The Sandpit’s 2020/21 Port FC Player of the Year Poll

 

The season that felt like it would never end finally did, and as such is time to look back and reflect on what it meant for Port. Over the coming days we’ll have reviews, a Goal of the Season vote and a couple of other awards to dish out.

Kicking things off though, is the biggie: the public vote for The Sandpit’s player of the season. The first three editions were won by the Port’s Spanish contingent; first Rochela scooped the prize in 2016 and 2017, before Sergio Suarez took over in 2018. Last season Nitipong scored the first domestic win. Now it’s up to you, the public, to decide who out of the shortlisted players takes the prize. Voting will close at 7pm Thai time on Sunday.

 

กรุณาโหวตนักเตะยอดเยี่ยมประจำปี 2020/21 ครับทุกคน

 

Vote for your 2020/21 Port FC Player of the Year

 

Bill Kills Port in Home Season Ender. Port 0- 1 Chiangrai Match Report.

 

As a school teacher, you see the telltale signs in the last few weeks leading up to the end of the school year. Students are listless, inattentive, impatient, lethargic, apathetic, lackadaisical, spiritless…Bingo! I have just described Port FC players in a discouraging home loss to Chiang Rai 0-1 on Saturday afternoon. It was the final home match of the season for the Lions and it looked like they can’t wait for this ‘endless season’ to end.

Bonilla, not the only one to find it a frustrating afternoon. 

The season opener at PAT Stadium was fourteen months ago. Port sported an impressive 9-3-2 home record until Saturday’s loss. The realization of the last home match of the season seemed to put a look of melancholy on many supporters faces at kick off. By the end of the match that look had turned to one of disgust. Fourteen months of wild ups and downs for supporters. This match was definitely on the downside. The match started off on the right foot, er..make that the left foot of Bonilla (99). At the 22 minute mark, Siwakorn (16) gave a streaking Bonilla a beautiful advance pass and his trademark laser shot forced Chiang Rai keeper Saranon to make a great diving save. Bordin (10) showed momentary signs of brilliance in the first half as he dipsey doodled past a couple of Beetle defenders and took a shot wide. Port had a great chance at the 42 minute mark when Bonilla fed Adisak (9) inside with a great ball but Adisak couldn’t convert (story of his season).

Bordin does the dipsey doodle

However, most of the match’s excitement centred around Chiang Rai’s number 9 Bill versus the entire Port FC side. Bill fell down in supposedly writhing pain in the Port FC penalty box after GK Worawut invisibly brushed him with his arm. Bill’s theatrics did not go unnoticed by Port assistant coach Milan Devic. He confronted Bill at halftime about the incident and there was enough shoving and pushing going on to warrant a red card for Milan. He continued to show his disdain for Bill as a spectator in the second half.

Milan – leader, legend, Bill truther.

 

The second half was when the lethargy and the disinterest began to show in Port player efforts. Fourteen months is a long time for a season and all the players can see the finish line. Chiang Rai outplayed Port for most of the second half and it was Bill who delivered the coup de gras as his 85′ mark low shot found the inside of the far post. It was Bill’s 16 goal of the season. The loss puts Port in a precarious position heading into next weekends season wrap up in Korat. Chances of finishing above Buriram for second place are remote and a hard charging fourth place Chiang Rai has got Port players attention. Their attention has been hard to find recently as this ‘endless season’ is about to end.

Port lost so heres the sad Oud sideline pic

 

Man Of The Match

We hate him, we loathe him and he is the poster boy for everything that we believe is wrong about Thai football but Rosimar Amancio of Chiang Rai Beetles is a damn fine football player. He scored his 16th goal of the season in Saturday’s match. Bill also scored as an agitator and seemed to have Port players paying attention to him instead of the football.

Bill, takes heaps of abuse from us but there are few more effective players in the league.

 

Unmarked Pictures: Allie Suwanrumpha(@endresultphoto)

Captions The Sandpit.

Port and Ref Prach Things Up. Match Report Prachuap 1 -3 Port.

 

 

 

This winning thing appears to be a habit as Port made it two wins in a row, emerging from last nights trip to Prachuap with a 3-1 victory. Whilst it was once again basement dwellers that were beaten this was a higher stand of opposition than the Rayong side faced at the weekend. Although they were weakened by the continued absence of William aka Thin Bill. Port meanwhile made 5 changes and seemed to approach the game with a different style to the normal 4-3-3.

