Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thai Port 1-3 Sriracha

An Aron Da Silva hat-trick kept Sriracha's survival hopes alive as they beat a lackluster Thai Port side at the PAT Stadium.

Da Silva's first came shortly before the half hour mark as he beat the offside trap to slot the ball past Wanlop who had advanced from his area.

Fifteen minutes later, the Brazilian doubled the lead as he headed home a Lopes cross as the away side cruised into the half time break with a two goal advantage.

Shortly into the second half it was game over Da Silva notched his hat-trick after the Thai Port defence seemed to switch off inside their own box.

The deficit was reduced twenty minutes from time when Phudit nodded home from close range. The goal from Port was only a brief glimpse of hope as the Blue Marlins comfortably saw out the game.

Sriracha now need to win their last two games against Muangthong and Navy and hope that Samut Songkhram beat Navy and TOT. Also they need Police and BEC Tero to take points off TOT.

Attendance: 1,634

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year Fixtures

Osotspa v Samut Songkhram (Thu)
Chonburi v Bangkok Glass (Thu)
Police v Army (Fri)
Thai Port v Sriracha (Sat)
Buriram PEA v Muangthong (Sat)

It's been difficult of late trying to keep track of the TPL fixtures due to the last minute chopping and changing of games to appease 'special requests' from clubs, and the seeming reluctance from TPL headquarters to clarify fixtures.
The latest batch of fixtures for New Year were confirmed on Monday afternoon and literally within a couple of hours, the Muangthong v Sriracha match planned for Wednesday evening was rescheduled for 24th January.

Anyway back to this holiday weekend's action. Buriram PEA will proudly display their TPL trophy as they welcome the 09 & 10 TPL winner's Muangthong. Provided Chonburi beat Bangkok Glass two days beforehand, the game will have little riding on it apart from pride as the outcome won't have any bearing on the top two spots.
If Sriracha lose at Thai Port on New Years Eve, they will be joining Khon Kaen in returning to Division 1. Samut Songkram can not afford to lose at Osotspa and an away win for Army United at Police will be enough to confirm another season of top flight football at the Home of Gentlemen.

Division 1
Raj Pracha v Songkla (Wed)
Buriram v Chainat (Fri)
Bangkok FC v Songkla (Sat)

Songkla need to win on both of their trips to Bangkok this week to keep the promotion race alive in Division 1.  If they fail to collect 6 points, BBCU will be promoted without kicking a ball this weekend. A home win for Bangkok FC over Songkla would take them over the 40 point mark.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekend Review 24-25 December

Pattaya 1-0 Army
Thai Port 3-1 Police
Bangkok Glass 4-0 Khon Kaen
Muangthong 1-2 Chonburi
Osotspa 1-1 BEC Tero
TOT 1-1 Chiang Rai Utd
Buriram PEA 2-1 Sisaket
TTM Pichit 2-2 Sriracha

Chonburi came from behind to beat Muangthong 2-1 infront of 17,500 spectators at the Yamaha Stadium. The Sharks are virtually assured a second placed finish as Muangthong's abject run under inexperienced coach Robbie Fowler continued.
At the bottom, Khon Kaen's one year stint in the TPL ended as they tamely lost 4-0 at Bangkok Glass. The T-Rex could shortly be joined by Sriracha and TOT as both sides could only take a point from their respective games. Sriracha need to win their last three to have any chance of staying up. Army United on 36 points aren't quite safe yet as they lost to an injury time goal at Pattaya. In the other games there were home wins for Buriram PEA and Thai Port while Osotspa and BEC Tero shared the spoils in Saraburi.

Division 1
PTT Rayong 1-2 Bangkok FC
BBCU 0-2 Buriram FC
Songkla 3-2 Thai Honda
JW Rangsit 0-2 Chantaburi
Raj Pracha 3-2 Chiang Mai
Bangkok Utd 2-3 Customs
RBAC 0-2 Saraburi
Phuket 1-1 Air Force
Suphanburi 3-0 Chainat

Two second half goals for Buriram FC mean that BBCU have to take one point from their last game at Air Force to finally confirm their place in the TPL. The only team capable of catching BBCU are Songkla who will need to win their last three games and rely on Air Force doing them a favour.  
Chiang Mai will accompany RBAC and Thai Honda in Division 2 next season and at the Thai Japanese Stadium after 75 minutes of play, it appeared that Customs would be joining them as they were 2-0 down to Bangkok United. However, the Forza weren't going to submit that easily and they astonishingly fought back to win 3-2. That win lifted Customs to within one point of JW Rangsit who lost at their temporary Nakhon Nayok home to Chantaburi. Bangkok FC and Suphanburi earned impressive wins to ease their relegation fears and likewise Air Force secured a decent point down in Phuket.

