New England Soccer Today

#TBT: Pontas Defeat Heidelbergs in Nat’l Amateur Cup Final (5/1/1938)


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 1938 National Amateur Cup final. The match pitted the Ponta Delgada Club (Tiverton, R.I..) and Heidelberg S.C. (Pittsburgh, Pa.) against each other at Bigberry Stadium on May 1, 1938. After a field of 126 was reduced to the eastern and western title holders, the Pontas and Heidelbergs both looked to grab championship glory.

Note: All information provided in the following game report was drawn from the May 2, 1938 edition of The Evening Herald (Fall River, Mass.).

May 1, 1938

Pontas Defeat Heidelbergs in National Amateur Cup Final
Paid Crowd of 4,369 at Title Game
Joe Travis, Mack Almeida Score 2-1 Victory at Bigberry Pitch

FALL RIVER, Mass. – The Ponta Delgada club of North Tiverton are National Amateur Cup champions after beating Heidelberg S.C. a 2-1 at Bigberry Stadium on Sunday.

Joe Travis and Mack Almeida scored for the Pontas, while Peter Pawlick countered for the Pittsburgh club, which featured a lineup entirely comprised of American-born players, including four sets of brothers.

A paid crowd of 4,369 attended the title match, the largest crowd seen since thousands flocked to Mark Stadium in Tiverton a decade ago when the Marksmen were a dominant national power.

Pre-game Parade

Fans were encouraged to arrive early, as live music and a parade preceded the match. Gates opened at 1:00pm, and a concert by the Roger Leonardo Band started at 2:00pm, followed by a parade led by the Portuguese American Civic Club. The Club brought its bugle and drum corps, led by Miss Evelyn Oliveira, drum major. Shortly after the pre-match festivities, the match kicked off at 2:45pm.

Pontas Given Ball

Following the championship clash, Pontas manager Manuel “Tosca” Correia was presented with the match ball by John J. MacEwan of Cleveland, who is Chairman of the National Amateur Cup Committee.  The championship trophy will be presented to the Pontas in the coming weeks.

The match was a dramatic affair right down to the final whistle, even though the Pontas carried a 2-0 lead into the latter stages. But when the Heidelbergs struck 12 minutes from time, the decision was far from certain in the waning minutes.

Pennsylvanians Clever

Uncomm0nly clever ball work was showcased by the Pennsylvanian XI, but they lacked the finish to reap the rewards of their innovative play. They played with pace in the first 15 minutes, keeping the Pontas on their heels early.

But once the Pontas finally acclimated to the Heidelbergs’ style of play, they didn’t look back until the waning stages of the match, when the guests fought hard to bring one back, and nearly equalized before the final whistle.

Visitors Start Well

The Heidelbergs claimed the first dangerous opportunity of the match early in the first half when they were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area. However, the subsequent boot was cleared away by a Ponta player.

Not long after, fullback Mike Kuten launched a free kick in front of goal that begged to be converted by a teammate before Frank Almeida attempted to hurry it out of danger. But in the process, he collided with the post, and the match was delayed for two minutes while he received medical treatment.

The Heidelbergs continued to run rings around the Pontas in the opening stages of the game, with clever combinations causing the hosts fits. But whether it was luck, or sheer shooting ineptitude, the Pontas escaped their ordeal unscathed.


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

Travis Scores

Once the Pontas finally came around, it didn’t take long to make their mark on the match. Frank Almeida led the way, and though his first foray into the final third may have come up short, the Pontas would find a way to breakthrough shortly thereafter.

Mack Almeida smashed the goalpost on a wicked shot, and while an onrushing Al Cwikla couldn’t grab the rebound, Travis was right behind him to head it into the far corner of the goal.

For the remainder of the first half, the Pontas had the upper hand, but fell short of adding another before the interval due to a strong Heidelberg defense. Their fullbacks were particularly active, forcing the Pontas to shoot high and wide of frame. Mack Almeida had the opportunity to make it a two-goal advantage right before halftime on a pass from Travis, but his bullet shot just missed.

Another For Pontas

During the opening moments of the second half, Matt Janiak replaced Manny Braga at inside right for the Pontas, and the substitute proved to be a master stroke for Correia. After a listless start to the second stanza, the attack came alive. Janiak had only been on the pitch for a few minutes when he sent a pass to Mack Almeida, who scored the second goal of the game. Prior to Janiak’s pass, the ball was worked cleverly between Janiak and Jesse Braga.


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

The Pontas continued their dominance of the match from the time Janiak entered until the latter portion of the match, where the Heidelbergs started to come alive. They worked the ball into the Ponta’s end many times, and were pushed back on each occasion until their efforts final secured a measure of long-awaited success.


Goal for Visitors

Outside left Pete Pawlick drove a hard shot that Tom Bowden attempted to clear away on a header. But Bowden only succeeded in sending it back toward his own goal, where goalkeeper Tony Michaels could only get a couple of fingers on it before it crashed into the back of the net. The goal was credited to Pawlick by Referee Lambie.

The strike gave new life to the Heidelbergs, and they pressed the issue again and again. But they were driven back by the Pontas each time, as the clock only conspired with the hosts to see the game out.

The summary:

Ponta Delgada – Joe Michaels g, Thomas Bowden rfb, Constant Boruch lfb, Frank Almeida rhb, Correia chb, Woodrow Silvia (captain) lhb, Jesse Braga or, Manuel Braga ir, Mack Almeida cf, Al Cwikla il, Joe Travis ol. Substitutes – Joseph Duarte and Matthew Janik.

Heidelberg S.C. – John Kuten g, Michael Kuten rfb, Andrew Urbanic lfb, Ray Chappel rhb, Charles Wanona chb, John Macek lhb, George Aubrey or, Stanley Urbanic ir, Peter Pawlick cf, John McCorkey il, George Chappel ol.

Score – Ponta Delgada 2, Heidelberg S.C. 1. Referee – George Lambie. 45-minute halves.

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