Which had little time to become apparent before Port put the ball in the net. As one of the changes, Boli (94) got on to the end of a Pakorn (7) corner and headed home. Sadly, the referee had blown for a foul by the scorer on Prachuap’s Filiposyan (16), who as the saying goes went down rather easily for a big man, after what appeared to be the merest of touches from the (non) scorer.  The process would be repeated in the 6th minute as Prachuap keeper Natthapong’s (13) hospital pass to Adul (25) was nicked by Suarez (5) on the edge of the box who squared for Boli to send the ball goalwards. Sadly it would be the officials in the VAR room who would deny Boli this time, as no matter how many angles and lines they looked at, they all showed he was a matter of inches ahead of Suarez at the moment the ball was played.However, the Ivorian would enjoy his most productive appearance in a Port shirt since signing from Ratchaburi, looking somewhere close to the player who bagged 8 goals in 13 league appearance for the Dragons. Seemingly enjoying a more fluid system that saw him and Bonilla (99), often playing more centrally with one dropping deeper into spaces normally occupied by Suarez. Who at times played as a more traditional central midfielder.

After that spell of initial Port dominance, Prachuap grew into the contest and would create a series of half chances of their own, the best of which saw an unmarked Saranyoo(87) just fail to get a touch on a deflected shot with the  goal at his mercy. Prachuap’s right wing back was a pugnacious irritant for the 72 minutes he lasted on the field, at the forefront of what appeared to be a tactic to rough certain Port players and generally break the game up while the scores where level. However, the deadlock wouldn’t last long, as from the resultant corner Port broke with Go (8) sending a well weighted long ball down the left flank for Bonilla, who once gain turned provider and crossed for the on rushing Boli to send a diving header home. Leaving the officials with absolutely no means of denying him the opening goal for a third time. The official in charge was Natee Choosuwan, who last took change of a Port game, for Burriram in 2019, putting a sterling performance to get the Thundercastle a 3-1 win.

 

Third times a charm, Boli gives Port the lead

He would have a hand Port’s second of the night, just after the half hour, as he awarded a freekick (rightly) for Suarez being brought down on the edge of the Prachuap area. Just one of a succession of fouls, as he seemed to be the primary target of the previously mentioned targeted fouling. Pakorn  stepped up and with Port forming their own wall in front of the defensive one, which may have impeded its positioning before disintegrating just as the winger struck the ball or perhaps its was just a wonderful freekick that was going in anyway, sent the ball into the top corner.

 

Pakorn makes it 2-0

 

 

As is traditional when Port go 2-0 up they set about making things uncomfortable. As the second halfs better chances generally came the hosts way, first Chutipon (6) would rattle the woodwork. Then a loose pass from Go was collected by Willian Mota (30), who’s though ball allowed Pumin (9) to poke the ball past the advancing Rattanai (18) and make it 2-1. A trick Mota nearly repeated moment later this time it was Chutipon on the end but Rattanai collected at the second attempt. With the risk of an equalizer leading to Oud engaging in some touchline self flagellation growing by the minute, the match was settled by a comic goal, thankfully the way of Port. As Natthapong raced out to clear Suarez’s ball into pace for substitute Adisak (9), just getting there first, only to succeed in blasting his clearance on to the boot of the striker and back into his net.

 

An “instinctive” finish by Adisak to wrap things up

This weekend Port face Bangkok United at home, the game will have fans in attendance capped at 25% of capacity, at the time of writing there is no word on how tickets will be allocated, we’ll let you know as soon as we hear.

 

 

Man of the Match.

Its not often you score 3 and don’t get man of the match but Boli is technically only credited with one. Pakorn’s freekick was a thing of beauty and nearly get him over the line. Kannerin had a good game covering for the suspended Siwakorn, to the point that one member of the Sandpits Sivisgod cult referred to  him as “the next Siwakorn” – praise doesn’t come much higher. However once again most of the good things that happened for Port had Suarez heavily involved.

 

(Less) BAD VS. (Close to) WORSE: PORT FC VS. PRACHUAP PREVIEW

Port travel to Prachuap for this evenings fixture, well given that I’m writing this at lunchtime on match day, you’d hope they’d already travelled. Maybe even been rewarded with a night by the sea by the club, for ending a run of six games without a win last time out against Rayong. The game will be part of the first round to allow fans to attend since the most recent restart, with stadiums, allowed 25% of their capacity to be used. Good news for this weekends home match v Bangkok United.

