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Boli Bosh! Overhead Strike Tops 2020/21 Goal of the Season Poll

 

With a convincing plurality of the votes, Yannick Boli has stormed to victory in this year’s Goal of the Season competition. Continuing the trend of foreign attacking players scooping the award, Boli’s strike is the successor to Suarez’ magnificent chip in 2019, with the likes of Boskovic and Thiago Cunha having also won the award in previous seasons.

Whilst Boli’s victory was never in doubt, there were plenty of impressive strikes vying for second place, so here’s a look at how the public vote ranked our 10 shortlisted goals. Need a reminder of the entries? Look no further…

 

 

1st) Yannick Boli (41%)

Boli was sizing up his spectacular volley from the moment the ball was nodded back in to the danger zone, and once the wheels were in motion, neither defenders or goalkeeper had a prayer of stopping his acrobatic finish. Made better by the fact that his strike in first half stoppage time set Port up for an away victory, and that Suphan stopper Deyto could do no better than to sink to his knees and smile. Us too, buddy.

 

2nd) Bordin Phala (15%)

Bordin has capped off the most memorable season of his career to date with back to back runner up finishes in our polls, and it’s nothing more than Port’s silky winger deserves. Few were better positioned to view his match winner against Chonburi, that gained 15% of the public vote, than I was. Having given up hope in Port snatching a late winner, and with 94 and a half minutes on the clock, I was on my way down the Zone B steps when Port were awarded a free kick, so I positioned myself right behind the goal. Bordin stepped up and bent a marvelous strike in to the top left hand corner, scraping the outstretched hand of Chanin and earning Port an unlikely late win.

 

3rd) Nelson Bonilla / Go Seul-ki (9%)

Two technical masterpieces share third place in the poll, with Nelson Bonilla’s mazy dribble and clinical finish against Korat and Go’s left footed volley against champions BG deadlocked on votes. Bonilla’s run put one Korat defender on his arse, while he also managed to evade several more opposition players single handedly on his way to his finest goal in a Port shirt. Go’s strike was rather more straightforward, with the Korean watching Nurul’s cross right the way across the box, before finding the sweet spot on his left boot and effortlessly driving the ball back across goal, over the head of Chatchai and in to the top corner. Technically excellent, from a devilishly tight angle and in a big game against the future champions, Go is if anything a little unlucky to have to settle for shared third.

 

5th) Nelson Bonilla vs. Muangthong (7%)

6th) Sergio Suarez vs. Buriram (6%)

7th) Pakorn Prempak vs. Prachuap (5%)

8th) Nattawut Sombatyotha vs. MOF Customs (4%)

9th) Jaturapat Sattham vs. Chonburi (3%)

10th) Bordin Phala vs. Rayong (1%)

 


 

Congratulations to all shortlisted players, who had to get past lots of stiff competition just to make it on to our shortlist. Thanks once again to Arm, who edited The Sandpit’s Goal of the Season compilation, and to all Port fans who voted.

 

The Sandpit’s Player of the Year 2020/21 is… Sergio Suarez

 

The votes for this year’s Sandpit Player of the year award are in, they’ve been counted and verified and finally, we can reveal the winner of the coveted trophy (that doesn’t exist)…………..long pause……… and the winner is………………..Sergio Suarez. Taking the award for the second time (having previously won in 2018). It means the award has now been taken by Port’s Spanish duo of Rochela and Suarez in 4 of its 5 season in existence. So here’s a run throw of where the votes went.

 

Sergio Suarez 45%

The rise of Suarez has mirrored the rise of the club, arriving into the top tier in 2016 as somewhat of an unknown quantity the playmaker has beaten off numerous challengers to his place in the team to become the main creative force for Port and one of the marquee stars in the league. Quite simply Port look better with Suarez conducting the play.

 

Sergio (possibly) reacts to news of a second Sandpit POTY award

 

Bordin 26%

The temptation in seasons past has been to see Bordin as somewhat of a mercurial talent, the showman for Port, who will put the lesser teams to bed, turning a tight 1-0 lead into 3 or 4.  However this season Bordin stepped up to become a much more consistent performer, putting in great performances in tight games and when the pressure was on. Whilst his combination with Kevin is probably the best wide duo in Thailand.

