The game marked the resumption of the soccer season in this city after an absence of ten weeks and that soccer fans welcomed the return of the sport was evidence by the fairly good gathering which turned out to see the fracas.
The snow and rain of the night before and the morning before the game somewhat played havoc with the field which before the inclement elements was in fairly good condition. The local management, however, was determined to have the game over with and several hours were spent on the field during the morning shaping it for the contest. The turf could hardly have been described as excellent for the championship tilt, but it was plenty good enough for the champions to exhibit their wares and show several of their new men to their best advantage.
Fans who were somewhat doubtful as to the ability of Sturch, a former Canadian player and one of the recent additions to the squad, were dazzled with his brilliant exhibition of footwork and scoring power. From the very beginning of the game to the end he toyed with his opponents and despite the fact that two or more men undertook to tackle him when in possession of the ball he easily evaded them and either shot accurately for the goal or completed a perfect pass. His playing was nothing less than phenomenal and probably displayed even better footwork and combination play than the veteran Bob Millar, who is now sporting the colors of the Robins Drydocks. While the entire Bethlehem team pled as a unit, the work of Sturth and Harris loomed up as the most prominent. Between these two players the majority of the goals were counted and it is quite likely that the individual efforts of Sturch would have resulted in more scoring if on several occasions when in a position for a good shot he had passed to one of his teammates who could have completed the play.
Seldom did the play ever get out of the visitors' territory and when it did the ball was quickly returned. IN fact, in the closing minutes the contest really became a farce, when on several occasions the Bethlehem players tooted the ball in the vicinity of their own goal and only for this it is doubtful if Duncan, the Bethlehem goalkeeper, would have been called upon to make a save. The cool, heady play of the champions stood out strongly, while the Wanderers, slipping, sliding and falling around the lot, were apparently extending themselves to their utmost in a desperate effort to check the Bethlehem scoring. They tried hard to make the game interesting, but found Bethlehem displaying one of the best forms this season, a playing mood that would likely have mowed down their strongest competitor with little difficulty.
The game was scarcely a minute old when Sturch opened up the scoring with a beautifully placed shot that completely beat Brearly in goal. The next counter came about eight minutes later, when Harris headed to Sturch at close range. Brearly handled Sturch's shot, but could not hold it and Bethlehem had already annexed its second counter. The third was also registered from the toe of Sturch. These early successes served to arouse the determination of the visitors to still greater efforts, but they proved to be of no avail and before many more minutes elapsed Fleming was given the opportunity to score. The little wingman, who usually plays a hard dashing game, was somewhat off color in this contest and did not look nearly as speedy as he usually does. His chance to score came on a penalty when the referee detected on of the visitors holding and "Whitey" shot the ball into the net with little difficulty. "Billy" Forrest added the fifth counter in the closing minute of play, engineering a bit of strategy in accomplishing the trick. Forrest was in position to shoot, but one of the other players had advanced to even a better position and when Brearly shifted expecting a pass, Forrest rolled a slow grounder into the net.
While Sturch did none of the scoring in the final half it was really through his efforts that all the counters were made. It was usually he who carried the ball up the field and in one particular instance he deliberately passed the ball to Harris for the score when he himself could probably have better scored. Four of the last five counters came from the toe of Harris, while the fifth was annexed by McKelvey.
Bart McGhee and Napier, center halfback, played best for the visitors, but the outside left was badly supported by his teammates and his best efforts counted for naught. The lineup:
Bethlehem -- Wanderers
Duncan -- G -- Brearley
J. Wilson -- R. F. B. -- Campbell
Ferguson -- L.F. B. -- Taylor
Murray -- R. H. B. -- Fossett
J. Campbell -- C. H. B. -- Napier
W. Morrison -- L. H. B. -- Watson
McKelvey -- O. R. -- Barrett
Sturch -- I. R. -- Graham
Harris -- C. F. -- Bogie
Forrest -- I. L. -- J. McGhee
Fleming -- O. L. -- B. McGhee
Goals -- Harris 4, Sturch 3, Fleming McKelvey, Forrest. Referee -- Dave Scott, Philadelphia. Linesmen -- Easton and Pearco. Time of halves -- 45 minutes