The Alternate Reality Football League

Update (15th July 2021):

14 votes received so far, two clubs are very much in control as we edge closer finding the 2021 champion! Community Cup 8th Round

Update (12th July 2021):

The results are now in for the 8th Round and we're down to the Quarter-Finals! Community Cup 8th Round

Update (23rd June 2021):

6 more votes received, and one match is now dead-level going into Friday's voting deadline: Community Cup 8th Round

Update (19th June 2021):

A great start to the 8th Round, as 13 votes already in! 3 teams are now on course for the Quarter-Finals: Community Cup 8th Round

Update (18th June 2021):

The results are now in for Round 7, and only 16 teams now remain. Come see the results and the draw for the 8th Round: Community Cup 8th Round

Update (13th June 2021):

A bumper day of voting yesterday, with a further 9 votes received, incredibly turning one match right around! On the last day of voting, who will make it through to the 8th Round? Community Cup 7th Round

Update (12th June 2021):

After a delay, the votes so far for Round 7 are now uploaded, tomorrow is the deadline, who will be the last 16? Community Cup 7th Round

Update (6th June 2021):

The results are now in for Round 6 in The Community Cup, which 32 teams remain? Community Cup 6th Round

Update (22nd May 2021):

8 more votes received since the last update, 1 week to go until we move onto Round 7: Community Cup 6th Round

Update (16th May 2021):

A great start to voting in the 6th Round of The Community Cup, with 10 votes already received and 6 matches already going to be decided by the fans, can all 32 matches receive votes?Community Cup 6th Round

Update (15th May 2021):

The 5th Round of The Community Cup is over and, after 1,275 teams started in January, we're down to the last 64! The draw for the 6th Round can be found here: Community Cup 6th Round

Update (9th May 2021):

One more vote received in the Community Cup: latest standings

Update (4th May 2021):

Two more votes received in the Community Cup: latest standings

The Alternate Reality Football League presents: Season 1 (2017), Chapter 20b: EFL Championship Round 18

Chapter 20a saw Round 18 of The Premier League in action, as Liverpool and Spurs drew level with each other at the top of the table. Now attention turns back to the 2nd Tier, with the return of the EFL Championship. Last time, in Round 17, we saw leaders Manchester United held to a 1-1 draw by fellow promotion-chasers Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park. Meanwhile, their neighbours and 2nd-placed Manchester City ground out a narrow 3-2 win over bottom of the table Southport, to close the gap. The biggest win, however, was for Fulham; a stunning performance winning 5-0 away from home at Luton Town. That victory ensured they remain just two points behind City, with only one defeat suffered by The Cottagers this season. At the other end, Gosport Borough were a little unlucky to lose at Newport County, going down 2-1, but there was better news for Port Vale, as they held off a spirited AFC Wimbledon, to clinch just their third win of the season, 2-1 the final score. Vale remain in the relegation zone, but are now just a point behind 21st-placed Peterborough United, who themselves were beaten 2-0 at Hull City. What would happen in Round 18 to change the standings? Before the results, here is a little reminder of the fixtures:

AFC Wimbledon vs Manchester City

A battle of 7th vs 2nd at Plough Lane, as Wimbledon host Manchester City. Whilst there's ten points between them, Wimbledon have been very strong at home, losing just once to Newport. However, the current form definitely favours the visitors, as they sit 3rd in the form charts, winning their past two matches, and on a three-match undefeated streak. Whereas, Wimbledon were beaten in the last round, going down 2-1 at Port Vale. Can City continue to close the gap to their neighbours United?

Crewe Alexandra vs Wycombe Wanderers

This could be a tight one to call, as it sees 8th-placed Crewe host 6th-placed Wycombe. There's very little to call between them in terms of the table, form charts and their respective home and away forms, so it's difficult to call a winner. Perhaps a draw may be the most logical outcome, with both sides drawing last time out and having drawn quite a few times each in the last six games.

Dartford vs Hull City

On paper, this seems to be an away banker, as 5th in the table Hull City travel to struggling Dartford, who sit in a disappointing 18th place after 17 matches. Giving even further credence to their tag as favourites in this contest, as the home side's form has been dreadful in the past six matches, having lost five of them, with just one win in between. Hull, meanwhile, are quite up and down, with three wins and three defeats, but they will still be expected to come away with maximum points at Princes Park.

Exeter City vs Maidenhead United

Another match that seems very difficult to call, with both clubs separated by just goal difference in the table (Maidenhead -2, Exeter -4, both on 21pts in 15th and 16th respectively). However, a glance at the form charts does offer up some evidence that the home side may be the slight favourites; they sit in 5th in the form table, taking 11 points from the last 18 available, even taking into account their 1-0 loss at Tamworth in Round 17. Maidenhead are a couple of points behind, but haven't won in four matches now, so The Grecians will fancy their chances of getting a win.

FC United of Manchester vs Maidstone United

14th-placed FC United host 10th-placed Maidstone United, with both clubs hopeful of gatecrashing the play-off positions this season. This is another match where the margins are so small in terms of positions in the table and form charts; both have only won once in their past six games, FC United having picked up just one more point than Maidstone in that period. This is anyone's guess as to how this will finish.

Fulham vs FC Halifax Town

This is one match where there is a clear favourite, as 3rd in the table Fulham host 12th-placed FC Halifax. Fulham are looking like serious contenders for promotion, whereas Halifax are looking for some consistency to aid their push for a play-off place. Only Manchester City have won at Craven Cottage so far this season, whereas Halifax have won just once on their travels, a 2-0 win at Gosport. Whatsmore, Fulham have won five of their last six games, and FC Halifax have drawn seven times already this season, so Fulham are very strong favourites to win this match and continue to hunt down City.

Gateshead vs Sutton United

Gateshead's troubles have gotten worse over the last few rounds, as they're on a dreadful four-match losing streak. Sutton, meanwhile, have started to look more impressive, winning their past two, and drawing the two immediately preceeding those, so a four-match unbeaten streak has been enjoyed by the visitors. Sutton will be wary of the home side's need for some points, but will be very optimistic of maximum points.

Gosport Borough vs Watford

Gosport's chances of avoiding relegation don't get any easier, as they welcome 4th-placed Watford to Privett Park. Gosport sit second-bottom in the Championship, with just ten points to their name, and their form shows why, with no wins in their past five matches. The Hornets form hasn't been perfect, having drawn three of their last four, but have also only lost once in the last six and, as they're pushing for promotion, will be heavy favourites to clinch another victory.

