Kytlerian domestic sports portal [closed]

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The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Kytlerian domestic sports portal [closed]

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Thu Dec 07, 2023 12:53 am

Welcome to the Kytlerian domestic sports portal, presented by NBO Sport
Headline links for specific sports will go here

The Kytlerians have emerged from decades of isolation from international sport to become serious competitors once again - 17 Olympic golds in the Jolbonopolis-Afanc Strait Games, a dominant Elephant Chess Cup title, reaching the last 12 in two separate white-ball cricket competitions, and even a credible return to international soccer.

All of this could only have been made possible by a sturdy ongoing foundation of sporting participation even if it wasn't tested against the rest of the multiverse. The saying goes that Kytlerian sport never went away; it just hid away. Amidst the backdrop of the RPD panic, competition still thrived domestically. This thread is the place to read all about the domestic Kytlerian sporting scene in this "new international era."
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)

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The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Thu Dec 07, 2023 1:20 am

Background information

It is sometimes argued what the true Kytlerian national sport is. Some even argue there isn't one, that the sporting interests of the country are too diffuse and extensive for that. But in terms of spectator attendance and media revenue, soccer is as clear an answer here as it is in so many other countries.


Kytlerian domestic soccer has a simple structure. One national top tier, a second tier divided into two, and a third tier divided into four, all governed by SO-KP (Soccer Organisation of the Kytler Peninsulae):

Tier 1: National Soccer League (NSL) (currently known as the EastWest NSL for sponsorship reasons). 16 teams (playing each other twice). Bottom three clubs relegated.
Tier 2: Peninsular League North/South (currently known as the Gregg's League North/South for sponsorship reasons): two 16-team divisions. Champions promoted automatically; a third team promoted via playoff between runners-up of each division. Bottom three clubs relegated. This is the lowest fully professional level of Kytlerian soccer, and the lowest that is currently scorinated.
Tier 3: Quadrant League NW/NE/SW/SE (currently known as the Sweat24 (NW/NE/SW/SE) Quadrant for sponsorship reasons): four 16-team divisions. Champions promoted automatically; additional promotions via playoff between runners-up (NW v NE and SW v SE). Mostly semi-professional. No formal relegation; instead, teams occasionally fold and lose their professional licenses, and these are awarded to amateur clubs based on on-field success and financial stability.

The SO-KP Cup is contested by all 112 professional and semi-professional teams. (Amateur teams at lower levels compete instead for the SO-KP Amateur Cup.) The 64 Quadrant League teams meet in the first round; Peninsular League teams join in second round; NSL teams join in fourth round to create 32-team single elimination. In the first three rounds, there is a north/south split in the draw.

Playing style

As a whole, Kytlerian football doesn't have a particularly strong singular identity. The sheer number of other sports vying for a finite Kytlerian population (even Rushmori countries only have so many sportspeople) means much of the player pool is more technically than athletically gifted, but the popularity of endurance events (especially triathlon for some reason) translates to plenty of cardiovascular fitness, even down to the Quadrant League where teams rarely have any kind of strength and conditioning facilities of their own. (The current Quadrant League title sponsor, a budget gym chain, offer free membership to registered players and in fact many of their personal trainers are Quadrant League players.) As a rule, lower-level Kytlerian teams are more likely to adopt a fast-paced chaotic style, while at the highest level there is more emphasis on ball control and patient possession, but there is a general tendency towards speed and stamina over strength because the power athletes tend to prioritise other sports. Individual coaches and teams often have their own identities, especially if they happen to have a "BFG" or two on their books.

Soccer was historically a gender-segregated sport at the professional level, but with the extensive proven history of women competing alongside men at the highest level internationally - with neighbouring Græntfjall the most eyecatching example for Kytlerians - that has changed in recent years. The national team remains all-male for now, but this too may change.

Club background

While the majority of Kytlerians live in the "Eastern Corridor" rather than the titular peninsulae, this isn't really reflected in the geography of Kytlerian soccer. It's literally baked into the name of the Peninsular League, even if that's an official name and a sponsored one has been used for longer than anyone can remember. The traditional "Big Four" have a neat geographical divide to them, which may explain their persistence; Roddens City in the northern peninsula, FC Alaer (whose former manager Clituleng Giisost was the Prime Minister who ended the isolation) in the southern peninsula, Capitolians in the capital Zube, and Bay City United in Kytler Bay City at the other end of the traditional Eastern Corridor. Barring international investment in this new era (which they'd likely, out of self-interest, immediately flag as suspicious whether it is or not), these are the clubs that will likely dominate Kytlerian soccer for the forseeable future.

The major challengers in recent years to the Big Four have been from regional centres across the southern peninsula. Real Santa Mordana, from the Hispanic-heavy city on the west coast, have been driven by a fanatical local fanbase and strong youth development, but never seem to stick around to make the Big Four a Big Five like people keep thinking they will. Borlfield Town, in the capital of conservative mining state Varn, were the nouveau riche club once having been funded by mining money, but their ability to entrench themselves as a top contender has been held back by the Varnian love for gridiron limiting their fanbase. Finally, Bravin Rangers - in a garrison town close to the Tikariot border - have punched above their weight for so long that it seems silly to think of them as a smaller club, but they cultivate that image proudly.

The Eastern Corridor Expansion - the hilly land in former Albundania that became part of Kytlerian territory in the years before the isolation - hasn't produced a regular "big club" of its own despite accounting for close to half of the Kytlerian population, but it does have possibly the most influential club in the country over recent years in AFC Carroll Lewiston. They were the first team to break the gender barrier, and a few years later became the first (and still only) NSL champions from the Expansion area with a team that started multiple women in every match. While the Magicians faded into midtable in subsequent years, they'd pulled a conjuring trick that nobody would fall for again; within three seasons, three-quarters of the NSL had multiple women playing for them, often but not always Græntfjaller dual nationals.
Last edited by The Kytler Peninsulae on Thu Dec 07, 2023 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)

User avatar
The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Sat Dec 09, 2023 5:46 pm

NSL International Era Season 1 preview

How is this going to work?

Same as it has done for a very long time, but without the insularity. That means 16 teams, bottom three go down, champions from each of the Peninsular Leagues go up and the runners-up meet (in a one-off match at Zube Olympic Stadium) to fill the final NSL spot for next season.

In terms of actual technical details, the main thing to note is that international players (but not goalkeepers) are allowed for the first time ever, with a limit of three permanent signings and an additional two loan spots - although in this initial season nobody actually used this to sign four or five non-Kytlerians. These signings have broadly been youth-focused, and while most expected the largest flow to be Græntfjallers it turned out that Xannerian universities were the most obvious cheap supply source the Kytlerian clubs went to dig. As for more proven players, these seemed to disproportionately come from StrayaRoos for some reason. (The lack of transfer fees. That's the reason.)

Who are the teams to watch?

Well, given the change in even the most established sides from the international influx (perhaps surprisingly and perhaps not, no teams remained 100% Kytlerian), arguably all of them. This is a fascinating new era and one that's going to be a lot of fun to watch the unfolding of.

But in terms of contenders, it always starts with the Big Four:
FC Alaer
Main colours White with black
Manager Ferrys Taklik
Typical formation 4-3-3
Last season 2nd
Title odds 7/2
Roddens City
Main colours Red with white
Manager Edward Robinson
Typical formation 4-2-3-1
Last season 1st
Title odds 7/2
Main colours Sky blue
Manager Victor Andrews
Typical formation 4-3-3
Last season 4th
Title odds 9/2
Bay City United
Main colours Navy and yellow
Manager Zachary Molder
Typical formation 4-2-3-1
Last season 3rd
Title odds 5/1

This is a very well-matched quartet, and the general consensus is that very little can truly separate them on paper. Roddens City have the advantage and the burden of holding the crown right now; an advantage in that they know they can do this having held off the chasing pack last season, a burden in that everyone's targeting them more than ever. They also paid the joint-largest signing fee of the window (900k) to sign Troy Gaither-Moon from Viathyn Park AFC; the 28-year-old Tikariotian is expected to be a prolific provider of assists, mostly from the left wing opposite Marwin Mikkelsen. FC Alaer may have made an even more impactful signing in the free agent market in StrayaRoos midfielder Ella Vidya, who has been a legitimate first choice for her ascending national team; they've also spent 500k on Jacek Krzynówek, an 18-year-old from Dod Rava's KKS Belchatow whose fierce left-footed shot will make him a natural fit for the inside-forward role long held by the prolific Tim David (who will now be a central striker). This signing is more typical of the nascent NSL international business; there's been a lot of digging for young options, often those squeezed out of more established setups. Capitolians see a Roo of their own as the missing piece for a title push, in the form of 21-year-old striker Kaniehtlio Lindiwe, but the real addition to watch at the Olympic Stadium is a temporary one in the form of Častimir Knežević. The teenage Pasargan playmaker, who can play in central midfield or on the left, is on a season-long loan from Chromatika's Pria City - for whom he has already shown flashes of his potential in limited first-team action. Bay City United, meanwhile, added only Chromia Central College University graduate Zhan Bo, who tends to looks better than he is - although his size-speed combination will play up in the NSL.

While the vast majority of titles are won by the Big Four, there is an emergent middle class below them:
Borlfield Town
Main colours Silver with black
Manager George Gary
Typical formation 4-4-2
Last season 7th
Title odds 18/1
AFC Edencliff
Main colours Light green
Manager Paula Foster
Typical formation 4-3-3
Last season 5th
Title odds 20/1
Bravin Rangers
Main colours Gunmetal grey and orange
Manager Roger Wickens
Typical formation 5-3-2
Last season 8th
Title odds 22/1
Ranford & Willsbrook
Main colours Blue and white
Manager Aaron Wilson-Cooper
Typical formation 4-1-4-1
Last season 6th
Title odds 25/1

While the Big Four play relatively similar games, these four extremely don't. Borlfield Town play barely refined 4-4-2 yeetball; the mining-backed Varnian club also aren't afraid to splash the cash, paying 900k for Pedró Eliasson Pousa to move over the border from Græntfjaller club Kyrkdorf. He's a fun variant on the BFG theme, an old-school wide man who delivers hard crosses with his chonky right leg and has a lower centre of gravity than an electric hypercar. Bravin Rangers have their own take on direct football with a high-octane counter-attacking 5-3-2 that was literally NBO's go-to analogy for Hahnea Izorigor's distinctive style of play in Elephant Chess Cup coverage. Their international business was particularly notable for featuring Gía Andsottír Lin, a Yue-Græntfjaller left-back who represents the first female player ever to play for this most historically macho of clubs from the garrison town near the Tikariot border; signed on loan from Ko-orenite club Ambergate City with a 700k buy option, the speculation is that the club wanted an "out" in the deal in case their own fans rejected her. By contrast, AFC Edencliff have been one of the leading pioneers for playing women in the NSL, and provided four members of the Olympic women's team; they added Krytenian midfielder Thomas Lyons for 450k from Beckton Supermarine to feed the revelation of the last isolation season, the front three of Rick Flash, Raven Lomu, and Agnes Oddkellsdóttir. All were teenagers last season, all had double-digit NSL goal tallies, and now all of them have international experience of some kind (Oddkellsdóttir at the Olympics, Lomu at the DBC, Flash at both). Ranford & Willsbrook have made three international signings (the highest-placed team from last season to do so), and while none are slam-dunks even at this level, they're also all under 21 and bolster the team's attacking options, plus they all came gratis. How Aaron Wilson-Cooper will deploy them within his trademark 4-1-4-1 may be the big point of interest here; pint-sized Norrhems Fotbollsakademin product Katrina Frisk and chaotic Mytanar ball of energy Benjamin Zbogar-Zolnir are both central strikers by trade but have attributes (Frisk's size, Zbogar-Zolnir's erratic finishing and diligent pressing) that invite an attacking midfield role. Any concerns are probably overstated, mind; Wilson-Cooper has been at pains to emphasise both the fluidity and defensive responsibilities of the attacking five.

The teams whose season feels most unpredictable, all of whom were in the bottom half last season but have some level of upside potential, lie here:
Aardswood United
Main colours White and green
Manager Janet Clarkson
Typical formation 5-2-3
Last season 9th
Title odds 40/1
Real Santa Mordana
Main colours White and red
Manager Oscar Rodríguez
Typical formation 4-1-4-1
Last season 13th
Title odds 50/1
Zeiven City
Main colours Rose gold with black
Manager Tóbias Jónsson
Typical formation 5-2-2-1
Last season 10th
Title odds 66/1
Vengife Town
Main colours Marigold and dark green
Manager Manu Kirikiri
Typical formation 4-2-3-1
Last season 12th
Title odds 66/1
AFC Carroll Lewiston
Main colours Pink and white
Manager Flora Atkins
Typical formation 4-2-3-1
Last season 11th
Title odds 80/1

Quite the variety bag here. Zeiven's trademark 5-2-2-1 under Jónsson has created a fantastic fit for South Newlandia left-back Matias Vaz, who's fast in mind, fast in body, and even smaller than a South Newlandian stadium; he'll cover the wing, the whole wing, and nothing but the wing. He'll pair nicely with the "SFG" Álfar Jvarsson on the other flank. Aardswood have some actual promise and might be plausibly considered part of the middle class mentioned above, but their only international signing was Denisa Sadukaj, a Juven attacker who frankly looks weird even when she's effective. Real Santa Mordana only stayed up on the final day last season, but they have the most electrifying Kytlerian prospect of this generation in Vincent, and with other youngsters coming through (including an imported one in teenage Absolute Unit defender Yrko, a 700k signing from Academia Ibata) their arrow is pointing firmly up. Vengife Town are looking to blend their Aboriginal-heavy core with teenage StrayaRoo striker Maria Ajdis and the intriguing Aji Loj Zhuyu, a mystery-box 17-year-old midfielder from the newly-established Lithico Excellence academy - but critics aren't sold on new manager Manu Kirikiri's aspiration to play like the big clubs. Finally, AFC Carroll Lewiston - still the last team outside the Big Four to win the title with their revolutionary "Girl Power" side of eight years ago - look to recapture that lightning in a bottle (well, they are called the Magicians...) with three international signings, all women, and headlined by 400k signing Carly Wendling, a strong finisher who requested a move to a team that actually wants to score goals rather than the notoriously defensive Winchester Traditional of her native Cassadaigua.

