Like the gunfight at the OK Corral, the aptly-named Don’t Mess With Texas(DMWT), came out with blazing guns to lift this year’s under-18 Tournament of Hope, in Mitchell’s Plain, at the weekend.The Langa side beat Southampton FC 3-2 on penalties after playing to a goalless draw. Their victory offers some consolation after they were disqualified from taking part in last week’s Premier Cup qualifiers due to administrative oversight.
Don’t Mess With Texas FC claimed their first Fulham under-18 Tournament of Hope title after beating Parkwood’s Southampton FC 3-2 on penalties in the final, in Mitchell’s Plain, at the weekend..
Slotted in Group E alongside Mitchell’s Plain sides Bayhill United, Bayview FC and Morgenster United, Texas was not really convincing upfront in the play-off stages, scoring only one goal in three matches.
However, their solid defence won them the title as they conceded only two goals and scoring three in their six matches in the competition. They won two of those matches on penalties. The Langa side finished top of the group with five points after winning one and drawing two matches.
Texas kicked off the campaign with a goalless draws against Bayhill and Bayview in their first two matches.
To their credit, however, Texas delivered when it mattered most beating Morgenster 1-0 to book their spot in the last round of 16 against another Mitchell’s Plain side Westridge. Even a four-goal thriller couldn’t produce any results as the match ended with the sides tied 2-2. Penalties had to decide a winner and the Langa side recorded a 3-2 victory to advance to the quarter-finals.
They didn’t have much trouble overcoming Island Rovers, winning 1-0 to set a date in the final with the inform Southampton side.
Their opponents in the final, the Parkwood side, was on point in the play-off stages, topping Group F – which also had Mitchell’s Plain sides Westridge, Woodlands and hosts Fulham – with seven points after winning two and drawing one of their three matches.They went on to beat Bayhill 3-1 on penalties in the last 16, Grassy Park 3-2 also on penalties in the quarter-finals and Rock A Fellas 1-0 in the semis.
However, Texas had their own ideas and, as it has been the case throughout the competition, their defence stood firm, recording their fourth clean sheet in five matches in the competition. The final, too, had to be decided on penalties, with Texas recording a 3-2 victory to clinch this year’s title.
Texas manager Texas Battle said, despite scoring few goals in the competition, their plan was more attack orientated.
“We came to the competition with a positive mindset and the players did well. However, the opposition was able to mark our strikers and that’s why we didn’t score many goals in the competition,” he said.
“The final was even tougher but we knew that you can’t take any team lightly, you need to show up and compete. Southampton proved to be a tough team to break and it became clear we were going to penalties again,”he said.
Battle also noted that they knew they had a chance of winning on penalties. This, he said, was because their goalkeeper was brilliant when it came to stopping spot kicks.
“Our players also do not miss penalties,” he said.
In its fourth year, the tournament saw 36 teams battling it out over three days at Portland Sports field.
Chairman of the tournament’s organising committee, Noel Taylor, said the response from clubs before, during and after the tournament was overwhelming.
“We have already received great feedback from a couple of clubs thanking us for hosting this successful event,” he said on Monday, the day after the final was played.
“With the buildup when we started on Friday, I noticed that it was going to be difficult to determine the end results as the standard was very high. With the tournament growing, it became more competitive, clubs became stronger and, according to our stats, there were not many goals scored, which resulted in most matches being decided on penalties,” he said.
Taylor also noted that there were a number of challenges, in the process, too. He said moving to an alternative venue and working on improving the standard of refereeing are among the things they have noted.
“Overall it was a great soccer weekend and with only one injury recorded and was dealt with in a very professional manner. I thank the whole of Fulham Tournament committee for a job well done,” he said.