Monday, 11 December 2017

TLFG: 11-17 December 2017

In last week's blog I made mention of the Conifa World Football Cup which is coming to London at the end of May.

It seemed to spark real interest among you dear readers so I'll keep bringing it up as we get nearer to the event.

The organisers revealed the seedings this week with Barawa, Abkhazia, Panjab and Padania in the top pot. Local favourites must be Ellan Vannin (more commonly known as the Isle of Man) but they are only in Pot 3 so presumably face an uphill task if they are to win.

Next month we'll get to see which venues are being used and when the tickets are going on sale so watch this space for more news.

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Having been on late shifts all week I haven't had the chance to see any games but I've got a couple of days off coming up so that could change.

I know a few of you did make it to matches and one of those was Anders H from Norway who enjoyed watching QPR's demise from the away end as Leeds picked up a pretty comfortably three points at Loftus Road. He also very generously donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund this week. As ever, I really appreciate this so many thanks again.

It's late and I haven't got anything I really want to add so enjoy your week and let's hope the weather doesn't see too many matches postponed.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include some big  derbies in the Premier League and the next round of the FA Trophy.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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.

Monday 11 December

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - there are a few U23 games on Monday but this is far and away the best one on offer. The Hammers' youngsters are second only to Arsenal in London at the present time so should have the edge here

Bostik League South Division
Carshalton Athletic v Lewes @745pm - one of the matches of the week at non-league level sees third placed Carshalton host the current leaders. The Robins have a 3G pitch so it should survive the bad weather

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Tuesday 12 December

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Watford @8pm - another full midweek programme of Premier League games gets underway with this derby at Selhurst Park. Despite returning to the bottom of the table on Saturday, Palace extended their unbeaten run to five games as they drew with Bournemouth. Watford are having a much better season but haven't won in three and can definitely be beaten

FA Youth Cup Third Round
Queens Park Rangers v Charlton Athletic @7pm - fancy seeing a game at Loftus Road for only £3? This is your chance as the U18s take centre stage. Tickets should be bought from the box office and will not be for sale on the gate

Bostik League North Division
AFC Hornchurch v Barking @745pm - two of the division's top five meet at Bridge Avenue for an east London derby

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Great Wakering Rovers @745pm - things are looking good for the Motormen. With nine wins from their last 10, they currently top the ESL. However, despite the good run it's still tight at the top with only six points between the top five. Great Wakering are fifth and have a game in hand so this game is important for both

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Wednesday 13 December

Premier League
West Ham United v Arsenal @8pm - the match of the week in my opinion should be this derby at the London Stadium. Things were looking pretty bleak for David Moyes' men going into the weekend but they pulled off a shock win over Chelsea. Arsenal are no better than the Blues so won't be able to take anything for granted. Unbelievably, tickets still appear to be on general sale to non-members
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion @8pm - across town at the same time, Spurs welcome the Seagulls to Wembley for what is also a bit of derby given Brighton's close proximity to London. Tottenham thrashed Stoke on Saturday while Brighton came unstuck at Huddersfield so the hosts should start as strong favourites

FA Youth Cup Third Round
Arsenal v Sheffield Wednesday @7pm - the Gunners' youngsters entertain the Owls at Boreham Wood's ground in a match they should win

Bostik League South Division
Cray Wanderers v Sittingbourne @745pm - if you'd rather see a non-league game, I believe this one is possibly the best on offer. Playing at Bromley's ground, Cray are well in the hunt for promotion and could move up to second if results go their way
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Thursday 14 December

Friendly
Brentford B v Wolverhampton Wanderers U23 @12pm - I'm not aware of any other games on Thursday and this one at the Bees' training ground might not even be open to the public so please check before you travel 

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Friday 15 December

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Derby County @7pm - U23 football tops the bill again on Friday as the title-chasing Gunners entertain the Rams. Currently second in the table, they're still a whopping eight points behind leaders Liverpool so must win this one

FA Youth Cup Third Round
West Ham United v Blackpool @7pm - there's also some U18 action to be enjoyed at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground where it's just £3 to get in

Bostik League North Division
Aveley v Hertford Town @745pm - there's also a non-league option at Aveley's fine Parkside ground but neither side are having a stunning campaign so there's not a huge amount riding on it
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Saturday 16 December

Premier League
Arsenal v Newcastle United @3pm - with attendances of well over 50,000 these are two of the biggest clubs in the Premier League but that's where the similarities end. The Gunners are, as always, in the hunt for honours in several competitions as we approach Christmas. Newcastle, however, are starting to lose form in worrying fashion. Winless in seven, they're just two points above the relegation zone
Chelsea v Southampton @3pm - after suffering a shock reverse at West Ham on Saturday, the Blues will want to put things right against Huddersfield in midweek. With that out of the way, Chelsea will then welcome Southampton. A glance at the records shows the hosts have only won one of the last three against the Saints at Stamford Bridge so it could be pretty tricky too
Watford v Huddersfield Town @3pm - not many would've predicted these two would be ninth and 12th in the table at this stage but that's exactly what they are. A midweek win for the Terriers could even propel them into the top 10

Championship
Brentford v Barnsley @3pm - with both sides in the lower half of the table there's not a huge amount to recommend about this and as a result the Bees have cut ticket prices. However, with adult tickets still costing at least £20 it's not exactly the deal of the century
Millwall v Middlesbrough @3pm - the other Championship option is probably a better one for the neutral as the Lions entertain promotion-chasing Boro for a 'Category A' match at the New Den

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Wigan Athletic @3pm - after enjoying a morale-boosting win over Charlton in the FA Cup last weekend, the Dons must now face leaders Wigan. Really struggling for points at the wrong end of the table, Wimbledon badly need to win a league game soon

League Two
Barnet v Morecambe @3pm - if things look bad for Wimbledon they're far worse for Barnet. Three points adrift at the bottom of the EFL after losing the crucial match against fellow strugglers Chestefield on Saturday, Mark McGhee's side have another important game against a side just a few points above them

