The strength and superb
tactics of the Barrow forwards dominated a game that
many described as the worst ever seen at Wembley.
Barrow's strategy was simple - they had to control and
contain the game with their mighty pack and do their
utmost to throw the clever and confident Salford back
division out of gear. The Barrow pack monopolised the
ball in the first half so successfully that, to some
extent, they spoilt the match as spectacle and little
was seen of the finer points of the game. The full-backs
on each side handled well but were guilty of some very
poor, almost aimless kicking for touch, and only very
rarely did they start a passing movement. French, the
Barrow full-back, handled faultlessly but constantly
kicked into touch on the full. One newspaper was
scathing in its criticism of the match: 'The game was
smash and grab, crash and bang, ten yards run, tackle
and play the ball and hardly one concerted movement.'
The showpiece started with
a very poor attempt at goal from Gus Risman, following a
penalty against Barrow. After eight minutes play Fred
French put Barrow ahead from a successful penalty-kick.
Gus Risman put Salford on
level terms with a penalty-goal and on the half-hour
collected a loose ball well and made himself the space
and time to drop a good goal to put the Reds in front.
For the first 30 minutes of
the second half, each side attacked furiously but
incoherently. Barrow had the best of the play but were
unable to score and missed one of the best chances of
the game when Cumberbatch
was stopped, despite two Salford players lying injured
on the ground. With 14 minutes to play, Billy Little
collected the ball from a scrum on the Salford '25' and
dropped a brilliant goal with his left foot.
The surprise score was the
catalyst for a tremendous burst of play from each side
and with about a minute remaining, Barrow were penalised
on the half-way line. Risman found touch ten yards from
the Barrow line with a long, raking kick. One account
describes the last few dramatic moments of the game:
'Five or six men jumped for the ball when it came out of
the scrum, and there was a fine confused melee, in the
course of which it was fumbled and juggled across the
field in front of the Barrow goal posts until, finally,
Gear dashed in, took the ball on the bounce, forced his
way past two tacklers, and threw himself over the line
with three man hanging on to him.'
The goal-kick was missed
but the try was enough, for there was not even
enough time left to restart the game.