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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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The Sandpit 2021/22 Big Guess Up- Police Tero

Of the current Bangkok-based Thai League 1 sides, one could argue: Police Tero are the least glamorous. They’re a club I’ll always think of as BEC Tero, though the glory days of the past are exactly that: a thing of the past. The days of them having the best players in Thailand are over, their somewhat dodgy deal with Muangthong saw to that, whilst we also snapped up the Aksornsri twins from them a few years back, in a move that hasn’t worked out well for the players, nor Port FC. I still think that Thitathorn will amount to a good player, but the more I see of Thitawee: the less impressed I am.

There are quite a few new faces in the squad this season, with the signing of Lesley Ablorh being one I’m interested in, whilst the arrivals of Anon Samakorn, Wanchai Jarunongkran, and Alexander Sieghart on loan deals will be extremely interesting to watch too. Anon needs a big season to kick-start his stuttering career, which you could also argue as being the case for Sieghart too. If they can’t shine this season: they may have to drop down to Thai League 2 next time.

This Police Tero squad has a Chonburi-esque [of recent years] feel about it: it’s quite an old squad. Whilst Chonburi have solved that issue this season, Tero hasn’t, with them having at least 9 first-team players over the age of 30 at the time of writing. Also, that’s not mentioning all the older players that they allowed to depart during the off-season! I think that there’ll be an attempt to rejuvenate the squad mid-season, with the first-half of the season spent trying to keep themselves away from the relegation spots.

 

Police Tero…… Criminal Merch.

 

Head Coach – Rangsan Viwatchaichok

Police Tero isn’t a club that typically gives their head coach a lot of time: they’ve had 7 managerial changes since 2016. It was the disastrous decision to hire Mike Mulvey in 2017 that would ultimately lead to their relegation in 2018 in my opinion, though the horrendous spells of Scott Cooper and Totchtawan Sripan in 2018 certainly didn’t help either. All 3 of them were complete disasters for the club, they got their recruitment horribly wrong, and they managed to get a club with a strong pedigree and history relegated. Good job lads!

This is Rangsan’s 4TH spell in charge of Tero, with his stats this time around:

GAMESWINSDRAWSLOSSESWIN %
6930142543.47

 

It’s not a bad record at all, and though I’m sure people will say “but it includes Thai League 2!”, he can only play the teams in front of him! With that being said, I do think he’ll need to win more than 10 games this season, otherwise, he could very well be on course to be replaced, only to get the job again a few months later. A Jadet-esque situation!

 

Rangsan Viwatchaichok – out styles the Police merch department

 

Key Player – Issac Honey

Issac is a tremendous footballer, who’s been at Tero on-off since his arrival in Thailand in 2013. Bar his 2-year spell at Angthong in Thai League 2, he’s been on the books of the club every other season, and it signals how highly regarded he is by club management. I think he’s a better striker than defender, having watched him play as a striker for Angthong, finishing 2ND in the Thai League 2 Golden Boot in 2017 with 17 goals. If all else fails, and Evandro Paulista is let go by the club, they should consider signing another central-defender and entrusting Issac with the key role of finding the back of the net.

Unfortunately, I think that’s extremely unlikely, and it’ll be up to the likes of Teerathep, Arthit, and Evandro to score the goals to keep the club in the league. Can they do it? It remains to be seen.

 

Isaac Honey

 

My Prediction – Relegation battle

I honestly can’t see Police Tero doing too much over the course of the season, and I’ll be quite surprised if they manage a few shock results. There just doesn’t appear to be any proper quality within the squad, and the fact that they moved on from Richard Sukuta-Pasu before the season even began is a bit of a shock too. To replace a striker with a midfielder suggest that they’re confident they’ll get enough goals from elsewhere, but I truly struggle to see where those goals will come from. Don’t get me wrong: Lesley Ablorh is a good signing, and I think he’s deserved a chance in Thai League 1 for a number of years. But where will the goals come from!?

I’ve enjoyed watching their style of play in recent years, as they tend to play a 3-4-3 most weeks, but there’s some glaring weaknesses in the squad at the moment. Who knows, they could make a number of changes mid-season and prove me completely wrong!