Division 2 Play-offs
Korat 1-2 Ratchaburi 
Krabi 1-2 Pattalung 

Ratchaburi are 2.5m Baht richer after goals from Pornchai and Wander helped them beat Korat 2-1 to win Division 2 Champions League.The Dragons were presented with the Division 2 trophy as players, club officials and fans celebrated at the Supachalasai Stadium.

Pattalung won the battle of the south in Trang to take third place. 

Overall, the Division 2 play-offs have been enjoyable with both groups remaining competitive right up to the final round of fixtures. Despite the flooding situation, every game went ahead on it's scheduled weekend. The TPL organizers could learn something from their younger siblings at the Regional league.
Ratchaburi, Korat, Krabi and Pattalung will enter a strong first division next year as teams from the provinces are slowly replacing corporate and university sides such as Thai Honda and RBAC. The four promoted sides will now have the best part of three months to rest and then start preparing for next season. That's already one advantage they'll have on their competitors for next season.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thai Port 3-1 Police United

Thai Port won an evenly fought contest over Police United 3-1 at the PAT Stadium.

For the first 30 minutes this game looked like a pre-season friendly as the Saturday afternoon crowd slowly trickled into the stadium.

The breakthrough came on 36 minutes with an individual goal from Steven Robb. The Scot easily beat the Police right back and then struck a left foot shot past Sompong at his near post.

Robb was again involved for the second Port goal on 51 minutes as his pinpoint cross was met with a neat diving header from Sarawut.

The two goal advantage for the home side was shortly lived as Tanat pulled one back when his shot deflected off Mario past Wanlop into the roof of the net.

The Pathumthani side then pressed for an equalizer but they were undone 15 minutes from time when shoddy marking allowed Todsapol to head home a Worawut free kick.

Attendance: 1,635

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Weekend Preview 24-25 December

Pattaya v Army (Sat)
Thai Port v Police (Sat)
Bangkok Glass v Khon Kaen (Sat)
Muangthong v Chonburi (Sun)
Navy v Samut Songkhram (Sun)
Osotspa v BEC Tero (Sun)
TOT v Chiang Rai Utd (Sun)
Buriram PEA v Sisaket (Sun)
TTM Pichit v Sriracha (Sun)

TPL football fans have reasons to be jolly this festive weekend as all 18 teams will aspire to serve up some Christmas treats for their faithful followers.
The game that will grab most attention this weekend is Muangthong v Chonburi. Both sides have briefly flirted with the title race this season without ever really threatening Buriram PEA. As a result, the pair are now competing for 2nd place and a potential AFC spot in 2012. Muangthong have been inconsistent of late and a second consecutive home loss would give Chonburi a healthy advantage in their pursuit for the runners-up place.
On Christmas Eve, mid-table sides Thai Port and Police will meet at the PAT Stadium. Army Utd, who still need another three points to guarantee survival, travel to Nong Prue, Pattaya, and Bangkok Glass host a Khon Kaen side that is desperate for points at the Leo Stadium.
There is a potential cracker of a game in Sattahip on Christmas Day as troubled sides Navy and Samut Songkram meet in a survival 6 pointer. Navy have won their last two to keep their heads above water while SCG will be looking to build on last week's victory over Thai Port in order to cement their place in the TPL. Elsewhere, PEA will want to avenge their only TPL defeat this season as they welcome Sisaket, with the remaining two games being Osotspa v BEC Tero and TTM v Sriracha.

Division 1
PTT Rayong v Bangkok FC (Sat)
BBCU v Buriram FC (Sat)
Songkla v Thai Honda (Sat)
JW Rangsit v Chantaburi (Sat)
Raj Pracha v Chiang Mai (Sun)
Bangkok Utd v Customs (Sun)
RBAC v Saraburi (Sun)
Phuket v Air Force (Sun)
Suphanburi v Chainat (Sun)

With Buriram FC and Chainat already promoted, the third and final spot could be taken by BBCU this weekend if they can defeat Buriram FC at the Army Stadium. Recent form would suggest that a BBCU victory is unlikely so they'll will be hoping that Bangkok FC can do them a favour and beat fourth placed PTT Rayong.
At the bottom, RBAC and Thai Honda are already doomed while Chiang Mai are drinking at the last chance saloon. The team from the north travel to face a Raj Pracha team that have lost their last five games. The other side making up the bottom four, Customs, need to win at Bangkok United and hope that they can reclaim some ground on Chantaburi, Bangkok FC and JW Rangsit. As mentioned earlier, Bangkok FC have a difficult task at PTT Rayong, while the winners of JW Rangsit and Chantaburi in Nakhon Nayok should be able to start relaxing as three points will almost certainly assure 1st division longevity. 

