Matchday 31 (Sun., 4/7) preview (Sat.’s match previews precede this post)
#9 Glennock vs. #16 Ulfstead
#4 Crovan’s Gate vs. #10 Suddery
#5 Kirk Ronan vs. #20 Arlesburgh Utd. (5-0 AU)
#13 Marron vs. T14 Vicarstown (8-6 M)
plus the Sunday feature match #1 Dryaw vs. T7 East Coast Diesel
Season-long followers of IoS PL coverage might assume Noob simply camped out in Dryaw for yet another week. It was tempting, this being a little Paris of sorts, an idyllic haven for writers and intellectuals and all sorts of unscrupulous rabble. But my best friends American author Daniel J. Heck and Doug Barr (1980’s TV “The Fall Guy”, screenwriter and vintner) both hopped back across the pond. Saturday’s feature match was in Brendam, and so there I b&b’ed for the week.
But now Noob’s back, baybeeeeeee. And the mood in town Noob sensed Saturday night was surely odd. Naturally, everyone’s riding a wave of elation that Dryaw’s been leading the league for weeks upon weeks. And they now lead by four – not a huge cushion, but a little margin for error’s been managed.
Yet there’s no mistaking an air of worry here. Two matchdays weekends ago, E.C.D. stormed back from a 2-6 deficit to earn a draw in the Walney Channel Derby. This team that had muddled through just an ok season went back to their pre-Premier League identity, as one that plays seriously rough defense. Remember: even moderately hard defense has always been considered uncouth historically.
Yes, Dryaw supporters are scared. Worried about the result, sure. But terrified of their players getting mauled. In the second half of that derby two weeks ago, Diesels earned 10 yellow cards in as many minutes. They then cruised the following matchday to a 4-2 road win over Marron that was not as close as the score indicates. They even retook their official 2018-19 team photo. They look haunted and angry.
So since reclaiming their identity, they’re 1-1-0 and have outscored opponents 8-2 over the last three halves. Dryaw, meanwhile, are 2-2 in their last four. They’ve been more offensively-minded over this stretch, but who knows how many easy chances they’ll be able to muster today now that the Bad Boys are back.
Noob calls it: I think E.C.D. are going to control the pace. That said, the FA folks seem none too pleased with Diesels’ re-finding of their brutally physical style.
Noob’s not suggesting they’ve given explicit marching orders to the refs to keep the game Sudric-clean, but some sort of message has gone out. They’d like to see their unique brand of football take hold and get a little international attention as time goes on. The call: 2-2
The title race stays scalding hot.