Posts

Finally The End In Sight – Final Fixtures 2020/21 Season

The best and brightest over at League HQ finally got round to publishing the remaining fixtures, for this seemingly endless season. Highlights include, back to back home games against Buriram in mid-January, with a Wednesday last 16 FA Cup game followed by a league fixture on Saturday. A potential “title decider” when the current top two meet on Wednesday 27th January as Port travel to occasional home, The Leo Stadium. The second derby of the season, along with the fun of big screens comes around again on Saturday 6th February as a (fanless) Port travel to Nonthaburi. Sadly lovers of beachside fixtures and nice stadiums will be disappointed to see that the trips to Prachuap and Ratchaburi have both been scheduled for midweek. The season ends with a trip to Korat on Saturday 20th March, with the possibility of both clubs having some to play for at different ends of the table, it could be quite the finale.

 

Current Known Fixtures

 

Chiangrai United Away Tue. 22rd Dec.

Samut Prakan City Away Sun. 27th Dec.

Sukhothai Home Sun. 10th Jan.

FA Cup Buriram United Home Wed. 13th Jan.

Buriram United Home Sat. 16th Jan.

Police Tero Away Sat. 23rd Jan.

BG Pathum United Away Wed. 27th Jan.

Trat Home Sun. 31st Jan.

Muangthong United Away Sat. 6th Feb.

Rayong Home Sat. 13th Feb.

Prachuap away Thu. 18th Feb.

Bangkok United Home Sun. 21st Feb.

Suphanburi Away Sat. 27th Feb.

Chonburi Home Sun. 7th March.

Ratchaburi away Wed. 10th March.

Chiangrai Home Sat. 13th March.

Korat Away Sat. 20th March.

 

With those 6(SIX) Champions League fixtures to be added and potentially another 3 FA Cup matches (the final is slated for 3rd April), it looks like a busy few months for everyone at Port.

 

Busy times for Port means busy times for The Sandpit, so if there are any games you’d like to write a preview or match report for get in touch. It’s also nice to hear new voices and opinions and it stops us from repeating ourselves quite as often.

Thunder Forecast for Round of 16

 

The draw for the last 16 of the Chang FA Cup was made earlier this afternoon, with Port landing a home tie vs. Buriram. With the former serial winners (of everything) from Isan well off the pace in the league and the League Cup having a fallow year, due to COVID, the FA Cup looks like Buriram’s only realistic chance of silverware. So expect them to come to the game fully committed. Port have thus far used their FA Cup defence as an opportunity to rest the majority of regular league starters, a policy that might not be continued against higher calibre opposition than in the previous rounds.

The game takes place on Wednesday 13th January.

 


 

The other fixtures in the round are:

  • Muang Loei vs. Chiang Rai or Sukhothai
  • Chonburi vs. Suphanburi
  • Udon United vs. Bangkok United
  • Muangthong vs. Samut Prakan City
  • Songkhla vs. Ratchaburi
  • Trat vs. Chiangmai
  • Muangkan vs. Nongbua Pitchaya

 

Port Survive Light Frisking: Port FC 6-3 MOF Customs FC

 

Port laid on the entertainment in a pulsating cup tie against the reasonably named Ministry of Finance Customs United Football Club, running out 6-3 winners and advancing to the next round. The score might suggest a rout but it was far from that and our opponents should be proud of their endeavours.

Riding high after our derby victory, Coach Oud decided to shuffle the pack and select two Sandpit “favourites”, Chappuis (17) and Tanaboon (71), in central midfield. There were also nods for Nattawut (45), Adisorn (20), (Right) Thitawee (2) and a welcome return for the El Capitan Rochela (22). Sensing that this wouldn’t be a walk in the park, Kevin (23), Suarez (5), Bonilla (99) and Tanasith (11), who put in a great cameo in the derby, were also drafted into the starting XI.

