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Two Up Three Down: Port FC vs Nakhon Ratchasima FC Preview

 

It’s Port vs Korat this Saturday; after the long international break it’s good to be looking at a very winnable home fixture at PAT. Both teams go into this match with something to play for. At the top of the table Port have to hope Buriram and Chiang Rai slip up and give us a chance to jump into either of the two top spots. At the bottom Korat should be OK, but need a couple of good results to avoid falling into the bottom three.

With five matches to go it’s definitely time for a graphic showing the run in situation. We’ll start with our visitors.

 

 

With 28 points they are at the top of the pack, but they look to have one of the most difficult run-ins along with Chiang Mai. Korat should be saved by their last two games against Chainat and Sukhothai, but I’m sure they would dearly love to get a point or more at PAT on Saturday. One point would mean a lot to them in the chase for safety so we can’t expect too much from them. Korat showed in the home match with Doumbia (11) bombing on and Lee Won-Jae (15) holding it together at the back that they had enough to match Port for 80 minutes with 11 vs 11 before the Adisorn (13) red card. This side might be intimidated by the crowd but they won’t be too scared of their opponents.

 

 

Port are realistically out of the hunt at the top of the table. We would need Chiang Rai and Buriram to slip up twice in the run in. While that’s not impossible, it’s more likely we will slip up ourselves. The Bangkok United away match killed off Port’s chances in the league for me. I would love to be proved wrong, anyway we will see.

I think Port will be undone by the consistency of others around them at the top as much as Korat will be saved by the inconsistency of others around them at the bottom.

Korat’s terrible recent form has put them in the danger zone. With four losses and one draw in the last five, Korat have now thrown out man mountain manager Joksic. Their new manager is Chalermwoot Sa-ngapol. In his playing days he was once described as the “Thai Glen Hoddle”, a great player with crisp passing and a pristine mullet.

 

 

He is now a solid journeyman manager. He has not made any comments about the previous lives of disabled people thus far. In the last three years he’s gone from Sisaket, to Thailand’s Under 19 team, to Super Power, to Sisaket, to Udon Thai, to Sukothai, to Ayutthaya, and now to Korat. Port have to be wary of the new manager bounce but we should have enough quality to get the result.

 

 

 

Doumbia “Henri”(11) is always going to be dangerous and if given enough room he could snatch a goal. They also have the very impressive attacking midfielder Amadou Ouattara (81), another Ivorian and formerly of PTT Rayong and Navy who has picked up a couple of goals lately. Together with Leandro Assumpcao (7) Korat have enough attacking quality to create chances. Why are they in such a state? Amadou and Doumbia “Henri” are solid choices along with the two centre backs captain Chalermpong (4) and Lee Won-Jae but apart from that the team has been mixed and matched in an attempt to find a winning formula that just hasn’t materialised . Port are clear favourites but we have to be clinical, we can’t afford to go a goal down to a team that would love an opportunity to park the bus.

 

Port Side

Tanaboon (71) will not be joining us on Saturday, his first haul of four yellows sees him suspended. This finally provides us with a look at who Choke’s second choice is in the league squad. Todsapol (6) should surely get the nod here. But I would’ve played Todsapol over Tanaboon anyway. Suspension may just lead us into improving our starting 11. Although Todsapol is a quality player it’s been so long since he has had a full competitive match so there has to be a worry about his match fitness.

Pakorn (7) and Kevin (97) both played in the Police friendly on the 5th September. Choke has not been a big Pakorn fan. It’s possible he has been reading my previous previews. However even the most ardent of Pakorn haters would still struggle to pick Josimar (30) over a fully fit Pakorn.

Kevin might return to the squad, and he deserves his place if he plays like the Kevin of 2018. If he continues his mediocre 2019 form, Steuble (15) should be brought right back in. Kevin is a good player but early 2019 has been poor by his own high standards, possibly injury affected poor play. It’s great to know we have Steuble (15) there keeping Kevin honest, and also providing cover at right back.

 

Line Up

Choke’s starting choices are only one or two picks from and ideal line up, but as the trip to Bangkok United showed us this is a good team but one that can be beaten by a decent well organised side. Fortunately Korat were, and hopefully still are a pretty disorganized poor side.

This is the team I think he will line up with on Saturday the italics show the team I think he should start with.

