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MATCH REPORT: Port FC 3-1 Pattaya United

 

Port secured a comfortable 3 – 1 win against Pattaya United, thanks to a clinical first half performance. New signing Kaluderovic looked the business, notching his first two goals on his debut. Pattaya struck back, before Genki added a third goal late in the first half to seal Port’s second consecutive friendly victory against T1 opponents.

Port started with Worawut (36) in goal, and the same back four that has started the last few friendlies: Rochela (22), Dolah (4), Meechok (20) and Panpanpong (19). Suarez (15) played in an advanced role just behind striker Kaluderovic (10), with Siwakorn (16) and Tatchanon (27) anchoring the midfield. Pakorn (9) played on the right wing, and Genki (18) on the left.

Pattaya looked lively in the early going, but had no real bite to their attack. Rochela and Dolah were fairly busy, but did what was asked of them with relative ease.

20 year old new signing Tatchanon had his best game to date at the base of the midfield, keeping the ball moving without ever looking like losing possession, and spreading the play with a couple of excellent long balls out to the flanks.

The even younger Meechok was also a revelation down the right. At times in the first half, the right back seemed to be playing a more advanced role than right winger Pakorn, so it was no surprise when his good work led to the opening goal. Meechok’s run down the right was expertly picked out by a lofted Siwakorn pass, and the right back played the ball across the six yard box where Kaluderovic swept home with ease from close range.

Spot the scoreboard #fail

Just a few minutes later, the same three combined to score a second. Meechok, pressing high up the pitch, intercepted a pass in midfield and the ball broke to Siwakorn who played a well-weighted through-ball for Kaluderovic to run on to. The Serbian made no mistake with a classy outside-of-the-boot finish to make it 2 debut goals and 2-0 to Port. Whilst neither goal was particularly special, the way they were taken seemed effortless. We don’t want to jinx it, but this might be the first time since the legendary Leandro that Port have had a foreign striker who makes scoring goals look easy!

Pattaya soon got themselves back in to the game, though. After a fortuitous richochet on the edge of the area, a Pattaya forward reacted quicker than the Port defence and managed to force the ball past an onrushing Worawut to bring Pattaya back within a goal.

Port were still playing the better football of the two sides, though, so it was probably a fair reflection of the first half that they went in 3-1 up. Kaluderovic was once again involved, this time turning well under pressure in the middle of the park before releasing Suarez down the left with a pinpoint pass. Suarez could easily have gone for goal himself, but unselfishly squared the ball to Genki who got ahead of his marker to score the tap-in.

It was an important goal for the Japanese player, who few have been expecting to stay with Port in 2017. Nevertheless, with less than a month to go he finds himself starting with Jadet’s first choice side, whilst no rumours of an AFC replacement are anywhere to be seen. It’s looking increasingly likely that Genki could retain his place in the squad, although there is of course still time for that to change.

The liveliest player of an otherwise pretty dour second half was Port’s other left winger, Ekkapoom (8). Port, once again, brought out an almost entirely different XI. Rattanai (17) came on in goal, and Nitipong (34), Anisong (31) and Piyachart (23) joined Dolah – the only player to stay out – in defence. Wanchalerm (35) and Piyachat (28) played in central midfield, with Ekkapoom wide left and Maranhao (29) wide right. Wuttichai (14) partnered (5) Tana, playing his first game after a lengthy spell out injured, in a conventional front two.

Whilst the two strikers both looked a little off the pace, the wingers looked busy and dangerous. Ekkapoom and Maranhao both hit the post after creating excellent chances for themselves, but neither could add to Port’s lead.

Midway trough the second period, left back Piyachart picked up a knock and was replaced by Suchon (11), but the substitution that got everyone talking was the introduction of Pinyo (21) late on in the half. Pinyo was injured for almost the whole of last season, but now finally seems to be getting an opportunity to prove his fitness. He came on for Ekkapoom in the 80th minute, and looked enthusiastic, although understandably short of match-sharpness.

Little else of interest happened in the second half, meaning Port claimed another confidence boosting victory against top-tier opposition. If they can secure another victory against Nakhon Ratchasima on Sunday, Port will be heading in to their opening game of the season against Rachaburi full of belief that they can cause an upset.

