TheCup.us introduces “The First Cup” series, which revisits the first running of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (then known as the National Challenge Cup) that took place from the fall of 1913 to the spring of 1914.
Editor’s note: As you read this, you’ll notice a lot of players with just one name. This is not an oversight on our part, but rather, many of the sources of this information (newspapers, publications etc.) only use the last name of players in their stories. If you have confirmation of any of their names, or any other details that would add to our historical records, feel free to reach out to us HERE. We are always looking for help with historical research.
Links to the full series are located at the bottom of this story.
Playing on a sloppy pitch at Aluminum Park, the Niagara Falls Rangers held off the visiting Pullman FC from Chicago 2-1 to advance to the semifinals of the inaugural National Challenge Cup. Snow fell the night before, turning the field into a muddy mess, and forwards for both teams had difficulty shooting the wet, heavy ball with any accuracy.
Niagara Falls opened the scoring after 17 minutes on a goal from former English international Fred Milnes. Pullman pressed hard for the equalizer, but the Rangers defense stood their ground for most of the half.
With five minutes remaining Pullman finally broke through with a goal from Cartwright. Play in the early part of the second half was described by the Chicago Daily Tribune as “full of action, although the mud and water made good combination difficult.” Niagara Falls were left shorthanded for brief periods when Harper and Holmes were sent to the sidelines with minor injuries.
In the 75th minute, Pullman right back Blockey committed a foul in the penalty area, and Kemp stepped up for the Rangers to give the home side a 2-1 lead. With just ten minutes remaining, Pullman made several desperate attempts to even the score, but Niagara Falls held on to advance.
The Rangers moved on to represent Western New York in the final four of the inaugural National Challenge Cup, but despite the talented clubs in that region over the years, this has proven to be a rarity. It would be more than 80 years before another team from Western New York would reach the semifinals, when the Rochester Raging Rhinos advanced all the way to the championship game in 1996.
Path to the Quarterfinals
Niagara Falls Rangers
Round 1: 6-1 win vs. Buffalo Corinthians
Round 2: Forfeit win vs. MacNaughton Rangers*
*MacNaughton won the original match 1-0 but Niagara Falls’ protest was upheld and a replay was ordered but MacNaughton failed to appear.
Round 3: 2-0 win vs. Roses FC
Round 1: Bye
Round 2: 3-0 win vs. Fulton AC
Round 3: 3-1 win vs. New York Celtic*
* Referee ended the match with 10 minutes remaining (Sent off player refused to leave)
1913/14 National Challenge Cup Quarterfinals
Niagara Falls Rangers 2:1 Pullman FC
Rangers: Fred Milnes – 17th min.
Pullman: Cartwright – 40th min.
Rangers: Kemp (PK) – 75th min.
Rangers: Highett, Clackson, Hoyle, Park, Lumsdon, Pearce, Harper, Wallace, Kemp, Milnes, Holmes
Pullman: Roberts, Blockey, B. Govier, Dickson, S. Govier, Taylor, Pollitt, Cartwright, Shallcross, Mackie, McNaughton
THE FIRST CUP SERIES (THECUP.US)
A detailed look back at the 1913/1914 National Challenge Cup
Sept. 12, 1913 / Oct. 11, 1913: How the 1913/14 National Challenge Cup began
Nov. 1, 1913: The inaugural National Challenge Cup gets under way
Nov. 2, 1913: Brooklyn Field Club begins their journey as Round 1 concludes
Nov. 29 1913: Farr Alpaca forfeit Round 1 replay with New Bedford FC
Dec. 6, 1913: Four teams move on to Round 3, two more to be decided by protest or replay
Dec. 14, 1913: Second Round nearly complete as USFA announces protest results, draw for Round 3
Dec. 21, 1913: Third time’s the charm for St. George FC as Round 2 comes to a close
Jan. 12, 1914: Rochester’s MacNaughton Rangers forfeit replay with Niagara Falls Rangers
Jan. 24, 1914: Differing opinions as New Bedford FC eliminates West Philadelphia FC to reach quarterfinals
Jan. 25, 1914: Brooklyn Field Club, Columbia Oval join the quarterfinals
Mar. 8, 1914: Pullman FC beats Hyde Park Blues in Chicago derby to complete quarterfinal field
Mar. 28, 1914: Brooklyn Field Club defeat ‘cup holders’ Yonkers FC to reach Challenge Cup Semifinals
Mar. 29, 1914: Brooklyn Celtic defense carries them past Columbia Oval, into Semifinals
Apr. 5, 1914: Niagara Falls Rangers topple Pullman FC to complete Semifinal field
Apr. 18, 1914: Brooklyn Field Club edge New Bedford FC to reach inaugural National Challenge Cup Final
Apr. 26, 1914: Brooklyn Celtic cruises past Niagara Falls Rangers to reach inaugural National Challenge Cup Final
Before the 1913/1914 Final: By boat or by train, Brooklyn Field Club, Brooklyn Celtic prepare for inaugural National Challenge Cup Final
May 16, 1914: Brooklyn Field Club wins inaugural National Challenge Cup on late winner over Brooklyn Celtic