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Despite Holding On, Police Cut N Run With A Point: Port FC 3 – 3 Police Tero

 

 

 

Port opened the season against a Bay City Rollers themed Police Tero side. Come full time any fears the arrival of pragmatic coach Dusit, would stop Port matches being entertainment were put to bed, as the sides produced an enthralling 90 minutes, with the spoils ultimately shared.  The fun started with the arrival of the team sheet, as Dusit began his mission to bring back the good times to Klong Toei by springing a few surprises from the mega mix of a Port squad. The biggest being the absence of Siwakorn (16) from the matchday squad, presumably injured. With his normal central midfield spot, alongside Go (8) going to Tanaboon (17). As expect Dusit deployed his a wingback system with the central defensive roles going to Rochela (22), Dolah (4) and Worawut-Baresi (24), Roller (33) came in at right wingback and Bordin (10) was surprisingly deployed in a more defensive role than normal on the left. Supporting Bonilla (9) were Port’s two standout performers of the evening in Pakorn (7) and Suarez (5).

 

Police Tero- Criminal away kits

 

For Police one former Port cult hero, Arthit “Pele” Boodjinda, started while the other Anon was nowhere to be seen. And it was their side who would make the first decisive play of the evening, Isaac Honey collected a misplaced Port pass and from on halfway played a ball to Evandro Paulista, who was in rather too much space between the Port defence and midfield, the Brazilian carried the ball forward unchallenged and from 25 yards unleashed a swerving a shang-a-lang of a shot to the left of Worawut(36). 1-0 Police.

There after Port began to apply the pressure and were rewarded in the 23rd minute, as some neat work by Bonilla evaded three Police defenders, giving the El Salvadorian the space to place an exquisite cross onto Suarez’s head, who guided the ball into the far corner. 1-1. Anyone thinking Tero’s first was just a case of early season rustiness and Port would kick on and to the expected victory, was to be disappointed. As the cobwebs were on show again just a minute later, as Evandro Paulista thought I’d do it again and worked his once upon a star success for the second time, scoring from near identical build up, this time he received the ball inside the centre circle and was again allowed to advance unchallenged towards the Port box, before unleashing a drive from slightly further out and sending the ball into the other side of the Port goal. It was an angel baby of a strike, only let down by the sight of a man just shy of his 34th birthday unironically doing the Ronaldo celebration.  2-1 Police.

 

It was one of those nights where Sergio Suarez was flying

 

If Worawut could be given the benefit of doubt for the first two goals, Tero’s third, on 32 minutes, was a classic howler. In my season preview, l spoke about each of our keeping options being flawed, with Wozza the biggest has always been coming for crosses and here it showed again as ball and keeper were like strangers in the wind as he ran into a group of four Port defenders marking only one Police attacker and succeeded in only flapping the ball into space on the edge of the six yard box. Where it was a case of on the money (Isaac) Honey as the unmarked Ghanaian showed his noted attacking ability, sending a bicycle kick into the unguarded net. 3-1 Police.

Port again took control of the game, pushing for the goal that would get them back into contention. They were rewarded when with 5 minutes left in the half, Roller’s cross evaded everyone in the middle and was collected by Bordin, who shot for goal, with a Police defender, diving to block it. Before the ball has sailed wide, the appeals started. As soon as the review was confirmed and the first replay shown, it was easy to see why. The ball clearly strikes Ekkachai’s outstretched arm. Here we go VAR moan one of the season, sadly l suspect numerous more to come.  The issue is, why it takes nearly four minutes to agree upon the obvious and get the penalty taken. That’s before we get on to what should and shouldn’t constitute handball and the issue of consistency when you add the handball penalty VAR reviews against Maungthong and Buriram for similar in the league.  Considerably shorter and less enraged than normal, that’s either progress or acceptance of this deeply flawed system. Back to the game. Rochela stepped up and fired his spot kick to the left, keeper Kittipong was able to get a hand to it and steer it onto the post but el capitán was Johnny on the spot, getting to the ball first and steering it home. 3-2 Police at halftime in one of the more entertaining halves for neutrals.

The second half saw Port again dominating proceedings and they were rewarded inside 10 minutes, as a Bordin shot was parried by Kittipong, the attempted clearance fell to Roller, whose debut whilst not quite Rollermania, still showed plenty of promise. The ex Ratchaburi man pulled the ball back to Suarez on the edge of the box, who span away from his marker and fired home. All square 3-3.

