These were the final numerals hung up at the close of what is termed as the hardest soccer struggle and most bitter battle ever witnessed on the home ground of Fall River and a game in which Bethlehem Steel two down when the teams turned around gave one of the grandest displays of gameness and fight in equalizing the score in the final half. More than ten thousand fans, or to be more exact, 10,343, paid admissions, witnessed a soccer classic which promises long to remain vivid in their memory. The final numerals of 2 all just about tells the story of the game.
Both teams, contenders for the league honors, Fall River with the appendage of National champions, and Bethlehem Steel as the runner up for the honors last year, were pointed for this grand classic and such it proved to be with both teams battling bitterly to realize their ambition. They mete with the honors in dual competition thus far equally divided, Fall River having taken Bethlehem over in the first meeting on the home grounds and Bethlehem later defeating Fall River in a game played in this city. But one more league engagement between these rivals of years remains to be played and soccer fans hereabouts will be privileged with the opportunity of seeing this clash on the Steel field.
The attendance will be inscribed in the annals of soccer in this country as the greatest gathering of fans ever to turn out for a league tilt and it is doubtful if cup competition attendance records ever equaled this number. Although usually a partisan crowd experienced in Fall River, the reception accorded the Steel Workers was quite surprising when swept by their emotions the multitude of spectators frequently showered the Steel players with cheers for some brilliant performance.
The heavy field had a tendency to slow up both teams at the start but once the players adapted themselves to the conditions they were going at high speed and maintained this pace to the final whistle with each club fighting desperately to annex the dividing tally. The surface of the field had been covered with saw dust and shavings eliminating the soft spots and small pools of water. Overhead conditions, however, were ideal.
While all Bethlehem players acquitted themselves with credit, to Archie Stark and Johnny Granger go the honors for scoring the Steel Workers' two goals. Stark, the premier goal scorer of the league, could not be denied and his opening goal for the Steel Workers was one of the prettiest soccer exhibitions ever witnessed. Granger, who in cup play is at his best and tosses caution to the wind in his determined efforts, responded with the equalizer by a dashing bit of play. While victory would have been cherished by Bethlehem adherents, those who are familiar with conditions at Fall River are perfectly satisfied with the draw result.
After the score had been tied Bethlehem was probably deprived of victory by a sensational save contributed by Findlay Kerr, a former Bethlehem Steel custodian. The shot from the toe of Stark in the closing minutes of play seemed labeled for a score but Kerr, by a great effort managed to clear. This was but one of the many thrilling episodes which kept the spectators constantly in a pitch of excitement.
Fall River's heroes are McGowen and Croft, the former opening the scoring after more than half of the first half had been played, and Croft, a this year acquisition and former Internationalist, added the second goal. All this was before Bethlehem had counted.
Characteristic of the Bethlehem team, the aggregation was a bit slow in getting started with the result that Fall River is credited with much the better of the play in the opening half. However, after the teams turned around the tide changed and the Steel Workers instead of being pressed and forced to battle bitterly on the defensive were doing the major portion of the pressing. Bethlehem was far superior in the last forty-five minutes of play.
It was only by hard work that Fall River was able to score in the first half [. . .] registered first on a cross from Campbell with a shot that completely beat Carson. The goal came forty-four minutes after play started. Ferguson had miskicked on the play and Brittan missed a try for goal. Croft booted in the second goal just four minutes later on a pass from McPherson.
Archie Stark, playing one of the most spectacular games of his career, scored the first goal for Bethlehem twelve minutes after play had opened in the second half. Stark had been left unguarded and he made a perfect shot. Granger tallied the equalizing goal just five minutes later, taking a low drive by Goldie from the wing and lifting it over the shoulder of Findlay Kerr.
Fall River -- Bethlehem
Kerr -- G -- Carson
Tate -- RFB -- Young
Kemp -- LFB -- Ferguson
McPherson -- RHB -- McDonald
Raeside - -CHB -- Carnihan
Fryer -- LHB -- McGregor
Campbell -- OR -- Forrest
Reid -- IR -- Granger
Brittan -- CF -- Stark
Croft -- IL -- Rollo
McGowan -- OL -- Goldie
Goals -- McGowan, Croft, Stark, Granger.
Referee -- McCabe, Phila. Linesmen -- White and Carlin, Providence.