Pattaya United made the long trip north last Sunday to take on Thai Premier League rivals TTM Pichit, with the ‘Dolphins’ looking to rebound from their defeat at the hands of Buriram PEA the previous weekend.
United were buoyed by the return of star forward Ludovick Takam to the starting line-up although coach Jatuporn elected to play the Cameroonian in a lone striking role supported by a 5-man midfield.
The hosts meanwhile made the surprise decision to leave their standout Korean striker Yeon Gi Zong on the bench and replace him in attack with Kraikitti In-Uten.
Pattaya United’s Somchai Singmanee (9) breaks away from a TTM Pichit defender during the second half of their match at the Pichit Stadium, Sunday, April 3. (Photo/Ariyawat Nuamsawat/Pattaya United)
The same player nearly gave Pichit the lead in just the second minute of the match when a clever one-two with a teammate gave him space for a shot, but his effort was well saved by Narit in the Pattaya goal and although Jooyong volleyed in the rebound he was adjudged to have been offside.
United were slow to read the danger signals however and just five minutes later Pichit took the lead when a 40 yard cross field ball from Chokmanotham caught the Pattaya defence completely flat-footed and Kim Jooyong was left with all the time in the world to fire his shot past Narit into the bottom corner of the goal.
United responded and had the ball in their opponents’ net just two minutes later but Somchai Singmanee was disappointed to see his solo effort also ruled out by the linesman’s flag.
In contrast to the frantic opening minutes of the game, the remainder of the first half was rather an anticlimax with both teams struggling to find openings in each other defences. The half time whistle came with the hosts still leading one goal to nil.
United appeared to have been galvanized by their half-time team talk, coming out in determined mood for the second period and they were able to get back on level terms on the hour mark.
Midfielder Ittipol Poolsap started the move with a break into the Pichit half before he sent a speculative cross from the right midfield area into the hosts’ penalty box. The Pichit defence appeared to hesitate for a second too long allowing Somchai Singmanee to gather the ball, attack the right back and send a rasping left foot shot past the Pichit keeper You Hyon and into the roof of the net.
United pressed forward from the restart and were unlucky not to take the lead when Siriwong’s long distance effort struck the Pichit woodwork and rebounded to safety.
The hosts also had a good chance to claim all three points late on but Tanat’s fierce curling shot flew just over the Pattaya crossbar with Narit left scrambling across his goal.
The final whistle sounded soon after to end the match with both teams having to be content with one point apiece.
United were due to play a Thai Premier League home fixture against Navy FC this past Wednesday and this coming weekend will take a trip to Samut Songkram to take on sixth placed SCG, with United just one point behind in the standings at press time.
While United were battling to a draw in Pichit last weekend, second placed Chonburi ‘Sharks’ wrapped up a comfortable 2-0 victory over bottom placed Navy FC to maintain the pressure on leaders Buriram, who were held to a goalless draw at defending champions Muang Thong United. Chonburi’s goals came either side of half time from Serbian Darko Rakocevic and Japanese star Kazudo Kushida.
Near neighbours Sri Racha FC had another disappointing weekend however as they lost one nil at home to Insee Police United and they have now dropped into the bottom three.
|Thai Premier League Standings (April 3)|
|BEC Tero Sasana||6||4||1||1||10||4||13|
|SCG Samut Songkhram||6||2||4||0||6||4||10|
|Chiang Rai United||6||2||2||2||6||6||8|
|Thai Port FC||6||2||2||2||6||7||8|
|Muang Thong United||6||2||2||2||5||8||8|
|TTM FC Phichit||6||2||1||3||7||8||7|
|Bangkok Glass FC||6||1||3||2||6||6||6|
|Si Sa Ket FC||6||1||2||3||5||8||5|
|Khon Kaen FC||6||1||2||3||4||8||5|
|Sri Racha FC||6||0||3||3||3||7||3|
|Results (April 2 & 3): Army United 2, Chiang Rai United 1; Si Sa Ket FC 0, BEC Tero Sasana 3; Sri Racha FC 0, Police United 1; SCG Samut Songkhram 1, Khon Kaen FC 1; Muang Thong United 0, Buriram PEA 0; Osotspa M-150 1, Thai Port FC 3; Navy FC 0, Chonburi 2; TTM FC Phichit 1, Pattaya United 1; TOT SC 2, Bangkok Glass 1.|