NAKHON PATHOM: The Phuket FC “Islanders” remain in Thai Division 1 survival contention following their 4-1 victory away to Rajpracha FC on Saturday evening.
Scroll down for photos of the match.
Played at Mahidol University’s Salaya campus an hours’ drive west of Bangkok, the 33rd match of the 34-fixture season was watched by about 500 spectators — half of which were rooting for the away team.
Going in to the match, the Islanders were ranked 14th of the 18-team league, dangling in the final relegation spot, and thus in immediate danger of joining the five teams bound for the Division 2 regional leagues next season.
To avoid such misery, a win was the onlyj viable option for Phuket, and their opponents, the 17th place Rajpracha “Crowns”, already having no mathematical chance of escaping relegation, would be playing for their pride and dignity.
Despite a number of set plays earned by the home team early on, it would be the visitors’ attacking threat to prove potent enough to activate the scoreboard.
Phuket went up in the first half 3-0, with goals by Kornprom Jaroonpong, Nattakorn Wisetthanakarn and Thawin in the 20th, 24th and 42nd minutes, respectively.
The Crowns’ response finally came at the start of the second half with Korean import Woogeun Jeong converting a lighting drive and pass from Ghanian teammate Victor Mensah.
Though having a two-goal lead, Phuket could not afford to let it slip away, tightening up their defenses as Rajpracha tried desperately to narrow their deficit.
It would be the visitors to get the next and final hoorah, however.
Awarded a corner kick with only five minutes to go, Phuket’s captain Nonthapan Jiensathawong decided to play a short ball to fiesty Narakorn.
Finding some space on the left wing, Narakorn sent a piercing pass into the box, where Ivorian defensive stalwart, Nenebi Slyvester was in perfect position to divert the ball, in a single-touch reflex, into the back of the net.
Despite a number of near scoring chances, mostly by the visitors, the score would remain 4-1 to the final whistle.
The result moved Phuket into 13th place, just on top of the 5-team relegation pot.
If Phuket prevail in their next and final match, a home-fixture against 16th placed JW Rangsit FC — the football team of Rangsit University — then they will not be relegated, and can continue their campaign for elite Thai league promotion next year.
A loss or draw, however, will have the team’s fate depend on the results of several other teams in the league. All will be decided in the season finale on 4pm, Saturday, October 27, 2012.
For all the updates and match reports of Phuket FC for the 2012 season, go here.