And so season number two draws to a close as we slowly dragged ourselves to the finish line after what has been a long and worrying season. I expected a little better performance in the league considering the quality we brought in at the start of the season, but the main positive is that we stayed in the top-flight for more than the first season - a feat never achieved by Oulu before despite two spells in the Veikkausliiga.
August began with a fantastic 4-1 victory against FC Lahti at Lahden Stadion, however the hammering was met by several poor performances against better quality teams including the ultimate Veikkausliiga champions Kuopion. We returned to good form at the end of the season, with another 4-1 win against rock-bottom Kotkan followed by a narrow victory against mid-table Vaasan.
September was a worrying position as we lost out to Helsinki in a 4-3 loss followed by a draw against relegation candidates Rovaniemen which made me worried about a potential relegation scrap in the final three games. However, in the first game of October these fears were wiped away despite defeat to FC Honka as we were mathematically safe from relegation after the loss. This was followed up by a shock win against preseason title-favourites Helsinki at Raatin Stadion before our final match of the season was a boring goalless draw against Ilves.
And so as the 2019 campaign comes to a close, this is how the league table looks.
Coming in a comfortable ninth place is ourselves, as we avoided the threat of a relegation play-off by eight points thanks to our wins in August and the surprise home victory against Helsinki in October. Our highest league position of the season was fourth place, which we occupied for just two weeks of the entire campaign before our season started collapsing in May.
At the top end of the table, it was Kuopion who knocked last seasons winners Helsinki off their perch with an incredible 68-point finish at the top of the table after 33 games. This means that they will play in the UEFA Champions League next season and enter in the third qualifying round. In the other European spots are Seinajoen in 2nd, Mariehamn in 3rd and Helsinki in 4th. Helsinki will count themselves lucky for the opportunity of Europa League football next season as if it wasn't for Seinajoen's Suomen Cup glory in June, they wouldn't be looking at continental football in 2020.
At the bottom end, it was an expectedly poor season for Veikkausliiga newcomers Kotkan who finished rock bottom on 22 points - eight points adrift of even managing a play-off finish ahead of Rovaniemen. They will return back to Ykkonen next season. However, despite the relegation play-off finish for Rovaniemen, they actually won the play-off against Turun Palloseura, who were relegated from the top-flight in 2018. They won 3-1 on aggregate and therefore remain in the top-flight.