It’s been a season of extremes at Port, although ironically all the highs and lows have led to us finishing slap bang in the middle of the table. In this review of the 2017 season, I talk about the best and worst that Port and their opposition offered up throughout the year.
There are quite a few contenders for match of the season. Port games certainly weren’t wanting for goals, and there were some riveting ding-dong affairs with late comebacks I could choose. The 3-2 win against Suphanburi at home was a great game with a near-full crowd, the 2-1 victory over Police at home likewise, and even the 0-0 draw with Buriram was riveting in its’ own way. I couldn’t possibly choose anything other than the stunning 2-3 win against the Muangscum, though. When you haven’t beaten your fiercest rivals in 8 years, then you come from a goal behind with a flying header and two volleys there’s just about nothing better. Except actually being allowed to go and watch the match, I suppose!
When you sit in a minivan for 4 hours to get to an away game, you generally expect the game itself to be more interesting than staring out of the van window. Unfortunately, the 0-0 draw away at Korat was such a turgid affair we would probably have been better off staying in that winery we stopped at on the way up.
Best Team Performance
The Muangthong performance was of course outstanding, but besides that incredible 4 minute spell, it was largely characterized by backs-to-the-wall defending and quite a bit of help from the woodwork. Port needed little help when they stunningly dispatched table-topping Chiang Rai in April. Port went a goal down, but kept their heads up and over the course of the 90 minutes battered their opponents mercilessly. Worawut’s penalty save was the turning point, and Port ultimately went on to record a comfortable 3-1 victory, with Pakorn turning in a man-of-the-match performance.
Worst Team Performance
Losing 5-1 against a team who got relegated is never good. Port were lazy, sluggish, bereft of ideas and the willingness to win any individual duels at Honda. Whilst some individual performances stick out for being particularly rank, this was a team effort, and the blame has to be shared.
Best Individual Performance
2 stunning volleys in 2 minutes against the Muangscum? Take the award Josimar, you’ve earned it! Honourable mentions for Adisorn, who made Buriram’s midfield look ordinary at PAT Stadium, and Suarez for his match-winning turn against Suphanburi.
Worst Individual Performance
After the corruption allegations leveled against former Port goal-allower Weera, this performance takes on a whole other level of bad. Port fans were already pretty disgusted when they thought it was just gross ineptitude, but to find out that there’s every possibility that he was intentionally sticking it to the club and the fans makes it worse. Much worse. It the allegations are true, he should never set foot on a football pitch again, unless it’s in prison. Even then I doubt he’d make the team. Siwapong comes in a distant second for his performance against the same team, which wouldn’t have been out of place in a girl’s under 11 game.
Best Port Player
For me, Port ended up in the top half of the league because of their attack, rather than their defence. Of course Rochela’s part in keeping defensive errors to a minimum is an important factor, but for me Pakorn’s creativity going forward won Port more points than any other player. Honourable mentions also go to Suarez, Josimar, Rochela and Siwakorn.
Worst Port Player
Weera. See Above. And Below.
Best Opposition Team Performance
Bangkok Glass, not for the first time, really dismantled Port at PAT Stadium. Port generally upped their game when the big guns came to Khlong Toei, but Glass’ fluid football, and an outstanding individual performance from Toti, meant they were chasing shadows for most of the game, and ended up losing 3-0, although it could have been a much more chastening scoreline. Honourable mention for Bangkok United, who smashed Port 6-2 at Thammasat Stadium.
Worst Opposition Team Performance
You would think Super Power would have this gong in the bag, but they weren’t that bad on either occasion that Port played them. Sisaket, however, were truly abysmal in the penultimate week of the season. They eventually ‘only’ lost 5-3 but it would have been 5-1 if Port hadn’t switched off for the last few minutes with the result already secured.