 

Bordin now nearly unstoppable

 

Adisak (8%)

The battle for the third spot was the real contest this year. With Adisak getting the better of defending Sandpit POTY Nitipong by just a single vote. That AK9 did so whilst never having the sense that he was a first time regular and having arrived from the clubs crossed town rivals is quite an achievement. Throw in that most of his minutes were spent out wide rather than in his preferred central role and it seems even more bizarre. However, Adisak won the Port crowd over from day one by simply putting in a shift in (he took at least one MOTM this season for his commitment to tracking back) and scoring plenty. The striker would finish 3rd top Thai scorer in the league with 11 (with a better goal per minute ratio than those above him) and second only to Suarez for Port. They’ve always like a no-frills grafter at the PAT and in Adisak the Port faithful have a no-frills scorer who got the votes in to beat his rivals for the final place on the podium.

 

We saw this goal celebration enough times to cost a brewery.

 

Also on the shortlist were

 

Nitipong 7.5%

Kevin 7%

Go 5%

Boli 1%

Bonilla 0.5%

 

The Sandpit’s 2020/21 Port FC Goal of the Season Poll

 

Once again it’s time to feast your eyes on the wonder that is the annual Sandpit Goal of the Season video. The season may have been long and by the last few rounds there was little to play for, but the standard of goals scored by Port was once again superb. The process of getting the 68 goals scored this season down to the final 10 wasn’t easy. The result is a smorgasbord with something for everyone so, whether you like slick passing and flicks, bicycle kicks or naughty chips we’ve got it all.

So sit back and prepare for 6mins of great goals. Pick your favourite and vote below.  Polls will close at midnight on Tuesday 6th, after which we’ll announce the successor to Sergio Suarez, who took down the prize in 2019.

 

 

Choose Your 2020/21 Port FC Goal of the Season

 

Thanks once again to friend of The Sandpit and video editing wizard Arm, who put together this superb compilation of goals.

 


 

Thanks to Tom and Geoff for going though the highlights of each game, culling the pens, dodgy VAR moments and tap ins to get us down to a long list of good goals, and also to The Sandpit’s Goal of the Season Committee who then used the most democratic and scientific methods to get us down to the final 10 you see before you.

 

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

 

Suspended Sentence: Port ? – ? Police Tero

 

Ahhh, how I’ve missed Thai football. With it’s flawless planning, military execution and complete aversion to games ending in farcical circumstances, it was just another predictable week where everything went to plan, and everyone went home happy.

The end.

 

 

Wait. Why is everyone singing Happy Birthday?

Well, Thai football did indeed make a predictable return to form on the first competitive weekend of action since March, but as we may have fairly predicted, the football gods got straight about making up for lost time. Firstly, a Buriram player tested positive for Covid, before then re-testing negative, but not before not only Buriram’s game, but the games of everyone they’ve played against in the last 2 weeks, were cancelled. That gave Port the chance to go top of the table with a win against a Police side who had been impressive before the long break.

Having heard in advance that our beloved vendors were not going to be selling their wares at PAT, I took a slight detour from my usual pre-match routine, passing by the rat bar (a little establishment in Khlongtoei market that sells cheap beers along with the chance to get up close and personal with Khlongtoei’s sewer-dwelling wildlife) where I encountered a dejected figure slumped over one of the two VIP tables. Apparently someone hadn’t got the memo that season ticket holders and a couple of hundred fans who queued from as early as 9 o’clock on Saturday morning (for tickets that went on sale at midday) were the only ones getting in.

Still, armed with my season ticket and a bottle of the usual I made my way through the market, ducked and dived through the roadworks and joined the queue to get in to the club shop. With a one-in-one-out policy enforced on the door, I had to wait a few gulps, but pretty quickly got not just my ticket for this game, but also the next. Result!

