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Port’s Asian Adventure Stopped by AGMKO

 

Port’s AFC Futsal Club Championship 2019 came to a dramatic end on Wednesday night, as Uzbek powerhouses AGMK dominated for 38 and a half minutes before almost letting the game slip in the final 90 seconds.

Port had cruised through the group stages scoring ten and conceding just one in three comfortable victories over South Korea’s FS Seoul, Kyrgyzstan’s Osh EREM and Shenzen Nanling Tielang. AGMK had endured a much tougher passage, scoring thirteen but conceding twelve, finishing runners up to Vietnamese champions Thai Son Nam, and indeed suffering a comprehensive 1-4 defeat at the hands of the group winners.

Port, then, probably (I’m guessing) went in as slight favourites, but as soon as the game got underway it became clear that they were in for a tough evening. The Uzbeks were passing and moving with a pace and precision that Port just couldn’t match, and the directness of their opponents’ play meant that Port were constantly under pressure. Numerous mistakes at the back, most notably from national team star Chaivat (7), led to chance after chance for the marauding Uzbeks, who deservedly took the lead after 3 minutes.

 

 

The pressure continued unabated for most of the first period, although in the last few minutes of the half Port did manage to fashion some chances. AGMK in particular though were guilty of spurning opportunities, and although I didn’t count I would conservatively estimate that they hit the woodwork 4 times, while Port ‘keeper Kanison (12) was also called on to make several key saves. Port also hit the woodwork a couple of times, but their chances were few and far between in comparison. Port were lucky to go in just a goal down.

The second period was much better for Port, but it still always felt as though it was only a matter of time until AGMK doubled their lead. They finally broke Port’s resistance in the 26th minute with a header in to an open goal after Kanison had saved well with his legs. Two goals in arrears, Port started utilizing the power play, taking Kanison off and going for all-out attack. Port were not having any luck though, and when AGMK netted a fortunate, scrappy third goal the game was surely over. Port could never score 3.

Wrong! They waited until the 39th minute to start the fight back, but boy did they fight back. Chaivat, who had been guilty of some poor mistakes in the first half, got some redemption when he fired in a rasping shot that young striker Osamanmusa (11) directed towards goal to reduce the deficit to two.

 

 

Port almost immediately shot themselves in the foot though, with captain Pornmongkol (14) forgetting how to control the ball, gifting an open goal (at considerable distance mind you) to Choriev, who calmly stroked home from well inside his own half to restore the 3 goal cushion.

In the final minute of play Kanison threw the ball out to Osamanmusa who, after the simplest exchange of passes, found himself with a tap-in to bring the score back to 2-4. With 31 seconds still left on the clock could the unthinkable happen?

Well, it almost did. 3 seconds were left on the clock when Osamanmusa smashed in his hattrick from a straightforward corner routine, and incredibly it was 3-4. AGMK only had to last 3 more seconds though, and passing the ball back from the centre, before a defender dodged one final desperate lunge from a Port attacker was all there was time for before the buzzer sounded.

A valiant fight back in the end, but one that was left far too late.

Port’s coach, on being interviewed after the final whistle, commented that the relative weakness of the Thai league compared to their Uzbek counterparts was the reason Port found it so difficult. It’s not for me, who knows next to nothing about either league, to say whether or not that’s a fair conclusion, but Port were most certainly outplayed on the day by a team who thoroughly deserved the win.

 

 

Port do, however, sit a healthy 7 points clear at the top of this season’s Thai Futsal League, so unless something drastic happens in the run-in, they will likely be back next year for another bite at the cherry. Better luck next time, chaps!

 

Port Futsal Club vs. Asia’s Finest: AFC Club Championship Starts Today

 

After last season’s incredible double-winning season, Port Futsal Club will be Thailand’s representatives in the AFC Club Championship 2019 for the first time in 9 years. With Chonburi having won 7 times in a row before last season, Port have mostly been playing in a smaller international tournament for ASEAN’s top teams, but this year they are up against the continent’s big boys.

