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The Fifth Quarter: Port FC vs. Chiang Rai FA Cup Quarter Final Preview

 

Yes, this is the fifth quarter. You shouldn’t be surprised at the complete lack of sense in the title. Port regularly have pre-season friendlies that have three halves and a full PAT stadium apparently contains 6,000 fans. So this is our fifth quarter, our fifth quarter final in seven seasons after the golden era of back-to-back 2009-2010 Cup victories and a trip to the League Cup Final in 2011.

 

The Five Quarters

2013 FA Cup 4-0 rainy Wednesday away loss to a dominant Buriram team. Witnessed by Giz and a handful of hardy away fans including the guy with the gammy leg. Fans had a Leo based Port picnic outside the Thunder Castle. Then the team was quickly devoured inside the ground as the heavens opened.

2016 League Cup a glorious 4 -1 demolition of Lampang. (Don’t mention the war.)

2016 FA Cup 4-0 loss to Sukhothai where we played a second team to focus on our faltering attempt to gain promotion. We gained promotion but missed out on one quarter of the FA Cup and a place in the AFC Champions League. The cup and league were suspended so officially there were four joint FA Cup holders and they drew lots to see who went into the Champions League. Sukhothai won that draw.

2018 FA Cup a disappointing if not unexpected 3-1 home loss to a decent Buriram side.

2019 FA Cup ?

 

The Chiang Right Time? Not Even Close

On Wednesday night we face a Chiang Rai team that managed to humble Buriram 4-0 and put Port to the sword 4-1 at PAT stadium. It was a fairly even game up to half way through the second half, Port pushed up looking for the equaliser then were shown no quarter with two late goals crushing any hope of a comeback. Chiang Rai have always looked a decent team but now they sit in 2nd place looking like they could make a genuine challenge to be league champions. What has caused this? A thinner Bill, maybe. He’s definitely lost a sizable fraction of his body weight since the beginning of 2019. He’s half the player he was, but for Bill that’s a great step forward.

There is also a new kid on the block Ekanit Panya (37) who’s knocked in 2 goals in 3 matches. The 19 year old left footed midfielder has pace and stands up to a tackle well. He’s not scared to shoot, and not scared to shout “I was bloody open there” to his older teammates. Likely to provide a big headache breaking from midfield when Chiang Rai also have Bill (9) and William Henrique (11) as attacking options beside him.

 

 

T1 stalwart center back Brinner (5) occasionally bombing on forward at corners is also a worry. Chiang Rai have their own towering Korean Yong-rae Lee (8), countering our man Go (8). Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul (6) will sit next to Lee and provide the platform for the rest to go forward. All in all Chiang Rai are up in 2nd for good reason. So how do we win? Going back in time to three months ago would help. The last two goals Chiang Rai conceded have come from defensive mistakes on either side of their defence. Bodin weaving in on the left with a cross to Suarez striding past their right back is the one chance we have. So we just have to do that from the kick off then sit on the ball for 89 minutes.

 

 

Portents

Port need something to cling to, a tiny fraction of hope. This hope comes in the fact we are not shit. We’re not as good as we could be but we are not the ramshackle relegation Port of 2012. Nor are we the team of a newly anointed owner/controller/dictator getting through five managers a year. We are not lead by Brent McGrath and Kanye West singing “Half Price” in 2015. But we are the half as good as we should be Port of 2019.

We are getting better, but these results have come despite the new manager and new formation not because of them.  So where do we find hope? Steuble (15) has proved he can easily hold his own in T1. Bodin (10) is looking dangerous whenever he’s given a bit of space. Suarez was suspended for the last match so will be rested and raring to go.

