PHUKET: FC Phuket cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Pattani yesterday to solidify their status as the Division Two (southern section) league leaders.
Goals from Diarra, Poramut and Sarach sealed the win as Pattani were able to offer little more than token resistance.
The Southern Sea Kirin dominated early possession with the visitors struggling to string passes together.
Pattani resorted to persistent fouling in attempt to interrupt FC Phuket’s rhythm, resulting in the stretcher bearers spending almost as much time on the pitch as the players.
Eventually the Kirin were rewarded for their superior possession when a corner was stabbed home at close range by Ali Diarra in his first ever goal for the club. The crowd at Surakul Stadium, which is growing larger every game, was jubilant.
It was a lead that FC Phuket never looked in danger of relinquishing.
Pattani could count themselves highly unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when FC Phuket goalkeeper Jagked – awarded the captaincy in the absence of the injured Sampet – came flying off his line and took out the Pattani forward without making any contact with the ball.
The referee was not impressed and waved away the Pattani protests, much to the relief of Jagked, who was hoping to celebrate his 27th birthday with a clean sheet.
FC Phuket scored again soon after when Pattani lost possession to Poramut in a misguided attempt to pass the ball out of defense. The midfielder made no mistake, drilling the ball low into the corner.
Despite FC Phuket being without the first choice center-half pairing of Nene Bi, who has already acquired sufficient yellow cards to warrant a suspension, and Sampet, who was injured, the backline was rarely tested by a lackluster Pattani attack.
The win was well secured as Samach added a third goal, bursting through the Pattani defense and cannoning a shot off the underside of the crossbar, which appeared to ricochet off the Pattani goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
In the absence of television replays, the referee saw it fit to award the goal to the FC Phuket player.
The season is only six games old but FC Phuket, who have only conceded one goal, already look firm favorites to fill one of the two Division Two (southern section) playoff places.
Midfielder Diarra Ali was delighted to score his first ever goal for the team.
“I am very happy, not just for myself but for the team, who are playing very well, and for the supporters. I hope I can score many more goals from midfield this season.”
Coach Arjhan Songgamsub was quick to hail another victorious outing for his new look Southern Sea Kirin. “It was a good performance and I am pleased with my players. I am happy with the squad I have now and I don’t think I need any more players, although it is possible one or two more might come in.
“The top two sides in this division will go into a mini league with the other winners from the other regional divisions to see who gets promoted to division one, and I am confident FC Phuket will be in this league.”
FC Phuket are away to Yala this weekend and then are at home against Nakhon Ratchasima in the FA Cup the following Wednesday.
— James Goyder
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