 

A glorious evening at the PAT

 

Normally the best way to deal with lower league opposition in a cup tie is to steamroller them with some early goals, then toy with them for the remaining minutes and this looked on the cards when Nattawut latched onto a loose back pass and, with the aid of a fortunate deflection off their hapless keeper, strolled the ball into an empty net. Nattawut then helped himself to a second goal, surely a contender for goal of the season, when he received Tanasith’s lay off and deftly chipped the goalie from just inside the box. Pick that out, jogo bonito etc….

 

Winners are grinners , Nattawut bags his first of the evening.

 

Customs clearly were not in the mood to be whipping boys and raised their game, matching us in midfield and constantly exploiting the lack of experience shown from Adisorn and Thitawee. Customs’ midfielder Vaikainah, a wardrobe on legs, was also winning his midfield duels against Chappuis and Tanaboon far too easily. The best chance of the half fell to Deyvison, their Brazilian striker with a Brazilian on his head, sending a header against the post and the follow up was easily gathered by Rattanai (18).

And so, with Port being Port, they did the most Port thing possible and handed the initiative to Customs at the start of the second half. A cross from the weak right hand side was nodded in by Deyvison and then Rattanai took leave of his senses a clattered 2 Customs players earning them a penalty. Deyvison slotted home and sent the travelling contingent into raptures. So 2-2 and it’s now game on.

Port eventually retook the lead in the 75th minute; negligent goalie Chompong failed to hold onto Bonilla’s shot and substitute Adisak (9) scrambled the ball home at the far post. 2 minutes later Suarez pinched the ball off the customs midfield, found Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Nelson Bonilla in the box and he smashed home Tony Yeboah style to put Port 4-2 up. Just before the 90th minute Bonilla earned a very soft penalty which Captain Rochela coolly finished. Customs decided to add a bit of spice with striker Rachata spanking an absolutely filthy volley over Rattanai. But wait, there was still time for Suarez to square the ball across the box for Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Nelson Bonilla to tap in his second and make it 6-3. Moments later the final whistle and everyone involved in this encounter could finally exhale.

 

Brace buddies, scorers Freeeeeeeeeee Nelson Bonilla and another for Adisak

 

What can Coach Oud take from this game? Well Nattawut clearly has potential to make the first team and Rochela was a calming influence when Customs got back into the game but sadly cannot play in the league campaign. The B team in truth didn’t perform and several players involved would benefit from loan spells elsewhere. Suarez had his best game supporting our in-form strikers Bonilla and Adisak, which is a relief as he has been a little anonymous (when compared to his usual standards) at times. Still, a very satisfactory week for the club and we go into the next round.     

 

You ain’t seen me…….. right, El Capitan finally back in a Port shirt.

 

One final thing to note; it was great to have the food and drink sellers back at the stadium for matchday. These locals rely on this income and to see them back, happily taking my money in exchange for cold Leo, is a wonderful thing. Let’s hope further restrictions are lifted soon so we can have more fans, more community and more atmosphere at the PAT.

 

MOTM: Nattawut Sombatyotha

The lad can play. Sure, he faded in the second half but he showed skill, directness and opportunism which sadly was lacking in some of our more seasoned midfielders. Arguably he wouldn’t get a chance if Jadet was still manager so it’s great Oud is blooding him in matches like this. His second goal was a thing of beauty and will make the goals of the season list for sure.

 

All pictures: Allie Suwanrumpha  Captions: Sandpit Monkeys

 

Customs Check – Port FC vs. MOF Customs, FA Cup Round of 32 Preview

 

Port continue their FA Cup defence with a home tie against MOF Customs United on Sunday at 6 pm. With the opposition being from the second tier, l was off to the wonderful world of Wikipedia, Transfermkt and the roulette wheel of Thai club website and Facebook pages. Which couldn’t be better summed up than by the first Customs page l found having a total of two posts, including this.

 

Not a clue

 

Add to the mix that contracts signed for the original 2020 season calendar ran till the end of November and there’s a fair chance one or two players who have been Customs first-teamers will have moved on, so apologies if anyone mentioned doesn’t appear.

