S-Pulse 1-0 Omiya
Feeling slightly burnt out from 22 games so far this season, I took Saturday's low key match with Omiya as an opportunity to leave the East Stand madness behind for 90 minutes and watch in the sedate confines of the West Stand. As one of the lowest gates of the season settled in for an OK game of football, I spread out in the yawning swathes of empty seats within spitting distance of the away fans. Not that there was any naughty behaviour of course, although one disgruntled visitor lashed out at the segregating fence as he stormed home at the final whistle.
His frustration was one keenly felt by the hardy bunch of other orange fans, as with time running down, we contrived to waste time right in front of them in the most blatant of fashions. I'm far from a fan of the take-it-to-the-corner-flag-and-keep-it-there-for-as-long-as-possible technique, but seriously, the way we had all three points snatched from us against both Kyoto and Kawasaki, I know why they do it.
The view from the other end
We'd taken the lead with a rising drive from The Big Norwegian after just four minutes. Okazaki had headed down a long ball into his path and he made no mistake. After a couple of scares as Omiya caught us on the counter, real clear cut chances were pretty few and far between for either team. We managed more than double the number of shots than Omiya and enjoyed greater possession, though. It's always a very fine line between success and failure, and Johnsen's 8th goal of the year was the difference today.Five minutes in and 1-0 down, this Omiya fan sound something better to do
Some heartening news was Nagai's late appearance. After his early substitution against Tokyo last week I feared he was destined to never make it with us, but he looked OK for the short time he was on, and went close at the end to grabbing a second for us. Okazaki started, but after his week away with the national team in Holland, he was not surprisingly a tired man. He was replaced with Fujimoto not long into the 2nd half.
So with all three points we're unbeaten in ten and maintain our fourth place, joint with Hiroshima on points and goal difference, but having won less. The others in the chasing pack for the ACL spots (Hiroshima, Osaka and Niigata) also all won today.
Next up is Yamagata away, a game I am sorely tempted to attend, purely because it's such a mission to get to. Having thought it over long and hard, the price tag of nearly 40000 yen is putting me off, and I also have work I should be doing this Saturday, so I'll be watching on the box. We did them 4-1 in the home game, and they lost by the same margin this weekend, so fingers crossed we have what it takes to beat them away from home and keep our strong run going.
GK K. Yamamoto
Fujimoto on for Okazaki (54)
Paulo on for Edamura (74)
Nagai on for Hyodo (85)
Click here for official club pictures. Read the report on this, and all the others games over the weekend, from The Rising Sun here. As for videos, here's a personal cam of Johnsen's goal:
And here are full highlights: