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Elephantastic!: Suphanburi FC 1-3 Port FC

 

 

Port travelled upcountry to 15th place Suphanburi. Although the War Elephants are in the relegation zone, they have not lost in their last seven league games with 2 wins and five draws going back to June.

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Muangthanks: Muangthong United 0-2 Port FC

Port move in to the last 8 of the FA Cup after overcoming rivals Muangthong 0-2, but really it was Port’s opposition who we have to give credit to for the victory, with a couple of suicidal defensive acts swinging a pretty poor game which neither side particularly deserved to win. It’s not every day us Port fans extend heartfelt and genuine thanks to a club with whom we have had so many problems in recent years, but let me, on behalf of all Port fans, do so now: Thankyou, Muangthong.

In the spirit of friendship in which Muangthong so generously handed victory to us last night, I will endeavor throughout my report to treat our red-clad brethren with as much respect as they showed us last night. That’ll make for an interesting change of pace.

 

 

Port lined up in a curious formation which, despite minimal changes in perssonel, represented a significant tactical departure for embattled coach Jadet. Usually a big believer in width, which is emphasized in his favoured 4-2-3-1 system, Jadet this time played a narrow 4-4-2, with the midfield four set up in a diamond formation. Worawut (36), the third goalkeeper Port have used in four games, was a surprise inclusion between the sticks, with the rather more familiar sight, although we won’t be able to say that for much longer, of Rochela (22) and Dolah (4) in front of him. Nitipong (34) and impressive new arrival Martin Steuble (15) manned the full back positions, with a remit to attack even more freely than usual necessitated by Jadet’s narrow set-up. At the base of the midfield diamond was Go (8), while Bodin (10) played to his left and Siwakorn (16) to his right. Sumanya (11) played in his favourite role just behind the forwards, who on this occasion were the familiar Suarez (5) and unknown quantity Rolando Blackburn (99).

The early going was scrappy, with both teams working hard but ultimately failing to create many clear-cut chances. Most moves broke down in the middle of the park, with Sumanya in particular for Port being very wasteful and possession. It was crowded in there, with Siwakorn unsurprisingly showing a proclivity to play more centrally than your average right sided midfielder. Focusing on Port’s shortcomings is only half the story, though. Muangthong, in the spirit of brotherhood in which I’m sure it was intended, were almost entirely unthreatening. Adisak (11), a player who we often malign for… well, everything, was suitably helpful to Port’s cause, and Derley (87) was the epitome of the striker who you want on the opposing team.

Heberty (7) was the only man who looked capable of making Port’s life difficult, but after creating a shooting chance for himself with a fantastic run on 24 minutes his deflected shot was tipped wide by the excellent Worawut (36). The resulting corner, taken by Heberty himself, was also flicked towards the far post dangerously by Oh Ban-suk (4) but thankfully his effort drifted just wide. Heberty took aim himself 10 minutes later with his viciously struck long range freekick well dealt with once again by Worawut.

The best two chances of the half fell to both sides in the last 5 minutes. First, Siwakorn fed Nitipong, whose looping cross found Rolando with plenty of space and time to direct his header, but he was some way out with a poor effort not coming close to troubling Dang Van Lam (1) in the Muangthong goal. Then a cross from Muangthong’s right was half blocked by Rochela, but fell to that man Heberty once again, who really should have done better with his side-footed effort, which went straight to Worawut, who nevertheless held it well.

The second half started quietly, with the quality remaining as poor as ever. Suarez put another wonderful chance on a plate for Rolando on 67 minutes, but the Panamanian was once again off target with a pretty weak attempt. Steuble, covering a lot of ground down Port’s left, tried his luck with his weaker foot a few minutes later but fired well over.

