The Bethlehem soccer team, National champions, showed their class on the home field on Saturday afternoon before a big crowd when Fall River, league champions, was vanquished by the score of 4 goals to 0. The victory was achieved in one of the most thrilling combats witnessed on the home lot this season, a game in which the work of the respective goalies was outstanding.
Four times Bethlehem shot the ball past Blair to locate in the net while Edwards, the Bethlehem custodian, giving one of the greatest defensive displays between the uprights, frustrated every effort of the Fall River forwards, and many of these there were in the first half. In scoring Bethlehem’s forward line with the exception of Forrest and Granger, the latter replaced by Stark in the second half, each contributed a goal.
From the opening minute to the final blast of Referee McCabe’s whistle, the contest was spectacular. Raid after raid was initiated on the respective goals and in many of these movements the heavy wind was a factor. The game started and finished with a stiff gale sweeping down the field. Fall River had the advantage of this together with the sun in the first half, and although shot after shot was rained at Edwards, the Marksmen were unable to profit. Bethlehem, on the other hand, made most of every opportunity in the first half and against these conditions, even with the much heralded Fall River defense, succeeded in scoring twice, when Gillespie and Goldie each notched a counter.
Many spectacular goals have been witnessed made on the local field but not probably to eclipse the effort of Malcolm Goldie, the speedy little outside left, who in the closing minutes of the first half swerved the ball with a terrific drive into the high and far corner of the net from about thirty yards out. Blair made a desperate attempt to reach the ball but the swerve was just enough to carry it out of the reach of his outstretched arms.
In winning the game the champions disposed of a dangerous opponent for the time being, strengthening its hold on first place. Fall River, by virtue of the tie score played here earlier in the season, together with the victory achieved at Fall River later was expected to give the Steelmen a hard rub. However, Bethlehem was superior, its backs and halfbacks functioning with more effectiveness than those of the visitors while the forwards outclassed their rivals in making good on four of their shots while Fall River’s forwards went scoreless. IN goal there was no contrast between the spectacular work of Dave Edwards and that of Blair. Edwards in that game was in a class by himself.
Five minutes of the game hade hardly been played when Bethlehem rooters were given an opportunity to cheer. Gillespie got the ball close to the center of the field and moved forward the Fall River goal. McGill, the Marksmen’s right back, in his effort to clear miskicked and Gillespie following through beat Blair, who had left his goal, with his shot and Bethlehem was leading 1 to 0.
Then followed one of the most vicious attacks on the Bethlehem goal ever witnessed. Resorting to long high passes and trusting to the wind to do the rest, the ball hovered almost continually in the vicinity of the Bethlehem net. Campbell was the first visiting forward to test the merit of Edwards, but his shot was neatly cleared before it was back in Bethlehem territory and once again Edwards was called upon to handle, this time on a header from McEachern. Another Fall River drive counted for naught when the ball struck the upright and rebounded into the field.
Encouraged by the success in keeping the ball in Bethlehem territory, Fall River pressed with a determination and a goal seemed inevitable. One shot from Campbell that might have equalized struck the cross bar. This barrage of goal shooting continued for ten or more minutes before Bethlehem initiated a breakaway and swept down the field to force a corner. Jaap’s kick was well placed but Gillespie headed over the bar. An instant later Blair saved a well placed header from Goldie. Bethlehem continued to attack and a short time later was rewarded. Jaap took the ball down the wing spreading out the defense and then passed to Gillespie in center. The latter was well covered and deftly tipped the ball back to Goldie. The latter never lost an instant in putting his boot to it and with just enough swerve to carry it out of the reach of Blair and into the net.
Before the half ended, Fall River made another desperate rally. On a free kick just outside the penalty area, Edwards knocked down the ball and while recovering was roughed a bit and rolled on the ground but doggedly kept hold of the ball to make a clean clearance. Fall River pressed hard in the final minutes and forced two corners in rapid succession, the first saved by Edwards, who in doing so conceded the second, which was headed over the cross bar. The half ended with Bethlehem leading 2 goals to none.
Unable to score with the elements to their advantage, Fall River was a beaten team when the national champions came out for the restart. Granger, who played a hard game and was broke up a bit, was relieved of further duty. Archie Stark, donning a uniform for the first time since the Canadian trip and quite recently recovered from an illness, replaced the veteran Granger at inside right.
While Fall River had most of the play in the first half, Bethlehem had even more in the second half and the two goals by no mans describe the pressure the visiting defense was forced to endure. At times the visiting backs seemed completely demoralized. Gillespie, playing a dashing game at center, might have rolled the score to a bigger total had his accuracy in shooting not failed him, for no less than three times he was through with no one to beat but the goalie and on each of these occasions it was not Blair who saved so much as it was the shots of Gillespie which went wide.
But Blair did play a good game in spite of the goals scored and handled more than once from every forward on the Bethlehem team. The pressure at times was so severe that halfbacks were crowding the visitors’ citadel and taking shots at the net. But the champions could not be denied and it fell to the lot of Archie Stark to score first after the restart. The goal came after fifteen minutes of play, when in scrimmage close to the visitors’ net he sent the ball crashing past Blair.
Just before time ended, Jaap, who was beating Gibson, the visitors’ left back time and again, concluded the scoring for the afternoon. He took a shot pass from MacGregor and being free and close to the net, easily shoved the ball in for the final goal.
Fall River’s style of game was confined mostly to short passes, with the forwards well crowded in center. Against this Bethlehem resorted to the long sweeping passes to the outside wings, opening the defense and then driving to center. The spirited rivalry was more than once evident in the play and frequent warnings were doled out by Referee McCabe. The lineup:
Bethlehem – Fall River
Edwards – G – Blair
Barrie – RFB -- McGill
Eadie – LFB -- Gibson
Rankin – RHB -- McPherson
Carnihan – CHB -- Wilson
McGregor – LHB -- Coyle
Jaap – OR -- Campbell
Granger – IR -- Croft
Gillespie – CF -- Patterson
Forrest – IL -- White
Goldie – OL -- McEachern
Goals – Gillespie, Goldie, Stark, Jaap. Substitutions: Stark for Granger. Referee – McCabe. Time of halves – 45 minutes.