Note to Readers: Although there are few nautical puns in this report (there aren’t many left), there are references, including some, long discredited, to a popular children’s cartoon show based on-board ship.
Port travel to Sattahip on Wednesday to what is universally recognized (well, by me and Keith anyway) as one of the worst grounds and worst views in T1. Conflicting statistics on Wikipedia list the Navy Stadium’s capacity as either 12,500 or 6000, depending, I suppose, on how many hapless Navy Cadets they can press-gang inside the ground. Visiting this long-suffered, architectural inconvenience is only tempered by the cultural delights on offer 20 minutes away in the small town of Ban Chang. More on those later.
Port won the reverse fixture early in the season, 1-0, with a cross-cum-shot from a raiding Nitipong (34) in the first half and always looked in control of the game. However, we were in control of the game at Suphanburi for the first half, and for long stretches against Bangkok Utd, but, if you don’t take your chances when you are on top, you get punished. Coddling Codfish, football!
Port are, I believe, a better team than Navy, in spite of their recent decent results; we have more points, we have a new, hopefully, inspirational manager, but just for once, down here, we have to do it on the pitch. This will be my fourth visit to the Navy ground and I have never seen us scramble even a point. True, we were right royally shafted on one occasion when Matty Christen’s equalizer was flagged offside by a linesman, the Liechtenstein international receiving the ball with 3 defenders waiting behind him. The linesman was mysteriously shot three days later (he survived). Shuddering Sharks! An appalling decision, but that was a tad drastic!
Navy have recently acquired a useful Brazilian striker, Andre Luis Leite (7), from Chonburi, who will team up with his fellow countryman, ten-goals to date, Rodrigo (23). A potentially lethal striking trio is completed by Nigerian, Adefolarin Divosinmi (40) – there are goals in all three of these, so containing them will be the key to our chances of a rare victory on the road. Tottering Turtles – I’m nervous already!
Navy manager, Somchai (Pugwash) Chuayboonchum, in the giddy excitement of his pre-match team selections, is likely to leave Seaman Stains on the bench, or, Roger the Cabin boy. Either way, the consequences could be messy. Master Bates is another viable option and perhaps less risky. Dithering Dogfish! The choices a manager has to make these days!
Players Of Whom We Are Afraid
Andre Luis Leite
As for Port, Sunday’s late collapse against a very fit, classy Bangkok Utd, after a promising start, should have helped manager Zico decide who is good enough for the type of football he is trying to introduce and who isn’t. Worawut (36) might keep his place but if Rattanai (17) is fully fit, he needs to start getting a regular game. Dolah (4) and Siwakorn (16) will be back, but centre back Pravinwat (55) looked impressive and may turn the Boss’s thoughts towards a back three, allowing the full backs licence to attack (not that they don’t anyway). We are trying to play modern football after all! Pick two from Pinkong (19), Nitipong (34) and Meechok (20). Siwakorn and Adisorn (13) will fill the middle with a possible front three of Genki (18), Josimar (30) and, most likely, Pakorn (9), although it is difficult to predict the manager’s thoughts at this early stage. Tommy’s MOM from Sunday, Ittipol (7), may have done enough to keep his place. With Jadet, you more or less knew who he would pick, unless a player’s parents were in the crowd or it was their birthday. Wuttichai (14) and Tana (99) should never pull on a Port shirt again, unless it is to stand in Zone D.
Meanwhile, back in Ban Chang all is waiting for the post match celebration or drowning of sorrows.
Suffering Seagulls! What match-memories will our intrepid bunch of travellers bring back with them to this short-sprint street of dreams, which boasts no fewer than 34 drinking holes, mostly on the same side of the road; Lolloping Landlubbers! These entertainment venues are a hit with the local ex-sailors and oil-riggers and, on any given night, the charming hostesses will expect to have their naval bases overflowing with discharged seamen.
So, Dear Friends*, will our Farang contingent be (Varee) Happy, blowing Kisses, with a Smile on their Face and looking forward to a Good Time, having seen a Surprise, yet Classic domineering away performance – like taking Candy from a baby? Plundering Porpoises! Even just One-nil, Featuring a Ram-Inn goal from our hero, Siwakorn, after watching him Beaver away in midfield, will be Love-Ly. No more memories of hitting The Bar or ballooning the ball into the Sunny, Blue Sky, or over the Rainbow for Nasa to track. This time there will be Noot to be sad about, no Rumours of defeat, just time to visit the ATM by the B an K and Start-Up the celebrations at places you would, quite frankly, never invite your ‘Mam’. Then it’s up and down the street like a Yo-Yo, with cries of ‘Bottoms-Up’, ‘Down the Hatch,’ ‘be a good Sport and taste that Moonshine’, to Crown a great evening. Will the night end with unintelligible, grunted, monosyllabic enquiries like, “Where House?” Stuttering Starfish! Will we behave – of course we will; Ban Chang is heaven but we are all angels, keeping The Angels’ Secret.
*Names in Italics denote the BC strip’s 34 bars.
The match will be shown live on True Spark Jump (Ed – No, us neither) at 19:00 on Wednesday 28th June, 2017.