Thursday, 24 February 2011

Nonthaburi 1 Thai Port 2 - photos

Credit to user คิงส์ เควิน at ,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.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Coming home

It's been well over a year after Rajpracha left the place, promising that they would return for the second leg of the 2010 season after "renovations" were complete. Yet the Nonthaburi Provincial "Wat Boat" Stadium remains unimpressive and barely changed, but this tiny ground is likely to stay deep in the hearts of local fans.

Importantly, the pitch is looking in good condition. Off the field, the only real change visible from the front view is the layer of dust and stone over the track that runs behind the pitch and running track. I hope this will last out the monsoon season to avoid a repeat of my first ever trip to the stadium - when I arrived in business attire and sunk knee-deep into mud before I made the stand, much to the amusement of local kids. Behind the single stand for fans, a large area has been demolished, leaving waste ground and rubble behind.

The real question now is: can Nonthaburi FC and Nonthaburi Government deliver the TPL standard structure the club has pledged to achieve? It looks to be a difficult task given the dilapidated structure of the stand, the surrounding construction and the typically cramped provincial Thai village that surrounds it.

Let me try to give you a visual image - the ground has just one stand - I'll call it the West Stand - that runs from a touchline to almost the opposite touchline. Around the pitch is a running track (that was used cheerfully by runners throughout yesterday's friendly) but it's mercifully narrow and does not affect a fan's view too much. The area behind the goal that I walk across to get to the stand could conceivably be used to throw up some bleachers and expand the total capacity to 1500-2000. Even this would be a challenge though, as it would block vehicles from entering the ground from the front way. Assuming that the area behind the stand was deolished to form a car park, there would need to be another route for vehicles to enter it. The opposite goal end is immediately in front of a school playground and has very little space. The opposite side to the west stand is narrow and covered by a run-down basketball court, but perhaps at a push the club could relocate the court and throw up another small makeshift stand that could just push capacity to 2,000 (the minimum TPL requirement).

In all, the Wat Boat Stadium is unlikely to ever be a top-ranked football ground, but then that's probably not what anyone wants. Fans of Rajpracha and now Nonthaburi FC like it because - unlike the Thunder Dome or even the Rama 9 Stadium - it's central to the province, in a typically provincial area, hard to get to (no regular buses go there) and is frequented by working class Thai people. That may just by why it worked for Raj, and may yet work for Eka.

The man standing closer to the camera is where the outside track now runs. The machine you see next to the grass pitch is where the goal now is. You can see the edge of the single stand in the background.
This is the only picture I could find online, if anyone knows of others, please tell. 

Monday, 14 February 2011

Nonthaburi 1 Korat 0 - friendly

- A 65 minute friendly with no half time.

- Very even game between two well marshelled teams.

- Camara Fode scored a header after a corner looped over the keeper's head.

- About 50 or so fans attended, the low attendance enabled us to hear the players communicating with each other which was insightful.

- Despite all the rhetoric, the Wat Boat Stadium has barely changed except the outside track has been graveled/stoned/dusted over so at least I won't get up to my knees in mud just walking one hundred yards from the road to the stand.

- Eka's new Farang player from Belgium put himself about but had little impact. No 17. for Korat looked good.

- Korat appeared to be in training attire, as their shirt had no crest. Eka wore their away strip.

- Both teams looked good by D2 standards and I would expect both sides to be amongst the better D2 teams this season.