 

 

Every Little Thing Port Does Is Magic : Port Vs Police Tero FC Preview

 

 

Watching all the recent pomp and fanfare global sports channels force down our throats at the beginning of a football season, it’s hard to get excited about the return of Thai football, especially given the ongoing pandemic and the inept manner the authorities have handled it but here we are. It’s back and from this weekend until late May there will be 240 games to decide which team is top of the pile. Originally scheduled to be played in Buriram, Port’s first match is now back at The PAT thanks to the recent drop in COVID-19 cases but sadly no fans will be allowed in to roar on the mighty lions of Khlong Toei.

Police Tero…… Criminal Merch.

 

Our opponents this weekend represent a national organisation doing excellent public relations work in recent weeks to win over the hearts and minds of ordinary Thai folk – it’s Police Tero. If you’re able to cast your mind back through the thick COVID haze you might remember the farcical scenes at last season’s clash when the generator’s blew and a dour, laboured 1-1 draw was converted into a 0-2 defeat awarded by a panel at the Thai FA. Great times, but a lot has changed since then (the new electrics for starters) and Port fans should be feeling a little more positive about the forthcoming fixture. More on that later, first let’s take a look at some of the key men in red and black representing the boys in brown.

 

Isaac Honey

 

For me a class act in defence, normally operating as a full back but happy to maraud forward, Honey is one of the top defenders in the league and also captain of the team. 13 goals in 30 goals is a great return and underlines how dangerous he will be. It’s a position that has evolved into a much more offensive role over time and offers opportunities for overlaps and an additional attacker in quick breaks. Thinking about how offensive Port’s full backs like to play, and possibly a new formation for this season, will Honey be able to tie up our attackers and bomb forward? He likes the ball in front of him (and open space behind opposing full backs) so hopefully we will press him early.

 

Isaac Honey versatile defend, attack, point at the correct side of his shirt.

 

 

Arthit ‘Pele’ Boodjinda

 

A sandpit favourite from his time as a Port player, very much in the ‘marmite’ category, Pele has gone on to establish himself in the Police starting XI and get called up to the Thai national team. What he lacks in technical ability is made up by his physical approach to forward play. His style is similar to an old fashioned number 9 from decades past but it does reap rewards, and he bagged a goal against us in the return fixture last season. Let’s hope his ex-teammates get a better hold of him this time around.

 

The boy Pele in training

 

 

The Home Team

 

It’s all change in the hot seat and last year’s championship winning coach Dusit Chalermsan is at the helm guiding Port this year. Unceremoniously dumped into BG’s feeder club before the AFC group stages due to a lack of coaching credentials, La Pang seized the opportunity and brought him to Khlong Toei. His Glass team was pretty exceptional, losing only one match all season and, more importantly, getting the best out of his squad. Can he work his magic here? Well he has already left a mark on the squad by dropping diminutive Malagasy wide man Baggio and bringing club captain Rochela back in from his barren spell in the wilderness. Striker Bonilla has signed on for another season and in comes seasoned Filipino Javier Patino to bolster the attack. The group stages of the AFC have hopefully served as a decent form of pre-season and Dusit has since had a chance to implement his ideas on the training ground.

 

Going by his tactics from last season (solid back 3 and 2 strikers) and squad selection, we could be moving to a new formation, perhaps a 3-4-3 or 3-4-1-2. Our attacking options are still a little thin on the ground so we could see 2 attacking midfielders supporting Bonilla up top. Pakorn’s stock increased from several strong performances in the AFC matches and could partner Suarez in the hole, or maybe Dusit will select the technically more skillful Bordin. The fullback selection will also be interesting as we now have 4 decent players fighting for the 2 spots. Recent signing Philip “Paint” Roller is the form man and should play on the right with Jaturapat hopefully getting the nod over one of the Thits.

 

Prediction: Port win by the odd goal. Let’s say 2-1.

 

The game kicks off at 1730 on Sunday and can be viewed on AISPlay. Whileif you fancy watching with fellow Port fans why not head along to the Sportsman on Sukhumvit Soi 13

 

 

I See a Darkness: Power Failure Costs Port

 

Following Sunday’s farcical scenes at the PAT when the season reopening match against Police Tero was abandoned after 87 minutes due to floodlight failure, the FAT handed Port the predicted punishment yesterday – a 50,000THB fine and the win awarded to the away side. You can read a frustrated Tom Earls’ report on the game here. The decision means Tero leapfrog Port in the table and more importantly, in what looks like being the closest T1 title race in years, deprives Port of what could be three vital points come the end of the season.

