The Bethlehem Steel champions practically clinched the National League honors by easily defeating the Babcock & Wilcox F. C. of Bayonne, N . J., on Bethlehem Steel Field on Saturday afternoon, three goals to none. It was generally conceded that since the visitors only recently defeated the strong Merchant A team, of Bristol., that they would present a strong opposition against the champions and make every effort to impair the league standing. However, within the first few minutes of play there was little doubt as to the final result of the game, the Steel Workers completely outclassing their opponents in every department of the game.
After the first goal was scored, the Steel Workers, instead of pressing hard to annex more counters, devoted their work during the greater part of the period to scientific play, fairly dazzling the visiting players with their cleverness and earning plaudits from the fans. So confident were the Steel Workers of victory t hat almost entirely throughout the opening session they resorted to this play. The recent rains made the footing treacherous, but despite this condition the Steel Workers traveled steadily along, while only in spurts did the visitors show anything like form.
The Babs won the toss and Bethlehem kicked off, and the Babs' right wing carried the ball down the field, but Ferguson made a good clearance and Campbell placed neatly to Ratican, who forced a corner, Campbell heading over the bar. Butler fouled Muir and Duncan had to save from Sweeney. Neil broke away but shot past, Bethlehem soon making tracks for the Bab goal, and a nice pass from Forrest to Millar ended in the latter cleverly beating two opponents and opening the scoring with a shot that had the goal keeper helpless, the ball striking the inside of the post and bounding into then et. This score came six minutes after play was started. This early success seemed to give the Steel Workers the confidence necessary for them to display their cleverness, and for the next twenty minutes they monopolized the play, the Babs only making occasional raids in the direction of Duncan.
The one dangerous situation of the period occurred when Ferguson kicked the ball against Conway and conceded a corner. The corner was well taken, but Duncan cleared and the inside right ended the anxiety by shooting past. Shots by McKelvey and Forrest were cleverly handled by Nelson. Bethlehem continued to attack and all the forwards had shots at goal, but the majority of the efforts were from too far out, the result that they lacked the steam, Forrest being the greatest offender in this respect. Toward the close of the first half, the Babs seemed to have asserted themselves. By vigorous work of the halfback line they managed to drive the Steel Workers back and several shots were aimed at Duncan, but with little effect, as Wilson and Ferguson usually prevented the player with the ball getting within dangerous range. The first half ended with Bethlehem attacking hard.
In the second half Bethlehem seemed to realize that one goal was far from being sufficient advantage over a team which recently defeated the clever Merchant A team and settled down to aggressive soccer with the result that the Babs were mostly on the defense. In the first few minutes of play, Butler forced a corner and Campbell headed toward goal but Nelson saved and McKelvey relieved the pressure by getting off-sides. In the next few minutes Ratican missed the finest opportunity of the game when he sent the ball wide from practically under the bar, after clever work by the left wing. McKelvey forced a corner, but Nelson saved brilliantly and Butler just missed the upright.
After twenty minutes play Forrest got possession on a cross from Fletcher and scored a beautiful goal from the eighteen-yard line, the ball traveling away from the goaltender all the time. The Babs now seemed to be under a spell and their efforts to check the champions were poor as a team, only few of the players measuring up to Bethlehem's class. Muir, center half, was one of the exceptions, and played a brilliant game often breaking up a passing movement by the champions hen his teammates were hopelessly beaten. Toward the latter part of the half the Babs made one more effort to break into the scoring column, but the Steel Workers' defense was too strong for t hem and only once was Duncan called upon to save. He easily was the loneliest man on the field. With ten minutes to go the Bethlehem forwards started a clever passing movement and was ably backed up by the halfback line, but it was not until the last few minutes that they were able to add to the score. Goalkeeper Nelson seemed to be on the right spot whenever a Steel Worker would drive the ball in his direction. With two minutes to go, Bob Millar, who had been playing a brilliant game all through, got possession on a pass from Pepper and carried the ball down the wing with the clever footwork that made him a favorite with the crowd, and after eluding all the opposition, squared the ball directly under the bar, where Ratican trapped it and drove it into the net. This ended the scoring and in the next minute the final whistle blew with the ball in mid-field.
Bethlehem -- Babs
Duncan -- G -- Nelson
Wilson -- RFB -- Smith
Ferguson -- LFB -- Hausen
Fletcher -- RHB -- Altken
Campbell -- CHB -- Muir
Pepper -- LHB -- Blatchford
McKelvey -- OR -- Elliott
Butler -- IR -- Lonie
Ratican -- CF -- Sweeney
Forrest -- IL -- Allen
Millar -- OL -- Nell
Goals -- Miller, Forrest, Ratican. Referee, George Young, Philadelphia. Linesmen, Gracey and Morrison. 45 minute halves.