Sunday, 14 October 2018

TLFG: 15-21 October 2018

Well that's it - Non-League Day (NLD) is done and dusted for another year. Phew!

The week began with a trip to Wembley to appear on Talksport2 and talk about NLD alongside Ray Stubbs, Tony Incenzo and Sam Parkin. 

It was great to meet them and get some more excellent exposure for the day just ahead of the FA Cup fourth qualifying round draw which followed shortly afterwards.

Later in the week there were other interviews including this one for the i newspaper and various other national, regional and club outlets.

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Taking to the airwaves at Wembley ahead of the FA Cup draw
Over the course of the week, the Premier League published a number of great stories about players who had gone from non-league to the top flight. The FA agreed to send the FA Vase and FA Trophy to a couple of ties in the competition that were being played on NLD and our charity partners Prostate Cancer UK gradually cranked up the publicity with great social media content too.
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When the day finally arrived I got things started on social media around 0730 before then heading off to Wormwood Scrubs to take part in the parkrun, something that has become an NLD tradition for me over the years.

By the time I got home around 1030, #nonleagueday was in the top three trends on Twitter and things were building nicely.

Tweets of support from the likes of Arsenal legend Ian Wright and Leicester talisman Jamie Vardy, plus those from a whole host of Premier League and Championship clubs and a feature on Football Focus with Glenn Murray got things really moving.

Soon after this, traffic to our website started to get a bit mad and the match finder began to grind to a halt and we started to receive a few complaints. However, I made contact and acted as a personal match finder for as many people as possible.

I spent the afternoon itself at the Middlesex derby between Wealdstone and Hampton & Richmond Borough in the National League South.

A large crowd of 1,163 (about 400 more than normal and the biggest that had ever watched these two play each other) were treated to a 2-1 win for the hosts which also included a penalty save and a red card for the visitors.

Daniel Green sends in a corner during Wealdstone's win over Hampton & Richmond
There were tales of big crowds and great first visits to non-league grounds from all over the country and for the 24 hours of the 13 October #nonleagueday was the top trend on Twitter throughout the UK and 25th in the entire world.

Prostate Cancer UK received a cheque for £150,000 from National League sponsors Vanarama and we're still waiting to see how much comes in from the scores of clubs who did individual collections and events all over the country - at Wealdstone alone almost £500 was raised.

In other news, the GMB trade union also launched a new branch specifically for semi-professional and non-league players called Footballers United - fronted by NLD team-member and non-league legend Francis Duku it will hopefully provide protection, advice and many other benefits for players, fans, coaches and pretty much anyone involved at this level.

Next year will be the 10th Non-League Day so discussions are already being had about how we can make it the biggest one yet.

Finally I'd like to say a huge thank you to anyone who participated in the day in any way. Whether you were a member of the core team of volunteers on whom I totally rely, belong to one of our major partners, a journalist who covered the story in the media, a committee member at a club who embraced the concept of the day or simply a fan who went to a game and/or helped spread the message on social media - all of you played your part and the event would have been all the poorer without you.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days with the Premier League and Championship making their return after the international break. There are also a few ties in the highly important fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Please bear in mind that because of several cup games taking place on Sunday, the midweek fixtures could change in the eighth to tenth tiers if replays are required. I will keep things as up to date as possible but can't promise too.

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 15 October

Bostik League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Carshalton Athletic @745pm - the hosts suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Burgess Hill on Non-League Day which allowed Monday's visitors to leapfrog them in the table. Carshalton enjoyed an impressive 4-0 win at Harlow but it was only their third victory of the season, meaning this should be close. Update - this match has been postponed

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Erith Town v Corinthian @745pm - the Dockers have made a disappointing start to the season but recorded a morale-boosting win at Bedfont & Feltham in the FA Vase on Saturday. Next up they face a visit from high-flying Corinthian who will go second if they win here

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Tuesday 16 October

Bostik League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Brightlinsea Regent @745pm - despite going two games without a win, the Towners are still the pick of our local teams in this division. Fifth at the time of writing and banging in goals for fun, they should have too much for relegation contenders Brightlingsea
AFC Hornchurch v Lewes @745pm - both sides suffered defeats on Saturday, something which stopped the Urchins breaking into the top five. The Rooks have played nine and won three, drawn three and lost three and are consequently firmly in midtable - it's a very tough one to call

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Wednesday 17 October

Uefa Women's Champions League
Chelsea v Fiorentina @735pm - the Blues won the domestic double last season but things have gone a bit awry this time round. With only one win from five league games they've made a sluggish start. On Sunday they suffered the humiliation of a 5-0 home defeat by Arsenal who they comprehensively defeated in last season's FA Cup final. On Wednesday they play the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against a side who are currently midtable in Serie A

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Fisher @745pm - even though there is a game at a higher level on Wednesday, this clash between two of the title contenders in this division looks far more interesting. The Becks won their first nine league games to race clear at the top but things have suddenly gone a bit wrong. Back-to-back defeats in the league and another loss in the FA Vase on Saturday have made them look human again and in third place Fisher they face another challenging fixture

Essex Senior League
Walthamstow v Barkingside @745pm - without a game on Non-League Day, the hosts should come into this match refreshed and ready to go. At the time of writing they're right up in third and will strongly fancy their chances against 'Side who are winless from 12 and rooted to the bottom

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Friday 19 October

U23 Development matches
There are three games spread around the capital on Friday at this level. The most eye-catching fixture is the Premier League 2 game between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City but it's taking place at the club's training ground. Although most games here are open to the public, not all of them are so check with the club on the day of the game. Elsewhere, Fulham entertain West Bromwich Albion at their training ground - this is being advertised as open to the public (£3 for adults) and Watford have a game against Bristol City at Wingate & Finchley's ground which should also be open to the public but check the details on Friday morning just to be on the safe side

Bostik League North Division
Aveley v Basildon United @745pm - why not combine one of the early kick-offs above with this enticing Essex derby? These clubs are located only a few miles apart and are currently occupying the top two spots in the division - it should be a cracker!