Tonight’s host find themselves in what increasingly looks like a three way battle to escape the last relegation spot along with Suphanburi and Sukhothai. A relegation battle which is looking like a disaster for those of us who like a beach based football away weekends, with Rayong and Trat’s plight looking beyond salvation, the possible of Prachuap joining them would be somewhat of a disaster. Sadly the T2 promotion race offers absolutely nothing in the way of possible coastal replacements.

 

Prachuap Form

Since the league returned at the start of February, they’ve managed 11 points from 7 games. A repeat of which from their remaining 7 fixture would almost certainly be enough to stave off relegation. The highlight of which was a 1-0 home win over Chiangrai United. The Killer Wasp’s sole victory against top 7 teams this season, against whom their record is 1 win 2 loses and 7 defeats so far. Scoring in just 3 of those 10 games. Although that does include their visit to (not) the PAT, as Port emerged victorious 2-1 in a home game played at the Leo Stadium, way back in the floodlight failure period of this protracted season. The last week of February saw a bit of a dip with a 4-0 defeat to the Samut Prakan Dons, followed by back to 1-1 draws with Ratchaburi and Police. The match v Ratchaburi being particularly remarkable, set for 4 minutes of second half injury time, it saw penalties scored in the 98th and 103rd minutes. As you may have guessed the wonder of VAR arrived to once again improve everyone’s match experience, first giving one of its ball to hand penalties to Prachuap converted by Mota (30). There was still time for Ratchaburi to earn a penalty of their own, with Roller’s spot kick saved by Nattapong (13), resulting in a joyous pile on of Prachuap players. Sadly for them, Filiposyan(16) had entered the penalty area before the penalty was taken and given that it was he who hacked the rebounding ball clear, there was no option other than a retake. Converted by Langsil, some 13 minutes after the scheduled end of the game.

Players to Watch.

 

Thin Bill and his little shorts, still striking fear into defenders across Thailand.

To be honest, I’ve not seen a whole heap of Prachuap this season and given the limited time I’ve got to write this preview, I’ll not be diving deep into the youtube highlights. So in classic style its based on a couple of games, one of which is their last match against Port and some outdated opinions from past seasons.
Hence the obvious starting point Wiliam (10) aka Thin Bill the former Chiangrai player. A well know menace to Thai defences, he did miss the last match but if he plays whoever gets the nod in Port’s problem left back role can expect a tough evening. He’s performances appear to have maintained the level of past seasons to the point, l recently saw Prachuap described as William plus 10 others. Fellow Brazilian forward Willian Mota (30) has managed a respectable 12 goals so this season.
Which means the Brazilian striking due have managed 18 out of a total of 27. The next best is Chutipon (6) who is the only other player to score more than once.
Keeping duties have recently been taken over by Nattapong (13), the one game he’s missed since getting his first start, saw the Wasp’s concede 4, while he has conceded once in each of his 3 league starts. However, the real reason for mentioning him is he A) wears a Petr Cech style scum cap and following on from yesterday’s report he is the only keeper to wear 13 to face Port so far this season.
We next come to their pair of hulking centrebacks the earlier mentioned Uzbekian Atyom Fliposyan (16), who signed for Prachuap when they joined T1 in 2018, returning in January this year having departed before the start of this season for Indonesia. Alongside him is Montenegrin Adan Orahovac (22). What you get from these to is classic physical centre back play, such that you couldn’t rule out them continuing their partnership beyond football making a career in low budget action movies credited as henchman 4 and 5.

 

Port

Siwakorn (16) and Bordin (10) picked up yellow cards against Rayong. While Dolah (4) has served his and is available for a return. Will we rotate ahead of the bigger challenge of Bangkok United at the weekend? Should we, given the lack of form shown by some? Do those who offer their opinion and influence on team selection even take these things into account? I’d personally start Suarez (5) and Go (8) on the bench for a bit of a rest and start Nattawut (45) and Kanarin (31).

The match kick off at 1900 Thai time and is being broadcast on T Sports and 1 play. As well as being shown by The Sportsman on Sukhumvit soi 13.

