All doubt as to Bethlehem Steel's chances continuing in the playoff series for the American Soccer League championship vanished last night when the Steelmen administered a severe trouncing to the New York Nationals, U. S. F. A. cup champions, in the second game of the home and home series. Bethlehem won by the score of 4 to 0 and with the aggregate score of the two games advanced into the next round to meet Boston with plenty to spare. With the 2 to 1 victory registered here, Bethlehem's total score was 6 to 1.
In winning from the Nats the Steelmen gave probably their best display of soccer ever witnessed on a New York pitch. The Nats with their highly touted celebrities were completely at a loss in combating the Pennsylvanians and although the four goals scored were notched in the last fifteen minutes of play, Bethlehem had the upper hand throughout.
The forwards worked like a well oiled machine, hitting on all six and at all times with a perfect understanding. Gillespie, at outside right, was handicapped with a crippled ankle, injured at Providence and although it somewhat slowed up his speed, he stuck gamely to his task and did exceedingly well under the conditions. In the second half he was relieved by Walter Jackson, who in an outside right position found his stride and with Stark shared the scoring honors of the game, each with two goals. On the other wing, Goldie's centers were a continual source of concern to the New York backs. The inside men, Jaap and Rollo, gave one of the finest displays of their career. They played hard and intelligent and ran the New York backs with their well timed and accurately judged distribution.
Bethlehem maintained the advantage throughout the entire first half, narrowly missing scoring on several occasions. On one particular instance a shot from Rollo, with the goalie beaten, grazed the crossbar.
For about fifteen minutes of the second half, the game was give and take with the ball traveling from one end of the field to the other. Bethlehem continued this aggressive work but the New Yorkers frustrated in their every effort and seldom passing the Bethlehem backs on the forward movement gradually weakened. IN the middle of the second half, Henderson was sent into the lineup for Farrelli. Another change in the New York lineup was made when Donald, a back, was injured in preventing Goldie from scoring. A foul was committed inside the penalty area on the play but Referee Creighton awarded a free kick just outside of the restricted territory. Wilson replaced Donald, going to right back with Warden shifting over to left back.
The inclusion of Henderson, reputed as a crack center forward, had no material effect in bettering the New Yorkers scoring chances for he was as easily taken care of as was Farrelli. Visions of a scoreless deadlock were apparent as the teams waged their battle in the second half and the first thirty minutes elapsed with no scoring. Then Bethlehem found itself and dazzled the Gotham fans with some rapid fire scoring.
Down the field swept the Bethlehem forwards, completely eluding the defense in their breakaway and over shot a pass to Stark. The latter took the ball with his left foot and after beating the opponents had the goalie helpless with a terrific drive.
Hardly had the game been resumed when again Bethlehem swept down the field, the Nats seemingly demoralized by their clever work and again Stark beat the opponents and crashed another rifle shot into the meshings with his left foot.
More or less concentrating their attention to the center forward was just the opportunity sought by Bethlehem and instead of the ball going to center Jackson crossed the defense with a rifle shot for the opposite corner of the net with Renzulli nowhere near to save.
Bethlehem was by no means through and were vigorously cheered for their brilliant work. Another combined movement of the forwards again beat the defense and Renzulli left his goal to intercept. But Jackson beat him to the ball and lobbed the leather into an open net. Satisfied with the four goals and assured of victory, Bethlehem contended itself in the remaining few minutes to clever play and short passing. The lineup:
Nationals – Bethlehem
Renzulli – G – Edwards
Warden – RFB – McMeekin
Donald – LFB – Allen
Chatten – RHB – Reid
Slaven – CHB – Carnihan
Martyn – LHB – MacGregor
Walker – OR – Gillespie
Carlson – IR – Jaap
Ferrell – CF – Stark
Leonard – IL – Rollo
McKenna – OL – Goldie
Goals: Stark 2; Jackson 2. Referee: Creighton. Linesmen: J. Hume and McCabe.