FA Trophy First Round - my focus this week for the fifth to eighth tiers will be this national knockout cup competition for sides at those levels which has its final at Wembley. With the qualifying rounds out of the way, the National League sides enter the draw and things start to really hot up. The winner of each tie receives £6,000
Sutton United v Truro City @3pm - currently second in the National League, Sutton should be one of the favourites to win this competition. A lot will depend on whether they want to concentrate more on the league than this cup. Whatever they decide, this game probably won't be easy as their Cornish opponents are title contenders in the division below and gave Charlton a decent game in the First Round of the FA Cup
Dartford v Boreham Wood @3pm - in almost a reversal of the match above, the leaders of the National League South (NLS) welcome the team from seventh in the division above. Not only are the Wood doing well in the league, they also made it to the Second Round of the FA Cup and might well be up for another cup run here
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Heybridge Swifts @3pm - as joint leaders of the NLS, Hampton should start as overwhelming favourites against a side from two divisions below them. However, Heybridge have been excellent this season and because of their cup exploits they've only played 11 league games (others in the Bostik North have played 23!) and are still comfortably in midtable
Wealdstone v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - former rivals in the then Ryman League, Wingate used to pull off the odd shock result against the Stones. One of the smallest clubs in the seventh tier, W&F continue to punch above their weight and Wealdstone will need to be careful
Hendon v Bath City @3pm - I can't quite put my finger on why but this tie really appeals to me. The Greens play within sight of Wembley so it would be great if they could somehow get close to the final. However, Bath should provide a really stiff test. Hailing from the division above, they made the semi-finals in 2015 and a play-off spot in the NLS is also well within their grasp this year
Haringey Borough v Leyton Orient @3pm - saving the best for last we have arguably the tie of the round. This time last year, very few people would've thought these two would be meeting in a competitive game but that is how fate has conspired. A real David v Goliath tie, this has everything. Playing in the eighth tier, Haringey are one of the lowest-ranked teams left in the competition. Less than four years ago, the O's were a penalty shoot-out away from a place in the Championship but off-field drama has seen them plummet down the pyramid and they find themselves heading to White Hart Lane for what I believe is their first ever FA Trophy tie

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Bedfont Sports v Sutton Common Rovers @3pm - at the time of writing this is second against third. Midweek results could change things but it's still going to feature a couple of the division's heavy hitters whatever happens

Combined Counties League Division 1
Cobham v Worcester Park @3pm - the hosts in third badly need a win over the visiting divisional leaders if they are to have any chance of mounting a title challenge

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Harefield United v Southall @3pm - I've highlighted this as it gives you the chance to have a look at Southall. Usually one of our local clubs, Southall dropped off TLFG's radar earlier in the season when their groundshare with Hayes & Yeading fell through and they had to move outside London to share with Burnham instead. Despite playing 10th tier football 12 miles from their supporter base, the team have excelled and currently top the division after stringing together a 17-game unbeaten run. They're also averaging nearly four goals a game so Harefield face a very tough afternoon indeed
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Sunday 17 December

FA Women's Premier League Southern
West Ham United v Portsmouth @2pm - the only match I know of in the London area on Sunday is this midtable women's game at West Ham's Rush Green training facility

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, 4 December 2017

TLFG: 4-10 December 2017

Greetings one and all. I hope this week's blog finds you in good form.

The biggest event of the football week saw the draw for next summer's World Cup in Russia.

England ended up in a group alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. They should fancy themselves to claim at least second place and make it through to the knockout stages but as we all know, the Three Lions rarely make things easy for themselves.

If they do go out early, I will have other options as last week I got the results of a DNA ancestry test. It saw me having links to Scandinavia, the Iberian peninsula, Finland and Russia so I'd hope to have an interest until the quarter-finals at the very least.

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I've had a fascination with all things Soviet and Russian since I was teenager so I'd always eyed a trip to this World Cup but with six months to go it's looking increasingly unlikely for reasons of price if nothing else. I'm not ruling it out totally but my chances of going aren't great. Have you landed any tickets? Will you be making the journey?

If you're not, all is not lost as London is hosting the Conifa World Football Cup shortly before the more famous event gets underway.

Featuring sides from parts of the world not recognised by Fifa, we'll get to enjoy our own rather quirky international tournament in the capital next summer.

With teams like Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Tibet and Tamil Eelam taking part it could also prove to be quite controversial but I guess we'll have to wait and see...

In other news - regular readers will know I've featured the plight of Waltham Forest here in recent weeks. 

They've recently launched a 'Save Our Club' campaign as their finances have taken a turn for the worse.

With roots going all the way back to 1868 they are one of the oldest clubs in the world so it was with this in mind that earlier today (Sunday) I made the trip up to Walthamstow to support a fundraising match that had been set up to aid the cause.

Waltham Forest go on the attack during a well contested first half

In all my years of watching football I'd never had a reason to visit their Wadham Lodge ground and I'd always put it off as, for someone living in west London, it's a real effort to get to on public transport.

An inner London football ground, it's located a good 20-30 minute walk from the nearest Tube station and a bus is highly recommended to help you complete the journey. 

Following the detailed instructions on the club's website I opted to catch the bus and thankfully there are numerous routes heading that way which means you don't have to wait long for one to arrive.

Despite being a Sunday, the bus was packed to the rafters but the traffic was light and the journey took a little over 10 minutes from Walthamstow Central.

The match between old boys' sides from Waltham Forest and Leyton Pennant (the club's former name) was supposed to kick-off at 2pm so I was a little concerned to turn up late and find nothing happening.

After checking with the volunteers on the gate that all was going ahead as planned, receiving an assurance that it was and a warm welcome, I paid what I liked and headed to a well stocked tea bar.

The game eventually got underway at 215pm and, despite carrying quite a bit of timber between them, the two sets of veterans put on a pretty entertaining first half.

With goals ruled out for off-side (a great achievement given there were no assistant refs) and other efforts hitting the woodwork, it was quite a surprise that Forest only held a 1-0 lead at the interval.

The second half was even more action packed as five further goals found the net in a game which ultimately finished 3-3.

Waltham Forest have two proper home matches this week so if you want to do your bit to help them keep their heads above water then pay them a visit - every pound counts.

Lastly from me I'd like to say a massive thank you to Paul C, David C and another person who wanted to remain nameless who very generously donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund this week. As ever, I really appreciate this so many thanks again.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include some big European games, some important derbies and the next rounds of several league and county cups.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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.

Monday 4 December

Premier League Cup
This competition is for U23 sides predominantly from the Premier League and Championship but with a few League One and Two clubs thrown in too. It takes a similar format to the Champions League and we're currently still in the group stage. On Monday, Charlton Athletic (2pm) and Watford (7pm) both have home matches which are being played at Greenwich Borough and Wealdstone respectively. As always, double check with the club that the match is still happening before you travel.

