DERES' TOP 100 GAMES - No 16

Posted by Mickey Cooper on 10 October 2021

Erith & Belvedere   1          Pratt 31

Finchley                    0                     

Athenian League Division 1, 27 April 1971


Continuing the series counting down the 100 most memorable games in our history.  Today, Roy Dwight’s finest hour with the club.


1970-71 was an exceptional season. It began with Deres taking to the field in a yellow and blue strip in homage to Brazil’s World Cup winners and establishing runs of 13 games unbeaten and 22 unbeaten in the league, the latter of which still stands.  In August/September Gary Cooper scored in eight consecutive games, which also remains a club peacetime record, and we took Southern League Premier side Romford to two FA Cup replays, as featured earlier in the series. 


By the spring Deres were in a three-way battle for the title with Hornchurch and Aveley.  When Hornchurch lost at home in their last game with the other two clubs yet to finish, we knew that a draw in our last home game would clinch promotion.  Roy Dwight wrote in his programme notes: Cheer yourselves hoarse – you’ve got all summer to get your voices back.”




A hotly disputed 31st-minute goal by Erith and Belvedere winger, Pratt, was enough to secure them promotion when they met Finchley at Park View, Belvedere, on Tuesday.


Wanting at least a draw to make sure of moving up to Athenian League Premier status next season, Deres suffered greatly from the tension of their promotion battle and their forwards were guilty of some bad misses.


Deres started at a cracking pace and almost scored straight from the kick-off.  Finchley centre-half Edge passed back to his goalkeeper who slipped on the greasy surface, but just managed to grab the ball as it rolled towards the empty net.


Against a defence suspect in the air, Deres captain Brendan Greatorex was having a field day as he pumped cross after cross into the visitors’ area and twice Ord was foiled only by flying saves from Kerry.


Deres were starting to show their frustration at being unable to get the ball in the net when they grabbed the all-important goal.  Ord won a corner on the right and his accurate kick was bundled into the net by Pratt with the aid of Watson.  Certainly the Finchley goalkeeper seemed to be impeded by Radmore as the ball came over, and as the visitors realised a goal had been awarded they swarmed around the referee to protest.  But Mr Keep, of Catford, refused to listen to any Finchley arguments and he booked centre-forward Wyatt after he had shown dissent.


Deres piled on the pressure from the restart looking to consolidate their position, but despite narrow misses by Radmore and Ord the score remained unchanged at half-time.


After the interval Deres keeper Everitt, who had been little more than a spectator for much of the first half, suddenly became the busiest man on the pitch as Finchley moved out of their defensive shell.  And it needed the strength of Dent and Watson to break up a number of dangerous attacks.


But Deres, showing their overall superiority, weathered the storm and once again took control, and before the final whistle could have added a couple more goals through Pratt, who had two shots cleared off the line.


As the champagne flowed in the dressing room after the match, manager Roy Dwight showed his delight with the team’s performance.  “I am really thrilled and now the tension of our promotion battle is over, I am sure we can take two points at Hertford this Saturday to clinch the championship.”


Mr Dwight had a special mention for teenage star Tommy Ord.  “He has got a fine football brain and great ball control, and I am sure he has got a great future,” commented the delighted Deres manager.


Deres: Kevin Everitt; Keith Gurr, Brendan Greatorex, Willie Watson, Roger Dent, Kevin Walsh, Don Butterfill, Tommy Ord, Ray Radmore, Gary Cooper, Del Pratt.



Roy Dwight wasn’t wrong about Tommy Ord, but in the season where the Deres started in a kit paying homage to Brazil, not even he could have foreseen that Ord would be lining up alongside Pele five years later!  But after a transfer from Deres to Chelsea, scoring in his First Division debut against Stoke City, a couple of less successful seasons then a move to the USA and New York Cosmos, that’s just what he did.  He ended up in the top 30 goalscorers list in the North American Soccer League, one place and one goal behind George Best.


Meanwhile back in 1971, Deres drew 1-1 at Hertford Town in our last game of the season.  Aveley then won their last game to pip us to the title on goal average.

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