Manchester United vs Newport County

Newport face one of the biggest tests in English football right now; attempting to do what no other team has managed and get a win from Old Trafford! United's form has been nothing short of sensational at home, winning seven of their eight matches and only being held to one draw, a 2-2 draw with 3rd-placed Fulham earlier in the season. With United top of both the actual league table, as well as top of the form charts, Newport have their work cut out to get anything from this match. However, Newport are on a five-match undefeated streak themselves, with their 2-1 win at home to Gosport in Round 17 ending a run of four consecutive draws prior to that, so United will have to show some due respect to Newport, to avoid a shock defeat.

Morecambe vs Tamworth

9th plays 17th at The Mazuma Stadium, as Morecambe continue to impress in their maiden campaign, appearing to be contenders for the play-offs. Tamworth, in comparison, are currently six points clear of the relegation zone, but will want to further their gap in the coming weeks as the halfway stage of the season comes closer. However, Tamworth's away form is brilliant, with just one defeat on their travels, losing 2-0 at Watford, but Morecambe will still be big favourites, as they sit 4th in the form charts, winning three in a row.

Peterborough United vs Port Vale

A massive six-pointer at London Road, as The Posh welcome Port Vale. Peterborough are one point and one place clear of today's opponents, with Vale in the relegation zone. Both Peterborough's home form, and Port Vale's away form, are awful, so this is very difficult to call. However, one thing that could sway this in the visitors favour is the form chart; Peterborough are currently the worst side in the division, having lost three in a row, and picking up just one point from their past six matches. Vale's wasn't much better a couple of rounds ago, but four points from their last six, including an excellent 2-1 home win over AFC Wimbledon, has given them some confidence, and they will be slight favourites coming into this.

Southport vs Luton Town

Lastly, bottom of the table Southport entertain 19th-placed Luton Town, badly needing a positive result. They are the only side who haven't won a home game this season (two draws, seven defeats) but Luton themselves only have one win on their travels, coming 2-1 at Port Vale. Whilst Southport are second-bottom of the form charts, with just two points from the past eighteen available, one glimmer of hope for the home side is Luton's recent form, having lost their last three coming into this. Can their tenth home match of the season finally be their first home win?

The EFL Championship, Round 18, full results:

AFC Wimbledon 2-1 Manchester City
A fantastic win for Wimbledon, handing out just a fourth defeat of the season for City. After defeat to Port Vale last time out, Wimbledon must have feared the worst. That feeling must have been amplified when City took the lead midway through the first half. However, whatever the manager said at half time must have done the trick, as the Dons looked a different side in the second half, and came out all guns blazing. City were against the ropes but the defence was still holding firm, until Wimbledon finally got a deserved equaliser on 71 minutes. The question was, would Wimbledon keep the momentum going, or would their goal be the spur for City to push forward again? The answer was provided as the home side continued to produce wave after wave of attack, and City couldn't get out of their half. Still, with 93 minutes on the clock, it looked as if Wimbledon's efforts would be in vain. However, with the referee on the verge of blowing for full time, the Dons earned one more corner. It was swung in fast and high and, with the last touch of the game, a beautiful header soared into the net, sending the home crowd into raptures. City's players were left disconsolate as another opportunity to close on their neighbours United passed them by. Can Wimbledon go on a run and break their way into the play-offs from here?

Crewe Alexandra 3-2 Wycombe Wanderers
A great game at Gresty Road, as Crewe ended up on the right side of a five-goal thiller. The home side had several chances to put it to bed far earlier, leading 1-0 and 3-1, but Wycombe refused to give up the game. The first goal was slotted home after 15 minutes after a tense opening period. However, Wycombe would go into the break level after a well worked goal scored on 42 minutes. Early in the second half, Wycombe were awarded a penalty, but a magnificent save from the keeper kept it at 1-1. That gave Crewe belief and after a period of domination got themselves back in front, with a lovely finish on 66 minutes. Wycombe, to their credit, never looked like losing faith and kept pushing forward at every opportunity. However, as is often the case, sides leave themselves too open at the back and that proved to be the case here as Crewe, on the counter, seemed to put the match to bed with a great team goal on 77 minutes, to make it 3-1. But Wycombe are made of stern stuff, and still they came forward, in search of another goal to perhaps put themselves back in it. They were rewarded for that endeavour on 82 minutes, with the fifth goal of a brilliant contest. However, despite searching for another equaliser, Crewe's defence just about held it together a potentially vital three points were in the bag. Both sides look, on their day, capable of beating anyone and could be contenders for the play-offs.

Dartford 1-3 Hull City
Another brilliant win for Hull, keeping them firmly in the play-off hunt. Dartford took the lead against the run of play on 16 minutes, but Hull then came back to lead 2-1 at halftime, with goals on 22 and 34 minutes. The Tigers then finished it off as a contest on 61 minutes with a beautiful third goal. Dartford remain clear of the relegation zone, but the amount of losses they've suffered remains a concern, with this their 10th defeat of the season, from just 18 games in the league.

Exeter City 1-1 Maidenhead United
Both of these sides were level on points and right next to each other in the table at the start of play, so no surprise at all to see them cancel each other out. The first half was about tense, scrappy affair, and was 0-0 at the break. In the second half, both sides were greatly improved, but it would be the visitors who would take the lead, with an excellent team goal on 70 minutes. However, The Grecians always looked like they had a goal in them too and would eventually earn a point with a magnificent free-kick in the 87th minute. Exeter remain reasonably hard to beat at St. James' Park, with just two defeats at home, whereas Maidenhead's struggles on the road continue, with their win at Newport the only time they've picked up maximum points on their travels.

FC United of Manchester 2-1 Maidstone United
A good win for FC United sees them leapfrog their opponents on the table, this being their 6th win of the campaign. The home side were good value for the win, going 1-0 up on 23 minutes, and then making it 2-0 with a penalty on 54. Maidstone were always second-best, but did at least get a goal back with ten minutes to go. However, FC United held out for the victory and can look forward to a comfortable season, seemingly free from relegation worries.

Fulham 2-0 FC Halifax Town
A routine victory for The Cottagers, as their bid for promotion to The Premier League in their debut season gathered more pace. Both goals were scored in the first half, on 5 and 17 minutes. Although they couldn't add to their tally later in the match, they were never truly troubled by Halifax and another three points were on the board. A glance at the home and away forms were a perfect indicator of why Fulham found this so comfortable; whilst The Shaymen had only picked up one win away at Gosport prior to this, Fulham's only home loss remains the defeat to fellow promotion challengers, Manchester City. However, this win for Fulham, coupled with City's defeat at AFC Wimbledon means that Fulham move back into second place... the race is on!

