Ubon…and On and On? Ubon UMT Utd vs Port FC Match Preview

 

What a difference a year makes in 2017 Ubon and Port were trading blows in the middle of the T1 table challenging each other to be the best of the promoted teams. 2018 sees a dramatic shift in fortunes. While Pang has splashed the cash Ubon’s owners have slashed their budget.

The View from Ubon

Things looked so bright in 2017, with Scott Cooper at the helm and a new stand built. So what has happened? I asked Ubon Fan Gary Jones, What’s up, up country?

What we are seeing this season is the aftermath of Scott Cooper leaving. We had a shambles of a pre-season where we didn’t know who was taking over. Mixu arrived three weeks before the start and although we started off well, our form quickly deteriorated. Poor recruitment (although as I understand some of these players were sanctioned by Scott prior to his leaving) is also significant. Defensively we’re not good enough, often unable to deal with high balls into the box. The void left by Victor and his headed goals hasn’t been filled by Brinner. We’ve been good in patches, but switching off at the end of games has cost us. This combined with poor decision making, being unable to manage games when in winning positions.  

Having spoken with the owner of the club on several occasions his commitment and desire to keep the club up and see the club progress is clear, but a lack of organisation and preparation going in to the 2018 season has made this extremely difficult. Scott Cooper wasn’t just the coach, he pretty much ran the club and thus his departure has caused chaos. Staying up is possible but I think it’s becoming more and more unlikely.

50% Rested

Port did rest Rattanai, Rochela, Kim, Suarez, Nurul and Kevin for the FA Cup game on Wednesday. But still the other half of the team might well be flagging come the last 20 minutes of this game. The bad news is Arthit Boodjinda (29) looked poor even against weak midweek opposition. In other positions it would to bring in a back up player, but we are really missing another centre forward. Suarez has had a great season getting goals from midfield, but that’s where we need him, attacking from midfield. With Boskovic suspended for the Bangkok Glass game you would think we’d have brought in our other centre forward in. It shows how little Jadet thinks of him that Suarez was pushed up front and Arthit Boodjinda was only brought on in the last third of the Bangkok Glass game. When he came on you can see why he was on the bench, he was largely ineffective and he looks out of place in T1. The transfer window closes on the 9th July and I really hope someone breaks into the safe at Madam Pang Mansion and rushes out to buy us another Thai striker. It is difficult to find a striker in the transfer window, but surely we can do a bit better than this.

Hold the line

The Starting 11 for Ubon Away should revert to type. I might have suggested Bodin starting but he started on Wednesday so Jadet Me“Like”Larb is unlikely to break up the status quo this weekend.

 

 

Ubon’s Key Weapon

As we well know from the game at PAT Stadium, if Ubon get their noses in front the most dangerous weapon they have is a lot of shoelaces that come undone very quickly.

The Best of a Bad Bunch

Brazilian, Brinner Henrique dos Santos Souza, let’s call him Brinner (6) is a competent central defender who has ended up in Thai football by way of the Turkish 2nd Division here to do a job but not likely to stay much longer.

Antonio Verzura (16), 26 year old Italian/Thai player has made the step up from Jumpasri last year. He’s become a fixture in Ubon’s midfield and has captained the team in the last 4 league matches. With one win, two draws and a loss while he has been in charge he could make an argument for inspiring a bit of form.

Time to face the Musik

Somsak Musikaphan (17) Thai centre forward has just come in on loan from Ratchaburi. With 6 goals and 2 assists in 4 matches he looks like he’s on fire at Ubon. But we have to remember 5 of those 6 came in the cups and vs an ailing Air Force team. Although not as dangerous as stats might suggest, you have to worry about a player who has been banging in goals for fun in his first four outings for his new club. As he’s shaping to take a shot one thought that may comfort you is this player was being kept out of the side and even on the bench by our old friend Sompong at Ratchaburi.

More New Faces

Ubon have also brought in Serbian/Bulgarian attacking midfielder Srdjan Dimitrov from Birkirkara F.C. Yes Birkirkara! This was the fellow who scored a hat-trick against Senglea Athletic F.C. this year. Anyone ? No ? Birkirkara are in the top tier of…… Maltese football.

Athatcha Rahongthong (71) Ubon’s new left back is in on loan from Bangkok United B. He came straight into the starting 11 and off the pitch in the 80th minute. Athatcha managed to pick up two yellow cards in Ubon’s recent win against Air Force. But I’m not sure whether the yellow cards ensured the win or jeopardised it.

In Summary

They don’t look that impressive but together with Antonio taking over as captain and a few new faces Ubon do have a bit of momentum going into Saturday’s match. I still think Port have too much going forward for Ubon to handle. Port need to take control of the game early and snuff out any growing confidence this improving Ubon side are showing. Although they were very frustrating on their visit to PAT it would be a pity to lose Ubon to T2. Ubon Away is one of the best trips of the season.

Gary’s View

Just controlling your forward line and midfield threat will be a handful. I think Ubon will be able to frustrate Port for large periods, but I can see Port getting late goals to win it.

And Also… Gary’s Ubon Beer Trip Advisor

Near the stadium it’s pretty much Thai style. Behind Big C is a large entertainment area (football screens, food and music). These are the easiest options as they are nearby. “Take Care Ubon” behind Big C is good, there will be live music there, not necessarily great music but live music, possibly Hotel California live. There’s good selection of beer and Thai food with 1 large screen and a smaller TV. (Do we get a free beer for that plug?) The Irish Pub, N-Joy Bar and Wrong Way are the farang options if you are heading into town.

 

5.45 p.m. Saturday 30th June 2018, live on True Sports 2 and True 4U. If you can’t make it up to Ubon the game will be shown live as always at The Sportsman on Sukumvit Soi 13.

 

Dominick Cartwright

Dominick Cartwright

Originally from London, Dominick has been teaching English in Bangkok since 2006 and has been following Port FC since 2011.

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