The Globe -- Bethlehem
December 17, 1923
In American League Game Locals Win -- First Defeat For Visitors

By Fred S. Nonnemacher
A crowd of approximately 1000 fans, not an attendance befitting in number the brilliant soccer clash staged on the Bethlehem Steel field on Saturday afternoon, but one in which the spectator completely thrilled with enthusiasm, witnessed 90 minutes of the most spectacular and sensational soccer play staged on the local field this season, in which the Bethlehem F. C. downed its most heated rival, Fall River, by the score of 1 goal to 0.

And by victory came first place in the American League standing for the Bethlehem club and incidentally first defeat suffered by Fall River in the 10 games played in the league campaigning to date. It was the first meeting of these two clubs in a league campaign this season but not the first meeting in soccer battle for in a pre-season game the Bethlehemites journeyed to Fall River and returned home on the short end of the score. Therefore, the revenge in a game that counted points in the cherished league race was by far the most toothsome.

Judging the merits of the respective clans on their aggressive tactics, Bethlehem was far more often on the offensive than the visitors, while the Bethlehem backs, particularly MacGregor, the center half-back, who at all times effectively covered the brilliant Harold Brittan, and the Ferguson brothers at fullbacks, proved themselves a veritable stone wall in frustrating the visitors' forward movements.

For the visitors it was big Tom Raeside and Lorimer, backs, and Finlay Kerr, goalie, who stood out most prominently on the defense, while frequently, Ried, Brittan and Campbell were away on the forward to threaten but were successfully frustrated. While Bethlehem gave the better display of football and initiated by far more forward movements than the visitors, it must not be gleaned from this that the game was one-sided. By no means was it so, for only through spectacular work of the Bethlehem backs and particularly Oellerman, in goal, who loomed up as the find of the Bethlehem team this season, was Fall River turned back in its effort to score.

Meriting the gaze of every spectator on the field in the opening half was the work of Maxwell, the Bethlehem inside left. His dribbling and control and ability to break through the visiting defense was probably his best display since joining the Bethlehem club and in the parlance of the sports fan, the former Third Lanark player simply ran wild. Time and again he crossed the ball and put it in a position for an opportunity to score but on these occasions Bethlehem either went wild by inches in locating the mouth of the net or was hurried in its parting shot. Maxwell continued effective in the second half but his work just lacked slightly the spectacular aspect of the opening half.

It was a hard day on the center forwards for the watch-word of the game was apparently "watch W. Jackson and watch H. Brittan." And the backs surely did not fail to heed this advice for it was seldom that either one, even if successful in breaking through, received a clear shot at goal.

The game opened with a terrific pace and Bethlehem was the first to test the strength of the visitors' defense. Two crosses, one from Goldie and one from Rattray, went behind. Bethlehem continued to press and then narrowly avoiding scoring only when a beautiful cross from Goldie was headed by Turner against the post.

It was midway in the period that Fall River made its most determined effort. "Doogy" Campbell, a former Bethlehemite youngster, brought the ball down the field after a most beautiful run and then passed to McKenna, the latter heading the ball straight for the net. But Oellerman was there and saved. Then Bethlehem started a forward movement ending when Maxwell with Kerr completely beaten just grazed the crossbar in sailing over. On a penalty kick against Tate about 35 yards out, Rattray drove the ball over the bar. Once after that McKenna, on a pass from Brittan, shot by and an instant later Bethlehem experienced probably its closest call when Reed, but a few yards from the ball, drove it with terrific force but the referee was in the path of the flight of the sphere and after striking the latter caromed off his body and over the top of the bar.

Such were but a few of the thrills throughout the period and plays that kept the fans on edge before Bethlehem managed to break the scoreless deadlock. Goldie, in possession close to the visitors' net and with an open goal, missed when the ball seemed to glance off his foot and Walter Jackson had finished a movement by booting it over the bar when Maxwell got possession in midfield. He worked the ball down the field single-handedly, apparently as though to try in carrying it right through. He drew the backs toward him and then crossed accurately to Goldie who at the time was unmolested. The speedy wingman took the ball nearer to the goal and likewise drew the defense toward him. Then he passed to Walter Jackson and while the later could probably have tired, he no doubt realized that Turner was in a better position to score and with a deft little tip he placed the ball beautifully for the latter who lost little time in driving it into the corner of the net with terrific force. There was great rejoicing among the Bethlehem fans when Bethlehem had scored, exactly 36 minutes after play started.

The lineup:

Bethlehem -- Fall River
Oellerman -- G -- Kerr
D. Ferguson -- RFB -- Tate
J. Ferguson -- LFB -- Collier
Rattray -- RHB -- McPherson
MacGregor -- CHB -- Raeside
Terris -- LHB -- Lorimer
Turner -- OR -- Campbell
A. Jackson -- IR -- Ried
W. Jackson -- CF -- Brittan
Maxwell -- IL -- Morely
Goldie -- OL -- McKenna
Goals -- Turner. Referee -- McCabe, Philadelphia. Time of halves -- 45 minutes.

Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club