10 Man Port Fight Valiantly: Suphanburi 2-1 Port Match Report

 

It was a wet Sunday night as we travelled to Suphanburi for our matchday 4 fixture, with us coming up against a Suphanburi side that has looked a lot more competent than it has in previous years. They’ve appeared to have gotten their recruitment a bit better this season, though there are still those ‘random’ journeymen that they seem to love to bring in. Regardless for Suphanburi in 2021 its been so far, so good.

We arrived in Suphanburi fresh off the back of a strong performance at home, though there was that underlying feeling of “we should’ve gotten more” the week earlier. 3-points is 3-points at the end of the day, but we’re definitely not hitting our straps just yet. Hopefully, it’s a case of us getting stronger as the season goes on, because otherwise: it’s going to be a long season.

I’m going to cover quite a bit in this review, so apologies in advance!

 

THE GAME ITSELF

We only made the one change for the game, with Tanaboon [#17] replacing Dolah [#4] in the starting-11, with Dolah dropping out of the matchday squad altogether. Considering his performances so far this season, it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see Dolah dropped, though when you think back to Tanaboon’s performance against Police Tero: I was quite fearful of what would play out.

The first chance of the game would fall to our hosts, with the game at just 2:34 on the clock, with Rochela [#22] not making a clear decision whether to challenge for a header with Danilo [#99], or drop off and pick up the flick-on from the Brazilian striker. It meant that the Spaniard was well out of position, with Filipino winger Patrick Reichelt [#11] latching onto the flick-on and running toward the goal. Considering he once played for us, it was very much a case of “when is he going to score against us?” in the pre-game thoughts, which would’ve had him following a tradition of a multitude of players that have achieved the feat in recent years. His early effort was either a dragged shot, or an overhit low cross, but more importantly: no danger to the goal. It was a warning from our hosts: one that we needed to heed.

It took less than 60-seconds for us to fire back an effort of our own, with Bonilla [#9] picking up the ball in our defensive half, and playing a pass to his left. Bordin [#10] feigned and left the ball for Suarez [#5], with the attacking stalwart running across his defender, before playing a diagonal ball to his left to Bordin. His left-footed shot was a bit tame, but Patrick Deyto [#1] could only parry it,  which gave Bonilla an empty goal to tap the ball into. He doesn’t need any more of an invitation than that, and he was more than happy to pass the ball in, and collect his third goal of the season. It was a great bit of play from us, and it showed that when we’re in the mood: we can slice through teams with complete ease. The biggest issue for us is: can we do it more consistently?

 

Given the FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEdom of the Suphanburi penalty box, Bonilla puts Port 1 up.

 

 

A few minutes later, we had the chance to double our lead, with Go [#8] switching the play from the right to the left, with him finding Bordin, who was giving his marker nightmares early on. He looked like he wanted the ball at every opportunity, and he was jinking, weaving, and beating his man time and time again: could he do it for the duration of the game!? His cross found Pakorn [#7] unmarked in the box, though his header was straight at Deyto and an easy save for the shot-stopper. I can’t be critical of Pakorn in this instance, his effort hit the target, and there was no way that he could’ve controlled the ball and had an effort any other way. It was good play from all players involved, though the Suphanburi bench must’ve been wondering how he’d been left so free in the box!

2-minutes later is when the contest was altered. An in-swinging Suphanburi was met by the head of Danilo, who nodded an effort on goal, with his shot striking the arm of Jaturapat [#15] on the line. I’m not contesting that it hit his arm, so you can put your tinfoil hats away! The question is the intent: did he actively make himself bigger? I struggle to see any case for that, and the referee initially said he felt that Jaturapat’s arms were by his side. As shown by the picture below, and if you want the timestamp of the motion in full: skip to 2:10 of the YouTube highlights package.

 

Either the ref is saying arms by his side or doing a Nurul impression.

 

 

To me: it was a penalty. A little harsh, as Jaturapat hadn’t really done anything wrong, but if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d hope it’d be given our way. To then go to VAR, where he needed close to a dozen replays to come to a decision, and then come back and send off the player: unfathomable. I’ll give my proper thoughts on this later on, but this was the first of a number of decisions that seemed a little bit… strange to me. All in all, this VAR incident took well over 4-minutes for them to come to a decision, and once again showed why Thailand has no need for the technology: it just takes too damn long.

By the time the penalty was taken, over 8-minutes had gone by since the initial incident, and Ratchanat [#30] had no qualms with thundering the ball into the bottom-left corner. A well-taken penalty by the midfielder, and it was going to be a tough 75-plus minutes for us to try and get something from the game.

Controversy nearly struck again just 2-minutes later, with Sirimongkhon [#38] taking a tumble in the box after Roller [#33] had nicked the ball off him. It seemed to be one of those instances where the attacker hangs a leg out trying to buy some contact to con the referee, so I was quite surprised that we didn’t see another penalty awarded for our hosts. Credit to Suphanburi: they’ve got enough players and coaches moaning to all of the officials over the course of the 90-minutes, so it’s little wonder that they pick up as many decisions as they do!

Other clubs need to take notice!

There was some nice play from us at the 23:35 mark of the game, with Nelson picking up the ball on the left, and having a run at his fullback. The red card to Jaturapat had seen Bordin drop back to left-back, which was a big loss for us based on his early game showing, so it was mainly Sergio, Pakorn, or Nelson that we saw out wide for the remainder of the half, though Roller got forward a few times still. In this instance, Nelson beat his man quite easily in the end, before trying to square the ball for someone to tap it home. Deyto parried it, and a Suphanburi player rushed in to hack it clear before a Port player could react. It was a moment of promise and would have many fans hoping that we could achieve the improbable.

Our hearts were in our mouths just a few moments later, with a long ball forward from Lossemy Karaboue [#7] finding Patrick Reichelt out wide, with him being ‘touch and go’ regarding the offside. Bordin felt he was, but you could see that his defensive position wasn’t the best [not a surprise!], and it meant that we needed to scramble: quickly. Credit to Worawut for staying big and not making things easier for the attacker, with him being forced wide. His effort rattled the post, and with the rebound landing at the feet of Danilo and an [somewhat] empty goal being in front of him: things weren’t looking promising for us. In what was a great recovery from Rochela, he was able to get across and block the shot, which would keep the scores level: job done, and well done to Rochela for getting there in the nick of time.

 

Last ditch clearance by Rochela

 

 

It was quickly becoming wave after wave of attacks from our host, and if I’m honest: they were unlucky not to go ahead. Danilo had a couple of chances, as did Reichelt, but they weren’t able to find the back of the net… fortunately for us! Reichelt was playing out of his skin, and for me, he was showing why he’s one of the “premiere” ASEAN players that is currently plying his trade in the Thai League 1.

There was still enough time for one final VAR check in the first-half, with a shirt pull on Bonilla in the box not being deemed enough of a hindrance for him to do his job. There was definitely a shirt pull from the Suphanburi defender, and it definitely forced Bonilla into having to change his plan of attack, but it definitely would’ve been a horrendously soft penalty to award too. Considering our complaints towards the match officials over the course of the first-half, I wasn’t surprised to see it waved away, and I think that we can finally put to bed this thought from fans of other clubs that we’re the main beneficiaries of VAR decisions. Watch back our games: we ‘lose’ more than we ‘win’.

To go into half-time at 1-all seemed like a result in itself, though it was going to take a lot of work in the second-half to ensure that we’d bring back a point to Bangkok. Could we do it? Possibly. The odds weren’t in our favour, but the lads had been quite courageous in their performance since the send-off.

 

Nothing to see here. Thai VAR 2021

 

 

Dusit elected not to make any changes to the team during the interval, and I imagine that his message was quite simple too: just keep grafting.

We weren’t going to be getting any favours from anyone, we could only rely on ourselves, and that couldn’t have been more obvious when Suphanburi were awarded a very soft freekick outside the box just after the break. Was there contact? Possibly. I’ve never seen someone get a tap on their foot and grab their Achilles in pain though, so credit to the lad: he conned the referee well. From the resulting freekick, Ratchanat thundered the ball into the bottom-right corner for his second of the night. It was a horror show from all the Port players involved in my opinion. The placement of the wall for starters, the decision to have Siwakorn [#16] separate from the wall initially [only for him to then move towards it when the shot was on its way], and more importantly: it was on the side that the goalkeeper was supposed to be protecting.

Don’t get me wrong: it was a great effort from Ratchanat. Fair play to him for his goal celebration too: it looked quite fun! The main frustration regarding this goal was the fact that we were the creators of our own downfall, from start to finish in the sequence, and that was disappointing. Down to 10-men, 2-1 down, away from home, with around 40-minutes to go: the game had essentially just become ‘mission impossible’ for us.

 

2-1 Suphanburi and the game is slipping away from Port

 

 

More controversy struck just after the 57-minute mark, with an in-swinging corner from Pakorn eventually reaching the feet of Tanaboon, who had an effort on goal from around the penalty spot. It struck a Suphanburi defender, and having seen how the home side had reacted in the first-half: we reacted the same way this time around. It forced a VAR check, but the ball appeared to hit either the back or backside of the Suphanburi player in the replays, and we were instead awarded another corner. Our reaction certainly didn’t endear us any further to the match officials, who possibly had hurt feelings from some of the things that’d already been said over the course of the match, and it meant that we probably weren’t going to be awarded those tight 50-50 calls.

