Sunday, 15 September 2019

TLFG: 16-22 September 2019

Greetings one and all.

This week's TLFG is going to be a bit minimal for now.

I've been really busy over the last few days so it's just the match maps for now and I'll try and give you some more detail tomorrow.

There are some really good games on this week and Sunday looks like being one of the busiest ever with matches in the Premier League, FA Cup and Women's Super League.

Many thanks also this week for all the emails I received from TLFG readers including Vegard, Nathan and Joakim - hopefully you all enjoyed your football watching.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.

UPDATE (17/09/19) - the TLFG Daily Digest has now been updated with my picks for the week ahead


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include the return of the Champions League and a full programme of Premier League and EFL fixtures. We also have the next round of the FA Cup and plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are over 90 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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 - magenta 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 17 September

Champions League
Chelsea v Valenica @745pm - after winning last season's Europa League, the Blues return to Champions League action with this game against the side who finished fourth in Spain. Frank Lampard's side come into this on the back of an impressive 5-2 away win at Wolves while Valencia lost by a similar score to Barcelona to sit only two points above the relegation zone - it looks like Chelsea's to lose. Tickets have sold out

League Two
Leyton Orient v Crewe Alexandra @745pm - your next best option is this fourth-tier contest. Winless in four, the O's are starting to slide down the table so three points here would be very useful. However, Crewe could move level with the leaders if results go their way so will be very tough to beat. Tickets are available from £20

National League
Barnet v Aldershot Town @745pm - there's also a decent bit of action in the fifth tier too where a resurgent Bees side will break into the top four with a hefty win over the struggling Shots

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Molesey v Greenwich Borough @745pm - after seeing Saturday's original tie abandoned (this is not a replay), the clubs will try again on Tuesday. A visit to Fisher on Non-League Day awaits the winners
Hillingdon Borough v Harborough Town @745pm - after fighting out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the weekend, the hosts will look to try and cause an upset in this replay by beating a side from the level above 
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Wednesday 18 September

Isthmian League North Division
Grays Athletic v Tilbury @745pm - it's derby day in Essex where these local rivals meet for bragging rights. Grays will also go joint top if they win

Essex Senior League
Sporting Bengal United v Tower Hamlets @745pm - it's also the Mile End derby between sides who share the same ground. Both clubs originally have their roots in the local Bengali community and this can get quite lively, in a good way

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Thursday 19 September

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Fire United v Newbury Forest @745pm - thanks to this match, we've got our first week where there's a match every day. Even at this early stage of the season, this has the look of a relegation six-pointer about it. The hosts have lost all four of their opening games, conceding 17 goals in the process whilst Forest have only picked up one point  from six so don't expect a high level of quality!

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Friday 20 September

Premier League 2
Fulham v Reading @7pm - if you've not been to Craven Cottage before, this U23 game is your chance. At only £3 for adults, it's great value too 

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
May & Baker v Little Oakley @745pm - if you want a non-league option or you're based on the east side of town, then this is your best bet. This game will see the visitors go top if they win

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Saturday 21 September

Championship
Millwall v Queens Park Rangers @3pm - there isn't any Premier League action in London on Saturday leaving this tasty derby in the second tier to take second stage. After getting off to a fine start, the Lions are now winless in four and down in 15th. QPR, on the other hand, have won three in a row to climb to seventh. However, form usually deserts the visitors on their trips to The Den where the hosts and their fans usually get really stuck in. In fact, Rangers' last away win against them was in 1990. The good news for you is that tickets are on general sale, starting at £25
Brentford v Stoke City @3pm - if that's not for you, then you've got another opportunity to visit Griffin Park before it gets demolished at the end of the season. Despite their lengthy spell in the Premier League, Stoke have really struggled since coming down and are bottom after seven games. The Bees haven't had a great start but won this fixture 3-1 last season and should take all the points again. Tickets are on general sale

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Bristol Rovers @3pm - another week has gone by and I'm sad to report that the Dons are still without a win. Thankfully there are quite a few other pretty shocking teams so they're not bottom and still in touch with the rest of the pack. The visitors are another midtable team that they need to be beating to have any chance of staying up. Tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Stockport County @3pm - the hosts should be able to expect one of the biggest crowds of the season at Meadow Park when former second tier side Stockport pay a visit. After falling out of the EFL in 2010, Stockport have found life tough but they're now back in the fifth tier and things are looking a lot brighter. The Wood need to get something out of this tough fixture or they could end the day in the relegation zone
Bromley v Notts County @3pm - arguably the match of the day at this level takes place at Hayes Lane where the title-chasing hosts welcome one of the National League's newest members, the recently relegated Notts County. Like many former EFL clubs before them, they haven't found the adjustment that easy and after a rocky start are gradually climbing the table. Again, you should expect a sizeable non-league crowd for this one
Sutton United v Chesterfield @3pm - it's a very similar story at Gander Green Lane where another one of London's non-league grandees hosts a former EFL club. All all the former league clubs in action, the Spireites are in the biggest difficulty and start this match in the relegation zone. Sadly, Sutton aren't up to their usual standards and could be beaten

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
The world's favourite cup competition reaches what is in reality its fourth round. At this point, all the clubs in the sixth tier enter the draw so the chances of any real minnows progressing greatly diminishes. The winners of each tie receive £6,750, the losers £2,250 so there's quite a bit at stake. There are numerous ties all over London, here are a few juicy ones which stand out for me

Corinthian Casuals v Chelmsford City @3pm - one of the capital's most historic clubs, who were the inspiration for Brazilian giants Corinthians, host a team from the level above them. A cult side with a growing following, Casuals could give their Essex opponents a challenging afternoon
Enfield Town v Braintree Town @3pm - there's a similar match up in north London where an Isthmian Premier side host one from the NLS. Enfield are one of the biggest clubs in their league and are among the title contenders but their opponents are in great form and are pushing for promotion back to fifth tier where they played last season - it looks tough for the hosts
Harrow Borough v Carshalton Athletic @3pm - these two used to play regularly in the Isthmian League and Harrow would often struggle. However, since moving to the parallel Southern League, the Boro have found themselves in the top eight most of the time. It will be interesting to see how they fare against the Robins who are on the best sides in the Isthmian League - is the Southern League much weaker or have Harrow simply got way better over the last year?
Tooting & Mitcham United v Dorking Wanderers @3pm - these two fought tooth and nail for the Isthmian League South Division title in 2016/17 with Tooting coming out on top on goal difference only as both sides accrued an almost unbelievable 105 points each! Wanderers had to settle for promotion via the play-offs. In the end it is the visitors who have gone on to prosper with Tooting coming straight back down and Dorking getting promoted again last season. With two divisions now between them, the smart money would appear to be on the visitors
Balham v Royston Town @3pm - tiny Balham FC have enjoyed a fine few years. Founded in 2011 they've moved rapidly up the divisions and now find themselves in the Combined Counties Premier Division. The ninth tier club don't have a ground of their own but have still continued to thrive and are among the frontrunners in the league this season. With wins over Rusthall, Redhill and Horley Town they've only faced teams of a similar quality. Royston play two levels above them so this will be a real test of their ability but this is the cup and anything can happen
Hadley v Ramsgate @3pm - up in north London another ninth-tier team have landed a home draw. They also have to face higher level opposition but only from the division above. Ramsgate are also bottom of their division without a league win whilst Hadley are among the title contenders in the Essex Senior League so this has cupset written all over it. If they do pull off the win, it will take their cumulative prize money from this season's competition to a sizeable £16,390 - a huge amount for a club at this level
Walthamstow v Abbey Rangers @3pm - this tie stands out as it pits two of the lowest ranked teams left in the competition against each other, meaning we'll get at least one locally based ninth-tier club in the next round. On paper, the two midtable teams look very well matched so this is one of the toughest ones to call
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Sunday 22 September

It really is Super Sunday in the capital with four Premier League games, two FA Cup matches and seven women's games - I can't remember a busier one!