Essex Senior League
Sporting Bengal United v Clapton @745pm - if you want to stay a bit closer to the centre of town then this match in Mile End should fit the bill. Another derby, between two east London clubs, this doesn't have quite as much riding on it as the game above. A couple of years ago the place would've been jumping thanks to the Clapton Ultras who would've travelled in large numbers but sadly they disbanded recently and the crowd will be well down

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Saturday 20 October

Premier League
Chelsea v Manchester United @1230pm - there are only two top-flight games in London this weekend but they're both big. First up is this huge match between two Titans of English football. The Blues will start the game as joint leaders whilst a troubled United arrive in eighth. Jose Mourinho, by his standards, is going through a rough patch at Old Trafford with his side's great comeback against Newcastle last weekend probably keeping him in the job. He'll be desperate to win against his old club but it will probably be seen as an upset if he pulls it off
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @3pm - Millwall are the Hammers' traditional enemy but Spurs come a pretty close second. To make the relationship a little spicier, the clubs fought for control of the London Stadium before West Ham were eventually offered the chance to move in. Given that the move has ended up being far from popular with the east London club's fans, it was almost certainly a battle Spurs are now happy to have lost. As an outsider looking in, I've picked up on a vibe of Tottenham being nowhere near as good as they were last season and yet three league wins in a row have put them just two points off top spot so they're still very much in contention. West Ham made an awful start but have improved, taking seven points from their last five games. Spurs dominate the head-to-head between the two clubs and have won on five of their last 10 league visits to east London

Championship
Brentford v Bristol City @3pm - Bees fans were rocked in midweek by news that manager Dean Smith had opted to head back to his Midlands home to join Aston Villa. Since taking over at Griffin Park almost three years ago, the former Walsall boss, had done a superb job turning Brentford into one of the most competitive clubs in the division despite being one of its smallest. Danish assistant coach Thomas Frank has been put in temporary charge and is favourite to land the job but whoever comes in next will inherit a club in seventh with a great group of players. If they appoint anybody before Saturday they will face a City side who are winless in five and presumably a little low on confidence

League One
Charlton Athletic v Barnsley @3pm - after nice little run to move alongside the play-off contenders, the Addicks have now gone three without a win in the league and are back down in 11th. This is still respectable given all the off-field issues the club are experiencing with relations between the fans and owners at a low. On Saturday the Tykes, recently relegated from the Championship, make their first visit to The Valley in over four years. They'll be looking forward to it as they've won there the last three times and usually come away with at least a point

FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round
The nation's favourite cup competition has reached one of it's most critical points - the final round before League One and League Two clubs enter the draw. Around the country tiny teams like ninth tier Dunston UTS are now only 90 minutes away from going into the hat alongside a local giant like Sunderland. Winners of each tie receive £25,000 in prize money so there's lots at stake

Wealdstone v Sutton United @3pm - despite there being higher ranked local teams playing (see below) this match is the one that jumps out for me. The Stones play a level below Sutton but are in good form and draw relatively large and vocal crowds. Sutton are most famous for their runs in this competition with historic games against the likes of Arsenal, Leeds and Coventry over the years. Given what's at stake, there could be a huge crowd crammed into Grosvenor Vale and it should be a real humdinger
Boreham Wood v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - normally an all-National League London derby would get a higher billing than the match above but with The Wood attracting smallish crowds (they drew almost half of what Wealdstone achieved on Non-League Day) and the Daggers being, quite frankly, rubbish at the moment I've put this second. In fact, neither side have been great recently so it could be fairly even
Barnet v Braintree Town @3pm - with no fixture over the international break, the Bees squad should be refreshed and ready to see off Essex club Braintree who are bottom of the National League and looking for a new manager
Haringey Borough v Poole Town @3pm - having seen off AFC Sudbury in the last round, Boro are one of two seventh-tier teams representing London at this advanced stage of the competition. They got to this round last season and if they win here, against a team from the parallel Evo-Stik League, then it will be the furthest they have ever gone in their history
Metropolitan Police v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm - the other seventh-tier club left in are The Met who face an incredibly tough tie against a side from two levels above them. They last made the First Round in 2012 and have been there three times before so they have some pedigree and can't be written off

National League South
Dartford v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - as a neutral looking for a non-league game this weekend I'd really only be considering one of the FA Cup ties above but if they're not for you, this is a decent alternative. In a division covering teams from Cornwall to Kent, I think it's fair to call this a derby. The Darts pushed hard for the title last season but ultimately came up short. A quick glance at the league table might make you think they're out of it this year but despite being down in 13th, it's ridiculously tight with the nine teams immediately above them all just a win within reach. Dulwich are new to the division and took some time to adjust but with three wins in a row are now just a point behind Dartford and back in play-off contention themselves despite being way down in 16th - bonkers!

Bostik League Premier Division
AFC Hornchurch v Tonbridge Angels @3pm - if the Urchins win their midweek game there's a good chance they'll come into this game as a top-five club. Despite losing their big game against Bognor on Non-League Day, Tonbridge are still top of the league and should provide formidable opposition

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South
Hendon v Wimborne Town @3pm - the Greens suffered defeat in the Bostik League play-off final last season, got shifted over to the Evo-Stik League in the restructure and saw long-serving manager Gary McCann and several key players move to Hampton & Richmond. Despite all this disappointment and upheaval, Hendon have sailed on as if nothing had happened. Up in second in their new league only a point off top spot, new boss James Gray is doing an impressive job. Wimborne are struggling and should be seen off with relative ease despite their hefty win over Kings Langley at the weekend

Bostik League South Central
Chipstead v Waltham Abbey @3pm - the Chips are holding their own in lower midtable but face a visit from current leaders Waltham Abbey on Saturday. With only one defeat from eight, the Essex club are looking good
Uxbridge v Bracknell Town @3pm - if Waltham Abbey slip up, Bracknell will be looking to replace them. Having topped the table for most of the opening couple of months of the season, the Berkshire club have played less games than those above them and are effectively leaders in waiting. They should have too much for Uxbridge

