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Honda Pity: Port FC U19 3-0 Thai Honda U19

 

Port U19s continued their impressive form in the Thailand Youth League, securing a comfortable 3-0 victory over Thai Honda at PAT Stadium. I was spoiled last time I came along to watch Port’s academy, seeing two superb long range goals as Port ran out 4-1 winners, and Port’s youngsters once again delivered in spectacular fashion, striking twice from free kicks. Watch your back, Pakorn!

It was mostly supportive mothers in attendance in Zone A, with a total of maybe 40 people there for kickoff, although that number probably doubled by the time by the time some of the locals took up residence in Zone B, whiskey in tow. Just on the other side of Zone C the U17s had kicked off thirty minutes earlier with an even smaller crowd and even fewer places to hide from the early afternoon sun.

 

 

Port wasted no time impressing their mothers, with the first goal coming after just 7 minutes. Winger Chitnuphong (59) surged past a couple of chances before being upended, and captain Chanayut (99) was always going to shoot with the ball placed in an ideal position for the right footer. His strike was textbook, dipping over the wall right in to the top left hand corner.

I was less than complimentary about Port’s little goalie Jedsadakorn (83) last time out, but this time he made a crucial interception on 13 minutes. With the offside trap beaten, he sprinted right out of his area and tackled the opposition forward, who to be fair made a hilariously inept attempt to get around him and find the empty net.

Port were clearly the better side though, and Suriya (85) could have doubled their lead if he had found the corner with a curling effort on 27 minutes. Winger Watcharaphon (78), who scored a worldie last time out, was to make no mistake 4 minutes later, although he could probably have called his mum down from the stands to stab home from a yard out, so easy was the chance presented to him by teammate Partchya (56). Normally a winger but playing as a no10, Partchya skinned one defender and took the ‘keeper out of the game with his cross, leaving Watcharaphon to score his first of the day.

The only reason Port were not able to add more to their lead seemed to be the lack of a real striker. Warayut (79) has played there twice, but all he’s done is miss chances. Man of the match last time out Phonsat (80) was for some reason left on the bench, despite being absolutely miles better. Picking the best players never has been in vogue at Port, I suppose. Why should the academy be any different?

 

 

Port only became more dominant in the second half, although they contrived to miss quite a few simple chances. The funniest was a goalmouth scramble which involved centre back Teera (51) almost beheading a teammate with a vicious strike, before a Chanayut volley was saved and the ball was somehow scrambled away.

Suriya was guilty of a really poor miss when clear through on the ‘keeper, so it was once again left to Watcharaphon to show the other boys how to finish. Honda were lucky not to have a man sent off for the challenge which gave Port the freekick, but Watcharaphon handed out the appropriate punishment himself. A very similar effort to Chanayut’s opener, he curled it in to the top corner, drawing the first big cheer of the night from the increasingly lubricated group of fans in Zone B.

The win sends Port equal top of the Bangkok & Samut Prakan region of the Thailand Youth League. Assumption United’s 0-0 draw with Deffo FC moves them level on points with Port, as well as having an identical goal difference.

 

The Sandpit’s Man of the Match

So far Chanayut has been Port’s standout youngster almost every time I’ve had a chance to see the academy in action, and today was no different. His turn of pace to go past players in the final third is the most impressive element of his game, but his passing and dead ball shooting is also excellent.

 

 

The other star man was central defender Teera (51). I saw him for the first time a couple of weeks ago and he impressed me with his no-nonsense style, but what really stood out on Sunday was his communication. He’s seriously gobby, and in a team, and a club in general, where most players stay very quiet on the pitch, it makes a big difference to have someone barking out instructions and warning teammates when they’re under pressure. Teera is very much my kind of player, as he showed late on in the match when he flagrantly blocked the opposition goalkeeper’s attempt to throw the ball out for no apparent reason. He was booked for his trouble. Good lad!

An honourable mention must also go to Watcharaphon who continues to impress with his shooting from distance. Chanayut shades it, but only just.

 

Port School University: Port FC U19 4-1 North Bangkok University

 

Port u19s put on a fine display of attacking football against North Bangkok University to cruise to a third consecutive Thai Youth League win on Sunday. With a mixture of Port B players and a few new faces Port seemed more upbeat, and played a more positive brand of football than what we saw from Port B under Somchai Subpherm. There were also some promising individual performances, and a couple of really splendid goals to report, which was a pleasant surprise!

 

 

 

To be fair, this was an equally error-strewn affair to the last Port B game I watched, but what set this match apart were the moments of quality that punctuated the general dross. None of those moments of quality appeared in the first 20 minutes though, with Port conceding a hilariously bad opening goal despite being marginally the better side. Miniscule Port ‘keeper Jedsadakorn (83) was at fault, flapping at a tame cross, and giving a North Bangkok attacker the simplest of chances to scramble home.

Port soon regained control of the game though, and in the 40th minute a mazy run in to the box lead to a Port penalty. Skipper Chanayut Jejue (99), who had some outstanding games last season, tucked it away coolly. He seemed to be playing slightly out of position in central midfield, with his normal role being further forward, but he still put in a good performance, although he didn’t have as much of an impact as he would have liked in the final third.

First half substitute Phonsat Saobubpha (80) certainly wasn’t found wanting for impact though. Shortly after replacing an injured teammate, Phonsat picked up the ball a good 5-10 yards outside the area and launched a dipping, curling strike over the head of the opposition’s vertically challenged ‘keeper. So good was the strike it would likely have beaten almost anyone, but this poor guy was absolutely nowhere near it. Phonsat is one of those Thai players you find once in a blue moon – a natural striker. He’s tall, a little gangly but fairly strong and likes to hold the ball up, lay it off then charge in to the box. And he can shoot. Incredible, Jeff!

