Inability to adapt themselves to the ground conditions proved costly to the Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club, eliminated in the blue ribbon classic of the country on Saturday, when defeated on home loam by the Brooklyn Wanderers. Deadlocked at the end of the regular time, the teams went into extra sessions of fifteen minutes each and it was in the first of these two extra sessions that Brooklyn notched the goal that advanced them to the semi-final round in the competition. The score was 3 to 2.
A week ago Sunday the same two teams met at Brooklyn in the second round of the U. S. F. A. cup competition and after extra periods the game resulted in a draw. Bethlehem fans had the opportunity of seeing the replay here on Saturday afternoon and putting it mildly were probably quite disappointed at the weird display of the Steelmen.
Brooklyn's victory can be attributed to the aggressive kick and rush style employed, obstacles suitable for the ground conditions and the seemingly disorganized efforts of the Steelmen whose short passing game was readily diagnosed. The work of the Bethlehem backs, particularly the clearing, was about the weakest witnessed this season while the efforts of the forwards was nothing short of miserable.
Fourteen corner kicks and no less than that number of foul kicks just outside of the penalty area just about describes the weak effectiveness of the Bethlehem forwards in goal. On more than half of the corner kicks the Steelmen were beaten and the ball cleared without ever entering into scrimmage..
At that Bethlehem might have emerged victorious but for a disastrous oversight of Referee George Lambie. This was late in the second half when Bethlehem was pressing and to relieve the attach the ball was seemingly deliberately handled by Robertson in the penalty area. But Lambie refused to recognize the infraction and while willing enough on another occasion to consult the linesmen and again stop the game to foolishly request that the fans moderate in their rooting, passed up the most glaring and plainly visible infraction of the contest.
While Brooklyn played soccer characteristically of the cup tie variety the Steelmen lacked in many fundamentals. The work of the defense was miserable, paving the way for two of the three goals scored; the passing was more or less at random; ball control impossible and aggressiveness in goal entirely lacking. Even the placing of corner kicks was entirely out of range on the majority of the efforts.
Time and again Bethlehem was beaten on the ball and while this condition proved a dominant factor in frustrating the Steelmen's chances, nevertheless, strange as it may seem, Bethlehem did most of the attacking. This was apparent by the corners, fourteen of which were conceded to Bethlehem against eight for the visitors.
Bethlehem fans and management are no doubt now convinced that McDonald ranks as one of the best halfbacks in the country but is out of place in a fullback position. He certainly was on Saturday and with W. Reid were the weakest links on the defense. In form he was undoubtedly way off color and McMeekin, who usually plays a brilliant game, was not at his best. Willie Reid, at halfback can usually be relied upon to play a strong and effective game but he too seemingly lacked on Saturday especially in his passing for more often did he boot the ball to a foeman than to one of his teammates.
But not alone did the defense lack for any team that is conceded the wealth of corners given to Bethlehem and the number of free kicks just outside of the penalty area and can't score certainly has something lacking in the effectiveness of the forward line. The tip-tap game, short passes, etc., of Bethlehem resorted to in the first half without success, should have wised up the home contingent. Brooklyn had a defense to check this style of play and did so well. In contrast Brooklyn's defense which was featured by the playing of Brown, center halfback, and McMillan, fullback, never hesitated in sending their clearances way up the field.
The first goal was of the gift variety and might be attributed to a misunderstanding between McDonald and Edwards. McDonald was on the ball and seemed to have plenty of time to clear but instead he shot a pass back to Edwards that caught the goalie flat-footed. Only by inches did McDonald's pass escape presenting the visitors with a goal for the ball struck the upright and glanced over the goal line for a corner. And that corner proved productive. Placed perfectly a brief scrimmage followed in the goal mouth in which O'Neill tapped it into the net. Brooklyn followed with another goal, one that was well earned, when after a pretty forward movement in which the visitors distributed the play, swinging the ball from wing to wing, Adair accounted for the second tally. Bethlehem pressed hard in the closing minutes of the half and was in the vicinity of the visitors goal but the shots either lacked accuracy or were expertly handled by Smith, who played a sensational game in goal.
When Bethlehem took the field at the restart the forward line underwent a change. Stark went to inside right, Jaap to outside right and Gillespie to center forward. This change seemed to bring about the desired results for within ten minutes of play Bethlehem scored a goal. Brooklyn had more or less settled to play a defensive game and took advantage of every opportunity to kick the ball out of bounds.
Bethlehem threatened when on a throw in Jaap headed the ball over the cross bar. The Steel men continued to press and were rewarded shortly afterward. A movement down the center and a well placed pass from Stark to the right to Jaap for the time disorganized the Brooklyn defense. Jaap shot a lightening drive to the goal mouth where Rollo broke through to score.
Throughout the half Bethlehem had much the better of the game but could not benefit by it. Smith made a brilliant save on a drive from Gillespie that was labeled and stopped quite a few other shots in the determined attacks of the Steelmen. Finally Bethlehem was rewarded when after thirty-five minutes of play Jaap accounted for the equalizer. Bethlehem continued to press and would probably have won if the erring eyesight of Referee Lambie had detected the penalty committed by Robertson in this half. However, the game ended with the score tied at 2 all.
When the first of the two extra sessions was started Bethlehem continued to defend the goal with the wind and sun against them. The home club was quite successful up to the closing minutes of this half when McMeekin, in attempting to clear, drove the ball into the pit of MacGregor's stomach and the ball rolled out of bounds. The Brooklyn throw-in proved costly for the Wanderers immediately made a raid on the goal. Edwards came out of this position but was beaten by Lytell whose terrific drive struck the upright. Edwards slipped and fell on the turf and before he could recover his position or a Bethlehem man on the defense made an effort to clear or drive the ball out of bounds, Eisenhoffer shot the winning goal in practically an open net. Frequent interruptions in the second extra period, one in which close to five minutes was taken out to revive Eisenhoffer, who was knocked unconscious when he cleared by heading, seemed to take the fight out of Bethlehem. Either that or the heavy going seemed to sap all the pep out of the home clan. At any rate the second session ended with Brooklyn one goal up at the final whistle.
For five minutes in the second half the Steelmen played with ten men, W. Reid sustained a severe gash on his head and was out of the game until the wound was treated and his head bandaged.
Bethlehem -- Brooklyn
Edwards -- G -- Smith
McDonald -- RFB -- Gross
McMeekin -- LFB - -McMillan
[SECTION MISSING ]
W. Reid -- RHB -- Robertson
Carnihan -- CHB -- Brown
MacGregor -- LHB -- Morris
Gillespie -- OR -- Adair
Rollo -- IR -- O'Neill
Stark -- CF -- Lytell
Jaap -- IL -- Eisenhoffer
Goldie -- OL -- Yule
Goals: O'Neill 2, Adair, Rollo, Jaap. Referee: George Lambie, Boston. Linesmen: Conniston and Hayes. Time of halves, two 45 minutes and two extra periods of fifteen minutes each.