 

Thiagoal! 2016 Goal of the Season Winner Revealed

 

His time at Port may have been brief and disappointing, and he may now have moved onto a career in India’s MMA scene, but there is one thing – apart from his unprovoked assault on the dressing room door – that we’ll always remember from Thiago Cunha: his 2016 Sandpit Goal of the Season!

The East Timorese netbuster’s lob against Muangthong in last season’s League Cup semi won the poll with 22% of the vote, beating efforts from Maranhao and Tana. Final positions are below:

 

 

Football hipsters that we are, the Sandpit team voted for less obvious choices: I voted for Nitipong’s curler, Tom went for Thiago’s overhead kick, and Dom is such a craft beer-swigging vegan hipster bastard that his favourite goal wasn’t even on the list. You probably haven’t heard of it.

But I can understand why Thiago’s goal won. Every goal against Muangthong is special, but the little push on the defender, the lob over the keeper (the best keeper in Thailand it has to be stressed) and the manic celebrations in the PAT that followed made it the greatest single moment of the 2016 season. The minutes the followed the goal, with Port flying into their opponents and a sold-out PAT in a state of deafening hysteria, were some of the most exciting and exhilarating I’ve ever experienced in a football stadium.

By the time the second leg came around Thiago had already picked up his handbag and flounced off to Mumbai, and Port, despite a creditable 1-1 draw in the Theatre of Corrugated Iron, went out. But for a few brief minutes, we were beating Thailand’s best team and had a foot in the final. For that at least, Thiago will be fondly remembered. Congratulations Senhor, and you can collect your prize – a large bottle of Leo – on your next visit to the PAT!

 

Relive that goal and the other 9 goals below:

 

 

MATCH REPORT: Port FC 3 – 1 Sukhothai

 

Port ran out 3-1 winners against Sukhothai in Thursday’s friendly at PAT Stadium. Port went 1-0 down early on, but equalized before half time and put in an excellent second half performance to secure a comfortable win.

Port started with Weera (1) in goal, Rochela (22) and Dolah (40) in central defence and Meechok (20) and Panpanpong (19) as full backs. Siwakorn (16) and Piyachat (28) operated in central midfield, with Suarez (4) tucking in behind striker Asdrubal(24). Both Genki (18) and Nitipong (34) were surprise selections on the wing, although Jadet is of course still experimenting with his team.

Sukhothai looked lively going forward in the early stages, but new signing Elias Dolah showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with this season with with some strong, fearless challenges in the air and on the ground. It was surprising, then, when Sukothai took the lead from a corner. Dolah was beaten – for the only time in the half – to a near post header, and the ball flashed past Weera into the Port goal.

Port responded with a sustained assault on the Sukothai goal. Genki, who is rumoured to be leaving the club when a suitable replacement can be found, missed three chances that he would have expected to do better with. If we was trying to convince Jadet to keep hold of him in 2017, he wasn’t going about it the right way.

Asdrubal, making his first appearance for Port, looked strong on the ball despite his diminutive stature. He turned a hopeful punt up the right wing in to an attack by out-muscling the opposing defenders and playing a smart pass inside when it looked like he had nowhere to go. He didn’t make the most of a good shooting chance from the edge of the area, but we’ll let him off as the playing surface was problematic for everyone.

Port looked a little lop-sided at times, with most of the good play coming through the middle of the park or the right hand side. Meechok got forward well from right back and made some dangerous overlapping runs past Nitipong, but on the left hand side Panpanpong and Genki showed little in the way of attacking intent.

Port’s equalizer came just before half time from a set-piece. Piyachat whipped a dangerous ball in, and Dolah stuck out a long leg to divert the ball goalwards. The ‘keeper managed to block the shot,but Dolah was on hand to bundle the ball in to the net and draw Port level.

 

An auspicious full moon over the PAT

 

As we’re used to seeing in friendlies, there were several changes made at half time, from both Port and Sukhothai. Worawut (36) came on for Weera in goal, and in defence Todsapol (6) and Piyachart (23) replaced Dolah and Panpanpong. New young signing Tatchanon (27) replaced Piyachat in the centre of midfield, while Pakorn (9) and Ekkapoom (8) took over from Nitipong and Genki on the wings. Maranhao (29), no longer a Port player but still training with the club, came on for Asdrubal in attack. Rochela, Meechok, Siwakorn and Suarez stayed out for the second period, but were all substituted later in the half.

