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In the Dock: Andy’s All-Time Worst Port XI

 

So, my ‘best of’ team was truly awesome, a team I am sure that absolutely everyone will agree with, without any hint of disagreement, as the internet is known as a place where people never needlessly quibble with each other or viciously name call over the slightest divergence and is such a wonderful realm of harmony and mutual respect. So, with that agreed I am sure that everyone will be as equally agreeable with my selection for a worst 11. Again some of you who know me may be suspecting that the team could quite possibly have consisted of just one player; Kim Ba-We. And I am sure it would have been equally (I want to say) entertaining (but it probably wouldn’t be) to have witnessed its sheer scale of dumbfoundedness and hilarity. Maybe it would have been something like this; Ba-We misplaces a pass, and Ba-We makes no effort to regain possession, now the opposing player effortlessly rounds Ba-We in defence and shoots at goal where Ba-We in goal is hopelessly out of position and dives in the wrong direction, that makes it 32-0 now with just 15 minutes played. But like my best of team, Ba-We will be joined by 10 other equally inept, hopeless, talentless never-weres and squad fillers.

This team will be based on a more oddball, team chasing a game setup of 4-2-4 formation, this is to make room for all of the awful strikers we have had inflicted upon us in the name of incoherent squad construction, personal arrogance, and the pursuit of silverware.

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Jadet’s Return Ensures Port’s Happy Ending: Pattaya Utd 2-5 Port FC

Like most people I had this nailed on as another away loss against an in form Pattaya United. I had not reckoned on Jadet “the miracle worker” Meelarp. I thought he’d done a competent job at Port, but just saw him as a safe pair of hands.

So on to Sunday with Pakorn (9) hobbling around PAT Stadium and Nittipong (34) suspended due to a red card on Wednesday Jadet had to shuffle the team around. He started with 5 defenders: Meechok (20), Dolah (4), Todsapol (6), Rochela (22), and Panpanpong (19). I thought the main aim of this team was to stop the rot, and maybe sneak an away point. Port played with a back four and had Rochela sitting in front of them as a very defensive midfielder

Without Pakorn and Nittipong our options going forward were always going to be limited. So this was not the expected start. 25 seconds into the game we had a shot on target and within 90 seconds we’d scored. Panpanpong floated in a corner, and Josimar (30) fought his way through the crowd to head in from 6 yards out. A great start, but this was the same heady optimism that greeted the first goal against Chonburi only to be sadly snuffed out. 88 minutes to go in the game, it can’t be that easy, it never is. However Panpanpong only needed 3 more minutes to turn provider again from a free kick. Central defender Todsapol craftily got in between two defenders and headed in, then celebrated like all his birthdays had come at once. Five minutes, two goals, the new manager bounce turned into some sort of magic trampoline act.

 

After more settled play Pattaya started making some headway down the left side. Dolah was dispossessed after a cheeky nudge in the back from Stojanovic (18). Dolah then tried his best to pull him back by the shirt and keep Stojanovic and the foul outside the area. There was minor contact, but the shirt pulling followed by a handy dive convinced the ref to go to the spot. Lee Wonyoung stood up to take the penalty, went for the chip right down the middle and it was 2-1.

Port came right back two minutes later, with what can only be considered the gift of the season. The Pattaya keeper took a fairly easy high ball, then proceeded to release it as his hands came down. The ball dropped at his feet to be met by a wide eyed Todsapol, who was running towards goal to catch the chance of a rebound. I don’t think he could believe it, I had to watch it 3 times before I did.

Mongkol had been enjoying harassing the young Meechok for most of the first half. Just before the break he came a cropper as he picked up his second yellow. Port 3-1 up and playing against ten men in the second half. Surely we have to ….. I can hear Del’s words  “Don’t say it Dom, you know what happened last time. Don’t jinx it.”

Port started the second half well, looking to go forward not just to settle. Pattaya brought on two subs trying to cancel out being a man down. One of the subs Jevtic (30) seemed to be intent on falling over any time the ball came near him in the box. Unfortunately on his third trip to the ground the referee bought it. Dolah was standing next to him, but this time he can feel incredibly hard done by as Jevtic managed to pull a dive out of thin air. Jevtic slotted the penalty home in the 72nd minute. Suddenly all the ghosts of games past seemed to loom large.

Those ghosts materialised before Port’s eyes as Stojanovic was bearing down on the Port goal with only Worawut(36) in front of him. Worawut pulled off an excellent point blank save.