Rattanai

Nittipong (34)                Dolah(4)     Todssapol(6)   Steuble(15)

Go Suel Ki (8)

Josimar(30)(> Pakorn(7)) Suarez(5) Siwakorn (16) Bodin(10)

Rolando(99)(>Josimar(30)

 

Prediction

Port should be good enough to take advantage of a team in a downward spiral. Port to win 3-1.

 

A Final Note

 

The last match took place in the long shadow cast by the tragic minibus crash, involving Korat native Spider Ming. Free food was laid on at the away end of Korat’s stadium and during the mid game rain delay there was a random Home vs Away fan group football song sing off. I think Port are planning to lay on some food at the away end to return Korat’s kindness. There will be a friendly atmosphere for this one this week folks. Enjoy the festival of football.

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True Sport 6  at 6.00 p.m. on Saturday 15 September, 2019. For those who can’t make it to the ground, 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.

 

Stampeding Towards the Champions League: Suphanburi FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Last time out against the War Elephants was the 3-2 thriller at home, courtesy of a late Boskovic winner, sending us 4 points clear of Buriram at the top of the table. Much has changed since then with Boskovic being dropped from the T1 squad and replaced by the returning Josimar. Our title challenge had seemingly slipped away after a string of poor performances and results in key games during June and July, including heavy defeats at home to fellow title challengers Chiangrai United and Buriram, but Port are still currently 3rd in the table, 4 points behind current champions and pack leaders Buriram United, and are in need of a win on Sunday in Suphanburi to keep up the pressure on the top 2.

 

Suphanburi FC

Form

 

Despite having impressively held league champions Buriram United to a 0-0 draw away, and then going on an unbeaten run for the next 5 games (albeit 4 with draws along the way) Suphanburi approach this fixture still sat in the dreaded relegation zone. However, with a game in hand on other relegation rivals, this is a big opportunity for them to secure some points and to keep them afloat in the top division of Thai football.

Key Players

 

Cleiton Silva (23), a name probably familiar to Port supporters as a former Muangthong striker, has been Suphanburi’s leading scorer this season with the Brazilian bagging 7 goals in 21 appearances during the 2019 season, and is a couple of strikes away from making it to 100 goals in T1. The 32 year old has made quite a habit of scoring against Port, with a goal at the PAT back in September of 2018, and another goal (again at the PAT) during the 3-2 match earlier in the season, so fingers crossed he remains off the scoresheet come the end of the weekend.

 

 

Fellow countryman Jonatan Reis also joined in on the scoring in our aforementioned victory, and, further back, got a brace against Port in the 2018 season while playing for Prachaup, but he has now been replaced by Dellatorre (10), who his back for his second stint with the War Elephants. Dellatorre also has a history when it comes to getting on the scoresheet against Port, but hasn’t had a very productive start to the second leg. 

 

 

Port

Form and News

 

While perhaps not in the form shown earlier in the season, Port are now picking themselves back up from the ground and dusting themselves off after their poor performances in July. Confidence should be on a high after being 5 games unbeaten in all competitions including a 2-0 win over our rivals in red (the 3rd of the season!) and a marvelous win in the FA Cup against Chiang Rai United to send us into the semis. This game is a great opportunity to continue our winning ways against poor opposition, and enabling us to continue to apply pressure on Chiang Rai and Buriram, with the top 2 both facing less than difficult fixtures at home this week.

 

Starting Lineup

 

With Suphanburi being strong at the back recently, having gone 7 games without conceding 2 or more goals, I believe Port must have a proper goal scorer leading the line, and after a great performance off the bench against Muangthong, surely Josimar (30) should be the one to start and hopefully continue scoring.

 

 

Score Prediction

 

Should be a comfortable result for Port. 3-1 with Josimar finding the back of the net again.

 


 

The match will be shown live on True Sports HD2 at 18:00 on Sunday 18 August, 2019. For those who can’t make it to Suphanburi Provincial 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.

 

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.

