Sunday, 18 October 2020

TLFG: 19-25 October 2020

Greetings one and all and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

As we approach at the end of October, there's a strange feel to what's going as Covid-19 to begins to tighten its grip on the population once again.

With London moving into the Tier 2 level of restrictions and with the odd game getting called off because of positive player tests, it seems only a matter of time before everything's brought to a halt again.

The increased restrictions aren't having a huge impact on non-league games yet, although some of the facilities on offer like seating and food might not be available or scaled back in some way so always check with a club before you travel if that's important to you.

In recent weeks, I've managed to use the threat of another lockdown to persuade my wife I should be allowed out to see a few games and I managed to successfully lead a small group to Coles Park on Tuesday night to see Haringey Borough play Bracknell Town in the FA Cup.

Despite more rain, we enjoyed what was a pretty well-contested match until the 75th minute when the hosts scored a third and took the wind out of their opponents' sails. 

Haringey Borough and Bracknell Town do battle at Coles Park

Two more goals rattled in before the end to give Haringey a slightly flattering 5-1 win.

In the next round, they've been drawn away to Essex club Maldon & Tiptree who memorably knocked out Leyton Orient last season.

The Fourth Round Qualifying should have dominated non-league proceedings this weekend but all the ties in London and many others around the country are being played behind closed doors because of Covid-19 restrictions which is a real shame.

It will be even worse if those non-league teams that make it through to the First Round, for one of the biggest matches in their history, see fans banned too.  

Given so many matches are being played behind closed doors, you might notice on the match maps that I've started to fill things out with a selection of 11th-tier matches and now a load more U23 and U18 games.

There are quite a few FA Youth Cup games this week but lots of local youth matches too. I'm by no means an expert as this level and the list of matches is not exhaustive as details for some are quite hard to get hold of.

The ones I have included should all be being played at non-league grounds and most charge at least a nominal admission fee of anywhere between £2-8 although some might well be free.

With all of these, check the details with the club before you travel.

Hopefully I will get to see another match this week, with Wednesday night's Kingstonian v Potters Bar Town match looking the most likely.

Although this blog is being written late at night again, it's on my own terms with no work to worry about and I've been able to discover The Prodigy's album 'The Day Is My Enemy' while writing it. 

I used to have a small role on Top of the Pops, Later with Jools Holland and even worked on Glastonbury in my BBC days and used to be quite into music. However, my priorities have changed quite a bit of late so it was quite a shock to realise this album has been out for five years and they've had another one since - a bit more personal insight for you.  

Lastly from me, many thanks to Glidden L from Texas, USA and Alex O from Dordrecht in the Netherlands and all those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. Cheers one and all.


THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Isthmian League, Southern League, London Senior Cup, Women's Capital Cup and FA Youth Cup. There are also games at higher levels but none of them are open to the public.

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 or youth matches. 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. However, capacity restrictions are currently in place at all grounds because of Covid-19 meaning only clubs from the seventh tier and below can currently admit spectators.

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 - blue 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 19 October

Isthmian League North Division
Aveley v Tilbury @745pm - the week opens with a very decent looking Essex derby. Tilbury are currently top of the division and if Aveley win their two games in hand, they'll be right up with them. Both saw their FA Trophy ties go to penalties on Saturday - the Millers came through theirs but Tilbury bowed out

Friendly
London Fire Brigade Western v Piccadilly FC @745pm - one game that's causing a lot of 'chatter' in the groundhopping community this week is this friendly. It's being played on one of the pitches at Ealing Trailfinders rugby club which is highly unusual and a programme has been produced although there aren't likely to be more than 20. It's also the venue where I had my wedding reception and former Chelsea player and now Trabzonspor manager Eddie Newton acted as a witness - you don't get that kind of thing happen every day! 

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Tuesday 20 October

London Senior Cup Second Round
Hendon v Brentford B @730pm - the Greens begin the defence of their LSC title by playing the team they beat in the final just over a month ago. The last meeting ended in a narrow 1-0 win for Hendon so it's likely to be close again here. You're strongly advised to buy your tickets online in advance and they're only £6.50 for adults

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Margate @745pm - the Towners are one of a number London clubs to have made a decent start to their campaign. With only three points separating the top seven teams, a win can see you make significant progress. Margate were a National League South club not all that long ago but don't look like getting back there any time soon. It's still early days, but Saturday's loss to leaders Worthing left them in the bottom five. This match is all-ticket so you must buy your tickets online in advance

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Tunbridge Wells @745pm - the Becks were top and Tunbridge Wells fifth when Covid-19 brought a premature end to last season. As we come into this one, the roles are reversed and it's the 2013 FA Vase finalists who are now top, having gone unbeaten in their first nine league games. Both of them won on the road on Saturday but it was Beckenham who really grabbed the headlines by thrashing Punjab United 7-0. It looks like being a bit of a cracker and tickets are available on the gate for only £8

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Wednesday 21 October

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Bognor Regis Town @745pm - after their disappointing loss at home to Bishop's Stortford last weekend, Cray responded with back-to-back away wins over Bristol Manor Farm in the FA Cup and Haringey Borough in the league. Given they face an important trip to Canvey Island in the FA Cup this weekend, I'm surprised they haven't taken the opportunity to postpone this match as they are allowed to do. Bognor have been very inconsistent this season and are consequently slap bang in the middle of the table. However, they made short work of East Thurrock on Saturday and arrive in a bit of form themselves. Tickets can be bought in advance

