Substance over style

Match report
Thai League 2
Saturday 2 March 2024

Chiang Mai FC 1 Phrae United 0


Saharat Posri

At the is stage of the season with the temperatures rising far too quickly and with places in the top six still up for grabs any win is hugely valuable.

With many CMFC supporters asking on social media about events off the pitch it was especially impressive to see the commitment of all the players and staff throughout the ninety minutes.

CMFC has just one shot in target in ninety minutes. Stenio, returning as substitute after injury, calmly putting away a 78th minute penalty.

Itthipon replaced Fahas and made a sound debut in goal. Stenio and Nukoolkit were both back from injury and among the substitutes.

For reasons unknown Phrae’s leading goalscorer, Patrick Cruz, was on the bench for the second week running.

The first half was almost devoid of any quality; both sides giving the ball away easily on a bumpy pitch.

Settawut might have done better than heading Phrae’s first corner straight into Piyachanok’s back.

Atthawit (once of CMFC) tested Itthipon with a long range free kick in the 17th minute; the CMFC keeper making a sprawling low save at his right goalpost.

Alef picked up another booking for an off the ball incident in the 42nd minute. His fourth booking will presumably mean that he misses the game at Suphanburi.

Sutthasen’s defensive header on the edge of the Phrae penalty area simply diverted the ball in front of Akarawin whose first time shot was narrowly wide of the far post.

Two early opportunities for the visitors at the start of the second half. Erivelto in space on the right side of the penalty area allowing Piyachanok time to block his shot and then Settawut in far too much space on the left of the CMFC penalty area somehow electing to shoot, and miscue, with his right foot.

CMFC responded with a low cross from Suchanon that evaded Akarawin six yards from goal.

At this point Erivelto, who had been invisible for the first half, decided that it was time for him to join in.

Gifted the ball by Chappuis midfield in the CMFC half he advanced a couple of paces and launched a fabulous right foot shot from thirty yards; It was just too straight and Itthipon at full stretch was able to turn the ball over the cross bar with his right hand.

Five minutes lates Erivelto’s 25 yard free kick was hit with less power but needed a diving save from Itthipon away to his right side.

The penalty was a reward for Chappuis’ persistence; following a good advantage played by the referee he and Sutthasen both slid in for a loose ball just outside the Phrae penalty area.

Neither won the ball cleanly but Chappuis was the fastest to recover and as he stood Sutthasen’s right hand reached out with enough contact for Chappuis to go down.

The referee and home fans had no doubt about the penalty. The Phrae bench were less impressed. The on field protests were muted.

Stenio had been on for just twelve minutes. His penalty was tucked low into the bottom right corner with Chommaphat going in the wrong direction.

That was it. Despite five minutes of injury time Phrae were unable to create a decent opportunity.

Suphanburi away next Saturday will be a much tougher challenge.

24 hours after publishing this report came the news that CMFC will need to appoint coach number five for the season as Big Golf (Nattapon Krachangpho) announced his departure to move back home, I believe, to an unnamed football academy in Bangkok.

His simple farewell message: “Thank you to the president of Chiang Mai FC Football Club, the coach staff, the footballers and all the fans of Chiangmai FC.

I wish the club to be successful. Going to the Thai League according to the target. To be the pride of Chiang Mai people.”

Big Golf has done much to hold the club together this season through all the turmoil. I hope he does well in Bangkok.