And then there are the three promoted clubs:
Cluitt SC
Main colours Sea blue and white
Manager Jan van der Meyde
Typical formation 4-3-3
Last season 1st in Gregg's League North
Title odds 150/1
Donningwood Rovers
Main colours Brown and green
Manager Jannik Pétursson
Typical formation 4-4-2
Last season 1st in Gregg's League South
Title odds 250/1
Starnwood United
Main colours White and black
Manager Andy Cunningham
Typical formation 4-4-2
Last season 2nd in Gregg's League North
Title odds 250/1

All three of them signed three international players. Being blunt, they were dumpster dives; none of them even commanded a disclosed fee. But wait! Cluitt SC, who were the only one of these teams to go up with any finesse last season rather than just playing yeetball, acquired a Græntfjaller right-back in Borgþór Daðason who was assumed to be not living up to his youth potential, but he's been given at least a look by the national team again, which probably means he's figuring it out? Norrhems Fotbollsakademin product Inga-Britt Mellberg is another interesting acquisition, as she's flashed substantial technical promise as a clean-tackling left-back whilst facing questions about her speed and strength. How she fares in an adult league will be watched closely, and not just on the Sharke Inlet coast. Donningwood Rovers are bringing what has been politely dubbed "lumberjack energy" to the NSL, and two Akademiezh Mell-Droad Gouvanarch bludgeons have come along with their chainsaws in Marcon Le Masson (whose job is going to be delivering crosses) and Branoc Du Gouey (whose job, alongside BFG Davíð Steinmóðsson, is going to be heading them in). Finally, Starnwood United have lucky-dipped their way into All-Namer B.J. Keller-Kells and promising 16-year-old Rico Carrero, a speedy right-back from the famed Night Academy who needs game time in an adult league to live up to his potential.

What's going to happen?

Only Margaret knows. Maybe even she doesn't have a slani clue.
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)

User avatar
The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Wed Jan 17, 2024 1:24 am

NSL International Era Season 1: MD1-5

Donningwood Rovers 2–4 Capitolians
Starnwood United 0–4 Ranford & Willsbrook
AFC Carroll Lewiston 0–2 FC Alaer
Bay City United 0–0 Roddens City
Real Santa Mordana 2–2 Cluitt SC
Zeiven City 1–0 Bravin Rangers
Borlfield Town 2–0 AFC Edencliff
Aardswood United 0–0 Vengife Town

The first international-infused NSL season in history represented a major milestone for Kytlerian sport. Not always one that was welcomed - several hundred disgruntled Bravin Rangers bought banners against the change to their opening away match at Zeiven City, including too many that were blatantly misogynistic in their disdain for new arrival Gía Andsottír Lin, the first woman ever to play for this garrison club. They did warm to the physicality of teenage Auprussian Dilan De Feux-Lataille - "he's going to be doing two men's job," said one Bravin fan in a social media post that quickly went viral (for context, "DDFL" is the left-sided centre-back and Gía the left wing-back in their 5-3-2) - but they still scapegoated their Yue-Græntfjaller "gal" despite her having absolutely nothing to do with Zeiven's winning goal, a deflected toe-poke set up by an early low cross from Matias Vaz. Maybe that was because Vaz was another international signing at the same position, but while he's the right gender for the military macho men he's actually shorter and lighter than Lin.

Anyway, that was a sideshow match; the main event, and the actual opening match of the season, was the top-of-the-table clash between Bay City United and defending champion Roddens City. It didn't live up to the entertainment billing, but that was largely down to some excellent defending, Zhan Bo - the Chromatik State University graduate who represented Bay City's only international addition - looking particularly imposing at the base of their midfield. While Kytlerian coverage of their suddenly dominant chess team often used football analogies to provide vague explainers for a bewildered new audience, the viral post of this match was a flip-reverse of that, a Bay City University chess player named Johnny Adamson opining "It is said that, in chess, perfect play leads to a draw. On this evidence, it's the same in football." The other Big Four clubs took advantage of their opening with two-goal away wins against lesser opposition, Capitolians putting four past last season's Gregg's League South winners Donningwood Rovers - Častimir Knežević setting up three of them in a statement of "I'm far too good for this level" intent from the Pria City loanee - while FC Alaer beat AFC Carroll Lewiston 2-0, overcoming the Magicians' "girl power" with some of their own from Ella Vidya's goal and assist.

The standout score of the weekend was undoubtedly Ranford & Willsbrook thumping four unanswered goals past newly-promoted Starnwood United in a result that seems like an indication of a long, long season ahead for the beaten side. South Newlandian striker Aadi Seidel looked absolutely furious with his own team at times, and no wonder given how utterly dominated they were in midfield; Finn Murphy and the Ko-orenite Ciri yToddmac seemed to win the ball back every time the hosts had it, and the other international additions Benjamin Zbogar-Zolnir and Katrina Frisk look like a classic false 9/false 10 partnership in the making on this evidence, both assisting the other in the first half before Frisk added two more soon after the break for the first hat-trick of the NSL's international era.

Fellow promoted club Cluitt SC did rather better in grabbing half of the four goals at the Estadio Esarra Stadium, Borgþór Daðason having a thrilling individual battle with Vincent that saw him largely contained in open play; the teenage sensation made his mark from set pieces instead, scoring early from a free kick and putting a corner on the bonce of Absolute Unit Verdean defender Yrko for a late equaliser. Meanwhile, Borlfield Town made an impressive argument for "best of the rest" status with a comfortable home win over AFC Edencliff, and Aardswood United played out a snore draw with Vengife Town.

Capitolians 3–2 Vengife Town
AFC Edencliff 1–0 Aardswood United
Bravin Rangers 0–2 Borlfield Town
Cluitt SC 0–1 Zeiven City
Roddens City 2–3 Real Santa Mordana
FC Alaer 3–1 Bay City United
Ranford & Willsbrook 1–0 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Donningwood Rovers 2–0 Starnwood United

In a weekend with no draws, the standout result was the homecoming party of the champions being absolutely silenced by the emergent Kytlerian player of his generation. Vincent singlehandedly dragged Real Santa Mordana back from 2-0 down at Roddens City, setting up two goals before scoring the winner himself. Hugely exciting for the future of the national team; hugely frustrating if you're on the wrong end of it. The hosts looked on cruise control after two assists from Troy Gaither-Moon - a much-hyped signing in these parts given his past over the border in the TPL, the most-watched international league on Kytlerian screens - but they had no answer to the man of the moment. (The era?)

There was another showpiece stumble for Bay City United, who really were given a tough time of it with this scheduling algorithm; after a home draw with the champions that now looks rather worse than it did at the time, they were comprehensively outplayed by FC Alaer, for whom teenage signing Jacek Krzynówek looked particularly dangerous filling the old inside-forward role of Tim David (and also setting up the third for the beloved veteran). Early days, but there's now an awful lot of pressure on their "easier" matches to come...

Capitolians also made it two wins out of two by beating Vengife Town, although they too let a two-goal lead slip before Kaniehtlio Lindiwe's fierce volleyed winner saved their blushes in emphatic fashion, and they were joined on maximum points by three other clubs. Zeiven City and Ranford & Willsbrook both managed scrappy 1-0 wins against relegation contenders, but Borlfield Town made another statement with a 2-0 win at Bravin Rangers, who gave Lin a brutally negative reception at home to the point that when chonky Pedró Eliasson Pousa muscled her off the ball, the fans treated it like he was one of their own rather than an opponent.

Bravin are at least being kept off rock bottom by Starnwood United, who fell to fellow promoted club Donningwood Rovers in a meek 2-0 capitulation courtesy of two simple headed goals from BFG Davíð Steinmóðsson. Two of their lucky-dip additions - the already-disaffected Seidel and the sushi-raw teenage Vanorian academy product Rico Carrero - are being picked on mercilessly by local reporters, and the club's most popular fanzine literally wrote a feature on looking forward to relegation and "the return of a true local club with no foreign mercenaries." Oof!

Starnwood United 0–0 Capitolians
AFC Carroll Lewiston 2–1 Donningwood Rovers
Bay City United 1–0 Ranford & Willsbrook
Real Santa Mordana 2–2 FC Alaer
Zeiven City 0–1 Roddens City
Borlfield Town 4
–1 Cluitt SC
Aardswood United 0–1 Bravin Rangers
Vengife Town 3–3 AFC Edencliff

That's one way to respond to being booed by your own fans; back on the road with only a handful of boo-boys to face, Lin made an instant impact on her club's season in the right way with a striking solo run to set up Mytanar teenager Aristarkh Polivanov for a tap-in that gave Bravin Rangers a priceless away win at Aardswood United. Maybe now the reasonable voices will be heard.

Speaking of clubs from right-wing bastions, is it too early to think of Borlfield Town as actual title contenders? They're (already!) the last team left with a 100% record after crushing Cluitt 4-1, while all four other teams to win their first two games slipped up - none more brutally than Capitolians, held to a goalless draw at Starnwood United. Rico Carrero had a coming-out moment and then some in nullifying Knežević; the question with him was how long he'd take to work things out in an adult league, and the answer was 180 minutes, apparently. FC Alaer were held to a 2-2 draw at Santa Mordana - and, yes, Vincent was involved in both home goals - while Ranford & Willsbrook and Zeiven City were edged out by Bay City United and Roddens City respectively, in what felt like a real statement of things going back to normal again.

Every team now has at least a point, with AFC Carroll Lewiston joining Bravin Rangers on three with Carly Wendling's brace enough to overcome Donningwood Rovers. And there was absolute chaos at the Taa'kai Memorial Stadium, with Vengife Town blowing three separate one-goal leads in a 3-3 draw with AFC Edencliff. It was a coming-out party at least for StrayaRoos teenager Maria Adjis, who was prolific on home soil for Pale City last season and showed that form again on the NSL stage with two goals and an assist.

Capitolians 2–2 AFC Edencliff
Bravin Rangers 1–0 Vengife Town
Cluitt SC 0–1 Aardswood United
Roddens City 2–3 Borlfield Town
FC Alaer 1
–0 Zeiven City
Ranford & Willsbrook 2–2 Real Santa Mordana
Donningwood Rovers 0–2 Bay City United
Starnwood United 1
–0 AFC Carroll Lewiston

Is it too early to think of Borlfield Town as actual title contenders? No. No it is not. Not when you beat the champions in their own backyard, Pedró Eliasson Pousa's hard crosses causing chaos in the Roddens rearguard to set up the first two goals for Emrys Floyd before his solo winner completed an absolute statement hat-trick. Somehow, the champions have lost both of their first two home games 3-2, are tenth (TENTH!) in what was allegedly supposed to be a four-team league, and there's going to be big questions about Conan Prunty at left-back; whilst he's been in the national team conversation before, he may just be hitting the wall at 30.

Speaking of teams that are both scoring and conceding plenty, AFC Edencliff managed another multi-score draw on the road, but this was a particularly credible one; 2-2 at the ZOS against Capitolians, who are now four points off the top. It was also 2-2 number 2 for Real Santa Mordana, who have now conceded a league-high eight goals yet have a positive goal difference after Ranford & Willsbrook played host to another edition of The Vincent Show (no goals himself this time, but one highlight-reel trivela assist for the opening goal). The antithesis of this are Zeiven City, whose total scoring for the season is two goals for and two against, and two 1-0 wins each way at that. This second straight on the losing side came to FC Alaer, who made the intriguing decision to have Krzynówek operating as a wide target man to overpower Matias Vaz on the flank. While he absolutely did that, the rest of the Zeiven back five were able to shift to contain his inside runs, and the winner came from the other side of the pitch altogether, with James Black's cross being headed in by Tim David. Alaer are still just two points off the top, and the best of the Big Four.

Bay City United continued to affirm their "we're back on track" message with a comfortable win at Donningwood, Bravin Rangers did the same with a 1-0 home win over Vengife Town marked by the Lin reactions shifting from boos to catcalls, while Starnwood United won what was already dubbed as a relegation six-pointer against AFC Carroll Lewiston - Aadi Seidel's diving header was the cue for a ferocious, cathartic celebration for the young South Newlandian striker. Cluitt FC are now bottom, after they lost at home to Aardswood United.

AFC Carroll Lewiston 1–2 Capitolians
Bay City United 4
–0 Starnwood United
Real Santa Mordana 3-0 Donningwood Rovers
Zeiven City 0–0 Ranford & Willsbrook
Borlfield Town 2–3 FC Alaer
Aardswood United 0–0 Roddens City
Vengife Town 2–2 Cluitt SC
AFC Edencliff 1–1 Bravin Rangers

The viral post of this weekend: "I know Giisost is big on football and equality but four draws in one weekend? Really?"

The Prime Minister's old managerial haunt FC Alaer was not responsible for one of them; instead, they were responsible for ending Borlfield Town's 100% start and usurping them as leaders at that, twice coming from behind before Ella Vidya's delightful chipped diagonal ball from the left half-space was fired in on the volley by Krzynówek in what might just have been the statement moment of the NSL season to date. Borlfield's direct counter-attacking style continues to be a danger to their opponents - both of their goals here came in transition and from crosses - but there were defensive vulnerabilities shown here that hadn't been seen in their winning run. Have they been found out?