Muangthong were first to call on substitutes, with Brazilian Bruno Gallo (88) and Teerasil (10) tasked with turning to tide. Gallo came close with a well-struck volley which missed by the finest of margins, but it was Teerasil, in combination with another substitute, who would really shake things up. Jadet called on Pakorn (7), notably absent from the starting XI after his run-in with Port fans last week, and with his very first touch the Midfield Monk showed why we tolerate his deplorable attitude. Port win a freekick on the right flank. You know the rest. Or maybe not. Pakorn’s cross was bang on the money, and although the Port attackers failed to get the vital touch, Teerasil was on hand to put Port in to the lead. The Muangthong captain, who has had a very poor season since returning from the J League, wasn’t even concentrating on the ball; he was busy appealing to the linesman. The linesman, his arm probably knackered after giving almost very forward pass offside in the first half, for once stood still as the ball bounced off a confused Teerasil’s thigh, sending Port fans, crowded around TVs all over Khlongtoei, in to wild celebrations. Thanks guys, we couldn’t have done it without you! It was also a fantastic redemption story for Pakorn, who once again reminded his many critics what he brings to the team. Love him or loathe him, this is what he does.

Just a one goal win wouldn’t do, though. Chappuis, inspired by his captain, gave Rolando the chance to make the game safe and make his debut a dream start. Credit must go to the new man for having the awareness to run on to Chappuis’ beautifully weighted through ball, which at once set the Port man free on goal and took a despairing Dang Van Lam out of the game. Precision. Rolando tried his best to make a meal out of the finish, scuffing his shot a little and allowing Dang to get his fingertips on it, but nevertheless the ball found the back of the net and Port had the two goal cushion they needed to put the result beyond doubt. The defence, which has struggled horribly in the last few weeks, were even able to hold on to an encouraging clean sheet.

The result could be massive for Port’s season. Many a time has a cup win inspired improved league form, and with a tricky trip to Rayong coming up this Saturday, the boost in confidence could be the catalyst for a long overdue return to form. Jadet also has some breathing room, quieting some of the calls for his replacement for the time being.

At the end of the day, a tough game has been successfully negotiated and Port are through to the last 8. Almost all of the remaining teams hail from the top half of T1, though. The only team one could really say are an easy draw are Thai Honda, so expect Port to face a tougher test than what Muangthong offered in the quarter finals.

 

The Sandpit’s Man of the Match

 

 

A shared award this time, I think. Both Teerasil and Chappuis provided moments of magic that put Port over the line, and are equally deserving of our gratitude.

Seriously though, Worawut is probably the only Port player who can be entirely happy with his performance, dealing with everything Heberty had to throw at him admirably, although as always looking very punch-happy from corners and crosses. The defence were also solid, although most had the odd heart-in-mouth moment at some point.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk – Dropskovic

 

Port have continued to shake things up in the mid-season transfer window, making some bold and shocking decisions on both players that have arrived, and players who have been let go.

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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.

 

The Portlist 3: Ranking The Heroes

 

Port’s perfect start to the 2018 season, featuring a 3-0 victory against Pattaya and a stunning 2-0 away victory against fierce rivals Muangthong, has seen one player gain 6 places in the Portlist. Port B also got off to a winning start, overcoming Dome FC 3-1, meaning a few of their key players make their Portlist debuts.

 


 

1 (1) Dragan Boskovic

Coming with such a hefty price tag, Boskovic went in to his competitive Port debut with a point to prove. One cheeky nutmeg and a stunning top-corner finish later, point proven. Dragan had a bit of a tougher time against Muangthong, but although he didn’t get on the scoresheet, his hard work led to opportunities for his teammates. So far so good for the 50 million baht man.

2 (3) Kim Sung Hwan

Kim had to wait a little longer for his debut, but when the time came the Korean showed just what he can bring to this team. Just as valuable as Kim’s own considerable abilities on the ball are what he does off the ball, directing proceedings in the middle of the park and demanding the best out of his teammates.

3 (2) David Rochela

Yes, it’s a bit mental that after 2 clean sheets and 2 superb performances Rochela has slipped a place in the Portlist. Besides his rather tame penalty against Pattaya he certainly hasn’t done much wrong, but if credit is going to be given for Port’s improved defensive performances, I’m more inclined to give it to the newer arrivals, who seem to have upped the ante and inspired the older heads to raise their game.

4 (4) Sergio Suarez

He played well against Pattaya, not so well against Muangthong, but most importantly he scored against both. With defenses focusing more of their energy on keeping Boskovic quiet, Suarez is taking full advantage by popping up unmarked in the box and scoring simple goals. Long may it continue!

5 (5) Pakorn Prempak

Pakorn was upstaged a little by Nurul on the opening day, but he held on to his spot on the right wing. The Midfield Monk then more than vindicated Jadet’s faith with a superb performance against Muangthong. An assist for the first goal and several dangerous raids forward indicate that Pakorn’s superb form has carried through to 2018.