We’d spent a lot of energy trying to get level again, and around the 65-minute mark, that’s when it first started to look like our legs were starting to go. By that stage, the lads had already been playing a man down for at least 50-minutes, and Suphanburi were unfortunate to not have stretched their lead even further. Karaboue had a side-footed effort blocked by Worawut [#24], who’d replaced Bordin a few minutes earlier. Javier Patiño [#30] had also come on, with him replacing Siwakorn, in what would be his debut for the club. It was a somewhat attacking move from Dusit, which I respected, as it meant that we weren’t going to die wondering: bring it on.

Our substitutions meant that we were forced to shuffle the deck so to speak, with Roller heading to the left, and then honestly: I’m not sure what we did further forward. It was a free-for-all of sorts, with the only constants being that Patiño and Bonilla would be furthest forward for us. There was the chance that it’d leave us a bit more vulnerable at the back, but it was worth the risk, and when Danilo was shooting like he was in the picture below: we didn’t need to worry too much it seemed! Considering all his other efforts, this one was particularly bad and forced a chuckle in what had been quite a frustrating match [for me] to watch.

 

Danilo sends one to the moon

 

 

We made our final substitution on 72-minutes, with Nurul [#13] replacing Pakorn, with the thought behind it being to try and use Nurul’s pace to try and get by a tiring Daisuke Sato. Credit where credit’s due: Nurul did quite well in the 20-plus minutes he was on the pitch. He managed to create a few chances for his teammates, he had chances himself, but in the end: it just wasn’t to be for him. He’s such a likeable player to have, even if his end product is quite lacking, and although I think we should consider ‘moving on’ from him in the near future: I won’t begrudge him staying either. He looks like a lad that’s good to have in-and-around the squad, like Athibordee was.

Now: back to the game! Our best chance came with 80:59 on the clock when Roller was able to get by his man after running onto a well weighed through-ball. Considering his goalscoring prowess for Ratchaburi, I’d hoped that he would have shifted the ball to his [preferred] right-foot and shot himself, but he took the less selfish option and tried to cut the ball back for an unmarked Bonilla. Former Port loanee Piyachanok [#5] got his body in front of it though, which meant a promising attack fizzled out. Hopefully the next time he’s in that position, he’ll take the shot on, because he’s shown in the past his ability to regularly find the back of the net. Also, it was yet another fantastic ball from Sergio that had put him in space, with the Spaniard doing a terrific job pulling the strings.

 

It wasn’t to be for Port as they couldn’t quite find an equalizer

 

 

The 83RD minute saw Reichelt finally put the ball in the back of the net with a ferocious left-foot strike but the unfortunate thing for him was that he was offside, and the linesman had [correctly] flagged it. Considering the level of their officiating over the course of the match, it was quite surprising that they’d managed to get something right, so credit where credit’s due.

Suphanburi then had a couple of chances to kill off the game, which they butchered, and though they tried their best to waste as much time as possible: we were still managing to counter them as best we could. In the 91ST minute we were able to fashion out a pinball-esque type effort on goal, with Bonilla having a shot from distance blocked, before re-gathering the ball and crossing the ball in. Of all the people to attack it and head towards goal, I hadn’t expected Nurul to get there, and credit to the pint-sized attacker: he hit the target at least. Unfortunately: it was straight into the arms of Deyto.

It would be the final effort on goal, and considering that there were 3 stoppages for substitutions, so many instances of time-wasting, as well as a VAR check or two: 4-minutes was MASSIVELY ‘unders’ for stoppage-time. The referee had had enough though, and almost immediately after his watch hit the 94:00 mark, he blew his whistle for the final time.

A good win for our hosts, but a lot more questions regarding match officials for some. I can’t fault the performance of either side, and it would’ve been a much more interesting game if it’d been 11v11 throughout the 90. We’ll have to try and square the ledger in the second-leg, but to all the Suphanburi players: good job.

 

Hands up if you’ve had a bad day at work. – because people have shouted at you, what did you think l meant?

 

 

MY THOUGHTS – SUPHANBURI

I was quite surprised by Suphanburi if I’m honest, but it was quite nice to see them not be a complete mess for once. They were well organized, played some decent football, and although that was helped by the fact that they had a one man advantage [some may suggest 2 or 3!], there was enough about them to show that they’ve improved quite a lot compared to seasons gone by. Reichelt was fantastic, as was Karaboue, whilst Sato looks so much better for them than he ever did during his time at Legoland. It just shows that when you get your foreign recruitment right: things tend to go so much more smoothly. With that being said, I didn’t think much of their Brazilian midfielder [Diego Lorenzi], whilst their AFC quota player [Hamed Bakhtiari] didn’t feature either. They’ve made steps in the right direction at least!

It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out for the War Elephant’s over the course of the season, and I’m looking forward to the return game already.

 

MY THOUGHTS – PORT FC

I thought the team battled quite well after the red card, which was nice to see, as in previous years we would’ve gone on to lose quite comprehensively after a decision like that. We’re showing good signs in most areas of the park, but one area that I’d like to see a change made is in central-midfield. As much as I rate the guy, and as good as he’s been in the past, I think Go needs a game or two on the bench to try and spark life back into him. He’s still got all the technical ability that he had before, no question about it, but it’s his mobility at the moment that’s of concern to me. Bring Kannarin in alongside Siwakorn, and watch them either beat our opposition midfield into submission, or both be sent off in the first 20-minutes. It’ll be a fun watch regardless!

In previous match reports, I’ve been quite critical, but overall: I see nothing that’s truly got me worried just yet. There might be minor tweaks that I’d like to see, but nothing substantial where you’re basically going: this isn’t it, let’s start afresh. We don’t need to do that at all.

It’s quite tough to judge a squad after this type of game, and considering the fact that they all grafted like a proper unit after the dismissal: I’m proud of the lads. Hell: Bordin looked like a somewhat competent left-back! Personally, I’d like to see Thitathorn into the starting-11 next week as the replacement for Jaturapat, but once he’s served his suspension: I want him back into the line-up. It’s up to whoever comes in next week to put their case forward to Dusit, and competition is never a bad thing anyway.

 

MY THOUGHTS – THE OFFICIATING

I watch between 4-6 matches across all three tiers [T1, T2, T3] over the course of every weekend during the season, and the biggest thing that I’ve noticed this season is the consistency [or lack of] from the officials. I get that they have a tough job, and I also get that compared to the footballers they’re in charge of: they’re paid quite poorly. But it’s what they signed on for, and to me, the officiating in quite a lot of the games that I’ve watched this season has been… interesting to say the least. There’s other adjectives that should could be used, but that’s not the purpose of these comments. Without match officials, we don’t have a game, so it’s an incredibly important job at the end of the day. So how do we fix the issue? Instead of just rolling our eyes, and accepting it, should we at least try to find solutions?

I think it’s time for the FAT to considering getting rid of VAR [again], because simply put: the current officials just don’t know how to use it properly. On top of that, they’re fortunate that fans aren’t allowed in stadiums at the moment! Can you imagine the atmosphere within a packed PAT Stadium for a VAR call that takes between 4-8 minutes to come!?

A more drastic change could be to drop all the Thai officials down to the lower tiers, and bring in competent referees from abroad. It’s happened in the Gulf in recent years, as well as other leagues within Asia, with the preference being for Japanese match officials to be in charge. Until the referee education courses are at a level where you’re not forced to question a particular person’s competency over the course of 90-minutes: it might be something worth considering.

My first Thai football game was in 2016, and I can [hand on heart] say that the officiating this season has been a hell of a lot worse than what I’ve seen in the season’s gone by.

 

 

 

 

MAN OF THE MATCH – #9, NELSON BONILLA

I thought Nelson was great for us, and the amount of work he put in over the course of the 90-minutes was something that we haven’t been able to see too much since he first arrived at PAT Stadium. Even once we went down to 10-men, he was still grafting, still trying to fashion out chances for himself or his teammates, and to me: it was a glimpse of how important he can be for us. I think Dusit is the type of head coach that will get the best out of him, as no disrespect to Jadet or Oud: they’re just not at the same level. We’re definitely seeing the real Nelson Bonilla so far this season, and I’m going to enjoy it for as long as I can. 3 goals in 4 games is definitely the type of return that we need from our star striker, and I hope to see plenty more goals over the course of the remaining fixtures.

An honourable mention should go to Tanaboon, who I felt was instrumental at the back for us. He’s such a divisive player for all of us on the terraces, but there’s no doubting that when he’s at his best: he’s a quality player to have. The big question is: can he do it consistently? And [perhaps] more importantly: what’s his best position!? Regardless, I’m happy to have seen him do well, and he’s certainly got to have Dusit wondering whether he should bring Dolah back in for the derby next week.

