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Lions Beat Off Feisty Cocks; Nongbua Pitchaya 0-1 Port.

 

 

This weekend gave me a chance to see my first Port away game of the season, and also see the brand new Nong Bua Pitchaya stadium. My friend Gary had driven up from Roi Et, and with Udon Thani being the nearest big city with an airport, I opted to fly up and stay there for the weekend, we made the 1 hour drive from Udon for the match itself.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Nong Bua’s progress since they entered T2 in 2017. “The Project” has become one of those awful buzzwords in football, but in this instance, there has been steady progress on first keeping the team in T2, with a big push made for promotion last season to coincide with the opening of the new stadium.

We arrived there about half an hour before kick-off. We were initially misdirected to the big main stand to buy tickets, only to find out we had to go to the other side if we wanted tickets in the Port end. After going through the “show vaccine” protocols, which did seem a bit better organised than at the PAT, we had to do the same again over at the away side, where the Port Party Bus ™ was parked up on the grass. Luckily, we’re now into dry season as I wouldn’t have fancied their chances getting out of there if the rain had come.

Our tickets were the standard 200 baht for away fans, the away stand was probably about the size, and similar build to Zone D at the PAT, next to us was an uncovered Nong Bua fan section which was also some temporary looking terracing. At least we were on the side of the pitch, and not way out past a running track. The main stand itself though is huge, and wouldn’t look out of place at a European stadium. I’m told the plan is to fill in the rest of the stadium should the club maintain this success. There also appears to be youth pitches over the back so they can hopefully nurture some of their own talents in the future. The club academy is apparently one of the best in Isaan, aside from Buriram. Due to the club being sponsored by Leo, it was also quite easy to score beers of the non-Chang variety, and they could also be taken in inside, which can have its pitfalls, more on that later…

 

 

 

TEAM NEWS

Only one change for Port with Nitipong coming in at right-back, Phil Roller has returned to Germany to hopefully get his knee sorted out during the extended season break.

Notably for Nong Bua, their main goal threat Hamilton Soares would be starting on the bench. He was already on 9 goals going into this game and the player I expected to be the one David and Dolah would have to be most wary of.  Nong Bua were coming in to the match comfortably mid-table. Of the 3 teams promoted this year, they’ve had by far the best start including a home win against BG 3-1 in a midweek game the previous week.

THE MATCH

Port started brightly and Suarez forced their keeper into a slightly “Hollywood” save on 8 minutes with a dipping 30-yard drive. Port continued to look the better of the two sides in the first half, while Nong Bua were definitely lacking a focal point without Hamilton on there to lump the ball up to. Finally on 37 minutes, Port broke the deadlock after Kevin’s corner found Suarez near the back post to nod in and give Port a deserved lead.

Port went in at half time with the match well under control. The only downer had been Pakorn being stretchered off.

Just after half time, Worawut was finally awoken after being a spectator in the first half and scrambled to claw away a cross-come-shot that almost dipped in. Near the hour mark, the home fans suddenly started to come alive as it looked like Hamilton Soares was doing a few stretches. I guess he must have picked up a knock in the previous game because there was surely no reason that he wouldn’t have started otherwise. With his introduction, the mood in the stadium was shifting and there was definitely more noise coming from their main stand (which definitely seemed more than 50% full!). It seemed to filter on to the pitch as Nong Bua began to get their tails up, looking to launch balls in the general direction of the big Brazilian, who Gary quickly dubbed “The Brazilian Andy Carroll” due to similar build and ponytail. It seems they even share the same goal celebration.

 

 

 

Port were still looking dangerous on the break though, on 68 minutes Bonilla broke through in to the box and unleashed a shot that rifled off the underside of the crossbar. No Kazak linesman or VAR needed here though, the ball bounced back into the 6-yard box, a few yards clear of the goal line. Other counter attacks that followed and preceded this usually ended in keystone cops style goalmouth scrambles where nobody seemed to want to have a shot. Nong Bua were continuing to knock on the door with their unashamed Route One tactic of “pump it up to Hamilton”. On 76 minutes, a whipped cross in to the box met the head of Hamilton, his downward header bounced upwards and Wozza channelled his inner Gordon Banks to jump up and tip it over the bar.

On 87 minutes there was a break in play after Siwakorn had committed one of his standard tactical fouls on the halfway line. However, there seemed to be some handbags going on further up the pitch between Suarez and Nong Bua’s defender Airton Tirabassi, and a red card was waved in the direction of the lumbering Brazilian. To the fans in the stadium, we had no idea why, but now I have seen the TV Replays, Airton had decided to recreate Frank Rijkaard and Rudi Voller’s incident from Italia ’90.

 

 

 

With Nong Bua down to 10 men it allowed Port to counter attack more, although it kept falling to pieces once we got into the box. In the 94th minute, Nong Bua had one last chance at an equaliser with a free kick just inside the Port half. Their keeper had also trotted forward to join the melee, although the obvious target was again, Hamilton Soares. The free kick was defended quite easily, allowing Bordin to break free and feed Bonilla in space on the halfway line with only a couple of Nong Bua defenders to beat and the keeper still trying to rush back. Bonilla was able to see off the two defenders as the keeper desperately lunged and missed him to slot in to the empty net from just outside the box. Cue scenes of joy in the Port end as the players ran over to celebrate in front of us,

BUT…..

everybody’s old friend VAR had other ideas, penalising Bordin for pushing over their keeper while he was trying to join the attack for the free kick.

Instead of 2-0 to Port and 3 points in the bag, play had been pulled all the way back so Nong Bua had a free kick on the edge of the Port area with 97 minutes on the clock. This was thankfully deflected just over the bar and the referee decided to blow full-time on that note. Another win for Coach Oud.

 

 

 

On full time, the Nong Bua players were still angry and surrounding the referee, the end result was the referee having beer cups launched in his direction from up high as he made his way back to the tunnel in the aforementioned main stand. While Airton will face further ramifications for spitting, I wonder if Nong Bua will have to reconsider having beers in to the stadium. Something that has not been allowed at the PAT for over 5 years now.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Sergio Suarez – Chipped in with a goal and had one of his better games, I give extra credit for not play acting. The thing I was most surprised about was that Sergio stayed on his feet after the ball of spit hit his shoulder and he didn’t go down like he’d been taken out a water cannon.

 

 

 

Up NEXT

This stop-start Thai season is now on a break for 7 weeks. Port’s next game is vs. Bangkok United at the PAT on 8th January, although kick-off time still unknown and the date will also probably change once AIS Play decide the TV schedules for the second leg. Fingers crossed that more fans will be allowed to attend during games during the 2nd leg.

Stingless Wasps Eventually Swatted: Port 2-0 Prachuap Toby’s Take

 

Standard team line up pic and that sky

 

It was a game of two halves at PAT Stadium this weekend for the visit of PT Prachuap. Port claimed the victory but it wasn’t pretty at times and needed an inspired substitution to spark the revival in form.

 

Firstly I must applaud the club for being much better organisation this matchday. Granted, the crowd was much smaller than the match against Buriram but they handled the entry, document checks and general accessibility very well this time around. There was even a free gift of hand gel, with the quote “honesty is the best policy” on it which you know is a little weird. Keeping with the weird theme, coach Dusit reached for the lottery ball machine for his line up, selecting Worawut “Baresi” Namvech at left back and leaving 2 specialist full backs on the bench, and sticking with Charyl Chappuis in place of the suspended Suarez.

 

The less said about the first half the better. It was a terrible watch. I brought my other half along and almost felt like apologizing to her. She described it as “watching boys” which I’m not sure if that’s a scathing Chinese put down or just an honest assessment of what we witnessed. The formation, passing and movement in both offensive and defensive phases was woeful. The 3 centre backs played a very stretched defensive line with Dolah crowding out Roller and Pakorn, and on the other side Baresi couldn’t offer any penetration because that’s not his usual position. Chappuis was again ineffective, his best moment was dropping deep to play a lovely 25 yards pass to Bordin but he couldn’t affect anything in the second striker role. Prachuap had the best 2 chances early in the half with 2 fizzing crosses from the right and Bonilla had Port’s best chance but just lobbed over the crossbar.

 

A first half to leave you needng a nap

 

The second half thankfully brought some initiative and energy from Port and they dominated the next 45 minutes. Dusit thankfully recognised the deficiencies from the first half and threw on Patino in place of Chappuis, and clearly instructed Bordin to play more centrally in order to create more chances. I was very critical of Patino playing as a striker against Samut Prakan last week but it’s clear he’s an attacking midfielder and was the catalyst for the victory.

 

Several chances were squandered until the breakthrough in the final 15 minutes. First Roller seized on a loose ball then touched it to Bonilla. He then drove into the box and squared the ball for Bordin to head into an empty net. The Prachuap back line appealed for offside but VAR confirmed the Port winger had managed to just stay onside. A few moments later a Pakorn corner was headed/shouldered into the net by Patino for his first goal for the club and that settled matters. You’ll have noticed I haven’t mentioned anything else about the opposition and that’s on purpose; they didn’t offer much in the second half apart from some shithouse antics from their keeper.

 

One nil Port, lets celebrate (after a lengthy delay).

 

On reflection it’s fair to say Dusit recognised the problem and found the perfect solution for the second half but the initial team selection and the tactics were once again poor. The players selected are unable to do their jobs for a variety of reasons so maybe the task isn’t to try to hammer home a strategy that the players are not comfortable in executing but tinker and find the formation and starting line up that can create a formidable team. Know Port and Thai football in general. I’m not holding my breath but let’s see which team turns up for the visit of Chonburi next weekend.

 

MOTM: Javier Patino

 

Both goalscorers could have won the award but Bordin was part of the first half clusterfuck and Patino was the catalyst which started the revival. Clearly he should be Suarez’s replacement in the event of an injury and childishly earned suspension.

