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Wasps Extinct: Port FC 5-0 Prachuap FC

 

Challenge accepted.

Port put in the performance of the season so far to denudate 2nd place Prachuap and send Port – for the time being at least – to the top of the T1 table. Port’s play was paradisiac at times, with the all too earthly Prachuap defence unable to keep control of the chimerical Bodin, the domineering Go and the messianic Arthit. It was a display that had it all: prodigious goalkeeping, tenacious defending, sagacious midfield play and implacable finishing. It also capped an anaspectic week for Port, who will now be phrasmotic at the prospect of the upcoming break, after which they will look to cause their compunctuous rivals across town the most severe of pericombobulations.

N.B some of the above words may or may not be real.

Challenge failed.

On to the action though, and despite the eventually decisive scoreline, Port were having a tough time breaking down Prachuap’s defence for the majority of the first half. Bodin (10) wowed the crowd within the first 90 seconds, trapping a long diagonal ball from Dolah (4) with an outrageous one touch control, but his cross could only find the goalkeeper. A Dolah header from a Kevin (97) corner was the next close shave, with Orahovac (22) just about doing enough to put the big man off. In the 40th minute, Port finally broke through. A mazy Pakorn (7) run was halted by the Prachuap rearguard, but Port kept possession before Go (8) found a precise through ball to Bodin who, in a show of confidence we likely would not have seen last season, wasted no time in drilling a low shot in to the bottom corner with his weaker left foot. He’s absolutely on fire this season, playing with a poise and nonchalance that really brings something different to the team.

While the Port faithful, expecting a hard-fought game, would have been happy to go in at half time a goal to the good, the players had different ideas. Their opponents were under the cosh, and now was the time to punish them. Just three minutes later it was another smooth first touch from Bodin which started the attack. The Fresh Prince played in to Boskovic (23) who, with his back to goal, played a perfectly disguised and weighted pass to the marauding Kevin who showed excellent composure to side-foot home from close range. Right, phew. 2-0 at half time it is.

Wrong!

With most of the PAT faithful exhausted from celebrating their quick-fire brace and the clock winding down, bodies started to file out of the stadium and towards the Leo hawkers, but it was the wrong time to Go! Pakorn’s outswinging corner was allowed to bounce in the area, where it fell invitingly to just the right man. Go has shown an eye for goal and, more importantly, a technical ability which is unmatched by Port’s other midfielders. His left-footed volley absolutely flew off his boot, practically decapitating the Prachuap defender who bravely put his head between it and the back of the net, and to just about everyone’s disbelief, it was 3-0 before half time.

Port started to slow things down a little after the break. On the hour mark Bodin and Kevin once again combined down the left to create a chance for Boskovic, but unfortunately the Monenegrin was the only man in Port colours misfiring on the night. His left footed shot was the first of a few which were hopelessly misguided. No matter, we’re up 3-0!

Five minutes later you’d better make that 4-0. Pakorn originally showed little interest in a freekick which looked a little out of his range. He’d walloped on in to the Loxley car park from a similar distance in the first half, but with Suarez having placed the ball and readied himself for the strike, the Midfield Monk trotted over and whispered something to Suarez which I think was something along the lines of “I’m going to whack it really hard. Watch this.” Whack it he did, and Matheus Alves (7) in the Prachuap wall wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. He performed a similar function that Go did last week, blocking the goalie’s view and getting out the way to allow Pakorn’s freekick to sail in to the bottom corner unimpeded. Cheers, fella. Goal of the night, and Pakorn’s third from dead balls in three games. Is it too soon to say I told you so?

You may have noticed my lack of commentary on Prachuap’s chances up until now. Well, it’s not my fault they didn’t create any. Watchara could have put his feet up and finished off Dom’s large coke and it wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference. Sandwiched between two more Boskovic mishits they did finally have a chance from a freekick, but Caion (10) headed wide. Relax and pick up your drink Watchara, the excitement’s over.

Jadet wasn’t done with us yet, though. After both Kevin and Pakorn were stretchered off (we would suggest they might be injured, but we all know that’s almost certainly not true) he brought on Panpanpong (19) and Arthit (29), and the two cousins, who combined for Port’s fourth against Trat, soon repeated the trick for Port’s fifth. Panpanpong did his best Kevin impression, galloping down the left flank and sticking his cross right on to the boot of a grateful Pele, who sidefooted home from point blank range. That’s 3 goals now for Port’s only real striker, who still hasn’t started a game yet this season. With Bosko unable to hit a barn door and Pele knocking them in from all over the place, Jadet needs his head examining if he doesn’t give the crowd favourite the chance from the start that he has earned many times over.

 

 

Pele wasn’t done entertaining us yet, though. He burst through the middle, beating the offside trap and with only the goalkeeper in his way he hit a comically poor lob which barely made it to the goalkeeper. Todsapol then outdid his teammate for miss of the game, somehow not finding the target with a free header smack in front of the goal from 8 yards out.

The final whistle soon followed, with Port fans still a little disoriented. Yes, we played well on Wednesday, but that performance was something else. The quality was just oozing from all over the place. I could list the players who had a good game, but here’s the full lineup instead. It’s more or less the same.

