Japanese Non-league Football News

Kanto League Division 1
It was the big kick-off in Division 1 of the Kanto League on Sunday, with a series of fascinating matches for local fans. Long-standing league members Toho Titanium got off to an excellent start with a 4-1 win over Yaita SC, who having led the division for almost the entire season last year managed to drop down to third place on the final day. Former Saitama Teachers club Saitama SC managed a solid 1-0 win against a Toshiba Fuchu side about to embark upon only their second season of Regional football.

Surprise 2006 champions YSCC took on newly-promoted Hitachi Tochigi Uva, but crashed to a 3-0 defeat with all the goals coming in a disastrous second period. The other team to move up from Division 2, ambitious FC Machida Zelvia, recorded if anything an even better result against local big guns Luminozo Sayama, for with time running out their ex-Arte Takasaki defender Ryan Yon I snatched a last-gasp goal for a terrific 3-2 win. Unfortunately, only 150 fans were there to see it.

16 Apr 07 - Machida Zelvia celebrate their winner over Luminozo Sayama

Machida Zelvia celebrate their winner over Luminozo Sayama

Sun 15 Apr: Luminozo Sayama 2-3 FC Machida Zelvia
Sun 15 Apr: Saitama SC 1-0 Toshiba Fuchu
Sun 15 Apr: Yaita SC 1-4 Toho Titanium
Sun 15 Apr: YSCC 0-3 Hitachi Tochigi Uva

Kanto League Division 2
The Kanto League Division 2 began its 2007 season on Sunday with four new members - Club Dragons and Yonoshukai, promoted from the Ibaraki and Saitama Prefectural Leagues respectively, together with relegated sides Hanno Bruder and the military men of MSDF Atsugi Marcus. Hanno, relegated from Division 1 at the end of a campaign that saw them apparently ill-prepared to cope with life in the top division, beat Ryutsu Keizai University's reserve side Dragons 1-0 with a fifth-minute goal from midfield man Yasunari Ishimure.

But Yonoshukai picked up an impressive 2-1 away win against Atsugi, which suggests that they may be well able to cope with what is their first-ever experience at this higher level of football. To do so, they will need to meet the challenge of promotion favourites Furukawa Electrics Chiba, 2-1 winners over Kanagawa Teachers. Nevertheless, the best result of the day came in Yamanashi, where Nirasaki Astros were thumped 4-2 at home by Saitama's Ome FC.

Sun 15 Apr: Furukawa Electrics Chiba 2-1 Kanagawa Teachers
Sun 15 Apr: Hanno Bruder 1-0 Club Dragons
Sun 15 Apr: MSDF Atsugi Marcus 1-2 Yonoshukai
Sun 15 Apr: Nirasaki Astros 2-4 Ome FC
Shikoku League
Two rounds into the new season and the Shikoku League is in a state of shock. Last year's champions Kamatamare Sanuki and their predecessors from the south, Nangoku Kochi, may well have won both their matches with ease, chalking up an impressive goal difference on the way - but neither of them are top of the league table. That honour currently falls to Tokushima Vortis Amateur, playing only its second year of Regional League football and a club that experienced a mediocre 2006.

Vortis hammered Ehime Shimanami 9-1 away on Sunday to move into pole position, while Nangoku were themselves putting eight past their neighbours from Sanwa Club. Kamatamare claimed a 6-0 win over Tokushima Comprille SC - the former Alex SC - and demonstrated the gradual broadening of their appeal locally with a promising 800 crowd, who saw a hat-trick from experienced midfielder Yasuhiro Koide. In the other game, Sanyo Electric Tokushima bounced back from last week's defeat by Vortis to record a 3-0 win over Ventana AC.

16 Apr 07 - Kamatamare Sanuki battle it out with Tokushima Comprille in white

Kamatamare Sanuki battle it out with Tokushima Comprille in white

Sun 15 Apr: Ehime Shimanami 1-9 Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 15 Apr: Kamatamare Sanuki 6-0 Tokushima Comprille SC
Sun 15 Apr: Sanwa Club 0-8 Nangoku Kochi
Sun 15 Apr: Sanyo Electric Tokushima 3-0 Ventana AC

1. Tokushima Vortis Amateur 6 (+12)
2. Kamatamare Sanuki 6 (+9)
3. Nangoku Kochi 6 (+9)
4. Sanyo Electric Tokushima 3 (-1)
5. Ventana AC 3 (-2)
6. Tokushima Comprille SC 0 (-7)
7. Ehime Shimanami 0 (-9)
8. Sanwa Club 0 (-11)

16 Apr 07 - Sanyo Electric Tokushima put one over Ventana AC

Sanyo Electric Tokushima put one over Ventana AC
Kansai League Division 1
After champions Banditonce Kobe sprinted out of the starting blocks on Saturday with a 5-0 defeat of FC Kyoto 1993, round 1 of the new Kansai League Division 1 season was completed on Sunday. Banditonce's probable nearest challengers, FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu, notched up a 4-0 win over newly promoted Osaka team FC Glaspo Kashiwara, who were previously known as Technonet Osaka. In the other game, company side Ain Food started the 2007 campaign by beating Kobe FC 1970 2-0.

Sun 15 Apr: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 4-0 FC Glaspo Kashiwara
Sun 15 Apr: Kobe FC 1970 0-2 Ain Food
Kyushu League
It was mostly a day of close games on Sunday in the Kyushu League, as the teams finished off round 4 following on from Honda Lock's defeat of Nanakuma Tombies on Saturday. Nippon Steel Oita kept their perfect start to the season going with a 1-0 win in Kagoshima against the students of Osumi NIFS United, while Kaiho Bank SC moved away from the foot of the table with their first win points of the season thanks to a 2-0 defeat of newly promoted Kumamoto Teachers.

