• Published 28th Nov 2023
  • 1,069 Views, 69 Comments

All Day, Everyday. - Penanka72

Follow the journey of a little girl who takes her football to the next level!

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Chapter 4 - What the hell is VAR doing in this world!?!?!?!?

Chapter 4

As Amelia and Fluttershy arrived at the location, it became undeniable that they had indeed stumbled upon a football game. Amelia clutched her ticket tightly in her hand, a symbol of the excitement that awaited her. However, she couldn't help but notice that the venue wasn't quite what she expected. It wasn't a grand stadium with towering stands, but rather a modest football pitch enclosed by railings. The small, individual stands were gradually filling up with home fans. Despite its humble appearance, the sheer number of fans present made it evident that this was a professional club—the pride of Ponyville. The realisation only fuelled Amelia's anticipation and added to the thrill of being part of this unique football experience.

Above the excitement of the football pitch, the night sky stretched vast and majestic, a deep velvety blue punctuated by the glittering jewels of countless stars. The floodlights cast their beams upward, some of the light escaping into the night, where it mingled with the celestial glow. The moon, nearly full, hung prominently, bathing the scene in a soft, silvery luminescence that highlighted the gentle drift of a few wispy clouds. These clouds, thin and serene, seemed to glide peacefully across the sky, undisturbed by the energy below. The stark contrast between the vibrant, lively activity on the ground and the tranquil, timeless expanse above created a backdrop of sublime beauty, enhancing the magical feeling of the evening.

Amelia and Fluttershy settled into their seats on the middle row of the side stand, eagerly observing as the remaining seats filled up around them. Bursting with anticipation, Amelia couldn't contain her excitement any longer. She turned to Fluttershy, her voice filled with enthusiasm. "Fluttershy! Who's playing? Who is Ponyville going up against?" Her body practically vibrating with eagerness, she could hardly wait for the kickoff to witness the thrilling match unfold before her eyes.

"From what I heard, it's The Toffees versus The Reds from Canterlot. its a derby game.” Fluttershy explained, a hint of confusion in her voice as she glanced at her ticket. Amelia's excitement momentarily wavered as she processed the information. She had a brief moment of confusion before it clicked in her mind. The Toffees and The Reds, a classic rivalry. It all made sense now. A surge of anticipation flooded back into Amelia as she realised the intensity and significance of the match she was about to witness. The atmosphere around her seemed to buzz with anticipation, matching her own excitement.

“T-T-T-Toffees… Vs… The Reds!?!?!?!?!?!?” Amelia exclaimed, her voice filled with disbelief and excitement. No way! It's a derby match, just like the rivalry between Everton and Liverpool! She couldn't believe her luck. The intensity and passion of a local derby added an extra layer of excitement to the already thrilling football match she was about to witness. The echoes of the historic rivalry between the Toffees and The Reds in Ponyville only deepened her anticipation for the kickoff. Amelia couldn't wait to experience the electric atmosphere and the fierce competition that awaited her
"Wow, Ponyville's hoofball club is named the Toffees, and their rivals are The Reds.” Amelia remarked, absorbing the information. She nodded, understanding the significance of the upcoming match. "Its crucial game for the Toffees. They're fighting to climb out of the relegation zone. Going up against The Reds won't be easy, though." Fluttershy said, the information only added to the anticipation and intensity of the match. Amelia couldn't help but feel a surge of excitement mixed with a tinge of nervousness for the Toffees and their important battle ahead.

Amelia's eyes widened in shock as she processed the news of the Toffees potentially facing relegation. The realisation hit her hard, and she couldn't help but feel a surge of concern for the team. "Wait... relegation? Where are they in the league table?" she asked, her voice filled with worry. The thought of her beloved Toffees being in danger of moving down to a lower division weighed heavily on her mind. She anxiously awaited Fluttershy's response, hoping for some reassurance amidst the uncertainty.

"I'm not entirely sure, but it seems that the Toffees really need a victory today." Fluttershy responded uncertainly.

Suddenly, a wave of loud cheers reverberated throughout the stadium, drawing their attention to the pitch. The Toffees, adorned in their vibrant lime green jerseys, crisp white shorts, and matching lime green football socks, emerged from the tunnel. They jogged onto the field with a sense of purpose, their heads down in deep concentration.

However, the euphoria of the cheers quickly transformed into a chorus of boos and whistles as the opposing team made their entrance. These players, dressed entirely in red, were met with a barrage of disapproval from the home fans. Undeterred, the away supporters responded with their own fervent chants, creating a spirited and electric atmosphere within the stadium. The stage was set for an intense clash between the Toffees and The Reds, sparking a palpable sense of anticipation among the spectators.

Amelia observed intently as the players from both teams engaged in their warm-up routines, hoping to catch a glimpse of their skills and teamwork. The Toffees started with passing drills, attempting to establish a fluid connection on the pitch. However, Amelia couldn't help but notice the lack of chemistry among the players. Their passes appeared sloppy, lacking the crispness and accuracy expected at this level of play. The team's movement seemed sluggish, lacking the sharpness and precision required to outmanoeuvre their opponents.

The sight was difficult for Amelia to watch. She couldn't help but feel a pang of worry for the Toffees. It seemed that they had a long way to go in terms of developing their teamwork and honing their skills. The match ahead would undoubtedly be a challenging one, and Amelia hoped that the team could find their footing and rise to the occasion.

Are these the players I’m supposed to support?

Amidst the concerns surrounding the team's overall performance, Amelia's attention was captivated by a few standout individuals. One of them was a young pegasus who sat on the bench, her head lowered and her chin resting on intertwined fingers. Despite not being on the field, there was a determined look in her purple eyes, signalling her readiness to contribute whenever called upon. Amelia sensed a strong sense of focus emanating from her, as if she was prepared to give her all for the team's success.

Another player who caught Amelia's eye was a white-furred unicorn with a wild, two-toned blue mane. She sported a pair of headphones, nodding along to the beat as she skilfully manipulated the ball with her feet. Amelia couldn't help but admire the fluidity and precision of her footwork. Her relaxed demeanour, complemented by her red ruby eyes, added a touch of calmness to her presence. It was evident that she possessed a natural talent and a sense of flair on the field.

The final player who stood out to Amelia was a tall, red stallion donning the captain's armband. His posture exuded strength and determination, projecting the image of a true leader. He moved from player to player, commanding attention and instilling a sense of confidence within the team. Amelia was particularly impressed by his passing abilities. Whether it was long passes, quick one-touch passes, or intricate manoeuvres, the Captain of the Toffees displayed exceptional skill and precision. His versatility and mastery of the game suggested that he could excel in positions such as a central defender or a holding midfielder.