Even by Port’s standards, 2020 is shaping up to be a calamitous season of poor, misjudged or just downright bizarre decisions. First there was the decision to reduce the stadium capacity by 25% (at a time when the club, having just won the FA Cup, probably had its highest profile ever) by putting in cramped, badly designed seating for one ACL qualifier. Then there was the rather arrogant decision to launch a gold away strip for an ACL campaign that never happened. Then there was the predictable flurry of vanity signings, followed by the shameful treatment handed out to loyal servant and captain David Rochela. And then there was last Sunday, when regular media attendees – including The Sandpit and, more significantly, the guys from Singhphanakon on TV, who have been filming and shooting at Port for years – were refused entrance; Port started with an injured player up front; and, of course, the lights went out causing the game to be abandoned.

I’ve long argued that following Thai football requires a fair amount of suspension of disbelief, a willingness to embrace frequently surreal goings-on, and the occasional bit of nose-holding to cover the stench of corruption, arrogance and certain rampant egos. But what’s happening at Port these days makes it harder and harder to do that. With the talent Port have, a properly managed club would walk the title this season. The fans, and the expensively-assembled squad of quality players, deserve much better from the club’s management, but are sadly unlikely to get it.

 

Suspended Sentence: Port ? – ? Police Tero

 

Ahhh, how I’ve missed Thai football. With it’s flawless planning, military execution and complete aversion to games ending in farcical circumstances, it was just another predictable week where everything went to plan, and everyone went home happy.

The end.

 

 

Wait. Why is everyone singing Happy Birthday?

Well, Thai football did indeed make a predictable return to form on the first competitive weekend of action since March, but as we may have fairly predicted, the football gods got straight about making up for lost time. Firstly, a Buriram player tested positive for Covid, before then re-testing negative, but not before not only Buriram’s game, but the games of everyone they’ve played against in the last 2 weeks, were cancelled. That gave Port the chance to go top of the table with a win against a Police side who had been impressive before the long break.

Having heard in advance that our beloved vendors were not going to be selling their wares at PAT, I took a slight detour from my usual pre-match routine, passing by the rat bar (a little establishment in Khlongtoei market that sells cheap beers along with the chance to get up close and personal with Khlongtoei’s sewer-dwelling wildlife) where I encountered a dejected figure slumped over one of the two VIP tables. Apparently someone hadn’t got the memo that season ticket holders and a couple of hundred fans who queued from as early as 9 o’clock on Saturday morning (for tickets that went on sale at midday) were the only ones getting in.

Still, armed with my season ticket and a bottle of the usual I made my way through the market, ducked and dived through the roadworks and joined the queue to get in to the club shop. With a one-in-one-out policy enforced on the door, I had to wait a few gulps, but pretty quickly got not just my ticket for this game, but also the next. Result!

Discussion in the sandpit was as lively as ever though, with most of the usual suspects holding court in the usual places. Then there was the inevitable fuckery. The Sandpit’s media pass, as well as all of those besides Pang’s personal photographer, were denied entry at the door, leaving several bemused people no way of getting in. Had they been told the hoops they were expected to jump through to gain entry? What do you think?

Still, action on the pitch was just about to get going, and there were some interesting choices in the lineup. Rattanai (18) started in goal as expected, but neither Dolah (4) or Adisorn (20) were fit to start, meaning that experienced stalwart Todsapol (6) and untested youngster Thitawee (2) were paired together at the back. With Go suspended for punching a Buriram player in the balls, Kanarin (31) and Siwakorn (16) started in midfield, and Bonilla (99) was adjudged fit enough to lead the line. Spoiler alert. He wasn’t.

Now I’m at a loss for what to write. 88 minutes of football were played, the score was 1-1, and the lights went out. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you! The lights on everyone’s phones soon illuminated the stands, and the Khlongtoei faithful joined in wishing the football gods a happy birthday. May they continue to have their wicked way with us.

Loxley behind Zone B, the Port Authority, the apartment building behind Zone D and basically everything except the stadium were all operating as usual, and even the lights over the sandpit were working intermittently. It was just the stadium in darkness.

