Forced to battle an important cup game under handicap, the local Bethlehem Steel soccer booters were eliminated in the semi-final round, Eastern Division, National Cup competition by the New York Giants at Philadelphia on Saturday. The end of the ninety minutes of hostilities waged on the mud thawed and wind swept gridiron of the Frankfort Yellow Jackets, in Philadelphia, on Saturday afternoon, found Bethlehem trailing 6 to 3 and as a result the Gotham eleven advance to the final round which will be waged two weeks hence against the Hakoah All-Stars.
Fate decreed that Bethlehem engage in this important issue with a remnant of the powerful and smooth working machine when Robert MacGregor, inspiring and veteran captain of the team was stricken ill last Wednesday and the following day Bill Carnihan was ordered to bed.
Disheartened apparently by the loss of these two brilliant players the keynote of the first line of defense, the locals’ morale was undoubtedly further shattered by the weird work of Charlie Creighton, the referee.
Early in the first half he called Tommy Gillespie for offside when a score seemed imminent and later in the same half when Davy Brown was offside by yards he allowed a goal to count.
But the weird of the whistle tooter was not alone the sole contributory cause of Bethlehem’s defeat. The loss of MacGregor and Carnihan and the speed of Davy Brown and Andy Stevens, the speedy Giant forwards counted. These front liners ran rings around Wilson and the patched up halfback line and on no less than three of their shots had no one to beat but the goalie. With the halfback lien woefully weak the whole Bethlehem defense floundered.
The Giants, too, proved better strategists under the conditions, resorting to tactics that were best available to the elements and that bore fruit. Archie Stark, acting captain in the game, won the toss and elected to play with the terrific gale to his back. Immediately the Giants amassed their entire strength to defensive tactics and when Bethlehem was in position to score the goal mouth was usually swarming with New York booters. These tactics more than once proved effective when stinging shots at the net had Brown beaten but were saved by Giants bobbing up from nowhere but at the right place.
On the other hand when sides reversed for the restart Bethlehem probably blundered in attempting their aggressive attacking game. More than once the long punts of the Giants went sailing down the field, leaving the Bethlehem defense wide open and with the defense unable to match the speed of the Giants forwards, every attack was dangerous.
Throughout the first half the Giants did everything possible to keep the ball out of play. Then in the second half with the wind favoring their rush and kick tactics, a style well adapted to the conditions, produced the desired results.
And at that Bethlehem did most of the pressing, forcing at least seven or eight corners in the first half and three or four in the second half against two at the most for the Giants in the entire game.
Within a few minutes after the start Stark crashed a stinging shot from close range but the ball smacked against the cross bar and rebounded on the playing field. Bethlehem continued its attack, the pressure being almost constantly and finally Stark located the net with a well directed drive.
With Bethlehem one up at the restart, the Giants inflicted most of their damage in the first fifteen minutes of play. Scarcely had the ball been kicked off before a long punt to the right wing and then passed back to Stevens who flicked it into the net. Ten minutes later it was Andy Stevens, playing in great form, who put his team ahead. Then Brown, who was given the veteran Jock Marshall plenty of trouble, crashed through to easily beat McClure after leaving his post. Stevens counted the fifth goal and then to make matters worse Ballantyne, playing an unusually good game at inside right, tallied shortly before the game ended. In this half the Giants missed a goal on Golver’s spot kick handled by McClure.
During the first fifteen minutes of the restart Bethlehem was hopeless out of the picture but then with the lead overwhelmingly against them braced and fought with a determination that seemed entirely lacking in the first half. From then on Bethlehem assumed the initiative, sweeping down the field and forcing the Giants to frequently kick out to relieve the pressure. Finally after a pretty passing attack, Robertson counted for Bethlehem but that was the extent of the Pennsylvanians scoring. The score:
Bethlehem Steel -- Giants
McClure – G – J. Brown
Marshall – RFB – Glover
H. Reid – LFB – Moorhouse
W. Reid – RHB – Cameron
Wilson – CHB – Herd
Rollo – LHB – McKinney
Gillespie – OR – Findlay
Jaap – IR – Ballantyne
Stark – CF – Stevens
Massie – IL – O’Brien
Robertson – OL – D. Brown
Goals for New York Giants: Stevens 3, Brown 2, Ballantyne. For Bethlehem: Stark 2, Robertson 1. Referee: Charlie Creighton. Linesmen: Young and Watson. Time of halves: 45 minutes.