FC Phuket sustain first half dogfight with Airforce, new president appointment official
PHUKET: FC Phuket came from behind in a closely contested match on Saturday night to draw with Airforce United 3-3 at Surakul Stadium in Phuket Town.
All six goals of the season’s 10th fixture were scored in the first 31 minutes of play, with both sides failing to break the deadlock throughout the rest of the match.
Opening the score in the 7th minute, the Airforce United “Blue Eagles” were wound up by a rousing marching-band cheer-squad of about 30 supporters who had commuted from Rangsit.
Airforce’s top gun, Nigerian forward Ononiwu Julius skillfully beat his marker on a cross giving Phuket’s reserve keeper, Worapot Sabaijit his first taste of Thai Yamaha 1 goal dust.
Phuket’s equalizer was delivered just two minutes later.
Brazilian midfielder Marcio Santos took a free kick from the right wing, crossing the ball to Ibrahim Kanoute, who was grounded when trying to penetrate the final defenses.
Following up on the loose ball, Poramut Krongborisut’s strike did not miss its mark.
Julius scored his second of the match and fourth of the season on 18 minutes, cashing in on another free kick to the dismay of a clearly inexperienced keeper.
The visitors widened the deficit three minutes later, this time from a perfectly weighted corner kick by Anut Inthachai.
Phuket’s Watcharapong Jun-ngam had the honors of scoring the next and last two goals of the match in the 23rd and 31st minutes.
With three goals so far this season, Watcharapong, who led the team in goals last season, is the team’s current leading scorer.
For all the goals and video highlights, click here.
Phuket’s new president, Pamuke Achariyachai, whose appointment was made official before kickoff commented on the result: “Today, we were even because many key players are sick and couldn’t play the game, but the rest did very well.
“Considering that we were down 1-3 and and came back to tie 3-3, I think they performed their best and I appreciate that.
“I am very happy to see many fans come to cheer the team,” Mr Pamuke went on to talk about the reason for accepting the position.
“Deep in mind, I love football. I have organized many football tournaments and support and encourage local youth and Kata Group staff to play football.
“When FC Phuket started to have financial problems, and they invited me to be the new president, I did not hesitate to agree to take the position.
“I couldn’t [stand to] see FC Phuket go down because I consider them as part of [creating a] Phuket reputation. I promise to lead the team to be successful as soon as possible.
“I just want to ask fans to believe in me, staff, and all the players.”
Asked about the team goal of this season, Mr Pamuke said, “We must finish in the top seven.”
Regarding the budget for the rest of the season, he said, “I just took the position, so we are now planning.”
The even result’s point sees Phuket move up one place into 16th, while Airforce dropped one ranking into 15th of the 18-team Thai Yamaha 1 football league.
Phuket’s next match is a tough away fixture against the league’s top ranked Ratchaburi Mitrphol FC.
Kickoff for the match, to be played at Ratchaburi Central Stadium on May 27, is set to commence at 5pm.
For updates, check the Gazette online.
— S Layne & P Choksakulpan
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