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Walton & Hersham v Chertsey Town @3pm - the fine new facilities at the Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub play host to this local derby. The hosts are having a poor season, with one win from 11 leaving them down near the bottom of the table. Chertsey, on the other hand, are flying. Top of the league and unbeaten, it will take quite a performance to stop Dave Anderson's side

Combined Counties League Division 1
Bedfont & Feltham v FC Deportivo Galicia @3pm - currently in third, B&F have the games in hand to go top. This match is a derby against a side who groundshare with Bedfont Sports whose ground almost touches The Orchard where this will be played

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Harefield United v Buckingham Athletic @3pm - the Hare bowed out of the FA Vase on Saturday and to make matters worse, near neighbours Hillingdon Borough won their league game to jump above them into top spot. Harefield have the games in hand to unseat them again and they'll need to win here against midtable Buckingham to get the momentum going again

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Sunday 21 October

Women's matches
Sunday is all about women's football with five games taking place in the top three divisions. The pick of the matches is the Super League top-four clash between Arsenal and Reading at Boreham Wood. Elsewhere, there are home games for West Ham United, Charlton Athletic, London Bees and QPR


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, 8 October 2018

TLFG: 8-14 October 2018

It's that time of year again - yes, Non-League Day (NLD) is back!

This will be the ninth time the event has been held and I'm still pinching myself that a brainwave of mine could have made such an impact.

For those of you that don't know, NLD is an annual celebration of semi-professional and amateur football held to coincide with an autumn international break when there are no Premier League or Championship games so as to maximise the amount of publicity we can get and appeal to as many people as possible.

Originally it was intended to be an attempt to reach out to fans of the big clubs to get them to come and try out a non-league game for the first time but it's transformed into more of a general celebration of all things at this level and also a chance for clubs to raise funds, not only for themselves, but also a number of charities.

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This year's Non-League Day take place on Saturday - get involved!

Our official charity continues to be Prostate Cancer UK and it seems almost double the number of clubs (around 100) compared to last year have signed up to support them.

With Vanarama already announcing that they're hoping to raise £150,000 by NLD, the amount generated this year could be considerable!

Unsurprisingly this week's guide is dedicated almost exclusively to NLD so the Daily Digest will make way for a focused look at Saturday itself. 

All the week's other games will appear on the match maps as usual so have a good look through them to see what else is on but remember - it is an international break so the only game taking place in the top four divisions is AFC Wimbledon's match against Portsmouth in League One on Saturday.

The highlights of the midweek action which are well worth a mention are the friendly between England Women and Australia at Craven Cottage on Tuesday and England C v Estonia U23 at Leyton Orient's ground on Wednesday (England C are the country's non-league representative XI) - tickets are £10 and £5 respectively.

On Thursday, Dulwich Hamlet have lined up a friendly against Crystal Palace who are sending pretty much a first-team squad minus those on international duty. Tickets are £10 and you are being urged to buy in advance as it could sell out.

Lastly on Friday, two clubs who are without a game on Non-League Day have arranged a friendly. The match between Walthamstow and Clapton CFC, who both play on the Wadham Lodge site, should draw a lively crowd of several hundred and entry is by donation (suggested amount £3). 

'Two Men In Search...' pay a visit to Grays Athletic who you can also go to watch on NLD

There are also some FA Cup replays which have a significant amount of prize money riding on them. The draw for the Fourth Qualifying Round take place at Wembley on Monday lunchtime and I think I'm going to be there. I know I'm definitely going to the national stadium on Monday morning to record something relevant to the draw and NLD for Talksport2 so whether it will be live or pre-recorded I don't know. I'm just hoping someone gets stuck in traffic and I have to step in to help draw the balls!!!

I think that's about it from me. The week ahead is likely to be incredibly hectic and I hope it's all worth it. Thanks again for all your support and if you are free, please try and get to a non-league game on Saturday no matter where you are in the country. If you're outside London, I've spent a large chunk of my time building a match finder which will allow you to discover what your nearest game is depending on your location. There's also a similar event being held in Germany - it's called Tag der Amateure and is taking place on Sunday so please give that your backing too if you're over there.

Remember, semi-professional and amateur football make up the bedrock of the game is this country and around the world - do your bit to make sure those foundations stay firm.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 100 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days with the National League, Bostik League, Evo-Stik League, FA Trophy and FA Vase taking centre stage. 

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 NON-LEAGUE DAY RECOMMENDATIONS
In this section I will list a few games I think are particularly worth watching and highlight ones which are offering special deals and events to get new people in. To clarify, non-league teams are classed as those playing in the fifth tier and below of English football. Please note - this list could well get refreshed/updated as the week progresses as many clubs often release their plans quite late in the day (updated on 08/10/18)

Saturday 13 October

National League (Level 5)
Leyton Orient v Hartlepool United @3pm - the biggest crowd at a non-league game anywhere in the country is likely to be for this match at Brisbane Road where two former EFL sides do battle. The O's and Pools are both pushing hard for promotion and have only lost three games between them so far this season. To top it all, tickets have been reduced to just £5 so I'd recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment
Boreham Wood v Maidenhead United @3pm - the Wood punched way above their weight to impressively make it to the National League play-off final last season. On Saturday they'll be looking to arrest a run of four straight defeats against a Magpies side who are struggling for consistency just below them. Ticket discounts, fun activities and player appearances are all taking place in an effort to draw in new fans
Bromley v Barrow @3pm - after inconsistent starts to the season, both sides enjoyed victories on Saturday and will be looking to close the gap on the top seven by winning this game. If you buy tickets online in advance they'll only be £10 - it'll be £18 if you pay on the day. The other notable story ahead of this game is Barrow manager Ian Evatt (formerly of QPR) and his squad have part funded the cost of a supporters' coach to bring fans all the way down from Cumbria - great effort!
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wrexham @3pm - after battling financial problems the Daggers were recently saved by an American consortium including former Everton and Man Utd goalkeeper Tim Howard. Sadly results have yet to improve and the east London club are still stuck in the bottom three. On Saturday they welcome title contenders Wrexham for a big game. If you're a friend of a Dagenham season-ticket holder or you are a season-ticket holder at a Premier League or Championship club, you'll be able to get in at reduced prices which start at £10

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National League South (Level 6)
Wealdstone v Hampton & Richmond Borough @3pm - one of the matches of the day in the London area will be this one at Grosvenor Vale. To all intents and purposes this is a derby and features two sides who are also ensconced in what will probably be a thrilling title race. The Stones have been big supporters of Non-League Day since it began in 2010 and were the first club to ever offer a discount to coincide with the event. This year is no different with a number of ticket promotions available and sponsors Wenzel's (a local bakery who make the best doughnuts in the world IMHO) will also be doing a few things. I'm highly tempted by this one and you should be too!
Welling United v Slough Town @3pm - there's also a very intriguing clash between two of the top five at Park View Road. Discounts are available for Premier League and EFL season-ticket holders.

