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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.

 

Port Survive Light Frisking: Port FC 6-3 MOF Customs FC

 

Port laid on the entertainment in a pulsating cup tie against the reasonably named Ministry of Finance Customs United Football Club, running out 6-3 winners and advancing to the next round. The score might suggest a rout but it was far from that and our opponents should be proud of their endeavours.

Riding high after our derby victory, Coach Oud decided to shuffle the pack and select two Sandpit “favourites”, Chappuis (17) and Tanaboon (71), in central midfield. There were also nods for Nattawut (45), Adisorn (20), (Right) Thitawee (2) and a welcome return for the El Capitan Rochela (22). Sensing that this wouldn’t be a walk in the park, Kevin (23), Suarez (5), Bonilla (99) and Tanasith (11), who put in a great cameo in the derby, were also drafted into the starting XI.

 

A glorious evening at the PAT

 

Normally the best way to deal with lower league opposition in a cup tie is to steamroller them with some early goals, then toy with them for the remaining minutes and this looked on the cards when Nattawut latched onto a loose back pass and, with the aid of a fortunate deflection off their hapless keeper, strolled the ball into an empty net. Nattawut then helped himself to a second goal, surely a contender for goal of the season, when he received Tanasith’s lay off and deftly chipped the goalie from just inside the box. Pick that out, jogo bonito etc….

 

Winners are grinners , Nattawut bags his first of the evening.

 

Customs clearly were not in the mood to be whipping boys and raised their game, matching us in midfield and constantly exploiting the lack of experience shown from Adisorn and Thitawee. Customs’ midfielder Vaikainah, a wardrobe on legs, was also winning his midfield duels against Chappuis and Tanaboon far too easily. The best chance of the half fell to Deyvison, their Brazilian striker with a Brazilian on his head, sending a header against the post and the follow up was easily gathered by Rattanai (18).

And so, with Port being Port, they did the most Port thing possible and handed the initiative to Customs at the start of the second half. A cross from the weak right hand side was nodded in by Deyvison and then Rattanai took leave of his senses a clattered 2 Customs players earning them a penalty. Deyvison slotted home and sent the travelling contingent into raptures. So 2-2 and it’s now game on.

Port eventually retook the lead in the 75th minute; negligent goalie Chompong failed to hold onto Bonilla’s shot and substitute Adisak (9) scrambled the ball home at the far post. 2 minutes later Suarez pinched the ball off the customs midfield, found Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Nelson Bonilla in the box and he smashed home Tony Yeboah style to put Port 4-2 up. Just before the 90th minute Bonilla earned a very soft penalty which Captain Rochela coolly finished. Customs decided to add a bit of spice with striker Rachata spanking an absolutely filthy volley over Rattanai. But wait, there was still time for Suarez to square the ball across the box for Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Nelson Bonilla to tap in his second and make it 6-3. Moments later the final whistle and everyone involved in this encounter could finally exhale.

 

Brace buddies, scorers Freeeeeeeeeee Nelson Bonilla and another for Adisak

 

What can Coach Oud take from this game? Well Nattawut clearly has potential to make the first team and Rochela was a calming influence when Customs got back into the game but sadly cannot play in the league campaign. The B team in truth didn’t perform and several players involved would benefit from loan spells elsewhere. Suarez had his best game supporting our in-form strikers Bonilla and Adisak, which is a relief as he has been a little anonymous (when compared to his usual standards) at times. Still, a very satisfactory week for the club and we go into the next round.     

 

You ain’t seen me…….. right, El Capitan finally back in a Port shirt.

 

One final thing to note; it was great to have the food and drink sellers back at the stadium for matchday. These locals rely on this income and to see them back, happily taking my money in exchange for cold Leo, is a wonderful thing. Let’s hope further restrictions are lifted soon so we can have more fans, more community and more atmosphere at the PAT.

 

MOTM: Nattawut Sombatyotha

The lad can play. Sure, he faded in the second half but he showed skill, directness and opportunism which sadly was lacking in some of our more seasoned midfielders. Arguably he wouldn’t get a chance if Jadet was still manager so it’s great Oud is blooding him in matches like this. His second goal was a thing of beauty and will make the goals of the season list for sure.

