Sunday 15 November 2015
Finishing off a good weekend……..To complete a weekend of activity I’m off again on a trip later today. I’m heading out of the city of Bangkok once more, this time to Pak Kret in neighboring Nonthaburi Province. It’s for a sports fixture. On my Suphanburi and Chainat tour last month I took advantage of both cities’ status as having a Thai Premier League football team. All league games are played in the evening after dusk to avoid the heat. In these two locations the stadiums are easy to get to but from the location of my residence in Bang Khen, there is no stadium within easy reach. Every stadium in and around the metropolis would take ages to reach in the evening rush hour. But then again a fixture on a Sunday may avoid the worst of the traffic. By midday I decide to make an effort to get over to the northwest of the city just into Nonthaburi Province. Its urban driving all the way but at least there is a straight road, the 304, Ramintra Highway. We’re going to take the car, the only complication I can see is negotiating the busy intersection that connects to the Sirat Expressway. To give you some idea of the size of this junction it would probably accommodate four ‘spaghetti’ junctions in the north of Birmingham UK. I let Katoon drive as most of the way is familiar to her. Sure enough when we get to the junction we don’t quite get it right but eventually head past the massive IMPACT Exhibition Complex. The stadium is on the right but again, not being familiar with the road system we get it wrong. The car park is straight on and to the left on the edge of Impact Lake. OK we’ve made it.
Muang Thong Thani Sports Stadium…….. Muang Thong Thani Sports Stadium is home to SCG Muang Thong United, currently the second best team in the Thai Premier League. It’s an interesting choice for me for that reason and they are playing Suphanburi FC who lies currently fifth in the table. This will be the second time I seen Suphanburi FC play. They didn’t do themselves any favours when I watched them last month lose 2 : 4 to Ratchanavy FC (Siam Navy). From the car park we have to get to the opposite side of the tollway but that proves really easy. I’ve never before seen an escalator and walkways, airport style, on the street before. Clearly the Impact Exhibition Complex goes really have an impact! I’m soon at the ticket booth buying a ticket. It’s still about an hour and a half before kick-off at 7pm. Time for a snack and a beer. It’s about now I notice black cloud forming to the north. It will be dark soon anyway but this doesn’t look good as the wind picks up. Then at about 6pm it starts to rain. When it goes as black as this in this part of the world then you know you’re in for it. Then it rains and rains and rains with lightning flashing though the murk and thunder crashing around the stadium. Katoon has bought the tickets and I know she didn’t ask about covered seating.
Muang Thong Thani Sports Stadium, Pak Kret, Nonthaburi Province
SCG Muang Thong United v Suphanburi FC……..Fortunately the storm passes and the rain begins to ease but by 7pm, the scheduled start time, there is still light rain. By this time I’ve learnt that kick-off has been put back half a hour as they try to remove as much of the surface water on the pitch as they can. However when the game finally gets under way the ball is hard to move with players slipping and sliding everywhere. I’m not surprised at half time that the game is still scoreless. As the second half begins there is an early goal for the host at the far end. I’m too far away to judge but the penalty looks a bit soft to me. The pitch contributes to a doubling of the score but two late goals by the visitors, fortunately at my end of the pitch results in an entertaining game which neither team deserved to lose. My visit to the stadium here adds a new dimension to my Asian travels and could set a pattern that I could follow in the future. Today I prove that one stadium, at least is relatively accessible from my residence; about 15 km (30 minutes in city traffic). I’m back by 10.30pm after a really interesting evening’s entertainment.
In Brief!.......Suphanburi FC came back from 2 : 0 down with 7 minutes to go in a game they didn't deserve to lose. Both teams struggled with a sodden pitch after a major thunderstorm just an hour before kick off. Muang Thong United went ahead with a penalty from Clieton Silva just after the break. The same player burst through on goal on 71 minutes after a slip on the greasy surface by the defender. The low rasping shot went in off the far post. That looked to be it but the hitherto resolute Muang Thong buckled in the final ten minutes failing the close down excellent wing play. Two low pinpoint crosses were met with powerful headers, first by Sergio van Dijk and then by Chitchanok Xaysensourin, the only Thai player to score in this game. The Suphanburi supporters were delirious and the home supported shell shocked. This result does nothing to challenge league leaders Buriram United who won 6 : 0 to go 7 points clear of Muang Thong.