In the second half, Port went from strength to strength. Partchya Katethip (56) replaced Chitnuphong Phraengphrom (59) and immediately started wreaking havoc, but the first big chance of the half was created by Phonsat. He cut through the defence before unselfishly squaring to his striking partner Warayut Phunprasan (79), who failed to find the net with just a defender in his way. Then, in the 82nd minute Phonsat started a move in the middle of the park before pegging it in to the box where Partchya curled a quality cross right in to his path. He converted smartly to cap off a fine display. He should be starting in future!

There was time for another moment of exceptional quality before the final whistle, and this time it was provided by right winger Watcharaphon Chumking (78). He took a leaf out of Phonsat’s book, hitting a curling shot over the head of the North Bangkok ‘keeper right in to the top corner. Exquisite.

Overall, a good performance, and 9 points out of a possible 9 for Port’s u19s. After a disappointing showing in T4 last season, it’s good to see the youngsters back to playing attacking football and getting results.

Thailand Youth League matches are being played in the comfort of PAT Stadium, making the games much more accessible than last season, and giving the lads the chance to show off their skills in Khlongtoei, as it should be.

 

The Sandpit’s Man of the Match

Centre back Teera Thayanram (51) put in a solid shift, winning a few headers and making some key interceptions. He was probably Port’s best player in the first half, but striker Phonsat Saobubpha (80) has to take the award for his top-notch performance up front after being subbed on. He retained possession well, started attacks using his hold-up play, and most importantly he showed that he knows where the goal is. Now, if he can grow a couple of inches and put on a bit of muscle, Port will have a real prospect on their hands!

 

No Bottle; Port Crack in Coke Cup Final

 

Port’s Academy suffered Coke Cup heartbreak after they slumped to a 2-0 loss against Muangthong in the Bangkok Regional Final. Port had already exceeded expectations by getting as far as they did, outperforming the youth sides of some of Bangkok’s best clubs, most notably Bangkok United – who were dispatched in the group stage – and Bangkok Glass. Ultimately their efforts came to nothing, though, as rivals Muangthong advanced to the last 8 of the Coke Cup, where they will face the champions of 7 other regions.

The game itself was a pretty one-sided affair, and it’s no surprise when you look at the teams. The Muangthong Academy provides a sizable proportion of Thailand’s under 19 squad, whereas Port don’t have a single representative, with Meechok having turned 20 this year. Nevertheless, Port’s young lions did themselves proud, surviving against the prohibitive favourites until well in to the second half.

Tall, powerful midfielder Polkrit (11) was arguably Port’s key man, shielding the defence well and making Muangthong’s forwards think twice about going in to challenges with him. Unfortunately his all-action performance took its’ toll, and Polkrit limped off with a foot injury at about the hour mark. It was shortly after the big man was replaced that Port finally succumbed. A pinpoint cross from the left was headed home by the only forward in the box, who did well to find space between the two centre backs and finish clinically.

It was at about this time that Port players started dropping like flies. A spate of substitutions were made as Port’s players were clearly not able to cope with the physical demands of playing every 2 or 3 days in a tournament format like this, with most games being played at four o’clock in the afternoon. The game slowed down as numerous Port players cramped up, and others suffered injuries. Muangthong held up much better, retaining their impetus and continuing to attack in search of a second goal that would surely kill the game off.

It wasn’t long before it came, and it was a goal that goalkeeper Jedsadakorn (23) will want to forget in a hurry. In fairness to Port’s stopper there was a clear hand-ball in the build-up, but the way he flung himself on to the floor in an attempt to gather what should have been a fairly routine ball through was definitely more Weera than Rattanai. It was a disappointing end to what had been a good tournament for the ‘keeper, who kept two clean-sheets in four games.

 

Partchya (27) scored one of the goals of the tournament in the 2-0 win over Honda

 

Nevertheless, Port can certainly return to their regular season with heads held high. Perhaps some of Port’s players may have even done enough to be considered for an under-19 national team call-up. From the bits and pieces I watched, if I were to pick the two with the best chances they would be Polkrit (11) in midfield and Partchya (27) on the left wing.

 

Want to Play for Port FC? Here’s Your Chance!

 

Which of us, whilst standing on Zone B during a lull in the game, hasn’t dreamt of being out there on the pitch, clad in the hallowed orange & blue stripes, picking up the ball in midfield, skipping past a couple of defenders, laying the ball out to Ekkapoom on the left, making a run into the box and then watching as his cross goes sailing over our heads for a goal kick?

 

Well, now we have an opportunity to make that dream come true as the Port FC 2017 Academy is taking applications until the end of tomorrow (30 December). Obviously applicants need to be half decent at football, which I suspect rules out most Sandpit readers, and aged 18-20, which rules out the rest. Interestingly, Facebook translates the announcement as “interested in signing up to be a part of Leo?”, which I suspect would be of more interest to Sandpit regulars than actually playing for Port FC.

 

Anyway, in the unlikely event of anyone reading this being physically fit, good at football and younger than 20, you can apply to join the Port FC Academy here. Good luck!

 

Podcast

The Portcast #20: Famed but Flawed with Gian Chansrichawla

 

Gian Chansrichawla joins The Portcast to give some us some more insight in to the crisis at Muangthong. We talk about SMM’s legal disputes with the Thai FA, SCG’s reported sponsorship cut-back and why Muangthong’s famous academy is not all it’s cracked up to be. there’s plenty we didn’t know about that Gian spells out in rapid-fire detail.

Read more