by Fred Nonnemacher
Bethlehem F.C., a team that for years reigned supreme in National and American cup soccer circles and for years won championships with regularity again met its Waterloo on Saturday afternoon and was forced to swallow the bitterest pill of their long career when defeated for the first time in seven years on the home grounds.
The glory of accomplishing this feat fell to the Robins Dry Docks eleven of Brooklyn, a well balanced aggregation possessing speed and driving power, which after ninety minutes of play emerged the victory by the score of one goal to none. The outcome of the game, the fourth round in the American Cup competition, eliminated Bethlehem from further competition.
Several weeks ago, when what was believed to be a reinforced team with the acquisition of several new players, Bethlehem Steel was jolted when the Erie F. C. created a big surprise by eliminating Bethlehem in the National Cup classic and in turn were themselves eliminated by the Robins. Out of the running for the honors in the biggest national classic, Bethlehem nevertheless had hopes of conquering their most formidable rival when they met Robins on their home field. Inspired with the fact that they had never been beaten on the home field, these hopes, however, were rudely shattered when at the conclusion of hostilities, the Robins were victors.
To the two thousand or more fans who braved the elements of the threatening and rainy day there is no man denying the fact the well balanced and powerful machine built up by the ship builders was superior to the one time invincible Bethlehem team. The dash, pep and speed and apparently the usual confidence characteristic of the Bethlehem play of two years ago was sadly missing while on the other hand, the Robins presented just these important factors and for the greater part of the play had Bethlehem on the defensive.
The graceful and effective movements usually concluded with a parting shot at goal were few and far between and at times the Steel Workers appeared completely demoralized. This was particularly the case in the last fifteen minutes of play, all with the exception of a few minutes when Bethlehem momentarily rallied and threatened to tie the score.
Field conditions were probably anything but ideal for such an important contest and many were the fans who regretted that the playing surface was not fast and dry. Ice and snow had been cleared off the playing surface and had the mercury remained around the freezing make the turf would have been hard. A heavy thaw during the night left a thick covering of mud which made football decidedly treacherous and probably marred the game of some clever work. The condition of the field may have had something to do with the playing of the home clan or probably some of the players were off form. At any rate, they had rough sailing, the forwards lacking miserably in combination while the backs were kept on an edge throughout in checking the visitors' forward line.
The visitors' lone tally was registered hardly more than fifteen minutes before the whistle announced the end of the first half. Beardsworth shot and Campbell gave away a corner. Bethlehem gained possession of the ball and the play moved up the field where Brittan passed to Murphy, but the latter shot past. McGuire, a wing man, playing center forward in place of Ratican, who was on the sidelines with an injured leg, took the ball down the field and in clearing, Ferguson gave away a corner. McKelvey kicked and in clearing Duncan gave away another corner. Robins, realizing time was short, speeded up the play and on the corner kick Sweeney placed beautifully to Sturch, who with a hard low drive sent the ball crashing into the net, beating Duncan.
An opportunity was offered Bethlehem to score midway in the second half when Renzulli ran out and beat Fleming who was on the ball. McGuire then fouled Wilson, the latter taking the kick and Brownlie, in clearing gave away a corner. Fleming centered the ball to Brittan, who cleared the cross bar with a header. From then on until the final three minutes, Robins monopolized the play which terminated when Duncan made a great save on a kick from Sweeney. Bethlehem rallied and an instant later Forrest was given an opportunity when play hovered around the Robins' goal. Forrest shot hard, the ball traveling high and true to the mark. Renzulli, however, was in direct line and tipped the ball over the cross bar, giving away a corner. Again Forrest was in position to score when he headed Fleming's kick over the bar. From that time on until the final whistle Bethlehem was on the defensive in the neighborhood of their own goal.
The playing of McGuire, at center forward, was somewhat marred by his inclination to be unnecessarily rough at times. However, he was effective and a source of great worry to the Bethlehem backs. The Robins, as a whole, played as a unit, with McKelvey, Sturch, Hosie and Page proving very effective. Duncan, Ferguson, Campbell and Brittan played best for Bethlehem but even their form was below the usual color. The lineup:
Robins – Bethlehem
Renzulli – G – Duncan
Page – RFB – Wilson
Brownlie – LFB – Ferguson
Beardsworth – RHB – Bethune
Clarke – CHB – Campbell
Irvine – LHB – Morrison
McKelvey – OR – Murphy
Sturch – IR – Saiterthwaite
McGuire – CF – Brittan
Hosie – IL – Forrest
Sweeney – OL – Fleming
Goal – Sturch. Referee: George Young, Philadelphia. Linesmen – J. H. Carpenter, Horace Williams. Time of halves, 45 minutes.