Inability to locate the ball in the net forced Bethlehem Steel F. C. to share the points with Fall River when the national champions and league champions went to the two forty-five minute session to a scoreless draw before two thousand fans on Lehigh Field on Saturday afternoon. It was the opening home game in the American Soccer League and the second game played by Bethlehem.
That Fall River returned home with the points divided can probably be attributed exclusively to the sensational work of Tommy Blair between the uprights. His form was incomparable and it is doubtful if a more brilliant exhibition of goal tending was ever witnessed on the field. Taking shots from all angles, near and far, and on more than one occasion when apparently hopelessly beat, he frustrated the torrid attack waged by the Bethlehems.
Bethlehem front line, a veteran aggregation with Stark at center forward, Rollo and Goldie on the left and Granger and Jaap on the right, were frequently raiding the visitors' goal and shots came from the toe of every one of the front line quintet. Some struck the cross bar, others were shoved out with a one hand lunge while still others that might have beaten the goalie went flying harmlessly past. Such were the breaks the locals were forced to contend with. The Bethlehem halfbacks were in their element and contributed both to the offense and defense and when the halfbacks were beaten Allen and Eadie at backs successfully turned back the movements so that very few of the Fall River tries at goal were from dangerous locations.
Bethlehem played against the sun in the first half and for fifteen minutes or more there was little to choose. First Bethlehem attacked and then Fall River brought the ball down into Steel territory. The ball swung from one end of the field to the other, both front lines displaying pretty work in their forward movements.
The home clan then struck its stride and from then on to the final whistle the visitors were hardly more than a defensive team. At times it was hard to distinguish the difference between the backs and halfbacks, Fall River massing these two departments in a desperate effort to check the Bethlehem attacks.
The superiority of the Steel Workers was most pronounced after the restart when only on rare occasions did Fall River invade local territory. It was in this half that Tommy Blair did his stuff in phenomenal style. To describe all the shots he handled or those that came near entering the goal mouth would consume columns. Suffice it to say that every player on the front line had more than one try at goal but fate ruled with an iron hand. The Fall River backs were beaten time and again, Stark, Goldie , Granger and Smith having open shots with no one to beat but Blair and he on the day was unbeatable. On one of his efforts, Stark taking the ball through had beaten both backs and was ready to shoot from close range when brought down by a tackle from the rear.
The superiority of the home clan is best and most convincingly described in the number of corners conceded. Bethlehems forced and even dozen, five in the first half and seven after the restart. Fall River forced four corners, all coming in the first half. In the second half of the game, Edwards handled exactly four times, clearly demonstrating which of the two teams was doing the pressing. The score:
Bethlehem Steel -- Fall River
Edwards -- G -- Blair
Eadie -- RFB -- Tate
Allen -- LFB -- McGill
McDonald -- RFB -- McPherson
Carnihan -- CHB -- Hyslop
MacGregor -- LHB -- Coyle
Jaap -- OR -- Campbell
Granger -- IR -- Ried
Stark -- CF -- Morley
Rollo -- IL -- White
Goldie -- OL -- McEachern
Referee -- James Walders. Substitutions: Kennedy for White, E. Smith for Rollo. Time of halves, 45 minutes.