On a typical Saturday night at the PAT, with this match unfolding, the place would be rocking and the crowd playing their part, as the home team went on the hunt for a winner. As it was Police found themselves holding on in front of empty stands. There would be chances at both ends, with Worawut earning at least one “super save” from the commentators, something I’m glad remains with coverage having moved to AIS. Suarez was denied a deserved hattrick as the merest flick of Kittipong’s palm sent the ball onto the woodwork. Go would then lay on two opportunities, firstly for Nurul (13) heading the ball to the diminutive substitute, who may have been offside but avoided the need for a VAR check by fluffing his lines for 7 yards out unmarked. Before in injury time, Bonilla didn’t quite have the electric wheels required to get on to a through ball from the Korean, which would have left just the keeper to beat. Add in a free kick on the edge of the box for the impressive Pakorn and there were chances to claim all three points. The match however finished with Evandro Paulista clearly thinking the way l feel tonight I might as well go for a third long range spectacular but it was a case of there goes my baby as it sailed well wide to end the match.

A what could have been moment for Nurul

 

A disappointing result but at this stage of the season all we can do is keep on dancing, show the required dedication in training this week, ensure as a group the lads don’t stop believing and hopefully we’ll have a magic feeling at fulltime in the weekends trip to Bangkok United. It’s far too early to pass judgement on the Dusit era and even a defeated out in Rangsit would be too early for calls to see him back on the street. Give him time and the results will come. After all 90 minutes into his time at Port, we’ve conceded nearly a quarter of the goals his BG team did in a season, things surely improve. It was also the first time a Dusit led team have conceded three league goals in just under 3 weeks shy of two years – the last team to do it were Ayutthaya United in T2, hopefully, he can go as long before it happens again. With all our expected rivals at the top of the table dropped points bar the one we face next, there’s still everything to play for.

 

 

Man of the Match – Sergio Suarez.

New season same Sergio Suarez, long may it continue.

 

And finally, incase you missed it, a great shot from the Klong Toei VIP section.

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February Farce – The Port Round-Up Nobody Wanted

Lets face it, following Thai football can be difficult in normal times; the lack of communication between clubs and fans, last minute changes of venue and match date, plus poor stadiums and facilities to mention a few aspects. Now factor in a global pandemic, a league campaign that never seems to end with empty stands and it’s no wonder everyone here at Sandpit Towers has struggled to get the match reports out. So I’ve dusted off the typewriter to keep you up to date with recent events. You might want to sit down and pour yourself a double before you start reading this…

 

Port FC 1 – 2 Buriram United FC 

After getting knocked out of the FA Cup on penalties, our conquerers Buriram returned 3 days later to face us in the league. Port gave a much better account of themselves and took the lead just after half time with a Sergio Suarez finish. Sadly they couldn’t hold onto the lead and capitulated to 2 late goals; first a near post header and minutes later Maicon was suicidally played onside by Worawut/Baresi with time to finish. True, a slight improvement in form but to concede so late easily preventable goals would be especially galling to Coach Oud, who the camera picked up slapping his own head as some self-inflicted flagellation. 

 

Oud, reacts to Oud’s call to take Bordin off

 

Police Tero FC 2 – 0 Port FC 

Madame Pang Coach Oud rung the changes for our trip north of the capital, starting with an attacking trident of Adisak, Bonilla and Boli but in truth, they were especially toothless against a well organised Police. It was truly written in the stars that 2 ex-Port players, both sadly mismanaged during their respective spells at The PAT, would score the goals. Just before the 10 minute mark Dragan Boskovic cooly finished and in the second half cult favourite carthorse Arthit “Pele” Boodjinda smashed home to double the lead. Special mention must go to our keeper Worawut who pulled off 2 exceptional saves to keep the scoreline respectable. 

 

“Pele” scored……

 

BG Pathum United FC 2 – 1 Port FC 

Sadly our form had made this match up a completely different proposition to what it could have been if we had maintained our early season form, whenever that was, and a Port win (stop laughing at the back) would not have really affected Glass’ eventual crowning as champions. The bittersweet aspect of this match is that Port at times were the better team and took the lead in the first half thanks to an acute thunderbastard volley from workhorse Ko Seul-Ki. If Port fans had been in the stadium the reaction would have been akin to Suarez’s goal at Buriram; total bedlam. Port then did the most Port thing possible and immediately conceded an equalizer to Brazilian shithouse Victor Cardozo. The second half was an enthralling affair with both teams pressing for the win but eventually it was Glass securing the points thanks to ex-Port player (getting a bit sick & tired writing that phrase) Chenrop. Yes, that Chenrop. Port had the ball in the net in the final minute of the match but VAR adjudged Suarez to have handled the ball moments before. Fuck you very much VAR. 

 

Who remembers the good ole days when VAR was going to give Port loads of marginal decisions?

 

Port FC 0 – 0 Trat FC 

Port finally secured their first point since the beginning of the month with a draw at home to lowly Trat, a team we would have murdered many moons ago. The opposition decided to show some effort and attempted to secure all the points, while the home team were disorganised, ineffective and frankly bollocks. Please can I stop writing now? 

