Sunday, 25 September 2022

TLFG: 26 September - 2 October 2022

Welcome one and all to this week's TLFG.

How has the international break been for you?

Have you used it as a time to get away from football and do something else or have you gorged on the fine offerings available to you in non-league and women's football?

Personally I've taken a break, albeit a fatigue-enforced one.

When you work early shifts on the railway for a week, tiredness really catches up with you and even though I could've got to a game on Saturday, I decided to stay at home and watch the WSL game between Arsenal and Tottenham - I still nodded off though.

Peter and I with our finishers' medals

On Sunday morning I went and ran the Ealing Half Marathon, something I mentioned in last week's piece.

Although I had planned to run with TLFG reader Liam, he was much too quick for me and pulled away as early as the two-mile mark, leaving me to run my own race.

It went surprisingly well and after conquering the dreaded Greenford Avenue hill, I relatively bounded the last five miles home to record my fastest time for several years of 1.53.37 - which was very pleasing indeed.

I'd like to give a big shout out at this point to Ealing Half Marathon founder Kelvin Walker who has done a great job establishing this hugely successful event - it's a massive amount of effort to keep something like this going so a big well done to all those involved.

I'm honoured to say he's a reader of this blog and loves to groundhop when he's not watching Spurs.

I'm also pleased to report that fundraising for the girls' section of Actonians was a big success and we managed to exceed our £1,000 target. 

I really appreciate the donations I and my fellow fundraiser Peter received from TLFG readers to help us get to our goal.

There were some very generous amounts given so thank you very much. These included Michael C, Mr Waffles and TLFG Reader - cheers!

If you'd like to add to that fund, the page is still open and every pound will make a difference to the future development of the girls. 

Many thanks also to Matt K who made a donation to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - well done for finding a way to do it after I took all the links down!

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Nations League, Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Cup, Women's League Cup, Women's FA Cup and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 26 September

UEFA Nations League
England v Germany @745pm - the week begins with what would normally be one of the biggest games in international football. Don't get me wrong, it's still a huge occasion and Wembley has sold out but there's very little riding on it as the two worst teams in the group, yes you read that right, play for little more than pride. In theory Germany could finish second if they win but Gareth Southgate's side will finish bottom in the four-team group whatever happens

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Tuesday 27 September

National League South
Welling United v Dover Athletic @745pm - there are a couple of games in the sixth tier on Tuesday but I've gone with this as the Wings are currently the top-ranked London side in it. Dover got relegated last season after a tumultuous year and are nearer than the bottom than the top

Isthmian League Premier
Enfield Town v Horsham @745pm - in the seventh tier, I'd recommend a trip to the QEII Stadium where two of the top seven go in search of the points. The Towners made the play-offs last season so you'd expect them to be there or thereabouts again

Isthmian League South Central
Walton & Hersham v Northwood @745pm - this game really gets my mouth watering. The Swans have made a great start to the season and are up in fifth. However, they're also on a brilliant FA Cup run and have played two games less than leaders Northwood who've won all of their first six games

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Wednesday 28 September

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v West Ham United @745pm - this was supposed to be the Blues' big season opener at Stamford Bridge but the Queen's death saw it postponed. It's now been rearranged for Wednesday night at Kingsmeadow which is a bit disappointing. Emma Hayes' side picked up their first win of the WSL season on Sunday, beating Manchester City 2-0. Over on the eastside of town, the Hammers lost to Manchester United so the sides will come into this one on level points. Tickets
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Thursday 29 September

FA Youth Cup Second Round Qualifying
London Lions v Boreham Wood @7pm - there are numerous ties in this U18 competition this week and with nothing else on on Thursday, this takes centre stage. It looks really interesting too as they're very local to each other, although there's four divisions between their senior teams
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Friday 30 September

Premier League 2
Fulham v Everton @7pm - there's an U21 match at the Cottagers' Motspur Park training ground on Friday evening. With only one defeat each so far this season, it should be close. Tickets are £3 on the gate

Isthmian League Premier
Enfield Town v Corinthian Casuals @745pm - with a very large tree having fallen on their clubhouse, CCs are having to move all their matches around at the moment. This should've been a home game on Saturday but they've brought it forward a day and switched it round so they're now playing away. With the visitors down in the bottom three, the Towners should win here

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Sawbridgeworth Town @745pm - leaders Redbridge are also at home on Friday but their match against struggling Clapton doesn't offer quite as much as this clash of two of the top six

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Saturday 1 October

Premier League
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - last Saturday lunchtime, the women's teams went head-to-head at the Emirates and now it's the men's turn. With the sides only a point apart in first and third, this is arguably the biggest game of the Premier League season so far. Spurs actually come into this in better form but they haven't won a league game here since 2010. On that occasion they came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 with a late goal from Younes Kaboul. Tickets are not available
Crystal Palace v Chelsea @3pm - there's another big derby at Selhurst Park where the Blues play their first league match under the stewardship of Graham Potter. This will also be their first match for 17 days after seeing their game against Liverpool postponed ahead of the Queen's funeral. If Thomas Tuchel was still in charge then you might fancy the Eagles to get something but he's gone and with only one win this season, it's going to be tough for them. A look into the archives also paints a very bleak picture with Palace losing their last 10 games in all competitions against Chelsea. Tickets are not available to non-members
Fulham v Newcastle United @3pm - the Cottagers have made a sensational start following their promotion. Up in sixth after seven games, their fans must be delighted. Eddie Howe's Magpies team are hugely changed following the arrival of their new Saudi owners but they've become the division's draw specialists and although they've put in some entertaining performances, they're down in 10th. It appears this has sold out too
West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers @530pm - I can't remember the last time there were four top-flight games in London on a Saturday and this weekend's bumper offering comes to an end with this. Both of these sides have impressed in recent seasons but this campaign has begun poorly with both only managing one win from seven. Consequently they're both in the bottom four and in desperate need of the points. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Oxford United @3pm - with none of our local Championship sides playing at home, we move onto the third tier. The Addicks are now five without a win after going down 3-1 at promotion-chasing Barnsley and need an improved performance here. Oxford are usually among the play-off challengers but they're down in 19th and could end the day in the relegation zone if they lose here. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Colchester United @3pm - the Dons picked up a very creditable draw at Bradford City on Saturday but the result extended their winless run in the league to five games. They'll be keen to end it as soon as possible as a hideous winless run that stretched for months last season ultimately sent them down. Colchester didn't pull up any trees last season and they're in the bottom four. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Newport County @3pm - the O's won the big game at title rivals Barrow on Saturday to move five points clear at the top as they continue to go from strength-to-strength. They'll be big favourites to take three points here too as their Welsh opponents haven't made a great start. Tickets

