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.

 

 

 

 

Toby Knight

Toby Knight

North Londoner, Arsenal fan and believer in lucky cigars, Toby happily stumbled upon Port FC 4 years ago. The rest, as they say, is history.

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