Division 2 Play-offs
Korat v Ratchaburi (Sat - Supachalasai)
Krabi v Pattalung (Sun - Trang)

The four promoted sides will face each other in a final match to determine the finishing placings for the Division 2 Champions League. The winner between Korat and Ratchaburi will reportedly receive 2.5m Baht with the runners-up taking home 1m Baht.  The winner of the 3rd/4th place game will pocket 0.5m Baht.
These games have been hyped up by the Thai press all week despite the fact that the targets of all four clubs have been achieved with promotion to Division 1. Expect to see the dignitaries of each club making speeches and posing for various photographs in order to let everyone pay tribute to them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Review 17-18 December

Army 1-3 Buriram PEA
TOT 2-3 TTM Pichit
Sriracha 2-2 Bangkok Glass
Pattaya 3-0 Chiang Rai Utd
Sisaket 1-2 Muangthong
Samut Songkhram 2-0 Thai Port
Navy 1-0 Osotspa
BEC Tero 0-1 Chonburi
Police 1-2 Khon Kaen

Congratulations go to Buriram PEA as they sealed the TPL title with an impressive 3-1 win at Army United. The title race has been a forgone conclusion since the first weeks of the season as PEA have been too strong for their rivals. Elsewhere on Saturday, it was a day of drama none more so than the game at the Suzuki Stadium in Sriracha. Bangkok Glass were comfortably 2-0 in control with minutes left on the clock. The Blue Marlins pulled one back from the spot and then amazingly in the 96th minute, Sriracha's keeper, Lucas Daniel, headed the equalizer from a corner. The point practically keeps SriRacha alive. It was also a welcome return to Nong Prue for Pattaya United as they calmly saw off Chiang Rai Utd.
TOT's loss on Saturday was costly as relegation rivals Navy, Samut Songkhram and Khon Kaen all won on Sunday. The T-Rex's 2-1 win at Police was their first away success since the opening day of the season.  A brace from Christian Nade helped Samut Songkhran see off Thai Port while a 93rd goal from Wuttichai earned the spoils for Siam Navy over Osotspa. The race for second place remains close as Muangthong and Chonburi both notched up away wins.

Division 1
Chantaburi 1-2 Air Force
Saraburi 3-1 Chainat
Customs 2-2 Suphanburi
Thai Honda 2-2 Phuket
Chiang Mai 2-0 JW Rangsit
Bangkok FC 4-1 BBCU
Buriram 7-1 Raj Pracha
PTT Rayong 5-0 RBAC
Songkla 0-2 Bangkok United

It was a double day of celebration for the Chidchobs as their younger child, Buriram FC, also wrapped up the title with a 7-1 hammering of Raj Pracha. Songkla's 2-0 home defeat to Bangkok United proved significant as it confirmed Chainat's promotion to the TPL despite the Pink Rangers losing at 3-1 Saraburi. The other side that play in pink, BBCU, are only one win shy of promotion themselves. They'll want to forget yesterday's game at Bangkok FC as they lost 4-1 to the Bulligans. That result moved Bangkok FC onto 35 points along with Air Force United, Suphanburi and Chantaburi. These four sides sit three points above Customs who have 32 points. It was a disappointing result for the Lat Krabang side against Suphanburi as they let a 2-1 lead slip with seconds remaining. It's now appears increasingly likely that Customs will be joining Thai Honda, RBAC and Chiang Mai in the regional leagues next season. Chiang Mai can still mathematically stay up, but they need to win their last two and pray that other results work in their favour. 

Division 2 Play-offs
(Group A)
Pattalung 2-0 Kasetsart
Loei 1-0 Phitsanoluk
Phichit 3-2 Ratchaburi

(Group B)
Krabi 1-1 Rayong
Nth Bangkok 2-2 Lamphun
Korat 1-0 Roi Et

It was a glorious weekend for the south as Pattalung and Krabi both clinched promotion. They'll join fellow southern sides Phuket and Songkla in Division 1 next year.

Pattalung's promotion clincher was far more straight forward than Krabi's. The Swallows eased to a 2-0 win over Kasetsart to join Ratchaburi in advancing from Group A.
Rayong thought they had clinched their place in Division 1 when they took an 89th minute lead at Krabi. It wasn't to be for Rayong as Krabi scrambled a 93th minute goal to claim a point which was good enough to clinch promotion. A crowd of 15,000 turned up at the 80th Birthday Stadium to celebrate Korat's promotion from Divison 2. A second half David Le Bras penalty was the only goal of the game as the natives of Korat partied the night away.