 

I Want It Trat Away: Trat FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Trat’s promotion to T1 last year sparked hope of an away day in the eastern province, perhaps most famous for the tourist paradise of its Koh Chang archipelago. That hope started to fade as the schedule was released and showed that the game would be one of the much dreaded midweek fixtures and, considering our lengthy winless run that finally ended on Sunday, it’s hard to see too many of the Port faithful dealing with the logistics of the roughly five hour one-way drive under those circumstances. Oh well, maybe next year…

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Bats in the PAT: Port FC vs. Sukhothai FC Preview

 

Port’s woeful run of form continued last Saturday with PTT Rayong snatching a victory against a team who looked flat, unconfident and lacked ideas. Jadet’s final throw of the dice as Port coach was a midfield diamond system which, despite a fortuitous win against Muangthong, didn’t click at all in the two games in which it was tried.

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Redemption ‘Thong? Muangthong Utd vs Port FC Preview (FA Cup)

 

Port play bitter old rivals Muangthong this week, the big question on everyone’s mind was would away fans be allowed at “The theatre of relegation screams”. Now we know tickets to the away end will not be available for sale. This Tuesday afternoon it was announced Port will show the match on a big screen opposite Zone A. Anyone that was there will remember the fiasco that was Port’s last attempt to screen a game. Nice water park fun, but not having the feed then goggling for new dodgy online feeds to show the match was a complete joke. I’m assured it will be better this time, but we all know how tits up this can go. Wednesday is a Buddhist holiday in Thailand so officially there are no sales of alcohol allowed. Previous Buddhist holidays have been slightly observed at PAT Stadium with bottles of Leo hidden respectfully behind the Coke and Sprite but available if you should feel the need.

The Old Enemy

The new manager Gama has steadied Muangthong’s relegation plummet with wins at home to Trat, Prajuap Away, and a solid 3-2 win vs Bangkok United at SCG. However Friday night’s 1-1 draw in Chiang Mai was unconvincing with big questions still to be asked about whether they’ve really turned the corner. With only a 2 points between them and the drop zone they could easily be dragged back into the relegation mire.

Looking at their attack it is a shock they were ever down there in the first place. With Teerasil (10)and Heberty(7) they have the two of the most experienced strikers in T1, Teerasil may be well be past is best but Heberty is still a potent force and they are still the club’s two biggest threats, they have with 4 and 5 goals respectively. Hopefully some players might be rested for the Cup, but this is unlikely with Muangthong having played the Friday night match. I think with the half decent mid season signings Gama will be taking this game pretty seriously.

Mid season has seen centre forward Derley(87) brought in he has scored one in his three starts, but most Muangthong fans will still be thinking of the nightmare vision of him managing to steer a header past the half open goal from 5 yards away against Bangkok United. After Derley fell on his backside in the next decent attack it was the other new Brazilian import Bruno Gallo(88) that smashed home the first goal to start the fight back against Bangkok United. Gallo looks to be a good a strong central midfielder. Likely to do well in the Thai League. Port will be looking for Go to boss him around a bit in the centre of the park.

When one looks at Muangthong one cannot forget to mention Chappuis (23), he has a very nice haircut.

Muangthong have been up and down with their performances but they tend to have a better game against the bigger clubs. The form that saw them beat Bangkok United and hold Port through most of a tight 2-1 loss means at home they are still a worry. And Port’s recent form is so worrying that I’ve decided to exchange my “2019 League Champions” T-shirt, for my “2019 nice not to worry about relegation isn’t it” T-shirt.

 

Boskoing, going, gone

Although Boskovic(23) is out of the league squad he is still training at Port and is likely the most overpaid “holder of Jadet’s umbrella” in the league. Latest news suggests he’ll be on his way before the end of the transfer window and is unlikely to play. Rochela(22) has just recently got the bombshell that he’s out of the squad and it is possible but very unlikely he’ll be skipping on to the pitch for the team that just handed him a big shit sandwich saying thanks but no thanks in the second leg. Tanaboon(71) is likely to have played for Bangkok Glass in their first round FA Cup loss to Bangkok United so probably won’t be available.

Jedeath or Glory

After the League Cup exit and a run of poor form Port are holding out for the FA Cup to be our main shot at a trophy in 2019. So I’d expect a full squad or maybe only a couple of changes if players picked up a knock on Saturday.  Siwakorn(16) was asking to be subbed off towards the end of the match so there might well be a problem there. The matchstickman might well be slight but he always wants to play 100% for every minute of every game.

