Posts

Port’s Non-Starter XI

 

After Port’s mid-season, featuring a spate of off-the-wall signings, I thought I’d try and cobble together a team of players who now could feasibly fail to register a single minute of T1 action between them in the rest of 2019. Why? Partly because I’ve got nothing better to do today, and partly to make the point that after cutting the squad down to a manageable size a couple of seasons ago, it has once again swelled to the point where it’s hard to see how many players are ever going to get a game, and if that’s the case, what are they doing there? The amount of players currently registered for T1 action is 29, while a further 2 (incidentally probably the two highest paid players in the squad) are only available for cup action or not at all. There are also 7 players out on loan, taking the tally to 38.

Read more

Third vs. Turd: Port FC vs. Muangthong Utd Preview

 

This week’s outstanding if nerve-wracking cup victory over Chiang Rai was arguably our best performance of the season, but Port will need to put in another considerable effort against their fiercest rivals to keep up the pace at the top of the table this weekend. 2 wins and a draw in our last 3 league games can’t hide the fact that we have flattered to deceive recently and the team selection shows there is still a lack of tactical awareness from the coaching staff.

And so it’s that shower of absolute bastards from Nonthaburi who come rolling into town this weekend and it couldn’t have come at a better time for them. But relax mate, you might counter, it’s a derby innit? The form book goes out the window. Well, the scumbag’s form book is so heavy with positive momentum it would be hard enough just to pick up the damn thing let alone chuck it. Also, don’t tell me to relax.

It was all so hysterically funny only a few months ago when those inept mugs found themselves stuck in the relegation zone and going through several managerial changes. Port even managed to rock up to Legoland twice and ran off into the night with 2 victories; firstly their third consecutive league victory in 3 seasons and more recently an absolute mugging in the last 16 of the FA Cup thanks to gifts from pretty boy Chappuis and the gargoyle-esque Teerasil (See above. Truly a hauntingly ugly man; I would hang his picture above the fireplace to keep the children away from the flames). But 7 wins and a draw in their last 8 league matches tells a different story and they now find themselves sitting comfortably in 6th position. Their away form is still a bit patchy (W2 D3 L6) but they are only 4 points off Port who only the good lord knows how still sit in 3rd position.

 

Ones to Watch

Heberty Fernandes

 

 

 

Heberty. Heberty. Heberty. Say his name 3 times and you develop an Irish accent but that’s where the joke ends. The Brazilian/Timorese attacker is their star performer, drifting ominously around the final third and popping up with key goals. On top of his 7 goals this season he’s racked up 8 assists and generally lifts the team’s all round performance. You could argue that if you stop him, you’ll stop the whole team, which I’m slightly inclined to agree with, so our full backs and defensive midfielders will have their work cut out tracking him around the pitch.

 

Alexandre Gama

 

 

If one individual is responsible for their return to form and march up the table then it has to be their Brazilian manager. A serial silverware winner for both Buriram and Chiang Rai, Gama has already taken an underperforming talent pool and molded a team that can play adventurous football in a 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 formation. My real reason for putting him in here is that he is also an absolute shithouse manager; every single time I have watched one of his teams in the flesh, he has walked onto the pitch to remonstrate with the match officials and most of the time he gets what he wants. With no away fans traveling to the PAT this weekend expect some dark arts from the bench if the chips are down.

 

The Home Team

 

The midweek cup performance will have given Choke/Spencer/Madame Pang (delete where applicable) a headache for team selection. Clearly width supplied by Bodin (10) and Pakorn (7) is the key to this team, and out of nowhere the usually woeful Sumanya (11) put on a high quality show which will surely justify his selection. This means Suarez (5) will probably find himself playing as a false 9. Or maybe the fear will creep into the training staff’s thinking and they opt for Josimar (30), back after being cup tied, who will defend more than Pakorn. Maybe. Probably. Rochela (22) will take his place in the stands after being cut from the league squad so either Tanaboon (71) or Todsapol (6) will come into the centre of defense. Most farang supporters prefer the latter but we all know Madame has her favourites so the ex-Glass man will probably get the nod.

 

 

Prediction

 

4-2 Port and I miss one, maybe 2 goals. You heard it here first. Cheers!

