Port were held to a surprising draw by T2 side Samut Songkhram. Despite being in 8th place in T2, the Raging Mackerels made a good account of themselves, although from early on in the game it looked as though Port may win by a convincing margin.
Jadet chose to start with something very close to his starting XI. Worawut (36) started his second game in a row between the sticks, still deputizing for first choice ‘keeper Rattanai (17) who is just now returning to Khlong Toei after helping the Thai Under 23 team lift the Dubai Cup. In defence, Meechok (20) and Panpanpong (19) retained their starting places at full-back, and Dolah (4) came back in to the side at the expense of the injured Todspol (6) to partner Rochela (22). Adisorn (13) was once again given the nod in central midfield where he partnered Siwakorn (16), with Suarez (5) and Josimar (30) ahead of them charged with leading the attack. Pakorn (9) continued on the right wing, and at left wing Jadet gave Genki (18) a chance to impress and make the spot his own.
It took Genki just 6 minutes to open the scoring, but it was the intricate move to set up the chance that was most impressive. Meechok made an enterprising run forward which was picked out well by Pakorn. Meechok had the presence of mind to pull the ball back to Josimar on the penalty spot, and rather than shooting Josimar nudged it out wide to Genki, who showed composure to side-foot it home with his right foot.
Port were playing well and attacking at will, but The Mackerels came raging back just 3 minutes later, swimming against the tide to score a fine goal on the break. The ball came forward through the centre of the park, and a particularly irate Mackerel struck a pinpoint finish right in to the bottom left hand corner which Worawut at full stretch couldn’t quite reach.
After the equalizer the game seemed to slow down, with Port allowing their opponents a foot hold in the game. Surprisingly, the ‘first half’ came to a close after just 30 minutes, indicating that it was going to be one of those games with 3 periods rather than 2 halves. Excellent preparation for the next T1 game, I’m sure you’ll agree.
At least Port did stick with the majority of the first choice team in the second period, although Tana (99) came on for Genki (18) on the left and Piyachat (88) replaced Suarez (5) in attacking midfield. Whilst Piyachat played a more withdrawn role than the bombastic Suarez, Tana was far more attack-minded that the man he replaced, looking threatening from the moment he came on.
It would be The Mackerels who struck first in the second period, though. A chipped through-ball from inside the area struck a Port arm, and despite the defender not seeming to know much about it, the referee pointed to the spot. Another onlooker who must have had his goggles on informed me later that it was most definitely ball-to-fin. Regardless, the now not-quite-so-uppity Mackerels took the lead for the first time. although Worawut very nearly kept the low strike out.
Port began to raise their game, with Tana (99) in particular looking to make something happen very time he got the ball. Tana was having mackerel on toast every time he got the ball, and it was no surprise when he dropped his shoulder a couple of times to lose his defender and curled in a stunning finish in to the top right corner. The strike was reminiscent of the stunning free-kick that earned him third place in The Sandpit’s Goal of the Season competition in 2016. It’s Goal 7 if you want to relive the moment with Kenny’s fantastic video!
With the scores level, Port started to reel their opponents in. Josimar (30) had a header from point blank range kept out by a combination of post and defender, then Kaluderovic (10), who replaced the Brazilian midway through the period, suffered a very similar fate. Port could not find the breakthrough, though, and the second period came to an end with the scores still level at 2-2.
In the third period Jadet reverted to type, picking an entirely different XI to play out the final 30 minutes. The only interesting selection was Hansson (33), who was again given a chance to play right back, where he looked lively. The rest of the game was largely uneventful, meaning that The Raging Mackerels claimed a creditable draw at PAT Stadium, whereas Port will be slightly disappointed that they made such a meal of their lower league opponents.
As Port will experience next week, there’s always a bigger fish, and the visit of Ubon UMT to PAT Stadium on Monday will provide a much sterner test than The Raging Mackerels.
Port FC Man of the Match
It was a battle for the starting berth on the left wing, and although both found the back of the net, Tana impressed more than Genki on the night. Tana dribbled, passed, crossed and finished with aplomb, creating uncertainty in the opposition defence and exploiting it with a stunning finish that would undoubtedly be a contender for Goal of the Season if it had been scored in a competitive game.