Gateshead 2-2 Sutton United
A potentially vital point for Gateshead, as they come from 2-0 down to snatch a draw with Sutton. The visitors scored the opener on 36 minutes, a terrible own goal from the defender. Things went from bad to worse for Gateshead early in the second half, as Sutton capitalised on more poor defending to double their lead in the 50th minute. But that seemed to spur the home side on, and it didn't take long for them to find a route back into this contest, just six minutes in fact, and the game was back on. Gateshead piled the pressure on and it finally told in the 75th minute, as they scored the equaliser from the penalty spot. Both sides seemed to be content with a point at this stage, and the game petered out until the final whistle blew. Sutton have a decent away record but they will be very disappointed not to clinch all three points, given their 2-0 lead. For Gateshead, it's just their 9th point at home and will give them more hope that their stay in the EFL Championship isn't a brief one.

Gosport Borough 0-3 Watford
Another match that definitely went with form was at Gosport, as 4th-placed Watford cruised to victory. They took the lead in the 11th minute, doubled it on 40, and then finished the game off in the 68th minute with a simple third. Gosport continue to look out of their depth at this level, and will have to work so hard to stand any chance of avoiding the drop. Even better news for The Hornets was Manchester City's defeat, as both clubs will now be level on 36 points, just a point behind Fulham. Can Watford clinch promotion at the first time of asking?

Manchester United 5-0 Newport County
As much as Fulham and Watford capitalised on City's defeat, it was their neighbours and league leaders United who really gained the most, extending their lead at the top and dishing out another hammering at Old Trafford, with Newport being the latest victims. The game was tighter in the first half than United would have expected, but they still managed to go into the break 2-0 up, scoring on 27 and 44 minutes. However, the second half was no contest at all, as United scored a further three goals, on 59, 71 and 91 minutes, to underline their domination not only of this match, but the league as a whole. As consistent as United have been away from home, it's their incredible home form that has really separated them from the rest; 8 wins and 1 draw means they remain undefeated at home, and they have scored a staggering 44 goals at home! They will take some serious stopping!

Morecambe 0-1 Tamworth
An important win for Tamworth on their travels against a decent Morecambe side. The match was very evenly poised going into the final 15 minutes of the match but suddenly, on the counter-attack, The Lambs sprung and scored the winning goal, to the disbelief of the home fans. Tamworth even had a chance to put it beyond doubt in the final minute of the game, but one goal proved enough to earn their 5th win on their travels already this season! If only their home form at The Lamb Ground matched their away form, they would be considerably higher in the table. However, they will be delighted with these three points and a further gap away from the dreaded relegation zone. For Morecambe, their inconsistency remains a stumbling block to their plans of the play-offs but, on their day, they still remain a good team capable of beating anyone and will still believe they can snatch a top six finish.

Peterborough United 2-1 Port Vale
A massive six-pointer between 21st-placed Posh and 22nd-placed Vale, that eventually went the way of the home side. Peterborough took the lead just before half time, with a well-placed curling effort. Vale though, to their credit, never crumbled and found an equaliser on 61 minutes, to put the home side on edge. The fans were getting restless as the final five minutes approached. Both sides had golden opportunities to win it, but on 88 minutes, Posh finally got the crucial winner, after a massive goalmouth scramble. That win ensures that Peterborough move four points clear of their opponents and it also means that Vale stay in the bottom three. Both teams have a lot of work to do this season to stay out of trouble but Peterborough are certainly better placed for survival, right now.

Southport 3-2 Luton Town
Lastly, bottom of the table Southport finally got their first home win in the league, but were made to really work for it by a spirited Luton Town. Southport scored the opening goal of the contest on 12 minutes, but the lead lasted just three minutes, before The Hatters levelled the scores. Southport would go into the half time break in front, however, after lashing home a 30-yard screamer, to send the fans into raptures. However, this is Southport, and they seem to revel in making their fans sweat, as Luton equalised for the second time in this match, with a header from a corner on 73 minutes. The home fans must have been fearing another opportunity for a home win was going to pass them by but, this time, in their tenth attempt at Haig Avenue, they got the victory they'd been waiting for, with a brilliant team goal settling the contest. This win, coupled with Gosport's home loss to Watford, ensured that Southport climbed off the bottom of the table, and has given them great hope of a push for survival, as the half-way point on the season fast approaches.

It was another fantastic day of action in the EFL Championship, as leaders Manchester United continued their quite extraordinary home form, destroying Newport 5-0 at Old Trafford. Even better for them was neighbours City's defeat at AFC Wimbledon, as United moved further clear at the top. At the other end, there was finally home joy for Southport after their win over Luton. They also climbed off the bottom, after rivals Gosport were beaten at home to Watford. Also, Port Vale stayed rooted in the bottom three after their loss against fellow strugglers Peterborough. Next time out, in Round 19, there will be a belter of a match near the top, as United travel to Watford!

For the league table, form charts and all stats for the EFL Championship, please visit the dedicated EFL Championship page: EFL Championship

Next time at The Alternate Reality Football League: Season 1 (2017), Chapter 20c; EFL League One, Round 18

Site Update (10th January 2021):

Two more votes received, both for the same match. Six matches have now received votes, with one week to go. Find out the full standings by visiting The Community Cup page.

Site Update (9th January 2021):

One more vote now in, which team is now on course for the 2nd Round? Find out by visiting The Community Cup page.

Site Update (8th January 2021):

A further three votes now in, come see the current standings in The Community Cup, still plenty of time to vote!

Site Update (4th January 2021):

The first two votes have been received, which two clubs are currently in the driving seat? Go to The Community Cup page to find out!

Site Update (3rd January 2021):

At long last, the draw is now live and uploaded for The Community Cup 2021! The voting is now open, please send me your wins, scorelines, goalscorers, cards, minutes and any other details you want! As usual, to vote please use either the dedicated voting page here on this site, or DM me at any of my social media accounts. Good luck to all 1,275 teams involved... may the most popular club win!