The three teams in Port’s group are Star FS, Shenzen Nanling and Osh EREM. Their first game against South Korean club Star FC kicks off on Wednesday 7th, unfortunately clashing with the football team’s FA Cup Quarter Final tie against Chiang Rai. The second game takes place on Friday 9th against China’s Shenzen Nanling, and Port’s final group game will see them take on Kyrgyzstan’s Osh EREM on Sunday 11th. This one also clashes with a big game for the football team – the home tie against Muangthong. All games kick off at 19:30 at Bangkok Arena in Nong Chok. If you’ve never heard of Nong Chok, there’s a good reason for that. It’s one district further away than Minburi! The games will also be shown online on Bugaboo TV, who provided an excellent service for the AFC Cup last year.

What are Port’s chances? Well, I know very little about the continental futsal scene, but Thailand are among Asia’s strongest countries, and Port are worthy champions. Not only did they scoop the double last year, but this season they sit 7 points clear at the top, and just last week they stuck 15 goals past NEU Khon Kaen. This is a team on fine form who will not be scared by the finest Asia has to offer, particularly as they will be playing on home soil. It’s a shame from Port’s point of view that Kodang Stadium isn’t the venue, but it’s perfectly understandable that a rickety old warehouse that leaks water through the ceiling is not appropriate to host the biggest club futsal tournament in Asia!

 

 

There has been one significant change to Port’s squad for the tournament. Brazilian pivot Rian Gomes (20) has been replaced by a loanee from Bangkok BTS, Muhammad Osamanmusa (11). This young fella is one of the best players in the country, having scored an outrageous 39 goals in 29 games for Thailand. Let’s hope the goals continue to flow!

 

Highway Robbery Foiled: Port Futsal Club 5-3 Department of Highways FC

 

It’s mid-December 2017. Chonburi Bluewave have won seven league titles in a row, and hold a slim advantage over second placed Port Futsal Club with just two games of a closely fought season remaining. Despite Port’s point deficit, the final day clash against their biggest rivals means that two victories in their final two games will see them become champions for the first time since 2007. Port’s next opponents sit third in the league, and their visit to Kodang Stadium promises to be a severe test for the title pretenders.

On that day in 2017 Port shot out to a lead against Bangkok BTS, before their dogged opponents clawed the tie back in to the balance, snatching a late goal to level the scores with just seconds remaining on the clock. In the dying moments, Port were to be denied a stone-wall penalty resulting from an accumulation of six fouls. This injustice understandably sent the home crowd in to a frenzy in which advertising hoardings were pushed over, coins were thrown and the referee escaped round the back of the stadium before being evacuated to widespread boos and verbal abuse from the home faithful. It rendered Port unable to close the gap on the final day, and to add insult to injury the final home game was moved to a neutral venue.

Fast-forward just a few days shy of a year…

It’s mid-December 2018. Chonburi Bluewave have won eight league titles in a row, and hold a slim advantage over second placed Port Futsal Club with just two games of a closely fought season remaining. Despite Port’s point deficit, a game in hand means that two victories in their final two games will see them become champions for the first time since 2007. Port’s next opponents sit fourth in the league, and their visit to Kodang Stadium promises to be a severe test for the title pretenders.

Department of Highways Futsal Club are the opposition – a well-drilled side who bring a healthy number of fans to Kodang Stadium. It’s a sell-out, the first I’ve seen in Port’s hot-box warehouse, with people perched on the edge of the terraced stands behind the goals, and those without anywhere to sit hunched over the advertising hoardings. The atmosphere is hopeful. And loud. Very, very loud. There are drums both in ‘Zone B’ where I sit, just a few meters down from the black-clad ultras, and in ‘Zone C’, where Spiderming holds court, and a bullhorn of course, with the usual suspects.