 

“Put the round thing in the net thing” Oud passing on some much needed advice v Trat

 

So what’s going on with the team? Has the same malaise affecting this website hit the team? Trusted first teamers are dialling in performances, new signings are running around the pitch with no end product and very little tactical awareness is being shown from the bench. 4 points out of a possible 18 and knocked out of the cup speaks volumes; a truly wretched month, plus Buriram have found some steel and are hunting us down. Next up is a trip to Legoland for the Scum Vs Slum derby, and our opponents have won 5 out of 6 matches since the league restart. It’s look ominous people, and this time Jadet isn’t hanging around to swoop in and take the reins. Buckle up, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

 

Derby day

Kind of Blue (& Orange): Port FC 1-0 Police Tero FC

 

 

In a game that was already forgotten by the time we were halfway through our post-match Leos, Port got back to winning ways against a decent Tero side who had clearly looked at Port’s current form and fancied their chances of a win. It wasn’t pretty, and the goal came courtesy of some highly dubious refereeing, but we’ll happily take the 3 points which, coupled with the 2018 version of the Muangthong Meltdown continuing at Bangkok Glass, gives Port a 6pt cushion in third.


In 1970, legendary jazz musician Miles Davis ditched his long-established band, hired a new trio of musicians and released the experimental jazz/rock fusion album Bitches Brew. It was a radical move but also a surprisingly successful one, with the album going on to sell over a million copies. Port coach Jadet, clearly a disciple of the late trumpet maestro, took a similar approach to Port’s lineup last night. Late on Friday night, sitting in the corner of a smoky dive, wearing a black polo neck and smoking a Gauloise, Sir Det suddenly thinks “What if we play two left-backs? And what if we play a left-winger on the right? And in defensive midfield, HOW ABOUT WE PLAY A GUY WHO’S NEVER PLAYED A SINGLE MINUTE OF COMPETITIVE PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE???” An atonal saxophone solo squawks its approval, and Jadet submits his team sheet to the kind of astonishment and outrage that greeted the first performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in Paris in 1913.

Indeed there were so many raised eyebrows in the Sandpit when the team news came through that it looked like we’d all been to some cheap Trendy Condo beauty salon for Botox treatment. Panpangpong (19) AND Kevin (97) down the left? Bodin (10) on the right? Ex-Leicester trainee Anon (20) making his debut in midfield? For a coach who changes his teams about as often as I used to change my sheets when I was a student (once a term, unless I had a girlfriend at the time. So once a term basically) this was truly radical stuff, that could either end in glorious triumph or car-crash disaster.

Tero, with their coaching staff clad in stripey shirts making them look like 1970s cartoon burglars, were intent on leaving the PAT with a swag bag of 3 points, and with Port’s former tormentors Aung Thu & N’Dri up front, and ex-Port defender Niran Hansson in defence, it was clear from the start they were to be no pushovers. And it was the visitors who had the best of the opening exchanges, though both N’Dri and Pathompol opted to dive rather than compete for the ball when fed chances in the box. Yellow cards were sadly not forthcoming, as the ref showed early on that he did not have one single fucking clue about what he was supposed to be doing. But Tero did almost take the lead on 16 minutes when a 30-yard THRIKER from Korean midfielder Lee narrowly shaved Rattanai’s (17) crossbar – the first time the words “Rattanai” and “shaved” have ever appeared in the same sentence.

It took 25 minutes for Port to carve out anything resembling a chance, when a peach of a Panpanpong free-kick was almost nodded in by a diving Todsapol (6). With Pakorn (7) finally benched, it was refreshing to see players actually trying to create chances from free kicks rather than seeing how high over the bar they could blast the ball. Suarez (5) was the next to trouble Tero keeper Nont when put through by a lovely ball from Boskovic (23), but his first touch was poor and he stumbled on the second; then Bodin stung the young Franco-Thai keeper’s palms with a rasping 20-yard drive minutes later, as Port started to exert some control over the game. A squeaky bum moment at the other end – when an Aung Thu shot deflected off Rochela (22) over a despairing Rattanai but also thankfully over the bar – was followed by a penalty shout for Port when Bodin was apparently brought down in the area, though protests were halfhearted and the video shows that it would have been harsh against Tero if it had been awarded.

The second half at least started in somewhat livelier fashion, with both teams – as has often been the case this season – intent on punishing the tardy half-time beer drinkers (Sandpit writer Toby Knight has now missed a total of 13 goals this season, such is his passion for the ale). In the first minute, Panpanpong desperately scrambled the ball away when it looked like Tero were nailed in to score; then a couple of minutes later Bodin almost raised the roof when he picked the ball up on the edge of the Port box, ran the length of the pitch and unleashed a 20-yard thunderbastard which beat Nont but not the crossbar. Goal of the decade if it went in. Two minutes after that, N’Dri broke clear into the box but his firm shot was saved by Rattanai’s face, potentially damaging those boyish good looks.

