It’s the penultimate Matchday of the inaugural IoS PL season. For extra challenge here at the end, the FA scheduled the last three matchdays over eight days. (Matchday 38 is slated for Sunday, 5/26, for all 20 clubs.)
Everyone’s in action! That said, there aren’t any super-compelling matches, not on paper. #1 Dryaw should handle Relegation possibility #16 Ffarquhar at home. The #2 and #3 clubs have road matches, but against bottom half teams.
Here’s the full slate, as well as smexy link to the table:
Wed., 5/22 – 6:00 PM – (UTC)
#1 Dryaw vs. #16 Ffarquhar
#6 Junction & Sheds vs. #15 Brendam Harbor
#20 Arlesburgh Utd. vs. #12 Lakeside
#4 Kirk Ronan vs. T9 Glennock
#13 Vicarstown vs. #2 Peel Godred
8:00 PM – (UTC)
#19 Tidmouth City vs. #14 Castle Rolf
#17 Brendam Utd. vs. #3 Knapford Town
#5 Crovan’s Gate vs. #11 Marron
#18 Ulfstead vs. #7 East Coast Diesel
T9 Suddery vs. #8 Wellsworth
Feature Match preview: #5 Crovan’s Gate vs. #11 Marron
So absent an obvious mega-match to highlight today, hello from Crovan’s Gate! Despite having lost two in a row and three of four, a top-four finish in still within reach. That doesn’t mean anything in this PL like in England and other big European domestic leagues, but it still has a certain cache. Marron can still finish in the table’s top half and will not be lying down either.
Let’s get to know the team and village! Even if the club has tried to attach itself to dreaded Tottenham Sir Toppem Hatt Hotspur by using their Latin motto slogan. Longtime Noobites know Noob loathes TH, named for Harry “Hotspur” Percy, an historic traitor of England. Noob carries no water for such, nor their sycophantic copycats.
Crovan’s Gate’s not one of the biggest villages, but an important one in the east-southeast region of Sodor. It’s a hub for transportation repairs. (Yes, the real Isle has a superb public train system. No, the engines aren’t creepy-faced or capable of speech.) It’s also where a lot of timber starts making its way around Sodor, cut from the big forest just north.
History buffs: It’s possible or even probable that this town is named after some Crovan that was part of the line of the ruling family on the Isle of Man some, oh, 900 years ago. Given that IoM is west of Sodor, it is unlikely a member of the actual ruling family fled directly here after the coup that unseated them. It’s a last name that’s found some here and elsewhere on the Isle, but no Crovan’s have ruled Sodor at any point in history.
At 5th in the League, CGFC aren’t in contention for the title. But this is hardly a shabby position for a team that ten months ago wasn’t even going to be in the Premier. They were slated for the second-tier Championship, thought to be a team that could perhaps vie for that title, earn Promotion into the PL for 2019-20.
But the FA switched things up and decided that more than mere village or town size would be factored in determining which clubs started in which league. Last summer’s FA Cup results, it was announced, would be weighted heavily. Crovan’s Gate benefited perhaps more than anyone, as they made the Semifinals, losing to eventual champion Brendam Harbor 0-2..
And they have not disappointed. How have “The Grumpy Passengers” (yes, a nod to the children’s TV show based on and in Sodor) found success? They’ve had a bigger player base to draw from than would’ve been thought, for one thing. Crovan’s Gate is only of average size for a village, but they have no competition for players for many miles. They draw from smaller villages and hamlets scattered most every direction.
Like most clubs on Sodor, they don’t play aggressive defense. But they’ve separated themselves offensively. They’ll press six or seven forward like most clubs often enough, but they switch strategies, formations at the drop of a hat. They’ll suddenly drop eight back and wait for counters, then push everyone up again in a blink. 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-2-4 — teams never know what’s coming from one possession to the next.
Noob’s call: Getting to know Crovan’s Gate today has been fun. Hope you’ve had a fun read. But Marron have quietly won FIVE in a row. No one’s scoring on them (by Sudric standards). A month ago, there was a chasm in the table between 10th and 11th. Not now. Marron are a’comin’. Marron 1-3.