 


 

The match will be shown live at 18:00 on Sunday 11 August, 2019. For those who can’t make it to PAT Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. Don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

Port Stamp Out Beetles to Give Their Fans a Semi: Port FC 3-2 Chiang Rai

Arriving at the PAT this evening with the drab 1-1 draw at Prachuap fresh in the memory, my expectations for the evening were somewhat low. They were lowered even more when Chiang Rai announced a full strength side, followed by Port’s team sheet showing no out and out striker, plus the continued selection of Sumanya. I was itching for a more simple time when the “gaffer” would just hand in the team sheet on the back of a fag packet and we’d just play 4-4-f**king-2! …At least El Capitan was restored to the team, for what could potentially be his last match at Port.

 

 

With Port now a few games into the Choke experiment, I still wasn’t sure what was actually changing and what his master plan is in terms of the teams tactics and style, the system was still very similar to Jadet’s with the only real difference being Josimar round pegged into a very square hole on the right flank. After all the out and out fuckery during the transfer window to bring in a striker and ditch the one we already had, Roland “Tony” Blackburn (99) was again to be sitting on the bench.

 

First Half

Port were very quick out of the starting blocks with Suarez (5) forcing a save from the Chiang Rai keeper in the first minute of the match after a neat pass from Sumanya (11) allowed Sergio to unleash a low drive towards the bottom corner. This intense opening from Port would continue with Steuble (15) hanging in a nice low cross on his right foot (does he even have a left?) which Go (8) stooped in to head off the post. Ports early pressure finally paid off in the fifteenth minute when the much maligned Sumanya finally put in a decent corner that wrong-footed the Chiang Rai defence and deflected into the net with Dolah (4) in hot pursuit of a final touch.

Five minutes later, Sumanya produced his finest moment in a Port shirt this season, although to be fair, his highlight reel for 2019 prior to tonight could have easily fitted on a Vine clip (if that platform was still going…). He picked the ball up just inside the Chiang Rai half and charged through the centre into the penalty area, shaking off pursuing Chiang Rai defenders before calmly slotting it into the corner past the onrushing keeper. It was certainly the first time this season I can recall seeing this image on the Port scoreboard…

 

 

A couple of minutes later and Suarez almost killed the contest dead, latching onto a stray pass from the Chiang Rai keeper and unleashed a rasping thunderbastard of a shot from 25 yards that hit the underside of the crossbar and came out again. Port kept this tempo up for the rest of the first half and Chiang Rai didn’t know whether they were coming or going. Every time Bodin (10) had the ball, the Beetles’ back line had no real answers except to foul him. The Chiang Rai defence were being pressed in their own half and given no time on the ball. “Friend” of the Sandpit and full-time pantomime villain (fat) Bill (9) was being kept very quiet, especially after an early challenge from Dolah….”a reducer” as Big Ron used to call them.

As the half-time whistle went, it was still hard to take in what had just happened. A Port team that have looked out of sorts ever since the Buriram game had just played the current 2nd place team off the park with Sumanya actually having a big impact on the game.

 

Second Half

Attacking Zone B, Port continued with the same pace as the first half. Pakorn (7) had a free-kick right at the start of the second half which whistled just wide of the post. A few minutes later and Port went up to a 3-0 lead. A free kick was worked out to the wing where Martin Steuble floated in an absolute beaut of a cross for Suarez to leap up and head into the bottom corner. A quick look around the terrace confirmed the goal had indeed come in Toby Time ©. This was getting almost too easy, but this is Port after all… Chiang Rai went straight up the other end with a quick counter attack, A bouncer of a cross evaded the Port defence and Worawut (36), leaving Big Bill with a tap in at the back post.

Back up the other end and Pakorn had a free-kick cleared off the line but Chiang Rai were starting to work their way into the game, the shithousery was beginning to dial up with their entire bench seemingly up off their seats and in the linesman’s ear in front of Zone A, joined by Big Bill who at one point, seemed more interested in protesting on the touchline than actually running around on the pitch. As Chiang Rai began turning the screw more, a handball was awarded against Dolah in the penalty area and up stepped Bill with the penalty to move us into squeaky-bum time. The onset of nerves were not helped by the substitutions, the excellent Bodin was withdrawn for Tanaboon (71) with Pakorn making way for Nurul (31). While Pakorn had redeemed himself somewhat this evening, his replacement Nurul went on to have somewhat of a stinker, blowing chances for Port to put the tie beyond doubt. With just over ten minutes to go, Worawut produced a great save after a free-kick took a wicked deflection on the way through that could so easily have wrong-footed him, yet he produced a great save to keep Port in the lead.