The Alternate Reality Football League presents: Season 1 (2017), Chapter 20a: The Premier League Round 18

After the break from league football for the EFL Trophy, it's back to business as usual, with the return of the Premier League. Last time in the top flight, Liverpool retained their lead at the top with a narrow win at Shrewsbury Town. Spurs remain just behind them by a single point, thrashing London rivals Millwall 4-1 at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Meanwhile, at the other end, bottom of the table Altrincham picked up a vital away win at Burton Albion to draw level with Millwall, on 9 points. In the other big match at the foot of the table, 18th met 17th, as Yeovil Town were held to a 2-2 draw by Wellling United. The bottom three all only have two wins each this season and they will certainly be hoping to improve on that in Round 18. So, the fixtures looked like this for the 18th Round:

Altrincham vs Shrewsbury Town:

A few rounds ago, this would have looked like a certain away win for The Shrews. However, the Premier League's bottom club Altrincham have picked up 4 points from 6 in the last two matches, including that excellent 1-0 win at Burton, last time out. For Shrewsbury, they remain something of a yo-yo club; with 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats in their last six games, to sit 9th in the form charts and 14th in the actual Premier League table. Can Altrincham win back-to-back games and get off the foot of the table?

Darlington vs Sheffield United

The Blades have hit something of a sticky patch lately, losing 4 of their last 6 matches. However, they did win last time out in feisty Yorkshire derby, 1-0 vs Leeds at Bramall Lane. For Darlington, they are very much mid-table; 11th in both the form chart and real table. One slight problem for them is no win in three games now, can they arrest that slide at home to Sheffield United? The Blades still have hopes of qualifying for Europe, but they need to get their form back on track.

Gainsborough Trinity vs Burton Albion

Another match that would have been much easier to call a few rounds ago, as Gainsborough continued to struggle, and with Burton flying high in the top half of the table. However, football can change very quickly and with Burton losing in the past two rounds running, coupled with Gainsborough's win in Round 17 against Darlington, this suddenly seems like a tougher match to call. Overall, Burton will still be the favourites as the higher ranked side, but Trinity will fancy their chances in this one.

Leeds United vs York City

Another Yorkshire derby for The Whites, this time at home against a struggling York City outfit. That defeat to Sheffield United ended an 11-game undefeated streak, but they still sit 5th in the table and our big contenders to be in the first-ever European Cup next season. York, meanwhile, have struggled for form all season. Round 17 saw them lose 2-1 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, and they've only won once in their last six. Seems like a home banker on paper, but can York cause an upset?

Liverpool vs Ipswich Town

The Reds remain the pace-setters in this division, although a dogged Tottenham Hotspur refuse to lie down and accept defeat in the title race. Their form is fitting on league laders; only Wolves are ahead of them in the form chart, their only defeat all season back in Round 10 at Sunderland. Ipswich, though, will be a big test for Liverpool. The Tractor Boys are 6th in the league, 5th in the form charts, and are on an 8-match undefeated streak themselves.

Middlesbrough vs Sunderland

A North-East derby for the fans to look forward to, as Boro host their higher-ranked local rivals, Sunderland! The Riverside will be buzzing as Middlesbrough look to win for the first time in 4 matches. Sunderland, on the other hand, won last time out to end a 3-match winless streak, defeating Nuneaton Borough 3-1. The Mackems will undoubtedly be the favourites but, in a local derby, anything can happen.

Nuneaton Borough vs Tottenham Hotspur

Nuneaton will have their work cut out for them, against 2nd-placed Tottenham Hotspur at Liberty Way. The home side's form isn't the worst in the division, with 7 points from the last 18 available, but Spurs are extremely strong, going 7 games without defeat and 4 wins in their last 6. An away win looks very likely.

Rotherham United vs Yeovil Town

It seems strange to say it, but Yeovil are on better form than The Millers and can be considered favourites for this match. Yeovil have only won once in the last six, but that's still better than Rotherham, who haven't since beating Middlesbrough in Round 11. In fact, only Welling United are underneath them in the form charts, with a very poor 2 points taken from the last 18. Is this the opportunity needed for The Glovers to start climbing their way out of the relegation zone?

Welling United vs Millwall

Welling may be five points better off than The Lions in the table, but they are rock-bottom of the form charts, finally ending a long losing streak last time out, with a crucial draw against fellow strugglers Yeovil Town. Millwall themselves have lost their last three matches in a row, but have still picked up more points recently than Welling, so may fancy their chances of some success.

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town

Wolves are on fantastic form! They currently sit in the European Cup qualification spots, in 4th place, and are the only side currently on a 4-match winning streak. Whilst a tilt at the title seems unlikely, they have genuine aspirations of a European campaign next season. However, Huddersfield will be no pushovers themselves, currently 4th in the form charts and just one defeat in their last six games.

The Premier League, Round 18, full results:

Altrincham 0-2 Shrewsbury Town:
A first away win of the season for The Shrews, as they saw off a spirited Altrincham at Moss Lane. The home side had the better of the first half but two second half goals were enough for the visitors to take all three points. The problem all season for Altrincham has been goals scored; just 12 for them before today and this match was a perfect example of a lack of cutting edge up front. Coupled with a poor defence, it's not hard to see why they're currently bottom of the table but the home fans must wonder where they could be if just some of their chances could be put away. For Shrewsbury, on the other hand, they could have potential for a top-half finish in their debut season.

Darlington 2-2 Sheffield United:
A cracking came at Blackwell Meadows as the spoils were shared between Darlington and Sheffield United. Darlington led early on, before The Blades hit back to lead. However, Darlington weren't to be denied a draw and found a leveller late on. The Quakers are having a steady, yet unspectacular season in mid-table, but Sheffield United are definite contenders for Europe.

Gainsborough Trinity 1-1 Burton Albion:
Not the most entertaining of encounters at The Northolme, but struggling Gainsborough will certainly welcome the point. They had looked on course for all three points, but an equaliser in the second half got a deserved point for The Brewers. Gainsborough continue the fight against relegation but Burton are safe in mid-table.

Leeds United 2-2 York City:
A brilliant Yorkshire derby saw Leeds come from 2-0 down to grab a point. The Minstermen got off to a sensational start, scoring twice in the opening twelve minutes, to stun the home crowd. A goal back early in the second half started the comeback before a late leveller delighted the majority of Elland Road, and ensured that Leeds have still only been beaten once on their home turf. Leeds are having a great season, in 5th place at the start of play, and still believe that they can have a say in where the title ends up. York still have slight breating space above the dreaded drop zone, but they will know that this was two points dropped, rather than a point earned, and that elusive first away win of the season remains out of reach.