If they have, the league is soon going to take an almost familiar look very quickly, as Capitolians and Bay City United are now in their customary top-four slots following the latter's destruction of Starnwood United - Dings Mocks scoring two and setting up two more - and the former holding on for a 2-1 win at Carroll Lewiston, Quebecois-Kytler(i)an teenager Park Si-Woo setting up goals for Knežević and Lindiwe in a move from left-back to midfield that looks like it might stick. Almost familiar, mind; Roddens City dropped points once more, this time in a goalless draw at Aardswood, and are still tenth and eight off the lead.

That was one of the four draws mentioned by that viral post; the others were Zeiven City breaking the 1-0 trend with (erm) a 0-0 against Ranford & Willsbrook, AFC Edencliff halting the charge of the Bravin brigade with a late Rick Flash equaliser to delight the home crowd at Chalk Field after Danny Markusson's bullet header had put the visitors in front, and bottom club Cluitt SC showing some signs of life in a 2-2 slugfest at the Taa'kai. That last result came at a brutal cost, though, as Borgþór Daðason was forced to leave with a knee injury that looked minor but still brings concern given how much worse every other defender in this squad is. It was telling that Vengife's equaliser came after the Græntfjaller came off, and from an attack on the Cluitt right he normally patrols at that...

VincentWatch: a goal and an assist in a comprehensive 3-0 unravelling of Donningwood Rovers. Definitely not a draw, that.

EastWest NSL - after MD5      P    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 FC Alaer 5 4 1 0 11 5 +6 13
2 Borlfield Town 5 4 0 1 13 6 +7 12
3 Capitolians 5 3 2 0 11 7 +4 11
4 Bay City United 5 3 1 1 8 3 +5 10
5 Real Santa Mordana 5 2 3 0 12 8 +4 9
6 Ranford & Willsbrook 5 2 2 1 7 3 +4 8
7 Zeiven City 5 2 1 2 2 2 0 7
8 Bravin Rangers 5 2 1 2 3 4 −1 7
9 AFC Edencliff 5 1 3 1 7 8 −1 6
10 Roddens City 5 1 2 2 5 6 −1 5
11 Aardswood United 5 1 2 2 1 2 −1 5
12 Starnwood United 5 1 1 3 1 10 −9 4
13 Vengife Town 5 0 3 2 7 9 −2 3
14 AFC Carroll Lewiston 5 1 0 4 3 7 −4 3
15 Donningwood Rovers 5 1 0 4 5 11 −6 3
16 Cluitt SC 5 0 2 3 5 10 −5 2
Last edited by The Kytler Peninsulae on Wed Jan 17, 2024 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)

User avatar
The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Thu Jan 18, 2024 3:07 pm

NSL International Era Season 1: MD6-10

Capitolians 4–0 Bravin Rangers
Cluitt SC 0–2 AFC Edencliff
Roddens City 2
–0 Vengife Town
FC Alaer 4–0 Aardswood United
Ranford & Willsbrook 3–1 Borlfield Town
Donningwood Rovers 0–1 Zeiven City
Starnwood United 0–1 Real Santa Mordana
AFC Carroll Lewiston 2–2 Bay City United

Having dramatically taken top spot in their last match, FC Alaer produced a statement of intent they're going to stay there with a 4-0 thumping of Aardswood, who may be struggling this season with just one win so far but are usually seen as a credible side with little relegation threat. Not that they looked credible against the Krzynówek-Vidya axis, which combined for all three first-half goals; the Dod Ravan inside-forward set up the first for the onrushing StrayaRoo attacking midfielder, before the second and third goals both came from the latter feeding the former. This salvo made them joint NSL top scorers, alongside Capitolians who managed their own statement 4-0 home win against Bravin Rangers. This one was far more backloaded, though, as Gía Andsottír Lin was forced off with a knock late in the first half with the score still 0-0; Častimir Knežević and Clituleng Taklik promptly wrecked havoc after that with two goals apiece.

The reason those four-goal frenzies made the big clubs responsible for them the NSL top scorers is because Borlfield Town only managed a single goal as they were beaten again, 3-1 at Ranford & Willsbrook. (Is it actually "and" when the stadium is clearly within the former of the two conjoined coastal towns?) Benjamin Zbogar-Zolnir, now affectionately known as "Buzz" to the home fans, scored the first by blocking an attempted clearance, before flicking a Frepresis Whootung cross into the path of the onrushing Katrina Frisk for the second in another classic example of the burgeoning "strike partnership" between the Mytanar and Norrish youngsters. Borlfield fall to third, with their conquerors up to fifth; in between them lie not Bay City United (held to a 2-2 draw at AFC Carroll Lewiston, Vanorian 16-year-old Nova Björklund's thrilling solo goal the second equaliser) but Real Santa Mordana, who got the only goal at Starnwood United courtesy of yet another Vincent assist.

AFC Edencliff and Zeiven City picked up useful away wins at Cluitt and Donningwood, both of whom are in position to go straight back down, but the Carroll Lewiston point means the third relegation spot is now held by Vengife Town, whose winless streak continues with a tame 2-0 defeat at Roddens City. That's the first points the champions have picked up at home all season!

Bay City United 2–1 Capitolians
Real Santa Mordana 4–3 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Zeiven City 2–0 Starnwood United
Borlfield Town 5–1 Donningwood Rovers
Aardswood United 1–3 Ranford & Willsbrook
Vengife Town 0–0 FC Alaer
AFC Edencliff 2–3 Roddens City
Bravin Rangers 0–0 Cluitt SC

The top of the table tightens. Initially that was set up by the leaders being held to a bore-draw at the Taa'kai; Vengife Town still haven't won a match this season, but they're out of the bottom three again and their fans sure treated this one like a win. Borlfield Town took merciless advantage in a 5-1 hammering of Donningwood Rovers, Qardinal Field rocking to the beat of the Pedró Eliasson Pousa drum as he provided a hat-trick of assists in a match where five different players were on the scoresheet for the mining-backed club (and now, once again, NSL top scorers).

But then the next Big Four battle arrived, in the form of the "Olympic Derby" between Bay City United and Capitolians - a name both fanbases started to adopt in recent years as it became clear that "Eastern Corridor Derby" didn't quite work in a world where there were plenty of other Eastern Corridor teams, even if not as many as you'd think given the population distribution... anyway, the visitors could have gone level on points with Alaer with a win, and duly took the lead through Knežević's impish chipped finish, but two goals in four minutes from Pétur Ingólfsson turned the match on its head, and possibly Bay City's season at that. They're now level on points with Capitolians and, whilst sixth, just three points off the top.

Heck, Zeiven City are just four off the top, despite having scored fewer goals all season than bottom club Donningwood. The difference is that they have conceded just two goals, and they converted their fifth clean sheet into a fourth win by scoring goals - plural! - for the first time all season. (Only two, don't get too excited. And it was at home to Starnwood United, so definitely don't get too excited. But this is a team that's creeping up on the unwary.)

The real story of the season, though, might be coming from Real Santa Mordana and Ranford & Willsbrook. Both of them are now in the top four after the former won a 4-3 barnburner at home to AFC Carroll Lewiston (for whom Carly Wendling scored a hat-trick in defeat, her desire to leave ultra-defensive Cassadagan club Winchester Traditional SC truly a monkey's paw moment) while the latter cruised to a 3-1 triumph at Aardswood, who actually took the lead before another Zbogar-Zolnir pickpocket moment snaffled the ball off Cliff McDuff to set up Frisk for a tap-in and shook the home team to the point they basically didn't try to keep possession against the home side's press after that. Aaron Wilson-Cooper has placed a firm emphasis on his attacking players being ball-winners as well, and "Buzz" looks like the epitome of his ethos already.

While three of the Big Four are outside the top four (unheard of after a meaningful number of matches), Roddens City are at least back in touch a bit after a 3-2 win at Edencliff, Troy Gaither-Moon setting up the first two before squeezing in the third from a tight angle. Quite the goalfest weekend, then, but there was a second 0-0 in the mix at Bravin to spoil the fun a bit, albeit a priceless one for the visitors as Cluitt SC (for whom Borgþór Daðason was imperious thwarting one side of the Rangers' trademark wide raids) moved off the bottom.

Capitolians 1–0 Cluitt SC
Roddens City 2–0 Bravin Rangers
FC Alaer 0–0 AFC Edencliff
Ranford & Willsbrook 0–0 Vengife Town
Donningwood Rovers 2–2 Aardswood United
Starnwood United 2–0 Borlfield Town
AFC Carroll Lewiston 2–3 Zeiven City
Bay City United 4
–2 Real Santa Mordana

And now we really do have chaos at the top. The leaders were held to another 0-0, this time at home to Edencliff, and now the entire top half are separated by just four points.

The headline act in the "how we got here" was Bay City United's second straight statement come-from-behind home win, this one over Real Santa Mordana. Twice the visitors led through Vincent; twice the hosts pulled back through Dings Mocks. Cometh the hour, cometh the woman; teenage substitute Joanne Walgrave replaced the injured Ingólfsson 15 minutes into the second half and promptly scored a brace of her own. No team has topped Real Santa Mordana's 19 goals; only two clubs, both in the relegation zone, have conceded more than their 15. That's the story of their season, but Zeiven City broke out of their mirror-image of this in a big way; conceding goals plural for the first time all season at Carroll Lewiston, they were able to absorb that and come away from The Wonderland with a 3-2 win courtesy of Alby Friel's hat-trick. Zeiven have actually scored fewer goals this season than the team they visited, but they're ten places above them in the table and just two points off the top.

It was a quieter day of doing their job for Capitolians, who battled to unpick the Cluitt low block for 70 minutes before a Micah Davenport foul just outside the box set up Knežević to unleash the winner from the resultant free kick. Both they and Bay City United are now just a point off the top in second and third as the top of the table instantly takes a more familiar look. Even Roddens City might join the party sooner rather than later, as a 2-0 home defeat of Bravin Rangers moved them to within four of Alaer despite being eighth.

That sudden top-four familiarity was facilitated by Vengife Town managing another goalless draw against high-flying opposition (Ranford & Willsbrook this time), and Borlfield being stunned 2-0 at Starnwood, Rico Carrero's darting run setting up the first for Aadi Seidel as the value of even dumpster-dive international raids for the NSL lesser lights was vividly illustrated. See also: Donningwood Rovers moving off the bottom with a Branoc Du Gouey double, the first set up by fellow Gouvanarch academy product Marcon Le Masson, facilitating a 2-2 draw against Aardswood United, who really are looking like they might be drifting into trouble.

Real Santa Mordana 2–2 Capitolians
Zeiven City 1–0 Bay City United
Borlfield Town 1–0 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Aardswood United 2–0 Starnwood United
Vengife Town 1–0 Donningwood Rovers
AFC Edencliff 4–3 Ranford & Willsbrook
Bravin Rangers 1–2 FC Alaer
Cluitt SC 0–2 Roddens City

After last weekend's aberration, Zeiven City got back to what they do best - 1-0 wins - in almost the most eyecatching way possible, Cliff Whyte's long-range piledriver (and a stunning injury-time block on the line by Xannerian sweeper Jimmy Foxworth, a low-key contender for top free international acquisition of this first international window) overcoming Bay City United to put The Zee Team, at that point in the day, top of the NSL. (FC Alaer would return there that evening with a 2-1 win at Bravin Rangers - whose fans turned even more vocally on Lin in front of a national TV audience, sparking calls for some sort of SO-KP sanction.)

Borlfield Town may be the NSL top scorers and Carroll Lewiston in the bottom three with more goals than Zeiven, but it was a 1-0 win for the former at home to the latter thanks to Absolute Unit Kanmerin defender Todar Ranmada bullying the Magicians' Carly Wendling in such a way that it sparked debate over gender integration in the sport, not least because of an RTX Radio rant (it's always them...) the next day. As it turned out, Ranmada scored the winner by heading in a corner in first-half stoppage time, too, and the win leaves his side third, in front of the remaining Big Four.

Who are all now clumped together, after Capitolians left Santa Mordana with a 2-2 draw (Knežević and Vincent both scored one and set up another for their respective sides, to the surprise of almost nobody) while Roddens City continued their stealth run back to where they belong with a routine 2-0 win at Cluitt, who are now the only winless side in the NSL folloiwng Vengife Town's 1-0 defeat of second-bottom Donningwood Rovers. After two straight 0-0s against top teams, it looked like a third was coming against far lesser opposition, before Maria Adjis' 81st-minute winner sparked a cathartic roar all around the Taa'kai Memorial Stadium.

There was also catharsis in the Eastern Downs, as Aardswood United eased their crisis with a 2-0 defeat of Starnwood United. Janet Clarkson was expected to be sacked with a defeat in that one, but from the moment Andy Pickett's early sighter from distance was deflected in off the hapless B.J. Keller-Kells, that rarely looked like a remote threat.

The match of the round, though, was a barnburner at Chalk Field, in which Ranford & Willsbrook looked in control at 2-0 up before Zbogar-Zolnir was forced off with a twisted ankle five minutes into the second half. Freed from anxiety over the Mytanar's press, AFC Edencliff grew massively in confidence on the ball, instantly hit back through Agnes Oddkellsdóttir, equalised on the hour through Raven Lomu, before two sumptuous Thomas Lyons passes set up Oddkellsdóttir and Rick Flash for two goals in five minutes. An injury-time Finn Murphy header wasn't enough for the visitors, who fall to eighth (though still just six points off the top) with Edencliff now directly below them.