 

MOF Customs – What We Know

 

Their full name is Ministry of Finance Customs United Football Club. They are based in Lad Krabang, just over the fence from Suvarnabhumi airport. Their ground has two sides and the away stand has one of the best sunsets views in Thai football. So we messed up not warm balling ourselves an away tie.

 

Told you it was nice

 

They’ve managed a solitary season in the top flight in 2008 and finished rock bottom, having been champions of the second tier in 2007. They were coached by our own Sarawut Treephan in 2014. Kayne Vincent was their top scorer last season. We’ve loaned them a few players, Tom will know them all, nobody else will.

 

Easy on the sponsors lads.

 

This Season

 

Customs are currently 12th in the M150 championship. Unbeaten in 3 games and have back to back wins v the middliest of middle table pair Navy and Ranong in their last two matches. Away from home their record is 3-1-3 scoring 10 and conceding 12. Against the top 8 sides in the division, their record is a somewhat disappointing 0-1-5. Conceding an average of 2.5 goals a game. Against those below 8th, it’s a different story with just 5 goals allowed in 9 games (0.56 per game). So, it appears they can handle teams to a level and then it all gets a bit much. Also, 9 of their 15 league games have reached half time scoreless.

They were among the teams from the Championship who had to enter the FA Cup in the Qualification round, drawing fellow second tier club Uthai Thani, in a game that didn’t just get to halftime at 0-0 but remained scoreless to the end of 120 minutes before Customs advanced on penalties. In the last round, they faced the rather wonderfully named Nakhonratchasima Municipal Sport School and made like playground bullies making off with all the lunch money and a place in the next round, 3-0.

 

Who Plays for them?

 

Japanese attacking midfielder, Kenzo Nambu (7) leads the scoring with 7 leagues including a brace against Ranong and one in the previous match v Navy. He’s spent most of his career in the Japanese regional leagues and J3. Before moving to Thailand to join Kasetsart last season.

 

Kenzo scoring against Ranong United

 

Second, on the scoring charts is Brazilian left winger Deyvision (27) who has 4 goals from 11 starts and arrived from Port feeder club Songkhla, he has one of those epically nomadic Brazilian journeyman career history’s appearing to have made 15 transfers in an 8 year career.

 

Deyvison making shapes

 

Not playing for them is South Korean Yoo Byung-soo who moved to Ayutthaya after the pre-COVID part of the season but his nickname of “Ronaldo of Wolmido” is getting him a mention. He’s also currently the second top scorer in the division, maybe we’re better off not know which Ronaldo his moniker is derived from.

To stick to the Thai football stereotype, the defence appears to be marshaled by an overseas player in Swede Viktor Lovgren, who’s a vegan and had a pretty solid career in Sweden before heading over to Customs at the start of the year.

 

Imagine how buff this fella could be if was banging back bacon sandwiches.

 

Back up keeper Pisan Dorkmaikaew (35) has started the two previous rounds of the cup over league first choice Nutchanon (26). Pisan’s Wikipedia page has him down as retired, however, it seems a bit of pressure from Customs officials got him to retract his initial statement. Seemingly one of the better keepers in Thailand at his peak he was called up to the national team squad twice, eight years apart but never capped.

 

You’re going nowhere, son

 

In January, Thai Italian defensive midfielder Antonio Verzura (4) decided to call it a day at the ripe old age of 27 having spent the first half of the 2019 season at Prachuap and the second half at Sukhothai. Yet between the two and being involved in nearly 50% of matchday squads, the only appearance he made on the field came as Port thumped Prachuap 5-0. These Customs fellas are clearly pretty persuasive when they get you in a little room and start explaining the situation you’ve got yourself into. As they pulled the same unretiring stunt and Antonio found himself back warming the bench come the first day of the season. Maybe he makes a superb half time cuppa. His twin brother Gionato is at Chiangmai this season and has never retired.