Amelia couldn't help but feel a glimmer of hope as she recognised these individuals who possessed unique qualities and talents. Perhaps they would be the key to unlocking the team's potential and turning the tide against formidable opponents like The Reds.

Amelia's keen eyes caught a glimpse of an intriguing interaction taking place at the bottom of the stands right in front of her. Two mares, one a purple unicorn with… wings? And the other an orange earth pony, seemed engaged in a conversation. The earth pony sported a stetson hat, concealing her blond mane, while three white freckled dots adorned each of her cheeks. Her calm and steady green eyes exuded a sense of groundedness. The cowgirl vibes emanating from her attire only added to her distinctive character.

On the other hand, the purple unicorn exuded an air of elegance and sophistication. She was dressed impeccably in a black suit, complemented by a white shirt with the top buttons casually undone. Her black pants and high heels added to her polished appearance. Perched on her nose were black-rimmed glasses, further enhancing her intelligent and composed demeanour. The sight of her discreet chuckle, hidden behind a slight fist, hinted at her playful nature.

Amelia couldn't help but wonder if these two mares were the managers of the respective teams. The purple unicorn's refined appearance and subtle laughter suggested a level of sophistication that aligned with a managerial role. Meanwhile, the earth pony's cowgirl attire and composed demeanour hinted at her potential as a team leader. However, without further information or context, Amelia couldn't determine which manager was associated with which team. She eagerly anticipated learning more about these intriguing figures and the impact they would have on the match unfolding before her.

Amelia's attention swiftly shifted as unexpected commentary reverberated throughout the area, capturing the attention of the spectators. To her surprise, a colossal magical screen materialised above the pitch out of thin air. Two ponies, dressed in sleek black suits and sporting headphones, turned their gaze towards the screen, ready to deliver their commentary.

The pony on the left side of the screen spoke with enthusiasm, his voice projecting a sense of excitement. "Welcome, ladies and gentlestallions, to the Equestrian League, the finest league in the land!" His words echoed through the stadium, setting the stage for the thrilling match that was about to unfold. The mention of the Equestrian League invoked a sense of prestige and significance, further fuelling the anticipation among the spectators.

Amelia couldn't help but feel a surge of excitement as she realised the magnitude of the event she was about to witness. The presence of the commentators and the grandeur of the magical screen added an extra layer of spectacle to the already captivating atmosphere. She eagerly prepared herself for the action that was about to unfold, ready to immerse herself in the world of Equestrian League football.

The epic declaration from the pony on the right ignited a wave of cheers from the impassioned fans, who had eagerly awaited this long-anticipated match. He declared, with a dramatic flair, "And today, we present to you one of the most intense fixtures of the season! A rivalry so sweet and bitter that it's a referee's nightmare to manage! I bring to you — The Royal Reds vs The Mighty Toffees!!!" The crowd erupted with excitement, their energy palpable in the air.

Amelia was swept up in the atmosphere, her anticipation reaching new heights. The mention of the Royal Reds and the Mighty Toffees, coupled with the commentator's electrifying delivery, further fuelled her excitement. She was well aware that the Reds were considered the clear favourites, but she couldn't help but wonder if the Toffees had a surprise in store, a hidden strategy to combat their formidable adversaries.

The commentator turned to his colleague, addressing him as Lynx, seeking his prediction for the match. Amelia leaned in, eager to hear what insights Lynx would offer. The Reds' dominance was widely acknowledged, but perhaps Lynx had some unique perspective to share, shedding light on the Toffees' potential to challenge and surprise their dangerous opponents. The tension and anticipation mounted as the stage was set for an enthralling clash between these two rival teams.

Lynx, brimming with excitement, responded to Neo's inquiry with careful consideration. "It's a difficult one to predict, Neo! The Reds are known for their skilful play and technical prowess. Their mentality is always geared towards securing a victory. However, Everton, the Toffees, possess a certain aggressiveness and tenacity. They are unafraid to take risks, especially when high rewards are at stake. This means we can expect more tackles and a fair share of cards in this match."

Lynx's words conveyed his belief that the Toffees would make it a scrappy affair, not giving the Reds any opportunity to dictate the pace of the game with their preferred style of play. The anticipation in his voice was evident, although he maintained a professional demeanour, trying to conceal his underlying smile.

Amelia couldn't help but feel a surge of excitement upon hearing Lynx's analysis. The prospect of a fierce battle between the Toffees' grit and the Reds' finesse added an extra layer of intrigue to the match. She eagerly awaited the kickoff, ready to witness the clash of contrasting styles and see if the Toffees could disrupt the Reds' rhythm and secure a surprising result.

"I couldn't agree more, Neo." Lynx concurred, acknowledging the Toffees' home advantage as a potential motivating factor. However, he cautioned against underestimating the Reds' ability to adapt to any situation. If the Toffees were to play hardball, the Reds had the capability to match their intensity and even raise the stakes.

Amelia nodded in agreement, recognising the importance of both teams' adaptability and resilience in determining the outcome of the match. The contrasting dynamics between the Toffees' struggling form this season and the Reds' status as title contenders heightened the intrigue surrounding this fixture.

As Neo shifted his attention downward, he revealed a piece of paper, signalling the upcoming presentation of statistics. Amelia leaned in, eager to absorb the valuable insights that would shed light on the teams' previous performances and potentially offer clues about their strategies for this highly anticipated match. The air was filled with anticipation as the stage was set for the unveiling of these crucial statistics.

As Neo presented the staggering statistics, Amelia's heart sank. The numbers painted a bleak picture for the Toffees and their fans. Since the start of October, only The Gunners had accrued more Equestrian League points than the Canterlot Reds, amassing an impressive 18 points. The Reds had emerged victorious in six out of their eight matches during that period, showcasing their dominance on the field.

Adding to the Toffees' woes, Neo revealed that they had never emerged victorious in any of their previous ten encounters against the Reds in all competitions. With a record of nine wins and one draw in their favour, the Reds held a complete stronghold over their rivals. The Toffees had only managed to secure four points out of a possible 33 in their past eleven meetings, with just a solitary win, one draw, and nine defeats.

The weight of these statistics was palpable, and the Toffee fans couldn't contain their disappointment, expressing their dissatisfaction with boos echoing through the stadium. Amelia cringed, knowing that the odds were stacked against her beloved team. It was undeniably clear that the Toffees were entering this match as the underdogs, facing an uphill battle to overcome the Reds' historical dominance.

Amelia's confidence wavered, but she held onto a glimmer of hope, recognising that statistics didn't always determine the outcome of a single match. She hoped that the Toffees would rise above the odds and defy expectations, ready to witness a potential upset and a thrilling display of determination on the pitch.

