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Broken Glass Everywhere: Port FC vs. BG Pathum Utd Preview

 

Well this preview was never going to be simple after the farcical circumstances of last weekend; in case you missed it, the stadium generator went on the fritz at the end of the match and turned a dour, laboured 1-1 draw into a default 0-2 defeat and a 50K fine. Maybe we can install an exercise bike next to the power supply and ask Rochela to pedal for 90 minutes to safeguard against these things happening again? Anyway, there’s another home match on the horizon and this time it’s against one of the big guns: BG Pathum United FC or, to the layman, Bangkok Glass.

Glass suffered a surprising relegation 2 seasons ago, a definite case of a team too good to go down, and then proceeded to romp T2 last season. Even though they are newly promoted they have recruited well and are a solid outside bet for the league, but more likely will have some influence over the outcome instead. They are unbeaten so far this season and Port will certainly have to raise their game against this bunch.

 

BG Pathum Utd

Players to Watch

 

Some canny transfers both preseason and during the enforced break have improved their backline. First they brought in Brazilian man mountain Victor Cardozo (5) from the now defunct PPT Rayong who, with 5 years experience of this league, knows how to put himself about and instill confidence in his defence. Next they took advantage of Andres Tunez’s (30) shameful treatment by Buriram United and brought the Venezuelan over to Rangsit during the shutdown of the league. Even at 33 this could be the transfer of the season; a serial trophy winner and master practitioner of the dark arts of defending. Expect the shithouseometer to be fully cranked up to 11 with these two. Ex-Port midfielder Sumanya (10) will probably feature after leaving PAT Stadium following a lacklustre season playing in the same space as Suarez, and will definitely have a point to prove to his former paymasters.

 

You and us both, Victor

 

The jewel in their midfield is Thitiphan Puangjan (8) and stopping his rhythm will be key to a Port victory. Too good for a lower league, Glass wisely loaned him out to the J-League last season and now have him back for this campaign. A big favourite of seasoned hacks at The Sandpit, this guy has great passing range and is a classic box-to-box midfielder. Although a little light on goals, expect to see him driving the ball through the middle and pulling the strings for the front line. Speaking of their frontline, they went all out and poached free-scoring goal machine *checks notes* Chenrop Samphaodi (19) *checks google* from *rubs eyes*… Port FC. Yep, the second coming of Tana was unceremoniously shipped out of Khlong Toei after a stellar 7 appearances and 0 goals. It’s more likely other forwards such as Surachat (9) or Siroch (35) will start but knowing Port he’ll probably come on and bag a goal. Or give us a bloody good laugh with his headless chicken routine.

 

 

Port FC

The PAT Jigsaw

 

Port will hopefully welcome back key personnel for this encounter, with Go (8) returning from his ban for gonad pulverising, plus centre-backs Dolah (4) and Adisorn (20) coming in to strengthen our defence. The rest of the midfield should pick itself barring last minute injuries, but there will be a decision to make up front. Bonilla (99) is clearly weeks, maybe months away from full fitness so do we gamble on him or go for Adisak (9), who despite his detractors has had a decent start to his Port career in my humble opinion. The final decision will of course be Pang’s and Jadet will accept it as normal so key criteria such as form, fitness and tactics will not be considered and the big, expensive foreign marquee signing will most likely start. Whatever the starting XI, a performance better than last week is required from every individual on the pitch as fans will not tolerate more of the same, especially after so much recent investment in the squad.

 

 

This will be my first game back at the PAT which, on the face of it is great, but from my armchair position last week I was struck by the lack of atmosphere generated during the Police match. Sure, a quarter full stadium will never be able to replicate the intensity a full house (with suitably lubricated fans) brings but the constant encouragement/barracking has always been the ace up our sleeve and definitely affects the opposition. Teams might no longer fear coming here, and now free from being under the cosh from start to finish, that might have a detrimental effect on Port’s results. I also need to work out a new strategy for Toby Time© as there will be no beer sellers outside the ground. This might possibly involve stashing cans up a tree (not a natural climber tbh), maybe a sprint to the 7-11 across Sunthon Kosa Road (no bridge anymore so will have to chance it Frogger style) or wear some elaborate MC Hammer style pants filled with delicious, but potentially warm, Leo. Anyway leave that dilemma with me. Football is thankfully back, and let’s pray to the footballing gods, and local electricians, we’ll get 90 minutes this time around.