 

All pictures: Allie Suwanrumpha  Captions: Sandpit Monkeys

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Meerkat to Swat Cats

 

Anon Samakorn, known by me as ‘the meerkat’ for his head-swiveling awareness in midfield, has finally ended a frustrating spell with Port and joined Korat on a free transfer. Anon, who briefly broke in to the team shortly after his arrival from OHL Leuven in 2018, was underrated and underused by successive Port managers, having shown great promise in those first few games before being unceremoniously dropped out of sight and out of mind. He would make just two appearances in 2019.

 

 

 

I thought Anon was a player with great potential, but apparently Port management didn’t agree, and have deemed him surplus to requirements for the following season. After the arrival of Kanarin Thawornsak, it was clear there was no future for Anon at Port, and hopefully he will find more opportunities to start games at his new club and fulfill his potential there. We’ll miss you, fella.

 


 

Other news from the first day of training yesterday were the confirmed arrivals of Thanasit Sripala, Nattawut Sombatyotha, Tanakorn Dangthong and the aforementioned Kanarin Thawornsak.

 

From left to right; Kanarin, Nattawut and Thanasit

 

Curiously, defender Worawut Namwech was also pictured training, which makes no sense to me as I thought he was only ever on loan at Port, and was moved from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai at the mid-season interval.

 


 

And finally, Madame Pang was yesterday pictured meeting with a BG big-wig, but there is no indication who or what she may have been discussing. Midfielder Thitipan Puangchan, a favourite of mine, will be returning to BG from the J League next week, so that could be a possibility. I mean it’s not like we just signed 3 midfielders or anything!

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Left Wing Wish List

 

This is tricky. T1 isn’t exactly awash with great Thai attacking players, and most of the stand-outs are already at Muangthong or Buriram. With Port reportedly doubling their 2017 budget though, there certainly should be some more cash allocated to hoovering up the best of the rest when it comes to Thai talent. Not forking out for Tana’s wages will help, too! Whatever we’ve been paying him, it’s far too much. My criteria is simply quality Thai attacking players who I think it is possible for Port to sign. Not likely, necessarily, but possible.

What I’m looking at specifically is a replacement for one Genki Nagasato. The Japanese winger finished 2017 with 5 goals and 3 assists, having started all but one league game, and playing a total of 2,364 minutes of T1 action. His contribution was just about enough to hold on to his place in the team, but in a side with more convincing attacking options, Genki may well have seen significantly less action. Changes to the foreign player quota mean that Port are very likely to replace him with a Thai player. Here’s just a few names that I would be more than happy to see as Port’s marquee Thai signing in 2018.

 

Nattawut Sombatyotha, Ratchaburi

 

 

This 21 year old attacking midfielder is a fantastic prospect, and really started to make his mark for Ratchaburi towards the end of 2017. If you watched his performance against Port on the final day of the season, you’ll have seen the number 9 make several dangerous bursts forward from midfield, as well as deliver some pinpoint corners – one of which was an assist – before popping up with a consolation goal in injury time. Nattawut looks at his best in the middle of the park, but has played about half of his 22 games on the wing.

What do the numbers say? Well, if we set the benchmark at a Genki-sized contribution of 5 goals and 3 assists, Nattawut makes the grade, with 5 and 5. Not only did he out-perform Genki, he did it having played 1,323 minutes to Genki’s 2,364.

Are we likely to get him? No, probably not, but it’s not outside the realms of possibility. He’s a young player at a club who has brought in some excellent young Thai talents, and made a point of giving them a fair crack of the whip, so it’s probably in his interests to stay right where he is. We could try offering him a big old pay rise, though! It could be a wise investment.

 

Surachet Sareepim, Bangkok Glass

 

 

This 31 year old striker certainly wouldn’t be an investment in the future, but would guarantee a tidy return in the short term. Surachet scored 10 T1 goals for Bangkok Glass in 2017, the most of any Thai player besides Teerasil, and has consistently scored just under a goal every other game in the top flight for the last few seasons. He can play anywhere across the front 3, and most unusually for a Thai player he has the height and strength to win balls in the air when he plays through the middle.

What do the numbers say? Add 2 assists to the aforementioned 10 goals, all of which were achieved in just 1,656 minutes across 23 games, and you have a forward who offers a significant upgrade on what Port had in 2017.

Are we likely to get him? Well, he’s already at Bangkok Glass where I assume he is quite happy. Moving to Port would probably mean a regular place in the starting XI, though, which could be a draw for the 31 year old. I assume Glass won’t want to let him go, so this one is also probably a non- starter unless he’s out of contract.

