Invading the home lair of the Bethlehem Steel soccermen, Fall River went away triumphant and with their standing as league leaders strengthened by two additional points as the result of their 2 to 1 victory in the Christmas Day bill on Steel field, on Friday afternoon. It was probably the hardest game it has been the lot of the Bethlehemites to lose, in which the issue was decided on two costly mistakes after Bethlehem had, by far, the better of the play.
The Steelmen lost the game, not because they lacked in opportunities, but simply because they could not drive the ball past Kerr. The opportunities and aggressiveness on Bethlehem's part are probably best described by mention of the corner kicks, of which the visitors conceded no less than an even dozen, while Bethlehem gave away hardly more than five, three of these coming in the early minutes of the opening half.
The display of Fall Rive was best in the first ten minutes, when several threatening advances were made on the Bethlehem goal. The Steelmen had seemingly not struck their stride, for during this period Fall River had several shots at the goal and on quite a few labeled for scores, Carson handled well. The Bethlehem goalie saved on a header from Carnihan and a short time later tipped a hard drive from McPherson over the bar. Then Carnihan handled just outside the penalty area and on Freyer's kick true to the mark, Carson again tipped the ball over the bar.
After then, Bethlehem took a commanding stand and pressed with determined aggressiveness. Midway in the period the pressure became that severe that in order to check the Bethlehem advance, Freyer handled in the penalty area and Stark was elected to take the kick.
The ill fortune that has been trailing the Bethlehem team was probably more pronounced at this stage than any other time in the entire game. Stark poised for the kick and was in motion when Referee Cunningham tooted his whistle. One of the Fall River backs had started to advance. However, the Bethlehem center forward never hesitated and beat Kerr with his stinging drive, but the goal was disallowed. Fall River had violated the rules but on the visitors' penalty Bethlehem was the sufferer. ON his next attempt on the penalty kick, Kerr saved and Bethlehem's opportunity to score was lost.
This change of fortune did not discourage the Steelmen, for instead they became more determined than ever and shortly after took the lead on one of the prettiest and speediest movements in the game. The ball came from McDonald to Stark and the latter shoved it down center, drawing the defense toward him. Suddenly, he fed Goldie on the extreme outside with a well placed pass and the latter immediately returned the ball, centering to the goal mouth, where Stark touched it in with his head. Kerr tried to save but the ball glanced off his fingers and located in the net.
Bethlehem continued to press and the one goal seemed to be enough to win the game, when shortly before half-time Campbell made his sensational break-away. Coming down the line, with MacGregor in pursuit, Campbell nursed the ball along in brilliant style. Allan made a desperate attempt to tackle and failed, but MacGregor continued in pursuit. Campbell had just enough speed to nurse the ball and keep slightly to the lead of the Bethlehem halfback. Near the touchline the speedy Campbell cut in and then shot the ball to the waiting Brittan in front of goal. Carnihan was in the path of the pass, but after stopping the ball, let it roll between his legs to the toe of Brittan and for the latter it was a simple matter to place it well out of the reach of Carson into the net. Fall River had equalized and the score remained at that to half time.
Carson was hardly more than excess baggage throughout the entire second half, and that assertion is not in the least exaggerated. The Bethlehem goalie may have handled once or twice, but not on any shots that were of threatening importance, so completely did Bethlehem monopolize the play after the restart.
The Steel Workers were hovering almost continually in Fall River's side of the field and at times the pressure became so severe that the visiting backs never hesitated in kicking out to relieve the situation. But in spite of this aggressiveness and well-timed movement down the field, no goals resulted.
Fall River experienced two really dangerous breakaways, one coming shortly after the restart, when the visitors' right wing flivvered miserably with no one to beat, but Carson, and the shot went by. On the second, coming ten minutes before time, Campbell landed a terrific shot into the net for the winning goal.
The Steel Workers were apparently not as good after the restart as during the opening forty-five minutes. This was more evident on the front. Passes were poorly placed and the centering of the outside men was not as accurate. In spite of this, the Steel Workers crowded the goal. After Fall River assumed the lead, the visitors were careful to nurse it to the final whistle.
While the Bethlehem team displayed several weaknesses over their form in other games, the team was not without its luminaries. Most prominent of these was Joe Berryman and C. Allen, the fullbacks, whose fearless tackling and dashing play frequently elicited the plaudits of the spectators. For Fall River it was the dashing work of Campbell on the front line and Tate, McGill, Freyer and Kerr, who formed a stonewall defense. The lineup:
Fall River -- Bethlehem
Kerr -- G -- Carson
Tate -- RFB -- Berryman
McGill -- LFB -- Allen
McPherson -- RHB -- MacDonald
Freyer -- CHB -- Carnihan
Coyle -- LHB -- MacGregor
Campbell -- OR -- Forrest
Croft -- IR -- Purvis
Brittan -- CF -- Stark
White -- IL -- Rollo
McKenna -- OL -- Goldie
Goals: Stark, Brittan, Campbell. Referee: Thomas Cunningham. Linesmen: Smart and James Walders. Time of halves, 45 minutes.