 

Minutes later Tana(99) found himself with tons of space in the box, but in a shock move unselfishly set up Josimar with a golden opportunity. Josi, please don’t just stand there like Cantona, from that reaction I’d thought you’d hit the side netting! It was 4-2 to Port and time to celebrate. Suarez (6) polished off the night with a great run at the end. He shrugged off one challenge, beating the next then booted home the 5th ! yes 5th ! Port goal. Is that the most we’ve scored all season? It must be, it might be, I don’t care.

This result along with the home draw against Buriram and the win, yes a win against Muangthong, provide proof of Meelarp’s miraculous powers.  Let’s see how many more miracles Jadet has left in 2017.

Port now sit in 11th with 37 points, 14 points clear of ailing Sisaket on 23 points in 16th. 5 more games to go this season 15 points to play for. A win against Korat at home, or even just another loss from Sisaket would see us mathematically assured of a place in T1 next year.

 

Dolah In The Bank

 

Thai-Swedish centre-half Elias Dolah has reportedly signed with Port. The 6 foot 5 defender was born in Lund, Sweden to a Thai father and a Swedish mother, meaning he will be able to bring his experience of European football to Port without taking up one of the five foreign player slots.

Elias Dolah, 23

23 year old Dolah played 21 games for local third tier side Lunds BK before moving to FC Rosengard and then Songkhla United in the TPL. He made 23 appearances for Songkhla last season, scoring one goal.

Dolah looks to be a shrewd signing, bringing much-needed physical presence to a Port squad that was somewhat lacking in height and strength last term. His arrival will increase competition for places in the Port back-line, where Todsapol (6) formed a solid partnership with Rochela (22) last season. He could also add a goal threat from set-pieces, giving Pakorn (9) a target for his pinpoint crosses.

Welcome to PAT Stadium, Elias Dolah!

 

MATCH REPORT: Port FC 4-1 Thonburi University

Port got pre-season up and running with a low-key friendly win against Thonburi University on Saturday. The Sandpit, along with a couple of hundred fans, watched Port run out 4-1 winners in an unusual match played over three thirds.

Trialist Saër Sène opened the scoring for the Khlong Toei Army in the first period, before Todsapol (6) and then Ekkaphum (8) profited from the excellent wing-play of Pakorn (9) to put Port 3-0 up. Thonburi fought back with a smart freekick, before Sène capped a successful trial by rounding off the scoring in the dying minutes.

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In the first period of the match, Port fielded a combination of trialists and squad players. Young ‘keeper Rattanai (17) enjoyed a meteoric rise last season, winning a starting berth and making his debut for the Thailand Under 23 team. He looked comfortable, despite not having much to do, as Port controlled the game against their unfancied opponents without ever really looking likely to score. It took a mistake to break the deadlock. Thonburi passed the ball dangerously across their own goal and Sène pounced, intercepting the ball and showing composure in front of goal to give Port the lead.

In the second period Port fielded what looked like Meelarp’s first choice team. A front four of Sène, Genki (18), Ekkaphum (8) and Pakorn (9) turned up the heat, playing with more fluidity and creating chances consistently. Pakorn showed his class midway through the period, when he earned a freekick and delivered an inch-perfect cross which Todsapol (6) met with a textbook downward header, leaving the Thonburi ‘keeper with no chance. Port soon made it 3 as Sène flicked a clever pass through to Pakorn who, instead of opting to shoot from a tight angle, squared to the better placed Ekkaphum. On his weaker right foot, the fan-favourite made no mistake with a cool side-footed finish.

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Thonburi, determined not to go home empty-handed, scored a clever goal that they will remember for a while, but Worawut in the Port goal will want to forget. The Thonburi midfielder shaped to cross, but curled a delightful lob over the head of the Port ‘keeper, who was caught out of position. The ball ricoched off the far post and into the net, ensuring that the visitors could celebrate a goal if not a positive result.

15272343_1475582245789796_4163520404342404121_oIn the final period Meelarp sent out a Port team comprised of mostly trialists who played out an uninspiring 30 minutes until Sène once again underlined his credentials with a goal in the final seconds of the game. Unfortunately, all we can tell you about the goal is that it was well-applauded by the home fans, as we were on our way off to The Sportsman, where we would bump in to Captain David Rochela.

One of the stars of last season’s successful promotion campaign with his consistent rock-solid defending and invaluable leadership, Rochela proved to be as nice a guy off the pitch as he is a formidable defender on it.

We will be bringing you more pre-season match reports in the coming weeks in preparation for February 11th, when the long-anticipated 2017 season is scheduled to get under way.

 

Photos by Tim Russell