Diary of a Thai football season

2023/24 Samut Prakan v Pattaya United

The final game of what's been a long and frustrating season... but at least we aren't going down!


Let's begin with a look at the T2 table as we go into the final round of games.

Nakhon Ratchisima have been promoted as champions, meaning a swift return to the top flight for The Swatcats. Nongbua Pichaya in second can also start planning for life in T1 next season.

As for the four play-off teams, Rayong FC, Nakhonsi United and Chiang Mai FC are already guaranteed a place but that precious 6th position is still up for grabs. Ayutthaya United are undoubtedly the red-hot favourites. Not only are they the in-form team on a four-match winning streak, but they host lowly DP Kanchanaburi in their final game. I just can't see Ayutthaya United slipping up in this one. 

7th place Lampang have a tough match at home to Rayong while obviously Pattaya United travel to Samut Prakan. 

Thoughts on the last game v Pattaya United?

I'm not getting involved in any talk of bitter rivalry or bad blood. It's not even crossing my mind. Pattaya United have had a fine season and if they win today (as I fully expect them to do) and other results go in their favour, they'll be in the play-offs - and they fully deserve to be there. I'm only going today as a matter of seeing the season through to the end.  

Who are Pattaya's players to watch?

A sizeable chunk of Pattaya's goals have come from their Brazilian strike partnership of Christian Alex and Judivan. Christian has been playing in the Thai leagues since 2018 but did have a change of scenery in 2021 when he joined Cambodian club Visakha for a season. Judivan arrived at Pattaya via Khon Kaen after a number of years in the Brazilian lower leagues. .   

Will Samut Prakan continue as a club next season?

I have absolutely no idea. I think there is always hope where Thai football is concerned but once again, we would have to start from scratch with a completely new squad, and probably a new owner. My wife thinks there isn't a cat in Hell's chance of the club staying alive. "Even super-rich businessmen don't like pouring money into a big, black hole". However, the latest word is that the club wants to continue and has applied for a T2 licence, etc.

We just have to play the waiting game. Again.  

(Photo credit: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)

To the match itself

Despite about a hundred noisy supporters making the journey up from Pattaya, it was a disappointing turnout from the home fans and I was expecting much better than a 407 attendance for the last game of the season. 

I don't seem to have the benefits of a highlights reel and I was only 'half watching' the game if truth be told, so please forgive the lack of detailed match report. The result didn't really matter to us and with Ayutthaya racing into an early two-goal lead at home to Kanchanaburi, Pattaya's play-off hopes all but disintegrated early doors. However, they dominated the first half with Christian Alex dancing through the defence to score a 7th minute opener and Sittichok adding a second on 40 minutes. Samut Prakan reduced the deficit right on the stroke of half time with Sangjin Lee the man on target. There were no further addition to the scoreline in a dreary, stop-start second half. Pattaya ran out 2-1 winners and gained revenge for the defeat on the opening day of the season.

Final score: Samut Prakan 1 Pattaya United 2

With Chainat United winning, it means that Samut Prakan finish the season in 15th place - just one place above the relegation zone and one place lower than last season's 14th.    

Overall thoughts?

I've not really much to add. A long and often frustrating season comes to a close. Time to take a 3-4 month break from football, but whether Samut Prakan continues next season is probably in the lap of the gods. 

But there was a wonderful end to the day as the club and supporters club invited me onto the pitch to sing happy birthday and share a very special moment. It was a wonderful gesture from the club and the memories will stay with me forever.   

(Photo credits: Official Samut Prakan Facebook page)


Samut Prakan player appearances for the 2023/24 season


38 Matches = 34 League, 2 FA Cup, 2 League Cup

Matches started (Substitute appearances)

Goalkeepers

1 Ittiphon Kamsuprom 10

15 Jirunpong Thammasiha 27

25 Ratchaphon Namthong 1

34 Panupong Sunon 0

Defenders

2 Kittichai Yaidee 20 (4)

3 Aphichok Srirawong 7 (3)

4 Jakkrit Aree 9 (1)

5 Tirapon Thanachartkul 23 (3)

6 Pantakan Kasemkulwirai 16 (11)

13 Chakrit Wasprasertsuk 13 (5)

17 Jansada Kanha 12 (2)

19 Supawit Rompophak 17 (1)

32 Apisit Butsri 7 (5)

33 Bianor Neto De Silva 33 (1)

48 Eakaphat Jaenooduang 3 (3)

50 Pokpong Pombubpha (1)

Midfielders

7 Kritsada Siwanit 9 (14)

8 Kitikai Jantaruksa 0

8 Tachanon Nakarawong 9 (2)

10 Sho Shimoji 19 (3)

11 Jiraaut Wingwon 9 (10)

12 Krittin Suwannasri 2 (15)

16 Suphaphon Sutthisak 22 (2)

20 Sang Jin Lee 19 (14)

23 Thanadon Suphapon 6 ( 8 )

24 Rachata Janlao 16 ( 8 )

29 Kitsarin Chinasri 5 (10)

30 Panudech Maiwong 5

35 Tanat Wongsuparak 15 (4)

77 Si Thu Aung 8 (2)

Forwards

9 Fernando Viana 26 (4)

14 Ronnachai Rangsiyo 18 (9)

18 Ronnachai Pongputta (1)

22 Arnont Pumsiri 15 (2)

26 Wachoranon Ruengdach 1 (3)

27 Kitti Kinnonkok 2 (10)

28 Amphon Chaipong 4 (5)

31 Jarukit Nokhon 0

47 Ananchai Thepsudee 3




Samut Prakan fixtures 2023/2024




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