J2 Matchday 15
The day the rainy season officially ends is always bitter sweet. Farewell to cloudy skies and general dampness, hello to even greater heat, albeit with the return of blue skies. The day was to prove so for our lads as well, at times playing good football and having periods of relentless pressure but again being unable to capitalise. Bitter sweet also as Oita oughta nicked it, and we had a stonewall penalty controversially denied.
27,519 watched this one, due I think to some campaign by Trinita to get 30,000 fans in. Splendid effort there, and perhaps something we can learn from? As for me, I watched in from the comfort of my armchair in front of my new BFT (work it out) and thanks to my Skyperfect E2 free trial. No longer the frustrations of Justin TV for me I hope. The first fifteen minutes or so were pretty even with Oita playing quite high up the pitch, but from then on we pegged them back for basically the rest of the match, with all their chances from then on coming from breaks.
The passing and movement of our midfield men was good up until a certain point, i.e. the eighteen yard box. Cesar almost produced magic that might unlock them on a couple of occasions in the first half but couldn't keep it down on one occasion and brought a decent low save from their keeper on another. The major incident of the first half and the game though (which you won't see reported in any other media outlet, even the FCT website), was a clear trip on Yazawa in the box as he was through on the keeper. The referee, I will admit possibly before the tackle was made, blew for what seemed to be offside, although Yazawa was clearly at least a yard on. Even the co-commentator said it didn't look offside, which in Japan is the equivalent of sheer indignation.
Into the second period and it was more of the same. I am not one for stats in football, it is not baseball or basketball after all, but even I would admit that 19 shots on goal and fifteen corners is an indication of how the game went. For all that though there was little that was clear cut: a free header and a diagonal shot from outside the box from Casual and a late volley from the back post from Konno which sailed just over was about it. It between all that, their forward Mitsuhira was clean through on goal and brought out a magnificent save from Salt field as he rushed out and dived to his right to block the shot.
So we couldn't really say this was a drop in form, as we have said over the past few games most of our goals have been from set pieces or loose balls in the box, rather than us playing through teams. Those breaks didn't fall for us yesterday, and we came up against a very determined side in front of a huge home crowd who ended up having the best chance of the game. No one really had a bad game, although I thought The Salad and Soutan faded badly in the second half heat. We badly need penetration up front (come on, we all know the feeling). We need Ishikawa fit (where is he, anyone?) and Lucas should be able to help out.
Thankfully Jeffery also drew so we remain two points off the top, although today Tochigi could overtake them and relegate FCT to fourth as Tokushima leapfrogged us yesterday. Let's look forward to a drubbing of basement dwelling whipping boys next week.