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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

 

Think I’d Better Call Me Nan: Undercover in Nakhon Pathom

Following the latest outbreak of hostilities with those lovely people at Muangthong Utd, Port fans once again found ourselves locked out of the last three games of the season. But having already booked two minibuses for the away jaunt to Nakhon Pathom, we decided to stick it to The Man and go there anyway, and it turned out to be the most memorable game of the season.

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Some Muangthong merchandise is discovered en route

A few cold beers in the bag for the journey (I always vow not to drink on the bus but there are few sights more tempting than tiny beads of condensation forming on a can of Leo as it’s removed from the fridge, and I rapidly cave in), we embark for Nakhon Pathom in a two-bus convoy. Whilst bus two apparently have a Northern Soul party, we spend the journey coming up with new Port songs, generally on the themes of Hockers’ hat, our friends at Muangthong and their myriad deficiencies, or Keith calling his grandmother and eating nachos. You had to be there.

Our pre-match drinking plans are thrown into confusion when it transpires that our mooted venue is in fact a nightclub and doesn’t actually open until 10pm, but on arrival in Nakhon Pathom we find a suitable restaurant and are greeted with looks of terror by a waitress who had clearly planned to spend the afternoon staring at her phone rather than serving food & beers to 20 farang football fans.

The palatial surroundings of Nakhon Pathom Stadium

The palatial surroundings of Nakhon Pathom Stadium

Pre-match bracers consumed, we head on to Nakhon Pathom Stadium and do our best to arrive discreetly, given the fact that our presence is officially illegal. We’re not wearing Port colours – lower-division English football shirts are the order of the day – and as we park some distance away from the main stand we’re convinced we might just pull this off. Until we open the bus doors, step out and are greeted with shouts of “TARUA!” from the local kids. Fuck.

The Grassy Knoll

The Grassy Knoll

We notice a conveniently-placed grassy knoll behind one of the goals, which becomes a Plan B should we fail to negotiate tickets, but we needn’t worry, as the baffled ticket office girl, who looks as if she’s never seen a foreigner before, takes our money and hands over the tickets with glassy-eyed incomprehension, and we’re in.

The friendly, horizontally laid-back stewards (so laid-back they disappear at half time) in the opposite stand tell us we can bring in cans and bottles as long as we don’t throw them on the pitch – they’ve obviously met Port fans before – and so we send one of the buses to the local Sewen to stock up.

Transformers - Port Fans in DIsguise

Transformers – Port Fans in DIsguise

The home fans clearly know who we are but seem to find our presence more entertaining than confrontational, and as the game begins, 3 more Port fans in disguise shuffle in, identify us as compadres, and come to sit with us. Making a total away following of 23. We may be keeping quiet, but the home fans around us aren’t and – expertly led by Thailand’s youngest ultra, a shirtless 8-year old kid – they make a wonderful racket.

Amazingly, it didn't actually rain!

Amazingly, it didn’t actually rain!

The game itself is fairly forgettable. Port go 1-up in the first half and pound the home team’s goal without increasing their lead, then it all goes tits-up in the last few minutes with Port inexplicably pushing forward and leaving huge gaps at the back which Pathom exploit – twice – with the last kick of the game bringing a winning goal. 2-1. Bollocks.

At the final whistle wonderful things happen, as the home fans stand up and give us all a round of applause, which is a very moving moment that brings a tear to my jaded old eye, and provides a welcome reminder that, despite the unpleasantness of our recent visit to Muangthong, Thai football is generally a very friendly affair. We sing a few Port songs outside the stadium, and then return to the vans for the journey home, the usual 2 hours of drinking, singing and multiple toilet stops.

A wonderful, unexpected away trip and one that none of us will forget for a long while. Thanks as usual to Keith for organising the buses, and of course to the fans and stewards at Nakhon Pathom for making us so welcome. We look forward to returning – when they come up to the TPL of course…

 

Kenny’s Klip