This match was very important for FC Nippon because we have been looking to break a two-game losing streak in the league. To achieve it, we had good practice and communication among team members to play together as a team. Though lightning and rain delayed the start by 20 minutes, FC Nippon entered the game well. However, Mike, the ace striker of Rangers, scored the first goal in the 5th minute of the first half. It was unlucky for FC Nippon, but Mike poked our mistake smartly. After that, we had been concentrating on playing both offence and defence, then Hide (Kawada) scored an equalizer with his left leg in the 30th minute. The first half ended with 1-1. In the beginning of the second half, FC Nippon started well again, but Mike entered the penalty area by dribbling, got a penalty kick and scored his second goal in the 5th minute. Though this goal was shocking for us, we didn’t give up and kept playing in high intensity. Consequently, Miya (Miyashita) stole the ball from the defender and scored an equalizer with his left leg in the 20th minute. It seemed FC Nippon might reverse the game since every member played hard. However, Mike confronted us again. After picking up spilled ball on the right side, he entered the penalty area by dribbling, dodged the goalkeeper and scored a goal with his right leg in 30th minute, which meant he achieved hat trick. Finally, we lost the game with 2-3. We believe we played well and are getting better, but still need to improve our quality. Will do our best to win the next game.
Nippon have a habit of being sharp, organized and tough to beat – and so it proved in a tight affair at Turf City on Saturday afternoon. At 2:50 the heavens opened… threatening a cancellation, but with the puddles merely ankle-deep Alex beckoned the players on with only minimal impact to their game-time. Sharples duly opened the scoring inside 5 mins, only for Rangers to be pegged back by a looping deflection that left Adam wrong-footed in nets. 1-1 at the break and all to play for. The striker’s second came in controversial fashion: bundled over in the box for a disputed pen. Clearly he felt bad about the whole thing – sportingly passing the ball back to the ‘keeper. Who let it in anyway. Taishi was introduced with 30 mins on the clock and, momentarily forgetting who he played for, gifted the ball to his countrymen for a second equalizer. It was fitting that Sharples wrapped things up with his hat-trick, calmly rounding the ‘keeper to slot home from a tight angle. He wheeled away to the corner flag in celebration but everyone was too exhausted to join him. It was a backs-to-the-wall job in the closing stages, indeed JC left half the skin on his back on the pitch as he slid to block a shot for the Nth time. A tough game, and an important three points for Rangers. Special mention to Mrs. A who turned up (with newborn) and watched her hub play all of 3 mins before being shipped off with a hamstring injury. Speedy recovery to Aaron. Thanks and best of luck to FC Nippon