Port’s fans can’t inspire their team to the kind of fast start they were hoping for, though. The Highways take the lead, despite the ball appearing to go out of play in the build-up, as two Port defenders can’t make their mind up who to mark, leaving space for an attacker to slot the ball in to Kanison Phoopan’s (18) bottom corner.

With Port backs well and truly against the wall a swift response was needed, and boy did they provide it. Brazilian Marcos de Mendonca (10) provided the near instant response, with a ball from the right finding its’ way in to the back of the net off his midriff. Compatriot Rian Gomes (20) soon got in on the act, with his incredible laser-like strike from distance flying past the ‘keeper, slamming in to the net via the stanchion and sending the Port crowd in to ecstasy. Gomes wasn’t finished yet, though, although the credit for his second and Port’s third belongs squarely with veteran Lertchai Issarasuwipakorn (6). His change of direction on the left sat the goalkeeper on his arse, before his deft backheel sent the ball across the goal line where Gomes was on hand to turn it in from just centimetres out.

 

 

The Highways were not to go down without a fight though, and they obviously thought that the situation – even mid-way through the first half – was desperate enough to warrant a radical change of tactics. Now, any regular viewer of futsal is familiar with rush-goalie tactics, when an outfield player takes the field in a goalkeeper’s shirt to add an extra attacker, while obviously putting themselves at great risk of being caught out on the break. It’s not unusual to see this tactic deployed by a team facing a deficit in the final few minutes of a match, but neither I nor my fellow fans have ever seen this used in the first half. These guys really wanted it.

As it turned out, they displayed some of the most effective use of the 5 man attack that I’ve seen, led expertly by captain and former Chonburi and Thailand midfielder Kiatiyot Chalarmkhet (32). Keeping possession while probing for an opening, The Highways tested Port’s defence until just before half time when they finally made the breakthrough, although once again the ball seemed to have been dragged out of play by the attacker, before it was eventually turned in by a sliding Highwayman.

 

 

A Port goal was also ruled out, causing some serious flaring of tempers from both benches. Several rough challenges punctuated the final minutes of the half, with Port perhaps fortunate that the referees missed a flying elbow from one of their players.

Come the second half, come that same sinking feeling that those who witnessed the second half collapse against Bangkok BTS last year wish they could forget. The Highways continued with their 5 man attack, and with less than 7 minutes left on the clock they finally drew a mistake from the Port defence. Normally reliable Port and Thailand defender Chaivat Jamgrajang (7) was a little unlucky with a low ball across the box, failing to sort out his feet and turning the ball in to his own net to level the scores at 3-3.

Incredibly, The Highways still continued playing the 5 man attack, but it was to be no match for a reinvigorated Port being roared on by an increasingly anxious and belligerent Kodang Stadium. It was more fine work from Marcos that created an opening which Thananchai Chomboon (17) couldn’t fail to take advantage of from close range, but much more impressive than his goal was the celebration which followed. The best way I can describe his reaction is to liken it to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s assault on Conor McGregor’s team after their MMA fight earlier this year. Thananchai leapt feet first in to the netting separating the fans and the court, somehow finding, losing then regaining his balance on top of the flimsy barriers while wildly cheering fans grabbed hold of the hero of the hour. I’m not going to lie. I was one of them. What a moment! Witnessing the passion showed by so many of the Port faithful being reflected by the players is always great to see, and it was clear from that moment that Port were not going to let their opportunity be taken away from them a second time.

 

 

There was still time for Gomes to get his hattrick, turning in a fizzing cross from the left, before Port protected their lead expertly, defending like their lives depended on it. Huge celebrations, tinged I’m sure with more than a little relief, greeted the final whistle, confirming the 5-3 final score. The curse of 2017 has been exorcised, and now 8th place Bangkok City are all that stand between Port and that elusive Futsal Thai League trophy.