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Athletic Newham v Frenford @745pm - the hosts were known as Lopes Tavares last season and were one of the best sides in this division before it ended early. They've started well enough this time and a win in their game in hand would put them joint top. However, to get there they've got to beat fellow east Londoners Frenford who are second and equally hungry for the points

FA Youth Cup Third Qualifying Round
Wealdstone v Bromley @730pm - one of the ties of the round sees two National League clubs' U18 sides meet as Grosvenor Vale. With both sides' fans locked out of all first-team games, you'd think a good few of them would take the chance to watch this. Tickets are £5 and seem to only be available on the gate but check with the club 
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Thursday 22 October

Southern Counties Floodlit Youth League
Walthamstow v Hendon @745pm - as you may have seen mentioned above, I'm trying to include more youth football in the blog at the moment. I'm not a huge expert on the level or what the competitions involve or how good they are but this U18 match is taking place at Wadham Lodge and should therefore be worth a watch. As always, check all the details with the club before you travel

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Friday 23 October

FA Youth Cup Third Qualifying Round
Carshalton Athletic v Eastbourne Borough @745pm - the weekend gets underway with a bit more U18 cup football at Colston Avenue. Carshalton games at all levels are all-ticket so you have to buy a ticket in advance. At this point, tickets don't appear to be on sale but check their website for updates

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Saturday 24 October

Isthmian League Premier Division
Saturday should have been all about the FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying but all the ties in London are behind closed doors because of Covid-19 restrictions. With all our local Southern League sides either in FA Cup action or without fixtures because their opponents are, the Isthmian Premier tops the bill when it comes to live football.

Carshalton Athletic v Enfield Town @3pm - depending on midweek results, these two could well be in the top five meaning there'll be plenty at stake. The Robins have seen very healthy crowds at Colston Avenue and often reach their 600 capacity. As a result, this is all-ticket meaning you have to buy your tickets in advance
Corinthian Casuals v Leatherhead @3pm - with the Tanners playing not a million miles from fellow Surrey club CCs, this has a bit of a derby feel to it. Although both in midtable, they're starting to climb and should produce some decent entertainment. The hosts are also bringing in some decent 400+ crowds but it's not all-ticket and you can buy on the gate or in advance via the website
Hornchurch v Horsham @3pm - over on the far eastern side of town, the Urchins welcome Sussex club Horsham. The Essex side have been a bit iffy in the early stages of this campaign but notched an impressive 4-0 win over Carshalton on Saturday which saw the Robins miss out on top spot. The Hornets also dispatched struggling Brightlingsea 4-0 to move into the top 10 in front of a 600 capacity crowd. Tickets are on sale online but you can also pay on the gate

Isthmian League South Central Division
Staines Town v Tooting & Mitcham United @3pm - the match of the day in the eighth tier takes place on the far west side of town as two clubs who probably should be playing at higher levels meet at Wheatsheaf Park. The Swans have really struggled over the last few years since falling down from the sixth tier, so it's pleasing to see them start so well. Fourth at the time of writing, they should provide very decent opposition for the Terrors who sit a point behind them in sixth. Tickets are available on the gate for £8 

Combined Counties League Premier League
Molesey v Sutton Common Rovers @3pm - it's bottom versus top at Walton Road and with the Moles' defence shipping 36 goals in just nine games, it could be a bloodbath. SCR are unbeaten at the time of writing and beat Molesey 4-0 in the reverse fixture last week. Tickets are available on the gate for £5

Combined Counties League Division 1
Tooting Bec v Farnham Town @3pm - the 10th tier has a number of decent looking games this weekend. First we have a top-five clash at Imperial Fields where the hosts welcome leaders Farnham for what should be an intriguing contest. Tickets are available on the gate for £6

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Frenford v White Ensign @3pm - if they beat Athletic Newham in midweek, Frenford will come into this as league leaders. The visitors should at least be a top six side themselves and could be as high as fourth. Tickets are available on the gate for £4

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
St Panteleimon v Buckingham Athletic @3pm - the Saints were joint top with New Salamis when the season ended in March. Promotion looked pretty much certain so they were one of the biggest losers anywhere in the country when they saw their results declared null and void by the FA. This season hasn't begun quite so strongly, after their move to share with Enfield Town, but with four wins from seven they're up in fifth and should be among the frontrunners for the rest of the season. Buckingham Athletic has a pretty humdrum campaign last time out but have come flying out of the blocks and are top after losing only one of their opening seven games. Tickets are available on the gate for £5

Middlesex County League Premier Division
Clapton CFC v Brentham @230pm - the Tons must be the best supported 11th-tier club anywhere in the country with attendances having topped 1,000 for some big matches. Under current restrictions they are limited to 300 spectators at Wadham Lodge which will almost certainly sell out for this match against the current league leaders. Keep checking the club's website for the latest ticket details

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Sunday 25 October

Women's Capital Cup First Round
Hounslow v Charlton Athletic U21 @2pm - with the top two divisions of the women's game on an international break, the highest ranked club in action on Sunday are third tier Hounslow who welcome a development side from the Addicks in what is essentially the London county cup for women. The match is being played at Rayners Lane and tickets are available on the gate for £3


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

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

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

Sunday, 11 October 2020

TLFG: 12-18 October 2020

Greetings one and all, I hope you're well.

I'm currently writing this on a train that's waiting to depart from Addlestone, not a million miles from Abbey Rangers football club down here in Surrey.

As some of you may know, I'm a railway worker and I've done all my work for the day and now just have to get back to my base at Waterloo - hopefully I'll have things finished by then.

Anyway, how was your week?

It was supposed to be Non-League Day on Saturday but Covid-19 put paid to that for many reasons.