Premier League 2
There are a couple of U21 games at lunchtime with Chelsea entertaining Leicester City at Kingsmeadow at 12pm and West Ham United taking on Crystal Palace at their Rush Green training facility at 2pm. Tickets are £5 for both 

National League
Barnet v York City @3pm - after starting the season so well and briefly topping the table, the Bees continued their slide down it after losing a thrilling derby at Dagenham & Redbridge 5-4. York were going in the opposite direction and would have found themselves in the play-off places on Saturday night but they lost to Notts County and are now just a point ahead of their hosts
Boreham Wood v Maidstone United @3pm - the Wood are currently the top London club in the fifth tier and could move into the top three with a win here. Maidstone fought hard but lost 2-1 to leaders Chesterfield on Saturday to remain in the bottom half

FA Cup Third Round Qualifying
Things are starting to get serious in the FA Cup, with all clubs playing on Saturday now only two games away from a place in the First Round where the League One and League Two clubs enter the draw. Given how important these games are, their geographical spread and the fact I'm pushed for time, these will be my focus for the remainder of Saturday's non-league section. There are nine ties taking place in London, here's my preview:

Dulwich Hamlet v Folkestone Invicta @3pm - with average crowds of around 1,800 the biggest attendance will probably come at Champion Hill. There's also a chance of a cupset as the hosts are in dreadful form and recently sacked long-serving manager Gavin Rose. Folkestone play a level below Dulwich but have a decent away following and could cause them problems
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Paulton Rovers @3pm - on paper the Beavers should have too much for the visitors as they play two levels above them. However, they're not playing well and will need to avoid any complacency at all costs
Carshalton Athletic v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm - the Robins are having a disappointing season in the Isthmian Premier and face a very tough afternoon as NLS title challengers H&W travel up from Hampshire
Hanwell Town v Ebbsfleet United @3pm - this could be an FA Cup classic as one of the form teams from the Southern League take on the NLS leaders. On paper, the visitors should navigate their way through this fairly smoothly but the Geordies will no doubt have other ideas
Hendon v Herne Bay @3pm - it's hard to pick a winner here as both sides are struggling in the parallel Isthmain and Southern Leagues. With home advantage, the Greens should probably just shade it
Hornchurch v Braintree Town @3pm - I really like the look of this one too. The Urchins are currently top of the seventh tier Isthmian Premier whilst Braintree are pushing for a place in the NLS play-offs. It's an all-Essex affair too and should draw a decent crowd
Metropolitan Police v Chippenham Town @3pm - the Met have managed top-four finishes in the last two completed seasons in the Southern League and are in contention again this year. Chippenham play a level above but could be there for the taking. The hosts have made the First Round twice in the last 10 years so they have experience of causing the occasional cupset
Beckenham Town v Binfield @3pm - there's an intriguing tie at Eden Park Avenue where two eighth-tier clubs who are both in great form go head-to-head. Both currently sit second in the parallel Isthmian South East and Isthmian South Central respectively. The Becks caused one of the shocks of the last round by winning 2-1 at NLS side Dartford. Not to be outdone, Binfield raised possibly even more eyebrows by thrashing one of the Darts' rivals Tonbridge Angels 4-0. Whichever way this goes, the winner will be well worth keeping track of in the next round
Romford v Chelmsford City @3pm - the hosts are the lowest ranked club left from the London area, some achievement for a ninth-tier side. They also face a fellow Essex club but one from three levels above. My own club Harrow Borough caused an upset by beating Chelmsford last season so they are prone to the odd slip up but surely not to a team from the Essex Senior League? We'll see...

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Sunday 2 October

FA Women's League Cup
London City Lionesses v West Ham United @2pm - the WSL takes a break this week and we have the opening round of group games in this competition instead. With Arsenal and Chelsea sitting things out because of their European commitments, the rest of the teams in the WSL and Championship begin the fight for a place in the quarter-finals. LCL enjoyed a 3-0 win over Durham on Sunday to raise their spirits ahead of a match against a Hammers side who finished sixth in the top division last season

FA WNL Southern Premier
London Bees v Cheltenham Town @2pm - after seeing off fourth tier Portishead in the FA WNL Cup on Sunday, the hosts return to league action on Sunday. Up in third, they've made a good start and should fancy their chances against a Cheltenham side who've lost three in a row in the league and got dumped out of the cup by fourth tier AFC Wimbledon on Sunday

FA WNL Division 1 South East
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Actonians @2pm - despite playing a level below Actonians last season, the Tangerines beat them in two cup competitions. Now playing in the same division, it will be really interesting to see how this goes. Although the hosts are just ahead of the visitors in the table, it can be argued that Actonians have had a much tougher fixture list. On Sunday both of them played in the FA WNL Cup - Actonians won 4-2 at Cambridge City whilst Ashford lost 7-0 at Hashtag United. Unsurprisingly, I want an away win and hope to be there
AFC Wimbledon v Wymondham Town @3pm - if you've never been to Plough Lane before, this is your chance to do it on the cheap. Women's games here are only £5 and you should see a stack of goals as the Dons are in great form and Wymondham quite simply aren't
London Seaward v QPR @3pm - up in third, Walthamstow based London Seaward should be very happy with the start they've made. They also enjoyed a cup win over Swindon Town on Sunday and should start as favourites against an inconsistent QPR side who've now gone four games without a win and lost their latest game 7-0 at home to Ipswich in the cup

Women's FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
Bromley v Millwall Lionesses @2pm - it's also the next round of the Women's FA Cup and there are a number of ties around the capital. The pick of them is this one between two clubs from south-east London. The Ravens are one of the early pacesetters in the sixth tier London & South East Women's Regional League Division 1 South whilst Millwall are currently top of the Premier Division which sits just above them 

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

TLFG: 19-25 September 2022

After the postponement of last weekend's games, football resumed on Monday.

Domestically it was a good week for Arsenal and Spurs who continued to fly the flag for London in the Premier League - their wins over Brentford and Leicester City respectively kept them a point apart in first and third.

Chelsea saw new boss Graham Potter take charge of his first match and it ended in a disappointing 1-1 against RB Salzburg in the Champions League.

There was further disappointment for the Blues in the Women's Super League which finally got underway this weekend.

Despite being reigning champions and the team everyone feared, they were the only one of the four London clubs in the WSL to lose their opening fixture as they went down 2-1 at newly promoted Liverpool.

Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham all picked up three points in their first matches.

The other huge talking point of the week was the queue to see the Queen lying-in-state at Westminster.