Essex Senior Cup Fourth Round
Aveley v Concord Rangers @745pm - the Millers aren't having a great time in the Bostik League and they face a tough opponent here. If Concord, who play two divisions above them, field a strong team then they could struggle

London Senior Cup Second Round
Tower Hamlets v Tooting & Mitcham United @745pm - the hosts are having a decent season in the Essex Senior League and might fancy their chances against the Terrors who are down near the foot of the Bostik Premier table

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Tuesday 5 December

Champions League
Chelsea v Atletico Madrid @745pm - arguably the biggest game of the week takes place at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. The Blues have already booked their place in the knockout stages but Atletico still have it all to do. Antonio Conte's side are starting to hit some form - with five wins from six they should have the edge

Bostik League North Division
AFC Hornchurch v Maldon & Tiptree @745pm - the Urchins opened a four-point lead at the top on Saturday after beating AFC Sudbury. They now face the Jammers who have promotion ambitions of their own

London Senior Cup Second Round
Corinthian Casuals v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - the team in second in the Bostik South host the leaders of the Bostik Premier in what should be an entertaining game. Dulwich have won the cup five times but haven't made the final since 2004
Greenwich Borough v Cray Valley PM @745pm - in the other tie of the night, two sides who groundshare also meet for a derby. Although Greenwich are the higher ranked club, Cray Valley are the reigning cup holders

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Wednesday 6 December

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v APOEL Nicosia @745pm - Spurs have really impressed in the group stage so far and will finish top, ahead of Real Madrid, if they draw against the side who are currently bottom and without a win

Uefa Youth League
Tottenham Hotspur v APOEL Nicosia @2pm - the two clubs' respective U19 sides meet earlier in the day at Spurs' training ground where a very limited amount of spectators will be admitted

Essex Senior Cup Fourth Round
Grays Athletic v Dagenham & Redbridge @745pm - this strong county cup competition is down to its last 16 clubs. On paper the visitors, who play three divisions above the hosts, should win but they're likely to field a weakened side

London Senior Cup Second Round
Metropolitan Police v Clapton @745pm - this should be quite an interesting one to attend as it pits The Met against the Tons or more specifically their Ultras who have a reputation for pushing boundaries (Update - the Met have since announced, in a highly controversial move, that all away fans will be banned from attending)

FA Women's Super League Cup
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - if you've not been to a women's game before then maybe this derby could be for you. As one of the best sides in the land, Chelsea will start as strong favourites
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Thursday 7 December

Europa League
Arsenal v BATE Borisov @805pm - despite failing to win their last two games they've already wrapped up the Group H title and can look forward to some knockout football in the New Year. BATE, from Belarus, still have it all to play for and need a win

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Friday 8 December

Premier League 2
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion @7pm - the Cottagers' U23 side have won five on the bounce to become the form team of the division. Brighton are just behind them in the table. This match is scheduled to take place at Fulham's training ground so please remember to check all the details before you travel

Bostik League South Division
Molesey v Carshalton Athletic @745pm - I'm not sure why this has been moved to Friday night but I do approve as it gives you more options over the weekend as a whole. The Moles, near the bottom of the division face a tough night against a Robins side who are very much in title contention

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Woodford Town (2017) @745pm - if the far south-west of town isn't handy for you, then a trip to watch the ESL leaders on the east side might be more appealing

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Saturday 9 December

Premier League
West Ham United v Chelsea @1230pm - if the Atletico game is to be overshadowed this week then this should be the one to do it. Games between the Hammers and Blues are always quite testy, especially in the stands. With West Ham really struggling at the moment, the atmosphere could turn ugly if they put in a poor performance here
Crystal Palace v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - at Selhurst Park we've got a relegation six-pointer. Unbeaten in four, Palace are starting to turn things round and have moved up two places. A win against Bournemouth could leave them on the verge of finally leaving the bottom three
Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City @3pm - things were looking pretty rosy for Spurs a few weeks ago but they're now winless in four, down to sixth in the league and below Arsenal. The Potters should be beaten so some serious questions will be asked if they're not

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United @3pm - QPR's poor run continued on Saturday with a 1-0 defeat at Preston. The result left them way down in 18th just six points above the relegation zone. Leeds are pushing for a play-off place but are annoyingly inconsistent and are therefore struggling to crack into the top six
Fulham v Birmingham City @3pm - a couple of miles south the Cottagers take on Birmingham who are struggling to get out of the bottom three

League One
Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth @3pm - the match of the day in the third tier pits these two former Premier League teams against each other. Both currently in the top eight, this should be decent

National League
Leyton Orient v Sutton United @3pm - the biggest London club in the division against the best. The O's are having a bad time and are on course for a second consecutive relegation. The appointment of new boss Justin Edinburgh in midweek made no difference, in fact they suffered possibly their worst result of the season - a 1-0 loss at bottom club Solihull. Sutton, on the other hand, beat Eastleigh to stay joint top with Wrexham
Boreham Wood v AFC Fylde @3pm - both sides flew the non-league flag in the FA Cup this weekend. The Wood unsurprisingly lost 3-0 at Coventry City whilst AFC Fylde did well to hold League One leaders Wigan to a 1-1 draw. Boreham Wood are in far better form in the league so should win here

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v East Thurrock United @3pm - the Beavers could go joint top with Dartford if they win here. ETU are a decent side in their own right, however, and will move into the play-off places with a victory of their own

Bostik League Premier Division
Staines Town v Billericay Town @3pm - two of the top three meet at Wheatsheaf Park in the BLPD game of the day. Having played four more games than big spending Billericay, Staines are unlikely to finish higher than third unless they win matches like this one

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Sporting Bengal United @3pm - it's Mile End derby time on Saturday afternoon. Both clubs originally have their roots in the local Bengali community and share the same ground so there's usually a reasonable turnout for this one

FA Women's Super League Cup
London Bees v Oxford United @2pm - the hosts are winless in the league and will be desperate to pick up a victory here against a team from the same division

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Sunday 10 December

FA Youth Cup Third Round
Watford v Sunderland @1pm - the U18s of these two sides get the chance to play at Vicarage Road in one of the biggest matches of their fledgling careers

FA Women's Super League 1
Arsenal v Liverpool @2pm - it's Super Sunday in the women's game where the teams in third and fourth open proceedings at 2pm before...
Chelsea v Manchester City @630pm - the top two go head-to-head in the evening game meaning you could easily go to both 

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, 26 November 2017

TLFG: 27 November - 3 December 2017

Unbelievably December is almost upon us but this is a good thing as it means the annual festive football feast is only a few weeks away.

But park that thought as there's still plenty going on between now and then.

