Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Eka to feature in Bangkok "& West" league

This article is from Vinnie at his Korat FC site. I have left his personal opinion in as it greatly matches my own. The only thing to add is that it's strange the new team Hua Hin City have not been included. Most likely they will be added later on, causing another reshuffle. The number of teams in D2 is now comical and the clear answer is to create a new division.

That said, there is still some uncertainty over the whole future of Nonthaburi FC following the floods and some rumours in circulation since then. I hope it's nothing more than a misunderstanding.

BKK has pointed out that Keasetstart (who are not going to win their play-off group) will not be classed in the same region as Eka, but Muang Kan of Kanchanaburi (a good 1 1/2 - 2 hour drive away) is. Hmmmm.....



Here are the anticipated Regional League Line-ups for 2012.
The current top two (Krabi, Korat, Ratchaburi, Pattalung) from each of the ongoing play-off groups aren't included, but one or more of Phitsanulok, Loei, Rayong and Roiet could still be promoted. We also don't know which clubs will be relegated from Division 1 nor which clubs will be promoted from the non-league Royal Cup. Makes you wonder why they didn't wait until all 2012 entrants have been finalised. Anyway, here are the line-ups:

Bangkok & West Division

1) Muang Kan F.C (Kanchanaburi)

2) Samut Sakon

3) Samut Prakan United

4) Bangkok Christian

5) Globlex

6) Nonthaburi

7) Assumption Thonburi 'The Pak' F.C

8) Chamchuri United

9) Rajvithi

10) Kasem Bundit University

11) Pathum Thani F.C

12) Relegated Division 1 side

13) Royal Cup champions

14) Ratchaburi currently competing in the play-offs but likely to go up


This endless annual yearly expansion of the league is not the right solution to the problem of how to accommodate the country's growing number of clubs. As it stands we will have 81 teams competing for four promotion places – one promotion place for every 20.25 teams. Immediately above in Division 1, eighteen teams compete for three promotion places – one promotion place for every six teams.

Two other better solutions suggest themselves. The best would be to have two divisions at the Division 1 level as was the case in 2007. Two eighteen-team divisions with four relegated from each would provide eight promotion places for the Regional League. Furthermore, the Regional League itself would be smaller as teams would be required to make up the new twin-league Division 1. Two teams could be promoted from each Division 1 league meaning four relegated from the TPL. The problem with this idea is that it requires the agreement of the TPL, a separate entity to the Regional League.

The other idea was genuinely being considered by the Regional League and TPL and may happen in the future. It is for a 'TPL Division 2' or 'Regional League Premier'; that is, an eighteen-team divison below the current Division 1 made up of the top Regional League sides. So the league pyramid would consist of three eighteen-team divisions with the Regional League comprising the fourth tier.

Either solution is better than what the Regional League have gone with: limitless expansion causing an annual dilution of the quality of the league as a whole.


Vinnie also lists every other regional division and line up in the original post. The second option he ponders in his editorial is essentially inserting a third division (D2) between D1 and the regional league, making the latter Regional League D3 and this is the idea I strongly support.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Coach leaves

Nonthaburi have parted ways with coach Sunti. The decision is really no surprise with Eka's underachieving last season. Non-existent tactics, random substitutions and capricious transfers were the norm throughout the year.

Nonthaburi offered the coach's job to Rene Desaeye one year ago. He is now back on the job market. If the club owner is serious about achieving success, he knows what needs to be done.

Nonthaburi on the rise

Wat Boat Stadium this week

Outsiders could be forgiven  for thinking the great Thai flood was over. Politicians are smiling again, the photos of people walking through water are now on page two instead of the front and MTU managed to stage a game against Army United this week, though perhaps they regret that now. Reality is different. The heart of Nonthaburi - including Wat Boat and my own village -  remain under a heavy blanket of brown, stagnant,  repugnant water and the smug smiles of politicos are purely because inner Bangkok has stayed dry.

It's as though time has stood still for the province (as well as neighbouring Pathum Thani) and though - as one Thai columnist noted recently - Thais are not great planners but excellent at coping, the clear jubilation of the government at Bangkok's rescue has been perceived as disregard for the many, many folk who are still face health hazards, financial ruin and homlessness.

Tempers have finally boiled over in Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani  and a number of protests and demands have been made. It's started a domino effect with other areas staging similar protests such as blocking roads, forcibly opening flood barriers and setting deadlines.

Although I find it hard to stomach groups of people essentially saying: "Do what we want or we'll do something violent", I also find it hard not to sympathise with the indignation of the Nonthaburi people, especially since I - like so many Eka fans - have been hit hard by this disaster. Unlike most others though, I'm fortunate enough to be comfortable and I'm not being ignored by my own government when I need help the most.

Friday, 28 October 2011

More water

As we can see, the water has risen at WB Stadium.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The flooding at Wat Boat

Not too high but enough to cause damage.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Floods of 2011

Rather than repeat myself, please see updates on the terrible floods here. I have no record of damage to WB Stadium yet but I'll update if I do.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Eka 3 KSU 3 - report and season awards

A short downpour before kick-off rendered yet another game doomed to be played out on a surface resembling a pigsty more than a football pitch. I've said it so many times now - why do the TFA insist on playing the bulk of games during the rainy season? The idea that it keeps us in line with AFC competitions seems a bit shallow.

In any case, the conditions and the lack of need for both teams - KSU were already assured of their play off spot and we were already out - could have made for disinterested players and a terrible game. That's what BKK Football predicted and I must confess I had similar thoughts, Instead, both teams did the noble thing and just went for it.