The Wikipedia fun continues as diminutive midfielder Wasan Samarnsin (22) is deemed a 2016 title winner with that team we hammered 2-0 on Wednesday, for playing a grand total of 9 minutes. While Nattapon Woratayanan (9) was part of the Thai to Everton exchange in 2004 before winning the title with PEA in 2008. He would go on to be part of the Buriram team promoted to the top tier in 2011, before doing the same with Ratchaburi the following season and PTT Rayong in 2013. PTT broke his talismanic run by letting play in the top tier again for the 2014 season. Come 2017 he made a double return to PTT Rayong and the second tier but sadly the magic had gone and promotion has eluded him since.

We finish with the obligatory ex Port players, Jirattikan Vapilai (30) was part of the Foxhunt scheme spending time with both Leicester City and OH Leuven, before returning to Thailand for a spell at Port that didn’t work out, he’s been involved in every Customs game since mid October. Nattakit Fongwitoo (24) made 6 appearances for us in 2016 and l can’t say recall one moment of them, he’s only start came in the last round of the cup. Remarkably, despite having the best pedigree of the three, Tanakorn Dangthong (11) is our only former player at Customs to have registered zero appearances for Port. In our infinite wisdom, we signed the striker off the back of a stellar T2 season in which he was the division’s top Thai scorer, before realizing we had more than enough options up top and letting him go on a free. Classic Port.

 

AND NOW FOR THE KIRIN SLAYERS

 

Whilst it didn’t work out well against Bangkok FC in the last round, I’d expect an almost fully changed starting elven from that seen on Wednesday. With Ratchaburi next weekend and the possibility of a rearranged fixture against Chiangrai leaving little time for rest, it’s time to protect our starters and give the squad some match time. So I’d expect Suarez (5), Pakorn (7), Go (8), Bordin (10), Siwakorn (16), Nitipong (34) Worawut/goalkeeper (36) and Bonilla (99) to be rested. At centre back we have such depth you can give both recent starters Dolah (4) and Worarut/Baresi (24) a day off, not use either* that I’ve selected and still have several decent pairings available. Kevin (23) is suspended for the Ratchaburi game, so I’ve play him. I’d opted for Steuble (15) at right back, although if he’s the go to man to replace Kevin next week then an alternative might be considered. As much as Chappius (17) and Kanarin (31) didn’t work well in the first half at Bangkok FC, I felt they started to take the midfield over in the second half before Suarez and Bordin came on to turn the game and merit a second chance. Even if MOF Customs add to their lengthy lists of scoreless first halves we can stack the bench with players to take the game away from them in the second half. A decent side that struggles against second tier flair players isn’t going to enjoy the sight of a Suarez and Bordin double substitution as they try to hold on for the last 20 minutes. That said, hopefully we get a goal early and cruise to the next round.

*The club this morning put out a promo for the game featuring Pang (of course) along with Rochela and Tanaboon.

 

The Port official page has put out the banner below so hopefully, the game will be on AIS.

 

 

The Hard Way: Port’s Route to the FA Cup Final

 

Yes, we’re still pinching ourselves, but after last Wednesday’s epic, exhausting FA Cup semi final against Bangkok Utd, Port are in the 2019 Chang FA Cup Final! Port’s last FA Cup win was a decade ago, since when silverware has been conspicuous by its absence, with only the 2010 League Cup being added to the trophy cabinet. In fact Port haven’t reached a cup final of any kind since 2011, so this is a pretty big deal.

But, you may ask yourself, how did we get here? Well, as is customary with Port, it certainly hasn’t been easy or straightforward with Port having to get past three of Thai football’s giants en route to Wembley. I mean Army. Here’s a look back at Port’s 2019 cup run…

 

Round of 64

1 May 2019 – Port FC 6-0 Samut Sakhon FC

Port’s cup campaign began with a walkover against regular friendly opponents Samut Sakhon FC, aka The Proud Junk Ship, who were more Junk than Pride on this particular occasion. Two goals each from Boskovic (remember him?) and Sumanya, along with goals from Bodin and Suarez saw Port into the last 32 without breaking a sweat. A game apparently so unremarkable that we didn’t even bother doing a match report.

