The Globe -- Bethlehem
December 24, 1923
In American League Soccer Game Saturday On Slippery Field Locals

Some two hundred spectators braved the disagreeable weather conditions on Saturday to journey to the Bethlehem Steel Field to see the Bethlehem F. C. conquer the much-touted J & P Coats team, of Pawtucket, R. I., by the one-sided score of 6 goals to 0.

Truly the weather conditions were anything but ideal for a soccer game, but in spite of the steady downfall of rain which started early in the morning and continued throughout the contest the field was anything but the quagmire expected. The turf was slippery, contributing to treacherous footing, but it was not until the closing minutes of play when, due to the trampling of the players , that mud was churned.

By defeating Coats, Bethlehem has now registered a victory over every team in the American League, and, judging on the merit displayed as a comparative basis the Steel Workers, who years ago stood out pronouncedly superior to all rivals, have again attained the stride of the old Steel Workers, and in the opinion of the critics are headed for the National honors.

The Coats team was by no means that fighting, well-balanced aggregation which grabbed the American League bunting last year. Either such is t he case or the Bethlehems have developed to such a degree of superiority that the best efforts of the Coats eleven sized up decidedly weak in comparison.

If an actual timing was taken of the attacking movements, the sum total would show that with but very few exceptions the visitors were continually on the defense. Bethlehem seemed well adapted to the slippery turf conditions and although their work was marred in a degree, they nevertheless gave a very good soccer display. At any rate the players seemed better able to retain their feet than the visitors and speed proved entirely too much for the Coats' defense to cope with. The ball was slippery and hard to locate with solidity from the first kickoff, but in spite of this handicap the little army of fans who turned out to witness the contest was well entertained.

Foremost in the Coats' lineup were Tommy "Whitey" Fleming, outside left, former Bethlehem player and leading scorer to date in the American League, and Adams, a speedy and brilliant forward. However, neither one of these players was given a chance to display their ability for the Bethlehem backs were able to cope with them at all times. Once in particular, in the few changes that the ball was crossed to Fleming, did the later display that he is still very dangerous, for it was one of his famous cure shots that came near saving his teammates from a shutout, but saw cleared by Oellerman. This shot, together with two or three scrimmages in front of the Bethlehem goal and a penalty kick that soared high over the cross bar were practically the only opportunities the visitors had of puncturing the scoring column.

On the other hand, had one-half of the Bethlehem opportunities materialized into scores, or rather, in justice to Scholfield, the visitors' goaltender, had the latter been of inferior capability, the Bethlehem score would have scored high in double numerals. The shots that did get past Scholfield were such that probably no other goalkeeper could have turned back, and on the whole, his brilliant saves featured in the defense of the visiting team. This was particularly true in the final half of the game when they came flying with terrific force from all angles with every Bethlehem forward and even the half-backs taking a shot at goal.

Bethlehem's almost continual threatening attitude was probably due to the well-distributed equality in the forward line and a likewise similar effectiveness by the back and halfbacks. There was no one man to watch on the Bethlehem forward line. In fact, every player was dangerous, and as a result Coats, unable to concentrate its defense on one or two individuals was virtually demoralized in checking the Bethlehem attack.

The Steel Workers lost little time in initiating a forward movement for immediately after the kickoff W. Jackson's parting shot struck the crossbar. Referee Young apparently misjudged the flight of the ball [...] that it would clear for immediately he tooted his whistle with the Bethlehem forwards in a position to crash it into the net on the rebound. An instant later W. Jackson again headed with the goalkeeper beat, but again the ball struck the crossbar.

Bethlehem, however, was not to be denied, and about fifteen minutes after play started, realized the first goal. This opening counter followed a torrid scrimmage in which W. Jackson drove with terrific force from close range. The goalkeeper left the net, and had the ball in his hands, but the sphere rolled out and directly in front of Goldie, who was hovering close to the net. With an open goal in front of him he slowly and deliberately placed it in the net.

The Jackson brothers were next to break into the scoring column. Walter with a pretty curve shot from long range on which Scholfield made a diving attempt to save, but the ball skimming over the turf located in the corner of the net. The shot from brother Alex was almost of similar distance, the younger member of the Jackson family kicking with great accuracy from a distance of about 25 yards. It was really one once that Coats came near scoring and that was on the beautiful shot from Fleming which Oellerman cleared.

Although Bethlehem pressed hard throughout the entire first session of the game, the superiority was even more predominant in the final half. Their vicious assault is indicated by the fact that Coats seldom got the ball beyond midfield and that Oellerman, the Bethlehem goalie, was called out of harm's way in clearing. On the other hand the Coats' backs were given about the busiest afternoon they have experienced this season. Crosses from Turner or Goldie to center with the inside wingmen playing just as brilliant had the visitors on the run continually. Shot after shot was rained at the Coats citadel, some from long distance and others from close range, and while Bethlehem did succeed in locating three, it is safe to say that Scholfield saved no less than a dozen well-directed shots. The latter was just about the hardest worked player of the afternoon.

With the resumption of play a torrid scrimmage in front of the visitors' goal ended only after Maxwell had counted, making one of the prettiest goals of the afternoon. His opportunity to score came after Scholfield had made a beautiful save in blocking W. Jackson's terrific kick with his knees. The ball rebounded in the direction of Maxwell, who lost no time in driving it back and into the goal before Scholfield could regain his position.

Tearing through the defense, shaking off one, tow and sometimes three backs, W. Jackson was a terror throughout the game, and if not directly, indirectly had something to do with all the scoring. Alex Johnson counted Bethlehem's fifth and his second of the game when fed directly in front of the goal mouth by Brother Walter. The latter advanced the ball almost from midfield and was as close to the goal as his brother when, with a deft touch, he placed it beautifully for the junior member of the firm and Bethlehem had another goal. With fifteen minutes more to go, W. Jackson scored the final when a beautiful cross from Turner materialized into a counter.

By winning, Bethlehem again assumed the lead in the American Soccer league, having advanced two points in playing the same number of games as Fall River, with which the team was deadlocked for first place. The lineup:

Bethlehem -- Pawtucket
Oellerman -- G -- Scholfield
D. Ferguson -- RFB -- Stevenson
Young -- LFB -- Laprin
McGregor -- RHB -- Patterson
Carnihan -- CHB -- McIntosh
Terris -- LHB -- McAvoy
Turner -- OR -- Harvey
A. Jackson -- IR -- Sutherland
W. Jackson -- CF -- Adams
Maxwell -- IL -- Leevy
Goldie -- OL -- Fleming
Goals, W. Jackson, 2; A. Jackson, 2; Maxwell, Goldie. Referee, George Young, Philadelphia. Linesmen, Williams and Furry. Time of halves, 45 minutes.

Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club