Three Time Losers: Port FC 2-0 Muangthong Utd

 

 

“I’m a three time loser
Fucked it up in Khlongtoey
Fucked it up in Muangthong Thani
Now my friends say it’s here to stay”

(Rod Stewart, ‘Three Time Loser‘, 1975)

 

The Choketawee era continued to delight and amaze on Sunday. After inflicting Cheating Chiang Rai’s first FA Cup defeat since 2016 on Wednesday, Port finally beat Muangthong at home for the first time in ten years. Following league and cup wins at the SCG, it was Port’s third win over the Kirins this season alone. What a week.

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Third vs. Turd: Port FC vs. Muangthong Utd Preview

 

This week’s outstanding if nerve-wracking cup victory over Chiang Rai was arguably our best performance of the season, but Port will need to put in another considerable effort against their fiercest rivals to keep up the pace at the top of the table this weekend. 2 wins and a draw in our last 3 league games can’t hide the fact that we have flattered to deceive recently and the team selection shows there is still a lack of tactical awareness from the coaching staff.

And so it’s that shower of absolute bastards from Nonthaburi who come rolling into town this weekend and it couldn’t have come at a better time for them. But relax mate, you might counter, it’s a derby innit? The form book goes out the window. Well, the scumbag’s form book is so heavy with positive momentum it would be hard enough just to pick up the damn thing let alone chuck it. Also, don’t tell me to relax.

It was all so hysterically funny only a few months ago when those inept mugs found themselves stuck in the relegation zone and going through several managerial changes. Port even managed to rock up to Legoland twice and ran off into the night with 2 victories; firstly their third consecutive league victory in 3 seasons and more recently an absolute mugging in the last 16 of the FA Cup thanks to gifts from pretty boy Chappuis and the gargoyle-esque Teerasil (See above. Truly a hauntingly ugly man; I would hang his picture above the fireplace to keep the children away from the flames). But 7 wins and a draw in their last 8 league matches tells a different story and they now find themselves sitting comfortably in 6th position. Their away form is still a bit patchy (W2 D3 L6) but they are only 4 points off Port who only the good lord knows how still sit in 3rd position.

 

Ones to Watch

Heberty Fernandes

 

 

 

Heberty. Heberty. Heberty. Say his name 3 times and you develop an Irish accent but that’s where the joke ends. The Brazilian/Timorese attacker is their star performer, drifting ominously around the final third and popping up with key goals. On top of his 7 goals this season he’s racked up 8 assists and generally lifts the team’s all round performance. You could argue that if you stop him, you’ll stop the whole team, which I’m slightly inclined to agree with, so our full backs and defensive midfielders will have their work cut out tracking him around the pitch.

 

Alexandre Gama

 

 

If one individual is responsible for their return to form and march up the table then it has to be their Brazilian manager. A serial silverware winner for both Buriram and Chiang Rai, Gama has already taken an underperforming talent pool and molded a team that can play adventurous football in a 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 formation. My real reason for putting him in here is that he is also an absolute shithouse manager; every single time I have watched one of his teams in the flesh, he has walked onto the pitch to remonstrate with the match officials and most of the time he gets what he wants. With no away fans traveling to the PAT this weekend expect some dark arts from the bench if the chips are down.

 

The Home Team

 

The midweek cup performance will have given Choke/Spencer/Madame Pang (delete where applicable) a headache for team selection. Clearly width supplied by Bodin (10) and Pakorn (7) is the key to this team, and out of nowhere the usually woeful Sumanya (11) put on a high quality show which will surely justify his selection. This means Suarez (5) will probably find himself playing as a false 9. Or maybe the fear will creep into the training staff’s thinking and they opt for Josimar (30), back after being cup tied, who will defend more than Pakorn. Maybe. Probably. Rochela (22) will take his place in the stands after being cut from the league squad so either Tanaboon (71) or Todsapol (6) will come into the centre of defense. Most farang supporters prefer the latter but we all know Madame has her favourites so the ex-Glass man will probably get the nod.

 

 

Prediction

 

4-2 Port and I miss one, maybe 2 goals. You heard it here first. Cheers!

 


 

The match will be shown live at 18:00 on Sunday 11 August, 2019. For those who can’t make it to PAT Stadium, 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.