 

The Rochela Question

A fully fit Rochela (22) would slot straight into this squad. Unfortunately he’s not currently in the league team so the cup is all he has. I did ask him what he thought his chances of playing on Wednesday were, he said as diplomatically as ever, “It’s very difficult only playing one game a month.” Fully match fit he’s in the squad, but without regular T1 football there is a question mark over his selection. I’d pick him, we have had four games in two weeks Tanaboon (71) might benefit from the rest or he could push Tanaboon forward into his natural position as a defensive midfielder. If he is going to insist on playing him. Speaking of unwarranted team selection, Sumanya (11) has been screwing up our free kicks so much that even I have been shouting for the return of Pakorn (7). Every player we’ve ever interviewed has said they love playing with Pakorn. You might have to work harder with him in the team, but he can turn it on and create game winning opportunities. He drives me mental but I’d still pick him nine tenths of the time.

Up front Josimar is cup tied, and Dragan Boskovic watched the last FA Cup match at Muangthong in jeans and a T-shirt drinking beer with his mate Mario. Something I roundly criticised him for on Sunday only to find out he’s not registered for the FA Cup so can’t play.

 

Thirteen Elevenths of a Side

 

 

Possible substitutions:

Nurul (31) for Bodin (10) on 70 minutes.

Todsapol for Rochela if needed.

 

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

On form Chiang Rai must be favourites for this one. But… but…. well, please pick your own mindlessly optimistic phrase to help you enjoy an FA Cup Quarter Final night out. These are my top 10.

  • But…  Pakorn can always slot home a free kick.
  • Pang desperately wants silverware, she’ll be having a chat with the ref.
  • Blackburn has to come good at some point, he has scored two already.
  • It’s at PAT we always raise our game for the FA Cup at home.
  • Nurul being subbed on in the last 20 will do them for pace on their right.
  • We are unbeaten under the new manager he must be good luck.
  • We’ve won every home game we’ve played on a Wednesday this year.
  • Maybe someone will randomly hand us two joints before the game.
  • All the Previews and Match reports are sorted so Dominick won’t be bending everyone’s ear trying to get them to do one.
  • I’m just here for the Leo anyway.

 

My prediction, lots of people will drink beer and enjoy a night out at PAT Stadium. The Football may unfortunately get in the way a bit, but then again …

 

Honest Prediction

Port 1-3 Chiang Rai

 


 

The match kicks off at 7.00 p.m. Wednesday 7th August. It is being shown on True Sports HD 3. If you can’t get down to PAT Stadium the match will be shown as always at our sponsors the Sportsman on Sukhumvit Soi 13.

 

The Proud Junk: Port FC vs. Samut Sakhon FC, FA Cup Preview

 

Really. That’s actually their new nickname.

Port’s FA Cup campaign gets under way today in the last 64 with the visit of T2 side Samut Sakhon FC to PAT Stadium. The match was originally scheduled to be played at the home of The Proud Junk, but due to concerns with their stadium, both sides agreed the move to Khlongtoei. This year, Port will see the FA Cup as a realistic chance to win a trophy, but against a team in the bottom half of T2 it’s also a chance for Jadet to give playing time to some underused members of his squad. I expect to see a mixed team, with some regulars and a few squad players, as Samut Sakhon aren’t going to be pushovers.

 

Samut Sakhon FC

Players To Watch

 

I haven’t watched this lot, but the name that jumps off the Wikipedia page is Malagasy winger Njiva Rakotoharimalala (7). Who could ever forget a name like that! I was very surprised not to see Njiva in T1 again this season after a very useful debut season with Sukhothai, terrorizing defences along with John Baggio. He’s taken the move in his stride though, showing his quality by scoring regularly for his new side. He ought to be the main threat to Port.

 

 

Another familiar face is evergreen South Korean centre half Lee Won-young (3). Captain and defensive stalwart for Pattaya United for three seasons, 38 year old Lee has finally made the step down to the second tier as his career winds down.

Unfortunately my first-hand knowledge of these fellas only extends to a couple of their Thai players, one of which is Port’s former left back Jetjinn Sriprach (18). Off the top of my head, he made one start for Port, so don’t be surprised if your memory isn’t jogged. He’s a versatile left sided player who will probably start in defence. The Sandpit’s scouting network has also identified a little bloke, who we think is called Pongpat Liorungruengkit (39), who has looked very dangerous. Wiki lists him as a defender, but apparently he’s more of a forward, and he’s very small, very quick and very dangerous.