Finally, on the hour mark, the scoreboard operator, who hitherto had been about as busy as Kang Soo-Il’s electric razor, was called into action as Port broke the deadlock. With the Panpanpong/Kevin experiment proving to be a shambles, the former went off to be replaced by Pakorn and straight away Port looked a better side. Chakrit (9) chased a through ball and, although the ball was so far out of play it may as well have been outside ordering a Leo, the linesman’s flag didn’t stir. He found Pakorn, whose weak shot was parried by Nont into the path of Bodin, but the Fresh Prince could only scuff it in the direction of Bosko, who had the awareness to pass it back to Suarez who buried it in the corner. 1-0, and whilst it wasn’t exactly deserved, who really gives a shit eh?

 

 

The remaining half an hour was possibly the worst we’ve seen all season, with Port’s ‘game management’ consisting largely of Rattanai feigning injury every time he made a save. Debut boy Anon (20) showed that, despite his MOTM performance he’s not quite the finished article yet with a comedy dive to try and win a penalty, but otherwise there was little of note, and there was relief all round when the ref finally blew up.

So Port showed again that they are capable of winning when not playing well, and with an experimental lineup featuring no fewer than 3 debutants (Danish-Thai Sammy Slot (11) and another ex-Leicester trainee Somprasong (14) both came on late in the game), that showed our squad is maybe a little deeper than we thought. But with tough games against the top two coming up, worries remain. Boskovic and Suarez both seem intent on playing deep, leaving Port without a spearhead for long periods last night; Nurul’s trickery is sorely missed; and Nitipong is suspended for both games, with Chakrit a barely adequate replacement. Still, the influx of talented new players – Anon in particular – the future looks bright for Port and a top 3 finish is become more and more of a probability rather than a possibility.

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match: Anon

No, that’s not ‘Anonymous’ – it’s our new no20, defensive midfielder Anon Samakorn. Despite spells in Leicester & OH Leuven’s U23 sides, this was actually Anon’s first ever competitive game of football, but you wouldn’t have known it – big, physical, alert and calm on the ball, he was an absolute revelation, and has surely already leapfrogged Adisorn in the Port pecking order by simple virtue of the fact that he can actually pass the ball. “I love him” said Tom last night. “His head’s always spinning round”. The same could be said of Linda Blair in The Exorcist or the average owl, and you wouldn’t want either of them sitting in front of your defence, but I see Tom’s point – it was clear that he has been properly coached in a professional environment. The future’s bright – the future’s Anon.

 

Port Devoured by Pigs: Police Tero FC 4-2 Port FC

 

“There you go. Givin’ a f**k when it ain’t your turn” Detective Bunk, The Wire

 

Confidence was high going into Sunday evening’s clash at the Boonyachida stadium. Police Tero had seemingly become the latest “struggling” club to dispose of their coach* after a slow start and despite some shows of defensive frailty in the second half against Air Force, Port had put in a great showing of free-flowing football during their 3-1 victory.

(* = I had a chance meeting with a member of Tero staff the other day who confirmed Scott Cooper has returned home due to a legitimate family emergency and should be back in the Tero dugout by the end of this month.)

My journey there was relatively straightforward, a number 29 bus from Chatuchak Park along the main road and I soon found myself near the Police Sports and Social Club. Luckily another Port fan was on the bus so seeing him get up was my cue to get off. A quick walk over the bridge and a somewhat pleasant walk through the serene and leafy Police complex, I was at the stadium. Tim and Tom hadn’t been so lucky with their Grab Taxi – in spite of that app using GPS, they had instead taken a somewhat more scenic tour of Lak Si district.

 

 

 

 

 

The Tero’s Sandpit Equivalent….Let’s call it the Bacon Mixer, was soon filling up with Port fans. Thumbs up to Tero for a nicer selection of food outlets, including a burger van, a Pad Thai van and another van selling fries in a variety of flavours. However, beers still needed to purchased from enterprising Port fans with their pickup trucks outside the stadium. A Police Tero drink tent did open up selling Chang….so I continued walking around the block to the Port trucks selling LEO. A rather Orwellian sign reminded us that “POLICE (TERO) ARE EVERYWHERE!” One thing noticeable from the Tero fans was the popularity of their man from Myanmar, with many “AUNG THU 10” shirts on show. Rain did briefly threaten, and when I say briefly it was literally a minute. Luckily it never returned as umbrellas were being confiscated from us when we entered the away end.

Pre-match talk had been around whether Jadet would bring Dolah back into the defence, the midfield trio of Adison, Siwakorn and Kim had looked impressive against Air Force but Jadet instead opted to swap Suarez for Adisorn and makeshift centre back Athibordee was going to keep his place.

