by F. S. Nonnemacher
In a game scintillating with brilliancy and probably one of the greatest soccer demonstrations ever witnessed in Bethlehem, the Bethlehem Steel F. C. and Boston F. C., the latter the National Professional champions, halved the points in the American Soccer League contest on the Steel Field on Saturday afternoon. The ninety minutes of play was concluded in a scoreless deadlock.
Breakaways were frequent and several on which scoring seemed inevitable. However, it happened that the back had just timed his speed right to tackle or that the goalies were on their mettle when the shots came hard and fast, many from fairly close range.
In goal for Bethlehem was Dave Carson who on his display in this game undoubted clinched his berth as first call guardian in spite of the apparent ability of other candidates in the squad. Boston's parting shots were not as frequent as those of Bethlehem, the Steel Workers seeming to have much the better of the play, but when they did come they were well placed. The left foot drives of Whitey Fleming especially from a fairly good position, have proven terrors to other guardians but several times Carson scooped the curving sphere of the ground to clear when the ball was labeled.
The two Fergusons, the elder and the younger, were the Bethlehem choice for backs and although the speedy wingmen of the visiting clan sometimes eluded them it was more often that they broke up the attack. Capt. Carnihan, MacGregor and McDonald contributed admirably in supporting their backs.
The veteran Whitely Fleming, a Steel Worker for years, was as dangerous as any of the visiting forwards. Playing his usual laying back game Whitey more than once took a well placed pass to break away and go dribbling down the wing. One of his most dangerous invasions was in eluding Davy Ferguson and then with apparently no one to beat but Carson went boring down on the Bethlehem goalie. Carnihan relieved the situation with a beautiful kick and likewise relieved Fleming of the ball.
Bethlehem's forward line worked like a unit, the inside men with Rollo particularly distributing the play in excellent manner. Stark was the victim of close attention as well as Goldie, on the left wing, and in covering these Bethlehem forwards the visiting backs did their job well. However, Stark had opportunities and his drives were well labeled but when the backs erred it was Steel who frustrated his efforts to score.
Bethlehem's most glowing opportunity to score came on a play engineered by Rollo and Stark and after the latter took the parting shot, skimming the ball over the ground, the spectators in the stands and many along the sidelines and in close vicinity of the goal, responded with a mighty cheer when it seemed as through the ball had crossed the line. This joy was quickly transformed to gloom when Steel cleared and the play continued. Rollo had tricked the backs and was working diagonally across the field to the right hand side. Stark dropped back to the opposite side when Rollo whipping around completely surprised the visitors' defense in placing accurately to the toe of the Bethlehem center. Stark's shot went skimming over the ground toward the far corner of the net when Steel just about knocked it down and then cleared. It was on this play that it seemed as through Bethlehem had scored.
The restart was simply a repetition of the first half with both teams battling hard to annex victory. The play shifted from one end of the field to the other with the Steel Workers doing the most pressing. Especially in the closing minutes did Bethlehem force the issue and it seemed that Boston had given up all hopes of scoring but concentrated its efforts on defensive tactics.
Boston returned home with Bethlehem the only club in the America Soccer League that the National champions have been unable to defeat in league competition. In the four games played, two resulted in draws and the other two victories for the Steel men. The lineup:
Bethlehem -- Boston
Carson -- G -- Steel
D. Ferguson -- RFB -- McMillan
J. Ferguson -- LFB -- Sharp
McDonald -- RHB -- McIntyre
Carnihan -- CHB -- Hamil
MacGregor -- LHB -- J. Ballentyne
Turner -- OR -- McNabb
Granger -- IR -- W. Ballentyne
Stark -- CF -- Battles
Rollo -- IL -- Bookie
Goldie -- OL -- Fleming
Referee -- A. Nuttall, New York. Linesmen -- Smart and Watson. Time of halves -- 45 minutes.