Port’s left hand side looked much improved in the second period. Piyachart offered much more going forward than the more defensively-minded Panpanpong, and Ekkapoom played in his usual energetic and direct style.

It was to be Maranhao and Pakorn who would really turn the game in Port’s favour, though. Pakorn, looking slightly more slender than last season, was a constant menace down the right. He curled in a couple of fantastic shots which missed by just a few inches, and provided a trademark cross which Maranhao narrowly failed to connect with.

On the hour mark, though, Maranhao put Port in to the lead. He made a clever run in behind the defence, collected a through ball from midfield and side-footed a composed finish in to the bottom corner. Maranhao saluted the fans behind the goal,who were pleased to see him rediscover his early-2016 form. He may not be playing for us next season, but we wish him all the best wherever he goes.

Maranhao turned provider for Pakorn in the 78th minute. He twisted, turned and beat his defender on the left before showing excellent awareness to find Pakorn, who was in space on the right hand side. Pakorn powered his shot past the Sukhothai ‘keeper in to the bottom left corner, getting the goal that his second half performance deserved.

The pace dropped in the final 10 minutes, but Port comfortably held on for a well-deserved 3-1 win. Sukhothai finished 8th in the TPL last season and knocked Port out of the FA Cup with a convincing 4-0 win. Although this was only a friendly, a comfortable win represents a step in the right direction for a Port side aiming for a top half finish this season.

Lineups

1st half

Weera, Meechok, Rochela, Dolah, Pinkong, Siwakorn, Piyachat, Suarez, Genki, Nitipong, Asdrubal

2nd half

Worawut, Meechok (Pakasit, 76), Todsapol, Rochela (Anisong, 81), Piyachart, Tatchanon, Siwakorn (Siwapong, 72), Suarez (Wuttichai, 67), Ekkapoom, Pakorn, Maranhao

 

 

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Kaluderovic Signs For Port

 

Serbian striker Andrija Kaluđerović has become Port’s third foreign signing of the season. The 29-year old goal machine is fresh off a season where he banged in 20 goals in 19 games in the Lithuanian top flight, making him the league’s top scorer. We don’t know a lot about the standard of Lithuanian football, but we’re pretty sure that means he knows where the goal is.

If his history is anything to go by, Kaluđerović doesn’t like to stay in the same place for long. He has played for a pretty remarkable 18 clubs in a 14 year career that has included stints in Serbia, China, Spain, Cyprus, Switzerland, Australia, Qatar, Lithuania and now Thailand. He must have been through a few passports! The highlights of his nomadic adventures include playing for Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade (29 goals in 43 games), second tier Spanish side Racing Santander (3 goals in 18 games) and A League side Brisbane Roar (5 goals in 10 games).

Milica Stanisic

The trivial business of playing football and scoring goals aside, perhaps the most impressive achievement of Kaluđerović’s career to date is his marriage to Serbian TV presenter Milica Stanisic. We don’t know if she will be watching the games at PAT Stadium, but we are pretty sure that the Zone A regulars will tell us about it if she does.

Kaluđerović has become the Port’s fourth foreign player, but because of the 3+1 quota system, only three of Kaluđerović, Asdrubal, Suarez and Rochela can be on the pitch at any time. With Rochela’s place in the side assured, and Suarez looking fantastic in midfield, it may be a shootout between Kaluđerović and Asdrubal for the starting role up front. We haven’t seen either of them in action for Port yet, but it looks like an intriguing battle, which we will we be watching with interest throughout the season.

We’re going to leave you with this video of Kaluđerović scoring goals at will for Lithuanian side Zalgiris last season. Welcome to Port FC, Andrija!

 

 

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I Beg Your Padrón? Asdrúbal Signs for Port

 

Wikipedia and one of the unofficial Port Facebook groups are tonight reporting that Spanish forward Félix Asdrúbal Padrón Hernández of La Liga side Las Palmas has joined Port FC. His Wiki entry currently says “On 3 January 2017, he played his final match for Las Palmas in a 0-2 home defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey, before moving onto Thai Port FC of the Thai League“.