One thing to note is that tickets for England's World Cup warm-up game against Italy at Wembley at the end of March go on general sale tomorrow (Monday) at 12pm. Once upon a time that would've been a huge event as two of the Titans of the football world went head-to-head but with the Three Lions' matches lacking excitement and the Azzurri not qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1958, the match has lost a lot of its appeal.

More interestingly there are several derbies this week. Tickets for Watford v Spurs will be very hard to get but you should be able to get one for QPR v Brentford in the Championship and AFC Wimbledon v Charlton in the FA Cup which reaches its second round this weekend.

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I've got some time off next weekend so might get to continue my cup adventures with Leatherhead who travel to League Two side Wycombe Wanderers. To re-cap, a friend's 18-year-old son has just made it into the Tanners' first-team squad and was on the bench for the first round tie and replay against Billericay so if he makes the squad again then Adams Park here we come.

In other news it's been good to hear that the fundraising efforts to keep Dulwich Hamlet afloat have been going well and that fans of other sides, particularly the Clapton Ultras, have also been doing their bit to keep Waltham Forest going so well done to all those involved and keep it up.

Lastly from me I'd like to say a massive thank you to Kelvin W and Paul C who very generously donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund this week. I really appreciate this as a lot of late nights are involved in putting this together every week and the caffeine will come in very handy especially tomorrow when I have to be up for work at 4am!

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include some huge Premier League games, several London derbies and the next rounds of the FA Cup and FA Vase.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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



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 27 November

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Brentford @745pm - the week gets underway with one of the biggest London derbies outside the Premier League. Neck-and-neck in midtable, these two near neighbours usually produce a decent contest and the good news is that tickets are still available on general sale if you want to be there

Professional Development League
If you want to gorge yourself on football you could combine the game above with one of three U23 games taking place at lunchtime. QPR and Watford have matches at their respective training grounds which are fairly remote, whilst Charlton play Ipswich at Greenwich Borough's ground which should provide a more comfortable experience - as always, double check the details with the clubs before you travel as these type of fixtures are notoriously subject to change at short notice

Bostik League South Division
Carshalton Athletic v Walton Casuals @745pm - the pick of the non-league action is to be found at Colston Avenue where two of the division's top six will look to close the gap on the leaders

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Tuesday 28 November

Premier League
Watford v Manchester United @8pm - there's a full programme of midweek Premier League fixtures with this the only one in the London area on Tuesday. With a solid 3-0 win at Newcastle on Saturday, the Hornets continue to impress. On home turf they should be more than a match for Jose Mourinho's side

League One
Charlton Athletic v Peterborough United @745pm - tickets for the match above will be very tough to get which means the next best option will be this fixture at The Valley. After coming unstuck at promotion rivals Scunthorpe on Saturday, the Addicks face one of the teams just below them so a win is essential if they want to keep the chasing pack at bay

EFL Trophy
Barnet v Tottenham Hotspur U21 @8pm - after picking up a shock win at Newport County on Tuesday, the Bees returned to losing ways against Grimsby this weekend. Next up is this EFL Trophy group game against Spurs' youngsters. Struggling in this competition too, it will be interesting to see what kind of side Barnet decide to field. Despite being a north London derby, tickets are readily available and cost just £10

National League
Bromley v Aldershot Town @745pm - this was supposed to be played last Tuesday but floodlight failure shortly before the game saw it postponed. As a result, ticket prices for tonight have been reduced and there are special prices for season-ticket holders at pro-clubs. Also, all tickets purchased for the original game will of course be valid as well with a partial refund available on arrival

Bostik League Premier Division
Harrow Borough v Billericay Town @745pm - Boro were just seconds away from an eighth consecutive defeat on Saturday but an injury-time equaliser saw them salvage a 2-2 draw at bottom club Worthing. Next they welcome the team everyone is talking about as Glenn Tamplin brings his expensively assembled squad to HA2. Currently second but with six games in hand on leaders Dulwich, they are still seen by many as title favourites. Paul Konchesky, arguably their biggest name signing, announced his departure from the club last week so it will be interesting to see what impact that has

Evo-Stik League East Division
Hayes & Yeading United v Beaconsfield Town @745pm - there seems to have been nothing but gloom hanging over Hayes in recent years but now it appears things may at last be on the up. Finally into their new ground, they are once again winning games and are up in the top six. On Tuesday they welcome the side in fourth with whom they groundshared for part of last season

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Wednesday 29 November

Premier League
Arsenal v Huddersfield Town @745pm - the Terriers were minutes away from a famous point against leaders Manchester City on Sunday but conceded a late goal to heartbreakingly lose 2-1. The Yorkshire side are clearly a match for anyone on their day and they'll look to give Arsene Wenger's side a run for their money here. The Gunners bounced back from their Europa League loss in Germany with a hard-earned win at Burnley - a result which took them above arch-rivals Spurs and into the top four
Chelsea v Swansea City @745pm - on paper this should be a pretty routine game for the hosts. The reigning champions are highly unlikely to regain their title but are going along well enough in third and should have more than enough to see off Swansea who are winless in six

Bostik League South Division
Cray Wanderers v Ramsgate @745pm - the Wands, founded in 1860, are believed to be the oldest club in London and are currently well in the hunt for a return to the seventh tier. A win here against lowly Ramsgate could propel them into the top three

Surrey Senior Cup First Round
Tooting & Mitcham United v Corinthian Casuals @745pm - these two south London rivals don't play a million miles apart and are only four places apart in the Bostik League - although Tooting are in the division above. Really unlucky not to go up alongside the Terrors last season, Casuals are well on course for another tilt at promotion this time. If the clubs both put out strong sides, it could be interesting

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Thursday 30 November

Premier League International Cup
Arsenal v Reading @7pm - some of the biggest sides in Europe have entered sides in this U23 competition which sees all fixtures played on British soil. We're still at the group stage at the moment which the Gunners began with a win over Porto last week. Next up is a far less glamorous game against the Royals who are currently bottom

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Saturday 2 December

Premier League
Arsenal v Manchester United @530pm - the game of the weekend is this blockbuster between two members of Premier League royalty at the Emirates. Often title deciders in years gone by, these matches have lost a bit of their significance recently as neither side have really challenged for the title. Make no mistake, though, this will still be huge with tickets virtually impossible to come by 
Chelsea v Newcastle United @1230pm - if Jose Mourinho's current club have a bad week then one of his previous ones could be on hand to capitalise and move into second. With very winnable back-to-back home games against Swansea and Newcastle, Chelsea could be three points clear of United by close of play on Saturday
Watford v Tottenham Hotspur @3pm - we're really spoilt for games in the top flight on Saturday with this third option also likely to produce a very competitive encounter. A north London derby of sorts, Watford have the ability to bully more skillful sides into mistakes as they did against Arsenal earlier in the season. After only drawing with struggling West Brom, Spurs will need to be right back on their game to avoid another slip up here