 

Port Stamp Out Beetles to Give Their Fans a Semi: Port FC 3-2 Chiang Rai

Arriving at the PAT this evening with the drab 1-1 draw at Prachuap fresh in the memory, my expectations for the evening were somewhat low. They were lowered even more when Chiang Rai announced a full strength side, followed by Port’s team sheet showing no out and out striker, plus the continued selection of Sumanya. I was itching for a more simple time when the “gaffer” would just hand in the team sheet on the back of a fag packet and we’d just play 4-4-f**king-2! …At least El Capitan was restored to the team, for what could potentially be his last match at Port.

 

 

With Port now a few games into the Choke experiment, I still wasn’t sure what was actually changing and what his master plan is in terms of the teams tactics and style, the system was still very similar to Jadet’s with the only real difference being Josimar round pegged into a very square hole on the right flank. After all the out and out fuckery during the transfer window to bring in a striker and ditch the one we already had, Roland “Tony” Blackburn (99) was again to be sitting on the bench.

 

First Half

Port were very quick out of the starting blocks with Suarez (5) forcing a save from the Chiang Rai keeper in the first minute of the match after a neat pass from Sumanya (11) allowed Sergio to unleash a low drive towards the bottom corner. This intense opening from Port would continue with Steuble (15) hanging in a nice low cross on his right foot (does he even have a left?) which Go (8) stooped in to head off the post. Ports early pressure finally paid off in the fifteenth minute when the much maligned Sumanya finally put in a decent corner that wrong-footed the Chiang Rai defence and deflected into the net with Dolah (4) in hot pursuit of a final touch.

Five minutes later, Sumanya produced his finest moment in a Port shirt this season, although to be fair, his highlight reel for 2019 prior to tonight could have easily fitted on a Vine clip (if that platform was still going…). He picked the ball up just inside the Chiang Rai half and charged through the centre into the penalty area, shaking off pursuing Chiang Rai defenders before calmly slotting it into the corner past the onrushing keeper. It was certainly the first time this season I can recall seeing this image on the Port scoreboard…

 

 

A couple of minutes later and Suarez almost killed the contest dead, latching onto a stray pass from the Chiang Rai keeper and unleashed a rasping thunderbastard of a shot from 25 yards that hit the underside of the crossbar and came out again. Port kept this tempo up for the rest of the first half and Chiang Rai didn’t know whether they were coming or going. Every time Bodin (10) had the ball, the Beetles’ back line had no real answers except to foul him. The Chiang Rai defence were being pressed in their own half and given no time on the ball. “Friend” of the Sandpit and full-time pantomime villain (fat) Bill (9) was being kept very quiet, especially after an early challenge from Dolah….”a reducer” as Big Ron used to call them.

As the half-time whistle went, it was still hard to take in what had just happened. A Port team that have looked out of sorts ever since the Buriram game had just played the current 2nd place team off the park with Sumanya actually having a big impact on the game.

 

Second Half

Attacking Zone B, Port continued with the same pace as the first half. Pakorn (7) had a free-kick right at the start of the second half which whistled just wide of the post. A few minutes later and Port went up to a 3-0 lead. A free kick was worked out to the wing where Martin Steuble floated in an absolute beaut of a cross for Suarez to leap up and head into the bottom corner. A quick look around the terrace confirmed the goal had indeed come in Toby Time ©. This was getting almost too easy, but this is Port after all… Chiang Rai went straight up the other end with a quick counter attack, A bouncer of a cross evaded the Port defence and Worawut (36), leaving Big Bill with a tap in at the back post.

Back up the other end and Pakorn had a free-kick cleared off the line but Chiang Rai were starting to work their way into the game, the shithousery was beginning to dial up with their entire bench seemingly up off their seats and in the linesman’s ear in front of Zone A, joined by Big Bill who at one point, seemed more interested in protesting on the touchline than actually running around on the pitch. As Chiang Rai began turning the screw more, a handball was awarded against Dolah in the penalty area and up stepped Bill with the penalty to move us into squeaky-bum time. The onset of nerves were not helped by the substitutions, the excellent Bodin was withdrawn for Tanaboon (71) with Pakorn making way for Nurul (31). While Pakorn had redeemed himself somewhat this evening, his replacement Nurul went on to have somewhat of a stinker, blowing chances for Port to put the tie beyond doubt. With just over ten minutes to go, Worawut produced a great save after a free-kick took a wicked deflection on the way through that could so easily have wrong-footed him, yet he produced a great save to keep Port in the lead.