Lynx's words brought a renewed sense of hope to Amelia and the Toffee fans. He presented a different perspective, highlighting the Toffees' impressive performances against top-four teams this season. In the past, the Toffees had struggled against such opponents, managing only three wins in their previous 33 encounters, with 26 losses and four draws. However, this season had seen a shift in their fortunes, with three victories in their last six matches against top-four sides, including notable wins against the Red Devils, the Lilywhites, and the Crows.

Furthermore, Lynx emphasised the Toffees' recent resurgence. After a slow start to the season, where they had accumulated just three points from their first nine league games, the team had experienced a turnaround in form. They had garnered 13 points from their last six matches, with four wins, one draw, and one loss. This positive trend indicated that the Toffees' initial struggles might have been temporary, and they were now displaying the resilience and determination to compete at a higher level.

Amelia felt the energy in the stadium shift as the Toffee fans erupted into cheers, their chants echoing throughout the stands. The newfound belief in their team's ability to fight against the odds was palpable. The injury concerns for the Reds only added to the Toffees' optimism, presenting an opportunity for a potentially promising result.

Immersed in the swirling emotions of the crowd, Amelia found herself voicing her observations aloud, her words carrying an undertone of admiration and resilience. "At least the fans haven't lost their fighting spirit." she mused, her voice barely rising above the energetic buzz of the crowd. The statement was more of a personal reflection, a salute to the unwavering commitment of the Toffees' supporters, despite the daunting statistics and odds stacked against their team.

In the midst of the sea of die-hard supporters, Amelia felt a sense of companionship. It was a bond forged out of shared love for the team, a camaraderie that thrived amidst the highs and lows of the game. Just like the rest of the crowd, she held onto hope, ready to cheer her team until the very end.

With the anticipation building, Neo announced the lineup for the visitors in an animated tone. "Let's delve into the details of the lineup for the visiting team, shall we? Opting for a 4-3-3 formation, Beck is the obvious choice for the goalkeeper position, undeniably one of Equestria's finest!" His tone carried a sense of affirmation, reflecting the widely held respect for Beck's abilities.

Neo continued to outline the team's defensive lineup, "In defence, we have Trenton at right back, the duo of Vandrick and Gnomez as centre-backs, and Braveheart securing the left-back position. A formidable defensive wall indeed, but also a force to be reckoned with in the attack!"

Moving on to the midfield setup, Neo added, "In the heart of the pitch, Macca Night takes up the pivotal number 6 role, flanked by Szobosky on the right and Gravelberch on the left. A noticeable change here, with Gravelberch stepping up to make his first start, filling in for Maestro who sustained a knock in the last match."

Relief coloured Neo's voice as he added, "Fortunately, Maestro's injury seems to be minor as he's on the bench, providing an experienced substitute option if needed."

The forward lineup brought an element of surprise, with Neo's voice rising in excitement. "In the front three, we have a fresh face from Canterlot's academy making a surprise start! Young Redsica Miles will be joining Lucho Luck on the left wing and Pharaoh on the right. A fascinating choice indeed!"

Neo turned to Lynx, seeking his opinion on the lineup. Amelia leaned in, intrigued by the unexpected change in the front three and eager to hear Lynx's analysis. The stage was set for an exciting match, the anticipation heightened by the surprise inclusion of the young Redsica Miles.

Lynx responded with a confident nod, his seasoned eyes scanning the lineup. "Indeed, Neo. This is a strong team, undoubtedly formidable to face off against. The inclusion of Redsica is an unexpected move, but I have full faith in the strategic acumen of Twilight Sparkle." he asserted, his tone carrying a note of respect for the team's manager.

Having witnessed Twilight Sparkle's tactical brilliance on numerous occasions, Lynx was well aware of her ability to balance risks and rewards effectively. He continued, "Twilight Sparkle has a knack for making bold decisions that often yield fruitful results. The decision to field Redsica could very well be one of those masterstrokes."

His gaze turned thoughtful as he added, "It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out in the upcoming match."

Neo's voice carried a tone of excitement as he started detailing the home team's lineup. "Here's what the home crowd has been eagerly waiting for! The Toffees, also lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, have chosen Caramel as their goalkeeper. He's proven himself to be a reliable last line of defence." he began, acknowledging the goalkeeper's track record.

"For the back-four, we have Noteworthy at right back, with Lyra and Bon Bon forming the centre-back pair, and Comet Tail completing the defence at left back." Neo continued, outlining the team's defensive line-up.

Moving on to the midfield, Neo elaborated, "We see the dynamic Minuette, the serene and tactically astute captain, Big Mac, and the energetic Thunderlane. This is a midfield that can dominate with their aggressive pressing game!"

As for the attacking trio, Neo's voice held a note of anticipation. "On the wings, we have the elegant Octavia on the left and her equally talented counterpart, Vinyl, on the right. And finally, leading the charge down the centre is the tenacious Derpy! While they might not boast the League's strongest attack, they have a knack for finding a way to score." he concluded.

With each name announced, the crowd roared louder, fuelling the growing anticipation in the stadium. The Toffees' lineup reflected a balance of skill, strategy, and determination. The home crowd, including Amelia, eagerly anticipated the kick-off, ready to cheer on their team with unwavering enthusiasm. The stage was set for a thrilling clash, and the excitement in the stadium was palpable.

Lynx chimed in, adding depth to the discussion about the lineup. "Let's not overlook the Toffees' bench. Despite a few injury setbacks and a somewhat thin squad, they've turned to their academy to bolster their options. One standout youngster is Scootaloo, known for her lethal finishing in front of the goal." he extolled, his voice ringing with admiration.

"Scootaloo has had a few impressive seasons with the U19s and U21s, making her mark as a promising talent. Her stellar performances have earned her a place on the bench alongside the senior players. That's a remarkable achievement, especially considering she's merely 16 years old. This demonstrates not only her potential but also the faith the coaching staff has in her." Lynx elaborated, his tone reflecting his appreciation for the young pegasus' talent.

Amelia listened attentively, intrigued by the young player's accomplishments. The inclusion of academy players provided a glimpse into the future of the team, adding an element of excitement to the upcoming match. She couldn't wait to see how these promising young players would perform on the big stage, hoping they would seize their opportunity to shine.

Neo chimed in, echoing Lynx's praise of the promising young player. "Indeed, Lynx! It's a remarkable achievement for such a young player. I can't help but hope we'll get to see Scootaloo step onto the pitch today and make a significant impact." he expressed, his voice tinged with anticipation.

He continued, his tone full of admiration, "Imagine the thrill of making a debut at such a crucial match. It would indeed be a legendary start for the young pegasus with the distinct purple mane."

