Diary of a Thai football season

2022/23 Samut Prakan v Rayong FC

After two long trips north, it will be nice to be back on home soil

(Time to fight for another three points in what looks like a very winnable game at home to Rayong)

Firstly, a new coach!

Yes, Tana Chanabut was unveiled on Wednesday afternoon as the new boss, joining Samut Prakan from Port FC, where he was assistant coach. 

Hailing from Khon Kaen, Tana played as a right winger and over an 18-year period enjoyed a Thai league career of well in excess of 300 games, including spells at Port, Pattaya United and Police Tero.

We're back on home turf then?

Yes, this is our only home game in the month of February, against The Dragon Horses of Rayong. After taking four points off Chiang Mai United and Phrae FC in our last two games, we surely have to be confident of winning this one.

What's our record like against them?

Samut Prakan and Rayong have met three times with every single game ending in a 1-0 victory for Prakan, so contests are never ever a goal-fest but we still have a 100% record against them. I'll take a 1-0 win in this one for sure! 

How are Rayong doing this season?

They've had something of an inconsistent campaign, and at the time of writing (before the weekend's fixtures) they lie in 9th position but just four points below the play off places so they still have everything to play for! They don't travel particularly well though and have won just three of their eleven away fixtures.

Who's banging in the goals?

Rayong are one of the division's most goal-shy teams, hitting the net only 20 times this season (the same number as Samut Prakan in fact). Six of those goals have come from top scorer Lwin Moe Aung, a Burmese international playing his first season in Thai football. The 23-year-old midfielder from Mandalay has made over a hundred appearances for his country, beginning at U18 level.  

To the match itself

The temperature was still in the mid-thirties when the match kicked off, with a low setting sun that forced you to shield your eyes if you were unfortunate to be stood in E stand. It was a reminder of how much I loathe 5.30 starts. It seemed to affect Samut Prakan far more than Rayong though, as the home side struggled with virtually aspect of their game, from simple passing to basic ball control. I got the feeling very early on that this contest would be anything but plain sailing.

Rayong open their account in the 14th minute. Ratchata clumsily trips his man on the edge of the penalty area and up steps Brazilian midfielder Galhardo, certainly my man of the match tonight, to smash home the free kick with the help of a huge deflection. As Samut Prakan struggle to find any sort of rhythm, the visitors almost make it two with a shot into the side-netting. 

Samut Prakan's best chance of the half falls to Padsakorn, but with just the keeper to beat, Prakan's top scorer goes for glory and shoots wide when a pass to Jorates would've been the better option.

As the half ticks down, Rayong spurn two more glorious chances to extend their lead as Galhardo's sidefooted attempt is blocked on the line by Diawara and keeper Thatpicha performs a heroic double save right on the whistle. Somehow Samut Prakan are still in the game.   

Half-time: Samut Prakan 0 Rayong FC 1

The game is thrown away in ten minutes of madness. Galhardo centres for top scorer Lwin Moe Aung to stab the ball home on 55 minutes. A couple of minutes later we get an action replay but this time it's De Souza on the end of Galhardo's cross. The Brazilian then makes it a memorable night of two goals and two assists to put Rayong 4-0 up with a simple finish. Thankfully Rayong couldn't quite run up a cricket score in the twenty minutes that remained. 

Just 404 fans there tonight but I'm sure the 50 or so Rayong supporters went home happy.

Full time: Samut Prakan 0 Rayong FC 4 

Watch the match highlights

(The smiles didn't last too long tonight)

Overall thoughts?

The worst Samut Prakan performance I've witnessed in four seasons? Quite possibly. That was the first time I've walked out of the stadium right on the final whistle instead of staying to applaud the players and listen to the various after-match rituals. I just couldn't face it this time around.  

We were dreadful. Not a single player stood out with the possible exception of the ever reliable Thatpicha in goal. Rayong had three foreign players that we simply couldn't cope with and it was too often like men against boys out there. How do you go from beating Chiang Mai United away to that sort of display in a couple of weeks? I'm just baffled. But there's little doubt our home performances are becoming a grave cause for concern. We look bereft of any sort of ideas or game plan.

It's all well and good saying that our March fixtures are largely against teams in the bottom half of the table...but do we have the ability to beat them is the question?    

Let's have a look at the T2 table after the weekend's games

Samut Prakan are now just two points above the relegation zone but 16th place Kasetsart FC have a game in hand. The two clubs meet in Samut Prakan's next home match in early March (how big has that game become?) We also travel to both Chainat Hornbill and Rajpracha in the same month. I think it's fair to say the March fixtures will define our season.    

Who's up next?

We make the long journey south to league leaders Nakhonsi United for a match on Saturday 25th February.


Yes, both Tun and I have wanted to see Nakhon Si Thammarat for some time and now's our chance. We'll fly down on the Friday before the game and return to Bangkok the following Wednesday. So all told a nice 5-day break. 

 Samut Prakan City fixtures and results 2022-23 


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