6 (6) Siwakorn Jakkuprasart

Two games and two feisty, effective performances from Siwakorn in the middle of the park. Still up there as one of Port’s most important players.

7 (9) Kevin Deeromram

Kevin must get a sizable chunk of the credit for Port’s improved defensive displays, but it was his raids down the left wing that really caught the eye against Muangthong. With right-footed Nurul often opting to drift inside, Kevin has been hugging the touchline and finding plenty of space from which to deliver dangerous balls in to the box.

8 (8) Nitipong Selanon

I’m the one who writes this list, and I’m still not sure why Nitipong is only at number eight. He put in another couple of solid displays and provided a composed assist for Port’s second goal against Muangthong.

9 (7) Nurul Sriyankem

Nurul was outstanding against Pattaya when given a chance on the right hand side, but he hasn’t really taken to his new role on the left. He struggled to get in to the game against Muangthong, and his final ball was found wanting on numerous occasions. Given time Nurul will surely shine, but he’s slipping a couple of places on the Portlist for now.

10 (16) Worawut Srisupha

The big climber on the Portlist after a penalty save against Pattaya and an official Man of the Match award against Muangthong. If Worawut continues to stop everything that comes his way ans the defence start to feel comfortable with him dealing with crosses then Rattanai could find himself spending a lot of time on the bench. What an improvement!

11 (11) Todsapol Lated

Todsapol’s performances probably merit a higher placing than number 11, but his injury on Saturday reminded us how fragile he is. Fortunately his injury is not serious, and he is apparently in contention to start against Ratchaburi next week.

12 (12) Bodin Phala

Bodin may not have started a game yet, but his performance off the bench against Pattaya put him firmly in contention for starts in the future. Also, apparently the lad can take a free kick…

13 (15) Elias Dolah

Called on to replace the injured Todsapol against Muangthong, Dolah didn’t put in a mistake-free performance but he did enough to keep the extremely dangerous Jaja quiet in a tough physical contest. That’s what he’s there for.

14 (13) Adisorn Daeng-rueng

Against Pattaya, Adisorn showed why he is still a good option in defensive midfield with a typically high-energy, combative performance. He may not challenge Kim for his place, but he will prove useful this season, as he showed by coming off the bench to shore up the midfield against Muangthong.

15 (10) Rattanai Songsangchan

Despite returning to fitness and getting a place on the bench for the first time against Muangthong, Worawut’s performances must have made him undroppable for now.

16 (14) Arthit Butjinda

Played a few minutes against Pattaya but was not called on against Muangthong.

17 (17) Terens Puhiri

Came on against Pattaya but didn’t get a touch of the ball. Flash must wait patiently, and take his chance when it comes.

18 (18) Meechok Marhasarunukun

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

19 (19) Panpanpong Pinkong

As is Panpanpong at left back.

20 (21) Athibordee Atirat

Athibordee has made it on to the new nine man bench for both of the opening games. Just.

21 (20) Worawut Namvech

The young centre back got a place on the bench against Pattaya but was in the stands against Muangthong.

22 (22) Pummared Kladkleep

Very much a squad player this season, although he is probably only one injury from the bench.

23 (23) Chakrit Rawanprakone

As is Chakrit.

24 (24) Jetjinn Sriprach

And Jetjinn.

25 (25) Watchara Buathong

And Watchara.

26 (NE) Chaowala Sriarwut

Announced his arrival at Port B with a brace and an assist from midfield against Dome FC. One of the goals was a peach as well! On top of that, Chaowala was named one of the ‘Top 5 Rising Stars of the Thai League 2018‘ by Siam Sport. Watch out for this lad!

27 (NE) Partchya Katethip

The other goalscorer, getting on the end of Chaowala’s cross to head home from close range. Partchya impressed me in the 2017 Coke Cup, and seems to be carrying on his good form for Port B.

28 (NE) Danudet Treemongkonchok

Trained with the Port first team in 2017 pre-season, and captained Port B in their opening day victory.

29 (27) Chanayut Jejue

Started for Port B, but will need to rack up some goals to stay on the Portlist much longer.