Capitolians 3–3 Roddens City
FC Alaer 3–0 Cluitt SC
Ranford & Willsbrook 1–2 Bravin Rangers
Donningwood Rovers 1–2 AFC Edencliff
Starnwood United 1–0 Vengife Town
AFC Carroll Lewiston 5–1 Aardswood United
Bay City United 1–0 Borlfield Town
Real Santa Mordana 1–2 Zeiven City

The only place to start here is the Big Four battle, where a resurgent Roddens headed to the ZOS for the Northern Derby. That might have been the place to start anyway, but it sure as heck was given the way this one went; a stunning Knežević goal after 31 seconds, the fastest NSL goal of the season so far, was almost as rapidly countered by Marvin Mikkelsen poking home a delicious Troy Gaither-Moon cross at the far post, and the Tikariotian turned from provider to scorer with a delightful curling effort that clipped the far post on its way in to give the visitors a 2-1 lead after barely ten minutes. Knežević would strike back both directly (from a free kick) and indirectly (feeding Kaniehtlio Lindiwe with a defense-splitting diagonal ball) to give the hosts a 3-2 lead at the break, but the fragile illusion of stability that held for most of the second half was shattered with a fabulous Mikkelsen solo dribble leading to a shot that hit the post and rebounded back to the grateful Gaither-Moon. It felt criminal that this match ended with the teams combining for four points dropped rather than three, but the other top teams weren't complaining.

And Zeiven City made another statement of intent that they might actually be one of them, overcoming an early deficit to win 2-1 at Real Santa Mordana and strengthen their grip on second. Tóbias Jónsson's trademark 5-2-2-1 has given them a foundation of stability that they have increasingly looked superb at building upon, and there are social media calls for him to get the national team job. (Interviewed after this victory, Jónsson said merely that "if the job became vacant I'd be silly not to see if I could get it, but right now it isn't.") Bay City United claimed a Zeiven-esque 1-0 win at home to Borlfield Town and replaced their visitors in third as a result, Ellis Oldham's early goal proving enough for a hugely important win in a match that was otherwise strikingly short on action. Maybe the Northern Derby stole it all.

There was plenty of goalscoring in a couple of other matches too, but all at one end in each case; FC Alaer entrenched their top spot with a 3-0 crushing of Cluitt SC that looked every bit the "top at home to bottom" match it was, but there was much more shock value at the Wonderland, where AFC Carroll Lewiston raised numerous eyebrows putting five past Aardswood United. The visitors actually took the lead through a Denisa Sadukaj penalty, but from then on they simply imploded, Carly Wendling scoring another hat-trick to be a talking point for the third time in four weeks. It was the first match in NSL history where six goals were scored by women, but it wasn't all good news for girl power; Janet Clarkson became the first NSL managerial casualty of the season the next day.

Hilariously, the Magicians remain in the bottom three, as Starnwood United claimed a vital 1-0 home win over Vengife Town. Bravin Rangers also got some much-needed separation from the basement battle with a 2-1 win at Ranford & Willsbrook - Aristarkh Polivanov scoring both for the visitors, the second from a Lin assist - while AFC Edencliff built on the momentum from last week's thrilling comeback with a 2-1 win at Donningwood Rovers.

EastWest NSL - after MD10     P    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 FC Alaer 10 7 3 0 20 6 +14 24
2 Zeiven City 10 7 1 2 11 5 +6 22
3 Bay City United 10 6 2 2 17 9 +8 20
4 Capitolians 10 5 4 1 22 14 +8 19
5 Borlfield Town 10 6 0 4 20 13 +7 18
6 Roddens City 10 5 3 2 17 11 +6 18
7 Real Santa Mordana 10 4 4 2 22 19 +3 16
8 AFC Edencliff 10 4 4 2 17 15 +2 16
9 Ranford & Willsbrook 10 4 3 3 17 11 +6 15
10 Bravin Rangers 10 3 2 5 6 13 −7 11
11 Starnwood United 10 3 1 6 4 15 −11 10
12 Aardswood United 10 2 3 5 7 16 −9 9
13 Vengife Town 10 1 5 4 8 12 −4 8
14 AFC Carroll Lewiston 10 2 1 7 15 18 −3 7
15 Donningwood Rovers 10 1 1 8 9 22 −13 4
16 Cluitt SC 10 0 3 7 5 18 −13 3
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)

User avatar
The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Fri Jan 19, 2024 12:08 pm

NSL International Era Season 1: MD11-15

Zeiven City 2–1 Capitolians
Borlfield Town 2–0 Real Santa Mordana
Aardswood United 0–1 Bay City United
Vengife Town 0–1 AFC Carroll Lewiston
AFC Edencliff 3
–0 Starnwood United
Bravin Rangers 0–0 Donningwood Rovers
Cluitt SC 0–1 Ranford & Willsbrook
Roddens City 1–1 FC Alaer

Well that's a statement and three quarters. Zeiven City's home stadium happens to be essentially a mini-me of the ZOS, complete with that tier gap (it's not plagiarism if you copy your own work, the two were designed by the same architectural firm). And so when Capitolians come to the South Newlandia-sized version of their own iconic venue, there's usually a sense of "aww, diddums" about the place from the visiting fans. But this time, the hosts were three points clear of the Zube-based side and could temporarily go top with a win, pending the North-South Showdown between Roddens City and FC Alaer later. And that's exactly what they did, and appropriately enough it was their own South Newlandian wing-back Matias Vaz who played a crucial role, initially by shutting down attacks on his side of the pitch, then by playing a defense-splitting diagonal ball to Álfar Jvarsson on the opposite flank, who was left with all kinds of space to run into and accepted the invitation to cut inside and ultimately smash the ball past Thorbjørn Lauridsen in the away goal. Kaniehtlio Lindiwe equalised on the hour, but Alby Friel almost instantly restored a lead that would not vanish a second time. Zeiven were top. Zeiven were top.

And it was only on goal difference that they weren't top after the North-South Showdown, a relatively underwhelming affair in which the champions cancelled out an early Tim David strike with a Marwin Mikkelsen equaliser set up by Troy Gaither-Moon's delightful early cross. Both sides contained the other all too well for the neutral after that, and Roddens remain sixth and Alaer top, the two separated by a still-modest six points, and by definition there was another club outside the Big Four in between the two. That club was Borlfield Town, after they lured Real Santa Mordana to their doom with rope-a-dope counter-attacking tactics and then stole two goals in the second half from crosses - both headed in by the largely unheralded Andrew Rickman, who has arguably been a well-kept secret this season but is hard to ignore now he has six goals for the campaign including both in a match of this significance. Borlfield move up above Capitolians into fourth, while Real Santa Mordana - who would have overtaken their hosts with a win at Qardinal Field - fall to ninth, which feels about right for a team whose 22 goals for and 21 against are both just one short of the most in the league.

Aardswood United, under the temporary management of caretaker boss Angufams Gackbang, gave Bay City United all they could handle before Ellis Oldham ultimately spared the visitors' blushes with a 78th-minute boomstick, volleying in from the D after a half-cleared corner fell kindly for his left boot. That left Bay City just two points off the top in third, and Aardswood teetering on the edge of the drop zone after AFC Carroll Lewiston escaped it with a 1-0 win of their own in the basement battle with Vengife Town. Nova Björklund's decisive goal silenced the Taa'kai crowd, as the hosts filled the Magicians' spot in the bottom three.

Cluitt are beginning to be cut adrift, and they were another struggler to fall to a 1-0 defeat this week, Ranford & Willsbrook claiming the three points on the road courtesy of Katrina Frisk. Donningwood Rovers actually succeeded in holding out, claiming a point from a goalless draw at Bravin Rangers where the biggest cheer came when Lin was substituted near the end. More entertainment for the home fans at Chalk Field though, Edencliff cruising to a 3-0 win over Starnwood United that frankly wasn't that close; Thomas Lyons was imperious in setting up two for Rick Flash and scoring a third himself.

Capitolians 2–4 FC Alaer
Ranford & Willsbrook 2
–0 Roddens City
Donningwood Rovers 0–4 Cluitt SC
Starnwood United 0–1 Bravin Rangers
AFC Carroll Lewiston 2
–1 AFC Edencliff
Bay City United 3–0 Vengife Town
Real Santa Mordana 1–0 Aardswood United
Zeiven City 2–4 Borlfield Town

Four of the top five played each other, but one of those matches involved neither of the Big Four. In another delightful piece of irony, one was at the ZOS, and one was at Zeiven's "we have ZOS at home" ground. Both had the same outcome, too - startling 4-2 away wins that represent absolutely massive statements for both attacking sides.

For Zeiven, at least, the explanation was simple; sweeper Jimmy Foxworth was injured on the half-hour, when the hosts were actually 1-0 up courtesy of an unfortunate Todar Ranmada own goal from a dangerous Vaz low cross, and all hell broke loose without him. Ivica Slabinac played an early ball into the mixer where Foxworth might normally have been, the deputising Joshua Funk got in one, and Emrys Floyd was gifted a tap-in. When Vaz was forced off with an injury after a collision with the chonky Pedró Eliasson Pousa, the visitors' right flank went from battleground to expressway, three more goals created from that side in the second half before Alby Friel scored a "consolation" that wasn't. That meant Bay City United moved into temporary top spot after cruising past Vengife Town 3-0, before Alaer reclaimed it in the late slot for the second week in a row - but this time in very convincing fashion.

The ZOS was starting to empty before the half-time whistle, as Alaer took total command with two goals from Jacek Krzynówek - the Dod Ravian looking like an absolute steal at 500k - and a third that he set up on multiple levels, winning a free kick on the right with a trademark inside-cutting run and taking it himself to find Teun Donk at the far post. The fans who stuck around got to see what looked like a stirring second-half comeback - Častimir Knežević starting it with a free kick then extending it with a delightful assist for Lindiwe to make it 3-2 with 20 minutes left - but Tim David, not for the first time in this fixture by any means, had the last word with a nerve-settling header just three minutes later, and the visitors had no problem seeing it out from there. Capitolians are now sixth, and if they hadn't scored those two goals they would be eighth on goal difference instead.

That ignominy is instead the preserve of Roddens City, who suffered their own brutal two-goal defeat; Ranford & Willsbrook moved past them into fifth, their highest place at any point this late in a season for decades, with Benjamin Zbogar-Zolnir scoring the first and setting up the second for Katrina Frisk. If one striker plays as an attacking midfielder and the other plays as practically a much higher-lying ball-winning midfielder, but they combine to set up goals for each other all the same, is it actually a strike partnership? Whatever it is, it's working.

So too, all of a sudden, are Carroll Lewiston, who came back from behind to defeat Edencliff 2-1 with a Carly Wendling brace; suddenly, the Magicians are five points clear of the trap door, having been the wrong side of the dreaded dashed line just two games ago. The bottom two remain the same, but the fate of one of them might be changing after the two met, as Cluitt produced a stunning 4-0 win at Donningwood Rovers. Inga-Britt Mellberg was targeted for roughhouse treatment by the home side, and would make them regret it; Marcon Le Masson was sent off for a horrendous lunge at the Norrish teenager, who promptly dusted herself down to take the free kick that was headed in by Johnny Eccles to double an advantage he'd already established with a tap-in on the rebound after chaotic defending. He would add two more in the second half for the NSL's first four-goal one-man tally in four seasons - emphasis on "man" here, as Joke Feltkamp managed it two seasons ago for Ranford & Willsbrook before her move to Capitolians the following season - and the pressure on Donningwood manager Jannik Pétursson will be crushing after this, boos raining down on him and his team at the final whistle.

Not that a managerial change has helped Aardswood yet; Angufams Gackbang's permanent replacement has yet to be announced, but his second game in temporary charge went the same way as the first with a 1-0 defeat. Real Santa Mordana (and, yes, Vincent) were responsible this time, moving them level on points with Capitolians and Roddens City. Bravin Rangers also claimed an important 1-0 victory, this time at Starnwood United courtesy of a Danny Markusson header from a Gía Andsottír Lin cross. The Yue-Græntfjaller wing-back has been a culture war lightning rod targeted by her own fanbase, but she's quietly been developing nicely on the field, growing into the attacking responsibility provided in her role in Bravin's counter-attacking 5-3-2. Expert consensus is that the club would be foolish to reject their 700k buy option on Lin, because even if they don't want her (or she doesn't want to stay at a club whose own fans hate her) they could probably sell her for more in the next window...

Borlfield Town 0–1 Capitolians
Aardswood United 0–1 Zeiven City
Vengife Town 2–2 Real Santa Mordana
AFC Edencliff 3–3 Bay City United
Bravin Rangers 0–0 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Cluitt SC 3–0 Starnwood United
Roddens City 1–0 Donningwood Rovers
FC Alaer 1–1 Ranford & Willsbrook

The fluidity at the top continues. Alaer's lead is back to one point, and Zeiven are back to being their nearest chasers, after two dramatic draws; the leaders were held at home by Ranford & Willsbrook, for whom Katrina Frisk scored in stoppage time to cancel out Tim David's opener, and Bay City United relinquished a 3-1 lead at Chalk Field as Edencliff struck back with two goals from Agnes Oddkellsdóttir in the final ten minutes. That meant Zeiven moved above Bay City with their 1-0 win at Aardswood, who have now finally hired a permanent manager in Paul Court (who was formerly their goalkeeper).

They're also now in the drop zone, second from bottom at that, after Cluitt's second straight statement success, this time 3-0 in front of their own fans at the expense of Starnwood United. It should be noted that these two big wins have both come against fellow newly-promoted clubs, but Starnwood were four points above their hosts prior to this beatdown. Johnny Eccles scored another two goals, both from defensive howlers; scoring is a piece of cake for him right now.

Donningwood Rovers are now four points adrift at the bottom, but this latest defeat wasn't so bad, edged out 1-0 at Roddens City. If anything, the home side were the ones who looked to have more grounds for concern for much of this match, their blushes spared only by Troy Gaither-Moon's deflected cross-shot midway through the second half. The champions are up into seventh, and only seven points off the top, but it really doesn't feel like they're close.

