The local side were outclassed for most of the match by their league-leading opponents, but several missed opportunities could have made all the difference as both sides struggled in attack in the slippery conditions.
Ratchaburi applied early pressure against a lethargic Phuket defence, testing the reflexes of new number one goalkeeper Worapoj Sabaijit, and sending a shot just over the post in the opening minutes.
The lazy defence continued, and Wuttipong Sittitanyakit was shown an early yellow for a heavy challenge on Ratchaburi’s Jang Gil-Hyeok.
For most of the first half, it was Ratchaburi showing off why they are currently number one in the Yamaha League 1 competition. They shifted the ball around much more comfortably on the wet pitch, and were able to show more control in the midfield where Phuket struggled.
Phuket, meanwhile, were off target with their passing, and never looked like putting together an organised attacking play.
Still, it was a first half very much confined to midfield play for both teams, and neither goalkeepers were really tested.
Attapong Nooprom nearly broke the deadlock on 40 minutes for Ratchaburi, sending a low shot into the bottom right corner, but a full stretch diving save from Phuket goalkeeper Worapoj managed to clear the threat.
Still, the chance was the start of a late-half onslaught on goal by Ratchaburi, and the stubborn Islanders defence simply couldn’t hold out, eventually conceding a soft goal to Ratchaburi’s Brazilian midfiedler Douglas.
Half time: Ratchaburi 1 – 0 Phuket.
Phuket had their first real opportunity of the match just minutes into the second half, with Kanoute finding himself in space down the right wing. He crossed in to the centre, but Watcharakorn Klaitin was off target with his shot, angling it high over the bar.
And as the Islanders finally looked to have rediscovered their short passing game, they were handed a stroke of fortune: Ratchaburi’s Rattana Petch-Aporn was shown his second yellow of the match, and the visitors were reduced to 10 men.
The impact was almost immediate as the Islanders finally found some semblance of rhythm in attack, finding space in particular down the left wing, which they attacked repeatedly with the long ball.
Phuket had several opportunities to draw level, finding the crossbar three times, but lacked the finishing prowess in difficult conditions. Despite two late chances moments before the final whistle, the Islanders were left to rue the missed chances as the 0-1 half time score remained unchanged.
Phuket FC will now host Nakhon Ratchasima on Saturday (September 1) at Surakul Stadium, kickoff 6.30pm.