Final Standings:
(Group A) Ratchaburi 19, Pattalung 17, Loei 16, Phitsanoluk 13, Phichit 13, Kasetsart 5
(Group B) Korat 22, Krabi 18, Rayong 18, Roi Et 11, Nth Bangkok 6, Lamphun 5

Wednesday Fixtures
Buriram PEA v BEC Tero
TTM Phichit v Muangthong
Sisaket v Chonburi
TOT v Police ( I've seen this listed for 21 Dec & 7 Jan - not sure which date is correct)

(Div 1)
Air Force v Raj Pracha
Phuket v Suphanburi

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bangkok FC 4-1 BBCU

Bangkok FC moved a step further away from the relegation zone with a comfortable 4-1 win over BBCU.

It was nonetheless BBCU who came quickly out of the traps as they forced three early chances in the first five minutes. Bayongon Osse, in the Bangkok goal, had to get down sprightly to tip a header from Anucha Chuaysri around the post.

However it was Samual Danquah who put the Bulligans ahead when he nipped in front of a BBCU defender to hit the opener, and a Josef Tirer shot that beat Beyeme in the BBCU goal saw the Bulligans 2-0 up after 17 minutes.

Ononiwu Julius beat the offside trap five minutes before the break to half the deficit, but Josef Tirer restored the two goal lead a minute later with a crisp strike to give the home side a 3-1 advantage at half time.

The second half never reached the excitement of the first half as Bangkok sat back and waited to pounce on the counter attack.

BBCU's misery was complete in injury time when substitute Lee Tuck scored Bangkok's fourth from inside the penalty box.

It wasn't all doom and gloom for BBCU as Songkla lost at home to Bangkok United 2-0. That result leaves the Pink Power needing only one point to confirm promotion to the TPL. For the Iron Bulls, their first division status for 2012 hasn't been secured yet, but one more win should see them over the safety line.

Anyway, if you ever wondered why 99% of Thai football games kick off late, below is a 4 step guide demonstrated by Bangkok FC to help you:

The National Anthem

Team photo for facebook

Squad huddle

and finally, the starting 11 huddle

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Weekend Preview 17-18 December

Army v Buriram PEA (Sat)
TOT v TTM Pichit (Sat)
Sriracha v Bangkok Glass (Sat)
Pattaya v Chiang Rai Utd (Sat)
Sisaket v Muangthong (Sun)
Samut Songkhram v Thai Port (Sun)
Navy v Osotspa (Sun)
BEC Tero v Chonburi (Sun)
Police v Khon Kaen (Sun)

Buriram PEA will wrap up the TPL title if they can beat Army United on Saturday. Their inevitable title celebrations will come earlier than expected as nearest challengers Muangthong have endured a week that they'll want to forget. Last weekend they let a 2-0 lead slip deep into injury time at Khon Kaen and on Wednesday evening they suffered their first ever home TPL defeat after they were humbled by lowly Siam Navy 3-1. Club owner, Rawi Lohtong, lambasted his side in the press after they squandered the 2 goal lead at Khon Kaen and you have to wonder what the media tycoon had to say after the home defeat to Navy. With Rawi's hiring and firing policy, it looks doubtful that Robbie Fowler will still be in the Muanthong hot seat when the 2012 league season commences.
Anyway on the pitch, Muangthong have a difficult task this weekend with a long trip to Sisaket. Another defeat for the Nontaburi side could leave them trailing second placed Chonburi by 6 points if the Sharks can claim three points at BEC Tero. At the bottom, time is running out for Khon Kaen and Sriracha. The two strugglers meet Pathumthani sides with Sriracha hosting Bangkok Glass and Khon Kaen travelling to Suphanburi to meet Police United. A poor run of three consecutive defeats has seen Samut Songkhram slip into the relegation places. They will face an inform Thai Port side who are unbeaten in five. The two sides sitting just above the drop zone, Navy and TOT, will both be confident of collecting three points as they welcome Osotspa and TTM Phichit respectively.