99 (99) Tana Chanabut

You know what, mate? If you fancy extending your police training a little longer I don’t think any of us would mind…

 

The Portlist 2: Deadline Day Defensive Shake-Up

 

Deadline Day is as good an excuse as any to publish our second Portlist. Port’s two arrivals, two departures and news of injuries and recoveries slightly reshape the Portlist in the week before the T1 season finally restarts!

 


 

1 (1) Dragan Boskovic

If anything, the decision to keep Suarez over Nebihi just makes Boskovic even more important. Whereas Nebihi would have been able to function passably as a back-up front man, Suarez is clearly not cut out for that role, meaning that at any given time Port are one injury away from the completely unproven Arthit leading the line.

2 (2) David Rochela

El Capitan will have been happy with Kevin Deeromram’s arrival, as he should now be spending more time where he belongs in the centre of defence, and less time covering for errant full backs.

3 (3) Kim Sung Hwan

There are suggestions that the knock Kim picked up in last week’s friendly could keep him out of the opening day clash with Pattaya. What’s Korean for ‘get well soon’?

4 (7) Sergio Suarez

Suarez finally overcame Nebihi and kept hold of his place in the squad, but the big German being loaned out to Chiang Rai will create an interesting opportunity to compare their relative performances this season. Regardless, Suarez now has to focus on trying to perform as well as he did in the second half of last season for the whole of this season. If he can do that he will move still higher up the Portlist.

5 (4) Pakorn Prempak

Little changed for Pakorn on deadline day, although Kevin Deeromram will provide a left-footed option from corners and free kicks that could decrease Pakorn’s stock a little.

6 (5) Siwakorn Jakkuprasart

Kim’s potential injury just reminds us how much we rely on Siwakorn to move the ball around in midfield.

7 (6) Nurul Sriyankem

Nurul’s job on the left wing will hopefully have been made a little easier by the arrival of Kevin Deeromram. If these two can strike up the kind of productive partnership that Pakorn and Nitipong had last season, then Port will have significantly strengthened their first XI on deadline day.

8 (9) Nitipong Selanon

There is now a legitimate argument against Nitipong being Port’s best fullback.

9 (NE) Kevin Deeromram

But Kevin’s got some work to do. First he’s got to be picked ahead of Panpanpong, and then he’s got to do what Panpanpong couldn’t and find the right balance between defence and attack to keep Port tight at the back, and provide a useful attacking option. If he does this he will quickly lock down a place in the team.

10 (10) Rattanai Songsangchan

Video of Rattanai bouncing around the goal in training suggests that Port’s stopper is at or very near full fitness. Good, timely news!

11 (11) Todsapol Lated

In deadline day signing Worawut, Todsapol now has one more competitor with a legitimate chance of taking his place in the team. A clean sheet on Sunday would go a very long way to securing his place in what is now Port’s most competitive defence in some years.

12 (13) Bodin Phala

Bodin can expect a run-out off the bench in Port’s season opener, but he will have to deliver goals and assists in order to break in to the first XI.

13 (16) Adisorn Daeng-rueng

The prospect of an injury to Kim reminds us how big a role Adisorn could still play this season.

14 (17) Arthit Butjinda

Arthit is now the man Port will turn to in case of an injury to Boskovic. He could have very little to do, or he could find himself carrying enormous responsibility for this ambitious Port team.

15 (14) Elias Dolah

Dolah should still be starting on the bench come Sunday, but he now faces an even tougher challenge to fight his way in to the Port team after the arrival of Thai under 23 star Worawut.

16 (15) Worawut Srisupha

The fitter Rattanai gets the less we have to think about Worawut throwing his fists at crosses this season.

17 (18) Terens Puhiri

His off-field antics just make him more and more likeable by the day.

18 (19) Meechok Marhasaranukun

The final spot on the bench, where Meechok can expect to spend a lot of time in 2018.

19 (12) Panpanpong Pinkong

The biggest loser on deadline day, and the biggest Portlist faller. If you spend 40 million baht on a full back, surely you intend to play him ahead of your weakest link!

20 (NE) Worawut Namvech

An exciting loan signing for Port, who will hope to fight his way on to the bench and then in to the first XI. If his SEA Games performance was any indication, he’s got a decent chance.

21 (22) Athibordee Atirat

If Kim’s injury rules him out on Sunday that should mean a spot on the bench for Athibordee.

