by Fred Nonnemacher
The "jinx" that followed Bethlehem in the last two National League games was lost in the shuffle in the grueling contest staged on the Bethlehem Steel field on Saturday afternoon and the champions once more playing their old-time game emerged the victor over the New York Shipbuilders of Camden, N. J., in the third round National cup, by the score of 1 goal to none. The victory was by no means an easy one, for the Camden crowd gave the champions probably the hardest battle since their return from abroad and when Pepper from short range beat the brilliant Ness, the one point rally loomed up as big as a mountain.
Bethlehem scored after fifteen minutes of play in the second half when Fleming, on a cross from Harris, shot the ball into the goal. Referee Walders, however, was on the job and detected that Fleming was in an offside position when he received the ball, and ruled against the score. Both teams repeatedly threatened by the sensational work of the players in goal aided materially by the backs, kept the game on an even basis until Bethlehem finally landed their one-point tally.
Several hundred fans witnessed the game and were treated to one of the most thrilling contests ever staged on the Steel field. In the past it was seldom that the spectators showed any display of unusual enthusiasm, but in Saturday's contest they went wild, particularly during the second half. What the crowd lacked in numbers was made up in enthusiasm and the continued outbursts of cheering had a remarkable effect on the players, every man responding to the hearty encouragement by fighting with a greater determination.
The visitors were a more clever aggregation than any of the Philadelphia teams Bethlehem has met this season and were particularly strong on defense. The work of Ness in goal and McLaughlin, the right full back being the most brilliant playing of the visitors. Their forward line moved with a machine-like precision and was often dangerous, but Duncan played one of the best games ever for Bethlehem and often saved when a score seemed imminent. Ferguson at left fullback for Bethlehem was the greatest player on the field, tackling and clearing with head and feet in a manner that was highly appreciated by the spectators. They fully realized that Bethlehem had its hands full and continually encouraged the players with their enthusiastic cheering. Murray at center half and Sibbald on the right wing were also prominent in the Bethlehem lineup.
The Shipbuilders won the toss and Bethlehem was the first to attack against the wind. Forrest shooting past from long range. Another attack ended in Forrest missing the upright from twenty yards out. The visitors then became aggressive and shots from Brigham and Owens were well handled by Duncan. Bethlehem then made tracks for Ness with Fleming forcing a corner and Sibbald shooting past. So evenly did the teams appear matched that play changed rapidly from one end of the field to the other and the visitors soon forced corner off Fletcher, but the ball was sent behind. Another corner off Pepper looked dangerous for Bethlehem, Gaynor, however, sending over the bar. Offside against Owen helped Bethlehem and Fleming sent over the bar on a pass from Pepper. Long exchanges by the fullbacks ended in Coursey shooting hard for Duncan. At this stage of the game the playing of the Shipbuilders stood out most conspicuously. They played a game most suitable under the slippery ground conditions, driving the ball ahead and trusting to a slip on the defense and on several occasions came near scoring through this method of play. With fifteen more minutes to go Harris forced a corner and then headed into a goal from Fleming's center, but Ness was again on the job and made a good clearance. In the next three minutes of play Harris had the best shot of the game. Ness, however, again rose to the occasion with a clever save. McLaughlin then conceded a corner when hard pressed, Pepper sending past. Another shot by Harris on a cross from Sibbald was well handled by Ness and play continued fierce around midfield with the halfbacks and fullbacks of both teams seeming to have the upper hand of the attacking forwards. The result was that in the closing minutes of the first half the play was of the give and take nature.
In the second half Bethlehem started off as if determined to gain an early lead and after a few exchanges in the first ten minutes of play, Fleming scored on a cross from Harris, but Referee Walders ruled he was in an offside position when he received the ball. This disappointment seemed to have a good effect and Bethlehem became more determined than ever. It was noticed that their style of play gradually improved as the game went along, the ball being served to Sibbald on the right wing more than during the first half with the result that some of his beautiful centers looked dangerous for New York. Ness and McLaughlin, however, seemed to have the play well diagnosed and seemed always in the way of the parting shots of the Bethlehem forwards. Play moved fast up and down the field, with both goals being frequently in danger. Through sheer determination and aggressiveness Bethlehem crowded around the visitors' goal and shots were directed at Ness from every forward on the Bethlehem line. The goal that decided the game was a direct result of a beautiful cross from Sibbald on which Harris forced a corner. Fleming centered the ball in good style and Blakey passed to Pepper, who was close in and beat Ness from about the five-yard line. This goal game Bethlehem the much-needed confidence they played like real champions during the remainder of the game. The Camden crowd, however, did not lose confidence and made a desperate effort to tie the score. The Bethlehem defense was impregnable and broke up every attack. Play hovered around midfield with both halfback lines playing desperately to get the forwards under way when the final whistle sounded.
Bethlehem -- N. Y. Ship
Duncan -- G -- Ness
Fletcher -- RFB -- McLaughlin
Ferguson -- LFB -- Howley
W. Morrison -- RHB -- Dutcher
Murray -- CHB -- Fisher
Blakey -- LHB -- Fullerton
Sibbald -- OR -- Molyneaux
Pepper -- IR -- Coursey
Harris -- CF -- Owens
Forrest -- IL -- Gaynor
Fleming -- OL -- Brigham
Goal -- Pepper. Referee -- John Walders. 45 minute halves.