Monday, 13 November 2017

TLFG: 13-19 November 2017

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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

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

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



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




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

Monday 13 November

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

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

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Tuesday 14 November

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday 15 November

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

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Friday 17 November

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

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


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

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

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Saturday 18 November


Premier League

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bostik League Premier Division

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

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

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


Premier League

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

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



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

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, 6 November 2017

TLFG: 6-12 November 2017

Apologies for the late publication again, it was my birthday over the weekend and I got a bit sidetracked.

One of the positives was that I actually got to go and see a game live - the FA Cup match between Leatherhead and Billericay Town.

The Surrey club are one of those teams I don't usually cover in this blog as they are located just beyond the M25 motorway but as a result they're actually not a million miles away and pretty easy to get to.

The ESL groundhop should provide one of the highlights of the week 

I made a real effort to get to this as a friend's son, Kristian Wynter, had just turned 18, signed for the hosts in midweek and made the subs' bench so it was a huge occasion for him. Sadly the game developed into a tight a 1-1 draw so with plenty of FA Cup glory and prize money at stake, he never made it on but I'm sure it won't be too long.

Points to note - it's an international break this week so aside from the blockbuster friendly between England and Germany at Wembley on Friday, there are only four games featuring sides in the second and third tiers over the whole week with one of those matches in the EFL Trophy, one in a county cup and the other two in the league.

One of the non-league highlights is likely to be the Essex Senior League groundhop which sees games spread over Friday and Saturday so you can really fill your boots with these. The three matches on Saturday in east London should form a great value day out but a car or bike might be required as 45 minutes to get from the opening game at Redbridge to the second match at Waltham Forest could be tricky on public transport.

Once again I'm up against it for time and must now get the school run underway. I've got the match maps up and will attempt to fill out the rest later.

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THE WEEK AHEAD
Despite the international break, there are still over 70 matches in the London area over the next seven days. At non-league level it's a big week of cup football with the next rounds of the FA Trophy and FA Vase taking place and there are a number of county cup matches too.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

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

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



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




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

Monday 6 November

Essex Senior Cup Third Round
Aveley v Brightlingsea Regent @745pm - the only game of the night takes place on the far-eastern side of town. The competition is down to its last 32 and, on paper, the visitors should start as favourites as they play a division above their hosts

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Tuesday 7 November

EFL Trophy
Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth @745pm - a pretty decent fixture for a game in this much maligned competition with two former Premier League clubs meeting in this group stage match. Tickets are only £10 but don't expect much of a crowd

Middlesex Senior Cup Second Round
Barnet v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @8pm - I'm a huge advocate of the pro teams fielding sides in county cups so it's pleasing to see the Bees doing just that. Even though it's likely you'll only see a development team in action, you'll get to see a competitive game at The Hive and it's only £3 to get in
Wealdstone v Hayes & Yeading United @745pm - a few years ago this might well have been the tie of the round but changing fortunes for both sides have seen circumstances change significantly for these local rivals. The Stones play two divisions above H&YU and although they may be tempted to rest a few players, they tend to take this competition pretty seriously - they've made three of the last six finals
Enfield Town v Hampton & Richmond Borough @745pm - aside from Barnet, Hampton are the highest ranked team left in the cup and take things even more seriously. They've also made three of the last six finals and won them all, beating Wealdstone on each occasion. The Towners lost in the final to Northwood two years ago and should start as underdogs here
Hendon v Harrow Borough @745pm - the second round draw has thrown up some really cracking ties this year with this derby also coming out of the hat. Both these sides made good starts to the season but Harrow's run at the top of the Bostik League was unceremoniously ended by the Greens who stuffed them 6-0 at the end of August. Hendon have continued to stay in touch with the leaders and should win again

Bostik League Premier Division
Metropolitan Police v Kingstonian @745pm - the Met are on a stonking 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions which has seen them climb to a very impressive fourth in the league. On Tuesday they welcome near neighbours and eighth-placed Kingstonian knowing a win could put them second

Bostik League South Division
Greenwich Borough v Carshalton Athletic @745pm - the big spenders from south-east London missed out in the play-offs last season but are pushing hard for promotion again. Currently in second, they welcome a Robins side who they beat 3-0 in the reciprocal fixture two weeks ago
Corinthian Casuals v Molesey @745pm - if Greenwich slip up, Casuals will leapfrog them into second if they manage at least a draw here. The Tolworth club also made the play-offs last season on more meagre finances and are right up there again

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round Replay
Egham Town v Bowers & Pitsea @745pm - a trip to the seaside to play Margate awaits the winners of this tie between promotion chasers in the Evo-Stik and Bostik Leagues

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Wednesday 8 November

Bostik League North Division
Romford v Haringey Borough @745pm - if leaders Dereham fail to win at Witham on Tuesday then Haringey can go top with victory here. They have games in hand on both of the top two so even a point will be useful

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Friday 10 November

International friendly
England v Germany @8pm - top billing this week goes to this friendly at Wembley Stadium. The rivalry, certainly from England's point of view, is one of the biggest there is internationally with memorable penalty defeats to Germany in the 1990 World Cup and European Championships of 1996 the most painful. Although the record between them in recent years is pretty even (Germany 3-2 up over the last five games), England haven't beaten a unified Germany at home since 1935!  The last win over a West Germany side on home soil was in 1975 so it's not much better

