Match Preview: Making Our Game in Hand Count

A quick look at the Nelonen table shows that we have one game in hand with respect to VaKP and NePa, who are chasing us one and two points behind us, respectively. This afternoon is when we have that match, away at Forssa. As supporters we tend to focus on games in hand alongside points on the table, but the reality is that having a game in hand does not matter at all if you end up losing that match. We have a chance to put ourselves in a good position with respect to those chasing us, but we are by no means there yet.

A pileup of absences has had an adverse effect on our results since midsummer. In the last six matches, we have only gathered eight points. This has removed us from a likely candidate for winning Nelonen and getting promoted, to fighting for the second place and possibly getting to play a playoff match for promotion. Today the list of absentees is again a long one: Milanti, Dakkaki, Kumara, Pitkänen, Lehtovaara, … and that’s on top of a long list of long term absentees. Our bench looks to include three players today – not terrible, but you want better.

The home team FJK has won their last two matches. Even their record in the last six is only one point better than ours, but considering that they are fighting against relegation and we are fighting for promotion, their record is a much more positive one than ours. Back in May when FJK visited Pyynikki we beat them by the tightest of margins, Mika Kytöviita scoring the only goal of the match towards the end of the first half. We can expect a tight match today too, and the natural grass playing surface gives FJK a slight advantage. Our advantages have to come from playing better as a team and from having better individual abilities.

The players and the supporters again share a bus to get to the match. It will be a nice one-hour ride. Usually when we have traveled together, we’ve seen good things from the team. I trust that it will be the case today too, and we shall see starting from the 2 pm kickoff onwards.