Sunday, 21 July 2019

Dateline 21st July 2019

 FT Trat FC 2 NRFC 1

Attendance; 3959

The Swatcats headed south for this weekend’s clash with the White Elephants, they started with the “big 4” - a bold selection for an away game.

In front of raucous away support, and on a heavy pitch, the visitors opened brightly but a fine solo goal from Doumbouya put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute. Seconds later he nodded in a second but as replays proved he was ruled erroneously offside.

As the Swatcats struggled in midfield a weak effort from Hartmann and a cross shot from Amadou was all they could muster as the half progressed.

The hosts had another goal ruled offside in the 28th minute as they continued to savage the Swatcat defence, then Hartmann had a point-blank header knocked over by the host’s keeper.

As the half drew to a close Pralong went close with a free kick and minutes later, the Swatcats were awarded a penalty when Henri was hacked down inside the box. Henri slotted the penalty kick home to send the visitors in at half time, rather fortunately, on even terms.

The second half opened with Hartmann replaced by Akekanat in order to bolster the visitor’s defence - I predict a tough 45 minutes ahead!! Trat continued to look very dangerous up front with the Swatcats unable to gain any real traction in midfield.

The hosts were now exerting almost continuous pressure with Jurosinmi testing keeper Cunningham with a low drive and inevitably Trat went ahead when Bireme blasted into the net in the 75th minute.

Late drama as Doumbouya spurned a great chance to make it three when he missed from 6 yards with only the keeper to beat, he then had the rebound from the keeper kicked off the line.

A sloppy first half defensive display and unfortunately, the Swatcats were outplayed for most of the game by a superior Trat outfit.

Coach Joksic cannot afford to play Henri, Hartmann, Assumpcao and Amadou, it leaves the side unbalanced and understrength in midfield. Bold coaching undoubtedly, but our slide down the table calls for a more defensive approach - I fear dark days ahead - what a disappointment.

Match Day 19 Stats

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Dateline 13th July 2019

 FT NRFC 3 Ratchaburi 3

Attendance; 8976

The Swatcats started with Henri, Amadou, Hartmann and Assumpcao - a bold statement of intent!!

The hosts began on the front foot with Amadou threatening. His fine tantalizing cross, 5 minutes in, was met by Hartmann who headed wide.

 It soon became apparent that a fast passing and quick thinking Ratchaburi would be causing problems on the break and sure enough, in the 11th minute, Lossemy Karaboue lashed in a humdinger from 22 yards to give the visitors the lead.

The Swatcats responded quickly as Amadou put Hartmann clear but he shot wide with only the keeper to beat. Ratchaburi continued to look dangerous, with Karaboue going close in the 26th minute, as the Swatcats huffed and puffed looking for the equalizer.

Amadou again was the provider as he set up a chance for Assumpcao in the 30th minute but his low drive went inches wide.

As the half ended, despite having most of the play, the hosts found themselves one down.

The Swatcats came out in the second half with great intent and they were quickly rewarded as Assumpcao equalized when he blasted into the roof of the net from 6 yards. This was the Brazilian’s 100th TPL goal aided by a delicious, teasing cross from guess who … Amadou.

The Swatcat jubilation was short lived as Ratchaburi regained the lead in the 57th minute as Steeven Langil headed in following a parried save by Cunningham. Ratchaburi’s rangy strikers continued to torment the Swatcat defence and Langil scored his second to put the Dragons further ahead.

Game over, or so it seemed, as a crestfallen Swatcat outfit, with heads down, kicked off.

Assumpcao had a superb free kick well saved as the hosts pressed and with the Ratchaburi defence sitting deep, perhaps there was hope after all. Assumpcao had yet another free kick superbly saved in the 76th minute as the Swatcats flooded forward.

With the visitor’s defence tiring Amadou shot into the side netting, then on 89 minutes, the Swatcats pulled one back when Henri nodded in from a corner. 

Unbelievably, in the 93rd minute, the Swatcats equalized when Amadou blasted the ball into the net after outfoxing two defenders.

Well, a point salvaged after being thoroughly outplayed for most of the match. Things are just not going the Swatcat’s way currently. A fighting finish but the host’s defence was exposed far too often. I cannot fault the team for their endeavour and fighting spirit, but it is becoming clear that the current team is not as good as I thought it was.

Things are very tight mid table and we are becoming perilously close to the drop zone… on the other hand, we are 2 points off 6th place in the table!!!

