Today we travelled to the windy city of Kofu to visit the small be-running-tracked Yamanashi Bank Stadium. The vista at Kofu always reminds me of a scene from the Lord of the Rings with a Japanese countryside town plopped down in the middle of a mountain ringed plain.
The club is on a roll at the moment freshly returned from a winning match at Yamagata mid-week.
However the team starting members today were a totally different line up from midweek where the most junior players got an outing along with the best of the bench returning from injury. Notable performances from Rafinha scoring for the first time this year, Suzuki in goal for the first time for Marinos top team and for Andrew Kumagai whose first-half last-minute trap and pirouette shot straight into the goal demonstrated his skill which has been rarely seen outside of practice matches in the last few years.
The faithful few who braved the midweek rain for a far away game which would have no impact on our progression in, or should I say farewell from, the Nabisco Cup, can be seen in these tweets:
Kofu is a fairly close away game but is either a drag up through the traffic jam at Sagamihara or a detour via Shinjuku by train for most Yokohama residents. Today we tried the supporter bus for the first time having previously gone by car with an overnight stay nearby. With the match scheduled for Sunday afternoon we were able make there and back in a day.
The day began early for us catching the 8:08 train from Yokosuka to make sure we were on time for the bus which left close to Yokohama station at 09:30. We were greeted by lots of familiar faces, all veterans of the away supporter scene.
As soon as the bus started rolling they played an old match vs Kofu. Or by the commentary mention frequency: YFM vs Mike Havenaar.
The match at Kofu was well attended by the Marinos away supporters, filling up the entire away end.
Even though Manabu managed to bundle the ball into the goal just before half time, Kofu looked dangerous for the whole of the match once they gained possession. Skapa was crediting it a home goal so we’ll have to wait to see the replay. In the 62 minute Ito Shō replaced Rahinha. Unfortunately much to the disgust of the Marinos fans Abe Takuma evened up the score in the 76 minute for Kofu from a corner. In the desperate last ten minutes of the match Hyodo was replaced by Amano Jun.
On leaving the pitch Manabu Saito took exception to something someone shouted from behind the goal and there was some pretty vigorous shouting back and forth.
Erick’s face in the post match interview says it all…