Clapham Southgate 0-2 Jeff's Chippy Clapham Common 6th October 2019
'The Sun Also Rises' is a 1926 Ernest Hemmingway novel in which the Festival of San Fermin features prominently, particularly the 'running of the bulls'. Students of the Chippy's results in 2019 will note the similarities between the 14th century Spanish tradition and the way in which Chippy, led by Captain Jon Walton, are sweeping opponents aside; a collection of raw, powerful physical specimens, which together form a thunderous machine, clearing everything in its path.
All pre-match talk in the Chippy camp was of retribution. The Walton-less, rudderless Chippy had against all odds crashed out of last season's cup at the hands of Southgate, and approached today's contest with a consequent steely determination. The 'no bull' approach immediately paid dividends. After a spell of early pressure which saw Southgate marooned in their own half, Phil Gray launched a throw-in towards the front post, with arms that could surely have arrowed that throw all the way from Pamplona. The set piece found Chippy's Luke Flannigan, who with a lot still to do, glanced the ball home.
Chippy continued to threaten throughout the first half, the juggernaut gathering pace with each passing minute. Despite some tantalising deliveries that Palace Spice on Lavender Hill would be proud of, a second goal proved elusive. Were it not for the faintest of touches Matt (allegedly) got on the ball after an otherwise faultless half from Chippy's stand-in keeper, Southgate would have been given the opportunity to draw level from the spot. As it was, the half ended with the Chippy's slender lead intact but the game in the balance.
After the restart, for periods the bulls released at the beginning of the first half were nowhere to be seen. Even the usually rampant Harry Ingham resorted to theatrics on the edge of the Southgate penalty area, earning himself a yellow card, the fine for which the club does not pay. Chippy struggled to find their regular rhythm, and were lucky that the eventual MoM and his centre midfield counterpart battled continuously in the middle of the park.
Southgate threatened. A goal Chippy's Theo Mizzi rifled into his own net was chalked off for a marginal offside. A towering header from a Southgate shirt was fortunately straight down the throat of Chris, Chippy's second selfless hero of the afternoon, who did well to hold it. The game swung from end to end, selfless darts behind the Southgate back line from Charlie rarely rewarded, and resulting in few chances. The Chippy continued to hassle, harry and fight but the result never felt certain, until up stepped the Captain, the Leader, El Matador Jon Walton.
Another sumptuous delivery into the box was picked out of the sky by Walton, sticking to his foot like a cork to a horn. In what he later insisted was deliberate, Walton rounded a Southgate defender and poked home from a narrow angle. Immediately Chippy knew the 3 points were theirs, a result which had looked fragile set in stone in an instant. If asked how they'd won today's game, every Chippy would surely quote Hemmingway in response: "gradually, then suddenly".