Liverpool 0-1 Ipswich Town:
This has to go down as THE shock result of The Premier League season so far, as The Tractor Boys became the first visitors to win at Anfield. Ipswich took a very early lead and, despite masses of pressure from the league leaders, held firm to leave the home crowd stunned and disappointed. Ipswich, despite their high position in the league, had only won once on their travels prior to this match, so this made the result against The Reds all the more surprising. The big question now was whether Spurs could take full advantage of this slip up from Liverpool to take over from the at the top?

Middlesbrough 1-2 Sunderland:
Another derby, this time in the North East, as Sunderland walked away from The Riverside with all three points in their pockets. Sunderland were in full control throughout the game, and no-one was surprised when Sunderland went 1-0 up within the first 20 minutes. When they made it 2-0 on the hour mark, a small pocket of home fans made their way to the exits, having seen enough. They would miss out on a late consolation goal from The Boro, but Sunderland were very good value for the win. This was Middlesbrough's first home loss of the season, making it all the more bitter against their local rivals. Sunderland are big contenders for the title and this win demonstrated the talent they have at their disposal. Whilst Middlesbrough are not title challengers, they are certainly a strong enough team in this division, and can make a decent fist of qualifying for Europe.

Nuneaton Borough 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur:
After Liverpool's shock home defeat to Ipswich, this was the golden opportunity that Spurs had been waiting for... and they blew it. Everything was looking rosy for the vistors, when they went in at half-time 1-0 up. However, fear appeared to get the better of them, as they sat back and tried to protect their lead. Nuneaton, sensing the opportunity, pushed forward and pressed the Spurs backline. The pressure mounted and mounted and, eventually, with just a few moments left before injury time, the home side got what they deserved and we were all square. Spurs suddenly woke up and attempted a late rally, but it was too little, too late and they squandered their chance at topping the table. Liverpool and Spurs, however, are both now level at the top but how much better could it have been for the visitors?

Rotherham United 0-1 Yeovil Town:
A tense encounter at The New York Stadium, as Yeovil ground out what could be a vital three points. This was just a third win of the campaign for The Glovers, and their first away from home. Factor in a clean sheet as well, and this was a dream result for them. Their hopes of avoiding relegation are now looking far brighter. For The Millers, this continued their recent poor form which, given the very bright start they had made, makes it all the stranger. They are fairly comfortable in mid-table, but they need to arrest their sliding form to ensure they don't get dragged into trouble at the bottom.

Welling United 3-3 Millwall:
A brilliant, breathless game at Park View Road, as Millwall belied their struggles in front of goal with three in one game! Welling could, and perhaps should, have won this game, having led on three separate occasions. However, Millwall showed real grit and determination, coming back each time to rescue a point. The final equaliser was a contentious one, slammed home from a dubiously-awarded penalty, but Millwall will be delighted with this point. Can this be the springboard for their climb out of the relegation zone? Welling themselves are still in trouble near the bottom, but remain out of the bottom three.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Huddersfield Town:
Wolves are in brilliant form and are looking to gatecrash the teams at the top. All three goals were scored in the second half, with the home side scoring first just after the hour mark. Huddersfield, however, equalised against the run of play and, with less than 10 minutes to go, looked to be on course for a surprise point. Wolves, though, were not to be denied and scored a world-class goal to take all three points and keep their title dreams alive. Only Welling United have come to Molyneux and come away with a win, so they have to be taken very seriously.

What a day in The Premier League! Leaders Liverpool suffer their first-ever defeat at Anfield, to a strong Ipswich Town side, who could be contenders for Europe. Meanwhile, Spurs missed their change to overtake them at the top, being held to a disappointing draw at Nuneaton. Both clubs are now level on points, making this race for the title even more fascinating. At the bottom, Altrincham's woes in front of goal continued as they stay bottom, with Millwall finally having some joy up front, but their porous defence leaked another three, as they were held to a draw at fellow relegation candidates, Welling United.

For the league table, form charts and all stats for The Premier League, please visit the dedicated Premier League page: Premier League

Next time at The Alternate Reality Football League: Season 1 (2017), Chapter 20b; EFL Championship, Round 18

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The Alternate Reality Football League presents: Season 1 (2017), Chapter 19: The EFL Trophy 1st Round

As the first season of English football marches on, the next stage took us to another brand new competition, The EFL Trophy. Much like The National League Trophy, it's another opportunity for two sides outside of The Premier League to book a trip to the national stadium, Wembley, and attempt to win a piece of silverware, etching their name into the history books. Again, like their National League counterparts, a small amount of clubs would miss out on this competiton, virtue of their poor performance so far in the leagues. It's a tough pill to swallow, but those are the rules. Going into the 1st Round, all eyes would seem to be on the two Manchester clubs, United and City, currently leading the way in the EFL Championship, the highest ranked and most prestigious league in the EFL. United currently top the Championship, with 42 points, some 6 clear of neighbours City, on 36.

United's draw in the EFL Trophy, however, was an extremely tough proposition, away to 3rd-placed Championship club Fulham, so one of the bigger clubs taking place was guaranteed to fall at the first hurdle. City's draw was kinder, but still daunting, having to travel to League One high-flyers Aldershot Town. Outside of the top-performing Championship clubs, Bournemouth had got off to a flyer in League Two and were rewarded with a relatively kind draw, at home to fellow League Two club Preston. Nottingham Forest, who lead League One by 4 points, would play at the City Ground against struggling Championship club Newport, so this seems like a perfect opportunity for an upset.

Other notable ties would see a Kent derby as League Two Gillingham would welcome their higher-ranked neighbours, Championship side Maidstone, to The Priestfield Stadium. Dorset-based Poole Town, going very well in League Two, would host Burnley from the same division. Lastly, there is an intruiging all-Lancastrian match between League Two Wigan, and Championship side FC United of Manchester. Which 32 teams would keep the dream alive of winning a trophy in their debut season in The Professional Leagues, and which 32 would have to wait until next season and try again?

The EFL Trophy 1st Round 2017, full results:

EFLC=EFL Championship
EFL1=EFL League One
EFL2=EFL League Two

(EFLC) AFC Wimbledon 3-1 Mansfield Town (EFL1)
First up in the 1st Round saw Championship side Wimbledon against League One Mansfield. There was no shock on the cards here, as the home side saw off Mansfield fairly comfortably. For The Stags, it's a dissapointing exit, but they can now focus their energies in what looks like a relegation battle for them. Wimbledon's season looks to be very different, with them currently sitting outside the play-offs in the Championship, could it be an historic first-ever season?