It began on Wednesday evening and ends tomorrow at 0630.

Queuing times peaked at around 24 hours as it snaked back to Southwark Park, not far from Millwall's ground.

From the footballing community, David Beckham impressed many with his commitment to queue for around 12 hours unlike some other notables who were allowed to 'push-in'.

Dominika Netschova goes close for Actonians at Plough Lane

Work and football commitments meant I had no chance of doing it and with me having to work on the day of the funeral too, I'll probably miss the cortege as it heads through West London on its way to Windsor on Monday.

So what football did I get to watch?

I headed south on Sunday to the new Plough Lane to watch Actonians take on AFC Wimbledon in their latest FA WNL game.

The Dons finished last season strongly and I've got them down as title contenders this season so it was no surprise to find the visitors on the backfoot for most of this game.

They competed well enough throughout but didn't really fashion any clear chances.

Goalless at half-time, it was still all to play for but a scrappy goal midway through the second half which found its way in off an Actonians defender or two broke the deadlock.

Half chances came and went but Wimbledon's keeper barely had a touch as chances went narrowly wide or got blocked by her defence.

A second found the net at the end of a fast counter attack down the right and despite eight minutes of injury time, there was no way back for the visitors and it ended 2-0.

Actonians are still ruing the abandonment of their opening game against Chesham which they were winning with ease and are still awaiting the league's decision on what will happen.

With only one point from four completed games, the table looks disheartening but three of those came against three of the top four so they're due some easier games soon.

I ran to the THS with TLFG reader Liam on Tuesday

Once again, I and other fans received a handshake from the captain who came up into the stand at full-time to thank us for our support.

Next weekend I'm running the Ealing Half Marathon to raise funds for the club's youth section and continued my preparations by going on a long run with TLFG reader Liam up to the THS on Tuesday night - we got soaked in the rain but it was a lot of fun.

Actonians are one of only three clubs in their division who have no link to a senior men's club and have to work hard to get the finance they need to continue.

Rather than donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund, I'd really appreciate it if you could sponsor myself and fellow Dad Peter as we try and target £1,000 to help keep our daughters playing football.

It was also great to meet TLFG reader 'Balham' at Sunday's game - he's been a big supporter of this blog for several years. Thanks a lot young man.


THE WEEK AHEAD

There's a men's international break this week so the highlights of the next few days include games in the Women's Champions League, EFL, FA Cup, FA Trophy, FA Vase, FA Women's Super League and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Tuesday 20 September

UEFA Women's Champions League
Arsenal v Ajax @730pm - with it being a men's international break this week, this important women's game at Boreham Wood tops the bill on Tuesday. The Gunners started their WSL season on Friday with an emphatic 4-0 win over Brighton. Their Dutch opponents, who also finished second in their league last season, recorded a similar win against Fortuna Sittard so this should be a very interesting contest. Tickets are available from just £8 if bought in advance - they increase on the day

EFL Trophy
Leyton Orient v Sutton United @7pm - there are a couple of games in this competition on Tuesday but this derby is definitely the better of the two. It pits the current leaders of League Two against last year's beaten finalists. Tickets are £10

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round Replays
Fisher v Welling United @745pm - I mentioned last week how the ninth-tier Fish had done really well to get this far but I didn't think they'd get through this. Well, they picked up a remarkable 0-0 draw at Park View Road to bring the sixth-tier Wings back to Salter Road for one of the biggest matches since they re-formed in 2009
Hayes & Yeading United v Farnborough @745pm - the visitors pipped H&YU to promotion last season, after beating them in an ill-tempered play-off final at Beaconsfield Road. With this in mind, I've no doubt the west London club will really relish beating them here as they attempt to reach the First Round for the fourth consecutive season

Southern League Premier South
Harrow Borough v Hendon @745pm - this derby game is of even more importance than usual as both clubs have made very poor starts in the league. Harrow were without a game on Saturday but the Greens picked up a morale-boosting win over Wingate & Finchley in the FA Cup

Isthmian League South East
Beckenham Town v Cray Valley PM @745pm - the Becks caused one of the shocks of the day on Saturday as they won 2-1 at NLS side Dartford in the FA Cup. With the good form they're in, I thought they had a chance but thought a draw was the best they could've hoped for. On Tuesday they return to league action against a fellow south-east London club who bowed out of the cup to Hanwell

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Wednesday 21 September

Isthmian League Premier
Cray Wanderers v Hastings United @745pm - after narrowly avoiding relegation last season, London's oldest club have begun well. Fourth at the time of writing, they're just three points off top spot. Hastings are new to this level after winning promotion last season and are starting to get some results after a slow start
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Friday 23 September

Professional Development League
There are a couple of good U21 options on Friday lunchtime which should make it easy to see two games in a day on Friday. Both QPR and Watford have games kicking off at 1pm at Loftus Road and Vicarage Road respectively. UPDATE - the Watford match is now being played at Kings Langley

Isthmian League South Central
Chertsey Town v Basingstoke Town @745pm - originally scheduled for Tuesday night, this match has been shifted to Friday. A win for the Curfews will keep them in the top four

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
Woodford Town v Stanway Rovers @745pm - the next round of the FA Vase gets underway on Friday night. There is also a tie at May & Baker but this one between two Essex Senior League teams appeals to me a bit more. Woodford are currently fourth so should start as favourites
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Saturday 24 September

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @130pm - the biggest match of the weekend is the women's North London Derby at the Emirates. I've seen adverts for this all over the internet and even at Tube stations and apparently they're getting on for 50,000 ticket sales which is a huge WSL record. Spurs also started their season with a win but they will begin as underdogs here. Tickets are available from £12

League Two
Sutton United v Salford City @3pm - if it has to be a men's game for you then the highest level match on offer in the capital on Saturday is this fourth-tier fixture. The U's are ticking along nicely enough in 10th but a big enough win for the visitors could see them break into the top three. Tickets

National League
Bromley v Oldham Athletic @3pm - the Ravens won their big game against Maidstone by a fairly comfortable 3-0 margin on Saturday to move into the play-off places. Former top-flight club Oldham are playing their first season in non-league football and are still finding their feet. A useful 3-2 win over Eastleigh should see them arrive in good spirits
Dagenham & Redbridge v Barnet @3pm - the Daggers got back to winning ways with a confidence boosting 4-1 win over bottom club Altrincham on Saturday and can now look ahead to this derby against a Bees side who are really struggling with consistency
Wealdstone v Southend United @3pm - the Stones recorded their fourth consecutive draw on Saturday but are still just five points behind leaders Chesterfield in sixth. The Shrimpers are only a point above the relegation zone and will be very keen to get something here

