Thai League 2
20 January 2024
Chiang Mai FC 1 Nongbua Pitchaya FC 0
Chiang Mai FC
Sunday’s game was a great advertisement for T2 football. It had pace, power and commitment from both sides; 2,011 fans were well entertained.
In a game of missed opportunities it was Akarawin who ensured that a crucial three points were taken by the home side.
Alef had a mostly assured debut alongside Piyachanok.
On the right wing Chitchanok made his first start since the end of September. It is hard to imagine that this was only his fifth start. If he can stay fit he will be a huge part of the remaining games of the season.
With Stenio Jnr back from suspension and playing wide left CMFC looked consistently threatening going forward.
Lim and Chappuis played in front of the back four and with Jakkapan roaming behind the front three.
Jakkapan created the first opportunity for the home side. His shot hit Wichit’s arm outside the penalty area; Jakkapan curling the free kick against the far upright; Stenio was first to react but could not direct his diving header on target.
Batista’s cross from the right found Weerayut who headed wide.
Still in the opening ten minutes Nongbua were unfortunate to lose Kapisoda to a head injury. He was replaced by Anisong.
The miss of the game came after 35 minutes. Chawin’s cross from the right to the back post found Kento Nagasaki. He played the ball back across goal. Batista had run goalside of Alef and really only needed to let the ball hit him to score. But a heavy touch send the ball soaring over the crossbar.
Looking for a quick redemption the forward again ran onto a pass beyond Alef but his stabbed right foot shot lacked power and was turned away by the excellent Fahas for a corner.
0-0 after a very entertaining first half.
The second half opened with a Chitchanok run at goal, slaloming passed a series of defenders but unable to get a clean shot on goal.
Chitchanok’s turn and pace down the right side left Wutthichai floundering and Stenio’s run into the area was perfectly timed to meet the winger’s low ball into the six yard box; Jamsuwan, in goal, stood his ground to make the block.
Yoo ByungSoo made a welcome return replacing Im ChangKyoon.
Chawin was denied by a double block from Piyachanok and then from Fahas who was quickly off his line.
At the other end Akarawin scored the decisive goal. Chappuis well forward on the left of the penalty drove in a low cross, oddly Jamsuwan chose to try and clear with his left foot; the ball looping up into the centre of the penalty area. While three defenders watched the ball Akarawin’s first touch set up a right foot drive from 14 yards under the goalkeeper’s left hand.
Posri, Nawin and Nukoolkit all game on to protect the home team’s lead as Nongbua pressed forward.
Jardel’s twenty yard shot was deflected wide; Wuttichai headed wide from a corner and an Apisit header was straight at Fahas.
Game over; for the new coach a memorable win in his first home game.
There was a truly impressive level of intensity throughout the squad for the full 90 minutes; the next challenge will be to replicate that at Pattaya on Sunday.
Add a quick tip of the hat to the referee, Samrit Ritkaew, who managed a highly competitive game with great composure and was consistently in the right place to make the right decisions.
In other top of the table results at the weekend Nakhon Ratchasima beat Lampang 2-0 and Nakhon Si United dispatched Rayong 3-1 with ironically two goals from Nilson, newly acquired from Nongbua. Ayutthaya beat faltering Suphanburi 2-0 to move into a playoff place:
The top of the table after 20 matches:
TABLE THAI LEAGUE 2
# Club Played +/- Pts
1 Nakhonsi United 20 21 43
2 Nakhonratchasima 20 17 41
3 Nongbua Pitchaya 20 17 40
4 Chiangmai FC 20 20 38
5 Rayong FC 20 16 34
6 Ayutthaya United 20 8 32