 

 

The final game of the season is unfortunately an away clash, but it’s an easy enough game to make it to. Bangkok City are based in the Thai Japanese Youth Centre in Din Daeng which Bangkok United called home from 2009-15. It’s this coming Saturday 15th December at 14:00. The gravity of the occasion as far as Port is concerned is sure to mean that a very sizable traveling army will descend on Bangkok City, making a Port-friendly atmosphere which will surely turn in to a party for the ages if The Port Lions prevail and are crowned champions.

 

 

My advice is simple. BE THERE!

 

Port Futsal Club 4-3 Rajnavy: Gone In 14 Seconds

 

Port performed a dramatic 14-second heist against Navy, with victory keeping them level on points with Chonburi. The Sharks now lead the Futsal Thai League from Port by a single goal. With three games left to play, and a final-day encounter between the two championship contenders looming large, there is still all to play for. Seven time consecutive champions Chonburi did the business in emphatic fashion at home on Saturday, winning 5-1 against Samut Sakhon, which meant that the pressure was on Port to take all three points off 9th place Navy. They left it until the last 14 seconds, but ultimately came through in front of a packed Kodang Stadium, whose already fragile roof was nearly taken clean off in the celebrations.

Port took the lead early on after a slip from a Navy defender left Watchara (3) clear though on the keeper. He finished calmly to put Port 1-0 up, but Navy soon seized the initiative and put the pressure back on the title hopefuls. They leveled the score with a superbly worked move in the 10th minute. Navy played the ball down the right, with 3 players bringing defenders with them, but a quick switch of play found their fourth player unmarked on the edge of the area, and he arrowed the ball in to the top corner.

Navy continued to impress, but it was Port who re-took the lead, with Man of the Match and Thai national team star Lertchai (6) scoring from close range. Noppadol (13) showed fine technique to drive the ball towards Lertchai with the outside of his boot, and the big man just about reacted quick enough to get a touch on it from less than a yard out. It may have been the goalkeeper who actually directed it towards goal, but Lertchai’s desperate lunge on the line ensured that the ball couldn’t be cleared.

 

 

At half-time the general feeling was that Port were probably a tad lucky to be in the lead, and Navy set about making that point early in the second half. Navy’s captain and best player put on an exhibition in close control on the edge of Port’s area, dragging the ball this way and that before firing a vicious toe-poke past Kanison (18).

At 2-2 with 10 minutes left on the clock, the onus was really on Port to go and win the game. Port showed the spirit of champions, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and peppering the Navy goal. It was a series of corners that ultimately did the business, and Port’s all-action coach must take some of the credit for the creative set-pieces that finally broke Navy’s resistance.

The first was a howitzer of a cross which smacked Lertchai full in the chest and bounced harmlessly behind. Lertchai, unmoved by a contact which would have sent most T1 players to the treatment table, gestured to his teammate to keep it down next time. With the next corner, he did just that and Lertchai showed incredible control to direct the lightning-fast cross towards goal, although it cannoned off the post and out. With Navy wising up to Port’s tactics, they changed tack once again. From the opposite side, a chipped delivery was intended to be volleyed back across goal, but was smothered by some attentive Navy defending. Finally at the fourth attempt, Lertchai pulled further back towards the touchline and attempted the same trick again from greater distance, striking the ball as cleanly and powerfully as you’ve ever seen on the volley. The ball was past the Navy goalkeeper and in to the top corner before anyone could react, and the fans behind the goal went absolutely wild, as did Lertchai himself.

 

You’ll believe a man can fly! (Pic by Tim Russell)

 

A lead is never secure in futsal though, as the team in arrears invariably takes the goalkeeper off and plays a 0-0-5 formation. Navy looked dangerous with their extra man, although Kanisorn in the Port goal had a chance at an empty net which would surely have put the game out of reach. Navy’s extra attacker came through for them, though, applying the finishing touch to a mesmeric spell of futsal. The ball zipped from one player to the next with incredible speed and precision, eventually finding a man right next to the goal who took two defenders out of the game by squaring it for his teammate wearing the goalkeeper’s jersey to turn in from point blank range.