 

The page contains a link to a Spanish news site in which Asdrubal, if the translation is correct, says that he didn’t want to be loaned out again (he spent 2016 on loan at Leganes), and preferred to make the move to Port. “I wanted to disassociate myself from Las Palmas because it was not the team’s primary bet, I got this offer and I was interested in it … I like the bet … because after so many sticks I try to find some peace in Thailand.” Amusingly, he also says “It’s a sporting and economical bet. Football futbolistically I’ve seen the Thai League and it’s not turkey mucus, with many European players and good level.” So there you go – Thai football: not turkey mucus.

 

“I’m delighted to have signed for Port FC”

 

Asdrubal, who can also play as a winger, made 53 appearances for Las Palmas, scoring 11 goals. At only 1.73m he’s not exactly the big foreign striker we were hoping for, but his La Liga pedigree should make him a cut above Port’s other attacking options and our existing Spanish contingent should make him feel at home. Benvenidos!

 

 

Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want: The Sandpit’s Port FC Wishes for 2017

 

The horror show that was 2016 may finally be over, but with Trump about to move into the White House, the Brits still trying to decide what Brexit actually means, and the Grim Reaper no doubt preparing to slake his recently acquired thirst for celebrity corpses, 2017 probably won’t be much better. But there is a glimmer of light on the horizon in the form of the 2017 T1 (for yes, that is its new name) season, which will of course feature our beloved Port FC. Here are the Sandpit team’s wishes for the forthcoming season…

 

Dominick Cartwright

Get Well Soon

I’d wish Pinyo a speedy recovery. He’s been doing fitness training with the squad, but still no news on whether he’ll be ready for the start of the season. I was hoping to see him in the friendlies, but he hasn’t made an appearance yet. He’s an exciting young player. Looked good winning Division 1 with Police United. A lot of promise there and right for Port. If he’s fully fit, Pinyo should get regular first team football at Port. If he was at one of the top clubs he might be stuck on the bench. One question might be his natural position is right wing and we already have Pakorn there. We could use Pakorn as a more central attacking midfielder or get them to switch between the positions. They played together at Police United so should be able to fit into a system fairly easily.

Old School

This is never going to happen, but this is a wish list so I’d love to see a return of the old classic badge. It’s a roaring Lion in a football, you can’t beat that. This is not just idle nostalgia. Port have never really cashed in on the opportunity for selling Port stuff. The old disney fish was never going to sell any football merchandise. I still see stickers and key rings of the old Lion design. Fans print it on t-shirts, it’s still going. It always wins the ultimate design test, “Which Port badge would you like permanently inked to your skin?”

Now every new management group wants to rebrand everything in football. We got it right already, just use that one.

One Season One Coach

I wish for a season with one Coach.  Jadet consistently put out the best team we had or very close to it. He wrapped Pakorn on the knuckles for being a dick . When Thiago stormed off he brought Wagner in as soon as possible. Wagner’s return was a major factor in Port securing promotion. Most importantly we need some stability. M. Pang’s first season saw five managers last year we had two. How about one this year?

Most clubs in football are too quick to sack managers. Most seasons in Thai Football see a new manager and a complete rehaul of the squads. Recently Thai clubs are getting better and more clubs are building sides around a group of core players. This year we’ve finally managed to retain some players. We have an opportunity to build on the quality players we have. Hopfully Jadet can stick around and put together a decent team in 2017.

Let’s not be rubbish

This next one so simple, I wish we had more bins next to the terraces and around the ground. Not having enough bins just gives everyone a reason to drop rubbish everywhere. The place looks a state. Port have consistently placed out of the top 100 Thailand’s tidiest grounds. (Our highest finish was 67th, that year when the flooding washed all the rubbish away.)