I thought that would give me a year off from the preparations and media work.

Although it did for the most part, I was quoted in an Evening Standard article written by TLFG reader James McMahon - cheers James. I then received an invitation to speak on Sky Sports News on Saturday morning about the cancellation of NLD and its impact.

They asked where I'd like to do it so I suggested Harrow Borough - where else?

It was the first time I'd done a piece to camera with just an earpiece and microphone but it wasn't as hard as I thought as David Garrido asked me questions from the studio.

This visit to Earlsmead also gave the chance to finally meet some of the movers and shakers at Harrow Borough too so it was a very productive trip.

Sadly I had to dash straight to work and didn't get to stay for the game but with my 'weekend' on Tuesday and Wednesday, I'm hoping to go to the Haringey Borough v Bracknell Town FA Cup tie with a few friends.

Lastly from me, many thanks to Daniel S from London and all those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. Cheers one and all.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the FA Cup, FA Trophy, Isthmian League, Southern League, Women's National League and Women's FA Cup. There are also games at higher levels but none of them are open to the public.

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. However, capacity restrictions are currently in place at all grounds because of Covid-19 meaning only clubs from the seventh tier and below can currently admit spectators.

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 - blue pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



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




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

Monday 12 October

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v Horsham @745pm - aside from an unexpected exit from the FA Cup against lower division opposition, the Robins have made a solid start to the season and are in the top five. Crowds have been very strong on Colston Avenue with many games reaching their 600 capacity, including Saturday's 1-0 win over Corinthian Casuals. Horsham are having a very mixed season and are in midtable as a result. To avoid disappointment, you're strongly advised to buy your ticket in advance

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Sutton Common Rovers v Molesey @745pm - SCR have made a very fine start to their campaign and are currently top of the league. The chances are that they'll stay there after this one as Molesey are second bottom and have conceded 29 goals in just seven games

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Newbury Forest v Barkingside @745pm - there's an Ilford derby at Oakside on Monday. Newbury Forest are one of several clubs to have got off to a good start in this division and are in the top four. Matches at this ground must always be a bit of a sour experience for the 'Side as historically it was theirs. Located next to Barkingside station, Oakside was their home from 1957 when it opened but they sold their lease to Ford United during the 2001/2 season. They stayed on as tenants but in 2014 their rent was put up to unaffordable levels and they had to leave

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Tuesday 13 October

FA Cup Third Round Qualifying
With the season starting late, the FA Cup rounds are coming thick and fast. No new teams enter the draw at this stage and there are 40 ties around the country. It's a really crucial round with the remaining non-league clubs now only 120 minutes away from the First Round 'proper' where League One and League Two clubs enter the draw. The prize money jumps to £5,625 for the winners of each match and £1,875 for the losers

Haringey Borough v Bracknell Town @745pm - north London club Haringey have done well in the league and cup in recent years and things are looking very positive again. Currently joint top of the Isthmian League and making smooth progress in this competition, they should start as favourites here. Bracknell play a level below their hosts but are an ambitious club and are top of their division. They come into this on the back of a 4-0 win over Chalfont St Peter so will be dangerous opponents. Tickets are available in advance or on the door
Hayes & Yeading United v Chipstead @745pm - after demolishing Bognor 5-0 in the last round, H&YU should really fancy their chances of making it into the next round. They play a level above Chipstead who are having a bit of a stinker in the league, accruing only three points from four games. It's quite something that they've made it this far and if they do win it will equal their best ever run in the competition. Tickets will be available on the gate for £10
Bedfont Sports v Canvey Island @745pm - this clash of two midtable eighth-tier teams should be close. The hosts caused a bit of an upset by beating Carshalton in the last round and thrashed Chipstead 5-0 in the league on Saturday, so they certainly seem to have some form. Canvey Island are a shadow of the former Conference club they once were but can't be discounted by any means. Tickets are only £8 and are available in advance but only in person from the clubhouse. Any remaining tickets will be sold on the gate
Cray Valley PM v Aveley @745pm - two of the most fancied clubs in the eighth tier do battle at the Badgers in one of the more intriguing matches of the night. CVPM destroyed higher ranked Harrow Borough 5-1 in the last round and are going well in the league again. Aveley have a 100% record in the league and also picked off seventh tier Lowestoft Town a couple of rounds back. Both sides are clubs on the up and ones to watch. Tickets are available in advance for £10
Whyteleafe v Concord Rangers @745pm - two divisions separate the clubs with the Leafe starting as considerable underdogs against National League South opposition. In the same division as CVPM, they did well to draw 2-2 with the south-east London club in a very entertaining game on Saturday. It's still very early in the season for Concord so it's hard to gauge what level they're at. It would be one of the shocks of the night if the hosts were to win. Under the government's rules, away fans are not permitted to attend but neutrals are. Tickets are £10 and will be available on the gate

Isthmian League South East Division
VCD Athletic v East Grinstead Town @745pm - I was going devote Tuesday night's coverage entirely to the FA Cup but then I noticed this top-two clash at Old Road and had to include it. Like I said, it's a top-two clash - what more do you need to know?

