Beginning to sense a pattern here. At least it's better than the 0 - 2 pattern that stretched out last year.
It was actually bitterly cold in the stadium today, with the high winds and the drizzle. With the fairweather fans gone and only 15 Kumamoto faithful heading to north Kanto for the game, it felt very lonely in the stadium at less than 1/15 capacity.
Still, it was an incredibly exciting game, with Mito surprising from the start. The first push of the game resulted in Mito going up by one with a great one-two knocked in by Arata. Afterward, though, Mito limped behind with a relaxed attitude that, while technically sound, lacked the fire needed to attack well. Kumamoto made many mistakes that should have been better exploited, but also exploited a penalty area junk ball to tie it up. A well placed header sent the away team into the break with a one-point lead, but in the second half Mito forward Nishino popped in an almost identical looking goal to score the final goal of the game, bringing about the draw.
Unfortunately for those in the good seats (which was the section I worked today), a lot of action happened near the cheap seats. Several exciting incidents occured out of clear view and it those on my side gign't really know what had happened until after the fact. The game probably came off much better on TV.
After the game, I caught a couple of players coming out of the locker room, and also checked online for the coach reaction. Mito manager Kiyama expressed disappointment with the result while Kumamoto's head seemed pleased. That's a fair assessment... Mito pressed and impressed the entire game and outshot Kumamoto 24 - 7. From what I have seen so far this year, Kumamoto is perhaps the weakest team in the division (although an argument can be made for Kusatsu) and Mito should have broken the draw jinx today.
This is the third game in a row that Mito has drawn 2-2, and the third in a row that Mito initially led but gave up the lead. This time, at least, Mito showed resiliency in coming back from a deficit, which was a concern of many fans watching the first two games this year.