Just as fears of operation f**k-up were creeping in, Chiang Rai’s shithousery finally caught up with them. William (11) was given his second yellow for taking out Go right in front of zone C. With Chiang Rai down to ten, Port were able to get back to doing what they did so well in the first half. Quick passes, neat one-twos and stretching the play. But… as we’d withdrawn Pakorn, Bodin and then Suarez (for Rolando), the replacement attack wasn’t quite up to the task of adding a fourth goal.

There was a sight to behold on injury time as Steuble ran the ball out of defence, pursued by Bill, who soon ended up flat on his face and probably blew a couple of arteries in the process of trying to chase down Steuble in the first place.

The full-time whistle signaled the end of a fantastic performance from Port, who now go into the semi-final draw with Buriram, Bangkok Utd and Ratchaburi.

 

 

The Sandpit’s Man of the Match

My heart says Bodin, who was unplayable in the time he was allowed on the pitch tonight, but I will have to go with Sumanya. I never thought I’d be saying that at all this season! His performances all year have ranged from ref shoving, to anonymous, to flat out awful….tonight he actually looked the part as Ports attack dominated the first half. A key assist in the first goal and a stunning second goal, it goes without saying he needs to turn in more than one of these performances a season.

 

Just Plain Rayong: PTT Rayong 1-0 Port FC

 

Pressure makes diamonds” opined one of our travelling party as we discussed Port’s current situation on the way to the Meccano-esque PTT Stadium. The rest of the suitably lubricated gentleman and additional beer monitor carefully considered this statement until I offered a well thought out counter-argument; “pressure can also make you piss yourself.” Wise words indeed but sadly I was proved right as Port continued their alarming dip in form that has seen them go from top of pile to mid-table mediocrity and possibly something much much worse.

It all started so well with a midweek cup victory against The Scum which many had hoped would propel the team back to some decent form and retake the initiative in the league. None of our rivals had pulled away from the chasing pack and Port could take heart that it wasn’t just us fucking about. Also it was set up as a cracking away day; a bit of beach action followed by an early evening kick off at a decent stadium, so this had expanded from your normal football trip to 2 minivans, an additional car and several others on the Thai coach.

 

 

The highlight of the day was Bang Saray beach; a beautiful spot at a good arm’s length from Pattaya that isn’t too overcrowded and a great place to spend a few hours doing sweet FA. We split into 2 groups; those who wanted to eat in chairs (and sand-phobic) and those who prefer to be a little more horizontal while they dine. Moving between the 2 groups, it was a charming afternoon and really we should have stayed all day there if we had known what “entertainment” was in store for us. On a side note, my afternoon was rudely interrupted by a rogue mussel that made me evacuate the contents of my stomach and get a standing ovation from our group upon leaving the roadside toilet; a touching moment I will never forget.

 

 

The first half was a tepid affair only punctuated by 2 things; Bodin’s (10) behind the halfway line shot that keeper Peerapong (30) tipped onto the crossbar and someone spotting a reasonably attractive woman in the home stand which prompt a group of us to wave furiously at in a desperate effort to get her attention. Oh, Rayong’s Big Scary Bastard Victor (5) missed a tap in from a set piece. The lack of quality from both sides was clearly evident and many of us voted with our feet to nip off for very early beers.

 

“Hello, you!”

 

The second half was not much better; the game’s only moment of quality was the goal. Dennis Murillo (92) was given time and space due to Martin Steuble (15) being out of position and he sent a delicious curling shot into the far top corner over Worawut (36). Jadet, sensing the knives sharpening, sent on Pakorn (7) for the totally ineffective Sumanya (11) and Josimar (30) for the woeful Blackburn (99) and things got a little better. Pakorn’s shot forced a smart save and seconds later the ball was fizzed across the box by no Port player could turn it in. Then Josimar missed our best opportunity, running smartly onto a free kick which he placed the wrong side of the post.

