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Proud Junk Ship Scuttled at Port: Port FC 3-1 Samut Sakhon

 

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. 

 

Like White on Rice: Port FC 2-4 Ang Thong FC

 

Ang Thong were all over Port like white on rice in Sunday’s friendly encounter. Port were easily turned over 4-2 by a lively Ang Thong side who showed Port’s second and third string players no mercy at PAT Stadium. The game was notable as four new signings made their debuts, although none got particularly long outings. Nevertheless, new left back Yossawat (28) looked outstanding, indicating that he could well be challenging for a starting berth sooner rather than later. As far as the rest of the squad goes, Jadet chopped and changed even more than usual, meaning few players were on the pitch long enough to get settled in before they were taken off again. The exceptions were Hansson (33) and Anisong (15), who played most of the game due to the absence of Rochela (22) and Dolah (4), who we assume are enjoying an extended holiday somewhere nice!

Those who are acquainted with my match reports know that I usually include line-ups for each period as well as substitutions, but trust me when I say that if I tried to do that a game with this many players and substitutions we would be here all day, so I’m not going to get in to too much detail. If you’re confused by some of the new names, check out the updated squad list, which includes the new signings at the top. I haven’t included the squad numbers they wore on Sunday, as those are likely to change.

Jadet started with a host of new signings and fringe players whereas Ang Thong opted for their first XI, and the visitors’ first string immediately set about dominating Port. Ittipol (7) and new signings Narakorn (29) and Pummared (40) couldn’t really get a foothold in midfield, and a central defensive partnership of Pakasit (2) and Anisong (15) was pretty feeble against a strong, fast Ang Thong attack. The only bright spots were the two full-backs, who got forward well and came racing back when required. Hansson at right full back was flying up and down the touchline at break-neck pace, and Yossawat at left full back showed superb quality with his crossing.

Nevertheless, Port conceded not one, not two but three goals in a dire first thirty minutes. Ang Thong were waltzing through the middle of the park practically unchallenged in either midfield or defense. It’s an understatement to say that Ittipol, Narakorn, Pummared, Anisong and Pakasit didn’t cover themselves in glory!

In the second thirty minutes Port started with what looked like something close to the first XI (minus holiday-makers Rochela and Dolah and temporary monk Pakorn), and interestingly Maranhao (92) was picked behind Josimar (30), with Suarez (5) left out. Whilst we don’t want to read too much in to what is essentially a meaningless friendly, it’s looking increasingly like the writing could be on the wall for the Spaniard. After being dropped for the final league game against Sisaket and then this friendly, his place in the squad is at the least under serious consideration. Unlike previous friendlies, however, Maranhao didn’t do his case any favours against Anthong. He didn’t see much of the ball, and despite a couple of useful runs, didn’t make a decisive impact on the game.

Yossawat (28) did, though. When Panpanpong (19) was taken off after a nasty-looking challenge left stud marks on his thigh, the 21 year old came on, and just a few minutes later he delivered a sumptuous cross which Genki (18) headed home from a few yards out. With Pakorn (9) missing – having temporarily become a monk – set-pieces were also up to grabs, and Yossawat took a couple of corners which had some pretty serious whip on them, too. Promising!

In the final period, Port fielded another cobbled-together XI including new signings, injury returnees and fringe players. Pinyo (21) played his first game since pre-season, replacing Ekkapoom (8) who had played in both of the first two periods. Both looked lively at times, but their lack of stamina also showed. Jetjinn (26), another new left back, also made his debut in the final period, looking steady although he didn’t see too much of the ball. Port pulled another goal back after some fantastic work from Nitipong (34) on the right. He twisted, turned and his well-struck shot could only be parried in the direction of Pinyo, who volleyed home from close range. Port’s short-lived search for an equalizer was brought to an abrupt end when more lackluster defending led to an Angthong forward rounding Watchara (37) in the Port goal and passing in to an empty net. It was a fitting end to a game in which Port were second best for the majority of the game, and a two goal margin was probably fair.

 

Port FC Man of the Match

It will have to be seen as an opportunity missed for Maranhao, who failed to make much of an impact when played with the first XI, but an opportunity seized for my Port FC Man of the Match Yossawat, who on the early evidence is a very good prospect indeed. Watch out, Panpanpong, he’s coming for you!

 

Lions Overpower Tigers: Port FC 3-0 Nakhon Pathom (Friendly)

 

Maranhao starred as Port eased to a 3-0 victory in Wednesday’s friendly with T2 side Nakhon Pathom. The Brazilian, as he so often has been in friendlies, was Port’s best player, scoring twice and gift-wrapping a third for Spaniard Asdrubal, who made another step towards recovering from his long-term knee injury. The game was played out over three thirds, allowing Jadet to experiment with lots of different combinations throughout the side.

 

The First Third

 

 

The first third saw a combination of the second and third string getting some much-needed action. Goalkeeper Watchara (37) has now returned to Port as his loan spell at BBCU ended with the dissolution of the club. He was not required to make a single save as Port dominated possession, but on one of the few occasions a cross came in to his area, he flapped at it rather unconvincingly. In front of him Hansson (33) was the most impressive defender, but he was also largely untested.