Premier League
West Ham United v Manchester United @2pm - the Hammers have made a promising start to the campaign and are now up in eighth with only one defeat from their first five. Despite all the negativity surrounding Man Utd, they are still in the top four but are on level points with six other teams including their hosts. The good news - tickets are available on general sale
Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers @2pm - with seven points from five games, Palace will be happy enough with the start they've made. After qualifying for the Europa League, a lot was expected of Wolves this season but they're yet to win and find themselves in the bottom two. Tickets are only available to members
Arsenal v Aston Villa @430pm - with just outside the top six and the other just above the relegation zone, neither of these clubs are really where they want to be. The Gunners are now three without a win after throwing away a 2-0 lead at Watford on Sunday. Villa have managed only one win and have conceded a total of 13 goals on their last three visits to the Emirates. Tickets are only available to members
Chelsea v Liverpool @430pm - the game of the day takes place at Stamford Bridge where Frank Lampard's improving Blues take on the league leaders who have won every game this season. The two last met in August in the European Super Cup where Liverpool edged to victory on penalties in Istanbul. Unsurprisingly this is sold out

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
There are two ties on Sunday with Cray Wanderers, London's oldest club, welcoming Soham Town Rangers from the level below and Kingstonian hosting Grays Athletic in another all Isthmian League tie. On paper both home teams should win and both kick-off at 3pm

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v West Ham United @2pm  - there are several women's matches on Sunday but the pick would seem to be the derby at AFC Wimbledon's ground. Fourth and fifth at the time of writing, this could be closer than in recent seasons


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, 9 September 2019

TLFG: 9-15 September 2019

Greetings one and all and first up apologies for another late publication.

As you may have seen on Twitter, I joined Sky Sports News presenter Jeff Stelling and various ex-footballers on Sunday to take part in the 'March for Men' which raises funds for Prostate Cancer UK.

We started off at West Ham before visiting Charlton, Millwall, Arsenal and Spurs where we were given our medals for completing the 26-mile walk pitchside by Ledley King and Ray Clemence.

It was a great day and was very well organised - other walkers included David Seaman, Paul Parker, Mark Bright, Francis Benali and the 'Unbelievable' Chris Kamara who gave motivational speeches throughout the day.

Yours truly at Tottenham after completing the 'March For Men'
The hospitality laid on by the clubs we visited (with the exception of Arsenal who did very little indeed) was superb so many thanks to them.

I primarily took part because I dedicate Non-League Day (NLD) to the same charity and they invited me along.

With less than five weeks to go until NLD, I've got to really knuckle down and get the event over the line. If your club would like to raise funds for PCUK on the day or you as a fan want to put on your own event like a walk to an away game - please get in touch with them so they can support you.

Overall it was a pretty busy weekend as I also went to watch Harrow Borough in the FA Cup.

They hosted Binfield from two levels below them but the Berkshire side came into the game in great form, meaning complacency could have been a real problem.

Fortunately manager Steve Baker put out pretty much the strongest side possible and saw his charges win 5-0 earning them a tough home tie against Carshalton Athletic in the next round.

Michael Bryan gives Harrow the lead from the penalty spot
I think that's it from me. I'm going back on to late shifts this week so I won't get to see any football over the next few days but I hope you do.

Many thanks also this week for the positive emails I received from TLFG readers Lukasz and Les A - I'm really pleased to have been able to help and I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include the return of the Premier League and a full programme of fixtures in the EFL. We also have the next round of the FA Vase and plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are over 70 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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 - magenta 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 9 September

Professional Development League
Crystal Palace v Leeds United @1pm - the pick of the U23 games takes place at Selhurst Park where adult tickets are £5
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Tuesday 10 September

London Senior Cup First Round
Hendon v Cockfosters @745pm - there are a number of non-league games on Tuesday, most of which are in cup competitions. To be honest, not many really stand out so I've gone for this as Hendon are the highest ranked team in action and tickets have been reduced to £6

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Wednesday 11 September

Premier League International Cup
West Ham United v Valencia @7pm - the Hammers' U23 side begin their international campaign against Spanish opposition. The match is being played at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground

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Friday 13 September

Premier League 2
There are two U23 games on Friday. The first kicks off at lunchtime where Tottenham Hotspur take on Southampton at their training ground. Spurs often let people in for free to watch these games but sometimes play them behind closed doors so check before you travel. Later in the day, Chelsea welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Stamford Bridge where adult tickets are £5

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
The next round of the FA Vase gets underway on Friday night. If you've never heard of the Vase, it's a national knockout competition for clubs in the ninth-11th tiers with its final at Wembley in May. Broadfields United (who play in Harefield) entertain Hanworth Villa in a battle of two ninth-tier clubs and New Salamis (who play in Enfield) lock horns with Tower Hamlets where the higher ranked visitors should start as favourites
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Saturday 14 September

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace @3pm - with the international break now over, the Premier League returns with this London derby. Palace provided the opposition when Spurs opened their new ground back in April and lost 2-0. After four games of the new season, Palace find themselves in the top four and arrive in N17 on the back of an away win at Manchester United. On paper you'd still have to favour Tottenham - they haven't lost a home league game against the Eagles since 1997. Tickets are only available to members

Championship
Fulham v West Bromwich Albion @1230pm - if you can't get a ticket for the above, do not fear - there's a really good selection of Championship games instead starting with this match at Craven Cottage. Fulham were one of the favourites for promotion after their relegation from the Premier League but they haven't had it all their own way. With three wins from six, they're already six points behind leaders Swansea but they're still very much in contention for a play-off place. On Saturday they will face the Baggies, one of their main rivals in the race to go back up, so there's plenty at stake. Tickets are on general sale but start at a rather pricey £35
Queens Park Rangers v Luton Town @3pm - the early kick-off at Fulham means you should just about be able to do a double and get to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium for this one too. With Luton just outside London, this is to all intents and purposes a derby. With the Hatters having spent a lot of time in the lower leagues in recent years, this will be the first time the sides have played since 2007. With the away allocation having already sold out, there should be a great atmosphere. Tickets are on general sale in home areas
Charlton Athletic v Birmingham City @3pm - the Addicks came up via the League One play-offs last year and have continued their great form into the new season. With four wins from six, they're right up in second and doing really well under Lee Bowyer. Birmingham haven't been quite as impressive but are still a top 10 side and should provide solid opposition. However, tickets are only on sale to people with a previous booking history

