A few raised voices, scrambling and helpful translation from my 'n-zone' friends later, they allowed us in the East Stand, only to tell my accomplice he couldn't "sit" with me because they have now stuck numbers on the terracing and allocate people to "sit" in specific spots. We smiled and "sat" together anyway.
The team today was as makeshift as expected: Phanphiphat (GK), Pakasit (RB), Kavem (LB), Nattaporn (CB), Jetsada (Capt, CB), Narongchai (MD), Bhuntao (MD), Nontadee (LM), Siaka (AM), Christian (FW), Kone (FW). I had no worries. All the reserves in the lineup are hungry to make the first team and many of them have played well in TLC matches. But today it went wrong, the game matched the atmosphere which was wet, damp and smelly from the water-logging around the stadium.
I can't pinpoint the cause. We simply looked tired and disjointed. Passes went astray, crosses and free kicks were over-hit, Kone and Siaka spent lot of time running sideways instead of forward, good chances went begging, the ref and the linesman appeared extremely harsh on us, and Army FC played very well.
So although you may have read about the six goals in this game, it was far from a thriller. Army scored first and it was 0-1 at half time. Nattaporn equalised from a Narongchai free kick to make 1-1, Army scored again (1-2), Substitute Ammorn scored for us (2-2), Christian scored for us (3-2) Army equalised late on to make it 3-3.
Again, our reserves are a capable and hungry bunch that have proven themselves already. Apart from my usual complaint of not using Rungsiyo in a game that was crying out for a natural striker, I can offer no reasons for allowing Army to score the same number of goals against us in a home league game as every other team combined this season. Perhaps it was a mixture of tiredness, plain bad luck, poor officiating, lack of fitness, not being mentally prepared - we had hoped not to lose our players to the ridiculous Leicester friendly match - and of course missing key players. Perhaps it was my fault for stating that Phanphiphat would: "deny access if you [Army FC] get close enough".
In any case, it is behind us and we will push on. In closing, I want to give credit to Army FC. They pegged us back in both fixtures this season. This plucky bunch that put Buriram PEA out of the FA Cup just don't know when they are supposed to lay down and die. Their small following are a great bunch and I admired the way their striker ran to them, celebrated with them and then waid them after their third goal. You could see how much it meant to everyone involved, Good luck lads, hope you stay up.