Championship
Brentford v Fulham @3pm - for some reason the EFL authorities have scheduled loads of London derbies together over the course of a week. With Fulham v Millwall last week, QPR v Brentford on Monday and now this match a few days later - they've really crammed them in. Fulham are currently the pick of the bunch when it comes to London clubs in the second tier but at only 12th in the table, that's not saying much. The Cottagers won 2-0 at Griffin Park last season and might edge it this time too. To get a ticket, you must have a previous purchasing history with Brentford - the away allocation is sold out
Millwall v Sheffield United @3pm - this is the best option on offer to any casual visitors to London on Saturday who want to see a game and don't want to pay a king's ransom. It should be a pretty decent game too. Although the Lions aren't doing hugely well, the Blades were top not that long ago and still have automatic promotion very much in their sights

National League
Bromley v Dover Athletic @3pm - none of our local third or fourth tier sides are playing at home on Saturday meaning the focus instead moves to the National League. The title race in this division must be among the most thrilling anywhere in the world with just six points separating the top 10 clubs. As a result, the majority of sides in that leading group have briefly held top spot at some point. Dover were the leaders this time last week but two losses since then have seen them plummet to fifth. Bromley have picked up four points in the same period to move themselves up to eighth
Sutton United v Eastleigh @3pm - it's been a weird old week for the U's who began it by losing at home to the seemingly hopeless bottom club Torquay but ended up going top after winning 2-0 at Guiseley. Eastleigh are also currently plying their trade towards the wrong end of the table so should be beaten but who knows?!!

National League South
Wealdstone v Braintree Town @3pm - after holding one Essex club (Chelmsford) to a draw in the FA Trophy on Saturday, the Stones now have to play another in the league. Braintree got relegated from the fifth tier last season but are on course to go straight back up as they currently find themselves joint top with Dartford. However, they are winless in two in the league so could be vulnerable
Welling United v East Thurrock United @3pm - the Wings bowed out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle on Saturday but will still start this league match amongst the play-off places. Currently in seventh, they sit just three points and three places above the Rocks

Bostik League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - among the promotion contenders for the last few years and both backed by decent support, my initial reaction was to instantly rub my hands and say this is definitely one for the week's guide. However, Enfield have been significantly below their usually much higher standards. Following the departure of their manager to Braintree over the summer, the Towners have failed to get going this year and are way down in 17th at the time of writing. It should be noted that they do have games in hand on most of those above them and they often put together a late run which sees them finish well but they could find things tough against the leaders

Bostik League South Division
Greenwich Borough v Lewes @3pm - third versus first, at the time of writing, this big game in the third tier could have quite a bearing on how the promotion race ends up. Greenwich are said to have spent a lot to get this far but they're now winless in four and will be desperate not to repeat the loss they suffered in last season's play-offs

Evo-Stik League East
Uxbridge v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - the visitors follow up their tricky midweek encounter with Beaconsfield with this local derby. Actually based more in West Drayton than Uxbridge, the Reds' ground is walkable from the SkyEx Stadium

FA Vase Third Round - this national knockout competition for clubs in the ninth to 11th tiers is now down to its last 64 teams. With Wembley's arch now starting to appear over the horizon, the winners of each tie will receive prize money of £1,125 whilst the losers get £375
Beckenham Town v Eastbourne Town @3pm - given that hundreds of clubs started out on the road to Wembley at the beginning of September, it's a great achievement by the Becks that they've got this far. One of only two clubs who play their games in London still left in the competition, they face a challenging tie against the Yellows who are currently third in the parallel Southern Combination. The visitors are also getting known for the ultras who have begun supporting them over the last couple of years so they could add a decent bit of extra atmosphere to an already important game
Walton & Hersham v Windsor @3pm - in the other tie, the Swans who are third in the Combined Counties welcome Windsor who recently moved to the Hellenic League for the start of this season. The Royalists are currently ninth in their league but have games in hand on all those above them and saw off Erith Town in the last round

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Sunday 3 December

FA Cup Second Round
AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic @2pm - one of the ties of the round, this London derby has been held over until Sunday. Struggling in League One, the Dons will want to give their season a lift with a win against the Addicks who are pushing for promotion. The sides last met a month ago for a league game at The Valley which Charlton won 1-0. The good news is that tickets are available on general sale so fill your boots! (Update - you now need a previous purchasing history to buy tickets for this match)

Fundraiser
Waltham Forest XI v Leyton Pennant XI @2pm - with Waltham Forest facing financial problems a fundraiser for their 'Save Our Club' campaign has been arranged featuring teams of former players and non-league legends. Leyton Pennant was the name Forest went by until 2002/03 - if you were in any doubt. The match is being played at Wadham Lodge and it's 'Pay What You Like' on the gate

FA Women's Super League Cup
Millwall Lionesses v Reading @2pm - there are several women's games in the capital on Sunday but this is marginally the best on offer as it pits Millwall from the FAWSL2 against Reading who play in the top division

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, 19 November 2017

TLFG: 20-26 November 2017

For the first time in a while I got to see a live game just over a week after the previous one - I haven't enjoyed that kind of run for a while.

It was to Champion Hill that I headed on Tuesday night to watch Dulwich Hamlet host my beloved Harrow Borough in a Bostik League game.

It was the first time I'd got to watch Harrow this season and they competed well with the league leaders until an unnecessary foul on the hour handed the hosts a penalty which they scored and from which the Boro never looked like coming back from.

A second goal came in closing stages to confirm a 2-0 win for Gavin Rose's side.

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However, the football was secondary on Tuesday as Dulwich began their campaign to raise funds after property developer owners Meadow Residential had announced their plans to massively scale back their involvement.

With posters all over the ground, a fan with a megaphone beseeching supporters to donate to the 12th man fund and not one but three TV crews covering proceedings, the campaign's launch got off to a good start.

An impressive crowd of 1,199 turned out to support the team which I'm told by long standing fans is the highest midweek attendance for decades.

Given the Hamlet's current table-topping status, large supporter base and high media profile I'd be staggered if they didn't turn things around. As non-league clubs go, they present one of the best investments around.