With just 152 seconds remaining on the clock, it seemed like Port were destined to drop two crucial points in the title race, but they showed incredible heart to turn the game on its head once again. Navy could certainly had been forgiven for trying to play the last couple of minutes out for a draw, but they opted to take their goalkeeper off again, and go all-out for the win. They came close, but it was Port’s final attack that would decide the game.

With Navy eventually going back in to defensive mode for the final seconds, Port had a compact unit to break down. 20 seconds were left on the clock, and the players knew that any error would put an end to their chances, but under immense pressure they displayed inch-perfect precision to open up their opponents. A risky switch of play just about evaded a defender to find Port’s rush goalie Nattapol (8) in a bit of space. He played it forward to Thananchai (17), whose square ball across the area was crying out for a heroic finish, which Brazilian Marcos (10) duly supplied. Port hearts were in mouths as Marcos slipped just as the ball reached him, but he managed to keep his effort on target from close range, and Kodang Volcano erupted. Scenes! Marcos celebrated with Cantona-level arrogance, strutting around the area while the crowd, his teammates and the bench went barmy. Port recomposed themselves to survive the last few seconds, and the final whistle was once again greeted with a deafening Khlong Toei roar.

Chonburi may have retaken the lead on goal difference, but Port will have renewed belief that they have the guts and the nerve to win with the pressure on. They will need all of that belief to overcome Surat Thani away on Wednesday, who recently secured an upset victory over Chonburi. The Sharks also have a tough test away at third-placed Bangkok BTS.

Port will be be playing at home again next Sunday, and after last night’s drama, it is something you do not want to miss!

 

Highlights

 

 

That’s Futsal Folks

 

Imagine a Port team second in the league. They have the best defence and the best goal difference. It’s well in to the second half of the season, and if Port can match their biggest rivals – the league leaders – point-for-point until the final day of the season, then beat them in a Christmas Eve end-of-season winner-takes-all decider at home, the league title will be heading to Port for the first time since 2007. It’s a David and Goliath contest. The league leaders’ captain and national team icon has netted 251 times in 226 appearances for the club, their star foreign player has played 70 internationals for Brazil, and their home ground dwarfs their Khlong Toei competitors by a ratio of 15:1.

 

 

No, this is not just some bizarre concoction of my Leo-addled imagination, this is the scarcely believable reality in the Futsal Thai League. A perfect finish to the season would see Thai Port Futsal Club seal a first league win in 10 years, but the dominant force in Thai futsal stands between them and glory. Chonburi Bluewave have secured 7 consecutive league titles, and are the current AFC Futsal Club Championship holders. They have taken on and defeated all comers across the continent from Iran to Japan, but what will face them on Christmas Eve will be a rather different challenge.

Chonburi face a trip to what may as well be called the Khlong Toei sauna. Port’s Kodang Stadium is in such a state that the roof leaks water slap-bang in to the centre-circle when it rains. Screw your AFC-mandated standards, this is Khlong Toei. The heat and sound rattle around inside Port’s ramshackle warehouse like Siwakorn in a pin-ball machine. Each drum beat hits you like an Elias Dolah tackle, and you sweat like Jadet from start to finish.

Still, there is work to be done if Port are to reach the promised land. Seasoned champions that they are, Chonburi aren’t likely to drop points, so any Port slip-up could be fatal. Can they do it? Well, they’ve won 13 of 17 games to date. 9 more remain. Stranger things have happened.

Here are Port’s up-coming fixtures, for anyone who wants to get in on the act before Port’s potentially historic final-day decider. You’ll be able to say you went to the futsal before it was mainstream. The home game against Sisaket, then the three on consecutive Sundays to close out the season look ideal to me.

 


 

Sunday 12 November: AWAY against Samut Sakhon, 16:00 ko

Saturday 18 November: HOME at Kodang Stadium against Pattaya Thai-Tech, 18:00 ko (clashes with Ratchaburi away – gutted!)