Division 1
Chantaburi v Air Force (Sat)
Saraburi v Chainat (Sat)
Customs v Suphanburi (Sat)
Thai Honda v Phuket (Sat)
Chiang Mai v JW Rangsit (Sat)
Bangkok FC v BBCU (Sun)
Buriram v Raj Pracha (Sun)
PTT Rayong v RBAC (Sun)
Songkla v Bangkok United (Sun)

The first division promotion race has hardly set any pulses racing this season as the top 3 of Buriram FC, Chainat and BBCU have been miles ahead of the chasing pack for months now. Chainat just need a point to join Buriram FC in the top flight, while BBCU could accompany the other two if their result betters Songkla's on Sunday. It won't be easy for BBCU as they travel over the river to take on a Bangkok FC team who are fighting to survive the drop. Two recent away victories have helped the Bulligans creep away from danger. Plummeting in the opposite direction are Air Force United who have alarmingly only picked up 1 point from the last 12 available and more worryingly, they've failed to find the net since the 2nd of October. A loss at Chantaburi for the Airmen could see them fall into the relegation places for the first time this season if Customs can overcome Suphanburi at the Forza. The bottom two sides of Thai Honda and RBAC, will finally be condemned to second division football if they lose.

Division 2 Play-offs
(Group A) (Sunday)
Pattalung v Kasetsart
Loei v Phitsanoluk
Phichit v Ratchaburi

(Group B) (Saturday)
Krabi v Rayong
Nth Bangkok v Lamphun
Korat v Roi Et

In Group A, Ratchaburi are already promoted as winners of the group. Second placed Pattalung should join them as a home victory over bottom placed Kasetsart would guarantee them second spot. Failure to collect 3 points for Pattalung would leave the door open for the winners of Loei and Phitsanoluk to sneak into the second promotion place.

The only game of any real significance in Group B is Krabi v Rayong. A win or draw would be good enough for Krabi to join Korat in Division 1. A victory for Rayong though, would see the Wild Horses hurdle over Krabi into the top 2. It will be party time in Korat as they host fellow north east neighbors Roi Et. The pressure is finally off the Swatcats and the home fans will be able to relax for the first time in months.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend Review 10-11 December

TOT 0-0 Sisaket
Khon Kaen 2-2 Muangthong
Sriracha 0-1 Buriram PEA
Samut Songkhram 2-3 TTM Phichit
Chiang Rai 2-1 Osotspa
Police Utd 3-1 Bangkok Glass
BEC Tero 0-0 Thai Port
Army 2-0 Navy
Chonburi 2-2 Pattaya

Buriram PEA only require six points to be crowned TPL champions after Franck Ohandza's netted the only goal of the game in their 1-0 win at Sriracha. Muangthong United looked to be comfortably holding out for a victory at Khon Kaen as they held a 2-0 lead in the 89th minute. However some unconvincing goalkeeping proved costly for MTU as two injury time goals salvaged the league's bottom side a point. In the Eastern Seaboard derby it finished 2-2, while Police United were triumphant in the Pathumthani clash as two early goals helped them see off Bangkok Glass 3-1. The downtown Bangkok derby ended 0-0, and a short distance up the road in Din Daeng, Army won the bragging rights of the military clubs as they beat Navy 2-0. TOT moved up a place to 14th as they shared the spoils with Sisaket at the TOT Stadium.

Division 1
Air Force 0-0 Suphanburi
Chantaburi 0-0 BBCU
Chainat 4-0 Raj Pracha
Saraburi 1-0 JW Rangsit
Chiang Mai 1-2 PTT Rayong
Customs 1-0 RBAC
Thai Honda 0-1 Bangkok United
Buriram FC 7-0 Phuket

Buriram FC are now only one win off being Division 1 title holders after they demolished Phuket 7-0. Chainat's comfortable 4-0 win over Raj Pracha leaves the Hornbills on the brink of promotion. One point from their last four games will guarantee TPL football for Chainat. Similarly, BBCU only need 4 points to confirm their place in the top flight after they earned a decent point down in Chantaburi. A point for Air Force halted their three game losing streak and with games in hand over their relegation opponents, the Blue Eagles should just about have enough to stay up. An injury time winner for Customs over RBAC lifted them out of the relegation zone above Bangkok FC as the Bulligans had the weekend off. Division 1 will shortly be saying "adios" to RBAC and Thai Honda as they are all but mathematically down after they both suffered 1-0 losses on Sunday.

Division 2 Play-offs
(Group A)
Kasetsart 1-1 Loei City
Phitsanoluk 2-3 Ratchaburi
Phichit 4-2 Pattalung

