The Southern Sea Kirin of Phuket have not won a game since March.
Despite having their best players back on the field, the long bus journey north looked to have taken its toll, and the FC Phuket players struggled on the synthetic surface at Sriracha Stadium
The Kirin players had prepared for the match by training on an artificial football pitch in Phuket Town, but their fatigue was obvious from the moment they took the field.
The home side’s strong start had FC Phuket struggling for composure. Sriracha’s Kojima Seiya used his speed to run rings around Kittitach Kraithong, and the Phuket defence succumbed to the constant pressure after only 20 minutes.
Douglas Gonzales charged in on a cross from left field, sending a curving ball into the box. The shot was blocked by Alonso Da Silva, but the Brazilian goalkeeper couldn’t hold onto the ball, and Kojima leapt on the chance, heading back past Alonso to score Sriracha’s first goal.
While Phuket were still getting used to the added speed of the synthetic pitch, and struggling for possession in midfield, Kojima spotted Alonso off his line, and the Japanese striker decided to try his luck Luis Suarez-style, looping the ball high over the goalie’s head and under the crossbar for his second.
Despite their 2-0 lead, Sriracha then applied long ball tactics, sending the ball long towards the Phuket goal to try and exploit their speed advantage, and nullify the increasingly potent Phuket midfield.
The tactics seemed to work, and only five minutes later Sriracha striker Narakorn Kana sailed past Phuket’s defense, Alonso was too slow with his dive, and the score was 3-0.
Sriracha cruised through the rest of the first half, comfortable to wind down the clock with some slow passing.
The second half began pretty much the same way; possession was with the home side while FC Phuket were only creating opportunities through counter attacks.
Niran Panthong and Marcio Santoz seemed to have been shut out of the game completely as Phuket were unable to play their natural on-the-ground football. Sriracha continued with their long-ball tactics, cutting the Phuket midfield out of the game.
Midway through the second half, yet another long ball gave Gaston Gonzales a free header, and Sriracha suddenly had an imposing 4-0 lead.
With nothing to lose, FC Phuket turned around and scored two quick goals. Imbrahim Kanoute was sent on for Poramut Krongborisut, and it was the Ivorian that found the target from a 25 yard free kick to score FC Phuket’s first goal of the night.
The game then turned violent as Sriracha’s goalkeeper brought down Arwut Nuchet inside the penalty box, sweeping Arwut off his feet right in front of the FC Phuket supporter’s section.
Fans were shouting for a penalty, but the referees remain unmoved. Ibrahim Kanoute was upset and bumped chests with the referee, receiving a yellow card in the process.
Phuket then received a corner kick, and Suwit Nachamroen sent the ball straight in towards goal. A fumble from the Sriracha keeper meant the ball rolledinto the back of the net, and through a stroke of fortune the score was 4-2.
But it was too little too late, and a late red card to Macio Santos will further compound FC Phuket’s woes. The Southern Sea Kirin now find themselves inside the relegation zone, yet again.