Last Monday evening, April 3, Pattaya United welcomed Sisaket FC to the Dolphins Stadium for the seventh game of the current Thai Premier League season. The league had taken in a 3 week break as a result of the international fixtures and the fine 3-1 victory at Super Power Osotspa FC back on March 12 had been the last time the Pattaya side had seen competitive action.
Sisaket arrived in Pattaya with new coach Velizar Popov in tow, finding themselves in 17th position in the 18 team league. It was important for the Pattaya to start quickly and get back into the rhythm of play that had seen them make such an encouraging start to the season.
A better start could not have been made by the Dolphins as in the 2nd minute the home side took the lead. Good work from Wellington Priori, combined with abject defending from the opposition, resulted in the ball falling kindly to the feet of Milos Stovanovic and he needed no second invitation to record his fourth goal of the 2017 season.
Sisaket, playing in a natty off-the-peg pink strip, could have easily gone into their shell but to their credit they spent the rest of the half competing on even terms with the Pattaya side. Keen to impress their new coach, they looked comfortable on the ball and would take any opportunity to pressurize the Pattaya defence.
As United came out for the second half it was clear that they would still have to work hard if they were to earn these vital 3 points. The Dolphins, during difficult periods of the game, were indebted to the performance of Anuwat Inyin playing the anchor role in central midfield. Sometimes this is not the most glamorous of positions but his organizational skills and selfless endeavors were vital as certain Pattaya defenders started to tire later into the match.
In the 71st minute Pattaya doubled their lead as fantastic approach play from Milos Stovanovic resulted in the perfect set up for the midfield magician Peeradon Chamratsamee to smash the ball into the bottom corner of the net from 25 yards out. Pattaya deserved this goal as they always looked capable of creating goal scoring opportunities.
In the 83rd minute Sisaket set up an exciting conclusion to the match when from a corner the ball bounced off the legs of Leandro Assumpcao into the Pattaya net. However, there were few scares after this with Pattaya closing out the game as 2-1 winners.
The importance of these 3 points cannot be underestimated as the season now starts to unfold. Sisket will not stay in the bottom three for long judging by the quality of their performance and it is vital that Pattaya can continue to maintain this positive progression.
Milos Stovanovic was rightly awarded the man of the match award and he is quickly becoming the “heart beat” of the side. He competes for every ball with total commitment and spends much of the game encouraging the other Pattaya players as well. If he can continue with his goal scoring exploits he will surely qualify as the Thai Premier League’s signing of the season.