Fresh from victories over three of the leading clubs in the American Soccer League, the J & P Coats dribblers in their visit to the Bethlehem Steel Field on Saturday afternoon faced a Gibraltar in the Steel Workers and were mowed down under a 4 to 1 score. Once again Bethlehem was master over the thread spinners in a game on the local field and by the victory kept their record clean of defeats in games here against the Pawtucket machine over a period covering three seasons.
The incessant rain of the last several days left the field in bad condition. Slippery and somewhat treacherous in footing, the condition did not seem, however, to interfere with the playing of either clan. Old Jude Pluv wasn't satisfied to let conditions as they were at the start of the game, for a driving rain was falling at the restart and continued throughout the second half, quickly converting the pitch into a quagmire to mar the brilliancy witnessed in the opening half.
The combination work witnessed among the Bethlehem front liners was probably the best seen this season. All of the forwards appeared to be at their best and with a thorough understanding of the team play. From midfield and quite often beyond, movements were started that were never checked until a parting shot had been made at goal. Stark was the pivot of these movements and was ably assisted by Rollo and Granger, his inside men, and their sweeping passes to either Forrest or Goldie on the outside wings opened wide the visitors' defense and at times demoralized the Coats' backs.
Bethlehem's halfback line comprising MacGregor, Carnihan and McDonald, covered probably more territory than has been their lot in a good many games. This was due to the speed with which the first half was waged and the frequent swing of the play from one end of the field to the other. Up with the forwards at times, slipping the ball through to start a raid on the Coats' goal and then deep in home territory, assigning the Bethlehem backs in defending, the Steel halfbacks had an extremely busy afternoon.
Berryman Plays Fast Game
Allan and Berryman were hardly in need of assistance, for both played well. Berryman, a recent acquisition to the squad, more firmly established his popularity with the fans. A dashing player, fearless in tackling, clever in manipulating the ball and a good kick in either foot has seemingly eradicated a weakness that has been apparent in the Bethlehem defense this season.
Coats fought with a determination up to the very last whistle and proved a worthy opponent, but one that could not check the brilliant display of the Bethlehem team. Bethlehem's attack was equally distributed among the entire front line, while the visitors' main threat seemed to lie in the success of Adams, a dashing center forward, Sweeney and McGrain, their left wing. This trio comprised a clever and elusive combination and more than once swept toward the Bethlehem goal with clever and well timed passes, only to be checked when they reached the Bethlehem backs. The visitors' shots at goal were few and far between and seldom in the first half was Highfield called upon to handle really threatening tries.
While the play shifted from one end of the field to the other, often in the first half Bethlehem's raids on the visitors' goal were most pronounced and usually ended by shooting past, missing by margins exceedingly close, or with Parks frustrating these attempts to score by good work between the uprights. Shots from Stark, Forrest, Ranger, Rollo and Goldie went dangerously close to the mark, but none found the net until late in the half.
Scarcely more than ten minutes remained to be played when Bethlehem was awarded a free kick just outside of the penalty area. McAvoy had been detecting handling. It was Bethlehem's second free kick, coming shortly after Carnihan lifted high over the bar. McDonald took the kick and finding an opening spun the ball along the ground to the waiting Parks. The latter got his hands on it, but the spin plus the slipper ball caused it to careen from his grasp and roll into the corner of the net.
Inspired with this success it was not long before Bethlehem notched its second counter. This was the result of a pretty movement participated in by Forrest, Granger and Stark. Forrest brought the ball up the right wing and then passed to Granger in center, the latter within a few feet of Stark. Granger tricked the defense by drawing it to him and then with a deft touch placed the ball to the toe of Bethlehem's center forward and the latter crashed it into the net with the speed of a rifle bullet. When the half time whistle sounded a minute or two later fans could hardly realize that time had expired so interesting and thrilling had been the play.
Shortly before the players returned for the second half, a driving rain began to fall. In spite of the unfavorable elements, the teams waged their fight with the same determination characteristic of the first half, although much of the brilliancy and thrills were lost.
The conditions seemed to be slightly in the favor of the visitors, having a little more of the play than was their lot in the opening half. For ten minutes or more the teams battled without any scoring, when finally clever work, in which Goldie contributed materially, paved the way for Bethlehem's third score. From center the pass was swung to Goldie, who carried it close to the touch line and then sent over one of his well timed and perfectly placed crosses. Both Stark and Forrest were in line with the ball and when Stark missed, Forrest made no mistake in crashing it into the net well out of the reach of Parks.
Coats had heart, for in spite of the three-goal lead of the Steel Workers continued gamely and for their efforts were rewarded when Adams saved his teammates from a shutout. Moving up the field it seemed as if the Bethlehem defense would check the attack, which hovered for several seconds around the Bethlehem goal mouth, when suddenly Adams found an opening and took advantage of it with a shot on which Highfield had no chance to save. The Steel Workers, however, were not yet through scoring and increased the total to four in the last two minutes of play, when Stark counted his second goal of the game.
Bethlehem -- Coats
Highfield -- G -- Parks
Berryman -- RFB -- McLeod
Allan -- LFB -- J. Allan
McDonald -- RHB -- Sinclair
Carnihan -- CHB -- Perry
MacGregor -- LHB -- McAvoy
Forrest -- OL -- Lorimer
Granger -- IR -- Drummond
Stark -- CF -- Adams
Rollo -- IL -- Sweeney
Goldie -- OL -- McGrain
Goals -- McDonald, Stark 2, Forrest, Adams. Referee -- Cunningham. Linesmen -- Jaap and Stevenson. Time of halves, 45 minutes.