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Shrewsbury Town @3pm - the Dons narrowly avoided relegation last season but it looks like being only a stay of execution as they've yet to win any of their first seven. The Shrews are having an indifferent season and are the kind of team Wimbledon really need to beat to have any chance of staying up. Tickets are available from £17

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Leicester City @1230pm - rather randomly, the Gunners are putting on an U23 match at the Emirates Stadium on a Saturday lunchtime. Tickets are only £4 but must be bought in advance - nothing will be available on matchday. General sale begins at 11am on Tuesday 10 September

National League
Barnet v Maidenhead United @3pm - after a decent start the Bees began to lose their way but a win at Eastleigh has kept them ticking over in midtable. The Magpies have enjoyed steady progress on and off the pitch in the time I've been watching football and they're now part of the NL's top four. Consequently they should start as favourites here
Dagenham & Redbridge v Hartlepool United @3pm - locked together on 15 points and just outside the play-off places, these two former EFL sides should put on a decent display as they look for a way into the top seven

National League South
Welling United v Wealdstone @3pm - the pick of the games in the sixth tier is this crosstown derby between the Wings and Stones. Welling finished third last season but with three wins from 10 have really struggled to get going this time. Not so Wealdstone who have won nine of their games and are already seven points clear at the top

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v Hornchurch @3pm - in my opinion, the match of the day in the seventh tier would appear to be this one at Colston Avenue. The hosts finished second last season and are right up in the top four again but so are the Urchins who are looking for their second promotion in three seasons

Isthmian League South East Division
Cray Valley PM v Chichester City @3pm - CVPM won the SCEFL last season and got to the final of the FA Vase at Wembley. Unfazed by the move up to the eighth tier, they're unbeaten after four games and are top. Sussex club Chichester sit only a point behind in third

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Most of our local sides in the ninth to 11th tiers will be playing in this competition. There are numerous ties all over London but the following ones stand out for me:
Beckenham Town v Farnham Town @3pm - the Becks are currently third in the SCEFL and should therefore be one of London's best hopes of making progress deep into the competition. Surrey club Farnham play a level below but are promotion contenders
Molesey v Greenwich Borough @3pm - the Moles have also made a good start in the CCL and could also do well this season. They face another team who got relegated alongside them from the Isthmian League last season but Greenwich have continued to struggle and should be beaten
Wembley v Risborough Rangers @3pm - the FA Vase provides groundhoppers with a very realistic and far more affordable way of doing a 'Road to Wembley' than the FA Cup and if you're going to attempt it, including a game at Wembley FC always seems like a sensible option. The ninth-tier club play a level above the visitors but they'll have to avoid complacency as Rangers have yet to lose a game and are top of their division
Lopes Tavares v Catholic United @3pm - two clubs who are making their debuts in the Vase this season meet at the Terence McMillan Stadium in Newham. The hosts have had a fine start and are second in the ECL Division 1 South. Consequently they should win as Catholic United play a level below
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Sunday 15 September

Premier League
Watford v Arsenal @430pm - bottom after four games and without a win, the Hornets dispensed with the services of manager Javi Gracia just four months after leading them to the FA Cup final. He has been replaced by Quique Sanchez Flores who previously managed the side in 2015-16. After a couple of years with Espanyol and a brief spell in China, he's now back in the Watford hotseat and goes straight in at the deep end with this tough first game against Arsenal. The Gunners are in the top five but haven't won in two and will hope to get back on track here. Tickets are not on general sale

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Edgware Town v Eynesbury Rovers @3pm - can't get a ticket for Watford? Try a Vase game instead. Edgware have made a reasonable enough start in the SSML but it's going to be challenging for them on Sunday as they take on the league leaders. There is also a game at Vale Farm where Cricklewood Wanderers play Long Buckby

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @2pm - if you'd prefer some women's football, the best option would appear to be this match at The Hive where Spurs will play the first game at their new home. Both sides slipped to narrow 1-0 defeats in their opening games so it should be close. Tickets are £6.50 if bought in advance or £8 on match day 

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, 1 September 2019

TLFG: 2-8 September 2019

Pre-season is well and truly over and so is summer as September rolls around again.

Although bright and sunny for most of the day in London, there was definitely a chill in the air as autumn made its presence felt.

The big story in English football this week was the expulsion of Bury from the EFL over their finances or lack of them.

Bolton Wanderers were hours away from joining them until a deal was struck with some new investors to save them.

It is a fate that many clubs in recent years have only just about avoided with my club QPR being one of several to go into administration at one point.

Dan Sullivan takes one for the team as Taunton Town hang on for a draw at Harrow Borough
In fact, it's been reported that the Championship is the most toxic division in the country with expenditure on wages outstripping income at most clubs as they gamble almost everything to get into the promised land of the Premier League - in other words it could easily happen again.

In other news, Non-League Day preparations continued with a few more meetings and after this weekend's FA Vase ties we should now know a lot more of the games taking place in the ninth to 11th tiers.

Although I didn't make it to a midweek game, I did manage to get out to the suburbs to watch a closely contested Southern League game between Harrow Borough and Taunton Town which finished 1-1.

The hosts looked all set to win it at the death when striker Anthony O'Connor got clear on the edge of the box only to be fouled. However, he recovered and kept going only for the ref to award the foul, send off the defender and give a free kick outside the area which was of course missed. I think it's fair to say that the official was not hugely popular after that.

The non-league fixture programme is a bit complex this week as a lot will depend on midweek FA Cup replays. There are also some FA Vase replays too which have further confused things.

As a result I haven't completed the TLFG Daily Digest for the weekend just yet and will tweak things as the week goes along.

 Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include an England international at Wembley, action in the EFL and EFL Trophy, the next round of the FA Cup, a few FA Vase replays and plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are over 80 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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 - magenta 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 2 September

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Enfield FC @745pm - the only action of the day in London takes place in Mile End where two sides who've made pretty underwhelming starts to the season go in search of a win which will pull them clear of the bottom four. The visitors enjoyed an FA Vase win at Ilford on Saturday so should arrive in good spirits
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Tuesday 3 September

EFL Trophy Group Stage
AFC Wimbledon v Brighton & Hove Albion U21 @745pm - the much maligned EFL Trophy gets underway again on Tuesday with the Dons, among its biggest haters, hosting an academy side from Brighton. They think so little about the competition that there is absolutely no mention on their website about ticket availability but you can usually get in for around £10
Leyton Orient v Southend United @745pm - over in east London you should get a better match at Brisbane Road where two fullish sides should go head-to-head in this one. Adult tickets are between £7-11

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Maidstone United @745pm - the hosts drew at Dorking Wanderers on Saturday to remain in the top five. Maidstone travelled to league leaders Wealdstone in one of the big games of the day and narrowly lost 2-1 in front of a four-figure crowd. Another big attendance should be expected here
Welling United v Eastbourne Borough @745pm - after making last season's play-offs the Wings have made a stuttering start to this campaign and find themselves in 11th after a 3-0 loss at promotion rivals Concord Rangers on Saturday. Eastbourne recorded a crucial win over fellow strugglers Hampton & Richmond but Welling should be too strong for them

FA Cup Preliminary Round Replays
Hayes & Yeading United v AFC Dunstable @745pm - after drawing the initial game 0-0, Hayes & Yeading as the more senior side should start as favourites here. The winners will get a cheque for £2,890 and a trip to Haywards Heath in the next round
AFC Croydon Athletic v Herne Bay @745pm - the Rams did well to force a 2-2 draw at higher ranked Herne Bay last week and will really fancy their chances of causing a cupset here

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Wednesday 4 September

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Bromley @745pm - the Daggers managed a point against Chesterfield to remain in midtable. Bromley also drew with AFC Fylde which saw them slip to third but remain unbeaten - an away win looks likely

FA Vase First Qualifying Round Replay
Welling Town v Erith Town @745pm - after fighting out a 2-2 draw on Saturday, these two local rivals will try again in Thamesmead on Wednesday. A trip to Arundel awaits the winners

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Lewisham Borough v Forest Hill Park @745pm - elsewhere in south London we have a groundshare derby at the Ladywell Arena. FHP have only played two games so far and consequently sit near the bottom but they should be more than capable of challenging the Boro

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Lopes Tavares v Fire United @745pm - there's also a groundshare derby at the Terence McMillan Stadium in Newham. Both sides have only played two so far, the hosts winning both and the visitors losing theirs. Fire United made the non-league headlines last week for seeing their match against May & Baker get abandoned in the 83rd minute because they could only field six players after having three sent off and several others injured, they were losing 6-1 at the time
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Friday 6 September

Professional Development League
There are three U23 games on Friday lunchtime and all three are being played at the clubs' main stadiums so it's a great opportunity to groundhop on the cheap. The games at Millwall and QPR kick-off at 1pm whilst Watford play a little later at 2pm (UPDATE - THE WATFORD MATCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED). Tickets for these matches are never more than £5 and it's free at QPR

FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Sutton Common Rovers v Beaconsfield Town @745pm - the next round of the FA Cup gets underway on Friday. SCR have made it past Molesey and Eastbourne Town already to bank well over £5,000 in prize money. Next up are Southern League side Beaconsfield who play two levels above them but they're yet to win a league game this season and look highly vulnerable to an upset
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Saturday 7 September

Euro 2020 qualifier
England v Bulgaria @5pm - the Three Lions began their Euro 2020 campaign back in March with back-to-back wins over the Czech Republic and Montenegro. With five goals scored against each opponent, Group A looks like being a walk in the park for England who are already top despite playing fewer games than all the other teams. Bulgaria used to be a decent side when I was a youth, they made the World Cup semi-finals in 1994, but they arrive at Wembley in last place behind minnows Kosovo. There might not be another five goals but it should be comfortable enough for Gareth Southgate's team. Tickets have almost sold out with the only ones left costing £75 or £100 and I'm not sure England or Bulgaria are worth that much!

League Two
Leyton Orient v Swindon Town @3pm - the O's have made an unspectacular return to life in the fourth tier but I'm sure they'll be more than happy with a midtable finish after all the upheaval of the summer. On Saturday they welcome former Premier League club Swindon who have made a solid start to the campaign and currently reside in fifth. Tickets are available from £18

National League
Boreham Wood v Dover Athletic @3pm - with it being an international break, you have an excellent chance to check out some of the capital's non-league clubs. We have several in the fifth tier of varying degrees of quality. The smallest club Boreham Wood are finding things a bit of a struggle. With four defeats from their last five and their relatively meagre attendances down almost 13% so far this season, they will do well to survive. Dover,often promotion challengers, had a disappointing 2018/19 but they appear to be back on form and arrive at Meadow Park as members of the top six
Bromley v Chesterfield @3pm - as recently as 2015 a significant gap of three divisions separated these two clubs but relegations and promotions mean they now compete on a level playing field. In fact, given the start they've both had this time, they could end up two divisions apart next season with Bromley among the title contenders and Chesterfield fighting to avoid their third relegation in four seasons
Sutton United v Notts County @3pm - the visitors, one of the most historic clubs in English football, fell out of the EFL at the end of last season. Like Chesterfield, they've found it hard to adapt to this level but with only one defeat in five, they are keeping their heads above water. Sutton saw very successful and long-serving manager Paul Doswell resign in March and new boss Matt Gray has yet to see his charges recapture the kind of form that has made them promotion contenders in recent years

National League South
Dartford v Dorking Wanderers @3pm - the Darts are another local side to suffer a worrying dip in form. Again they are usually among the strongest teams in this division but they find themselves in the bottom three after nine games. Dorking are new to this level after a couple of quick promotions but have settled well and should start as favourites
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Concord Rangers @3pm - there's a similar theme at the Beveree where a long serving and successful manager left and his replacement has struggled. In Hampton's case it was Alan Dowson who left for Woking ahead of the 2018/19 season and ended up  getting them promoted. Gary McCann took over after many years at Hendon but presided over a unsatisfactory campaign which saw them finish in the lower reaches of the table. He kept his job but the side have made a poor start again and find themselves in the bottom two ahead of this game against a side who should push for a play-off place
Wealdstone v Oxford City @3pm - things are looking far rosier at Grosvenor Vale where Irish manager Dean Brennan is doing a superb job. With eight wins from their opening nine games, the Stones are already five points clear at the top. Another three points seems highly likely here

FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Enfield Town v AFC Rushden & Diamonds @3pm - there are numerous ties all over London on Saturday but this one jumped out immediately. Playing in parallel seventh tier divisions, these two are among the bigger clubs at this level and the visitors are, of course, a re-incarnation of a former third tier side who went bust. With £4,500 up for grabs for the winners of the tie, there's plenty at stake
Whyteleafe v Merstham @3pm - the draw has also thrown up this Surrey derby between two Isthmian League sides. The Leafe play a level below the visitors who made the Premier Division play-offs last season. Despite this, it should still be close
Sutton Athletic v Flackwell Heath @3pm - the hosts have been around since 1898 but this is the first season that they've competed in the FA Cup and what a start they've made. With wins over Deal Town and Ashford Town, the 10th tier club have banked over £5,000 prize money and are now set to play a ninth-tier team from Buckinghamshire. Although Flackwell Heath should win on paper, they're not as good as the Ashford side Sutton routed 6-0 in the previous round so we could get another home win
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Sunday 8 September

FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Cray Wanderers v Bedfont Sports @3pm - London's oldest club got their FA Cup campaign underway with a 5-0 thrashing of Hythe Town in the Preliminary Round. Next up are another eighth-tier team so they should fancy their chances of making further progress
Kingstonian v Walton Casuals @3pm - with the K's now groundsharing at Corinthian Casuals they will have to play this on Sunday too. The hosts aren't having a great season but they should win this one as the Stags have lost every league game so far and are in terrible form

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v West Ham United @230pm - the top flight of women's football kicks-off in London on Sunday with a couple of eye-catching games. Up at Boreham Wood we have this derby between the reigning league champions and last season's beaten FA Cup finalists. Adult tickets are £7 if bought online in advance or £10 on match day
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - the biggest football crowd of the day in London is likely to come at Stamford Bridge where the Blues have given their women's team the chance to play there. The club also decided to give loads of tickets away for free and consequently only a brunch hospitality package is now available for £60 if you want to go. There are also all kinds of entertainments lined up and a fan zone in a nearby park. Chelsea finished third last season and should start as strong favourites against newly promoted Spurs


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, 26 August 2019

TLFG: 27 August - 1 September 2019

Greetings one and all and welcome to this week's TLFG.

I hope you had a great Bank Holiday weekend while I was toiling in a boiling workplace with no air-conditioning (it's been around 33c/91f in London over the last few days).

I haven't been to any football but I did catch a glimpse of Kingstonian v Bishop's Stortford from a train on Monday afternoon and also several other grounds from a train on Sunday as I went to visit my Dad in Somerset.

Thankfully QPR managed to end their losing run with an important 3-1 win over Wigan on Saturday and Harrow Borough moved to joint top of the Southern League after winning 2-1 at Walton Casuals so it's been a decent few days for my teams.

Kingstonian v Bishop's Stortford viewed from a train - the closest I got to some live action this week!
My wife and kids have all gone to Ireland for a few days so I'm home alone and will hopefully get to a game on Wednesday night with a couple of my Non-League Day team members where we'll have a planning meeting but we'll see what transpires.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include some matches in the Premier League and EFL, the second round of the EFL Cup, the opening round of the FA Vase and plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are over 80 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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 - magenta 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 27 August

EFL Cup Second Round
Crystal Palace v Colchester United @745pm - after their sensational away win at Manchester United at the weekend, the Eagles next play opposition from League Two as they begin their EFL Cup campaign. Adult tickets are £15 if bought in advance or £20 on the day and are on sale to non-members which is unusual for Palace matches
Fulham v Southampton @745pm - the tie of the night sees Championship title contenders Fulham try to upset Premier League strugglers Southampton. However, their recent record against the Saints at Craven Cottage isn't stunning so it could be close. As above, adult tickets are £15 if bought in advance or £20 on the day

Professional Development League
There's the possibility of a Crystal Palace double header on Tuesday as the U23s play Hull City at 1pm at the academy's training ground where it's free to get in

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Spelthorne Sports v Hanworth Villa @745pm - with three wins in the league and two in the FA Cup, the hosts have made a blistering start to the campaign. On Tuesday night they welcome local rivals Hanworth who aren't doing nearly so well

Combined Counties League Division 1
FC Deportivo Galicia v British Airways @745pm - there's a derby of sorts in Bedfont where clubs who groundshare at neighbouring stadiums play each other. With only one point from their opening four games, the hosts are bottom and could struggle again

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Wednesday 28 August

EFL Cup Second Round
Queens Park Rangers v Portsmouth @745pm - the match of the night takes place at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium where QPR welcome League One Pompey. The visitors were among the title contenders in the third tier last season but have made a sluggish start. Rangers notched a welcome victory over Wigan in the league on Saturday and beat Portsmouth here in the FA Cup in February. Adult tickets are £15

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Balham v Colliers Wood United @730pm - the best non-league option would appear to be a groundshare derby where the tenants host the landlords. Like Spelthorne Sports, Balham have started well in the league and FA Cup so should begin as favourites

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
London Lions v London Tigers @8pm - neither of these sides have made a great start, in fact they're both in the bottom four but how could I not mention a clash between Lions and Tigers? If you didn't already know, the hosts are a Jewish club and the visitors have their roots in west London's Asian community

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Friday 30 August

Premier League 2
You could get to watch two games at U23 level on Friday or combine the afternoon kick-off between Fulham and Newcastle with one of the evening's non-league games. The Cottagers' match takes place at their training ground in Motspur Park where it's £3 to get in. If you're prepared to travel a bit beyond London's outer limits to Aldershot, you can see Chelsea play Tottenham Hotspur in what should be an entertaining game at 7pm - again, it's £3 entry

FA Vase First Qualifying Round
This season's FA Vase gets underway on Friday night. If you don't know, this is a national knockout competition for clubs in the ninth to 11th tiers with its final at Wembley in May. Last season Chertsey Town beat Cray Valley PM as two clubs from the London area made it to the final for the first time. Although not nearly as lucrative as FA Cup matches, the winner of each tie gets £550 and the loser £175

There are three ties on Friday night but without access to the ground they share, Clapton and Hackney Wick will both be playing their ties at neutral grounds some distance from their heartlands so crowds could be a bit thin on the ground. Park View are playing West Essex at their normal home ground on White Hart Lane just a few metres from the Wickers game at Haringey Borough. None of them are likely to get huge crowds so it's quite tough to recommend one but perhaps try Park View as they rarely get a mention on here and they could pull off an upset

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Redbridge @745pm - in many ways, you'll probably be better off going to this league match instead. It's an east London derby and the ground is only a short walk from Mile End Tube station whereas the games above are all a bit of trek on public transport

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Saturday 31 August

Premier League
Chelsea v Sheffield United @3pm - there are plenty of top flight games in London on Saturday but none of them look particularly compelling and the TV schedulers obviously agreed as they all kick-off at 3pm. The Blues have made an iffy start under Frank Lampard but managed to get their first win of the campaign at Norwich on Saturday. The Blades were founder members of the Premier League and saw striker Brian Deane score the first ever goal in the competition back in 1992 as they beat Manchester United on the opening day. However, their stay in the top flight was short-lived and this will be only their fourth season at this level following promotion at the end of last season. Their start has been as good as Chelsea's with four points from three games. Interestingly their last victory at Stamford Bridge was also during that inaugural Premier League season in 1992 so they're long overdue a win there. Tickets have sold out
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa @3pm - with both sides enjoying excellent wins over good opposition in their last games this could be pretty competitive. Selhurst Park is not a happy hunting ground for Villa - they've only won twice there since 1980 and I can easily see that record getting extended here. Tickets are only available to members
West Ham United v Norwich City @3pm - both sides are towards the wrong end of the table but Norwich have had a tougher start. Despite losses to Liverpool and Chelsea, the Canaries have won quite a few admirers with their style of play and they could give the Hammers an uncomfortable afternoon. Numerous tickets are available around the ground via the club's ticket exchange which just requires you to register to be able to buy

