Diary of a Thai football season

2023/24 Samut Prakan v Lampang FC

Samut Prakan's third match in a very busy week as we host 'The Emerald Chariots'


(So what's next? Photo credit: Nong Bonus)

Samut Prakan need to win this one

I had targeted a minimum of 9 points from the four winnable league games leading up to Christmas and New Year. The first of those four games was a 2-1 defeat at home to Chainat so not an ideal start. We are currently in a sort of mid-table no man's land, six points off the top six and seven points above the relegation zone. Lampang FC, our opponents tonight, are more or less in the same position. It's a crucial game for both teams.

But you're not confident?

I'm not. I think that the 5-1 defeat at Nongbua a couple of weeks ago really knocked the stuffing out of us. Since then we've been a shadow of our former selves and look low on confidence. That said, sometimes all it takes is one positive performance to turn things around and hopefully that'll come against Lampang.

This is actually the first time the teams have met, so a bit of club background?

Lampang FC, nickname The Emerald Chariots, were formed in 2010 and spent a number of seasons in the third division north before winning promotion to the second tier in 2015. It wasn't until 2022, and largely thanks to 20 goals from Devyson Fernandes, that they won promotion to the top flight, finishing 4th in the division but getting promoted via the play offs. The dream lasted just one season as they finished bottom of the premier league and came straight back down again.  

How are Lampang doing this season?

Currently one place and one point above Samut Prakan, it's been a strange up and down campaign so far. They got off to a nightmare start, losing their opening three games including a 2-1 home defeat to Pattaya United. They then steadied the ship by going on an unbeaten run of nine matches and started to look like genuine playoff contenders, but have since lost their last two against Chainat and Kasetsart. 

Which Lampang are going to turn up tonight?  

Any player connections?

Yes, Chattri Rattanawong, a 30-year old striker from Mukdahan, started four games and made 9 substitute appearances for Prakan in their 2021-22 relegation season. I always felt he looked a little out of his depth but in fairness to the lad, that was a tough season for everyone and no player really stood out.

After a brief spell at Nongbua, he moved to Lampang and seems to be doing well, starting 13 league games and currently the top scorer with five goals. 

To the match itself

Supawit Rompophak and Suphapon Sutthisak have racked up over 30 appearances between them this season for Samut Prakan, but both sat this one out (minor injuries or just rested?) Arnont Pumsiri returned from injury as part of an attacking trio with Fernando and Ronnachai, while the experienced Tanat Wongsupaluck came in for just his fifth start of the campaign.

Right from the kick off Samut Prakan looked like a team determined to put a run of poor results behind them, and should have gone ahead as early as the third minute, Fernando sidefooting a sitter wide of the post. The Brazilian talisman doesn't have to wait long to make amends though, as Kittichai Yaidee plays a glorious lofted through ball, and although there's an element of good fortune involved as the ball bounces off a Lampang defender's arm, Fernando keeps his composure to bag his 7th of the season and end his mini goal drought. 

(Goal number 7 for Fernando. Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)

Lampang offer nothing in attack until forcing Jirunpong into a good save on 17 minutes and the Samut Prakan shot stopper was to go on and have probably his best game of the season, against his old club as well. I haven't been a fan of the constant rotation between Jirunpong and Itthipon and although I think there's little to choose between the two keepers in terms of ability, we need to decide on the man for the job and give him a decent run of confidence-building games.

Fernando has a chance to increase Samut Prakan's lead as we approach the halfway mark in the first period, but attacking support is late arriving and another chance goes begging. At the other end, a cross-cum-shoot bounces off the crossbar as Lampang look to restore parity. It's turning into a good game this.  

Oh my days! that is a worldy from young academy player Rachata Chanlao. What a way to open your first team account. He's picked the ball up from well outside the area, dropped his shoulder, and unleashed a glorious strike into the bottom corner. I will be the first to say that I felt the young man's form had dipped in recent weeks and he would possibly benefit from a break; I was delighted he proved me wrong because he had a decent match tonight at the heart of the defence.

This has been a quite wonderful first half showing from the home side. 

Half-time: Samut Prakan 2 Lampang FC 0

(The boy's done good! Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)

The second period doesn't really match the end-to-end excitement of the first. Samut Prakan seem happy to protect their two-goal cushion and Lampang just aren't showing enough urgency. Both teams miss decent chances but Lampang are heading for a third straight defeat and their commendable away following will be disappointed with what they've seen tonight. There's a bit of argy-bargy  just minutes before the full-time whistle as Fernando is shoved by a Lampang defender in an attempt to retrieve the ball. Fernando obviously feels the physical contact was unnecessary and reacts accordingly. Once all the pushing and shoving dies down, the Brazilian striker will feel aggrieved that his name is the only one going in the referee's notebook. Overall, it's just a pity that the incident tarnishes what has been a fine evening's work and a job well done.  

Full-time: Samut Prakan 2 Lampang FC 0  

Watch the match highlights

Overall thoughts?

That was better. Oh that was so much better. The tactics were more direct, we created plenty of goal-scoring chances, and we looked like a group of players who wanted to win and believed in themselves. Yes, Lampang were poor but you beat what's put in front of you. And when the final whistle blew, you could see from their reactions what victory meant to the players. We can now go into the next game with a lot more confidence and that top six position back within reach.  

(Samut Prakan fans will make their way home far happier tonight. Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)

Who's up next?

It's a long trip south to face struggling Krabi FC on Sunday 17th December. 

Going?

It's a hell of a long way to go for a football match, but difficult to resist with Krabi being one of Thailand's top travel destinations...so we're going to make a six-day break of it. 


Samut Prakan fixtures 2023/2024   




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