50 years celebration 1967-2017

It’s Thai Port’s 50th anniversary, I wish I could think of something special the club could do for this. I still can’t think of anything good. Random ideas:
50 free footballs given away to 50 kids before each game?
50 free bottles of Leo given away before the game, possibly to the same kids?
50 foot poster of M. Pang (probably planned already).
50 baht tickets? (Scrap that, I’ll be buying a season ticket so that won’t help me)
50 free season tickets ?
50 old stars of Port? Including, Steve Robb, Moize, Munze, Ittipol, Leandro, Joe “5 yards”..
50 Port fans aged 1 to 50 years old photo opportunity?
“50 Shades of Port” 50 fans all wearing the Port shirts from each of the 50 seasons?
50 shots of 50% alcohol by volume laao kaao.
50 flavours of 50% fat free ice-cream?
In celebration of 50 years and M. Pang’s takeover of the club, a special showing of “Attack of the 50 foot woman”?
50 Cent half time show with a new single remixed, In Da “Thai Port” Club.

 

Tom Earls

A physically competitive Port side

I’m not a football purist. A bit of tiki taka is all well and good, but give me a life-threatening slide tackle over a double-stepover any day of the week. Port in recent seasons, however, have been among the most diminutive teams in Thai football, and that’s saying something. The list of Port players of the last couple of seasons capable of winning a header goes something like this: Lee Ho, Ali Diarra, Brent McGrath, Wagner Carioca and David Rochela. With just one of those players still at the club, you see the problem. The TPL gets stronger and more competetive every year, and Port will need to be physical as well as technical if we are going to survive. Thankfully we have already brought in 6 foot 5 defender Elias Dolah, but more steel will be needed in midfield and attack.

A foreign striker who knows where the goal is

Brent McGrath, Kayne Vincent, Thiago Cunha… Just writing the names of Port’s recent foreign strikers makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry. With French striker Sene not impressing sufficiently in his trial, the foreign striker role is still up for grabs, so the pressure is on the club to get it right this season. A 20 goal striker could mean the difference between relegation and a top 10 finish.

Kayne Vincent. With a trophy. How did this happen?

 

More Port Internationals

Tana was Port’s sole representative in the Thai National team in 2016. With his place in the squad likely being taken by Suzuki Cup sensation Siroch Chatthong, it may fall to the younger generation to fly the flag for Khlong Toei in 2017. Pakorn certainly has the potential to make the step up, but will need to improve his decision making in the final third, perhaps looking to bring team mates in to the game more and dribbling less. Pinyo is another with alot of potential, but he will need to get fit and stay fit, which he was unable to do last season. Both Pakorn and Pinyo represented their country very successfully up to Under 23 level, but have not been able to make the step up, although with both still aged 23, time is on their side time. Another 23 year old who could be an outside contender is new signing Elias Dolah. The Thai-Swedish centre half has probably not appeared on Coach Zico’s radar yet, having played in Sweden’s lower leagues and Thai Division 1, but given his un-Thai height and the opportunity to play alongside and learn from Rochela, he could yet find himself under consideration if he impresses. Young right back Meechok and goalkeeper Rattanai broke in to the under 20 and under 23 teams respectively last season, but I suspect that 2017 will probably be too soon for either to make the step up to the full squad.

More Minibus Mayhem

When the fixture list comes out, the first thing I will be checking for is away games on a Saturday. After being denied our final-day trip to Rayong – where we would almost certainly have been celebrating promotion – we deserve some good away trips this season. Suphanburi, Chonburi, Pattaya and Navy are all well within day-trip range, so here’s hoping for some boozy trips complete with annoyingly catchy snack-inspired chants.

 

A Top 10 finish

Siam Sport reported recently that Port are eyeing a Top 10 finish this year. Winning a 6 pointer in a relegation scrap is great, and not much beats a successful promotion campaign, but us Port fans have had more than our fair share of ups and downs in recent years. Maybe it’s our turn for a safe top 10 finish and a solid cup run in 2017. Stranger things have happened!

 

Tim Russell

One Team in Bangkok

With Army Utd relegated and Bangkok Utd continuing to play in Rangsit, Port FC will be the only truly Bangkok-based team in T1 in 2017. Just think about what a massive opportunity that is – the only top flight club in a huge city full of crazy local and expat football fans. A proper old-school football stadium with no running track, a great atmosphere and cheap tickets, just minutes away from Asoke and the MRT. This is a great chance for Port to truly brand itself as Bangkok’s team.