Stingless Wasps Eventually Swatted: Port 2-0 Prachuap Jim’s Take

 

 

Arriving at the game yesterday I was met by the sight of a large pile of tickets on offer at a desk just inside the club shop. Having offered my season ticket, I was informed that these were for sale and season tickets were collected elsewhere. Not a good sign for the possibility of a sell out. So, it proved as just 936 people made it to the PAT yesterday. The club hadn’t helped itself by hardly pushing the availability of tickets to walk ups. However, this is a deeper problem that currently affects all of Thai football and is going to take a lot of effort to turn round. These are difficult times for Thai football.

 

No problems getting in even with a 25% limit.

 

When the team was announced there ensued some head scratching. At the back Worawut  Baresi (24) came in for Jaturapat (15) (who is away playing for the u23 national side).  While Bonilla (9) had recovered enough to take over up front from Patino (30). With three centre backs, three central midfielders, various possible formations were put forward but nobody expected to see a straight replacement at left back, as the team to lined up with a back four.  Sadly it was an experiment into the funky that didn’t work. There are strengths and weaknesses to Baresi’s game that make him prime for cult hero status (at centre back), sadly they don’t make him an effective fullback and most of Prachuap’s success, especially early on, came due to attacking him and exploiting the space on the left they found. That their succession of unmet crosses count as highlights of the first half, says a lot about a non event served up before the break.

 

Me…..a left back?!?!

 

Port were as wasteful and disjointed going forward, as last week at Samut Prakan Dons before halftime. Without Suarez (5) available to pull the strings we looked devoid of a spark. Chappius (6) asked to play in a more advanced role huffed and puffed but created little. In fact those in attendance who enjoy knocking him were the only people to take anything from the first half. Not that they can be called boo boys, as the atmosphere in the ground was again close to non existent and a few boos would have at least stood a chance of kicking starting the occasion in the stands.  It took till just before half time for Port to create a moment of note, as Go (8)’s long ball found Bonilla on the edge of the box. He did well having brought the ball down to create the opportunity to send a chip goalward over keeper Khanchai, who had advanced and having failed to get near Nelson, succeeded in leaving his goal unprotected, sadly the shot was just a little to powerfully struck and sailed just over the cross bar clipping the netting, tricking a few in Zone B into thinking it had gone in. A couple of minutes late Baresi, showing he’d clearly done some research on this leftback job he’d been given, decided to try something you only see in Roberto Carlos youtube clips. Taking a shot from all of 35 yards, sadly it was more of a risk to the travelling Prachuap fans than the goal.  Things were really getting going on the field now (in that something to mention was occurring, not that it had become a good game), as there was still time for Melo to send a tame shot on target into the arms of Worawut (36).

 

The rather pleasant sky was about the biggest highlight of an uneventful first half

 

Not that many of Sandpit regulars saw. Having absconded the stands, minutes before to precure refreshments though the fencing around the training pitch, as once again there was nothing on offer within the ground complex and seemingly no means of passing out. However, Port fans and sellers are nothing if not resourceful and there was a good selection on offer and despite the barrier between customers and sellers, it seemed demand was met quickly. After a dog of a first half, a second helping of one of Thailands soda water producers alternative products certainly appealed but l headed back in. Having missed a couple of mins, the crowd had already been stirred into greater life than at any point in the first half as a Bordin (10) dribble from inside his own half resulted in a shot from the edge of the area, that Khanchai could only parry, luckily for him it was just out of reach of the on rushing Patino and Prachuap escaped. Patino who had come on for Chappius was to play an influential role, as once again Port arrived for the second half of a game playing at a far higher level than before the break. Moments later a Pakorn (7) cross was nodded back across goal by Bonilla and just out of reach of Patino and Siwakorn (16). Shortly after than Bonilla was picked out by a quick free kick by Bordin and found the side netting. Port were well and truly on top.

 

Then in the 78th minute we had our Thai league required VAR moment. As a Bonilla chipped cross was sent over a diving defender and keeper into the middle of the six yard box for Bordin to head into the unguarded net.  Somehow the linesman raises his flag, the only conceivable reason is that Patino, not interfering with play, had strayed momentarily into an offside position during the build up. Still VAR will surely clear this up instantly. The only problem being the officials seemed to have no interest in using the technology available to them. How in a league that seems to have decided to strike out on its own and have VAR cancel yellow cards for elbows, are they not checking moments like this by default and quickly? It all took too long but eventually the check was made and the goal given.

 

One nil Port, lets celebrate (after a lengthy delay).

 

There after Port were able to coast home. There was time for a Pakorn corner to be headed home by Patino. A well deserved reward for the substitute, who had linked well with those behind him and Bonilla in the second half and played a massive part in the game swinging Port’s way.  In the last few minutes chances were wasted at both ends. However 2-0 felt like a fair reflection of the match. Prachuap never really got going. On the field there’s very little that looks hugely wrong with them but equally there’s very little that doesn’t leave you thinking they’ll be down in the relegation battle come the end of the season. A battle they hopefully win, so we can enjoy more of their likeable fans and  trips to one of the leagues better awaydays. For Port again it was a case of play like the second half for 90mins and we’ll be ok, play like the first half more and we’re more likely to be joining them in the basement than win anything.

 

2-0; Patino and Rochela

 

Coming up are an FA Cup tie on Wednesday v MBF Amphawa. A chance to give a few of the squad players a run out before next weekends home game against Chonburi.

 

Man of the Match – Phillip Roler (33)

When Port were shakey in the first half, he dug us out of trouble a few times and was barking his dissatisfaction at those responsible. Whilst he was again marauded up and down the right side for the entire match. There can’t be a right back that comes close to him in the league currently.

Special mention to Patino for his goal and massive influence in the second half and Dusit for making the change but nobody was getting close to Roller.

 

Roller: We knew he was good but not this good.

GET THE MORTEIN, THE KILLER WASPS ARE ON THE WAY

 

After the draw away to Samut Prakan last week, I’ll admit to feeling a bit deflated, whilst also quite frustrated with a few of the players. Our first-half had been dire, there’s no other way to put it, and although we were a lot better in the second-half: we threw away a well-earned lead. I get the feeling that this is going to be quite a tightly contested race this season, so to be throwing away so many points early on in the season, there’s only one way to describe it: not good enough.

If you look around the league, there’s no debating that we’d have assembled one of the most expensive wage bills within, and it’s time for certain players to either justify their exorbitant salary, or be moved on. For a team that seems to be wanting to work towards silverware, we sure as hell know how to handicap ourselves at the same time!

Regardless, it’s PT Prachuap that we welcome to PAT Stadium, and I’m hopeful that we can snap out of our funk, whilst welcome back some of our players from injury. Their form has been equally as patchy as ours, though they’ll be much happier with where they are on the table this season, compared to last. Masami Taki seems to have ironed out a lot of the issues that plagued them last season, whilst some smart recruitment has also seen them bring in some handy players, and allow underwhelming performers to depart.

Take note Port management: poor performers CAN be moved on, regardless of how useful/pretty they might be for marketing purposes.

 

Dusit is the right manager for us: it’s time to back him properly

 

WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE

Better organization would be nice. I understand that we have injuries, which means that players that typically don’t play, need to come into the starting-11. That’s not really the issue per se. The issue that I have is how far off the pace they are, when you compare them to the player that they’ve replaced. When it’s a youngster, you can handle that, as they just don’t have the experience. When it’s a seasoned pro, it makes it even worse in my opinion, and that’s when you have to wonder what the plan is moving forwards. We currently have a lot of players that, in my opinion, don’t fit with the way that Dusit [ultimately] wants us to play.

Will he be backed in the mid-season transfer window, and allowed to bin off the under-performing players that don’t fit his plans? That’s my big question at the moment.

There’s no doubting that we play good football at times, and when we’re on: we’re on. But there’s also a genuine lack of consistency in some of the players, and we need to be laying down standards that everyone needs to meet. The club has gone through and sacked head coach after head coach for a while now, so, hmm… maybe it isn’t the head coach that’s the issue!?

This is how we lined up last week:

 

 

Simply put: it didn’t work. The backline was, for the large part, somewhat reliable, but at the key moments: they went missing completely. What played out in the moments leading to Zarifović scoring our hosts opening goal was simply unforgivable. A free header, from what… 7-yards!? The second goal we conceded wasn’t as bad, albeit it wasn’t good defending either, but it was easier to accept than gifting a player the ‘freedom of the province’ to nod home.

Our players out wide were nullified in the first-half, but came to life in the second, so there’s no cause for concern for us there. The same can be said about the Go-Siv tandem, that may not be all that spectacular, but is able to get the job done time and time again. It was the attacking-third where we had issues, and I’ll allow you to put 2+2 together to see where a lot of the issues stemmed from. We lacked the vision that Suarez offers, and his ability to unlock opposition defences with a well-weighted through ball, and that was a major problem for us. Bordin and Pakorn weren’t getting a steady supply so to speak, which made their jobs a lot tougher, and we didn’t seem to have that ‘killer instinct’ within the 18-yard box either.

I think Patiño made some good runs over the course of the game, and if he can just become a ‘touch and shoot’ style of striker, and not one that HAS to take his man on, then he’ll score a lot more goals for us. He had a couple of chances to get a shot away, but overdid things, and the chance fizzled away.

 

This is how I’d like us to line up on Sunday:

 

 

Honestly, I’d prefer us to play a different system, but we just don’t have the squad for it at the moment. To me, this isn’t the style Dusit prefers either, having watched him rather extensively in his recent spells at Trat and Bangkok Glass. Having also spoken to players who player for and against his teams in the past, they’ve said as much to me as well. I’d only really ever seen him use a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 in the past few years, bar a few games, though I’m sure that over the course of his career, he’s used other formations. For me, I like that style of football, and I’d really like him to be given the freedom to make a number of ‘biggish’ moves in the mid-season window.