Still, the first half was uneventful and the action didn't really start until the second period, but boy, did it start. KSU's first goal was opportunistic and caused by the Eka back line pushing very far forward. The second away goal was an absolute belter and must be a contender for D2's goal of the season.

So 0-2 down against the champions with less than 45 to go, it seems almost a lost cause, right? But just as we did a short time ago, we showed real character to fight back. First from Methee, a header from a corner, then one from Korawut. KSU hit another goal to test our resolve but we pulled again, this time after a great triangle play and a finish once again from Korawut.  Six goals in one half, an exciting way to finish an exciting season.

It may have ended as a draw but this contest was a moral victory for Nonthaburi to fight back from two goals behind against a team that pushed Muangthong United to their limits. We even forced a few "drop down, scream in agony and pretend you're dying, wait for the stretcher to take you off then spring back to your feet" moments from KSU towards full time. It doesn't matter how many reserves KSU had in the side, we had players out, too.

After the game Eka fans descended onto the pitch to thanks the players.

So the D2 season reaches its end all too soon. I've offered my final thoughts already so there's little more to add. In Europe fans would talk of who can and should stay and who shouldn't, in Thailand this is a futile exercise. Planning and organisation just doesn't really happen in Siam, players come and leave almost randomly.

All we can do is look back with gratitude over a season that didn't end as we hoped but was still great fun to follow. We don't know which players will still be with us next season, but we know the fans will be there.

Player of the season:
Prasop: my player of the season.
K.Prasop. One of a bunch of players who could play at a higher level with ease. Excellent control and dangerous at set pieces. Did his bit to alleviate our goalscoring problem by supplying a few belters from midfield.

Match of the season:
The comeback against Prachinburi at home was one of the most eventful games I've seen in more than twenty years of watching football.

Goal of the season:
Korwaut's goal against Kasembundit at home, not just for the finish but the teamwork, passing and movement that went with it. See it here

Moment of the season:
The equaliser at Chamchuree United in a game that would have been stopped if it hadn't of been on astroturf. A game that really showed the spirit and professionalism of the side. See it here

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Assumption Thonburi 1 Nonthaburi FC 1 - report

After a disappointing nil-one defeat at home last week, Eka were handed a surprisingly quick chance for redemption when this game was switched from Thonburi to Eka's home of Wat Boat, presumably due to water-logging at Thonburi's stadium. It was still officially listed as a home game for Thonburi and Eka fans were placed in the away section of the Stadium.

Nonthaburi took the lead with a neat finish by 31. Theerapong following some one touch football in the first half. Thonburi equalised later with a clear-cut penalty decision that was duly converted. This was the only downer of the game for goalie Manop, who played his first fixture of the season despite being the best goalie we have in my opinion.

Towards the end of the game Eka started to push harder, causing one Thonburi player to throw himself down and play dead. At this point their stretcher man announced to the ref that he was coming on to the pitch and strolled on before waiting for the ref's permission. Said ref was too nervous to respond. This moment really summed up the officials in this game and indeed many of the problems with officials in Thailand, period.

So the game ended 1-1. It was an enjoyable contest despite having the feel of an end of season encounter between mid-table teams with nothing left to play for, which is what it was.

We now head towards the end of the season, though we still have a home game with champions Kasetstart to look forward to. Soon it will be time to look back at an enjoyable if slightly disappointing season and think about what changes need to be made for 2012. There's no doubt we have quality players in the likes of Manop, Janewit ("on loan") Prasop, Korawut, Grant, Reece, and Sathit and the whole squad look motivated.

So what, then, is the reason for the lack of play-off push? Clearly, goals have been a problem and this was screamingly obvious before the mid-season transfer window, and was not addressed when the window opened. What we did do in the window was allow Janewit - by far our best defender - to go and failed to replace him, even allowing another quality defender in Soloman to walk away.

There are other questions: our players are true professionals yet appear to tire earlier than other teams, they play at their best when playing by instinct (when losing or under pressure) rather than following a game plan and substitutions appear random and rarely involve a tactical switch. Who is responsible for this? Surely it's the coach. If we want next season to be different, we need to take a serious look at the staff set-up. Still whatever happens, the players will have the loyal fans of the "Rookery" to cheer them on.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Double blow

Unofficial reports suggest that Passakorn and Prasop, the two casualties from Sunday's excellent match are both likely to be out for the rest of the season. It's massive blow to Eka just as we begin to make a late move towards the "best third placed team" spot, though admittedly as a very long shot.
Prasop is arguably our most talented player and the team are always notably weaker without him.
Down went Passakorn........

Courtesy of thaileaguefootball.com the third-placed race looks like this:
53 Lampun
48 Nth BKK GD22, GF 41
48 S. Sakon GD12, GF34
47 KoratP24 GD 32 GF 53
47 Chachoengsao GD11 GF47
46 Rachawiti
45 Ayutaya
44 Uttaradit
43 Yasothon/NSRU/Nontaburi

....then down went Prasop

Photo credit: ต้อง บางศรีเมือง  (nonthaburifc.com)

Note: This list is comparing teams from all the regional divisions

Monday, 5 September 2011

Nonthaburi FC 3 Prachinburi 2 - Report

Fans loved it
At 1720 yesterday my terrible week was getting worse. Despite starting with a full-strength team, Eka were 0-2 down to Prachinburi in a “last chance saloon” clash for the D2 play offs. Both goals came from defensive howlers that exposed how badly we need a replacement for Janewit if he never returns from Chiang Mai.

