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The Sandpit’s 2020/21 Port FC Goal of the Season Poll

 

Once again it’s time to feast your eyes on the wonder that is the annual Sandpit Goal of the Season video. The season may have been long and by the last few rounds there was little to play for, but the standard of goals scored by Port was once again superb. The process of getting the 68 goals scored this season down to the final 10 wasn’t easy. The result is a smorgasbord with something for everyone so, whether you like slick passing and flicks, bicycle kicks or naughty chips we’ve got it all.

So sit back and prepare for 6mins of great goals. Pick your favourite and vote below.  Polls will close at midnight on Tuesday 6th, after which we’ll announce the successor to Sergio Suarez, who took down the prize in 2019.

 

 

Choose Your 2020/21 Port FC Goal of the Season

 

Thanks once again to friend of The Sandpit and video editing wizard Arm, who put together this superb compilation of goals.

 


 

Thanks to Tom and Geoff for going though the highlights of each game, culling the pens, dodgy VAR moments and tap ins to get us down to a long list of good goals, and also to The Sandpit’s Goal of the Season Committee who then used the most democratic and scientific methods to get us down to the final 10 you see before you.

 

The Sandpit’s Player of the Month for February is…

 

Finally, it’s back! Port Player of the Month features are returning to the Sandpit this year, with a new and improved formula.

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Drawbridge Lowered at Thunder Castle: Buriram Utd 1-1 Port FC

With a return flight and accommodation paid in full to travel to Buriram, I was forced to make the reluctantly adult decision to forfeit any sunk costs and remain in Hua Hin as the preparations for my impending move back to the cold Baltic shores of my native Sweden left me strapped for time in a way that didn’t allow for dedicating two full days to attending what suddenly became the final game for Port fans to see our beloved lions in action before the great eastern beer virus of 2020 reduces human society to its final post-apocalyptic state. Despite the promising start to the season I took comfort in the fact that we usually don’t come close to beating Buriram anyway, especially away from home where having the audacity to even threaten to do so is likely to be resolutely dealt with by the officials. Instead I sat down in front of a screen to watch it in the same manner as most working stiffs unable to take a Monday off even for a game of this stature.

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A Moment’s Silence: Port FC vs. Nakhon Ratchasima FC Preview

 

Port kick off their 2020 campaign with what looks to be the ideal kind of fixture. A home match against Korat, who are expected to finish mid to bottom half this season, may well allow an under-performing Port to still eke out victory, which is what we need after a less than promising pre-season. Rather than labouring this point once again, I will point you towards Dom’s, Tim’s and my 2020 Previews, which examined our off-season shortcomings in excruciating detail.

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The Sandpit’s Goal of the Season 2019: Suarez Cashes In Chip

 

Sergio Suarez’ nonchalant chipped finish against Trat has earned him his second Sandpit award in as many years, following up his Player of the Year award in 2018 with the Goal of the Season gong in 2019.

 

 

1st Place – Sergio Suarez (38%)

 

 

It may not have been one of the more important goals, but boy was it stylish. The Spaniard is well known for being one of the most talented foreign stars in the league, and he showed off his incredible vision and technique with a high, looping finish which 38% of Sandpit voters chose as their pick of a very competitive bunch. The Trat ‘keeper was about as close to keeping it out as any of the other goals on our list were to catching Suarez’ strike: nowhere near.

 

2nd Place – Bodin Phala (14%)

 

 

There’s an understandable history of Port goals against Muangthong faring well in our polls, so it is perhaps unsurprising that Bodin’s wonderful long-range strike in the away fixture against Muangthong picked up 14% of the vote, which was good enough for second place. It was a goal of great import in that it gave Port the lead against their bitter rivals in a game we would go on to win, but it has to settle for second best in our poll.

 

3rd Place – Sumanya Purisay (12%)

 

 

Taking the final spot on the podium with 12% of the vote was the best goal from Port’s memorable FA Cup run. Scored in the 3-2 victory against Chiang Rai by a player who didn’t stand out all that often in 2019, but put in an absolutely outstanding performance on the day: Sumanya. Picking the ball up in the centre circle, Sumanya bamboozled Chiang Rai’s midfield and defence, scything straight through them before wrong-footing the ‘keeper with a calm right-footed finish. It ended up being a crucial strike, with Port almost letting a 3-0 lead slip, but doing just enough to hang on for the win, thanks in large part to Sumanya.

 

The Sandpit’s 2019 Port FC Goal of the Season Poll

 

Port’s most successful season this millennium saw us top-score in T1 with 55 goals, while a further 17 were netted on the road to FA Cup glory. Add in 2 more goals in Port’s short-lived League Cup campaign and The Sandpit’s Goal of the Season panel finds itself with 74 goals to narrow down in to a short-list of just 10.