National League South
Welling United v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm - game of the day in sixth tier sees two of the top five do battle at Park View Road. Like the Wings, Havant had a tough game against lower-division opposition in the FA Cup on Saturday but made it through 

Isthmian League Premier
Hornchurch v Cray Wanderers @3pm - there are a number of games in midweek which could significantly alter how big a match this is but wins for both sides could mean they're joint top by kick-off. As it stands they're third and fourth so it should be pretty decent one way or another

FA Trophy Second Round Qualifying
Walton & Hersham v Southall @3pm - this competition is for clubs in the fifth to the eighth tiers - there are a handful of ties in the London area but with the greatest of respect, none of them are that sexy. This game between two Isthmian South Central sides who are both in the top seven is probably the best on offer

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
Balham v Colliers Wood United @3pm - there are actually some better looking ties in the Vase which is for clubs in the ninth and 10th tiers. First up is this derby between two south London clubs who used to groundshare. Although geographically these areas are very close together on the Northern Line, both sides play in stadia away from their heartlands. To further confuse things, this match has been switched to CWU's ground
Broadfields United v North Greenford United @3pm - there's another derby to be enjoyed in the north-west of the capital where two CCL North clubs meet. The hosts, who groundshare at Rayners Lane, haven't made it past this round since 2019
Romford v West Essex @3pm - the current groundshare tenants of Barking take on the former ones in this game between two Essex Senior League clubs. The visitors have made a superb start to the season, are two points clear at the top and should be expected to take the honours here


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Sunday 25 September

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Manchester City @4pm - regarded as two of the 'Big Three' in the WSL, it came as something of a surprise to see them both lose to unfancied teams in their opening games. The Blues lost 2-1 at newly promoted Liverpool whilst City lost a cracking game 4-3 at Aston Villa. With a number of big-name departures over the summer, many thought the visitors might find things tougher than normal so I'm expecting Chelsea to bounce back here. Tickets are sold out
West Ham United v Manchester United @3pm - a little earlier in the day at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground, the Hammers welcome the side most likely to usurp Manchester City and break into the division's elite group. Like Arsenal, United managed a 4-0 win in their opening game against Reading and they should have too much for their hosts even though they managed to pick up three points against Everton. Tickets

FA Women's Championship
London City Lionesses v Durham @12pm - after finishing as runners-up to Liverpool last season, LCL will probably feel a little disappointed to be down in seventh. However, it's incredibly early days and a win will almost certainly move them into the top four

FA Women's National League Cup Determining Round
Watford v Norwich City @2pm - all these matches were supposed to be played last weekend but were postponed because of the Queen's death so here we are again. Watford crushed Cheltenham 6-0 in the league on Sunday to move up to fourth in the third tier. Norwich, on the other hand, went to Loftus Road and beat QPR 2-0 to stay joint top of the fourth tier. In case you were wondering, this match 'determines' whether a club continues in the FA WNL Cup or they drop into the FA WNL Plate instead
QPR v Ipswich Town @2pm - the R's will look to bounce back and cause a bit of an upset when they welcome third tier Ipswich to Hanwell Town's ground. The visitors have won their last two in the league and will start as favourites

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 11 September 2022

TLFG: 12-18 September 2022

Well, well, well - a lot has changed since I last wrote.

On Thursday afternoon, I was looking forward to a Saturday where my daughter would be making her debut at U10 level in a new leadership role which she was sharing with a couple of other girls.

They were going to be playing at a new home ground too but it never happened.

As we all know, the Queen died later that afternoon and on Friday it was decided to postpone all football from the Premier League down to kids matches.

With other sports not following suit, the FA has received quite a bit of criticism for this blanket suspension of our sport.

Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday

It was very disappointing for my daughter and more so because my work commitments mean she almost certainly won't get another opportunity to play until next month.

I don't know how you feel about the situation but on reflection, the FA probably couldn't win either way and would have put someone's nose out of joint somewhere.

It is a huge moment for the people of this country and I actually got a bit misty eyed when I saw a clip of the Queen enjoying a win on the horses at Ascot one year - you actually got to see her really enjoying herself and showing some emotion, a rare sight.

I never met her - I think the closest I got was watching her drive past me in Dublin during her historic visit to Ireland in 2011.

My only brush with royalty was a quick handshake and chat with Princess Anne in 1995 when I met her at a university function.

Have you had a royal encounter?

With the funeral now set for Monday 19 September, there is still some doubt over whether next weekend's bigger fixtures will take place as the policing resource might not be available but we should find out over the next couple of days.

I've written this piece at work so it's a bit more rushed than I'd have liked so apologies if it's not up to scratch.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Robert S from Oslo, Norway who donated to TLFG's coffee drinking fund - much appreciated.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, FA Women's Super League, Women's FA Cup and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.


Monday 12 September

Isthmian League Premier
Aveley v Potters Bar Town @745pm - the week begins with a clash of the top two in the Isthmian League. Both sides have won four of their first five league games but crucially they met in the FA Cup last week and PBT came out on top

--------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday 13 September

League One
Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers @745pm - the Addicks have continued the inconsistent form they showed for much of last season and are 12th after seven games. FGR finally made it up from League Two but have only managed two wins and are in the bottom four. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Northampton Town @745pm - the Dons have also had an unspectacular start to life back in the fourth tier and face a tough evening against the Cobblers who are up in fifth. Tickets

National League
Barnet v Dorking Wanderers @745pm - with two defeats from their last three, the Bees have slipped to seventh. The visitors have lost even more form and are getting worryingly close to the relegation zone
Boreham Wood v Maidenhead United @745pm - the Wood are currently London's top-ranked club in this division and are just three points off top spot. Maidenhead ended a three game losing streak by drawing with FC Halifax Town

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Hemel Hempstead Town @745pm - there's an early season relegation six-pointer at Champion Hill where two clubs in the bottom four fight it out for a crucial three points

Southern League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Hendon @745pm - it's a similar story at the Rogers Family Stadium but in this case it's a derby too MATCH OFF

FA Trophy First Round Qualifying
Beckenham Town v Heybridge Swifts @745pm - after seeing Saturday's opening round postponed following the death of the Queen, the action has all been shifted to midweek instead - a period that had been initially reserved for replays. For me, this is the tie of the round as it pits two of the best teams in the eighth tier against each other. Beckenham are two points clear at the top in the Isthmian South East whilst Heybridge are one of three clubs sharing the lead in the North

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Enfield @745pm - two of the top four meet at Oakside for what could ultimately be an important match in the title race. The Motormen are currently second but have the games in hand to go top whereas Enfield have played even fewer games but won them all and look impressive. They're also still in the FA Cup so might have an eye on that as they prepare to host Billericay on Saturday