If you’d told me right then the match would explode into the most memorable Nonthaburi game I’ve ever seen, I would’ve thought you were "ting-tawng".

Eka seem to find their best form when trailing a game and sure enough, at two goals down the long “up and under” balls became neat, low passes that pushed Prachin’s midfield back. The first response was a header from Korawut that somehow rebounded back off the upright into the keeper’s arms. Around the 25 minute mark, the 'crows’ earned a penalty. The video below shows the decision was harsh but the reaction from Prachin staff was the most disgraceful thing I’ve seen since Samut Songkhram staff swore and threw bottles at Muangthong fans.

Prachin players initially surrounded the referee and yelled and gestured in his face, before walking off, with much vocal support from their coach. I thought the TFA rules had been amended to prevent this “walk off" nonsense but perhaps the team will get off on a technicality: they actually stood just in front of the touchline instead of behind it. While everyone waited for the brats to return, the ref stood in the centre circle like a lost sheep and did nothing. Personally I would’ve given every player one warning before red-carding the entire team and their coach. Prachin players and staff continued to intimidate and harass officials throughout the game.

Prachin’s coach finally got his toys back in the pram and Jelani Grant hit a placed penalty but knocked it just wide. Perhaps it was the spark the home side needed though, and before long Samarpan hit a sweet finish from a deflected cross to pull one back. Shortly after, no. 11 Prasop hit an absolute belter into the far corner of the neat to send home players and fans wild. That’s how it was at half time.

The second half was a back and forth battle that was sometimes scrappy, sometimes classy, but always exciting. Eka’s third goal came again from my Man of the Match Samarpan, this time a guided shot from a low cross. Prachin had their chances but the defence just about held out. About fifteen minutes from time there was an incident in the Nonthaburi area when Prachin’s number 10 retaliated to a shove by aiming a full punch at the face of substitute Somsak. The ref - probably rightly - sent both men walking. Somsak took his punishment admirably, Prachin’s player continued to run his mouth, as though a full punch was not a red-card offence.

Chances continued for both sides but there were no more goals. The incidents continued: the away coach was ordered to shut his big mouth by the linesman and kicked a bottle in protest, One home player - Pasakorn, I think - was taken away in an ambulance. 

So ended an absolute gem of a football game, full of just about every incident and emotion you can think of in football. To make it even sweeter, it was played out in front of the biggest home crowd of the season. Fan sites are buzzing with praise for the match, the players and the supporters. Credit to every Nonthaburi player from the goalscorers to the bench who encourage their teammates so well. Every players showed passion, composure and skill. 

Next weekend, fans in England will flock to stadiums to watch the likes of Man City and Chelsea play football Prima donna style. The ticket prices will be almost as much as some Thais earn in a month. Some players wouldn’t even think of thanking fans before going home and calling their agent.

Been there, seen those teams, bought their trendy shirts, got bored. Wouldn’t choose them over Nonthaburi FC if you paid me.


Sorry I didn’t blog on our excellent 0-3 win at Thanyaburi last week. This is a picture of the surface:

Photo credits: cheerprachin.com , nonthaburifc.com

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Nonthaburi FC 1 Bangkok Christian College 1 - report

It was the proverbial game of two halves as Nonthauri produced an exciting display of football after the break in this match to clinch one point and come agonisingly close to snatching a win.

The first half was not encouraging for the home side as BCC produced an organised and disciplined display of good teamwork and movement, scoring a very impressive - even if there was a deflection - goal about thirty minutes in. Eka were without Prasop, Sathit and Janewit who is now on loan at CRU. It showed.

The second 45 minutes was a very different tale as Eka came out fighting, producing excellent overlaps on both wings and some sharp diagonal passes to open up the BCC back line. Time and time again it looked like the goal would come, only for the last touch to go begging, or a late scramble from the visitors to hold out.

The goal finally came from number 28 in the dying minutes of the action, much to the delight of the large home crowd. Nonthaburi are now promoting themselves with local posters like this one and the effect is starting to show, crowds are a little bigger and the noise greater than ever. That effect seemed to give the players the spark they needed.

Credit to both sides for putting on a good game of football in this one. For Eka, it really is the same old story: the better side, more of the play over 90 minutes but screaming out for a sharp predator or a tall, heavy target man in the penalty box.

Still there are many positives to take - exciting and good football in the second half, an all round display of hard work and team spirit, good performances from players covering injured or suspended players and the nucleus of a good squad. If we can hold on to Prasop, Korawut, Sathit, Reece, Grant, get Janewit back from loan (or replace him) and keep one of our two very good goalkeepers then we only need to fill in the obvious attacking void in the side to make a damn good push for promotion next year. The spirit is clear to see in players and fans alike.

Man of the match:
Number 14, Chatpet who worked hard down the wing and showed excellent awareness for every attacking move. Another player who caught the eye was 19, Passakorn who produced a hard-working show replacing Janewit at centre-back.

Next game is away to Thanyaburi next weekend.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Globex FC 1 Nonthaburi FC 1

Nonthaburi came from behind to snatch a point against a Globlex side that were, in reality, there for the taking.

The first half was another case of “different game, same story” as Eka had more possession and more chances against the meekly supported home side but could not finish the openings. The absence of Sathit - who watched from the stands, presumably injured or suspended - was noticeable..

