The exploits of the Steelmen on the soccer field this season mark the most successful campaigning enjoyed since the game was established at the big steel plant. Their many victories and successes in the cup competitions leave them without a question of doubt the undisputed champions of America. Only once this season was the sting of defeat tasted and that was in an exhibition contest staged in St. Louis, where after playing the combined efforts of the selected opponents in that district a defeat came after the Steel Workers won the opening game, played a second a tie and in the third game submitted to defeat. With the birth of the shipyard clubs it might safely be said that the competition was by far stronger this past season than ever before and the success of the Bethlehem team speaks volumes for the great combination and scientific play developed by the team.
Saturday's game was only another instance in which the aspirations of a clever and hard playing organization were crumpled and to make the defeat bitter was the fact that in three starts Bethlehem always came out on top. The Steel Workers outplayed their rivals at every angle and held the whip hand throughout the contest.
The wintry blasts had a marked effect on the playing as well as the attendance, hardly more than 3000 enthusiasts turning out to witness the contest. In contrast with the record-breaking attendance at the game in Fall River, the crowd was a mere handful. The high wind played queer tricks and at times greatly marred the play. On long passes, the sphere caught in the wintry gusts, made it difficult for the forwards to control the elusive ball. The half-frozen spectators rooted hard for the Paterson contingent but as the play progressed those frequent outbursts became less pronounced and slow but sure their efforts crumbled under the great combination play of the champions. The previous defeats seemed to haunt the Jerseymen and when opportunity did present itself in a way to make them dangerous their attack lacked the necessary punch. Bethlehem went into the fray 3 to 1 favorites but the [. . .]ckers of these wagers found few if any doubting the superiority of the Bethlehem team. Those that did merely took a gamblers chance, hoping that the high wind might swing the tide in favor of the Jerseymen.
Bethlehem won the toss and during the first half the Silk Soccers had to face the wind, but curiously enough put up a better game than in the second half. Their attempts at scoring were feeble, the ball either going wide of the mark or over the bar. In diagnosing the elements, Bethlehem wisely kept the ball near the ground where the wind would have little chance to perform its tricks while their rivals would kick high in the air and often attempt long passes. This was noticeable during both periods but particularly in the first when it worked to the disadvantage of the Jerseymen.
Starting off with a rush, Paterson during the first five minutes appeared to be faster than the champions but the latter soon settled down and worked the ball into Paterson territory. Bethlehem kept pressing hard and after 11 minutes of play figured in a stiff scrimmage in front of the Jerseyites' goal. Butler found an opening and tipped the ball through for the first counter. This early success did not dishearten the visitors and they renewed their attack with greater vigor and for the next 15 or 20 minutes the ball see-sawed up and down the field. Bethlehem always managing to stave off the Silk Soccers when a score seemed immanent. During the last six minutes Paterson had three excellent opportunities but wasted them, all by poor shooting and the period ended with Bethlehem leading by the score of 1 goal to 0.
At the restart Paterson again carried the attack and with the wind to their back soon had the ball in Bethlehem territory. This pace they continued for about 10 minutes but when the goals materialized the team gradually slowed down. Bethlehem was staying the same steady game that characterized the work in the opening half and always seemed to be holding something in reserve. This was especially noticeable when the Jerseymen assumed a dangerous attitude but the champions came to the front by blocking their every effort. After 23 minutes of play Bethlehem annexed its second and final tally. This time the alert Ratican booted the counter. T here was a stiff scrimmage in front of the Paterson goal when Fleming accurately centered the ball, and Ratican sneaked it past Paterson for a counter.
From then on the Paterson contingent was completely disheartened and the game dragged along 22 minutes more before the referee's whistle ended the contest. When Bethlehem threatened, Paterson would pull itself together and played brilliantly in flashes, but lacked the fine combination work of its opponents.
The fullbacks and halfbacks of the Steel Workers gave the forwards fine support, while there was a painful lack of concert action between the Paterson backs and their attacking squad. The score:
Bethlehem -- Paterson
Duncan -- G -- Healey
Wilson -- RFB -- Broadbent
Ferguson -- LFB -- Murray
Pepper -- RHB -- J. Stark
Campbell -- CHB -- Vanderveighe
Brown -- LHB -- Meyerdiecks
McKelvey -- OR -- Knowles
Butler -- IR -- Bleich
Ratican -- CF -- Post
Forrest -- IL -- A. Stark
Fleming -- OL -- Brown
Goals -- Butler and Ratican. Referee -- George Young of the Philadelphia Referees' Association. Linesmen -- James Walders and Robert Scott, of Philadelphia. Time of halves -- 45 minutes.