 

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The FAT Catwalk 2021: Every T1 Home Kit Rated & Slated

Sunday 6th September 1992 saw the launch of Channels 4’s Football Italia coverage, giving the UK the opportunity to see, what was then, the best league in the world (and still is for this footballing beatnik (besides Peru and A League obviously)). For two young North London minds it wasn’t just the football played by the world’s best talents that caught the eye. As the coming weeks saw them introduced to the styled elegance of Serie A mid 90s kits from Sampdoria, Fiorentina, Venezia et al, planting a seed that would blossom into a love of overpriced manmade fibers and the promotion of sportwashing and morally questionable multinationals. Eventually they met in Bangkok and began exchanging images of the best and worst obscure kits to be found around the globe. Now regarded as two of the foremost gurus on all things style and football shirts, they’ve never written for GQ, the Guardian or had their own show on BBC3 because that would be far too mainstream for these shirt hipsters. However, after much persuasion (they wanted to do T3 goalkeeper shirts), The Sandpit have pulled off quite the coup, as in their first available to the mass’s public exposure Jimny and Tobannah* have agreed to give T1’s home kits the once over.

(*I get it’s a hell of a stretch about a fat lad and a bloke who’s noted style moments include the words “pink sandals” but roll with me.)

So, without further delay here comes the unquestionably correct rankings, we’ll start at the top as is traditional (and some of the efforts at the bottom are truly horrific).

 

 

 

 

1.Suphanburi

This one absolutely grew on me. It looks so basic but in this league of teams shoehorning every idea they have or stealing from last season’s efforts from Europe’s big clubs, something clean, simple and original is a wonderful relief. Then it’s got the circuit board design in the material to make you feel like a terminator or transformer and who’s inner 5 year old isn’t loving that? Warrix lost their way a little in recent seasons, caught in the mid-ground between the younger, sharper, more risk taking designs of Ari and Volt, and the plodding efforts of Thailand’s traditional giants of shirt manufacturer Grand Sport and FBT, but this is a fine return to form for the national team’s supplier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.Bangkok Glass

It’s the simple things done well isn’t it. Royal blue with a vibrant yellow trim on the collar and sleeves, one main beer sponsor (not Chang) and then the remaining sponsors strategically positioned around the shirt in a considered way. It’s certainly not the most revolutionary of shirts but it is sure done well and looks the bees knees on players and fans alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.Port

Rejoice for Port are finally free of Grand Sport. Ari step into the breach and start producing the most important shirt in Thai football. Great effort this, it takes heavy influence from the classic 2014 shirt. A season sandwiched between a promotion and relegation, Port would finish 13th in the Thai Premier League, do nothing in the cups, with Leandro top scorer amassing 10 goals. That’s the Port we love. As with their ACL shirt Ari’s only fault, oh so common in Thai shirts, is being a little too busy with the vague brush strokes effects, and is that meant to be stitching at the top where blue and orange meet? Thankfully they remembered less is often more with a splendid collar. Sponsor’s are spot on, the Leo perfect for pointing at when the vendors don’t want to believe you can communicate with them verbally and look at that lovely blue square – think how many moany old toads it will trigger, seriously make it bigger next year and get it on every shirt in the league.

 

 

 

 

4.Korat

 

The only all-orange effort in our top ten this season. The Swat Cats have selected Spanish brand Kelme to design their shirts, evoking formative footballing memories of Raul Gonzalez in the early years of his Real Madrid career. The shirt is well thought out; a simple, subtle orange tyre pattern with black trim and good positioning of several sponsors. Leo again and not Chang for the win. International car brands are always good for a sponsor but the logos at the bottom might not be 100% visible on fans with beer guts, doubt research and development looked into that.

 

 

 

 

 

5.Chonburi

Nike and Chonburi have been producing consistently decent efforts over recent seasons and there’s no change here. Keeping it very simple on the colour front of this shirt. The neck is great and it’s uncluttered by sponsors. The pattern evokes images of a well turned out pitch. It’s all very nice, if a little unspectacular. Then they go and stick this shiny thing on it that’s meant to be a shark’s tooth. Does it ruin a decent simple effort or save the shirt from being a bit boring? The debate rages on and we’ve both changed sides a few times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.Nong Bua

Certainly a ‘marmite’ shirt, I have some previous with pink items of clothing so I favour this shirt more than the co-author of this list. Thai sportswear companies are not afraid of reaching for the craziness and, as Nong Bua traditionally wear pink, Warrix selected a “thai dye”, could have picked this up at the night market feel for this season’s home effort. I think it works well, especially with the 3 sponsors positioned on the chest but not spoiling the effect like a big blue square plastered across the chest (cough, cough).

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.Buriram

On first impressions there’s a lot to like about what they’ve done here. It looks like just another simple dark blue Buriram shirt but up close you have all this paisley effort going on.  In theory great but there’s a little too much variety in that paisley, it becomes part paisley part stained glass pub window. To take it all in you’d need to spend about half an hour a couple of inches from the wearer. As ever, less would have been more, too much of a really nice and innovative idea leaves it all feeling like it’s trying too hard. I’m left with the sense it’s the kind of football shirt you’d see Richard Hammond wearing, far too much effort to vaguely look like no effort has gone into the corporate bohemian result. Then there’s the huge Chang logo, and nobody likes the devil’s piss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.Khon Kaen United

Newly promoted Khon Kaen are certainly not fucking about with their kit. The Kaen are our highest red shirt on the list and again it’s the little details that help the overall effort. The black trim to match the bold red (faded collar a nice touch too) and the snakeskin pattern across the body adds to the “we think we’re pretty tasty” vibe. Like Nong Bua, it’s clearly a kit made in Thailand and God bless the people at Ocel for designing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Muangthong United

Nice enough in a simple way, the black colour works with the deep red and the sponsors are well done. The designers at Shoot have decided we’re far enough from the 2018-19 season to just shamelessly rip off that season’s Spurs shirt, using Man Utd’s colours and nobody will notice. You’re wrong buddy, shirt hipsters never forget! Besides try doing something truly interesting next time, might l suggest Newell Old Boys 1993? You’ll look like a black and red Port, have a vague link to Maradona and won’t even have to muster the effort of changing the main sponsor on paint or whatever you design on. Easy day at the office and a massive leap forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.Samut Prakan Dons

The Dons are having a tough time financially it would seem and this has been clearly transmitted to their kits for this season. It’s a cheerful number made in-house but looks like a template effort. Blue and white hoops makes me think of the terraces of Loftus Road and the decent QPR team of the mid-90s. There’s only one sponsor – Chang, the mother-in-law’s favourite – and nowt else. It screams “we are brassic” but in a retro, “please don’t be mean to us” way.

 

 

 

 

11.Prachuap

Look, I’ve got no real issue with this kit, it’s just a bit too busy for my liking. Close to Korat with it’s choice of orange and black but then the sleeves go a bit mental and the monochrome sponsors just don’t work and are poorly positioned. It’s also very similar to last season’s kit and after suffering that as a Port fan with Grand Sport it’s no surprise they’re stiffing honest Prachuap supporters out of their hard earned cash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12.Police Tero

A bit budget. Looks like a cheap market job, only heightened by the classic market rip off two lines nod to Adidas. Something vaguely circuit boardie, finger printy or Polynesian going on in the material too but it doesn’t really impress. The beer choice of total wankers and a rather large CP logo between the manufacturer and club badge drag the shirt even further down this list. FBT had all their fun with the away kits and merchandise, this just seems an afterthought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.Ratchaburi

Ah it’s just shite really, the kind of shirt your nan would buy down the local market because she was too tight to get the original from Olympus Sport. The pattern on the shirt isn’t as good as some of the other orange shirts on this list and the darker trim is just an afterthought. Cheap and boring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14.Chiang Mai United

Did the design team stay up late watching the Euros the night before having to present, forget to do their homework and just copy what they’d seen? If they were watching Belgium, I suspect so. A lazy effort  made worse by the sponsors, another with one between badge and manufacturer’s logo and that Viet Air box is a rotter. Only one winner on the sartorial front in the second city this year as cross town rivals Chiang Mai are wearing some stunning Volt efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15.Bangkok United

Ari have put Rangsit’s Bangkok United in numerous decent efforts over the years but suffer a massive fall from grace this time around.  What’s going on up top with the sponsor between the manufacturer and badge? The True logo is a bit high then you’re left with acres of nothing. Looks like something Disney would dress the baddie team in, where they to produce a “SOKKAH” reboot of the seminal “Mighty Ducks” franchise. Also the red seems to disappear when viewed on the pitch. The chevron design looks like something you’d expect on a pit girl’s catsuit. Still at least you’ll not see anyone walking the streets of Bangkok wearing it right?

 

 

 

 

 

16.Chiang Rai United

A c**ty shirt for a bunch of c**ts, Grand Sport unsurprisingly grace the bottom position with this nasty sportswear travesty. Lazy design and execution, a foul shade of orange, details which add nothing to the overall effort and blocky sponsorship logos (several of whom have cut out logos on their rivals) mean this shirt best belongs on a bonfire. Hate is a very strong emotion, but this shirt is really pushing its luck with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously, this is the unquestionably correct ranking of the shirts but in the interest of appearing democratic, we’re giving you the chance to offer your views on all the shirts and rate them for yourselves. Give each one a score out of five and next week we’ll compile the results into the people’s rankings, along with the views of a few of our writers.

 

Time for Port to “Cast your doubts aside and fly.” Suphanburi v Port; A Preview

 

Port make the short trip to Suphanburi for the fourth round of the Revo Thai League, on Sunday evening and as is the new normal, unless there has been some change since last weekend (and there’s no reason to believe there has been), the match will be a behind closed doors affair.