We were punished for those rued chances after the break when Globlex scored from a cross to produce the first decibel of sound from home fans. It looked to be a worst case scenario for Eka but the goal seemed to light a fuse and before long Korawut leveled with a close-range finish. For the rest of the game Eka looked more dangerous and a low cross from Ryan Reece was millimeters away from the foot of Korawut who could not have missed. Final score 1-1.

Man of the match: Ryan Reece who is finding more space and causing defenders more problems with every game. He also reads the game quickly and has excellent timing on overlaps.

One point from a possible six then, and that is probably the final nail in our promotion push. We can take heart from an improved overall performance in the last few weeks and we must still look to finish as strongly as possible. If we can hold the current squad together and get just two new signings that we really should have made in mid-season: a poacher and a big, hefty target man, then we can look to top the table next season.

(I've never seen the screaming girl at a game before and hopefully won't again)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

North Bangkok 3 Nonthaburi 0

Eka's form continued its bizarre fluctuation on Wednesday night as the side sunk to a  heavy away defeat. The chance to quickly put the memory to rest can be snatched this Sunday with a second successive away game, this time at Globlex FC.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Nonthaburi 2 Kasebundit FC 1

Ryan Reece and Korawut rounded off a great day for Eka with two well-deserved second-half goals that were enough to finish off a persistent Kasembundit FC.

The first half was essentially "different game, same story" with the home side enjoying the lion's share of possession but not finding the net. However Ryan Reece and Sathit Sriutai were finding holes down both flanks and Reece's perseverance paid off after the break when his forced his way past two challenges to slot home. Kasembundit equalised with a chipped shot over the keeper's head but the lead was restored quickly after a pinpoint cross by Sathit found Korawut who headed home. The visitors refused to give up and the final minutes were a shaky affair, but Eka held out and took the points they deserved. By using the width of the pitch and playing smart diagonal passes, we opened up the opposition and looked dangerous and confident. Man of the match for me was Sathit Sriutai who always looks dangerous and reads the game so well.

After the match, players and fans enjoyed a party at a nearby hotel. Sadly I was unable to attend but everyone involved reported a fun night.

Results elsewhere mean that we're now just four points away from second place and the play-off. What a difference a week makes!

The club is now promoting itself to the locals
Fans and players enjoyed the club party 1
Fans and players enjoyed the club party 2

Monday, 25 July 2011

Samut Prakan United 2 Nonthaburi FC 0 - Report

Eka crashed at Samut Prakan United in a game that was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Nonthaburi started well with Ryan Reece finding space on the left wing, but it became clear that the referee was not going to allow any tackles or challenges that were not standing or that involved any form of shoulder contact whatsoever. This pushed the game into a scrappy, stop-start affair and exacerbated our season-long problem of having lots of the ball but very little punch in front of goal.

The game was effectively decided in a short, second half spell. After blowing his whistle three times in about fifteen seconds of open play, the ref awarded a free kick to SPU that they scored from. Eka staff protested strongly that it was offside but I don't think it was.

Shortly after, our number 25 (Surachat) performed a very badly-timed but totally innocent sliding challenge on a SPU winger. The contact looked very light but of course the winger threw himself down like he'd been shot and the referee appallingly gave a straight red card to Surachat. The home side scored their second goal later. I thought the final pass was a forward pass, which would render it offside. I guess the linesman disagreed.

This contest was effectively decided by a referee who looked to be incompetent and insecure in equal measure. It's a frequent problem that the Thai FA needs to solve. Too many officials compensate for their nerves by blowing their whistle every five seconds. This produces a scrappy, dull game of football and defeats the whole point of anyone being there.

But still, questions need to be asked at the club if we are to rescue our rapidly-fading play off hopes. Why did we sign no strikers when the problem has been screamingly obvious for ages? Why do so many of our players look capable but get tired earlier than the opposition? Why play the same formation that fails to produce many goals at the best of times when we are two goals and a man down? Why not just throw an extra man (Sathit or Prasop) forward and take a chance? Why be so inflexible?

On a positive note though, big credit to all the players who refused to give up even when two goals, one man and one rubbish referee were the odds against them. Both sets of fans enjoyed the day and thanks to the home fans who made us feel welcome.
We won't give up.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Monday, 18 July 2011

Luk Isaan Thai Air FC 0 Nonthaburi FC 2

Eka took an impressive two-nil victory away from Luk Isaan Thai Air at the weekend with goals from Prasop and Korawut. Nonthaburi will be looking to take the impressive form into our second successive away game at Samut Prakan United this weeekend.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Jelani Grant - interview

Jelani was pivotal in the away game at Chamchuree
Canadian import Jelani Grant kindly took time out to answer my questions this week. Jelani was signed in pre-season, he's a deep midfielder who is also eligible to play for Barbados and could possibly be up against teams like Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in future.

1) How does a Canadian like you or Ryan get involved in football rather than ice hockey or baseball?

In Canada you are introduced to every sport at an early age. I tried everything from Basketball, Hockey to Badminton. My father was involved in soccer and really pushed me in that direction and from the age of twelve i knew this is what i wanted to do.

2) Is it true that football (soccer) is growing in North America? What can be done to make it more popular?

Football in North America is certainly growing, there are many kids with the desire to play at a professional level but as they get older this goal becomes extremely hard to achieve because Canada does not have the professional leagues to keep the players motivated and therefore many lose focus and quit playing.

I believe more money has to be put into the sport. First at the youth level to help steer the young players in the right direction and give them the proper training to be able to compete with the European Countries. Then in addition to this, more professional teams must be created throughout the country. Canadian players in particular are forced to leave there own country in order to play the sport they love. If players believe there is something to look forward to, they will aspire to be better and keep there dream alive.

