DERES' TOP 100 GAMES - No 52

Posted by Mickey Cooper on 25 July 2020

Bishop Auckland   5          O'Connell 15, 43, Lewin 32, Oliver 78, Major 83

Erith & Belvedere   0                     

FA Amateur Cup 2nd round, 22 January 1955


Continuing the series counting down the 100 most memorable games in our history.  Today, a heavy but honourable defeat to possibly the strongest amateur club side ever, and a player who was winning the League title with Chelsea in his spare time.


It was a right old football special that left King’s Cross at 0055 on 22 January 1955.  It carried Bromley fans to Billingham, Wimbledon fans to Shildon and Deres fans to the toughest opposition: Bishop Auckland, seven times Amateur Cup winners who’d lost the final to Crook Town in a second replay the previous spring.  The team had taken the 1643 from King’s Cross and stayed at Darlington: meanwhile seven inches of snow was cleared off the Bishops’ pitch.


DERES OUT OF AMATEUR CUP – Bishops’ Right Tactics on Difficult Pitch


Erith and Belvedere were knocked out of the FA Amateur Cup by Bishop Auckland on Saturday in a match in which honours undoubtedly went to the Deres’ defence, despite their 5-0 defeat.


The Bishops won because they adopted the right tactics for the conditions, using the long ball to the wings and making their passes with accuracy, whereas Deres were almost wedded to close tactics.


Bishops won the toss and maybe this was a deciding factor, for they elected to kick down the slope of the icy pitch, from which seven inches of snow had been cleared on Friday, and on Saturday morning the ice on the pitch was drilled to let the water drain away.  Despite this, pools of water remained, and made play difficult as the ball was continually checked by them.


In the fourth minute Bishops gave the first taste of their accuracy, when right-back D Marshall sent a free-kick to the head of right-half J R E Hardisty, and his header went over the bar.  Not long after that Jock McCullough stopped a dangerous run down the right wing by J L Major.  Now the Deres were finding their feet, Roy Newstead taking the ball down the left and centring, but Cresswell cleared.


Again Deres came in, Tim Davies getting in a good shot, which was well taken by H Sharratt.  Bishops swung the ball and were soon in Deres’ goal area, Ron Cox clearing a dangerous cross ball.  Bishops’ good approach work was continually broken up by Deres’ defence, who were playing well within their compass.  The first test for Dave Andrews was a strong cross shot by outside-left B Edwards.  Andrews’ clearance set Deres’ forwards moving again, but the strong home defence broke up the attack after Newstead had put in a shot.


Bishops took the lead in the 13th minute, Edwards putting over a pass and the ball stuck in the mud at the foot of the goalpost.  S O’Connell (inside-left) ran in and pushed the ball over the line.  Encouraged by their luck, Bishops attacked with vigour, but Deres’ defence excelled and only once in this period was danger threatened.  That was when the ball was passed back to Andrews who did well to get to it and clear.


Deres again took up the running, but weak finishing was their undoing.  Paul Sheckles had a race with the goalkeeper for possession and won, but a weak shot wasted the opening.  Soon afterwards a free-kick for obstruction five yards out was well held by Sharratt and again the Bishops switched to the attack. Two corner-kicks by Edwards were well cleared and again a dangerous backpass was collected by Andrews.


Sheckles was chasing every possible ball in an endeavour to get his line going, but a good through ball by Davies was spoiled by offside.  Andrews saved well, conceding a corner, and McCullough cleared following another corner, but the ball was sent in again for D Lewin (inside-right) to head Bishops’ second goal after 32 minutes.  Deres again went on to the attack, but finished weakly.  Sheckles and Teevan combined well at times, but two minutes before the interval Bishops scored their third goal, Oliver backheeling to O’Connell, who netted.  Deres raced through and forced a corner and Teevan’s corner kick was nearly converted by Marshall (right-back).