 

Round of 32

19 June 2019 – Port FC 4-1 Sukhothai FC

From now on there would be no more gimmes for Port, as they would face T1 opposition for the rest of the tournament. And whilst the Firebats are struggling against relegation this season, they were the first team to beat Port in 2019 and in John Baggio they have a player who simply loves playing against Port, so this would likely be no easy task. Thankfully for Port, on the night the Firebats decided that fighting relegation took precedence over the FA Cup and put out a second string side, and Port were 3-0 up by half-time with goals from Pakorn (2) and Bodin, with Rochela adding a penalty early in the second half.  A late Sukhothai penalty was small consolation on a night that saw Port through to the last 16, to face familiar opposition…

Match Report

 

Round of 16

17 July 2019 – Muangthong Utd 0-2 Port FC

Many teams might have balked at having to visit Muangthong in the cup, especially with them newly reinvigorated by the arrival of coach Alexandre Gama. But the SCG has been Port’s playground for the last 3 years and so it was no surprise that they came away with a very comfortable win. It wasn’t a classic game by any means, played in a quiet stadium with Port fans banned as usual, and it took Port until the last 20 minutes to take the lead, with MTU ‘striker’ Theerasil getting the final touch on a peach of a Pakorn cross for the best own goal of the season; then minutes later debut boy Rolando ‘Tony’ Blackburn took advantage of some defensive confusion to round the keeper and fire Port into the quarter-finals. Not a classic then, but every win against MTU is memorable and this was no different, especially given the importance of the game.

Match Report

 

 

 

Quarter Finals

7 August – Port FC 3-2 Chiang Rai Utd

After that grim game at the SCG, Port fans were served up an absolute classic in the QFs, two of T1’s top clubs going head-to-head and producing one of the greatest games the PAT has seen in years. Port tore into the Beetles from the whistle and went a goal up after 15 minutes when a Sumanya corner was deflected in; the same player then doubled the lead in the 20th minute, racing through the Chiang Rai defence and firing home from the edge of the box for one of the goals of the season. Suarez made it 3-0 early in the second half before the Beetles scored twice, but just as fears of Operation Fuckup were growing, some excellent midfield dark arts from Go got Thin Bill a second yellow, and the game was put to bed, with Port taking their place in the semis against the biggest bogey since Winston Churchill.

Match Report

 

Semi Finals

17 September – Bangkok Utd 0-0 Port FC (4-5 on penalties)

I’m sure we don’t need a recap on this one. 120 minutes of grim, attritional, rain-soaked football, with Port reduced to 10 men for the last half an hour, followed by THAT penalty shootout. Football, bloody hell.

Match Report

 

Final

2 November – Port FC v Ratchaburi FC

More T1 opposition for Port, but by this point surely we fear noone. It won’t be easy, but my prediction is a 3-1 win for Port.

 

Thanks to Allie Suwanrumpha for the header photo

 

Rat Saves Port’s Ship From Sinking: Bangkok Utd 0-0 Port FC (4-5 on Penalties) – Chang FA Cup Semi-Final

 

 

Port made it to their first FA Cup final in ten years at the expense of perennial bogey team Bangkok United, but as always with Port, things were not easy, on what had been a surprisingly clean run through to the semis.

The decision to move the match from Police Tero’s tiny 4,500 stadium to Army’s more capable 20,000 one was a rare move of common sense from the Thai FA, one they had threatened to then derail by allegedly toying with moving it back to Tero again following complaints about loss of ticket revenue, this was sometime after more than 4,500 tickets had already been sold by ThaiTicket Major for the Army stadium. Luckily common sense had continued to prevail and the Home of Gentlemen continued in its role as hosts.

 

“You’re Rangsit, and you know you are” (thanks Jim Clarke)

 

Arriving at the Army Stadium last night, there were already streams of orange and blue shirts making the “Wembley walk” into the complex. Just as I neared the entrance, Del was kind enough to point out that I should buy a beer on this side of the fence (Leo for sale) before I crossed into devout Chang territory.

