It must have been hard on the teenaged Phuket FC goalkeeper Kampon when he dropped an easy ball right in front of his own feet and was punished by Bangkok FC’s Lee Tuck.
But Kampon will have time to cool down: he has been called to the SEA Games National Team camp this weekend, leaving the Phuket FC goal to Ninuruddin Nideha to defend.
Fans and Phuket FC managements seemed generally happy with Sunday’s performance. They had feared that without proper pre-season games to tune them up, their footballers might not play well together. But the latest game shows there is hope for the Islanders.
Despite few awkward plays at the beginning and some off-positioned footballers, Phuket FC under Coach Panipol seemed to pull together quite well.
The two Brazilians, Dudu and Juninho, worked their skills like a charm, while the Back Four – minus Nene Bi for this game – were good enough to hold off Bangkok’s Lee Tuck and Olof Watson – for a while, at least.
Fans were still puzzled by Coach’s choice to put Captain Nontaphan, a left backer last season, in at left wing. But the he did well enough, given that he hadn’t played in that position since his SEA Games appearance nearly half a decade ago.
My big concern was in midfield, where Phuket FC’s players did well on the attack but were disappointing when it came to defence. Phuket’s midfield game on Sunday was, bluntly put, nearly nonexistent.
However, it’s fortunate for Phuket that Bangkok FC’s game is still an old fashioned longball “kick-and-rush” style where speed trumps skills, and not passing game a-la-Barcelona and Phuket FC in 2010 under Arjan Arj-harn Song-ngamsab, otherwise they would have had an even bigger problem keeping up in midfield.
Phuket FC will have to learn fast from this latest game in time to host Sriracha Suzuki FC this weekend, because earning one point from every game will not be enough.
There are now three games before the Songkran holiday – a home game against Sriracha this Saturday, an away game against TTM Lopburi on March 31, and a home game against Navy on April 7 – which will give an early indication of where Phuket FC stands in this cutthroat season.
Coach Panipol has done his homework, but if he wants Phuket FC’s TPL dream to be reality, he’ll have to start winning soon. At this stage, playing safe is not very safe anymore.