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Wednesday 14 October

Essex Senior League
Ilford v Cockfosters @745pm - the spotlight turns to Cricklefields on Wednesday where we'll have the chance to see whether the visitors can extend their 100% winning start to a seventh game. Both sides made progress in the FA Vase on Saturday but only on penalties

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Friday 15 October

Essex Senior League
West Essex v Enfield @745pm - once again West Essex take centre stage on Friday as theirs is the only game in town that I know of. The east London club, who groundshare with Barking, might be able to break into the top four with a win here against midtable opposition

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Saturday 16 October

Isthmian League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Cray Wanderers @3pm - Cray suffered a disappointing reverse at home to Bishop's Stortford on Sunday which means this match isn't quite as mouthwatering as it could have been. Nonetheless, these two should still be challenging for at least a play-off spot come the end of the season

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Truro City @3pm - the hosts haven't quite recaptured the form they ended last season with but they're doing ok. Still making progress in the FA Cup, they're a side that can be dangerous to anyone in this division on their day. Truro were heading for the title last season until Covid-19 kicked in and are second at the time of writing. Despite being a talented side, they face a lot of travel and their journey up from Cornwall is the best part of a 600-mile round trip so other teams also hope a bit fatigue might take its toll


FA Trophy Second Round Qualifying
This is a national knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley. At this stage the draw is regionalised and only features sides in the eighth tier. The winners of each tie receive £3,000, the losers £775

Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Whitstable Town @3pm - two of the top six clubs in the parallel Isthmian South Central and Isthmian South East meet in this decent looking tie. If travelling by public transport, this ground is a bit tricky to get to but don't forget that buses that skirt around the perimeter of Heathrow Airport are free or they were when I went last season
Chertsey Town v Berkhamsted @3pm - the Curfews are the reigning FA Vase holders so they know a thing or two about getting to Wembley. On Saturday they face a similarly ranked side from the Southern League Division 1 Central
Hanwell Town v Aveley @3pm - another game between two similarly ranked sides from parallel divisions. On paper I'd make Hanwell marginal favourites
Tooting & Mitcham United v Romford @3pm - the Terrors have made a decent start and are in the top three of the Isthmian South Central, although they've played more games than those around them. Romford are former Billericay owner Glenn Tamplin's latest playthings and they've gleaned only five points from six league games
Whyteleafe v Cray Valley PM @3pm - both going well in the FA Cup, at the time of writing, these two divisional rivals meet for the second weekend running. They produced four goals between them last time, let's hope for more of the same

Essex Senior League
Cockfosters v Hashtag United @3pm - one of the standout games of the week comes in the ninth tier where the top two in the ESL meet at Chalk Lane. Midweek results could change that but whatever happens, this will still almost certainly have a big bearing on who goes up this season

Combined Counties League Premier League
Hanworth Villa v Abbey Rangers @3pm - two of the top four in the CCL meet at Rectory Meadow in the game of the weekend in the CCL. Once again, midweek results could change this 

Combined Counties League Division 1
Chessington & Hook United v Westside @3pm - in the 10th tier this game looks well worth watching as it features two of the top three who until the end of last season were groundsharing

Southern Counties East League Division 1
SC Thamesmead v Croydon @3pm - the top two London clubs in this division will be looking to secure the win that will further cement their places in the top five. In fact, the hosts could even go clear at the top

Middlesex County League Premier Division
Hilltop v Clapton CFC @230pm - if you want to try a bit of 11th-tier football, head to the Middlesex Stadium near Ruislip for what will probably be the biggest crowd of the day at this level. The Tons have been known to get 1,000 turn up for home games and can often take a hundred or more away



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Sunday 11 October

Women's FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
Dulwich Hamlet v Leyton Orient @2pm - with Super League and Championship games still behind closed doors, the best women's matches you can watch on Sunday are all in the FA Cup. There are a number of ties but this one stands out for me. Buy your tickets in advance now as it could well reach capacity


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, 5 October 2020

TLFG: 5-11 October 2020

Greetings everyone and apologies for the late publication of this week's guide.

I had a really hectic weekend with a match on Saturday and a day trip to see my Dad in Devon on Sunday. As a result, I didn't start writing this until about 0530 this morning.

For the third week running I got to see a game with the argument that lockdown could return at any time being enough to persuade my wife that I should be let out occasionally while the opportunity is still there.

My choice this week was the FA Cup tie between Harrow Borough and Cray Valley PM at the Rogers Family Stadium.

My daughter was up for the cup, it's a shame Harrow weren't

With Boro in poor form in the league, they looked incredibly vulnerable against an impressive CVPM side from the level below and so it transpired.

The first half was reasonably close and ended 1-1 with a penalty each finding the back of the net but after the interval things changed dramatically.

Within minutes of the restart the visitors won a penalty but saw it blasted over the bar but rather than deflate them, they pushed on and scored four more to win 5-1.

It seemed a little harsh on Harrow. Even political journalist Michael Crick, who was in attendance, felt they had been in contention until the hour mark when I asked him on Twitter afterwards.

Nonetheless, Cray Valley were worthy winners and it will be interesting to see who they get in the draw at 1pm on Monday.

As for Harrow, another long season of struggle could be on the cards. After a midweek mauling at Met Police on Tuesday they've now conceded 10 in two games and sit bottom of the league with 0 points.

This week they have back-to-back home games against Chesham and Weston-super-Mare and will need to take at least three points to stop the gloom really setting in.

The one high point of the afternoon was getting to meet TLFG reader Niels who originally hails from the Netherlands but currently lives here. He's been reading the blog for a while so it was great to finally chat in real life. I'd also like to thank him publicly for humouring my daughter who engaged him in conversation incessantly throughout! 

I probably won't see another game this week but hope to catch a match in the next round of the FA Cup in around nine days time.

On a sad note, this Saturday was supposed to have been this year's Non-League Day but I took the decision around a month ago to cancel it because of Covid-19.

There was a small amount of disagreement with the decision and I do understand the disappointment but with the infection rates rising rapidly and clubs in the National League still forbidden from welcoming spectators, it really didn't seem appropriate.