Just as fears of operation f**k-up were creeping in, Chiang Rai’s shithousery finally caught up with them. William (11) was given his second yellow for taking out Go right in front of zone C. With Chiang Rai down to ten, Port were able to get back to doing what they did so well in the first half. Quick passes, neat one-twos and stretching the play. But… as we’d withdrawn Pakorn, Bodin and then Suarez (for Rolando), the replacement attack wasn’t quite up to the task of adding a fourth goal.

There was a sight to behold on injury time as Steuble ran the ball out of defence, pursued by Bill, who soon ended up flat on his face and probably blew a couple of arteries in the process of trying to chase down Steuble in the first place.

The full-time whistle signaled the end of a fantastic performance from Port, who now go into the semi-final draw with Buriram, Bangkok Utd and Ratchaburi.

 

 

The Sandpit’s Man of the Match

My heart says Bodin, who was unplayable in the time he was allowed on the pitch tonight, but I will have to go with Sumanya. I never thought I’d be saying that at all this season! His performances all year have ranged from ref shoving, to anonymous, to flat out awful….tonight he actually looked the part as Ports attack dominated the first half. A key assist in the first goal and a stunning second goal, it goes without saying he needs to turn in more than one of these performances a season.

 

Port Futsal Club vs. Asia’s Finest: AFC Club Championship Starts Today

 

After last season’s incredible double-winning season, Port Futsal Club will be Thailand’s representatives in the AFC Club Championship 2019 for the first time in 9 years. With Chonburi having won 7 times in a row before last season, Port have mostly been playing in a smaller international tournament for ASEAN’s top teams, but this year they are up against the continent’s big boys.

The three teams in Port’s group are Star FS, Shenzen Nanling and Osh EREM. Their first game against South Korean club Star FC kicks off on Wednesday 7th, unfortunately clashing with the football team’s FA Cup Quarter Final tie against Chiang Rai. The second game takes place on Friday 9th against China’s Shenzen Nanling, and Port’s final group game will see them take on Kyrgyzstan’s Osh EREM on Sunday 11th. This one also clashes with a big game for the football team – the home tie against Muangthong. All games kick off at 19:30 at Bangkok Arena in Nong Chok. If you’ve never heard of Nong Chok, there’s a good reason for that. It’s one district further away than Minburi! The games will also be shown online on Bugaboo TV, who provided an excellent service for the AFC Cup last year.

What are Port’s chances? Well, I know very little about the continental futsal scene, but Thailand are among Asia’s strongest countries, and Port are worthy champions. Not only did they scoop the double last year, but this season they sit 7 points clear at the top, and just last week they stuck 15 goals past NEU Khon Kaen. This is a team on fine form who will not be scared by the finest Asia has to offer, particularly as they will be playing on home soil. It’s a shame from Port’s point of view that Kodang Stadium isn’t the venue, but it’s perfectly understandable that a rickety old warehouse that leaks water through the ceiling is not appropriate to host the biggest club futsal tournament in Asia!

 

 

There has been one significant change to Port’s squad for the tournament. Brazilian pivot Rian Gomes (20) has been replaced by a loanee from Bangkok BTS, Muhammad Osamanmusa (11). This young fella is one of the best players in the country, having scored an outrageous 39 goals in 29 games for Thailand. Let’s hope the goals continue to flow!

 

The Fifth Quarter: Port FC vs. Chiang Rai FA Cup Quarter Final Preview

 

Yes, this is the fifth quarter. You shouldn’t be surprised at the complete lack of sense in the title. Port regularly have pre-season friendlies that have three halves and a full PAT stadium apparently contains 6,000 fans. So this is our fifth quarter, our fifth quarter final in seven seasons after the golden era of back-to-back 2009-2010 Cup victories and a trip to the League Cup Final in 2011.