And that was that, Port fell to yet another defeat with a performance of zero merit in a game that was frankly painful to watch. Jadet’s diamond formation offers nothing; Siwakorn (16) is uncomfortable playing to the right, Bodin doesn’t have license to roam in order to effect play and Sumanya, effectively the same player as Suarez, has been playing bollocks for far too long and doesn’t justify a starting place. Players we normally depend on like Dolah (4) and Suarez (5) aren’t performing to their usual standards and the new players seem pretty “meh”. Steuble had been solid but was at fault for the goal, Tanaboon (71) seemed very nervous at centre back and “El Toro” Blackburn put in a 1/10 performance and that’s me being very generous. We might as well have played with an actual bull up front. Credit to Dolah for talking to the fans at the service station after the match and also Watchara (1) who said a very brief hello to me and the missus. We must also call out Go (8) who swerved us when he saw a large group of us in Burger King; not cool and I hope you were gutted you didn’t get your whopper.

By the end of the weekend it was confirmed that Jadet has been relieved of his coaching duties and shunted upstairs, just like the ill-fated Zico experiment, and in comes Choketawee Promrut as coach while Spencer Prior becomes team manager. Again it looks like Madame wants to experiment and keep Jadet around as an insurance policy in case it all goes south, but something, anything needed to be done to stop the rot. New people bring fresh ideas to the table and hopefully there won’t be too much meddling in the background (stop laughing at the back), although 3 senior roles means there are already a lot of cooks ready to spoil the Port broth and Madame and her lackeys are standing right behind them armed with extra ladles.

 

Man of the Match: No One

 

Nope, none of them deserve it. I’m not even going to give it to the fans because all we did was bitch and moan then bugger off to drink outside. The opposition were just as bad and Murillo isn’t getting it for the goal because he was an absolute shithouse with a top knot. It was that bad an afternoon.

 

Muangthanks: Muangthong United 0-2 Port FC

Port move in to the last 8 of the FA Cup after overcoming rivals Muangthong 0-2, but really it was Port’s opposition who we have to give credit to for the victory, with a couple of suicidal defensive acts swinging a pretty poor game which neither side particularly deserved to win. It’s not every day us Port fans extend heartfelt and genuine thanks to a club with whom we have had so many problems in recent years, but let me, on behalf of all Port fans, do so now: Thankyou, Muangthong.

In the spirit of friendship in which Muangthong so generously handed victory to us last night, I will endeavor throughout my report to treat our red-clad brethren with as much respect as they showed us last night. That’ll make for an interesting change of pace.

 

 

Port lined up in a curious formation which, despite minimal changes in perssonel, represented a significant tactical departure for embattled coach Jadet. Usually a big believer in width, which is emphasized in his favoured 4-2-3-1 system, Jadet this time played a narrow 4-4-2, with the midfield four set up in a diamond formation. Worawut (36), the third goalkeeper Port have used in four games, was a surprise inclusion between the sticks, with the rather more familiar sight, although we won’t be able to say that for much longer, of Rochela (22) and Dolah (4) in front of him. Nitipong (34) and impressive new arrival Martin Steuble (15) manned the full back positions, with a remit to attack even more freely than usual necessitated by Jadet’s narrow set-up. At the base of the midfield diamond was Go (8), while Bodin (10) played to his left and Siwakorn (16) to his right. Sumanya (11) played in his favourite role just behind the forwards, who on this occasion were the familiar Suarez (5) and unknown quantity Rolando Blackburn (99).

The early going was scrappy, with both teams working hard but ultimately failing to create many clear-cut chances. Most moves broke down in the middle of the park, with Sumanya in particular for Port being very wasteful and possession. It was crowded in there, with Siwakorn unsurprisingly showing a proclivity to play more centrally than your average right sided midfielder. Focusing on Port’s shortcomings is only half the story, though. Muangthong, in the spirit of brotherhood in which I’m sure it was intended, were almost entirely unthreatening. Adisak (11), a player who we often malign for… well, everything, was suitably helpful to Port’s cause, and Derley (87) was the epitome of the striker who you want on the opposing team.

Heberty (7) was the only man who looked capable of making Port’s life difficult, but after creating a shooting chance for himself with a fantastic run on 24 minutes his deflected shot was tipped wide by the excellent Worawut (36). The resulting corner, taken by Heberty himself, was also flicked towards the far post dangerously by Oh Ban-suk (4) but thankfully his effort drifted just wide. Heberty took aim himself 10 minutes later with his viciously struck long range freekick well dealt with once again by Worawut.

The best two chances of the half fell to both sides in the last 5 minutes. First, Siwakorn fed Nitipong, whose looping cross found Rolando with plenty of space and time to direct his header, but he was some way out with a poor effort not coming close to troubling Dang Van Lam (1) in the Muangthong goal. Then a cross from Muangthong’s right was half blocked by Rochela, but fell to that man Heberty once again, who really should have done better with his side-footed effort, which went straight to Worawut, who nevertheless held it well.