A Tale of Ray-ward finishing. Port 3-1 Rayong.

 

Rejoice, Port got back to winning ways, picking up three points, against bottom of the table Rayong FC. Points that were much needed as recent form has been… terrible, would probably be a fair description. Such that come kick off on Sunday, Buriram had climbed into second and fourth place Muangthong were a just a point behind. A situation that seemed unlikely at the start of February.

Whoever was on team selection duties this week decided to ring some changes as Dolah (4) missed out through suspension, replaced by the returning Tanaboon (71), while Jaturapat (21) got his chance at left back coming in for reliable Steuble (15) who’s spell covering for Kevin (23) has looked anything but, while the pace of Tanasith (11) and Bordin (10) in the wide positions was replaced by the somewhat less mobile Adisak (9) and Pakorn (7). Upfront Bonilla (99) having missed the derby in mid week was back and straight into the team to replace Boli (94) who dropped to the bench.

Hopes of something akin to Port’s 7-2 victory in the reverse fixture were soon raised as after 5 mins Port were one up as Bonilla and Siwakorn (16) exchanged passes, allowing the Salvadoran to pull the ball back from the touchline for the diminutive skipper to blast home his first goal of the season.

 

Celebrations as Siwakorn gives Port the lead.

 

 

The tone was set for the much of rest of the match, as Port set about enjoying themselves putting on a show of neat football, showboating and clever flicks, that weren’t quite to come off as a succession of blocks and the last ditch keeping, that would bring numerous “super save” and chuckles from the Thai commentators, kept them at bay. With Bonilla and Adisak (9) in particular, heading into the half time break aggrieved not to have scored.  Not so Suarez (5), who met the kind of cross that keeps Pakorn (7) on the payroll in the 38th minute at the back post and headed back across goal and for once past the star jumping Anusit (39)* and into the net.

 

Suarez makes it two.

 

Rayong decided to make some major changes at the break making 3 substitutions and one of the introduced trio Karati (30), would have an immediate influence as his long shot beat Worawut (36) but cannoned off the upright. A reminder that Rayong had offered some threat going forward and had recently held Chiangrai and champions in waiting, BG Pathum United to single goal victories. A threat they made good on just inside the hour, as the ball was nicked off Siwakorn allowing Rayong a 3 v 2 break. Matee (92) was picked out in acres of space on the left, with Jaturapat being stranded some way upfield. The striker bagging his first of the season from just inside the box, to make it 2-1. At which point the failure to convert some of the pressure, would have caused the faint whiff of a classic “operation f up” to be picked up on the terraces if there had been any fans allowed in, to be aware of it.  A whiff that became an absolute stench five minutes later, as Jaturapat, with no excuse for being out of position this time, left Ritthidet (11) unmarked to just failed to make contact with a cross at the far post, when doing so would have almost certainly level the match.

Port had throughout this kept up the own efforts at the other end, continuing to create a series of unconverted chances. Ultimately it would take the involvement of VAR to get the third goal and seal the victory.  As a diving Rayong defender’s outstretched hand was struck by Bordin’s shot. Numerous players stopped, some made the TV sign in the refs direction. Play went on for nearly 30 seconds before, the official had chance to speak to the VAR room and set about wasting a couple of minutes of everyone time to decide the obvious. Suarez stepped up to convert in front of the empty zone B and make it 3-1.  Some would call it VAR karma for the ridiculous penalty given for the ball striking the back of Go (8), on Wednesday, especially as VAR would rule out a Muangthing third that night and gain Trat a penalty on Saturday evening v Muangthong ( for the ball striking Rocha’s arm). I just saw more evidence of bad rules and a system that at this point doesn’t work.

The remaining minutes would see Port coming up with a series of comic misses as the visitor’s finally seemed to accept there would be no point in their almost hopeless battle to avoid making it a single season in the top flight.

 

 

 

Man of the Match

 

Sergio Suarez. While many around him have seen their level dip recently the playmaker has been consistently the standout for Port.

 

 

 

Pictures Allie Suwanrumpha(@endresultphoto) Captions The Sandpit.

 

 

*what happened to keepers having squad numbers “1” and “13”. Rubbish stat time: The last 3 Port games have seen a total of zero keepers from either team wear 1 or 13. The last number “1” we faced was Chatchai of BG and just one sighting of a “13”.