The Fifth Quarter: Port FC vs. Chiang Rai FA Cup Quarter Final Preview

 

Yes, this is the fifth quarter. You shouldn’t be surprised at the complete lack of sense in the title. Port regularly have pre-season friendlies that have three halves and a full PAT stadium apparently contains 6,000 fans. So this is our fifth quarter, our fifth quarter final in seven seasons after the golden era of back-to-back 2009-2010 Cup victories and a trip to the League Cup Final in 2011.

 

The Five Quarters

2013 FA Cup 4-0 rainy Wednesday away loss to a dominant Buriram team. Witnessed by Giz and a handful of hardy away fans including the guy with the gammy leg. Fans had a Leo based Port picnic outside the Thunder Castle. Then the team was quickly devoured inside the ground as the heavens opened.

2016 League Cup a glorious 4 -1 demolition of Lampang. (Don’t mention the war.)

2016 FA Cup 4-0 loss to Sukhothai where we played a second team to focus on our faltering attempt to gain promotion. We gained promotion but missed out on one quarter of the FA Cup and a place in the AFC Champions League. The cup and league were suspended so officially there were four joint FA Cup holders and they drew lots to see who went into the Champions League. Sukhothai won that draw.

2018 FA Cup a disappointing if not unexpected 3-1 home loss to a decent Buriram side.

2019 FA Cup ?

 

The Chiang Right Time? Not Even Close

On Wednesday night we face a Chiang Rai team that managed to humble Buriram 4-0 and put Port to the sword 4-1 at PAT stadium. It was a fairly even game up to half way through the second half, Port pushed up looking for the equaliser then were shown no quarter with two late goals crushing any hope of a comeback. Chiang Rai have always looked a decent team but now they sit in 2nd place looking like they could make a genuine challenge to be league champions. What has caused this? A thinner Bill, maybe. He’s definitely lost a sizable fraction of his body weight since the beginning of 2019. He’s half the player he was, but for Bill that’s a great step forward.

There is also a new kid on the block Ekanit Panya (37) who’s knocked in 2 goals in 3 matches. The 19 year old left footed midfielder has pace and stands up to a tackle well. He’s not scared to shoot, and not scared to shout “I was bloody open there” to his older teammates. Likely to provide a big headache breaking from midfield when Chiang Rai also have Bill (9) and William Henrique (11) as attacking options beside him.

 

 

T1 stalwart center back Brinner (5) occasionally bombing on forward at corners is also a worry. Chiang Rai have their own towering Korean Yong-rae Lee (8), countering our man Go (8). Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul (6) will sit next to Lee and provide the platform for the rest to go forward. All in all Chiang Rai are up in 2nd for good reason. So how do we win? Going back in time to three months ago would help. The last two goals Chiang Rai conceded have come from defensive mistakes on either side of their defence. Bodin weaving in on the left with a cross to Suarez striding past their right back is the one chance we have. So we just have to do that from the kick off then sit on the ball for 89 minutes.

 

 

Portents

Port need something to cling to, a tiny fraction of hope. This hope comes in the fact we are not shit. We’re not as good as we could be but we are not the ramshackle relegation Port of 2012. Nor are we the team of a newly anointed owner/controller/dictator getting through five managers a year. We are not lead by Brent McGrath and Kanye West singing “Half Price” in 2015. But we are the half as good as we should be Port of 2019.

We are getting better, but these results have come despite the new manager and new formation not because of them.  So where do we find hope? Steuble (15) has proved he can easily hold his own in T1. Bodin (10) is looking dangerous whenever he’s given a bit of space. Suarez was suspended for the last match so will be rested and raring to go.

 

The Rochela Question

A fully fit Rochela (22) would slot straight into this squad. Unfortunately he’s not currently in the league team so the cup is all he has. I did ask him what he thought his chances of playing on Wednesday were, he said as diplomatically as ever, “It’s very difficult only playing one game a month.” Fully match fit he’s in the squad, but without regular T1 football there is a question mark over his selection. I’d pick him, we have had four games in two weeks Tanaboon (71) might benefit from the rest or he could push Tanaboon forward into his natural position as a defensive midfielder. If he is going to insist on playing him. Speaking of unwarranted team selection, Sumanya (11) has been screwing up our free kicks so much that even I have been shouting for the return of Pakorn (7). Every player we’ve ever interviewed has said they love playing with Pakorn. You might have to work harder with him in the team, but he can turn it on and create game winning opportunities. He drives me mental but I’d still pick him nine tenths of the time.

Up front Josimar is cup tied, and Dragan Boskovic watched the last FA Cup match at Muangthong in jeans and a T-shirt drinking beer with his mate Mario. Something I roundly criticised him for on Sunday only to find out he’s not registered for the FA Cup so can’t play.

 

Thirteen Elevenths of a Side

 

 

Possible substitutions:

Nurul (31) for Bodin (10) on 70 minutes.

Todsapol for Rochela if needed.

 

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

On form Chiang Rai must be favourites for this one. But… but…. well, please pick your own mindlessly optimistic phrase to help you enjoy an FA Cup Quarter Final night out. These are my top 10.

  • But…  Pakorn can always slot home a free kick.
  • Pang desperately wants silverware, she’ll be having a chat with the ref.
  • Blackburn has to come good at some point, he has scored two already.
  • It’s at PAT we always raise our game for the FA Cup at home.
  • Nurul being subbed on in the last 20 will do them for pace on their right.
  • We are unbeaten under the new manager he must be good luck.
  • We’ve won every home game we’ve played on a Wednesday this year.
  • Maybe someone will randomly hand us two joints before the game.
  • All the Previews and Match reports are sorted so Dominick won’t be bending everyone’s ear trying to get them to do one.
  • I’m just here for the Leo anyway.

 

My prediction, lots of people will drink beer and enjoy a night out at PAT Stadium. The Football may unfortunately get in the way a bit, but then again …

 

Honest Prediction

Port 1-3 Chiang Rai

 


 

The match kicks off at 7.00 p.m. Wednesday 7th August. It is being shown on True Sports HD 3. If you can’t get down to PAT Stadium the match will be shown as always at our sponsors the Sportsman on Sukhumvit 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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