You Sunk My Battleship! Port to Face Royal Thai Fleet in FA Cup

 

The draw for the 1st round of the 2017 Thai FA Cup has just been made, and Port have been drawn at home against nautical T4 East coves Royal Thai Fleet FC, aka The Battleships. What with games against Navy, Pattaya and Chonburi this season, and this week’s friendly against Samut Sakhon (The Proud Junk Ship), we’re rapidly running out of seafaring puns.

Due to Fleet’s lowly status there is little to be gleaned about them on t’internet, other than the fact that they play in T4 east, wear red & white stripes and black shorts a la Sheffield Utd, and groundshare at Sattahip with Navy FC. Even with Port’s inability to deal with inferior teams, this one should be a home banker.

The game will take place on 21 June – watch this space for the time. And you can see the rest of the 1st round fixtures here.

 

Junk on Show at the PAT: Port Take on Samut Sakhon FC

 

Following last night’s somewhat shambolic 4-2 defeat at home to Ang Thong FC, Port have announced another friendly – they’re taking on Samut Sakhon FC, aka The Proud Junk Ship (possibly THE greatest nickname in Thai – or any – football) on Wednesday 7 June.

Samut Sakhon are currently top of T3 Lower, having achieved successive promotions in 2015 and 2016, topping the division each time, so the Proud Junk Ship clearly has the wind in its sails and will be confident as it heave-hos into Port on Wednesday night. Let’s hope our boys are a lot more shipshape than they were last night and ready to repel Samut Sakhon’s scurvy seadogs.

KO is, as usual, 5pm, entrance is free, and the usual friendly booze amnesty applies. Beers ahoy!

 

,

“The Port Family is Happy” says Rochela

 

In an exclusive interview with the Sandpit this week, Port captain David Rochela spoke to us about the club’s impressive first half of the season and shared his thoughts on what the rest of the season may hold.

“I think all the Port family is happy with 7th place and 28 points” he told us, adding that in his opinion Port’s best performance was the 3-1 win at Chiang Rai Utd. “They were on top of the league” David said, “but after Worawut’s penalty save we worked really hard and showed good team spirit, and I think we deserved the three points.” And what about those somewhat ‘high-spirited’ foreign fans in the tunnel? “Haha, we were shocked! We expected to see fans in the stadium but not in the tunnel. It was really funny!”

But whilst Port have had some excellent results against the top clubs this season, including that win at Chiang Rai, a win at Muangthong and a draw against Buriram, the team have struggled against weaker teams, with disappointing results against the likes of Thai Honda, Pattaya Utd and Sisaket, and David has no doubt as to what the problem is.

“We spoke in preseason and I told you that I had really good feelings for this season” he said. “If everyone concentrates we can do great things. But in T1 any team can beat another so you need extra concentration against small teams. The motivation must be the same against top teams or small ones.”

But despite Port’s occasional lapses, David is happy with coach Jadet’s consistent tactical approach. He told us: “Since we started the league we are using this 4-5-1 formation, with Sergio up front with Josimar or a little bit deeper. The team feels comfortable with this so I’m not really keen to do to many tactical changes.”

Of his teammates, David singles out two of his colleagues in particular for praise. “I’ve been impressed with Nitipong and Adisorn” he said. “I’ve known them for a long time but this season they are playing with more confidence and showing what they can do, which is a lot.”

And what about the second half of the season? Whilst many of us are excitedly dreaming of a top 6 finish or better, David’s ambitions are more modest. “To be honest I’m still looking at the table starting from the bottom” he said. “When we get enough points to be safe in T1 I will start to look up. I hope we can stay middle of the table without problems.”

As do we all! Big thanks as usual for your time David, and good luck for the rest of the season!

 

FRIENDLY: Port Get Into Paddy with Rice Warriors

 

Rice rice baby! Following last week’s thriller against Customs Utd, Port have announced another friendly this Sunday (4 June), against Ang Thong FC. Port had two memorable battles with the Golden Rice Warriors last season – we got steamed 2-0 in the away fixture, but left them totally fried at the PAT with a 3-1 win in the return. With Ang Thong right up there in the T2 promotion battle this season, it’s likely to be a sticky fixture for Jadet’s boys, but whatever happens, let’s hope we see a paella goals. However, just in case it turns out to be a dull 0-0 draw you may want to bring a pilau.

As per usual, KO is at 5pm, admission is free, and you can drink beer on the terraces. Nasi you there!

 

 

Shrugdinho and The Mudskippers: Port Futsal Club 5-1 Samut Sakhon

 

With the 3 week T1 mid-season break now upon us, sad live sports addicts like myself who feel incomplete without their weekly fix of shouting at people are faced with a tough decision. Do we let the unfulfilled urge to vocalize our deep-seated disdain for humanity fester and force its’ way out at a particularly inopportune moment? At the 7-11 cashier who under-heats that morning sandwich, perhaps? “You don’t know what you’re doing! You don’t know what you’re doing!” Or maybe a phone-zombie on the BTS? “Even fucking Pakorn gets his head up more than you do!” Surely there must be an alternative…

With this cumbersome conundrum weighing heavy on my mind, I thought it would be the perfect time to take in my second Port Futsal game of 2017. As I reached Port’s warehouse stadium, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Port’s current kit was on sale outside. At 598 baht for a shirt, 300 for a scarf and 100 for your ticket you can be fully kitted out in Port regalia for less than a thousand baht. Not bad!

The Mudskippers!

Having made sure to arrive early this time, I found a prime position in a near-empty Zone B. Just high enough up to get a decent view of the action, but still in range of a fan. A big improvement on last time’s sweat-fest! Port’s high-flying futsal stars faced Samut Sakhon, with Port in 3rd place – just 3 points off the top of the 14 team Futsal Thailand League – with 5 games to play before the mid-season interval. Port’s superbly nicknamed opponents are The Mudskippers, who have skipped up to 5thplace. I expected a hard-fought game, and the first half didn’t disappoint.

Port’s Brazilian star Marcos (10) looked excellent from the off, although in the early action he was playing predominantly in defence, with Thai national team star Lertchai (6) pushing further up. I was gutted not to see Noppadol (13), who had scored a hattrick and busted out some Ketsbaia-level celebrations in my last game, but his replacement up front was the bulky and useful-looking Sarawut (11). Midfielder Watchara (3) and Thailand goalkeeper Kanison (18) completed the starting 5, but curiously Port seemed determined to use their best players as little as possible.

After Watchara had tapped in a simple set-piece goal for Port inside the first minute, the fringe players saw most of the action. The action was pretty slow in happening, though. In contrast to the attentive ball-boys we’re used to seeing in T1, futsal ball-boys have the look of students in detention. Mopping up other people’s sweat will have that effect, I suppose. It probably didn’t help that pantomime villain Surat (2), The Mudkipper’s keeper, was playing them like a fiddle. Whenever the ball went out of play he immediately called for a ball from one side. As it was reluctantly slow-rolled in his direction he would turn around and demand a ball from the other side. Waiting patiently for the other ball-boys to wake up and trickle another ball towards him, he would then pretend to try and take a quick throw, but be foiled by the extra ball on the pitch. He fooled the time-keepers a few times with this maneuver, as they started the clock while he was still fiddling with his balls, but the Port faithful were having none of it, and chants of “Oi, Oi, Tarua Woi!” are soon echoing off the walls of the warehouse. It would be rude not to join in! Port 1-0 Mudskippers

All around Bangkok I felt the innocent Bangkok bystander breathe a little easier knowing that I’d reached my weekly abuse quota. That’s probably not much of a consolation to Surat, though. At the other end, Port’s stopper Kanison (18) seemed determined to throw the ball as far as possible whenever he had it. Without Marcos (10) and Lertchai (6) on the pitch to move the ball through midfield, route one was too regularly the preferred option, and it wasn’t pretty. Nevertheless, in the seventh minute (on the clock, although it had probably taken about 30 minutes) Port doubled their lead. A rare passing move lead to an exhibition in close control by Anukul (22), and although he couldn’t find the finish his dribbling skills deserved, Thananchai (17) was on hand to volley in the rebound. Port 2-0 Mudskippers

Samut Sakhon, egged on by their chief MudSkipper (8), began to really get in to the game. Port managed to survive a few waves of attack, but in the 15th minute, a Port defender felled the excellent Sittichai (9) just as he was about to pull the trigger, and the ref blew for a penalty. It seemed pretty clear-cut to me, although that didn’t stop Marcos pulling out some of the most expressive shrugging I’ve ever seen by way of protest. Port pulled out all the stops, even employing the tactic the Dutch used to great effect in the World Cup quarter-final, where Tim Krul was brought on as a specialist penalty stopper. Before pacing around the area and caressing his goalposts a worrying amount, Port’s sub stopper was easily beaten by Sittichai, who rifled his penalty in to the bottom left hand corner. Krul trudged back to the bench, where he would stay for the remainder of the match. Port 2-1 Mudskippers

 

 

There was still time for more action before the half ended, and it was Port’s Shrugdinho himself Marcos in the thick of the action. With just a few minutes left, Marcos single-handedly decided he was going to draw as many fouls as humanly possible, and it wasn’t long before he had put The Mudskippers on 5, one away from the crucial 6 which would mean a 10 meter penalty kick for Port. Ironically, after all of Marcos’ cheeky gamesmanship, it was a genuinely quite nasty challenge that gave Port the penalty. Surpisingly (to me, anyway) Marcos stood aside and allowed Sarawut (11) to blast the shot in, but from 10 meters beating the keeper is far from academic. Sarawut struck the ball firmly, but the ‘keeper reacted well to palm the ball away and keep The Mudskippers within a goal. The dozen or so away fans cheered, the Port fans groaned, and Marcos shrugged.

 

The Mudskippers try their best to stop Shrugdinho

 

About half way through a competitive second half, The Mudskippers lack of discipline came back to haunt them again. A second yellow card was awarded to Mudskipper number 19 for a desperate lunge on Sarawut (11), and with Samut Sakhon down to 4 players, it was only a matter of time before Port made the advantage count. Sure enough the 4 man resistance was broken by Anukul (22), who had been so unlucky not to score in the first half. This time he beat Surat with a firm strike in to the bottom left from outside the area. Port 3-1 Mudskippers

At 2 goals down and with 6 minutes left on the clock, the Mudskippers decided it was time to go for broke. Out came a rush-goalie, who skipped around in front of Kanison (18) trying to create confusion. It took less than a minute for Port to punish their opponents on the break though, and it was Sarawut (11) who finally got the goal that his battling performance deserved. Whilst he did give his celebration some welly, he’s no Noppadol… Port 4-1 Mudskippers

 

 

The Mudskippers continued to bomb forward, resigned to a loss but determined that every Port player should score before the game was over. It was Port Keeper Kanison’s turn, and he took advantage of an empty goal to hit a mighty accurate drop-kick from his own area, which flew over the rush-goalie’s head and took one bounce on it’s way in. Port 5-1 Mudskippers 

For those interested in coming along to one of Port’s 4 remaining games, the fixtures can be found here.  Port’s next home game is on Saturday 10th June against 10th place Nonthaburi, and kicks off at a pretty convenient and hopefully not to roasting time of 18:00.

 

99 Voters but Muangthong aint One: Player of the Month for May

If you havin’ goal problems I feel bad for you son, he got 99 voters but Muangthong aint one…

 

Josimar Rodrigues – 62%

 

 

Josimar bagged his second consecutive Player of the Month award in a landslide vote. He hit 3 goals in 6 games this May, but it was the two spectacular volleys he hit in the space of 4 minutes against Muangthong that will have prompted most of his 99 voters to plump for him this time out. Scoring the goals that secured Port’s first victory for 8 years against their fiercest rivals will write Josimar permanently in to Port folklore, so it’s no surprise that it has carried him to a record margin of victory in our poll.

 

Worawut Srisupha & Siwakorn Jakkuprasat – 15%

In second place were two players for whom consistency was the name of the game in May. Worawut has been in top shot-stopping form ever since being brought in to the side for the injured Rattanai, and his saves were particularly vital as Port hung on to their slender lead at the SCG. It may be surprising to say that a player who has finished third and second in our last two Player of the Month competitions is almost guaranteed to be back on the bench once Rattanai is fully fit, but until Worawut learns to deal with crosses more convincingly, he will always be the bridesmaid, never the bride.

Siwakorn also had a very solid month in May, capping it off with a fine Man of the Match display against Sisaket. You know what you’re going to get from the skinny wizard: a high work-rate, consistent passing, tenacious tackling and more than likely a yellow card to top it off.

 

Elias Dolah – 6%

Elias Dolah may have only received 6% of the vote, but getting on to the ballot ahead of previously ever-present Rochela is vindication enough for his vastly improved displays. Dolah is barely recognizable from the bambi-on-ice defender that started the season, and his confidence and ability on the ball really started to shine through this month. We always knew he could win headers and tackles, but Dolah has been adding more strings to his bow as the season has progressed, and we hope this continues throughout the year.

Thanks to everyone who voted in our much more secure cheat-proof poll. We’ll be back next month to see if Josi can make it a hattrick!