 

 

There are also two Brazilians who I’ve never heard of, but Wikipedia leads me to the conclusion that they are very, very bog standard as far as Brazilians go. Attacking midfielder Bruno Dybala’s (10) wiki page claims he’s never scored a goal, which isn’t ideal, and compatriot Ricardo Pires (19) doesn’t even have a page. Then again neither did Rodrigo Maranhao during his time with Port, so there is always the odd player who surprises you. I don’t think it’ll be either of these two, though.

 

 

Port FC

Tinkerman

 

Jadet has tinkered with his first team lineup more than ever before this season, albeit by necessity rather than choice, and today we expect to see another round of changes to the starting XI. Port do have a weekend off coming up due to the coronation, but Jadet may still want to rest some key players. Those who would seem to be most in need of a rest are Kevin (97), who has been struggling to complete 90 minutes of late, as well as ever-present duo Dolah (4) and Siwakorn (16). I fully expect Kevin to be given a rest, but I’m not so sure Jadet will allow either Dolah or Siwakorn to miss out, given how important both have been in Port’s excellent early season form.

Those in the frame to come in to the side are Panpanpong (19), who has provided two assists when coming off the bench for Kevin, and of course the man who was the beneficiary of those assists, Arthit (29). Arthit failed to impress in his first start, having scored three times as a substitute so far in 2019, but deserves another go tonight against weaker opposition. Nurul (31) on the other hand had a massive impact when he came off the bench on Saturday, and this is the perfect opportunity to give him some game time before Pakorn (7) returns to take his place on the right hand side. Young midfield trio Anon (20), Sansern (88) and Jirattikan (21) are also in the frame for their first starts of the season, although Jadet is only likely to choose one, maybe two of these, with an experienced head or two like Go (8) and Siwakorn alongside them. Athibordee (35) could also see some action, although I hope Jadet gives some of his younger players a chance this time. Captain Rochela (22) could get a run-out, although we’re still not sure about his fitness.

In goal, any one of Port’s three ‘keepers could get the nod, but with Watchara (1) seemingly firmly in possession of the number one jersey for now, the man who has been on the bench of late Worawut (36) is the most likely starter, although Rattanai (17) is another option.

 

Predicted Lineup

 

It’s always a bit of a shot in the dark with cup games, but here’s my best guess. This lineup would mean Port have an absolutely formidable bench should things not go as expected!

 

 


 

All we can promise is that the match will be played at 18:00 on Wednesday 1 May, 2019. Which, if any, games are shown on TV is a mystery, so for once your only choice is to head to PAT Stadium.

 

Last Chance Saloon: Port FC vs. Buriram Utd, FA Cup QF Preview, 1 August 2018

 

Port’s season will likely be defined by what happens in the next two games. Wednesday’s FA Cup quarter final sees the two highest place teams left in the competition face off, meaning whoever wins will be the favourites to lift the cup. Then on Sunday, Port face the runaway league leaders knowing that if they lose, rivals Muangthong could draw level on points. The Scum won’t leapfrog Port as they have the inferior head-to-head record, but with tough away trips to Prachuap and Chiang Rai on the horizon, the third place spot that Port have occupied throughout much of the season will be well and truly up for grabs.

 

Buriram United

Players to Watch

 

In my preview of the away clash (click here) to Buriram I covered the whole Buriram lineup, so this time I’ll pick a few new signings and players who have risen to prominence since our last clash.

Osvaldo (17), a Brazilian forward with four caps for the most successful nation in world football history, was the mid-season signing who was supposed to put the league well and truly to bed. Buriram have pulled 9 points clear at the top, but that has very little to do with their new signing, who has yet to get on the scoresheet and has notched just 2 assists in 7 appearances. He’s clearly a player with some pedigree, but he’s far from the show-stopper we feared, and has yet to adapt effectively to Thai football.

 

 

Another mid-season arrival was returning forward Javier Patino (20). Buriram’s ASEAN player scored 35 goals in 54 games for The Thunder Castle between 2013 and 2015, but has struggled with injuries, playing just 4 times since his return. He has just one goal in the League Cup. He did play 20 minutes on the weekend though, so expect him to make an appearance off the bench.

