Shameonya: Sukhothai FC 3-1 Port FC

 

 

Port travelled north to face another unbeaten side in the form of Sukhothai FC yesterday, in a game which, on paper, should have been an opportunity for 3 valuable points. Sadly a combination of dubious refereeing, some appalling behaviour from certain Port players, and a bizarre second half substitution from Jadet handed Sukhothai one of the easiest wins they’ll have all season.


 

Never having been to Sukhothai before we decided to take advantage of the game and have a long weekend away, exploring the Historical Park and the surrounding countryside in insane temperatures which reached 40C at points, necessitating a few cooling ales at the very welcoming Chopper Bar, whose grateful owner laid on free food for us on two separate occasions, whilst pumping out the likes of Boney M and Leo Sayer. Coming back to Bangkok after a few days in Sukhothai is like travelling into the future.

Having procured a songtaew at reasonable cost, we arrived at the stadium a good hour before kickoff and managed to find a spot of shade under a tree on a grassy knoll what we christened Madame’s Mound. It wasn’t quite as well tended as it might’ve been – it was even a little overgrown in places – but it was able to accommodate large numbers of Port fans and was the perfect spot for some pre-match R&R. We also perused the lineup and saw that, once again, Bodin (10) was out, Boskovic (23) was playing on the left, and Suarez (5) the lone striker. Note to Jadet – Suarez isn’t a striker, you aren’t Guardiola and Port aren’t Barcelona, so playing what was effectively a 4-6-0 formation isn’t going to cut it. Yes, Bosko may like playing on the left and may be very good at it, but we signed him as a striker, so play him as a bloody striker!!!

 

 

But Port started brightly and should’ve taken the lead on 9 minutes, when a cross from Bosko found Suarez, who set it up for Sumanya (11) on a plate complete with salad garnish and a selection of dips, with the Port new boy unlucky to see his sublime curling shot come back off the far post. Port look much better with Sumanya on the pitch which makes what happened later all the more frustrating. After Sukhothai came close on a couple of occasions, including a spectacular save from Worawut (36) from a 30-yard thriker from the Firebats’ Korean defender Jung, several Port players lost their heads – and the game as a result. Suarez appeared to take an elbow in the face, which the ref ignored, then a Sukhothai player handled the ball on the edge of the box, which the ref also ignored. Several Port players had already given up playing to harry the official, who only blew up once Dolah (4) – one of the few calm heads – brought down a Sukhothai forward with a fairly innocuous challenge. Yes, it was poor refereeing but nothing out of the ordinary by Thai standards, but certain Port players – generally the more senior team members – lost the plot completely. With the ref having earlier booked Suarez for arguing about an incorrectly awarded corner it was clear that, for once, we had a ref who wasn’t going to stand for the usual nonsense, and when Sumanya overstepped the mark with his complaints out came the yellow card. Sadly noone had the presence of mind to realise that Sumanya had gone mental and hold him back, and he steamed into the ref, knocking the yellow card out of his hand, which was very quickly replaced – and quite correctly – by a red. Boskovic then barged into the ref himself and should also have got a red. Quite why senior players see fit to behave in this pathetic fashion only they know – in my opinion they should show a lot more respect for those of us who travelled large distances to support them and I hope that some of them, the idiot Sumanya in particular, are given fines & a bit of bench time to reflect on their stupidity.

Port’s punishment was doubled when the freekick found Joel Sami in the box, and his header beat Worawut to give Sukhothai the lead. But these minutes of madness seemed to galvanise Port and, belatedly realising that Sukhothai are little more than Baggio and 10 Somchai Kickaballs, they were the better team for the rest of the half. Suarez had a 30-yard truenobastardo narrowly tipped over the bar and Boskovic went close with a curler, before Port got a corner in the dying seconds of the half. “DON’T TRY AND SCORE!” shouted Linny, prompting Pakorn (7) to step up and curl his corner straight into the back of the net. 1-1, and at half-time, even with 10 men there was a feeling Port could still get something out of this.

 

 

Port started the second half equally brightly, Boskovic forcing a save with a long shot and Pakorn going on an epic Maradona-esque run before having his shot blocked, thus preventing what would’ve been the greatest Port goal of all time. Still 1-1 on the hour mark and no need to panic, so there was little excuse for Jadet’s decision (assuming it was his decision) to take off Todsapol (6) and bring on Bodin, leaving a central defence of Dolah on his own flanked by two full-backs, Nitipong (34) and Kevin (97) who were both having an absolute stinker of a game. And within minutes, that man Baggio, who eats Nitipong for breakfast like I eat toast, fed a through-ball into the box which resulted in Niti clipping the stiker’s heels. Stonewall penalty. Up stepped the other Montenegrin on the pitch, Petar Orlandic, who had spent most of the game looking like a confused tourist who’d wandered onto the pitch by mistake, to shove our mockery back down our throats by slotting the ball past Worawut for 2-1. Port came close again when Go (8) shot narrowly wide after a goalmouth scramble, but on 85 minutes it was game over when Orlandic, marked for some reason by a player half his height (Niti), nodded in at the far post. Pakorn again came close in injury time but that was it for Port.