(EFL1) Aldershot Town 0-1 Manchester City (EFLC)
League One Aldershot pushed Championship high-flyers City all the way but, in the end, class told as City advanced to the 2nd Round, by 1 goal to nil. Aldershot had enough chances to take this to penalties, but City's defence stood firm and Aldershot now turn their attentions back to their promotion push in League Two. City meanwhile, like AFC Wimbledon, could be on course for a special season in all competitions.

(EFL2) Alfreton Town 0-3 Salford City (EFL2)
A simple win for Salford, cruising to a 3-0 victory at North Street against fellow League Two side Alfreton. The away side were good value for the victory, hitting the target 13 times, including twice hitting the post. Alfreton offered little in the way of attacking intent, to the dismay of the home fans, and exit with a whimper. Who awaits Salford in the 2nd Round?

(EFL1) Aston Villa 2-1 Stalybridge Celtic (EFL1)
A narrow win at Villa Park sees Aston Villa advance. Stalybridge had taken the lead early, but a comeback always looked on the cards, and Villa duly delivered, with two second half goals. Can Villa go all the way?

(EFL1) Bishop's Stortford 2-1 Stockport County (EFL2)
Despite a battling performance from The Hatters, the higher-ranked home side go through to the 2nd Round, with a 2-1 victory. All three goals arrived in the second half, with Stortford taking the lead. Stockport scored from the penalty spot to go level, but a well-taken goal moments later was finally enough for home side. Could they win silverware in their debut season?

(EFL2) Bournemouth 2-0 Preston North End (EFL2)
Two of the top sides in League Two met up at Bournemouth, as they welcomed Preston North End to Dean Court. It was a story of missed chances for the visitors; despite having good periods of domination and multiple shots on goal, the closest they came was hitting the post on 40 minutes. You had the feeling that it would come back to haunt them and, when Bournemouth took the lead on 60 minutes, it sucked the life out of Preston and the game itself. From then on, it was all Bournemouth as they chased the second goal to put it beyond doubt. That goal finally arrived just before injury time, with a bullet header from a corner. Despite being a League Two club, Bournemouth will be one of the teams to beat in this competition.

(EFL1) Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 Hull City (EFLC)
A brilliant match at The AMEX, as Brighton eventually saw off Championship opposition, in the form of Hull City. Brighton raced into a 2-0 lead after just 20 minutes and were blowing away their higher-ranked opponents with pace and strength. But, Hull showed why they were a division above Brighton by forcing their way back into the match, getting a crucial goal back on the stroke of half-time, after a goalmouth scramble. That gave them the impetus in the second half and, when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the penalty area on 71 minutes, it was no surprise to see them level. From there, there appeared to be only one winner, as Hull went for the throat. On 88 minutes, they threw men forward in search of completing the comeback, but Brighton had other ideas, launching a blistering counter-attack after the move broke down and slotted home the winner! It may be a stretch to suggest that Albion could be the champions, but this win will live long in the memory and their fans will look forward to the 2nd Round draw with anticipation.

(EFL2) Charlton Athletic 0-2 Bristol Rovers (EFL1)
No surprises at The Valley, as League One Bristol Rovers saw off League Two Charlton. Goals in either half were enough for The Gas, with Charlton's misery being compounded with a missed penalty in the first half. Charlton fans were unhappy with the effort shown in this match and made their feelings known after the match. They will have some making up to when they return to league action. Meanwhile, Rovers fans will look forward to the draw for Round Two.

(EFL1) Coventry City 3-0 Crewe Alexandra (EFLC)
The Sky Blues blizted their higher-ranking opponents today, and looked like a side who are really on the up. Crewe's defence were destroyed within the first 15 minutes of this match, Coventry leading 3-0 very early doors. Despite a much better performance in the second half, Crewe never looked like scoring and were glad to hear the final whistle. Coventry could be big contenders to win the trophy.

(EFL2) Curzon Ashton 4-1 Port Vale (EFLC)
This was easily the biggest surprise of the round, as League Two Curzon Ashton thrashed Championship strugglers Port Vale at Tameside Stadium. Curzon were 3-0 up at half-time, with Vale offering little in the way of resistance. Vale got a goal back on 66 minutes, but it was very much against the run of play, and Curzon restored their three-goal lead just a few moments later. The home fans were ecstatic with the performance and will hope for more of the same in the next round and in their league campaign. However, for Port Vale, it could be a long season of struggle, and they need to start improving very soon.

(EFL2) Doncaster Rovers 2-1 Watford (EFLC)
Another shock result at The Keepmoat Stadium, as Yorkshire outfit Doncaster sneak through to Round Two, defeating Championship side Watford. Doncaster were the better side and were deserving of their victory. Watford made it a nervy finish with a well-taken goal on 87 minutes, but Doncaster held firm to book their place in the next round of the trophy.

(EFLC) Exeter City 2-0 Rochdale (EFL2)
The Grecians looked very strong in this contest, albeit against a Rochdale side who appeared blunt in attack. Two first-half goals were enough for the home side, and the win was a formality after that.

(EFLC) FC Halifax Town 1-0 Swindon Town (EFL2)
This was far harder than Halifax would have imagined, being two divisions higher than Swindon, but The Robins held out for almost 80 minutes, before The Shaymen finally got the only goal of this encounter. It wasn't without controversy though; Swindon's players surrounded the referee for claims of offside, but the linesman's flag never went up and the refree was inclined to agree with him. The replays suggested it was very tight, and perhaps Swindon had a point, but the goal stood. Despite some late attempts from the visitors, they couldn't find a response, and their EFL Trophy campaign was over. However this performance could stand them in good stead for the remainder of the season in League Two; if they can play with this determination in the league, they could be contenders.

(EFLC) Fulham 1-0 Manchester United (EFLC)
This was the standout match when the draw was made, pitting two of the leading contenders for promotion to The Premier League against each other. Perhaps surprisingly, this was a tense affair, with neither side's forward players threatening to break the deadlock. Ultimately, a 56th-minute goal from the home side was enough for Fulham to advance, and Manchester United cannot have much room to complain, given their toothless attack today. Both will be focusing on promotion to the top flight ahead of victory in the EFL Trophy but there can be no doubts that United will be angry with this performance. Fulham and Manchester City will be the big favourites from here.

(EFLC) Gateshead 1-5 Sheffield Wednesday (EFL1)
A magnificent performance from The Owls, hammering a poor Gateshead side. It was hard to believe that Gateshead are the Championship side in this contest, as League One Sheffield Wednesday were 5-0 up after 70 minutes. They never let up at any point, not settling for five goals! In the end, that enthusiasm for all-out attack meant they left themselves a little open at the back and, against another side, may have paid for it. Ultimately, Gateshead did score a consolation goal from the penalty spot in injury time, but it meant nothing in relation to the result. Wednesday will be feared in the last-32.