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BG’s Saturday Night Fever: Port FC vs. Ratchaburi (FA Cup Final Preview)

 

It has been a season of thirds. A triple layer hamburger, topped and bottomed by a light and fluffy, expertly toasted bap, laced with a tasty, tangy sauce and garnished with an innovative leafy salad, seasoned with a hint of balsamic. In the middle, though, an unappealing, flavourless patty, stodgy in places and miserably failing to satisfy that initial promise. This has been Port’s season in a cardboard box. An explosive start, a laboured, clueless middle, redeemed by a late, often thrilling bid for a first League title. And now comes the dessert, a dish to sweeten the Port season and one which they must devour with gusto.

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It’s Bodin Well For A Title Challenge: Port FC 3-2 Suphanburi FC

Games like that win titles”, Tommie Duncan and I agreed, managing to conduct a relatively calm discourse, panting breath restored, after the absorbing drama we had just witnessed. Port have made a few statements of intent over the past few weeks: 14 goals in 4 consecutive wins, including an assured away victory over bitter, ailing rivals, Muangthong, but perhaps none more so than this: a comeback (twice) victory over a resolute Suphanburi team, won, gloriously, with a thrilling breakaway goal from Boskovic in the 87th minute. It was significant that last year, in a game that Port had dominated for an hour, Supahanburi struck twice to establish a lead that was then never threatened. This Port team is made of sterner stuff.

I have to admit that this game did concern me. Suphanburi, in spite of their lowly position, still carried a threat; their twin, Brazilian strike force of Jonatan Reis (7) and Cleiton Silva (23) one of the best in the League. Goalkeeper and Captain, Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakul (18), who defied Port so frustratingly last season, was restored to the team after injury. The War Elephants would also have been buoyed by their 3-1 win over Nakhon Ratchasima last week. Port, not for the first time, were missing key players, and, once again, this was largely self-inflicted. Pakorn had been injured needlessly in a mid-week friendly while both Nitipong and Go were suspended after receiving 4 yellow cards in 7 matches. 4 in 7 – that is some going and this indiscipline has and could continue to lose Port points. Rochela is still not fully match-fit while Nurul was on the bench.

 

 

This meant, of course, that the mercurial Bodin, quite rightly, kept his place. It will be interesting to see what Jadet’s first XI is when all players are fit but for the moment the ‘Fresh Prince’ is undroppable.  Arthit made his first start of the season, Suarez was restored to the midfield and Adisorn replaced Nitipong. We have a strength in depth this year that I can never previously recall and a team that has grown together with the just the odd tweak or two to strengthen. Certainly, a solid base upon which to build a title challenge, but first Suphanburi had to be swept aside.

Suarez was to be a major influence in this game and, on 7 minutes, taking a lofted cross from Bodin, he cut inside from the left to force a De Gea style, foot-save from Sinthaweechai (Sintha from here on). On 22 minutes, the silky Spaniard set off on a mazy run into the heart of the Suphan defence before setting up Sumanya, whose left foot shot was brilliantly turned around the post by Sintha. With the ex-National keeper in this form, Port fans worst fears were confirmed when, 5 minutes later, Reis worked his way onto the edge of the box following some sloppy defending down the line, and turned inside Kevin to smash an angled drive past a despairing Watchara.  A goal very much against the run of play but the War Elephants were on the rampage now and spurned two golden chances to increase their lead before half-time; Reis firing over the bar from inside the box and Silva shooting wide from an even better angle after slipping between a static Dolah and Todsapol, like a hare, long ears flapping in the wind, dashing for cover between two hesitant hounds. Two goals down at half-time would have left even this Port with a mountain to climb.

It was clear that Port needed an early second half goal and the Lions did not disappoint. After Siwakorn had tried his luck with a speculative long-range lob, fairly comfortably dealt with by Sintha, Port got the break they needed on 48 minutes; Bodin scoring with a towering, powerful header from a measured Suarez cross.

The lead was to be short-lived. In the 56th minute Reis got behind Kevin in the box to put in a driven cross which Watchara could only parry for Silva to smash home. The deadly duo had struck.  Port’s nerve was to be put to the test, or ‘bottle’ as they put it nowadays.

But, bottle they had in crates. Within a minute, Bodin calmly brought down Adisorn’s cross, 10 yards out, only for his carefully aimed, side-foot shot to be headed off the line. In the 63rd minute, another Adisorn cross was headed over by an unmarked Arthit, waiting inside the 6-yard box. He should have done better. It was his final contribution to the action, instantly replaced by Nurul. ‘Pele’ has worked wonders as an impact sub this season when teams are tired and stretched by his energy and tireless running but he maybe lacks the guile to be a starter. This had been the only real chance he had got on the end of.