 

 

This fella has been at Buriram all season, but has found himself playing a more important role of late. That role? Could be bloody anywhere. The only positions he hasn’t played have been wing back and goalie. I’m talking about Korean ‘midfielder’ Yoo Jun-soo (16), who throughout the season has played in central defence, central midfield, on the wing and up front. He’s a big unit who is very useful in the air, and has 4 goals and 7 assists to his name in all competitions. The only league game he didn’t start was the shock 0-1 defeat to Chainat.

 

 

Back in April, Buriram decided to start trolling the rest of the league. We’ve all seen teams bringing on youngsters when they’ve got a comfortable lead, but those youngsters aren’t usually sodding Mathayom 4 students. Suphanat Mueanta (54) is just 15 years old and already has 2 T1 goals to his name, although to be fair they came in a 5-0 victory against Air Force when Diogo and his big brother (the relatively prehistoric 19 year old Suphachok) were both just trying to put chances on a plate for him rather than score themselves. Still, score he did, and his international record at youth level suggests that he doesn’t always need a babysitter to find the back of the net. He’s scored 15 goals in 13 games at under 16 level and has recently been fast-tracked to the under 19s, for whom he has scored 2 in 4. Mind you, it would be cheeky even for Buriram to throw him on against Port in the PAT cauldron.

 

 

And I can’t do a players to watch segment without mentioning the divine mop, can I? He hasn’t exactly risen to prominence in the second half of the season, rather he has maintained his altitude 30 thousand fucking feet above everyone else. Diogo (40) is still the most effective striker in the league with 24 goals and 8 assists in 24 league games. Dragan Boskovic and Jaja Coelho may have usurped him as T1 top scorers last year, but you just knew he’d be back with a vengeance, and right now he has a 4 goal lead atop the scoring charts, 10 more than Port’s top-scorer Suarez. He also has 9 yellows and a red in all competitions though, which is what should interest Port defenders. The back line, and particularly hard-man Elias Dolah would do well to remember Port’s 0-0 home draw against the Thunder Castle in 2017, when Diogo received his marching orders on 70 minutes and Port almost snatched a memorable win. Annoy him, get in his face and in a rocking PAT Stadium there’s no knowing how the divine mop will react. He might score a hattrick, or he might throw his toys out of the pram. Either way, it will be entertaining.

 

 

Form

 

Erm, wins wins and more wins. Since their 1-0 loss to Chainat in mid-June Buriram have won 6 on the bounce in the league, and have been unbeaten in both cup competitions. They have had some struggles though, needing extra time to get past both Trang FC in the League Cup and Nakhonpathom United in the FA Cup. Port can only hope that these struggles have led to some fatigue, although with a bigger, stronger squad than Port they are more than capable of shuffling their pack and still putting out a team that will be favourites to win.

 

Port FC

The PAT Factor

 

Arguably, whichever team Jadet picks on Sunday, the most important influence will come from the Khlong Toei Army. T1’s best fans must make PAT Stadium hell on earth for Buriram, inspiring the boys on the pitch and bringing the worst out in their opponents. Last season’s 0-0 draw was a textbook case, when Zone B was so vocal that I barely heard the thousand plus Buriram fans on the other side of the stadium and Diogo ended up seeing red after being tilted by the boisterous Khlong Toei faithful. I’m feeling more confident than I probably should about this game, and that’s why.

Having said that, Jadet still has to not drop a clanger with his team selection. Will he stick with Sunday’s experimental 3-5-2? Maybe, but maybe not. It’s a system which seemed tailor-made to deal with Bangkok United’s exceptional midfield, but might be less effective against the champions in waiting, who have a less dangerous midfield three and rely mostly on the creative brilliance of Diogo.