Taking my spot in Zone S behind the goal, I could see each Port area filling up. This continued to the point where security were kind enough to open up fences to allow the overspill into the no-mans land between East and South blocks, this meant Port fans had nearly filled the whole of the U-shape going from East to West stand. If one visual could summarise the potential of this club when the fans have something to get behind such as a league or cup run, then this was it. Meanwhile, Bangkok United’s support looked only slightly better than their average home gates. Were they lost in transit from Rangsit?

 

Kevin kept his place from Saturdays washout against Korat although technically, that 3 minutes may not count as his first appearance since returning from injury. Rochela returned to defence to partner Dolah with Tanaboom being moved into midfield at the expense of a recognised striker. Suarez again being deployed as a “False Nine”….or should that be a “False Five”.

The Match

The first half was pretty drab, in the first few minutes Pakorn had a corner flicked on by Sergio at the near post, Go attempted to karate kick it in at the back post but it was an easy take for Michael Falkesgaard.

A few minutes later, Dolahs misplaced clearance landed at the feet of Tristan Do on the edge of the box but his volley flashed wide.

The rest of the first half carried on in this frankly dull vein, with shooting boots being left at home from both teams. Efforts from Pakorn, Bordin and Go were either high wide or hopeless.

The early part of the second half didn’t really improve in terms of excitement. Thossawat had a free kick for BU which curled over. On the hour mark, Pakorn had a low cross that was heading for Go on the edge of the box but Suarez managed to nip in and steal it from him, ending up with a weak sidefooted effort at Falkesgaard. I think at this point Pakorn had decided to keep his crosses low on purpose because his previous “crosses” were never going to beat the first man, unless Bangkok United suddenly fielded their Under-9’s

65 minutes in, and the best chance of the match fell to Jaycee John of Bangkok United. Vander Luiz put in a great cross to “JJ” at the far post, his point blank range header had Worawut channelling his inner Gordon Banks as he managed to keep it out with a trailing leg, while at the same time diving into the back of the net himself, catching the post on the way through. While Worawut received some medical attention, the heavens had finally opened. Hot on the heels of the Korat washout from Saturday, Bangkok’s weather had continued like this in the subsequent days. My weather app had predicted a 90% chance of rain for the evening and here it was.

The game continued for a few more minutes until visibility finally reached zero and the referee pulled both teams off the pitch as the full wrath of the thunderstorm descended above the Army Stadium.

As the fans continued to spread out and find shelter outside, I managed to find a free spot relatively close to the roofed West stand. After wandering in to use the toilet I was surprisingly able to wander up into the main VIP stand unchallenged where I found a few of the regular Sandpit crew sitting near the back. The stand was relatively well lit, something magnified by the fact that the floodlights were now turned off around the rest of the stadium. This may have given the impression to fans that the plug had already been pulled completely and some fans who had barely dried out from Korat on Saturday, decided to leave at this point.

 

 

However, a few minutes later and the lights were turned on and teams of ground staff were deployed to the pitch to sweep off the surface water as the rains subsided. It was sad detriment to the previous 70 minutes of football that the sight of the ground staff’s synchronised sweeping was the most entertaining thing the fans had seen all night.

 

 

After the efforts to clear the top water off, we were soon back in action, about 45 minutes from when we’d last seen a ball kicked. Port made a couple of changes at this point, Nurul replacing the hapless Pakorn and more notably, Rattanai being bought on for Worawut, who it was assumed must have done some damage making that save.

Although clear cut chances and quality balls in the final third were still lacking, the match that followed the restart was a massive improvement on what had gone down before. As an Englishman, it felt a lot more akin to a winter FA Cup tie in the UK. Suddenly both teams were playing with a lot more urgency, mostly bypassing the midfields and hitting balls over the top for attackers to chase. It was now an unpredictable surface where passes and tackles were much harder to get right. Sadly a victim of making such a mistimed tackle was Siwakorn a few minutes before the 90 was up. He was already on a yellow and sliding in on Vander Luiz was unnecessary given that Nitipong was also in very close quarters.