Regardless, the changes I made were Worawut, Jaturapat, Dolah, and Charyl dropping out of the XI, with Rattanai, Worawut Baresi, Thitathorn, and Nattawut coming in. The only forced change in there would be Jaturapat dropping out, with him currently in Mongolia with the Thai Under 23 national team. The other changes are all based on form, or lack of, and I won’t go into detail on it. I’d even be willing to start Nurul instead of Nattawut if necessary, I just think that Nattawut would be of more use to us in a central position.

If you allow Roller to bomb up and down the right-hand side in support of Pakorn, and ask Thitathorn to stay back a bit more to allow Bordin the freedom to “cheat” a little defensively so that we can use him as a quick outlet, I think we’re in a much better place come Sunday night.

Whilst I hope that Bonilla will be back soon, I don’t want us to rush him, and the same can be said about Kevin too. I was delighted to see them both pictured training the other day, and whilst I’m eager to see Kevin back in the line-up, but we have to do it at the right time, or we’re going to see him back on the physios table almost instantaneously. Getting him back would be a real “win” for us, and almost like a new signing in a way. Jaturapat has done well in his absence, so I wouldn’t be against us playing Kevin on the left-wing if I’m honest. Unfortunately, that affects Bordin, and so on. A nice headache for Dusit to have regardless!

 

 

A sight for sore eyes! Kev is back in training, as is Nelson, Tanaboon, and Adisorn.

 

A QUICK LOOK AT OUR OPPOSITION

I’ve only watched our opposition for the full 90-minutes twice this season, against the Scum on Matchday 1, and against Khonkaen United a week later, with the only footage of them I’ve seen since being the highlight packages that come out on YouTube. There’s plenty to like about the way that they play, but with that being said: they’re definitely a team we SHOULD beat. Ultimately, that means nothing, and these are the games that we typically find a way to somehow lose. It’s the curse of being a Port fan! They’re not a free-scoring side anymore, unlike their ‘heyday’ in 2018 when they had Lonsana Doumbouya and Jonatan Ferreira Reis on their books. With Reis currently stinking the joint up in Thai League 2 at Muangkan, it seems that they moved on from the temperamental Brazilian at the right time. What they would do to have Doumbouya back though!

As I said in my season preview of PT Prachuap, I think their current ‘key man’ is central-defender Adnan Orahovac, who does a fantastic job marshalling the backline. Whilst they’ve only kept two cleansheets [so far] this season, they’re also not conceding as many goals as they did last season, with them currently on track to concede 41-42 goals this season if they concede at the same rate for the remaining 22 games. That’s an improvement of 5-6 goals, and when you consider that Orahovac missed the first-leg last season, you then see his importance to the backline in my opinion.

If Patiño can just be a pest and distract him for the 90-minutes, that’ll help us quite a lot.

 

IN CONCLUSION

I apologize if this preview came across as somewhat negative, and that wasn’t my intention. I’ve seen quite a lot this season from the lads that I’ve enjoyed, whilst there’s also things that they’ve done that have frustrated me. The frustration is due to knowing how talented they are, and being disappointed that they’re not performing to the level that we all know they’re capable of. It’s like when your father says to you “I’m not mad son: just disappointed.”

With that being said, I’m going to go out on a limb, and predict a 2-NIL win for us on the weekend. With the attendance still being capped at 25%, you’ll have to act fast to snap up a ticket, and comply with all the restrictions in place. If you want an enjoyable alternative, I really can’t recommend a trip to The Sportsman [on Sukhumvit 13] to watch the game enough, with them showing the game on a big screen.

And, as always: SUSU TARUA!

 

A throwback image from a game in 2015, which was shared by the Humans of Thai Port page.

 

Fans can attend the game, with capacity limited to 25%. Season ticket holders can collect their tickets from 1300 on matchday. The match will be shown live on NNU5 and AISPLAY (possibly limited to AIS network users) at 1800 on Sunday 24th October 2021. If you don’t have a ticket, the best way to watch with fellow Port fans is to head to The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 who will show the match on a big screen.

Dog Day Afternoon; Samut Prakan City 2-2 Port FC Report

 

Port’s dip in form continued this weekend with an entertaining but downright frustrating 2-2 draw with Samut Prakan City. SPC were clearly the better team over the 90 minutes and sloppy defensive errors cost the away team dearly. The home team almost secured the victory at the death but thankfully VAR saved Port’s bacon.

 

 

After our defeat to Buriram I wasn’t only disappointed with the tactical ineptness of the team but also thoroughly miserable by the lack of atmosphere at PAT Stadium. A certain security guard in Zone B made sure all fun was sucked out of the fan experience, constantly harassing us for any minor misdemeanour (and tellingly lenient on Thai fans next to us) so I was apprehensive about a short away trip. Following Port is a bit like heroin addiction – it’s extremely moorish, so on Friday evening I made a U-turn and purchased a ticket for the next day.

 

Our plucky quartet of farang fans took an afternoon taxi to the province next door and arrived to find a decent crowd of away fans at the stadium entrance. The stadium isn’t known for its location but both the club and entrepreneurial Port fans worked together to make it an enjoyable experience. Kudos to SPCFC for both their organization of the match and the facilities they laid on for the away fans (the mobile toilets were the highest standard I have ever had the pleasure of using, 5 star, will visit again). The ticket purchasing, document checks and welcoming attitude were exemplary and in stark contrast to last weekend’s shitshow. The away end was sold out but all fans were in before kick off and permitted to congregate in their small groups, plus food & drink (and amaretto) was allowed in.

 

So what about the football? Well Dusit had to shuffle the pack due to Suarez’s 2 match suspension after his petulant slap and Bonilla’s injury against Buriram.  Meaning part time footballer Chappius and upfront Javier Patino got an opportunity to showcase their talents deputizing from kick off. I won’t set this up for a surprise revelation later in this report but will give it to you straight now: both players were largely useless and definitely not up to the standard required for a championship winning team.

 

The warning signs were abundantly clear from the outset that our defense was not organized at all for set pieces and in the 18th minute defender Aris Zarifovic, with minimal interference from his marker Dolah, powered a bullet header which clearly crossed the line. Worawut smuggled the ball out and play continued for a few more moments until VAR intervened and the goal was awarded. Worawut then pulled off a great save moments later to keep his side in the game. The best Port could manage was Pakorn’s free kick, which seemed to be a slip but tested goalie Patiwat’s awareness. I had already buggered off to use those fabulous toilet facilities and couldn’t resist a cheeky Leo on the way back to delay my return. When your highlight of the first half is a dog running onto the pitch, staying outside for a pint seemed to be the right option.

 

 

Port raised their standards for the second half, with both Bordin and Patino squandering decent chances before the former bundled the ball home from a few yards out in the 60th minute. Captain Rochela then saw his near post header come off the frame of the goal but no one could capitalise on the rebound, and winger Pakorn started to test the SPC defense with a series of dangerous crosses and shots. A corner in the 75th minute saw yet another scramble after Patiwat missed his punch and Go Seul-Ki headed home with his second attempt and received a cheeky, non-intentional head butt for his troubles. The away fans erupted; it had been a long slog to get here but Port were finally in the driving seat.

 

 

Not for long. It only took a few minutes for SPC to find the equaliser. Winger Daisuke had time and space to put a beautiful cross into the box and captain Chayawat outmuscled Jaturapat with ease to bury his header past Worawut. In fairness they totally deserved it; they played the better football and coach Ishii is obviously getting the best out of his squad. Chayawat played classy, intelligent football throughout the match and winger Jaroensak really stood out for me; he looks set for a great career.

 

Thai football wouldn’t be the same without it’s shithouse moments and, lo and behold, in the first minute of injury time Daisuke went down in the box after minimal contact from Roller. The replays show that the winger avoided Roller’s foot but went to his knees after the Port man put an arm across him. It certainly impeded but didn’t obstruct; the winger could have continued his run. Thankfully the referee used VAR to correctly rescind his original decision.

 

 

The bottom line is Port weren’t good enough to win this match, and aren’t good enough to win the league with this squad of players. Many have become far too comfortable and there is not enough depth in the squad to challenge them to fight for their place in the starting XI. SPCFC should be applauded for the effectiveness of their football, and the spirit in which they played it. Port seemed disjointed for large parts of the game and only battled for the points in the second half. It was great to celebrate taking the lead but oh so disappointing to see them throw it away moments later.

 

Finally it’s great to have away days back. Both sets of fans did their best to generate a rousing atmosphere, and standing on terraces with your mates while cheering/hurling abuse at the top of your lungs once again was great fun. Our team might not be up to much this season but this was the best matchday I’ve experienced in a long time.

 

Man Of The Match: Pakorn Prempak

Tricky one this as no one really deserves it but for his second half efforts, and being the most dangerous player over the full 90 minutes I’ll give it to the midfield monk. Honourable mentions go to Bordin, Go and Worawut and dishonourable mentions to just about everyone else.

We’re Money and its Time to Show it. Big Scary Bear (Port) V Sea Fang (SPD): A Preview

 

“You know what? You’re like a big bear with claws, with fangs”

 

 

You could be despondent about last weekend’s defeat to Buriram and it was certainly a bit of a low. Having got ourselves excited about getting back into a 25% filled PAT stadium and a good run giving hope we could finally beat Buriram. Come the final whistle we were reminded that shorn of drums and ultras the atmosphere in the stadium, just as it was last time at 25%, isn’t much of anything. While good run or no good run, Buriram always seem to find a way to win against Port.  However, I hope Dusit has taken an unusual route this week to give the team their mojo back. As I’d just stick seminal 90s movie “Swingers” on at a team meeting.  Because the main thing the team needs is the pep talk given to John Favreau’s Mike, who has just failed to get the number of a woman in a bar, by his friend Trent (Vince Vaughn) from which the above quote is taken(watch it here). Quite simply Port need to realise that they are capable of mixing with anyone in the league. As Trent would put it….. Port “I’m tellin’ ya, you’re money”. There’s nothing to be scared of on the evidence of the league so far this season and Port have all the tools to beat anyone, it’s just a matter of learning to use them and the “rules” to the maximum.