So a self-inflicted defeat against inferior opposition by a Port side who would’ve won comfortably had they kept their cool. Wiser heads should’ve prevailed before Sumanya got his red but without Rochela on the pitch, there’s a lack of cool-headed authority and the players simply lost the plot. Factor in some baffling tactical choices by Jadet, and you have to say Port gave this one away. The spectre of Operation Fuckup, which was a common event in 2017 but barely seen in 2018, is raising its ugly head, threatening to derail a season that promises so much. Let’s hope there is some serious talking done between now and next week’s home double-header against Trat & Prachuap, for if Port continue in this vein then mid-table beckons.

A quick note about the home fans. We exited the away end in foul moods and sincerely hoping for an argument of some kind, but as we walked around to the home side of the ground, we were beset by orange-shirted well-wishers offering us beer, asking to swap shirts (Michael ended up with a very fetching pink number) and posing for pictures with us. Within minutes our bad mood had been replaced by a feeling of goodwill to all and we spent an enjoyable 15 minutes or so with undoubtedly the friendliest fans I’ve met on my travels.

 

 

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match: Pakorn

The Midfield Monk may be a frustrating figure, but last night he ran his orange-robed balls off down the right, scoring Port’s only goal and coming close on several occasions. He also gets credit for not spitting the dummy when it all went off in the first half.

 

 

Tim Russell

Tim Russell

The founder and editor of The Sandpit, Tim has been in SE Asia since 2003 and in Bangkok since 2012, where he runs a travel tech business. Tim has followed Port FC since 2014, and is also a fan of his hometown club Coventry City, and French club AS St-Etienne. He has written for the likes of Football365, ITV.com, NME and The Quietus, and is a regular contributor to God Is In the TV. He's a keen photographer and his work can be seen on his website.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

4replies
  1. James says:

    Watched the game last night online, and was very disappointed with 2 things: the behaviour of the players, and the standard of officiating that is on offer in Thailand at the moment. Absolutely farcical, it appears that home field advantage means you can do whatever you want for 80-minutes, and then in the final 10-minutes you’ll receive a few bookings so that it appears on paper like it was a fair game. Horrendous, it’s time for the FAT to go the way of other leagues, and fly in Japanese referees on the weekend to do the games. If the Thai referees wallets are punished by not being out there, maybe they’ll do a better job on the pitch instead of looking like they’ve been bought before the game.

    That being said: I still think we were in with a chance until we took Todsapol off. Their third goal we had Nittipong marking Orlandic [20cm+ height difference!], we were punished for the mistakes we made and hopefully we learn the lessons from them.

    My view [player wise] on this season so far… Pakorn is doing well [never thought I would say that] and has impressed me more often than not [definitely never thought I’d say that]. Suarez looks like deadweight, and should be shipped off mid-season, so that we can either sign a proper ST if Dragan is going to play on the wing, or a more mobile wide man with a ton of speed. I’d like to see Watchara given another chance after his end-of-season performances in 2018, and hopefully Rochela is back soon because Dolah has been pretty poor since the Chonburi game.

    My view [club wise] on this season so far… it’s still early in the season, and we definitely have a squad good enough to shake things up. A bit more consistency, a LEGITIMATE plan B, and a bit more luck: we’ll be a-okay. I’m still not convinced Jadet is the man to take us to the top, but I’m honestly not sure who we could get in to replace him that could do that. We need a tactician, and although he loves his clipboard: Jadet has shown he knows nowt about tactics.

    Reply
    • Tim Russell
      Tim Russell says:

      I thought last night’s ref was no worse than most others, no idea why our players chose this game as their hill to die on. And yes that substitution was ridiculous. 1-1 away from home with 10 men, last thing you do is take a defender off!

      Problem with Suarez is that he’s a CM being asked to play as an AM/striker. Like Nurul is a right-winger being asked to play on the left. But yeah he’s not been at his best this season, probably a season to far for him IMO. We should’ve signed a proper striker in the transfer window, especially as you say with Bosko playing out on the left. But Jadet isn’t a master tactician and if they got rid of him it would be hard to find a top coach willing to work with the amount of interference he’d get.

      Reply
      • James says:

        Last night was the closest I’ve ever come to smashing a PC screen due to officiating. It really was horrendous, it seems the standard has gotten even worse somehow. It’s becoming more and more conceivable in regards that the payoffs are still happening, and having talked with a number of players in T2/T3 this season, they’ve said as much in regards to that topic. Get rid of local referees in T1 for a while, and weed out the bad ones via watching their performances more intently in the leagues below. Enough is enough, it’s time to make this league the best in the region in every single way.

        I thought the incidents that led to Sumanya’s red card should’ve actually resulted in a red to the Sukhothai player [it was a very obvious elbow to me…], but it was a typical home team decision.

        There’s a few things that I’d like to see changed in the mid-season break, but I’m trying to remain cautiously optimistic at the moment.

        Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] little I have to add to Tim’s withering analysis of last week’s childish capitulation to Sukhothai, although since then Port’s reaction […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *