On-Mo Time: Chonburi FC 2-5 Port FC Match Report

 

 

Port’s impressive second half performance was enough to secure a comfortable 5-2 victory in Chonburi, although the friendly match was just one of a series of events put on by The Sharks to give legendary forward Pipob On-Mo a rousing send-off as he finally calls time on his playing career and moves in to coaching. The 39 year old is one of very few footballers in the modern Thai game to have stayed with a club for such a long time – 12 years to be precise – a feat for which he and Chonburi deserve enormous credit. To put that in context, Port’s current longest serving players, Worawut and Siwakorn, joined the club in 2015. Pipob made over 400 appearances and scored over 100 goals in his time with The Sharks, but unfortunately he wasn’t to make an appearance in the first match of the night – the 17:00 kickoff with Port.

Both sides started with strong teams, but it was Chonburi who were easily the better side in the early going. Young Worachit (8), always a formidable opponent, was running rings around the Port defence, and even had the cheek to nutmeg Dolah (4) on his way to creating the first of many chances for Chonburi in the first half. He escaped retribution from Port’s big defender, presumably because Dolah couldn’t get anywhere near him, but the rest of his team were not to be so lucky.

Ekkachai Rittipan (14) – an off-season arrival from Korat – missed two decent chances in the first 10 minutes as The Sharks showed some lovely touches in their build-up play. Port replied with a chance of their own, but Boskovic (23) should have done better after receiving an excellent ball forward from Pakorn (7).

Chonburi were still on top, though, and Worachit looked sure to open the scoring in the 26th minute, but inexplicably tried to pass when he should have shot with just Worawut (36) to beat. His flicked ball across evaded Lukian and dribbled out harmlessly for a goal kick. Wasteful. Alongkorn (6) found himself in a similarly promising position in the 40th minute, but this time Dolah came in with a firm, well-timed challenge to keep the scores level. The poor little midfielder probably had to change his shin pads, and quite possibly his underwear, with Port’s number 4 putting in one of many uncompromising challenges.

 

 

There was nothing Dolah could do a minute later when Chonburi finally took the lead, although Worawut will be very disappointed to have been beaten by a pretty tame albeit well-placed strike by youngster Saharat Sontisawat (19) from just outside the area. The lead was not to last until half time, though, with provider-in-chief Pakorn and battering-ram-in-chief Dolah combining from a late first half corner. Dolah got across his marker, which for some strange reason wasn’t massive Korean Park Hyun-beom (87) but the much smaller Lukian (9), to send a textbook glancing header in to the back of the net. Honours even at the break, although the scoreline was a little harsh on the hosts.

The tide was to turn quickly in the second half, though. Port played with much more purpose, with Pakorn in particular continuing his promising pre-season form and creating chance after chance for his teammates. Unfortunately he also found himself in the box early in the second half, getting his head on an excellent delivery from Kevin (97) and unsurprisingly heading 10 yards wide from about 8 yards out. The Midfield Monk may well be on top form at the moment, but he hasn’t learned how to head the ball yet!

It was at about this point that multiple substitutions started happening every few minutes, and you’ll have to forgive me for having no idea who anyone wearing blue is at this point. Port continued to look dominant, though, with Pakorn playing in Siwakorn, who was stopped in his tracks by an excellent last ditch tackle by new Chonburi signing and former Port defender Niran Hansson (28). Port needed a hand to find the back of the net, though, and Chonburi’s left back dutifully obliged with a comical defensive error gifting the ball to Boskovic on the edge of the box. As calmly as you like the Karate Kid turned and chipped a delightful effort over the out-of-position ‘keeper and in to the top corner.

Pakorn went close with a freekick that had to be tipped over the bar on the hour mark, and it felt like just a matter of time until Port extended their lead. They did, and it took just 10 minutes. Pakorn was provider once again, playing in Boskovic who made a yard of space for himself before side-footing a perfect finish in to the bottom corner.

By the 80th minute Port had subbed off every player except Rochela (22) and Pakorn, and there was still time for the second string to get in on the act. I was mocking Pakorn’s inability to head the ball earlier, and I would have thought I could cast a similar amount of shade at Bodin’s heading ability, but apparently not! The now short-haired winger flicked on a freekick from you-know-who, and his speculative effort looped all the way over the hapless Chonburi stopper in to the top corner. If I didn’t know better I would say he meant it, too!

Chonburi had a brief resurgence late on, with Rattanai forced in to an acrobatic stop on 87 minutes, although a minute later he couldn’t stop a close-range effort from Burmese defender Zaw Min Tun after some pretty useless set-piece defending from Port.

Who needs a defence when you’ve got Pakorn, though? The maestro mixed it up this time by crossing with his left foot, finding Athibordee (35) at the far post, who headed it back across goal for Todsapol (6) to convert from about a yard out. A good way to cap an excellent second half performance for Port, who survived a testing opening 45 minutes to emerge comfortable victors in the end.

 

Man of the Match

In our recent interview with Boskovic, he credited Pakorn with having the best right foot in Thailand. Well, he also probably has one of the best left feet in Thailand, and his passing and dribbling through the middle of the park has been outstanding throughout pre-season, too. Some of us love to hate the Midfield Monk, but not only is he continually providing chances for his teammates in pre-season, he’s actually looking pretty fit (it’s all relative) and his work rate seems to have improved. Could we be about to witness one of Thailand most talented players finally perform to his potential in 2019?

 

Tom Earls

Tom Earls

Having moved to Thailand aged 10, Tom has been playing or watching football in Thailand for more than 18 years. A keen follower of the Thai National Team and an avid fan of Port FC, he is a regular contributor to The Sandpit.

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