Neo's endorsement of Scootaloo added to the growing excitement. Amelia, along with the rest of the crowd, felt a surge of anticipation. The prospect of witnessing a potential star in the making added an extra layer of intrigue to the upcoming match. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric as the fans eagerly awaited the kick-off, ready to cheer on their team and the promising young talent on the bench.

With an air of anticipation lingering in his voice, Neo addressed the eager listeners. "And with that, ladies and gentlestallions, the wait is almost over. We are just moments away from the start of the match. So, sit back, get comfortable and prepare to witness what promises to be an extraordinary display of hoofball!" His words echoed through the stadium, amplifying the electric atmosphere. The excitement was palpable as the crowd, including Amelia, braced themselves for the thrilling spectacle about to unfold on the pitch.

Despite Amelia's uncertainty about The Toffees' chances against The Reds, she found herself intrigued by the intricacies of the game. She wondered about the team's playing style, the strategies they adopted, and the specific roles each player was assigned. Would they stick to traditional tactics or embrace more modern approaches?

Amelia realised that her knowledge of hoofball, as they called it here - a term she found more appealing than 'soccer' - was rather limited. She found herself pondering over the rules of the game. Were the players allowed to use magic or fly during the match? Could there be more than eleven players on the field at any given time? The thought intrigued her.

While she didn't have all the answers yet, Amelia looked forward to learning more about this fascinating sport. With the match about to begin, she was all set to observe and understand the nuances of hoofball. Regardless of the outcome, she was sure it would be an interesting experience.

Following half an hour of observing the players' warm-up routines, the shrill sound of the referee's whistle echoed throughout the stadium. The sharp note brought the players' activities to an abrupt halt. One by one, they turned and made their way towards their respective coaches.

The teams gathered in tight huddles, their heads bowed and their attention focused on their managers' last-minute instructions. The anticipation in the stadium grew palpable as the crowd watched the players listen intently, absorbing the final strategic advice before the match commenced.

Amelia watched the scene unfold with interest, curious about the tactical discussions taking place within those huddles. She knew that the strategies outlined in these final moments could significantly influence the game's outcome. As the anticipation built, the imminent kick-off promised an exciting foray into the world of hoofball.

While Amelia may have harboured doubts about the outcome, it did nothing to dampen her excitement. Her affection for the sport ran deep, extending beyond mere club loyalties. The impending kick-off had her on the edge of her seat; she could hardly wait. She was eager for the thrill of a goal, the crowd's deafening roar, the heart-stopping moments of a fierce tackle.

As the excitement surged within her, Amelia could feel her pulse quicken, her adrenaline levels rise. Her grin widened with each passing moment, a reflection of her mounting anticipation. What was this feeling coursing through her? Was it excitement or nervousness? A sense of dread or unbridled enthusiasm? Perhaps it was a mixture of all these emotions. Regardless, it ignited a fierce, emerald fire within her.

Suddenly, merely spectating didn't seem enough. She yearned to be out there on the pitch, to be a part of the action, to feel the ball at her hooves. The desire to play was overwhelming. Amelia's heart echoed with the sentiment: she wasn't just a supporter, she was a player at heart.

Screw sitting here, I wanna play!

Fluttershy couldn't help but notice the intense passion in Amelia's eyes. They held a hunger akin to a timber wolf deprived of food for ten days. Amelia was leaning forward, her body quivering with barely contained excitement. Her smile was so wide, it could rival that of a certain pink pony.

The blue pegasus seemed lost in thought, her index finger pressed against her lips, her thumb resting under her chin. Her eyes darted around the pitch, taking in every detail with an intense focus. Fluttershy knew that Amelia had some connection with hoofball, but she never expected it to be this profound.

The transformation was surprising. The usually energetic filly had turned into this... this... well, Fluttershy wasn't quite sure what to call it. She had never seen anypony so consumed by a sport before. The intensity of Amelia's passion was slightly concerning for Fluttershy. She could only hope that Amelia's love for the sport would bring her joy, not trouble.

Fluttershy's contemplation was cut short as the players suddenly broke from their huddles and began dispersing across the field. They took their positions, their faces reflecting a blend of determination and focus.

The stadium buzzed with anticipation, the crowd's energy palpable. Amelia's eyes sparkled with excitement, her gaze fixed on the pitch. Fluttershy, although not as invested in the sport, shared in the anticipation.

The long-awaited moment had finally arrived. The match was about to begin!

20:00 PM — KICKOFF!

Within the opening minutes of the match, Amelia could already discern the clear difference in skill levels between the two teams. The Reds came out of the gates with a blistering intensity, instantly putting pressure on the Toffees.

In contrast, the Toffees appeared somewhat disorganised in their defensive efforts, struggling to intercept or successfully tackle. The Reds maintained possession, skilfully navigating the field for the initial few minutes.

Then, as Amelia had anticipated, the inevitable occurred...

5’ REDSICA!!! 1-0 The Reds FC! The stadium was silenced as the Reds FC scored the first goal! Redsica had given the visitors an early lead, leaving Ponyville and its supporters stunned. The Toffees' attempt to play out from the back had proven to be a sloppy move.

Macca had intercepted the ball brilliantly, showcasing a swift turn of pace to break away from Big Mac. The midfielder then sent a threatening cross into the six-yard box. That's where Redsica appeared, steering the ball past Caramel to score on her Equestrian League debut!

The Toffees had left themselves vulnerable, and the Reds had seized the opportunity. It was the perfect start for the visitors, leaving the home team and its supporters reeling from the early setback. Amelia watched, her heart sinking slightly but her fascination for the game unabated.
Amelia’s hands were on her head, seeing the terrible start to the match. "Bloody 'ell! We've started off dead slow and we've been proper punished for it!” Amelia said, mimicking all the other home fans' factual features. The Toffees need to wake up. Now!

10’ CHANCE! The Reds missed a golden opportunity to extend their lead when a perfectly timed through ball from Macca found Lucho in a promising position. However, he was forced wide and his subsequent shot was lackluster. Caramel made an easy save, preventing further damage.

The visitors would have to capitalise on such opportunities if they hoped to secure a win here.

Amelia couldn't help but admire Macca's skill. The short, earth pony Defence Midfielder had a knack for delivering precise passes, as he had just demonstrated. The Toffees had narrowly escaped conceding another goal, and it was only ten minutes into the match.

The intensity of the game spurred Amelia's excitement further. She decided to hold Pooch, her faithful companion, for comfort as she prepared herself to endure the nerve-wracking moments sure to follow in the rest of the match.

24’ OFFSIDE, NO GOAL! The visitors continued to keep the pressure on, patiently building up a play that resulted in Braveheart crossing the ball to Redsica. Her close-range header was expertly blocked by Caramel. Pharaoh attempted to nod the rebound into an empty net, but the offside flag was raised. Redsica had strayed beyond the last defender before meeting Braveheart's pass.