 

“You got these f***ing claws and these fangs, man. And you’re looking at your claws and you’re lookin’ at your fangs and you’re thinkin’ to yourself, ‘I don’t know what to do’, man”

 

We weren’t any worse than Buriram last weekend as a footballing side, but we were a million miles behind them in the dark arts. Although even here there were signs of improvement. At the outset virtually every time a challenge resulted in physical contact and a Port player emerging with the ball, the opposing Buriram player would crumple to the ground. In expectation of Port putting the ball out of play or the referee stopping the game. Neither showed any willingness to do so and remarkable the propensity for Buriram players to need treatment for having been tackled soon became non existent. Good. More of this.

 

Buriram have travelled south to face two of the five teams that were widely tipped to be clear at the top of the league. Twice they’ve strangled the game, making it a tight ugly affair devoid of flair. Each game could have gone either way until it was decided by defensive errors. In Bangkok United, they found the only team that can out filth them and lost, in Port, they found a team that hasn’t quite mastered the parts of the game that exist between the rules as written and what you can get away with once the game starts and emerged victorious. After last weeks game and due to the events at some others (including Bangkok United’s you’ll be shocked to learn), there was a bit of a Twitter discussion re the time wasting and gamesmanship, with the majority across the league feeling the onus is on the clubs, coaches and players to take the lead in cleaning up the game in Thailand. Personally, I don’t think that can ever be the case. As professionals, the staff and players are paid to win games and as such pushing the rules to the limit will always be part of that. For example, there’s nothing really gained by having the ball a couple of mm’s over the line when taking a corner, yet while they’re allowed to get away with it, you’ll seldom see a ball that isn’t placed trying to gain the tiniest of margins. However, if self-policing is the way it’s going to be fixed, so be it, I can get behind it. Just rather than leading the way as one of the nice guy clubs it’s time for Port to be at the back, one step behind Buriram and Bangkok United (ok, maybe no need to ever be quite that bad). To quote Vaughn again, Port “I don’t want you to be the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone’s really hopin’ makes it happen. I want you to be like the guy in the rated R movie, you know, the guy you’re not sure whether or not you like yet. You’re not sure where he’s coming from. Okay? You’re a bad man. You’re a bad man. You’re a bad man.”

 

So tomorrow at Samut Prakan Dons if we find ourselves a goal up with 10 mins to go, I hope we barely see the ball in play before the final whistle is blown. Obviously, l’d rather we were blasting them halfway back to Pattaya as the goals fly in but if it’s necessary it’s time to get dirty. There’s a chance the worst bloke in the league is on the field, if ex Chiangrai man Chaiyawat lines up for them tomorrow, if he does, let’s use the nasty toerag as a benchmark, rather than make him the villain, as we take the moral high ground. For more about Chaiyawat and the rest of the Samut Prakan Dons (for some reason he prefers City) team and their season so far, the Sandpit got in touch with one of the best know faces in the world of Bangkok twitter and the foreign teaching scene in Thailand as we got the rundown from Ajarn.com owner and Sea Fang season ticket holder Phil Williams (read his preview of the match here).

 

“After taking just one point from their last three games, Samut Prakan have slid down the table to 8th position. Defeat against Port on Saturday could see them hovering just above the relegation zone if other results go against them as well. Although various Thai football pundits were getting excited about Samut Prakan being top of the league after a handful of games, I was under no illusions. Our squad is looking a little lightweight at the moment. You can’t let four of your best performing players leave (Peeradol, Ernesto, Teerapol and Tardelli) and there not be consequences. Those players were always going to be difficult to replace like for like. The reality is that we are probably a mid-table side at best and a mid-table finish would probably represent a decent season. Coach Ishii is doing a great job with limited resources but incoming signings have really just papered over the cracks. Eliandro has shown flashes of what he can do up front but relies on good service. Chaiyawat Buran from Chiang Rai has looked terrific but seems injury prone. I said at the start of the season (when all our big name players went off to pastures new) as long as there are three teams worse than us, we won’t go down. And my opinion hasn’t changed. I’m just happy to see us continue to play top-flight football. But at the moment, it feels like we are some way off emulating the top six finishes that we enjoyed in our first couple of seasons.”

 

Cheers Phil.

 

Port head out to Samut Prakan with some serious issues in attack. While the defence spent the early part of the season seeming to rotate itself via injury and suspension just as the back four looks settled. Our attacking options have taken a serious battering last weekend. The rejuvenated Nelson Bonilla (9) only made it to half time before succumbing to what appeared to be a groin issue, so is unlikely to feature.  While definitely out is Sergio Suarez (5) who was red carded for slapping the very slappable face of Chitipat. As a result he misses this match and next weeks home fixture against Prachuap. I’d expect them to be replaced by Patino (30) who came on at half time for Bonilla and was limited in opportunities to get into the game as Buriram killed it as an event. While the battle to take Saurez’s role is probably between Nattawut (45) and Sarsern (69), personally I’d go for Nattawut but given that Sarsern was the one of the two to get on last weekend, he might have edged ahead in the pecking order. Equally a rather disappointing showing in that substitute appearance could have handed it back.

 

Prediction.

Having been given his pep talk Mike goes back to the bar and this time succeeds in getting a number. And so it should be with Port. 2-0 to Big scary bear from Klong Toei.

 

  Fans can attend the game, with capacity limited to 25%. Tickets for the away section are currently still available from ticket melon (link). The match will be shown live on AISPLAY (possibly limited to AIS network users) at 1730 on Saturday 15th October 2021. If you don’t have a ticket or don’t fancy the trip out of Bangkok, the best way to watch with fellow Port fans is to head to The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 who will show the match on a big screen.

 

 

Blunder Hassle: Port FC 0-2 Buriram Utd Match Report

 

 

Port failed to mark the re-opening of PAT Stadium with a positive result, as individual errors ultimately saw a promising first half display go to waste. We lost 2-0 to a more clinical side who showed more composure when it mattered.

The long-awaited return to the PAT was a subdued affair all-around. Despite some hardened fans queueing at the break of dawn to get the tickets on advanced sale, the restrictions deemed necessary in order to facilitate the re-opening were always going to make for a bit of a matchday mess. Those who were there were subjected to various levels of scrutiny, ranging from the non-existent to the over-zealous, and with refreshments in the stadium itself being completely off the table the fan experience was not one to write home about.

My seat in the Sportsman was not subject to any such restrictions thankfully, and suitably lubricated I thoroughly enjoyed a pretty impressive first half display from an injury-hit Port. The sight of Chappuis (6) in the XI did cause me to raise an eyebrow, but looking at the options available with Tanaboon, Siwakorn and Kannarin not in the squad there was not much I would have done differently.

 

 

There were half-chances for both sides in the first 45, but the best of those were created by Port. Suarez’ (5) delicious chipped pass for Bordin (10) was one slightly better first touch away from a golden chance, but on current form it’s not one I really expected the winger to take. He’s not quite at his confident best yet this year, for me.

 

 

Bonilla (9) was next to miscue, with a weak shot not forcing Sirawak (1) to break a sweat. The referee called a foul on Bonilla anyway, for applying his arm to the defender’s face. Classic Nelson. Roller got himself in to a very promising shooting situation a few minutes later, but his effort was similarly straight at the keeper, who once again collected comfortably.

Further half chances for Bonilla and Roller went by without that moment of quality to give Port the goal their first half performance probably deserved. But you have to show quality in the final third, and we weren’t quite able to do that.

A few minutes in to the second half Port finally created a goal. For the opposition. Supachok’s (19) hopeful ball in to the box should have been dealt with decisively by Nitipong (34), but with the ball coming in at a slightly uncomfortable height, he opted to use his chest, sending the ball up rather than away. Dolah (4) almost rescued him with a superb block from the resulting chance, but the ball came back out to Supachai (9) who struck an unstoppable shot with his left foot. Great finish, terrible defending.

Supachai, Supachok and poor defending were not done with us yet, though. Just a few minutes later, Supachai released Supachok down the left, and the young winger turned Rochela (22) inside out before getting a pretty poorly struck shot off. It was on target, though, and that’s all it had to be. Capable of brilliant moments, Worawut (36) between the Port sticks is equally capable of hideous errors, and this was one of them. It should have been a routine stop, and we should have still been in the game, with everything to play for.

 

 

Then came the petulance. Reeling from the self-inflicted 2 goal deficit and ticked off by some unbecoming Buriram antics, we started to lose our heads. Substitute Sansern (69) showed why he wasn’t given the opportunity to start in central midfield with a ridiculous kick out at Rosa which earned him a yellow. His wild shot from outside the box a few minutes later was unfortunately even less well-directed.  To be fair, Chappuis (who Sansern replaced) put an even more wildly off target effort in to Zone D in the first half.

 

 

Suarez was next in line to put the finishing touch on Port’s self-destruction from an off-the-ball incident. Chitipat (14) instigated whatever disagreement there was, but crucially the Buriram defender didn’t cross the line in to red card territory. He was on the wind-up and willing to take a yellow because he thought he could probably get Suarez on tilt. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s tried that against us, either. On this occasion he pushed his head in to Suarez’ face and Suarez gave him the most pathetic slap you’ve ever seen. If you’re going to get sent off at least lay him out, Serg. He clearly didn’t watch Fury and Wilder the other day. VAR checked the incident, and inevitably Suarez was given his marching orders. Scandalously, Chitipat got off scott free. Game over.