SCEFL Premier
Stansfeld v Rusthall @745pm - Erith & Belvedere are currently top and are also in action on Tuesday but this match between two of the top four looks marginally more interesting. Stansfeld are new to this level but have made a fine start and are second

--------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday 14 September

UEFA Champions League
Chelsea v RB Salzburg @8pm - new boss Graham Potter takes charge of his first Blues game on Wednesday night and it's in the Champions League. Defeat to Dinamo Zagreb last week cost former manager Thomas Tuchel his job so Chelsea have some ground to make up. Although only playing in the Austrian league, Salzburg are top and unbeaten and also drew with AC Milan in their Champions League opener

Championship
Millwall v QPR @745pm - tickets for Chelsea will be hard to get but there are still some available for this usually combative derby. Only a point separates them in the table and it should be close again. Tickets

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round
Hadley v Sevenoaks Town @745pm - the best non-league option of the night is this cup tie at Brickfield Lane. Hadley are new to the eighth tier and they're struggling, this could well be tough for them
--------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday 8 September

UEFA Europa League
Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven @8pm - the Gunners started their Europa League campaign with a 2-0 win at FC Zurich just as news about the Queen's death was breaking. With their weekend game against Everton being called off, they go straight back into European competition with this one. PSV began with a draw against Bodo/Glimt and are in the top four in the Netherlands. Tickets are for members only MATCH OFF
---------------------------------------------------------------

Friday 9 September

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion @730pm - with the opening weekend of the new WSL season postponed by the Queen's death, this will now be the first game of the campaign. Being played at Boreham Wood's ground, this match has already sold out

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Redbridge @745pm - the Woods welcome what could be the leaders come Friday night. A win for the hosts could see them push well into the top five themselves

---------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday 17 September

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City @530pm - at the time of writing there is still some doubt as to whether this match or any involving pro clubs will take place because of a possible lack of police resources ahead of the Queen's funeral. If it does, Spurs will start as strong favourites because the Foxes have had a nightmare start and are bottom with no wins from six games. Tickets are not available to non-members

Championship
Millwall v Blackpool @3pm - at the time of writing, both sides are locked in midtable just a point apart. The Lions have won their last four against the Lancashire club at The Den and should start as marginal favourites here. Tickets
QPR v Stoke City @3pm - if the R's beat Millwall in midweek then they could well find themselves back in the top six coming into this. The Potters are another club to have disappointed in the opening weeks of the season and are already onto a new manager after Alex Neil replaced Michael O'Neill. Tickets
Watford v Sunderland @3pm - arguably the best of the options in the second tier is between these two who are currently in the top eight. The Mackems haven't won at Vicarage Road since 1999 but then they've only played there four times since. Tickets

League Two
Leyton Orient v Walsall @3pm - the O's have had a dream start to the season and sit three points clear at the top with an unbeaten record. Walsall are down in 13th and haven't won at Brisbane Road on their last 10 visits - that should become 11 on Saturday. Also, the women's team will be playing Luton Town Reserves at 6pm and fans aare invited to stay on.  Tickets
Sutton United v Hartlepool United @3pm - the U's haven't started quite as well as last year but they're still just a point off the play-offs after seven games. Hartlepool need to improve their form or they could be heading back to non-league football. Tickets 

Premier League 2
As it stands there are three U21 games in the London area on Saturday with Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur all hosting games at various grounds. Check all the details on the day to make sure they're still happening

National League
Bromley v Maidstone United @3pm - the pick of the action in the fifth tier is this game between two Kent clubs. Maidstone should bring a significant following for what is effectively a derby

FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
The next round of the FA Cup hits London this weekend and there are a number of really decent ties, here's my selection of what I believe are the best ones:

Dartford v Beckenham Town @3pm - the Darts play two levels above the Becks and should, on paper, start as favourites. However, they're not in great form and Beckenham are. If the tie was being played at Eden Park Avenue, then I'd really fancy the underdogs' chances but we'll see...
Dulwich Hamlet v Margate @3pm - after many lean years in the FA Cup, the Hamlet finally made it to the First Round in 2019. The following year they made it to the Fourth Qualifying Round but last year they got dumped out by eighth tier Bedfont Sports in one of the shocks of the round. Margate should be a tougher proposition than Bedfont and might fancy their chances given Dulwich's poor form
Welling United v Fisher @3pm - there's another south-east London derby at Park View Road. Fisher play three levels below the Wings and are in poor form in the league but they keep upsetting teams in the cup - surely this is one match too far for them but this competition causes strange things to happen
Hendon v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - there's also a derby on the north side of town between two far more even sides from parallel seventh tier divisions. The Greens have a proud FA Cup history but Wingate have never made the First Round. Will this be their year?
Walton & Hersham v Chatham Town @1245pm - I really like the look of this one between two teams who both won promotion to the eighth tier last season and have both begun really well - they are fourth in their respective divisions. The Swans have got some good crowds in the FA Cup over the last year and I expect another strong showing here

-------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday 18 September

Premier League
Brentford v Arsenal @12pm - when these sides met at the start of last season, the Bees humiliated the Gunners but this time it should be different, at least much closer. Mikel Arteta's side are top but their defeat to Manchester United, a side Brentford thrashed, shows they have weaknesses. In the compact GTech Community Stadium, we could have quite a game on our hands. Tickets are not available to non-members
Chelsea v Liverpool @430pm - straight after this, three or so miles to the east, we've got this even bigger game between two of the country's giants. Despite their huge reputations, neither have started well with their sixth and seventh places well below expectations. Last season, the clubs played four times and all ended in draws with penalties required on the two occasions they met in cup competitions. Given their current form, a draw looks likely again. Tickets are not available MATCH OFF

FA Women's Super League
West Ham United v Everton @3pm - with the WSL start delayed by a week, this match at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground is the best on offer in the capital. The Hammers finished sixth last season and will do well to break into the elite group of teams that dominate the league. Adult tickets start at a rather pricey £13

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Southampton @1230pm - it's a big day below the Super League as several teams play their matches at their main stadiums. Palace are top of the Championship after two games and welcome the Saints to Selhurst Park for this one. Adult tickets are £10
Charlton Athletic v Birmingham City @2pm - if you've been to Selhurst Park before, why not try out The Valley instead where the Addicks' women take on the Blues who've just come down from the Super League. Adult tickets are £10

FA Women's National League Division 1 SE
AFC Wimbledon v Actonians @2pm - in the fourth tier, the Dons welcome Actonians to Plough Lane and this is very much where I intend to be, having not watched a match here before. Adult tickets are £5
QPR v Norwich City @2pm - finally, not to be left out, the R's are also opening Loftus Road to their women's side. This match ended 2-1 to the hosts when they met here last season. Adult tickets are also £5


GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here   

Monday, 5 September 2022

TLFG: 5-11 September 2022

AS A RESULT OF THE QUEEN'S DEATH, THERE WILL BE NO FOOTBALL IN LONDON BETWEEN 9-11 SEPTEMBER

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday was a long day so apologies for the late publication of this week's guide.