The second half started quietly, with the quality remaining as poor as ever. Suarez put another wonderful chance on a plate for Rolando on 67 minutes, but the Panamanian was once again off target with a pretty weak attempt. Steuble, covering a lot of ground down Port’s left, tried his luck with his weaker foot a few minutes later but fired well over.

Muangthong were first to call on substitutes, with Brazilian Bruno Gallo (88) and Teerasil (10) tasked with turning to tide. Gallo came close with a well-struck volley which missed by the finest of margins, but it was Teerasil, in combination with another substitute, who would really shake things up. Jadet called on Pakorn (7), notably absent from the starting XI after his run-in with Port fans last week, and with his very first touch the Midfield Monk showed why we tolerate his deplorable attitude. Port win a freekick on the right flank. You know the rest. Or maybe not. Pakorn’s cross was bang on the money, and although the Port attackers failed to get the vital touch, Teerasil was on hand to put Port in to the lead. The Muangthong captain, who has had a very poor season since returning from the J League, wasn’t even concentrating on the ball; he was busy appealing to the linesman. The linesman, his arm probably knackered after giving almost very forward pass offside in the first half, for once stood still as the ball bounced off a confused Teerasil’s thigh, sending Port fans, crowded around TVs all over Khlongtoei, in to wild celebrations. Thanks guys, we couldn’t have done it without you! It was also a fantastic redemption story for Pakorn, who once again reminded his many critics what he brings to the team. Love him or loathe him, this is what he does.

Just a one goal win wouldn’t do, though. Chappuis, inspired by his captain, gave Rolando the chance to make the game safe and make his debut a dream start. Credit must go to the new man for having the awareness to run on to Chappuis’ beautifully weighted through ball, which at once set the Port man free on goal and took a despairing Dang Van Lam out of the game. Precision. Rolando tried his best to make a meal out of the finish, scuffing his shot a little and allowing Dang to get his fingertips on it, but nevertheless the ball found the back of the net and Port had the two goal cushion they needed to put the result beyond doubt. The defence, which has struggled horribly in the last few weeks, were even able to hold on to an encouraging clean sheet.

The result could be massive for Port’s season. Many a time has a cup win inspired improved league form, and with a tricky trip to Rayong coming up this Saturday, the boost in confidence could be the catalyst for a long overdue return to form. Jadet also has some breathing room, quieting some of the calls for his replacement for the time being.

At the end of the day, a tough game has been successfully negotiated and Port are through to the last 8. Almost all of the remaining teams hail from the top half of T1, though. The only team one could really say are an easy draw are Thai Honda, so expect Port to face a tougher test than what Muangthong offered in the quarter finals.

 

The Sandpit’s Man of the Match

 

 

A shared award this time, I think. Both Teerasil and Chappuis provided moments of magic that put Port over the line, and are equally deserving of our gratitude.

Seriously though, Worawut is probably the only Port player who can be entirely happy with his performance, dealing with everything Heberty had to throw at him admirably, although as always looking very punch-happy from corners and crosses. The defence were also solid, although most had the odd heart-in-mouth moment at some point.

 

Toothless Sharks: Port FC vs. Chonburi FC Preview

 

Port take on Chonburi in a big clash for both teams, which also represents a hilarious role reversal from the first half of the season. Chonburi, in possession of one of the most prolific strikers in the league in Lukian (91), had already upgraded their second string Brazilian, bringing in Prachuap’s Caion (7) for the less than impressive Patrick Cruz, and looked set to have one of the stronger forward lines in the league.

Read more

Playing Ratch-up: Ratchaburi FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Port face their worst crisis this season, having suffered their third loss on the trot last Sunday. Before we get too down on ourselves though, it’s also worth pointing out that it’s our only crisis this season. Port had enjoyed the best start to a season in recent memory, and until just three matches ago, were top of T1. Having been beaten by champs Buriram – predictably if you weren’t getting swept away with the unlikely predictions that we would be champions – the next loss against high-flying Samut Prakan hurt more, and the third against a particularly objectionable Chiang Rai side more still. But remember, all three of these sides are currently in the top 4. Yes, we lost 3 consecutive games, but it’s not the end of the world. We’re not going to be champions, but an AFC place is very much still within our reach.

