Visions of retaining possession of the National challenge soccer trophy of the United States were blotted out in the last two minutes of a most grueling contest in which Bethlehem F. C., holders of the cup, were forced to bow to defeat at the hands of the undefeated Robins Dry Dock eleven. The famous steelmakers were eliminated in the fifth round by the score of 1 goal to 0.
The victory was the culmination of one of the most exciting battles ever staged and came after a heart-breaking contest lasing an hour and twenty minutes and requiring two extra periods of 15 minutes each for a verdict.
This victory paves the way for the Robins to meet the Fore River team of Quincy, Mass., in the Eastern semi-final, the winnner of which will meet the winner of the Western semi-final in the final round of competition.
It was playing of sensational order that characterized the contest from the very opening minute to the final whistle. Both teams were primed to champioinship form which was indicated by the fast and furious pace carried througout the long session. Several times shots were rained on the citadel of each clan but scoring was warded off until the closing minutes by nothing less than phenomenal work by the gaol custodians.
To Bethlehem the loss of the National honors will be severely felt. Four out of five years the Steel Workers successfully defended the title of National champions and on the strength of their showing in rising to the occasion in a cup competiion, entering the game against the Dry Dockers the slight favorite. Bethlehem fielded on of its strongest clubs with the exception of Fleming, outside left, which necessitated a change in the lineup. It may have been that this upheaval of several positions may have interfered somewhat with the general smoothness in the combination work of the team. Corrigan, one of the players most recently signed was included in the lineup and assigned to the berth at center forward. This victory given the Robins twenty-two wins out of twenty-three games played with the odd one being tied. Several weeks ago Morse Dry docks emerged winners over the Robins in a Cup game by the score of one goal to nothing. Had this victory stood the Dry Dockers would have been eliminated. However, the Robins management learned that Morse played a man who was one day shy lacking eligibility and when the protest was heard, the soccer officials ordered a replay in which Robins disposed of Morse. The record established by the Brooklyn crowd is one of the finest ever complied, considereing that in addition to eliminating the champions from the running, the team has now met all the best in the east, and also the champions of St. Louis when they toured there during the Yuletide holidays.
Five thousand excited soccer fans, a record breaking crowd for a fifth roudn, gathering on Todd field, the home loam of the Brooklyn Crowd, and watched the fast exhibition. Up to within two minutes of the end they were prepared to see the replay come to Bethlehem when Maguire from a corner on the right snapped the ball into a corner of Bethlehem's net of the badly needed tally that made Robins the semi-finalists in the soccer classic of North America.
Captain Miller of the Robins won the toss and the visitors kicked off. The Brooklyn players promptly started pressing and forced two corners at the very start, without result. Fouls were given against both Bethlehem and the Robins in turn. Renzuell, the home custodian, brought off a brilliant save of a hot one from Forrest, and a bit later, Robertson of the Robins, during a Bethlehem rally, stopped a wicked shot, getting the ball full in the face. Miller tried hard to land one in the corner of the net, but Duncan of Bethlehem scooped it out in the nick of time. Maguire was laid low in a mix-up, but quickly resumed his place. Score at half time: Robins 0; Bethlehem 0.
The Robins put on more steam after the change of ends and generally throughout the seond period set the pace. A corner came quickly, but Ferguson, Bethlehem's star full bacak, interposed time and again with his sure right foot. A charge by the steemakers brought Renzuelli to the ground, but the ball dribbled out behind Peat, the Robins' right half back, then came to greif, staying out of the game two minutes to recuperate. Ratican cleverly outwitted Murphy, but found his match in Ferguson. Ratican next forced a corner, but it yielded nothing, nor did a pass from Miller to Shanholt, dangerously close up.
Ferguson kept up his good work, and both Robertson and Clarke worked hard in the Robins' defense. Struch of Bethlehem was the next one to get hurt, but first aid soon put him on his feet. Near the close of the second half the Robins found opportunity for a whirlwind drive. Duncan stopped a beauty from Ratican and Miller and Stanholt induged in scintillating plays, which Murray broke up.
Neither side having scored after ninety minutes of play, Referee Cunningham ordered extra periods, Bethlehem getting choice ofends. Most of the pressing in the first fifteen minutes was done by the Robins.
A determined charge ended with Duncan, Ratican and Satanholt all in a heap in Bethlehem's goal mouth Clarke ofthe Robins had a deep cut over his left eye and McKelvey of Bethlehem was gashed on the cheekbone -- tangible evidence of the hard pace kept up by both sides. In the last fifteen minutes Forrest of Bethlehem was stretched out, recovering like the rest.
The Robins continued to press with determination. A fine block by McKelvey stopped Maguire's kick following a foul. Another corner for the Robins, kicked out by Garside, was headed over by Clarke.
Still the Brooklynites would not be denied. A final corner on the right wing rewarded their efforts and Maguire succeeded in lifting the ball over Duncan's shoulder into Bethlehem's net. Only two minutes remained for play, and the national champions, now dethroned, failed to rally.
Robins D. Dock (1) -- Bethlehem (0)
Renzueli -- G -- Duncan
Robertson -- R. B. -- Collier
Brownlee -- L. B. -- Ferguson
Peat -- R. H. -- Murray
Clarke -- C. H. -- Campbell
Lance -- L. H. -- Morrison
Garside -- O. R. -- McKelvey
Maguire -- I. R. -- Sturch
Ratican -- C. -- Corrigan
Miller -- I. L. -- Forrest
Stanholt -- O. L. -- Harris
Goal -- Maguire.
Referee -- T. Cunningham. Linesmen --- C. E. Creighton and G. Caldicott. Time of halves -- 45 minutes and two extra periods of 15 minutes each.