3) Can you give us a quick summary of your career to date? What clubs have you played at and how did you end up at Nonthaburi?

USA University soccer till the age of twenty one, I received a full soccer scholarship.
Hungary for a team called Papa Lombard.
Canada Magic Soccer Club and Erin Mills FC
Denmark HIK
Hungary Integral Dac FC and Soroksar FC
Canada York Region Shooters
Nonthaburi FC
When I last was in Canada, a former teammate of mine Dave Simpson was playing for Chonburi FC and put me in touch with some people here in Thailand. I came over, played a match against Nonthaburi Fc and was invited to the team.

4) What have been the high and low points of your career?

I believe the high points to my career are anytime i am outside of Canada being able to play overseas pursuing my dream. So Being in Hungary and Now Thailand are both great times to me.
Low points, both times leaving Hungary not quite knowing what my next move would be. In this business you just have to keep working hard and hope things will work themselves out. As long as you put in the work and continue to play at a high level, things will workout for you.

5) Moving on to Nonthaburi FC matters, how satisfied are you and the squad with the first half of the season?

Nonthaburi FC, the first half of the season was a struggle. Trying to adjust and learn how to play in the coaches system was a little difficult but we had the talent and should have finished in the top three.

6) How is the mood in the camp generally and how much of a problem is the language barrier in communication on and off the pitch?

The players are happy, I believe the camaraderie is much better now. We are able to communicate more with certain players who speak English but generally i think everyone has the same goal and we are able to read eachother on the field. Off the field we are slowly learning some Thai words so we can make one or two jokes with our teammates.

7) Any message for the fans?

For our loyal EKA fans, thank you for your support. Thank you for making Ryan and myself feel at home. Everytime we step on the field we feel as though we are in a home match and that really helps. We will continue to fight for you and try to catch a playoff spot.

Thanks again to Jelani for his time. 

Monday, 11 July 2011

Nonthaburi 0 Thai Fleet 0 - report

Nonthaburi stumbled to a goaless draw against a distinctly average-looking Fleet side that were surely there for the taking in a lackluster game at Wat Boat that was painfully short on memorable incidents.

As usual this season, Eka had more of the ball but still desperately lacked a poacher to capitalise on so much possession. In many earlier games the skill of crowd favourite Prasop and Sathit have seen us through, but in this game both players were suspended, exacerbating the attacking problems .

The one incident that stays in memory was when a ball looped up high in the sky and dropped down right onto the head of a poor ball-boy. Hope he's OK now.

It's a shame that we haven't addressed the lack of poacher problem in mid-season but full credit to all the players who work hard up to the final whistle. We have to hope that Prasop and Sathit can return and score us enough goals to make the play-offs and no doubt the fans will stay right behind the team all the way through.

Another report is here

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Chamchuree United 1 Nonthaburi FC 2 - video

Chamchuree United 1 Nonthaburi FC 2 - report

Eka overturned Chamchuree United in a “stormy” game in every sense. Most of the action occurred in the second half and the only memory of the opening 45 minutes is of torrential rain that threatened to ruin the contest towards half time. Luckily, the astro-surface at Chulalongkorn Stadium copes with rain far better than the Thunderdome at Muang Thong and when the rain began to ease (not stop) the surface was playable again within ten minutes. It may not be the choice of purists, but could astroturf be the way forward for tropical Thailand?

Nonthaburi took the lead about ten minutes into the second half from a close range volley by Prasop that the home goalie couldn’t hold on to. By now the ref was starting to look nervous and many innocuous incidents turned into free kicks or other advantages for the home side. As CC piled on the pressure under the still pouring rain, a breakaway Eka attack resulted in a free kick that was curled in towards Korawaut, completely missed by the striker and glided into the net! CC didn’t lay back and the nervous officiating continued, while a challenge on Jelani Grant that was so high it almost took his ear off went unpunished. In injury time, CC scored a low, curled shot and somehow during the celebrations, Eka’s goalscorer Prasop was given a red card. A scuffle ensued and Eka staff stepped over the touchline to join in the yelling.

The game ended shortly after but as CC players came to greet the away fans, a very small number of Eka fans - who had seemed somewhat overzealous and abusive for most of the game - continued to yell “chi-gong” at the home players. It seemed to die down as the rest of the away support clapped the home players off but then trouble flared.

I missed the flashpoint but I’m told that one CC player threw a water bottle at away fans - though not with real force - and as Eka fans bawled at him, he gave the middle finger. He also refused to walk into the tunnel and continued to stand and stare (though not gesture or yell) at the away fans as they struggled to get to him. Eventually the situation was calmed down by fellow fans and club staff, no thanks to the player who acted so unprofessionally and should have been big enough to just walk away.

It was a shame to see a small number of fans, home players and coaching staff setting bad examples, but I think it will be an isolated incident and it musn’t distract from three excellent away points, another good show of teamwork and a real effort by both sides to play football under very difficult decisions. Great work lads, can’t wait for the next game.

Man of the Match: Sathit, Nonthaburi’s answer to Teeerasil Dangda. He’s one of a bunch of Eka players who could hold his own at a higher level.

All photo credits: Getidea Ka

Sathit outflanks his marker down the left wing.

Defending a free kick.

The players 'planked' after both goals. I'd prefer a pubpeab!

Eka staff approach the ref at full time.

Away support, noisy for the whole game!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Nonthaburi 1 Ratchatewi 1 - report

Eka did well to come back from a goal behind to take a well-deserved point in a lively game last Sunday.