(Group B)
Roi Et 0-0 Krabi
Rayong 1-0 Lamphun
North Bangkok 0-2 Korat

Ratchaburi and Korat reserved their places in Division 1 next year as both sides racked up away victories. The two teams from the south, Krabi and Pattalung, were looking nailed on for promotion a couple of weeks ago, but the "jitter bugs" have set in and the southern duo need home victories next weekend to secure the second promotion berths.
It was an entertaining round of fixtures in Group A. Ratchaburi were always in control after they raced into a two goal lead in the first 10 minutes at Phitsanoluk. In the day's earlier game, Loei City blew their promotion chances as they could only draw 1-1 at struggling Kasetsart. Pattalung could have been promoted if they had beaten Phichit, but they lost their second successive game in the north. Nonetheless, Pattalung will go into the last round of fixtures as favourites to join Ratchaburi in Division 1 with a home game against Kasetsart surely a home banker.
Surprise package Korat, booked their spot in the 2012 Division 1 with a 2-0 away win over North Bangkok. They jumped over Krabi to the summit of the group as the Andaman Eagles could only take a point in Roi Et. Krabi now sit one place and one point above Rayong after the Wild Horses edged out Lamphun, and the winner of next week's clash between the pair, will join Korat in the first division next term.

Group A Standings: Ratchaburi 19, Pattalung 14, Loei 13, Phitsanoluk 13, Phichit 10, Kasetsart 5
Group B Standings: Korat 19, Krabi 18, Rayong 17, Roi Et 11, Nth Bkk 5, Lamphun 4

Midweek Fixtures (All Wednesday)
Chonburi v Sriracha
Muangthong v Navy
Khon Kaen v BEC Tero

Division 1
Raj Pracha v Bangkok FC
Saraburi v Songkla

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Samut Prakarn Customs United 1-0 RBAC

Forza Stadium
Substitute Emmanual Ndjock scored an injury time winner to secure a narrow win over RBAC at the Forza Stadium and lift Customs out of the relegation zone.

Emmanual Ndjock had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes when he latched onto a goal kick to slot the winner two minutes into injury time.

RBAC half time team talk
After an even first half, it was Customs who had the better chances after the break with Jirawat Sarunwan and Artorn Saingam coming close on a couple of occasions for the Lat Krabang side.
Leonel Saint Prux

RBAC's best chances came in the first half with a Leonel Saint Prux shot that was tipped over the bar and a Suchart Chaiyai free kick that struck the woodwork.

Good catch!!
The 1-0 win was probably a fair result as Customs were rewarded for their second half pressure. RBAC now have to win their last three games and hope that other results work in their favour if they have any chance of avoiding the drop to Division 2 next season.

Incidentally, when I hear the words "the Forza Stadium," it conjures images of Italia 90 and the San Siro or the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa - not a paintball field with four small Subbuteo stands next to a temple adjacent to "Swampy" airport.

Attendance: 480

Saturday, December 10, 2011

North Bangkok 0-2 Korat

Korat's 2-0 victory over North Bangkok earned the Swatcats their place in Division 1 next season. Results from elsewhere conspired to work in favour for Korat and it now leaves an intriguing winner takes all game between Krabi and Rayong next weekend to see who goes up with Korat.

The game today bizarely started 4 minutes ahead of schedule and finished with a lunar eclipse visable in the Bangkok skyline. Both are rare occurrences and I wouldn't like to put my money on which one I will see next!!

The first half was fairly even and within a few minutes, the home side thought they had taken the lead, but their goal was ruled out for offside.

Korat had a couple of decent chances in the first period with a Prompong header striking the post, and shortly before the break, Marcel should have done better when he got to the ball before the advancing North Bangkok keeper, but he tamely screwed his shot wide from outside the area.

Ten minutes into the second half, Korat took the lead through a Jiranwut shot after he'd linked up well with Marcel.

The game was over 20 minutes from time when Marcel headed home a Jagkree corner.

Korat held out without any threat from North Bangkok as the Swatcat fans anxiously tried to find out results from elsewhere. Once the Krabi result came through, the players, officials and fans of Korat celebrated at the final whistle. I expect there will be a party atmosphere next week in Korat when they host Roi Et for their final game.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weekend Preview 10-11 December

TOT v Sisaket (Sat)
Khon Kaen v Muangthong (Sat)
Sriracha v Buriram PEA (Sat)
Samut Songkhram v TTM Phichit (Sat)
Chiang Rai v Osotspa (Sun)
Police Utd v Bangkok Glass (Sun)
BEC Tero v Thai Port (Sun)
Army v Navy (Sun)
Chonburi v Pattaya (Sun)

There is a downtown Bangkok and Pathumthani derby to wet the appetite of local fans this weekend. The last time Police and Bangkok Glass met in the league, it produced a 5-3 cracker with a Sarayoot hat-trick helping BG to win. This time though the game will be played in Suphanburi instead of Pathumthani. It was also a high scoring game earlier in the season when Thai Port and BEC Tero clashed at the PAT Stadium with the Khlong Toei side edging out Tero in a 5 goal thriller. Army United will be favourites against Siam Navy in the battle of the military sides, and likewise Muangthong should be expecting to haul all 3 points from their trip up to Khon Kaen. TOT's sequence of home games continues with the visit of an off colour Sisaket team.

