S-Pulse 2-1 Omiya
Hyodo 58 ------------------ Tsubouchi 76
M. Yamamoto 86
M. Yamamoto on for Omae (56)
Fujimoto on for Ono (77)
Hara on for Hyodo (80)
A little later than intended, but here's a summary of Saturday's action. Despite steady falling rain, a crowd 2000 up on the corresponding fixture last year, and over double(!!) what Jubilo got for the same game last week were treated to a surprisingly close and tense affair.
The wet surface didn't help matters much, as the unforced errors were in full flow. Three was a lack of clear cut chances for either team, with our best chance being wasted when Hyodo headed straight at the Omiya keeper when he had time to pick his spot. So it was all square at half time and we needed to be an improved team if we wanted to get anything from the game
We did come out the stronger, and the break though came when Ono's vision and precision passing gave him his first direct assist of the season. Picking the ball up on the edge of the area he spied Hyodo moving into the danger zone. Shinji's inch-perfect ball found the advancing Akihiro and with a control and volley he smashed it past into the net.
If we thought it was going to be plain sailing after that we were wrong. Omiya kept searching for a way through, and it came when one of their seven corner kicks was met by the head of Tsubouchi. It left Nishibe no chance and with only 15 minutes left it wasn't looking good for a return to the top of the table. But then substitute Masaki Yamamoto somehow managed to win the game with a freak strike from nearly the corner of the pitch. It was a cross for sure - his own reaction revealed that - but they all count, and we all need a bit (a lot) of luck sometimes.
So 2-1, we're still unbeaten, and we stayed top after Urawa lost 1-0 at home to Jubilo of all teams. Saturday the face off with Saitama continues as Urawa are the visitors to Ecopa. If we win we'll stay top, if we lose we could drop to third depending on Nagoya's result. Ono and Bosnar will both be playing after avoiding any yellow cards on Saturday, and Iwashita is back from injury meaning our back line will be looking a little more like normal.
Well, see you Saturday, then! And finally, a big shout out to Steve from Go! Go! Omiya Ardija - was nice to put a face to name.