 

The Five Quarters

2013 FA Cup 4-0 rainy Wednesday away loss to a dominant Buriram team. Witnessed by Giz and a handful of hardy away fans including the guy with the gammy leg. Fans had a Leo based Port picnic outside the Thunder Castle. Then the team was quickly devoured inside the ground as the heavens opened.

2016 League Cup a glorious 4 -1 demolition of Lampang. (Don’t mention the war.)

2016 FA Cup 4-0 loss to Sukhothai where we played a second team to focus on our faltering attempt to gain promotion. We gained promotion but missed out on one quarter of the FA Cup and a place in the AFC Champions League. The cup and league were suspended so officially there were four joint FA Cup holders and they drew lots to see who went into the Champions League. Sukhothai won that draw.

2018 FA Cup a disappointing if not unexpected 3-1 home loss to a decent Buriram side.

2019 FA Cup ?

 

The Chiang Right Time? Not Even Close

On Wednesday night we face a Chiang Rai team that managed to humble Buriram 4-0 and put Port to the sword 4-1 at PAT stadium. It was a fairly even game up to half way through the second half, Port pushed up looking for the equaliser then were shown no quarter with two late goals crushing any hope of a comeback. Chiang Rai have always looked a decent team but now they sit in 2nd place looking like they could make a genuine challenge to be league champions. What has caused this? A thinner Bill, maybe. He’s definitely lost a sizable fraction of his body weight since the beginning of 2019. He’s half the player he was, but for Bill that’s a great step forward.

There is also a new kid on the block Ekanit Panya (37) who’s knocked in 2 goals in 3 matches. The 19 year old left footed midfielder has pace and stands up to a tackle well. He’s not scared to shoot, and not scared to shout “I was bloody open there” to his older teammates. Likely to provide a big headache breaking from midfield when Chiang Rai also have Bill (9) and William Henrique (11) as attacking options beside him.

 

 

T1 stalwart center back Brinner (5) occasionally bombing on forward at corners is also a worry. Chiang Rai have their own towering Korean Yong-rae Lee (8), countering our man Go (8). Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul (6) will sit next to Lee and provide the platform for the rest to go forward. All in all Chiang Rai are up in 2nd for good reason. So how do we win? Going back in time to three months ago would help. The last two goals Chiang Rai conceded have come from defensive mistakes on either side of their defence. Bodin weaving in on the left with a cross to Suarez striding past their right back is the one chance we have. So we just have to do that from the kick off then sit on the ball for 89 minutes.

 

 

Portents

Port need something to cling to, a tiny fraction of hope. This hope comes in the fact we are not shit. We’re not as good as we could be but we are not the ramshackle relegation Port of 2012. Nor are we the team of a newly anointed owner/controller/dictator getting through five managers a year. We are not lead by Brent McGrath and Kanye West singing “Half Price” in 2015. But we are the half as good as we should be Port of 2019.

We are getting better, but these results have come despite the new manager and new formation not because of them.  So where do we find hope? Steuble (15) has proved he can easily hold his own in T1. Bodin (10) is looking dangerous whenever he’s given a bit of space. Suarez was suspended for the last match so will be rested and raring to go.

 

The Rochela Question

A fully fit Rochela (22) would slot straight into this squad. Unfortunately he’s not currently in the league team so the cup is all he has. I did ask him what he thought his chances of playing on Wednesday were, he said as diplomatically as ever, “It’s very difficult only playing one game a month.” Fully match fit he’s in the squad, but without regular T1 football there is a question mark over his selection. I’d pick him, we have had four games in two weeks Tanaboon (71) might benefit from the rest or he could push Tanaboon forward into his natural position as a defensive midfielder. If he is going to insist on playing him. Speaking of unwarranted team selection, Sumanya (11) has been screwing up our free kicks so much that even I have been shouting for the return of Pakorn (7). Every player we’ve ever interviewed has said they love playing with Pakorn. You might have to work harder with him in the team, but he can turn it on and create game winning opportunities. He drives me mental but I’d still pick him nine tenths of the time.

Up front Josimar is cup tied, and Dragan Boskovic watched the last FA Cup match at Muangthong in jeans and a T-shirt drinking beer with his mate Mario. Something I roundly criticised him for on Sunday only to find out he’s not registered for the FA Cup so can’t play.

