(Back on home soil again and while the rainy season should be over, we've had a lot of the wet stuff recently)
All we are saying is give us a goal
Samut Prakan and Kasetsart FC have met twice before (both times last season) and it's a fixture that's still to see a goal. A turgid 0-0 draw at Kasetsart in October 2022 was only marginally bettered by the goalless stalemate at Samut Prakan five months later.
How are Kasetsart doing this season?
Before this weekend's games, they were in 14th place (four from bottom) and had won just two of their 11 games so far (against Chainat and Phrae) This club are perennial T2 strugglers. This is their 7th season in the second division and they are yet to finish higher than 12th.
On the road this season, Kasetsart have had some right tankings, losing 4-0 at Suphanburi, 5-2 at DP Kanchanaburi, and 4-1 at Chiang Mai FC. Hopefully we'll be adding Samut Prakan's name to that list.
(A man itching to play football again but unfortunately serious injury means we have to do without Panudech Maiwong's midfield talents for the rest of the season. A bitter blow. Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)
Who's banging in the goals?
With five goals to his name, Brazilian forward Christian Alex is the man to mark. Now at his 7th club in the Thai league, the 29-year-old from Rio De Janeiro has also played in Portugal, Lithuania and Japan.
Any player connections?
Yes, goalkeeper Thatpicha Auksonsri was Samut Prakan's player of the season in 2022/23 but the extremely likeable young man (officially on loan from Chonburi) moved to Kasetsart at the end of the campaign. He only seems to have figured in half of their matches so far, though.
Right-back Krailas Panyaroj made around eight appearances for Samut Prakan in the glory days of the premier league but that must feel to him like a very long time ago (I suppose it does to the fans as well) Since his Prakan days, Krailas has had two spells down in South Thailand at Songkhla FC as well as racking up 50 appearances for Customs, Chainat and Ayutthaya. The boy certainly gets around.
Only a win will do this evening after taking just two points from our last three games. I'm going to be conservative though and go for 2-1 to Samut Prakan.
In other news
Samut Prakan were handed a home tie against our old friends and partner club Chonburi United in the League Cup round of 32. The tie will be played on Wednesday 6th December, meaning at the beginning of the month, we have three home matches in 6 days!
To the match itself
I had a feeling that iffy weather, the lure of the annual temple fair and inconsistent form might have an effect on tonight's attendance, but even I didn't expect a crowd as low as 295. But for those fans that turned up, they were treated to a cracking game, despite an absolute dog of a pitch. Heavy rain the day before had left the playing surface sodden and rutted and it was certainly a night for route one football.
Samut Prakan could've been two or three up in the first ten minutes. Bianor Neto puts a direct free kick just wide of the post, Fernando cashes in on hesitancy in the Kasetsart defence but shoots straight at the keeper, and another attempt sails over the crossbar. The best chance falls to Suphanan, but the midfield number 16 fluffs his lines with a busy goalkeeper again coming to the rescue.
Kasetsart's first worthwhile attack comes on 11 minutes with one of their Korean defensive pairing JC Lee heading over from close range. And despite Samut Prakan's dominance, it's the visitors who grab the lead midway through the half, Christian Alex getting his head on to a right wing cross for his 6th goal of the season. It comes at a heavy price though as the Brazilian marksman lands awkwardly, spends the next five minutes hobbling around clutching his back and is stretchered off to a waiting ambulance five minutes later. Kasetsart's season could hinge on moments like this.
Samut Prakan have their own injury worries as Arnont Pumsiri is replaced by Kittichai, but the home side claw their way back into the contest on 39 minutes, Fernando converting a penalty for his 7th goal of the campaign.
(Fernando was on fire again this evening and developing a good partnership with Brazilian team mate Bianor Neto. Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page )
Half-time: Samut Prakan 1 Kasetsart FC 1
If the story of the first half was all about failing to convert chances, the second period is the polar opposite as Samut Prakan blow their opponents away with a devastating 10-minute spell of attacking football. Captain Tirapon, improving with every game, wins the ball just in front of his own area and a sweeping move ends with a through ball to Supawit who scores against his old club with a clinical finish. Supawit was virtually an ever present for Kasetsart last season so the goal celebration is understandably muted.
On the hour mark, Prakan grab a 3-1 lead, with Supawit once again in the thick of the action but this time deciding to square the ball to Ronnachai, who bundles the ball over the line for his first Samut Prakan goal. Things haven't been perfect for the ex-Thai international since his arrival from Rajpracha and he's found himself in and out of the team, but as he celebrates with Khun Big the club owner on the touchline, you can clearly see what the goal means to him.
Supawit completes the rout on 65 minutes with a similar goal to his first, a through ball gives him the time and space to go it alone and sidefoot past the keeper with confidence, his second brace of the season to go with the two goals he scored against Phrae in October.
Japanese forward Ryosuke pulls a goal back for Kasetsart with a penalty in the 71st minute but Prakan see out the remainder of the game comfortably.
Full-time: Samat Prakan 4 Kasetsart FC 2
(Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)
Oh boy, did we need that. The win and maximum points keeps us just three points behind the top six. We'll face tougher opponents than Kasetsart though. I thought they looked poor and you can't see anything but a relegation battle ahead of them. However, it was an excellent team performance overall on an extremely difficult pitch. Fingers crossed the rainy season is well and truly over and the playing surface has time to recover. Great to see Supawit grab another couple of goals, and well-taken goals they were too. I'd also give a mention to the two Brazilian lads and also the captain Tirapon - three players who are improving all the time.
(How does it feel to score twice against your old club? Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)
Who's up next?
We have a nice two-week break before making the long journey north to high-flying Nongbua Pichaya on the 25th November. That'll be a tough game.
Yes, hotel and flights are booked. I've wanted to see Nongbua's 'pink stadium' for quite a while. There doesn't seem to be a great deal to do and see though in one of Thailand's seriously provincial backwaters, so we'll make it a relatively short 3-night trip.