As is so often the case, 'The Crows' were the better side yet fell behind to league leaders Ratchatewi after a lapse of concentration made an opening for a former Nonthaburi player (I forget his name) to snatch the chance and take the lead. Nonthaburi continued to press and were rewarded when Sorawut scored from a goal mouth scramble later in the half.

The home side remained stronger in the second half and things looked good after Rathatewi had a player sent off for a double yellow-card offence. The first for a foul, the second for smart-talking the ref after his booking. Much to the delight of the fans, he continued to protest his case before being told to leave the field.

Eka tried to make the most of the advantage but also looked tired. The final moments of excitement came in injury time when the highly talented Sathit cut a low cross to the far post that Sorawut somehow edged the wrong side of the woodwork, then the visitors created an opening and hit a thunderous shot that was stopped by the goalie with an excellent parry.

We may be disappointed not to win this game but it was an excellent and hard-worked team performance against (so far) the best team in the table. With more displays like this and just a little more finishing in front of goal, we can still make the play offs. Come on, Eka!

Eka featured some new faces and others look to have departed. Squad numbers have been shuffled so I can't give further details yet.

Photo credits: Getidea Ka

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Friendly at TD

Eka recently played a friendly against MTU reserves at the Thunderdome and drew 2-2 on a wet surface. THe D2 season resumes on Sunday against Globex FC.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Prachinburi 0 Eka 0

The Crows got a draw with new arrivals Prachinburi at the weekend. The home side were relegated from D1 in the previous season and are among the stronger sides in D2, so this result is a good one for us. It also extends our unbetaen run to three games.

We now enter mid-season break which gives us a chance to prepare for a late title push. Keep up the good work lads and see you soon!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Nonthaburi 1 Thanyaburi 0

Eka made it two wins in a row with a victory over Thanyaburi on Sunday thanks to a goal from Camara Fode. Good work lads, more of the same after the season break!

Monday, 30 May 2011

BCC 0 Eka 1

Nonthaburi scored an impressive away win against Bangkok Christian College at the Thepsadin Stadium on Sunday with a goal from Prasop (edit: not Noppadol) from long range. Our next game is home to Rose Asia next Sunday. It's not confirmed if we'll play at Wat Boat or Samkkhee yet.

Well done, lads!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Nonthaburi 0 North Bangkok 1- photos

All photo credits - Getideaka @www.nonthaburifc.com

Jelani Grant gets stuck in.
Chudpet moves down the wing

Sathit - our closest thing to a target man - advances

......and takes on his marker

Thai fans never stop cheering, unlike grumpy old me!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Nonthaburi 0 North Bangkok 1

It was the same old story for Eka as we lost a game in which we had the lion's share of possession. After a very even first half, Eka had more of the chances in the second half but failed to capitalise, leaving North Bangkok the opening they required for a goal around the 65 minute mark.

Our problem is becoming increasingly clear - we lack a tall, powerful, natural striker to get on the end of the crosses and long balls from the defence. With none of our centre forwards really finding their form so far this season, we are relying on our attacking midfielders to score wonder goals. The law of averages says that won't work every week and so is the case. In short, we need to get a poacher in when the transfer window opens and until then, just keep being positive and creating chances.

Personally I'd like to see both Camara (Mohamed) and Ryan Reece starting each game, one on each flank, with Sathit playing striker, as he's the closest we have to a target man. This would widen our midfield, creating a little more space for the opposition but Jelani Grant is an an excellent holding player and although Prasop is a naturally attacking midfielder, I'm sure he could adjust his game slightly.

There also seems to be confusion over our kit this season. We've worn at least five deferent strips so far and the new shirt which is on sale (350 bt, a bargain) is not actually the one being worn by the players!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Match postponed

Nonthaburi's match at home to North Bangkok, originally scheduled for Saturday, will now be played on Sunday at Samakhee. The Wat Boat stadium has been damaged in the recent monsoon storms.

Nonthaburi 1 Globex 2

Eka conceded two early goals and spent the rest of the game fighting back to no avail. After the two first half goals for the visitors, EKA dominated most of the possession, but had to contend with Globex players getting "injured" every few minutes. Interestingly, these "injuries" stopped about fifteen minutes into the second half. I don't know if this was due to a word from the referee or the mockery of the home crowd who shouted "Jep! Jep! Non! Non!" every tackle. Camara Aly scored with almost the last kick of the game but it was too late. Nonthaburi now need a late play-off push to salvage the season.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Nonthaburi 3 Luk Isan Thai Air 2 - highlights

Goals scored by Parsop (2) and an unknown player number 23 (?) in a very attacking game. To be fair Eka could - and perhaps should - of scored more. They now face Globex in the TLC Cup on Weds. The last meeting between the sides was goalless, I hope we have more action this time around. On Saturday, it's North Bangkok FC at home.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Nonthaburi 3 Luk Isan Thai Air 2

Eka made it three wins in a row with a win over Thai Air today.Interestingly, thaileagueonline.com had the score at 1-0 with four minutes to go. I was due to attend this game but couldn't because of a late family commitment. More details (of the game, not my family life) to come.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Thai Fleet 0 Nonthaburi FC 1 - video

I think it was scored by number 12, Camara (one of three Camara's in the squad) but I'm not sure.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Thai Fleet 0 Nonthaburi FC 1

Eka made it two wins in a row with a narrow victory away to another "new" team. More details to follow.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Eka 4 Chamchuri 0 - highlights

A brace from Prasop, a neat header from Camara Aly and a goal credited to Chetpat made a fantastic win for 'The Crows', though not without the now-customary exciting goal mouth scramble at the other end! Here's hoping we seize the momentum and make a late title push. Thais are superstitious regarding numbers, names and colours and I predict Eka will stick with this make-do kit for home games for a while.