Three at the back

The three port keepers have always been fairly similar for me but with Rattanai(17)getting the start in the last two matches I think Watchara(1) deserves to be back in between the sticks. Not sure why he’s been absent his form’s been fine, at least as good as other options with better distribution. Unless he has been sidelined by a minor injury we should see him return.

Steuble(15) impressed in his first full match at Port a little out of position at times but looked good going forward and did the basics well. The positional play should improve with a couple more starts. A decent left back, good cover for Kevin and a good asset as possible cover for Nittipong. Not his natural position over on the right but he has played there before.

Pakorn’s (7) arguing with the crowd last match should seem him dropped for Nurul(31). When the laziest man on the pitch complains because fans are telling him to chase a ball he could’ve got on, he should sit out. Apologise all you like but you’ve been doing this for four years. You’re only lucky fans haven’t got on your back more than this. Great free kicks, laziest player in the league.

Rolandomar

Up front I can see why you rest a player who’s just come off a 25 hour flight and just getting used to his first plate of som tam n’ sticky rice. But if he wasn’t ready why have him on the bench? If he was ready to play, then 10 minutes at the end of the match when we’re trying to break the deadlock was an ideal time to bring him on.

I’m sure we all want to see what Blackburn (99) can do. But is he ready for a full match? I think it’s a better idea to give him half a match to ease him into the oppressive humidity of Thai football. I’d start with Josimar(30) then sub on Blackburn in the second half. “Josi? You say no, no, no we want Rolando in there!” Well, Josimar had great game last time he was in the Legoland stadium it holds no fear for him, if anything a stadium that has banned Port fans might just be somewhere Josimar could relax a bit.

STOP PRESS Cup Tied Up

Whenever I press publish one of these articles something always pops up. I have forgotten Josimar played in the FA Cup for Police in the early rounds. Even back up option Chenrop is also Cup tied. So with Artit already gone to Chonburi Blackburn is the only forward we have. That being said Jadet could still choose Suarez. If Port ever needed a miracle now’s the time. Cometh the hour cometh the Panamanian man, Rolando Blackburn to the rescue!

I’ve also read Boskovic will be off in this transfer window but a couple of online stories suggest he might play one last game for Port. But there is a big question mark by that.

Watchara (1)

Nittipong(34) Dolah(4) Todsapol(6) Steuble(15)

Go(8)

Nurul(31) Suarez(5) Sumanya(11) Bodin(10)

Blackburn(99)

Finally I’m going to stop saying with cheery Sang Som fueled optimism, “well we’ve still got great players, I think we can still win by a couple of goals if everyone sharpens up a bit.” I’ve said this for the last four games in a row. For Wednesday, in the cold light of day I’ll say, I hope we do well but this form is not giving me or anyone else much confidence. Come whiskey o’clock on match day I’ll be saying, “but we still do have some great players…..

Prediction

Muangthong 6-7 Port, an away win for Port on penalties.

 

Muangthong vs Port  will be shown on True Sports 3 HD kick off 7.00 p.m. Wednesday 17th July

 

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.

 

Weeping Angels: Port FC vs. Bangkok United Preview

 

I can’t very well start this preview without first addressing the tragic events that unfolded on Wednesday morning. A bus carrying a group of Port fans to the away cup fixture with Nongbua Pitchaya was involved in a deadly accident, killing 5 people and injuring 3 more. Among those in the Port bus were fans that will be familiar to any regular visitor to PAT Stadium. The tireless leader of Port’s fan club who we all know as Spiderming has passed away. Saman, who carries his Pakorn banners with him home and away week in week out is in critical condition. Doubtless other fans will have seen or had personal relationships with others in that bus, and their absence will touch each and every one of us. Every Port fan contributes in his or her own way to the community that all of us know and love, and after this terrible accident that community will never be the same.

Rest in peace to those who passed away. Condolences to their loved ones, and the Port community as a whole. Those still in hospital, we wish you a speedy recovery.

There will be a service before the game on Saturday to commemorate those who have passed, starting at 17:00. Port fans are asked to wear black as a sign of respect. There will be a collection to support the grieving families.

 


 

With all that said, what follows is obviously very trivial. It’s never felt more trivial. Nevertheless, we go on with our previews and our match reports because it doesn’t feel right that we should stop what we’re doing in response to this horrific event. Did Spiderming ever stop?

