Yet again, Phuket FC failed to score a first away victory under coach Teco.
On Saturday, September 14, Phuket FC traveled to the Eastern Seaboard one more time to play Yamaha League-1 Game 28 with lowly Rayong FC.
Known as “The Wild Horses”, Rayong FC entered this game with just 23 points, struggling for survival, second from bottom of the table. A home win would be the first step to safety from relegation.
“Coach Mo” Apichart Mosika, former Phuket FC coach in 2011, has recently returned to Rayong FC as head coach, and – against all odds – has led his footballers to two back-to-back victories over better-ranking teams like Trat FC and Singhtharua.
Earlier this year he led Rayong FC to Phuket and came home with one point from Surakul stadium, when his footballers scored an equaliser in the last minute of additional time.
Before Saturday’s match, he was confident they would again secure least a point from this game, and continue their fight to stay in League-1.
Phuket FC needed to win this game to end their no-win streak since their last victory, Teco’s first, over a month ago on August 11 at Surakul Stadium against Nakhonpathom United.
For this match, Phuket FC were missing key players like Dudu and Adisak, who remained in Phuket, while Nene Bi was listed as a substitute when Teco decided to field three foreign players up front.
There were some other changes in Phuket’s lineup, Ninuruddin as goalie, Tossapol as left back, and Kriangkrai Chasung playing centre back for the first time in Nene’s absence. Giorgi, Ludovick Takam and Cristian Alex were on as a three player attack.
With their backs against the wall and nothing to lose, Rayong FC played like men possessed.
The wet grass and bumpy surface made it difficult for both teams to control the ball and for Rayong FC to play their ground game. Phuket FC were slower to get into the game, but with three strikers on the field, they were more likely to score than the home side.
Cristian Alex had the first chance when he took a free kick from 40 yards out, his usual strong shot bouncing awkwardly off the ground in front of the goal and going past the goal post by inches.
Rayong FC’s South Korean footballer Chun Ya Gin, who once almost had a contract with Phuket FC, proved to be a handful for Phuket FC on the night. He ran all over the field creating opportunities for his teammates, but “Spider-Ming” Ninuruddin Nideha proved up to the challenge.
Playing nervously, Phuket FC committed easy fouls in their own half which gave Rayong FC several free kicks, Spider-Ming having to react sharply to prevent the home side from taking the lead.
Then after half an hour of play, Rayong FC had another free kick just outside Phuket’s penalty box. The shot bounced off Phuket’s wall straight to the feet of a Rayong FC player.
Ninuruddin went in legs first to cleart the ball, but instead clobbered Rayong FC star striker Akkarawin Sawasdee. The referee had no choice but to point to the penalty spot.
Rayong FC midfielder Chanatphol Sikkamonthol stepped up to take the penalty, sending the ball into the far corner and giving Rayong FC a 1-0 lead.
Phuket should have had an equaliser just few minutes later, when a free kick from midfield was curled dangerously into the Rayong FC goalmouth.
Rayong FC’s Phuket-born goalkeeper Luercha Jantawong punched the ball weakly out, and Kriangkrai Chasung – playing in the first 11 for the first time – sent a strong header into the back of the the net.
But before anyone could celebrate the equaliser, which could have been a turning point for the The Islanders, the offside flag was raised. Phuket FC protested the decision but to no avail.
Then, in the last minute of added time in the first half, Rayong FC were reduced to 10 men when a high kick from a midfielder resulted in his second yellow card, which sent him to the locker room early.
As the second half got underway, one goal behind but with a one man advantage, Phuket FC pushed for a goal. Alef Pochi tried a long shot but the ball didn’t trouble the Rayong keeper.
A man up, Phuket naturally had more possession in the second half, while Rayong FC did their best to try and break up plays. Then, disaster. After 10 minutes of the second half had passed, Phuket lost their advantage when Thongchai Kuenkhuntod picked up another yellow after intentionally running into a Rayong FC midfielder. The referee gave him a red and sent him on his way.
Up front, Giorgi still was trying to create the equaliser. At one point, he passed the ball to Ludovick Takam in front of the Rayong goal. The Tank controlled the ball neatly, turned and shot, but it struck the crossbar and bounced away. Phuket had missed another chance for an equaliser.
In another attack, Cristian Alex fired off another signature freekick, the ball taking a deflection off the Rayong FC wall and going in before the Wild Horses keeper got a fingertip to it, pushing it wide.
The Islanders continued their attacks while the home side just massed in defence.
Sakareya Kolea was sent on late in the game to help push forward, while as extra time approached Alef Pochi – wearing the captain’s armband – overstretched himself trying to stop a Rayong footballer and pulled a muscle. The injury was severe enough that he was stretchered off and taken to an ambulance.
Teco was forced to replace him with Sukree E-tae.
With five minutes of extra time called, both teams failed to score. The game ended with Phuket FC’s second away loss, after they fell to an embarrassing 5-1 loss to Sri Racha Suzuki FC last Saturday.
Having been on the road for several weeks, Phuket FC return to Phuket to host “The White Elephants” Trat FC on Saturday September 21st. Kick off is at 6.30pm.