 

 

Suphanburi

The War Elephants have opened their campaign with three draws. Starting with an unexpected 0-0 away to Buriram. That whilst very much a backs to the walls performance, they would have come away from disappointed to not gain three points, as they were denied a late penalty by the second worst VAR call of the season so far.  That was followed by successive 2-2 draws first with ChiangMai United, which was very much a case of shooting themselves in the foot as they surrendered the lead twice. Firstly giving away a silly handball penalty. Then having gone back in front, scorer Sihanart (9), received a second yellow for taking his shirt of celebrating and putting pressure on his team to hold out. Which they looked to have done until, former Port man Tossapol levelled things up which pretty much the last kick of the game. If that was disappointing, the point gained last time out against Prachuap will have lifted spirits, as they came back from 2-0 down and looked the more likely to take all 3 points late on.

Not a penalty apprently. Thai VAR at its finest.

 

Their team thus far has been settled playing 3-4-3 in each game. In the latter two games the defence has given up, numerous silly mistakes and had a few moments of switching off that Port will look to exploit.  The big question ahead of game regarding Suphanburi selection is the available of star midfield man Lossémy Karaboué (7), who having completed the full 90minutes at Buriram hasn’t featured in the two subsequent home game. If he’s able to return it will be a big boost to their chances. Upfront the wide roles have been taken by Danilo (99) and Reichelt (11) in the last two games while a different central striker has started each game (Danilo was used here v Buriram). The widemen have looked lively, Danilo has scored in each of the last two and each has supplied a cross for the other to score. In my preview of Suphan l questioned if Danilo would hit the ground running and score regularly and so far, he’s made a fool out of me, looking very decent.

 

 

The somewhat better than l predicted Danilo Alves in action against Prachuap

 

Port

Last weekend saw Port get their first win and clean sheet of the season at home to Khon Kaen United and the expectation will be for a repeat on both fronts on Sunday evening. I can see Dusit sticking with the starting line up that he’s used in the last two games. Jaturapat(15) brings more defensive stability on the left, which will help to deal with Danilo. The performance against Khon Kaen United started in a very lively manner as Port raced to a 2-0 lead and there after was a much more even contest, hopefully it was just a case of the team easing off and coasting home with the points assured. I can see something similar playing out here and a repeat of the scoreline.  We also have form for scoring spectacular over head kicks in this fixture with Rolando “Tony” Blackburn scoring one in 2019 and Yanick Boli repeating the trick last season. Lets hope there’s a third on Sunday.

The match will be shown live on AISPLAY (possibly limited to AIS network users) and PPTV36 at 1800 on Sunday 26th September, 2021. Fans are not allowed to attend the game, so the best way to watch with fellow Port fans is to head to The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 who will show the match on a big screen.

Port take the Venom out of the Cobras; Port FC 2-0 Khon Kaen United

 

The weekend was upon us again, which meant just one thing: matchday 3 and the visit of Khonkaen United to PAT Stadium, although the lack of fans in the terraces was still a major miss for our lads. Whilst other clubs may be possibly benefitting, or not even noticing the lack of fans in the stands: it’s a big miss in Khlong Toei. Regardless, it is what it is, and I hope that everyone that’s reading this is doing well, and in good health.

 

This place needs fans back.

 

It was an unchanged Port XI that lined up, and after the performance against Bangkok United, I was hopeful that if they put in a similar shift: a big win would be on the cards. It was our visitors that would carve out the first chance of the game, after less than 60-seconds, with some lax marking at a corner allowing the Khonkaen United attacker Verapat (22) an almost free header from 4-yards. Worawut (36) made himself big, but he was nowhere near the ball, but it was enough to put Verapat off. Bullet dodged: get the action up the other end, please!

We did just that, with some of our lads looking up for it early on. Sergio (5) was menacing, Siv (16) seemed to be everywhere, Pakorn(7) was causing problems: it had the Khonkaen United players at sixes and sevens. A through ball from Roller (33) with 6:29 on the clock had Go (8) in acres of space in the box, although he got the ball stuck under his feet, which allowed Douglas Cobo (30) to make a challenge before our Korean midfielder could get a shot off. It was a missed opportunity, and he should have done better.

 

Marking seems to be optional this weekend in Thailand

 

It didn’t take us much longer to find the breakthrough, with a poor defensive header from Filipino central-defender Josh Grommen (4) going straight to Pakorn, who played a first-time ball to Siv. I’m not sure why the Atthawit (10) felt it was necessary to foul Siv outside the box: he should’ve encouraged him to shoot instead! The foul gave Pakorn the chance to do Pakorn things, and my goodness: it was a thing of beauty! There’s been a real change from the midfield monk this season and although he’s had a few ‘false dawns’ in seasons gone by: I’m truly hopeful that this time it’s for real. There’s never been any doubts surrounding his technical ability, but there have always been questions as to whether he has the hunger/desire to become a top player. I’m not sure if we can give Dusit the credit, but regardless: Pakorn is looking magnificent so far this season.

If you see this as an opposition player: get ready to pick the ball out of the back of the net!

 

You give Pakorn freekicks here, you get punished.

 

Truly, it was a magnificent freekick, and unlike a certain Brazilian who left midway through last season: you can sense there’s a genuine technique to Pakorn’s efforts. It’s not just an “I’m going to hit this as hard as I can, and hope like hell it ends up in the net somehow” type of thought process. The fact that the Khonkaen United goalkeeper KNEW where he was going to hit it, yet still couldn’t keep it out: pinpoint precision. Sorry to wax so lyrical about the goal, but it’s well worth watching on loop for a while… I swear.

The goal allowed the lads to relax, the tricks and flicks, tiki-taka and first-touch football all came to the fray. After a smart press in the heart of the midfield, Go nicked the ball from the Khonkaen United midfield and on to Bordin (10), who took a touch and played the ball back to Go. Once again: he had time and space. This time, he didn’t get the ball caught under his feet, and he hit the ball forward to Nelson Bonilla (9).

It was never in doubt that he’d want to get back onto his right-foot, and after rinsing the Khonkaen United central-defender Apisit (26), he was [kind of] one-on-one with the goalkeeper and sent a luscious dink over the ‘keeper, to put the ball into the back of the net. It oozed class from the El Salvador international, and if he can do this with regularity, it could see him once again become one of Thai League 1’s most feared strikers. A fully fit Bonilla is a striker that will score 20-plus goals over the course of the season, and it’s exactly what we need from him this season.

 

Freeeeeeeeeeeee phone? Bonilla scores for the second match in a row.

 

With just 19-minutes on the clock, it was looking quite precarious for the King Cobras, with our midfield seeming to swarm all over the pitch in search of the ball. After Siv was fouled [again] in the 22nd minute, Pakorn forced yet another save from their goalkeeper from the resulting set-piece, although it was a much more straightforward save this time around. A few minutes later, Bordin won the ball back [after losing it] and received a kick for his troubles, giving Pakorn yet another opportunity to test out Nakchamnan (27) in goal. What followed would’ve been comedy gold if the ball had found its way into the back of the net, but a quick scramble from Grommen got the ball cleared away from danger.

Grommen was involved again a few minutes later, when Roller breezed by him, went down, and earned the Filipino central-defender a yellow card. It earned protestations from the defender, which would become a theme over the course of the 90-minutes, but he should be more frustrated that an opposition player had gotten by him as easily as Roller.

The King Cobras were edging their way back into the game, and a shot from Ibson Melo (71) at 32:39 forced an acrobatic save from Worawut. His matchday 1 performance had been below-par, but his performances last week, and here, have at least given justification as to why the club didn’t sit him on the pine. Regardless: I’m sorry for suggesting it Worawut!

Our next opportunity would come after a through-ball from Siv, with it reaching Bonilla. Unfortunately, it was on his left-foot, and after taking a touch: he could only get a corner. Could he have played a ball back to Jaturapat (15)? Possibly. The goalkeeper was well out of position, and if Jaturapat couldn’t have got a shot off himself: he could’ve at least squared it to someone who could. After watching the highlights again, it would appear that Roller had been unmarked at the back-post. Hindsight is always 20:20 though, and I won’t begrudge Bonilla for attempting to get a second for himself. It’d be our final attacking chance of the half, although our opposition wasn’t done just yet.

Over the course of the match, Ibson was a constant menace, and on another day: he could’ve easily had a first-half brace. We’re quite lucky that Worawut was in such inspired form, and he spared Dolah’s (4) blushes at 43 mins on the dot when he parried an Ibson shot, and then quickly recovered to pounce on the ball. Ibson had gotten by Dolah far too easily, and although his shot seemingly lacked power, it had good placement. In first-half stoppage time, some poor defending [again!] would allow the Brazilian to go one-on-one with Worawut, with the Thai national team understudy once again coming up big for us.

 

Worawut saves, the Cobra’s showed their fangs repeatedly but couldn’t beat the inform keeper.

