Bunnies Bug Port: Port FC 0-1 Bangkok Glass Pathum Utd

 

The resumed season continued to be a huge disappointment for Port fans as their team went down 0-1 to a very average Bangkok Glass side in an attritional game short on excitement. No goals, poor performances throughout and some fresh injury worries meant that the game was a disaster for the home side who are already starting to lose touch with leaders Bangkok Utd.

Following last Sunday’s frustrating and farcical scenes which began with your correspondent refused entry to the PAT and ended with the lights going out, this week The Sandpit decided this game would better be watched from the sofa with a bottle of red and, with the match kicking off in the rain, our decision was vindicated.

Pang’s team selection saw a couple of changes, with the injured Siwakorn making way for the returning Go Seul-Ki (8), and Bodin rewarded for his goal and MOTM performance last week by being dropped in favour of Steuble (15), who slotted in at LB with Kevin (23) moving forward on the wing. Pakorn (7) came in on the right for the injured(?) Bonilla, and Dolah (4) came in for Right Thit at CB.

The game began as it would mostly continue, BG looking bigger, stronger and fitter and passing the ball around accurately whilst Port looked disjointed and chased shadows, unable to hold onto the ball for longer than a couple of passes. There was an early warning when a Todsapol (6) howler let in a BG striker for a one-on-one with Rattanai (18) who did just about enough to put him off and force his shot wide. But with BG bossing the game an away goal looked likely and it came from a sadly inevitable source. When we saw the name ‘Chenrop’ on the BG team sheet we rejoiced, as surely the worst striker ever to play for Port surely wouldn’t be a threat, even taking into account the curse of the returning ex-player? Wrong! On 13 minutes, the Port flop latched onto a delightful through-ball, nutmegged Dolah, and spanked it past the Rat into the far corner, like he was Messi or something. One of the best goals you’ll see at the PAT all season.

The goal was the cue for BG to park the bus, and with the towering figures of Victor, Tunez and Irfan at the back, it was most definitely a double-decker. The latter in particular seemed to have been detailed to wind up Suarez (5) and succeeded both in keeping the mercurial Spaniard quiet and most definitely rustling his Latin jimmies to a considerable degree. With Heberty (37) once again looking like a man who wanted to be absolutely anywhere else but playing at the PAT, it was left to Pakorn to shoulder the attacking responsibility and whilst he at least looked interested, without any support he could do little to trouble the glass wall.

Half time came, more wine was poured, and numerous Facebook Messenger moans/rants were read and replied to, before we were off again. Port looked a lot livelier and started the half in attack mode, though rarely creatively or incisively enough to trouble BG. A Suarez header flashing wide of the post was about as close as they came to drawing level.

Around the hour mark Pang decided it was time for a change up front, but rather than bring off the near-invisible Suarez or Heberty, she chose to pull off the industrious Pakorn, and brought on Bonilla (99). The clearly unfit Salvadoran lasted a mere 2-3 minutes before going down in the box clutching his hamstring, and being stretchered off. You really have to wonder what goes through the minds of Port’s management when they not only sign a player who is injured (and, a source tells me, had already been rejected by three other T1 clubs for that same reason), but then force him to play and get him even more injured. It’s not only incredibly stupid, it’s also negligent and irresponsible.

The one good thing about the Bonilla farce was that it finally led to the introduction of Bodin (10). Port invariably look a lot more dangerous with the young winger on the pitch and he suddenly gave BG’s previously untroubled defence something to think about. Sadly his striking colleagues were nowhere near the same wavelength and so his runs, flicks and incisive passing were wasted. With Port clueless and BG happy to sit back, the game fizzled out and it ended with a win for the Rabbits and a second home defeat in a row for Pang’s team.

Clearly, all is not well at Port. A team that started the season with 10 points from 12 and playing some attacking, energetic and well-organised football suddenly looks tired, uninterested and disjointed. A previously tight squad with a clearly defined starting XI has been bloated by a number of unnecessary and expensive vanity signings, whilst Port are once again going into games in a 4-5-1 formation without a striker who can act as a focal point and hold up the ball, and get on the end of crosses, thanks to the signing of a forward who appears to be permanently injured. Why we didn’t see Adisak come off the bench last night is a mystery – he’s no Alan Shearer but at least he gives a bit of height up front and has already showed a penchant for goal poaching that was non-existent last night.

But we’ve been saying all this for years, and we’ll no doubt be saying it again next week. Predictably, today rumours are circulating that Jadet might be getting the sack for the third time, but it really doesn’t matter. As long as the chairwoman picks the team and interferes in the coach’s job, and as long as noone complains about it (and we saw from the hysterical reaction to Choke’s post-sacking interview why they don’t), nothing will change. Port has gone from being a respected, plucky working-class community club occasionally punching above its weight, to some kind of grotesque soap opera, a monument to the kind of hubris and arrogance that thinks throwing money around is the way to succeed and which blames everyone but itself when it fails. Port is a hard club to love right now, but if morbid interest or black comedy are your thing, there’s no better watching experience in Thai football.

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match: Bodin

For most of the game, picking an MOTM was a thankless, impossible task. Fortunately Bodin came on late in the game and got the award by default, by being the only Port player on the pitch who looked like he believed. Keep it up young fella.

 

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.

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