Diary of a Thai football season

2022/23 Suphanburi v Samut Prakan

Our first away game of the new year to high-flying Suphanburi

(Suphanburi Provincial Stadium has always been a very happy hunting ground. This time I'm not quite so confident)

I guess there's a kind of bond between Samut Prakan and Suphanburi?

Well, they are the only team we've played every season in our four seasons as Samut Prakan City. Both clubs were relegated in the 2021-2022 season and both now find themselves in the second division of course.

Suphanburi away has been a great fixture for Samut Prakan in the past?

Three wins out of three! We bloody love playing here. It started with a 1-0 victory in June 2019 (Samut Prakan's first season) at a time when Suphanburi were bottom of the premier league. Suphanburi managed to miraculously survive and we beat them 2-1 the following season. And to complete the hat-trick, when both sides were battling to avoid relegation last year, we repeated the 2-1 scoreline in what sadly proved to be our last away game in the top flight.

But this looks a much tougher game this time around?

It sure does! We are not the Samut Prakan side we were and Suphanburi are proving they are one of the strongest teams in the second tier. They currently lie in second place, tucked in behind leaders Nakhonsi United on goal difference. I'm putting my money on both of those teams securing the automatic promotion places come the end of the season. 

Just for the record, Suphanburi have won 7 of their 9 home matches so far. Only Chiang Mai United and Ayutthaya have got results here and that was right at the start of the campaign. A victory against Samut Prakan today would make it an impressive 7 home wins in a row. 

Any player connections?

Suphanburi club captain Jetjinn Sriprach was on Samut Prakan's books a couple of seasons ago but never made many appearances for the first team from what I recall.

Who's banging in the goals?

Brazilian striker Douglas Tardin has netted 8 times in the league so far. 'Duggy' (good Brazilian name) started his Thai football career at third division Saraburi last season so he's obviously made a good job of stepping up a level.

Also worth a mention is much-travelled Thai defender Rachanon Kanyathong, who is the only player to feature in every one of Suphanburi's 18 league matches.  

Score prediction?

I would love us to continue our amazing record at Suphanburi but I just can't see it. I think if we ring the changes and throw some of the new arrivals into the line up (Toure, Diawara and Panudech for starters) we might spring a surprise, but if we go with the old guard, the Chonburi B team line-up as I call it, we'll get beat. I'm going for 2-0 Suphanburi.  

(Our first stop in Suphanburi is always We're Coffee for a spot of lunch. Great food at very sensible prices.)

Journey, digs and pre-match

Light Sunday morning traffic meant a very comfortable run to Suphanburi and we covered the journey in well under two hours. We've definitely become creatures of habit on our Suphanburi trips, we had lunch at our usual coffee shop (and probably ordered the same dishes) and had booked a night at the superb Muaan Resort, which is just a five-minute drive from the stadium. After checking in, we had three hours to kill but decided to just relax in our room. It was far too hot to walk around the resort and appreciate the fauna and flora.

On arrival at the stadium, Samut Prakan looked to have around 30-40 supporters in attendance but quite a number of regular faces were missing. This game was sandwiched in between a couple of big Thailand internationals and perhaps those fans that follow both club and country were looking to keep expenses down. 

(The Muaan Resort Suphanburi is the perfect accommodation for just a thousand baht a night)

To the match itself

Samut Prakan finally handed league starts to our two new African arrivals - Diawara and Toure. There was also a debut for Kasadit Kalasin in midfield, another product of the Chonburi youth academy. Regular captain Sakesit was once more demoted to the subs bench. Is he not fully match fit or has he simply fallen out of favour?

Suphanburi's promotion drive is clearly not capturing the enthusiasm of their fans, A sparse crowd of just over 1,000 looked lost in such a large stadium as they greeted the two teams on a pleasant evening.

I'm not going to do any kind of report for this one because the game ended in a 0-0 draw with chances few and far between. Besides, from the away end, the view is so appalling that you're basically watching 22 figures run around in the distance. So I'll jump straight to...

Overall thoughts? 

Although it was the familiar story of just not creating enough chances, Samut Prakan played well tonight and possibly deserved all three points on balance of play. If we created little in terms of goalscoring opportunities, then the home side created even less. Lord knows how they are second in the league but it further proves what I've said in previous blogs - there is very little to choose from between most of the teams in this league.

(Somewhere in the distance there will be a football match to try and watch)

I was extremely pleased with the two African lads, who both made impressive debuts. They gave us a bit of bite and steel in defence and attack and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them. 

On a side note, there's a part of me that wants to see Suphanburi get promoted, just so we don't have to play them for a season at least. I've had a fucking bellyful of Suphanburi away! - their decaying grubby stadium with absolutely zero atmosphere, the atrocious view from the away stand, the strange home fans who don't even acknowledge you with as much as a nod, and their pathetic food and drink selection. I've done this trip four times now and not sure I could face it again. 

Watch the match highlights 

(Tun trying in vain to clean a seat. As matchday experiences go for the away fan, Suphanburi is probably up there with the worst)  

And there was even more football?

Yes, on the way back home, we took in the final of the AFF Cup between Thailand and Vietnam at the Thammasat Stadium. Iwas wonderful to watch a Thai football match in a packed ground and savour a terrific atmosphere. Looking around me at the sell-out crowd, I was left wondering why Thai football fans can't find just a little of that passion for the game at club level.  

Who's up next?

A great chance to put three points on the board as we entertain bottom three side Krabi FC at home on Saturday 21st January.

Samut Prakan City fixtures and results 2022-23 


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