the long trip to Brookford, the furthest west club to the east coast, but their fans are to be disappointed. The Oathmen are solid and sturdy in the first half, but unproductive when it comes to chances; a couple fall to the feet of Scott Burgess, who forces two sharp saves from Damir Wright, but that’s it. In the second half, however, things get turned upside down. A slack pass from the back from Barkaan goes straight to Spinnett, who immediately sets up the winger Aspropotamidis to open her account for the Otters. Unlocked by confidence, Aspropotamidis goes on a tear down the right and sets up Morwen to make it 2-0 almost immediately, before a thumping header from Jewel meets Kielseng’s long diagonal cross to make it 3 and kill off Creed in style, three goals in 12 minutes. The newly-promoted sides both find narrow wins in Sabrefell, their first of the season, the Harriers thump Barossia United 5-1 and Mantlegrove expose Goodfeather’s glass jaw through a late Madrid brace to draw 3-3.

Aries Chariots 3-1 Starling
AFC Treason 4-0 Stahlburg City
Vermillion Rage 0-1 Southfell United
South Laithland 1-5 Sabrefell Moths
Belgrave 0-2 Sabrefell Athletic
Chenoworth Rovers 2-6 North Laithland
Parrhesia United 3-4 Newrook City
Iron City 0-3 Crisisbless
Leichhardt 0-2 AFC Corvistone
Brinemouth 1-3 Coret Hawks

Treason against Stahlburg City is a match that tells you a lot about the people watching. It’s not known for exhilarating play, rather for physicality and genuine setthing hatred. Out comes Brujah again, round pegs for round holes, except Treason don’t meet the Smiths on their terms. Instead, they play a brisk passing game and the Smiths are caught out, Rossum’s pleas from the touchline to maintain a fucking shape going unnoticed. Brujah is terrible, and a very physical box-to-box player might just be past it, but even the reliable players don’t show up. Phoenix misses a sitter, Rosmarin’s beaten at his near post and Baste scores an own goal to make it 4-0 at the death, a lazy flick of the boot taking a Considine cross past Rosmarin. A one-sided match that leaves a lot of thinking to do.

Parrhesia talisman Celustka’s fit enough for the bench against Newrook, and Emeka Obasi - today in a flamingo-pink suit trimmed in mother-of-pearl - decides to risk her introduction with fifteen minutes to spare and the Rooks 4-2 up. Celustka looks decidedly off the pace in open play, but still drops a free kick perfectly onto Vuurmeier’s massive five-head; nevertheless, a point is out of reach, though Kurtishi hits a post. Spiders striker Lazelis nets a hat-trick against the Rovers, home to his compatriot Giannakos; Lazelis has now scored five goals over the entire season, but never just one at a time. It’s a 6-2 thumping in the end, and the Moths’ 5-1 evisceration of a 10-man South Laithland (it’s no excuse, Jurman’s second caution was in the 86th minute at 4-1 down) adds to a day of stompings. Vermillion’s poor form continues with defeat to Southfell, while the Hawks stun Brinemouth 3-1.

Armstrong 1-1 Brookford Otters
Chatswood 0-1 Cranequin Wanderers
Creed United 3-2 Vermillion Wanderers
Diamondqueen 1-0 Barossia United
Crisisbless United 0-1 Cypher Town
Chenoworth Harriers 3-0 North Sabrefell
Stahlburg Rovers 0-0 Raven River
Cranequin City 0-1 Corvette Maulers
Morningstar 0-1 Mantlegrove
AFC Serpentine 2-4 Goodfeather FC

Stahlburg against River is expected to be a wide-open contest between attacks in hot form, so perhaps it’s predictable that both Laurnegarray and Carver walk away with clean sheets. At least former Southfell midfielder Roxi Pryce impresses for River, looking every bit a Zenith-quality player. A contentious penalty is earned in Chatswood by, of all people, a centre-half. Amidst the scrum following a corner to nowhere, Eliza Stoeva grapples with Imhoff before deciding to fold like a house of cards when he gets a bit rough, and the referee blows immediately. Grahn’s penalty is poor, beaten down and away by Williams, but Savojar rightback Netrayev gets to the rebound first and drives home his first goal for the club. Creed score three goals in 12 minutes just as Brookford had against them to come back against Vermillion, while Azrael Whyte earns Cypher the points against the Chequers with a spectacular overhead kick.

Southfell United 2-1 Ribar PRD

Roanna Murin nets twice in quick succession in the first half to help the Tanners ease to victory, but the intensity eases off in the second half. Ribar sniff blood when young South Newlandian striker Otto Marsden presses an error from Stankovic and takes a snap-shot too close to Spyrakis, but the warning isn’t heeded, and Marsden glances a late header into the bottom corner to keep Ribar’s foot in the door.

