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Tohoku League Team Profile - Sendai Nakata Club
Based in the Nakata suburb of Taihaku-kun in Sendai itself, Sendai Nakata Club scraped and struggled through several seasons of Tohoku League membership from the late 80s through to the mid-90s without ever really managing to convince that they had what it takes to play Regional level football. In seven years, the club were never able to achieve anything better than a sixth-place finish but their number was finally up in 1995: Nakata ended up bottom of the table and were relegated, although in fairness were replaced by the equally as poor Tsuruoka TDK.

Whilst they did spend a subsequent season back in the Prefectural League, Nakata in 1997 became founder members of the Tohoku League Division 2 (South) and competing with teams like Matsushita Audio Fukushima and NEC Yonezawa seemed – on paper, at least - to have found their level. But in spite of having notched up a respectable third place, the club mysteriously withdrew from the Regional League for the following three years, only re-emerging in 2001.

For five seasons, Sendai Nakata were one of the better sides in Division 2 (South), going toe-to-toe with Furukawa Battery and Northern Peaks Koriyama as the trio all fought to gain promotion to the top flight. Having won the title in 2003 only to miss out to Ashikaga Engineering Works Store Kawabe FC in the Promotion Play-off, the club finally achieved their goal at the end of 2005.

A stunning four-game run in the middle of the season that saw them run in no fewer than 29 goals without reply had earlier set Nakata up to succeed ahead of their nearest rivals Furukawa. Division 2 (North) champions Tono Club were duly overcome 3-0 in the Play-off and the Miyagi prefecture side were promoted.

As the 2006 campaign progressed, it looked odds-on that Sendai Nakata would be heading straight back down again. Only one win in the first nine matches – and that against fellow strugglers Nippon Steel Kamaishi – had them rock bottom of the table with the season heading into its closing straight. All of a sudden, however, a 6-2 thrashing of Morioka Zebra handed them a lifeline and seven points gleaned from the final three fixtures of the year steered the club to safety and an impressive fifth spot.

2007: One of the minnows of Division 1, Nakata will in all likelihood struggle – but they can take heart from their performances at the end of 2006 and should stay up.
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