There’s not much point talking about the last 20 or so minutes. We were a man down and we’d lost our heads, and we were never getting back in to the game. Buriram went in to full game-management mode, with all the associated trolling. Delightful. The final whistle couldn’t come soon enough.

 

The Sandpit’s Man of the Match

 

 

Dolah had a decent game, repeatedly making Rosa uncomfortable with forceful challenges. On a day where no one in blue and orange put in a performance of note, Dolah was probably the best of the bunch for me.

 


 

All in all, a missed opportunity. This seems to be a season that any of the top teams could grab by the scruff of the neck and run away with. There is no outstanding team this year, and once again we haven’t stepped up to the plate and put our name at the front of the queue. Expect more good performances, more promising wins and then the inevitable heart-breaking loss. It’s what we do, and this year doesn’t seem to be any different. Still, at least fans are back… kind of. That’s something.

Hang in there everyone, we’ll be back to experiencing bitter disappointment with beer and buddies before too long!

 

A Change Is Gonna Come: Port FC V Buriram United Preview

 

 

First the big news. We’re going back in. Late on Friday it was announced that The PAT would be open to fans, with the capacity limited to 25%. From the pictures and reports of those who headed down to the ground on Saturday morning, it appears we could be heading for a sold out (quarter filled) stadium. And rightly so, when the fixtures for the season were announced back to back home games against that mob from Nonthaburi, that like to pretend they matter as a footballing and Bangkok entity and Buriram jumped out as the standout early season dates.  That Sunday’s second instalment of those, is also the league’s biggest game of the season so far, as the top two in the table meet, only adds to it. Come the conclusion of the game we’ll be just shy of a quarter of the way though the season and a win will put Port top*.

Even with a defeat, we’ll be where we realistically expected to be for the season. It’s just with the quality of football we’re producing going forward and the evolution of the defence into a Dusity unit, you can really believe for the first time in years that we can beat Buriram.  The quick to judge were very eager to talk down a Port defence that conceded 4 in its first 2 games, but they haven’t conceded with 11 men on the field since. Things are still not perfect and really, we were lucky to leave Chiangmai without conceding (they hit the woodwork twice in a scrabble from a corner) but things are progressing week on week.

We might as well get it out the way early, there can be few better examples of a team having the hex over another than Buriram over Port. We haven’t beaten them since April 2014 – (On that day the Buriram matchday squad featured the dashingly handsome young trio of Charyl Chappuis (6), David Rochela (22) and Javier Patino (30), all of whom would move on to bigger and better things from the little Isan club next to a go kart track).  Since then, it’s been pretty grim for Port, 11 league meetings, zero wins, 3 draws and an aggregate score of 24 to 8 in favour of the awfully nicked named Thundercastle. You can throw in a couple of FA cup meetings, a 3-1 loss at the quarter final stage in 2018 along with being dumped out on penalties last year and make it look even worse.  Not great but year on year we’ve got closer, the inferiority complex has gone, no longer would we celebrate a 0-0 draw like it was a famous victory. The Pang era has seen us rise up to an equal footing.

More of this again soon. Pic Humans of Thai Port

 

Where once Buriram looked at a trip to Klong Toei as a chance to pad their goal difference, don’t be shocked to see them arrive looking to first and foremost avoid defeat. This is a Gama team. We know Gama’s a planner, when required a stifler of teams and with Port’s line up overloaded with attackers, you feel the wiley Brazilian tactician will have something up his sleeve. Would he take a draw right now, probably, will he be planning to suffocate Port’s flair players and nick the game on the break, almost certainly.

I could go on with the nicely nicely approach of telling you how good Buriram are and that they were rightly almost universally favourites to win the league preseason. However, we’re getting back in, the products of mineral water advertising companies will be flowing and frankly right now going forward Port can take anyone. So let’s take them apart bit by bit and explain why Port can beat them.

Getting a read on where Buriram are this season isn’t easy, four of their opening six fixtures have been against teams expected to be towards the bottom of the table, in Suphanburi, Police Tero, Chiangmai and Prachuap. With only the Prachuap match being played away from their upcountry stronghold. They’ve beaten all of them bar an opening day draw with Suphanburi (and if you’ve seen the handball by Digão (26) VAR decided wasn’t a penalty, you’ll know why Suphanburi were disappointed with a point).

 

Still a penalty.

They’ve faced Bangkok United and Samut Prakan Dons in their other games and these give a far more realistic line of form (and mean l can ignore games l didn’t see). The fixture in Rangsit was a tough watch. Perhaps indicative of Gama’s plans when travelling to the divisions better teams to strangle games. Ultimately it was decided by two defensive blunders that swung the game in the favour of Bangkok United. For the first, it’s hard to know who’s more to blame. However, l’ll award the lions share to Pansa (3) who stands ball watching rather than picking up the run of Pokklaw, giving him free rein to bare down on goal and score. Some of the blame also must lay with Robin Sulaka (22) who is stood on the far side of the pitch a couple of yards behind the rest of his defensive line, if he’d held the line then the goal would have been disallowed for offside. Hardly the well drilled Gama defensive unit on that one lads. Not to be outdone Digão, will no doubt have been on the receiving of a few choice words in Portuguese from his manager for the second goal. He has the chance to deal with the ball but is outmuscled by his little surly compatriot Heberty and then doesn’t really put in much effort to stop him from getting a shot off. Keeper Siwark (1) gets the supporting role of blame this time, getting beaten at his near post. Never a good look for a keeper.

While they took all three points from a midweek encounter with Sumat Prakan Dons. Running out 2-1 winners at the smaller city stadium in Buriram. Taking the lead when Peeradon’s (5) free kick struck Chayawat on the arm, with a little over half an hour gone. Samual Rosa (91) stepped up to fire the resulting spot kick home. SPD were giving a good account of themselves and pulled level just before halftime as Eliandro muscled past Piyaphon (4) and blasted home. However, it was sub Suphanet (54) who would have the final say, getting on to a loose ball on the edge of the 6 yard box in the 79th minute and firing home. It was a harsh result on SPD on a night where they had the greater share of possession and made more passes than their hosts but equally probably one they deserved from some frankly offensive dayglo green away shirts.

Defensively Buriram appears to have been very solid so far this season allowing just 4 goals in their 6 games. However, 3 from the two games mentioned above.  Combined with the nature of the Bangkok United goals and the way that SPD were repeatedly cutting through them in midweek, is more than enough to counter the first impression. Added to that they are without Digão and Sulaka out injured, while Sasalak is on loan in Korea, what will line up on Sunday will be the weakest Buriram back line seen in years.

Then we have probably the most divisive player amongst sandpit writers in Peeradon, (for me) at his best and given space to exploit, he can use it wonderfully, as we saw in the hammering Port took at SPD last season, equally get on top of him early and he’ll often disappear, as we saw when Port hammered SPD at the start of last season. And it was very much the latter type of performance in midweek, as observed by SPD blogger (and major Peeradon fan) Phil who noted “Dropping deeper and deeper as the game wore on…. [he] had a bit of a shocker tonight and was unsurprisingly hauled off late in the game.” The plan must be for Go (8) and Siwakorn (16) to shut him down early and watch him fade from the game.

The main attacking duties are taken by Samula Rosa, who looks like a decent striker for Thailand, the problem with that is, this is Buriram and he isn’t Diogo, a major step down in class. He’s far better than some that have come and gone since Diogo and will be a major threat on Sunday, it’s just not quite what you expect from Buriram. He’ll likely be supported Supachai (9) and Supachok (19), with youngest brother and midweek score Suphanat on the bench. Along with their third foreigner Maicón (7), if Rosa isn’t quite top draw, this guy is rather mediocre on the evidence I’ve seen, very run of the mill Thai league Brazilian import.

While for Port all is looking rather rosy. With plenty of positives from recent performances. If I’m underwhelmed by Buriram’s attacking options, l couldn’t be happier with ours. Currently, there isn’t a striker in this division you’d swap for Nelson Bonilla (9). The fox in the fox is back on fire, with 5 goals in 6 games. Combined with the wide play of Pakorn (7) and Bordin (10) this is a front 3 that works and should keep those second string Buriram defenders up tonight worrying.

Nelson Bonilla, he scores goals…lots of goals.

While Go seems to love playing against Buriram, l have no idea what happened up there in the time the Korean was a Burriam player but there’s clearly something that inspires him to be at his best whenever the clubs meet and you love to see him up for it, going at 110% and bringing out all the dark arts.  At the back, Rochela has silenced all the knockers with some commanding performances this season and Pang’s decision to overstock centrebacks has looked wise as the fate of Tanaboon (17), who was subbed off in the derby injured, befell replacement Worawut  Baresi (24) up in Chiangmai, that we had a replacement of the quality of Dolah (4) to bring on, with Adisorn (20) still yet to be seen this season, speaks volumes. Compare it to the opposition on Sunday and BG Pathum’s current struggles and it’s clear who has the advantage on squad depth. Whoever lines up alongside El capitán is more than capable.

 

Prediction.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be great to get the matchday experience back. Football without the process of going and social side just hasn’t been the same and I’m looking forward to it. While for the first time we go into a match with Buriram feeling that we might not just be in it but possible should be favourite to get the result. Dusit got the better of Burriam 1-0 last season in both games with BG, so lets go one better. 2-0 Port.

 

Fans can attend the game, with capacity limited to 25%. Season ticket holders can collect their tickets from 1300 -1815 on matchday. The match will be shown live on AISPLAY (possibly limited to AIS network users) at 1830 on Sunday 9th October 2021. If you don’t have a ticket, the best way to watch with fellow Port fans is to head to The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 who will show the match on a big screen.