Besides, with so many supporters locked out of clubs at the moment, the time has never been better for smaller clubs to try and get new fans in so a 'day' doesn't even seem necessary when it looks like there will be months more of the same conditions.

On a completely different subject, I'm pleased to say that the QPR Runners group completed the 'Virtual 92' challenge on Sunday. Myself and a friend ran from AFC Wimbledon's new ground to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Friday with our latest contribution. In just over three weeks, 54 of us clocked up 4,015km as we virtually visited every club in the Premier League and EFL. With many of our members taking part in the virtual London Marathon on Sunday we actually went several hundred kilometres over our target distance and ended up well on our way down to Exeter on a second lap!

Lastly from me, thanks as always to those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. Cheers one and all.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the FA Cup, Isthmian League, Southern League, FA Vase, FA Youth Cup and Women's National League. There are also games at higher levels but none of them are open to the public.

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. However, capacity restrictions are currently in place at all grounds because of Covid-19 meaning only clubs from the seventh tier and below can currently admit spectators.

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 - blue pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



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




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

Monday 5 October

Isthmian League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v East Thurrock United @745pm - the hosts' decent start to the season continued on Saturday as they overcame Chertsey to make smooth progress in the FA Cup. Next up they face Essex club ETU who were playing in the National League South not that long ago. Sadly for them, things have gone pretty poorly so far with one point from four league games and an early exit from the FA Cup. Tickets are £10 on the door or you can simply download a FREE SEASON TICKET in what is probably the best deal anywhere in London

Isthmian League North Division
Aveley v Brentwood Town @745pm - the Millers will look to extend their 100% start to the season with another win against fellow Essex club Brentwood. The visitors have struggled in recent years and will no doubt be happy with a point here

FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
Burnham v Whyteleafe @745pm - after all the heavy rain of the weekend, it was a surprise to see only one local game getting rescheduled. Burnham's pitch still isn't up to it so the tie has been switched to Whyteleafe's 3G pitch instead. It's still classed as a Burnham home game and as such it's only £5 to get in - tickets available on the gate

FA Youth Cup Second Round Qualifying
I don't usually cover matches in this U18 competition until the big clubs enter the draw but I've received a fair bit of interest from readers and heard reports from friends that some games at this level draw reasonably big crowds. It's still all non-league clubs at this stage but they use their own grounds and charge £2-3 admission so it's good for groundhopping if nothing else. There are seven ties on Monday night. Sutton United are the biggest club to be hosting a game and Barnet are also in action at Uxbridge. Have a look at the map to see what's on and double check all the details with clubs before you travel as some details may have changed

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Tuesday 6 October

Southern League Premier Division South
Hendon v Hayes & Yeading United @745pm - this derby is by far the best seventh-tier option on Tuesday night. Although H&YU are a fairly new club, when Hayes and Yeading were separate entities they used to play Hendon regularly over many years so you can probably still class them as old rivals (I certainly do in my head). The Greens narrowly lost to Maidstone in the FA Cup on Saturday whilst H&YU thrashed Bognor. In the league, they're neck-and-neck in midtable so it should be close. Tickets are marginally cheaper if bought online in advance

Isthmian League South Central Division
Chertsey Town v Bracknell Town @745pm - although it's still very early days, both of these sides are expected to do well this year. Chertsey bowed out of the FA Cup on Saturday whilst Bracknell squeaked past Marlow on penalties. A big crowd is expected for this one and it's been made ALL TICKET so you have to buy tickets in advance

Isthmian League South East Division
VCD Athletic v Chichester City @745pm - the Vickers are the only team in the division to have a 100% record after three games and they should be confident of extending it against their opponents from Sussex who despite their great FA Cup run last season, are struggling 

Essex Senior League
Cockfosters v Takeley @745pm - talking of 100% records, Cockfosters will be hoping to extend theirs to six games on Tuesday night. Takeley are often among the contenders in this league but with only four points from five games so far, things don't seem to be going their way

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Wednesday 7 October

Isthmian League North Division
Romford v Witham Town @745pm - neither side have made a blistering start to the campaign and with Witham rooted to the bottom, you'd expect Romford to prevail 

FA Youth Cup Second Round Qualifying
Dartford v Tooting & Mitcham United @730pm - the pick of the three ties would appear to be this one. With fans of the first team still locked out of games, this is a good opportunity to visit Princes Park. Tickets are only £4 but must be bought in advance

Women's National League Division 1 South East
Actonians v Leyton Orient @745pm - for fans of the women's game, head west to Northolt where Actonians entertain the O's at the Middlesex FA's HQ in Rectory Park

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Thursday 8 October

FA Youth Cup Second Qualifying Round
Cockfosters v Concord Rangers @745pm - the other good thing about the FA Youth Cup is that it often throws up fixtures on otherwise quiet Thursday nights. To my knowledge, this is the only match in London so jump on the Piccadilly Line, head north and give these youngsters your support

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Friday 9 October

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
Edgware Town v Tring Athletic @730pm - the next round of the Vase begins on Friday night with three ties. Of those on offer, this would be the one I'd go to as it's relatively local and features two sides from the SSML. Both sides have struggled in the early-season games but with Tring losing all their matches, Edgware should start as favourites. Edgware are also offering a FREE SEASON TICKET to any locals living in the NW9 or HA8 postcodes. Email for more info - matchdaysecretary@edgwaretownfc.co.uk

FA Youth Cup Second Round Qualifying
Bromley v Faversham Town @8pm - there are also three ties in this U18 competition too. Three National League grounds are hosting the games with this one arguably topping the bill. Once again, check all the details before you travel as they can change at short notice