If Jadet does stick with the same system, he’ll be thankful to be able to welcome Nitipong (34) back in both the league and cup, meaning that we won’t be exposed to Adisorn’s (13) god-awful attempts at attacking again anytime soon. Will Jadet stick with Kim (8), Siwakorn (16) and Anon (20) in midfield or will one of them make way for Port’s little destroyer? Over to you, Sir Det. The rest of the team really pick themselves, meaning that all Jadet has to do if we somehow take the lead again is not sub off key defensive players and bring on luxury attackers like Pakorn (7) and Bodin (10), who are fundamentally unsuited to this formation.

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

This is normally where I’d tell you how to watch the game on TV and direct you towards The Sportsman if you can’t make it to PAT Stadium at 19:00, but this week there are no excuses. Be there. It’s an FA Cup Quarter Final, the biggest club in Thailand are in town and the boys are going to need our vocal support. Tarua Woi!

 

Angels and Alcohol: Bangkok United vs. Port FC, FA Cup Round of 16

 

Port face the former, and traveling fans will most certainly be in need of the latter.

Port can’t be said to have had the luck of the draw in the FA Cup this year. Getting Bangkok United away is about as tough as it gets, although after Sunday’s five goal romp in Pattaya Port finally look to be regaining their confidence. The first half of the season under new-old manager Jadet saw Port score some stunning upset victories away from home at Muangthong and Chiang Rai, so with team spirit once again lifted following the departure of Zico Bangkok United will have to be wary of a re-invigorated Port.

 

Bangkok United

Players to Watch

 

With this being a cup game, it’s very hard to know who Mano Polking will pick against Port. United will certainly need a strong team – Port are not expected to be push-overs – but he will probably not employ all of the resources at his disposal. I have had a look at the team Mano picked on the weekend against Super Power, and am choosing my Players to Watch based on those who didn’t feature in that 4-0 win.

After getting a rest on the weekend, Teeratep Winothai (14) looks set to replace top goalscorer Dragan Boskovic (7) in the forward line against Port. No surprise really, considering that Teeratep, widely known as Leesaw, banged in 4 goals last time Port visited Thammasat Stadium, and was still popular enough among the traveling support to take selfies with the entire away stand. Cheeky beggar. Leesaw isn’t quite in his prime anymore, but Mano has the former national team superstar working harder than ever, and making an excellent all-round contribution. He’s notched up 8 goals and 4 assists too, which is pretty tidy for a player who has spent as much time on the bench as on the pitch.

Bangkok United’s captain Sanrawat Dechmitr (29) is one of the classiest Thai footballers in the game. He plays between midfield and attack, and has supplied much of the ammunition – 13 assists if you’re counting – that Boskovic (7) has used to fire himself to the top of the goalscoring charts this season. He is at the heart of Bangkok’s cultured attacking style, as Port fans may remember after he helped himself to an assist in both of their league encounters in 2017. If Port are lucky, the man who he shares the creative burden with – Mario Gjurovski (20) – could well be given a rest after starting against Super Power on Saturday. Nevertheless, Sanrawat is more than enough to deal with on his own.

 

Teeratep and Sanrawat

 

Never try to say Anthony Ampaipitakwong’s (6) name after you’ve had a couple of beers. This Thai-American holding midfielder made his name in the MLS for the San Jose Earthquakes, before moving to Buriram and then Bangkok United. He doesn’t do anything fancy – seriously, he doesn’t have a goal or an assist to his name in 2017 – but does a disciplined job in front of the back 4 and has a good range of passing. His willingness to do the hard yards, stay disciplined (just 1 yellow card this season) and play the simple passes makes him a rare and valuable commodity in Thai football.

Do try to say this Thai-German’s name after you’ve had a couple of beers. With any luck, you’ll get a top-up! Manuel Bihr (40) is a Thai-German central defender who played in the second and third tier of German football before being signed by Bangkok United in 2016. He struggled for game-time in 2016, but has earned the right to partner Yohan Tavares (32) with some solid displays in 2017.

