Mind the Gap: Thai Port FC v Sukhothai FC Preview

With three League games to squeeze in before yet another season defining fixture, this time to BG Pathum, Port need to build on the success of their last league outing, one that seemed unlikely after an almost calamitous first half at Chiang Rai. However, with some telling substitutions, a renewed determination and a welcome-back goal for the little marmoset, the gap is now ‘only’ seven points – we can do it, can’t we?

However, the ‘rampant’ Lions were de-clawed on Wednesday, a generally lackluster performance seeing their defence of the FA Cup fizzling out in a sudden-death penalty shoot-out; Buriram just that little more precise. Port had a great chance to win it at 4-4, and maybe, in hindsight, Thanasith was not the best choice to deliver the killer blow, a cooler, more experienced head might have been better, as Nitipong later demonstrated.

On recent form, Sukothai should not present a major challenge, having lost their last five games, including to cellar dwellers Rayong FC. They have supposedly strengthened since the break with, labeled by Transfermarket, some, ‘Winter Arrivals’, including Joshua Grommen (4), a Dutch-Filipino centre-back from Brisbane City, who may partner Myanmar international, Seo Min Tun, unless he’s under house arrest. At the other end of the pitch they have been very much reliant for goals from captain and mascot, Madagascar’s John Baggio (10) and Brazilian, Ibsen Melo (71), who have contributed 18 of the Fire Bat’s 26 goals so far.

 

 

 

However, the player I am going to highlight is one who won’t be playing. Sadly, we will not be treated to the delights of a ‘Winter Departure’; 19 year old, Anglo-Thai, Leon James, who has moved to Barcelona, the first Thai player ever to do so. Yes, that Barcelona. James joined Leicester City as a 6 year old and, having watched a highlights clip of his performances with Leicester Under 18’s, the boy is clearly a ‘bit special’, as they say. He should be, if you believe Wikipedia, who have him down as making one appearance for Sukothai and scoring 15 goals!

 

 

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman, it is ‘reported’, has compared him to a young Lionel Messi. Eat your heart out, Chanatip. If only he had stayed a week longer; on second thoughts, James, a central midfielder, would have been facing Sivakorn. Ouch! Sorry Ronald.

 

 

Assuming all players will be available, and, with now, seemingly nothing to lose, why not throw caution to the wind and go for a bold, madcap, attacking 3-5-2 formation – we’re not really going to catch BG Pathum Utd are we?

 

 

The match kicks off at 1800 Thai time at The PAT Stadium but games will continue to be behind closed doors. Channel 5 are broadcasting it.  Or why not join some of the Sandpit regulars at The Sportsman on Sukhumvit Soi 13 to watch the game.

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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