Match Day 18 Stats

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Dateline 7th July 2019

 FT Chaing Rai United 1 NRFC 1

Attendance; 6144

With the Swatcats looking for a positive result after a recent poor run of form, they started with new signing Hartmann up front with Assumpcao missing.

The visitors started adventurously with early pressure, but Chiang Rai had an early chance when William thumped the bar with a shot in the 10th minute. The hosts then began to dominate with Brinner going close with a header. Almost immediately Henri’s header drifted wide as the Swatcats countered.

The Swatcats settled as the half progressed and were holding their own without creating any real chances, as a rather lackluster half ended goalless with neither side dominating.

The second half saw an early first goal for Chiang Rai when Sivakorn Taitrakal tapped in at the far post after a fine solo run from William. Cunningham was then forced into a save from a close-range header.

At the other end, Akenakat went close with a header from a corner but the visitors were looking stale and sterile up front. Right out of the blue, In the 63rd minute, Hartmann smashed in the equalizer after a fine run from Henri, he then blotted his copybook when he was sent off for a nasty elbow to the face in the 73rd minute.

 Minutes later, as the Swatcats became more ambitious, a Narupon free kick dipped onto the bar and was cleared.

As the match drifted into time added on, Chiang Rai went close with a near post header, then another header was scrambled away as the home side strived for the winner.

A real battling performance against an under-par Chiang Rai. The Swatcats did not produce much up front which is a continuing worry, but the Hartmann goal was pleasing. The defence looks sound but the important point to emphasize tonight was the fighting spirit shown by the whole squad.

Match Day 17 Stats

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Dateline 29th June 2019

 FT NRFC 0 PTT Rayong

Attendance; 10371

The Swatcats started with new signing Narupon in midfield and Hartmann on the bench.

The hosts began breathlessly, roaring forward straight from the whistle and within minutes, Amadou headed an Assumpcao freekick against the upright. Minutes later Assumpcao had a drive blocked after fine work from Henri - this was surely going to be a rout.

In the 8th minute the Rayong keeper saved well from a Naruphol cross shot and as the Swatcats continued to press, first Henri then Naruphol went close.

With the PTT goal now under constant siege, Henri broke clear but his low drive was saved, I am beginning to think that this is not going to be our day!!
The siege continued with Henri again thwarted when his shot from 8 yards was well saved.

In the 41st minute, Rayong entered the Swatcat half with any real intent for the first time and as the first half ended, was I in a dream? Was the score really 0-0.

The second half began with, guess what, more Swatcat pressure. Three minutes in, Assumpcao’s brilliant swerving drive was equally brilliantly saved by the PTT keeper.

Shock, horror PTT had the temerity to enter the Swatcat half again in the 52nd minute - but to no avail as the men from Korat continued their assault. Amadou hit an excellent snap shot inches wide and in the 59th minute Assumpcao struck the upright with a sumptuous swerving shot leaving the keeper floundering. The ball then bounced back to Henri whose shot hit the base of the upright and was ultimately cleared.

In now what must be becoming boring reading, Henri shot inches over from close range.
With desperation and frustration building and men flooding forward, the impossible happened. Rayong had their first shot on target in the 68th minute - and it went in. A combination of throwing too many men forward and inept defending presented the visitors with a goal as Pornpreecha Jarrunai slotted home from 16 yards.

With the stuffing knocked out of the team they pushed on but truth be told, I think that they realized it was not going to be their night. Hartmann was brought on for his debut and as the hosts battled on, Amadou shot over from 6 yards with only the keeper to beat and Assumpcao fired wide from 20 yards.

In a final flourish, Hartmann was put clear inside the box by a clever through ball from Henri but he shot wide from 7 yards.

  A fair result would have been Swatcats 8 PTT 1, but life is not fair is it!!

I have rarely seen such a one-sided football match, with the Swatcats having AT LEAST 90 % of play, only a combination of wretched luck and poor finishing prevented a rout by the hosts. A fine attacking performance but a disappointing result - it’s a funny old game!!

No need to panic, this was certainly a “one off” - at least we are creating chances, results will come.

Match Day 16 Stats

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Dateline 22nd June 2019

 FT Sukhothai 1 NRFC 0

Attendance; 3182

In early exchanges, both sides passed the ball around smartly with the Firebats having slightly the better of play. As the 20 minute mark approached, neither side had managed a shot on target.

In the 26th minute Henri broke clear after an Assumpcao through ball, but his close-range effort was blocked. This one incident of excitement was the sole highlight as a largely unremarkable half drew to a close.

The second half began and my thought was that only a touch of brilliance from perhaps Amadou or Baggio could break the deadlock in what was becoming a largely sterile performance from both sides.

