Japanese Non-league Football News

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JFL Midweek Scores
A full programme of fixtures across two days of Japan's Golden Week holiday period has sent shockwaves from top to bottom of the JFL. Erstwhile leaders FC Gifu, unbeaten and seemingly finding straightforward the transition from Regional League to national football, were sent crashing to their first defeat of the season - not at the hands of any of their closest challengers, but at home to bottom side Sagawa Printing. Gifu had gone a goal ahead on 28 minutes through former Vissel Kobe forward Mitsutoshi Watada, but Sagawa struck back early in the second period and two further goals in the final six minutes of the match sealed a stunning victory for the Kyoto-based side.

Taking Gifu's place in pole position are Sagawa Kyubin SC, although even they needed a Hideyuki Takeya injury time winner against another struggling side, Arte Takasaki. And the other potential promotion places, i.e. the top four, are now taken up by teams eligible to move up into the J-League. Rosso Kumamoto go third following a 2-0 defeat of Alo's Hokuriku, Yutaka Takahashi notching his ninth goal of the season in the dying seconds of the match, while Tochigi SC bounced back from their loss to Gifu at the weekend by beating Yokogawa Musashino with goals from Tsutomu Kitade and Satoshi Yokoyama.

03 May 07 - Hideyuki Takeya, scorer of the last-minute winner for Sagawa Kyubin

Hideyuki Takeya, scorer of the last-minute winner for Sagawa Kyubin

Down at the bottom, Sony Sendai slump to the foot of the table on goal difference, in part as a consequence of their 6-1 thrashing by YKK AP, for whom striker Tomohisa Ishiguro notched a hat-trick. After two consecutive wins, FC Kariya fell back into their old ways as they were beaten 3-1 by a Mitsubishi Mizushima team who after three seasons finally seem to be getting to grips with the standard of play in the JFL. The same can be said of Ryutsu Keizai University, 1-0 winners on Thursday over FC Ryukyu.

In the other two fixtures, 2006 champions Honda FC continued their troubled start to the season with a 1-1 draw at home to Gainare Tottori - a game they were in danger of losing until midfield player Katsufumi Masuda popped up with a 78th-minute equaliser. The most succesful side in the post-reorganisation history of the JFL now languish in eight place, just a a couple of points ahead of Mitsubishi, RKU and newly-promoted side TDK SC, who continue to surprise with their disciplined approach. Their latest triumph came against JEF Reserves, two goals midway through the second half proving enough to earn a 2-1 win.

03 May 07 - FC Kariya fans at Mitsubishi Mizushima

FC Kariya supporters at Mitsubishi Mizushima

Wed 02 May: Ryutsu Keizai University 1-0 FC Ryukyu

Thu 03 May: FC Gifu 1-3 Sagawa Printing
Thu 03 May: Honda FC 1-1 Gainare Tottori
Thu 03 May: Mitsubishi Mizushima 3-1 FC Kariya
Thu 03 May: Rosso Kumamoto 2-0 Alo's Hokuriku
Thu 03 May: Sagawa Kyubin SC 2-1 Arte Takasaki
Thu 03 May: TDK SC 2-1 JEF Reserves
Thu 03 May: YKK AP 6-1 Sony Sendai
Thu 03 May: Yokogawa Musashino 0-2 Tochigi SC

1. Sagawa Kyubin SC 22 (+16)
2. FC Gifu 22 (+7)
3. Rosso Kumamoto 21 (+11)
4. Tochigi SC 20 (+11)
5. YKK AP 20 (+10)
6. Yokogawa Musashino 17 (+8)
7. Alo's Hokuriku 16 (+2)
8. Honda FC 12 (+2)
9. JEF Reserves 11 (-)
10. Mitsubishi Mizushima 10 (-3)
11. Ryutsu Keizai University 10 (-3)
12. TDK SC 10 (-5)
13. FC Ryukyu 8 (-11)
14. Gainare Tottori 7 (-6)
15. Sagawa Printing 7 (-9)
16. FC Kariya 6 (-6)
17. Arte Takasaki 4 (-11)
18. Sony Sendai 4 (-15)
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