Saturday 5th March 2022, Futera Dome
Our second pre-season friendly was originally scheduled to be against Thonburi FC but due to their squad being decimated by COVID a game was arranged against a Bangkok representative team. The excellent work done by coach Den and Kate to arrange this at such short notice should be commended. The representative team consisted of a wealth of experienced players who had played at high levels in Thailand, including Jakkapan Pornsai who had played for Thailand 18 times.
As the players entered the Futera dome to the now familiar Seven Nation Army anthem, I felt this would be a real test. The game kicked off with Futera lining up in a 4-4-2 formation with the representatives seeing a lot of the ball early on. As the game went on Futera seemed to grow in confidence, and we started to be more aggressive in closing down our more experienced rivals. This paid off in the 22nd minute when John won the ball on the half way line and played the ball forward to Pharachat Chainpainsanslip who turned well and played a neat one two with Bank to coolly slot the home side ahead. This gave Futera a real lift and we moved the ball with real purpose in the remainder of the first third and with a better final ball we could have extended our lead.
For the second third Futera made wholesale changes which affected our cohesion in the opening 10 minutes. We struggled to get hold of the ball and the former Thai international was causing us numerous problems, dropping deep and dictating the tempo of the game. It was a ball from Pornsai that exposed our left flank allowing a cross to be nicely converted for the equalizer. In spite of conceding Futera showed real character and started to gain a real foothold in the second third. A long ball from the back from M was beautifully backed heeled by Gao Emmanuel to allow Ter to drill the ball in the bottom left corner, 2-1 Futera. In the 53rd minute Futera were caught by a ball over the top, as the Representative centre forward flicked the ball through on goal Poom instinctively stuck out a hand. There was a lot of confusion but rather harshly the referee produced a red card and Poom was off. Even down to 10 men Futera continued to knock the ball around purposefully and created some good positions, in the 60th minute Futera worked an opening down the left flank and Gao Emmanel crossed for Bank to fire home to deservedly extend Futera’s lead. After not producing much of an attacking threat the representatives won a free kick in the final minute on the left hand-side just outside the box. The ball was swung into the six yard box and Thanaphon Julakakanak, under pressure from the finished with the score at 3-2.
The final third started with the representatives buoyed by their fortunate goal on the offensive but Futera’s defence stood firm, noticeable performances from M and Owen. As the Representatives began to tire the game became stretched and the fitness of the youthful Futera began to show. Futera created numerous chances and were finally rewarded in the 93rd minute when Don found himself free on the left hand side of the box and crossed for Gao Emmanuel to score into an empty net to make the score 4-2. With minutes remaining Futera still managed to create a couple of chances, but the final whistle sounded with the final score Futera United 4 – 2 Bangkok Representatives. This was an excellent performance from Futera and you could certainly see the improvement on the previous week. The team is really starting to take shape and exciting times lay ahead.