Match Report: Through Hardship to the Stars?

I called it a must-win and we lost. So now what? Well, that must-win comment was obviously related to guaranteeing promotion by finishing first in Nelonen this year. Now it is no longer in our own hands because Ilves 2 got three points away at TP-49 yesterday, and it is time to shift our goals a little bit. Primarily, we will want to stay close to Ilves, so that if they drop any points, we are within a striking distance. More realistically, our goal is to finish (at least) second on the table, and hope that we get to play a promotion playoff against the second-place team in Nelonen in the Satakunta district. Put simply, there is still a lot to win this season.

Kolmonen is a regional division organized jointly by the Tampere and Satakunta districts. Whether the promotion playoff from Nelonen to Kolmonen will be played depends on what happens in Kakkonen, the division two steps above Nelonen. Kakkonen is a national division, so the number of teams from the Tampere and Satakunta districts to get relegated can vary between zero and three. If the number is not higher than one, the promotion playoff will be played. The good news is that at this point this looks to be likely, but by no means certain.

The western subdivision of Kakkonen is the one that has the Tampere and Satakunta district teams, but also teams from other western districts. The team at the bottom of the division (Sporting) looks more or less certain to get relegated, and it is from one of those other districts – this is very good news for us. The second last team will also get relegated, and that team could very well be FC Hämeenlinna or Ilves-Kissat, who are both from the Tampere district – this is not so good. In addition, one of the third last teams will get relegated as well, based on who has the lowest number of points per match. Of the four subdivision, the third last team in the western division has the best points per match, so there is reason for optimism.

The worst part about the loss yesterday is that it made our position in fighting for the second place much more difficult than anybody could have imagined before this week’s two matches. We are now only one point ahead of VaKP, albeit with a game in hand. FC Melody is three points behind, and even NePa and Pato are within striking distance. We have only taken five points in our last five matches, and that record needs to improve quickly in order for us to keep our position on the table.

In my mind there is no doubt that we are capable of doing that. The reality is that in both of the matches in the past few days we controlled the ball more than the opponent, and also created more chances. If we’d play these matches ten times, we’d surely average more than half a point per match. That is no excuse for what happened in the matches that we did play, but it gives a more positive outlook for the future. That said, next weekends away match in Forssa against FJK is a crucial one. After that we will play home against Ilves 2 and then away at TP-49, so the opponents are not getting any easier. Well, after that they are, but we do have to get a lot of points from our next three matches to be in a good position at that point.

One thing is certain though: there will be a lot of nail-biting this fall for TamU-K supporters. In a way, it is the best way. This feels a lot like our Kutonen season two years ago, when we had our back against the wall from the half-way point of the season until the climactic end at the promotion playoffs. This could be repeated this year. Unfortunately it is not entirely in our own hands due to the uncertainty of whether the promotion playoff will be played or not, but it is certainly a goal worth fighting for. The stakes are now higher than ever.

Per aspera ad astra – in his coloribus vinces. That could be the story of this season as well.

TamU-K – VaKP 1-3 (0-1)
33 min Miska Virkki 0-1
52 min Miska Virkki 0-2
56 min Jonne Keränen 1-2
90+5 min Miska Virkki 1-3

61 min Arttu Kokkonen, VaKP (caution)
75 min Arttu Kokkonen, VaKP (caution)
75 min Arttu Kokkonen, VaKP (ejection)