 

 

A noticeable change as the teams emerged was Port’s yellow kit. Despite Grand Sport giving us a home shirt (orange/blue), away shirt (black) and a third shirt (purple), all of the above were deemed to be potential clashes with Tero’s red and black, so a new yellow shirt was quickly scrambled from the GS catalogue and scatter gunned with our various sponsor labels. At the rate we’re acquiring new shirts, they will soon need to double the floorspace at the club shop.

Port didn’t start too badly, an early concern was Kim being clattered and moving even more gingerly than usual. At one stage Port were applying more pressure and forced quite a few consecutive corners. Pakorn looked in no danger of repeating previous heroics from corners with each one being gobbled up by their centre backs or not even beating the first man. On the 26th minute, and perhaps slightly against the run of play the Police took the lead. A nice give and go from Aung Thu to their winger Mongkol was returned back into the Port box, N’Dri scuffed his shot/pass and fell over, but the loose ball fell nicely to the Burmese striker to tuck away their opening goal.

Port were back on the offensive when Suarez’s long shot was spilled by their keeper, Pakorn was quickly onto the rebound but it hit the underside of the crossbar. Tero were next to test the woodwork when a free kick into the box was headed against the bar by Chiang Rai loanee Mongkol. Tero then doubled their lead when a deep cross into the box which found captain Michael N’Dri in acres of space at the back post. He had all the time in the world to measure the flight of the ball, write out a few speeding tickets and then volley in, without even needing to take an extra touch to control the ball.

At this stage Port’s performance had been slightly drunk and disorderly, worthy of a night in the cells to calm down at worst. Hopefully Madame was going to post bail and Jadet would come pick them up from the station but instead Port were about to be found guilty of more serious crimes and transferred instead to the Bangkok Hilton for the second half, where they were going to be having severe issues holding onto the soap…

Police Tero started the second half very much like they had ended the first and added a third goal on 52 minutes when N’dri laid the ball back to Aung Thu in the box, he held off a somewhat half-hearted citizen’s arrest from Suarez to navigate his shot past a group of yellow shirts into the corner. Three minutes later the humiliation was completed as the Keystone Cops defending struck again. That man Aung Thu began running at Ports defence, who in turn began flocking towards him like he had some kind of gravitational pull, only to leave N’dri in plenty of space to collect a pass from our Burmese oppressor and curl a fourth goal past Worawut into the bottom corner. At 4-0 Police Tero had quite literally “fired up the Quattro” and it was certainly Ashes to Ashes as far as Port getting a share of the spoils.

At this stage I hoped Jadet would use the remaining 30 or so minutes to give The Flash some game-time, just by way of giving the fans something to get behind should he finally touch the ball, but alas Bordin and Adisorn were introduced, and later Arthit, returning from his suspension. Bordin did at least manage a shot on target that was easily collected by their keeper.

The rest of the match was slowly fizzling out, N’dri and that man Aung Thu were still having fun every time Tero attacked. Had they added a fifth, a ”Tero Five-O” headline to this report was in the offing.

 

 

Port fans began to make their exit, with injury time approaching Port began applying more pressure to the point that Police Tero’s defence could finally put down their coffee and donuts. Bordin forced a double save from the Tero keeper, the ball fell to Bosko who was fouled and the ref pointed to the spot. El Capitan tucked away the penalty and ran into the net to recover the ball. About 30 minutes ago that would have meant something but at this late stage it was very much what Larry David would call “an empty gesture”. However, during the next attack the ball dropped to Kevin on the edge of the box and he curled one past the Tero keeper to take some of the gloss away from what had been an impressive showing from The Boys In Blue Red. This was pretty much the last kick of the game. As far as todays clash had gone, we fought the law, and the law won.

At fulltime I stayed around to gauge the reaction from the Port faithful. When the vanquished Yellows and Madame were greeted with a Viking clap, that was my breaking point.

So to add some context to my opening Wire quote, it kind of dawned on me that maybe us “farang” fans get more worked up and invested in the results than the Thai fans do. As far as I know, there are no 606 style phone ins where angry fans vent their spleens about bad performances and call for heads to roll. Thinking back to last season, the Zico experiment ended with him doing a lap of honour and receiving bunches of flowers from the Zone C.

 

 

After the match, Port fans were having an impromptu acoustic set with the Tero fans in the Bacon Mixer. Seeing this reaction to a turgid defeat was a bit too much to bear and I made my way back to the bus stop, where I stood waiting amongst plenty of smug looking Police fans. Next time I witness a heavy defeat like this, no more anger, no ranting, just five simple words.

 

 

Sandpit Man of the Match: Aung Thu

I wanted to avoid the tried and tested cliché of “The fans”, for putting up with this tripe and still remaining in high spirits. Certainly no-one in a yellow shirt did anything that left a lasting impact so I will break with tradition and award it a member of the opposition. Aung Thu was a constant menace throughout the game, scored two and also one assist. In this new era of enforced ASEAN quotas for the Thai league, he’s certainly the only one that has stood out so far this year. Meanwhile, our own Terens seems to be mothballed, at least until the cup competitions start.