 


 

Port have come through a succession of tests so far this season, and in most we’ve passed with flying colours. The ill-disciplined fiasco at Sukhothai is the only real black mark against us; we’ve shown incredible fortitude in securing a late goal to nick the 3 points away at Chonburi, we’ve gone to the SCG and beaten our biggest rivals, we’ve recovered from a goal down with 15 minutes to play to overcome Suphanburi, and we’ve won comfortably on a wet Sunday night in Chainat. The draws against Chiang Rai and PTT Rayong are the only other games we haven’t won, and in both cases the opposition employed negative, roughhouse tactics to grind out a draw. It happens.

With that said, the latest test Port face is the biggest yet this season. Bangkok United may not be among the top dogs in the table just yet, but in the last two seasons they suffered from a slow start before surging up the table at around this point in the season. They’re also a team with a habit of doing well against Port (our last league win came in 2010), and in recent seasons have come up with some really outstanding performances in doing so. Whether its luck, coincidence, or coach Mano Polking having the edge on Jadet tactically, something needs to change if Port are going to defy the spell The Angels seem to have us under. Maybe it already has.

 

Bangkok United

Players To Watch

 

I’m getting stuck in to this preview with plenty of time to spare, so rather than pick out a few of Bangkok’s top talents, I’ll just go through the team I think Mano is going to pick.

 

The Goalie

He needs no introduction, having produced one of the best goalkeeping performances I’ve ever seen last season at PAT Stadium. Michael Falkesgaard (1) is the top stopper in T1. Just wait ‘til he gets a load of Pakorn’s corners, though!

 

 

The Back 3

This season Bangkok United have gone out and brought in the players they feel like they need to make a back 3 work. Interestingly though, none of those players are themselves part of that back 3. One of the outstanding defenders of 2018, Everton (3) is a key man for The Angels, and one of the best foreign defenders in the league. No problem there, then. His partner is no-nonsense Thai-German Manuel Bihr (4) who, similarly to his counterpart at Port Elias Dolah, adds that extra physical presence without violating the foreign player quota. Bihr is a little more prone to error than Everton, but he’s worked his way in to the Thai national team set-up with a couple of years of solid defending. The third man is where Bangkok have had to experiment to find the right fit. After losing first choice Mika Chunuonsee (16) to injury early in the season, Mano first tried Puttinan Wannasri (5) in that position, before temporarily switching back to a back 4. Most recently Wisarut Imura (37) has been dropped back from midfield to fill in, but the youngster isn’t a natural there, nor does he have a lot of experience under his belt. Whichever formula Mano goes with on Saturday, it’s not ideal. Maybe going with a back 4 and using the system that Bangkok have used to such devastating effect in previous seasons is the way to go. Over to you, Mano.

 

The Wing Backs

Two of the players that Mano did bring in to make his system work are right wing back Tristan Do (7) and left wing back Peerapat Notechaiya (31). Tristan Do is of course a national team stalwart, and on his day he’s probably the best wing back in the league, although he’s not very popular among the Port faithful. Expect him to get plenty of stick on Saturday. Fellow ex-Muangthong full back Peerapat similarly has plenty of national team experience, although I’ve made it no secret before that I think he’s one of the most overrated players in the league. Naturally he must be compared to Kevin. So far in 2019… Kevin (LB): 2 goals, 2 assists; Peerapat (LWB) – 0 goals, 0 assists. Is it too soon to say I told you so?

 

 

The Midfield

I’d be lying if I said I could reliably guess who Mano is going to pick in his midfield. Thai-American holding midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong (6) has been wearing the captain’s armband recently, so he’s a dead cert, but alongside him either Pokklaw Anan (10) or Sanrawat Dechmitr (29) could equally get the nod. Both are excellent players, but Port fans will more likely remember Sanrawat for some devastating performances he’s put in against us in the past. I’ve always thought that he’s not a big game player though, so don’t be surprised if he reacts to a tough game by curling up in to a ball and crying. He does it for the Thai national team all the time.