 

Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Manuel Bihr

 

Form

 

Bangkok enjoyed a stonking run of 8 consecutive wins from the start of the second leg of the season, but a shock 1-0 defeat to Pattaya United put a dent in their top-2 ambitions, before a crushing 4-0 loss to Muangthong effectively wrote them off. Bangkok United now have 6 points to make up on second place Muangthong, but they also enjoy a 7 point cushion over Chiang Rai who are in fourth. Bangkok will still likely continue to focus their efforts in the league, where another Muangthong collapse is not beyond the realms of possibility, and staying above Chiang Rai in the table to secure the coveted play-off spot for the Asian Champions League is also of paramount importance to the ambitious Angels.

 

Port FC

Starting XI

 

Last week’s hero with his sensational dead-ball deliveries, Panpanpong (19), is unavailable for selection against his parent club, but right back Nitipong (34) returns after his league suspension, which is handy as his understudy Meechok (20) is a doubt after getting the shit kicked out of him for 80 minutes by Pattaya. Pravinwat (55) is suspended after picking up yellow cards in the previous two rounds, and Pakorn (9) is out of action for a month with the injury he picked up against Chonburi.

It seems likely that Jadet will continue with the 4-1-4-1 shape that served Port so well against Pattaya, which will mean Rochela (22) continuing in defensive midfield and Todsapol (6) replacing him in the back line. Todsapol made his long overdue return to action with a man of the match display last weekend, where he was magnificent in both defence and attack, and should once again partner Dolah (4), who was unfortunate to give away two penalties against Pattaya’s crafty Serbs. He deserves his share of the blame for having a handful of Stojanovic’s shirt, although that infringement was outside the area, but there was nothing he could done about Jevtic, who was intent on throwing himself to the ground regardless of what was going on around him. At full back, Yossawat (28) should replace Panpanpong on the left, whilst Nitipong (34) should return in place of Meechok on the right.

In front of Rochela will be Siwakorn (16) and Suarez (5), and out wide will be Genki (18) and possibly Tana (99) again. Alternatively, Ekkapoom (8), Jetjinn (51) or Narakorn (29) could be picked in place of the warbling winger, whilst if Meechok is passed fit, he could play at right back with Nitipong on the wing. Up top will be back-in-form Josimar (30), who has bagged 3 goals in his last 2 games, and is once again looking dangerous in front of goal.

 

Predicted Lineup

 

This is not quite the formation I wanted, but unfortunately Eurosport’s otherwise excellent Best XI lineup generator doesn’t offer the 4-1-4-1 formation that Jadet used on Sunday. Just imagine Rochela playing a bit deeper than Siwakorn.

 

 

The match will be shown live on True4U at 19:00 on Wednesday 27 September, 2017. For those who can’t make it to Thammasat Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will be showing the match on a big screen with sound.

 

A Date Which will Live in Infamy: Port FC 5-0 Royal Thai Fleet FC (FA Cup R1)

 

Facing a rather foreigner-thin Port squad, the Royal Thai Fleet Battleships were not able to get loose from their moorings. The last time a group of battleships experienced this kind of carnage in port was December 7th, 1941.

Port’s starting eleven of Dolah, Pakorn, Siwakorn, Rattanai, Pinkong, Meechok, Pinyo, Josimar, Attipol (a last minute replacement for Jadue who injured himself in warmups), Praweenwat, and Piyachart S, were more than a match for the T4 semi-professional Royal Thai Fleet team who donned a mottled black and white kit that would make even a Chainat supporter twinge.

Heavy rains that threatened to turn the pitch into a lake marred the beginning of the game. Memories of a cup match against Glass that had to be abandoned were running through my head. But right on time we began and the rains slowed a bit 15 minutes in. From the initial whistle Port were the better side and just 3 minutes in Josimar (30) scored on a giveaway from Fleet.

Although allowing Fleet some possession early on they never looked threatening and at the 16 minute mark Piyachart (88) drilled home a rebound off Josi. Play was started by a beautiful cross from Pakorn (9) that dropped like a bomb from a VAL dive bomber right on Josi.

Just three short minutes later Pakorn placed a corner in the net and Port were up 3-0. The rest of the first half saw more Port dominance and less and less Fleet possession.

Ekkapoom (8) replaced Pinyo (21) at the start of the second half and Fleet had no answer to his speed. For the entire half plays up the left resulted in chance after chance. On 52 minutes a rare pinpoint cross from Ek found Josi in the box and it was 4-0. The rout was on at this point.