So what does it mean? Well, Thai League rules state that if the power cut effects only the stadium, as it did in this case, then the club has 60 minutes to get things working before the game is forfeited 0-2. 60 minutes came and went without so much as a flicker of light, so by the letter of the law, Bordin’s (10) stunning strike to put us in the lead and Thitawee’s awful defensive error that led to Police’s equalizer count for nothing. Police will be awarded a 0-2 win. Or will they?

 

 

Well I don’t want to give anyone false hope, but the sceptic in me is still unconvinced that this is going to go down the way it undoubtedly should. What if, in Tuesday’s meeting in which the result is to be ratified, Port and Police both propose playing the last few minutes behind closed doors? Of course that’s not in Police’s interest, but I’m sure it could be made to be in their interest. Stranger things have happened. Will the Thai FA still stick to the letter of the law, with a proposed alternative on the table, knowing that Pang has spent 16 million baht to plug a hole in their budget? This is of course why Pang’s donation to the FA should never have been allowed in the first place, and will be one of the most obvious acts of corruption I’ve ever seen if it does happen. So I hope it doesn’t. But it might. Maybe.

So what did we learn tonight from the action itself?

Thitawee had a shocker. He’s young, it was his first game for Port, and there were some positive signs, but this was a performance he’ll do well to forget about. Better luck next time, fella. Bonilla is not fit. Not even close. He barely managed a sprint in the hour he was on, and should never have been in the squad, let alone starting. Heberty (37) was poor, Suarez (5) had a real off-day and Adisak (9) looked lost when he came off the bench for Bonilla. Port’s only attacker who looked on it was Bordin. Helping out defensively and looking dangerous going forward, he was excellent. His ‘goal’ will be expunged from existence if the 0-2 result stands, but I won’t forget it in a hurry. What a strike! Nattawut (45) made another promising cameo too, and Rattanai produced a superb stop in the first half, but those are the only positives I can muster.

Never mind about the result, whatever happens will happen and hopefully the floodlights will work next week. Most of all, it’s good to be back! The chaos and the uncertainty is part and parcel of Thai football, and it gave us a particularly entertaining evening.

We’re at home next week, and I expect things will be the same. Or different. Who knows? Media pass holders will probably not get in, season ticket holders have got their tickets already, and there will likely be more very early queueing for the remainder on sale. See you there! Maybe.

 

Masks For Goalposts: Port FC vs. Police Tero Preview

 

Finally! The long months of pining for the hallowed gravel of the sandpit are almost at an end. We may be masked, separated and deprived of the moo ping and cold Leo that fuel our howls of disappointment, cheers of celebration and insults in whatever language the opposition keeper speaks, but we’re back.

Well, those of us lucky enough to score one of the 25% of tickets that are up for grabs are, anyway. With season ticket holders already having had the opportunity to reserve their seats for Sunday’s long-awaited return, the remainder of tickets, of which we expect there will be a few hundred, will be sold from 1pm on Saturday. Expect queues the length of Zone C, with a socially appropriate distance between everyone, of course. The club shop will be open on match day, although there will apparently be just 6 people allowed in at a time. It’s football, but not quite as we remember it.

While familiar faces, or at least eyes, will be reuniting in the sandpit for the first time in too long, so too will two clubs who have engaged in quite a bit of business over the last few months. Twin towers Thitawee (2) and Thitatorn (3) moved from Police to Port for a reportedly big fee, with Police struggling to keep the lights on during the break. Young goalkeeper Anipong moved in the opposite direction, and of course on-loan forward Arthit has played a big role in Police’s surprising early season form. Crucially, Pele shouldn’t be eligible to play against his parent club on Sunday.

 

 

Port haven’t just been snapping up the finest Police men money can buy, though. We’ve also brought in one of T1’s finest strikers. Ah yes, this familiar story again.

Of course, at Port it’s never as simple as signing a star striker and reaping the rewards. Drama has been unfolding all week regarding Port’s foreign player registration, in what has basically become a bi-annual festival of stupidity and financial recklessness. This year, it centres on the arrival of the aforementioned Salvadoran striker Nelson Bonilla (99). Just a couple of days before the deadline, it was reported that Port would not be registering Bonilla due to concerns over his fitness, with long time club captain Rochela (22) being restored to the squad. Then, at the very last minute, long-serving Rochela was once again ignominiously dropped, with an apparently unfit Bonilla being given the spot. Meanwhile, Rochela will once again be forced to sit on the sidelines, able to participate only in the FA Cup (there will be no League Cup this season) if he is even registered for that.