 

The Forwards

Another area where injury has deprived The Angels of a key man in Vander Luiz (8). Anon Amornlerdsak (27) has stepped up in the creative role with some promising performances to help ease the loss, but the youngster still only has a goal and an assist to his name. Not great. Then there’s star man Nelson Bonilla (9). The Salvadorian striker has been impervious to his teammates struggles this season, netting 8 times in 8 starts, and he also stuck more goals than I care to remember past Port for Sukhothai last season. Mano’s biggest dilemma has been who to put up top with Bonilla, or whether to go with an extra creative player. Big new signing Mike Havenaar (9) seems to be the perfect foil for the main man, but the two have not been used together much yet this season, with the big Dutch-Japanese forward struggling for fitness early in the season and scoring twice in 5 appearances since his return. Mano also has many more options at his disposal, like using Sanrawat Dechmitr in a more advanced role, or bringing in one of their wingers Jakkapan Pornsai (13) or Rungrath Poomchanturk (17). Supersub Teeratep Winothai (14) will likely be brought off the bench if Bangkok United are in need of a goal, too.

 

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 

Form

It’s not been good enough so far. Bangkok haven’t won back-to-back since the third gameweek. Since then they’ve lost to Buriram, drew with Korat, lost to Chonburi, beat Suphanburi, lost to Chainat, beat Prachuap then drew with Chiang Mai. That’s 3 losses in 10 games, which is too much for a team with title ambitions. Bangkok have to find consistency, and a couple of injuries is not a good enough excuse. After all, Port have had to deal with the loss of their captain in week 1, and have missed several key men through injury and suspension for various games since. Our squad has coped, and so far Bangkok’s hasn’t.

 

Port FC

Trying To Keep It Together

 

Until Port reserves, who understandably may not have really had their heads in the game, slumped to a 2-3 defeat away at Nongbua Pitchaya in the League Cup, things were going rather well on the field. Jadet still has selection dilemmas to deal with, but his problems are the best kind of problems.

Newly minted national team member Watchara (1) will keep goal once again. He has kept clean sheets in 50% of his games since coming back in to the picture in the tail end of last season. Solid.

Rochela (22), despite nearing full fitness last week, has suffered a setback and will not be available, so Dolah (4) and Todsapol (6) will continue in the heart of defence. With both Kevin (97) and Panpanpong (19) unavailable, third choice Yossawat (32) seems to be in line for his first start of the season (he came off the bench against Chainat) unless Jadet opts to play Adisorn in the position he played a large chunk of Port’s last T2 campaign in. I’ve always been a fan of Yossawat; he’s got an absolutely wicked left foot, and I’ve always thought that he’s a better all-round player than Panpanpong. Here’s his chance to prove it. Nitipong (34) starts at right back. Duh.

Go (8) and Siwakorn (16), who is lucky to be available after narrowly avoiding his fourth yellow card last time out, will continue in the engine room, but ahead of them is where Thai League Manager of the Month Jadet will have to earn his money this week. Thai League Player of the Month Bodin (10) is a no-brainer on the left, but whether or not Jadet opts for Sumanya (11) or Nurul (31) on the right is the big question. Sumanya is a quality player, but he’s not a natural wide man, and this throws Port off balance, with the team so used to having Pakorn (7) hug the right touchline. Nurul, as he showed with his stunning chipped finish after being brought off the bench, is the man for the job on Saturday. Come on Jadet, let the penguin at ‘em!

Up front Boskovic (23) is well and truly in the groove now, and will fancy adding to his recent flurry of goals against his former team, while Suarez (5) will continue providing the ammunition. There’s not a player in Port’s team who isn’t worth their place right now.

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True4U And True Sports HD2 at 19:00 on Saturday 18 May, 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.

 

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.

 

Gas Panic? Port FC vs. PTT Rayong Preview

 

The question following that fantastic Friday night trip to Chonburi is: shouldn´t we all just stay at home the rest of the season instead of diluting our glass of football with lesser experiences? Especially with Sunday being the first election day, and hence, a dry day in all of Thailand. Well, I for one am banking on the hawkers around the PAT figuring out that the polls close at about the same time the game kicks off and that therefore they should stay open for business. If you want to be sure, going to the shop before the weekend and getting a few cans to bring with you wouldn´t hurt though. But, with Pakorn (7) having a whole night of long shots to make up for after missing Chonburi due to injury, some throats in and around the Sandpit may be better off sticking with tea anyway.

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