 

 

The Sandpit’s Man of the Match

 

 

In a performance like this you’d think there would be some competition, but there isn’t. Bodin has been on another level these last couple of games, with his fluid, serene skills bamboozling opposition defenders, while the fresh prince has also regularly managed to convert his fancy footwork in to goals and assists. Arthit again made my night with his late goal, Pakorn overcame a poor start to once again make a telling contribution or two and Kevin is looking absolutely deadly coming forward at the moment.

 

The Wasp Killer: Port FC vs. Prachuap Preview

 

Having bounced back from the disappointing 1-3 defeat against Sukhothai, Port will try to make it a perfect week by securing their second home win in a row against second placed Prachuap. The relatively straightforward 4-1 victory over Trat will likely not be replicated on Saturday though, with Prachuap (one mental game against Chonburi aside) having one of the stingiest defences in the league thus far, as well as one of the most prolific forward lines.

 

Prachuap FC

Players to Watch

 

Having weathered the African storm against Trat, Port will be back to facing the more familiar sight of a Brazilian duo up top against Prachuap. I’m struggling with which one of the two is more dangerous, as both Caion (10) and Matheus Alves (7) have been superb in their own ways so far this season. Alves is the more creative of the pair, with his jinking forward runs frequently causing mayhem in opposition penalty areas, but he also has a dangerous shot on him, which Port will really have to watch out for when he drops off his striking partner Caion. Caion is the big goal threat though. He’s one of those strikers who isn’t especially big, strong or quick but seems to constantly get himself in the right positions and find a way to score. Dolah (4) and Todsapol (6) must be weary of giving him any room at all in the box, as one way or another he’ll find a way to score.

 

 

Prachuap were underestimated last season because of an assumed reliance on a different but also excellent forward line of Doumbouya and Reis, but this season it’s been clear there’s much more to this squad. New signing Artyom Filiposyan (16) was a very creative signing who has made a huge impact for them. Whereas just about every team in the league has signed a Korean midfielder or centre back this season, Prachuap opted to look to central Asia and sign Filiposyan, who is an absolute man mountain, and stick him in front of the defence. Such was his physical dominance in week 2 of the season that I picked him out as my player of the week, whilst also noticing an uncanny resemblance, both in aesthetics and temperament, to fellow loud-mouth rule-breaker Alex Jones.

 

 

 

Then at the back there’s Montenegrin centre back Adnan Orahovac (22), who has quietly become one of the best centre backs in Thai football in the last two seasons. He’s been partnered with new Buriram loanee Nattapon Malapun (27) who has impressed so much this season that was a surprise pick to start in Thailand’s upset victory over China a few weeks back. Solid.

 

 

The other top Thai threats are Amorn Thammanarn (17) on the left flank, Chitpanya Tisud (11) through the middle, and even two national team strikers Siroch (35) and Supot (9) on the bench. This side has a lot going for it, and Port are going to have to match or surpass their attacking form against Trat to break through this much more stubborn rearguard.

 

 

Form

 

Second in the table. They’ve put Muangthong, PTT Rayong, Chainat and Most recently Korat to the sword, and been beaten by Buriram and Chonburi. The one thing that Port fans can be encouraged by is that in their three away games so far, they’ve lost two and won one, although in fairness their opponents have been Muangthong, Buriram and Chonburi.

 

Port FC

Learning From Mistakes

 

I dished it out to Port’s players after their immature reaction to adversity in the Sukhothai game, but the worst offenders in the team really looked like they’d learned their lesson on Wednesday. The referee was an absolute disaster, particularly when it came to Boskovic (23), but the Montenegrin showed rare restraint, routinely laughing off the ridiculous decisions given against him. The result was relative calm throughout the team, who responded to the comedy refereeing, as well as Trat’s fortunate equalizer, with a collective coolness we haven’t seen from Port so far in 2019. Full marks, boys.

In terms of personnel, we saw Kevin (97) subbed off early with what looked like a niggling muscle injury, so Kevin must be a doubt for Saturday, but Sumanya (11) will return after serving his one game ban for his red card against Sukhothai. Also pushing for a chance in the starting XI is a Sandpit favourite Arthit (29), who once again not only inspired a flood of Port chances after his introduction, but also had the ball in the net twice (one, which would have would have been a goal of the season contender, was ruled out for offside) in yet another fantastic cameo appearance. The only natural striker in Port’s squad is long overdue a real chance in the league. Come on, Jadet, don’t just wait for the cups.

Who to drop in case of the return of Sumanya or the inclusion of Arthit is the real question though. Bodin seems like the obvious answer to accommodate Sumanya, but The Fresh Prince’s performance on Wednesday was among the best in the team. Leaving Siwakorn (16) out is another option, but one which Jadet has showed absolutely no interest in so far this season.

For Arthit there are also several options, but there were also several top performances from starting players, who would be hard done by being left out. I have found a solution, though. Boskovic has started every game and returned one goal (from the spot) and one assist so far this season. Arthit has plundered two goals from a handful of substitute appearances. Port need to reward good performances to maintain a competitive attitude throughout the squad. It has to be possible to play your way in to the team, and picking Pele for his first start of the season would really show that. Do it Jadet, DO IT!

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

As always, those who like to support our sponsor The Sportsman are welcome to watch the game there on Saturday 6th with the usual big screen, sound and 99 baht Tiger pints on tap. There is also a 10% VIP discount on drinks for those who wear a Port short or mention The Sandpit. Kickoff is at 17:45 on True4U.