Port also ‘strengthened’ at the back with the acquisition of national team defender Adisorn Promrak (20), although the new arrival has spent most of his time in Khlongtoei on the treatment table alongside fellow defender Tanaboon (71). In response to these injuries, Port brought in Sarawut Kanlayanabandit (26) as cover, while big-boned fellow centre half Worawut Namvech (24) has also been restored to the squad after a spell on loan last year. Are you keeping up? No, me neither.

 

 

Finally, left backs Jaturapat and Yossawat as well as central midfielder Chatmongkol have been sent on loan, meaning the T1 squad (which you can peruse on our up-to-date squad page) currently consists of 30 players.

Right, who are we playing again?

 


 

Police Tero

Players to Watch

 

I’ll keep the lowdown on our opposition brief, I promise. They had a very good start to the season, with the twins impressing at full back and Arthit leading the line effectively, but the main danger man has been right winger Greg Houla (7). The quick, tricky winger has provided some moments of magic in an otherwise functional but fairly workmanlike side, although it has been beefed up recently using the money earned from the sale of the twins.

 

 

Gambian born winger Mohamadou Sumareh (13) is a shrewd acquisition, with his Malaysian citizenship allowing Police to register him as part of their ASEAN quota. They’ve also brought in Ivorian forward Marc Landry Babo, who has been scoring goals in Thailand for years, albeit mostly in T2.

The key man at the back is one of the most physically dominant players in the business. Ghanaian Issac Honey (35) can play at the back or up top due to the fact that he’s built like both a sprinter and a bodybuilder. Quite an obstacle for Port’s forward line, impressive as it is on paper.

 

 

Former Port right back Ekkachai Sumrei (5) and veteran left back Mongkol Namnuad (53) are some other recognizable names in Police’s squad, but it’s the African contingent that Port ought to be most wary of.

 

Form

 

Police’s early season success, however was not achieved so much by individual talents as it was operating as a solid unit. I don’t expect Port will have an easy time breaking down a team who will be set up to defend and hit us on the counter. With some pace and power on the opposition wings, we’ll have to defend well at times, as well as take our chances clinically when they come.

They’ve ground out two 1-0 home wins, one against Buriram, and BG are the only team they’ve failed to beat.

 

  • Police Tero 1-0 Buriram
  • Trat 1-3 Police Tero
  • BG Pathum 3-0 Police Tero
  • Police Tero 1-0 Samut Prakan City

 

Port FC

A Embarrassment of Riches

 

Under Jadet there’s one thing you can be pretty sure of. We’re going to line up in our usually 4-2-3-1. Who exactly is going to be in the lineup is a very open question though, with injuries and new signings proving plenty more options for the Spherical Supremo to consider.

In goal the usual choices are all available, but Rattanai (18) has been favoured in friendlies, so I expect him to get the nod. Worawut (36) is of course another option, and if he doesn’t start, he’ll be on the bench. Perennial third choice Watchara (1) will continue to be overlooked, and this year’s fourth choice will be youngster Chatcharin (25).

At the back we have a surprising dearth of options available. Defensive leader Elias Dolah (4) was only fit enough to play half an hour against Bangkok United last week, although we expect him to start on Sunday. Alongside him in the recent friendly was Todsapol (6), but he will almost certainly be replaced by new signing Adisorn Promrak (20), who has also been injured, but could be fit to start. The twins (2, 3) are also perfectly good options, while new signing Sarawut (26) is available in case of more injuries.

At full back Nitipong (34) and Kevin (23) will take up their usual positions, with Steuble (15) a very able backup on the left should Kevin tweak one of those notoriously fragile muscles. Thitawee (2) is the new backup right back, which means he’ll be well acquainted with the bench this year.

In central midfield is where things get very tricky for Jadet. Go (8) didn’t start in the friendly last week, but if he’s fit he will of course take up his place in the XI. Siwakorn (16) is probably the leading candidate to partner him, but there’s also a very strong argument to be made for youngster Kanarin (31). His high-energy performances were hugely impressive early on in the season, and he looked excellent off the bench in last week’s friendly, too. I’d give Kanarin a start, but I doubt Jadet will. Chappuis (17) is also available.

