Every fundamental that goes to make up soccer was exemplified on the Bethlehem Steel field on Saturday afternoon and contributed to one of the most interesting and fastest games witnessed on the home field this season. Aggressiveness, speed and the clever manipulation of the ball created plenty of thrills, as Bethlehem Steel avenged a previous setback at the hands of New Bedford in conquering the New England team 3 to 2.
New Bedford visited Bethlehem as runner up to Fall River for the league leadership, while the Steel Workers, in sixth position, were fighting to advance their position in the league table as a contender for the honors. And as such the two teams gave their all, showing and asking no quarter in the terrific pace from the opening to the final whistle.
Two goals in the first half gave the Steel Workers a commanding lead and an advantage that would serve to discourage most any opponent. Not so with New Bedford, for it seemed that the harder the team was hit, the more determined were their efforts, and in notching two goals in the second half, under a handicapped of injured players, displayed a wonderful grit.
There were many brilliant features that stood out as entitled to comment. In the first half it was the beautiful work of Bethlehem's pony left wing, -- the diminutive team of Messrs. Rollo and Goldie -- who curbed the aspirations of the visiting clan.
Two goals in the first half came off t he toe of the Bethlehem outside left and were delivered in such a manner that the brilliant Shaw, between the uprights for the visitors, was completely beaten. On each of these goals, Rollo contributed score, although the second shot of Goldie's was a solo effort, culminating in one of the finest shots ever witnessed here.
The aggressiveness of the teams can best be described by the activity of the goalies. Shaw was by far the busier of the two custodians, although Carson saved on probably the featuring defensive play of the games, only to have his good work marred by a stroke of fate that resulted in a goal for New Bedford.
Shortly after the restart, New Bedford initiated an attach in which Berryman, to relieve the pressure, handled and New Bedford was awarded a penalty kick. Montgomery took the kick and drove the ball to the corner of the net with the speed of a bullet. Carson seemed hopelessly beaten, but in his lunge for the sphere, did manage to save, batting the ball back into the scrimmage in front of the goal mouth. Montgomery followed up on his shot and the ball rebounded to his toe, he made no mistake in locating it before Carson had fully recovered in his position. The goal was disastrous, in that Montgomery, a factor on the visitors' halfback line, was injured and although he continued to play, moved to outside right, breaking up the New Bedford right wing, as Neil Turner went to the inside position, vacated by Sturdy Maxwell, the latter going to a halfback berth. Shortly before the close of the first half, McLeavy injured an ankle and the visitors finished the game with two cripples on their front line.
George Bloom, one of the officials O.K'd by the league, seemed to be lost in the fast going, and more than once his decisions failed to meet with the approval of the players and the spectators. However, his sincerity was not doubted, for he missed them both ways, and players seemingly took advantage of his helplessness. Body checking was pronounced throughout, inspired by the determination of both teams, and the sports lovers, who enjoyed the thrills of bodily contact and spectacular spills were by no means disappointed.
Shortly after the kickoff, Bethlehem was pressing and a beautiful save by Shaw on a skimming grounder off the toe of Stark deprived the Steel Workers of a goal. In saving, however, he conceded a corner, one of ten which were force by Bethlehem and none of which was productive. The visitors had five corner kicks, one of which netted a goal.
Long sweeping passes and hefty drives by the backs frequently swung the play from one end of the field to the other. After ten minutes, Bethlehem experienced its first success on a movement that started beyond midfield. The ball was brought up the outside and then passed to Rollo. The latter tricked and eluded the backs, to advance to a position in front of the goal. His purpose was served when he drew the defense around him and then passed the ball to the waiting Goldie, who was in good position and uncovered. A stinging shot from the boot of the Bethlehem outside left completely beat Shaw and the Steel Workers were leading by the score of 1 to 0.
From then on the pressure of both teams became more pronounced, Carson prevented the equalizer when he took a hard drive from Stevens, although he did concede a corner kick when the ball caromed out of his arms and in going by was dangerously close to the goal mouth.
The Steel Workers cleared on the corner and with clever work, in which Purvis and Rollo were prominent, swept the ball to he other end of the field. Again and inside men drew the defense toward them when Purvis sent a long, sweeping pass to Goldie. From then on until the ball landed into the net, it was a solo effort on the part of the Bethlehem outside wingman. Weaving his way through the defense, Goldie cut in and carried the ball to a position in front of goal and ended his effort with a terrific drive from twenty yards out, the ball sailing high into the corner of the net. The half ended with Bethlehem leading. Carnihan and McLeavy were injured in a collision with two more minutes to go. The latter was forced to retire, but Carnihan resumed.
After the restart, New Bedford continued a dangerous team. Moreso than in the first half, for shortly after the whistle, the forwards were hovering in the vicinity of the Bethlehem goal, when Berryman handled and a penalty kick was awarded. Carson momentarily frustrated the effort of Montgomery, but the latter, following his shot, caught it on the rebound and placed it in the net.
A short time later Purvis broke away and scored, but the goal was disallowed. Due to the intensity with which the battle was waged, free kicks were becoming quite numerous, and on one of these, called against Maxwell, as a halfback, Bethlehem profited. The ball was passed to Goldie. The latter whipped the ball across the goal mouth, where Stark touched it in with his head.
Bethlehem's two goal lead was safe, although New Bedford, in its uphill battle, did notch another, scoring on a corner kick on which Stevens drove the ball into the net. However, from then on, Bethlehem maintained its lead and the final whistle brought to a close one of the hardest contested games witnessed on the Steel field this season. The lineup:
Bethlehem -- New Bedford