As in the first half both teams found it difficult to create chances but with the visitors trying to be more assertive, they looked more likely to score the opener.
 Kongnateechai Boonma had a great chance to put the home side in front in the 68th minute but he shot over. The Swatcats countered and Kunath put in a swerving drive.

Baggio broke the deadlock in the 81st minute with a fine swerving drive, He nearly doubled the lead in the 86th minute, but his low drive was saved by keeper Cunningham.

My, my that was tough viewing, what a dreadful spectacle. A mediocre performance from the Swatcats who were beaten by a touch of class from Baggio. Absolutely nothing up front from the visitors who deserved nothing from this match.
 A most disappointing end of Leg 1 for the Swatcats but still in 7th place in the league. This is probably where we will be come season’s end and I guess will represent progress for Milos Joksic’s squad.

Match Day 15 Stats

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Dateline 15th June 2019

 FT NRFC 2 Chainat Hornbills 1

Attendance; 5824 (looked to be around 10k)

Hornbills from Chainat were tonight’s guests.

The hosts were quickly on the front foot looking for early rewards but stout Hornbill defending prevented an early breakthrough. In what was rapidly becoming one-way traffic, frustratingly, the final ball in from the hosts was often disappointing. At the other end, against the run of play, Chainat forced Cunningham into a fine save from a freekick just outside the box.

The Swatcats finally broke the deadlock on 38 minutes when Assumpcao fired in after good work on the flank from Henri.

In late first half scares, Santos managed to get in behind the defence but fluffed the chance of an equalizer from 3 yards out, he again went close when he shot inches wide seconds before the half time whistle.

A frustrating half came to an end with a dominant display from the Swatcats yielding only a solitary goal.

In the 51st minute, following a foul on Henri, Assumpcao stroked a superb free kick past the opposition keeper to put the Swatcats two up, minutes later he spurned his chance of a hat trick when he shot tamely at the keeper following a mazy run from Amadou.

Assumpcao was again in the frame for a hattrick when an Henri through ball put him clear with only the keeper to beat. His carefully flighted shot was superbly (and acrobatically) saved by the Chainat number one.

As the game petered out, Chainat scored a late consolation goal when Chatri Rattanawong slid in from 10 yards in the 91st minute.

Another disciplined and determined attacking display tonight and a deserved 3 points. I know I sound like a stuck record but our attacking trio really are on fire. Chainat were disappointing but these are the sort of games that we would have lost in past seasons. We are just one creative midfielder away from being a top 4 team - Ariel Rodriques from PTT Rayong would fit the bill, let’s go get him!!

Footnote: T May T played his 100th game for the Swatcats tonight.

Match Day 14 Stats

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Dateline 29th May 2019

 FT Samut Prakan City 2 NRFC 0

Attendance; 1530

The Swatcats took on high fliers Samut Prakan in this mid-week fixture. The visitors started without skipper Chalermpong.

The hosts opened brightly but in early action from the visitors, Henri, struck the upright with an angled drive after a splendid solo run down the flank.

With both sides willing to throw men forward and plenty of space in midfield, an early goal looked likely. On 20 minutes Ibson Melo nearly opened the scoring when his low drive shaved the post. The men from Korat countered with a period of pressure that culminated in Amadou being foiled by the home keeper after a mazy run.

Samut Prakan probed with Ibson Melo a constant threat, as they continued to play some great approach play. Unfortunately for them their final finishing was poor.
They finally opened the scoring in the 42nd minute when a shot cannoned off the upright into the path of Chayawat Srinawong who tapped into an empty net. The visitors replied with a looping cross that outfoxed the keeper and rebounded off the bar.  

An entertaining first half came to an end, with both sides trying to play positive football and with the Swatcats slightly unlucky to be one down.

The second half began with neither side able to create clear cut chances. It took until the 57th minute for a shot on target as keeper Cunningham smothered a low drive. This was becoming a “ping pong” battle with both sides breaking forward with very little end product.

The visitors began to exert pressure, looking for the equalizer and with inevitable gaps being left at the back, Samut Prakan sealed the points when Terraphol broke forward and stroked the ball into the net in the 73rd minute.
In the 93rd minute Ibson Melo almost made it three as he broke forward but his shot was comfortably saved by Cunningham.

A fairly straightforward victory for Samut Prakan tonight. The Swatcats looked dangerous going forward and defended stoutly but a talented Samut Prakan side deservedly took the victory and a valuable three points.

Match Day 13 Stats