 

*Chinagrai United can usurp us by winning at Nongbua by a bigger margin but nobody wants to see that happen.

ooooh you wonderful things.

Time to Climb the Table – The World Is Not Enough: Chiangmai Utd 0-2 Port FC

 

After a ‘Slum vs Scum’ derby, you could almost excuse the few people who found our round 6 fixture against new boys Chiangmai United a bit anti-climactic. Not much is known about the team from up north, but what’s been shown so far this season: it’s been up and down. You’ve got to give them credit for the way that they’ve recruited for their first season in T1, and although they haven’t picked up as many points as they might’ve hoped, it hasn’t been catastrophic from them either.

If there’s something that I can compliment all of the teams that were promoted from T2 for, it’s that they’ve not gone down the path that Rayong took: they’ve gone out and signed some good players. Almost every foreign player on the books of the promoted clubs MOONWALKS into the Rayong side from last season, so at least there’s been a jump in the quality of the promoted sides. It’s almost as if they’re learning from the mistakes others have made: who’d have thought that!

For Port, we came into the game having to make [at least] two changes to the squad, due to the injuries sustained by Tanaboon and Kannarin in the derby. I wish the both of them a speedy recovery, and it was nice to see the starting 11 make the following gesture to Kannarin in the picture below. Coming into the starting-11 were Worawut Baresi [#24] and Jaturapat [#15], with Tanaboon [#17] going out of the squad altogether, and Nitipong [#34] dropping to the bench. Taking Kannarin’s place on the bench was Elias Dolah [#4], who hadn’t been a part of the past two matchday squads. It was a welcome return in one way, but it’s now up to the Thai international to force his way back into the starting-11, and show the ability that made him a much loved figure on the terraces, and go on to earn a place in the national team set-up. Simply put: his performances haven’t been up to scratch for a while.

 

 

Fast Starts: A View to Kill

We’ve shown time and time again this season that we’re able to hit the ground running from the offset, though the fact is that our opposition [typically] get the first opportunity of the match. That wasn’t the case today, and with just 2:02 on the clock we nearly took the lead. What a start that would’ve been!

A long, diagonal ball was [inexplicably] allowed to bounce by the Chiangmai United defender, with Roller [#33] getting onto the ball, and breezing by the fullback. I have a feeling that it was Muangthong loanee Saharat that was out there on the wing with him, though the available camera angles couldn’t confirm whether it was or wasn’t him. If it wasn’t: my apologies, Saharat. Regardless, Roller had breezed by, and his delivery into the 18-yard box was pretty damn good. Suarez was rushing into the ball to attack it, and usually when he’s left unmarked to attack the ball the ball is in the back of the net moments later.

It wasn’t to be this time around for the Spaniard, but it was a great bit of play from all of the Port players involved. I’ve no doubt that the next time things play out in the same way: Suarez will be running off to celebrate with his teammates.

 

 

The next goalscoring opportunity for us came after a horrible collision between former Port stalwart Tossapol [#6] and Brazilian defender Evson [#30], with Nelson Bonilla [#9] attempting to latch onto the loose ball and go one-on-one with the Chiangmai United goalkeeper. To his credit, Nont Muangngam [#20] got off his line quickly, and got the ball away from danger. The whistle was quickly blown so that both Tossapol and Evson could receive medical treatment, with the Brazilian definitely the player that came out of the collision worse off. If either player is reading this: best wishes in your recovery. It’s never a nice sight to see someone suffer a serious head injury, and if I don’t see another one this season I’d be quite a lot happier. Tossapol was [somehow] able to continue playing on, but Evson was replaced by Sirisak Faidong [#15] on the 22-minute mark.

The next effort [and I’m not sure you can call it that!] that we had on goal was with 25:00 on the clock, with Pakorn taking a set-piece that certainly wasn’t a cross, but it wasn’t much of a shot either. Some… “interesting”… goalkeeping from Nont saw the ball go out for a corner, though we weren’t able to do anything from the resulting corner. We were [clearly] in the ascendancy, though at the same time we really didn’t look like scoring either. It was quite weird to watch if I’m honest, but I still had faith that we’d find a breakthrough. The lads were cutting through the Chiangmai United players like they weren’t even there at times, but at the end of the day you have to put your chances away to get the 3-points.

With 29:26 played, we did have an effort on goal, though the linesman flagged a bit too quickly in my opinion. There’s no doubt that Bonilla was offside in the lead-up play; he was, by at least 2-3 yards. The thing is, by the time the cross was played in, it looked like he MIGHT have gotten himself back onside, and had a headed attempt cleared off the line. Imagine if we had technology, like VAR for instance, that could go back and disallow the goal if he was actually offside!? The goal-line clearance had only gotten as far as Go [#8], only for the whistle to be blown due to the linesman’s flag. It was all a bit of a mess to be honest, and this was a case where VAR might’ve been useful.

Having said that: the implementation of VAR in Thailand has been a catastrophe, and it probably would’ve taken them 8-10 minutes to come to a decision… but only after watching 329 replays. For what it’s worth, having watched it a few times, I think the right decision was made, I just think the decision was made somewhat prematurely due to the fact that Bonilla had been in an offside position in the lead-up play.

Regardless, the clearance from Tossapol had been a good bit of play from him, and if he could save good performances for anyone but us, that’d be much appreciated!

 

 

It took until the 31-minute mark for our hosts to get a strike off on goal, with Saharat having an effort that would’ve earned applause in a rugby game as a successful conversion attempt. Minutes later, Chiangmai United were back at it, with a through ball from Escudero [#26] giving Melvin de Leeuw [#9] an opportunity. He did quite well to hit the target with his half volley, and even though it was fairly straightforward for Worawut [#36] to save: he still made a bit of a meal of it. Worawut seemed to have something to say to the match officials, but I’m not quite sure why.

The game had lacked controversy, much like the derby had, but that all changed just before the 37-minute mark, when an out-swinging corner from Pakorn [#7] made its way into the box. The ball had glanced off the head of either Suarez or a defender, with it then making its way towards Baresi. It’s pretty damn obvious that the Chiangmai United defender has a handful of Baresi’s jersey, and anywhere else on the pitch, it’s a freekick. So why isn’t it a penalty? What makes it worse [for me] is the fact that he’s not even trying to track the player he’s supposed to be marking, he’s just holding on for dear life instead. Minutes later we had yet another VARcical decision from a T1 match official.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the match officials just aren’t up to standard in Thailand, and it had [yet again] been shown a night earlier in the Khonkaen United-Nakhon Ratchasima game. VAR had been correctly used to give a red card against a Khonkaen United player, but it had made a mistake in disallowing a goal from Ibson Melo in the first-half. If anyone knows the reason that goal was disallowed, please drop a comment on The Sandpit tweet where this is published.

The shirt pull in this game should’ve been a penalty, and was yet another example of why VAR is a pointless tool to have when the people tasked with using it don’t know how to use it properly.

 

 

There’d been 6-minutes in added time for the first-half, due to the injury to Evson, and the VAR farce, with it allowing us a final effort on goal. Jaturapat had received the ball from Go, crossed from deep, with Suarez attacking it. He got a bit fortunate with the ‘pinball’ that went on, which saw him receive the ball in a great position. Korrakot [#77] did a magnificent job to deflect the Spanish maestros effort for a corner, and he’d certainly atoned for his mistake in the seconds leading up to the half volley. Suarez was frustrated to have not scored: Korrakot looked like he’d just found a new source of energy!

It meant we went into the half-time interval at nil-all, and I was certainly intrigued by what our second-half game plan would be.

 

 

An Attacking Second-Half? Die Another Day!

I’ve commented a few times in previous reports that I’ve felt a little underwhelmed by our second-half performances in the attacking-third so far this season, so the one benefit of going into the interval at nil-all was that we’d HAVE to attack in the second-half. A point away to Chiangmai United wouldn’t be an acceptable result in the slightest, but it’d be such a Port thing to do: a great result against the Scum, followed by dropping points to the league new boys.

The first attack of the second-half belonged to our hosts, with them breaking forward whilst the referee waved for an advantage, due to their being a shirt pull. I thought pulling your opponents shirt was okay!? Anyway, the ball ended up at the feet of Jaturapat, who had an absolute ‘mare with his clearance, with the ball finding itself at the feet of Saharat. The effort from the man on-loan from Muangthong was pretty damn awful, and I’ll admit that it made me chuckle for a bit. I think it ended up halfway between the post and the corner flag, and he won’t be watching the replay too fondly in the match review meeting with his teammates.

Our hosts were most certainly in the ascendancy during the start of the second-half, and they had a few good moments in the 10-minutes after the second-half had kicked off. Ultimately: their efforts were for nothing. There was plenty of effort and energy, but without Yannick Boli in the line-up: they looked a bit lost. From what I watched, a simple 4-4-2 would be perfect for Chiangmai United, because a duo of Yannick Boli and Melvin de Leeuw is going to find you the goals to win games. They had 3 or 4 chances to take the lead against us in the opening 15-minutes of the second-half, and if you don’t take your chances, picking up points becomes a hell of a lot harder.

 

 

Whilst I wasn’t too pleased that it took us over 15-minutes to carve out our first proper attack of the second-half, I was quite pleased with the way that we’d handled the pressure that Chiangmai United had been putting on us, and you could sense that we were picking our moment to land the first blow.

An outside of the right-foot pass from Suarez had found Bonilla, and my goodness was his first touch horrendous! He burned his defender for pace quite easily, but the odds were heavily stacked in Nont’s favour to make the save, and although Bonilla got to the ball first, he was never looking likely to score this time around. It was a missed opportunity, and it was a truly poor first-touch from our star striker.

It was the final warning that we would give our hosts.

