Port vs. Prachuap Report: Four Four ****ing Two = 5-2

 

 

 

After the drab 0-0 opener with Lamphun, Port truly got their season out of the starting blocks with a 5-2 squashing of Prachuap, on a very wet evening at the PAT.

 

Team News:

 

 

Negueba was missing from the squad, presumably injured or sick. One of “the twins”, Thitathorn was in at left back, with Suarez in the midfield alongside Tanaboon. Hamilton was making his full debut alongside Teerasak up top. In this age of tactical complication, were we playing a simple 4-4-2? Had Scott scribbled down the team on the back of a Marlboro packet?

 

 

My Matchday Experience (or lack thereof)

 

Getting around Bangkok can be a pain in the arse at the best of times, throw a heavy rain storm in to the mix and you’re totally screwed. The rain started around 5pm with the match kicking off at 7pm. Around half 6 and the rain was still falling, I was still stuck at home, sat on the couch in my newly purchased away shirt, losing all hope of reaching the stadium a) on time and b) dry!

 

Realising my plan of seeing a Friday night game at the PAT was quickly dissolving, I decided to watch at home with a cold Leo from the fridge, but quickly discovered the match was not going to be for free on the AIS platform. As I wrote in my season preview on the Chonburi site, after the last few years of alienating the fanbase, the last thing the Thai League product needs is to be putting so many games behind a paywall.

 

While I pondered giving my laptop every digital disease possible in the search for a slightly more verboten streaming source, my girlfriend managed to purchase the AIS Thai League package on her phone. I had no desire to watch the match on her Samsung Galaxy, and luckily it was quite easy to “push” the video through to my TRUE box, and the quality was actually half-decent and didn’t cut out. Also, with my current condo having a surround system, I could now hear the musings of the Zone B screamer coming from the speakers behind my sofa.

 

My Dad used to referee in the local Sunday league back home, and the very simple check for games going ahead most winter weeks usually involved attempting to roll the ball a few meters, if it couldn’t roll, that was it – Game off. In Thailand however, the yardstick for a match postponement seems much higher, many a time, games have gone ahead in spite of almost slapstick conditions. Last nights match was no exception here, and it kicked off on time at 19:00. I have applauded the decision to have the season run August – May instead of February – October, we’re still going to catch some of wet season, but hopefully just the arse end of it.

 

Due to the tomfoolery with activating AIS detailed above, my view of the match for the first few minutes was the livescore.com ticker, I’d missed Captain Tanaboon unleashing a 25 yard piledriver to give Port an early lead.

 

I thought Port had doubled their lead around 20 minutes in with Pakorns cross making it’s way through to the industrious Teerasak to tap home. However, for not the first time in the evening, VAR was about to poop the party, judging that Tanaboom had committed a foul in the build up.

 

It is always weird to see Port kicking towards Zone B in the first half but there must have been some logic here as the swamp that was forming at the PAT was clearly harder to defend at the Zone B end and Port were coming forward in wave after wave. A few minutes after being denied a second goal, Port did double their lead.

 

I had been screaming at the TV for Port to put the ball on Hamiltons head at every opportunity, this tactic had served Nong Bua so well last season. Pakorns corner kick did just that, with Hamilton in space on the penalty spot, nodding it in to the bottom corner. A few minutes later, Port seemed to put the contest beyond doubt with Bordin picking the pocket of a lone Prachuap defender on the halfway line, breaking away into counter attack with Prachuap players still chasing back. He squared the ball to Teerasak who rounded the keeper only to see his effort cleared off the line by a defender at the last second. The ball rolled out to Pakorn who crossed it back in, this time the woodwork was to deny Teerasaks shot, but the rebound fell to a grateful Bordin, who fired home from 6 yards to cap off an attacking move that he himself had started off.

