Killer Wasps to Ruin Walk in the Park?: PT Prachuap FC vs Port FC Preview

 

Greetings from Milton Keynes, the Samut Prakan of EFL One! Well, Bletchley actually, a town best known for being the home of the Codebreakers, that sterling group of men and women who cracked the German Enigma and Lorenz codes, effectively shortening the Second World War by several years. On a less earth-shattering note, their Bletchley Park home was also the site of my teacher training college, although none of us, at the time, studying in the Bletchley Girls’ Nissan huts on how to administer corporal punishment without drawing blood, were aware of its weighty history. 

Today, Bletchley is a pale shadow of its former, glorious past. The main street, Queensway, named after a royal visit in 1966, has more charity outlets than an Oxfam convention, while the most notable cultural event in the town in recent years was the opening of a new Weatherspoons, ostentatiously named, ‘Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party’, a reference to the first, secret gathering of MI6 operatives at the Park, none of whom had a spot of poaching in mind. 

This brief history lesson is actually just a delaying tactic before I have to embark on  the painful task of analyzing Port’s dismal form since my departure, a demise which I have watched with growing alarm and more than a little sense of guilt. As far as I can recall, Port have repeatedly had a July slump, coinciding with my Summer travels.  Last year it was the exits from both Cups in a week. I am not being bold enough to suggest that I personally might have any influence over the results but it just might be the absence of the woolly hat, always a comforting and inspirational sight to the players attacking Zone B, that is at the root of the problem. Maybe I should have just stuck it on a pole behind the goal for the duration of my travels. Anyway, sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. 

I have naturally followed the discourses on the Sandpit and, whatever the reasons: team selection, tactics, hapless transfer shenanigans, injuries, loss of form, lack of confidence; it has made for painful reading.  And yet, amazingly, due to the seemingly, equal incompetence of the other challengers, we are still just three points behind an AFC qualifying spot, although the 5 points deficit from Buriram at the top will be tough to make up. Dolah’s vital header on Sunday brought much needed relief to what I imagine has been an increasingly frustrated Port faithful and hopefully will provide a springboard to a revival. Due to travel commitments this week, I am writing this preview before the tricky away visit to Trat, but the Killer Wasps’ recent form gives Port some kind of optimism that their sting can continue to be drawn. 

After a promising start, Prachuap have tumbled at a more alarming rate than Port, with their last League win at Ratchaburi on June 22nd and now find themselves firmly in the relegation zone, after another home reversal v Chonburi at the weekend.  Port may also draw comfort from their 5-0 victory in the reverse fixture. 

With Brazilian top scorer Caion, on loan to Chonburi, Prachuap have recruited another Brazilian, Maurinho (30), straight from the Samba Shores, as well as French-Senegalese, Jean-Philippe Mendy (14). Mendy seems to have had a fascinating career, once scoring for Dinamo Bucharest against Tottenham Hotspur in the EUFA Cup, as well as being a bit of a clever git, speaking 5 languages: English, Italian, French, Romanian and Wolof.  Naturally, he is a bit of globetrotter, formerly playing in Romania, Croatia, Abu Dhabi, Slovenia and China. For those interested, ‘Go Away’ in Wolof is ‘Deemal Waay!’ The Wasps’ international contingent is completed by the slightly more dour Eastern European combo of Artyom Filiposyan (16)(Amernia-Uzbekhistan) and Adnan Orahova (22) (Montenegro). Pity Bosko is not around to wind them up. Siroch (35), a good, old fashioned, battering ram striker will be familiar to most Port fans but his appearances have been largely from the bench. 

Port’s win over Sukothai was their first in the League since May 29th  so it might be wise to stick with the same starting eleven, although I hardly feel qualified to comment on this from afar, having only seen brief clips of the new arrivals. So I will go with the predicted line-up against Trat in the hope that a rousing victory is achieved and we go into the next game with a settled, winning team.

Worawut; Nitipong, Tanaboon, Dolah, Steuble; Siwakorn, Go, Sumanya; Pakorn, Suarez, Bodin.

(Editor’s note: Suarez managed to get booked for dissent yet again at Trat so will miss Sunday’s game through suspension)

I will look forward to my return on August 5th, just in time for the FA Cup quarter-final against Chiang Rai. It will be good to be back. The woolly hat thinks so too!

 

Peter Hockley

Peter Hockley

Peter 'Hockers' Hockley is currently the School Librarian at St Andrews International School, Sathorn and has lived in Thailand since 1992. He has followed Port home and away since 2010, with unbridled devotion and his famous woolly hat. He is a co-founder member of the Sivakorn (is a football genius) Appreciation Society (SAS). At present, the Society boasts a membership of, well, two. Peter has written travel articles for The Nation and Sawaddi magazine, and once had a letter published in Charles Buchan's Football Monthly which won him 5 guineas.

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