Best Opposition Individual Performance
Port put in a superb performance at home to Buriram, and were very unlucky to let the champions escape PAT Stadium with a point. Buriram ‘keeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen was unbeatable between the sticks, with a particular point-blank stop from a Genki header sticking in the memory. Honourable mentions to Toti of Bangkok Glass, Leesaw of Bangkok United and Chiang Rai ‘keeper Nont.
Worst Opposition Individual Performance
Do linesmen count? Because when Port visited the Thunder Castle, the linesman may as well have been playing for the opposition. Yes, Jaja and Rochela were running in opposite directions at pace, but he’s miles offside, lino! Bloody miles! The linesman’s attack of blindness ultimately cost Port a point, as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to the men in luminous yellow, I mean navy blue.
He didn’t score many in 2017, and his shooting was often more cause for concern for those behind the goals than the opposition ‘keeper, but his goal against Bangkok United early on in the season was an absolute peach. He beats a man, sets himself and curls an un-stoppable effort over the keeper and in to the back of the net. There wasn’t much to cheer that night, but Siwakorn’s screamer made the trip worthwhile. Honourable mentions to Tana for his superb long range effort against Suphanburi and Josimar for his volleys against Muangthong.
Pakorn’s freekick against Super Power at PAT Stadium was more of a back-pass than a shot. Nevertheless, former Port goalkeeper Narong managed to let it squirm through his grasp and in to the net. Shocking. Honourable mentions must go to both of his other blunders in that game, and Todsapol’s tap-in at Dolphin Stadium when the Pattaya keeper thoughtfully dropped the ball at his feet in the six yard box.
Panpanpong has had a mixed season, but some of his crossing has been delicious. His finest moment of the season was the ball he lofted to the far post against Muangthong, while Suarez leaped like a salmon and headed in from close range. Great jump, solid header, but it was all about the cross. Of course Pakorn was Port’s main provider over the course of the season, exemplified by his perfectly-weighted through-ball to Suarez against Sisaket, but Panpanpong just edges him out here.
There was nothing wrong with the way Rochela dispatched his penalties against Super Power, but there’s absolutely no way either of them should have been given. One was for a non-existent handball, and the other for a non-foul outside the area. The ref scoops the award for these two ridiculous assists.
Every time Pakorn caught a ‘keeper out with one of his devilish in-swinging corners from the left. You would think they know it’s coming by now, but time after time Pakorn catches T1 ‘keepers with their pants down. Pakorn’s pearlers yielded a couple of goals and assists throughout the season.
Any one of Tana’s attempts to win a penalty by falling over in the area. It’s a combination of laziness, and a preemptive excuse for having messed up another attack. Find another club. Please?
Hmm, this is a toughie. Oh no, wait. Jadet put Port in the top half and secured remarkable upset victories against some of the league’s best teams along the way, whereas Zico masterminded a run of 1 win in 10 league games. Jadet, we should never have doubted you!
Oh dear, Zico. It seemed like such a promising appointment, but couldn’t have turned out much worse. Port slipped a few places in the league table, and Zico’s reputation sank without a trace.
Best Tactical Move
Port were largely expected to get annihilated at home against Buriram, and Jadet’s team selection – pairing Josimar and Kaludjerovic up front in a 4-4-2 for the first time – seemed to to indicate that Port would just try to go for broke and outscore their opponents. Instead Port held their opponents to a 0-0 draw with a disciplined performance. Well played, Sir Det!
Worst Tactical Move
It’s no secret that I was getting very, very frustrated by Zico’s insistence on switching players’ positions, and the worst of all was when he had Pakorn and Nitipong swap positions against Police Tero. Guess what, Zico? If you put a player with zero defensive experience in defence, he’ll make mistakes. Yes, Pakorn has to take responsibility for dispatching a pretty harmless cross in to his own top corner, but he should have been nowhere near that part of the field in the first place.
Here’s hoping that in 2018 the peaks hit new heights, and the troughs don’t leave us too down in the dumps. Whatever happens, I’m sure it won’t be boring. It never is being a Port fan, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!