Great job guys!

Eka 4 Chamchuri United 0

Eka scored a great win against the league's newest side.

Is this a flash in a disappointing season's pan or will Nonthaburi start to produce the sort of form they are capable of?

More details to come.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

FA Cup exit

Eka's FA Cup run fell at the first hurdle with a home defeat by higly-rated Central side Muang Kan. Nonthaburi's season is threatening to peter out very quickly unless the goals start to flow soon, but the supporters will stick by the team.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Eka draw

Eka drew 0-0 with Globex to ad further weight to our clear striker problem. More to come in due course.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Kasembundit Uni 0 Nonthaburi FC 1

An extended clip here of Eka's well-deserved win away to Kasembundit. The goal was scored by Pramual.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

FA Cup draw

Eka have been drawn at home to Muang Kan of Kanchanaburi in the FA Cup first round. Date of game TBA, and probably changed several times.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

New kit preview

This is the draft design of Nonthaburi FC's new shirt. It looks great in my opinion, although the cetralised logo is not my favourite style. The sponsors are King Power and Chang, perhaps influenced by the Newin connection. More sponsors may yet be announced. The shirt is not yet on sale but is expected to be available after Song Kran. The price is TBA.

Image credit: Nonthaburi FC Facebook group

Monday, 4 April 2011

Nonthaburi 0 Samut Prakan United 2

Eka's defeat at home to SPCU was almost a replay of the previous home loss against Assumption Thonburi. The 'Crows' had plenty of possession but lack a true out-and-out striker to finish chances. It's also surprising to see goalkeeper Manop left out of the side when he did so well last season.

Credit to the home fans for getting behind the side throughout the game but quite rightly, they are starting to worry about this year's campaign. The club missed out on the play-offs by goal difference last season and have strengthened in pre-season this year so expectations were quite high. D2 has a huge number of teams clamouring to get out of it and only three slots to do so. If things don't turnaround soon, perhaps we need to make a quick review of our coaching situation.
Let's hope the the addition of the new players into the side can help one of the forwards hit a good run of form. Onwards and upwards.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Eka 0 SPU 2

Eka went down again to Samut Prakan United. Details to follow.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Kasetsart University 2 Nonthaburi 0

Eka very disappointingly went down to a two-goal defeat at mid-table Keasetstart University FC.  Jelani Grant played in the game but Ryan Reece and Solomon Morrison were forced to sit out yet again. The Crows will need to bounce back as quickly as possible against Samut Prakan United next weekend.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The new squad list

Update 2013 season:
This is a work in progress, the club did release a squad list for 2013, then in true local style they completely disregarded it, so I'm building this list up myself.

30 Pathanphong (GK)

6 Joejoe Sompen (DF)
4 Krilas (DF)

15 Tarore (DM)

21 Nonthagun (RM)

19 Gun (MD)

14 Athikum (MD)

29 John (CM/LM)

24 Asiriya (LM)

25 Rathchapark (MD)

17 Apirak (MD)

11 Chatchai (MD)

12 Ataon (FW)

16 Cedric (FW)

26 Tomi (CF)

10 Alassane (FW)

Nonthaburi 0 Assumption Thonburi 1

If Eka got lucky against NSRU in the previous home game, that luck took back its debt in yesterday's nil - one defeat against Assumption Thonburi.

Yet again, new signings - Reece, Solomon and Grant - were forced to sit out. But Nonthaburi created no less than three good chances within the first five minutes but could not capitalise. Perhaps it made them complacent because about ten minutes later, Assumption's striker sneaked in behind the back line and scored a soft goal with a gentle finish.

The rest of the first half was even but the second half was almost all one-way traffic. But over and over again Nonthaburi wasted several chances either by completely skying longs shots or simply poor positioning of the strikers. The highly-anticipated new signing from Belgium, Camara Muhammed, had a particularly disappointing game and looks short on fitness nd confidence.

In injury time, Eka's goalkeeper came up for a corner and so nearly scored a tap in that was stop by a lunging foot of Assumption's goalie.

So 0 - 1 it finished, Eka can take heart from their possession football in the second half but are crying out for a poacher, or at least for Muhammed to find his form. It's also very frustrating for the new signing to be sat in the stands with supporters when everyone can see how much they are needed on the pitch. The Eka coach also needs to get a clear idea of who his first team are, get them fit and get them to work on their off-the-ball movement, too many players seemed content just to roam in a circle rather than look at the bigger picture. Here's hoping for an improvement away to Kesetstart.

On a brighter note, here is the squad for this season:

Friday, 18 March 2011

Eka Vs Assumption Thonburi promo

This Sunday, KO@1700
This clip shows Prasop's excellent goal against NSRU.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Marine Rayong Vs Eka - photos + video

A few shots from the game courtesy of  the Nonthaburi FC Facebook page. I have no idea why Eka wore a plain white strip.

Once again, Jelani Grant and others are forced to sit out.

How bad does the pitch look?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Marine Rayong 0 Nonthaburi FC 0

Eka came to a goalless draw away to newcomers Rayong. More details to follow.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Nonthaburi FC 2 NSRU 1 - Photos

Photos courtesy of โต๋@ROOKERY 13th or Y@JoK CyI3eR, both from nonthaburifc.com

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Nonthaburi FC 2 Paknampho NSRU FC 1 - Report

Eka were actually very, very lucky to emerge with three points in a game that was high on excitement at times but usually way below standard in terms of skill.

