Shonan Bellmare 1-1 S-Pulse
Taketomi 21 ------------------------------------------ Hattanda 63
BMW Stadium Hiratsuka
Takagi on for Sugiyama (59)
Ito on for Senuma (88)
After last week's disaster, it was all about the result. Not losing, not getting beat, and clawing back some confidence.
Shonan know their lot this year. After their last spell in J1 (relegated with several games remaining) they're approaching this season defensively, content to soak pressure up and aim to hit teams with counters attacks. We went behind to just such a counter, and with last week's battering perhaps in the back of our minds, we began hoofing long balls up field at Bare and Senuma.
Come the second half, and after a good talking to, I'm betting, we calmed it down a bit. Easier said than done, but you have to forget the scoreline and keep playing your football. If you're doing what you're meant to be, the goals will usually come. Hattanda was the one to knock home our equaliser when it did arrive. The Shonan keeper fluffed a punch and we gratefully accepted the freebie.
The home team were reduced to 10 men for the final ten minutes, which gave us plenty of time to practice shooting, but a winner wasn't to be. Sho Ito went closest with a cracking header stopped by some good anticipation work by the keeper. The bottom corner is normally a safe bet to sneak one in, but Abe in the home goal was equal to it.
Three games in and no win yet, but look on the bright side - we've scored in every game so far! (EDIT: what am I on? We scored precisely zero last week. Thanks to Amir for pointing that out. Not sure how I managed that one...) Wednesday is a national holiday and it sees the opening game of the Nabisco Cup group stage. We welcome Kofu to Nihondaira, and I'm looking forward to it. Three days later it's off to the Yamaha Stadium to play Iwata, also in the cup. They lost again today, putting them joint bottom of the table with Kawasaki. Nice.
BARRY WRITES... I really should have thought of doing this as soon as highlights became available officially on YouTube a while back. Be...