DERES' TOP 100 GAMES - No 90

Posted by Mickey Cooper on 22 August 2019

Corinthian                3          Smith 17, 90, Jarvis 82

Erith & Belvedere   2          Bright 38, Crooks 57                       

Kent Senior Trophy Final, 28 April 1984 (at Sittingbourne)

 

Continuing the series counting down the 100 most memorable games in our history.  Today, the only final we reached during our Southern League era, and a game our manager wasn’t happy about.

 

1983-84 was the Deres’ second season in the Southern League Southern Division, and although we finished comfortably above the relegation zone (13 points clear), highlights were few on the ground.  A fortnight before this game there was a notable 3-1 win at Waterlooville where Colin O’Keefe “roasted” former Southampton fullback Manny Andruszewski, and earlier in the season a Kevin Alexander penalty clinched an FA Youth Cup win for the Deres’ youngsters against Southend United.  Meanwhile wins against Met Police (1-0 h), Swanley Town (2-1 aet a) and Tunbridge Wells (3-1 h) took us to the Kent Senior Trophy Final, which went as follows:

 

SMITH’S GOALS WRECK ERITH

 

Two-goal hero Tony Smith was hoisted aloft by his Corinthian team-mates after a dramatic Kent Senior Trophy Final victory over favourites Erith and Belvedere at Sittingbourne last Saturday.

 

And no wonder.  He had just volleyed home Trevor Larkin’s deep cross in the last minute to make it 3-2 to Ron Billings’ farmer boys.

 

The 81-year-old landowner’s team, including three sons and three employees, were trailing 2-1 with eight minutes to go when Andrew Jarvis’ header brought them back from the dead.

 

Then, with only seconds remaining, Larkin made a penetrating run down the left and crossed high to the far post for Smith’s winner – a great result for a side without their star player Ronald Billings through injury.

 

Corinthian’s average age was 20, but it was a schoolboy mistake by Belvedere’s Andy James which gave the youngsters the lead.

 

His 17th minute back pass fell short of stranded keeper Micky Orme, and Smith nipped in to make it 1-0 to the Fawkham team, which does not belong to a league.

 

Bob Moyce and Junior Crooks always looked dangerous for Southern League Belvedere, and they deserved their 38th minute equaliser when Crooks battled through the box to set up Kelvin Bright’s eight-yard shot.

 

And it was Crooks who put Belvedere in front in the 57th minute, cutting in from the left to squeeze his close-range shot between the legs of Corinthian keeper Gary Silvester.

 

Some of the Corinthian side had stopped playing because at the other end of the field Corinthian’s John Hunt and Belvedere’s Geoff Cornes were involved in a flare-up.  Manager Ron Billings immediately took off the winger and brought on Simon Phippan.  The drastic punishment could have unsettled Corinthian at a crucial stage, but Billings insisted afterwards, “I am not having it.  If they misbehave they are off.”

 

In the last 15 minutes Corinthian overran their opponents, and Jarvis was left completely unmarked when he stole up from defence to head in a deflected cross.

 

Belvedere survived an 87th minute penalty appeal when Bright appeared to handle Phippan’s shot, but Smith’s last-gasp winner stifled the angry words that had been flying between the opposing benches.

 

Belvedere manager Peter Peters was bitter about how his side had lost.  He said: “We defended like novices against a poor side.  But that may sound like sour grapes and I do not want to spoil their day.”

 

He had more to say about Corinthian’s reputation for fair play.  “They may have this wonderful code of conduct, but they can put it about like the best of them.”

 

Corinthian’s Gavin Tovey and Belvedere’s Neil Lawrence were booked after one of several scuffles, but Ron Billings insisted:” Winning at all costs does not appeal to me, though winning does.”

 

He also confirmed his team would refuse all invitations to join a league and maintain their “exclusive” tag by playing only friendlies and cup matches.

 

He started the team 13 years ago when he was unhappy with the standard his sons were playing in local soccer.  Most of Saturday’s 12 he has had since they were 11 years old, and he was both jubilant manager and pleased father as son Andrew received their first trophy, presented by Chairman of the Kent Cup Committee Mr Alan Kay

 

Corinthian: Silvester, Everest, Heaver, Clive Billings, Jarvis, Tovey, Smith, Andrew Billings, Stephen Billings, Larkin, Hunt (Phippan 38).

Erith and Belvedere: Micky Orme, Neil Page, Colin Avery, Neil Lawrence, Geoff Cornes, Kelvin Bright, Alan Hart, Andy James, Steve Barry, Junior Crooks, Bobby Moyce.  Sub: Colin O’Keefe.

 

 

Deres went on to finish 5th from bottom of the Southern Division, and we didn’t reach another final for 25 years.  Despite Ron Billings’ insistence on not joining a league, just over a year later they joined the Deres in the Southern Division for the 1985-86 season  For more on Ron Billings and his legacy, see this wonderful article and photo essay by David Bauckham at https://dbauckham.exposure.co/the-last-corinthian .

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