 

This is where the empty terraces hurt us so much. If you’d had fans at this game, we would’ve been urging the lads to push on to get goals 3, 4, 5 or even more. The opportunity was there: we didn’t take it. It seemed like we went back into our shells, got complacent, and decided that we’d done enough to get the 3-points. It’s such a dangerous way to operate, and we’re very lucky that we weren’t punished for it. It’s up to Dusit to stop this type of complacency creeping into games, and I’m hopeful that in time: he will. It’s still early days from our ‘new’ head coach, and after what played out on matchday 1… it seems that he’s at least allowed to pick his own team, and in the shape that he feels will get the desire results. A head coach picking his own team and tactics? What an intriguing concept!

How long this is allowed to happen? Your guess is as good as mine.

Khonkaen United had made a change during the half-time interval, with Apisit being replaced by Kitsada (7) which saw their captain Douglas Cobo pushed back into central-defence. It’d be the King Cobras that would carve out the first opportunity of the second-half, with a gaffe from Rochela (22) allowing Ibson yet another shot on goal. Fortunately: Worawut was intent on preserving his clean-sheet. From the resulting corner, I honestly thought that Ibson had finally gotten his goal, so I was stunned when the replay showed that Worawut had prevented the WHOLE BALL from crossing the line. Khonkaen United must be disappointed to not have had the same VAR official as Muangthong last week, who’d have without doubt given the goal.

It was more worthy of the “super save” comments that he’d gotten from the commentary team for other saves he’d made throughout the game, although this time: he didn’t receive said comment! What!?!?!?

 

Super save from Worawut to stop the ball from crossing the line

 

We finally carved out our first proper opportunity of the second-half at 56:04, with a cross from Bordin being nodded down to Go by Suarez, with the Koreans effort being blocked by Douglas Cobo. It was a great passage of play from us, and a goal at the end of it would’ve been delightful. Alas: it wasn’t to be.

Just after the hour-mark, Dusit began to make some substitutions, with Nitipong (34) replacing Jaturapat, and Nattawut (45) coming on for Bordin. It meant that Roller moved over to the left-hand side, and although it would make his attacking play a bit more predictable: there’d still be that excitement factor about it too. In truth, the game began to fizzle a bit after the changes, with neither side truly carving out an opportunity that would force either ‘keeper into a save. In the 67th minute, Khonkaen United had made a double save of their own, and we responded again in the 79th minute with another double substitution: this time Nurul (13) coming on for Pakorn, and Kannarin (31) replacing the hero Siv.

The second-half hadn’t produced as many exciting moments as the first-half, bar the save from Ibson by Worawut from the corner, and I found my interest waning at times. A lot of the second-half performances from the Thai League 1 games that I’ve watched so far this season still have that pre-season friendly feel about it, and I’m hoping that it’s something that’ll change in the near future. Ibson forced Worawut into action at 86:31, and with Worawut prevailing once again: the Brazilian attacker must’ve finally realized that it just wasn’t going to be his night. Ibson was fantastic for the King Cobras, as was Douglas Cobo, and if they can both maintain the level of performance from last night: I think that Khonkaen United will surprise a few teams this season.

One final attack from our visitors in the 92nd minute saw Worawut make his ‘final’ save of the night, and he sealed a cleansheet that was well deserved by him. A few minutes later, the full-time whistle was blown, and it was a Port game that was truly lacking any controversy about it. The ‘tinfoil hat brigade’ will have to think of another conspiracy at this rate, though I’m sure there’ll be a decision in the near future that has them screaming their lungs out.

 

MY THOUGHTS – PORT FC

I thought the first-half was pretty damn good from us, so there was a hint of disappointment from me that we couldn’t push on in the second-half and truly capitalize. Whilst I thought Khonkaen United were decent enough, I also think they were definitely there for the taking, and with a bit more intensity from us: we could’ve given our goal difference a real boost. It was a lot tougher for us in the second-half with Douglas moving back into defence, but with us seemingly in second-gear for most of the half… we didn’t exactly help our cause either.

Regardless, it’s 3-points at home, and that’s the name of the game. There’s still quite a lot of improvement to come, but there’s been a noticeable improvement after the disaster that was matchday 1. If we could do some work on our defensive positioning, so that the opposition striker doesn’t get 600 shots a game: that’d be much appreciated! In all seriousness, the defensive unit needs to do a lot better, because we shouldn’t have to rely on our goalkeeper having a ‘worldie’ every week in order to get a result. If the opposition can’t shoot: they can’t score. Get it sorted.

 

MY THOUGHTS – KHONKAEN UNITED

In regard to our opposition. I thought Khonkaen United were quite solid, but a slow start like they had last night was always going to leave them in a lot of trouble. If they can sort that out: they’ll be okay. I’ve watched all of their games so far this season, and they’re a hell of a lot better than the likes of Rayong and Trat were last season, and probably Sukhothai too. Ibson looks so dangerous for them this season, but it’s the backline that’s their biggest weakness at the moment.

There’s some things that they’ll need to fix, probably in the mid-season window, but there’s enough there to suggest that they could secure survival this season. In their two losses [Ratchaburi & us] this season, they faced goalkeepers having great games, whilst Steeven Langil was in inspired form against them too.

Good luck to them, and see you again in the second-leg!

 

Worawut man of the match photo, getting alot of use this season

 

MAN OF THE MATCH – #36, WORAWUT

Was it ever in doubt? Seriously: he’s silenced me with his last two performances. I lost count at the number of times that he saved our bacon last night, and without him: we would’ve been in a world of hurt. An inspired performance from the shot-stopper, and he should be the first name on the team sheet next week. We travel to Suphanburi next week, so hopefully, he can make it back-to-back cleansheets.

Honourable mentions should also go to Nelson, Siwakorn and Pakorn for their efforts, but with the drop-off in performance from the entire outfield: there could only be one winner.

 

Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy -Port V Khon Kaen United Preview

 

 

For their second home game of the season, Port are again the early 1730 Saturday kick off, hosting “Hilux Revo Thai League” newcomers Khon Kaen United. Those of you with a season ticket can once more bask in the glory of its value, as the game is a behind closed doors affair.

Port will be looking for a first win of the season against opposition widely expected to be involved in the relegation battle. Building on a respectable draw away to Bangkok United in round two, that showed many signs of improvement. As coach Dusit displayed a willingness to shuffle the squad and tactics, traits rarely seen from a Port manager in recent seasons. Switching from the back 3/5 that served him well last season, to a back 4 to start the game. In midfield Siwakorn (16) returned for the much maligned Tanaboon (17) and his presence, the change of tactics or a combination of the two meant the gaping hole between defence and midfield, Police exploited so successfully in round one, wasn’t on show. Resulting in another intriguing tussle between Bangkok United and Port where both could feel disappointed to not collect all three points. Bangkok United would have felt the win was theirs when awarded a late penalty but Worawut (36) saved Heberty’s poor spot kick and Port headed back to Bangkok with a well earnt point.

 

 

Dusit comes over a bit Phil Brown at Hull

 

Khonkaen United

 

The King Cobras have started the season with two home matches picking up three points. They opened with a defeat to Ratchaburi, there’s no shame in losing to a side who despite falling away from the highs of their first leg performance last season, remains a very solid T1 (its far easier than using “Hilux Revo Thai League”) outfit, especially when Steeven Langil goes on a slalom run and scores a superb goal. Their second match was one that will inspire hope they can stave off relegation as they beat Prachuap. On one of those terrible September in Thailand pitches, they were victorious 2-1, claiming the points from the penalty spot late on. Thanks to a VAR review with the officials seemingly as eager not to award a clear penalty as their colleagues elsewhere were to award one for a clean tackle.  Converted by Ibson Melo, who is becoming very much the gun for hire in Thailand, as Khon Kaen Utd are his third club in as many seasons. Having previously turned out for Samut Prakan Dons and Sukhothai, the striker has managed a double figure haul of goals in each of those campaigns and Khon Kaen season will benefit greatly from a repeat.

They are managed by Carlos Eduardo Parreira, who’s time in Thailand started working with Gama at Buriram. Before striking out on his own, with spells in charge of both Chiangmai clubs, prior to taking up his current role in the closed season. In both matches, they have used a 3-4-1-2 formation and looked to break at pace. Despite his history, Parreira defence has looked vulnerable. Looking at the squad it appears a particularly weak area, even for a squad that is packed with players whose playing careers are very much yoyo T1/T2 journeyman. That they went out and signed Alef and Grommen to strengthen the backline doesn’t bode well. Alef was a great watch last season playing for Suphanburi, for non Suphanburi supporters, as he was liable to throw in a clanger at any moment. Something we may be denied on Saturday night as the Brazilian season ground to a halt at halftime in the Ratchaburi game. When having been booked for clotheslined Sanarawat Dechmitr, he was subbed off and didn’t feature against Prachuap. Trying to protect the backline is skipper Douglas Cobo who has been with the club as they’ve risen from Thai League 4 via successive promotions. He’ll need to be at his best if his team are to get anything from the fixture. I’m expecting them to look to sit deep and frustrate as we’ve seen teams come to the PAT and do many times and attempt to deliver a killer bite on the break.

 

Other Khon Kaen pictures exist but this remains the best.