A bit further afield
Billericay Town v Gloucester City @3pm - a lot has been written, much of it negative, about big spending Billericay and their high profile owner Glenn Tamplin. However, when it comes to NLD, the Essex club usually really go to town and create quite a buzz around their fixture. Last season nearly 2,000 people watched them beat Hendon 4-3 in a thrilling clash. This year they come into the game as leaders of the division and on the back of a 9-1 FA Cup win over Whitehawk. The club are offering a number of discounts to get in, most notably half price for people in fancy dress
St Albans City v Bath City @3pm - just to the north of London lies the market town of St Albans. Clarence Park is one of my favourite non-league grounds and is really easy to get to, just a few minutes walk from St Albans station. Like Wealdstone, City have been big supporters of NLD for a long time and always look to do something. This year they will be offering some ticket price reductions, raising money for Prostate Cancer UK and former Arsenal striker Alan Smith will be putting in an appearance. The match itself should also be well worth a watch as both sides are in the top eight
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Bostik League Premier Division (Level 7)
Corinthian Casuals v AFC Hornchurch @3pm - head down to Tolworth for some crossbar challenge fun and a number of other events as the club look to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK
Staines Town v Merthyr Town @3pm - the Swans announced their deal quite late but it's a good one - admission reduced to £5, armed forces and emergency personnel for free. If you want to pay the normal £10 to get in, the club will give £5 of it to Prostate Cancer UK
Wingate & Finchley v Leatherhead @3pm - up at Summers Lane former England player Nicky Shorey takes charge of his first game as new Wingate boss and it's also half price pro club season-ticket holders

A bit further afield
Burgess Hill Town v Haringey Borough @3pm - one of the deals of the day is to be found in deepest Sussex at the fantastically named Green Elephants Stadium where it will be only £1 for adults and free for U18s. The hosts narrowly avoided relegation last season and have made a poor start this time too but hey, it's only a pound and it's very much on my shortlist
Merstham v Bishop's Stortford @3pm - located just beyond the M25 to the south of London, you won't have too much further than normal to travel to get to this one - you'll even be able to use an Oyster Card to get there. The Moatsiders are offering free entry to all NHS workers and a number of other discounts as they prepare to take on a Stortford side which includes journeyman striker Jamie Cureton who is still banging them in at 43 years of age
Tonbridge Angels v Bognor Regis Town @3pm - almost certainly the game of the day at this level sees the current leaders host the team in third. Tonbridge are four points clear at the top whilst Bognor are unbeaten and the highest scorers in the division so it should be good. It's also only £5 if you arrive by 215pm - it then goes up to £11
Whitehawk v Brightlingsea Regent @3pm - the Hawks suffered relegation from the National League South last season and have made an iffy start this time round too. They suffered the ignominy of a 9-1 defeat at Billericay Town in the FA Cup on Saturday so will hope to bounce back strongly here. The club are making big efforts to engage with their local community and grow their supporter base and are really going to town with this game. Admission has been reduced to £5, there will be plenty of off-field entertainment and also some fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK - all a short walk from Brighton Marina

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South (Level 7)

A bit further afield
Chesham United v Salisbury @3pm - the Generals are another club who are long-term supporters of NLD and have come up with one of the most enticing deals on Saturday - Pay What You Want. At NLD Towers, if clubs want to reduce admission, this is the way we most strongly encourage them to go. The idea draws people in and many are more than happy to pay the going rate so you end up with a far bigger crowd than normal leading to bulging coffers as the extra punters will very often also spend on programmes, refreshments and lots of other things once they're in. Although I haven't been for years, Amy Lane was always one of my favourite grounds and despite being way out in the Chilterns, Chesham is still reachable by London Underground
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Bostik League South Central Division (Level 8)

A bit further afield
Cheshunt v Tooting & Mitcham United @3pm - with both clubs knocked out of the FA Trophy in the opening round they decided to bring forwards this fixture from later in the season. To their credit, the Ambers have also made the game 'Pay What You Want' to try and encourage as big a crowd as possible. Located a short distance from Tottenham's training ground, this could be a good one for local Spurs fans with a free afternoon

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Essex Senior League (Level 9)
Barkingside v Stansted @3pm - located a short walk from Seven Kings station, Barkingside's Cricklefields home (which they share with landlords Ilford) should provide a good value option on the east side of town. 'Side are always looking at ways to bring in new supporters and they're offering free entry to all emergency service workers, students and the unemployed. It's only £5 for everyone else and if a crowd of over 100 turn up, the chairman will refund their 'regular loyal band of supporters'
Sporting Bengal United v Hoddesdon Town @3pm - over in Mile End, the hosts have decided to knock a couple of quid off the normal admission price meaning it's only £4 to get into this one

Southern Counties East League Premier Division (Level 9)
Fisher v Glebe @3pm - there's a London derby at Salter Road where the hosts will be putting on a Groundhopper Appreciation Day. This will include the sale of vintage programmes and the showcasing of various trophies and memorabilia. Football magazine 'When Saturday Comes' will also be giving away a limited number of this month's edition to the first few people through the gates - the only London club where they'll be doing this

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division (Level 9)
Edgware Town v Biggleswade FC @3pm - the Wares are one of only seven clubs throughout the country who have been chosen to host a showpiece game with Kick It Out. The anti-discrimination charity are celebrating their 25th year and have raised their participation in the event to the highest level it's ever been. Edgware have made a solid start to the season but will probably find things tough as Biggleswade are top. It's also 'Pay What You Like' so there's plenty of good reasons to get down to Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday

Combined Counties League Premier Division (Level 9)
Colliers Wood United v Raynes Park Vale @3pm - although I'm not aware of any special deals or events at the Wibbandune on Saturday - the 'A3 Derby' has to make the guide as it is the A3 Derby. Named after the road which links to the two neighbouring clubs, this match is always one of my highlights of the CCL season. Hopefully they'll get their first 100+ attendance of the season

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Thurlow Nunn League Division 1 South (Level 10)
Hashtag United v Benfleet @3pm - the hosts were only founded in 2016 by football YouTuber Spencer Owen. They filmed and uploaded their exhibition and friendly matches onto the video-sharing platform and grew a large following on social media. The club have now gone semi-professional and entered the national system's pyramid at the start of this season, groundsharing with Haringey Borough. Things have gone well and they're currently one point clear at the top of the division. On Saturday they will be offering free admission to all, running a number of competitions and fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK

Combined Counties League Division 1 (Level 10)
Chessington & Hook United v Sandhurst Town @3pm - the Blues are offering free entry to the first five adults who bring a child and will then be hosting a half-time penalty competition for kids with 'prizes to be won'!
Tooting Bec v Fleet Spurs @3pm - the Bec groundshare at Raynes Park Vale and are making it only £3 for anyone with 'a shirt or season ticket at any Prem ot local NL club'for their CCL game
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FA Trophy Preliminary Round and FA Vase First Round
There are also a large number of ties in these two national knockout cup competitions, which have their finals on the same day at Wembley in May. The Trophy is for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers but at this stage only teams in the eighth tier are taking part, with the winners of each tie pocketing £3,000. The Vase is for sides in the ninth to eleventh tiers with the winners of each tie receiving £825 and the losers £275. Sadly it is rare to find any clubs in FA competitions reducing admission as they have to agree it with the opposition. However, most clubs in these competitions will usually charge between £5-9 to get in so it's pretty cheap anyway. Here are a few ties that I like the look of:

FA Trophy
Barking v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - it's an all-Bostik League east meets west clash at Mayesbrook Park on Saturday as teams from the North and South Central divisions go head-to-head. The visitors are on of the highest ranked London clubs at this level and should start as favourites
Grays Athletic v Sevenoaks Town @3pm - with landlords Aveley opting to play their tie on Friday night, Grays are the next best London-based club in the North Division. Sevenoaks are new to this level and will have to be at their best
Phoenix Sports v Ramsgate @3pm - among the frontrunners in the Bostik League South East, Phoenix should have too much for the visitors

FA Vase
Chertsey Town v Flackwell Heath @3pm - on Saturday the Curfews comfortably extended their unbeaten run to remain top of the Combined Counties League. Will midtable Hellenic League side Flackwell Heath cause a cupset and bring their hot streak to an end???
Harefield United v Woodbridge Town @3pm - the hosts are celebrating their 150th year in style - topping the league and doing well in this major cup competition. Woodbridge play a level above them but aren't pulling up any trees and could be there for the taking
St Panteleimon v Cray Valley PM @3pm - to my knowledge the Saints are the lowest ranked London club left in the competition. Playing in the 11th tier and groundsharing with North Greenford United, they have produced a couple of notable upsets in the two previous rounds. On Saturday they play a team who are doing well in the Southern Counties East League, two levels above them, who caused a number of upsets themselves on the way to winning the London Senior Cup in 2017 - surely they can't win again???

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Middlesex County League Premier Division (Level 11)
Lampton Park v PFC Victoria London @3pm - last but not least we have this MCFL game featuring our friends PFC who despite being the away team are marketing the match as if it were one of their own home fixtures, so keen are they to participate in NLD. Last year they managed to generate a crowd of around 400 for a match against North Acton and they'll be looking to appeal to the local Polish community, who they primarily represent, to back them in great numbers again. The match is being played at the Middlesex FA's brand new HQ in Northolt and it's free to get in



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, 30 September 2018

TLFG: 1-7 October 2018

Greetings all - welcome to this week's guide.

As the baby and Non-League Day draw nearer, my time is getting more and more limited so I'm going to keep this really brief.

I've produced maps and a full daily digest below so fill your boots and keep telling me what you've been up to.

Thanks to all those who've contacted me this week - whether you've been to U23 games, FA Trophy matches or the Petrolux Kanu Cup, I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

Subscribe to The London Football Guide
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There's now less than two weeks to go until this year's Non-League Day

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days with the Champions League, Europa League and Premier League taking centre stage. There are also a few ties in the FA Cup.

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



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 1 October

Professional Development League
There are a couple of games at U23 level on Monday afternoon. The best looking one is the derby between Millwall and Charlton but it's taking place at the Lions' training ground which usually means the public won't get to see it - check with the club on Monday morning to see what the latest info is. Elsewhere, QPR entertain Cardiff at their training ground which is usually open to whoever wants to watch

Bostik League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Harlow Town @745pm - for me, the pick of the non-league action is this match on White Hart Lane in north London where newly promoted Haringey could go as high as fourth with a hefty win over lowly Harlow

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Tuesday 2 October

Championship
Brentford v Birmingham City @745pm - the Bees salvaged a draw against Reading on Saturday with a late equaliser after being reduced to 10 men. That gritty performance saw them climb into the top six as their impressive start to the season continued. Birmingham are well down the table but that's because they are the draw specialists of the division (seven from their opening 10 games) so they should be tough to beat

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Bradford City @745pm - the Dons picked up an important win over fellow strugglers Oxford on Saturday and now face an equally important game against another side who have found it tough going this season. The Bantams, a former Premier League club, are one of the biggest clubs in this division so a decent crowd is expected

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
Hendon v Lancing @745pm - it's a big week in the FA Cup with the Third Qualifying Round taking place on Saturday but before that there are still a few ties to settle from the previous round after of a number of ineligible player incidents. Hendon saw their initial tie against Phoenix Sports called off for this reason with the south-east London club removed from the competition and Lancing reinstated. The Greens start this game as strong favourites and will travel to Chippenham Town on Saturday if they win