Sadly it probably won’t happen. Like West Ham or Millwall, Port are too closely tied to their locale to ever be taken to the city’s heart, and the club’s marketing and PR remains virtually non-existent – I lived on Sukhumvit 16, just a 5-minute motorbike ride from the PAT, from 2012-2014, and remained totally unaware of the club’s existence. And Buriram shirts still outnumber any other Thai club on Bangkok’s streets. But this season at least, there truly is only One Team in Bangkok, and the club should be shouting that fact from the rooftops!

Scary Foreign Striker

I began supporting Port in the summer of 2014, and apart from Leandro’s brief comeback at the end of that season, I’ve yet to see Port field what I have termed a Scary Foreign Striker. It seems as if every team we play has the kind of big, pacey farang forward who, when they run at the Port defence, causes sphincters to tighten from zones A to D. Even last season in the second division we were regularly tormented by SFSs, sometimes in the unlikeliest of places – Bangkok FC and Nakhon Pathom spring to mind.

Rumours would seem to suggest that former PSG and Bayern beanpole Saer Sene didn’t sufficiently impress during last year’s friendlies to be offered a contract (personally I thought he did enough but I’ve been following Coventry City for 40 years so have no idea what a decent striker looks like), and apart from somewhat less than scary ex-Blackburn/Rotherham journeyman Matt Derbyshire, no other FSs have as yet been linked with the club. With the new season just over 5 weeks away, and our T1 rivals already gettin’ down to some serious transfer activity, time is running out for Port to finally sign someone who can loosen the bowels of opposition fans and defenders alike.

Sexy Shirts

Much as I love Port, and much as I love pulling on the sacred orange & blue before heading out to a match, it has to be said our kit designs leave much to be desired. Port seem to be following the trend that afflicts football worldwide at the moment, as kit manufacturers, under pressure to introduce new designs every season, take the kitchen sink approach & add all manner of unnecessary frippery to shirts – Nike’s rather pointless dark sleeves on the Man City & England shirts for example; that stupid diagonal white stripe on Middlesbrough’s otherwise very nice Adidas number; or Under Armour sticking various pointless black bits on the traditional white of Spurs.

Port started the 2015 season with a classic v-neck & collar number with simple orange & blue stripes, but when La Pang took over, it was swiftly replaced by a fussy shirt with more sponsor logos than an F1 car, and which lasted about two washes; whilst the 2016 shirt was marred by those daft white sleeves, and the green away shirt is best left unmentioned. This season I’m hoping for something more stylish, as befits the sartorial elegance that we Port fans display during the week – something like an orange & blue version of Crystal Palace’s 2015-16 shirt, or AC Milan’s latest strip.

 

 

I mean, just look at it. It’s gorgeous. Oh, and a bit of roominess wouldn’t go amiss – whilst the modern, slim-fitting shirt might look good on bronzed Mediterranean dreamboats like Rochela or Suarez, it doesn’t exactly flatter the Leo-bloated figure of the average Khlong Thoey or farang Port fan.

ACIEEEEEED!!!

The only good thing to come out of the 2016 Battle of Muangthong and the subsequent stadium ban was the club’s decision to install a big screen in the Port FC Futsal stadium, a warehouse down by the docks (the kind of place usually seen in the climactic scenes of an episode of Starsky & Hutch), for the home game against Ubon UMT last October. The ensuing evening became a cross between a late 80s acid house rave and a football game, with flashing lights and pounding techno every time Port scored. I even danced at one point, something seasoned Russell-watchers haven’t observed since the mid 1990s. It was bloody brilliant, and the most fun I had at a Port game all season.

With both games against Muangthong being played behind closed doors in 2017, hopefully the club will repeat the exercise. A warehouse rave and a local derby, all in one? It has the makings of a legendary evening.

 

An End to Prohibition

Ever since it all went pwopah fackin’ naughty against Chainat in 2014, the PAT has been an alcohol-free zone. Everywhere we go – even the hallowed corrugated iron halls of the SCG – other clubs trust us, not always wisely, to bring in beers and not trash the place. At Nakhon Pathom last season, they even let us bring in glass bottles of Leo. But our own club won’t let us have a beer while watching the game. Of course, given the standard of security at the PAT you don’t have to be Howard Marks to smuggle in the booze, with tactics including stashing cans of Leo inside a sleeping bag (with no questions asked as to why you’d bring a sleeping bag to a football game, as if we were West Brom or something) or bringing in innocent-looking pints of Coke laced with Sangsom (not that the Sandpit team would ever resort to such desperate behaviour of course).