Nor, for much of this season, have Capitolians, notwithstanding occasional flashes of magic from Častimir Knežević. It was predictably another one of those that proved crucial at Qardinal Field in the evening game, an outside-of-the-boot assist to set up Joke Feltkamp for only her second goal of the season - but a massive one, keeping them sixth and pegging back Borlfield Town just as they looked like they were truly breaking up the Big Four. (Their pre-game odds to win, 2.15, were the shortest they had ever had for a match against a Big Four club.) Real Santa Mordana provided more evidence they definitely aren't at that level by being held to a 2-2 draw at Vengife Town, who are now in the drop zone only on goal difference and overtook Aardswood with a hard-earned point secured by Farf teenager Aji Loj Zhuyu's first goal for the club, while Bravin Rangers played out a bore draw to stifle AFC Carroll Lewiston and rather reinforce both sides' place in the nobody-cares realms of the lower midtable. For the Magicians, at least, that's an upgrade on where they were not long ago.

Capitolians 3–0 Ranford & Willsbrook
Donningwood Rovers 2–4 FC Alaer
Starnwood United 1–1 Roddens City
AFC Carroll Lewiston 3–1 Cluitt SC
Bay City United 1–2 Bravin Rangers
Real Santa Mordana 2–3 AFC Edencliff
Zeiven City 2
–0 Vengife Town
Borlfield Town 1–1 Aardswood United

The most viral meme of the season so far spread around the league; a four-panel image with the crests of FC Alaer, Bay City United, Roddens City, and Capitolians in that order. Below them, the text: "THANKS FOR PROMOTING / KYTLERIAN SOCCER / NOT YOU / ACROSS THE MULTIVERSE."

Capitolians firmly escaped "NOT YOU" status with a "STFU imposters" 3-0 humbling of Ranford & Willsbrook, all three goals coming in the first 28 minutes with Knežević scoring the first before setting up Feltkamp and Lindiwe to create a lead that they never looked like blowing. With Borlfield Town held to a 1-1 home draw by Paul Court's Aardswood United - who moved out of the bottom three with that point after Cluitt fell 3-1 at Carroll Lewiston and Vengife Town were swatted aside 2-0 by a Zeiven City side who remain just one point off the top - Capitolians are suddenly within one goal of being back in the top four, where they are so sure they belong.

Same for Roddens City, but their imposter status was firmly reaffirmed as they were held at newly-promoted Starnwood United, Aadi Seidel's equaliser delighting the home fans as they became the eighth team this season to deny the champions maximum points. They're now nine points of FC Alaer's lead, which was retained courtesy of them actually doing what was expected of them away to a struggler, swatting aside bottom club Donningwood Rovers 4-2 in a match that wasn't as close as that sounds (they went 4-0 up, basically shut down at that point, and allowed Branoc Du Gouey to score two late consolation goals).

But just as Bay City United were establishing themselves as Not Imposters, look! They lose at home to Bravin Rangers! A fantastic defensive performance from Lin earned her player-of-the-match honours, but it was fellow imported defender Dilan De Feux-Lataille whose name was being sung by the visiting fans as he scored the winning goal with a towering header from a corner. "DDFL, giving you hell" rang around the away end not only after the goal but at full-time.

Another imported Absolute Unit scored a goal of that ilk for Real Santa Mordana, Yrko giving them an early home lead against AFC Edencliff (yet another Vincent assist, natch). Unfortunately for them, it was all for nothing as they crumbled defensively, Yrko included as he tripped up Oddkellsdóttir for a penalty that Rick Flash converted to give the visitors the lead following Raven Lomu's equaliser just four minutes earlier. Oddkellsdóttir volleyed home a rebound after Flash hit the post to provide insurance and also ensure all of the strikingly young Edencliff front three were on the scoresheet. Vincent fired back with a rocket from outside the box soon after, as if to say "I'm still the best youngster in Kytlerian football," but the damage was done.

Aardswood United 0–1 Capitolians
Vengife Town 1
–0 Borlfield Town
AFC Edencliff 2–2 Zeiven City
Bravin Rangers 3–3 Real Santa Mordana
Cluitt SC 0–0 Bay City United
Roddens City 2–1 AFC Carroll Lewiston
FC Alaer 5–1 Starnwood United
Ranford & Willsbrook 1–0 Donningwood Rovers

The final matches of the first half of the season, and FC Alaer simply needed to beat Starnwood United at home to affirm their place as leaders at the midway point. They did a lot more than that, they absolutely crushed them into a pulp, their imported additions Krzynówek and Vidya combining to lethal effect - the former set up the latter for the first with a cheeky backheel, then the StrayaRoos international returned the favour with interest by providing two assists to the Dod Ravian either side of a Seidel strike that provided a brief illusion of hope. James Black and substitute Regina Jedynak made the scoreline representative of the flow of the match with fine second-half strikes, and with Zeiven City held to a 2-2 draw at Edencliff - twice having to come back from behind for even that, Oddkellsdóttir twice giving the home side the lead - the gap widened to three points.

Not that Bay City United could take advantage of that Zeiven result, held to a goalless draw at Cluitt with Borgþór Daðason and Inga-Britt Mellberg both in imperious form to shut down any wide attacks. That meant Capitolians are level with them on points after their 1-0 win at Aardswood, who fall into 15th - behind not only Cluitt, but Vengife Town, who leapt right out of the drop zone altogether with a priceless home win over Borlfield Town. At least they're still five points clear of hapless Donningwood Rovers (beaten 1-0 by Ranford & Willsbrook, courtesy of another Katrina Frisk goal and Benjamin Zbogar-Zolnir dispossession-into-assist).

That Borlfield defeat - which wasn't even fluky, for they had less of the ball and generally looked like they'd reversed roles with their relegation-threatened opponents (for whom this was major validation of Manu Kirikiri's much-criticised "play like a big team" philosophy) - meant that, whisper it gently, Roddens City are up into fifth. They had to come from behind to beat Carroll Lewiston at home, but come back they did, Úlfur Pétursson scoring an unlikely brace.

The least consequential match of the week was the most entertaining, though; Real Santa Mordana came to Bravin and set about marching on the garrison town's parade with an exhibition of attacking football, but while Vincent charged behind enemy lines to score two fine goals in the first 20 minutes, each were met with rapid return fire - first from Danny Markusson, then from Mytanar teenager Aristarkh Polivanov (who hasn't had the best of starts to life in the NSL, but you'd never have known that from the way he took his equaliser). Polivanov would give Bravin their first lead on the hour, but Galo Félix Ortiz's sixth goal of the season - and the first not to come from a Vincent assist - made it even again, and that is where it would finish despite both teams hitting the post in the final minutes. It was a wildly unrepresentative match for the home side, but anything but for the visitors - only Alaer have scored more than their 30 in the first half of the season, only Donningwood have conceded more than their 29. It leaves them ninth at halfway, seemingly destined to quietly secure another NSL season, and with a very obvious plan of attack for the next window. Which probably doesn't involve attack...

EastWest NSL - after MD15     P    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 FC Alaer 15 10 5 0 35 13 +22 35
2 Zeiven City 15 10 2 3 20 12 +8 32
3 Bay City United 15 8 4 3 25 14 +11 28
4 Capitolians 15 8 4 3 30 20 +10 28
5 Roddens City 15 7 5 3 22 16 +6 26
6 Borlfield Town 15 8 1 6 27 18 +9 25
7 Ranford & Willsbrook 15 7 4 4 22 15 +7 25
8 AFC Edencliff 15 6 6 3 29 24 +5 24
9 Real Santa Mordana 15 5 6 4 30 29 +1 21
10 Bravin Rangers 15 5 5 5 12 17 −5 20
11 AFC Carroll Lewiston 15 5 2 8 22 22 0 17
12 Vengife Town 15 2 6 7 11 20 −9 12
13 Starnwood United 15 3 2 10 6 28 −22 11
14 Cluitt SC 15 2 4 9 13 22 −9 10
15 Aardswood United 15 2 4 9 8 21 −13 10
16 Donningwood Rovers 15 1 2 12 11 32 −21 5
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)

User avatar
The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Sat Jan 20, 2024 2:53 am

NSL International Era Season 1: MD16-20

Capitolians 0–2 Donningwood Rovers
Ranford & Willsbrook 1–1 Starnwood United
FC Alaer 4–1 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Roddens City 1–0 Bay City United
Cluitt SC 0–1 Real Santa Mordana
Bravin Rangers 3–3 Zeiven City
AFC Edencliff 5–2 Borlfield Town
Vengife Town 1–0 Aardswood United

The second-half schedule begins, following the usual "second verse, same as the first but flip-reversed" scheduling algorithm, which meant Starnwood United had the chance to gain revenge on Ranford & Willsbrook for beating them 4-0 in their own backyard on opening day. And they did! All it took was a fluke own goal and injuring Katrina Frisk!

Anyway, the standout tie was of course Bay City United's trip to the champions, and... let's just say the top of the table isn't what it was. A Troy Gaither-Moon free kick from near the corner of the penalty area took a nick off the hapless John Fish for the only goal of either disappointing match between the two this season... but the home fans didn't care! Written off emphatically not long ago, they're suddenly third!

How did that happen? Only the biggest upset result of the season so far. Capitolians welcomed Donningwood Rovers to the ZOS and there was absolutely no sense of danger about it. Or, relatedly, much interest. Then Davíð Steinmóðsson scored an early goal for the visitors - a header from a set piece, the only way they were ever likely to score - and then Capitolians just could not find a way through the brick wall, and conceded an 89th-minute Branoc Du Gouey goal on the counter at that! The team who'd scored just five points in the entire first half of the season, conceding 32 goals, had come to the national stadium and beaten Capitolians 2-0. And just like that, they're fifth in a four-horse race and all the jokes their fans made about Roddens City (just two weeks ago!) have truly come home to roost.

The title race is becoming an increasingly oxymoronic concept, to be honest; Alaer won again and emphatically at that (4-1 over a hapless Carroll Lewiston), Zeiven City's alleged best defence in the country conceded three at usually shot-shy Bravin (albeit matching it with three of their own), and just like that the gap is five points to second and nine (!) to third. Not that long ago, it was less than that to eighth. This chasing pack imploded fast - Borlfield Town producing a particularly dramatic example as they leaked five at Edencliff, the left-leaning Chalk Field crowd absolutely relishing the implosion of the Varnian mining club. Agnes Oddkellsdóttir and Raven Lomu both scored braces, substitute Misina Solivasas added a fifth, and Thomas Lyons set up them all - the Krytenian becoming the first player in NSL history with five assists in a single match. The two sides swap places, with Edencliff now sixth and Borlfield eighth (Ranford & Willsbrook remaining snugly in between them), and there is suddenly a sense of momentum about the team from the "hippie capital of the north," as Edencliff is sometimes snarkily called by the conservatives in the Northern Downs.

There was also a huge home win for Vengife Town, albeit only in significance rather than scoreline; an early Maria Adjis goal proved enough for a vital three points against Aardswood United. With that result and Cluitt's 1-0 home defeat to Real Santa Mordana (shockingly, Vincent wasn't involved in the goal) there's suddenly a bit of separation at the bottom, with Vengife five points above the drop zone. Donningwood, though, are suddenly within four of safety. Even in a week of several notable scores, nothing registered like that one.

Vengife Town 1–0 Capitolians
Aardswood United 0–1 AFC Edencliff
Borlfield Town 0–0 Bravin Rangers
Zeiven City 3–0 Cluitt SC
Real Santa Mordana 0–1 Roddens City
Bay City United 1
–0 FC Alaer
AFC Carroll Lewiston 4–0 Ranford & Willsbrook
Starnwood United 1–0 Donningwood Rovers

Three days before the leaders' trip to Bay City United, Zube Daily Times columnist Jeff Carpenter declared boldly: "There is more chance that FC Alaer go unbeaten all season than lose the NSL title." The home fans responded on the day with a large banner - not a particularly common feature of Kytlerian soccer - that read "A GOOD JOURNALIST WOODN'T WRITE US OFF" in a cheeky play on his surname. 18-year-old Joanne Walgrave - making her first start for the club after several substitute cameos (and Pétur Ingólfsson aggravating his minor ankle injury in training) - promptly put the nail in the narrative's coffin before it had even really began with a deft sidefoot finish in the 89th minute of what looked like a 0-0 all the way, and it was goodbye to the NSL's last unbeaten record and hello to the title race. (Especially as Zeiven City had taken care of business 3-0 at home to Cluitt - they've suddenly scored three goals in back-to-back matches and are just two points off the top again - whilst Roddens City continued their gathering momentum with a win at Real Santa Mordana to remain third and only six adrift.)

There was an equally massive match at the bottom, where Donningwood Rovers - fresh off the upset of the season at the ZOS - were on the road again at fellow newly-promoted strugglers Starnwood United. As fun as it was to be the David to Capitolians' Goliath, the real key to surviving a relegation battle is to pick on those your own size, and they couldn't do that; Starnwood held off the Donningwood direct threat, there was no Plan B, and Aadi Seidel's 70th-minute winner was the least the hosts deserved. And just like that, Donningwood are even further from safety than they were two weeks ago. Yikes on a bike. As for the Capitolians result, that now reflects more on the Zube-based side, as they were again beaten by a basement battler - this time away at Vengife - and were overtaken by a surging Edencliff, whose 1-0 win at Aardswood leaves the hosts five points from safety.

Capitolians could have been even lower down the table, but two clubs missed the chance to overtake them; Borlfield after a home bore draw with Bravin Rangers, Ranford & Willsbrook in even uglier fashion at Carroll Lewiston as the Magicians cast their spell in an eye-catching 4-0 win, Carly Wendling scoring two and setting up another for Nova Björklund. In the drop zone after ten games, Carroll Lewiston have scored only one fewer point than the leaders since.