Discussion in the sandpit was as lively as ever though, with most of the usual suspects holding court in the usual places. Then there was the inevitable fuckery. The Sandpit’s media pass, as well as all of those besides Pang’s personal photographer, were denied entry at the door, leaving several bemused people no way of getting in. Had they been told the hoops they were expected to jump through to gain entry? What do you think?

Still, action on the pitch was just about to get going, and there were some interesting choices in the lineup. Rattanai (18) started in goal as expected, but neither Dolah (4) or Adisorn (20) were fit to start, meaning that experienced stalwart Todsapol (6) and untested youngster Thitawee (2) were paired together at the back. With Go suspended for punching a Buriram player in the balls, Kanarin (31) and Siwakorn (16) started in midfield, and Bonilla (99) was adjudged fit enough to lead the line. Spoiler alert. He wasn’t.

Now I’m at a loss for what to write. 88 minutes of football were played, the score was 1-1, and the lights went out. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you! The lights on everyone’s phones soon illuminated the stands, and the Khlongtoei faithful joined in wishing the football gods a happy birthday. May they continue to have their wicked way with us.

Loxley behind Zone B, the Port Authority, the apartment building behind Zone D and basically everything except the stadium were all operating as usual, and even the lights over the sandpit were working intermittently. It was just the stadium in darkness.

So what does it mean? Well, Thai League rules state that if the power cut effects only the stadium, as it did in this case, then the club has 60 minutes to get things working before the game is forfeited 0-2. 60 minutes came and went without so much as a flicker of light, so by the letter of the law, Bordin’s (10) stunning strike to put us in the lead and Thitawee’s awful defensive error that led to Police’s equalizer count for nothing. Police will be awarded a 0-2 win. Or will they?

 

 

Well I don’t want to give anyone false hope, but the sceptic in me is still unconvinced that this is going to go down the way it undoubtedly should. What if, in Tuesday’s meeting in which the result is to be ratified, Port and Police both propose playing the last few minutes behind closed doors? Of course that’s not in Police’s interest, but I’m sure it could be made to be in their interest. Stranger things have happened. Will the Thai FA still stick to the letter of the law, with a proposed alternative on the table, knowing that Pang has spent 16 million baht to plug a hole in their budget? This is of course why Pang’s donation to the FA should never have been allowed in the first place, and will be one of the most obvious acts of corruption I’ve ever seen if it does happen. So I hope it doesn’t. But it might. Maybe.

So what did we learn tonight from the action itself?

Thitawee had a shocker. He’s young, it was his first game for Port, and there were some positive signs, but this was a performance he’ll do well to forget about. Better luck next time, fella. Bonilla is not fit. Not even close. He barely managed a sprint in the hour he was on, and should never have been in the squad, let alone starting. Heberty (37) was poor, Suarez (5) had a real off-day and Adisak (9) looked lost when he came off the bench for Bonilla. Port’s only attacker who looked on it was Bordin. Helping out defensively and looking dangerous going forward, he was excellent. His ‘goal’ will be expunged from existence if the 0-2 result stands, but I won’t forget it in a hurry. What a strike! Nattawut (45) made another promising cameo too, and Rattanai produced a superb stop in the first half, but those are the only positives I can muster.

Never mind about the result, whatever happens will happen and hopefully the floodlights will work next week. Most of all, it’s good to be back! The chaos and the uncertainty is part and parcel of Thai football, and it gave us a particularly entertaining evening.

We’re at home next week, and I expect things will be the same. Or different. Who knows? Media pass holders will probably not get in, season ticket holders have got their tickets already, and there will likely be more very early queueing for the remainder on sale. See you there! Maybe.

 

The Sandpit’s 2019 Port FC Goal of the Season Poll

 

Port’s most successful season this millennium saw us top-score in T1 with 55 goals, while a further 17 were netted on the road to FA Cup glory. Add in 2 more goals in Port’s short-lived League Cup campaign and The Sandpit’s Goal of the Season panel finds itself with 74 goals to narrow down in to a short-list of just 10.

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