 

Thirteen Elevenths of a Side

 

 

Possible substitutions:

Nurul (31) for Bodin (10) on 70 minutes.

Todsapol for Rochela if needed.

 

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

On form Chiang Rai must be favourites for this one. But… but…. well, please pick your own mindlessly optimistic phrase to help you enjoy an FA Cup Quarter Final night out. These are my top 10.

  • But…  Pakorn can always slot home a free kick.
  • Pang desperately wants silverware, she’ll be having a chat with the ref.
  • Blackburn has to come good at some point, he has scored two already.
  • It’s at PAT we always raise our game for the FA Cup at home.
  • Nurul being subbed on in the last 20 will do them for pace on their right.
  • We are unbeaten under the new manager he must be good luck.
  • We’ve won every home game we’ve played on a Wednesday this year.
  • Maybe someone will randomly hand us two joints before the game.
  • All the Previews and Match reports are sorted so Dominick won’t be bending everyone’s ear trying to get them to do one.
  • I’m just here for the Leo anyway.

 

My prediction, lots of people will drink beer and enjoy a night out at PAT Stadium. The Football may unfortunately get in the way a bit, but then again …

 

Honest Prediction

Port 1-3 Chiang Rai

 


 

The match kicks off at 7.00 p.m. Wednesday 7th August. It is being shown on True Sports HD 3. If you can’t get down to PAT Stadium the match will be shown as always at our sponsors the Sportsman on Sukhumvit Soi 13.

 

The Tony Blackburn Late Show: PT Prachuap FC 1-1 Port FC

 

 

The Journey

With the game scheduled for a Sunday kick-off and the stadium being approximately 300 KM from Bangkok, there was not the usual demand for the the away day mini-bus trip. With this in mind, I decided to combine two of my favourite passions, watching live football and riding motorcycles. My wife and a mate set off on Saturday, with a one night stop over near Sangkhlaburi and then headed south to Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The Stadium

This was my first trip to Prachuap and we were all highly impressed by the scenic bay, with its calm waves and limestone outcrop as we rode along the beach front to our hotel. What struck us immediately was how friendly everyone was. The hotel manager couldn’t do enough to help and promptly booked us a motorbike for our journey to the stadium, which was situated about 3KM from where we were staying. When she asked, ‘Did i want a motorbike with a side car’, visions of Wallace and Grommit ‘entered my head. However, thankfully it wasn’t quite what I imagined and we grabbed a Heineken and headed to the ground.

 

 

The friendly nature of the Prachuap locals continued inside the ground as we headed to buy tickets and grab another beer. The two ladies selling the tickets offered us free coconut ice cream with sticky rice with proud gleaming smiles, a welcome which was most appreciated.

 

Small gestures like this go a long way and significantly enhances the away day experience. The Port faithful had travelled in two disco buses and in the background you could hear the usual pre-match chants, sung along to the rhythmic beat of the drums.

Unfortunately, Prachuap’s stadium has a running track, so it’s difficult to see what’s happening at the far end of the pitch, but more annoying is the huge scoreboard which stands directly in front of the away supporters (see main image). This truly baffled us, as there is an open space to the side of the away end – I guess logic is seriously lacking in some people. On the plus side, beer can be taken into the stadium and as there were only approximately 150-200 Port supporters at the match, we could position ourselves to the side of the hideous scoreboard.

 

Expectations

Following the poor run of form, Port gaining just 2 league points from 6 games and Madam’s irrational panic buying, Port have managed to win their last two league games, but hardly in a convincing manner. Most of us would generally agree that during ‘Leg 1’, we’d seen the most exciting Port team since the likes of Leandro and Saruta graced the pitch. With the fast paced attack, now a distant memory, even though Prachuap were just above the relegation zone, I expected no more than a draw from this game.