The Reds were proving to be a formidable force, maintaining the majority of possession and consistently threatening the Toffees' goal. The home team desperately needed a wake-up call if they were to turn things around.

Amelia exhaled deeply at the relentless pressure from the Reds. Their coordinated play, with each pass matched by a run behind the defensive line, was impressive. The team was showcasing their athleticism, skill, experience, and passion. All the key ingredients needed to be a world-class team were on full display.

While Amelia hated to admit it, she knew that unless the Toffees stepped up their game, defeat was inevitable. Her heart pounded with a mix of trepidation and excitement as the match continued to unfold.

26’ YELLOW CARD! Pharaoh, the Reds' Right Winger, was issued a yellow card for delaying a Toffee corner kick, a clear instance of time-wasting.

However, Amelia could see through the ploy. It was a tactical move, designed to agitate the Toffees, and it seemed to be working. She could see the Toffee players bristle, their teeth gritting in response to the overt disrespect. It was a dirty tactic, but the Reds were clearly aiming to undermine the Toffees psychologically.

She watched with a mix of intrigue and disapproval. This was one side of the sport she didn't care for - the manipulation and mind games. But she understood that it was part of the strategy, and it only made her more determined to see how the Toffees would respond.

30’ YELLOW CARD! Following a tackle by Szobosky that brought Comet Tail to the ground, the Toffee player seemed to overreact in his protest about the challenge. His overzealous response earned him a yellow card.

Amelia noted the Toffees' growing frustration. To lose their cool over a tactical foul during a counterattack was counterproductive. The players seemed to be letting their emotions get the better of them. Despite efforts from the captain and coach to calm them, the intensity of the rivalry was clearly getting to them.

The game was heating up, the tension palpable. Amelia couldn't help but feel a pang of concern for the Toffees, hoping they'd regain their composure and get back into the game.

39’ OFF THE POST! The Toffees breathed a sigh of relief as the woodwork denied Redsica a goal-scoring opportunity. The young forward managed to get a shot off from a tight angle, beating Caramel, but the ball ricocheted off the left upright. The Reds were so close to taking a 2-0 lead in the match. The Toffees were forced to defend with all their might, desperately trying to hang on and wait for the right moment to turn the game in their favour.

As the first half progressed, the Reds continued to dominate the game. The Toffees had little to show for their efforts, primarily focusing on defensive play. Amelia felt frustrated by the team's lack of offensive prowess, noting the absence of creativity and speed on the wings. The lack of scoring opportunities was disheartening, and she hoped to see a change in the team's approach in the second half.

45’ HALFTIME! At halftime, The Reds lead The Toffees by a single goal. The visitors secured their lead just five minutes into the match at Ponyville. Macca intercepted Minuettes' loose clearance and delivered a dangerous cross that Redsica converted into a goal. Redsica also struck the post later in the half, coming close to extending their advantage.

It was a positive first half for The Reds, showcasing their dominance with more possession and quick passes that troubled The Toffees' defence. The home fans were on edge as they witnessed the intense battle between attack and defence unfold on the pitch. The Reds were clearly in control, but could The Toffees hold their ground? Would they be able to capitalise on counterattacks against the favoured league champions, The Reds, and turn the tide in their favour in the second half?

As the players regrouped during halftime, hydrating with water and receiving instructions from their animated coaches, one of whom sported a frantic look under her stetson hat while the other, a composed unicorn, offered guidance. The Toffees appeared fatigued, gasping for air and drenched in sweat.

Amelia acknowledged the team's defensive efforts, commending their determination to block passes and make crucial tackles near the 18-yard box. However, she couldn't ignore their struggles in transitioning the ball to their forwards. The midfielders faced relentless pressure from The Reds, leaving them little time to make decisions or control the game. The Toffees seemed overwhelmed by the opposition's intensity, struggling to find their rhythm.

Watching the team's challenges unfold was tough for Amelia. She held onto hope that the second half would bring about a much-needed change in their performance.

Amelia carefully analysed The Reds' gameplay, scrutinising each player's movements. She couldn't shake off her concern that these players had been holding back in the first half. Players like Lucho, Pharaoh, and Redsica displayed remarkable speed and unpredictability, posing a constant threat in their respective positions on the field. Their quick footwork and dribbling skills made them a nightmare for defenders, requiring utmost caution to contain.

Amelia observed that the front three players not only excelled in attacking but also displayed strong defensive work ethic. When they or a teammate lost possession, they immediately tracked back and applied pressure, disrupting The Toffees' passing lanes and counterattacking opportunities. This relentless pressing from The Reds made it challenging for The Toffees to find openings and regain control of the game.

In analysing The Reds' team dynamics, Amelia focused on the midfield trio of Gavelberch, Szobosky, and Macca. These players formed the backbone of the team, excelling in creating passes, interceptions, tackles, and scoring opportunities. Their versatility allowed them to contribute effectively to defence, pressing, and attack, showcasing their indispensable role in the team's strategy.

While Amelia hadn't closely observed the defenders' performance, she recognised their readiness to thwart any Toffee attacks. Vandrink, The Red's captain, played a pivotal role in motivating and keeping the defenders alert for decisive moments. The full-backs, Trenton and Braveheart, displayed an interesting dynamic by operating almost like wing-backs in attacking scenarios, while also pressing the opposition wingers when out of possession. This dual role posed both offensive advantages and defensive risks, but their strategy seemed effective, especially given The Toffee's struggle to advance beyond their own half.

As for the goalkeeper, although he had a quiet first half, commentators praised him as one of the top goalkeepers in Equestria. While Amelia hadn't witnessed his skills firsthand, she respected the commentators' insights and trusted their judgment on his capabilities.

Amelia leaned back against the cool metal of the stadium bleachers, her gaze distant and troubled as she contemplated the match unfolding before her. The setting moon cast long shadows across the field, highlighting the intensity of the players as they moved.

Amelia's analysis hung in the air, mingled with the cheers and groans of the crowd around them, a testament to the challenge of deciphering a way to outplay such a well-oiled machine.

Amelia knew all to well about underdog comebacks in football but, with such a dominant first half from the Reds, Amelia didn’t know if that was possible now. She could only hope and was wrong.

21:00 – Start of the second half! No changes into the second half!

51’ SUBSTITUTION! Amelia watched intently as the substitution board lit up, announcing the Toffees' tactical switch. She arched an eyebrow skeptically when Derpy, who had only registered 35 touches—the lowest among the outfield players—made way for the much-talked-about Scootaloo. At just 16, the young wonderfilly was stepping onto the pitch with the weight of expectations on her shoulders.

