Match Report: Now What?

I will readily admit it. Even if the loss on Sunday did not exactly come as a surprise, it gave such an empty feeling that it has been hard to write a report about the match. For one, you do not ever want to let Ilves win, but the way the match highlighted our problems was even more devastating. The 1-4 (0-3) result left no room for what-ifs. Based on Sunday’s match, anybody would have to admit that the right team is getting promoted this year. Luckily we too still have a chance.

Yesterday our second team provided a tiny bit of consolation by winning another Ilves team 6-4 (2-1) in a match that was beyond crazy. We dominated the first half but the scoreline did not quite reflect that. Then we got to play the entire second half against ten men due to two yellow cards to the Ilves goalie, but still Ilves scored twice in rapid succession to take the lead at 2-3. Our defence looked terrible and made a lot of silly mistakes. Then we scored three goals, and we all thought that the match would be over at 5-3. But no, another defensive blunder gifted the 5-4 goal to Ilves. The release came late when Matias ”Palotelli” Palo scored the final 6-4 goal with just couple minutes left of the match.

But getting back to the first team, now the story of the rest of our season has two alternative paths. Either it will be an epic collapse where we won’t even reach the second place on the table, or we will get our act together and keep everybody else but Ilves behind us. I feel pretty confident that it will be the latter. Then we will probably travel away to either Pori or Rauma for a single match for promotion to Kolmonen. At that point anything could happen, but we need to make sure that we are in form when we reach that point. We have five more matches remaining before that, so there is plenty of opportunities to do so.

Another factor that adds positivity right now is the addition of a high-quality central midfielder to the team. Namely, Markus Silvennoinen joins the team on a loan from Tampereen Peli-Toverit (TP-T), a team that already plays in Kolmonen. Silvennoinen is a long-time Tampere United supporter and has played quite a few matches in our recreational team during the last four seasons. This year he missed the whole spring season, but after his return to TP-T after midsummer, he has been a starter in about half of their matches. This bodes well for us, as central midfield is exactly where we had our biggest problems since all of Niko Saarinen, Eero Riponiemi, Anssi Saiha, and Joonas Kupiainen have been absent.

Our next test is away at Toijala on Saturday. TP-49 has fallen near the relegation threshold, but cannot be underestimated. Apparently we won’t have quite as many players absent as we’ve had recently, and a win here would put our season right back on track. Personally, I’m feeling very optimistic.

TamU-K – Ilves 2 1-4 (0-3)
14 min Roope Kostiainen 0-1
34 min Roope Kostiainen 0-2
43 min Samuel Bashmakov 0-3
46 min Badr-eddin Laouini 0-4
48 min Jan Irjala 1-4

19 min Jouko Turunen, TamU-K (caution)
48 min Samuel Bashmakov, Ilves 2 (caution)
66 min Arttu Järvelä, Ilves 2 (caution)
78 min Otto Pitkänen, TamU-K (caution)
88 min Jussi Harju, Ilves 2 (caution)