Wanchalerm (40) looked tidy in defensive midfield, but it was on the right wing where Port were really making an impression. Maranhao (92) had the beating of his defender time and time again, although with Siwapong (97) not doing much to support Kaludjerovic (10), there was little for him to aim for in the middle. When Port did finally make a breakthrough, Kalu bungled his chance. Clear through on the keeper, Kalu’s side-footed effort was saved, but the ball fell to Maranhao who blasted in the rebound from the edge of the area. Port 1-0 Nakhon Pathom

On the left hand side Port weren’t making as much progress. Asdrubal (27) – returning from an injury that was expected to keep him out for the full season – looked a long way off full fitness. The Spaniard did show some nice touches, but wasn’t able to get past his defender or contribute tellingly in the attack. Maranhao, on the other hand, continued to make his case for inclusion in Port’s second leg T1 squad. In a textbook Maranhao move, he beat his defender with a stepover, moved the ball inside and rifled a shot – this time with his left foot – into the near post bottom corner. Ahh, how we’ve missed that Brazilian spark. Unstoppable. Port 2-0 Nakhon Pathom

 

The Second Third

 

 

The second third saw some more established players coming in, as well as youngster Techin (25), who got his first outing since the very first friendly in pre-season. Techin played alongside Tatchanon (39) in midfield, while Jadet experimented with a front two of Tana (99) and Kalu.

Play continued in the same vein, with Port pouring forward and Nakhon Pathom offering nothing but desperate defending. Tana and Kalu were both off the pace, leaving it once again for to the wingers to create and convert the chances. Meechok (20) linked up well with Maranhao on the right, overlapping the Brazilian and then finding him in the box with a pinpoint cross, before Maranhao unselfishly squared to Asdrubal, who celebrated his return to the action by beating the keeper from close range to score his first Port goal. Port 3-0 Nakhon Pathom

 

The Final Third

 

 

Jadet used the final third to trial what will be very close to his Starting XI in Korat on Sunday. With Adisorn (13) and Suarez (5) suspended, Jadet looks like he will turn to Tatchanon (39) as cover for Adisorn, and Kalu (10) as a replacement for Suarez. The absence of both Worawut (36) and Siwakorn (16) from training is hopefully not an indication that either is not fit for the upcoming game!

The final third, which you would expect Port to dominate with their first choice players, was bizarrely the most even period of the match. The rain that came down midway through the period did nothing to inspire the players to attack, and indeed despite a couple of nice touches from Pakorn (9) there was little of note to talk about.

 

Man of the Match

 

 

Undoubtedly, the man of the match was Maranhao. The skillful, energetic Brazilian was involved in everything that Port created. Now back to full fitness, Maranhao must be playing himself into serious contention for a place in the Port’s squad for the second leg of the season. The spark he provided was in stark contrast to Kalu, who as usual looked sluggish and was unable to convert the chances that came his way.

 

Photos by Alisa Suwanrumpha

 

No Cato No! Port Play Pink Panthers in Final Friendly

 

What we’re 99% sure will be Port’s final pre-season friendly takes place on Saturday 4 February at the PAT, with a KO time of 5pm. The opponents are BBCU, aka Big Bang Chula Utd, who not only have a great official name, but also a great nickname – the Pink Panthers. What with lions, swat cats and now panthers, the PAT is fast becoming a mecca for “cat fanciers”, though having been bitten by one this week & spent the morning at Kluaynamthai Hospital as a result, I do not include myself in their number.

Anyway, we hope that Jadet will treat this friendly like a proper game and give his first-choice XI a proper run-out, to give us a firmer idea of how Port are likely to shape up in 2017. See you at the PAT on Saturday!

 

 

Friendly Announced; Season Tickets On Sale

 

Port will be playing fellow T1 (that’s going to take some getting used to) side Nakhon Ratchasima in a warm-up game on January 22nd. It’s the first friendly to be announced this year, but it seems very likely that Port will be playing other friendlies before then, although with this being Thai football they will probably be announced via emoji 5 minutes after kick-off.

The receipt, in all it’s glory

In other news, season tickets are on sale at PAT Stadium from today until January 20th The club shop will be open from 10:00 until 17:00, and you will need to provide your passport and your address. I dropped in earlier today to renew my Titanium Card, and it all went very smoothly. I filled in the online form before I went, which only took a minute because after entering my name all of the details from last season’s application popped straight up. The online form is in Thai, but if you don’t do it before you go that’s absolutely fine. As long as you have your passport and your address the staff will fill it out for you, which only takes a few minutes. Unfortunately, when all is said, done and paid for, you only get a receipt rather than the actual ticket. Hang on to the receipt, and The Sandpit will update you when the club announces that the season tickets are ready to collect. Last season it was after the season started, so don’t be too shocked if the same thing happens again. This is Thailand, after all!