Initially, Amelia felt a twinge of doubt about the substitution. "They’re off their heads." she muttered under her breath. "Swapping one striker for another isn’t what they need right now. They should be bringing on someone who can boss the centre of the pitch, get a hold of the game, y’know?"

But as the game progressed, Amelia’s skepticism began to wane. It became clear that Scootaloo was not just any striker; she was playing as a false-9. Her role was more nuanced—dropping back, pressing aggressively when The Reds had possession, sneaking up from behind to snatch the ball away on occasions. Her movements were disruptive, pulling midfielders and defenders out of position and cleverly feeding through balls to the wingers.

Amelia’s expression shifted from doubt to admiration. "Ah, now I see what they’re doing here." she exclaimed, her voice carrying a mix of surprise and approval. "This lass isn’t just here to score; she’s here to stir things up, create chaos among The Reds' lines. If they aren’t careful, this change could very well lead to a goal."

The substitution, initially puzzling, was proving to be a shrewd move, showing that sometimes the most impactful players on the pitch were those who could redefine their roles dynamically, keeping the opponents guessing and on edge.

58’ SUBSTITUTION! As The Reds responded with a substitution of their own, Amelia scrutinised the new player jogging onto the pitch. Szoboszlai, who had been covering a lot of ground in midfield, was replaced by Dyson Bald, a figure whose physical presence was as notable as his name. Positioned in the middle of the park, Dyson's role as a defensive midfielder was clear from his build alone—a towering unicorn who seemed built to dominate physically.

Amelia watched Dyson's first few interactions closely, noting how he positioned himself strategically in response to Scootaloo's movements. "He’s probably been brought on to shadow Scootaloo, win back the ball when she tries one of her little tricks." Amelia commented to Fluttershy, who nodded in understanding.

Despite Dyson's imposing presence, Amelia remained skeptical. "Smart move, but Scootaloo is on fire today. Can he really stop her?" she mused, more to herself than to Fluttershy. "I don’t think so." Her tone was confident, almost defiant, as she observed Scootaloo continue to dart around, her youthful energy and unpredictable movements proving a challenge even for someone as prepared as Dyson.

The tactical chess match unfolding on the field was a testament to the depth and strategy of the game, and Amelia's insights brought a deeper appreciation for the nuances each player and substitution brought to the match.

60’ YELLOW CARD! As the match intensity escalated, Scootaloo found herself in a promising breakaway, her legs pumping furiously towards the goal. Just as she prepared to manoeuvre past the last line of defence, Gnomez stepped in, his intentions clear and his actions deliberate, pulling her down in a tactical foul to stop the counterattack.

The crowd erupted in boos as Scootaloo hit the turf, her frustration palpable. In a moment of youthful indiscretion, she sprang to her feet and waved an imaginary yellow card in the direction of the referee, signalling her belief that Gnomez deserved a booking for his actions.

However, the referee, unamused by her antics, reached into his pocket and brandished a real yellow card—directed at Scootaloo herself. The stadium filled with a mix of reactions, some fans jeering the decision, others shaking their heads at the young striker's rashness.

Amelia shook her head, her expression a mixture of annoyance and understanding. "It’s silly to be asking for cards like that, especially as a young'un on the pitch. But it was understandable." she admitted. "Gnomez clearly took her down on purpose to stop that counter. He should’ve seen yellow too, to be fair."

The incident served as a harsh lesson for Scootaloo, a reminder of the discipline required at this level of play. Amelia sympathised with the teenager’s plight but knew that part of her growth as a player would involve navigating these frustrating moments with maturity.

67’ SIDE-NETTING! As the game wore on, the Toffees began to show glimpses of their potential. A surge down the right flank saw Noteworthy, the full-back, pushing far up into an attacking position. With the defence stretched and scrambling, he managed to carve out a sliver of space for himself, just enough to unleash a shot from a tight angle.

The crowd leaned forward in anticipation, but disappointment washed over the stands as the ball whistled past the wrong side of the post. It was a solid attempt, but as Amelia watched, she couldn't help but critique the choice.

"He had a good go, but there was more he could've done there." Amelia remarked, her tone a blend of encouragement and frustration. "With Scootaloo and Octavia both in prime positions inside the box, a cross might've been the smarter play. Either of them could’ve got a touch and turned it into something special."

Despite the missed opportunity, the shot marked the first significant attempt on goal for the Toffees. Amelia appreciated the effort but knew that to truly capitalise on their moments, the team needed to make smarter decisions in the final third.

"It’s the first proper shot we’ve had at least." she conceded, folding her arms as she leaned back. "But in spots like that, you've got to either make the keeper work or put it where your teammates can have a go. Just blasting it isn't enough." Her eyes followed Noteworthy as he jogged back into position, hopeful for more and better chances as the match progressed.

68’ DYSON!!! 2-0 THE REDS! The air around Amelia thickened with tension as the Reds executed a flawless counterattack. Redsica led the charge, swiftly transitioning the ball to Pharaoh, who arched a deep cross towards the far post. There, Dyson, the substitution made earlier to shore up defence, showcased his value in offence by heading the ball past a helpless Caramel. The Reds' fans erupted in celebration, their cheers a stark contrast to the groans from the Toffee supporters.

"FUCK!" Amelia couldn't contain her frustration as she stood abruptly, her shout echoing around her. The sudden outburst mirrored the sentiments of many around her, but it starkly contrasted with the usually jovial atmosphere she maintained.

"Language!" Fluttershy's voice cut through the tumult, her admonition tinged with surprise and a hint of disappointment. It wasn't often she heard such language from Amelia, typically reserved for the more rowdy or inebriated fans.

Amelia turned sharply towards Fluttershy, her face flushing with embarrassment. "S-sorry... I didn't mean to say that, y'know." she stammered, rubbing the back of her head while her ears flattened in regret.

Fluttershy huffed, her initial shock slowly replaced by a sympathetic understanding. She too felt a pang of frustration at the Reds' second goal. The Toffees had been gaining momentum, looking likely to score, only for the visitors to extend their lead, dashing hopes of a comeback. The jeers of the Reds' fans only added salt to the wound, stirring a mix of frustration and envy within her.

“It’s okay, Amelia… Just don’t let me catch you using any curse words again.” Fluttershy said, her gentle tone carrying an uncharacteristic firmness. Silence fell between them, an awkward reminder of the tension that sometimes surfaced in moments of high emotion.

Both sat back down, the sting of the goal and their brief exchange lingering in the air. Despite the setback, they shared a mutual hope, a silent wish that the Toffees would find a way to rally and give their fans something to cheer about before the final whistle.

