Bethlehem Steel’s 2-1 victory in the American Soccer League game on the home field on Saturday afternoon against J & P Coats of Pawtucket, R. I., can well be attributed to the sensational work of Dave Edwards between the uprights and a beautiful goal notched by little Johnny Jaap in the closing minutes of play. It wasn’t because Bethlehem players outplayed the visitors, as the Steel booters otherwise had to be content to see Coats monopolize the play at least three quarters of the game.
The league leaders and national champions did not play with their characteristic dash and effectiveness. The defense was at times as leaky as a sieve and frequently showed signs of being demoralized while the Bethlehem forwards found a well organized and effective defense on the part of the visitors.
But for Bill Carnihan, captain, Bob MacGregor, a coworker on the halfback line, and Dave Edwards, Bethlehem’s defense would have crumbled. On the forward line Johnny Jaap was only forward who seemingly could get through. Not until well along in the final half did Bethlehem seem organized and then in a belated rally pressed hard and were fortunate in registering the goal that brought victory.
Big Bill Tate, former Fall River back, was a stonewall on the defense for the visitors. Daring and dashing he upset more than one well organized movement into Coats territory and in doing it he was ably supported by Allan at the other back position. On the forward line Harvey, the visitors’ outside right was fully entitled in sharing in the honors with Jaap as the best forward on the field. Harvey is a tricky player, small in stature but speedy and tricky. Almost at will he seemed able to trick Eadie in going through and lat in the second half when W. Allan substituted for the starting Bethlehem fullback, even the dashing Allan had all he could do to stop the elusive Harvey. With Curtis at the inside position the visitors had a formidable right wing while at outside left Pete Sweeney was doing some effective work.
The defense of the Coats team lived up the its reputation but it was the forwards who loomed most formidable against Bethlehem. At times they fairly ran rings around the Bethlehem backs and this condition was especially pronounced in the first half. The Bethlehem backs, with the exception of Carnihan and MacGregor, seemed weak in tackling, losing many opportunities by hesitating in closing in. After ten minutes of play at the restart Bethlehem was an entirely different team. The backs braced and the forwards were far more effective with the result that from then until the final whistle Bethlehem pressed hard before gaining the one goal advantage to give them victory.
Bethlehem cohorts had visions of a one sided victory when the first few minutes of play the champions took the lead. Bethlehem had lost the count and played against the sun but fortunately there was no breeze to speak of. The game was hardly under way when Bethlehem was pressing hard in Coats territory with McDonald starting a movement that resulted in a score. The Bethlehem halfback shoved the ball forward to stark and the latter held on just long enough to draw the defense and then slipped a neat pass to Gillespie at the very goal mouth. The later made no mistake and easily beat Parks.
Bethlehem continued to press and shortly afterward forced a corner. Jaap taking the kick which was well placed but cleared. Another corner a few minutes later in which Jaap again took the kick, was cleared and then Coats became the attacking team and did most of the pressing for the remainder of the half. Raid after raid was initiated in which Edwards saved more than one on shots from Harvey, Curtis and Seeney.
IN stopping Harvey from going through a penalty was given against Bethlehem when MacGregor unintentionally brought the speedy outside wing to earth. Harvey took the kick and fortunately Edwards guessed with him for he handled the shot perfectly when the ball was sent directly to him. Undaunted by this setback, Coats continued to press and shortly before the half were rewarded with a score. This goal was mainly due to a misunderstanding in the Bethlehem defense. The visitors had been awarded a free kick and Edwards came out of goal in plenty of time to handle but a Bethlehem back beat him to the ball and got away a poor clearance. Before Edwards had fairly established himself a lobbing shot was sent in by Harvey. Edwards was off balance when he attempted to handled, bending low to scoop up the ball and muffed. Before he could recover to clear Rock came dashing in and scored the goal.
The restart witnessed Coats flashing a dangerous rally when in the first few minutes of play Edwards was forced to handle on shots from Harvey and Rock Late in the first half W> Allan had been substituted for Eadie and with Stark showing signs of leg trouble Rollo replaced him in the second half. For more than ten minute Coats had the better of the play and then Bethlehem became organized and pressed with determined vigor. Parks handled more from then on than he did up to that time of the game but could not be denied. Late in the half MacGregor placed perfectly close to the goal. Twice shots at goal were cleared but the visitors could not get the ball out of dangerous territory. Finally Goldie crossed to Jaap and the latter, almost parallel with the goal mouth shot for the net. The ball struck the far upright, bounded the entire length of the goal mouth to rebound off the opposite upright and before Parks could get his hand on it, the ball rolled into the net. The goal promised to be the winning tally for a few minutes later the game ended.
Bethlehem Steel – J & P Coats
Edwards – G – Parks
Barrie – RFB – Tate
Eadie – LFB – Allan
McDonald – RHB -- Thomson
Carnihan – CHB -- McAvoy
MacGregor – LHB – Brooks
Jaap – OR – Harvey
Stark – IR – Curtis
Gillespie – CF – Rock
Forrest – IL – Toner
Goldie – OL – Sweeney
Goals – Gillespie, Jaap, Rock. Substitutions – Rollo for Stark, Allan for Eadie. Referee: Mose Bloom, Brooklyn. Time of halves, 45 minutes.