New England Soccer Today

#TBT: Marksmen Beat Steelmen in Eastern Final Replay (3/23/1930)


Photo credit: The Evening Herald (Fall River, Mass.)

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Throwback Thursday,” where we take a trip back in time to spotlight some of the clubs that made their mark on the New England soccer landscape over the past century.

This week, we venture back to the Eastern National Cup Final Replay between the Fall River Marksmen and perennial foe Bethlehem Steel back on Mar. 23, 1930 at Battery Park in New Bedford, Mass. The two sides drew to a 1-1 score the week previous, setting up a scintillating replay. The Evening Herald (Fall River, Mass.) previewed the match with this bold proclamation on Mar. 22, 1930: “No game in the history of soccer in the United States has aroused the interest that attends tomorrow’s contest.”

Note: The information provided in the following game report was drawn from the Mar. 24, 1930 edition of The Evening Herald.

Marksmen Beat Steelmen in Eastern Final Replay
Local Eleven Outplays Bethlehem to Win 3-2.
Gonsalves, Priestly and Ballantyne Score.
Attendance 11,056.

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – A week after the first leg produced a 1-1 draw, the Fall River Marksmen pulled away from Bethlehem Steel in Sunday’s Eastern Final replay by the score of 3 to 2 and advanced to the National Cup final.

Billy Gonsalves, Bobby Ballantyne and Dave Priestly scored for the locals, while Archie Stark countered with a couple for the guests at Battery Park.

The win sends the Marksmen back to the Polo Grounds to the National Cup final against the Cleveland Hungarians next Sunday.

While Fall River was fortunate to claim a draw against their Pennsylvania foes a week prior, there was no luck involved in Sunday’s clash, as the locals were far superior this time around.

Although the replay remained scoreless through the first half, it was not for lack of effort from the Marksmen, who launched a litany of shots on Steelmen keeper Tom Fraser.

Gonsalves was kept out of the lineup due to injury, but he came on 10 minutes after McGill pulled up with a leg ailment. And “Beeg” Bill did not disappoint, as he sent the large crowd into an uproar when he scored the opening goal of the contest in the 48th minute.

Stark replied in the 66th minute to knot the match – and the series – with less than a half hour remaining.

Photo credit: The Eevening Herald

Photo credit: The Eevening Herald

Ballantyne Scores Winner.

Dave Priestly put the Marksmen back on top four minutes after Stark’s first strike. But the Steelmen’s center forward grabbed another score in the 72nd minute to put the match back on even terms during a scrimmage in front of the goalmouth.

But two minutes after Stark’s second strike, Ballantyne score the game winner on a drive from the left wing that occurred so quickly, the crowd briefly paused before roaring in delight to the goal.

The loss of McGill unsettled some of the supporters, but the rearranged defense performed excellently, with the Steelmen attack halted often by the likes of Bob MacAulay, Werner Nilsen and Bill McPherson.

Reder Leaves Goal.

Johnny Reder was well outside of goal when both Bethlehem strikes appeared, but he was not entirely to blame for the guests’ success. Though the fullbacks played admirably, he struggled to establish a rapport with them, thus opening the door for miscommunication.

Nevertheless, Reder showed his coolness under pressure each time he collected the ball with the Steelmen swarming the net. Instead of kicking the ball upfield, Reder looked for an open teammate and heaved the ball in his direction. He also plucked several high shots out of the air.


McNab Shines.

Alex McNab put together a strong performance on the right wing, while Tec White also performed well on the left wing. Gonsalves rattled the bar twice, but what impressed the crowd the most was the ferocity he played with, using his weight to his advantage, as the Steelmen can attest to.

Jim McAuley tried his best to scribble his name on the scoresheet, but luck was not on his side on Sunday. He launched a couple of shots over the bar, while others were blocked. Bert Patenaude was not as dangerous as usual, as Bull Finlayson marked him closely. Patenaude’s best shot came in the closing minutes when he uncorked a shot that had the velocity, but not the appropriate trajectory as Fraser stood in front to collect it.

Bethlehem was without the services of center back Bill Carnihan, who picked up a knock in the first game. The advance dope was that Finlayson would be moved to center back, with Billy Gibson at right fullback. But the Bethlehem staff decided to keep the fullback line intact, with Gibson remaining on the right, but pairing with Reid in the center berth.

Leg Bothers Stark.

Stark’s leg, which was injured during the previous clash, did the center forward no favors. Although he perservered to score twice, he also missed a handful of opportunities that he, otherwise, would have scored if fully healthy. Bob Massie was to pick up some of the slack for Stark, but he struggled to find chances.

Johnny Japp was the architect of the second Steelmen goal when he fired a shot on goal that, it appeared, was nudged into the net by Stark on the doorstep.

Milt Gavin would have spelled Patenaude in the latter part of the second half, but Referee Charlie Creighton advised him that the time limit for substitutions had expired.

Bethlehem won the toss and kicked off at 2:42pm, with the start delayed due to players and officials posing for the movies and sound pictures. The first half was nothing but a cannonade of shots fired upon Fraser, who withstood the barrage brilliantly. Alex McNab and Gonsalves featured prominently in the first half, only to have Fraser deny them and keep the scoreboard unblemished in the first stanza.

Photo credit: The Evening Herald

Photo credit: The Evening Herald

Gonsalves Opens Scoring.

Gonsalves kicked off the goalscoring three minutes into the second stanza when he grabbed a ball from White, took a few touches, then blasted a shot from 20 yards that lodged itself in the net. The fans went into delirium, and the Fall River players did everything but kiss Gonsalves.

Minutes later, the local boy unleashed another rocket that, this time, banged off the bar before falling to Patenaude, who tried to sneak through the rebound before Fraser adroitly denied him.

Bethlehem responded a short time later when Alec Dick sent a ball to Stark, who caught Reder well off his line and slipped it through to level it.

Free Kick Starts Trouble.

Stark looked like he had another not long after, but his shot hit the side of the net. McPherson sent a free kick toward frame that Fraser slapped away before Priestly collected the rebound and skipped it through for the second Marksmen goal.

Japp and Stark crashed the Fall River end, and once again, with Reder off his line, the Steelmen’s center forward sent it through for his second goal of the match.

The game-winner came in the 74th minute when a Fall River corner was cleared, but not far enough away as Ballantyne collected it near the touchline and ripped a shot that eluded Fraser before settling into the back of the net. Though the locals held on in the waning minutes, a few Bethlehem forays gave the crowd a couple of scares before the Referee Creighton sounded his whistle for full time.

The lineups:

Fall River – Bethlehem

Reder – G – Fraser
McGill – RFB – Finlayson
R. McAuley – LHB – McGregor
McPherson – RHB – Gibson
Priestley – CHB – Reid
Ballantyne – LHB – Pitt
McCabe – OR – Gillespie
Nilsen – IR – Jaap
Patenaude – CF – Stark
J. McAuley – IL – Massie
White – OL – Dick
Score: Fall River 3, Bethlehem 2. Goals – By Gonsalves, Priestley, Ballantyne, Stark 2. Substitutions: Gonsalves for McGill, Rollo for Gillespie. Corners, Bethlehem 3, Fall River 2. Free kicks, Bethlehem 16, Fall River 15. Saves, Fraser 26, Reder 13. Referee – Creighton. Linesmen – Whittaker and Ward.  Time of halves, 45 minutes.

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