Ten minutes later came the game-turning goal, setting up the grandstand finish. Suarez, once again cleverly finding space on the right hand side of the box, popped over another delightful, left-footed cross for the imperious Bodin to calmly side-foot into the corner with his left foot. That is three goals in a week from Bodin and a perfect goal-scoring trinity: right foot, left foot, head. There is a kind of mystical serenity around Bodin when he receives the ball, even in a crowded box. He seems to have the ability, that all really good players possess, of ignoring all the distractions around him to calmly deliver, as if he is on his own down a back alley knocking the ball into a circle chalked on the wall, headphones on, listening to Ed Sheeran, while his mum is calling him in for his tea.  His first touch doesn’t just kill the ball, it subjugates it, bending it to his will, before he proceeds to caress, almost fondle it, lavishing the ball with protective devotion, like Gollum and his ‘precious’ ring. At times like this, he is an absolute joy to watch. Oh, and that scoop!

2-2 and the stadium was on the boil, matching the temperatures earlier in the day. On 82 minutes Athibordee replaced Sumanya and five minutes later came the destiny defining (we hope) moment. Suarez, on the half-way line, picked up a loose ball, looked up, before threading a slide-rule pass between two flailing Suphanburi defenders to set an on-side Boskovic free. Bosko advanced into the box while the crowd held its breath; the Montenegrin had not scored a goal from open play all season and had been especially profligate when one-on-one. Sintha advanced, arms and legs spread-eagled to narrow the angle, but Bosko’s aim was unerring, side-footing the ball to nestle just inside the post.  A volcanic roar resounded throughout the stadium as grown men, women and children (we’re a community club) hugged each other in unbridled joy.

There was still enough time for Bosko, Kevin and Bodin to interchange passes by the touchline to the exultant sound of ‘Ole, Ole’ from the crowd before the referee’s whistle brought this compelling football match to a close.

Port still top the League, at present, 4 points clear of Buriram who have a game in hand. It is all building up nicely for an epic encounter at the PAT on June 16th. After the FA Cup tie against Samut Sakhon on Wednesday, there is a break for the Coronation and then we face a tricky away fixture at Chainat on Sunday, May 12th.

 

The Sandpit’s Men Of The Match

 

 

This just has to be shared between 2-goal Bodin and 3-assist Suarez, both at the top of their game. Suarez, at times, was unplayable, while Bodin is confirming every week the originality and drive he brings to the team. A special word also for Siwakorn, who is becoming more and more influential as the season progresses. He truly is back to his best, constantly dropping back, demanding the ball, linking and changing play, whilst offering his trademark ‘challenges’, for which, sadly, he was booked again. Dolah also received a yellow card.

The Future is Orange and Blue.

 

The Portlist 4: Reality Check

 

Port overcame Ratchaburi at home, before succumbing in worrying fashion to Bangkok Glass away on Sunday. After spending the first 3 weeks of the season in pole position, it’s now time to see what this squad is really made of. Port B also slipped to their first defeat of the season, giving them 6 points from their opening 3 games.

The main feature of this list, though, is a mad goalkeeping scramble, with Port’s three first team ‘keepers all injury doubts for next week’s clash with Ubon.

 


 

1 (4) Sergio Suarez

It’s impossible to ignore Port’s top scorer right now. He’s scoring the kind of goals that seasoned strikers make a living off, using the movement of Boskovic to find space and punish the opposition. His miss against Bangkok Glass was a reminder that he’s not a natural striker, but with 4 goals in his first 4 games, we can hardly complain. Keep it up, Sergio!

2 (1) Dragan Boskovic

Dragan hasn’t kept up his scoring form, but he has undoubtedly made a huge contribution to Port’s early success. In occupying the opposition defence Dragan has allowed Suarez to flourish, and has a goal and two assists to his name. He really should have buried that late chance against Glass, though.

3 (3) David Rochela

Not particularly at fault for goals in either of Port’s last two games, but not at his vintage best, either. Nevertheless, Port’s captain is and will continue to be the key man at the back.

4 (2) Kim Sung Hwan

Kim has only played two out of the first four games, and only one of them was a performance of merit. As good as he was against Muangthong, Kim needs to stay fit and stay on form if he’s going to have the impact on Port’s 2018 season that we know he can.

5 (6) Siwakorn Jakkuprasart

He’s been very consistent, and he seems to have kept the work rate up, while turning down the aggression.

6 (5) Pakorn Prempak

That first half corner against Bangkok Glass was indicative of Port’s performance as a whole, and particularly Pakorn’s. Needs to keep working hard and keep producing if he wants to stay near the top of the Portlist, and keep himself in Port’s first XI.

