21 May 1997
THAILAND (THA) 0 - 0 NORTHERN IRELAND (NIR)
Venue: National Stadium, Bangkok
Referee: Panya Hanlumyaung (THA)
Northern Ireland: 4-4-1-1 (green & blue shirts, white shorts, green socks)
Manager: Bryan Hamilton
Captain: Iain Dowie
Davison (Bradford); Jenkins (Chester), Hill (Leicester), McGibbon (Manchester United), Griffin (St Johnstone), McCarthy (Port Vale), Lomas (West Ham), Lennon (Leicester), Horlock (Manchester City), Mulryne (Manchester United), Dowie (West Ham).
Subs: Carroll (Wigan) for Davison (46 mins), Whitley (Manchester City) for Jenkins (46 mins), McMahon (Stoke) for McCarthy (46 mins), Quinn (Blackpool) for Mulryne (46 mins), Robinson (Bounemouth) for Dowie (63 mins), Patterson (Luton Town) unused.
Thailand: (all red)
Head Coach: Withaya Laohakul
Khampiam; Tinnakorn, Krisada, Jirasirachote, Promrut, Chalermsan, Kijmongkolsak, Jaturapattaraponc, Damkong-Ongtrakul, Daorung, Piyapong.
Goal drought makes for yawns all round.
Northern Ireland held off by agile Chaiyong
Hanif Hassan, Watched Kumquat, The Nation
A tight Thai defense, coupled with a spectacular show by goalkeeper Chaiyong Khampiam, yesterday bogged down Northern Ireland as the Toyota Invitation series opener ended in a goal less draw.
Both sides had vowed to provide a lot of fireworks at the National Stadium but it had not been for a comparatively thrilling second half the crowd of more that 15,000 would not have had their money's worth.
The first half was a bit of a dampener with more boos and jeers from the stands than cheers. The match started off in a lively fashion as the two teams looked to be living up to their word to turn on a great game of football.
But it turned out only to be a flash in the pan.
The dulness of the first half was exemplified by the fact that the two sides could only create a couple of real scoring opportunities - both within the space of a minute.
Thinakorn Kampol in the 10th minute sent a through pass to Keirtisak Senamuang who in turn set up Vitoon Kijmongkolsak, who yesterday wore the skippers band in absence of Natee Thongsakkaew out because of an injury.
Vitoon fired the volley, but Aidan Davidson warded off the powerful shot by punching it over the bar.
The Irishmen responded with a counter attack from which a member of the home side was lucky to escape injury.
Neil Lennon hammered in a powerful shot from the top of the penalty box but it struck the charging Chaiyong in the face and the ball rebounded to safety.
The two sides were far more active int he second half and created a number of moves with Kiertisak missing a golden chance to seal victory for the home side in the final moments of the match.
The Thai defenders were in great form and did a splendid job in rendering the rivals' attack, spearheaded by star striker Ian Dowie from West Ham, toothless.
Thailand found a remedy for th nagging Irish lobs from the flanks in Chaiyong, who tackled the crosses with consummate ease and did not allow the visitors to executer their feared headers.
Defender Surachai Jirasirichote, drafted into the team at the 11th hour after the injured Naree pulled out, marked Dowie effectively and the only job left for the Irish star, who had promised to net two goals, in the field yesterday was jumping up and down in vain.
Chaiyong and the Thai defenders were praised highly by Northern Ireland coach Bryan Hamilton.
"Their defenders played very well and restricted our chances of scoring, and their goalkeeper was very good" said Hamilton.
"I would say that we should have won, because we had so many chances. I am happy with the way the team played today, but I am disappointed that they couldn't score. It was a very good collective effort on the part of both teams. Thailand played very well and gave us a very tough game. They were honest and worked very hard. They were very aggressive in attack." he concluded
"We have some young players in the side". To me teamwork is more important than any individual performance and it was good to see them combing well. This should be a good experience for them".
Vittaya Laohakul, coach of the Thai national team was satisfied with his defenders but lashed out at the strikers.
"The main problem today was our strikers" he said. "They didn't even know where they were expected to be by their midfielders. We need some time to work on this. We have to begin from scratch again and the same holds true for tactics. I think it is high time we started putting more emphasis than the theory. Almost half of our players tend to run out of stamina towards the end of a match and this has been a long term problem. When we start preparing for the SEA games we will have to work out al of these problems".
"Fans" replica shirt on sale at the ground
(courtesy of Barry Rojack)
Thailand are scheduled to play heir next match of the series against English FA Cup winners Chelsea next Tuesday at the same venue.
- Darren Patterson damaged achilles tendons while limbering up at half-time and could not be used as a substitute.
- Colin Hill took the captain's armband when Iain Dowie was substituted.
- Northern Ireland were originally due to embark on a Far-East "Tour" with possible matches against Indonesia and the Philippines mentioned.
- The Toyota Invitation Series also involved Chelsea, Manchester United and Middlesbrough.