Bostik League Premier Division
AFC Hornchurch v Folkestone Invicta @745pm - both sides have made a good start and could potentially climb into the top three with a win. However, the Urchins have a big FA Cup tie on Saturday and might hold a bit back in preparation

Bostik League South East
Whyteleafe v Ramsgate @745pm - the Leafe also fell foul of an ineligible player ruling in the FA Cup and bowed out but they've looked impressive in the league and will no doubt want to focus on getting promotion - victory here could put them second

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Broadfields United v Park View @745pm - Preston Park looks like being an exciting place to watch football this season. Harefield, whose ground it is, are celebrating their 150th year and are top of the division while tenants Broadfields can jump above them if they win both of their two games in hand

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Wednesday 3 October

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona @8pm - the match of the week takes place at Wembley where Spurs welcome Spanish champions Barcelona for this group stage game. After losing their opening match against Inter Milan and with only the top two going through, Tottenham will be desperate to get something out of this match. The sides have only met once before way back in 1982 when Barcelona beat Spurs 2-1 over two legs in the semi-final of the Cup Winners' Cup

Friendly
Brentford B v Queens Park Rangers U23 @12pm - earlier in the day there's a west London derby to enjoy at the Bees' training ground. These games are usually open to the public and free to get into but, as always, check with the club before you travel

Bostik League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Tonbridge Angels @745pm - the K's have moved back to the borough they come from after time groundsharing at Leatherhead but things aren't going too well at their new home. In the bottom five along with landlords Corinthian Casuals they're finding things tough and on Wednesday they welcome league leaders Tonbridge for another challenging fixture

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Erith Town @745pm - the Becks are among the sides to watch in the lower divisions this season. After winning all eight of their opening games, they're already five points clear at the top and looking impressive

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Thursday 4 October

Europa League
Chelsea v MOL Vidi @8pm - the Blues begun their European campaign with a win in Greece over PAOK. On Thursday they welcome Hungarian champions Vidi (formerly known as Videoton) for a game they will be expected to win

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Saturday 6 October

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - unbeaten in three games in all competitions, the Eagles are doing a darn sight better than they were this time last year. On Saturday they welcome recently promoted Wolves who have impressed since coming up and moved up to eighth with a win over Southampton on Saturday. Palace have a very good recent record against the club from the Black Country winning all of their last three games against them
Tottenham Hotspur v Cardiff City @3pm - after the rigours of Wednesday night's big match against Barcelona, Spurs return to Wembley where they welcome Neil Warnock's Bluebirds. At the time of writing, the Welsh club are still without a win and will almost certainly struggle here - Tottenham are unbeaten in seven against Cardiff and haven't lost to them since 1977
Watford v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - Vicarage Road plays host to two of the surprise packages of the new season. The Hornets started superbly but have slightly worryingly gone three games without a win to slide to sixth. The Cherries play Palace on Monday night and will move level on points with Watford if they win so this could see one of them crack the top five with another victory

Championship
Millwall v Aston Villa @3pm - with only one win from their first 10 games, things have begun really badly for Neil Harris's side. Things were looking good against a strong Sheffield United side on Saturday until two late goals saw them lose a third game on the trot. Villa are one of the giants of the Championship but are struggling to get going and badly need the win
Queens Park Rangers v Derby County @3pm - it's fair to say these clubs have a bit of history. Since Rangers rather undeservedly beat the Rams with a last-minute goal in the 2014 Championship play-off final, there's been a bit of grudge held in the Midlands. To make things even weirder, Derby's then manager Steve McClaren is now in charge of QPR whilst Chelsea legend Frank Lampard (not the most popular at Loftus Road) is managing at Pride Park. On form, the visitors should win

League One
Charlton Athletic v Coventry City @3pm - the Addicks are now unbeaten in seven matches and are nestled nicely in the top six. On Saturday they entertain former top-flight side and FA Cup winners Coventry who have had a terrible few years but are on the up after winning last season's League Two play-offs

National League
Barnet v Solihull Moors @3pm - the Bees are models of inconsistency at the moment. They begun badly, went on a five-game winning streak and are now four games without a victory. That run could get extended when fifth-placed Solihull, on a hot run themselves, pay a visit

FA Cup Third Qualifying Round
Hampton & Richmond Borough v AFC Hornchurch @3pm - things are starting to get pretty serious for non-league sides in this grand old competition. With a princely sum of £15,000 up for grabs for winning this tie and the knowledge that only one more win in the fourth qualifying round will put them in the First Round proper against EFL sides. The Beavers, doing well in the National League South, will start this one as strong favourites against their Bostik League opponents who, don't forget, have a game in midweek to negotiate before this
Haringey Borough v AFC Sudbury @3pm - in the only other tie taking place in the capital, Haringey have a great chance of making progress as they take on a side who are stuggling badly in the eighth tier. Imagine if they eventually made the Third Round and took on Spurs at their new ground literally just down the road...

Bostik League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Merstham @3pm - if Tonbridge slip up over the course of the week, there is a chance that the Towners could be top by teatime on Saturday. With 23 goals from eight games they are way out in front in the goals scored department and Merstham are, with all due respect, nothing special so should be there for the taking

Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Harrow Borough v Hartley Wintney @3pm - talking of goals, Harrow are still among the most free-scoring teams in this division with 20 from eight games. They're not quite as accomplished as Enfield though tending to lose one game 1-0 and win the next 4-0 as they did at Chesham on Saturday, consequently they're firmly in midtable. The visitors have a had a great couple of years and are on course for their third consecutive promotion although it's obviously still early days

Bostik League South East
Cray Wanderers v Faversham Town @3pm - the hosts' 100% record may have come to an end but they are still unbeaten and already seven points clear at the top. That lead is a little false as their nearest challengers have games in hand so they'll want to keep that healthy buffer in place with another win here