Championship
Brentford v Derby County @3pm - like many games in this division, it's quite hard to get excited by this one. Neither side have really impressed so far and both are in the bottom half but, as with all Bees games this year, it represents one of your last chances to see a game at Griffin Park before it gets demolished at the end of the season. However, because Derby have sold out their allocation, tickets have been restricted to members or those with a previous purchasing history
Millwall v Hull City @3pm - the Lions got blown away by Fulham in last week's big derby and did well to recover with a 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough on Saturday. This weekend they face another one of the division's strugglers who they have a pretty good record against - City have only won on three of their last 24 visits to Bermondsey. Tickets are in good supply and are decent value at between £22-27

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Wycombe Wanderers @3pm - the Dons narrowly avoided relegation last season and are really struggling again. With only one point from their opening five games they require a lot of improvement. Not so Wycombe who under former Wimbledon player Gareth Ainsworth have made a very bright start. Unbeaten so far, they're up in third and will start as strong favourites for what is effectively a derby. Standing tickets are available from £17

National League
Bromley v AFC Fylde @3pm - the hosts are spearheading London's charge for the NL title at the moment. Unbeaten in their opening seven games, they're up in second only a point behind newly promoted Woking. AFC Fylde made the play-off final last season and won the FA Trophy but they haven't recaptured that kind of form yet and are down in midtable
Sutton United v Maidenhead United @3pm - the U's are the next best in the division from a London perspective, sitting just outside the play-off places in ninth. The Magpies narrowly lost to Bromley on Monday but remained in the top five so should provide challenging opposition

National League South
Dartford v Hemel Hempstead Town @3pm - often among the contenders at this level, the Darts have made a poor start and find themselves in the relegation zone as we come to the end of August. Not so Hemel who are right up in second after winning five of their opening seven games
Wealdstone v Maidstone United @3pm - there could be a potential humdinger of a game at Grosvenor Vale where the current leaders host one of the biggest sides in the division. Kent club Maidstone were briefly members of the Football League between 1989-92 before financial ruin hit the club. After rebuilding and climbing the divisions again, they made it back to the fifth tier in 2016 before getting relegated back to this level for the start of this season. Currently unbeaten in five and likely to bring quite a few supporters, you should get a decent game with a decent atmosphere to match

Isthmian League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v East Thurrock United @3pm - after suffering a surprise defeat at Wingate & Finchley on Monday, Haringey lost top spot to Folkestone. On Saturday they welcome another member of the top four for one of the best games of the day at this level. ETU got relegated from the NLS last season but have responded well to life back at this level and recorded a derby win over Bowers & Pitsea to bring their Bank Holiday weekend to an enjoyable end

Southern League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Taunton Town @3pm - Boro had a fine time last season finishing seventh and getting to the Middlesex Senior Cup Final against Brentford B at Griffin Park. The club have managed to re-sign most of last season's squad and have come flying out of the blocks again to share the lead with Poole, Tiverton and Salisbury despite playing a game less than all of them. Next up they face a Taunton side who topped the table for a large part of last season before falling away and losing in the play-offs. This division is incredibly competitive and although the Somerset side are way down in 10th, they're only a point behind Harrow

Isthmian League North Division
Aveley v Maldon & Tiptree @3pm - these two Essex clubs finished second and third last season before both losing in the play-offs. The hosts haven't made a dream start but are well placed for another crack at a top-five finish. M&T, however, are top with a 100% record and will be tough to beat

FA Vase First Qualifying Round
AFC Spelthorne v Spelthorne Sports @3pm - undoubtedly the most unusual tie of the round is this match between Spelthorne Sports and what are effectively their reserve team who will host the game. I'm not aware of many other derbies of a similar nature having taken place in a senior cup competition. The ground is walkable from Sunbury station
Lopes Tavares v Harwich & Parkeston @3pm - a number of our local clubs will be making their first ever appearances in the FA Vase on Saturday including Newham based club Lopes Tavares who play fellow ECL club H&P who are also making their debut
New Salamis v Codicote @3pm - another new club in the Vase are New Salamis who moved up to the 10th tier over the summer. They take on a side who've slid down the divisions in recent seasons and I'm surprised to see them start this as underdogs
NW London v Harefield United @3pm - the hosts were playing 12th-tier football last season but got promoted to the MCFL Premier Division. Consequently they are one of the lowest ranked teams to be making their debut this season. They're playing this game at Hadley's ground and it's going to be tough as Harefield won the SSML Division 1 title with ease last season

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Sunday 1 September

Premier League
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @430pm - little needs to be said to promote this game. In terms of London fixtures, this is probably as big as it gets. Both sides suffered defeats over the weekend, with Spurs' humbling at home by Newcastle arguably the shock of the season so far. According to my records, this will be the 186th meeting between the clubs in all competitions. Historically Arsenal have had the upper hand and on current form you might well have them as marginal favourites here. Tickets are of course sold out

FA Vase First Qualifying Round
Meridian VP v Hassocks @3pm - don't worry though there are other options with a couple of ties in this great competition taking place. The hosts welcome opposition from the level above them as they look to make a significant stride towards Wembley
Tooting Bec v Walton & Hersham @3pm - in the other tie there's an all CCL Division 1 clash taking place at the well appointed Imperial Fields which is a short walk from Mitcham tram stop

Women's friendly
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @2pm - last season's FA Cup finalists West Ham host Spurs in their final friendly ahead of the new WSL campaign which begins next weekend. Tottenham moved up to the WSL after finishing as runners-up in the Championship but suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat to arch rivals Arsenal in a friendly on Sunday. Adult tickets are just £2

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 August 2019

TLFG: 19-26 August 2019

Welcome to TLFG's August Bank Holiday special.

With a good selection of non-league games scheduled for 26 August, this week's piece runs through until next Monday so you can make plans for the whole weekend.

There are also a number of games on the 26th which kick-off at 1130am so you will be able to see two games on the day if you wish.

Other things to note this week - it's the next round of the FA Cup so there are loads of exciting ties to choose from. I've also included some games in the 11th tier Middlesex County League for reasons given below and Arsenal Women have arranged another eye-catching friendly ahead of the new WSL season.

It's FREE ENTRY at Griffin Park on Tuesday night
For fans of cheap football, there are U23 games at the Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge this week and it's free to see Brentford B play West Ham U23's at Griffin Park.

With my 14th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, I doubt I'll be going to see much live football myself this week but you never know...

