Avispa Fukuoka 1 : 0 Mito Hollyhock
So 7 points in the last 3 games, which had it not been for a 95th minutes equaliser could be 9 points in 3 games. Is it crisis over for Avispa, with a run for the play-offs and promotion back on course?
While I am very happy to be picking up these points it was again a fairly dire game for anyone watching the match, and one which looked destined to end 0:0 with a Mito team set-up to not lose and an Avispa attack which is based upon close to zero midfield.
Sueyoshi and Suzuki Jun are doing a little better than I expected, but the area which they seem to be quite competent is in an area about 10m outside the opposition penalty box where they are actually quite good at switching play from side to side or in taking long shots at goal. The problem being about how to get the ball to that position with no midfield behind them.
The first real opportunity of the game when the ball did come out to Sueyoshi on the edge of the box and he found himself in enough space to try and curl a shot into the far corner of the goal, but saw his shot well-saved by Mito’s veteran keeper.
It would have been a very similar goal to the one which Sueyoshi scored against Mito in 2010, and we went on to win that match 5:0. As nice as it is to get a win today with the money which has now been invested into the club this season that is the sort of scoreline we should be aiming for against clubs with much lower resources than ourselves like Mito.
Mito never looked like scoring, but then neither did we apart from that chance. The game was intensely dull to watch, with a succession of free-kicks and corners being sent into both boxes aimlessly and generally being headed away by the tall defenders from each team.
I saw that the local english events magazine was advertising this game as a fun day out for visitrs to the city. If anyone had turned up today for their first taste of J2 action then they won’t be coming back again. Both teams were playing at about the level of an English League 2 team (4th tier), with no likely chance of scoring apart from making a set piece work.
Then in the second half Avispa put together a nice move which saw us take the lead through an unexpected scorer. Good combination play down the right saw Jogo pass the ball back for Nakahara to cross into the box. Now this would usually represent a problem for Avispa because with Jogo and Nakahara both in the left-back position (where was Hokuto?) it meant we often have no-one to collect crosses in the box.
For this cross there was the unexpected sight of midget chipmunk Suzuki Jun leaping like a salmon and powering a header through the keeper and into the goal; he even managed to power past Sakai to get to the ball first.
I have been quite harsh on Suauki Jun, but this was eaxctly the sort of late run into the box which we have needed from midfielders for a long time, and the sort of run which will be made more possible if he has someone playing behind him and Sueyoshi to give the freedom to break.
He had a quite astonished look on his face at the goal he had just scored, I’m not sure if I have ever seen him head a ball before, let alone meet one at pace and power it at goal.
With more space opened up Avispa had 2 good chances to double their lead but saw both chances smashed about 5m over the bar from about the penalty spot.
The first came to Jogo after he had dummied to collect a return ball from Nakahara doing some good hold-up play, but missed a shot he’ll be embarrassed to watch later.
The second was a little harder, but similar in style as Sakai hit a shot too hard from inside the box which probably landed somewhere near the airport.
Mito should have shared the points late on as they pushed forward for an equaliser. Kamiyama showed his poor run of form is still ongoing as he ran out to get a ball which he was never going to get close to. It was nice to see him leave his line for the first time this season, just unfortunate he did it at exactly the wrong time. Fortunately he got a hand to the shot as he back-tracked back to goal.
Then the Mito #7 was guilty of missing an open header from about 3m out after a cross from the right went straight along the 6 yard box and the points were safe for Avispa.