The Match

With Suarez banned for a stupid yellow in the last match away at Trat, Port lined up with the same team, that was on the pitch after the Spaniard’s early exit (Chenrop starting up front). Why Rolando Blackburn (AKA Tony), didn’t start was a mystery to most of us. If you are going to replace your foreign players in the mid season transfer window, then at least ensure they are good enough to start games (The mind boggles). However, despite the rather damp pitch Port got off to a promising start with several shots on goal in the opening minutes. As early as the third minute, Josimar played a delightful long ball from the right wing, which fell perfectly for Bodin, who hesitated as Ratchapol (2), Prachuap’s keeper smothered the ball. Maybe it was just too early in the game and our contender for player of the season was half asleep, or he thought the linesman’s flag had gone up, but this was a great early chance. Prachuap followed this effort with a few half chances of their own inside the first 6 minutes, but nothing to bother the ever dependable Worawut. Whilst the football wasn’t exactly Tiki-Taka, it was end to end stuff at times. In the 14th minute, Sivakorn played a ball towards Steuble (15), but his shot, which was directed towards the post was pushed away by their keeper.

In order to remember the action, I decided to record my comments into my phone. Unfortunately, when I played them back the next day, all I could hear was the sound of loud drums and the Port faithful singing along – so much for that bright idea (Doh). However, somewhere around the 20 minute mark, Port had an attack which resembled a game of tennis, with Josimar and Bodin firing in crosses from the left and right wings, missing all the players that had been bothered to get forward for the attack.

Chenrop was looking lively and appeared to be inter-changing with Josimar who was playing on the right of a front three. A good chance came on 16 minutes, when Bodin put in a cross from the left, towards Josimar who was lingering just in front of goal, but his header looped over the crossbar. On 28 minutes, Port were awarded a free kick just outside the 18 yard box. This is where Pakorn earns his money and if he had been on the pitch I would have put money on the back of the net bulging. However, he was on the bench, so it was down to Sumanya who’s effort looped over the top right corner of the cross bar. I’m not a fan of Sumanya, but thought he was having one of his better games.

Prachuap had been fairly awful in the first half and it was clear why they are in a relegation battle this season. However, on 34 minutes, they had a rare shot on goal as Supot (9) struck a long range shot just wide of the target. Towards the end of the first half an inswinging corner almost caught Worawut out, but thankfully, he managed to tip the ball over the bar. With heart planted firmly in mouth, we headed for half time drinks.

Having somewhat enjoyed the first half, the second half was a huge disappointment. If anyone thinks we can beat Chang Rai this coming Wednesday, then can you must be listening to Dolly Parton.

Port made three substitutions early in the second half, with Pakorn, Tony and Narul coming on for Bodin, Chenrop and Sumanya. Prachuap definitely had the better of the second half and broke the deadlock in the 74th minute in a fashion which summed up the game. Sirod played a ball into the box, only for Tanabon (71) to slide in and slot the ball into his own net – Great, another top transfer from Madam!!!! Port did battle on, but looked unlikely to score, even though Tony and Josi were attempting to form a partnership up front. Tony spawned a good chance in the 88th minute and one can’t be blamed for wondering why he had replaced Boscovic. Then, in the dying seconds of the game, Josimar’s long range effort was deflected by Ratchapol and who was there to stick in the rebound, none other than the famous Grange Hill Radio One D.J. himself. That’s now 2 goals in 4 games for the man who’s come from Panama to play for Ta Rua (lyrical credit to Tim R.) Bosco is probably a better player, but the fact is Tony plays as a striker whereas Bosco always wanted to play left side. If he had lead the line, he probably would still be playing at Port today.

Final Thoughts

Despite the poor second half, it was a very enjoyable day out and I would highly recommend a trip to Prachuap, if they do not get relegated this year. The atmosphere was great, nice supporters and an aesthetically pleasing location to watch football. As the famous Jimmy Greaves once said, ‘It’s a game of two halves’, and whilst Port probably had the better of the first half, Prachuap were the better team in the second. With results generally going our way, Port are still in third place, four points from the top.

When we left the stadium three young Prachuap fans came up to me to shake my hand, then one asked me to sign his shirt. No idea why, maybe they thought he thought I was a retired football player. He’s obviously never seen me kick a ball.

On another random note, when we headed out for Pizza later, some weird form of ballroom dancing was taking place. The streets were teeming with life in a mini carnival type atmosphere.

 

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match:

None other that the football genius himself Sivakorn!