The good side of the booze ban is that I don’t get as drunk at games as I used to, or as I often do at away games (partying in the Rajamangala carpark with a bag of crickets in 2015 after we played Osotspa springs to mind), which is a lifesaver for Sunday night or midweek games. But the downside of the ban is that the Chainat game was the last time I actually saw the first few minutes of a second half at the PAT – now I’m too busy chugging back a 10-minute beer before rushing back into zone B. La Pang may want to instill a more family atmosphere at the PAT, but come on madame, this is KHLONG THOEY.

 

Want to Play for Port FC? Here’s Your Chance!

 

Which of us, whilst standing on Zone B during a lull in the game, hasn’t dreamt of being out there on the pitch, clad in the hallowed orange & blue stripes, picking up the ball in midfield, skipping past a couple of defenders, laying the ball out to Ekkapoom on the left, making a run into the box and then watching as his cross goes sailing over our heads for a goal kick?

 

Well, now we have an opportunity to make that dream come true as the Port FC 2017 Academy is taking applications until the end of tomorrow (30 December). Obviously applicants need to be half decent at football, which I suspect rules out most Sandpit readers, and aged 18-20, which rules out the rest. Interestingly, Facebook translates the announcement as “interested in signing up to be a part of Leo?”, which I suspect would be of more interest to Sandpit regulars than actually playing for Port FC.

 

Anyway, in the unlikely event of anyone reading this being physically fit, good at football and younger than 20, you can apply to join the Port FC Academy here. Good luck!

 

Port FC Announce 2017 Season Tickets

 

Port FC today announced their 2017 season ticket packages. As you can see in the graphic above, there are 3 tiers available. Champagne-sipping high rollers can go for the Platinum Card at 5000BHT, Singha-supping medium rollers have the Titanium Card at 3000BHT, and Leo-swigging cheapskates such as myself will most likely opt for the Member Card at a very reasonable 1500BHT.

 

All cards include tickets for all home games (including cup matches), latest club news via SMS (provided you’re an AIS customer, and can read Thai), monthly lucky draw entry and discounts in the club shop. Stump for a Platinum or Titanium card and you’ll get extra goodies such as replica shirts, polo shirts, scarves, car parking, and a seat next to Tommie Duncan in the hallowed halls of Zone A.

 

Tickets are on sale from 4-20 January, and existing season ticket holders get a 200BHT discount.

 

For more info, click on the links in paragraph 1 or go to this page.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk – 21 Dec 2016

 

Today, Tom’s Transfer Talk brings you the seasonal Port FC Advent Calendar edition. You remember what is was like when you were a kid and you used to stare at that final box – the Christmas Day one – but you knew you couldn’t open it yet. The box was slightly bigger than all the others. What was going to be in there? It might just be a slightly bigger chocolate, but it might be something completely different. The suspense!

Anyway, that’s how we feel when we hear rumours from Siam Sport saying that Port are making a marquee Argentine signing, but we’re not going to find out who it is until after the New Year. We wouldn’t be much of a transfer column unless we speculated on who the arrival might be, so with our journalistic integrity on the line we’re going to say that it’s almost certainly Leo Messi. At the very least, we can’t rule it out. It could be Messi. Anything could be in that box.

Panpanpong Pinkong, 29

Leaving the potential signing of multiple Ballon d’Or winners aside, let’s move on to the not quite so interesting but slightly more realistic business of the verbally challenging trialists Panpanpong Pinkong and Tatchanon Nakarawong.

Tongue-twisting left back Panpanpong, formerly of Bangkok United and Osotspa, has been training with Port for at least a week, and has taken part in the last two friendlies, being preferred to Piyachart (23) in what looks like Jadet’s current first XI. Panpanpong has not been particularly impressive, however, whereas Piyachart was Port’s best player in the second half against Pahang FA. Whilst we think that the 29 year old could make a useful addition to the squad, it is doubtful whether he will be first choice if he is eventually signed.

