The Dolphins’ first setback came at the United Stadium in Chiangrai on Wednesday, July 18. Pattaya made the worst possible start to the match when they fell behind in just the 8th minute after keeper Narit misjudged a through ball and was left helpless as Chiangrai forward Nantawat Tansopa darted in to steer the ball into the back of the unguarded net.
Ludovick Takam holds up a Pattaya United shirt after returning to the club on loan from Chonburi FC earlier this week. (Photo/Pattaya United)
Pattaya had to wait until the second half of the game to get back on level terms, but when it came the goal was well worth waiting for. Dolphin forward O.J. Obatola picked up the ball at the edge of the Chiangrai penalty area and cleverly evaded the challenges of 2 home defenders before striking a low left foot shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Unfortunately, the joy for Pattaya was to be short lived as first defender Marián Juhás was red carded in the 67th minute for a foul on Tansopa, and then with just 10 minutes remaining in the game, Brazilian Leandro Assumpção curled a superb free-kick over the Pattaya wall and past Narit to give the hosts maximum points.
Four days later, Pattaya turned out at the 700-year Anniversary Stadium in Chiangmai to take on the league’s bottom club TTM FC.
Once again, to the disappointment of the travelling Dolphin fans, United were unable to snap out of their run of poor form and conceded the decisive goal in the ninth minute when TTM’s Laksana Kumrin saw his initial shot hit the United post but was the first to react and steered in the rebound.
It could have been even worse for United in a first half littered with defensive mistakes as Kraikitti In-Utane’s fierce shot crashed against the woodwork with Narit well beaten.
Pattaya came back strongly after the break and only a flying save by TTM keeper Won Yoo-Hyun denied a spectacular equalizer from United skipper Niweat Siriwong, but for the most part the visitors were lacking a cutting edge to their play and TTM hung on for 3 valuable points in the relegation dog-fight.
United have the chance to quickly avenge the two losses as they were due to take on Chiangmai on Wednesday night, July 25, at the Nongprue Stadium and this coming Saturday have the return fixture against Chiangrai, with kick-off scheduled for 6 p.m.
The Dolphins have been bolstered by news that former fan favourite and last year’s leading scorer Ludovick Takam has returned on loan from Chonburi FC until the end of the current season. Ludovick has struggled to make an impact at his new club and has scored just 2 goals in 11 appearances for the ‘Sharks’ this term. United and the player will assess the situation at the end of the campaign and a permanent return of the livewire Cameroon striker is a distinct possibility.
Thai Premier League standings July 22
|Muang Thong United||17||12||5||0||22||41|
|BEC Tero Sasana||17||9||3||5||5||30|