Picture: official cmfc

Thai League 2 – 2022-2023

Sunday 29 January 2023

Rayong FC 4 Chiang Mai FC 1

Chiang Mai FC:
S. Posri
Im ChangKyoon
Kim BoYong

Thumped. On the back of two strong wins in the last eight days this defeat was a huge disappointment; not just the scoreline but the manner of the defeat.

It also reflects CMFC’s dismal away form with five defeats in the last six away games.

The energy and creativity of the last week had evaporated – replaced by an apparent lethargy as Chiang Mai never competed in this match.

Let me preface the report by saying the away supporters are housed behind the southern goal, the running track and what was probably once an alligator-filled moat. We were so far from the pitch that  even if we wanted to any invasion is out of the question – it is simply too far away.

The stadium is a soul-less concrete bowl with no atmosphere; yet the crowd of 1,129 was Rayong’s second largest of the season.

Trying to take notes of events on the pitch was often guesswork. But what was clear is that Rayong were the first to threaten. Two early corners were followed by a Fahas save.

But this was just a prelude to Rayong’s 11th minute opener. Theppilak (31) beat S. Posri too easily on the right of the penalty area. His low cross was pushed out in front of goal by Fahas, and Chulapa (11) had the simplest of finishes.

Thammayut was having a difficult evening at left back but redeemed himself with a fine dive on the goal line to head clear from Theppilak who had left Fahas stranded on the edge of his penalty area.

Chulapa threatened again but his header from a right side corner was pawed away by Fahas diving to his right.

Phommin replaced Pongrawit at half time but the pattern of the game was unchanged.

Chulapa added his second ten minutes into the half nodding home a simple far post header. But the story of the goal was an audacious flick from Lwin Moe Aung (6) to create space for a lobbed cross to set up the goal.

With fifteen minutes to go Suwannapat was adjudged to have brought down Chulapa in the penalty area. Chulapa had started his run 30 yards from goal taking on five defenders before collapsing exhausted in the penalty area. The Chiang Mai captain was booked, probably less for the challenge and more for telling the Brazilian what he thought of his theatrics. Chulapa calmly buried the penalty for his hattrick.

Chiang Mai were themselves awarded a generous penalty after 84 minutes as Jakree (34) possibly caught Chatchai in the penalty area. Kim sidefooted the ball straight down the middle. Nappakun (46) was already lying on the ground when the ball reached him but stretched out a leg and deflected the ball onto and over the crossbar.

Rayong cleared the corner and broke forward at pace releasing Lwin Moe Aung one on one with Fahas. Lwin made no mistake. It was a very good counter-attacking goal set up by a defense-splitting pass from Nichitpon (30).

4-0 down and Chiang Mai woke up as the game went into injury time. Chatchai scored from Stewart’s low cross and Stewart then bounced a 22 yard shot off the cross bar. Suwannapat scuffed the rebound and Kim scooped the ball over the crossbar from 4 yards. It rather summed up the visitors’ day and was too little, too late.

Rayong’s win takes them into 8th place in the League two points above CMFC while CMFC’s away form  suggests that a play-off space is quickly becoming wishful thinking.

It was, and please forgive the rather gloomy report, a very long way to travel to watch a team under-perform when they, and we, know they are capable of so much better.