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Super 8: Port Punish Pre-season Opponents

 

Port romped past two pre-season opponents early this week, scoring 8 goals and showing plenty of attacking promise. On Monday, Jadet’s first choice XI took on J1 side Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who have signed Muangthong striker Teerasil on loan, and recorded an excellent 5-2 win. Then on Tuesday, the second string faced off with Samut Sakhon – AKA The Proud Junk Ship – and cruised to a 3-0 victory.

First up were Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who ought to have presented a very tough test for Port. A J1 side – albeit one who struggled to a 15th place finish – would be expected to have the upper hand against Port, but Port showed a lot of attacking intent and some improved finishing to take a decisive first-half lead.

 

 

The first goal came courtesy of an appalling error by an opposition centre half. In attempting an ambitious pass forward, the defender only succeeded in finding Siwakorn’s (16) stomach, or where his stomach would be if he had one, and the ball fell kindly for Suarez (5). The Spaniard, whose selection with the First XI was surprising given that he started a riot in his last appearance, laid it off to Boskovic (10), who calmly side-footed home from 12 yards.

Next came two goals which upon further review I still have absolutely no idea who should be credited with. Both came from Pakorn (7) crosses which were delivered right in to the danger zone by Port’s dead-ball specialist. The first, a corner from the left, was turned home by either Suarez, Rochela (22) or a defender from a couple of yards out, then the second, an inswinging free kick from deep, was directed goalwards by either Suarez or a defender.

At half time Hiroshima made some changes, and seemed to have brought some quality off the bench. They got right back in to the game with a quick-fire double, with both goals following a very familiar pattern for Port defensively. Two crosses from the Port left, neither under any real pressure from a defender, found teammates in the middle who found the back of the net. For the first at least the goal-scorer was being marked by Rochela, although he couldn’t stop the ball being poked towards goal. Worawut (36), who looks certain to start the season as Port’s first choice ‘keeper with Rattanai (17) seemingly still not 100% after a string of injuries last season, will be disappointed not to have kept it out.

The second was a free header, with the attacker peeling away from Todsapol (6) in to far more space than there should have been just 8 yards away from the Port goal. Are Port ever going to address their painfully obvious left-sided issue? Four goals in two games have been conceded from there, with neither Panpanpong (19) or the left-sided midfielder taking responsibility for stopping crosses coming in. Last season it was clear there was a problem, although with Genki ahead of Panpanpong the damage done by his positional indiscipline was perhaps not as bad as it could have been. This season Port seem likely to be lining up with either Nurul (31) or Pakorn on the left hand side of midfield, and as much as they bring to the team on the creative side, they will not immediately be thinking about filling in for their left-back when they see him bombing forward. With pre-season almost at an end, though, Port have given very little game time to either Yossawat (28) or Jetjinn (51), who ought to have been given the opportunity to make a case for first-team inclusion.

Port were soon back on the offensive though, with Siwakorn once again putting enough pressure on his opponents to force a mistake. A loose pass in midfield was pounced on by the Thin White Duke, who rode two challenges before releasing Suarez who played in Boskovic. The Montengrin had the beating of the centre halves, who both simultaneously brought him down in the area. The referee pointed to the spot, despite the utterly ridiculous appeals of the defenders, and El Capitan Rochela stepped up to do the business. If pre-season is anything to go by Port will not be bottom of the penalties-awarded list this time around!

The final nail in the Japanese coffin was created by another typical Nurul incursion in to the box. Nurul had been busy throughout, often being on the receiving end of some robust challenges, and on this occasion was just about to pull the trigger when he was fouled. After being fed by Nitipong (34), the diminutive Southerner turned smartly in the box and his swinging boot was impeded from behind. The referee once again awarded Port the spot-kick, but this time Kim (8) was determined to show off his goal-scoring credentials. The Korean’s penalty kick looked well-practiced, meaning that in Rochela, Boskovic and Kim, Port seem to have three very capable options.