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Saturday 10 October

Seventh tier

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v Corinthian Casuals @3pm - of the London clubs hosting games on Saturday, the Robins are the most highly ranked in this division. Despite a shock loss to Bedfont Sports in the FA Cup on Saturday, the Robins have made an unbeaten start in the league and are fifth at the time of writing. Corinthian Casuals may well have got relegated last season if Covid-19 hadn't intervened and have managed only one win so far. On paper this looks like a home win but CCs took Dulwich Hamlet to penalties in the cup and could cause Carshalton a few problems if they keep the same levels. Tickets are available online and you are advised to book in advance 

Southern League Premier Division South
Metropolitan Police v Gosport Borough @3pm - a lot could change in midweek but as of Monday morning, the Met are the highest ranked TLFG club in this division. Unbeaten in three, they sit proudly in fifth. Hampshire club Gosport have started even more strongly and are second


Eighth tier

Isthmian League South Central Division
Tooting & Mitcham United v Waltham Abbey @3pm - these two sat just outside the play-off places when the 2019/20 season came to a premature end and both are already up in the top six. With both sides now out of the FA Cup, there'll be no distractions on that front as they look to push on in the league

Isthmian League South East Division
Whyteleafe v Cray Valley PM @3pm - at the time of writing, these sides are both in the top seven, are both still in the FA Cup and have games in hand on those immediately above them. Having witnessed CVPM demolish Harrow on Saturday, these two are definitely clubs to watch this season

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
There are quite a few league games in the ninth and 10th tiers on Saturday but I've decided to focus on this instead as it's arguably more exciting - with all ties having to be decided on the day, we should get some good games. The winners of each tie receive £725, the losers £225. There are numerous ties around London but the following stand out for me:

Abbey Rangers v Guildford City @3pm - the hosts are still relatively new to this level of football but  made it all the way to the last 16 a couple of years ago. They've also made a good start to their league campaign this year and will start as favourites against their Surrey rivals
Erith & Belvedere v Colliers Wood United @3pm - two TLFG clubs from parallel ninth-tier divisions meet at Park View Road. Both are in the lower reaches of their respective competitions so this should be close. E&B are another side to have a decent recent pedigree in the Vase as they made the quarter-finals in 2015
Hadley v Enfield Borough @3pm - there's a north London derby at Brickfield Lane. Hadley play a level above the visitors so should start as firm favourites
Hanworth Villa v FC Depotivo Galicia @3pm - with FCD groundsharing at nearby Bedfont Sports, we've got a west London derby to enjoy here. Like the tie above, Hanworth play a level above and should win
Oxhey Jets v North Greenford United @3pm - there's an all-SSML Premier Division affair at Boundary Park. The Jets have made a stronger start to the season than NGU and the smart money is definitely on them
Walthamstow v London Lions @3pm - these two produced a five-goal thriller when they met in the FA Cup just over a month ago so hopefully we'll get more of the same
Holmesdale v AFC Varndeanians @3pm - both sides are in the top four of their respective 10th tier divisions. The visitors hail from Sussex and play their games at the Withdean which famously used to host Brighton & Hove Albion in the years before they moved to Falmer
Newbury Forest v Burnham Ramblers @3pm - the hosts have made a very bright start to their Eastern Counties League campaign and will start as strong favourites against a side from the same division. Located right next to Barkingside Tube station, Oakside is one of the easiest grounds to get to
Park View v Cockfosters @3pm - there's another north London derby at the New River Stadium where Park View will look to cause one of the upsets of the round. Playing a level below Essex Senior League leaders Cockfosters, they'll have to do something pretty special to progress. Update - this match is not open to spectators so please don't attend
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Sunday 11 October

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Bishop's Stortford @3pm - there's a match to savour at Hayes Lane on Sunday as two of the Isthmian League's top clubs go head-to-head. Cray, London's oldest club, were second when last season ended early and are second now with only goal difference keeping them off the top. They've won all five of their league and cup games and scored 20 goals in the process so they are most definitely one of the sides to keep an eye on this season. Bishop's Stortford are also unbeaten and still in the cup so should provide a stern test

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
Tooting Bec v Lydd Town @3pm - we're also lucky enough to have a bit of bonus Vase action on Sunday as two 10th-tier sides from the parallel CCL and SCEFL meet at Imperial Fields. The hosts will hope to challenge for promotion this season and I'd expect them to win here

Women's National League Southern Premier Division
Hounslow v Oxford United @2pm - with spectators still locked out of games in the Super League and Championship, this third-tier match at Rayners Lane's ground is the best women's match on offer on Sunday. Hounslow have made a terrible start to the season and are likely to suffer another defeat here against title challenging Oxford


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, 27 September 2020

TLFG: 28 September - 4 October 2020

As September comes to an end, another busy week of football looms.

At the time of writing, debate is raging about the handball rule and whether or not the Premier League should bailout the EFL and National League clubs who are still forbidden from opening their gates to spectators.

Where do you stand on the issue? Should they put their hands in their pockets? Should the government provide the cash or should a limited number of fans simply be let in?

Personally I find it hard to argue why you couldn't let in 800-1,000 fans at National League games. Such attendances would surely provide enough cash to keep sides going, particularly in the North and South divisions where many clubs don't get that many fans anyway.

 Believe it or not, Folkestone striker Ian Draycott missed from here!

With up to 600 fans allowed in the seventh tier, it's pretty much business as usual at that level with very few clubs ever exceeding that number in non-Covid times.

