New England Soccer Today

#TBT: Threadmen Blanked in Rough Battle (1/24/1926)

Photo credit: Fall River Globe

Photo credit: Fall River Globe

Welcome back to the latest edition of “Throwback Thursday,” where we take a trip back in time every week 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 Jan. 24, 1926 American Soccer League confrontation between the Fall River Marksmen and J & P Coats (Pawtucket, R.I.) at Mark’s Stadium. The hosts entered the match with key players on the hospital list, including Bill Fryer, who barked his knees the previous week in a 3-2 Open Cup win against Providence. Coats arrived at the stadium riding the momentum of a 4-1 thrashing of Abbot W. in a Jan. 16 Open Cup contest.


Note: All information provided in the following game report was drawn from the January 25, 1926 editions of The Fall River Evening Herald  and The Fall River Globe.

January 24, 1926

Threadmen Blanked in Rough Battle

Visitors Apparently Came Here Looking for Trouble and Played Roughhouse Instead of Devoting Their Time to Soccer.

NORTH TIVERTON, R.I. – A day after local workers cleared heavy snow from the pitch at Mark’s Stadium, the Fall River Marksmen earned a 2-0 win over J & P Coats in a physical match that nearly broke into an all-out brawl on more than one occasion on Sunday.

Harold Brittan opened the account in the 18th minute, then added another in the 42nd minute. But brilliant soccer took a backseat to the sharp challenges and unsportsmanlike conduct displayed by both sides. So fierce was action that Referee Norse was compelled to bring the sides together during a stoppage in an effort to cool tempers.

The 2,908 on hand for the spectacle were already jarred by what unfolded in front of them even before the opening whistle. Fall River, which usually sports white shirts, was forced to don their blue and red kits due to the fact that J & P Coats went with its usual all-white look.

The Threadman nearly jumped out to an early lead when Langley beat Tommy Martin and Wilson and drilled a shot that Findlay Kerr was forced to adroitly parry over the endline for a corner kick.

High winds and an uneven surface also did their part to conspire against a crisp and well-played match by either side. But neither stopped the Marksmen from getting on the board in the first half.


With plenty of room to operate, MacPherson lobbed a ball toward the Pawtucket outfit’s goal, where Parks as ready to meet it. That was until Brittan ran interference on the J & P keeper, and the ball fell into the back of the net. From the press box, it appeared that the strike belonged to MacPherson, but Norse insisted that the Fall River skipper had glanced it through, even if he may have been in an offside position.

Parks’ afternoon only got worse minutes before the interval. After sending it up field, Tommy Croft got a hold of it, and sent a sharp pass ahead to Brittan, who buried it to give the hosts a firm lead going into halftime.

Frankie McKenna, who was on the hospital list ahead of the match,  looked to widen the gap in the second half. But his finishing let him down as two close-range shots steered clear of the frame.

But neither side seemed interested in backing down physically. There were at least three cries for a penalty, two of which were due to heavy handed defending inside the area, and the other due to a suspiciously-ignored hand ball.

Martin and Harvey McGrane nearly traded punches after the latter continued to play the man rather than the ball, upsetting enough to cock his fist back ready to strike.

Pete Sweeney gave his unruly teammates a crack at bringing one back in the second half when he chipped Kerr in front of an open goal. But a strong wind deflated the effort as the ball seemed do die in mid-air before it crashed to the ground in front of frame and Coyle cleared it away.

The summary:

Fall River     J and P Coats
Kerr, g………….g, Parks
Martin, rfb…..rfb, Stevenson
McGill, lfb…….lfb, Allen
MacPherson, rhb….rhb, Adams
Wilson, chb…..chb, Perry
Coyle, lhb……..lhb, McAvoy
Campbell,or….or, Harvey
Croft, ir,………,Lorimer
Brittan, cf……, Langley
White, il………….il, Sweeney
McKenna, ol….ol, McGrane

Score – Fall River 2, J and P Coats 0. Goals by – Brittain 2. Referee – Norse of New Bedford. Linesmen – Odell of Central Falls and Robinson of New Bedford. Time – 45-minute halves.

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