Providence F. C. departed for its home in Rhode Island Saturday with the unique distinction of being the first team to defeat the Bethlehem Steel soccer exponents twice on the home field in the same season, an experience which, until Saturday afternoon's tilt had never been the lot of the Bethlehem clan in the many years of soccer in Bethlehem. And probably the happiest man of the day was Sam Fletcher, former Steel Worker, who as manager of the Providence clan assembled the players who took the measure of the Bethlehem boys by a 3 to 0 victory.
Bethlehem was not outplayed or exactly outgamed, but the aggressiveness of the visiting dribblers and the phenomenal work of Surgener in goal seemed to break the spirit of the home clan as the waning minutes of the game approached. That Bethlehem did not conquer was by no means due to lack of opportunities. After the first fifteen minutes of playing, during which Providence inflicted its most damage by scoring twice, the Steel clan fairly rained shots at the Providence citadel, shots that under ordinary circumstances would have found their mark, but not with the [...] superhuman work of the visitors' goalie. Surgener was everywhere and at the right place at the right time, handling with expert adeptness and given valuable assistance in his defensive display by his backs. Twice when Surgener was on the ground with the ball in his clasp after making a save, Providence players formed a barrier around him until he had regained his feet and kicked the ball out of danger.
In the last thirty minutes of this half, Bethlehem was complete master, excelling in everything but goal scoring and that is what the visitors were successful in doing. Apparently discouraged by the inability to penetrate the Providence net and showing marked effect of the strenuous game against the New York Giants the day previous, the effectiveness of the Steel clan seemed to peter out while Providence, inspired by the well-established lead, was going at full tilt at the final whistle.
Providence scored twice in the first half, but in spite of this, was a more dangerous team after the restart. Their raids on the Bethlehem goal were more frequent and at all times the forwards were pressing. The backs displayed remarkably good judgment their long kicking clearances sending the ball back into Bethlehem territory. They were not beat on any scientific manipulation of the ball, a trait which the Bethlehem players might have been guilty of, but played in the style and spirit characteristic of their manager in his heyday, by taking no chances and meeting the ball the first time in making their clearances.
Bethlehem's halfback line, with MacGregor and McDonald missing, did not function with the effectiveness that has been its custom. Robertson, playing in MacGregor's position, and seemingly showing the effects of the day previous, seemed slow in the going.
On the forward line, Archie Stark played with reckless abandon, but seemed alone in his efforts to score. Jaap, the diminutive wingman, who in playing outside left, was in a position new to him, gave a favorable display. The work of Berryman and Allen, fullbacks, together with that of Stark, was the best of the Bethlehem team. Even after Berryman injured a knee and continued, his effectiveness did not weaken.
Bethlehem's chief concern on the visitors' front line was the left wing, comprising Beattie and Curtis. This speed duo was a continual threat and although their breakaways were not frequent they were extremely dangerous when they did elude the backs and advance close to the Bethlehem goal.
Defensively, the game crowned another goalie as a star, for the work of Surgener was nothing less than phenomenal. Whether he was favored by luck or not, he happened to be wherever the ball was directed and once took a shot off the boot of Stark with the Bethlehem center forward within five yards of the goal and no one to beat but the goalie. When he got his hands on the ball, Surgener held it until he cleared. So severed was the pressure of the Steelmen in the first half that the visitors were forced to concede a half dozen corners, but none was productive.
With the opening whistle, Providence set a dizzy pace and within five minutes had Bethlehem trailing a one goal lead. The visitors' left wing broke away and with Florie contributing to the movement, swept down the field toward the Bethlehem goal. Executing short, tricky passes, this trip eluded the Bethlehem backs and when in front of goal, Curtis took the shot and beat Taylor with a well paced drive.
The one goal lead seemed the necessary stimulus for the visitors and while play shifted frequently from one end of the field to the other, it was the Providence breakaways that were most dangerous. Fifteen minutes had elapsed when opportunity came to the visitors to increase their lead and again it was the left wing that contributed to the score. Pressure was severe in Bethlehem territory, when Providence was awarded a free kick against Forrest, just outside the penalty area. The ball was placed to the goal mouth and in the scrimmage that followed, Beattie got his boot to it and scored.
From then on Bethlehem seemed to wake up to the situation and with the exception of one breakaway in the closing minutes of play, Providence was most exclusively on the defensive. The brown jerseys of the visiting clan were very much in evidence as defenders of their citadel and although Bethlehem hovered almost continually around the net and unleashed a terrific bombardment, they were unable to drive it in. One after another corner kick followed, but to little avail, for when the ball was placed nicely, a brown-jerseyed player was successful in making a clearance.
With the restart Bethlehem continued the determined efforts but when within a few minutes Providence had increased its lead, the home clan seemed to lose spirit. Within three minutes after the restart, Beattie notched a goal that might have been saved. From far out and at an angle, the Providence outside left sent the ball sailing tantalizingly toward the Bethlehem net. Taylor reached for it and had it in his clasp, but was unable to hold it, the ball trickling through his hands and rolling into the net.
Bethlehem's best opportunity in this half to evade a shut was the shot off Stark at the very goal mouth and which Taylor seemed to take off his boot. It was not a day for Bethlehem scoring and the final whistle found Providence the conqueror in the second shutout of the Steelmen this season. The lineup:
Providence -- Bethlehem
Surgener -- G -- Taylor
McAuley -- RFB -- Berryman
Abel -- LFB - -Allen
Izatt -- RHB -- Raeside
Dick -- CHB -- Carnihan
Auld -- LHB -- Robertson
Hogg -- OR -- Forrest
Renfrew -- IR -- McDonald
Florie -- CF -- Stark
Curtis -- IL -- Purvis
Beattie -- OL -- Jaap
Goals: Beattie 2; Curtis. Referee, Bloom. Linesmen: Fred Smart and Joseph Murphy. Time of halves, 45 minutes.