A goal in each half from midfield man Tomoki Hideka took the somewhat underperforming New Wave Kitakyushu past Okinawa Kariyushi. But the match of the day was undoubtedly the derby clash in Nagasaki, where Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki sensationally led 1-0 at half time against local rivals and big guns V Varen Nagasaki. The 2006 champions and this season's favourites nevertheless fought back after half time and a hat-trick from ex-Rosso Kumamoto forward Keisuke Shuto contributed to a 6-1 win.

16 Apr 07 - Shota Hirata, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ scorer in the derby match

Shota Hirata, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ scorer in the derby match

Sun 15 Apr: Kumamoto Teachers 0-2 Kaiho Bank SC
Sun 15 Apr: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 1-6 V Varen Nagasaki
Sun 15 Apr: Okinawa Kariyushi 0-2 New Wave Kitakyushu
Sun 15 Apr: Osumi NIFS United 0-1 Nippon Steel Oita

1. V Varen Nagasaki 12 (+24)
2. Nippon Steel Oita 12 (+12)
3. Honda Lock 9 (+15)
4. New Wave Kitakyushu 9 (+6)
5. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 6 (-8)
6. Volca Kagoshima 5 (+6)
7. Okinawa Kariyushi 3 (-2)
8. Kaiho Bank SC 3 (-14)
9. Osumi NIFS United 1 (-9)
10. Kumamoto Teachers 0 (-11)
11. Nanakuma Tombies 0 (-19)

16 Apr 07 - A most peculiar image of Kaiho Bank SC

A most peculiar image of Kaiho Bank SC
Hokushinetsu League Division 1
The big four clubs in the Hokushinetsu League Division 1 all made it two wins out of two in the new league season on Sunday - and this league is shaping up to be one of the most closely fought of all Japan's regional competitions. Zweigen Kanazawa needed two late goals to come from behind and squeeze past Ueda Gentian, the winner coming seven minutes from time courtesy of former Rosso Kumamoto forward Daisuke Yoneyama. But champions Japan Soccer College had an easier time of it in their 5-0 win over relegation favourites Niigata University of Management.

JSC are therefore dead level with Matsumoto Yamaga Club, who fought off the challenge of the best of the other four sides in the division, Ishikawa prefecture's Fervorosa. New striker Masato Katayama was again on target for Yamaga in a 2-0 win, which was watched by another excellent crowd of more than 1800 people. Current leaders on goal difference, however, are Matsumoto's local rivals AC Nagano Parceiro, for whom last week' hat-trick hero Taiten Sato added another two goals in a 4-1 defeat of promoted side Valiente Toyama.

16 Apr 07 - Niigata University of Management take a rare shot at goal against JSC

Niigata University of Management take a rare shot at goal against JSC

Sun 15 Apr: AC Nagano Parceiro 4-1 Valiente Toyama
Sun 15 Apr: Japan Soccer College 5-0 Niigata University of Management
Sun 15 Apr: Matsumoto Yamaga Club 2-0 Fervorosa
Sun 15 Apr: Zweigen Kanazawa 2-1 Ueda Gentian

1. AC Nagano Parceiro 6 (+10)
2. = Japan Soccer College 6 (+8)
2. = Matsumoto Yamaga Club 6 (+8)
4. Zweigen Kanazawa 6 (+2)
5. Fervorosa 0 (-2)
6. Valiente Toyama 0 (-6)
7. Ueda Gentian 0 (-7)
8. Niigata University of Management 0 (-12)

16 Apr 07 - 2-1 winners over Ueda Gentian, it’s Zweigen Kanazawa

2-1 winners over Ueda Gentian, it’s Zweigen Kanazawa
Chugoku League
A crowd of 1538 people were there to see 2006 Chugoku League champions Fagiano Okayama begin the defence of their title in the first round of matches in the new season on Sunday. The Pheasants saw off Mazda SC, newly promoted from the Hiroshima Prefectural League, netting four goals without response - but even that was only the third biggest win of the day. Kota Fukuhara scored twice for FC Central Chugoku as they thrashed seemingly perpetual whipping boys Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado 7-1.

In Hiroshima, Fagiano and FC Central's most likely challengers for the title Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku strolled to a 5-0 triumph over their neighbours from Fukuyama, JFE Steel Western Japan. The fourth game pitched Hiroshima Fujita SC up against the developing former Yamaguchi Teachers side, Renofa Yamaguchi and this encounter ended goalless. Previous Chugoku League rules would have meant that a drawn game was subsequently decided on penalties, but for 2007 the teams will instead follow standard practice and take a single point apiece.

16 Apr 07 - Renofa Yamaguchi and young friends, prior to the game with Fujita

Renofa Yamaguchi and young friends, prior to the game with Fujita

Sun 15 Apr: Fagiano Okayama 4-0 Mazda SC
Sun 15 Apr: FC Central Chugoku 7-1 Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado
Sun 15 Apr: Renofa Yamaguchi 0-0 Hiroshima Fujita SC
Sun 15 Apr: Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 5-0 JFE Steel Western Japan

16 Apr 07 - Fagiano Okayama fans watch with baited breath the game against Mazda

Fagiano fans watch with baited breath the game against Mazda
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