Tubbies Juice, in what they claim is their last tournament before disbanding, won the Taiwan Summer Cup soccer tournament for expat teams in Taipei yesterday in extra time.
In an all-Taichung final the Tubbies eventually edged the contest with a goal from Spencer Pangborn in extra time to triumph over local rivals Taichung Compass.
In an eventful day, after the sponsor withdrew support overnight leaving organizers scrambling to arrange for food and drinks at very short notice, everybody rallied around and the show went on. The Taipei Black Stars, a team of Ghanaian expats, provided some African beats during the afternoon, eventually taking over the PA system during the finals and before the presentations.
The sponsor returned in the afternoon, was around to hand out the prizes, and blamed his sudden withdrawal on the pressure caused by the lack of cooperation afforded the tournament's organizers by the Taipei City Government.
In the Cup final both teams, tired after two days of competition, tried to raise their game, but it was obvious that playing in the heat and humidity had taken its toll. In an uneventful game both teams set up defensively, leading to no chances of note to either side in regulation time.
In extra time the Tubbies eventually took advantage of their one real chance when the ball bounced free on the edge of the penalty area following a set-piece and Pangborn volleyed the winner through a ruck of players.
Compass rallied but failed to make any inroads and for the second year running the Tubbies Juice, who have played under an assortment of different names in the past few years, retained the Cup.
The big showdown in the group stages was the Tubbies' win against Tainan Phoenix, which propelled them to the final and left the Tainan team to rue their missed chance. In a tight match the Tubbies had the better of the chances, and made one count to put final qualification beyond doubt when they scored in the dying minutes.
Compass reached the final after defeating Taipei's Red Lions, who were looking to do their arch-rivals the Taipei Animals a favor -- if they had won the Animals could have progressed. But it was not to be and the Taichung team made sure of a final place with a 1-0 win.
The plate final between the Kaohsiung Pacers and Taipei's Shane ended in a thrilling climax. Although Shane had most of the possession and territorial advantage, the Pacers scored first with a hotly disputed long range strike by Steve Dorward that hit the crossbar and the post before the ball came back into play.
Shane's Steve Campbell scored a well-deserved equalizer, but the Pacers took the spoils on penalties after Shane missed their sixth spot kick.