Just minutes later we took the lead. A cross-field pass from Bordin was expertly controlled by Pakorn [that’s how you do it Nelson!], with the midfield monk in acres of space. The Chiangmai defender [Sirisak] moved across to close him down, but he was nowhere near tight enough to be effective in killing off the danger. Pakorn played a lovely low cross in, and Nelson ran straight onto it: unmarked! He had no qualms in smashing the ball into the back of the net, before making his way towards Pakorn, who’d made yet another magnificent assist. It was a great piece of play from Bordin, Pakorn, and Bonilla, and I couldn’t help but think “I hope we push on for a few more!” to myself.

 

 

The goal had sparked us into life, and a few minutes later we were back at it. Bonilla got his first touch right this time around, after receiving a lovely ball from Siwakorn [#16], and went through towards goal. The defender marking him forced him a bit wide, and rather than being selfish he laid the ball off for Jaturapat to run onto. Jaturapat took a shot, rather than taking another touch, with Nont getting quite a strong palm to it. I thought Pakorn did quite well to get the ball under control again, with him laying it off for Go to have a strike on goal. There was plenty of power on the strike, but it lacked direction, and rocketed towards the running track.

We were well and truly in the mood now, and minutes later: we scored one of the best goals scored in the league so far this season. If any other club had scored it, it’d be all over social media, and people would be losing their minds. It was a thing of absolute beauty!

Bordin picked up the ball in his half [around the left-wingback area of the pitch], and played the ball forward to Suarez. Suarez, sensing that there was an over-zealous fullback headed his way, played a first-time ball to Bonilla, who completed the ‘one-two’ to Suarez: who’d continued his progress forward. This is the part of the pitch where the Spanish maestro is so damn good, because he sucked in another Chiangmai United defender, before playing a perfectly weighted ball for Bordin to run onto. Bordin was gliding down the left-side of the pitch, and rather than trying to do too much: he played a first-time cutback towards the penalty spot.

Who was there? Go! The Korean central-midfielder kept his composure, and thrashed the ball into the back of the net, to double our lead. I could watch this goal on a continuous loop; it was fantastic. It’s the kind of goal that you show a young kid when you’re talking about how important off-the-ball movement is, and every Port player involved in this sequence of play should take a bow.

 

 

After the goal had gone in, our hosts used their second substitution window, with Surawich Logarwit [#16] replacing Khapfa Boonmatoon [#54], who’d been booked in the first-half, and Kittipat Wongsombat [#8] replacing Boworn Tapla [#32]. A minute later: Saharat was booked, in what had been quite a miserable night for him. Things just hadn’t clicked for him, and he doesn’t look anything like the player that had been so dangerous for PTT Rayong. Maybe a move to Korat to reunite with Teerasak Po-on might do him some good?

We were dealt an injury scare around the 77-minute mark, with Baresi having to be withdrawn, with the towering Elias Dolah [#4] taking his place on the pitch. Since the mess that occurred on the opening day of the season, our defensive unit has looked quite good, and it’s of little surprise that we’ve not been coughing up too many goals. I’ll admit to being a bit nervous about Dolah coming on, but I was hopeful that he’d be the Dolah that we all know and love.

Minutes later we had another dangerous attack! I was loving that we were attacking so much in the second-half, and a pass down the line from Roller to Pakorn had the midfield monk weighing up his options. He played a smart pass inside to Bordin, who took a touch, and lashed an effort at goal. Nont parried the shot quite well, and having both scored already: both Bonilla and Go got in each others way! Bonilla took control of the ball, played a pass to Bordin, who did a bit of a song and dance: trying to get himself in enough space for another effort on goal. He played the ball back out to Pakorn, who seemed a bit indecisive this time around, with his cross not dangerous at all.

A minute later our hosts nearly halved the deficit! My god it was heart in mouth stuff. A corner that wasn’t defended well saw a header from Tossapol [I think] hit the post, Sirisak Faidong then hitting the crossbar with his rebound. It was a complete lapse of concentration from the lads, and we very nearly made the final few minutes of the game an end-to-end battle. Thankfully we cleared the ball, and preserved our cleansheet. A ‘get out of jail free’ card had been used by us, and it was now up to Dusit to reorganize the troops, and make sure that it didn’t happen again.

Both teams then made their final substitutions for the night, with Chiangmai United bringing on Phongsakon Seerot [#14] and Kantapong Bandasak [#11] on for Sergio Escudero [#26] and Saharat Kanyarot [#18]. I honestly don’t think much of Escudero: he gives off Gorka vibes for me. That being said: Gorka produced a hell of a lot more during his time in Thai football, and I can’t see Escudero being able to get the same amount of goals or assists as the lumpy Spaniard.

Meanwhile, the substitutions we made were: Charyl Chappuis [#6] and Tanasith Siripala [#11] replacing Siwakorn [#16] and Bordin [#10]. Both Siwakorn and Bordin had played well, and could take their place on the bench knowing that they’d both played a strong part in us getting the 3-points.

There was still enough time for a bit of “controversy” to take place, with an incisive breakaway from Bonilla, Chappuis, and Tanasith seeing us have a potentially dangerous moment in front of goal. It was a perfectly weighted ball from Bonilla to Chappuis, with the midfielder having a… not so good first-touch. It almost killed the odds of him having an effort on goal, and with him trying to make up for his mistake: he somewhat launched himself at the ball. He kept a hold of it, before having a strike on goal that was deflected out for a corner by a defender.

Next minute: VAR check! What I’ll say on it is this: it was touch and go. Could he have been given a red card? Possibly. Do I think he should’ve? No. The problem for Artit Daosawang [#92] wasn’t the contact from Chappuis, it was the way that he’d launched himself to try and make the defensive block. He was trying to contort his body in multiple different directions, and it’s no wonder he came out of it feeling worse for wear! There was definitely contact, and it’s a moment that Chappuis will learn from no doubt. With that being said, and how awful VAR is in the Thai League, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if they’d sent him off.

Thankfully, common sense prevailed. The full-time whistle was blown not long after, and the lads could begin their trek back to Khlong Toei with the 3-points in the bag! Well done!

 

 

My Thoughts – Chiangmai United

Chiangmai United tried hard, and they’re not exactly a bad side, but they’re not a good side either. We haven’t played Nongbua Pitchaya just yet, but of the 3 sides that have come up this season this is the side that I’m least impressed by so far this season. Whilst I understand that they were missing Boli, who’d destroyed Samut Prakan City just 5-days earlier, the defensive unit wasn’t quite the same once Evson went off, whilst their midfield undoubtedly lacks any real quality. Escudero isn’t good enough to be able to drag them out of a mess; I’ve seen tumbleweeds move faster than him, and that’s without any wind. This side appears to be destined to go back down, and what did they do when they were promoted? They hired a coach that seems to specialize in getting teams relegated!

They’ve got big decisions to make in the next transfer window, and I’d be very surprised to see either the head coach or Escudero last the whole season at the club. I hope that Evson isn’t seriously injured, and wish him a speedy recovery, as the longer he’s out: the more trouble his club is in.

 

My Thoughts – Port FC

This was our first proper 90-minute performance of the season. In the 5 games prior, we seemed to have been good in the first-half, only to be a lot more cautious/reserved in the second-half. That certainly wasn’t the case tonight, and it was extremely pleasing to watch.

The lads that had come into the starting-11 had justified their selection, and I thought that Jaturapat was fantastic in his return. He was someone that I considered for the ‘Man of the Match’ award below, and he was quite unlucky to miss out in my opinion. I thought this was quite possibly our best defensive performance of the season, albeit we were up against a newly promoted side, but it was pleasing that we didn’t allow complacency to creep in, like it might’ve in seasons gone by. Defensively, we looked quite well organized, bar the blip late in the game from that corner. I hope that Baresi’s injury isn’t serious, because if we can have the same back-4 start for the next game against Buriram: I’d be very happy with that.

Our midfield was quite tremendous too, as was the attacking trio of Pakorn-Bonilla-Bordin, and if it’s possible to name an unchanged line-up next time out, we should do it. It appears that certain players have shaken off any rust that was in their games, and I thought that Go had his best game for the club in a long while. He ran the show at times, which was great to see considering he’s been quite lacklustre at times in the games previous. There was a bit more urgency to his game, and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to this standard of performance from now on. There’s no doubting that when he’s on-form he’s one of the best AFC quota players in the league. The big question is: at 35-years old, can he do it frequently?

Buriram United is our next game, with it to be played at PAT Stadium on Sunday at 7pm. Will fans be allowed? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m hopeful that they will be, and if we can try to create a bit of a raucous atmosphere for them to come into I think we stand a chance. On our day, we’re just as good as anyone in this league, and with Bonilla regularly finding the back of the net, we’ve currently got the ‘Golden Boot’ capable striker that we thought we were getting when we first brought him to the club.

There’s a lot to be pleased with at the moment, and don’t forget, if you’re not able to watch the game at PAT Stadium on Sunday, you can always watch the game at The Sportsman!

 

Man of the Match – David Rochela

 

 

I think that I’ve made my opinion on Rochela quite clear since I began writing for the site, but the one thing that I’ve always said is that he’s a proper professional, and I have a lot of respect him for everything that he’s done for the club. Do I think that he’s the type of defender that will help us challenge for a top-2 finish? No, I don’t. But there’s no way that you can’t admire him for the way that he’s navigated through his 6-season spell at the club. There are plenty of players/agents that would’ve thrown their toys out of the pram in some of the instances, but Rochela just knuckled down and kept going about his business. He’s a great ambassador for the club, and although I do think that we will need to move on from him in the near future, I’m quite content to have him remain for the time being.