Division 1
Air Force v Suphanburi (Sat)
Chantaburi v BBCU (Sat)
Chainat v Raj Pracha (Sat)
Saraburi v JW Rangsit (Sat)
Chiang Mai v PTT Rayong (Sat)
Customs v RBAC (Sun)
Thai Honda v Bangkok United (Sun)
Buriram FC v Phuket (Sun)
Bangkok FC v Songkla (31 Dec)

Times have been tough lately for Air Force United both on and off the field. Their home stadium was victim to severe flooding while on the playing front, poor form and lack of games have seen them drop to the verge of the relegation zone. On Saturday, they will face Suphanburi at Ramkhamheang University Stadium. Customs have a winnable game against RBAC and victory for them would heap more pressure onto the Airmen if they lose to Suphanburi. At the other end of the table, BBCU travel down to Chantaburi to face the Hares who have won their last two outings. A victory for Chainat over Raj Pracha on Saturday would leave the Hornbills needing just one solitary point to confirm their place at the top table next season.

Division 2 Play-offs
(Group A) (Sunday)
Kasetsart v Loei City
Phitsanoluk v Ratchaburi
Phichit v Pattalung

(Group B) (Saturday)
Roi Et v Krabi
Rayong v Lamphun
North Bangkok v Korat

It crunch time as the playoffs enter their penultimate round of fixtures this weekend. Group A is interestingly poised with 4 teams vying for the two promotion spots. A victory for top of the league Ratchaburi at third placed Phitsanoluk would be enough to fire the Dragons into Division 1. However, 3 points for Phitsanoluk would move them onto 16 points, level with Ratchaburi. The team currently sandwiched between these two sides in the table, Pattalung, travel up north again this time to Phichit. The Swallows flight up north last time out was disappointing as they lost 1-0 at Loei City. That victory kept City in the promotion picture and they’ll be expecting to collect 3 points at Kasetsart in Kampaeng Saen.
Group B has less promotion permutations as it’s now a 3 horse race between Krabi, Korat and Rayong. On paper, Krabi have the most daunting task this Saturday as they make the long journey up to Roi Et. Whispers coming out of Roi Et this week suggest that there are several unhappy campers amongst the playing staff after the White Squirrels disappointing playoff campaign. Korat will meet North Bangkok in central Bangkok at the Thephasadin. North Bangkok have lost their three previous home games and if Korat can make that number four, the Swatcats would be on the brink of promotion. Third placed Rayong return to their home stadium after they were forced to play their last game in nearby Sattahip. The guests this week in Rayong are Lamphun Warriors and anything other than a home win would most likely see the end of Rayong’s promotion bid.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thai Port 1-0 Chonburi

Thai Port moved into the top half of the TPL courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Chonburi.

The 4pm kick off started in Khlong Toei with barely a few hundred spectators inside the PAT Stadium. If the game had been played on a weekend, I'm sure the crowd for the opening of the match would have been quadrupled.

The game though was a decent throughout as both teams had numerous chances.

The best effort of the first half came shortly before the interval when Pipob's header from a Therdsak cross was fantastically blocked by Munze with his right leg.

Shortly into the second half, the home side's keeper was called upon again to beat away a Highuchi shot from close range with his right arm.

As the game entered the final third, Chonburi seemed to lose impotence upfront as Thai Port began to press for a winner. The threat of Ekkapoom was evident all game, and with 10 minutes left on the clock, the wee man was at the near post to nod in a Mongkol freekick.

The rest of the game was most noticeable for Chonburi's keeper Sintaweechai attempting to play centre forward for the Sharks as they desperately searched for an equalizer.

Tonight was one of those games that could have gone either way. Had it been played earlier in the season when Chonburi were on fine form, or even when Thai Port were going through their wretched run under Thongchai when he first took over, then I'm sure Chonburi would have won this game. Today though, Thai Port played with the spirit that has seen them take 10 points out of the last 12.