Read more

Samut Prakan Pity: Samut Prakan City vs. Port FC Preview

 

Port travel to The M Power Stadium on Sunday looking to round off what has been a superb first leg. The opposition haven’t done too badly, either. Port sit in second place, just a point behind leaders Buriram, whilst Samut Prakan City, sit just 3 points and 2 places further adrift. A win would see them leapfrog Port in the table.

Unfortunately, the build up to this game has been dominated by a series of conflicting and confusing reports on the number and availability of tickets for away fans. We’re hearing that less than 600 will be available to Port fans, and that no extra space will be opened up once that allocation is inevitably sold out. If that is the case, Port fans wearing Port shirts will not be allowed to buy tickets for the home end, so to be sure of getting in one way or another come in neutral colours and be prepared to sit in one of the home sections. Also keep an eye out for further news, as things have already changed several times at the time of writing.

 

Samut Prakan City

SP Dons

 

Samut Prakan City have come in for a lot of stick since their owners uprooted Pattaya United and dropped them a hundred odd kilometers down the coast. Understandably so; The Dolphins’ fans, of which there were a sizable number, have been left club-less. Whilst I share the disdain many have expressed towards Samut Prakan City on social media for this reason, I think there’s more than one good reason to dislike T1’s latest homewrecker.

The M Power Stadium, in which Samut Prakan City are guests, has been home to Samut Prakan FC since 2016, but the club has been playing in Samut Prakan for about fifteen years. They have a small but loyal local fan base, turn out very attractive shirts year after year and have one of the better websites I’ve seen outside of T1, providing all of the information prospective Thai fans could wish for, as well as a forum for fans to share information, lyrics to the club’s songs and so on. Their fans are known as The Fortressians.

 

 

Samut Prakan FC have been as high as the second tier, but currently languish in T4. Their squad featured the Laotian national team captain in 2017, and they were a playoff win away from getting promoted. They ran in to JL Chiang Mai on that occasion, who went on to secure a further promotion in to T2 the next season.

Unfortunately the arrival of Super Power in their backyard in 2017 led to a decline in attendances which continued through 2018. I don’t have their attendance figures so far in 2019, but I’m going to guess the new boys in town throwing around free tickets on the streets of Bang Phli hasn’t helped. Samut Prakan United, another club founded about a decade ago, sank in to the regional leagues and ultimately out of existence last year.

The plight of small, friendly, well-run clubs like Samut Prakan FC are the lesser known victims of the regular comings and goings of clubs who are (if Wikipedia is to be believed) literally run by a country club. They’re actually run by a well-known *ahem* businessman, but people in glass houses and all that!

As Port fans, we all know the importance of a strong connection between the club and the fans in the local community. Clubs like Samut Prakan FC have that, and it’s a shame that when someone who sees the potential for a club in Samut Prakan can simply move their T1 license from one province to another, rather than investing in a well-established club with more than a decade of history.

Anyway, that’s my rant over. Let’s see what these MK Dons are all about.

 

Players to Watch

 

We start with our customary Brazilian. Ibson Melo (71) has been the key man in Samut Prakan’s attack all season, providing the spark and more importantly the goals. 7 of them so far this season. He’s not the tallest or the strongest, but from his position just behind the striker he has scored some key goals both from running at defenders and making late runs in to the box. Since Brazilian lump Carlao (83, who you probably don’t remember from an unremarkable stint at Ubon) has been let go The Sea Fang have had to make do with a Thai striker Chayawat Srinarong (55) ahead of the Brazilian maestro. He’s scored once in 12 appearances, proving for the 798th time that the level of Thai strikers in T1 is utterly appalling. Let’s just say he’s no Arthit. He’ll likely be replaced by Burmese forward Kyaw Ko Ko (10) later in the game. Don’t worry, Burmese strikers are rubbish too.

 

 

My secondary concern from this Samut Prakan team is Thai left winger Picha Autra (37). When I’ve seen this guy play his style has reminded me of Park Ji-sung. He’s slight of stature, but more than makes up for it with tireless harassing of full-backs. He’s not the most talented player you’ve ever seen, but he’s not half bad, and Nitipong should be advised not to try anything too fancy at the back with this fella nipping at his heels. He’s got 3 goals and 3 assists this season, which isn’t too shabby at all. Surprisingly, his return is bettered by attacking midfielder Teeraphol Yoryoei (19). He doesn’t look up to much on paper, and I haven’t particularly noticed him when I’ve watched them, but he must be doing something right.