Bordin had been sacrificed for Rolando during normal time, and due to new laws, extra time opened up the option of a 4th substitution. This meant Steuble was introduced in place of Suarez, who hobbled off.

The huge Port banner dominating the S curve of the stadium read “NO ONE ESCAPED THE LIONS CLAW”. Heading in to extra time, through injuries and tactical reasons, Choke had declawed us already, without Suarez, Pakorn, or Bordin. Kevin was now being deployed further forward in an attempt to support Rolando, who was not having much fun as a lone target man.

3.jpg

Port managed to hold on through extra time and here we were at penalties, some three and a half hours after the game had initially kicked off. The discussion amongst the fans now was who was going to take penalties outside of Rochela who was our only recognised penalty taker. There was also the concern we were now up against Michael Falkesgaard, a much bigger and more capable keeper than our very own Mr Porcelain, Rattanai. Rattanais attempts to make himself look big on a penalty kick only seem to further exaggerate his lack of size.

Penalties

 

I assume we won the toss as David motioned to have the shoot-out in front of the Port end, as opposed to doing it in front of the one man and his dog in the Bangkok United end. Rolando was up first and his cheeky jump ‘n’ shuffle in the run up managed to totally outfox Falkesgaard and send him the wrong way. 1-0

Wander Luiz equalled things up for Bangkok United, sending Rattanai the wrong way. 1-1

Next up was El Capitan, who calmly sidefooted into the corner. Although this time Falkesgaard did guess correctly, he was still nowhere near it. 2-1

Everton was next up for BU, but the tofeemans spot kick was picked off by Rattanai much to the joy of the Port fans assembled near(ish) to the goal where the shootout was being contested.  2-1

 

 

Before the shootout Tim had earmarked Dolah as a penalty taker, expecting him to give the ball some Julian Dicks style welly if asked (Yeah sorry about that – Ed). Give it some welly he did, but more akin to Chris Waddle than the Irons’ left-back. Insert punchline here about where his penalty landed …. 2-1

After two misses on the trot, Manuel made no mistake with the next spot kick for BU and we were level again, 2-2

Go certainly got Port fans’ nerves racing with the next effort, it looked like it was had missed but ended up being a low-key thunderbastard, bouncing off the underside of the bar and into the net. Again, Falkesgaard had already been sent the wrong way, it was beginning to look like spot kicks were his Achilles heel. 3-2

Anon’s next penalty for BU was very similar to Go’s, except it went into the top corner without needing the bar for help. 3-3

If my nerves were freyed from Dolah and Go’s last two efforts, seeing Tanaboom stepping up as the next taker didn’t help my condition, but I needn’t have worried, his penalty was placed to Falkesgaard’s bottom right, just evading his glove. 4-3

Sanrawats next penalty for BU was again, copy and paste of what Port had just done, Rat guessed correctly but was lacking a few inches to keep it out. 4-4

We were now into sudden death, Sandpit favourite Nitipong made no mistake with his spot kick. Again, Falkesgaard went the wrong way. 5-4

BU sub Guntapon stepped up next, Rattanai did guess correctly again, but this time it was the woodwork that kept his kick out as it thudded back off of the post, the BU no.97 dropped to his knees as the remaining Port players, subs and staff streamed onto the pitch. Against all odds, Port had done it! The cheer was one of the loudest I’d heard at a Port game, the roof nearly blew off the sole covered part of the stadium that I was now housed in.

Including rain delays, it had been nearly four hours of football I’d just witnessed, it wasn’t pretty and Port had to hang on with ten men but none of that mattered now. We now had a cup final to look forward to. More importantly, in the absence of Chas and/or Dave, who is going to record our cup final song?

What’s Next

In the context of this FA Cup, Port will face Ratchaburi in the final. On paper this looks a much more winnable game than facing Buriram, but the Sugar Boys will be feeling confident themselves after disposing of Buriram within 90 minutes in the other semi-final.

At the time of writing the final is still scheduled to be played at Suphanburi, but being Thailand, there could yet be another twist in the tail….