 


 

In Tuesday’s game, which your correspondent didn’t make it to by the way, Port faced off against T2 side Samut Sakhon FC. The ambitious Proud Junk Ship, who have finished first in their division for 3 consecutive seasons, were facing Port’s second string, with Jadet taking the opportunity to give a final audition to those still looking to break in to the First XI before the season opener two weekends from now.

 

 

The man most in need of a star turn was of course German Bajram Nebihi (14), who is locked in a head-to-head battle with Suarez for a place in Port’s 2018 T1 squad. Other contenders are Bodin (15), who is pushing Pakorn (7) and Nurul (31) for a spot on the wing, Dolah (4), who is in contention with Todsapol (6) in central defence, and Jetjinn (51), who purely by virtue of the fact that Panpanpong (19) is still in the team must not be far behind.

With the only video posted by the Port Facebook page today being a clip of Terens Puhiri attempting to sing, we have nothing to go by other than the list of goal-scorers and a couple of comments from those who watched the game.

New striker Arthit (29) opened the scoring, getting on the end of a pass from Bodin and putting Port one up just before the interval. About 5 minutes after the restart, Nebihi got the goal he desperately needed. He converted a freekick from about 20 yards out, and according to our sources it was the least he deserved for an excellent all-round performance. All we know about the final goal was that it was scored by Dolah and assisted by Chakrit (9), who had replaced Bodin just a few minutes earlier.

So, Nebihi did what he needed to do, and it will be very interesting to see who Jadet chooses for Friday’s final friendly against Suphanburi. Bodin will be pleased to have notched an assist, and Dolah will also be happy with a clean sheet and a goal to his name.

 


 

Port conclude their pre-season campaign against Suphanburi on Saturday 3rd February at 17:00. See you there!

 

Proud Junk Ship Scuttled at Port: Port FC 3-1 Samut Sakhon

 

Port enjoyed a predictably comfortable 3-1 win against T3 side Samut Sakhon on Wednesday. Goals from Siwakorn, Maranhao and Suchon helped to sink the Proud Junk Ship, who drifted aimlessly for most of the 100 minute match, but nearly found themselves back on course in the final period, only to see a dubious penalty kick booted so far over the Port bar it was nearly lost at sea.

First period – 40 mins

 

 

Port started with a strong XI this time out, with everyone except Pakorn (9) and new signing Yossawat, who is with the Thai under 23 squad, available for selection. Ekkapoom (8) came in to the side on the left with Genki (18) switching to the right, and Maranhao (92) – once again favoured to Suarez (5) – played alongside Josimar (30) in a front two.

Port looked in complete control, with Siwakorn (16) bossing the game in midfield, and the defence feeling so comfortable that Dolah (4) even found time for a mazy run down the right wing. Port nearly broke the deadlock when a ball across the six yard box was skied by Ekkapoom, who to be fair to him had almost no time to react and was unlucky not to see his effort hit the back of the net. Panpanpong (19) was next with a near miss when his side-footed effort drifted just wide of the post. Siwakorn made no mistake a few minutes later, though, as he curled a beautiful left footed effort in to the top corner after being smartly teed up by Josimar.

Port struggled from set-pieces, with there being no obvious replacement for Pakorn, but in open play were in complete control. A few minutes after Maranhao tested the goalkeeper with a well-hit effort aimed at the bottom corner, a clever through-ball put the Brazilian through on goal. He touched the ball to his left and the ‘keeper stuck out an arm, but only succeeded in sending Maranhao tumbling to the turf, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Rochela (22) walked half way up the pitch before seeing that a determined-looking Maranhao had a tight grip on the ball and wasn’t about to let it go without a fight. The captain opted to let his football-starved teammate take responsibility from 12 yards, and Maranhao made no mistake with a calm, lofted effort down the middle.

Port finished the 40 minute first period on a slightly sour note, as a lapse in concentration in midfield allowed a Samut Sakhon player the space to evade a couple of challenges and find the top-corner with a curling strike. Port still went in a goal up, although that’s the least that should be expected against a T3 side. No individual performances particularly stood out from the home side, and Maranhao, despite getting amongst the goals, didn’t particularly impress alongside Josimar. He’s running out of chances to cement that place in the squad that he has worked so hard to put himself in contention for.