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Chertsey Town v Colliers Wood United @3pm - the Curfews also saw their 100% record end this week when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sutton Common Rovers. That result left them three points clear at the top but unlike Cray above, they are the ones with games in hand on those around them. CWU are tonking along quite nicely in seventh and will be given confidence by SCR's performance against the leaders

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Erith & Belvedere v Welling Town @3pm - talking of unbeaten sides, the Boots are leaving everyone for dust in this division and strangely, given their name, travel to Welling to play away to E&B. With nine wins and a draw they are a staggering 10 points clear at the top after only 10 games. The hosts, however, are fourth and have three games in hand meaning a win here could put them firmly in contention

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Sunday 7 October

Premier League
Fulham v Arsenal @12pm - the week ends with a London derby on the banks of the Thames as the Gunners travel south-west to take on the Cottagers. Current form suggests an away win as do the history books - Fulham have won only one of their last 10 games against Arsenal home or away


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, 23 September 2018

TLFG: 24-30 September 2018

It's almost the end of September and this weekend has definitely made me feel summer's gone and autumn's firmly on the way.

I did see mention of a few games falling by the wayside but generally most continued but it's something we'll have to get used to as the weeks progress.

Again it's been another non-event on the football watching side of things for me. To be honest, I probably spend most of my free time working on this blog and the preparations for Non-League Day (NLD) which seems a bit strange when you think about it.

Talking of NLD, the National League, Vanarama and Prostate Cancer UK officially launched their charity partnership at the Eastleigh v Dagenham & Redbridge game on Saturday lunchtime. I was invited to go along and pose for a photo or two but work got in the way and I couldn't make it which was a shame.

Subscribe to The London Football Guide
.

There's now less than three weeks to go until this year's Non-League Day
As we get closer to the day, things will get pretty hectic as I try, with help from some great volunteers, to get everything in place and answer any late queries or do the odd interview - I did one for Germany's national broadcaster ARD on Friday. There is also the chance of two or three partnerships coming through before the day too but I'm always wary of how to play these as as soon as money becomes involved, things get complicated. 

NLD is always self funded, with one or two of my team also chipping in. The annual cost is incurred almost totally by our website design, hosting and maintenance costs - everything else is achieved by simply asking for favours or working contacts. To be clear, I have never made a penny and have actually put quite a bit into it since 2010. With my circumstances having changed since I set up the day and with another child imminent, the costs are starting to become an issue so having some kind of partnership which could cover those fairly minimal costs would be really helpful. Let's see what happens over the next week or two...


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days with the Premier League and Championship taking centre stage. There are also a few ties in the opening 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 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 24 September

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Watford @2pm - the Addicks' youngsters have only managed to win one of their six games so far this season but they'll fancy their chances against the Hornets who haven't won any at all. This game is scheduled to be played at Greenwich Borough's ground but with persistent rain over the weekend, it will be well worth checking if any of the match arrangements have changed before you set off

London Senior Cup First Round
Tower Hamlets v Hackney Wick @745pm - two of the lower ranked teams in the competition meet for an east London derby (although don't expect a big crowd) in Mile End on Monday night. The winners will travel to Barking in the next round

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Tuesday 25 September

Carabao Cup Third Round
Millwall v Fulham @745pm - from a London perspective, the Carabao Cup draw has thrown up some pretty interesting ties. The only one in the capital on Tuesday is this intriguing derby at The Den. The last time these two met towards the end of last season, they were pushing hard for a place in the Championship play-offs. By all accounts, the Cottagers played superbly and won 3-0 and it was they who ultimately went up and the Lions who fell short. Neither side are playing particularly well at the moment and being a Carabao Cup game tickets are only £15 and only half the ground is being opened

National League
Sutton United v Dover Athletic @745pm - there are a couple of fifth-tier games on Tuesday with this being marginally the better option. The U's are right up in contention again thanks in part to their impressive win over promotion rivals Wrexham on Saturday. The visitors are usually there or thereabouts too so for them to bottom of the league after 12 games is something of a surprise
Barnet v Havant & Waterlooville @745pm - if the deep south of London is inconvenient for you, then maybe a trip to London's northern polar regions could be more appealing. The Bees started badly, strung a great winning run together and have now gone off the boil again - consequently they're slap bang in the middle of the table. After enjoying two consecutive promotions, Havant seem to have run out of steam and, like Dover, are among the strugglers

Bostik League South Central
Hayes & Yeading United v Northwood @745pm - two of the top eight meet for a game at the well appointed SkyEx. Compared to the National League, the Bostik League season is still in its infancy with most clubs having played only five or six league games so a win could see either jump into the top four

Bostik League South East
Phoenix Sports v Greenwich Borough @745pm - after getting embroiled in an ineligible player incident, Phoenix saw their FA Cup tie at Hendon postponed on Saturday. They'll hope to put that behind them by winning this derby

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Wednesday 26 September

Carabao Cup Third Round
Arsenal v Brentford @745pm - stop the press! For the second week running, a midweek game at the Emirates Stadium is on sale to non-members (from £10). Last week it was for a Europa League match against a little known Ukrainian team, this time it's for, what is for me, a far more interesting London derby. Despite being a tiny club compared to the Gunners, the Bees are a fine Championship side and backed by several thousand fans could give Arsenal a tough time if they show any complacency
West Ham United v Macclesfield Town @745pm - over in east London, groundhoppers have a got a good, low cost, chance to tick the London Stadium off their list as the Hammers entertain last season's National League champions. Tickets are available from £10 and are likely to be in plentiful supply

Bostik League South East
Cray Wanderers v Whyteleafe @745pm - the hosts have made a cracking start to their campaign, winning all six games to top the division. The Leafe are in third with four wins from five

Essex Senior League
Ilford v Southend Manor @745pm - with only one league defeat, the Foxes are up in second and the leading club in the division from a TLFG point of view. A healthy win over an unspectacular Manor side will put them top on goal difference

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Welling Town v Sporting Club Thamesmead @745pm - the Boots moved up to this level over the summer and have taken to life in the tenth tier like ducks to water. Unbeaten after eight games, the south-east London club are four points clear and will look to increase their lead by beating the side they groundshare with