 

Fuck this, I’m going for a Leo or 6

 

Prediction

Well it has to be better than last week, but the opposition will be much tougher. Can’t see past a score draw at this moment. 2-2.

 


 

The match will be shown on True 4U and True Sports 2 at 19:00 on Saturday 19 September, 2020. For the many of you who won’t be able to get your hands on tickets, 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.

 

Toby Time: Beyond Doubt

 

With the release of the excellent Portcast episode featuring our very own Toby Knight, and the discussion therein pertaining to the phenomena known as “Toby Time”, I became inspired to have a look at the numbers and see if they would lie or simply tell us what we already knew for certain; that Port simply perform better when Mr. Knight leaves a little early, and returns a little late, to get a few halftime lagers under his belt.

“Did I not have anything better to do with my time than to go through all our league games since the start of 2018 and see at what time each goal was scored or conceded”, you may ask. Well… yes, yes I did, but my ability to procrastinate is all but unmatched even in the land of Sabai Sabai and, as far as my better half is concerned, this article never happened. Anyway, I have now performed the thorough scientific work needed to truly examine what defies all science, but has long been beyond any doubt to every self-respecting sports fan; our rituals have a real effect on the outcome of the games.

So, what did I find?

First of all, the main character himself says it all started with the mad beginning to the second half at home to Muangthong in June 2018, during which we scored 2 and conceded 3 within the first 14 minutes, all while he was knocking back Leos outside the PAT. This was halfway through the first of our consecutive 3rd place finish seasons so it also happens to make it a perfect cut-off point for a before- and after comparison. Now, I don’t know exactly which games Toby may have missed, and exactly when he would have left and returned to the stands during the ones when he was there, so I have simply looked at every league fixture and defined “Toby Time” as minute 36 through 60, the last 10 and opening 15 of the first and second half respectively.

Since the start of 2018, we have scored 128, and conceded 81 goals in T1. Statistically, goals are about as likely to be scored during any stage of the game so, even taking the extra minutes awarded for stoppages in the first half, the 47 goals (37%) we’ve racked up during Toby Time in the two latest seasons are roughly 12 more than the 34.54 (27%) that we should perhaps have expected. Defensively, we are more aligned with the normal curve, with 24 goals (30%) falling at the wrong end in the same interval, although there were slightly more goals conceded than the expected 21.87 (27%).

The graph below shows the big disparity between expected and actual goals scored, and a smaller difference between expected and actual goals conceded.

 

 

The goals came thick and fast even before Toby stumbled on to his magic formula, with 11 out of 35 (31%) scored, and 8 out of 22 (36%) conceded in the timespan between 36 and 60 minutes.

In order to prove Toby Time though, we have to look closer at what has happened since that fateful night when Toby’s thirst for beer and conversation just barely trumped his hunger for derby day football. During the last season and a half, Port have banged in 93 goals and allowed our opponents to find the net 59 times. 36 of our goals came during Toby Time, an increase of a whopping 8% from the 31% in the first half of 2018, while the number of goals conceded were merely 16, representing a 9% drop down to the expected 27%. The graph below shows the 8% increase in goals scored and the 9% drop in goals conceded since the Muangthong game in June 2018.

 

Goals Scored Jan-June 2018 (mins 36-60)Goals Scored since June 2018 (mins 36-60)
11 (31%)36 (39%)

 

Goals Conceded Jan-June 2018 (mins 36-60)Goals Conceded since June 2018 (mins 36-60)
8 (36%)16 (27%)

 

 

All of this shows that we were not only right all along in that we are more likely to score when Toby leaves for an extended half time beer break, perhaps a bit surprisingly, we are far less likely to concede. Proving once and for all that what, when, and where the fans drink, is almost as important as the performance of the players on the pitch. And Toby, by taking one for the team and keeping away during the most goal intense period of the games, could well be one of the key components in Port’s 2020 title bid.