On the flanks, Jadet will most likely opt for Bordin (10) on the left and Heberty (37) on the right, meaning we will be seeing a lot of cutting in from the flanks this season. The relationship between Bordin and Kevin on the left always provides a creative threat, but it looks like Heberty and Nitipong will take a little more time to gel. For me, Heberty is too often slow to release the ball, leaving poor old Nitipong pining for his former partner in crime Pakorn (7), who is positively selfless in comparison to his replacement. Tanasith (11) is another great option from the bench, should Port still be looking for a breakthrough late on.

Suarez (5) will most likely start in ‘the hole’ behind the striker, who could be Adisak (9), Bonilla (99) or even Heberty if Port opt for a more fluid attacking system. Adisak started the most recently friendly, but that was while Bonilla was reportedly on the outs. Now he’s back in he could start, although whether he’s fit or not is a mystery. Adisak will likely make it on to the pitch one way or another, with the forward having notched 2 goals from the bench already this season. Nattawut (45) put on an outstanding late show against BU, and if he makes it on to the bench is an excellent option anywhere across the front line. Port’s is a seriously competitive squad this year!

 

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 

Subs: Worawut (36), Thitawee (2), Thitatorn (3), Steuble (15), Chappuis (17), Kanarin (31), Tanasith (11), Pakorn (7), Adisak (9)

 


 

The match will be shown on TrueSport HD3 at 18:00 on Sunday 13 September, 2020. For the many of you who won’t be able to get your hands on tickets, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. Don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

Port FC 2-0 Police Tero: Five Things We Learned

 

 

Port beat Police Tero in their first home pre-season friendly last night, thanks to spectacular free-kicks from Pakorn (9) and new signing Heberty (TBC). It was a comfortable workout for Choke’s team against eager but limited opposition who rarely troubled Port’s defence and look a good bet to go straight back down to T2 this season. Port looked lively and raring to go and and if Ceres Negros were watching they’ll be cancelling those Tokyo hotel reservations today. Here are five things we took away from the game…

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2020 Thai League Lineup Announced… For Now

 

The 16 teams who will be competing in next season’s T1 have been finalized after PTT Rayong’s rumoured collapse was announced on Monday. To account for the dissolution of the unfortunately named ‘Oil Millionaires’, the FAT have confirmed that only two teams will be relegated, with Suphanburi receiving a dramatic late reprieve. Despite finishing 14th after losing 2-5 to eventual champions Chiang Rai, who they led for a time on a dramatic final day at both ends of the table, Suphanburi have been given a lifeline and will compete in T1 for the 8th consecutive season in 2020.

Coming up from T2 are BG Pathum United, who predictably swept aside all of the competition with ease and took the Championship by a 13 point margin. Police Tero will be joining them, having secured second place on the final day by absolutely obliterating third placed Rayong FC 7-0. Remarkably that 7 goal drubbing was enough to see Rayong faceplant in to the last promotion place as in-form Sisaket were run over 0-3 by Thai Honda.

 

 

But wait, this is the Thai League, and just because the season is over, a team has been dissolved, another un-relegated and the promotion places confirmed, that doesn’t mean the drama is over. Sisaket, who finished just 2 points behind third placed Rayong FC, have been embroiled in investigations throughout the season, resulting in in two separate 6 point penalties by FIFA. The Dangerous Koupreys will apparently find out the result of their appeal to the second of those 6 point deductions this week. If successful they would shoot up to second place, and the FAT would have a tricky decision on their hands. Could they un-promote Rayong FC, or un-unrelegate Suphanburi? Who knows?

They’re already in an unusual situation, having reduced the number of T2 teams for next season to 17 by un-relegating Suphanburi. Should they also un-relegate Navy, who currently join Ubon United and Ayutthaya United in dropping down to T3? Navy finished 14th in T2, and by un-relegating them the FAT could restore the number of T2 clubs to 18 and pass the issue down to the regional T3 leagues.