 

Port

 

The big question is will Dusit stick with the back four or revert to three, Worwut-Baresi (24) was brought on for the last 10 minutes in Rangsit replacing Jaturapat (15) who took his place on the starter roster (gotta appeal to our Yank readers now and then), although the aim there was too sure up, late in the game. At home with Bordin (10) and Roller (33) as attacking wing backs, going with three is a far more aggressive formation. While Go (8) and Siwakorn in midfield offer the defence more protection, closing down space and the whole group getting better drilled at how to play the system, l feel it will be tried again.

 

 

With everyone in the division having dropped points, Ports return of two combined with a victory here and several matchups featuring teams who sit above us in the embryonic table, hopefully, the weekend brings a victory and a move much closer to the top of the table. I’m expecting that to be the case and will go for a 3-0 win.

 

The match will be shown live on AISPLAY (possibly limited to AIS network users) at 17:30 on Saturday 19th September, 2021.Fans are not allowed to attend the game, so the best way to watch with fellow Port fans is to head to The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 who will show the match on a big screen.

 

Worawut Saves! : True Bangkok United 1 – 1 Port FC

The latest Bangkok derby was an edgy affair, played out in a raucous Thammasat Stadium, with Port running off into the night with a point earned by a late penalty save by Worawut Srisupha. In season’s past, this was normally a fixture where Port would capitulate but they stood toe to toe for much of the game and gave a better account of themselves than last week’s draw with Police Tero.

 

Much of the improved football was due to coach Dusit’s insightful team selection. Clearly, he had worked out from last week that he didn’t have the personnel to play the formation that won him the championship at Bangkok Glass. ‘Baresi’ Namvech was the fall guy in defence, dropped for left back Jaturapat, which helped pair up Dolah and Rochela more closely as 2 traditional centre backs, and in came Siwakorn for the much maligned Tanaboon to add a little more guile in the midfield. This reshaping of the defensive line and holding midfielders was key in helping the attacking quartet of Bordin, Suarez, Pakorn and Bonilla play more direct and effective football.

 

Port started the brighter team and in the fourth minute, Pakorn played an early long ball down the right channel for Bonilla, who drove into the box with intent and fired a deflected shot off Thai ‘international’ Bihr that hit the crossbar. At the other end, ex-Port bête noire Heberty flashed a free kick past the Worawut’s post, then headed over from close range. 36 minutes in and Port snached the first goal; Bordin played a searching ball along the left wing for Suarez to chase but the smart money would be on Bihr to see the ball out. The tricky Spaniard tenaciously wrestled Bihr off the ball and raced into the box to square to Freeeeeeeeeee Nelson Bonilla to slot home his first goal of the season from close range.

 

Nelson Bonilla celebrating his opener.

 

A deserved lead but United didn’t take long to equalize. Roared on by the famous Thammasat atmosphere in their next attack, they worked a long ball into the box to midfielder Thossawat who squared the ball to our old friend Heberty but was denied by a swift intervention from Siwakorn. The ball remained in play on the left and Vander Luiz, a constant threat all match, took possession just on the edge of the box. He then preceded to pull Siwakorn’s pants down with a simple turn and fired the ball into the far top corner. For all the quality of the finish, questions must be asked as to why Siwakorn didn’t hoof the ball into touch in the first place and then allow Vander to go past him with a simple yet deadly piece of skill.

 

The niggly football in the first half was replaced with a much more expansive style of play in the second with both teams happy to attack. Port had several chances with little end product, the closest a corner in the 63rd minute which Dolah met but couldn’t direct towards the goal. Then United took control of proceedings, regularly bearing down on the Port goal but thankfully most chances were wasted by their new striker Anthony Carter. If I was the owner of Bangkok United I would be scrambling around for the receipt from his transfer because I would definitely want a refund after his poor showing.

 

Always a bit of spice to BKKU V Port. Wisarut goes in on Bordin.

 

Then the match defining moment; the 85th minute saw yet another United attack and Carter managed to nudge the ball back to the advancing Heberty. He took a touch and then fired the shot at goal, only for Dolah to block it with his left arm. Cruel on the defender who was having an excellent game up until then but it was a clear penalty and to his credit he didn’t complain to the referee and disconsolately accepted his fate. Heberty, who let’s be honest didn’t make many friends during his time as a Port player to put it mildly, stepped up against Worawut, a goalkeeper who hasn’t had a solid start to the season to put it very mildly as well. The crowd, hushed but expectant for the winning goal, watched Heberty run up to the ball and crack a powerful shot to his right but not out of range for the save. Worawut guessed correctly and dived left, punching the ball away with both hands. The punch was good enough for the onrushing Anon to spoon the rebound over the goal. The crowd was truly silenced but it cued pandemonium from our redeemed keeper, who is known to enjoy an on pitch celebration of his own saving prowess. Both sides huffed and puffed for the remaining minutes but to no avail and the referee called time on an entertaining second half.

The save and moment of the match as Worawut denies Heberty

With 24 hours to reflect on Port’s performance the only way to view it is positive; a much improved team selection prompted more effective football which, granted it wasn’t perfect, showed what the team is capable of. We displayed grit and determination during some of the tougher moments of the match and held our own in the on pitch battles. I’ve seen Port battered for 90 minutes in this fixture previously and although we couldn’t replicate the smash and grab victory of last season I feel there are better things to come after this match. 2 draws from our first 2 matches is hardly breathtaking stuff but we’ll take it and search for a victory in the next match.

Missing penalties in successive matches would put quite a dent in any normal ego, we suspect Heberty however will be fine.

MOTM: Worawut Srisupha

 

He bloody saved a late penalty from Heberty! Who else was it going to be?

 

“Look at his face, just look at his face”. Worawut with another classic reacion.

 

 

 

 

Siv-a Me Timbers – More aggression required in midfield Bangkok United v Port Preview

 

Another weekend: another game! Thai football is back, and all fans will be hoping for a much improved performance on matchday two. Personally, I was left with mixed emotions after the opening game of the season, largely due to the fact that I was quite proud of how we’d recovered after finding ourselves 2-goals down. My annoyance: the fact that we’d been 2-goals down in the first place. Considering that the club had the advantage of a somewhat competitive pre-season due to the Asian Champions League, there should be no excuses for some of the performances that we were forced to endure.

There were close to a handful of players who let us down on the weekend, and although I’d like to name them, I think it’ll be quite noticeable who I was less than impressed with when selecting my preferred team for the weekend.

 

Coach Dusit with issues to address in training.

 

For a moment though, let’s travel back for the ‘key moments’ of our game against Police Tero:

5’ – A sloppy pass from Tanaboon results in a cheap turnover, with Evandro receiving a penetrating pass from Honey. Port players jog casually in their attempts to close him down, nobody actually moves towards him to block his route to goal, and the Brazilian lets rip from range. 1-0, and whilst it was a good strike: Worawut should’ve done better. It went straight over his hand!

22’- After Bordin was unable to connect with a Pakorn cross/shot a little bit earlier, a lovely cross from Bonilla is met by the head of Sergio Suarez. It wasn’t the most powerful header that you’ll ever see, but it was placed perfectly, and it was a deserved equalizer for us. This would be the only moment of the game that you’d notice Bonilla actually on the pitch for us, apart from him appearing to almost cause the Tero players to erupt later in the game.

24’ – He’s done it once already: surely he won’t do it again..? Every time I watch this back, it just makes me angrier. The tracking of him from Tanaboon when Evandro received the ball was… pathetic. He’s not even sprinting, trying to catch him, and simply put: it was unacceptable. Again, I think that a defender should’ve broken the line to try and shut him down, but this was an even better strike than the first. Nothing Worawut could do about this one, it was a cracker.

29’ – VAR is called upon for the first time. Personally: I didn’t think it was a penalty. Firstly, I’m not sure about the contact, but more importantly: Sergio was never reclaiming possession of the ball. The right decision was made, so all the “Port get dodgy pen, after dodgy pen” conspiracy theorists can put away their tinfoil hats.

32’ – Hands down some of the worst goalkeeping that I’ve seen in the past 5-years, and it enables Tero to double their lead. I won’t talk about this too much, as it just makes me want to throw my laptop out the window. At least my decision to call Honey a key player for Tero in my season previews was vindicated! 3-1.

40’ – A decent ball in from Roller eventually ends up at the feet of Bordin, who has an effort on goal. Ekkachai attempts to block the ball, and in my opinion, his arms are far enough away from his body for it to be a penalty. Let me be clear: 5-years ago this wasn’t a penalty. The rule changes, interpretations, and all the other nonsense that has crept into the game have made this a penalty, and although I’m glad we got it… it’s still somewhat farcical to me.

44’ – So the VAR and subsequent protestations took 4’: what a great addition to the game it is! Anyway, the pen from Rochela was bang average, and the ‘keeper knocks it into the post. Cue a goalmouth scramble, and we’ve got ourselves back into the game at 3-2.

54’ – Bordin forces a good save out of the Tero ‘keeper, Roller gets the scraps, cuts it back to Sergio, who places the ball brilliantly into the back of the net. 3-3, game on, and if the fans were in the stadium: an atmosphere that would’ve made the Tero players crumble.

 

That’s the end of the goalscoring action, and though there were other moments worth noting, I probably delved too much into the game already. My apologies! I only hope that Dusit had a fair few stern words for the players in the change-room after the game, because although we came back to draw: those are the games we need to be winning if we’re to have any chance of silverware this season. Do I think silverware is likely? Not really, no, bar maybe a cup competition. Do I hope we win the league: of course! I’m just trying to be realistic, and although we now have a good coach in the dugout, there’s still the issues that we’ve been speaking of on the terraces since I began going to games in 2016.