Getting back to his actual performance now, he didn’t put a foot wrong in the game. He’s been very consistent so far this season, and although he’s had a few ‘iffy’ moments: they’ve been a bit less frequent too. I think that he must be such a calming influence for his defensive partner, and I actually think that Baresi and Tanaboon are much more suited to playing alongside him than Dolah is. Only Buriram United, BG Pathum United [both 4], Nongbua Pitchaya, and Ratchaburi [both 5] have conceded less goals than us so far this season, though BG Pathum United have the benefit of having played 2 less games at the moment, whilst Nongbua and Ratchaburi have both only played 5 fixtures.

Dusit appears to have sorted our defensive frailties that we seem to show every season, and Rochela has shown fine form during the start of the reign of his new manager. Keep it up!

 

All right, Port, give me a showstopper – Chiangmai United v Port Preview

Now we’re rolling. After the slip up at Suphanburi, Port avoided a banana skin on an absolute dog of a pitch in the Bangkok derby, which saw plenty of individual slips but collectively the team stood tall and proud running out one nil winners. However, there was little time to enjoy the victory, with the first midweek round of the season meaning we find ourselves heading up to Chiangmai for a Thursday night encounter with the White Elephants.

As it stands, with two games played on Tuesday night, Port sits third in the table with a return of 8 points from 5 games, two points behind current leaders Buriram, who we face this coming Sunday at The PAT.  Suddenly it’s not looking like such a bad start to the season.

So what to expect of our encounter with the newly promoted side…..GOALS. Only Chonburi games (4.33 ) are averaging more goals than our hosts (3.4), while only Khon Kaen United (14) have conceded more than Chiangmai United’s 10. Also, there’s a fair chance they come early, nobody in the leagues is averaging more first half goals than Port games. Adding weight to the theory that Dusit looks to defend the lead when he gets it, our games also see very few second half goals, infact there have been just two, with only NongBua Pitchaya matches, with a solitary second half goal producing less.

 

Chiangmai United.

 

Yannick Boli – he wont play but l like him and have the picture saved

Last time out the White Elephants bagged their first win of the season travelling to Samut Prakan Dons, as Port loanee Yannick Boli (7) starred in a 3-1 win. In a game that looked to go in spells of dominance for each team, Chiangmai were initially under the cosh before taking the initiative in the latter part of the first half. A momentum they maintained into the second half. Which was just a couple of minutes old when Boli was picked out with a though ball that allowed him to skip past Zarifovic and with the aid of a deflection, fire home. A slice of luck he probably deserved having created numerous chances in the game. The momentum then switched again as Dons went in search of an equalizer, but it was Boli who would score next, getting on the end of a cross to head home. The game was kept alive, as the fragile Chiangmai back line was denied its first clean sheet of the season when Eliandro pulled one back. However, there was to be no comeback as Boonmatoon (54) scored a second headed goal for the visitors to end the match as a contest.

Whilst that result will have come as a shock to many, the rest of the Chiangrai results have gone the quite predictable route, as having taken the lead against Bangkok United in round 1 they went on to be defeated 2-1, their other meeting with one of the expected contenders was somewhat more one sided, as a trip to Buriram ended in a 4-0 humbling. While they’ve dawn away at Suphanburi 2-2 thanks to an injury time equalizer from ex Port man Todsapol (6). Alongside facing Korat at home in round four. Where they surrendered a lead given to them by Boli in a 1-1 draw.  Who after not starting the first 3 games of the season has forced his way into the side and shown his manager what he was missing with three goals from those two starts.

 

Now with any normal club you’d be thinking great they figured out Boli’s their best attacker a few weeks into the season, it doesn’t really matter as he can’t play against us. However, this is Port and the Thai league, so don’t be shocked if there’s no rule or clause in place to stop him lining up against us and then for full comedy effect scoring the winner (I could probably check but I’m not going too).

 

Nont saves!

 

As for the rest of the team. Big things were once expected of keeper Nont Muangagam (20) and he remains on the books of Chiangrai United, who’ve sent him for another season on loan, having in recent years spend time with Police Tero and the other ChinagMai club before arriving at his current home last season. He’s a bit of a favourite with the Sandpit team as he’s capable of some stunning stops but is held back being equally prone to absolute howlers. He played regularly for the Thai U23 team before becoming too old, at some point hes either going to become really good or forever yoyo between T1 and T2. Expect a few world class saves but you get the feeling that if we give him enough chances he’s more than capable of a Somporn moment.  At the back they have what could become a decent combination of centrebacks including the aforementioned Todsapol, Brazilan Evson (30) and Sirisak Faidong (15).  

 

If Boli misses out the attack will be let by Melvin de Leeuw (9), my expert on T2 recently said of him…”he’s scored a ton of goals in T2 (more than wiki says) but whether he can do it in the top flight remains to be seen”. He’ll be supplied by, midfielders Sergio Escudero(26) , the 33 year old arrives having played extensively in Japan and Korea and Saharat Kanyaroj (18)  who moved from Muangthong n the closed season.

 

 

Port

I don’t expect us to change a winning system too much. The reinvention of Tanaboon (17) was continuing before he limped off in the derby and assuming he’s fit, then l’d stick with his partnership with Rochela who also had a fine game. Given that the team seem to like to get lead and hold it, l’d start the same 11 as the weekend and then rotate later in the game if we get a cushion. Of course with what could be a massive top of the table clash to come on Sunday, Dusit may have other ideas. Regardless in Dusit we trust.

 

Prediction

Surely the kiss of death but I’m going for a nice and comfortable 3-0 win to Port.

  The match will be shown live on AISPLAY (possibly limited to AIS network users) at 1900 on Thursday 7th October 2021. So the best way to watch with fellow Port fans is to head to The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 who will show the match on a big screen.

 

Podcast

The Portcast #23: The State of Things

 

Tom, Jim and James run through how the 2021-22 season has gone so far, touching on all of the big hitters but focusing on Port.

 

 

Our next podcast is already recorded, and will be edited and posted within the next few days, so please follow us on Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts so you know when the next episode is live.

 

The Portcast #22: The Swedish Model

 

No, this week’s guest Peter Sheppard hasn’t taken to strutting his stuff on the catwalk, but he has landed a position working in Swedish football, and he’s here to tell us all about it. How does football differ in one of the world’s most developed countries, with a league nearing it’s 100th birthday, and a developing nation in South East Asia who’s football league is in it’s teen years?

Read more

The Portcast #21: National Team Talk

 

I’m joined by Gian Chansrichawla and Tommie Duncan to talk Thai national team. We consider all the major candidates for inclusion, and eventually agree on a 23 man squad which we think would serve boss Akira Nishino well.

Some big names miss out and some uncapped players make the cut, including a Sandpit favourite.

Read more

The Portcast #16: A Decade of Highlights

 

Tom and Tim are back for another Portcast, and this time we’re laying on an audio-visual experience for our audience.

Hit play on the podcast for a full explanation of what we’ve got lined up, and keep this page open so you have access to all the videos we’ll be watching, so you can watch and listen to the action along with us.

Read more

The Portcast #15: Choked Out with Tim Russell

 

The biggest Thai League news of the season so far is Port and FA Cup winning coach Choke parting ways in unusual circumstances. I talk to Sandpit editor Tim Russell about the shock move, and analyse both Choke’s surprisingly honest interview and the club’s panicked response.

Read more

The Portcast #14: South East Asian Football with James

 

Inspired by being cooped up all day every day, The Portcast was finally able to secure an interview with a guy we’ve been trying to get on the podcast for ever. James has played professionally and been involved with football in a few different capacities across South East Asia. This brings a very welcome perspective to the podcast, which is usually rather narrowly centred on Thailand, and more specifically Port.

Read more

The Portcast #11: Zone F Meets Peter Sheppard

 

The Portcast is back!

It’s been more than a year since our last podcast, but so excited are we with what transpired last season, and with next still season feeling an age away, here we are bringing back our long-form conversations with fans about the fan experience.

What better way to fill the hole left by the off-season than listening to two helpless obsessives talking about what makes the football experience great, whether in the suburbs of Stockholm or the slums of Bangkok?

Read more

The Portcast Episode 10: The Sandpit Meets Sven (Part 1)

 

Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but good things come to wait! Our interview with Sven, the creator of legendary Thai football website www.thai-fussball.com is finally here, so be prepared for some back-in-the-day stories from the Kangaroos of Prague to the Blue Marlins of Sriracha.

Part one features a lot of stadium talk, and a couple of time-honoured debates about Thai football standards vs. European football standards and the social vs. sporting aspect of watching live football.

Then there’s me giving an entirely justifiable torrent of abuse to former Port flop Sompong Soleb for those who just like a good old rant, although the fearless Sven soon turns the tables on us and gives the Sandpit a well-deserved chewing out!

We also discuss Daniel Polomski and Tobias Enkel’s project Football Fans Asia which you can find on their website or their Youtube channel. Their video about a certain Khlongtoei football club is in the making, so make sure to follow their progress.

 

Spit in the Sandpit Episode 1: Season Review 2017

 

As the curtain falls on another season of Port football we now contemplate what and who will it take to improve our beloved Port FC Lions. Port supporter John Spittal spent some time in the Sandpit before last weekends final home match asking fellow Port Importz about the 2017 season and their thoughts on next season… it’s Spit in the Sandpit season review.

Note…Peter Hockley is lovingly referred to as Peter Hockers. I hope he doesn’t mind.

 

The Portcast Episode 4: Zone F Meets Tim Russell

 

The Portcast is back with a brand new feature – Zone F – in which we chat to a different Port fan in each episode and get their thoughts on all things Tarua!

In this first episode, The Portcast’s own Michael Parkinson, Tom Earls, interviews Sandpit founder Tim Russell and finds out about his unlucky orange underpants, his dream of being able to eat meat pies at the PAT, and his man-crush on Genki Nagasato.

If you’re a Port fan & would like to take part in Zone F, drop us a message. And in the meantime, enjoy our latest podcast!