(EFL2) Gillingham 1-2 Maidstone United (EFLC)
It was a Kent derby, as Maidstone came to The Priestfield Stadium, to take on neighbours Gillingham. As you might have expected, it was a real battle, with tackles flying in everywhere and both sides were going for the jugular. Maidstone, two divisions higher than their neighbours, took the lead with a magnificent long-range effort on 34 minutes, and 1-0 was how it stayed at half-time. Gillingham came out all guns blazing in the second half, and after Maidstone were reduced to 10 men after a straight red card for violent conduct, they got a deserved equaliser on 59 minutes. The final half an hour was a brutal affair and no-one in attendance was surprised when the red card count was also levelled, after Gillingham had a man sent off in the 75th minute. It was end-to-end stuff in the final portion of the game. Deep into injury-time, and with the threat of extra-time on the horizon, Maidstone were awarded a free-kick, just outside the box. A quality strike sailed into the top corner of the net and Gillingham's fans were left heartbroken in the 97th minute of the game. For Maidstone, local bragging rights rest with them, but Gillingham proved themselves a handful for a Championship club, and can take a lot of heart when going back to their league games.

(EFL1) Lincoln City 4-3 Ebbsfleet United (EFL1)
What a stunning game in Lincolnshire! Seven goals, including two penalties, were scored in this tight, all-League One affair. Ebbsfleet took the lead just 4 minutes into the match, before Lincoln levelled on 17. Lincoln then lead for the first time in the match, scoring on 22 minutes. Just 5 minutes later, Ebbsfleet were back level themselves, with the first of those penalties. The Imps would lead at half-time however, with a brilliant header making it 3-2. Ebbsfleet refused to lay down, and levelled the game once again on 62 minutes. However, despite a magnificent effort, Lincoln would score the final goal from the penalty spot on 79 minutes and squeeze through to the 2nd Round.

(EFL2) Milton Keynes Dons 0-1 AFC Telford United (EFL1)
This was a match that was painful to watch for anyone at the ground; sadly, both sides looked rather off the pace and it would take a rare moment of quality to finally settle things. On 49 minutes, just after the re-start, Telford would come forward and a brilliant through-ball sent the forward on the way, rounding the keeper and slotting home. The Dons were never at the races, and maybe will be glad of not having the distraction of the EFL Trophy as they focus on their League Two campaign. For Telford, their fans would surely take a good cup run, given that they seem to be holding their own in League One this season. Can they make it to Round Three?

(EFLC) Morecambe 2-1 Hartlepool United (EFL2)
League Two Hartlepool gave a great account of themselves in this match, but Championship side Morecambe just had a little too much for them, and booked their place in Round Two. Hartlepool took a shock lead in the 7th minute, and held their lead under immense pressure until the 41st minute, before Morecambe finally got level. Hartlepool certainly had good opportunities in the second half to score another, but Morecambe were always well-drilled at the back. Eventually, after sustained pressure, the home side scored a winning goal, a great team move capped off by a smart finish on 73 minutes.

(EFL1) Nottingham Forest 4-2 Newport County (EFLC)
Current League One leaders Forest looked great again, despatching Championship club Newport, with a 2-goal winning margin. Forest went 3-0 up, goals on 12, 23 and 30 minutes, but Newport reduced the arrears on 39 minutes, to make the second half a bit more interesting. Forest seemed to put the result beyond doubt when they went 4-1 up in the 51st minute, but Newport showed their potential with another goal on 58 minutes. After that, Forest seemed to be happy to settle for the win and sat back, allowing Newport a period of domination, which looked like it had paid off on 67 minutes, when the ball was in the back of the net. However, a handball had been spotted in the build-up and the disallowed goal finally seemed to finish The Exiles off. The final 10 minutes of the game, in particular, became a quiet affair and, ultimately, Forest were worthy of the win. They could be a good best for success in the EFL Trophy, but Newport will hope for more luck in their next league match.

(EFLC) Peterborough United 2-0 North Ferriby United (EFL1)
No danger for The Posh here; North Ferriby rarely threatened in a one-sided affair, which could and perhaps should have been won by a bigger margin. Peterborough's goals came on 16 and 55 minutes and that was all they needed to advance to the 2nd Round.

(EFL2) Poole Town 4-3 Burnley (EFL2)
Another compelling match, as two of the early promotion contenders from League Two did battle. Poole took an early lead, with just 58 seconds on the clock, before Burnley levelled on 15 minutes. Amazingly, those were the only goals of the first half, as they went in at 1-1. But the second half was a breathless affair, with Burnley stunning the home crowd with goals on 48 and 59 minutes, to lead 3-1. It looked as if Poole were on their way out of this competition, but the Burnley fans were silenced when Poole got a scrappy goal back on 63. Suddenly, the game was back on and Poole were going for it. Burnley were on the backfoot, but their defence was doing a good job of repelling everything Poole threw at them, in particular the goalkeeper was having a great game, despite having conceded two goals. All of a sudden, with Poole starting to get frustrated, a long-range hopeful effort was spilled by the previously-impressive keeper, and the forward got the rebound quickly to make it 3-3. The game was well and truly in the balance going into the final moments of the game, with both teams now alert and going for the win. Burnley thought they had won it with their forward one-on-one with Poole's keeper, but his effort hit the bar. From there, Poole put together a good passing move and, with so many men forward for Burnley they were left open at the back, and Poole had completed the turnaround, leading 4-3 on 89 minutes. There was still time for Burnley to have one last effort on goal, but a brilliant goal-line clearance ensured that Poole were through to the 2nd Round. What an incredible game, how far can Poole go in this competition, will their efforts in League Two count against them?

(EFL1) Portsmouth 0-2 St Albans City (EFL2)
Another example of a lower-division club shocking their opponents, with St Albans running out of Fratton Park with a 2-0 win. The scoreline didn't tell the whole story however, as Portsmouth were the dominant side, but couldn't convert any of their chances. St Albans only had 3 shots on goal all match, but took their chances ruthlessly, scoring both of their shots on target. Pompey can be disappointed with the result, but the performance was good and, if they can improve their conversion rate in front of goal, could be dark horses for promotion in League One. St Albans though, will happily take their place in the next round of this competition.

