The second defeat in the National League was suffered by the champion Bethlehem Steel soccer team yesterday at Clarke's Field, Kearney, N. J., when the Erie F. C. emerged victorious by the score of 2 goals to 1. Three thousand spectators witnessed the game, which was exceptionally hard fought. The Steel Workers were in the lad at half time by one goal, but in the second half the Erie's were in great form and scored twice. The only feature which marred the game was the deliberate rough work of several of the Erie players. Post and Rodgers were the chief offenders and some of the Bethlehem players received injuries as the result of the unnecessary tactics.
Erie won the toss and play was even for the first 15 minutes, both goals being visited in turn. Bethlehem at this stage seemed to take the game to hand but the shooting of the forwards was very poor and several opportunities to score were lost through lack of combination and the home team was soon in the Bethlehem territory. Only clever work by Duncan prevented them from scoring. Bethlehem again attacked and Forrest forced a corner but Ford cleared. Bethlehem continued the aggressor and the Erie goal had a narrow escape from a shot from Fleming. At this stage the Eries broke away and Duncan had to exert himself to save a shot from Ingram, conceding a corner in the effort. Ferguson cleared, and Bethlehem carried the ball to the other end. Harris and Post both attempted to head the ball near goal. Harris was successful and Pepper who was close by beat Ward easily for the first score. Bethlehem now seemed to felt that the game as won and contented themselves with keeping their goal clear, and the result that the Eries were the aggressor until half-time, but no further scoring took place.
The Eries were first to attack and Duncan stopped a good shot from Koelsch, and play was transferred to the other and where Pepper shot past. The Eries again took up the attack and forced two corners in rapid succession. Two fouls against Erie for rough work looked bad for the home team, but poor shooting spoiled the opportunities and Eries again had the best of the exchanges and forced another corner which was well handled by Duncan. However, the aggressive work of the home team could not be denied and Koelsch tied the score with a clever shot from close range that gave Duncan no chance.
The Erie team was now playing with an abandon that could not be denied and despite the best efforts of the Steel Workers, Stark added a second goal with a great shot from 12 yards' range. This goal caused great enthusiasm amongst the spectators whose sympathies were entirely with Eries, and it looked as if they would score again but the Bethlehem defense stiffened and Bethlehem, for the first time, gave a display that could compare with the form they showed last season. The Erie goal was continually in danger but the old weakness of poor finishing was their undoing and the game ended with the score in favor of Erie by two goals to one. The lineup:
Erie -- Bethlehem
Ward -- G-- Duncan Ford -- RFB -- Fletcher
Post -- LFB -- Ferguson
Ingram -- RHB -- Murray
Rogers - -CHB -- Campbell
Holt -- LHB -- Blakey
Knowles -- OR -- Sibbald
Stark -- IR -- Pepper
Koelsch -- CF -- Harris
Neilsen -- IL -- Forrest
Brierley -- OL -- Fleming
Referee: T. Findlay; Linesmen, R. Forfar, Erie; Morrison, Bethlehem. Goals: Erie -- Koelsch and Stark; Bethlehem -- Pepper. Time of halves: 45 minutes.
Bethlehem will play Merchants Ship at Bethlehem on Christmas Day in a National League game, and as every member of the team realizes that the National League pennant is slowly slipping from its list of honors, it is expected that it will give a display that will be a great improvement on the performance of the past two league games.