70’ PENALTY FOR THE TOFFEES!? Is it a penalty? Dyson is caught out in possession by Scootaloo as she collects a Braveheart’s pass, and the Toffee’s striker feeds the winger (Vinyl) in the box. Vinyl looks to beat Vandrick with her quick feet but is brought down by The Red’s defender, and the referee has no hesitation in pointing straight to the spot! The referee's also reaching for a card, but the MVAR officials are asking him to double-check this...

Amelia was ecstatic about the rewarded penalty, Scootaloo did so well to win the ball back in the final 3rd, shocking the defence momentarily. All The Toffee fans cheered in celebration of the chance to score a clear goal from the spot. However, the celebration stopped when an announcement came from the speakers that the MVAR were looking into the incident between Dyson and Scootaloo where Dyson fell from a Scootaloo tackle.

M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-M-m-M-M-MVAR!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? What the hell is VAR doing in this world!?!?!?!? Even in this world, Amelia couldn’t escape VAR’s torment, and what the hell does the ‘M’ stand for? Magical Video Assistant Referee? Amelia could only hope this decision won’t be over turned. However, as a virtual, magical screen appear above the pitch, a close up of the tackle Scootaloo made was seen for all to see. The Toffee fans were protesting in disbelief, shouting some abusive words towards the referee that was being ambushed by the Toffee players while the referee had his finger in his ear, trying to listen to pony talking in his ear while trying to calm the crowd down. Amelia saw Scootaloo, Vinyl, Minuette and Big Mac surrounding the referee, trying to speak to him.

After a few, seconds of Scootaloo tackling Dyson from behind on a repeat, the final choice was made as it looked like Scootaloo brought down Dyson with enough force for it to be a foul.

73’ NO PENALTY!!! As the stadium erupted in dismay over the reversed penalty decision, Amelia felt her own frustration boiling up. The shouts of corruption and anger from other fans filled the air, echoing the collective sentiment that The Reds had escaped a crucial call against them. Under normal circumstances, Amelia might have joined in, casting blame on the officials for denying the Toffees a golden opportunity. However, this time, her perspective was tempered by what she had seen on the replay.

Watching the tackle up close on the magical display, it was clear to Amelia that Scootaloo's challenge was more aggressive than strategic. She saw that Scootaloo hadn’t managed to touch the ball before making contact with Dyson, which, under the rules, justified the call. This realisation brought with it a resigned sigh from Amelia; the emotional tide of the game had nearly swept her along, but the evidence was undeniable.

"I know it's tough, but it was the right call." Amelia muttered to herself, her voice barely audible above the din of discontent around her. She straightened up, her expression settling into one of reluctant acceptance. "We've got to play smarter, not harder. Can't win 'em all by shouts and yells." she reasoned, turning her focus back to the game.

Her mood had shifted from fiery to reflective. It was moments like these that tested not just the players on the field but also the fans in the stands. Amelia knew that the game must go on, and so must the support for her team, despite the setbacks. With a deep breath, she prepared to continue cheering on the Toffees, hoping they could find another way through The Reds' defence before the final whistle.

74’ SUBSTITUTION! As the clock wound down, the visitors decided to inject some fresh legs into their lineup. Gavelberch, who had been a pivotal figure in midfield, trotting off the pitch to a round of applause from the visiting fans, was replaced by Skipper for the final 18 minutes. As he made his way to the sidelines, Gavelberch exchanged a quick handshake with Twilight Sparkle, acknowledging the strategic shift designed to maintain their advantage and perhaps solidify their defence against any late surges from the Toffees.

Vandrick, the team captain until now, approached Skipper with a nod of respect and a clear gesture, passing over the captain's armband. This exchange was more than ceremonial; it was a signal of trust and a transfer of leadership responsibilities. Skipper adjusted the armband with a sense of purpose, his expression focused and ready for the challenge ahead.

Amelia watched this development closely, her analytical mind gauging what this change might mean for the dynamics on the pitch. "Bringing on Skipper this late could be a game-changer." she commented to Fluttershy, who nodded in agreement. "They’re looking to lock down the midfield, maybe slow down the pace and disrupt our rhythm."

Despite the setback of the penalty reversal, Amelia's spirit was unbroken. She clapped her hands, rallying the fans around her. "C’mon, Toffees! Let’s show ‘em we’re not done yet. There’s still time to turn this around." she shouted, her voice carrying hope and defiance.

As the game resumed, all eyes were on Skipper to see if he could fulfil the tactical expectations set by his coach and whether the Toffees could exploit any gaps left by the substitution. The match was far from over, and the tension only heightened as the minutes ticked away.

75’ VANDRICK!!! 3-0! THE REDS ARE IN DREAMLAND! As the match edged towards its conclusion, the Reds solidified their dominance with a defining move. Pharaoh, already pivotal throughout the match with his precise deliveries, whipped an inswinging corner into the heart of the Toffees' defence. Vandrick, seizing the moment, met the ball with a thunderous header that sailed past the goalkeeper and nestled into the bottom right corner of the net. The goal sent a wave of silence through Ponyville, the home crowd stunned into disbelief by the visitors' clinical execution.

"That's it, then." Amelia murmured, her tone a mixture of resignation and insight. "No sort of comeback or hope for a draw today. That's game over for the Toffees. Miserable way to lose in our own backyard." She leaned back, her thoughts reflecting on the broader implications of the match. "They never really stood a chance, did they? Not against a side this elite."

As she observed the Toffees' disheartened players regrouping to restart the game, Amelia's mind drew parallels between this match and the well-known rivalry between Everton and Liverpool.

This realisation, while painful, provided Amelia with a clearer perspective on the level of improvement needed for the Toffees to compete effectively against top-tier teams like the Reds. "At least now we know how far off we are." Amelia sighed, her eyes scanning the field as the game played out its final moments. "Gives us something to work towards, doesn't it?"

79’ SUBSTITUTIONS! In response to the overwhelming performance by the Reds, Applejack, the Toffees' coach, decided it was time for some tactical adjustments—not with the hope of overturning the result but to minimize further damage and give some rest to key players who had endured a strenuous match. With the game effectively out of reach, she made a triple substitution.

Braeburn came on to replace Octavia, injecting some fresh energy into the midfield. Meadow Song replaced Bon Bon in the heart of the defence, likely aiming to shore up the backline and prevent any additional goals. Lastly, Apple Cobbler took over from Vinyl, another midfield change intended to stabilise the centre of the park.

Amelia watched these changes unfold, understanding the strategy behind them. "It's not about trying to change the result now." Amelia murmured. "It’s more about protecting the senior players from fatigue and avoiding a more humiliating scoreline."