Talking of that level, I saw two Isthmian Premier sides meet in the FA Cup on Wednesday night.

Once again I took some friends who were new or recently returning to non-league football and they loved it - one even travelled all the way from Croydon at short notice.

Wingate & Finchley and Folkestone Invicta provided the entertainment in north London and we got five goals in what turned out to be a pretty one-sided game.

The visitors from Kent were the pre-match favourites and two goals in each half saw them complete a relatively comfortable 4-1 win (something they were to repeat three days later in the league too).

Like my own club Harrow, Wingate really struggle to get new fans through the turnstile but the lure of the FA Cup seemed to draw a few extra out on a cold and wet night.

Talking of wet, the rain was heavy at times and this caused most people, quite understandably, to head for the covered areas of the stadium which are fairly limited.

Despite pleas on the PA system, social distancing went out the window with people packed shoulder to shoulder in the stands and at times on the terraces.

As we head deeper into autumn and winter this is likely to happen far more often and I don't know how clubs get round this issue without reducing attendances.

The week ahead will see more announcements from the National League about whether their opening round of league fixtures will go ahead on Saturday. If they do and by some miracle fans are allowed in, I'll add the matches to the map.

It's all about the FA Cup for me this week and I'll be off to the Rogers Family Stadium to watch Harrow Borough v Cray Valley PM on Saturday.

There are great ties all over the capital that day so make sure you try and get to one.

Thanks as always to those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. Cheers one and all.


THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the FA Cup, Isthmian League, Southern League and Women's National League. There are also games at higher levels but none of them are open to the public.

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. However, capacity restrictions are currently in place at all grounds because of Covid-19 meaning only clubs from the seventh tier and below can currently admit spectators.

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 - blue 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 28 September

Isthmian League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Leatherhead @3pm - the week begins with a bit of seventh-tier action on White Hart Lane. The hosts have made a great start to the season, winning both league games and making smooth progress in the FA Cup. The Tanners haven't been quite so fortunate having been knocked out of the cup by lower-division opposition and getting stuffed 7-0 at Bowers & Pitsea on Saturday. Tickets for Haringey games are normally £10 but, as in previous years, you can download a FREE SEASON TICKET which is one of the best deals I've ever heard of

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Frenford v Barkingside @745pm - if that's not convenient for you, a 10th-tier derby between two Ilford clubs might be more to your liking. The hosts have recently re-opened their improved ground and are among the division's early frontrunners whilst the 'Side are looking for their second win of the campaign

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Tuesday 29 September

Southern League Premier Division South
Metropolitan Police v Harrow Borough @745pm - there are three games on Tuesday and none of them really stand out. Of the five London clubs in this division, none of them have yet managed to win. With two draws, Metropolitan Police are the only unbeaten side and they host Harrow Borough who have lost both games but they came against two of the biggest clubs. These two have some of the smallest followings in the division so don't expect a big crowd. The stadium, which hosts numerous county cup finals and other interesting matches, is worth a visit though

Isthmian League South Central Division
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Tooting & Mitcham United @745pm - the game of the night in the eighth tier takes place near Heathrow Airport. Ashford won their opening league game and also began their FA Trophy campaign with a win at Hullbridge Sports on Saturday. The Terrors have had a more faltering start, going out of the FA Cup at the hands of Fisher, losing their first league game but also progressing in the FA Trophy. I'd make Ashford marginal favourites for this one

Essex Senior League
Cockfosters v West Essex @745pm - for me, the pick of the ninth-tier action is to be found at Chalk Lane where an impressive Cockfosters side entertain West Essex. Having won all four of their league games, and banging in 14 goals in the process, the club from the end of the Piccadilly Line sit proudly at the top of the league. Having suffered only one defeat themselves so far, the visitors are also in the top five. It could be a cracker! 
Walthamstow v Hashtag United @745pm - it should also prove to be a lively night at Wadham Lodge where the Stow welcome joint leaders Hashtag who you may have seen winning an FA Cup tie live on the BBC last week. A decent turnout is expected and you can buy tickets in advance

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Wednesday 30 September

Isthmian League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Wingate & Finchley @745pm - sadly for these sides, both have made a disappointing start. The K's have lost both of their league games heavily, albeit against highly fancied opposition, and are also out of the FA Cup. Wingate find themselves in a similar position which may lead some to think this could be a highly important game even at this early stage

Combined Counties League Division 1
Westside v Tooting Bec @745pm - there are games at higher levels than this but I'd skip them in favour of this clash between two potential promotion contenders. Westside only moved up to this level last season and have acquitted themselves well. They moved to a new groundshare with Colliers Wood United over the summer and have won all four of their league games to go top on goal difference. Tooting Bec have also started well with only one defeat, meaning they're also in the top six

Women's National League Division 1 South East
AFC Wimbledon v Kent Football United @745pm - there are also a couple of women's games to enjoy on Wednesday. The Dons opened their season with a win and may well have another one by the time this kicks off. They play their matches at Carshalton Athletic's ground
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Friday 2 October

Essex Senior League
West Essex v Southend Manor @745pm - once again West Essex top the bill on a Friday night. Depending on midweek results, the Barking-based club could be up in the top three. However, if they lose at Cockfosters they could find themselves below the visitors - it should be close
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Saturday 3 October

FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
Saturday is all about the next round of the FA Cup. At this stage teams from the National League South (sixth tier) enter the draw. At the time of writing, no teams from the sixth tier are allowed to admit any spectators so one or two big ties that might have made this week's guide (e.g. Dartford v Slough Town) won't appear. If something changes during the week then I'll try and update this. Given the reduced capacities at most clubs and the increased FA Cup interest, some ties will sell out so I'd advise you to purchase tickets online in advance where this is possible. The winners of each tie receive £3,375, the losers £1,125 so the stakes for some of these small clubs are high.

