Diary of a Thai football season

(2020/21) Samut Prakan v Suphanburi

The War Elephant are in town!

A warm welcome to Suphanburi Football Club, The War Elephant. How did this fixture go last year?

It was actually our last home game of the season and ended in a thrilling 3-2 win to the visitors, Suphanburi grabbing the winning goal in the dying seconds of the match. 

The result was not totally unexpected though. Suphanburi were fighting for their premier league lives and needed a win to avoid relegation; Samut Prakan had nothing to play for.

How are Suphanburi doing this season?

They are currently in a relatively comfortable 9th position, three places above Samut Prakan in the table and with one point more. So this evening's game is something of a 'lower mid-table tussle' if you like.

In their nine games to date, Suphanburi have scored just 8 goals but conceded just 8 at the same time. That probably tells you all you need to know. This is a team that likes to keep things tight. However, they are on a poor run of form at the moment, taking just one point - a goalless draw at home to Chonburi - from their last four outings. 

The league table before the start of the weekend's fixtures. Unbeaten BG Pathum are at the top of the pile with a very handy 6-point lead. Then come seven teams separated by just two points. Rayong FC look in all sorts of trouble at the bottom of the league and without a point to their name. (photo credit: official Samut Prakan City website)

Doesn't sound like you're in for a goal-fest tonight.

No, but I'm quietly confident of getting the three points. Samut Prakan have started to find their goal-scoring touch and this is a game where just one goal might nick it.

Before we forget, the FA Cup draw was made on Thursday?

Yes, this was the draw for the round of 64, when the sixteen premier league teams enter the fray and Samut Prakan were handed a tough away assignment at fellow T1 side Nakhon Ratchisima. Obviously we'd have preferred a home tie against some little-known division 3 or amateur side, but it wasn't to be. The match takes place on Saturday 7th November. 

Back to tonight's game against Suphanburi. First half?

There wasn't much to cheer for either set of supporters in what was a low-key first period. For the home side, Captain Peeradol hit a decent low strike but straight at the Suphanburi keeper and the returning Barros Tardelli should have done far better with a golden opportunity from inside the box but somehow fluffed his lines. Things just aren't happening at the moment for the on-loan striker from BG Pathum. 

The visitors blazed a couple of long range efforts well over the crossbar and whilst they posed little threat up front, still conjured up the best chance of the half but Brazilian striker Felipe, shot tamely at Patiwat in the Samut Prakan goal.  

(Tun sitting in on the media desk before kick off)

Second half?

This was better. Far more to get excited about as the home side started to attack with some real purpose. Just four minutes into the half and Samut Prakan go in front. Japanese midfielder, Yuto Ono, finds Teerapol Yoyei with a slide rule pass and the number 19 coolly slides the ball under the keeper. We're finally seeing Teerapol get back to the form he was in last season. 

Samut Prakan continue to carve out some good chances but the match-winning second goal proves elusive. Then in a rare venture forward from the away side, the crowd is stunned into silence by a 70th minute equaliser. Suphanburi are awarded a corner and the ball is swung across to an unmarked Patrick Reichelt. The Filipino international makes no mistake with the header. 1-1 on the night and the visitors are sensing an unlikely victory might be on the cards.

As we enter four minutes of injury time, Patiwat has the ball in his grasp and the Samut Prakan shot-stopper needs to launch it upfield for one last attack - but finds his way blocked by Suphanburi defender, Tinnakorn. To clear a path, he appears to foolishly elbow the Suphanburi number 4 in the face and the ref points to the penalty spot and flashes a red card in Patiwat's direction. Having watched the replay several times, it was definitely a deliberate elbow, and it's noticeable that no one in the Samut Prakan side offers much of a protest. What were you thinking Patiwat; what were you thinking?   

Substitute goalkeeper, Mohammed Izwan, is sent on for his Samut Prakan debut, purely to try and save a penalty and rescue a point for The Sea Fang. They are hardly ideal circumstances and credit to Patrick Reichelt who makes no mistake from the spot to claim his second goal of the evening. 

They say lightning doesn't strike twice but Suphanburi beat us last season with a winning goal in the dying seconds and they've gone and done it again tonight. 

Match highlights.

(Sometimes defeat can be hard to take)

Overall thoughts?

Oh, football can be such a cruel game. I was disappointed with the result but certainly not with the performance. The team are playing well and it was the home side that deserved the three points tonight. How on earth did we lose that game? I sat next to my good friend, Gian, who is a Thai football writer and Tommie Duncan, a gentleman who I hadn't met before but has been supporting Port FC for many years. Both Tommie and Gian know Thai football inside out and have watched hundreds of games between them. They couldn't believe Samut Prakan lost either!  

(There's some knowledge of Thai football there! Not so much from the bloke in the Samut Prakan shirt of course)

Whether we took one point or no points from tonight's game didn't really matter. We need wins to get us away from the relegation zone because we are looking over our shoulder at the moment. With a difficult home match next week and away trips to Ratchaburi and Buriram next month, I'm slightly concerned where we might be in the table come the end of November. 

All we can do is keep fighting.

Who's up next?

Another home game next Sunday (1st November) against high-flying, impressive Sukhothai. 

That means our golden old boy, Ibson Melo, is back in town and of course our much-respected ex-manager, Surapong Kongthep. It will be good to see them both back at the SAT Stadium. 

2020-21 fixture list and scores


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