Not a Case of Sour Grapes
"Robbery of the most flagrant type and nothing else," is the manner in which Bethlehem Steel players described their game with Fall River on their return home, heaping loads of criticism on the work of Referee Lambie. At first one was inclined to believe that perhaps these reports were a bit exaggerated, but with Fall River scribes referring to the name in the same terms we are more than convinced that the Newton, Mass., arbiter made a gift of the game to Fall River. Says the Fall River Herald:
"Not only did the Newton arbiter nearly spoil things for the home fans, but he really made things terribly bad for the Beths as the result of his judgment on close plays. If Bethlehem had received all that was coming to them, the score might have read about 4 to 3 in their favor. Not less than three times did the Steelmen send the sphere sailing into the Fall River goal, only to have it strike the cross bar and turn its course downward and out into the territory, where it was possible to scoop it out of the danger zone. On at least one of these occasions it looked as though the ball had crossed the line and should have been called a score and on two other occasions there was some doubt existing."
That the Steel Workers got a raw deal is further evident by the unanimous opinion of the scribes who covered the game. It is possible to err in judgment, but when two or more concur in the same opinion there is little chance of being mistaken. Says the Fall River Globe:
"Had Bethlehem received any of the breaks, the Steel Workers would have defeated Fall River; for two goals, one caged by Stark and another by Granger, were disallowed."
Bothered by the poor refereeing of Lambie from the very start of the game, the Steel Workers reached the limit of their endurance when the tying goal was disallowed and they threatened to leave the field. However, on second thought, realizing the disappointment to the fans and an injustice to Fall River, they decided to finish the game. The incident which threatened to break up the game is described by the Fall River Globe as follows:
"An incident occurred in the second half which came near breaking up the game. MacGregor received the ball just outside of Fall River's penalty area. There is no question but that the forearm of the Bethlehem player touched the ball. Fall River claimed hands but Lambie signaled to "play on." MacGregor drove at the cage. Blair cleared, but to some it seemed as if the drive was in. The ball rolled to Granger and the inside forward netted it. There was a claim on the part of Fall River players for a foul by MacGregor for "hands." Brittan appealed to Lambie to consult his linesmen. Lambie called White to the field and the latter apparently called the play, for Lambie disallowed the goal and gave Fall River a free kick.
Can any one imagine a referee after ordering "play on" after a charge of "hands" and then three or four plays later when a score is made, disallow the goal on a foul that was previously made? That decision alone should be sufficient for the league executives to release Lambie as being entirely inefficient to take charge of a game. Officials, it is realized, are not infallible and we are inclined to side with their judgment rather than criticize. However, when their errors of judgment are so flagrant that the spectators threaten riot and the players are ready to throw up in disgust, there is no excuse.