There was a very subdued start, with the less-than-hostile atmosphere probably aided by a strange kick off time of 17:45 as the fans continued to stream in throughout the first half. What turned out to be an interesting 45 minute stalemate sprung into life in the 10th minute with the Brazilian Tiago (7) bringing the best out of surprise starter Worawut (36) in the Port goal and Siroch (35) looking very dangerous slipping one wide of the upright. Tiago again found himself in space but this time the ball flew over the bar. Sounds familiar!
In what was a surprisingly consistent team Dolah (4) came in to replace Todsapol (6), and again the combination of Adisorn (13) and Siwakorn (16) in the middle ensuring that we were always going to have a high energy, high tempo and committed type of game.
In what turned out to be a game of two contradicting halves for Port in the first our wide men were sucked in and offered very little in terms of width and quality although Pakorn (9) always looks dangerous with the ball, and had a decent chance on the 23rd minute. Again three minutes later Josimar (9), who offered little in the first half, took a long ball down and teed up Genki Nagasato (18) who fizzed the ball just wide.
Ubon’s best chance of the game came on the 40 minute mark when Siroch (35) dribbled past three Port defenders but Worawut (36) was equal to it and had a great game throughout.
Port – cheered on by a now boisterous and passionate support – were a completely different team in the second half. Whatever the man Meelarp said at half time, or maybe they even got a visit from the Madame, certainly worked but the effort and application was different. The full backs Panpanpong (19) and Nitipong (34) started to establish themselves and cover every inch of the pitch culminating in Nitipong making a marauding run in the 57th minute and delivering a defense splitting cross to the back post where Josimar (30) was lurking to tap into an empty net. Josimar was a different proposition in the second half. He harassed the Ubon defense but he was also marked by one of the league’s best defenders Victor (6), The Ubon captain and all-around big unit.
Three minutes prior Port had justifiable appeals for a penalty and Genki (18) had again gone close. Pakorn, my favourite player, looked disinterested, with a level of consistency and work rate he would be unplayable but he drifts in and out of games, despite his undoubted ability. He should take a look at the application of his two colleagues in central midfield, who had another industrious night. Sergio Suarez (5) is starting to look the real deal, he had another very impressive night and this is assisted by the shift of the two lads behind him. Tana (99) came on for Genki (18) and whilst he was very unlucky with an offside decision, he didn’t offer as much as much defensively as his teammate had done.
Port were now under the cosh, and had to defend for their lives to close the game out. Nebihi (8), who replaced Tiago (7) saw a low shot slide just wide of Worawut’s right hand post, then Nitipong (34) defended bravely against the rather larger Victor Cardozo (6), putting his body between the big man and the ball and being sent crashing on to the turf. With tensions being raised, tempers soon flared. Adisorn (13) hacked down Ubon defender Nikom (11), who reacted furiously, kicking out at Adisorn and putting his hands around the Port midfielder’s neck. The referee gave nothing – as per usual – and a scrum was formed near the sideline, with almost every player on the pitch involved.
When play finally resumed, Ubon continued the offensive. A stunning sliding tackle denied Berriex (20) as he burst through the defence, and the Argentine then created probably Ubon’s best chance with a whipped cross from the right which veteran Thai midfielder Surat Sukha (15) could only flick over the bar from 5 yards out. After 5 agonizing minutes of injury time, the referee eventually blew the final whistle and Port could celebrate another barnstorming home win.
So this result leaves us sitting in 8th place only three points behind Bangkok Glass who are in 4th. If someone would have offered me that in January I would have snapped their hand off. In our first campaign back in the top flight we have won three and drawn two of our five home games conceding only three goals. Incredible! The million dollar question is… Which Thai Port will show up in Chiang Rai on Sunday?
Port FC Man of the Match
Josimar is finally off the mark! He really came alive in the second half, scrapping for every ball and giving Port an important outlet by winning balls in the air – both in attack and defence – and holding the ball up well. If the Brazilian can keep the goals coming, he could make a huge impact at Port.