As per last season, there were various types of opening ceremonies and entertainments before kick off. The idea was that NSRU would simply turn up to allow Eka to display their title credentials.

Only, the opponents hadn't read the script and took the lead after less than ten minutes with a short, high cross that was headed home from the six yard box.

At this time I noticed the line up was missing several new players. I was told that Jelani Grant and three other players were sat in the crowd because they had not received clearance to play in the league yet, though it was unclear if the problem was with immigration, the RL or the player's respective home countries. Whatever the reason, the team was far weaker for it.

Nonthaburi equalised about fifteen minutes later with an almost mirror-copy of the goal at the other end, scored by number ten, Ale.

The rest of the first half was slow, mainly thanks to a lot of time wasting and a whistle-happy ref. Eka repeatedly gave the ball away in their own half and slowly resorted to long balls instead.

The home side started better in the second half and scored a great free kick from number eight Nipol Panprom before very, very heavily riding their luck when the back line went to pieces on more than one occasion. Only two unbelievable misses from NSRU kept Eka in the lead. As injury time beckoned the visitors threw everything forward and Eka hit them on the break twice and really should have buried at least one chance. The final score was 2-1.

Of course, the result is always the most important thing but repeats of this performance against better teams in D2 such as BCC and North Bangkok will see us punished heavily. Nonthaburi need to rush through paperwork for the new players, spend a lot of time coaching the defence and also coaching the players' tactical discipline.

A note for penny pinchers. Rajpracha's games at Wat Boat Stadium were always free. Today's game was free too but I recall last season's opener was also free to promote the team to potential new fans. So by the next home game, we should know if Eka fans will be treated to an entirely free home season.

Man of the match:
17 Arthit, great first touch and reading of the game.

No team list as all players have new squad numbers for the new season. A new squad list will be produced ASAP.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Eka academy?

If I understand the website correctly, Nonthaburi are opening trials for a youth camp at the club, in partnership with the local government. This is another big step forward for the club.

The season officially - and finally - starts tomorrow, though the OS still has not updated the fixture list or squad list.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Nonthaburi 1 Thai Port 2 - photos

Credit to user คิงส์ เควิน at http://www.thaiportfc.com ,here
are some pictures of yesterday's action. Many more are here.

Nonthaburi 1 Thai Port 2 - friendly

Eka were very unlucky to lose this competitive friendly that was played out in an open and attacking style.

Thai Port played at least some of their first team despite their TPL schedule already being underway. And it was Port that took the lead very early on when number 28 (I think) rounded Eka's reserve 'keeper and held off two defenders to finish.

For a while it looked like Nonthaburi were outclassed as Port controlled the midfield and Eka resorted to long balls to their two African forwards. But things changed quickly and Nonthaburi began to create the majority of the chances. No. 17 Sathit and no.16 Gidya Choosing began to pressure Port's first choice goalie into some quality saves. Before half time, a superb through ball to Choosing played the lanky forward through on goal but Gidja still had to hold off two challenges to finish neatly on his left foot and slot home the equaliser.

The second half was mainly controlled by Nonthaburi but a low cross by a Port winger was not cleared and a quick rebound past first choice goalieManop saw Port restore their lead. Despite all Eka's possession, the game finished 1-2.

So after three friendlies against a team from each division, Nonthaburi have looked the equal against all of them. Moreover the squad look fit, committed and confident. Today saw another strong performance from the no.15 farang trialist, no. 16 Choosing and the right back in shirt no.23. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that Eka will finish in the top three of the Bangkok table and upset a higher league team in a cup game.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Friendly report and fixture updates

Nonthaburi went down at home to Suphanuri in a game that finished with a single goal to the visitors.

Eka looked disjointed and slow in the first half but a half time team shuffle saw them emerge refreshed and dangerous for the second forty five minutes. Players of note included no.8 Jelani Grant, whose distribution and fitness both looked excellent, player number twenty who looked like a lower league version of Teerasil Dangda with a similar physique and role to play. He looked two-footed and had an excellent fist touch, though his finishing was not of Teerasil standard. If it was, he wouldn't be with us! Finally, a farang player wearing no.15 put himself about very well indeed.

Overall, things look good. The coach clearly used these friendlies as a way of choosing his campaign squad as well as building player fitness. Although we lacked a little sharpness in front of goal today, I'm confident that we will be ready to hit the ground running with a strong promotion campaign when the season finally (and hopefully) starts in two weeks.

The opening fixtures are:

March 5 NSRU (h)
March 13 Mathaphut Marine FC (a)
March 20 Assumption Uni (h)
March 27 Kasetstart Uni (a)
April 2nd Samut Prakan Customs United (h)

I am not aware of the scheduled kick off times. Can anyone help?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Fixture news

Eka play another friendly at home against Suphanburi this Saturday. KO 1530.

A provisional fixture list for the delayed starting week of March 5t has been released. Details to follow.

More stadium pics

As Manop prepares to warm up, you can see the schoolyard area behind the running track behind what would be the south stand.

The only stand. Behind the parked cars is the wasteland/cleared area. Notice the space between pitch and running track. Is it enough to build a makeshift stand?

Directly behind the goal.

The opposite end is the entrance to Wat Boat and a narrow area between the pitch and the road, with a basketball court between them. It would be very difficult to build much that side.

All pictures are credited to Rames Channaem.