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match: Worawut

It was hard to pick out an individual performance in what was a pretty dogged and turgid game of football. Worawut himself was one of two Port keepers that got an hour’s football on the night. Rattanai may have made an impressive, and more headline grabbing save from 12 yards in the shootout, but Wozza’s save from 2 yards in normal time was much more impressive, and ultimately put his own body on the line to preserve the clean sheet.

 

FA Cup Semi-Final Ticket Info

 

After this week’s late but sensible change of venue, tickets for Port’s FA Cup semi with Bangkok Utd go on sale this Friday at Thai Ticket Major outlets and online at https://www.thaiticketmajor.com/sport/chang-fa-cup-2019-semi-final-royal-thai-army-stadium.html. Tickets range from 80-100-150BHT.

The game takes place at Army Stadium (18 September, KO 19:00) and the various ticket areas are shown above and in more detail below. The general consensus amongst Sandpitters seems to be E1. See you there!

 

 

 

 

Semi Slot: Port Face Angels in FA Cup Showdown

 

The draw for the 2019 Chang FA Cup semis was made earlier this week, and Port will play perennial bogey team Bangkok Utd, with Buriram facing a somewhat easier task against Ratchaburi. The game takes place on Wednesday 18 September at 19:00.

With Rajamangala being refurbished in order to host an U23 tournament in January, and with the FAT having apparently fallen out with Chulalongkorn University, landlords of Supachalasai, Port’s semi will take place at the 4500-capacity Boonyachinda (Police Tero), with the other semi taking place at 72nd Anniversary (Thai Honda) – rather like the English FA announcing that, what with Wembley being refurbished for a couple of U18 girls’ games and what with them having fallen out with Spurs & Arsenal, the FA Cup semis will be held at Brentford and Wycombe. But from an organisation that considers Thammasat a suitable venue for a World Cup qualifier, what else can one expect, other than an appropriately sponsored pissup in a brewery.

We will share news about ticket sales and TV coverage as soon as we get it – 17 September probably.

UPDATE

Following, one assumes, someone at Port having a quiet word in the FAT’s ear, the semi-final will take place at Army Stadium. Whilst it’s still not a proper football stadium, at least it has a decent capacity. One wonders why Boonyachinda was chosen in the first place, but at least common sense has prevailed!

 

At Home with a Chiang: Port Draw Beetles in FA Cup QF

 

The draw for the quarter finals of the Chang FA Cup was made earlier this afternoon, and whilst Port were fortunate both to avoid Buriram and Bangkok Utd, and get a home draw, they nevertheless face the tricky task of overcoming cup specialists (and 2018 winners) Chiang Rai Utd. The Beetles are experts at grinding out cup wins and have also taken 4 points from their two league games with Port this season, so if Port are to make the semis they need to be at their very best.

It’s good news for ostracised skipper David Rochela though, as assuming he decides to stay at the club it means he’ll get to play at least one more game at the PAT in a Port shirt.

The game takes place on Wednesday 7 August at 19:00.

 

The Same Old ‘Thong: Fans Banned from SCG on Wednesday

 

As predicted, Port have confirmed to The Sandpit that the away fan ban at Muangthong will remain in place for this Wednesday’s last 16 FA Cup clash. The usual copout, which if course much easier than putting measures in place to ensure away fans’ safety. With the recent cooling of rivalry after MTU fans came to the PAT to pay their respects to the Port fans lost in a road accident, it seemed that common sense would prevail and away fans be allowed back in, but sadly once again one of the biggest derbies in Thai football will be away fans only.

No word as yet whether Port will be showing the game on a ‘big’ screen, but with the match not apparently being shown on TV, this could prove difficult. Add in the Buddhist Lent alcohol ban, and the two sides’ current form, and it looks like being a pretty miserable Wednesday for Port fans…

UPDATE

There are now 3 tasty options for watching the game:

Live on TV (True HD3)

At our sponsors The Sportsman

At the PAT, where we hear a big screen will be erected for the occasion