PHUKET: The Islanders were pounced by BB-CU FC's lead from Pichet Innbang's three-yard shot but Nene Bi Tra Sylvestre headed the ball home and bagged The Islanders their first point of season 2013.
6pm on Saturday March 2 at Army Stadium, Phuket FC officially kicked start their Season 2013 with the first away game to BB-CU FC.
Phuket was shortlisted by various sports media outlets to be one of the four biggest chances for TPL promotion this season, dubbed BIG 4, which includes PTT Rayong FC, Bangkok FC, Nakhonratchasima FC.
''The Big Bang'' BB-CU FC was recently relegated from TPL after only one season in the Top League of Thailand, with determination to win the first game at home, sent in Moussa Sylla, former Muang Thong United and Bangkok Glass FC midfielder and Pichet Innbang to spearhead the attack.
Phuket FC's Head Coach Paniphol Kerdyaem humbly said he will be careful and hope to get one point from the home side and revealed his game plan with strong defense and swift counter attack.
Carefully selected First 11 were his back four; Sakareya Kolea, Nene Bi Tra Sylvestre, Yusuke Sato and Thongchai Kuenkhuntod. He chose to use the Trio, Ake-atit Somjit, Dudu and Chana Sonwiset as his striking force for the game.
They played in their unusual all-white kit that had fans wondering where did that third kit come from.
The home side came on strong soon after kick off and Roberto Marcio greeted Phuket first with a 20-yard free kick that Phuket FC defenders cleared out.
Phuket slowly picked up the pace and got their first shot nearly 20 minutess into the game but Nonthaphan's shot was denied by BB-CU defender.
Three minutes later the home side took a lead from the free kick setup by Bouba Abbo towards Pichet Innbang who did not hesitate to fire a three-yard kill shot past Kampon Pathom-akkakul's reach into the back of Phuket's net, sent the Big Bang ahead for the first time.
Wasting no time and never cracked under pressure as team trailed behind, Phuket FC set for an equaliser and it was Sakareya???s free kick from half field that was lopped forward and fell neatly in front of the BB-CU goal where Nene Bi Tra Sylvestre took a leap and flicked a header past The Big Bang 'keeper into the goal.
Only half way through, both teams were trading punches without slowing down. The tackles became heavy and many footballers from both teams suffered on the pitch. First half whistle sounded with BB-CU and Phuket FC at 1-1 draw.
Second half kicked off and went on in the same manner but neither team was able to convert their attempts into another goal and another lead.
Phuket FC's back four had been outstanding. With Yusuke Sato at Center Back, Nene Bi had more confident to push forward and treated himself to more scoring opportunities but those were denied by The Big Bang defense.
But as the game drew near to the end, the home side sent a free kick that pitched off the ground into Phuket's goal but just before they could celebrate the goal, referee called a foul ball by BB-CU and disallowed the goal.
The home side was reduced to 10 men just before final whistle as Bunyarit Pathomtas was sent out on a red card from a heavy tackles on Phuket footballers.
The game ended with 1-1 score and 1 point for both teams.
Another big game today was the clash between two other BIG 4 teams ''Swat Cat'' Nakhonratchasima FC hosted ''The Iron Bull'' Bangkok FC.
The 10 men Iron Bull charged with tremendous force and stumped The Cats at home with a 1-2 away win and snatched their first three points of the season.
Today's result included another TPL relegated team Singh Tha Ruea, formerly known as Thai Port FC, played at their PAT Stadium against the new face Ayutthaya FC, recently promoted from Division 2 Central Region, and the Port Lions pounced on the Warriors with a 2-0 win that earned The Lions their top spot on Yamaha League 1 standings.
League 1 standing as of March 2: Singh Tha Ruea, Bangkok FC, Air Force United, Gulf Saraburi FC 3 points. Phuket FC, BB-CU FC 1 point.
Today game to watch will be the other BIG 4, PTT Rayong FC that will have a relatively easy game hosting the frailing TTM Lopburi FC While the other Southern team Krabi FC will host the team recently returned from two-year ban, Nakhon Pathom FC.
Both games kick off at 6pm.