 

Killer Wasps to Ruin Walk in the Park?: PT Prachuap FC vs Port FC Preview

 

Greetings from Milton Keynes, the Samut Prakan of EFL One! Well, Bletchley actually, a town best known for being the home of the Codebreakers, that sterling group of men and women who cracked the German Enigma and Lorenz codes, effectively shortening the Second World War by several years. On a less earth-shattering note, their Bletchley Park home was also the site of my teacher training college, although none of us, at the time, studying in the Bletchley Girls’ Nissan huts on how to administer corporal punishment without drawing blood, were aware of its weighty history. 

Today, Bletchley is a pale shadow of its former, glorious past. The main street, Queensway, named after a royal visit in 1966, has more charity outlets than an Oxfam convention, while the most notable cultural event in the town in recent years was the opening of a new Weatherspoons, ostentatiously named, ‘Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party’, a reference to the first, secret gathering of MI6 operatives at the Park, none of whom had a spot of poaching in mind. 

This brief history lesson is actually just a delaying tactic before I have to embark on  the painful task of analyzing Port’s dismal form since my departure, a demise which I have watched with growing alarm and more than a little sense of guilt. As far as I can recall, Port have repeatedly had a July slump, coinciding with my Summer travels.  Last year it was the exits from both Cups in a week. I am not being bold enough to suggest that I personally might have any influence over the results but it just might be the absence of the woolly hat, always a comforting and inspirational sight to the players attacking Zone B, that is at the root of the problem. Maybe I should have just stuck it on a pole behind the goal for the duration of my travels. Anyway, sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. 

I have naturally followed the discourses on the Sandpit and, whatever the reasons: team selection, tactics, hapless transfer shenanigans, injuries, loss of form, lack of confidence; it has made for painful reading.  And yet, amazingly, due to the seemingly, equal incompetence of the other challengers, we are still just three points behind an AFC qualifying spot, although the 5 points deficit from Buriram at the top will be tough to make up. Dolah’s vital header on Sunday brought much needed relief to what I imagine has been an increasingly frustrated Port faithful and hopefully will provide a springboard to a revival. Due to travel commitments this week, I am writing this preview before the tricky away visit to Trat, but the Killer Wasps’ recent form gives Port some kind of optimism that their sting can continue to be drawn. 

After a promising start, Prachuap have tumbled at a more alarming rate than Port, with their last League win at Ratchaburi on June 22nd and now find themselves firmly in the relegation zone, after another home reversal v Chonburi at the weekend.  Port may also draw comfort from their 5-0 victory in the reverse fixture. 

With Brazilian top scorer Caion, on loan to Chonburi, Prachuap have recruited another Brazilian, Maurinho (30), straight from the Samba Shores, as well as French-Senegalese, Jean-Philippe Mendy (14). Mendy seems to have had a fascinating career, once scoring for Dinamo Bucharest against Tottenham Hotspur in the EUFA Cup, as well as being a bit of a clever git, speaking 5 languages: English, Italian, French, Romanian and Wolof.  Naturally, he is a bit of globetrotter, formerly playing in Romania, Croatia, Abu Dhabi, Slovenia and China. For those interested, ‘Go Away’ in Wolof is ‘Deemal Waay!’ The Wasps’ international contingent is completed by the slightly more dour Eastern European combo of Artyom Filiposyan (16)(Amernia-Uzbekhistan) and Adnan Orahova (22) (Montenegro). Pity Bosko is not around to wind them up. Siroch (35), a good, old fashioned, battering ram striker will be familiar to most Port fans but his appearances have been largely from the bench. 

Port’s win over Sukothai was their first in the League since May 29th  so it might be wise to stick with the same starting eleven, although I hardly feel qualified to comment on this from afar, having only seen brief clips of the new arrivals. So I will go with the predicted line-up against Trat in the hope that a rousing victory is achieved and we go into the next game with a settled, winning team.

Worawut; Nitipong, Tanaboon, Dolah, Steuble; Siwakorn, Go, Sumanya; Pakorn, Suarez, Bodin.

(Editor’s note: Suarez managed to get booked for dissent yet again at Trat so will miss Sunday’s game through suspension)

I will look forward to my return on August 5th, just in time for the FA Cup quarter-final against Chiang Rai. It will be good to be back. The woolly hat thinks so too!