Attendance: 2*15 - I didn't hear correctly what the 2nd digit was :(

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekend Review 3-4 December

Chonburi 2-1 Army
Police 0-2 Muangthong
Bangkok Glass 2-0 BEC Tero
TOT 1-0 Sriracha
Osotspa 2-1 Sisaket
TTM 1-2 Navy
Pattaya 3-0 Khon Kaen
Thai Port 1-1 Chiang Rai Utd
Buriram PEA 3-0 Samut Songkhram

The relegation picture took a new twist after this round of fixtures as TOT defeated Sriracha 1-0 and Siam Navy came from behind to win 2-1 at TTM Phichit. The 386 spectators in Chaeng Wattana had to wait until the 81st minute for Kone Mohammed's penalty spot winner. Navy's 85th minute winner keeps them to within 2 points of safety. Losses for Sriracha and Khon Kaen leaves them both staring ominously at Division 1 football next season. The battle for 2nd place remains as tight as ever after Saturday victories for Chonburi and Muangthong. Chonburi beat Army 2-1 despite playing the majority of the second half with only 10 players, and two early goals for Muangthong saw them comfortably hold off Police Utd in Chainat. The BG fans finally had something to smile about after weeks of misery has surrounded the Leo Stadium. Two second half goals from the Glass Rabbits ensured they completed the double over BEC Tero this season.  On Sunday, the mid-table battle in Klong Toei between Thai Port and Chiang Rai Utd predictably ended with honours even. The 1-1 was the fourth time this season that these two sides have drawn matches with each other.

Division 1
RBAC 0-0 Thai Honda
Songkla 2-3 Chiang Mai
Bangkok Utd 1-2 Bangkok FC
Suphanburi 0-2 Buriram FC
JW Rangsit 2-1 Customs
BBCU 1-0 Saraburi
Raj Pracha 0-3 PTT Rayong
Phuket 0-2 Chantaburi
Chainat 7-0 Air Force

Buriram FC left it late in Suphanburi with two goals just before full time. That victory ensures that the Lava have won promotion to the TPL. To win the title, Buriram only need 6 points from their last five outings. Third placed BBCU were far from convincing as they beat Saraburi 1-0. The Pink Power stay 12 points clear of fourth placed PTT Rayong. At the other end of the table, RBAC and Thai Honda cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw. The point apiece does neither side much good as Chiang Mai and Bangkok FC both won. The Bulligans 2-1 victory at mid-table Bangkok United lifts them out of the relegation placings as Customs lost at JW Rangsit. Air Force finally returned to action with a 7-0 mauling at Chainat. The rusty Airmen must be looking nervously over their shoulders as they are now only 3 points above the drop zone. 

Division 2 Play-offs
(Group A)
Loei 1-0 Pattalung
Ratchaburi 4-0 Kasetsart
Phitsanoluk 3-1 Phichit

(Group B)
Krabi 0-1 Korat
Rayong 2-1 Nth Bkk
Lamphun 0-0 Roi Et

Group A has become very interestingly poised after Loei City beat Pattalung 1-0. As expected Ratchaburi were too strong for Kasetsart and likewise Phitsanoluk over Phichit. Ratchaburi now sit top on 16 points followed by Pattalung on 14, Phitsanoluk 13 and Loei 12.

Similarly Group B is curiously balanced after Korat beat Krabi in their own back yard to move one point behind the league leaders. It looks like it's two from three for promotion after Roi Et all but dropped out of the race with a 0-0 in Lamphun. Rayong kept themselves in third place with a 2-1 victory over North Bangkok in neutral Sattahip. With two games remaining Krabi have 17 points, Korat 16, Rayong 14 and Roi Et 10.

BBCU 1-0 Saraburi

Malick Ndape's goal kept BBCU looking odds on for promotion from Division 1 as Saraburi FC were narrowly defeated.

Team Line-ups
The first half was probably one of the worst I've seen since the infamous Germany v Austria second half way back in the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

Saraburi thought they had taken the lead on the hour mark but their goal was ruled out for offside by the assistant referee.

As the game looked to be heading out to a goalless stalemate, BBCU moved ahead when a long free kick into the box wasn't collected by the Saraburi keeper and Malick was on hand to strike the ball into the net.

That was it as far as the action went and BBCU held on to the lead to maintain their 12 point lead over 4th place PTT Rayong.

Overall it was a disappointing game, and from what I saw tonight, BBCU would need to seriously invest in the squad if they have any chance to survive in the TPL next season.

One positive thing from tonight was the weather. Evening football in December is cool and pleasant to sit in for spectators. It's also nice not to have to attend the match with a raincoat awaiting the inevitable downpour that we see between May to October. I'm certainly in favour of the Thai football season being played outwith the rainy season.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thai FA Cup Draw - Last 8 & Semi Final

Loei City v Songkla
Muangthong v Sriracha
Buriram PEA v BEC Tero
Army Utd v Chainat

Ties to be played on 4th January.

The semi final line up is:
Loei City/Songkla v Muangthong/Sriracha
Buriram PEA/BEC Tero v Army Utd/Chainat

The semi final ties to be played on 7th January.

The final will be played on Wednesday 11th January