Stahlburg City 0-3 Aries Chariots
Southfell United 0-1 Starling
Sabrefell Moths 2-1 AFC Treason
Sabrefell Athletic 0-1 Vermillion Rage
North Laithland 1-1 South Laithland
Newrook City 4-1 Belgrave
Crisisbless 2-1 Chenoworth Rovers
AFC Corvistone 1-2 Parrhesia United
Coret Hawks 2-0 Iron City
Brinemouth 2-0 Leichhardt

Treason have looked indomitable thus far, and visiting the Moths holds no fear for them. How will the Moths’ attacking, open style cope with the unstoppable trident of Malone / Rosenblatt / Considine? Well, Considine’s injured, but her replacement McInnes lays on the assist for Mueller to slot home the opener. Now the Moths have to open themselves up. What they need is a cheap error. What they get is Vincent Robshaw having a brain fade and rolling a pass straight to the feet of Lyzolda Petrov, who seizes the moment, plays a deft one-two with Belgrade and slots low underneath the ancient figure of Clavel. The Moths’ momentum carries into the second half, and Nasir Majerle comes off the bench to set up Belgrade, shifted to the left wing, to slot home the winner. They’re indebted to Markgraf between the posts, but the result takes them to 3rd. Treason remain top, but Aries Chariots close the distance after thumping Stahlburg City 3-0. Starling edge out Southfell to remain in the top four, while Athletic, Crisisbless and Brinemouth round out a reasonably conventional top seven.

Stahlburg City’s defeat and a victory for Parrhesia over Corvistone means that there’s somehow already a five-point gap between 14th and 15th, and City are not on the happy side of that equation. Also struggling for goals, rather more predictably, are Iron, Chenoworth and, in the playoff place after being put down easily by Brinemouth, Leichhardt. Belgrave remain floundering in second-last after being dominated by a Newrook side brimming with confidence. The Laithland derby is not the most intense of matches - Laithlanders are nothing if not parochial, and the two sides fundamentally hate the rest of Nephara far more than each other - and perhaps that suits the Southrons, whose defence has been abysmal this season. An injury crisis in defence, and the dramatic erosion of form of Constantine Jurman, has not helped; a late equaliser from Nisarizo secures a lucky point. Just their fifth of the season, and the Southrons have plenty to do as pressure intensifies on Leigh Fletcher.

Cranequin Wanderers 1-1 Armstrong
Vermillion Wanderers 1-1 Brookford Otters
Barossia United 0-1 Chatswood
Cypher Town 1-1 Creed United
North Sabrefell 2-1 Diamondqueen
Raven River 1-2 Crisisbless United
Corvette Maulers 3-2 Chenoworth Harriers
Mantlegrove 4-0 Stahlburg Rovers
Goodfeather FC 1-0 Cranequin City
AFC Serpentine 3-2 Morningstar

The Harriers’ streak of seven successive wins comes to a halt against Corvette, a trip to the Vale turning ugly when Seidler’s brutish sliding challenge on Daescher is met with the stricken midfielder raking Seidler’s face with her studs. Both are sent off, both midfields reshuffled with the scores 2-2, and it’s the Maulers who evidently react better when a goalmouth scramble is nudged home by Julia Roberts. Creed can’t take full advantage, held by Cypher, nor can a high-flying Cranequin Wanderers, held by lowly Armstrong. Nevertheless they round out the promotion places, with Crisisbless United surging to fourth after a late winner over River slipped home by recognised striker Riverina Bray. Chatswood aren’t too far off the pace, but while they have the best defence in the league are yet to score at the rate of a goal a game. Still, a 1-0 win in Barossia through a Vishca strike is welcome.

Mantlegrove lift themselves out of trouble in spectacular fashion. Stahlburg Rovers come to the party disjointed and unprepared and get absolutely butchered. It doesn’t help that Vanna Pearce gets played through one-on-one only to shoot straight at Kolaghan, but the Rovers seemingly never recover. Mantlegrove, by contrast, knock a corner straight into the net - Lazarou, seriously? - before another set piece is headed home by centre-half Everton, before Cash and Londe get the job done in open play in the second half, 4-0 the final score. Barossia, despite some eye-catching results early in the season, hover a place out of trouble, while Armstrong remain in the playoff place. Newly-promoted sides Morningstar and Cranequin still wait on their second wins of the season.

Ribar PRD 1-2 Southfell United
Southfell United win 4-2 on aggregate.

Laureline Forestier dances past three men before slotting home a ninth-minute goal that effectively kills off the tie, though Ribar acquit themselves well from that point. Matthias Slade scores his first goal for the Tanners in the 92nd minute to win on the day, and the Tanners ease through.

