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 a friendly between reigning U.S. Open Cup champion Fall River Marksmen and Scottish powerhouse Glasgow Rangers on May 30, 1930. Many Scottish writers mocked the Marksmen ahead of the match, calling them “third-rate players.” With that in mind, the Fall River XI were looking to not only get the victory, but prove that they didn’t lack quality or class.
Note: All information provided in the following game report was drawn from the May 31, 1930 edition of The Evening Herald (Fall River, Mass.)
Fall River Rally in Second Half Falls One Goal Short of Tying Rangers
Glasgow Team Wins Big Game By 3-2 Score
Scottish Champions Score Three Before Fall River Gets Started – Paid Attendance, 7,135
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The Fall River Marksmen nearly rallied from a three-goal deficit with a pair of second half strikes, but it wasn’t enough as they lost 3-2 to Scottish side Glasgow Rangers in a post-season friendly at Sargent Field on Friday.
A paid crowd of 7,135 turned out to see Scotty Nilsen and Billy Gonsalves tally for the hosts in the second half after the Scottish powerhouse built a commanding first-half lead with strikes from George Brown, Dave Meiklejohn and Jimmy Smith.
The Marksmen entered the match with scant respect received from the Scottish writers, who branded them as a third-rate players who couldn’t make a junior team in Scotland. And early on, it looked like the writers’ evaluation was correct.
Four Regulars Out
The Rangers were without the services of four starters – Bob Hamilton, Bob McPhail, Jim Fleming and Alan Morton – but it mattered little as the quality of the Scottish substitutes was evident early.
After several dangerous attacks to open the match, the Rangers broke through in the seventh minute. A loosely-marked Brown gave it a go from 20 yards and watched his shot evade the reach of Johnny Reder before it lodged itself under the bar to put the Rangers in command early.
Local Defense Strong
In the opening 20 minutes, the Rangers certainly had their way with the local XI. But the Marksmen did well to stifle many opportunities created by the Scots, who spent much of the first half encamped in Fall River’s end.
Eventually, though, the hosts snapped out of their funk and began to string passes together to get out of the shadow of their own goal. While they may have forced the issue at times, they struggled to get the final pass to get on the board.
The Marksmen would pay for their wastefulness in the 39th minute. A long shot from Meiklejohn that initially seemed stoppable somehow took an unexpected skip off a divot and slipped through the legs of Reder to make it a two-goal game.
A minute later, Smith made the Marksmen pay when he collected the guests’ third goal when he converted a cross from Willie Nicholson to hand the hosts a deep deficit going into the interval.
The Marksmen may have been licking their wounds during halftime, but they came out of the break revitalized and determined to make it a match.
Their awakened form forced two corner kicks early in the second half, putting their famous opponents on the ropes. They broke through in the 53rd minute when Alec McNab slipped a pass to Gonsalves, who broke through a mass of Rangers defenders and spun it into the net to dent the deficit.
The score gave the hosts something to hope for with plenty of time to grab a couple of goals. Gonsalves continued to terrorize the Rangers’ defenders, but keeper Tom Hamilton was bold off his line and snuffed out a pair of strong opportunities.
Hamilton’s Great Save
Hamilton made a sterling save on a shot by McNab all the way from the touchline, but the Marksmen outside right gave it another go moments later on a cannon shot that smacked the crossbar.
The Rangers later invaded Fall River’s end, and kept Reder busy for stretches during the second half. But Gonsalves put the guests on their heels when he rifled a shot that looked destined for the back of the net before it, too, crashed off the crossbar. It was a classic, left-footed shot from Gonsalves, and it had Hamilton beat.
Meiklejohn Prevents Goal
With about 10 minutes remaining, Tec White had a chance to scribble his name on the scoresheet when he sent a low ground scraper that would’ve landed in the back of the net before Meiklejohn raced over to clear it off the line.
Meanwhile, Reder was called upon to make a heady save minutes later on a shot from Brown right in front. Fall River kept on fighting, and scored one right before referee Thomas Whittaker blew his whistle when Nilsen scored from a scrimmage inside the six.
The Rangers were, by far, the cleverer of the two sides, and certainly more technically sound. They also showed an inclination to use their elbows and got away with it, much to the chagrin of the local rooters. But when the local XI dished out some punishment of their own in the second half, the Rangers only did well to complain to Whittaker, who allowed the physical play to persist until the final whistle. The Summary:
Glasgow Rangers Fall River
T. Hamilton, g……….g, Reder
Gray, rfb……….rfb, McGill
Buchanan, lfb……lfb, MacAulay
McDonald, rfb…..rfb, McPherson
Meiklejohn, chb….chb, Priestly
Craig, lhb…..lhb, Ballantyne
Archibald, orf….orf, McNab
Brown, irf….irf, Gonsalves
Smith, cf….cf, Nilsen
Marshall, ilf….ilf, McAuley
Nicholson, olf…olf, White
Score – Glasgow Rangers 3, Fall River, 2. Goals – By Brown, Meiklejohn, Smith, Gonsalves, Nilsen. Referee – Whittaker. Linesman – Murphy and Newby. Time – 45-minute halves.