Monday, June 15, 2009


Chonburi v Thai Navy Rayong

It doesn't matter who you are, Brazil, Barcelona or Burton Albion, there are times when you just have to win ugly. And this victory was the illegitimate offspring of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Donatella Versace. Billed as "The East Coast Derby" the match had attracted a sizeable crowd to Srinthorn (officially 4,300) including a fair few from Rayong - that still didn't stop me from attempting to get the Scoreboard Enders to join me in a chorus of "You must have come in a dinghy". A variation on the usual "You must have come in a tuk-tuk"- and expectations were high with both teams needing a good result for very different reasons.

I'd wisely laid off the booze on Friday night so I didn't have any adverse affects when confronted by the Navy's psychedelic patterned shirts but I rather fear that the travelling fans had enjoyed a few flagons of rum on their shortish journey up the motorway. They were a boisterous lot!

The game itself was a scrappy, bad tempered affair which saw a lot of huffing and puffing from the Sailors and Chonburi still unable to find any kind of rhythm or fluency. I can't quite put my finger on why we are struggling so much at the moment. Although it is noticeable that things do pick up when Adul comes on - he was used as a late substitute again yesterday and I'm mystified as why he isn't included from the start.

The only real highlights of the first half were the two goals from Kone.

Two headers from two crosses, one from the port side and one from starboard, saw the striker go clear at the top of the goalscoring charts. Kone is a frustrating player. Sometimes he can be really impressive - he singlehandedly destroyed Tampines Rovers in a pre-season friendly - and at other times....Bambi on ice. And, as if to underline this aspect of his game, when he found himself with a clear run on goal midway through the second period, he delayed his shot too long before screwing hopelessly wide. That would have put us three up and sealed the points.

However, the defecit was soon reduced to one goal following the comical awarding of a free kick for a "back pass". A melee just ouside the Chonburi box resulted in a defender booting the ball so high into the air that, even this near to the equator, it came down with snow on it. Kosin gratefully collected the returning orb and prepared to launch a clearance. The referee hesitated for a moment before blowing his whistle and amazingly giving the visitors a golden opportunity to claw themselves back into the game. From the resultant (indirect) free kick it looked to me as if the ball had gone directly into the goal. But I was assured by someone with a better view that it had struck a Chonburi player on the way. I'd still like to see it again.

So, for the final quarter of the game the home fans were reduced to nervous wrecks as a team packed with internationals clung on against their relegation haunted opponents who had been playing with ten men since late in the first half.

Rather embarrassingly, our tactics were reduced to feigning injury and substituting the man furthest from the dug out. I hate this when other teams do it and I was cringeing when we were doing it yesterday. Please, Zico, no more of this. We are better than that.

Still, at the final whistle, the points were secured and our three match run without a win was over. News filtered through that Muang Thong had lost (time for Yamaha to dangle another 2 million baht carrot?) and that SriRacha had beaten PEA (maybe I've written their obituary a little prematurely) so, overall it had been a good day. It certainly wasn't a vintage performance by the Sharks but, being a football fan, I know that a win is a win and the Lloyd-Webber/Versace baby has been warmly welcomed into the busom of our family!!

Stretcher count : Chonburi (an embarrassing) 5 Navy Rayong 1

Ref watch : I'd rather not comment.

Equally bad for both teams but the players didn't really help the situation. Lots of niggle and one or two incidents of "handbags".Overall a match best forgotten but three points thankfully received.

Thanks to Sri Racha Shark for this match report

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