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 second game of the National Cup grand series between the Eastern Champion Fall River Marksmen and Western Champion Cleveland Bruell Hungarians back on Apr. 6, 1930 at Luna Park in Cleveland. The week before, the Marksmen throttled the Bruells 7-1 in the first game, with The Evening Herald (Fall River, Mass.) proclaiming, “Marksmen Should be U.S. Soccer Champs After Tomorrow’s Game is Over” in its Apr. 5, 1930 preview of the match.
Note: The information provided in the following game report was drawn from the Apr. 7, 1930 edition of The Evening Herald.
Fall River Wins in Big Cup Game
McNab’s Goal Near Finish Gives Marksmen Victory Over Bruells in Tussle for Championship.
CLEVELAND – Marksmen captain Alex McNab scored three minutes before full time to help deliver Fall River to the National Cup championship following a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Bruell Hungarians on Sunday at Luna Park.
McNab scored on a violent free kick that smacked the post before rolling into the back of the net in the 87th minute to lift Fall River over the Bruells on a slick pitch that did little benefit the guests.
With the win, the Marksmen secured their third Cup championship in five years, ensuring the return of the Dewar Trophy to Spindle City after it spent the previous two years in New York.
Although they were only a week removed from their impressive 7-1 game 1 win, the Marksmen were a shadow of themselves on Sunday. Heavy downpours produced a greasy pitch, which inhibited them from employing their smooth combination play. In fact, their inability to cope with the conditions of the pitch allowed Cleveland’s J. Phillips to grab the opening goal in 11th minute.
But the Marksmen eventually found their footing and leveled it before the interval. It started when Jim McAuley went into enemy territory, where he found McNab pining to put one in the back of the net. And that’s precisely what the skipper did when he drove a low hard shot that eluded Ramsay to knot it at 1-1 late in the34th minute
With footing a concern, and a wet ball yielding a host of miskicks led to a sloppy match for both sides, as the rains wreaked havoc on the proceedings.
Locals Press at Start.
A big crash of thunder shook the pitch just after Fall River kicked off to start, an omen of sorts that the guests were ready to resume the fire they unleashed a week previous at the Polo Grounds. Ramsay had to repel shots from McAuley, Bill McPherson and Tec White just to keep his club from falling into an early ditch.
The skies continued to darken above Luna Park, and the situation seemed grave for the hosts as Billy Gonsalves and Dave Priestly launched threats of their own in the opening 10 minutes.
But even though the Marksmen looked in command early, it was apparent that their were struggling to put passes together on a pitch that was not only slick, but unusually narrow. Nevertheless, Fall River continued to press as best as it could to get the board first.
Cleveland Scores First.
Despite giving Ramsay plenty of action, the guests would go on to concede in the 11th minute. Cleveland center forward Caraffi collected a poor Bobby Ballantyne clearance and fed Phillips, who walloped a low drive into the back of the net in the 11th minute.
Cleveland showed great improvement after its dismal performance a week before. Phillips made another bid moments later when he sent a dangerous corner kick that nearly snuck through before Gonsalves sent it away.
Meanwhile, Fall River eventually found its form, and threatened Ramsay with shots from White, McNab and Bob MacAulay. Corners were collected with regular frequency. It seemed as if the guests were not far grabbing a goal of their own.
After a Cleveland midfielder was ruled to have handled the ball in the Fall River end, McAuley ripped a free kick that was initially denied by the hosts’ wall. But the ball was quickly collected by McNab before feeding it to McAuley, who redirected his teammates’ cross into the net.
Minutes later, Fall River nearly found a way to grab the go-ahead. Nielsen was fouled inside the box, and McAuley was given the chance to take the penalty. But McAuley sent his spot kick well over the bar.
The inclement weather forced both teams to take an abbreviated break at the interval. The second half kicked off the with the Bruells surging into Fall River territory, and goalkeeper Johnny Reder was kept busy in the early going of the second stanza.
Not long after, though, the Marksmen resumed their control over the game, and nearly scratched out a second goal when Patenaude looked like he’d beaten Ramsey on the goal line only to have the Cleveland keeper dive over to make an impossible save.
In the end, though, Ramsay was unable to keep the Marksmen off the board in the second half. With only three minutes remaining, Bert Patenaude was fouled near the box, McNab stepped up to take the free kick. But even with a wall of seven in front, the center forward sent it toward the upper 90, where it met the inside of the post before crashing into the back of the net.
Fall River. Cleveland.
Score – Fall River 2, Cleveland 1. Goals scored by J. Phillips, J. McAuley and McNab. Referee – Hugh S. Pithie of Detroit. Linesmen – A.C. Peterson and M. Curran of Cleveland. Substitutions, Patenaude for Gonsalves, Gross for Dickey, McDade for J. Phillips.
Marksmen Heading Home After Landing Soccer Title
The soccerites from Fall River returned to the city only 17 hours after the final whistle in Cleveland. Many were, as expected, tired and battered. They may have entertained the thought of staying in Cleveland, the fourth largest city at the time, a while longer, but most wanted to be back home.
Some believed that, based on the scoreline, the locals let their foot off the pedal on Sunday. But the players said that was not the case, as the slick pitch didn’t allow them to play their brand of football.
After the final whistle, McNab attempted to secure the ball, but the Caraffi brothers knocked the ball out his possession. But Fall River owner Sam Mark later secured a ball from the match for McNab, who’s goal sealed the victory for Mark’s side.
Following the game, many Western teams wanted their crack at Fall River for an exhibition game. Holley Carburetors was one such team, and a pair of teams from St. Louis and Chicago also wanted their chances, as well. But owner Sam Mark turned down those offers.
Following the Cup final, Mark was in the process of lining up an exhibition against English first division outfit Arsenal on May 18 at the Stadium.