22 (23) Pummared Kladkleep

Or Pummared.

23 (25) Chakrit Rawanprakone

Still fifth choice winger, and unlikely to displace either Bodin or Terens on the bench any time soon.

24 (20) Jetjinn Sriprach

On deadline day Jetjinn went from being second choice left back with a decent chance of breaking in to the first team to third choice with little hope of getting anywhere near the first team save an injury crisis.

25 (26) Watchara Buathong

Third choice goalkeeper, with both number 1 and 2 looking fit.

26 (24) Thanakorn Saipanya

As yet unregistered in Port’s T1 squad, Thanakorn might be sent to add a bit of experience to Port’s B team, rather than wasting his time as back-up to the back-up’s back-up.

27 (27) Chanayut Jejue

With Port’s paucity of strikers it is possible albeit unlikely that Chanayut will be called on at some point this season.

28 (28) Sarawin Phakdeekan

With Worawut’s arrival Sarawin went from having almost no chance of seeing any first team action in 2018 to having actually no chance of seeing any first team action in 2018.

99 (99) Tana Chanabut

Number 11 on paper; number 99 in our hearts. But there’s more than just my instinctive distaste for mustachioed moochers that goes in to these Portlist placings. They’re calculated by maths and stuff.

Bear with me while I struggle through some simple addition. Firstly, the Portlist tells us that there are 26 players in the first team squad. Port B, the u16s and the u14s ought to have average squad sizes of about 24 (because it’s convenient for my calculations) which means a total of 72 youth players. 26 first teamers plus 72 youth teamers makes a total of 98. And who better to bring up the rear than that bloke who doesn’t even turn up to training because he’s doing a 4 month police training course?

 

Tana Chanabhut

 

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Sandpit April Player of the Month: Josimar Wins But UN Observers Claim Irregularities

 

Voting closed last night in our April Player of the Month poll, and as Tuesday wore on it became apparent to the Sandpit’s admins that shenanigans were afoot. Normally our POTM polls get around 2-300 voters; this month we had over 1800 (that’s more than many T1 teams get at home games) and our hit count went through the roof.

Initially Josimar, deservedly so as he scored 5 goals in April, took the lead, only to be pegged back by perennial favourite and commander of a loyal social media army, El Capitan himself David Rochela. At which point the voting went into overdrive with a suspicious spike in traffic from, of all places, Brazil. Then Worawut and Sivakorn suddenly shot up in the voting too.

By 9pm, I was sitting at my desk waiting for the brown envelopes to show up and planning to buy a new house, but sadly it seems any skullduggery was of the purely digital kind, with tech-savvy voters using all manner of hacking skills to support their favourite players. Rest assured that we at the Sandpit take a dim view of such things, especially when we aren’t benefiting from them financially in any way, and so next month’s poll will be tightened up and there will be a heavy military presence at the booths to defend our integrity.

Anyway, the people have spoken, and I suspect the result is the same as it would’ve been before the hackers showed up, so here are April’s top 3:

 

Josimar Rodrigues – 39% (733 votes)

With 5 goals in April – and a memorable interview with the Sandpit – Josi was favourite to win April’s POTM and he didn’t disappoint. After a promising but goal-free start to his Port career, the likeable Brazilian got his season rolling with the winner against Ubon and hasn’t looked back since, scoring 5 in 5 games. Port finally have the Scary Foreign Striker we’ve been craving for the last 3 years.

 

Siwakorn – 25% (477 votes)

It was very tight for 2nd place with only a handful of votes in it, but the Skinny Genius just shaded it. Whenever we meet Port players and ask them who their best teammate is, they invariably reply “Siwakorn”, and the tiny midfielder is really coming of age this season with a string of dynamic, creative and destructive performances.

 

Worawut – 25% (472 votes)

The recent injury to Rattanai means Worawut has regained his place between the sticks and has taken the chance with both hands (rather than punching it away like he usually does). His penalty save at Chiang Rai particularly sticks in the memory – not only was it a great save in itself, but it arguably turned the game. At 2-0 down Port would’ve been dead; instead it was 1-1 a few minutes later and the momentum completely changed in Port’s favour.

 

Here are the final results in full:

 

Thanks to all who voted, and look out for May’s POTM vote!