Of course, whatever decision the FAT come to would be fine if it was done in an above-board manner, with the results of their decisions being based on an unambiguous set of rules provided before the start of the season. Unclear rules can potentially leave wiggle room for Thai football’s governing body to play favourites when things, as they do pretty much every year, get complicated. We’ve seen it time and time again, so don’t be surprised if some unimagined scenario ends up on the table in a few days, and we’re all left confounded when Army are announced T1 winners and Port are relegated to T3 North. You heard it here first.

 

Port Haunted Again By Late Horror Show: Police Tero 2-1 Port FC

 

Groundhog Day: A situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way.

 

Bull Murray reacts to Pakorn’s ‘clearance’

 

I had jokingly remarked to Dominick in The Sportsman prior to this game that, as I feared I may not have much time to write a report on Sunday owing to social commitments, I could just pen it beforehand, knowing full well what the outcome might be and then fill in the details later. Sadly, how right I was.

I had also remarked in my preview that Port’s propensity to shoot themselves in the foot (Latin: sagittam dirigens se in pedes) would pose a greater danger than any opponent and, once again, my words were unfortunately prophetic. Except that this was more than just a shooting; it was pedocide of the most violent kind. The nails were extracted by a rusty pair of pliers; the skin flayed with a blunt razor, the tarsals and phalanges reduced to a pulp by an industrial grinding machine, then the remains blended into a paste to be spread, with boot-clogging effect, over the sodden ground of Boonyachinda stadium.

 

Zico unveiling his tactical master-plan

 

Feet, particularly those of Pakorn’s (9), were to play a dramatic part in the opening half of this encounter, with results ranging from farce to tragedy.  The footballing monk spent most of the half falling over before he was called to the touchline for a quick change of boots; the replacement pair mismatched and perhaps not just in colour, as his other most significant contribution to the half was to sweep a harmless cross into his own net with no one around to challenge for the ball. Given the position of his body in relation to the goal and the trajectory of the cross, it was no mean feat and one that he would be hard pressed to intentionally repeat at the other end of the pitch. As the English translation of the incident on the official Port website so eloquently reported, “Pakorn will kick the ball at the second pillar. But badly into the door.”

Quite what he was doing in the right-back position at the time was colourfully debated by the Sandpit in the stands; perhaps he was covering for another fruitless Nitipong (34) raid, but he had also ended up there last Sunday, so one has to ask whether it was another bewildering Zico ‘tactic’. Meditate on that, Brother. Aside from Pakorn’s ‘foot-feats’, Port had played a neat, tidy game, prompted by an excellent, disciplined performance by Siwakorn (16), without really threatening to turn spells of dominance into goals. Suarez, set free in the box by an intelligent lob from Piyachat (88), took just one step too many and was soon crowded out; a first time effort might have paid dividends. In another attack, Josimar (30)  leapt, salmon-like, to meet a cross from the right but the ball’s arrival unfortunately coincided with his descent and another chance was squandered.

 

 

Just as we were debating at the start of the second half where a goal might come from, it did; Rochela (22) gleefully headed home a Pakorn corner via the post. This goal thoroughly revitalized Port who subsequently dominated large swathes of the half, working the ball in neat triangles, and making good use of the wings, but without delivering that telling final cross or top corner screamer. In probably the most wasteful moment, Josi again failed to connect accurately with a header with the goal at his mercy. He really is an enigma; he climbs well, although not always in sync with the ball, can make vital defensive headers and knock-ons but, for a ‘big man’, his headed cross conversion rate is poor.

With about fifteen minutes left there was some debate in the stands about whether, at this stage of the game, we would take a draw, and the general opinion was, NO, this was a game at our mercy; Police, even BEC Tero, were there for the taking. Which was true, but this is Port, and I would have been happy for the game to have ended there and then, given Port’s uncanny ability to suck you in and fill you with hope and dreams and then shatter your illusions, like finding Santa Claus in bed with your mum on Christmas morning.

Just as Tim’s last minute analysis, “Looks like Port are settling for a draw”, had fallen from his lips, the ball broke free from a slapstick collision between Nitipong and Dolah, sparking a rare Fire Dragons attack. Substitute Wichan Nantasri, who scored Police’s only goal at PAT Stadium, took the resulting loose ball around a flailing Worawut and calmly plonked it in the net. I really don’t know why we bothered to play the previous 93 minutes; they should have just set up that goal at the start and then we could all have got stuck into the ale. As always, the Port faithful remained loyal to the end, cheering their team, in spite of what seemed like a betrayal, and sportingly acclaiming the largely undeserving victors. What we would have given to have heard Tommy Duncan’s respectfully restrained appraisal of affairs right at that moment!