Sunday 26 November: AWAY against Nakhon Ratchasima, 18:00 ko

Wednesday 29 November: HOME at Kodang Stadium against Sisaket, 18:00 ko

Saturday 2 December: AWAY against Bangkok City, 18:00 ko

Sunday 10 December: HOME at Kodang Stadium against Navy, 16:00 ko

Wednesday 13 December: AWAY against Surat Thani, 18:00 ko

Sunday 17 December: HOME at Kodang Stadium against Bangkok BTS, 16:00 ko (Bangkok BTS are currently third in the league – this will be a crucial game)

Sunday 24 December: HOME at Kodang Stadium against Chonburi Bluewave, 16:00 ko

 


 

For those of you who want to know more about the Port futsal experience, I wrote two articles about it earlier this season, which can be found here and here.

 

Shrugdinho and The Mudskippers: Port Futsal Club 5-1 Samut Sakhon

 

With the 3 week T1 mid-season break now upon us, sad live sports addicts like myself who feel incomplete without their weekly fix of shouting at people are faced with a tough decision. Do we let the unfulfilled urge to vocalize our deep-seated disdain for humanity fester and force its’ way out at a particularly inopportune moment? At the 7-11 cashier who under-heats that morning sandwich, perhaps? “You don’t know what you’re doing! You don’t know what you’re doing!” Or maybe a phone-zombie on the BTS? “Even fucking Pakorn gets his head up more than you do!” Surely there must be an alternative…

With this cumbersome conundrum weighing heavy on my mind, I thought it would be the perfect time to take in my second Port Futsal game of 2017. As I reached Port’s warehouse stadium, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Port’s current kit was on sale outside. At 598 baht for a shirt, 300 for a scarf and 100 for your ticket you can be fully kitted out in Port regalia for less than a thousand baht. Not bad!

The Mudskippers!

Having made sure to arrive early this time, I found a prime position in a near-empty Zone B. Just high enough up to get a decent view of the action, but still in range of a fan. A big improvement on last time’s sweat-fest! Port’s high-flying futsal stars faced Samut Sakhon, with Port in 3rd place – just 3 points off the top of the 14 team Futsal Thailand League – with 5 games to play before the mid-season interval. Port’s superbly nicknamed opponents are The Mudskippers, who have skipped up to 5thplace. I expected a hard-fought game, and the first half didn’t disappoint.

Port’s Brazilian star Marcos (10) looked excellent from the off, although in the early action he was playing predominantly in defence, with Thai national team star Lertchai (6) pushing further up. I was gutted not to see Noppadol (13), who had scored a hattrick and busted out some Ketsbaia-level celebrations in my last game, but his replacement up front was the bulky and useful-looking Sarawut (11). Midfielder Watchara (3) and Thailand goalkeeper Kanison (18) completed the starting 5, but curiously Port seemed determined to use their best players as little as possible.

After Watchara had tapped in a simple set-piece goal for Port inside the first minute, the fringe players saw most of the action. The action was pretty slow in happening, though. In contrast to the attentive ball-boys we’re used to seeing in T1, futsal ball-boys have the look of students in detention. Mopping up other people’s sweat will have that effect, I suppose. It probably didn’t help that pantomime villain Surat (2), The Mudkipper’s keeper, was playing them like a fiddle. Whenever the ball went out of play he immediately called for a ball from one side. As it was reluctantly slow-rolled in his direction he would turn around and demand a ball from the other side. Waiting patiently for the other ball-boys to wake up and trickle another ball towards him, he would then pretend to try and take a quick throw, but be foiled by the extra ball on the pitch. He fooled the time-keepers a few times with this maneuver, as they started the clock while he was still fiddling with his balls, but the Port faithful were having none of it, and chants of “Oi, Oi, Tarua Woi!” are soon echoing off the walls of the warehouse. It would be rude not to join in! Port 1-0 Mudskippers