Before I go, did any of you make it to the U23 game at Tottenham's new ground on Friday? The posts on TLFG's social media channels advertising it were among the most popular we've ever published so I hope it proved helpful. I was surprised that only around 6,000 turned up but it may well have been limited.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include matches in the Premier League and EFL, the next round of the FA Cup and plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are well over 100 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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 - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Monday fixtures - yellow 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 19 August

Premier League 2
The week gets underway with some U23 games, the pick of which is the match at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Liverpool at 7pm. Adult tickets are only £5 and can be bought online in advance and picked up on the day. If you don't fancy watching the Blues, their near neighbours Fulham play West Brom at the club's training ground in Motspur Park where it's only £3 to get in

Isthmian League North Division
Aveley v Hullbridge Sports @745pm - the sole non-league match of the day takes place at Parkside where the Millers welcome newly promoted Hullbridge. Last season's Essex Senior League champions began their league campaign on Saturday with a 3-0 loss at home to Witham Town

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Tuesday 20 August

Friendly
Brentford B v West Ham United U23 @7pm - arguably the bargain of the week is to be found at Griffin Park where it's free entry to watch the Bees' second string entertain the Hammers. Remember, this fine old ground is closing at the end of the season so don't miss your chance to visit it if you've never been

Isthmian League South Central Division
Hanwell Town v Harlow Town @745pm - with only one game played so far this season, it's hard to decide which match to recommend in this division on Tuesday but I've gone for this as it features two sides who won on opening day. The visitors have just been relegated from the Premier Division and are seen by some as one of the favourites for promotion. Hanwell's ground is also easy to get to, being just a short walk from Perivale Tube station

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Greenwich Borough v Corinthian @745pm - ever since they lost to Corinthian Casuals in the play-offs to get into the Isthmian Premier a couple of seasons ago, things have started to go backwards for Greenwich. Large sums were lavished on the team to get them climbing the pyramid but it didn't work and financial constraints began to hit hard about 18 months ago. Borough have now suffered relegation, moved to groundshare with Phoenix Sports (some eight miles east of the Cutty Sark and Greenwich town centre) and have lost their opening two games at this level. Corinthian arrive as joint leaders so this looks like being another tough one

Spartan South Midlands League Challenge Trophy First Round
St Panteleimon v Dunstable Town @745pm - the hosts have just moved up to Step 6 and continued their unbeaten run with a draw against Brimsdown on Saturday. On Tuesday they welcome a side from the division above so it will be interesting to see how they fare

Middlesex County League Premier Division
Clapton CFC v Sporting Hackney @745pm - this season I've taken the decision to cover a few games in the 11th tier MCFL. This is in part because Clapton CFC are drawing such big crowds but also because the overall standard seems to be pretty decent and because quite a few clubs play at non-league grounds with spectator facilities rather than on park pitches. The Tons only formed last season but celebrated promotion at their first attempt with 1,266 watching their final match. On Tuesday they play their first game at this higher level against fellow east Londoners Sporting Hackney who lost their opening game on Saturday. The hosts have also moved from one of the outside pitches at Wadham Lodge to the main stadium to groundshare with Walthamstow so it's an exciting time to be associated with CCFC

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Wednesday 21 August

Championship
Fulham v Millwall @745pm - the game of the night in London is this derby in the second tier. The Cottagers have just come down from the Premier League and are seen by many as favourites to go back up. After losing their opening game, they've responded well with back-to-back wins over Blackburn and Huddersfield to move into the top six. The Lions, on the other hand, narrowly avoided relegation last season and little was expected of them this year but they've made a great start and are one of five clubs to be currently sharing top spot. Sadly tickets are not on general sale - you need at least a previous purchasing history with Fulham to get one
Charlton Athletic v Nottingham Forest @745pm - the Addicks have surprised many with their great start to the new season. Despite their off-field problems, Lee Bowyer brought his side up via the League One play-offs last season and are now joint top of the Championship after three games. Forest are in midtable but are improving with every game and enjoyed a very solid 3-0 win over Birmingham City on Saturday
Queens Park Rangers v Swansea City @745pm - QPR suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday as they lost 2-0 at Bristol City, a club they'd beaten on penalties in the EFL Cup earlier in the week. It looks like being another challenging evening for Rangers as Swansea are one of the teams in that elite group of five who currently top the league. Last season the Swans were expected to beat an ailing QPR side on their visit to Loftus Road but got stuffed 4-0 so I'm hoping for more of the same!

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Margate @745pm - the hosts are back in seventh-tier football after winning the South East Division last season. Three games in and they've still yet to win but have only lost once. Margate are also winless but have drawn all three of their matches - in fact with five draws between them so far, this looks like it can only finish one way

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Glebe @745pm - the Becks appeared to be spearheading London's charge for the SCEFL title for a large part of the 2018/19 season but ultimately they fell away and had to settle for a fifth-place finish. They've started well again this time and are third coming into this game. Glebe have had a poor start and are joint bottom

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Thursday 22 August

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Sporting Club Thamesmead v Kent Football United @745pm - neither club are pulling up any trees yet but it's the best on offer on Thursday

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Friday 23 August

Premier League 2
For the second week running, Friday has some great options to keep you entertained with U23 football taking centre stage. The action begins at midday when Tottenham Hotspur entertain Derby County but the match takes place at the club's training ground and admission details are unclear so please check with the club before you set off. The highlight of the day is the match at the Emirates Stadium between Arsenal and Everton at 7pm. Adult tickets are only £4 but must be bought in advance - there will be none available on the night. If that's not for you then West Ham United play Reading at Dagenham & Redbridge also at 7pm

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Barking v Aveley @745pm - if you want some proper grown up football then you've got a very fine option in the world's favourite cup competition. The Preliminary Round of the FA Cup gets underway on Friday with this Essex derby. With the Mayesbrook Park pitch undergoing improvement works, the Blues have opted to switch the tie to Aveley's ground so make sure you go to the right place

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Saturday 24 August

Premier League
Watford v West Ham United @3pm - there's only one top flight game in the London area on Saturday and it's this derby at Vicarage Road. The Hornets have made a disappointing start to the new campaign with defeats to Brighton and Everton. It's not been much better for the Hammers who have taken only one point from their games against Manchester City and Brighton. Tickets are not on general sale

Championship
Charlton Athletic v Brentford @3pm - if the Addicks beat Forest in midweek then they will come into this game as at least joint league leaders. In this game, they face a derby against west London opposition. The two haven't played since 2016 but the most recent meetings between them have largely gone Charlton's way with the south London club losing only one of their last six matches against the Griffin Park club
Fulham v Nottingham Forest @3pm - having played at Charlton on Wednesday, two-time European champions Nottingham Forest return to the capital again just three days later for what should be a tough game against the Cottagers. Games between the two are often action packed with the last 10 meetings generating 40 goals
Queens Park Rangers v Wigan Athletic @3pm - it pains me to say it, but the least attractive game in the Championship on Saturday must be this one. Aside from a crucial meeting in the play-offs in 2014, matches between these two are rarely classics with QPR often edging to 1-0 wins or maybe 2-1 on a really good day

League Two
Leyton Orient v Crawley Town @3pm - both these sides have made an okay start to this season with four points from their opening three games. The O's have won their last three against Crawley at Brisbane Road but, as a result of their time in the National League, the last time was in 2016  so it's been a while