Update -  the FA have now decided to ban fans of National League South clubs from attending all ties home or away. Therefore, if you want to watch Dulwich or Maidstone you will have to pose as a home fan or neutral - utterly farcical!

Corinthian Casuals v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - if I didn't have a club still in the draw, then this would be the tie I'd love to get a ticket for. Two great sets of fans, two very unusual kits and a whole load of history behind both sides. The hosts play a level below Dulwich who struggled in the National League South last season but still averaged crowds of over 2,000. It should be a great occasion and will almost certainly sell out. Tickets are likely to go on sale on Monday but that hasn't been confirmed yet
Hendon v Maidstone United @3pm - another game that's likely to hit its 600 capacity is this one at Silver Jubilee Park. Like the match above it sees a seventh-tier side take on one of the biggest clubs from the level above. Buying a ticket in advance is a must 
Walthamstow v Hornchurch @3pm - the lowest ranked London club left in the FA Cup, the Stow face a very tricky game against the Urchins who play two levels above them. Although they haven't been that lucky in the league yet, the club from E17 have won three penalty shoot-outs already this season as they've progressed in various competitions. They're probably going to need quite a bit of good fortune here too. Tickets could well sell out but they aren't available yet so keep checking the club's website for the latest
Hayes & Yeading United v Bognor Regis Town @3pm - there's an all seventh-tier game at the SkyEx Stadium over in west London. H&YU were in great form when the season ended abruptly in March and would almost certainly have made the play-offs. That form hasn't carried over into the new campaign yet but they should have a reasonable chance against Bognor who, although often among the promotion contenders, aren't firing on all cylinders themselves yet
Metropolitan Police v Walton Casuals @3pm - the Met have made the first round twice in recent years and will start as marginal favourites in this tie against one of their local rivals. Casuals have never made it beyond the Third Round Qualifying, so a win here would equal their best performance in the competition
Haringey Borough v Chertsey Town @3pm - Borough made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the FA Cup last season when their goalkeeper reported being racially abused during a tie with Yeovil Town. Hopefully there'll be nothing like that this time round and although they look like winning on paper, Chertsey have real potential to cause them problems. The reigning FA Vase holders know how to put a successful cup run together and notably upset Leatherhead in the last round 
Harrow Borough v Cray Valley PM @3pm - another seventh-tier side that can't take anything for granted are my own team Harrow. Steve Baker's side bowed at this point last season to a talented Carshalton team who went on to make it to the First Round. Cray Valley finished as runners-up to Chertsey in the last FA Vase final and were on course for back-to-back promotions before Covid-19 kicked in. All in all, the south-east London club look like dangerous opponents
Bedfont Sports v Carshalton Athletic @3pm - talking of Carshalton, the Robins have been drawn away on Saturday and face a trip to the end of Heathrow Airport's runway where Bedfont's ground is located. The visitors looked good in pre-season and are unbeaten. Sports have lost both of their league games so far and will cause quite an upset if they win this 
Hanwell Town v Hartley Wintney @3pm - the Geordies had ambitions of making it into the Isthmian Premier last season and probably would've done if Covid hadn't intervened. Whether they're good enough for that level remains to be seen but if they beat Southern League also-rans Hartley who play a level above them then they'll have made a pretty good case. There's every chance they will as they've won all four games they've played this season 
Barking v Kings Langley @3pm - the Blues have made the Second Round several times but the last time was way back in 1983 when they narrowly lost 2-1 to Plymouth. Now as an eighth-tier team they've done really well to get this far and they'll start as underdogs here against a side from the level above them
Chipstead v East Grinstead Town @3pm - probably the most 'meh' tie of those on offer is this all-eighth tier match. Chipstead are bottom of the Isthmian South Central after losing their opening two games whilst East Grinstead are in the top five of the Isthmian South East - an away win looks likely

Tenth tier

Combined Counties League Division 1
Chessington & Hook United v Jersey Bulls @3pm - if for whatever reason you don't fancy an FA Cup game then you could try this match between two of the early pacesetters in the CCL1. As many readers will know, Jersey had already secured promotion when Covid cut last season short and robbed them of the glory. Thankfully for them, they haven't lost any of that momentum and have won their opening four games to sit joint top. Chessington are also on 12 points but have played a game more. Strangely, the visitors are also playing on Friday night so they could be a bit tired UPDATE - Jersey Bulls are no longer playing in this game and have been replaced by FC Deportivo Galicia

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Rayners Lane v St Panteleimon @3pm - these two were among the frontrunners last season and they've started well again, both have 100% records so far. Although it's very early days, this could have quite an impact on the final table

Eleventh tier

Middlesex County League Premier Division
Stonewall v Brentham @3pm - at the time of writing it was unclear if spectators would be allowed in to this game. If they are it will be a groundhopper's dream as it's set to be played at the London Marathon Community facility which lies in the shadow of West Ham's London Stadium. Other sides, most notably Hackney Wick, have tried unsuccessfully to move there so it will be quite a coup if Stonewall can secure it UPDATE - this match is being played behind closed doors

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Sunday 4 October

Women's National League Division 1 South East
Actonians v Enfield Town @2pm - in the fourth tier this match at Rectory Park looks well worth a watch. The other match between Leyton Orient and AFC Wimbledon is likely to be behind closed doors but check with the club nearer the time to be sure


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.