Not all other clubs are in such a healthy position and I overheard some locals remark that if Harrow were to have a rich owner suddenly pull the plug they'd be '####ed!' which sadly I'm afraid to admit they would.

Although close enough on the pitch, the gulf between the two clubs off it was stark with the stands and terraces packed on three sides of the ground whilst the away end had maybe 10-15 in it at most.

'Two Men In Search...' pay a visit to Erith Town

It is a huge credit to the committee, vice presidents and the manager that they manage to compete at this level year after year with the likes of far bigger and richer clubs but that kind of success can only go on for so long - only another club suffering financial difficulties elsewhere in the country saw the club reprieved from relegation last season.

Worryingly, the fantastic start to this campaign which saw Boro top the league for most of August has fizzled out and they've now lost six in a row in all competitions and eight of their last 10. The last team beaten were Bedfont Sports who play two levels below and that was only by 3-2.

On Saturday the losing streak was extended by a heartbreaking defeat at home to Dorking Wanderers. The visitors raced into a 3-0 lead only for Harrow to equalise but then concede again to lose 3-4.

If they lose at bottom club Worthing next Saturday then some serious questions will need to be asked if they aren't already.

Enough of my moaning, in other news I was pleased to hear that one of my American readers Mauricio had enjoyable visit to Shepherd's Bush on Saturday to watch QPR play Aston Villa. Although it wasn't quite the Arsenal v Spurs game he and most other fans were trying to get tickets for, it seems to have been a decent enough substitute.

In other news I'm pleased to be able to say that good friends 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' have been groundhopping in London again. They paid a visit to Erith Town last weekend as they played Windsor in the FA Vase. These fine gentlemen put in a lot of effort as they not only write about their experiences but also vlog about them and produce a photo gallery so make sure you check out their fine work.

Lastly from me I'd like to say a massive thank you to Scott T who became the first person to donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. I really appreciate this as a lot of late nights are involved in putting this together every week and the caffeine will come in very handy especially tomorrow when I have to be up for work at 345am!

THE WEEK AHEAD
With the international break now well and truly over, there are over 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include three important Premier League games, a London derby in the Championship, some big games in the National League and the next round of the FA Trophy.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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 20 November

Surrey Senior Cup First Round
Carshalton Athletic v Egham Town @745pm - the top match of the day is this county cup game between sides from the parallel Bostik South and Evo-Stik East

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Redbridge @745pm - county cup games like the one above can be treated by managers and fans as a bit of a distraction so the first XIs aren't picked and the crowds are smaller than normal, as a result this match at a slightly lower level could be a better watch. Not only is this a bit of a derby but it pits the team in seventh against the current league leaders. The Mile End Stadium is one of the most centrally located grounds in London and is close to Mile End station meaning it's easy to get to too

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Tuesday 21 November

Championship
Brentford v Burton Albion @745pm - there's a decent serving of EFL football in London on Tuesday. The Bees are currently the capital's top ranked club in this division after a fine recent run of results. Sadly that run came to an end at Cardiff on Saturday but they should feel confident of beating Burton who are in the bottom three
Millwall v Hull City @745pm - in Bermondsey, the Lions welcome Hull who are finding things tough after their relegation from the Premier League. Not many would've predicted Millwall to be above the Tigers by late November but that's the way things currently stand

League One
Charlton Athletic v Rochdale @745pm - unbeaten in eight league games, the Addicks are currently fifth in the third tier and looking good for a play-off spot. Rochdale are struggling and should lose here

National League
Bromley v Aldershot Town @745pm - there's a blockbuster night of action in the fifth tier with some big matches on at both ends of the table. Currently the second highest ranked non-league team in London with the third highest crowds, the hosts probably don't get as much attention as they deserve. Still relatively new to this level, they're doing really well to be up in seventh and are still very much in touch with all the teams above them. One of those are Aldershot who hail from just outside the capital so expect a decent turnout for this match
Dagenham & Redbridge v Dover Athletic @745pm - after being surprisingly held by struggling Leyton Orient on Saturday, leaders Dover stay in the east of London for their next match at Victoria Road. On paper, the Daggers should present a much tougher challenge as they're chasing promotion too
Leyton Orient v Chester @745pm - at the other end of the table, two of the biggest clubs in the division are scrapping to avoid the drop. Both sides come into this match on the back of positive results so it should be close
Sutton United v Torquay United @745pm - the U's could go top if they win and Dover drop points at Dagenham. The Gulls are rock bottom and have lost their last three so if they get anything it will be one of the results of the night

National League South
Dartford v Wealdstone @745pm - the Darts returned to top spot on Saturday with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Gloucester City. Next up are the Stones from the opposite side of London - these two couldn't be much further apart from a London perspective. Wealdstone's Bobby Wilkinson was recently named manager of the month but in typical fashion saw his side lose at struggling Oxford City on Saturday as their fine run came to an end

Bostik League Premier Division
Hendon v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - the standout game in the seventh tier on Tuesday is this match at Silver Jubilee Park between two of the top six. The Greens have spent most of this month playing cup matches but returned to league action with a slightly disappointing draw against struggling Burgess Hill on Saturday. Despite their off-pitch worries, the Hamlet on are on fire at the moment. On Saturday they demolished title rivals Metropolitan Police 4-1 at Imber Court to move seven points clear at the top

Essex Senior League
Clapton v Basildon United @745pm - two of the top six in the ESL do battle at London's oldest ground on Tuesday. Sadly the Clapton Ultras are still boycotting home games so the crowd and atmosphere won't be anything like it could be

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Wednesday 22 November

FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round Replay
Cray Wanderers v Moneyfields @745pm - an intriguing tie between two of the best sides in the eighth tier. Cray are fourth in the Bostik South while Moneyfields, from Portsmouth, currently top the Evo-Stik East. Having done the hard work of drawing away, Cray must surely back themselves to win here. The winners will travel to Braintree Town in the next round on Saturday

London Senior Cup Second Round
Balham v AFC Wimbledon @730pm - the hosts only joined the Combined Counties League last season, got promoted at the first attempt and are now playing AFC Wimbledon in the cup - quite an achievement. Of course the Dons will only field a development XI but there could be one or two first-team players in there so this is a significant moment for Balham

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Friday 24 November

Premier League
West Ham United v Leicester City @8pm - David Moyes will take charge of his first home game against the Foxes. At the time of writing, his first match against Watford has yet to be played but that will undoubtedly affect the performance here. Still not the side they were when they won the title two seasons ago, Leicester are comfortably holding their own in midtable and will be dangerous opponents

