Apologies for a lack of updates recently. With the start of recruitment season I’m on long days at work with only 1 day off every couple of weeks.
vs. Giravanz Kitakyushu
As I predicted Kobara was brought back into the team for this game. It shouldn’t be seen as a failure by Tokio, he has done amazingly well this season, but raher an opportunity for some rest to avoid burn-out.
The defence looked better than it has recently, although I’m not really very impressed with Tsutsumi, he looks a bit lackadaisical at times.
In midfield Okada came back in, and provided the running and energy we have been missing at times, providing an excellent shield for defence. This allowed the wingers to play with a bit more attacking intent, with Naruoka Sho in particular having a very busy game.
After playing well in the first half we scored just before half-time with Jogo getting his 6th of the season, playing back on the wing. Avispa were passing the ball around in the opposition half for a change, with Naruoka taking up a central position. As annoying as it can be that he always leaves his wing he has the quality to unlock a defence.
Spotting Jogo’s run to the back post he chipped a perfect ball over the defence for Jogo to side-foot home and take a deserved lead.
The 2nd half was played like a real derby. Suzuki Jun in particular getting into the spirit of things. As is often the case with derbies the frantic pace made things a bit scrappy and neither team looked much like scoring to leave the game at 1-0.
The only other point of note being Naruoka picked up a yellow card very harshly for time wasting which meant he missed the Yamaga game. I real shame after one of his best games of the season.
My Man of the Match : Sho Naruoka
vs. Matsumoto Yamaga
Our stretch of games I thought we needed to win has resulted in wins against Toyama and Kitakyushu, a loss to Thespa, and a draw with Fagiano.
Not good enough for a play-off place, but could be made to look a lot better with an away win at Matsumoto.
With Naruoka suspended Samir came in for a rare start with a good performance meaning he would probably be on the bench against Gifu, or even up front instead of Yutaka.
Rather than push on after out win in the Fukuoka derby we conceded a goal direct from our corner. With Koga and Kobara pushed forward Yamaga luckily got the ball and raced up field in attack.
Faced with Samir to slow the attack he slipped on the edge of the box and a cross to the back-post was easily converted.
It was a sucker-puch goal, but one which should have been stopped, and shouldn’t mean that Koga and Kobara don’t go forward for corners. The same situation happened later in the match with Min Je as the man back and he dealt with the counter much better.
Conceding a goal in the 8th minute is a quite good time to concede a goal and gave us chance to fight back.
We weren’t making a lot of chances, but then scored through ridiculous fashion. A long ball forward was headed back to the keeper by a Yamaga defender under pressure from Jogo, only for the ball the slip perfectly inside the far post for an equaliser.
We then took the lead with an incredible goal, again out of almost nothing.
Passing the ball around our own half the Yamaga keeper came a little off his line (possibly out of boredom), but regretted it as Jogo picked up the ball well inside our half and lobed the keeper from 65 yards.
It was further out than when Beckham did the same against Wimbledon, and must be in the running for goal of the season. I have seen him attempt it once before and would have loved it to happen in a home game to witness it live.
Avispa then started to look a little more confident, but by the mid^point of the half had only had 4 shots on goal despite bossing possesion. Yamaga were seeing less of the ball but making more chances.
The 2 significant chances we did have were once when Samir burst into the box but got the ball caught under his feet a little and may have injured himself in the process, and when Sakata turned on a low ball into the box but saw his shot return off the cross-bar.
Sakata has had a big loss in form which is a real shame. He is now joined on 7 goals for the season by Jogo, a good return, but one which he picked up in the first 10 games of the season before his injury.
Matsumoto didn’t look like scoring, but were then awarded a very soft penlty. Kobara judged to have fouled in the box. There was a little arm tussling, but no contact near the feet, but the referee got tricked as the Yamaga played dived to the floor and won a penalty which resulted in a disappointing 2-2 draw.
My Man of the Match : Hisashi Jogo