Capitolians 2–1 Starnwood United
Donningwood Rovers 1–0 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Ranford & Willsbrook 1–0 Bay City United
FC Alaer 3–1 Real Santa Mordana
Roddens City 1–0 Zeiven City
Cluitt SC 1–3 Borlfield Town
Bravin Rangers 2
–0 Aardswood United
AFC Edencliff 2–0 Vengife Town

The old order reestablishes itself. Zeiven City came to the champions hoping to make a serious statement of intent that they're for real, and ended up making a serious statement that they're not, Roddens on cruise control after Gaither-Moon's early goal. Meanwhile, Capitolians looked to be in out-and-out crisis for a bit as they fell behind at home to Starnwood United, but quickly came back to win 2-1 courtesy of a Kaniehtlio Lindiwe double, and now they're level on points again with Bay City United - who broke the narrative of the week by falling 1-0 at Ranford & Willsbrook, the goal another one to be sparked by a steal from the pressing Benjamin Zbogar-Zolnir. No player in the league has won the ball in the final third more than him, and this was just the latest example of that leading to a valuable goal; valuable, too, for Edencliff, whose comfortable 2-0 home win over Vengife combined with that result on the North Bay coast to put them into the top four.

FC Alaer, meanwhile, got back to business as usual with a comfortable 3-1 home defeat of Real Santa Mordana, their lead is back to five, and the next question is whether they'll be able to keep hold of their Dod Ravian rising star Jacek Krzynówek (who scored twice and set up the third). Their hope is that the NSL grows with him, but there's sure to be interest from established leagues at this rate - as there inevitably also is for Vincent, who scored a cracking consolation here and has been linked to multiple Q-League clubs in the rumour mill. Of course, for every ten credible rumours there's 93 nonsense ones...

Back to reality, and reality doesn't get more brutal than the survival scrap - one that got a bit more complicated again as Donningwood Rovers moved off the bottom by outmuscling Carroll Lewiston for a 1-0 home win. Manager Flora Atkins complained bitterly afterwards about the lack of fouls given against the bludgeoning home side, and an RTX Radio shock jock called her "hysterical" in response. Regardless, the win moves Donningwood off the bottom, and now that distinction belongs to Aardswood United on goal difference from Cluitt after the two clubs each suffered two-goal defeats to Bravin and Borlfield respectively, and there's already rumours that Aardswood's new boss Paul Court might be sacked. It would truly be humiliating if the second managerial sacking of the season came from the same club as the first...

AFC Edencliff 2–3 Capitolians
Vengife Town 0–2 Bravin Rangers
Aardswood United 2
–0 Cluitt SC
Borlfield Town 1–1 Roddens City
Zeiven City 0–1 FC Alaer
Real Santa Mordana 1–3 Ranford & Willsbrook
Bay City United 2
–0 Donningwood Rovers
AFC Carroll Lewiston 4–2 Starnwood United

Yup, the old order really has locked itself in again. Zeiven's second shot at a statement win - this time at home - went the same way as the first, a 1-0 defeat to leaders FC Alaer with the appropriate goalscoring source of veteran Tim David (for whom this was his 20th career goal against the Zee Team). Just like that, Alaer are eight clear - Roddens City's draw at Borlfield enough for them to overtake Zeiven but only on head-to-head record - and the Bay City defeat is looking like the blip of all blips.

Speaking of Bay City, they're back in the top four themselves after a comfortable 2-0 win over Donningwood, and that's because of the other "the old order strikes back" result of the week, Capitolians coming back from behind to win 3-2 at Edencliff. This was the Častimir Knežević show, as he set up the first two goals before doing it himself with a mazy solo run and chipped finish for a memorable winner. Some of the Capitolians core have disappointed; the on-loan Pasargan teenager, though, has been as advertised. They're going to miss him when he's gone.

Two more of the imported teenage dreamers were in business again for Ranford & Willsbrook as the Zbogar-Zolnir/Frisk wombo combo combined for all three goals in a comfortable win at Santa Mordana, a third - Aristarkh Polivanov, who has been somewhat in the shadow of his buzzy Mytanar compatriot - scored both for Bravin in a 2-0 win at Vengife, and there was more joy for yet another in Nova Björklund as she set up three of Carroll Lewiston's four goals in a bounceback win over Starnwood United. That leaves the visitors only two points clear of the trap door, and that's because Aardswood picked up a priceless 2-0 win in the basement battle with Cluitt, who inherit the bottom spot their conquerors previously held.

Capitolians 3–2 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Starnwood United 0–0 Bay City United
Donningwood Rovers 2–4 Real Santa Mordana
Ranford & Willsbrook 1–1 Zeiven City
FC Alaer 0–1 Borlfield Town
Roddens City 5
–0 Aardswood United
Cluitt SC 3–1 Vengife Town
Bravin Rangers 3–3 AFC Edencliff

Just when you thought it was safe to look away from the NSL, Borlfield go to the runaway leaders and steal a 1-0 with a header from the towering Todar Ranmada. It probably helped that Krzynówek left at half-time with a knock sustained in a collision with the aforementioned Kanmerin behemoth, but it's the result that matters and Alaer's procession just got held up again. Roddens City moved to within five of the lead again, and speaking of five, that's how many they put past a hapless Aardswood United, who are back in serious trouble. As is their manager.

At least he won't be the second to get the sack, as Donningwood have handed Jannik Pétursson his marching orders after his side crumbled from 2-0 up to lose 4-2 at home to Real Santa Mordana. A club statement said that "there is no more time for sentimentality when the team's fighting spirit is fading away, and their NSL status with it." Patience has been the general order of the day for NSL clubs when it comes to managerial changes in recent years, possibly because of the recognition that things can change fast - another example of which was provided here from Cluitt, who moved off the bottom with a 3-1 win over a Vengife side who are suddenly looking over their shoulder.

The mid-table chaos machine went brrr again, chewing through chaos like a generative AI model chews through copyrighted material. The prompt for this one was "a Bravin Rangers match where there are actually goals," and the team who scored just 12 goals and conceded only 17 in the entire first half of the season provided their bewildered fans with their second 3-3 home draw since. (Because, like generative AI, this chaos machine deals in copycatting.) This one had a more novel background, though, against an Edencliff side who went 2-0 down inside ten minutes with their five female players subject to numerous jeers and catcalls that seemed to genuinely affect them. But the hosts had deliberately dropped Gía Ansdottír Lin for this one seemingly to maximise the culture-war atmosphere - their fans seemed to care more about hurting Edencliff than helping their own midtable side, and the speculation is that it was ownership who made manager Roger Wickens lean into that with this team selection. Her absence on the left flank was brutally clear as Rick Flash utterly dominated the rest of proceedings, scoring one and then setting up two more for Raven Lomu. Danny Markusson did give Bravin a third in between the Lomu strikes, but it was two points dropped for each team. Which, for the Bravin ultras, was as good as a win; after all, Edencliff had now fallen into sixth, behind Bay City United. With Zeiven City being held to a 1-1 draw at Ranford & Willsbrook and Capitolians overtaking them with a 3-2 home win over Carroll Lewiston that was more comfortable than that looks (the hosts were 3-0 up before two late Carly Wendling strikes made things interesting late), the Big Four are now first, second, third, and fifth. Back to business as usual, but "business as usual" in the NSL still involves plenty of chaos even if it's en route to a semi-inevitable outcome.

EastWest NSL - after MD20     P    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 FC Alaer 20 13 5 2 43 17 +26 44
2 Roddens City 20 11 6 3 31 17 +14 39
3 Capitolians 20 11 4 5 38 28 +10 37
4 Zeiven City 20 11 4 5 27 18 +9 37
5 Bay City United 20 10 5 5 28 16 +12 35
6 AFC Edencliff 20 9 7 4 42 32 +10 34
7 Borlfield Town 20 10 3 7 34 25 +9 33
8 Ranford & Willsbrook 20 9 6 5 28 22 +6 33
9 Bravin Rangers 20 7 8 5 22 23 −1 29
10 Real Santa Mordana 20 7 6 7 37 38 −1 27
11 AFC Carroll Lewiston 20 7 2 11 33 32 +1 23
12 Vengife Town 20 4 6 10 14 27 −13 18
13 Starnwood United 20 4 4 12 11 35 −24 16
14 Cluitt SC 20 3 4 13 17 32 −15 13
15 Aardswood United 20 3 4 13 10 30 −20 13
16 Donningwood Rovers 20 3 2 15 16 39 −23 11
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)

User avatar
The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Sat Jan 20, 2024 11:18 pm

NSL International Era Season 1: MD21-25

Bravin Rangers 0–3 Capitolians
AFC Edencliff 1–1 Cluitt SC
Vengife Town 0–1 Roddens City
Aardswood United 0–0 FC Alaer
Borlfield Town 1–3 Ranford & Willsbrook
Zeiven City 3
–1 Donningwood Rovers
Real Santa Mordana 1–0 Starnwood United
Bay City United 2–1 AFC Carroll Lewiston

Erm... maybe this thing isn't over? In an extraordinary display of attritional football, Aardswood United held the leaders to a goalless draw to pick up an improbable point in their survival bid - they're only two short of safety now - and allow Roddens City to move to within three of the top spot by preventing Vengife Town from doing the same thing, edging them out 1-0 thanks to Troy Gaither-Moon's low cross being deflected in off the hapless home defender Kala Te'Amo. The rest of the chasing pack also got wins that kept their outside hopes alive; Capitolians looked most impressive in ram-raiding the Rangers 3-0 in Bravin (or at least Častimir Knežević did, as all three goals went through the Pasargan teenager on the left flank away from the returning Lin), Zeiven City put another nail in the Donningwood Rovers coffin with a comfortable 3-1 home win, and Bay City United recovered from conceding a third-minute opener to defeat Carroll Lewiston. If they can win the Olympic Derby next week at the ZOS, their campaign could still get very interesting...

Ranford & Willsbrook took a hold of best-of-the-rest status courtesy of a 3-1 win at Borlfield, who barely seemed to get a touch of the ball at times as their defenders went full yeetball at every opportunity rather than giving Zbogar-Zolnir any sniff of a steal, and Edencliff being unexpectedly held 1-1 by Cluitt - who, like Aardswood, are now only two short of safety thanks to Starnwood's 1-0 defeat in Santa Mordana. With nine games to go, there is a sense that there's at least one more twist left in this, even if that twist is "things become unexpectedly processional in a hurry."

Capitolians 1–0 Bay City United
AFC Carroll Lewiston 0–1 Real Santa Mordana
Starnwood United 0–1 Zeiven City
Donningwood Rovers 0–1 Borlfield Town
Ranford & Willsbrook 3
–2 Aardswood United
FC Alaer 0–0 Vengife Town
Roddens City 1–0 AFC Edencliff
Cluitt SC 0–0 Bravin Rangers

And there's the twist. Another Alaer 0-0, this time at home to Vengife, and they have now relinquished seven of the eight points of cushion they had just three weeks ago, not even scoring a goal in that time. There's talk that Jacek Krzynówek may be hitting the wall at the end of this season - he is, after all, still a teenager - but with the relatively short 30-game NSL campaign, that might be a concern in itself. That particular hype train has certainly slowed down after looking like a runaway hype train not long ago.

And it is not only the champions (who were defensively superb in their 1-0 defeat of joint top scorers Edencliff) taking advantage; Capitolians have moved into ominous position three points off the top, after defeating Bay City United in the Olympic Derby courtesy of a combination that's suddenly blooming just as it's about to be broken up - Častimir Knežević feeding Joke Feltkamp, in this case with a teasing cross to the far post that just evaded Heath Williams in the Bay City goal and landed perfectly for Feltkamp to steer in a cushioned volley from a narrow angle into an empty net. George McIntyre's desperate goal-line clearance in stoppage time protected the three points, kept Capitolians in third (after Zeiven City - who still haven't gone away - claimed their own battling 1-0 at relegation-threatened Starnwood), and lit up the title race still further. Though not for Bay City, who have fallen to sixth; Ranford & Willsbrook overtook them in a match with more goals than any of the ones mentioned so far combined, a ding-dong 3-2 home defeat of Aardswood in which the club's forgotten local hero - teenage defender Oliver Vandome - headed in a Frepresis Whootung corner for the winner. His first goal for his hometown club - though he's denied plenty against them - was certainly a well-timed one.

With Aardswood and Starnwood both losing - and seemingly doomed Donningwood likewise, Borlfield leaving there with another of this week's too-many one-nils - Cluitt's home point against Bravin Rangers, in a match that didn't even have the one goal, certainly looks valuable. It really was a low-scoring week - just ten goals in all eight matches, half of them in just one - and even a Santa Mordana trip to the Wonderland couldn't provide salvation from onenilitis, though Vincent (it's always him) at least made this one goal a long-range cracker. Still, the distribution of those too-few goals has lit up the battle for the title no end.

Cluitt SC 1–1 Capitolians
Bravin Rangers 0–0 Roddens City
AFC Edencliff 1–3 FC Alaer
Vengife Town 0–1 Ranford & Willsbrook
Aardswood United 1
–0 Donningwood Rovers
Borlfield Town 3–0 Starnwood United
Zeiven City 3–3 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Real Santa Mordana 1–1 Bay City United

At this point, FC Alaer are basically teasing us. As soon as they look like they're going to blow their lead in the title race, they only go and extend it again. Their 3-1 win at Edencliff - Krzynówek silencing the nascent narrative by scoring the lot - came after literally all of their closest pursuers were held to draws. Roddens City were barricaded at Bravin, Capitolians caved at Cluitt - an injury-time equaliser scored by goalkeeper Jonathan Cadbury coming up for a corner, the first "goalie goal" in the NSL for five years - and Zeiven City were dragged into a slugfest with Carroll Lewiston, ultimately fortunate to overturn 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to salvage a point through Alby Friel's controversial late equaliser that may or may not have been set up by a Cliff Whyte handball in the buildup. Even Bay City United were held to a draw in Santa Mordana, allowing Ranford & Willsbrook to solidify fifth place with a 1-0 win in Vengife (with crushing predictability given the latter's possession-based style, the goal came from Zbogar-Zolnir pinching the ball on the edge of the box).

