Hard fought and cleanly played with brilliant passing and clever manipulation of the ball were the outstanding characteristics of the contest as time and again the wings swept up and down the field.
Two elevens comprising the cream of American soccer talent and an array of stars, international and otherwise, who were thoroughly established in the fundamentals of the dribbling game, were the makeup of both clubs. The respective clans were showered with the plaudits of the biggest gathering to witness a soccer game on the Steel Field this season.
"Mickey" Hamil, Irish internationalist, Abel and Patterson were outstanding in the defensive display of the visitors, especially in the defensive play of the latter who was called upon to handle many shots "Whitey" Fleming, the former Bethlehemite, and Wourtex, the Boston outside, together with the Ballantynes and Stevens at center forward, comprised a formidable forward line for the visitors but one that the Bethlehem backs were successfully able to cope with in all emergencies. Particularly was the work of "Jock" Young and fleet-footed right back, "Bill" Carnihan, who played his first game at home since weeks of idleness, due to illness, and "Bill" Highfield, the Bethlehem goalie, conspicuous. Carnihan was more than equal to the occasion in holding Stevens in tow and the opportunities of the Boston team to score were more frequent from Fleming and the two inside men rather than Stevens at center forward.
"Bill" Highfield, in goal for Bethlehem, was not called upon to handle often but when he was it was to save from shots that came dangerously close to entering the net. And most dangerous were those that came from the toe of Fleming, the former Bethlehem forward. Early in the game Fleming tested Highfield with a long curve shot that the Bethlehem custodian easily handled. Later on it was Fleming who again had opportunity to score in a scrimmage in front of the Bethlehem goal but his deft little touch in trying to place the ball in the corner of the net was handled successfully by Highfield who took a flying dive almost across the length of the goal mouth to puss it out, conceding the visitors a corner. Then late in the game it fell to Fleming to miss on the most opportunity shot of the game. The white-topped wing broke clear of the backs and was carrying the ball straight into the goal. Highfield probably erred when he came out to intercept but his mistake was not costly for Fleming with an open goal of a target shot wide and the danger of producing the equalizer was averted.
No less than thirty minutes of play had been consumed in the first period before the scoreless deadlock was broken and this was possible through an effort of Archie Stark. Granger, Turner and Maxwell had several times come dangerously close to notching a goal for Bethlehem but their shots either went sailing by or were handled successfully by Patterson. Finally the opportunity presented itself and came immediately after a free kick was awarded Bethlehem deep in Boston territory. The ball came sailing up the center of the field where Stark took possession just a bit beyond the median. Down the field he went, eluding the halfbacks. Abel and McMillan were closing in on him and just when they seemed to tackle, Stark shot. Patterson was completely beaten as the ball sailed toward the corner, struck the upright and then rebounded into the playing field. Granger was among the forwards playing the ball and went sprawling on his back in the very goal mouth. As the ball rebounded his presence of mind prompted him to act quickly and was successful in driving the ball into the net.
Boston protested to the referee, contended that Granger was offside at the time. However, it seemed as though he was legitimately in the play, being in the back of the ball when it rebounded from the upright. All doubt was dispensed when Referee Walders, whose officiating was among the best witnessed here this season, ruled that the ball was across the line on Stark's shot and that the latter was entitled to the goal, boosting his record for the season to twenty-seven.
While Bethlehem had undoubtedly the better of the play in the first half Boston held its own with the Steel Workers throughout the second period, inspired by their determined effort to notch the equalizer. Breakaways were frequent with the play traveling from one end of the field to the other. Parting shots were narrowly missed, a header from Stark being extremely close and went bye by inches when it seemed that Paterson was beaten.
Absent in the lineup were Goldie, the speedy outside left, whose accurate crossing has been responsible for many Bethlehem goals this season, and Tommy Muirhead, the famed Boston center half. Arthur Robertson, a Bethlehem halfback, played in Goldie's position and although he was not as effective as Goldie, this was to be expected until he becomes better familiarized with the position. He was not to be expected to work in perfect harmony with the speedy Bethlehem forward line. Only in one respect was Goldie missed and that was his usual accurate centering in front of the goal. As for the absence of Muirhead the position was well taken care of by McArthur or otherwise Hamil, more familiar at center halfback probably than left half, would have assumed the position. Goldie was out with an injury sustained in the Fall River game a week ago while Muirhead, it is understood was away on a scouting expedition for reinforcements to the already brilliant array of soccer talent comprising the team.
Although the field was heavy due to the steady rain the night before and almost up to noon time on the day of the game, it did not mar the playing to any extent. There were no pools of water scattered here and there and bares spots of muddy clay to make footing treacherous.
One player in particular was in his element under the existing conditions and that was "Sturdy" Maxwell, who revealed that in addition to being clever in distributing the play is also a dangerous shot. Maxwell's usual parting efforts and those with which Bethlehem fans are more familiar are hard high drives over the cross bar, propelled by a terrific boot. However, with the ball the least heavy caused by a wet field, he is a dangerous shot. Several times Maxwell from far out shot dangerously close, the ball barely escaping grazing the cross bar.
Bethlehem Steel F. C. -- Boston F. C.
Highfield -- G -- Patterson
Young -- RFB -- McMillan
Ferguson -- LFB -- Abel
McDonald -- RHB -- McIntyre
Carnihan -- CHB -- McArthur
MacGregor -- LHB -- Hamil
Turner -- OR -- Wourtex
Granger -- IL -- W. Ballantyne
Stark -- CF -- Stevens
Maxwell -- IL -- J. Ballantyne
Robertson -- OL -- Fleming
Goal: Stark. Referee: James Walders, Philadelphia. Linesmen: Battles and Bamford. Two 45 minute halves.