Going into the game, Phuket’s 13th of the season, the Andaman Dragon were positioned at joint 3rd in the table alongside Pattani, both on 21 points, while Satun were a comfortable nine points in the lead (30), but having played one more game than their nearest rivals.
Chumphon FC, who Phuket FC beat 1-2 away from home last weekend (see story here), were in 2nd place overall on 23 points.
However, it was discovered just this week that the league isn’t a 16-game affair as previously believed, it is in fact a 24-game affair following the addition of a “third leg”. So Phuket still have a few more games to go before their final position in the league table is settled.
It is believed that the new third leg for the lower division teams has been added due to low league team members – Phuket FC’s Euro Cake Thai League 4 southern region has only nine competing teams.
In this recently added third leg; each team gets to play all the other teams one more time, with the team victorious on aggregate over the previous two encounters getting the home ground advantage for the third round match against that same team.
For example, Phuket FC played Sungaipadee FC away from home in the opening game of the season and won 0-5. In Phuket’s home leg the game finished goalless (0-0). On aggregate, Phuket FC over the two matches defeated Sungaipadee 5-0, therefore Phuket FC get a third game against Sungaipadee at home, and so forth.
If the head-to-head results are tied, the team to play at home will be decided by the away goal ruling. If the head-to-head is still tied then a penalty shoot-out will be played at the end of the second fixture to decide on the team that will play at home.
So in reality, Phuket FC along with all teams in all six Thai League 4 regional divisions will play another half-season of fixtures. In the case of Phuket FC, a further eight games after they were already joint 2nd in the league with only three games to go.
With three games still remaining before Phuket finish the full second leg of the league they are currently set to play five of the eight third-round games at home; against Sungaipadee FC, Yala United, Pattani FC, Chumphon FC and Satun United.
The remaining three games yet to decide the third-round fixtures are Hat Yai FC on Saturday (July 15) (Hat Yai currently ahead 3-2 on aggregate), Surat Thani City FC on July 19 (Phuket currently ahead 3-1 on aggregate), and Phatthalung FC on July 23 (currently equal sits 1-1 on aggregate).
Fixture dates already set for the third round so far are Phuket FC versus Sungaipadee FC at 6pm on July 29, and Phuket FC versus Yala United at 6pm on August 2.
The Phuket News will update on remaining fixtures once they are announced.
With that matter out of the way, let’s return to the action against Satun.
In the away leg played on March 23, Phuket were unlucky to come away with a 2-1 loss but they were certainly hoping for better result at home, and it was a single goal that brought them that result.
Phuket were certainly the better team for the entire 90 minutes, and they were rewarded in the 66th minute with a penalty when Satun United’s defender Sakareya Kolae was deemed to have brought down Phuket’s forward Aphichat Denman inside the penalty box, much the the disgust of the Satun United team.
The league and Phuket FC’s top-scorer Natthapoom Maya stepped up and comfortably slotted the ball home into the top-right corner of Satun’s goal.
That was really it as far as action was concerned, but it was the final result that was important, and a 1-0 win against a team that has sat at the top of the table pretty much all season was a great result for the Andaman Dragon and should boost their confidence for the remaining games, especially with the majority set to be played at Phuket’s home ground Surakul Stadium.
Phuket play the first of their remaining three second-round games at home this coming Saturday against Hat Yai FC, who currently sit at 6th in the table on 17 points.
Should Phuket walk away with a win against Hat Yai, that will leave them just three points off of league leaders Satun who will not play this weekend as they have already played one game more than all teams in the league bar Surat Thani City FC.