 

Jakkapan Pornsai, Bangkok United

 

 

Am I mental to think that Port could sign one of the most talented forwards in Thai football, who is already at the third best team in the country? Hopefully not, because he’s had an absolute nightmare since moving to Bangkok United in the middle of the 2017 season. Jakkapan, who tore Port to shreds with Glass in their 3-0 waltz at PAT Stadium, arrived at Thammasat Stadium to much fanfare, but remarkably has started just once and come off the bench 3 times since arriving. He’s a proper winger who has the skill and guile to beat a defender or two and deliver quality balls in to the box.

What do the numbers say? In 2017, they say that Jakkapan was grossly under-used. He played just 863 minutes, almost all of which were for Bangkok Glass, scoring 2 goals and providing 3 assists. He bettered Genki’s stats in both 2016 and 2015, though, scoring a remarkable 13 goals from the wing for Suphanburi in 2015.

Are we likely to get him? I don’t see why not. He can’t be happy about sitting on the bench for half a season, and if both parties agree it’s best to part ways, he will most likely be after a club like Port who can pay his presumably substantial wages and offer him first team football.

 

Siroch Chatthong, Muangthong United

 

 

Full disclosure: I have an irrational appreciation of this man’s talents. Yes, shock horror, the man with Elias Dolah’s name on the back of his Port shirt appreciates a rampaging lump with an uncommon talent for the physical side of football. Pipo, as he is widely known, burst on to the scene in 2016, making a key contribution in Ubon’s successful promotion campaign. He even earned a shock call-up to the national team, and immediately cemented his place in the squad with some gutsy displays and crucial goals. Since finally getting his chance in T1, though, Pipo has not had things his own way.

What do the numbers say? I’m not going to lie, they’re ugly. 6 assists isn’t too bad, but you just can’t be a T1 forward without contributing some goals. Pipo played as a central striker for most of the first half of the season for Ubon, failing to find the net even once, and after being signed by Muangthong he has primarily been used as an impact sub on the wing, with similar results. Would I still take him at Port? You’re damn right I would! Goal-drought aside, Pipo creates mayhem in the final third. He’s strong, quick, direct and keeps defenders busy, creating space for his teammates. His final ball does need an awful lot of work, but I am confident that once Pipo breaks his duck, his swagger will return and the goals will start to come with more regularity.

Are we likely to get him? With their striking options, Muangthong seem very unlikely to keep him, and Port would be a sensible destination for a player at his level. It may well be on a loan deal, but that would probably suit both parties quite well. This is also a rumour that did the rounds a few months ago, so a deal may already have been discussed by the two clubs.

 

Thanasit Sriphala, Suphanburi

 

 

This is another slightly sentimental pick based on how good I think he should be, rather than how good the stats say he is. Thanasit was the star of the Thai national youth teams up to Under 23 level, and made a splash in the top flight for Bangkok Glass in 2015, including a superb match-winning performance against Port. The 22 year old moved to Suphanburi in a deal which saw Jakkapan Pornsai move the other way, but whereas Jakkapan made an immediate impact at Glass, Thanasit struggled for game-time at Suphanburi. He’s a quick, tricky left-winger who likes to run at defenders and get in to the box, but can be a bit of a luxury player at times.

What do the numbers say? Again, they’re not too pretty. Thanasit has played just 659 minutes in 2017, scoring a solitary goal. That’s certainly not a return commensurate with his quality, and can probably be attributed with the fact that he didn’t start 2 consecutive games until October. In past seasons, Thanasit has performed much better, but he is certainly a risk if he’s being brought in to be a regular starter. It’s a risk I would be willing to take, though, as at his best he is unplayable, and he just looks so damn much like a young Ronaldinho!

Are we likely to get him? He’s a young player at a decent team who clearly thought a lot of him when they signed him, but considering how little Thanasit has played in 2017, I can see his head being turned by the promise of more regular football and more money. Suphanburi also seem to be very much on a downward trajectory, which the youngster may not be too happy about.

 


 

So, there is my wish list for 2018. Any one of those players, along with a top foreign striker, could help to transform Port’s fortunes next season. Assuming that Port hang on to key players like Rochela, Siwakorn and Pakorn, a couple of improvements could be all it takes to push Port well in to the top half next year. Now, recruitment people. Try your very, very hardest not to trip over yourselves like Tana in the penalty area.