Five minutes after the interval a foul by Tommy Fuller resulted in a penalty.  Major’s shot hit the lower edge of the crossbar and Andrews, diving onto the ball, got it away.  Tommy Fuller then went through in an endeavour to get his forwards going, but without success. Deres’ defence continued to play a solid game, in which every member distinguished himself.  Corners were cleared by Bob Penney and Dave Andrews.  If only the Deres’ forwards had been able to combine, the story would have been different, as good passes were put through but their finishing was weak.  A free-kick was well cleared by Sharratt and another soon afterwards was turned away for a corner by Cresswell.


Deres’ forwards improved, but good approach play was foiled by offside.  A back-pass to the goalkeeper was dangerous, Sheckles just failing to beat Sharratt to the ball. The failure of Deres’ forwards put extra work on their defence, but never did half-backs and backs play better, especially as the Bishops were playing their traditional seven-man attack, but it was not until the 78th minute that centre-forward Oliver scored the fourth goal from a corner. From the restart Deres went down and Sheckles put in a good shot, but Sharratt did well to hold it, following which Sheckles and Teevan were continually pulled up for offside.


Ron Cox headed a corner-kick off the line and again saved the situation when a free-kick seemed likely to score.  Seven minutes from the end Major gave Andrews no chance with a volley from a cross from the other wing.


Midway through the second period McCullough fell and broke a finger, but insisted on continuing.


Erith & Belvedere: Dave Andrews; Ron Cox, John McCullough; Vic Parker, Tommy Fuller, Bob Penney; Tony Teevan, Jorgen Sorensen, Paul Sheckles, Tim Davies, Roy Newstead.


Bishops’ Amateur Cup run came in parallel with a great FA Cup run.  They’d beaten Kettering 5-1 in the first round proper, Crystal Palace (20th in D3 South) 4-2 away in the second, got a 2-2 draw at Ipswich (21st in D2) in the third round before winning the replay 3-0 ten days before this Amateur Cup tie, and seven days after beating Deres they lost 3-1 at home to York City (4th in D3 North) in the fourth round. (York beat Spurs in the 5th round and took eventual Cup winners Newcastle to a semi-final replay.)


As for the Amateur Cup, if this game against Deres sounds a convincing win, Bishops massacred Kingstonian to the tune of 12-3 away in the next round!  (Kingstonian’s three came in the last five minutes while Bishops’ goalkeeper went upfield looking to score himself.)  They then took a replay to beat Finchley in the quarter-final, beat Wycombe 1-0 at Doncaster in the semi, and beat Hendon 2-0 at Wembley in the final.  It was the first of three consecutive Amateur Cup wins: in the 71 tournaments held from 1893 to 1974, Bishops won 10, twice as many as the next most successful club.


The biggest name on the Bishops team was Seamus O’Connell.  The son of a wealthy farmer from Carlisle, O’Connell started out with Sligo Rovers, Queen’s Park and Middlesbrough before joining Bishop Auckland, with whom he won the Amateur Cup in 1954.  He was signed by Chelsea and scored a hat-trick on his debut against Manchester United on 16 October 1954.  He scored 7 goals in 10 games as Chelsea won their first League title, while still featuring in Bishop Auckland’s run to Wembley.  Matt Busby called him “the best amateur centre-forward England has known” and fancied the idea of taking him to Old Trafford, but Seamus preferred to remain amateur.  Indeed he preferred to play his football with Bishop Auckland, winning two more Amateur Cups with them and one with Crook Town in 1959.  His League career, including a brief spell with his home town club Carlisle, totalled 23 games and 15 goals over five years.  He could have achieved a lot more, but always put the family cattle business first.


Another major Bishops name was their skipper Bob Hardisty.  He had captained the GB football team in the 1948 London Olympics and played alongside Deres manager Charlie Fuller in the 1952 Olympics.  After the Munich air crash he went to Manchester United, initially as a player (aged 37) then as a coach.

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