(EFL1) Southend United 2-1 Luton Town (EFLC)
A bit of an upset at Roots Hall, as League One Southend scraped past Luton Town of the Championship. Luton deservedly took the lead on 18 minutes, after dominating the opening stages of the match. However that goal served to wake up the home side, and they started to pass the ball around, enjoying a sustained period of possession. It still wasn't being converted into many chances but, on 34 minutes, a big chance was finally created and scored, as they levelled it. The second half provided a very topsy-turvy match, both sides having moments of possession, but that elusive winning goal was still out of reach. Finally, with the home crowd roaring them on, Southend finally crafted a moment of magic, with a dinked ball from midfield finding a forward in space and, after rounding the keeper in style, scored the winning goal. Southend will look forward to the welcome distraction of the EFL Trophy whilst they struggle in League One. For Luton, it's back to league action for now.

(EFL1) Stoke City 1-3 Queens Park Rangers (EFL1)
An all-League One match saw QPR cruise through to Round Two. The result rarely looked in doubt, as they led 2-0 at half-time, scoring after 27 and 42 minutes. Stoke improved in the second half, but when QPR made it 3-0 after 65 minutes, the game was up. With nothing to lose, Stoke finally showed a bit more attacking purpose and got a hard-earned consolation goal on 88 minutes, but QPR were worthy of the win and can be considered a real threat in Round Two.

(EFLC) Sutton United 2-1 Chelsea (EFL1)
Championship side Sutton are through, following a difficult contest against League One high-flyers Chelsea. It was a great start for Chelsea, dominating the first half an hour, and taking the lead on 29 minutes. It stayed at 1-0 going into the second half but a different Sutton came out for the re-start and, after battering Chelsea's defence for approx 15 minutes, they finally got the equaliser that their play deserved on 60 minutes. Sutton, buoyed by that goal, sensed blood and continued to press Chelsea, harassing them into losing possession at every turn. It still took a while to take the lead, but on 76 minutes finally scored the winner, with a swinging cross met with a stunning volley, a fitting goal to win any match! With the lead finally earned, Sutton began to sit back a bit, happy to defend it, but Chelsea couldn't find an equaliser, and Sutton were through to the next round. Chelsea will be in the hunt for the play-offs, at least, in League Two but, for Sutton, they will feel they can go on a cup run and give their fans something to cheer.

(EFLC) Tamworth 2-0 Brentford (EFL1)
One Championship club who didn't slip up against lower-league opposition was Tamworth. Despite a spirited display from Brentford, Tamworth always seemed one step ahead and, when they took the lead after a period of pressure after 32 minutes, it was well deserved and seemed to deflate The Bees. Both sides had shots that tested the keepers in the second half, but Tamworth were more efficient in front of goal, and scored the clinching goal on 67 minutes. The game petered out after that, and Tamworth cruised through to Round Two.

(EFL2) Truro City 3-0 Dartford (EFLC)
A big shock on the cards here, as League Two Truro demolished Championship side Dartford, in a completely one-sided contest. Dartford had just 1 shot at goal in the 90 minutes, which was off-target. By contrast, Truro had 27 shots at goal, hitting the target an impressive 12 times, resulting in three goals on 14, 33 and 71 minutes. Truro have looked very strong this season in all competitions and will hope for success once the season has reached it's conclusion.

(EFL2) Walsall 1-3 Blackburn Rovers (EFL1)
There was no shock to be found at Banks's Stadium, as League One Blackburn made light work of League Two Walsall. Rovers were 2-0 after just eight minutes, scoring the first in the 3rd minute from a corner, the second an easy finish. Walsall at least made it 2-1 on 71 minutes after finally putting some pressure on Blackburn, but any hopes they had of a comeback were thwarted when they conceded a soft third goal on 74, as Blackburn finished the job off. Walsall will hope for more in the league but Blackburn have high hopes for their season.

(EFL1) West Ham United 1-2 Wycombe Wanderers (EFLC)
Wycombe look like the real deal in their debut season and, despite some hairy moments at The London Stadium, saw off League One West Ham to advance. Wanderers were in front after a goalmouth scramble on 19 minutes, but West Ham would restore parity on 38 minutes. The Hammers looked dangerous in the second half and were awarded a penalty in the 63rd minute, with no protests from the Wycombe players. However, the shot went sailing over the bar, and West Ham had missed their chance. That gave Wycombe all the impetus they needed to go and win the match and finally did just that, scoring the winner on 84 minutes. Wanderers may take some stopping in all competitions this season.

(EFL2) Weston-Super-Mare 0-2 Maidenhead United (EFLC)
A routine victory for Championship club Maidenhead, as Weston barely threatened. Weston didn't hit the target and only had 31.2% of the possession, as Maidenhead bossed proceedings. Goals on 9 and 22 minutes were enough and it should have been far more for the visitors. Weston-Super-Mare have a lot of work to do this season to avoid relegation from the EFL altogether.

(EFL2) Wigan Athletic 2-1 FC United of Manchester (EFLC)
Lastly, Wigan are the final side to book their place in the 2nd Round, with a hard-fought Lancastrian derby win over Championship side FC United. FC United, two divisions higher than their local rivals, should have won this match, especially after taking a very late lead in the 71st minute. However, an incredible, late turnaround saw Wigan advance at their expense, scoring on 81 and 93 minutes. Can Wigan go on a cup run?

The 1st Round of The EFL Trophy proved to be full of shocks, goals and controversy, as 32 teams get their first-ever EFL Trophy wins under their belts. Manchester United were the biggest casualties, losing 1-0 at fellow Championship promotion contenders, Fulham. Neighbours City are through though, only just getting past Aldershot. Lower-league clubs Coventry, Curzon Ashton and Truro City trouced Championship opposition, to prove that this competition won't be dominated by Championship clubs. Finally, Wigan Athletic and Maidstone United took the local bragging rights in derbies, against FC United of Manchester and Gillingham respectively. Following the final match of the evening, the draw was made for the 2nd Round:

Well, the 2nd Round draw has thrown up some intruiging contests. Firstly, the all-Championship tie between Exeter City and Manchester City at St. James' Park. Secondly, there is a plum-looking tie between two high-flyers, as League One QPR host League Two Bournemouth. There's another all-Championship tie as Tamworth and Morecambe do battle for a place in the last-16. Finally, can Truro pull off another big win against higher-division opposition, as they entertain Championship contenders Fulham, who notably took out Manchester United in the 1st Round. It promises to be another great round of EFL Trophy action when it returns!

Next time at The Alternate Reality Football League: Season 1 (2017), Chapter 20a; The Premier League, Round 18

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