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Port’s Non-Starter XI

 

After Port’s mid-season, featuring a spate of off-the-wall signings, I thought I’d try and cobble together a team of players who now could feasibly fail to register a single minute of T1 action between them in the rest of 2019. Why? Partly because I’ve got nothing better to do today, and partly to make the point that after cutting the squad down to a manageable size a couple of seasons ago, it has once again swelled to the point where it’s hard to see how many players are ever going to get a game, and if that’s the case, what are they doing there? The amount of players currently registered for T1 action is 29, while a further 2 (incidentally probably the two highest paid players in the squad) are only available for cup action or not at all. There are also 7 players out on loan, taking the tally to 38.

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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.

 

Southern Discomfort: Southern District FC 3-2 Port FC (Friendly) Match Report

 

 

Hong Kongese club Southern FC overcame a makeshift Port side 3-2 in what for them is pre-season preparation, and for Port a mid-season break. The club, curiously known as The Aberdeeners, fielded a strong team complete with a host of foreigners, while Port fielded a combination of first team, second string and Port B players, with the foreign contingent plus halfies Kevin (97), Dolah (4) and Slot (11) running laps and stretching on the sidelines.

Injured winger Nurul (31) was seen hobbling around, first wearing padding on his knee and then not. He’s nowhere near fit just yet. Rattanai (17) was also spotted looking fragile, but Adisorn (13) was doing some more vigorous training indicating that he is nearing fitness.

 

 

From the off it was clear that Southern were taking proceedings rather more seriously than their opponents, with instructions constantly being barked out by Anglo-Pakistani defender Zesh Rehman at the back, a mystery foreign-looking fella with a Chinese name in midfield and feisty Brazilian forward Souza. While Southern looked dangerous with some direct balls over the top, Port’s play in midfield was a bit tidier if less threatening, with Anon (20) and Siwakorn (16) looking good in the engine room.

Port’s defence looked less than comfortable dealing with Southern’s Brazilian duo up top, with the worst offender being stand-in captain Todsapol (6) who, after getting subbed off at half time against Buriram, had another stinker. His partner in defence was Port B defender Sarawin (48) who actually looked calm in comparison, and dealt with everything that came his way with no frills and no drama.

It was no surprise when Southern took the lead, but Port hit back nearly straight away. A long ball over the top was chased down by Arthit (29), and Port’s second choice striker showed excellent technique with the outside of his right foot to slide the ball in to the side netting.

The rest of the half provided what you’d expect. Anon looking like Port’s best player in midfield, some lovely touches then some awful touches from Bodin (10), Pakorn (7) trotting around and shooting from corners, Jetjinn (15) getting in to good positions then providing awful service and Terens (28) running around a lot to no particular effect.

It was Terens who provided the only other first half drama as he went barreling in to the back of a Southern player in the penalty box with such force that he ended up rolling up his back and over his head, plummeting to the floor with such velocity that he managed to cut his head open in the landing. After some lengthy treatment, poor old Terens was replaced by Somprasong (14), finally getting a chance to strut his stuff for the Port fans.

Somprasong looked feisty in the challenge and played very sensibly with the ball, almost always retaining possession and playing the correct pass, but he didn’t really show the dynamism we were hoping to see, and that he will need to challenge the likes of Nurul and Terens for a permanent place in the squad.

 

 

At half time there were several changes, with more fringe players getting the opportunity to impress. In the case of young forward Chanayut (99) he has done that on a consistent basis whenever he has had the opportunity, and this was no exception. He was probably Port’s best player in the second period, always looking to drive play forward and showing a very promising turn of pace with the ball. Fellow B teamers Pummared (41) and Apisit (45) looked decent if unspectacular in midfield, with Anon moving back in to defence with Todsapol, where he looked… like a midfielder playing in defence. Of course in friendlies it’s worth trying these things out, but in this case the experiment was decidedly a failure.

Southern scored two more goals, after which Port finally decided to start playing again. Bodin came back on rolling-subs style and got Port back in to the game with an absolute screamer from the edge of the area. After a goal mouth scramble the ball came to the Fresh Prince and he took a touch, before unleashing a wicked dipper of a strike which was over the keeper and under the bar before he knew what had happened. If only he would show that kind of killer instinct more often when it mattered!

By way of rounding up, Nitipong (34) attacked a lot, Watchara (1) was mistake-free in goal and distributed the ball well and Chakrit (9) was useless playing out of position (quelle surprise) up front.

All in all, a good result for Southern and a good workout for some of Port’s second and third string.

 

The Sandpit’s Men of the Match

 

 

One from each half. Anon bossed the midfield in the first half, and Chanayut drove Port forward relentlessly in the second, showing good footwork and impressive acceleration.