Let’s touch upon Bangkok United in their game against Chiangmai United for a moment. Firstly: their away jersey looks horrendous. Secondly: the goal they conceded was as comical as the 3rd goal we conceded to Tero. Thirdly; Heberty might’ve scored a nice equalizer, but he took the ball off his teammate’s foot in order to do it: meaning he’s still extremely selfish. Fourthly: his penalty miss was a delight, so thanks Nont! Fifthly: Heberty scored the winner, which gets a major BOOO from me. He’s shown more emotion for Bangkok United in 1 game this season than he ever did for us. My memories of him in a Port jersey, are just of him sulking, shooting from 40-yards at least 4-5 times a game, and popping up with a few goals… he still looks like he’s sulking for Bangkok United.

 

 

Nont saves!

 

 

WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE FROM US AGAINST BANGKOK UNITED

Simply put: better organization. I’m hoping that the majority of our work on the training pitch this week is focused on our defensive shape, as we all know how capable we are in front of goal. The goalscoring potential in this team isn’t an issue in the slightest, and on another day… we score more than 3 against Tero. We hit the woodwork, forced a few saves, and so on. Our attack isn’t our weakness at all. It’s what we’re doing at the back that’s the main concern for me, and I’m confident that over time… it’ll be fixed. I do think that we’ll need to make some changes mid-season to fix it properly, and I’m of the opinion that Dusit will be looking forward to the mid-season transfer window very much.

All I ask of the lads against Bangkok United is they just look competent defensively. Track your runners, shut the opposition players down before they’ll shoot, and my god: PLEASE don’t concede from a set-piece for a little while.

Oh, and if we can give Heberty a bit of stick over the 90’, that’d be great too!

 

HOW I’D LIKE US TO LINE-UP

 

GK – Watchara or Rattanai. Basically: anyone but Worawut. Let him sit on the pine for a few weeks.

 

RCB – “Baresi” [Worawut]. Shift him over to the right side.

CB – Dolah. Charge him with organizing the backline, and allow him to break the line if someone is going to shoot from range.

LCB – Thitathorn. Natural left-sided player, get him in the XI, and place some trust in him.

 

RM – Roller. No complaints about his performance at all.

CM – Siwakorn or Kannarin. Never start Tanaboon again, hopefully, that performance was enough to convince Dusit to sell him again.

CM – Go. Whilst it wasn’t his best performance, he was much better in the second half in my opinion. He’s still a quality player, and if we don’t ask him to babysit his midfield partner: we’ll be better off.

LM – Bordin. He was a delight, but PLEASE OH PLEASE, NEVER SUB HIM FOR NURUL AGAIN. In my opinion, it’s time to ship Nurul out: he’s finished.

 

AM – Pakorn. HOW GOOD WAS HE!? I’ve never seen him in such good shape… EVER. I thought he was great in the ACL, and I thought he was good on the weekend too. His set-piece delivery and crosses were threatening most of the time.

AM – Suarez. The amount of times he’s gotten us out of a mess is remarkable. A great performance, he’s the first name on the team sheet.

ST – Nelson [begrudgingly]. His assist was nice, but if he could actually be a menace for 90’, that’d be great. He’s [probably] auditioning for his spot in the second leg, and his performance against Tero wouldn’t have helped his cause.

 

IN CONCLUSION

With the game to be played at Thammasat Stadium with no fans in attendance, I’m assuming that the best port of call to watch the game will either be at home, or at The Sportsman. I apologize for the long write-up, the somewhat “rant-iness” [yes, I made up a word] of it all, and I hope to see us get 3-points on the weekend! It should be a good game to watch, and I only hope that Thitiphan doesn’t make us regret not getting a deal over the line for him during the transfer window with an imperial performance against us. Regardless: susu Tarua!

The match will be shown live on AISPLAY (possibly limited to AIS network users) and NNU-5 at 18:00 on Sunday 12 Septermber, 2021. Fans are not allowed to attend the game, so the best way to watch with fellow Port fans is to head to The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13  who will show the match on a big screen.

you all knew it was coming

 

 

 

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The Sandpit 2021/22 Big Guess Up- Suphanburi

 

When I first started watching Thai football Suphanburi were very much a club on the up and widely considered to be the next cab off the rank into title contention. Sadly the years since have not been kind. As talent has drifted away from the club and the replacements either haven’t been to the same standard or haven’t worked out. A midfield of Thai international Charyl Cappuis, alongside the tenacious Adul Lasoh, a man with the looks of a soap villain and ankle biting jack russel esk game seldom seen in Thailand and widemen Chananan Pombuppa (in his time with Suphanburi) and Tanasith Siripala have departed the club. However this year the arrival of Lossémy Karaboué gives them a player to rival the best the club has seen. Can it be the move to kick start the club’s potential and a return to the heady days of 2015 when they finished third or will this season follow the pattern of recent years and once again see the club scrapping for survival to the bitter end?

 

Head Coach – Adebayo Gbadebo

Gbadebo’s time at Suphanburi is somewhat akin to Jadet’s with Port, moving from director of football to manager and back, only to return to the dugout when his replacements have failed to produce. In the past, his style was viewed as ultra defensive and the feeling when he moved upstairs in 2018 was that his team wasn’t entertaining enough and he might have taken them as far as he could. Only to return when things took a turn for the worse under Pairoj Borwonwatanadilok and successor Totchtawan Sripan. During his time away from the dugout he either had a footballing epiphany or the owners at the club decided to force his hand by supply a much more attack focused squad. Only Police and Samut Prakan Dons conceded more without being relegated last season. Although Suphanburi did have the one man car crash of defending that is Alef. Gbadebo will be hoping his departure leads to improvement from a defence led by Suphan Thongsong, a Thai international and steller performances, supported by Piyachanok Darit and Daisuke Sato, who arrives from Muangthong, having found himself usurped at the Nonthaburi club last season. He joins fellow Filipino’s Patrick Reichelt and Patrick Deyto at the club, with all three likely to be starters, the club is one of the better users of the ASEAN rule in the league.*

Adebayo Gbadebo polo shirt and double point

 

Key Player – Lossémy Karaboué

The signing of Karaboué is a coup of the highest order, whilst in his time at Ratchaburi the goals of Yannick Boli and the flair of Steeven Langil, garnered the headlines. It was the Ivorian, who started his career in France, quietly conducting the team. He’ll be the jewel in Suphanburi’s crown this season and you’d suspect would have signed for one of the division’s “top” clubs, if his profile included a few more goals and assists or he had a more convenient passport. Their loss is Suphanburi’s gain as there are few better midfielders in the league.

 

Lossémy Karaboué I’m all pun’d out beyond hes’s a Suphan player

My Prediction – Groundhog Season

The same as every recent season. There’s a lack of quality and depth in the squad that will embark on the first leg. Danilo Alves could fire them to safety but a new arrival to Thailand and a journeyman career that includes stops in Albania and the Uzbeki second tier is a worry. However, we’ve been here before with Suphanburi and we know what is likely to unfold. So, I suspect the opening leg won’t define their season. Rather anything less than an absolute disaster come the mid season window, will see reinforcements brought in and a late season push for survival. Can they dodge a bullet a third time? The last two seasons have ended with them taking it to the wire of a last day escape and technically being relegated, only to be resurrected by the decision of PTT Rayong to fold.  I’m sure the vast ranks of Supanburi fans would prefer an uneventful midtable finish but l suspect we’re in for a dogfight to the bitter end, can they top their last two cliffhanger endings?

 

 

 

*This line was in the draft version before Reichelt delivered this one emoji knockout to me on twitter, after Suphanburi’s impressive 0-0 draw away to Buriram in the opening round.

Despite Holding On, Police Cut N Run With A Point: Port FC 3 – 3 Police Tero

 

 

 

Port opened the season against a Bay City Rollers themed Police Tero side. Come full time any fears the arrival of pragmatic coach Dusit, would stop Port matches being entertainment were put to bed, as the sides produced an enthralling 90 minutes, with the spoils ultimately shared.  The fun started with the arrival of the team sheet, as Dusit began his mission to bring back the good times to Klong Toei by springing a few surprises from the mega mix of a Port squad. The biggest being the absence of Siwakorn (16) from the matchday squad, presumably injured. With his normal central midfield spot, alongside Go (8) going to Tanaboon (17). As expect Dusit deployed his a wingback system with the central defensive roles going to Rochela (22), Dolah (4) and Worawut-Baresi (24), Roller (33) came in at right wingback and Bordin (10) was surprisingly deployed in a more defensive role than normal on the left. Supporting Bonilla (9) were Port’s two standout performers of the evening in Pakorn (7) and Suarez (5).

 

Police Tero- Criminal away kits

 

For Police one former Port cult hero, Arthit “Pele” Boodjinda, started while the other Anon was nowhere to be seen. And it was their side who would make the first decisive play of the evening, Isaac Honey collected a misplaced Port pass and from on halfway played a ball to Evandro Paulista, who was in rather too much space between the Port defence and midfield, the Brazilian carried the ball forward unchallenged and from 25 yards unleashed a swerving a shang-a-lang of a shot to the left of Worawut(36). 1-0 Police.

