The Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club, badly crippled with injuries, survived another weekend without defeat, playing Brooklyn to a two goal draw here on Saturday afternoon and defeating the New York Nationals on Sunday by the score of 3 to 2. However, with the result of the other games, Bethlehem neither improved or impaired its position of fourth in the club standing.
Casualties and plenty of them in the already depleted ranks of Bethlehem Steel soccer players were added to on local field Saturday, when the badly crippled but fighting team drew at two goals each with the Brooklyn Wanders, a club not only intact with a speedy forward line but one which since the last meeting against Bethlehem was strengthened in the defense by the inclusion of Jock Marshall, veteran internationalist.
The manner in which the Bethlehem players were being bowled over and carried off the field reminded one of a battle field instead of a soccer pitch. Dame fortune certainly did not smile on the champions for before the end of the hostilities, two players were assisted off the field, probably to be lost for several weeks, while a third was hardly more than excess baggage by remaining in the game.
So acute was the situation that in the closing minutes one would hardly recognize the lineup as the Bethlehem Steel soccer team. Johnny Rollo, diminutive forward, started on the front line but before the first half was ended, did duty for a time in goal while Dave Edwards was being patched up and treated before he could return. In the second half Rollo was playing right halfback, replacing Whitey McDonald, who went to right fullback when McMeekin was injured. And just a short time before that the veteran Jock Ferguson was forced to quickly strip and get into uniform to replace Billy Allan, also a casualty.
The team took the field minus the services of O’Connell, inside left, and leading goal scorer, and Malcolm Goldie, outside left. The veteran Arthur Robertson was at outside wing with Rollo at the inside position. However, when the game ended O’Neil was playing on the forward line.
In spite of this crippled condition, the Steelmen gave as good as they received and if Edwards had been spared in the casualties there might have been a quite different story. For the first twenty minutes Bethlehem remained intact and had much the better of the play. At the expiration of that period Robertson cleverly tricked the defense to break through and then centered beautifully to Stark who whipped through a hard ground shot well out of the reach of Smith the Brooklyn custodian.
From then on old man “jinx” certainly was on the job. Allan was the first to go out, severely battered about the head in a collision and unable to return. Ten minutes later it was Edwards, who twisted his knee and Rollo was rushed into the breach for the emergency. Edwards returned to the game but was barely able to hobble and from that time on never again kicked the ball. On several saves he made, two in the last half especially which were phenomenal in his crippled condition, he was forced to throw the ball into play.
The injuries continued when shortly before half time McMeekin, fullback, twisted his knee, and was forced to retire. At one time the Steelmen had only nine players on the field. However, staring the second half the club was revamped as previously described.
After Stark’s opening goal, three more game in the last twenty minutes of the first half. Nelson, with a pretty shot equalized and then for about five minutes there was no more scoring. Finally Gillespie thrilled the large crowd of spectators with one of the prettiest solo efforts witnessed this season. From midfield he tricked his way through the halfbacks and then beat both Marshall and McMillan, a brace of backs who seldom make a mistake. Smith left his goal to head off the movement but his timing was faulty and before he could clear Gillespie whizzed the ball into the net.
With the one goal advantage Bethlehem was fighting hard to stave off the equalizer but to no avail. Brooklyn pressed hard, evident by no less than eight corners forced in the first half and one of these kicks was productive in the last few minutes of the half. Adair took the kick and manipulated a swerve to his drive, the ball sailing high and into the far corner. The half ended shortly afterward with the clubs deadlocked at two goals each.
Handicapped with men playing out of position, numerous reserves and team work shattered, the Steelmen waged a gallant fight to stave off defeat. Bethlehem’s hopes of victory centered on the efforts of Gillespie, Stark and Jaap and several times had the ball dangerously close to the net. Brooklyn’s speedy forward line with Nelson, Adair and Eisenhoffer always dangerous, initiated many forward movements but were frustrated by the determined play of the Bethlehem halfbacks and backs.
However, it remained for Edwards in his badly crippled condition to save the Steelmen from defeat when late in the half he was able to rise just high enough to tip a stinging drive from Nelson over the cross bar.
On the next breakaway, by Brooklyn it was Nelson again who tested the goalie, with a driving shot to the corner of the net which Edwards by making a headlong dive shoved the ball to a side to concede a corner. The end of the game with the draw result came as a welcome relief to the Steelmen. The lineup:
Bethlehem Steel – Brooklyn
Edwards – G – Smith
Allan – RFB – Marshall
McMeekin – LFB – McMillan
McDonald – RHB – Robertson
Carnihan – CHB – Drucker
MacGregor – LHB – Morris
Jaap – OR – Adair
Stark – IR – Curtis
Gillespie – CF – Nelson
Rollo – IL – Eisenhoffer
Robertson – OL –Yule
Goals: Stark, Gillespie, Nelson, Adair. Substitutions: Ferguson for Allan, O’Neil for Rollo, Rollo for McDonald, McDonald for McMeekin. Referee: Bloom. Time of halves, 45 minutes.
Before three thousand fans in Starlight Park, the Steelmen was the tenth clan to administer defeat to the New York Nationals, winning by the score of 4 to 1.
After a scoreless first half Bethlehem took the lead within a minute of resuming when Gillespie broke though on his own account. His first shot crashed against the crossbar but he cleverly headed the rebound into the net far out of McMinn’s reach.
The Nats came back strongly and forced two corners, but nothing resulted. Keeping up a strong attack, Henderson connected with a perfect center from Crilley and equalized with a great shot after some brilliant combination by the entire front line.
The Nationals now made things hot for Bethlehem, their defenders having a warm time in stopping Henderson who several times came within an ace of putting his side in the lead. The Steelworkers survived great pressure and took up the attack and Gillespie put them in front from a mix up a few yards out from the goal.
The Nationals were getting leg weary from the terrific pace, but the Bethlehemites spurted with surprising speed and from two breakaways, Granger and Rollo added further goals. Despite the three-goal lead against them, the Nats never gave up trying and were pressing at the final whistle. The lineup:
Bethlehem – Nationals
Geudert – G – McMinn
MacDonald – RFB – W. Wilson
H. Reid – LFB – Clark
W. Reid – RHB – Gallagher
Carnihan – CHB – M. Wilson
MacGregor – LHB – Slaven
Jaap – OR – Walker
Stark – IR – McKechnie
Gillespie – CF – Henderson
Granger – IL – Millar
Rollo – OL – Crilley
Goals: Bethlehem: Gillespie, 2; Granger and Rollo; Nationals, Henderson. Referee: C. E. Creighton. Linesmen: J. Hume and T. Cunningham. Time of halves, 45 minutes.