Pattaya United ended their season on a high note with a come from behind 2-1 win over relegation threatened Sisaket FC at the Nongprue Stadium last Sunday.
With all the Thai Premier League matches starting at the same 4:30 p.m. kick-off time on the final day of action, the oppressive heat of the mid-afternoon appeared to sap the energy of both teams as the game began at a sedate pace with little goal-mouth action of note during the opening 20 minutes.
The crowd were eventually given something to get excited about on 22 minutes when United striker Tana Chanabut, playing in the place of top scorer Ludovick Takam, weaved his way between a couple of Sisaket defenders and sent his left foot shot just over the crossbar.
United again came close on 35 minutes but the woodwork came to the rescue of the visitors as wing back Anucha Kitpongsri saw his fierce left foot shot strike the outside of the post and rebound to safety.
Somewhat against the run of play Sisaket took the lead just three minutes later and it came about through a misunderstanding in the United defence that allowed Piyawat Thongman to run onto a through ball unchallenged and slide the ball under the advancing Narit to put the visitors one up.
United were unable to pierce the Sisaket defence for the remainder of the half as they struggled for an equalizer before the break.
In the second half United began to show a bit more urgency in the final third of the field and winger Santi Chaiyaphurk came close to getting the Dolphins back on level terms in the 50th minute but his fierce right foot shot flew just the wrong side of the goal.
Eventually the pressure from the home team told and United forced a mistake from the Sisaket defence as Tana Chanabut was allowed to run clear before squaring the ball to Theerawesin Seehawong, who made no mistake from just 5 yards out to tie up the scores on the hour mark.
With United finally beginning to get on top, the match was thrown into chaos with just 20 minutes left when one of the floodlights failed to switch on. Despite the light being adequate from the other three pylons, the referee and officials refused to allow play to continue until the offending light had been fixed. This necessitated a frustrating delay of nearly half an hour as both players and fans began to wonder if the game could be finished on the night.
Eventually the floodlight was persuaded to co-operate and play could continue and United wasted no time as they took the lead just 2 minutes after the restart when Chaiyaphurk fired a low free kick into the back of the Sisaket net.
The Isaan outfit almost caught United napping from the restart and had the ball in the Dolphins’ net through Sirisak Sangsomwong, however the 23-year old midfielder had strayed offside in the build-up play and the raised linesman’s flag meant the United players and fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief once more.
The home team were able to play out the remainder of the delayed second half without any further threats to their goal and thus record their twelfth win of season and secure sixth place in the league overall, just behind Bangkok Glass on goal difference.
United were due to play a Toyota Cup match against Thai Honda on Wednesday, October 27 and we will bring you full details of their progress in next week’s Pattaya Mail.
Elsewhere last Sunday, Muang Thong United were able to celebrate being crowned Premier League champions for the second year in a row. The Kirins had already secured the title with a goalless midweek draw against SCG Samut Songkram, so their game against TOT Cat on Sunday at the Yamaha Stadium had something of a celebration feel to it. Muang Thong had to rally in the second half to come from behind and secure a 2-1 victory that left them four points clear of runners up Buriram in the final standings.
The Chonburi FC ‘Sharks’ finished in third position after a battling 1-1 draw at Osotspa that saw the away team play most of the match with only nine men.
The Thai Premier League will return with a new season starting next February with 18 teams. The three teams that finished in the relegation zone of the TPL, namely Sisaket FC, Bangkok United and Army will now go into the play-offs with the 4th, 5th and 6th placed teams from Division 1. Only two of those teams will play in the Thai Premier League next season.