Welcome to this week’s edition of “Throwback Thursday,” where we take a trip back in time to spotlight some of the clubs that made their mark on the New England soccer landscape over the past century.
This week, we venture back to an American Soccer League contest between the Providence Clamdiggers and mighty Bethlehem Steel back on Mar. 7, 1925 at the Steel Field in Bethlehem, Pa. The Globe (Bethlehem, Pa.) previewed the match in this fashion on Mar. 6, 1925: “Providence is a clever combination of soccer exponents and spurred on by Manager Sam Fletcher, is one of the most aggressive football elevens in the league..”
Note: The information provided in the following game report was drawn from the Mar. 7, 1925 edition of The Globe.
This Was What Maxwell of Steel Team Did Against Providence Aided by Teammates
CONTEST RESULT 5 TO 1
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Providence Clamdiggers suffered their worst loss of the season on Saturday after they were beaten badly by Bethlehem Steel by the score of 5 to 1 at Bethelehem Steel Field.
Bethlehem’s Neil Turner and Arthur Robertson each bagged a brace, while Archie Stark scribbled his name on the scoresheet as well. Providence found its lone tally from Tommy Florie.
While Steel’s goalscorers grabbed much of the glory, it was actually Sturdy Maxwell, the club’s inside right, that truly shined on Saturday afternoon. His ball control and passes conjured images of a magician, like the famous Harry Houdini, and Providence could only find themselves fazed as a result. And with Turner and Malcom Goldie acting as accomplices, Steel ran the Clamdiggers ragged.
Of course, the guests weren’t helped by the fact that they were missing their Egyptian striker, Tewfik Abdullah. Meanwhile, defender Walter Dick was called upon to play up top, a move that had a negative effect on both ends of the pitch for Providence.
Bethlehem Scores Quickly
The hundreds of royal rooters who turned up for the match received an early welcome from their club when Robertson raced toward goal and, with a defender closing in, neatly chipped Providence keeper Jack Surgenor for the opening tally inside of three minutes.
Surgenor came up with a nifty save moments later when Turner fed Roberston for a wide open chance. But the Clamdigger keeper corralled it to prevent further damage.
But there was still plenty of time for Steel to dent their guests’ hopes for mounting a comeback. Stark entered the match knowing he’d be the center of attention from the Providence defenders, and looked for his teammates whenever possible. This approach paid divdends in the 22nd minute when he laid a pass ahead for Goldie, who then crossed it in front of frame, where Turner easily nodded it through.
Robertson collected his second goal before halftime thanks to a perfect pass from Turner, which he easily slotted through to make it a 3 to 0 game at the interval.
The bleeding of the Clamdiggers’ backline continued early into the second half when Stark tested Surgenor with a shot that was initially saved before the rebound squirted onto a plate for Turner, who tapped it into the net.
Providence Escapes Shutout
Despite falling into a four-goal deficit, Providence refused to go quietly into the night. Shortly after Turner’s second goal, Alec Beattie took advantage of a poor clearance from Bob MacGregor and quickly found Florie, who banged it through.
But Stark, who had played an unselfish game throughout, found his just reward before the match concluded. On a pass from Jock Ferguson, the strong center forward went into the heart of the area and drove a hard shot that lodged itself into the netting to cap the scoring.
Bethlehem — Providence
Carson — G — Surgener
Young — RFB — Abet
J. Ferguson — LFB — Fletcher
McDonald — RHB — Blair
Carnihan — CHB — Neilson
MacGregor — LHB — Auld
Turner — OR — Beattie
Maxwell — IR — Dick
Stark — CF — Best
Robertson — IL — Parkin
Goldie — OL — Florie
Goals — Turner 2; Robertson 2; Stark 1; Florie 1. Referee — Oates, Philadelphia. Time of halves, 45 minutes.