Sunday 23rd April 2023 - BPL Div 2
An arduous trip to Bangkok's western suburbs saw Futera United return with a valuable three points thanks to an impressive brace by the outstanding Phu, in a hard-fought 3-2 victory for the unbeaten away side.
In oppressive heat (42 degrees at pitchside), Futera kicked off and, with the TA games in mind, fielded eleven Thai players, leaving Babu and GB on the bench. Although the RMUTR stadium was very impressive, the pitch left a lot to be desired - bone dry and extremely bobbly, making it very hard for Futera to play their normal passing game. The home side took the lead inside 10 minutes when their impressive number 10 outstripped Katang and neatly chipped Film. Despite Mark’s valiant attempt, the ball nestled in the net. Futera were struggling to find their passes, and the game was rather scrappy, littered with misplaced passes and fouls. With chances few and far between, Aek should have done better with a header at the far post, and after a great mazy run from Bank, his cross flew inches away from Golf. Skipper Jew dragged Futera back into the game in the 23rd minute when he chested down a long free-kick from Mark before rifling home an unstoppable half-volley into the roof of the net to make the score 1-1. Moments later, Bew’s rasping drive from distance was spilled by the RMUTR keeper and smashed home by Bank, but unfortunately, the referee blew for offside. With the heat clearly taking its toll, the first half finished at a sedate tempo, with the teams locked at 1-1.
Futera began the second half on the front foot and began to move the ball quicker and press with more intensity. A delightful move saw Save’s astute back-heel play in Phu, who coolly finished, only for the fastidious linesman to incorrectly disallow it for offside. Futera had to wait until the 69th minute to take the lead, and it was the impressive Phu cutting in from the right flank and firing in a low curling shot that gave the RMUTR keeper no chance, making the score 2-1. Futera increased their lead further when the tireless Bew won the ball back in midfield and played it to Save, whose sublime through ball found Phu, and the talented youngster fired home a fierce right-foot strike for his second of the game. GB had further chances to increase Futera’s lead after great work from Babu, but it was RMUTR who made for a nervy final few minutes when their striker shot home from the edge of the box with the defence backing off. Futera saw out the remaining minutes to make it four wins out of four.
Futera overcame their toughest test so far this season against a very good team. The stifling heat and terrible pitch cannot be overlooked and it was a credit to the team that they battled back to claim victory. As usual Mark at centre back was outstanding and he is proving to be a real leader. Save produced a good performance with an excellent assist and Phu when he moved to the right wing was in irresistible form. With the challenge of the TA next month it was good to give all our Thai players a decent run out. We remain unbeaten and move into third place.