So what can you say? We have had our Groundhog Days all before, felt it all before, cursed about it all before, hoped it would change, all before. But, and this is the point: it probably won’t and we will be back on Wednesday night, a little bit more chastened, but ultimately forgiving. Because, for us die-hard Thai and Farang (foolish you might say) regulars, we still love it and we will keep coming back. It defies all logic but football has a logic all of its own; our devotion in inverse proportion to our suffering.  See you in the Sandpit.

 

The Forgiving

 

Man of the Match: Siwakorn; Men of the Match: The Port fans, as always.

 

We Fought the Law (And the Law Lost): Port FC 2-1 Police Tero FC

 

Port FC stormed out of the tunnel with guns blazing in the second half to finish off Police Tero and record a comprehensive 2-1 win at the PAT. There was only one change from the squad that travelled to Sukhothai last weekend as Siwakorn (16) returned to the lineup after suspension to replace Genki (18).

The home team started the game attacking the famous B end and wearing their familiar blue and orange. The visitors, wearing battleship grey, looked more like cadets on a 5am run and the atmosphere at kickoff could have reflected that early start.  Sluggish was the word flying around the stand as Port set the tempo at a light jog in the early minutes.

 

 

The first chance of the game came to the visitors in the 3rd minute when Datsakorn (7) sent a long ball down the right wing that was quickly crossed to the six yard box and narrowly miss by the opposing striker.  Port quickly regrouped behind the midfield leadership of Siwakorn who played Tana (99) into the box but he lost the ball after one too many stepovers.  

Barely able to string two passes together, Port had their first real chance when a misdirected clearance landed at the feet of Pakorn (9).  He danced into the box from the right side only to boot the ball to the top of B stand with his attempt on goal.  Several minutes of sloppy play from both teams was interrupted at the 15 minute mark when Police Tero earned their first corner.  Datsakorn sent a curling ball to the back post that was brilliantly cleared by Josimar (30).  Siwakorn took the clearance and raced down the middle of the pitch, feeding Pakorn on the wing. Pakorn’s cross landed at the feet of Tana but his attempt on goal was blocked.  

The speed of the game really picked up when Sergio Suarez (5) charged down two consecutive throw outs from the keeper and possession and pressure was now in the opposition end.  Port were on the attack and the midfielders were dominating play.  In the 25th minute Suarez intercepted a pass at the halfway line and played Josimar through by dissecting the center of the Police defense.  Josimar took the ball on his left foot and ran at the keeper, calmy finishing to give Port well deserved lead.   

With the crowd now in full voice Port continued to dominate the midfield with creative passes and hustle from Suarez, Siwakorn and Adisorn (13).   Port had the momentum but couldn’t increase their lead as Dolah (4) failed to get on the end of a free kick from Pakorn at point blank range.  Police Tero then equalised completely against the run of play as Port goalkeeper Worawut (36) misjudged a laser by Wichan (4) from 35 yards out.  The first half finished much like it started with both teams playing out the final minutes and retreating to the locker room with the score level at 1-1.

 

 

Port manager Jadet must have said something special at halftime because the boys came out with a sense of urgency supporters have not seen for a long time.  Port’s midfield, that played so poorly against Bangkok Glass, was now the leading force behind a second half assault on the Police goal.  Wave after wave of attack down both wings excited the crowd but could not produce a second goal for Port.  

In the 51st minute Tana galloped down the left wing cutting into the box and was chopped down by the Police right-back but no penalty was given.  However, Port kept up the relentless pace and the pressure. Their hard work was finally rewarded when a Pakorn (9) cross was headed down by a defender and Siwakorn smashed the ball into the center of the goal from just behind the penalty spot.  More of the same followed as Port continued control the game until the final whistle. In the end they were deserved winners.  

 

Man of the Match: Sergio Suarez

Sergio’s hustle, nifty footwork, well timed tackling and crisp passing was the biggest difference on the day.  He had his best game of the season season complementing Siwakorn and spraying passes to Pakorn, Tana and Josimar on the attack. Let’s hope he can continue this good form.

 

Photos by Tim Russell