Diary of a Thai football season

2023/24 Bangkok United v Samut Prakan

An extremely tough midweek FA Cup trip to premier league leaders Bangkok United


(Oh no! not this place again!)

When I think of Bangkok United and their Thammasat Stadium home, this is the image that instantly pops into my head - an away section that's a ridiculous distance from the pitch in a stadium that I've heard described by a number of expat Thai football fans as 'completely unsuitable for a football match.

And?

They get about 1,500 fans for home games (rattling around in a 25,000 capacity venue), and on our last visit there, the security was heavy-handed and you couldn't even buy a bottle of water. Please tell me that things have improved. 

What's Samut Prakan's record like there?

We've played them three times in the league at the Thammasat Stadium and lost all three. However, this is the first time we've met them in a cup competition. 

Ah, cup matches are a one off though?

You could say that but Bangkok United are on fire at the moment. They are top of the premier league. They haven't lost a game all season. They're 11 points ahead of the current champions Buriram. I could go on.

But seriously....?

As fans, we always think we have a chance of winning, but with promotion from T2 still our main target, the fixture does feel like something of an inconvenience. Bur anyway, let's dare to dream and get it done.

Any player connections?

Yes, two Samut Prakan City legends no less. Patthiwat Khammai, the best goalkeeper to don the gloves and now the national team shot-stopper, and popular ex-captain Chayawat Srinawong. If they are involved tonight, their names should be sung loud and proud.   

Journey and pre-match

We left home early to beat the rush hour. It's a horrible 60-70 minute drive from Samut Prakan to Rangsit, with nothing but tollway after tollway cutting through the busiest parts of Bangkok. Coming home in the dark is even worse. 

With only a thousand in attendance for tonight's game, we were able to get a parking spot right next to the stadium. It was good to see that some of the pre-match experience had returned compared to the last time we were here during Covid times. There was a decent selection of food-stalls, a female emcee doing her best to whip up the small gathering of home supporters, and a meet and greet with a new striker from Palestine.    

Many Samut Prakan fans there?

About 25 I guess. It's very difficult for working people to get to a midweek game on the other side of the city, plus there isn't much interest in Thai cup competitions in the early rounds.  

(Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)

To the match itself

I felt right from the off that Samut Prakan looked a bit overawed by the prospect of playing arguably the best team in Thailand at the current time. We gave away possession too cheaply and there was too much panic on the ball. We managed to keep the home side at bay for 26 minutes, we even created a couple of half chances ourselves, but once Soukouna opened the scoring, there was a sinking feeling that it a long way back. The first goal comes from a Samut Prakan error as Suphaphon loses possession in midfield to Wanchai, who darts down the left wing, squares to Soukouna, and the French striker shows quick feet in the penalty area to slot the ball home.   

Suphahon won't want to see a replay of Bangkok United's second goal either, which comes just five minutes later, his mistimed jump for a header allowing Jradi to put the hosts two up.  

The travelling support has something to cheer on the stroke of half-time as Fernando puts the ball in the net but a linesman's offside flag means that joy is shortlived.

Half-time: Bangkok United 2 Samut Prakan 0

When our Korean midfielder Sangjin Lee stings the goalkeeper's hands with a long range shot on 50 minutes, perhaps there was a feeling we weren't going to wave the white flag just yet, but up pops Soukouna five minutes later to score his second of the night, playing a lovely 1-2 with Anon and skipping past the Prakan keeper. He looks a useful player does that lad. 

Defender Boonwatee adds a fourth midway through the half, cashing in on a poor clearance from Tirapon. Thankfully Samut Prakan play out the remainder of the game without Bangkok United further troubling the scoreboard. 

Full-time: Bangkok United 4 Samut Prakan 0

Watch the match highlights

Overall thoughts?

This just felt like a match to get out of the way and put behind us. Now we can focus on the 18 remaining league games. Tonight's result really came as no surprise. We were up against the best team in the Thai Premier league and the difference in overall quality was clearly evident. 

On a personal note, I enjoyed the visit to Thammasat more than I was expecting. But I still think it's one of the worst away end views in Thai football. 

Oh, and how great to see our two legends Pathiwat and Chayawat come over and say hello after the game. I messaged Pathiwat after the game to express my appreciation for the gesture. He responded with "how could I not come over? The club will always be in my heart" Top lad!

(Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)

Who's up next?

It's our final league game of 2023 as we host Rayong FC this Saturday 23rd December. 


Samut Prakan fixtures 2023/2024       




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