Diary of a Thai football season

2023/24 Samut Prakan v DP Kanchanaburi

A Friday night home game against a side looking over their shoulder towards the relegation zone.


(Can we lift ourselves after the disappointment of losing at Phrae? Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page

Tonight's opponents have found life hard going in the second tier?

Dragon Pathumwan Kanchanaburi (to give them their full name) were promoted last season via the play offs, after topping the third division west. They won 17 of their 22 matches in what was a memorable campaign. But yes, the step up to second division football hasn't been easy. 

The Fire Dragons are currently just one place above the relegation zone (albeit with a 7-point buffer) and they're on a run of four consecutive defeats. They got hammered 5-1 at home last weekend to Nongbua Pichaya and on the road, they have won just one of their 14 away games, a 1-0 win at lowly Krabi way back in August. 

At their own stadium they have fared better, and one of their home victories this season was a 3-1 win against Samut Prakan in October. We are seeking revenge!

It's just been announced on the Dragon Pathumwan Kanchanaburi Facebook page that they have applied to the FA to do us all a big favour and shorten the club name to simply 'Kanchanaburi FC'. 

Comings and goings (well, mainly goings)

DP Kanchanaburi's Brazilian strike pair of Jardel and Batista bagged 15 goals between them in the first half of the season and then bizarrely, both of them were let go during the mid-season break and joined Nongbua Pichaya.

Head Coach Douglas Rodriguez also went through the exit door a couple of weeks ago after a disastrous 3-0 defeat at Kasetsart FC. His replacement is 43-year old Thai coach Somchai Makmool, who has racked up an impressive number of Thai clubs in his managerial career. DP Kanchanaburi are his 13th club in little over a decade. He doesn't seem to stick around anywhere very long. 

Any player connections?

Yes, Phanthamit Praphanth made 29 appearances for Samut Prakan last season while on loan from Chonburi and proved to be a useful player. The Samut Prakan born winger then moved to PT Prachuap and is once again out on loan, this time to DP Kanchanaburi, where he's scored one goal in his seven starts for the club.

(Panthamit would eventually come on as a second half sub. Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)

Score prediction?

This has got scrappy 1-0 win to Samut Prakan written all over it.

We're also keeping an eye on the T3 play-offs

It's always interesting to know which teams have a chance of being promoted to T2 at the end of the season and which new clubs Samut Prakan fans might be travelling to. 

With two weeks (and two matches) of the T3 season still to play, five of the 12 play-off contenders have already been confirmed - Songkhla FC, Sisaket United, Mahasarakham SBT, Bangkok FC and Phitsanaloke Unity. 

I'll cover the T3 play-off teams in more detail once we know all 12 participants.

(Why oh why isn't this guy starting? Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)

To the match itself

Another sub-300 attendance greeted the teams on a surprisingly cool and breezy Friday evening. Home supporters are left scratching their heads as to why Sangjin Lee isn't in the starting line-up after his man of the match performance against Suphanburi in the last home game, however, there are starting places in midfield for Krittin Suwannasri and Kitsarin Chinasri - two players we don't see very often.

Striker Arnont Phumsri also returns to the line-up and while he's come into some criticism of late for failing to take gilt-edged goalscoring opportunities, he is a player who makes things happen. He almost opens Samut Prakan's account as early as the 4th minute but after superbly picking a defender's pocket, he sees his powerful shot cannon off the crossbar. 

Prakan are forced into a very early change as Fernando hobbles off the field of play; the Brazilian target man still looking to hit double figures for the season and end his serious goal drought. It just isn't happening for him at the moment and he cuts a rather dejected figure.  

Back to the action and another chance for Arnont Phumsri but he drags his shot wide. These wasted opportunities prove costly as the visitors take the lead midway through the half, Pacharakorn getting on the end of a left wing cross and heading neatly home. He then almost doubles Kanchanaburi's lead with a long range effort that Jirunpong in the Samut Prakan fumbles but gathers at the second attempt. The away side are counter-attacking well and Anuwat will be disappointed he didn't make more of his chance on the stroke of half-time; the outstretched leg of Chakrit saving the day and keeping Samut Prakan in the contest. 

Half-time: Samut Prakan 0 DP Kanchanaburi 1

Burmese striker Si Thu Aung is taken off at half-time and just like in the last game defeat at Phrae, it means Prakan are arguably now playing without their two main goal threats.

Roared on by about 30 travelling fans, it's Kanchanaburi who settle into the second period better. Samut Prakan look lost; a team without a game plan. Sangjin Lee is finally introduced with half an hour remaining and along with fellow second half sub Kritsada Sriwanit, they provide the home side's better moments, but far too often crosses are overhit or they are outmuscled by Kanchanaburi defenders. 

Frankly, we just never looked like scoring.     

Full-time: Samut Prakan 0 DP Kanchanaburi 1

Watch the match highlights

(It was that sort of night. Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)

Overall thoughts?

This feels like rock bottom because that was an extremely poor showing against a bottom four side that we should have beaten comfortably. What has happened to this Samut Prakan team? It's like watching a group of players who have never played with each other before. And I suppose four goals in the last ten games also tells the main story. All I can say is thank God we amassed a decent number of points in the first half of the season and we haven't got another relegation fight on our hands (not yet anyway) 

Who's up next?

We make the short trip to the old capital of Thailand for a difficult game at Ayutthaya United on Saturday 24th February.


Samut Prakan fixtures 2023/2024




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