What’s next for Port?

A tricky couple of fixtures coming up for Port before the Songkran break. Bangkok United visit the PAT on Saturday night, I think they have averaged 4 or more goals against us in the 3 games last season. Next Wednesday, Port make a trip to the Thunder Castle to face league leaders Buriram. A few weeks ago this looked like a potential title deciding, meeting of the top 2 but after their promising start, weaknesses at the back for Port are becoming more exposed. Kim is clearly playing through a lot of pain and Bosko looks like he will be lucky to pass Josimar’s total last season, let alone get anywhere near the 38 he managed for BU last year.

 

Sandpit Songs of the Season: Week 8

 

Port travel to struggling, managerless Police Tero tomorrow in search of another 3 points to keep pace with leaders Buriram and put a bit more daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.

Normally I avoid the obvious choices in this feature but come on, there’s only one possible tune this week. All together now: “Tarua will SWAAAARM/On any motherfucker in a red uniform…”

 

 

Arrested Development: Police Tero FC vs. Port FC, 1 April 2018

 

High-flying Port travel to under-performing Police Tero on Sunday looking to make it two wins in a week. Police, on the other hand, find themselves second from bottom and are looking for something – anything – to reverse their fortunes and kick-start a campaign in which many tipped them as potential surprise packages. It has been a surprise, but not in the way we thought it might be!

Manager Scott Cooper was absent for Police’s last game – he is currently on ‘leave’ visiting his sick mother (get well soon, Mrs. Cooper) – and it is widely expected that he will no longer be Police manager by the time he returns. Things haven’t gone to plan for a club who seemed to have brought in an excellent manager and supplied him with a much-improved squad. What has gone wrong? Let’s have a look-see…

 

Police Tero

Players to Watch

 

Tero have gone top-heavy in their foreign signings in a big way. Last season’s top-scorer Michael N’Dri (9) has been joined by Brazilian duo Marcos Vinicius (91) and Douglas Tanque (80), and all three seem to want to play as out-and-out strikers. Similar to Air Force, who Port overcame last week, Cooper has had to incorporate three players in to what would normally be two positions, and his tinkering and crowbarring has not produced results.

Vinicius has been the pick of the bunch with three goals, N’Dri – reliable as ever – has come up with two goals, whilst Tanque has just the one. With Cooper absent last week, caretaker manager Darren Reid went with Vinicius and N’Dri, with Tanque sitting out, but seeing as they slipped to a 2-0 loss at Suphaburi, there could well be further changes for Port’s visit.

 

Michael N’Dri and Marcos Vinicius

 

Assisting the SFS’s is a man very rapidly running away with ASEAN signing of the year award. Anyone who had seen Aung Thu (10) play for Myanmar knew that there was serious talent there, but would T1 be too much of a step-up? No, sir! Aung Thu certainly needs a bit more polish to reach his full potential – he gives the ball away like it’s going out of fashion – but it’s a small price to pay for the carnage he wreaks in opposition defences. Fast, skillful and most of all unpredictable, Aung Thu is certain to give whichever Port defender he faces a tough afternoon. The issue for Police is that, with all the tinkering, Aung Thu hasn’t really found a regular home in the side. He’s played right across the front line, so your guess is as good as mine as to where he’ll start on Sunday. I’ve been most impressed with him on the right, but that’s where Thai national team regular and sharp-elbowed yellow card factory Mongkol Tossakrai (17) calls home. Aung Thu is returning from an international break which saw him miss Wednesday’s trip to Suphanburi as he was busy facing off with Macau. I bet Cooper was thrilled about that!

 

Aung Thu

 

Why on earth are there so many players to watch in a team that sits in 17th place?! Next on the list is Thailand’s best young goalkeeper Nont Muangngam (20). Nont has had some surprising competition for his spot this season. After the Thai-Frenchman was forced to sit out against his parent club Chiang Rai, 39 year old Pongpanot (1) impressed enough to stay in the team for a further couple of weeks, before Nont returned on Wednesday. Expect lightning reflexes from the 20 year old. Lightning!

 

Nont Muangngam

 

Finally we’ll look at Port’s former players. Police smartly snapped up Niran Hansson (8) when he became a free agent following his Port exit, and although Hansson hasn’t nailed down a first-team place, he’s seen a hell of a lot more action than the 15 minutes he managed at Port! Hansson is likely to start on Sunday, having played 90 minutes for the first time this season on Wednesday. The sickest of all notes, Pinyo Inpinit (11) was certainly a risky acquisition for Police, with him having suffered injury on top of injury for the last two years, but Pinyo has taken part in five of seven games so far, with all but one being substitute appearances.