Kommissar 0-0 Gosmouth Swans (0-0 AET, 5-3 PKs)
Barossia United 1-0 Creed United
Northside Eagles 6-0 Barhara Cavaliers
Autumnstone 1-1 Downsparrow (2-1 AET)
Crownsend Journey 0-7 Locksley
New Oakstone Phoenix 4-0 The Hanged Man
Brookford Otters 5-1 Mantlegrove
Crossroads Town 2-2 Raven River (3-3 AET, 3-2 PKs)
Latin Enclave FC 2-2 West Brinemouth (4-2 AET)
Stahlburg Rovers 1-0 Chenoworth Harriers
Corinthians No Longer 3-2 Bishop
Boltcroft Thorns 2-0 West Hook
Grovebank 0-2 Riverkey
Aries Solitaire 8-1 Ringway
Caldwick Strand 0-1 Stonegrave
Southriver 2-3 Morningstar
Mueller's Crossing 1-1 Gonen's Bridge (1-1 AET, 3-1 PKs)
Aspen Grove 2-1 Ritter Town
Crisisbless United 4-0 AFC Rochford
Mapleford 1-1 Chardonnay Rangers (1-1 AET, 2-3 PKs)
AFC Shale 2-3 Peregrine
Dartmouth Terriers 3-1 South Parrhesia
Coleman Ridge 1-6 Vermillion Wanderers
Alliance Barossia 1-2 Hackett
AFC Hoxenhaven 1-1 Crisisbless Athletic (2-3 AET)
Goodfeather FC 4-0 FC Seierstad
Rosary Brinemouth 2-6 Diamondqueen
Ballardine FC 0-1 Armstrong
Kensey Town 2-0 Lazuli Diamonds
Brindleton 1-0 Cranequin Souths
Brokenarch 4-1 Besand's Folly
Falston United 0-1 Greygate
Riverkey Shells 0-2 Ingram Township
The Strongest 4-3 East Laithland Harriers
Extreme Hills 0-3 Lockheed Zenith
Sheridan 1-2 AFC Serpentine
Rhyburn Swifts 0-4 Martella Jazz
Brookford Vantablack 0-5 North Sabrefell
Long Lake 0-0 Creed Rosebud (0-1 AET)
Iron United 0-4 Cypher Town
Corvette Maulers 1-1 Cranequin City (1-2 AET)
Chatswood 3-0 Constance Park
Cranequin Wanderers 4-0 Chenoworth Teutons
Pillars of Southfell 2-0 Rochford Pilgrims

The First, Second and Third Divisions join the party. Some of the Conference sides make creditable fists of it; Hoxenhaven take Crisisbless Athletic into extra time and even score in the 96th minute but from there simply run out of legs and are tragically beaten by a late penalty, while Mueller’s Crossing beat Bridge on penalties. Others are less fortunate, such as a Ringway side beaten to hell in an 8-1 demolition by an Aries Solitaire side eager to strut their stuff, 20-year old Karena Gothel scoring four, while Locksley put seven unanswered goals past Crownsend Journey. Among the thrashings is Northside Eagles slaughtering Barhara Cavaliers 6-0, star striker Lesley Innes notching a sharp hat-trick. This is notable mostly because the Eagles are a Conference side. Chenoworth Harriers are unceremoniously dumped out following a dogged defensive display from Stahlburg Rovers, a fairly luckless draw under the circumstances, while a Crossroads Town side struggling to so much as survive in the Conference amidst financial implosion finally bring a smile to their fans’ faces by pulling off the scalp of the week, beating River on penalties.

MATCHDAY 1
Falston United 0-0 Chardonnay Rangers
Boltcroft Thorns 1-1 New Oakstone Phoenix
Hackett 4-1 Lockheed Zenith
West Brinemouth 2-2 Pillars of Southfell
Locksley 1-1 Aries Solitaire
Dartmouth Terriers 2-3 The Strongest
Crisisbless Athletic 1-2 Bishop
Peregrine 0-0 Gonen's Bridge
Corinthians No Longer 3-0 Alliance Barossia
Greygate 1-1 AFC Rochford
MATCHDAY 2
New Oakstone Phoenix 0-2 Falston United
Lockheed Zenith 0-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Pillars of Southfell 1-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Aries Solitaire 0-0 Hackett
The Strongest 1-3 West Brinemouth
Bishop 0-1 Locksley
Gonen's Bridge 4-0 Dartmouth Terriers
Alliance Barossia 4-1 Crisisbless Athletic
AFC Rochford 1-1 Peregrine
Greygate 0-2 Corinthians No Longer
MATCHDAY 3
Falston United 1-0 Lockheed Zenith
New Oakstone Phoenix 3-0 Pillars of Southfell
Chardonnay Rangers 2-0 Aries Solitaire
Boltcroft Thorns 3-1 The Strongest
Hackett 1-3 Bishop
West Brinemouth 3-2 Gonen's Bridge
Locksley 1-3 Alliance Barossia
Dartmouth Terriers 1-4 AFC Rochford
Crisisbless Athletic 3-1 Greygate
Peregrine 0-2 Corinthians No Longer
MATCHDAY 4
Pillars of Southfell 1-2 Falston United
Aries Solitaire 3-0 Lockheed Zenith
The Strongest 2-2 New Oakstone Phoenix
Bishop 0-3 Chardonnay Rangers
Gonen's Bridge 2-0 Boltcroft Thorns
Alliance Barossia 3-1 Hackett
AFC Rochford 1-1 West Brinemouth
Greygate 1-0 Locksley
Corinthians No Longer 2-1 Dartmouth Terriers
Peregrine 5-2 Crisisbless Athletic
MATCHDAY 5
Falston United 2-0 Aries Solitaire
Pillar