There after Port began to apply the pressure and were rewarded in the 23rd minute, as some neat work by Bonilla evaded three Police defenders, giving the El Salvadorian the space to place an exquisite cross onto Suarez’s head, who guided the ball into the far corner. 1-1. Anyone thinking Tero’s first was just a case of early season rustiness and Port would kick on and to the expected victory, was to be disappointed. As the cobwebs were on show again just a minute later, as Evandro Paulista thought I’d do it again and worked his once upon a star success for the second time, scoring from near identical build up, this time he received the ball inside the centre circle and was again allowed to advance unchallenged towards the Port box, before unleashing a drive from slightly further out and sending the ball into the other side of the Port goal. It was an angel baby of a strike, only let down by the sight of a man just shy of his 34th birthday unironically doing the Ronaldo celebration.  2-1 Police.

 

It was one of those nights where Sergio Suarez was flying

 

If Worawut could be given the benefit of doubt for the first two goals, Tero’s third, on 32 minutes, was a classic howler. In my season preview, l spoke about each of our keeping options being flawed, with Wozza the biggest has always been coming for crosses and here it showed again as ball and keeper were like strangers in the wind as he ran into a group of four Port defenders marking only one Police attacker and succeeded in only flapping the ball into space on the edge of the six yard box. Where it was a case of on the money (Isaac) Honey as the unmarked Ghanaian showed his noted attacking ability, sending a bicycle kick into the unguarded net. 3-1 Police.

Port again took control of the game, pushing for the goal that would get them back into contention. They were rewarded when with 5 minutes left in the half, Roller’s cross evaded everyone in the middle and was collected by Bordin, who shot for goal, with a Police defender, diving to block it. Before the ball has sailed wide, the appeals started. As soon as the review was confirmed and the first replay shown, it was easy to see why. The ball clearly strikes Ekkachai’s outstretched arm. Here we go VAR moan one of the season, sadly l suspect numerous more to come.  The issue is, why it takes nearly four minutes to agree upon the obvious and get the penalty taken. That’s before we get on to what should and shouldn’t constitute handball and the issue of consistency when you add the handball penalty VAR reviews against Maungthong and Buriram for similar in the league.  Considerably shorter and less enraged than normal, that’s either progress or acceptance of this deeply flawed system. Back to the game. Rochela stepped up and fired his spot kick to the left, keeper Kittipong was able to get a hand to it and steer it onto the post but el capitán was Johnny on the spot, getting to the ball first and steering it home. 3-2 Police at halftime in one of the more entertaining halves for neutrals.

The second half saw Port again dominating proceedings and they were rewarded inside 10 minutes, as a Bordin shot was parried by Kittipong, the attempted clearance fell to Roller, whose debut whilst not quite Rollermania, still showed plenty of promise. The ex Ratchaburi man pulled the ball back to Suarez on the edge of the box, who span away from his marker and fired home. All square 3-3.

On a typical Saturday night at the PAT, with this match unfolding, the place would be rocking and the crowd playing their part, as the home team went on the hunt for a winner. As it was Police found themselves holding on in front of empty stands. There would be chances at both ends, with Worawut earning at least one “super save” from the commentators, something I’m glad remains with coverage having moved to AIS. Suarez was denied a deserved hattrick as the merest flick of Kittipong’s palm sent the ball onto the woodwork. Go would then lay on two opportunities, firstly for Nurul (13) heading the ball to the diminutive substitute, who may have been offside but avoided the need for a VAR check by fluffing his lines for 7 yards out unmarked. Before in injury time, Bonilla didn’t quite have the electric wheels required to get on to a through ball from the Korean, which would have left just the keeper to beat. Add in a free kick on the edge of the box for the impressive Pakorn and there were chances to claim all three points. The match however finished with Evandro Paulista clearly thinking the way l feel tonight I might as well go for a third long range spectacular but it was a case of there goes my baby as it sailed well wide to end the match.

A what could have been moment for Nurul

 

A disappointing result but at this stage of the season all we can do is keep on dancing, show the required dedication in training this week, ensure as a group the lads don’t stop believing and hopefully we’ll have a magic feeling at fulltime in the weekends trip to Bangkok United. It’s far too early to pass judgement on the Dusit era and even a defeated out in Rangsit would be too early for calls to see him back on the street. Give him time and the results will come. After all 90 minutes into his time at Port, we’ve conceded nearly a quarter of the goals his BG team did in a season, things surely improve. It was also the first time a Dusit led team have conceded three league goals in just under 3 weeks shy of two years – the last team to do it were Ayutthaya United in T2, hopefully, he can go as long before it happens again. With all our expected rivals at the top of the table dropped points bar the one we face next, there’s still everything to play for.

 

 

Man of the Match – Sergio Suarez.

New season same Sergio Suarez, long may it continue.

 

And finally, incase you missed it, a great shot from the Klong Toei VIP section.

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The Sandpit 2021/22 Big Guess Up- Chonburi

Chonburi are your typical team that won something many moons ago, and still hang on to the belief that they should be mixing it up with the top-half of the table every season, and possibly be involved in a challenge at some point. Bar their Thai FA Cup in 2016, that was their last piece of silverware, with the Kor Royal Cup in 2012 being the piece before that. Safe to say, for a team with the pedigree that Chonburi has, and for a fan base and boardroom that expects so much: they’ve been massively underachieving for the last 5-years. Bar a few glimpses of promise of course, namely the FA Cup win in 2016, and them finishing runners-up in it last season too.

For me, I feel we’ve seen a transition of the club, and in my opinion, it’s for the better too. In previous seasons I’ve looked at the Chonburi squad, laughed, and commented ‘Dad’s Army’ on it. The same can’t be said now, as there is a youth movement at the club, with there only being a handful of players over the age of 30. It’s a major shift in strategy in my opinion, and they’ve now got a core of talented [young] Thai players, that have gained experience in the past few years, with them being complemented by solid foreign players in the form of Dennis Murillo, Gidi Kanyuk, and Yoo Byung Soo. I’m not that fussed by Renato Kelic if I’m honest, but when you compare him to Junior Lopes, I guess he looks like prime Paolo Maldini…

I think this season is one that should be a real lift to Chonburi fans, because there’s plenty of reasons to be excited by their squad, and the pressure is now on their head coach to lift them out of their slide down the table in recent years. Since 2016, Chonburi have finished: 5TH à 7TH à 9TH à 7TH à 12TH. Simply put, they’ve been a club mismanaged for at least the past 5-years, and it’s about time they started to turn things around.

Chonburi they’ve cleaned up this close season

Head Coach – Sasom Pobprasert

I haven’t paid too much attention to coach Sasom in the past if I’m honest, with my main memories of him being from his time with Air Force Central. From conversations that I’ve had with certain individuals, I’m led to believe he’s quite a useful coach with younger players, which makes the Chonburi strategy of signing a plethora of has-beens in the past few seasons even more of a headscratcher for me. Regardless, the same can’t be said about the team this season, and it should be a good indicator of just how good their coach is.

Below is Sasom’s record in charge of Chonburi:

GAMESWINSDRAWSLOSSESWIN %
441781938.64

 

I guess it’s solid enough, but it’s nothing to write home about either. If they can finish this season with more draws than losses [and more wins than draws of course!], then that would be considered a major success in my eyes.

Coach Sasom, is his Sharks team set to fly up the table?

 

Key Player – Dennis Murillo

It was actually quite difficult to decide on who I feel will be their key man, as you could’ve also gone for the likes of Kritsada, Worachit or Gidi. I opted to not take the easy option and give multiple players, and I’ll tell you why: Dennis is superb. I’m not saying he’s a magnificent player, as I feel that he’s quite average in a few areas, but if you’re looking for someone who’ll find the back of the net for you on a regular basis: he’s your man. There’s no fuss with him, he can be relied upon to show up and do his job, and considering some of the ‘diva’ foreign players that we’ve seen in Thailand, it’s a nice change.

Provided he gets good service from Gidi and Worachit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have another 20-goal season, and fill the goalscoring void that the club’s had since they inexplicably sold Lukian in 2019.

 

Dennis Murillo her erm rocks and he plays for Chonburi now

My Prediction – Mid-table, possibly top-half

I think we’ll see quite an improvement from Chonburi this season, and I’m quite certain that we won’t see them flirting with relegation this time about. Simply put, there’s worse teams in the league this year, but take nothing away from the club: they’ve gotten their recruitment right. Only Rayong scored less goals in the division last season, so to get the top scorer remain in the country and his main supply route, is both quite a coup and a simple fix to your main problem. Better late than never in that regard! If I were on the Chonburi board, my message to Sasom would be quite simple:

“You’ve been able to build a strong team this season. Get the results required, or you’ll be moved on.”

Whether or not he has the capability to do so remains to be seen, but there’s enough attacking pieces at the club to see them find the back of the net frequently. The problem for me is their defensive unit, though I quite like Chatmongkol, but I’m just not certain that there’s enough quality within it to keep their opposition at bay. Throw Chanin into the mix, who’s good for at least 3 howlers a season: it should make for an interesting season to say the least!