 

 

The captain is the man who has got a lot of the recognition for this season’s surprise run to the upper reaches of the table. Peeradon Chamrasamee (8) has broken in to the Thai national team in recent months, making some late substitute appearances in central midfield. That shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s got all of the necessary Muangthong credentials. In 3 years with the scum he only managed 8 appearances though, being repeatedly loaned to Pattaya United before permanently signing this season. Peeradon is a very talented player, but I’m not too concerned about Samut Prakan outplaying or out-fighting Siwakorn and Go in the middle of the park.

 

 

They’ve got a pretty decent foreign centre half: Slovenian Aris Zarifovic (27). I didn’t think much of this guy from his early performances, but he’s adapted well to Thai football, winning almost everything in the air and taking an effective if at times agricultural approach on the deck. In short, he’s my kind of defender! Versatile Korean Kim Tae-Yeon (14) will also be a key man at the back, whether as part of the back 3 or in defensive midfield.

 

 

There isn’t a lot of individual talent to worry about here, but Samut Prakan’s strength this season has been continuity. They’ve basically picked the same team all season, and they haven’t had many injuries. Likely this will catch up with them later in the season, but for now they are a fit, well organized, cohesive unit with good team spirit, and they’ll take some beating.

On the plus side for Port, Samut Prakan’s over-performing coach Surapong Kongthep shocked the Thai football community by quitting his job at The Sea Fang a couple of weeks ago, meaning the main reason they have so far performed so well is no longer at the club. This wasn’t exposed against bottom club Suphanburi last time out, but could well be on Sunday.

 

Form

 

They’ve had 4 wins in their last 6 league outings, only losing against Bangkok United and drawing against Prachuap. All 4 wins were secured with clean sheets. Tidy.

  • Samut Prakan City 1-0 Chainat
  • Muangthong 0-3 Samut Prakan City
  • Samut Prakan City 1-1 Prachuap
  • Bangkok United 2-1 Samut Prakan City
  • Samut Prakan City 2-0 Korat
  • Suphanburi 0-1 Samut Prakan City

 

Port FC

A Dolah Short

 

The headline team news is that Port will be without Elias Dolah (4), with the big man having picked up his fourth yellow card of the season against Buriram. Go (8), who picked up a knock against Sukhothai, is expected to be fit to play, while Kevin (97) is also back training with the first team, although we’re not sure if he is match fit just yet.

 

 

This ought to mean that we see the same XI who started against Sukhothai, but with Todsapol (6) partnering Rochela (22) at the back in place of the man who hasn’t missed a minute of T1 action as yet this season. Jadet’s Rochela experiment, which comes up once or twice every year, once again failed against Buriram, with the Spaniard looking predictably out of place in midfield. Quite why the Spherical Supremo thought that he was going to do a better job in there than either Adisorn (13) or Anon (20), who were both available for selection, is beyond me. Still, it’s behind us now, and we can look forward to a return to normality, and with any luck a return to winning ways in the league.

 


 

The match will be shown live on True at 19:00 on Sunday 23 June, 2019. For those who can’t make it, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. Don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

SukhoCupTie: Port FC vs. Sukhothai FA Cup Preview

 

Over the years as a Port fan I’ve been so used to saying that Port’s best chance of a trophy is in one of the cups that it’s been a disorienting season. Until the weekend, Port had enjoyed a healthy lead atop the T1 table. Consensus was slowly forming, not just among the Port faithful but the wider Thai football community, that Port were really in with a shout of toppling the Thunder Castle. Many were even calling us favourites, and by the time we kicked off on Sunday the bookies had us the more likely to win on the day. Then there’s the cups. We’d already made a low-key exit from the League Cup, with a team of second stringers going down to Nongbua Pitchaya, and there are still 32 teams in the FA Cup.

Read more

Chiang Mai Hole, I’ll Have Another Ordinary Port Please: Port FC 3-1 Chiang Mai FC

Let me take you back a little. The cup final last year. Thai Port had completed the best season in the league I’d ever seen. We’d spent a record amount of money in pre-season and elbowed our way in amongst the consistent clubs of Thailand. You know, the big 2 and a half. The ones with all the money and shite fans. The league in Thailand has been dominated for a decade. I could be forgiven for thinking this might be a peak.

Read more