Wuttichai (14) replaced Josi, but nonetheless chances continued. By the middle of the second half Fleet were resigned to their fate and did not mount much of a challenge. The final change was Pakasit (2) for Meechok (20).

At 90 +3 a fine Pakorn free kick led to a Dolah (4) goal. Final score 5-0 and Port are into the next round.

 

Thoughts on the Match

Even though we played quite well we were content to allow Fleet quite a bit of possession in the first 15 minutes. A better team will create chances.

Pravinwat was impressive. Not only a physical force, he makes smart plays, and seems to be a leader on the pitch. Guess we will see what he is really made of against Bangkok Utd on Sunday.

Dolah is becoming a real physical presence. He has learned to use his body to his advantage and is quite the intimidating defender.

Aside from Pakorn, our crossing still lacks.

It was good to see Pinyo get a game. I hope he did not re-injure himself at the end of the first half.

Even though Pakorn can be maddening (he did go down and require treatment again) he is one of the most vital parts of the team at the present time.

With 8 foreigners on the squad how is it that there are only two in the game day squad? And one did not make it past the warmup!

 

Man of the Match – Pakorn

Let’s hope he plays this well Sunday. He’ll need to.

 

BATTLESHIPS! FA Cup R1: Port FC vs Royal Thai Fleet Match Preview

 

Number 75, Royal Thai Fleet FC, will play number 8, Port FC.

…is sort of how it might have gone. I was asked on Sunday when the next Thai Port home game was, and I confidently replied “next Sunday against Bangkok United”. Then having a quick check of the official website, I had totally forgot about the cup game against Royal Thai Fleet FC.

“So that’d be Navy then, yeah?”

Knot so quick! These lot only run aground with Navy. And have a pretty much identical function as Navy. But just don’t mention being sunk off Koh Chang inside 15 minutes by the might of the Vichy French Navy in 1941. But both teams are distinct entities and not to be cod-fused with one another”.

And they also are firmly docked in the Thailand League 4 Eastern Division. Which shore enough makes them virtually impossible to research and fathom out. Apparently they play in a very fetching and fashionable red & white striped shirt, with black shorts and socks. Top scorer? No idea. Agile keeper? Unlikely. Massive African defender? Possibly. Hell, I can’t even find an up-to-skate league table for T4E (as I have christened it).

What have I found out? Seemingly they were founded in 2011, haven’t really done much since, other than make the second round of the League Cup in 2015, and their best plaice-d finish has been 7th in whichever regional league they have been placed in (three different ones to date). They do though hold the record for the biggest T4E home win – a 5-1 thrapping of Chonburi B, in April this year.

Do the match preview, they said.

I now know why a few were baulking at the idea.

So what can we hope for from Port? Well this should be plain sailing, along the lines of the Kabinburi game in the League Cup a couple of seasons ago; Fleet are in the same division. Give those short of match time a run around. Give the cabin boys from below deck a jog out (we do have youth yeah?). Stick Maranhao in so that he can grab a hatful as he has been doing in friendlies. Give him a bit of anchorage-ment for the rest of the season, having been kept on and put in the matchday squid.

Let’s be honest; this season’s goal is to not get relegated, we can keep the cups back til next season or the one after that, and to run the risk of injury to first steamers would be bonkers. Given the Suphanburi result, the second leg of the season could be a battle (but please conch-fish-skate Tana’s boots so he can’t play), and we need everyone on form and fit for as long as possible. Sorry to be so dour, but we really do not need to be artificially buoyed by a sea-nic run in the cups. Of course, we should give this opposition crew a good keel-hauling, regardless of the team we put out to sail on the night. I imagine Fleet will aqua-esce, and shoals of goals will be forthcoming.

Schooner oar later it would be nice to see these smaller teams play games at home in the cup, particularly in this instance, given that they ground shore with a T2 team.

The romance of the cup, join in on Wednesday, probably 100B a ticket, I’m unlikely to be there.

Which is even more reason to go.