Premier League 2
Fulham v Newcastle United @2pm - if you're in town for the match above as a tourist or groundhopper then you could do a lot worse than get yourself down to Fulham's training ground for this U23 game earlier in the day. It's located close to Motspur Park station so is easy to get to with frequent trains from Waterloo and Clapham Junction

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Hackney Wick @745pm - the now customary Friday night game in the ESL takes place at Mile End Stadium just a short distance away from the big game at the London Stadium. Neither side are likely to push for honours this season but this is very much a derby so some east London bragging rights will be up for grabs

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Saturday 25 November

Premier League

Crystal Palace v Stoke City @3pm - the Eagles threw away a winning position against Everton on Saturday as they had to settle for a draw. The point took their tally for the season to just five points as they remained bottom. On Saturday they welcome the Potters who are also amongst the division's strugglers for another crucial game
Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - Spurs suffered the shame of defeat in Saturday's north London derby against Arsenal so will be desperate to return to winning ways on their return to Wembley. With four defeats on the bounce the Baggies are in worrying form and manager Tony Pulis is facing the very real prospect of a rare sacking. Unlike the match above, tickets are on general sale 

Championship
Fulham v Millwall @3pm - the match of the day in the second tier is this tasty looking derby. Neither side are pulling up any trees this season so this could be quite a dogged affair. The Lions and their fans tend to relish these occasions and I can see them winning. Sadly, because of security reasons, tickets are not on sale to non-members

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Walsall @3pm - the Dons picked up a priceless 3-1 win at Bristol Rovers on Saturday to move out of the relegation zone and onto level points with fellow strugglers Walsall. As a result, this game is of huge significance in both sides' attempts to avoid the drop

League Two
Barnet v Grimsby Town @3pm - despite the appointment of Mark McGhee as new manager at the beginning of the week, the Bees lost again at Port Vale on Saturday to remain in the bottom two. Midtable Grimsby are the next to visit The Hive and Barnet fans will be hoping for a repeat of the 3-1 win they recorded last season

National League
Boreham Wood v Woking @3pm neck-and-neck in the table just outside the play-off places, these two relatively local sides should produce a good game. Both have been drawing a lot in the league recently but both produced stunning upsets in the First Round of the FA Cup seeing off League One sides Blackpool and Bury respectively

FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round - this national knock-out competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley has reached the last of its qualifying rounds where clubs from the sixth tier enter the draw alongside all the surviving ones from the seventh and eighth tiers. The winners of each tie will receive a cheque for £5,000. These for me, are the pick of ties:

Wealdstone v Chelmsford City @3pm - probably the tie of the round locally pits these two NLS sides together. The Stones were on a decent run until Saturday while Chelmsford are firmly among the title chasers
Welling United v Weston-Super-Mare @3pm - in terms of league ranking, this match is very similar to the one above but the teams aren't hugely well supported and the visitors have a long way to travel so it might lack a bit in that respect
Hendon v Slough Town @3pm - personally I'd probably go to this match if I had to choose. Two of the top teams in the seventh tier from the parallel Bostik and Evo-Stik Leagues meet at Silver Jubilee Park. This brings back memories from the late '80s when these two were among the powers in the Isthmian League
Haringey Borough v Thame United @3pm - the hosts are one of the lowest-ranked teams left in the competition and will fancy their chances of progress here as they've drawn another side from the eighth tier who aren't doing all that well

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Bedfont Sports v Hanworth Villa @3pm - there's a bit of a Super Saturday in the CCL Premier it's just a shame the kick-offs aren't being staggered. First off here we have a local derby between the sides in the third and fifth and over at Gander Green Lane we have...
Sutton Common Rovers v Walton & Hersham @3pm - a battle between the teams in fourth and second, this match could see the sides cancel each other out allowing leaders Westfield to move even further clear

Essex Senior League
Clapton v Ilford @3pm - on paper a cracking east London derby between two well matched teams but as mentioned above, the crowd and atmosphere will be well down on what it could be if the Clapton Ultras' boycott continues

London Senior Trophy Second Round
Stonewall v FC Elmstead @2pm - for groundhoppers, this tie being played in Barnes could be a good one for you. Stonewall are the most successful gay football club in the world having won European and World club titles. Currently going for the Middlesex County League Division 1 Central & East title (12th tier), they'll start as underdogs against the Cocks from the SCEFL Division 1
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Sunday 26 November

Kent Senior Trophy Second Round
Erith & Belvedere v Erith Town @3pm - the only men's game in the capital on Sunday is this local derby in south-east London. Sadly both sides groundshare and play away from Erith but hopefully we'll still get a decent tie

FA Women's Premier League Southern
Charlton Athletic v Swindon Town @2pm - with several games on Sunday, it could be a good day to check out a women's match. The Addicks are currently top of what is effectively the third tier of the women's game and should beat Swindon at SC Thamesmead's ground


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, 13 November 2017

TLFG: 13-19 November 2017

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

How was the international break for you? Did you venture into the lower leagues for the first time or do something completely different instead?

With non-league football taking a more prominent position than normal, the plight of some of our local sides came more sharply into focus.

One of the biggest stories of the last few days is what has happened at Dulwich Hamlet.

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Amongst the most well known non-league sides in the country, it's been feared for a while that for all their progress on and off the pitch it could all be undone by their property developer owners Meadow Residential if a deal to develop the land around the stadium fell through.

This week those fears came to pass when the company effectively pulled the plug meaning Dulwich now have to raise their own funds fast to keep things going.

Waltham Forest, one of the oldest clubs in London, need help to survive
With average crowds of 1,500 (huge by seventh-tier standards) and with quite a few high profile fans and friends - hopefully they'll pull it off but fans are still being urged to donate and head to Champion Hill in large numbers for their next three home games to give them as much chance as possible.

In north-east London a distress call was also sent out by Essex Senior League side Waltham Forest who have fallen on hard times as well.

The announcement came shortly after the news that the club's chairman had died though whether it is related is unclear.

Why should you care? Formed in 1868, Waltham Forest are the second oldest club in London and therefore one of the oldest in the world so it would be a huge shame to see them fold.

Throughout non-league football, clubs are scrimping and saving to make ends meet so getting along to a game, even if it's just once a season, came make a difference so give it a go if you can.

I fully intend to be at Dulwich on Tuesday to watch my beloved Harrow Borough. Maybe see you there.

