16th July 2023 - 14:00pm Thailand / 07:00am GMT - BPL Div 2
Futera United succumbed to their first defeat in a Bangkok Premier League fixture when they narrowly lost to TOA Dovechem at the impressive Verso International School. With both sides unbeaten, this game was billed as a title decider, and the 2-0 defeat to the table toppers was harsh on the young Futera side, who put in a gutsy performance.
Once again, Futera was hit by a spate of injuries and had players unavailable for what was the biggest game of the season. Skipper Jew was suspended after last week's incredulous sending off, in-form Golf was sick, and the experienced Nu and Tewit were all missing. It was going to be a tough afternoon for Futera. The game kicked off with two PSW academy players, Beem and Mark, starting. Both teams felt each other out in a cagey opening ten minutes, with neither side able to create any clear-cut openings. TOA edged ahead in the 15th minute when Futera allowed the opposition winger to ghost past three defenders before cutting a low ball back to the striker, who gleefully slotted it home with the outside of his foot, putting the home side ahead.
Futera responded with Phu dispossessing the ponderous TOA centre back, who hauled the young striker back when he looked clear through on goal. From the resulting free kick, a mix-up in the home team defence saw a misjudged header go inches wide of the far post. Aek had a golden chance and should have done better when he cut in from the right flank and beat the TOA left back, but he appeared in two minds, allowing the defender to block his effort. As Futera pressed, TOA always looked threatening on the counter-attack but failed to muster any real chances. The half-time whistle blew with the game on a knife edge, with the home team holding a slender 1-0 advantage.
A rousing speech in the pre-second half huddle by skipper Khun saw Futera come out and take the game to their opponents. Forcing the home side back into their own half, they earned a procession of corners, which the TOA keeper did well to keep out. A glancing header by Beem narrowly flew over the bar, and soon after, another PSW graduate turned neatly in the box before rifling a fierce shot that cleared the bar by inches, with the keeper well beaten. Futera dominated possession, but with their pacy winger, TOA was always a threat, and the away side were thankful to Pang's incredible goal-line clearance and an overzealous lineman disallowing a goal to stay in the game.
A superb curling dipping free kick from Phu was well saved by the TOA keeper before In the 89th minute, the player found himself free in the box, but he pulled his angled drive wide of the far post. TOA, relieved to have been given a reprieve, immediately launched a swift counter-attack. When their outstanding experienced winger was played in, he calmly rounded Film and slotted the ball into the empty net to secure three points and cement their place at the top of the table. Moments later, the referee blew the full-time whistle, and an entertaining game finished 2-0 to TOA.
Losing is never easy, but the depleted Futera team, ravaged by injuries and absent players, put in a heroic performance that we can all be very proud of. TOA is an excellent team, full of experienced players with a huge financial backing behind them. Skipper Khun was outstanding, leading by example and marshaling the youngsters around him. We obviously missed some of our more seasoned players like Nu and Jew, but the young PSW academy boys, Beem, Mark, CGame, and Peem, will only get better playing week in and week out against quality opposition. A defeat is hard to take, especially for Futera, who are not used to this experience, but there are huge positives, and this young team will only get better in the future.