National League
Bromley v Boreham Wood @3pm - the hosts have made a fantastic start to the season and are up in third after putting together a five match unbeaten run. The Wood, as one of the smallest clubs in the division, are finding things a bit tougher with just five points from five games but they should be up for this derby against the side they got promoted with in 2015
Sutton United v Dover Athletic @3pm - there will probably be a bigger crowd elsewhere in south London where the sixth-placed U's welcome Dover who are just below them. The Kent club have become a bit of bogey side for Sutton in recent seasons with the Surrey club only managing one win from the last six against them

National League South
Wealdstone v Hungerford Town @3pm - the Stones crept into the NLS play-offs on the final day last season after they finished seventh and sixth placed Concord Rangers' stadium was not deemed fit for promotion. They saw off Bath City with ease before travelling to Woking, who had finished as runners-up, in the semi-finals. Unbelievably they found themselves 2-1 up with four minutes to go but fell apart in the remaining time to lose 3-2. Manager Bobby Wilkinson left the club over the summer and former Billericay Town and Kingstonian boss Dean Brennan replaced him. The new season has begun superbly with four wins from five putting them top and this match against a struggling Hungerford side should yield another three points

Isthmian League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Brightlingsea Regent @3pm - another local side to make a bright start are Haringey who have a 100% record after three games, which has put them top. The north London club raced out of the blocks last season too but faded to finish third - it will be interesting to see if they can sustain their title challenge for longer this year. Brightlingsea were in the bottom three in terms of attendance last year and they're also down in that area for their on-pitch performance too

FA Cup Preliminary Round
The second round of the FA Cup (officially known as the Preliminary Round) takes place this weekend with numerous ties being played all over London - I've selected a few which stand out for me. The winners of the Extra Preliminary Round, mainly ninth and 10th tier clubs, join all those from the eighth tier and a few from the seventh who have yet to play a game. This competition is very important to non-league clubs as the prize money is considerable for teams of their size - the winners receive £2,890 and the losers £960. This is added to any money won in earlier rounds, so the more matches you win, the more you earn

Bedfont Sports v Hanworth Villa @3pm - a derby between local rivals who used to play each other in the Combined Counties League. The hosts have since progressed to the Isthmian League so should start as favourites
Chertsey Town v Erith & Belvedere @3pm - the hosts won the Combined Counties League and FA Vase last season whilst E&B enjoyed promotion back up to the ninth tier
Cray Valley PM v Whyteleafe @3pm - CVPM were also great last season winning the Southern Counties East League and getting to the FA Vase Final where they lost to Chertsey. It will be interesting to see how they fare against the Leafe in this all Isthmian League affair
Beckenham Town v Ashford United @3pm - there could be some cupset potential as the high-flying Becks welcome Ashford from the level above them
Tower Hamlets v Horsham @3pm - the hosts haven't made a great start so they'll need to raise their game significantly for this huge game against a side from the Isthmian Premier
Bridon Ropes v Chichester City @3pm - one of the only 10th tier sides from the capital left in the competition, the Ropes also face a tough challenge from Isthmian League opposition
Sutton Athletic v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @3pm - it's a similar story at Lower Road where the hosts, playing in the FA Cup for the first time this year, also take on eighth-tier opposition

Combined Counties League Division 1
British Airways v Bedfont & Feltham @3pm - elsewhere we have one of the best groundshare derbies as BA take on their landlords at a ground which lies next to the runway at Heathrow Airport - if groundhopping and planespotting are your things, it really doesn't get any better than this!

Middlesex County League Premier Division
Pitshanger Dynamo v Clapton CFC @3pm - the hosts finished third last year and will start as one of the favourites again. On Saturday they welcome new boys CCFC to Reynolds Field for a game which could well draw a big crowd

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Sunday 25 August

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United @430pm - after beating Aston Villa and battling back to grab a point at Manchester City on Saturday, Spurs must fancy their chances of taking a pretty comfortable three points against a weak looking Newcastle side who have lost both of their opening games. Tickets are not on general sale, membership is required

Women's friendly
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @2pm - if it's Tottenham you want to see, then why not give their women's team a go instead? And what better time to try than this derby against old rivals Arsenal. The match is being played at Boreham Wood's ground in preparation for the new WSL season which kicks off in September. Adult tickets are £7 if bought in advance or £10 on the day

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Cray Wanderers v Hythe Town @3pm - if women's football isn't for you then there's this rather fine looking FA Cup tie at Bromley's ground where the oldest club in London should start as favourites against a team from the division below them

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Monday 26 August

National League
Barnet v Torquay United @3pm - two clubs with EFL pedigree meet at The Hive in this big bank holiday match. The Bees made a great start but have stuttered over the last week picking up only one point from their two games to slide to ninth. Torquay won the NLS last season but have so far struggled to maintain their high standards at the higher level with only two wins from five
Boreham Wood v Ebbsfleet United @3pm - although we're only five games in, this could well turn out to be a relegation six pointer. As one of the smallest clubs, Boreham Wood are likely to struggle and Ebbsfleet already are having lost all of their games
Dagenham & Redbridge v Yeovil Town @3pm - the visitors were playing Championship football under current Torquay boss Gary Johnson just five years ago. This season they start life back in non-league from whence they originally came. The relatively rapid rise and fall of Yeovil was quite sad to see but also proved what non-league clubs can go on to achieve. Like Torquay, their adjustment to life at this new level hasn't been that smooth so a game against a Daggers side who put four past Harrogate in their most recent match (at the time of writing) could be tough

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Slough Town @3pm - with only one defeat from five, the Hamlet have made a very solid start and are fifth at the time of writing. For a club with a great fanbase at this level, it is noticeable that despite some good performances on the field, average attendances at this early stage are 21% down on last season. You would expect Slough on a bank holiday to generate a decent turnout but the Berkshire club have not started well at all and arrive without a win and near the foot of the table

Isthmian League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Haringey Borough @3pm - a north London derby and a match of importance at either end of the table. As one of the smallest clubs in the ILPD, Wingate were always going to struggle. It's a huge achievement that they've stayed at this level since 2011 (when I began writing this blog) and have had some good seasons but they've been reprieved from relegation on one occasion, narrowly avoided relegation last season and are struggling again. As we've heard, Haringey are flying and they've also marketed themselves well - they were playing in front of one man and his dog at a far lower level than Wingate in 2011 and now average crowds of over 400

Isthmian League South East Division
Phoenix Sports v VCD Athletic @3pm - as derbies go they don't get much closer than this with the clubs' grounds just a couple of minutes walk apart. Neither won on the opening day so would love some points to go with the bragging rights

Combined Counties League
There are handful of games in the CCL on Monday which kick off at 1130am which means you can easily do a groundhop double on Monday. The matches at Abbey Rangers, Bedfont & Feltham, Cobham, Molesey and Sutton Common Rovers should all finish around 115pm so can be combined with a huge selection of games. There's also a 1230pm kick off between Westside and Jersey Bulls which should give you plenty of time to get to Kingstonian v Bishop's Stortford



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