7 (7) Kevin Deeromram

Kevin was magnificent in his duel with Phillip Roller against Ratchaburi, but had an absolute stinker against Bangkok Glass. Still likely to be a big player for Port though, with his superb raids forward providing a balance to the team that hasn’t been seen for some time.

8 (8) Nitipong Selanon

Still performing consistently. Must have been quite a shock to have found himself as part of a back 3 for 15 or so minutes against Bangkok Glass. He was primarirly a winger just a couple of years ago!

9 (9) Nurul Sriyankem

Once again it’s one performance out of two for Nurul. His fantastic curling finish just before half time against Ratchaburi was the key moment in the game for Port, but he has largely anonymous against Glass, and did less than his fair share defensively.

10 (11) Todsapol Lated

Todsapol ought to have been sliding down this list after picking up the injury we all knew was coming and missing the last two games, but we really missed him against Bangkok Glass.

11 (12) Bodin Phala

In putting Bodin in 11th, I’m not saying the Fresh Prince is favourite to start, just that he’s coming off the bench first in every game, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going on with Port’s goalkeepers.

12 (15) Rattanai Songsangchan

Rattanai got his chance in the second half against Bangkok Glass, and didn’t have much to do. He made a couple of regulation saves and his distribution was pretty lackluster, and then – surprise surprise – he picked up a knock after a clash with Frederic Mendy. All three of Rattanai, Worawut and Watchara are supposedly injury doubts right now, so with all 3 equally injured, I’m picking Rattanai because… well, read on and find out.

13 (10) Worawut Srisupha

Four goals conceded in two games, and a frankly outrageous display of selfishness in Port’s defeat to Bangkok Glass. Worawut should have been off the pitch the first or the second time he was treated. The bench indicated to him that he should come off, but he stayed on, clearly unable to move freely. In the highlights he can be seen telling the bench that he’s indeed not able to continue just as a tame shot, which he got nowhere near, rolled wide of his post in the 43rd minute. If his selfishness had cost Port a goal, he would be much lower on the Portlist.

14 (14) Adisorn Daeng-rueng

Put in an excellent performance against Ratchaburi, before Kim put in a poor performance against Bangkok Glass. He’s very unlikely to win his place back if Kim stays injury free, but he’s giving himself the best possible shot.

15 (16) Arthit Butjinda

Got a few minutes against Bangkok Glass, indicating that he’s one of Port’s go-to men when a goal is needed.

16 (13) Elias Dolah

Played well against Ratchaburi, but didn’t look like himself in the first half against Bangkok Glass. Dolah struggled for balance, didn’t use his strength as effectively as usual and looked nervous on the ball. That’s not the way to make a claim for a starting berth.

17 (20) Worawut Namvech

Dolah’s shakiness could open the door for this young man to push for a starting place if Todsapol doesn’t return to fitness in time for Ubon next week.

18 (17) Terens Puhiri

After writing about Port’s new Indonesian winger last week, I want to see this guy succeed more than ever. Unfortunately, all Terens has had in his first month with Port is a couple of injury time run-outs and no touches of the ball. #PassToTerens

19 (18) Meechok Marhasarunukun

With Nitipong performing so consistently, Meechok is a distant second choice at right back.

20 (19) Panpanpong Pinkong

As is Panpanpong at left back.

21 (20) Athibordee Atirat

Athibordee came on to shore up the midfield against Ratchaburi, and din’t do much wrong. He gets told to warm up an awful lot, indicating that Jadet feels comfortable sending him on.

22 (25) Watchara Buathong

I’m not sure if Watchara should be higher or lower on this Portlist. Both goalkeepers ahead of him are struggling with injuries, but at the same time he is struggling with an injury. Terrible timing for Watchara.

23 (NE) Anipong Kijkam

Port B’s young goalie could just be in line for a shock call-up this week against Ubon, with all 3 first team stoppers being injury doubts.

24 (23) Chakrit Rawanprakone

Scored in a Port friendly, although he was with the second string and playing out of position up front. Still, he scored…

25 (22) Pummared Kladkleep

Quiet times for Pummared.

26 (24) Jetjinn Sriprach

And Jetjinn.

27 (26) Chaowala Sriarwut

Chaowala continues to impress for Port B, and played nearly a full half of football alongside Port’s first team in a friendly. He looked pretty damn useful, too!

28 (27) Partchya Katethip

As did Partchya, who got an assist in that game.

29 (29) Chanayut Jejue

From the last Portlist: “Will need to rack up some goals to stay on the Portlist.” Chanayut scored for Port B, although they slipped to a 2-1 defeat last week.

30 (28) Danudet Treemongkonchok

Port B’s captain is the next one who is going to have to show something special to keep his name up here.

99 (99) Tana Chanabut

You know what Port’s criminally awful first half performance reminded me of? Tana.

 

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!