 

Form

 

Police have collected just four points in their first seven games. It’s gone like this…

 

 

An average run of fixtures and a horrific points return. Why? Well, it’s very early to be drawing conclusions, but I’m noticing some parallels between this season’s bottom dwellers. The current bottom three are Air Force, Police and Chainat. All three have three foreign strikers in their T1 squad (Air Force being a slight exception as Nigerian-born Jaycee John is an AFC player). Did no one tell them the quota system has changed? Whereas in previous seasons you could have had one more foreign centre back or midfielder along with your embarrassment of attacking riches, this season your Thai players have a lot more responsibility. Now personally I think that, unlike Air Force and Chainat, Police have the quality among their Thai players to get out of trouble, but they’ve got to up their game in a big way. Starting from next week, preferably!

 

Port FC

Bold Predictions

 

Just so you know your previewer has a record of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to Port team selection, here’s an excerpt last week’s preview…

“Fresh off an international break where Bodin (15) showed that he’s not only ahead of Pakorn (7) in the Thai pecking order, but was even brought on before Nurul (31) in the final, it’s got to be about time to give the guy a chance.”

 

 

Two goals and an assist later, Pakorn says no.

Jadet did spring a huge selection shock though, dropping top scorer Suarez (5) for Adisorn (13) and moving Kim (8) into attacking midfield. It paid off for 45 minutes, with Port putting in an excellent first half performance, but as Kim tired and the defence fell asleep Port once again looked better when Suarez was brought on to help retain the ball.

I have mixed feelings about this move. Yes, it worked pretty well against a team rooted to the bottom of the table, but I wouldn’t like to see Kim moved too far away from his defensive duties against better teams. That said, Jadet could reasonably decide to give it another go against Police, before switching back to the tried and tested against Bangkok United and Buriram.

Then there’s Kim’s fitness. After being the target of quite a few nasty kicks on Wednesday, the Korean looked to be hobbling throughout the second half. To be honest, he hasn’t looked fully fit all season. Jadet ought to be considering giving him a rest against Police to make sure he’s ready for the top teams in upcoming games, although there’s no denying that would be a risky strategy.

I’m still far from convinced that Port have got things right at the back. Athibordee (35) continues not to make glaring errors, but Port are conceding goals with him in the team. First choice Todsapol (6) will certainly come straight back in to the side if and when he is fit, but Dolah (4) is also well worth considering against a big, physical forward line.

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 

Oh, And One More Thing…

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True Sport 2 at 19:00 on Sunday 1 April, 2018. For those who can’t make it to Boonyachinda Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match with sound if you ask them nicely. Mention the Sandpit or wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

The Chequered History Men: Police Tero vs Port FC Match Preview

 

Following Sunday’s disastrous déjà vu moments, so eloquently lambasted by Tim’s scathing, but fully-earned, reportage, Port will try to restore some sense of pride in another Bangkok nearly-local-derby.

Our opponents, BEC Police Tero, have a somewhat colourful history, featuring footballing characters who, some might say (although not me), have often operated on the fringes of legality and, sometimes, decency. They were formed in 1992 as the Sasana Witthaya School FC by none other than Thailand’s own Sepp Blatter, the mercurial Worawi Mukadi, otherwise known as Bung Dee. Now, a logical, bi-lingual translation would reveal ‘bung’ being English for a bribe and ‘dee’ meaning good, but I certainly hope no-one would be scurrilous enough to put the two together in Mr Makudi’s case, particularly as, allegedly, Mr Makudi’s favourite pastime, apart from allegedly making lots of money from the FIFA gravy train, is suing people.  So, in my opinion, he is a VERY GOOD MAN.

In 1996 Sasana allied with BEC Tero Entertainment to become BEC Tero Sasana FC. They enjoyed much success in the new millennium, winning the first division of the Thai League in 2000 and 2001 and then, in 2003, narrowly missed out on the Asian Football Championship, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Ain FC of the United Arab Emirates. One of their top players and captain at this time was the much celebrated, Therdsak Chaiman, of Chonburi fame.

In more recent history, BEC Tero grabbed global attention when chairman, Brian Marcar, managed to persuade Suave Swede Sven (Goran Eriksson), to take over the role of Technical Director in the latter stages of the 2012 season. Or, maybe he didn’t need much persuasion; he may have ventured out here to fulfill a personal dream, as revealed to Didi Hamann, which the ex-Liverpool midfielder describes in his book, ‘The Didi Man’.

‘Recalling a (Man City) pre-season trip to Thailand, Hamann writes: “One morning when I was on a sun lounger by the pool, he (Sven) walked towards me with a bottle of champagne and two glasses on it. It was still only 10 in the morning. I looked up and said, ‘Boss, what are we celebrating?’ expecting him to make the triumphant announcement he was staying. 

