DERES' TOP 100 GAMES - No 88

Posted by Mickey Cooper on 8 September 2019

Barnet                       2          Ragan 2, 80

Erith & Belvedere   1          Murrell 65

FA Cup 2nd qualifying round, 8 October 1977


Continuing the series counting down the 100 most memorable games in our history.  Today, a close FA Cup defeat to higher opposition who were Football League bound, but we kept a big name off the scoresheet.


1977-78 was somewhat short of highlights for the Deres, but after a 4-2 win v Hounslow in the FA Cup first qualifying round, the next round gave us a trip to a club that was 14 years away from its famous entry to the Football League, and which had a very big name in its ranks. 




Athenian League Erith put up their bravest fight of the season last Saturday when they blocked out ex-England superstar Jimmy Greaves but crashed to a late goal against Southern League Barnet in the FA Cup.


A goal after two minutes and another 10 minutes from time prevented Deres from springing the shock of the second qualifying round.  A superb goalkeeping display by Dudley made Barnet struggle and they looked only a shadow of the side which is challenging for the Southern Premier League title.


In the first few minutes Jimmy Greaves could have put Barnet in the lead but his shot went just wide of the post.  Barnet started pressing harder but the Deres were just as capable of mounting dangerous raids.


O’Keefe took a free kick a few yards outside the goal area but was unlucky to put it past the upright.  Then a misunderstanding in the Deres’ goalmouth forced Dudley to try and gather the ball from the feet of Barnet’s Steve Ragan.  But Ragan managed to tip the ball over Dudley’s body into the net, putting Barnet one up.


Deres nearly equalised in the next 10 minutes when they had the Barnet defence in a panic.  Goalkeeper Woodend just got his hand to the ball.


Barnet won a few corners but could not take advantage of them.  Greaves had more chances to go ahead but good goalkeeping from Dudley kept him out.  Just before half-time Deres made two good hard shots at goal but Woodend saved well.


Deres continued to play good football in the second half, making Barnet fight.  Once again Greaves was foiled, with Dudley making a superb save.  Barnet were caught offside time after time.


Barnet’s Ragan had a goal disallowed through handling the ball, and then both sides brought their subs on.  For Deres Catchpole replaced Paul Gurr and for Barnet Meadows came on in place of Borthwick.


Barnet won four successive corners but still could not get past Dudley.  Deres put the pressure on with good passing and caused panic in the Barnet goalmouth.


Chris Murrell made a good tackle and won the ball and put it firmly in the back of the net to equalise.


But Deres were caught out when Barnet’s Ragan notched the winner.


Erith and Belvedere: Alan Dudley; Steve Boyle, Frank Reaney, Chris Murrell, John Conway, Ken Edwards, Chris King, Alex McNamara, Tim O’Keefe, Paul Gurr (Mel Catchpole 55), John Mulrooney.



Barnet went on to reach the first round proper, losing 2-1 at home to Peterborough United.  Deres finished second bottom in the Athenian League, but more importantly in February the board took the decision to revert to the Kent League as a reaction to money troubles as well as the exodus from the Athenian.  That same month Welling United decided to leave the Spartan League and apply to join the Athenian.  In retrospect this was the point at which we and Welling changed places in the local football hierarchy.


If any younger readers don’t know about Jimmy Greaves, he was in England’s World Cup squad in 1966 (missing the Final due to injury), scored 44 goals in only 57 appearances for England and a record 357 goals in the First Division for Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham.  He came out of retirement to play two seasons for Barnet, 1977-79, and was named their player of the year aged 39 in 1977-78, scoring 25 goals from midfield. 


In 2001 Greavsie looked back on his time at Underhill thus: “"It was great.  They were two of my most memorable seasons – I loved it.  I've got a great affinity with the club.  When people introduce me as Tottenham, Chelsea, AC Milan and West Ham, I always say 'and Barnet'.


"We had quite a good side actually, although we were all getting on a bit.  Dave Underwood was the chairman and he said 'come and play for me' and I did.  Barry Fry came as manager in the second season.  It was a very tough league.  Everybody wanted to play, everybody wanted to beat you.  It was a real combat and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I played in midfield and had to run, or try to run, the show a bit and it meant getting stuck in. You can't airy fairy in the Southern League."


On 29 January 1978 a front-page story in the Sunday People revealed what most people didn’t know but those around him must have suspected: “Drink is killing me, says Jimmy Greaves” was the massive headline.  Greavsie later said in his autobiography: “I was drunk from 1972 to 1977.  I woke up one morning and realised that it was a different world.  I'd been living in it, but I hadn't been aware of it."  He stopped drinking in February 1978 and, although ailing now, the decision possibly gave him 40 years extra life.

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