Still, there's change at the bottom at least; Aardswood's priceless 1-0 home defeat of Donningwood (courtesy of a Denisa Sadukaj penalty) moves them out of the bottom three, with Starnwood dropping in following their 3-0 humbling at Borlfield. Who are now level on points with Bay City. That's an eyebrow-raiser this late in the campaign, though not as much as Ranford & Willsbrook being above them...

Capitolians 3–2 Real Santa Mordana
Bay City United 1–0 Zeiven City
AFC Carroll Lewiston 0–0 Borlfield Town
Starnwood United 2–0 Aardswood United
Donningwood Rovers 0–1 Vengife Town
Ranford & Willsbrook 2
–0 AFC Edencliff
FC Alaer 0–0 Bravin Rangers
Roddens City 0–2 Cluitt SC

And still they splutter, and still nobody can get by them. FC Alaer were held to a 0-0 by a particularly stubborn Bravin Rangers, for whom this is their eleventh draw of the season - nobody else has more than eight - but Roddens City spectacularly blew their opening in the evening match, managing to lose 2-0 at home to Cluitt with Borgþór Daðason doing a magnificent job nullifying Troy Gaither-Moon. This Græntfjaller really is too good to play for a bottom-dwelling NSL club after all, but he might just ensure Cluitt are at least that rather than a Gregg's League one; this result moved them out of the bottom three after Aardswood fell 2-0 at Starnwood and fired Phil Court immediately afterwards. That's two out of the three NSL firings all season coming from one club, by the way! Sacked Donningwood manager Jannik Pétursson has been quickly hired as a replacement, presumably based on his experience battling in the basement; he's going to be the fourth to enter the Aardswood dugout in this disastrous campaign, one that started with a genuine belief that the club could ascend to best-of-the-rest status.

That is instead held by Ranford & Willsbrook, whose 2-0 home defeat of Edencliff - a Katrina Frisk brace doing the damage - moved them up into fourth after Bay City United's "too late now" 1-0 home defeat of Zeiven City. If those two aren't really in the title race, Capitolians emphatically now are; despite the best efforts of Vincent in the stadium where he could become a long-time hero in Margaret green, a 3-2 defeat of Real Santa Mordana put the Zube side into second, three behind Alaer with six to play. They play Roddens City away next week...

At the bottom, Donningwood's doom looks even more decided after a tame 1-0 home loss to Vengife, who really needed the points; had that result gone the other way, they'd have been kept out of the drop zone only on goal difference. Carroll Lewiston got a little more cushion after Borlfield were held to a 0-0 at the Wonderland, a rare clean sheet for a team who have leaked goals this season.

Roddens City 3–1 Capitolians
Cluitt SC 2–2 FC Alaer
Bravin Rangers 1–0 Ranford & Willsbrook
AFC Edencliff 2–1 Donningwood Rovers
Vengife Town 4–0 Starnwood United
Aardswood United 2–3 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Borlfield Town 1–2 Bay City United
Zeiven City 1–3 Real Santa Mordana

For the first time all season, the Big Four are the top four... but the way they are distributed is quite the sight to behold.

Alaer were again held to a draw, this time 2-2 at Cluitt - apparently keen on returning the favour they paid the leaders by winning at Roddens. That's now just one win in six for the leaders, but while Capitolians had been given a gift from their near-neighbours on the other side of the Sharke Inlet, they had to go and beat Roddens themselves, and they extremely did not. In an emphatic display of intent to not let their title go, the defending champions flew into a 2-0 lead inside ten minutes with goals from Marwin Mikkelson and Vigdís Vilbjörnsdóttir, and while the visitors struck back through Ella Vidya, Vilbjörnsdóttir had the last word ten minutes from time; just like in the first Northern Derby of the season, Roddens had scored three goals, but this time they didn't concede three of their own. Remember when the Eastern Corridor fans laughed at Roddens? Joke very much on them. (Not a reference to the Capitolians forward Feltkamp, despite her missing a big chance to equalise in this derby; her name is pronounced "YO-keh.") The champions will actually go top if they win next week's North-South Showdown!

Bay City climbed to fourth after a 2-1 win at Borlfield and defeats for the two teams above them. Zeiven City's dream season snapped back to reality further with a 3-1 home loss to Real Santa Mordana, whose giant Verdean defender Yrko notably scored at both ends. Meanwhile, Ranford & Willsbrook fell 1-0 at Bravin; it was a sweet moment for Aristarkh Polivanov, "the other" young Mytanar forward in the NSL with the only goal against Zbogar-Zolnir's side. Edencliff complete the top half after driving another nail into the Donningwood coffin by beating the bottom club 2-1 at Chalk Field, Raven Lomu with both goals.

Jannik Pétursson's first game in charge of Aardswood was meant to bring fire into the team's bellies, and it seemed to do that as his charges twice took the lead - but after Cliff McDuff's red card, heads were firmly scrambled, and Carroll Lewiston were ultimately unlucky to "only" come away with a 3-2 win (Carly Wendling managing to hit the woodwork twice) that still left Aardswood three points from safety and the Magicians all but safe. Vengife also eased their worries emphatically with a crushing 4-0 home defeat of Starnwood, who would have moved out of the bottom three and level on points with their hosts had they won, only to fall to an inspired performance from hat-trick heroine Maria Ajdis.

EastWest NSL - after MD25     P    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 FC Alaer 25 14 9 2 48 20 +28 51
2 Roddens City 25 14 7 4 36 20 +16 49
3 Capitolians 25 14 5 6 47 34 +13 47
4 Bay City United 25 13 6 6 34 20 +14 45
5 Ranford & Willsbrook 25 13 6 6 37 26 +11 45
6 Zeiven City 25 13 5 7 35 26 +9 44
7 Borlfield Town 25 12 4 9 40 30 +10 40
8 AFC Edencliff 25 10 8 7 46 40 +6 38
9 Real Santa Mordana 25 10 7 8 45 43 +2 37
10 Bravin Rangers 25 8 11 6 23 26 −3 35
11 AFC Carroll Lewiston 25 8 4 13 40 40 0 28
12 Vengife Town 25 6 7 12 19 29 −10 25
13 Cluitt SC 25 4 8 13 23 36 −13 20
14 Starnwood United 25 5 4 16 13 44 −31 19
15 Aardswood United 25 4 5 16 15 38 −23 17
16 Donningwood Rovers 25 3 2 20 18 47 −29 11
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)

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The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Tue Jan 23, 2024 8:35 pm

NSL International Era Season 1: MD26-30

Capitolians 5–2 Zeiven City
Real Santa Mordana 2–1 Borlfield Town
Bay City United 1–1 Aardswood United
AFC Carroll Lewiston 3–2 Vengife Town
Starnwood United 4–6 AFC Edencliff
Donningwood Rovers 0–1 Bravin Rangers
Ranford & Willsbrook 5
–0 Cluitt SC
FC Alaer 3–1 Roddens City

Where do you even start with these results? The obvious place is the end, and the North-South Showdown, and the possibility that a new team would finish a matchweek on top of the NSL table for the first time since the fourth week of the season. And when Troy Gaither-Moon's cross was deflected into the net by the hapless Shrifflu Mocks to give the visitors and reigning champions Roddens City a ninth-minute lead, that possibility was ready to become reality.

Hahahaha nope, Alaer dropped the green shell again. Ella Vidya set up Tim David for an almost instant equaliser before curling in a wonderful first-time shot from outside the box after a half-cleared corner to give the home side the lead just before the break. Jacek Krzynówek's daisycutter from just outside the corner of the penalty area ten minutes into the second half gave the leaders a cushion they never looked like needing thereafter, and just like that, they're four clear with four to play.

Capitolians found an absolutely wild way to get back into second, mind. They trailed 1-0 at the ZOS to a Zeiven City side whose defensive strength has been the foundation of their surprise success all season, before Xannerian sweeper Jimmy Foxworth was injured and their "SFG" Álfar Jvarsson was controversially sent off. Zeiven's foundations duly rocked, the home side rolled them over; Častimir Knežević caused absolute havoc once Jvarsson was off the field, setting up goals for Taklik and Lindiwe before, after a counter-attacking equaliser from arguable Copa Rushmori snub Alby Friel, adding three second-half goals of his own, the last a delightful solo run with a chipped finish. Capitolians go to Alaer next week for a match that will either effectively end the title race or spectacularly reset it.

Incredibly, they weren't even the top scorers of the week, courtesy of Edencliff's trip to Starnwood going what was immediately described on social media as "full TPL." In that spirit, here's the summary of the highest-scoring NSL match for eight years:

10' 0-1 Raven Lomu Image (Assist: Thomas Lyons Image) - Defensive error punished with a calm and composed finish.
15' 1-1 Aadi Seidel Image (Assist: - ) - Clinical finish from the penalty spot after a contentious decision.
28' 2-1 Aadi Seidel Image (Assist: Rico Carrero Image) - Pinpoint cross met with a powerful header for the goal.
34' 2-2 Rick Flash Image (Assist: Thomas Lyons Image) - Flash cuts inside and curls a beauty into the far corner.
40' 2-3 Agnes Oddkellsdóttir Image/Image (Assist: Rick Flash Image) - Perfectly timed run and finish from Oddkellsdóttir.
49' 3-3 Victoria Donald Image (Assist: Rico Carrero Image) - She nods in a well-placed cross.
58' 4-3 Aadi Seidel Image (Assist: Victoria Donald Image) - Edmonds can't hold onto the shot, and the rebound is converted.
69' 4-4 Agnes Oddkellsdóttir Image/Image (Assist: Thomas Lyons Image) - Perfectly weighted through ball leads to a one-on-one finish.
75' 4-5 Rick Flash Image (Assist: Agnes Oddkellsdóttir Image/Image) - Team capitalizes on a defensive mistake with a quick goal.
89' 4-6 Raven Lomu Image (Assist: Thomas Lyons Image) - Fast break leads to a simple finish from Lomu.
Player of the match: Thomas Lyons Image (AFC Edencliff)

Whew! Starnwood remain in the bottom three but also only a point (and a metric buttload of GD) behind Cluitt, who crumbled 5-0 at Ranford & Willsbrook; the hosts funneled all of their attacks centrally away from Borgþór Daðason and the result was a Katrina Frisk hat-trick. And also a return to fourth, after Bay City United couldn't take advantage of their own home match with a relegation contender, held 1-1 by Aardswood. Vengife were left with vague residual worries after losing 3-2 at Carroll Lewiston, two Vincent goals gave Real Santa Mordana a come-from-behind victory over Borlfield, and Bravin Rangers put yet another nail in the Donningwood coffin with a second straight match where Polivanov scored the only goal.

FC Alaer 4–5 Capitolians
Roddens City 3
–0 Ranford & Willsbrook
Cluitt SC 2–0 Donningwood Rovers
Bravin Rangers 1–0 Starnwood United
AFC Edencliff 3–1 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Vengife Town 0–2 Bay City United
Aardswood United 1–1 Real Santa Mordana
Borlfield Town 0–0 Zeiven City

What. Seriously. Just... What.

Coming into this, FC Alaer had conceded a league-best 21 goals. They had stifled teams far more often than not. Their defensive core - Murphy-Coates in goal, Wecoisus Gackbang and Teun Donk at the back, Shrifflu Mocks at the base of midfield - have all been part of the Kytlerian international setup. They are, in short, probably the best defenders Kytlerian soccer has to offer.

Only "best defenders Kytlerian soccer has to offer" really, really doesn't hold up against someone who literally made appearances in the official Best League In The Multiverse and not looked out of place. This was the Častimir Knežević show from start to finish, scoring a second straight hat-trick and setting up two more for Joke Feltkamp in a staggering display of attacking dominance that singlehandedly reignited the title race. Emphasis attacking dominance; Alaer actually scored four themselves, their own imported midfielder Ella Vidya with a hat-trick of assists. After the last of these - which put Alaer level at 4-4 with ten minutes to go before Feltkamp's 89th-minute winner - the home fans gleefully pointed out the permanent signing status of the StrayaRoos star as opposed to Knežević's expiring loan deal: "She's not going back, she's not going back / Oh Ella Vidya, she's not going back."

What is going back is a sense of excitement to the end of the season. Alaer's improbable defeat put Capitolians back within a point, and right on their heels are the reigning champions, Roddens City producing what would have been the most eyebrow-raising score of a normal week with a 3-0 defeat of a Ranford & Willsbrook side who would actually have replaced them in third with a win. Marwin Mikkelsen made the difference with two goals in as many first-half minutes, after which the visitors truly looked like the mid-table side they were meant to be rather than the improbable fringe title contenders they became during a run of seven wins in their last nine.

Also going back: Donningwood Rovers, to the Gregg's League, the inevitable becoming mathematical following a meek 2-0 capitulation at Cluitt. That result really reduces the tension over the other two teams joining them in the second tier too, as there's now a four-point gap to Aardswood United (who did at least get a point at home to Real Santa Mordana) and Starnwood United (the third straight victims of Bravin winning 1-0 through Polivanov). In fact, it would take just two results - Cluitt winning at Starnwood and Aardswood losing at Zeiven City - to mathematically end the relegation battle with two weeks to go. Vengife are still just about unsafe after a 2-0 home defeat to Bay City United - who return to the top four above Ranford & Willsbrook - but it would effectively require one of Aardswood and Starnwood to score seven points out of nine for them to even have a chance of going down. That seems utterly unthinkable, but then so did FC Alaer putting four past Capitolians and losing...

Meanwhile, Edencliff's front three followed up their ludicrous six-goal salvo at Starnwood with three more against Carroll Lewiston, while Borlfield and Zeiven played out a 0-0 bore draw.

