Boston, an infant recently admitted to membership in the American Soccer League, made a most favorable impression and by its display against the Bethlehem team loomed up as one of the most formidable aggregations of soccer talent booting the ball in this country. Reinforced with a bevy of Scottish celebrities, headed by the invincible Muirhead, a star of the Glasgow Rangers, and a member of a first division Scottish club when he decided to come to American, the team seems destined to garner great soccer honors during the rapidly approaching campaign.
Before Bethlehem journeyed to Boston the club mustered together its reserves to assume the vacancies of the Jackson brothers, Walter and Alec, both of which have decided to sever their relations with the local club for the present season. Dave Ferguson was also among the missing. However, with capable reserves to fill in these positions the Steel Workers felt confident that their men could successfully compete with the Boston opposition. They did compete, and, in fact, carried the edge through three-quarters of the game until the irresistible barrage of drives at goal finally resulted in counters and ultimately lost the locals the game.
With every element against a good game the exhibition will go down on the cards as one of the finest opening season games ever witnessed. A thrill a minute was the run of the two forty five minute periods in which the spectators marveled at the physical condition of the performers who ran, staggered and tottered to and fro on a sun-baked field, virtually on the verge of heat exhaustion.
The Boston aggregation, mostly all recent arrivals in this country, played their heads off to make a favorable impression, while Bethlehem players strived hard to retain the prestige enjoyed for years. It became apparent that the Bethlehem players in the latter stages of the game somewhat reserved their energy, due probably to the excessive heat. But outstanding in the contest was also revealed that Bethlehem lacks in effectiveness in certain positions and if the team is to be a contender for soccer honors improvement must be forthcoming. The final whistle came as a most welcome relief both to the players and spectators alike.
That Boston did not equalize with Bethlehem earlier in the game and in fact assume the lad was due to the brilliant work of Carson, the Bethlehem goalie. Shot after shot Carson turned back and frequently in the vicious attacks on the Bethlehem citadel fortune played hand in hand with the stocky Bethlehem goal tender, the ball numerous times striking the bar or uprights, missing a goal only by inches. So sensational was the work of the Bethlehem goalie that Boston fans showered him with plaudits when he walked off the field at the end of the first half.
However, one slip of the invincible Carson proved disastrous for Bethlehem and the turning point in which the Boston victory quickly followed. IN an attempt to save what seemed one of the easiest shots of the game, Carson left goal in his attempt to scoop up the ball with one hand. The sphere rolled off his arm and directly in the path of Stevens, a good looking center forward, who blasted in the tally that equalized the count. It looked as though Stevens pushed the b all into the net with his hand, but whether he did or not was of no material consequence, insofar as the opportunity was concerned, for he was less than four feet away from an open goal.
That equalizing tally also seemed to have a decided reaction on the pace assumed by the Bethlehem players up to that time. From then on to the end of the game, with few exceptions, the Bethlehem team appeared to relent in their efforts seemingly sensing the severe conditions under which the game was played and the laurels at stake for an exhibition game.
Whitey Fleming mad his debut with the Boston team and fitted in nicely, displaying all the skill which has earned him the reputation of being one of the most dangerous forwards in American soccer. However, Whitey was not alone in presenting a threat on the forward line for the Boston eleven, without a doubt, is a five-man threat with every player dangerous when in the vicinity of the goal. Boston, too, has defense in which Muirhead is a bulwark of strength and which showed weakness in only one position, that of Grant, a junior player, given a trial at right halfback.
From then on to the end of the game Boston pressed with determined vigor and it is doubtful if a goalie ever stood up under a more terrific barrage of shots such as directed at Carson. Bethlehem occasionally assumed the aggressive and had several opportunities to score, but most of the time was backed to their own goal in their effort to frustrate the Boston attack. Particularly was the aggressive attitude pronounced during the first ten minutes of play when the teams turned around with Bethlehem one goal in the lead.
When this movement was subsided temporarily it was believed that Boston had shot its bolt and Bethlehem would be able to retain its lead. However, the unexpected occurred when Carson in attempting to clear let the ball roll out of his arm and Stevens directed it into the net for the equalizing count. A few minutes later Boston scored a clean goal when Stevens carried the ball from the center of the field beat out the backs and with Carson the only man in his way surprised the latter when he passed to McNab, who in an instant crashed the ball into the net without Carson having a chance to stop it. Encouraged by this success, Boston added its third when Fleming crossed to Stevens and the latter headed it into goal. Both teams seemed pretty will petered out in the last twelve minutes of play with no more scoring and very few opportunities, in fact, to add to the many thrills, previously served the spectators. The lineup:
Bethlehem -- Boston
Carson -- G -- Patterson
Young -- RFB -- McMillan
Ferguson -- LFB -- McArthur
McGregor -- RHB -- Grant
Carnihan -- CHB -- Thompson
Robertson -- LHB -- Muirhead
Turner -- OR -- McNab
Purdian -- IR -- J. Ballantine
Granger -- CF -- Stevens
Maxwell -- IL -- W. Ballentine
Goldie -- OL -- Fleming
Goals: Purdian, Stevens 2, McNab. Referee: Thomas White. Linesmen, Terris, Bethlehem; Ross, Boston. Time of halves, 45 minutes.