 

Elbow, a Seldom Seen Win: Trat FC 1-2 Port FC

 

 

Needing a win to keep pace with the league leaders, and keep the gap from Muang ***** after their win earlier in the night, the air in my condo was filled with: excitement, anticipation, the smell of last night’s pizza box on the floor, and lavender (from an air freshener I bought minutes ago to mask the smell of the aforementioned pizza).  The perfect recipe for a footballing spectacle.

The lineup was unchanged from Sunday’s win. Personally I’m a fan of Worawut in goal. Pakorn may have had help with his fine, but not a helping hand from Pang Spencer Jadet Choke Pang back into the starting XI. Josimar this time playing where he was listed, up top through the middle, as opposed to on the wing like we saw last time out. (As I have typed this he just switched with Sergio and is now I RW, 8 minutes into the game) (Correction, he is in the middle again. He shall forth be known as “Central Josimar” and “Wide Josimar”).

Trat came close early doors after some poor zonal marking left a free header that was glanced wide, not a confident start by any stretch of the imagination.

Central Josimar had a great chance on 11 minutes, with a seemingly open header (although in fairness slightly too high for him) that he completely butchered and floated into lane 8 of the athletics track. Best chance of the match in the first knockings of the game for either side.

SERGIOOO, SERGIOOOOO, continues being the Thai Port Talisman when, following a headed assist from Central Josimar, his fancy footwork helped him send 2 Trat defenders the wrong way in the box, and tidily slotted the ball into the bottom left making it 1-0 on 19 minutes. 

Drama then ensued shortly after the goal, with out hero turned, swatted, then bloodied, then villain, then booked, then subbed. Bukkake (Baihakki), the Trat CB appeared to purposely leave one on Suarez, splitting his chin open, instantly drawing blood.  As Sergio leaked red he also saw red (well yellow), when he charged at the ref demanding a red card. In my opinion we have seen this too many time from Suarez, and he lost his cool, deserving harsher punishment. Red cards all round wouldn’t have been unreasonable. Sergio will now miss the next game vs Prachaup due to the totting up rule.

Chenrop was brought on for Suarez after his chin wouldn’t stop bleeding. Odd choice considering Blackburn is sat on the bench.,, but hey, when do Port substitutions ever make sense.

Wide Josimar received a yellow card on 30 minutes after a silly foul, showing that he hasn’t quite mastered the art of tracking back yet. But at least he tried…

Literally nothing else happened in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

Port started the 2nd half much better than they did the first with Chenrop going with a low driven shot turned round the corner from about 20yards.

That Boy Bodin, made it 2-0 just before 70 minutes, taking advantage of a grounded Trat defender that was playing him miles onside. Unsportsmanlike? Potentially… Could I care less? No. No I couldn’t. Despite the gift of being onside, Bodin still had to put the ball in the back of the net, and as the rain poured down, he slid the ball into the far corner across the skiddy surface like a young Thierry Henry. (Yes, I did just compare Bordin to Henry.)

The 2-0 lead was short lived. From the restart it was all Trat and they pressured Port into giving away a soft goal. A poor pass deflected off Dolah, presenting Doumbouya a one on one that he slipped past the on rushing Worawut. Questions of offside from when the pass was initially made. But no appeals on the pitch. A deserved, if not a bit fortunate, goal for the home side. 2-1. 

Pang Spencer Jadet Choke Pang brought on Pakorn & Blackburn for Bordin & Sumanya after the home side made it 2-1. Would have preferred to see a Rochela come on to sure things up in the middle… but… well you know the story. 

Pakorn however made an instant impact with some dazzling footwork on the edge of the box, winning a free kick 19 yards out. Form the free kick he lost his footing upon striking the ball, and still managed to hit the post.

Port survived squeaky bum time to finish 2-1 victors, and after other results went their way this evening, it sees us (somehow) only 3 points off top! We still aren’t seeing the free flowing football we were in the first half of the season, but 2 wins on the trot, with a winnable away trip to Prachaup at the weekend could see us go… dare I say it… 1st?!?!?

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match: Nitipong

Nitipong. Thought he had a solid game going forward and defensively. He put the ball in the mixer that eventually led to the opening goal.  Also, there didn’t appear to be any Trat threats from his side of the field all game.