Uefa Women's Champions League
Chelsea v SFK 2000 @730pm - after winning the away leg in Sarajevo 5-0, the Blues look certain to progress to the last 16 as they try to follow up last season's domestic double with their first European title
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Friday 28 September

Professional Development League
Watford v Crystal Palace @3pm - the Hornets' youngsters entertain their counterparts from the Eagles at Wingate & Finchley's ground

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Woodford Town @745pm - you can easily combine the match above with this ESL encounter later in the day. Neither team have made a stunning start but with Oakside right next to Barkingside station, it's one of the easiest grounds to reach by public transport anywhere in London

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Saturday 29 September

Premier League
West Ham United v Manchester United @1230pm - the Hammers host the Red Devils in the opening game of a bumper afternoon of top-flight action in London. Relatively speaking, both sides have been out of sorts so far this season. It's hard to say how West Ham will fare but with their win over Everton last week and draw against Chelsea on Sunday, there are some signs of improvement. Man Utd have been indifferent to say the least with last weekend's hard fought win at Watford followed up with a disappointing draw against Wolves at Old Trafford - a game many said they could and possibly should have lost. This will probably simply come down to which side is more motivated and whose disgruntled supporters give the most backing
Arsenal v Watford @3pm - next up we have this derby at the Emirates Stadium. There can't have been many times when you reach the end of September and found Watford above Arsenal in the league, certainly not in the last 20 years. With four wins from six, the Hornets have been impressive this season and were unfortunate to only draw at Fulham on Saturday. At first glance you might think a win for Watford would be an upset and of course it would be, but a look through the history books shows the head-to-head between the two is incredibly close with the Gunners only 15-12 up in all competitions since their first meeting in 1906
Chelsea v Liverpool @530pm - saving the best till last we have a potential humdinger of a game as third placed Chelsea host the current leaders. The Reds have a decent record at Stamford Bridge and have only lost three times in their last 10 league visits. They brushed aside Southampton on Saturday and beat PSG in the Champions League in midweek - I'd have them as marginal favourites

Championship
Brentford v Reading @3pm - tickets for all of the above will be hard or expensive to get hold of and you could do a lot worse than go to this. The Bees have played some entertaining stuff this season and are right up among the leading pack. Located just to the west of London, Reading's matches against Brentford become derbies as geographically they are their closest divisional opponents. You would usually expect the Royals to challenge for promotion but after losing in the 2017 play-off final they've struggled and are in the bottom five again
Millwall v Sheffield United @3pm - if you're living/staying centrally and don't want to go so far out then a trip to Bermondsey to watch the Lions might be more appealing. As mentioned above, Millwall aren't on a great run at the moment and face another tough game here against the Blades who are pushing hard for top spot

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Oxford United @3pm - it's still early days but these sides are in the bottom six and this could prove to be a big game for both

National League
Leyton Orient v Sutton United @3pm - the standout game of the day at non-league level is this derby at Brisbane Road. The O's beat then leaders Harrogate Town 3-0 on Saturday to replace them at the top. Justin Edinburgh's side are now unbeaten in 12 and looking impressively good. On Saturday they welcome the U's who were London's top ranked non-league club last season and who are right up among the contenders again - it could be a cracker
Boreham Wood v Harrogate Town @3pm - if the O's do slip up, Harrogate will fancy their chances of retaking top spot with a win at The Wood who aren't quite as good as the side who made last season's play-off final

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Billericay Town @3pm - in NLS terms, this is all set to be a blockbuster. These two former Isthmian (Bostik) League champions, currently both in the top three, go head-to-head at the Beveree knowing a win could put one of them top

Bostik League Premier Division
Corinthian Casuals v Enfield Town @3pm - with only one win from their first six, Casuals are finding the step up to seventh-tier football to be quite a tough adjustment. On Saturday they welcome the Towners who are third

Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Staines Town v Weymouth @3pm - the Swans were among a clutch of clubs transferred somewhat against their will from the Bostik to Evo-Stik League over the summer. Some of the travelling has been significant and with only two wins from eight games, they've found life tough. On Saturday they take on the Terras who are one of the biggest clubs in the division and they could go top with a victory here

Bostik League South East
VCD Athletic v Cray Wanderers @3pm - it's derby time at Old Road between two decent sides - at the time of writing VCD are fifth and Cray are top

FA Trophy Extra Preliminary Round
This season's FA Trophy gets underway with an Extra Preliminary Round which I think is the first time it's happened, presumably as a result of the summer's big non-league restructure. This knockout competition is for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley in May. Winners of each tie receive a not insubstantial amount of £2,000. There aren't really any standout ties but the games at Aveley and Uxbridge, who are currently the best local teams playing at home, should be worth a watch

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Sutton Common Rovers v Chertsey Town @3pm - after going on a dodgy run of three straight defeats, SCR managed to arrest this run and have taken four points from the last two. However, probability states that they could well come unstuck again as Dave Anderson's Curfews side have won all their league games this season and are already three points clear

Essex Senior League
Walthamstow v Leyton Athletic @3pm - it's groundshare derby time at Wadham Lodge where the hosts will look to win and push into the top three

Thurlow Nunn League Division 1 South
Hashtag United v Halstead Town @3pm - the game of the day in the 10th tier is to be found at Coles Park where it's a case of second versus first where the winner will end the day top
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Sunday 30 September

Petrolux Kanu Cup
Premier League Masters v African Masters @3pm - bring your week to an end with this charity fundraiser at Barnet's ground which is very close to Canons Park Tube station. Former Arsenal and Inter Milan forward Kanu is raising money to help children with heart problems in Africa and has assembled two sides of well known players including Gunners team-mates Sol Campbell and Robert Pires plus the likes of Teddy Sheringham, Jay-Jay Okocha and for QPR fans like me, the legendary Danny Shittu. Adult tickets range from £10-15

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion @2pm - there are number of women's games on Sunday with this being the pick of the bunch. The Blues won the double last season but haven't had it all their own way so far this season, drawing all three of their opening league fixtures. They should improve on that here as the Seagulls have lost all three and are joint bottom with Yeovil

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