Thankfully there's not a lot on today (Monday) so you should still have plenty of time to plan for later in the week.

So Sunday - well it began with me running the Big Half, a half marathon which starts near Tower Bridge and finishes next to the Cutty Sark.

I've been wanting to do it for several years but always get injured in the build up.

With this in mind, my training was fairly minimal so I wasn't as fit as I could have been.

Actonians travelled to title favourites Hashtag United on Sunday

Thankfully I kept going all the way round and made it home in under two hours which is always my minimum target.

It was the first of two half marathons I'm running this month with the aim of raising a few quid for the girls team my daughter plays for - Actonians.

After having a freshen up, I got on the Tube and headed east to watch the first team play their latest FA WNL match against title favourites Hashtag United.

Hashtag are a well funded and well run club who have started a new groundshare at Aveley's very impressive Parkside ground.

It's been around for a few years now but I haven't ever visited it because it's a real mission to get to without a car.

However, with the company of Actionians media officer Neil H I committed to undertake the journey.

On a good day, it's a case of getting the District Line to Elm Park and then the 372 bus to a stop that's about a 10-15 minute walk to the turnstile.

However, on Sunday there were roadworks so we ended up alighting the bus with the best part of a two-mile trek to the ground.

And what a walk it was - we took in a traveller camp, a landfill site and got to walk along busy A and B roads with cars racing past us every few seconds!

After all that, we made it to the ground 10 minutes late and thankfully we hadn't missed anything.

Actonians began to get outplayed as the first half wore on and two goals in the closing stages gave Hashtag a 2-0 lead at the break.

After a few stern words, the visitors were much improved after the interval and quickly pulled a goal back.

Saldy they shipped a third soon after but fought back again to make it 3-2 thanks to a free-kick from the highly impressive Natsumi Kanno, one of two Japanese players to recently join the side.

Hopes of an improbable comeback were dashed late on when the hosts added a fourth and it duly ended 4-2.

It wasn't a surprising result but there was a lot of disappointment in the Actonians camp.

It took three hours to get home (shocking when you think it's only about 25 miles) but it was made far easier by the entire Actonians squad coming to thank us for attending, shaking our hands and promising to do better next time.

This is my first season as a committed follower of women's football, it's early days, there have been highs and lows but little touches like this will keep me coming back for more.


THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Champions League, Europa Conference League, Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, FA Women's Super League and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.


Monday 5 September

Isthmian Development League
Monday is dominated by youth and development football with a couple of U23 games at Carshalton Athletic and Haringey Borough being the best on offer. There are games at U18 level too but confirming the details has been difficult so I've left them off the map.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday 6 September

Premier League International Cup
After a Covid-enforced hiatus, the PLIC is all set to return this season. If you've not heard of it before, it features top U21 sides from England and around Europe but every fixture is played here over the course of the season. Arsenal are playing Feyenoord at Boreham Wood whilst Crystal Palace entertain Hertha Berlin at Dulwich Hamlet. I'm not sure about admission details for Arsenal but their youth games at this venue are often free. Palace are charging £4 for their match - card only on the gate

Premier League Cup
Charlton Athletic v Nottingham Forest @2pm - if you want to see two games in a day then there's a lunchtime kick-off at Dartford's ground for this other U21 match

FA Cup First Qualifying Round Replays
Beckenham Town v East Grinstead Town @745pm - two of the early pacesetters in the Isthmian League South East produced an entertaining 2-2 draw in the initial tie on Saturday but back on home turf, you have to fancy the Becks to progress here
Spelthorne Sports v Fisher @745pm - neither side have enjoyed a great start to their league campaigns and they ended up drawing 1-1 in Rotherhithe on Saturday. The Fish have knocked out two teams from higher divisions in the previous rounds and they might just have enough to prevail here

--------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday 7 September

UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Marseille @8pm - Spurs make their return to UEFA's top competition with this group game against the side who finished as runners-up in France last season. The north London club made the final in 2019 but haven't got anywhere close since. They've started this season well but so have their visitors so it will be really interesting to see how this pans out. Tickets are only available to members and their guests or those able to pay a small fortune for hospitality

UEFA Youth League
Tottenham Hotspur v Marseille @2pm - the clubs' U19 sides meet earlier in the day at Spurs' training ground. A small number of free tickets are available by telephone - 0344 844 0102, option 2

FA Cup First Qualifying Round Replay
Cray Wanderers v Bognor Regis Town @745pm - after drawing 2-2 on Saturday, London's oldest club will have to do it all again on Wednesday when fellow Isthmian League Premier Division club Bognor make the journey up from West Sussex

ECL Division 1 South
Tower Hamlets v Sporting Bengal United @745pm - after spending some time away in south-east London, the hosts are back at the Mile End Stadium alongside their old rivals SBU. Both clubs have their roots in the local Bengali community and these derbies are worth a watch
--------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday 8 September

UEFA Europa Conference League
West Ham United v FCSB @8pm - after enjoying a fine run to the semi-finals of last season's Europa League, the Hammers return to UEFA competition again. After making it past Viborg, they welcome FCSB (the club formerly known as Steaua Bucharest) from Romania for this group game. Tickets are available
---------------------------------------------------------------
AS A RESULT OF THE QUEEN'S DEATH, THERE WILL BE NO FOOTBALL IN LONDON BETWEEN 9-11 SEPTEMBER


GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Monday, 29 August 2022

TLFG: 30 August - 4 September 2022

Welcome one and all to this week's TLFG.

How was your week? How many games did you cram in? 

I think that between Friday and Monday it was possible to see as many as eight!

Personally I didn't see anything following my trip to Actonians last Sunday as I've been working most of the time and training for a couple of half marathons I've got coming up next month.

On the subject of running, TLFG reader Liam B from Putney travelled to South Africa and successfully completed the Comrades Marathon on Sunday.

If you've never heard of it, it's actually two-and-a-bit marathons, which sees you have to run approximately 90km in 12 hours or less.

If you take any longer than that then you get disqualified - I'm pleased to say Liam finished the course with 15 minutes to spare!