As the new players took to the field, Amelia continued, "This isn’t about impact on today's game—it’s about damage control and looking ahead. There’s no point in pushing the starters to exhaustion in a match that’s already decided. Better to give some minutes to the others and save the key players for battles yet to come."

These changes, though unlikely to alter the outcome of the match, were practical decisions that reflected a longer-term thinking, aimed at preserving player fitness and morale as the season continued. Amelia, though disheartened by the night's performance, appreciated the foresight in these decisions, recognising the importance of managing the team's resources in the face of adversity.

84’ YELLOW CARD! As the match continued to spiral out of control for the Toffees, their frustration became increasingly evident on the pitch. Minuette, in a moment of clear irritation, committed a foul by tripping Trenton from the Reds, an action borne out of frustration rather than tactical necessity. The referee promptly recorded her name in his book, marking another low point in a game that had already seen its fair share of disappointments for the home team.

Amelia, observing the scene, couldn't help but let out a chuckle despite the grim circumstances. "That Minuette midfielder has lost her head." she commented, shaking her head slightly. "Tripping a player just to make herself feel good. Reminds me a bit of Roy Keane in his heyday. Always ready to throw in a tackle when he got heated. Sometimes, you just get caught up in the moment." Amelia continued, her eyes tracking the players as they resumed play. "Not the best decision, sure, but it shows she's still fighting, still got that fire. Just needs to channel it better, that's all."

The incident with Minuette was a small reflection of the team's overall performance that night—intense yet unfocused, passionate but not always in control. It was clear that beyond this game, there would be much for the Toffees to work on, both in terms of strategy and managing their emotions on the field.

88’ SUBSCRIPTIONS! In the closing stages of the match, the Reds took further steps to solidify their commanding lead by introducing fresh legs into their lineup. Pharaoh, having delivered an outstanding performance with two assists, was given a well-deserved rest. In his place, Flaco stepped onto the pitch, a defensive midfielder tasked with helping to maintain control and stifle any potential Toffees resurgence. This tactical shift from an attacker to a more defensive role clearly indicated the Reds' intent to lock down their lead and see out the game without incident.

Simultaneously, Macca, another key contributor who had set up Redsica’s opener, was also substituted. With only a couple of minutes left on the clock, Maestro was brought on, likely not just for tactical reasons but also to give him some game-time experience. Although this late in the game meant his impact could be limited, it was a strategic move to keep the team fresh and engaged.

Amelia watched these changes, recognising the tactical acumen behind the Reds' decisions. "They're shutting up shop now, bringing on Flaco to hold the midfield and keep things tight." she explained to herself. "It's smart, really. They've got the lead, and now they're making sure to protect it."

The atmosphere in the stadium, although subdued from the perspective of the Toffees' supporters, held a tone of resignation mixed with appreciation for the soccer lesson being administered by the Reds. Amelia added, "And Maestro coming on, even just for a bit, shows they're thinking ahead, keeping everyone involved and ready."

These strategic substitutions underscored the depth and tactical understanding of the Reds' coaching staff, ensuring that they remained in control until the final whistle. For Amelia and the other fans, it was a clear demonstration of the level of organisation and planning that the Toffees aspired to reach.

90+1’ REDSICA MAKES IT 4-0! As the game neared its conclusion, The Reds continued to apply relentless pressure, a strategy that had proved effective throughout the match. This time, their high press forced Big Mac to retreat deep into his own half, looking desperately for options. He passed the ball to Lyra, who, under intense scrutiny, lost possession to Meadow Song's inadvertent error, setting Redsica up for what seemed like a certain goal.

Redsica, seizing the moment, deftly navigated past Caramel and appeared to score easily, sliding the ball into the unguarded net. The Toffees' fans braced for the worst, but a sudden whistle from the referee paused all action—handball! The crowd erupted in a mix of confusion and delayed relief as the officials consulted the MVAR, which hinted at having spotted an infringement unseen by most onlookers.

Amelia, watching the unfolding drama, was visibly furious—not so much at the potential goal but at the familiar pattern of defensive lapses that had plagued her team all game. "Figures." she muttered, her expression darkening. "Saw that one coming a mile off. It's almost routine now." Her frustration was palpable, a reflection of a fan deeply invested yet deeply disappointed in her team's performance.

As the MVAR officials continued their review, Amelia and the surrounding crowd watched the large screen, holding their breath. The initial dread of witnessing another goal was temporarily alleviated by the potential reprieve offered by the handball call.

Finally, the referee made a gesture indicating the goal was disallowed, confirming the handball violation. Amelia’s scowl softened slightly, replaced by a weary nod. "Bittersweet, indeed." she conceded to Fluttershy. "Stopped the goal, but it doesn't change much, does it? Just highlights the gaps we've got to fill."

90+2’ NO GOAL! As the replay clearly showed, the ball had inadvertently struck Redsica’s arm during her move around the goalkeeper, leading to the goal being disallowed. The decision, while technically correct according to the rules, did little to lift the spirits of the Toffees' supporters or their team, who were still facing a significant deficit.

Amelia, despite her frustration with the overall performance of her team, couldn't help but feel a pang of sympathy for Redsica. "She deserved that one." Amelia said, a hint of resignation in her voice. "Would've been a nice brace for her debut. She's been outstanding, hasn't she? Probably the best out there today."

The sentiment around the stands was mixed. Some fans grumbled about the call, others about the state of the match. "Might as well have let it stand, give her the moment." Amelia continued, her tone a mix of sarcasm and genuine admiration for the opposing player. "Mare of the match, for sure, if they've got that sort of thing in this league."

The ruling kept the scoreline at 3-0, a small consolation for the Toffees, who were clearly outplayed. For Amelia, the game was less about the score at this point and more about recognising the qualities her team lacked and needed to develop. "It's frustrating, really.” she added, watching the players regroup and prepare to resume play. "Shows just how much work we've got to do. But you've got to give credit where it's due, and Redsica really turned up today."

As play continued, Amelia remained engaged, her critical eye not just on her team but also appreciating the skill displayed by the Reds. It was a tough lesson for the Toffees, but one that Amelia knew was necessary for the team's growth and evolution.

90+5’ FULLTIME! The Toffees had never won a home game and had collected just four points from their last 11 Premier League meetings with The Reds FC, and the misery continues as the 3-0 lose give the Reds a comfortable seat at the top of the Equestrian League. Redsica opened the scoring after just five minutes when she turned in Macca’s cross, while a pair of second-half headers from Dyson and Vandrick - both from Pharaoh’s crosses - sealed the points and heaped pressure on Applejack. Now unbeaten in five, The Reds look to extend that streak when they host The Hatters next Sunday. Meanwhile, Toffees must quickly recover ahead of their must-win League clash with The Crows at Ponyville next week! That's all for today. Until next time, goodbye!