All around Bangkok I felt the innocent Bangkok bystander breathe a little easier knowing that I’d reached my weekly abuse quota. That’s probably not much of a consolation to Surat, though. At the other end, Port’s stopper Kanison (18) seemed determined to throw the ball as far as possible whenever he had it. Without Marcos (10) and Lertchai (6) on the pitch to move the ball through midfield, route one was too regularly the preferred option, and it wasn’t pretty. Nevertheless, in the seventh minute (on the clock, although it had probably taken about 30 minutes) Port doubled their lead. A rare passing move lead to an exhibition in close control by Anukul (22), and although he couldn’t find the finish his dribbling skills deserved, Thananchai (17) was on hand to volley in the rebound. Port 2-0 Mudskippers

Samut Sakhon, egged on by their chief MudSkipper (8), began to really get in to the game. Port managed to survive a few waves of attack, but in the 15th minute, a Port defender felled the excellent Sittichai (9) just as he was about to pull the trigger, and the ref blew for a penalty. It seemed pretty clear-cut to me, although that didn’t stop Marcos pulling out some of the most expressive shrugging I’ve ever seen by way of protest. Port pulled out all the stops, even employing the tactic the Dutch used to great effect in the World Cup quarter-final, where Tim Krul was brought on as a specialist penalty stopper. Before pacing around the area and caressing his goalposts a worrying amount, Port’s sub stopper was easily beaten by Sittichai, who rifled his penalty in to the bottom left hand corner. Krul trudged back to the bench, where he would stay for the remainder of the match. Port 2-1 Mudskippers

 

 

There was still time for more action before the half ended, and it was Port’s Shrugdinho himself Marcos in the thick of the action. With just a few minutes left, Marcos single-handedly decided he was going to draw as many fouls as humanly possible, and it wasn’t long before he had put The Mudskippers on 5, one away from the crucial 6 which would mean a 10 meter penalty kick for Port. Ironically, after all of Marcos’ cheeky gamesmanship, it was a genuinely quite nasty challenge that gave Port the penalty. Surpisingly (to me, anyway) Marcos stood aside and allowed Sarawut (11) to blast the shot in, but from 10 meters beating the keeper is far from academic. Sarawut struck the ball firmly, but the ‘keeper reacted well to palm the ball away and keep The Mudskippers within a goal. The dozen or so away fans cheered, the Port fans groaned, and Marcos shrugged.

 

The Mudskippers try their best to stop Shrugdinho

 

About half way through a competitive second half, The Mudskippers lack of discipline came back to haunt them again. A second yellow card was awarded to Mudskipper number 19 for a desperate lunge on Sarawut (11), and with Samut Sakhon down to 4 players, it was only a matter of time before Port made the advantage count. Sure enough the 4 man resistance was broken by Anukul (22), who had been so unlucky not to score in the first half. This time he beat Surat with a firm strike in to the bottom left from outside the area. Port 3-1 Mudskippers

At 2 goals down and with 6 minutes left on the clock, the Mudskippers decided it was time to go for broke. Out came a rush-goalie, who skipped around in front of Kanison (18) trying to create confusion. It took less than a minute for Port to punish their opponents on the break though, and it was Sarawut (11) who finally got the goal that his battling performance deserved. Whilst he did give his celebration some welly, he’s no Noppadol… Port 4-1 Mudskippers

 

 

The Mudskippers continued to bomb forward, resigned to a loss but determined that every Port player should score before the game was over. It was Port Keeper Kanison’s turn, and he took advantage of an empty goal to hit a mighty accurate drop-kick from his own area, which flew over the rush-goalie’s head and took one bounce on it’s way in. Port 5-1 Mudskippers 

For those interested in coming along to one of Port’s 4 remaining games, the fixtures can be found here.  Port’s next home game is on Saturday 10th June against 10th place Nonthaburi, and kicks off at a pretty convenient and hopefully not to roasting time of 18:00.