J2 Matchday 28
Another away ground we had never seen before, another bank of grass, another running track, another strange inflatable near the corner flag. These away games this year were starting to all blend into one, especially as the games often fell into a similar pattern with Tokyo having all the possession and either managing to come through as in Mito or Gifu or losing out as in Tochigi or Toyama (shudder). This though, thankfully from a tired spectator’s point of view, was an altogether different game. It was the hosts, Tokushima Vortis, who had the majority of the possession and by far the best chances. Strangely, or perhaps not so for those who are veteran Gasmen watchers, this probably played into our hands and we were able to sucker punch them in a way many other teams have sucker punched us.
The team news while anticipated was nonetheless surprising, with young Genki Nagasato chosen to start ahead of On the Gas favourite Naohiro Ishikawa in place of the suspended Soutan. Once again Big Bear befuddles. Ishikawa is quite obviously a far superior player, so one can only assume the manager doesn’t regard him as fit enough for 90 minutes. Hmm, how could he get fully match fit? Perhaps, em, play him, for a match? Or maybe I am missing something, please enlighten in the comments if so. Anyway apart from this there were no changes from the last outing.
Tokushima started brighter at the Sweaty Poke stadium but Tokyo were able to withstand their pressure in the opening minutes and gradually begin to boss the match, with Tokunaga bearing down on goal in the 9th minute only to see his heavy touch blocked by the keeper. It wasn’t long before the Gasmen took the lead though, Nagasato (told you that was a great idea, didn’t I?) cleverly hooking in Konno’s header from close range. After the goal the pattern of the game changed, with Tokushima being allowed to have much more possession by the visitors. The greatest escape was when Sato missed an open goal from 4 yards, but Vortis had plenty of other efforts on goal especially towards the end of the half, when the ball regularly flew close to Gonda’s crossbar.
Into the second half and the Tokushima pressure continued, although Tokyo also had their occasional chances. The longer the game went on though, despite all the possession the home side had you felt that Tokyo might be able to hang on and grab one on the break, especially when Ishikawa replaced Genki in the 57th minute. Again, he immediately looked more dangerous than any other FCT player had done, and lo it came to pass in the 77th minute that on a counter attack he did wallop one in to the top of the net from a tight angle. I looked upon it, and it was good.
Overall this was probably the most enthralling contest of the season so far, with both sides trying to play dynamic attacking football. Tokushima controlled it for long periods as no other team has done against us this season, but it was very satisfying to see us defend well and get the goals when they were needed. Hurrah. It terms of the league this was also a big massive huge enormous win for us, as we stretched our lead over Vortis, Tochigi and Kawasaki 1969.
Happy days, onwards and upwards, get us out of here.