Port enjoyed a predictably comfortable 3-1 win against T3 side Samut Sakhon on Wednesday. Goals from Siwakorn, Maranhao and Suchon helped to sink the Proud Junk Ship, who drifted aimlessly for most of the 100 minute match, but nearly found themselves back on course in the final period, only to see a dubious penalty kick booted so far over the Port bar it was nearly lost at sea.
First period – 40 mins
Port started with a strong XI this time out, with everyone except Pakorn (9) and new signing Yossawat, who is with the Thai under 23 squad, available for selection. Ekkapoom (8) came in to the side on the left with Genki (18) switching to the right, and Maranhao (92) – once again favoured to Suarez (5) – played alongside Josimar (30) in a front two.
Port looked in complete control, with Siwakorn (16) bossing the game in midfield, and the defence feeling so comfortable that Dolah (4) even found time for a mazy run down the right wing. Port nearly broke the deadlock when a ball across the six yard box was skied by Ekkapoom, who to be fair to him had almost no time to react and was unlucky not to see his effort hit the back of the net. Panpanpong (19) was next with a near miss when his side-footed effort drifted just wide of the post. Siwakorn made no mistake a few minutes later, though, as he curled a beautiful left footed effort in to the top corner after being smartly teed up by Josimar.
Port struggled from set-pieces, with there being no obvious replacement for Pakorn, but in open play were in complete control. A few minutes after Maranhao tested the goalkeeper with a well-hit effort aimed at the bottom corner, a clever through-ball put the Brazilian through on goal. He touched the ball to his left and the ‘keeper stuck out an arm, but only succeeded in sending Maranhao tumbling to the turf, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Rochela (22) walked half way up the pitch before seeing that a determined-looking Maranhao had a tight grip on the ball and wasn’t about to let it go without a fight. The captain opted to let his football-starved teammate take responsibility from 12 yards, and Maranhao made no mistake with a calm, lofted effort down the middle.
Port finished the 40 minute first period on a slightly sour note, as a lapse in concentration in midfield allowed a Samut Sakhon player the space to evade a couple of challenges and find the top-corner with a curling strike. Port still went in a goal up, although that’s the least that should be expected against a T3 side. No individual performances particularly stood out from the home side, and Maranhao, despite getting amongst the goals, didn’t particularly impress alongside Josimar. He’s running out of chances to cement that place in the squad that he has worked so hard to put himself in contention for.
Second period – 30 mins
Port started the second period with a second string side. After missing the last friendly, Asdrubal (27) was deemed fit enough to participate, and he lined up on the right wing, with Suarez tucked in behind Kaludjerovic (40). The new arrivals from BBCU – Pummared (40) and Narakorn (29), – were both lively, but it was Pummared that impressed more. He put himself about in midfield, not shying away from 50/50 challenges, and showing a good work rate. Jadet will probably rate him, as he plays in a style very similar to Adisorn (13).
The creative burden was taken up by Asdrubal (27), who looked fitter and more confident than we’ve seen him before. Asdrubal’s movement and awareness were streets ahead of everyone else on the pitch, and he showed good technique in setting up a few chances for his teammates. On one occasion, Narakorn (29) failed to find a teammate with cross after Asdrubal had set him free down the left, and on another Kalu sent a hooked volley just wide from an Asdrubal cross. The Spaniard did everything except score, and will have done his chances of securing a squad place for the second leg no harm at all.
A couple of substitutions were made, with Dolah (4) and Nitipong (34) taken off for Anisong (15) and Meechok (20). With out-of-position right back Pakasit (2) and Anisong our new central defensive pairing, we were surprised to see no sign of Thai-Swedish defender Niran Hansson (33). He later exclusively told The Sandpit that he has terminated his contract with Port, as he felt that he was not going to get a chance of first team football under Jadet. Quite why the club thought it was a good idea to let a potentially excellent dual-nationality centre back go when we are playing an aging right back out of position there is beyond me.
Third Period – 30 mins
Port sent out the third string for the final thirty minutes. Asdrubal (27) was given a chance to play up front, but couldn’t influence the game as much as he had been doing from the right wing. Tatchanon (39) once again gave an exhibition in tidy midfield work. I saw him misplace one headed pass in his 30 minutes on the field, and besides that he didn’t put a foot wrong. His treatment by Jadet is another head-scratcher, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the talented youngster chooses to look for greener pastures in the near future, either. It’s good to see Pinyo (21) getting some minutes on the pitch, although he still doesn’t look anywhere near full fitness.
With just 6 minutes of the quarter gone, Port extended their lead. 35 year old left back Suchon (11) made a rare foray forward, and managed to flick Wuttichai’s (14) clever through ball past an onrushing ‘keeper in to the bottom left corner. Samut Sakhon perked up a little, and started putting together some threatening moves. One of their African strikers had tried a couple of dives already, and at the third time of asking the referee finally relented and gave him a penalty for a very innocuous challenge from Pakasit (2). The crowd jeered, and Port’s goalkeeping coach came charging out on the pitch to give the ref a piece of his mind. In a friendly. With Port 3-1 up. His remonstrations, and the grumbling of the crowd, raised the pressure though, and Samut Sakhon’s striker blazed the ball well over the bar, much to the delight of the few home fans in attendance.
The hilarity continued s few minutes later when the same striker headed in a cross from the left, fervently bursting in to a celebration aimed at the Zone A trolls. Presumably with a sly smirk on his face, the linesman belatedly raised his flag to signal offside, sending the trolls into rapturous applause. Hilarious stuff. It was the last significant event of the game, as the rain started to come down and the pace of the game slowed.
Port FC Man of the Match
Port can be content with a comfortable victory and no injuries received, as well as a promising display by my Man of the Match Asdrubal. If he can get a few more minutes under his belt and reach match fitness, he could well claim one of the foreign-player spots in Port’s second leg squad. With one friendly remaining – an away trip to MOF Customs Utd on Saturday 10th – Maranhao, Suarez and Asdrubal are fighting for 2 squad places. May the best players win!
Photos courtesy of การท่าเรือ เอฟซี Port FC Facebook page.