 

A Knight’s Tale: Toby’s 2019 Season Review

 

Yes, yes; smashing Chiang Rai, Selanon, Suarez vs Trat, for fuck’s sake Pakorn…. It’s all too obvious so let’s look at some other aspects of this rollercoaster season.

 

Moment of the Season

 

 

Beating The Scum 3 times in a season is something to crow about but Josimar’s late thunderbolt at The PAT brought the house down and lead to some of the most intense and euphoric celebrations I have ever experienced. Suarez’s opener in Buriram was also something I will never forget but that afternoon turned pretty sour and now I’m not welcome in Buriram anymore.

 

Gripe of the Season

 

Can The Thai FA ever get its act together? It seems not. From ridiculous match schedules to inept refereeing and a love/hate relationship with VAR, the suited and well minted gentlemen based in Hua Mak have a hard time employing common sense and logic for basic footballing decisions. After last year’s Pattaya away debacle, this year they upped their game with their FA Cup semi-final and final stadium switches, leaving many Port fans stuck outside the stadium or watching on television. They will really have to go some to screw up next season but I’m betting they can reach the next level.

 

Terens of the Season

 

An award for the forgotten man (tip of the hat to Mr D Barraclough of Ningbo, China), this year’s Terens is Anon Samakorn; a player of great potential and talent when deployed on the pitch. Jadet was never a big fan of blooding youth and, thanks to Go, Siwakorn and Tanaboon, his chances have been extremely limited this season. The Sandpit never forgets and he is frequently mentioned in conversations about what the team is missing. And if it doesn’t work out at Port there’s always those hashtags to admire #onlytimewilltell #walkinfaithnotbysight #memphisdepay

 

 

Away Trip of the Season

 

 

Chonburi away was a great smash and grab Friday night trip full of excitement, goals (including a Pele winner), copious amounts of alcohol, lingerie shopping bags and mild accusations of child abuse, plus no one fell into a pond this time (Hi Dom!). I watched the winner standing on an office chair with another fan peering over a fence (Toby Time©) and was drunk enough to sing a very rude Thai song about Muangthong through a megaphone post match. On the other end of the scale I must mention Rayong away which on paper looked like an amazing day out but turned into the biggest damp squib ever.

 

Som Nam Na of the Season

 

 

Surely this season’s slice of humble pie should be stuffed into the face of Newin Chidchob of Buriram United. They have been getting away with absolute liberties for too long. I’m not just talking about the game against us; check out the end of their match against Trat or the very, very late penalty against Sukhothai. The equalizer scored by Chiang Mai was just desserts and consigned them to a season with no silverware. Newin even told the media before the match that he wanted to do the trophy presentation back at Thunder Castle!  Although Chiang Rai are a shithouse team it was a case of the lesser shithouse team won. Just.

 

What Happens Next?

 

We buy a striker, a bloody good one, and a big bastard of a centre back to partner Dolah. No back ups – first team quality is needed, and a squad fighting for every position on the pitch. In all seriousness, I thought we wouldn’t improve after last season but I will happily eat my words. If it wasn’t for the mid season slump (and some dodgy reffing) we could have won the league this time around so I don’t see why we can’t do it next season.

Cheers!

 

Podcast

The Portcast #12: Zone F Meets Toby Knight

It’s Toby time!

In this podcast, I interview the man behind Zone B’s most unusual superstition. Toby Knight gives us some fascinating insight in to why Toby time works, why Port struggle to beat the best teams in the league, and he also gives some glowing praise to the man who masterminded Port’s first FA Cup win in 10 years.

We go on to talk at length about the fan experience of Toby’s teams in North London, Catalonia and of course Khlong Toei.

Read more