‘Dolphins’ stutter in Thai Premier League opener

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Pattaya United’s eagerly anticipated start to the 2012 Thai Premier League season began with more of a whimper than a bang as they were held to a lackluster goalless draw at home by Samut Songkhram FC last Saturday at the Nongprue Stadium in Pattaya.

Missing from the Dolphin’s line-up was star striker Ludovick Takam, who signed for rivals Chonburi FC in the close season, and his absence was keenly felt as United toiled for most of the match to create any clear cut openings in their opponents’ defence.

Pattaya United keeper Narit makes a save during the first half of the Thai Premier League match against Samut Songkhram FC at the Nongprue Stadium, Saturday, March 17.Pattaya United keeper Narit makes a save during the first half of the Thai Premier League match against Samut Songkhram FC at the Nongprue Stadium, Saturday, March 17.

In front of a lively crowd, Samut Songkhram FC started the more composed of the two teams and the forward pairing of French striker Christian Nade and winger Napat Thamrongsuphakorn caused more than a few problems down United’s right flank.  It was however the Dolphins who carved out the clearest chances in the first half; first OJ Obatola shot tamely at the keeper with the goal seemingly at his mercy, then Kritsana Taiwan was unlucky to see his glancing header rebound off the post and out to safety.

The second half was for the most part a carbon copy of the first and United found it difficult to get any cohesion to their play and break down the well organized Songkhram defence and the game petered out into a nil-all draw.  The Dolphin’s will be hoping to add far more zest to their attacking endevours for this forthcoming weekend’s home match against BEC Tero Sasana on Saturday.

Dolphin fans try their best to gee-up the team.Dolphin fans try their best to gee-up the team.

Meanwhile, just down the coast last weekend Chonburi FC got their season off to a flying start with a comprehensive 4-0 defeat of Thai Port; the goals coming in the form of a brace from Kroekrit Taweekarn in the 6th and 45th minutes, added to further strikes by Geoffrey Doumeng (30) and Nuru Sriyankem (79).

In the Thai 1st Division last Saturday, PTT Rayong secured local bragging rights over close neighbours Thai Navy with a 2-1 home victory, while Sriracha went down 2-0 away to Suphanburi the following day.

Thai Premier League Standings March 18

Team P W D L +/- Pts
Chonburi 1 1 0 0 4 3
Buriram United 1 1 0 0 2 3
Bangkok Glass 1 1 0 0 2 3
Muang Thong United 1 1 0 0 1 3
Osotspa 1 1 0 0 1 3
BBCU 1 1 0 0 1 3
Army United 1 0 1 0 0 1
Chainat 1 0 1 0 0 1
Pattaya United 1 0 1 0 0 1
Police United 1 0 1 0 0 1
Samut Songkhram 1 0 1 0 0 1
TTM Chiangmai 1 0 1 0 0 1
BEC Tero Sasana 1 0 0 1 -1 0
TOT 1 0 0 1 -1 0
Esan United 1 0 0 1 -1 0
Chiangrai United 1 0 0 1 -2 0
Wuachon United 1 0 0 1 -2 0
Thai Port 1 0 0 1 -4 0
Results:  (Sat 17/03) Buriram United 3 v 1 Chiangrai United; Pattaya United 0 v 0 Samut Songkhram; Muang Thong United 2 v 1 BEC Tero Sasana; Chonburi 4 v 0 Thai Port; (Sun 18/03) Police United 0 v 0 TTM Chiangmai; Bangkok Glass 2 v 0 Wuachon United; Army United 1 v 1 Chainat; Osotspa 2 v 1 TOT; BBCU 1 v 0 Esan United.