“He turned to me and smiled that gentle smile of his and took the air of a Buddhist philosopher, as he said, ‘Life, Kaiser. We are celebrating life’. With a glass of champagne in hand he stood and looked out towards the horizon, then spoke in that higgledy-piggledy Swedish accent: ‘You know Kaiser, I like this place. I think I will manage for another five years and come back here and live with two women. Yes. I think I need two beautiful women.’

 

Sven has a selection dilemma at BEC Tero – one or two up top

 

Port played BEC Tero soon after Sven was appointed and, in one of our best performances in the failed fight against relegation, beat them 2-0 at the National Stadium. With my hand on my heart, I swear that I saw Sven leaving with two, beautiful Thai women. Dream fulfilled or what? Or maybe it wasn’t; the next season saw him with Guangzhou FC in China.

For a team with a successful history and ambitions to be a top-top team, Tero have led rather a nomadic existence, never really establishing a solid, loyal fan-base. They have had four changes of Stadium in the past 8 years, moving between Nong Chok, Thephasadin (my favourite), the much-loathed 72nd Anniversary Stadium and now, Boonyachinda, in the Laksi district. We last visited Boonyachinda in the 2013 promotion season when Leandro’s spectacular, overhead left-foot volley set us on the way to a 5-1 victory against the then occupants, and equally nomadic, Thai Tobacco Monopoly. Like most of Tero’s previous stadiums, it is ‘end-less’ but we do have a decent side-view and will no doubt take up much of its 3,550 capacity.

 

Boonyachinda Stadium

 

There still, however, seems to be some confusion over the club’s name, with many football sites listing them as BEC Tero FC, although everyone seems to be aware of their recent amalgamation with Police Utd, albeit in rather confusing circumstances. Any Tero fans out there like to clarify: ‘Who Are Yer?’

They are currently managed by English born, Mike Mulvey, whose biggest triumphs have been in the Australian ‘A’ League with Brisbane Roar, achieving a record three successive titles between 2012-14. Mulvey has come under just a little pressure before the game; Chairman Brian basically telling him, “Lose and you’re out!”. He seems like quite a decent chap, so we might almost wish for a draw. More than that and the best he can hope for is a sympathy card from Frank De Boer.

 

Michael N’dri

 

On the playing side, little will have changed since our home fixture when Tom highlighted key players Michael N’dri (14 goals to date) and former UK Championship player Kalifa Cisse; Port winning on that occasion 2-1, with goals from Josimar and Siwakorn. Port fans, though, were keen to assess the performance of our rejected Thai/Swedish defender Niran Hansson who, despite catching the eye and the ears of the Sandpit, never really had the chance to shine at PAT. With seven performances in a Tero shirt behind him, it would have been interesting to see if he was pitted against Josimar, on whom much of goal-scoring hopes will rest but, alas, Tom informs me that he is unlikely to play. However, the speculation on that fact has used up the best part of a paragraph so I’ve left it in, in case he does!

 

Niran Hansson

 

Of the other Port players, fans are hoping that Suarez and footballing monk, Pakorn, continue their recent revival. I have never been a big fan of Pakorn, watching him running the ball too often into dead-ends, but will be happy to eat my words should he continue to improve. Aside from that, Rochella and Dolah will be fairly rock-like, unless faced with a Duracell bunny like John Baggio; Siwakorn will run abaht a bit and get himself booked, while Tana’s or Wuttichai’s introduction at any point will elicit anguished groans. Now, add to these, Siwapong. Personally, I would keep the same team that started Sunday, with Yossawat replacing Panpanpong and no subs till we’re 10-0 ahead.

Sunday was, in fact, the third time this season that Port have thrown away a two-goal lead, and on every single one of those occasion we have irresponsibly conceded an injury time-penalty for the equalizer. Sadly, I was at all three games and it does my head in. To paraphrase Lady Bracknell, “To give away one penalty in the last minute, Mr Zico, may be regarded as a misfortune; to give away three looks like carelessness.” Sorry, Lady B, it’s shockingly abysmal, that’s what it is. Jetjinn and Adisorn had watched Baggio skinning people all afternoon in tight situations but they still got hopelessly done. I would have them both put in some stocks specially erected in the Sandpit before the next home game, and arm the crowd with some rotten durians. They won’t be that bothered, because if our aim is like most of our forwards, we’ll miss.

So, rather than highlight a duel with any opponent, our biggest threat is ourselves, our biggest shooting danger – in the foot: needless, mindless substitutions and late, inexcusable penalties. Rant spent.

For Mr Mulvey’s sake; I predict a 1-1 draw.

 

The match will be shown live on True Sport 2 at 17:45 on Saturday 16 September, 2017. For those who can’t make it to the stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will be showing the match on a big screen with sound. The Sandpit will be enjoying some pre-match beers there from2.30pm before heading out to the stadium.