Having seen both his parents treated at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, which specialises in cancer treatment, he decided to raise some money for it so if you have any spare cash sloshing about then he'd love to have it - he's currently less than £50 away from £1,000 which would be a great amount to hit - donate here.

Tickets for Crystal Palace v Brentford are on sale to non-members

Back to football now and the week ahead again looks exciting with lots of great games to choose from.

For the first time in ages, tickets to watch a Premier League game at Crystal Palace have gone on sale to non-members.

The derby on Tuesday against Brentford should be decent, so take your chance while you can.

I'm all set to watch QPR U21s play their counterparts from Sheffield United on Tuesday lunchtime and hopefully I'll see something on Saturday too - if nothing else, I'll get to see my daughter's first match since June in the morning.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Mark H from Tennessee, USA who donated to TLFG's coffee drinking fund - much appreciated.


THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, FA Women's National League and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.


Tuesday 30 August

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Brentford @730pm - after all the fun of the Bank Holiday weekend, the action doesn't let up with this decent looking derby taking place at Selhurst Park. Both sides are sitting snugly in midtable after reasonable starts to their campaigns and it should be a pretty close-run thing. Last season, both games between them ended 0-0 and it could well happen again. Usually tickets for Palace's Premier League games are restricted to members but this game has gone on general sale
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion @730pm - the last two games between these sides also ended in 0-0 draws but I think that's unlikely this time. Although the Cottagers have started way better than many thought they would, Brighton have been even more of a surprise with 10 points from their first four games. When I looked, a small amount of tickets still seemed to be available

Championship
QPR v Hull City @745pm - after a couple of underwhelming performances, the R's dug deep on Saturday to win 3-2 at previously unbeaten local rivals Watford. The result lifted them to eighth. Next up are Hull, another former Premier League side, who have begun very well indeed and sit just one point behind leaders Reading. The hosts have only lost one of their last five against the Tigers but it won't be easy for them here. Tickets
Watford v Middlesbrough @8pm - on paper, many would've expected this to be a match between two title contenders. It's early days of course but, with one win in six, Boro have been disappointing. That first win came on Saturday when they beat Swansea 2-1. Games between these two are normally tight with the last five games only generating six goals. The Hornets will also be celebrating 100 years at Vicarage Road on Tuesday and have all kinds of events planned - there are a few tickets left so don't miss out

EFL Trophy
AFC Wimbledon v Aston Villa U21 @7pm - the much maligned EFL Trophy or Papa John's Trophy as the sponsors would like it to be known returns this week. This competition used to be the preserve of League One and League Two clubs but in 2016 it was announced that 16 U21 sides from Premier League and Championship clubs would also take part. This annoyed many of the usual participants, not least the Dons who barely advertised such fixtures and encouraged their supporters to stay away. They're still far from enamored by it and tickets are available for £12

Professional Development League
QPR v Sheffield United @1pm - if you'd like to see two games on Tuesday then the R's U21 side have made it possible. Being played at Hanwell Town's ground, just off the A40 and a short walk from Perivale Tube station, this is hopefully where I'll be if I get out of work on time. I'm not sure if there'll be a charge but it won't be more than £5
Charlton Athltic v Coventry City @2pm - if you're located on the other side of town, then this match at Dartford's ground might be more to your liking. As with all U21 games, check all the details before you travel as they are susceptible to change at quite short notice

CCL Division 1
British Airways v Bedfont @745pm - there's a groundshare derby right next to Heathrow. It's more important than normal as The Orchard was badly damaged by fire a few weeks ago but the repairs have been swift and they're both back in action

FA Women's National League Division 1 SE
Actonians v QPR @745pm - if I wasn't working early on Wednesday morning, I'd be at Rectory Park. This West London derby has become quite a thing over the last few years with a decent rivalry developing between these neighbouring clubs. The hosts are a dedicated women's and girls' club run by volunteers with players who pay their own subs to take part, whilst QPR are linked to the men's club and have a much bigger support base to draw from. Despite this, the margins are fine with only a point separating them as they both finished in the top five last season. Annoyingly, it's often scheduled against a QPR men's game so the league need to sort that out next year. Tickets are £5 in advance or on the gate

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Wednesday 31 August

Premier League
Arsenal v Aston Villa @730pm - the Gunners maintained their 100% record with a win over Fulham on Saturday to keep themselves two points clear at the top. On Wednesday they welcome a Villa side who are struggling. With one win in four, fans are starting to grumble about Steven Gerrard and his team. Tickets are only available to members
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @745pm - over in Stratford, the London Stadium should be pretty much full for this big derby. There's little love lost between these two old rivals, with the clubs even fighting for the rights to take over this ground after the 2012 Olympics. With three wins and a draw from their seven visits to play the Hammers here, Spurs have a good record. Tickets are sold out but some might appear on the club's ticket exchange

EFL Trophy
Charlton Athletic v Gillingham @7pm - with only one defeat from six and a place in the Third Round of the EFL Cup secured, the Addicks have made a good start to their campaign. The same can't be said of the Gills who suffered relegation to League Two last season and have only managed one win at the lower level so far. Tickets are £15
Sutton United v Chelsea U21 @745pm - one team who do take this competition seriously are Sutton who were just seconds away from winning it last season before a very late goal saved Rotherham and saw them win it in extra-time. They start this year against the Blues' youngsters - a match which could draw quite a big crowd as many Chelsea fans live in the area. Tickets are available 

CCL Premier Division South
Colliers Wood United v Cobham @730pm - if you fancy a non-league game instead, pop down to Wibbandune and check out CWU. The hosts have begun the season well and are currently joint top with local rivals Raynes Park Vale and also Badshot Lea. Cobham have only managed one win so far, so another three points would appear to be there for the taking

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Thursday 1 September

FA Women's National League Division 1 SE
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - the home team won promotion to the fourth tier last season after really impressing in the London & South East Regional League. They played their first game of this campaign on Sunday and were denied by a late equaliser as they drew 3-3 with Cambridge United. The Dons somewhat surprisingly lost 1-0 at home to a QPR side who'd looked very out of sorts in their 4-2 defeat to Cambridge City last weekend. It will be very interesting to see which way this goes
London Seaward v Hashtag United @745pm - the hosts, who play in Walthamstow, are one of only two clubs with a 100% record at this stage. Hashtag finished as runners-up last season and sit just behind Seaward after thrashing newly promoted Wymondham 10-0 on Sunday. I'm not sure if tickets are available in advance but £5 is the going rate at this level

