It was the Steelmen who looked like the title contenders and played in real championship form, spanking the Nationals by the one-sided score of 4 goals to 0. Even this core does not describe how completely Bethlehem outclassed its opponents. Only once in fact in the entire ninety minutes of play did the visitors present a threat and that was a shot from McGhee on which Edwards made a brilliant save in tipping it over the cross-bar and conceded the Giants the only corner of the game.
The work of Archie Stark, center forward, was a revelation. Stark, who seemed slowing up in recent months, played in a form characteristic of his best. Speedy, aggressive, displaying excelling ball control and passing accurately, was his chief forte in running the Nationals' defense ragged. Tom Gillespie, at outside right, too, played as though possessed and his efforts in repeatedly beating the defense left him nearly exhausted in the closing minutes.
The forward line the Steelmen fielded on Saturday is the one that has given the best display in recent weeks and probably the one to be kept in tact. A perfect understanding seemed prevalent and plenty of speed was injected into its efforts. The dash of the forwards inspired the defense. Carnihan was a Gibraltar at center halfback and was given able support by W. Reid and MacGregor, his flanking playmates. The fearless aggressiveness of Hugh Reid, massive back, and his long clearances brought back memories of the days when the veteran Jock Ferguson, Sam Fletcher and other former steel celebrities, were in their prime.
Shortly after the kick-off Stark thrilled when he broke through but tapped too finely and his shot, missing by inches, sailed by. Twice within the nest three minutes he carried through but fate rather than fortune decreed his efforts unproductive. Then it was Tom Gillespie, speedy and daring outside right, who let drive several labeled shots only to have them handled by Renzulli. Every player on the Bethlehem front line had opportunities. After eleven minutes of play Stark reached the net with a stinging drive on a cross from the left. Referee Scott allowed the goal until after the Nationals protested and then, after consulting the linesmen, reversed his decision, claiming offside.
Not in the least discouraged the Steelmen continued to press and after seventeen minutes of play were rewarded when a quick cross from Jaap to the center and close to the goal mouth deflected off the leg of Warden, Renzulli looked on as the ball rolled into the net. Only once was Edwards forced to handle in the minutes that followed for the remainder of the half, and on two other occasions two other shots from far out went harmlessly by.
In the early minutes after the restart the Nationals rallied and for a time gave the Bethlehem defense a little more work. However, the Steelmen soon after took command and scored. A movement down the right, no which Stark made an effort to carry through, was blocked. In t he scrimmage the ball rolled loosely to the right. Granger followed through and Renzulli left his goal to clear but the Bethlehem forward was first to reach the loose ball and tapped it into the open net. In his determined effort to handle Renzulli collided heavily with Granger and the latter was slightly injured.
After thirty-five minutes the Steelmen had the game well sewed up when Goldie reached the net with a stinging drive. A long clearance from Hugh Reid made this goal possible, Goldie shoving a neat pass to Stark uncovered and the latter, with no one but Renzulli to beat, placed the ball well out of his reach.
In the last six minutes of play, during which Jaap inside left, was of no use to his team because of an injury but remained on the field, the Nationals looked their best but were unable to prevent a shut-out.
In spite of the heavy snowfall the day previous, the ground was in excellent condition. The snow had been removed and the pitch was entirely dray and fast. Players actually kicked up dust, a condition hard to conceive after the heavy snowfall of the day previous. The line-up:
Bethlehem -- N. Y. Nationals
Edwards -- G -- Renzulli
H. Reid -- RFB -- Warden
McMeekin -- LFB -- Donald
W. Reid -- RHB - -Chatton
Carnihan -- CHB -- Slaven
MacGregor - -LHB -- Martyn
Gillespie -- OR -- Gallagher
Granger -- IR -- Wortman
Stark -- CF -- Henderson
Jaap -- IL -- McKechnie
Goldie -- OL -- McGhee
Goals: Granger, Goldie, Jaap, Stark. Referee, D. Scott: linesmen, J. Murphy, John Walders. Time of halves, 45 minutes.