Chonburi FC 1, Pattaya United 0
Last Saturday Pattaya United visited local rivals Chonburi FC as the second half of the Thai Premier League campaign got back under way following a four week break.
On paper it was not going to be an easy task for the Dolphins as the home side sat in fifth place in the league but Pattaya had strengthened their squad over the summer break and were able to give a debut to defender Nopparat Sukulod, a recent signing from Thai Honda.
Chonburi started the stronger of the two sides and Pattaya were fortunate in the opening moments of the match that a header from home striker Prince Amponsah went narrowly wide. As the first half developed however, Pattaya gained in confidence.
Both sides had great difficulty coming to terms with a bobbly surface and the only chances created came from defensive mistakes. Pattaya could have easily taken the lead when good work from Milos Stojanovic gave Picha Autra a great opportunity, but sadly the hard working young forward could only hit the post when he should have done better.
The major talking point of the first half came when Pattaya midfielder Anuwat Inyit was crudely brought down by home team captain Chonlatit Jantakam with a clear run in on goal. To the bewilderment of the vocal Pattaya travelling support only a yellow card was produced by the referee to the influential skipper.
The second half was as tight as the first 45 minutes, however as the game wore on Pattaya started to clearly tire and the possession was being dominated by the Sharks. With such a strong bench available it was maybe surprising that no substitutes were made until very late on to give fresh legs to the Pattaya team.
It came as no surprise that Chonburi took the lead in the 77th minute as Nurul Sriyankem entered the penalty area and was brought down by Surachet Ngamtip. Brazillian Renan Marques stepped up to score with a well struck penalty and give the home side the lead.
As Pattaya desperately went in search of an equalizer they found that good fortune was not on their side as a fine shot from substitute Wellington Priory struck the underside of the bar. Although Stojanovic converted the rebound he was unfortunately standing in an off side position. Chonburi were able to run the clock down comfortably after this and secure all 3 points.
Pattaya will count themselves unlucky with the outcome of this game. For long periods the Dolphins competed on equal terms with Chonburi and could have easily taken the lead. However, in hindsight the visitors took their foot off the pedal in the second half and made substitutions too late in the game to influence the result.
Pattaya now face high-flying Buriram United this coming Saturday at the Dolphins Stadium in Pattaya. Kick-off is scheduled for 7.00pm.