THE WEEK AHEAD
With the international break coming to an end, there are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include England's game against Brazil and a couple of cracking local derbies.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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 13 November

FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round Replay
Haringey Borough v Sittingbourne @745pm - after fighting out a 1-1 draw on Saturday, these two promotion chasers from the parallel Bostik North and Bostik South do battle again at Coles Park

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Sutton Common Rovers v Spelthorne Sports @745pm - the hosts have strung together an impressive 11 match unbeaten run which has seen them climb to fourth. Spelthorne are a top eight side themselves

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Tuesday 14 November

International friendly
England v Brazil @8pm - after holding world champions Germany to a 0-0 draw on Friday, the Three Lions next welcome the top side from South America to Wembley. With just one win in 10 against the five-time World Cup winners, it's going to be tough for Gareth Southgate's team

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Millwall @1pm - if you're in town for the match above you could begin your day by watching this south London derby between the clubs' U23 sides at Greenwich Borough's ground

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Harrow Borough @745pm - things have been going pretty well for the Hamlet on the pitch this season where they top the Bostik League. Sadly things have taken a very serious turn for the worse off it where the property group who own the club have suddenly pulled the plug. Although the club are still functioning, they need to raise their own money meaning even more effort that normal is being made to get a huge crowd for this game and all others in November - I fully intend to be there

Bostik League South Division
Whyteleafe v Lewes @745pm - the Leafe are well in contention for a play-off spot but Lewes are top and in great form
Walton Casuals v Greenwich Borough @745pm - if Lewes slip up, Greenwich will go top if they win here but the Stags could make it back into the top five themselves

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Clapton @745pm - two of the league's top four meet for an important game at Oakside. Despite being a ninth-tier game it could easily get a crowd in excess of 200 thanks to the travelling support of the very vocal Clapton Ultras

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Wednesday 15 November

Bostik League South Division
Thamesmead Town v Phoenix Sports @745pm - the top-ranked match of the day is to be found at Princes Park where two midtable sides will be hoping to push on

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Friday 17 November

Premier League International Cup
Arsenal v Porto @7pm - the weekend gets underway with some decent U23 games. The first sees the Gunners begin their European campaign by entertaining their counterparts from Portugal. Porto beat Reading 2-0 in their opening game so arrive in Boreham Wood as Group E leaders

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Derby County @7pm - the Hammers' U23 side are currently ranked fourth in the country and top in London so should be worth a watch. This match is being played at the London Stadium and is only £5 for a ticket but you're advised to buy in advance as only a small section of the ground is being opened


Essex Senior League
Redbridge v West Essex @745pm - if they beat Clapton earlier in the week, Redbridge could come into this match as league leaders. West Essex topped the table themselves earlier in the season and could get right back into things with a victory

Southern Counties East League Division 1
FC Elmstead v K Sports @745pm - the Cocks have made a fine start to the season and find themselves in fourth at the time of writing. On Friday they play host to the division's top side

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Saturday 18 November


Premier League

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - on most normal weeks England v Brazil would be the standout match, however I think most neutrals would probably prefer to watch this if given the choice. The first north London derby of the season has arrived and it looks like being as intriguing as ever. For years the Gunners have dominated the relationship but that seems to be changing. Spurs finished above Arsenal last season and have only lost one of their last seven against their old rivals. Mauricio Pochettino's side also come into this game in better form and should be confident of getting at least a point
Crystal Palace v Everton @3pm - with both sides having already sacked their managers this season, this is of huge significance at the other end of the table. It looked like Roy Hodgson might have stopped the rot a few weeks ago when the Eagles managed to beat Chelsea but since then a draw with fellow strugglers West Ham is the best they've managed. The Toffees were on a terrible run until last week when they picked up a crucial 3-2 win over Watford. Palace's record against Everton is also pretty poor with only five wins since the formation of the Premier League 25 years ago

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa @3pm - the match of the day in the second tier features these two former Premier League teams. QPR picked up highly impressive back-to-back victories against Wolves and Sheffield United then followed it up by getting thrashed at Nottingham Forest last weekend. Aston Villa are sixth at the time of writing and did the double over Rangers last season so should be favourites here
Fulham v Derby County @3pm - since beating QPR in the derby at the end of September, the Cottagers' season has taken a bit of nosedive. Winless in five, they'll be looking to arrest that run here but perennial promotion chasers Derby are looking good again and will be tough to beat

League One
Charlton Athletic v MK Dons @3pm - the Addicks' fine season continued last weekend as they comfortably saw off non-league Truro to make the second round of the FA Cup. They get back into league action here with a derby of sorts against a side with few friends from just outside London

Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea @12pm - one of the most attractive U23 matches of the season has been weirdly scheduled to coincide with the first team's derby match against Arsenal. Taking place at the club's training ground, I'm not even certain if it will be open to the public but it was last season - check before you travel

National League
Leyton Orient v Dover Athletic @3pm - the O's initially looked like they'd settled quite well into non-league football but it's all fallen apart. Winless in the league since the 2 September, they now find themselves just three points above the relegation zone. Dover have been pushing hard for promotion in recent seasons and arrive as the latest of many sides to top the league this season

National League South
Dartford v Gloucester City @3pm - the Darts lost control of top spot after coming unstuck at Truro on Saturday. A win here could well see them return to the summit


Bostik League Premier Division

Metropolitan Police v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - I didn't think that by the middle of November I would be describing the Met as title contenders but currently in third that's exactly what they are. Although they've played more games than anyone else it's still quite an achievement for a side with a tiny fanbase. Whatever happens in midweek, Dulwich will arrive as league leaders

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Croydon @3pm - these two are the top ranked clubs in this division from the London area. If Croydon win they could go joint top with Sevenoaks

Combined Counties League Division 1
AC London v Worcester Park @3pm - groundsharing at Whyteleafe, AC London have enjoyed a fine start to their campaign. Up in fourth they have a good shot at getting promoted. On Saturday, leaders Worcester Park come to Church Road for one of the biggest matches of the season
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Sunday 19 November


Premier League

Watford v West Ham United @4pm - the week comes to an end with this derby at Vicarage Road. The Hornets have made a strong start to the season and were briefly in the top four. However, three defeats in a row have seen them start to slip in a way that will worry fans. On Sunday they welcome a Hammers side who will be overseen by new manager David Moyes for the first time and his players will hopefully want to impress

FA Women's Premier League Southern
West Ham United v Crystal Palace @2pm - earlier in the afternoon, the pick of the women's action is this derby which is being played at Thurrock FC



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.

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