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Friday 2 September

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Takeley @745pm - the Woods can often be relied on to provide some Friday night football and this week they've delivered again. With four points from three games, they've made a steady start. The same can't be said of the visitors who often find themselves among the title contenders but have lost all three
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Saturday 3 September

Premier League
Brentford v Leeds United @3pm - the Whites secured their place in the top flight with a nervy last-day win at Brentford in May. With only one defeat from four, including a fine 3-0 win over Chelsea, the Yorkshire club are looking far more impressive as they've moved into the top five. Leeds appear to be a bit of bogey club for Thomas Frank who has managed only one win from the five played against them since he took over in 2018. Tickets are only available to members
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham @3pm - having played Liverpool, Arsenal and a big local derby against Brentford in their first four games, the Cottagers' tough start to the season continues with this very challenging visit to the THS. With only one win in 11 against the club from N17, Fulham will do well to get anything out of this one. Tickets are only available to members

Championship
Millwall v Cardiff City @3pm - after a promising start to the season, the Lions are now three without a win and down to 16th. It's a similar story for Cardiff too, who aren't pulling up any trees either. Apart from anything else, the atmosphere generated by two of the division's more 'boisterous' sets of supporters should be interesting to experience. Police had to intervene when things kicked off in the Millwall end at the reverse fixture a year ago. Tickets are available

League Two
Leyton Orient v Tranmere Rovers @3pm - the undefeated O's have made a dream start to the season and top the division after six games. Putting three past Colchester last weekend and scoring another four against Hartlepool on Saturday, they're doing things in some style too. Midtable Tranmere have taken seven points from their last three visits to Brisbane Road so there's no room for complacency. Tickets are available
Sutton United v Harrogate Town @3pm - according to my sources, the U's have only played their Yorkshire opponents seven times and have lost only one of them. In fact, Sutton have won the last four and although only a point currently separates them, I'm going for another home win here. Tickets are available

Premier League 2
This season, there has been a notable new trend to schedule more U21 games on Saturday afternoons rather than in their more normal midweek slots. Last weekend West Ham put a game on at 12pm which allowed fans the opportunity to see two games in an afternoon. However, the majority of clubs are playing their matches later in the afternoon which, to me, impinges a bit on local non-league clubs which is disappointing. This Saturday's offerings see Arsenal play Blackburn Rovers at Boreham Wood at 1pm (entry is usually free) and Crystal Palace host Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park at 2pm - tickets are usually £5 but I haven't seen any details yet

National League
Bromley v Eastleigh @3pm - both sides endured a disappointing Bank Holiday with defeats at Dagenham & Redbridge and Barnet respectively, missing their chance to move into the top three. The Ravens have won their last three against the Hampshire club, conceding only one in the process
Dagenham & Redbridge v Notts County @3pm - the Daggers' win against Bromley moved them into the top half but staying there will be tough as the visitors are one of only two unbeaten teams after six games

National League South
Welling United v Oxford City @3pm - the Wings bounced back superbly from their loss to Chelmsford by beating fellow south Londoners Dulwich Hamlet on Monday. The win sees them eighth after six games. The Hoops have made a fine start and come into this in fifth after having played only five games

FA Cup First Qualifying Round
With the preliminary rounds out of the way, the qualifying rounds now begin - effectively this is the third round of this season's competition. At this point, all the clubs in the seventh tier join the draw alongside the winners from the previous two rounds. The winners of each tie receive £2,250 and the losers £750. Here are a few ties that I like the look of:

Aveley v Potters Bar Town @3pm - currently joint leaders of the Isthmian League after winning four of their first five games, it will be interesting to see how this pans out. The match is being played at Parkside which is one of the finest stadiums in the country at this level
Cray Valley PM v Hastings United @3pm - two years ago, CVPM made it all the way to the First Round, beating National League side Maidenhead United in the process. Currently eighth in the Isthmian League South East, they're up against the side who won the division last season but have struggled since going up - there is some cupset potential here
Walton & Hersham v Beaconsfield Town @3pm - the Swans are a club on the up after enjoying back-to-back promotions which have lifted them to the eighth tier. Now back in the Isthmian League, they've started well again and should be able to give Beaconsfield, from the level above, a tough afternoon
Edgware & Kingsbury v Grays Athletic @3pm - as a ninth-tier club, E&K are one of the lowest ranked teams left in the competition. They beat AFC Dunstable in the last round, who play at the same level as Grays, so they've got every chance of causing a further cupset here
Fisher v Spelthorne Sports @3pm - the Fish have made a terrible start in the league and have yet to win a game but in the FA Cup it's a different story as they've beaten not one but two Isthmian League clubs to get to this stage, something they've only done once before. Fellow ninth-tier club Spelthorne have never got beyond this round either so there's lots at stake
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Sunday 4 September

Premier League
Chelsea v West Ham United @2pm - the week comes to an end with another derby at Stamford Bridge. Compared to a lot of teams, the Hammers have a reasonable record here, often drawing and picking up the odd win in recent years. However, their form has been disappointing in the opening weeks of the season and they'll do well to get anything from this one. Tickets are only available to members

National League
Wealdstone v Woking @12pm - there's a very rare bit of Sunday football at Grosvenor Vale in Ruislip where the Stones have been selected for live TV coverage by BT Sport. After a pre-season which saw many gloomy predictions from fans on social media, Stuart Maynard's side have taken many by surprise and find themselves in third after six games with a win at Oldham Athletic the highlight. The Cards haven't begun quite so well but are doing okay and did the double over them last season. Given Woking's location just outside the M25 in Surrey, this is pretty much a derby too

FA Women's National League Division 1 SE
AFC Wimbledon v Hounslow @2pm - with the visitors apparently struggling to register players, it remains to be seen if this match goes ahead. We're two weeks into the season and the west London club have yet to play a game as their troubled existence continues. If it does take place, it will be played at Carshalton Athletic UPDATE - MATCH OFF
Hashtag United v Actonians @3pm - if it doesn't go ahead, this is without doubt, the highest quality women's option this weekend. Hashtag, who are now groundsharing at Aveley's impressive ground, could well be top by the time this kicks off. The visitors will definitely start as underdogs but managed to inflict one of only two defeats the Essex club suffered in the league last season

London & South East Women's Regional League
Dartford v Fulham @2pm - as the only team in the division to be associated with a Premier League club, the Cottagers are one of the sides to watch in this year. I've noticed a significant increase in focus by the club's media team and they're taking a more prominent role in the club's overall output. The history of the club is a bit convoluted with dissolutions, re-formations and new names but it's fair to say that they were one of the biggest women's clubs in the land with league titles and FA Cup wins at the start of this century when they were fully professional. Having won their opening two games this season, they're off to a good start


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