Capitolians 2–0 Borlfield Town
Zeiven City 0–3 Aardswood United
Real Santa Mordana 2–2 Vengife Town
Bay City United 2–1 AFC Edencliff
AFC Carroll Lewiston 1–0 Bravin Rangers
Starnwood United 2–0 Cluitt SC
Donningwood Rovers 0–2 Roddens City
Ranford & Willsbrook 0–1 FC Alaer

Well, erm, the relegation battle did not end with two weeks to go. The exact slani opposite, in fact; Cluitt lost at Starnwood, while Aardswood stunningly won 3-0 at Zeiven - whose superb season has truly spluttered to a meek conclusion - to leave the gap between 13th and 15th at just one point. Vengife aren't totally safe either, but a point at Real Santa Mordana certainly helps them.

It was a consolidation week at the other end, with all of the Big Four taking care of business for once - which was a particularly big deal for Alaer, whose defenders were back to business as usual in a tough away clash with Ranford & Willsbrook to ensure Tim David's 29th-minute scrambled opener was all they needed to protect their lead. Or technically to regain it, seeing as they played that match in the evening after Capitolians had gained provisional top spot with a routine 2-0 defeat of Borlfield. With Roddens City dumping on Donningwood - who have now lost ten (!) in a row - by the same score, Alaer actually entered their match in third place, but they're now effectively 1.5 points clear (given their GD) with two to play and simply need to beat the current bottom two to finish top.

Bay City United reinforced fourth place with a 2-1 defeat of Edencliff, and it looks like this season will have the anticipated top four after all, maybe even with a real gap to fifth. They can even still mathematically win the title, though they won't. Finally, in a match that was short on footballing relevance but long on culture-war relevance, AFC Carroll Lewiston fielded a majority-female side for a home match against Bravin Rangers and a vociferous home crowd - many wearing rainbow scarves - squealed with delight as Carly Wendling broke the deadlock with what would be the only goal of the contest.

Ranford & Willsbrook 0–0 Capitolians
FC Alaer 3–0 Donningwood Rovers
Roddens City 1–0 Starnwood United
Cluitt SC 0–1 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Bravin Rangers 1–3 Bay City United
AFC Edencliff 1–1 Real Santa Mordana
Vengife Town 3–0 Zeiven City
Aardswood United 2–2 Borlfield Town

And so the final day is set up; the title race isn't settled, and the relegation battle very isn't settled. But FC Alaer are on the brink, taking care of business against Donningwood with a comprehensive 3-0 win, while Capitolians failed where the leaders succeeded and were held at Ranford & Willsbrook. That point, and Real Santa Mordana grabbing one of their own at Edencliff, also ensures Aaron Wilson-Cooper's side are assured best-of-the-rest status after proving their sneaky sixth place in the final pre-isolation season was evidence of a real foundation, and could well be contenders to break into the Big Four with external investment.

The one team that can deny Alaer becoming the first champions of the international era are the last champions of the isolation era. (Technically, Capitolians can do it too, but they'd need to win by a ludicrous margin.) Roddens City struggled to break down a stifling Starnwood side fighting for their NSL lives, but Úlfur Pétursson's scrambled winner twelve minutes from the end was a cathartic moment. It's enough to put them second above Capitolians, and now they're ironically hoping Starnwood can do them a favour - if Andy Cunningham's side can claim a final-day win, not only do they have a chance to survive, but Roddens can retain their title by beating nothing-to-play-for Carroll Lewiston.

Who already gave Starnwood a solid hand themselves with a 1-0 win at Cluitt, who remain above the dreaded line on goal difference alone after Aardswood came back from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Borlfield.

Capitolians 4–1 Aardswood United
Borlfield Town 1–0 Vengife Town
Zeiven City 0–0 AFC Edencliff
Real Santa Mordana 3–3 Bravin Rangers
Bay City United 2–1 Cluitt SC
AFC Carroll Lewiston 1–1 Roddens City
Starnwood United 0–2 FC Alaer
Donningwood Rovers 2–4 Ranford & Willsbrook

The final day. Every match kicked off at once, but one in particular was the pivot for the whole afternoon, and it went like this: if FC Alaer won at Starnwood, they'd be the champions and Starnwood would be going straight back down. A draw would almost assure those outcomes too, but there'd at least be theoretical possibilities otherwise involving incredibly suspicious scores in the other games. But if Starnwood claimed an improbable victory in front of a raucous home crowd? They would be safe unless both Cluitt and Aardswood won - and both were away to Big Four clubs - and Roddens City could retain their title with a win at the Wonderland. (Who needs "we're going to the theme park!" title celebrations when your final match is literally next to the country's biggest theme park ?) Assuming Alaer took care of their business, Aardswood would either need to better Cluitt's result or, assuming both lost, lose by two fewer goals.

It was a great time for rumour to spread. Starnwood actually looked like they'd taken the lead after ten minutes - Aadi Seidel thumping home after a goalmouth scramble - but it was chalked off, as Victoria Donald was judged to have handled the ball in the pinball buildup. The decision wasn't wrong as such, it was just difficult to understand exactly how referee Harry Roath could make that decision affirmatively. But make it he did, only for rumour to spread around the Wonderland that Roddens City fans had got the help they needed, and by the time the truth had become clear they'd taken the lead anyway through Marvin Mikkelsen and officially made it to provisional "taking care of their business" territory.

While Starnwood didn't have a goal of their own to cheer, they did soon have a couple from Capitolians, Knežević marking his final game for the club by scoring one and then immediately setting up a second for Feltkamp. Starnwood, then, apparently would be staying up if they could somehow win - and Aardswood were looking doomed, a brutal scenario for a team expected to be safely midtable by almost everyone.

Then, finally, the dam broke. On 28 minutes, B.J. Keller-Kells was caught in possession by the onrushing Ella Vidya, who had Jacek Krzynówek in support to her right. She duly found him, and he duly found the net for the 22nd time this season, and we had apparently found the end of the title race. Six minutes later - by which time Johnny Eccles had given Cluitt a priceless lead at Bay City United - Krzynówek returned the favour; cutting inside onto his favoured left foot, he saw goalkeeper Wecoisus Rirvymoles charging forward to smother him, and simply cut the ball back to Vidya, who couldn't miss. Game, set, match, season. Not all decisive final days can be intense.

At the bottom, this one still was; that Cluitt lead was wiped out before half-time courtesy of a speculative Jacob Albertsen strike taking an unfortunate deflection off the hapless Micah Davenport, Aardswood had snuck back into their game at the ZOS through Andy Pickett, and Capitolians lost veteran holding midfielder Diederick Van Heel to an ankle injury just before the break. For Aardswood's fans, there was room to believe.

Until there wasn't. Knežević completed his third hat-trick in five games (!), taking his total for the season to 24 - all from midfield or the wing - and all the pieces had come together. Vanorian teenager Nova Björklund put the exclamation point on the day with an equaliser for Carroll Lewiston - which meant Capitolians moved up into second above Roddens City - and the only goal in the final 15 minutes of the season anywhere was an 89th-minute equaliser for Real Santa Mordana that meant their two matches with Bravin Rangers (whose 28 other matches combined for just 50 total goals between both teams!) both finished 3-3. There's always chaos and interest somewhere on the final day; what a shame it was there, where the only significance was that Borlfield's 1-0 win over Vengife was enough to put them into the top half.

In other polishing-off business, Ranford & Willsbrook celebrated their best-of-the-rest season with a 4-2 win at Donningwood, who finished their season with twelve straight defeats, and Edencliff's draw at Zeiven was enough for them to retain sixth on goal difference from their hosts.

EastWest NSL - FINAL TABLE    P    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 FC Alaer 30 18 9 3 61 26 +35 63
2 Capitolians 30 18 6 6 63 41 +22 60
3 Roddens City 30 17 8 5 44 24 +20 59
4 Bay City United 30 17 7 6 44 24 +20 58
5 Ranford & Willsbrook 30 15 7 8 46 32 +14 52
6 AFC Edencliff 30 12 10 8 57 48 +9 46
7 Zeiven City 30 13 7 10 37 37 0 46
8 Borlfield Town 30 13 6 11 44 36 +8 45
9 Real Santa Mordana 30 11 11 8 54 51 +3 44
10 Bravin Rangers 30 10 12 8 29 33 −4 42
11 AFC Carroll Lewiston 30 11 5 14 47 46 +1 38
12 Vengife Town 30 7 8 15 26 37 −11 29
13 Cluitt SC 30 5 8 17 26 46 −20 23
14 Aardswood United 30 5 8 17 23 46 −23 23
15 Starnwood United 30 6 4 20 19 54 −35 22
16 Donningwood Rovers 30 3 2 25 20 59 −39 11
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)

User avatar
The Kytler Peninsulae
Posts: 1174
Founded: Jul 26, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kytler Peninsulae » Sat Jan 27, 2024 7:13 pm

SO-KP Cup and lower leagues

Peninsular League


Gregg's League North Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Florley Garden City 30 19 6 5 51 23 +28 63
2 Newbridge Town 30 18 8 4 49 25 +24 62
3 Icenbrook Town 30 17 7 6 56 37 +19 58
4 Tandridge Athletic 30 18 4 8 63 45 +18 58
5 Ludinda 30 16 3 11 53 38 +15 51
6 Magstone 30 14 7 9 59 48 +11 49
7 Rehyestein 30 12 8 10 55 51 +4 44
8 Babton Town 30 12 6 12 53 49 +4 42
9 Corlsden United 30 10 7 13 36 42 −6 37
10 Calcio Carmina Burana 30 9 10 11 22 29 −7 37
11 Norriswood Town 30 9 10 11 29 37 −8 37
12 Clifford Rovers 30 7 11 12 43 51 −8 32
13 Woolery 30 7 7 16 42 59 −17 28
14 FC Tyciley 30 7 3 20 44 66 −22 24
15 East Roddens Rovers 30 6 4 20 21 50 −29 22
16 Quilestone 30 4 9 17 25 51 −26 21

Gregg's League South Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 FC Macados 30 19 6 5 72 47 +25 63
2 Cornham Town 30 17 8 5 59 37 +22 59
3 Foothillers 30 15 11 4 41 20 +21 56
4 Ceuran Club 30 15 6 9 66 52 +14 51
5 Baltonbrook 30 15 6 9 40 27 +13 51
6 Benton Town 30 14 7 9 39 22 +17 49
7 SC Sillham 30 14 5 11 50 43 +7 47
8 Norgsklub 30 12 7 11 27 27 0 43
9 Klúbburinn 30 11 6 13 51 57 −6 39
10 Nellis Port 30 9 10 11 46 49 −3 37
11 Eastern Downs 30 11 4 15 36 39 −3 37
12 Tarrmouth Town 30 9 6 15 37 56 −19 33
13 Waringstone 30 7 9 14 23 35 −12 30
14 Hurriston Wanderers 30 6 8 16 42 57 −15 26
15 Roulson Rovers 30 5 7 18 28 54 −26 22
16 Parbold United 30 5 6 19 32 67 −35 21

Promotion playoff: Cornham Town 0-1 Newbridge Town
Promoted to Gregg's League North: Zube Vephra, Snodden SC, Shirlhill Spurs
Promoted to Gregg's League South: Easton Athletic, Alton Heath Village, AFC Charlfield

OOC note: Scorination starts at the fourth round when the NSL teams join, with the 16 teams progressing from the earlier rounds chosen pretty much on vibes whilst ensuring there's eight from each of the north and south sides of the draw. And then each round's draw is fully randomised rather than using a bracket.

Fourth round
Ludinda 3–5 Ceuran Club
Cornham Town 2–0 Foothillers
Zeiven City 2–0 Parbold United
FC Alaer 3–1 Quilestone
Klúbburinn 4–2 Icenbrook Town
Starnwood United 2–0 AWR Truckers
Florley Garden City 5–1 Eastern Downs
Donningwood Rovers 0–2 Roddens City
AFC Edencliff 1–1 Cluitt SC (1–1 AET) (2–4 pen.)
Tandridge Athletic 2–0 AFC Carroll Lewiston
Shirlhill Spurs 0–4 Calcio Carmina Burana
FC Macados 3–1 Bravin Rangers
Capitolians 1–0 Ranford & Willsbrook
Vengife Town 3–0 Woolery
Real Santa Mordana 2–2 Bay City United (3–2 AET)
Aardswood United 2–4 Borlfield Town

Starnwood United 1–0 Florley Garden City
Vengife Town 0–1 FC Alaer
Borlfield Town 0–1 Cluitt SC
Real Santa Mordana 2–1 Tandridge Athletic
Cornham Town 0–0 Roddens City (0–0 AET) (2–4 pen.)
Calcio Carmina Burana 1–1 Capitolians (1–1 AET) (2–4 pen.)
Ceuran Club 4–0 Klúbburinn
Zeiven City 3–4 FC Macados

Capitolians 2–3 Cluitt SC
Roddens City 1–2 Starnwood United
FC Alaer 5–2 Real Santa Mordana
FC Macados 3–1 Ceuran Club

Starnwood United 0–1 FC Alaer
Cluitt SC 2–2 FC Macados (4–2 AET)

FC Alaer 0–1 Cluitt SC
Last edited by The Kytler Peninsulae on Sat Jan 27, 2024 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Out of international isolation and... winning things? Huh?

Host: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Baptism of Iron X, 7th World Championships of Babbage Rules Football, and Games of the IX Olympiad.

Won: World Lacrosse Championship 13, Elephant Chess Cup 7, and Memorial Cup. Also top of the medals table at the Games of the IX Olympiad (24 gold, 63 total medals).
World Lacrosse Championship 12 and World Bowl 47 quarter-finalists, World Bowl XV and World Baseball Classic 20 octo-finalists
28 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VI Olympiad (13th in medal table)
7 medals, 5 gold, at VII Olympic Winter Games (7th in medal table)
26 medals, 10 gold, at Games of the VIII Olympiad (9th in medal table)


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