 

Teerasak was putting in a great shift, but was again denied a goal after executing a great drag-back which left Aris chasing his own shadow, leaving him a free shot that dipped just wide of the post. Port rounded off the first half rout a couple of minutes before half-time with another corner into the box, Hamilton again had the space and time to take a running jump at it, unleashing a powerful header to make it 4-0.

 

 

 

 

With Port attacking Zone D in the second half, they found themselves with a bit more defending to do in front of the boggy Zone B end, and Prachuap pulled a consolation goal back on 65 minutes. However, Port went straight up the other end to restore the 4 goal advantage. Hamilton had done all the damage with his head in the first half, but we were starting to see what we could do with his feet too, a few minutes before the 5th goal, he’d seen a low shot pushed away by the Prachuap keeper. When he next had the ball near the penalty area, 2 Prachuap defenders instantly began to move in on him like he had some kind of magnetic pull. Hamilton gave them “the eyes” and played a no-look pass to Bordin, who now had the freedom of Klong Toey to stroke it in to the bottom corner. Prachuap still had a little bit of sting left, and reduced arrears to 5-2 on 74 minutes with a nice little move of 1 touch chipped passes that ended in Samuel Rosa volleying in from close range.

 

With 10 minutes left, VAR would rear it’s ugly head again. Hamilton and Aris had been tussling most of the game, and it was decided that this time, Hamilton had landed an elbow. His debut had been almost perfect, but was now going to end in an early bath. At full speed the incident looked pretty innocuous, even when they slowed it down to less than a snails pace, it still didn’t look that malicious. Big Aris certainly made the most of it.

 

 

The rest of the match fizzled out with Port holding on quite easily, We did end with 10 vs 10 though. Prachuap introduced a sub who was yellow carded, and then red carded all in the space of 5 minutes after being sent on. The match had already been long since settled, a fantastic night for Port, soured by the controversial red card.

MAN OF THE MATCH

 

 

 

Bordin Phala – There were plenty of contenders on this rain sodden evening. 2 goals for Hamilton, Pakorn had 3 assists (2 from corners), but Bordin was doing a lot of the heavy lifting in all of the attacks in open play Port were putting together, grabbing two goals himself. With his groundings in Futsal, you wouldn’t think a wet Friday night at the PAT on a heavy pitch would be his kind of match, but he seemed to thrive in the conditions, oft making a mockery of the Prachuap defence. While they were left looking like “Bambi on ice”, slipping and sliding around. Bordin was looking like both Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean rolled into one….on ice.

 

Teerasak also deserves a mention for putting himself about and was unlucky not to be amongst the goals himself. It’s hard for Thai strikers to get game time and goals to their name, but I think he has the most potential to get double figures this year, excuse me while I get my tin hat at the ready and say I think he’ll go further than former Sandpit cult hero Arthit “Pele” Boojinda.

 

After missing the first game through illness, Hamilton will now sit out again with a suspension. I’m hoping he’ll get an extended run in the team, in the 6 years I’ve been going to Port, the foreign striker spot has been somewhat jinxed. Heavy is the head that wears the crown…..Thiago Cunha, Kalu, Boskovic, Heberty, Boli and Bonila have all failed to deliver goods on anything resembling a consistent period, Josimar was the best of a pretty rotten bunch, but it always felt like he was only a “Plan B”, and not someone they wanted to build the team around.

 

This is the most hopeful I’ve felt about a striker signing since Boskovic, and for 80 minutes yesterday, it felt like we’ve finally solved the striker conundrum, and with Teerasak as his foil, we could actually have a fun striking partnership. Sometimes modern football is overly complicated, it’s nice to go back to basics.

 

Play 4-4-****ing-2.

Launch the ball at Hamiltons head.

Job done.

Kenny Goodbourn

Kenny Goodbourn

Kenny moved from the Essex Riviera to Thailand in 2013 and lives in Bangkok. He started following Port in 2016. He has a YouTube channel "Straight Outta Bangkok" in which he follows Port around the country and also features other teams from Thailand and beyond.

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