Port MTI FC 0, Pattaya United 2
Pattaya United visited Port MTI FC in Bangkok last Saturday, May 6, for the thirteenth round of the Thai Premier League season. Despite the Dolphins coming off the back of a midweek 1-0 victory against Thai Honda, this was potentially a tough game as the hosts had only suffered two defeats all season.
The recent matches have been hard on the Pattaya squad and the management decided to rest three influential players, giving starts to Sarawut Kanlayanabandit, Woranat Throgkreua, and Picha U-Tra.
The first half proved to be a tight affair with few chances being created by either side. Pattaya restricted their opponents to scraps in front of goal and whatever Port did create was easily dealt with by Dolphins’ keeper Somporn Jos who was giving a commanding performance.
The second half started with Pattaya continuing to compete well with the home side. In the 47th minute United were denied a clear penalty when Chayawat Srinawong was dragged to the floor but for some reason the referee waved play on.
Pattaya were getting stronger and stronger and it was of no surprise when in the 61st minute they took the lead after Milos Stojanovic provided a great cross for Picha U-Tra to side foot the visitors into a 1-0 lead. The diminutive attacking midfield player has worked hard all season but has struggled with his finishing. On this occasion he took his opportunity with calmness and precision and sent the Pattaya players, officials and supporters into great celebrations.
As Port went in search of the equalizer United continued to play well and were creating more opportunities than the home side. Their cause was helped further with the introduction from the bench of Peeradol Chamratsamee, who reveled in the space that was afforded to him.
Pattaya finally managed to double their lead in the 90th minute when a lightning break saw the ball arrive at the feet of Peeradol. With great precision he crossed to the head of man of the match Picha who finished with great aplomb to record his second goal of the night. The 21 year old, who barely looks out of his teens, had chosen this fixture to really come of age.
This was a magnificent victory for the Dolphins with every player giving a fine performance. Winning at the home of Port FC is no easy task and for the Pattaya players to have kept their calm in such a hostile environment is of great credit to them. They were given little protection from the match officials but showed character in abundance.
The management can also be happy with their night’s work and the side benefited from resting certain players, their replacements giving fresh legs and renewed energy to the team. The master-stroke however was bringing in Sarawut to central defence, resulting in Taeyoen Kim being pushed into the holding central midfield role. These changes gave Pattaya a more solid look, denying space for the opposition’s attacking players.
In the space of four days Pattaya achieved two fine victories and conceded no goals in the process. With a home game coming on Saturday against Ubon UMT, suddenly expectations for the rest of the season have now taken a more positive outlook.