20 year old Tatchanon, previously of Army United, has also featured with the first XI, playing alongside impressive new signing Sergio Suarez and Sivakorn (16) in a midfield three. Tatchanon has gone about his business quietly, keeping play ticking over and allowing Suarez and Sivakorn to thrive, but again has not really done anything to make himself stand out. At just 20, he could be one for the future, but is unlikely to feature prominently in the TPL next season, even if he does make the move to Khlong Toei.

Saer Sene, 30

Finally, we are once again left scratching our heads over French trialist Saer Sene. He did what he needed to do and scored against Pahang, but is he fit? And is he really that good? There’s undoubtedly potential there, but in such an important position, and with flops Brent McGrath, Kayne Vincent and Thiago Cunha still fresh in the memory, can Port afford to take a risk up front?

With the squad scheduled to go on their New Year holidays on the 24th, it’s possible that we have seen the last of Sene, and that the mystery Argentine will be with the squad next time they meet. Or not. It is all gossip after all, and we still have no idea what’s in that damn box!

 

MATCH REPORT: Port FC 1-1 Pahang FA

 

Pahang FA held Port to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, but the result didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the home fans, who brought the noise to PAT Stadium for the first time since the stadium ban took effect in September.

The Zone B Fans

Since then Port fans have been itching to get back on the terraces to cheer on their team, and yesterday they finally had their chance. A few hundred fans hungry for football – and a few dozen particularly thirsty for Leo – saw Port slip to a disappointing draw against a side they should probably have beaten.

Pahang FA play in the Malaysian Super League – where they finished 9th last season – but Port’s first half performance indicated that they were much the stronger side. The first half side was almost identical to the one fielded at Navy on Thursday. The only change was in goal, where Weera (40), who if we’re honest we had completely forgotten about, played a quiet but mistake-free 45 minutes. In front of him was a back four of Rochela (22), Dolah (38), Meechok (20) and a former Bangkok United player currently on trial at Port, the superbly named Panpanpong Pinkong (19). Suarez (4), Siwakorn (16) and a 20 year old tralist from Army – Tatchanon Nakarawong (27) – operated as a three in the centre of midfield, with Ekkapoom (8) and Pakorn (9) on the wings. Sene (40) once again started up front; determined to get on the score sheet after peppering the goal but failing to score against Navy.

The action, as seen from Zone B

Port started brightly, moving the ball through midfield with purpose. Suarez was the stand-out player, showing a nice touch and great vision. He controlled play and delivered some excellent passes out wide. His good work paid off 15 minutes in to the first half. Suarez found Pakorn on the right hand side, and Pakorn hung up an inviting cross which had Sene’s name written all over it. The towering French forward jumped so high that he actually had to stoop in mid-air to connect with the cross, but regardless he powered his header past the ‘keeper to make it 1-0.

Pahang rarely threatened the Port goal, but on one of the rare occasions they ventured forward new signing Dolah showed his strength and timing to win an important tackle and play a smart pass out in to midfield. The six foot five Thai-Swedish centre half looked calm and capable throughout the half, suggesting that he could form a formidable partnership with Rochela, although he was never really tested against the Malaysians.

Wholesale changes were made at half time again, with only Sene staying on the pitch. The second string were more evenly matched with Pahang, and they largely cancelled eachother out in a half where chances were at a premium. Genki (18) was industrious as ever, and Piyachart (23) made some enterprising runs forward, but Port couldn’t really find their rhythm. Matters were not helped when Sene was replaced by Wuttichai (14) and Maranhao (29) limped off the pitch after picking up a knock.

In the 75th minute Pahang found themselves back on level terms, and the game started to become a little feisty. Substitute Wuttichai was fouled and exchanged heated words with a Pahang defender, then seconds before the final whistle he was deservedly given his marching orders for an ugly foul, clearly an act of retribution.

Despite the not-so-friendly game ending on a sour note, the Port fans had a good day out, particularly the fans from Zone B who brought their drums and created a more upbeat atmosphere than we’re used to seeing in pre-season.

Port are yet to announce any more friendlies, but when they do The Sandpit will be sure to keep you updated.