 

Second period – 30 mins

 

 

Port started the second period with a second string side. After missing the last friendly, Asdrubal (27) was deemed fit enough to participate, and he lined up on the right wing, with Suarez tucked in behind Kaludjerovic (40). The new arrivals from BBCU – Pummared (40) and Narakorn (29), – were both lively, but it was Pummared that impressed more. He put himself about in midfield, not shying away from 50/50 challenges, and showing a good work rate. Jadet will probably rate him, as he plays in a style very similar to Adisorn (13).

The creative burden was taken up by Asdrubal (27), who looked fitter and more confident than we’ve seen him before. Asdrubal’s movement and awareness were streets ahead of everyone else on the pitch, and he showed good technique in setting up a few chances for his teammates. On one occasion, Narakorn (29) failed to find a teammate with cross after Asdrubal had set him free down the left, and on another Kalu sent a hooked volley just wide from an Asdrubal cross. The Spaniard did everything except score, and will have done his chances of securing a squad place for the second leg no harm at all.

A couple of substitutions were made, with Dolah (4) and Nitipong (34) taken off for Anisong (15) and Meechok (20). With out-of-position right back Pakasit (2) and Anisong our new central defensive pairing, we were surprised to see no sign of Thai-Swedish defender Niran Hansson (33). He later exclusively told The Sandpit that he has terminated his contract with Port, as he felt that he was not going to get a chance of first team football under Jadet. Quite why the club thought it was a good idea to let a potentially excellent dual-nationality centre back go when we are playing an aging right back out of position there is beyond me.

 

Third Period – 30 mins

 

 

Port sent out the third string for the final thirty minutes. Asdrubal (27) was given a chance to play up front, but couldn’t influence the game as much as he had been doing from the right wing. Tatchanon (39) once again gave an exhibition in tidy midfield work. I saw him misplace one headed pass in his 30 minutes on the field, and besides that he didn’t put a foot wrong. His treatment by Jadet is another head-scratcher, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the talented youngster chooses to look for greener pastures in the near future, either. It’s good to see Pinyo (21) getting some minutes on the pitch, although he still doesn’t look anywhere near full fitness.

With just 6 minutes of the quarter gone, Port extended their lead. 35 year old left back Suchon (11) made a rare foray forward, and managed to flick Wuttichai’s (14) clever through ball past an onrushing ‘keeper in to the bottom left corner. Samut Sakhon perked up a little, and started putting together some threatening moves. One of their African strikers had tried a couple of dives already, and at the third time of asking the referee finally relented and gave him a penalty for a very innocuous challenge from Pakasit (2). The crowd jeered, and Port’s goalkeeping coach came charging out on the pitch to give the ref a piece of his mind. In a friendly. With Port 3-1 up. His remonstrations, and the grumbling of the crowd, raised the pressure though, and Samut Sakhon’s striker blazed the ball well over the bar, much to the delight of the few home fans in attendance.

The hilarity continued s few minutes later when the same striker headed in a cross from the left, fervently bursting in to a celebration aimed at the Zone A trolls. Presumably with a sly smirk on his face, the linesman belatedly raised his flag to signal offside, sending the trolls into rapturous applause. Hilarious stuff. It was the last significant event of the game, as the rain started to come down and the pace of the game slowed.

 

Port FC Man of the Match

 

Port can be content with a comfortable victory and no injuries received, as well as a promising display by my Man of the Match Asdrubal. If he can get a few more minutes under his belt and reach match fitness, he could well claim one of the foreign-player spots in Port’s second leg squad. With one friendly remaining – an away trip to MOF Customs Utd on Saturday 10th – Maranhao, Suarez and Asdrubal are fighting for 2 squad places. May the best players win!

 

Photos courtesy of การท่าเรือ เอฟซี Port FC Facebook page. 

 

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.