Professional Development League
Millwall v Ipswich Town @12pm - if you're visiting London for the match above then why not do a bit of groundhopping and check out this U23 game at the Den earlier in the afternoon

Essex Senior League
Barkingside v Clapton @745pm - if international football isn't your thing or the ticket prices are beyond your means then get involved in the first leg of the ESL groundhop. Entry is only £5 which includes a special commemorative programme celebrating 120 years of Barkingside's existence. There will also be a food collection for the homeless and you'll get to see the Clapton Ultras in action - given it's a Friday night and they're boycotting home games, there'll probably be loads of them for what is also a local derby

FA Vase Second Round
Walton & Hersham v Hanworth Villa @745pm - one of the ties of the round pits two of the top five from the Combined Counties League against each other at W&H's new state-of-the-art ground. It's just a shame it has to go up against the England game

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Saturday 11 November

League Two
Barnet v Colchester United @3pm - thanks to the international break, this is the game of the day in London certainly in terms of league position. Pressure is really building on Bees boss Rossi Eames as his side have now gone 13 games without a win in all competitions - only goal difference is keeping them out of the relegation zone. Colchester are having a pretty mediocre season and are in midtable as a result. They also lost at home to non-league Oxford City in the FA Cup on Saturday in one of the biggest upsets of the first round

National League
Boreham Wood v Hartlepool United @3pm - talking of FA Cup upsets, the Wood also pulled off a big shock with a home win over Blackpool on Saturday. The Hertfordshire club are also having a decent season in the league and welcome former EFL side Hartlepool for another big game

National League South
Welling United v Concord Rangers @3pm - after a couple of challenging seasons, the Wings are firing on all cylinders again and find themselves up in third at the time of writing. A possible duel for the title with local rivals Dartford could well be on the cards this year and they should win against struggling Concord

FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round - at this stage there are 36 ties taking place around the country featuring teams from the seventh and eighth tiers of the national system. The winners of each tie receive prize money of £4,000 and go into the hat for the third qualifying round when teams from the sixth tier join the competition. The final takes place at Wembley on 20 May
Hendon v Burgess Hill Town @3pm - the Greens have started well in the Bostik Premier and should have too much for opponents from Sussex who are far nearer the wrong end of the table
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Kingstonian @3pm - the Tangerines play a level below the K's so will be underdogs, They are, however, pushing for promotion and did well to make the third qualifying round of the FA Cup
Corinthian Casuals v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - there's some real cupset potential here with the Casuals one of the strongest teams in the division below Wingate who have lost six of their eight away games in the league this season
Thamesmead Town v Metropolitan Police @3pm - like the two games above, this is an eighth-tier side against a seventh-tier one. As already mentioned, the Met are doing really well at the moment so should win but Thamesmead did manage to hold Billericay here earlier in the season. Despite looking like a decent game on paper, the crowd will probably be negligible - Thamesmead were poorly supported before their groundshare move to Dartford and the Met have hardly any fans at all

Essex Senior League Groundhop - the highlight of the weekend in the ninth tier is this three-match feast in east London. The action gets underway at 12pm when Redbridge host Burnham Ramblers before the action switches to Walthamstow for the Waltham Forest v Woodford Town game at 230pm and finishes at the Old Spotted Dog in Forest Gate at 530pm with Hackney Wick v Wadham Lodge. As mentioned above, logistically it could be a bit tricky to get from Redbridge to Waltham Forest by public transport in under 45 minutes so having access to a car or bike might be worth considering. In all honesty, you'll probably find it much easier to get from Redbridge (Barkingside Tube) to Tower Hamlets (Mile End Tube) and their 3pm kick-off against Enfield 1893 in the FA Vase which is then much easier to get back to Forest Gate for afterwards - sorry Waltham Forest and groundhop organisers!

FA Vase Second Round - a total of 128 teams remain in this national competition for clubs in the ninth to 11th tiers. Winners of each tie receive £900 in prize money. The final takes place at Wembley on 20 May
Tower Hamlets v Enfield 1893 @3pm - the only tie in London featuring two ninth-tier clubs is this one between two Essex Senior League clubs. The hosts have made a solid start to the campaign and should start as favourites
Enfield Borough v Berkhamsted @3pm - the Panthers only formed last season and got promoted at the first attempt. Currently in the top three of the SSML Division 1 they're on for a second consecutive promotion. On Saturday they welcome the SSML Premier Division leaders for what should be an incredibly tough game
Meridian VP v Horley Town @3pm - tenth tier Meridian have done superbly well to make it this far and have set a club record in the process. Horley play one level above in the CCL Premier so will do incredibly well to keep their run going
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Sunday 12 November

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Peterborough United @230pm - end the week with a bit of third-tier action at Kingsmeadow. The Dons are teetering just above the relegation zone so badly need to win this one. It won't be easy though as Posh are chasing a play-off place themselves

FA Vase Second Round
Erith Town v Windsor @3pm - if you're a Vase fan you could see three games over the weekend thanks to this game being moved to Sunday. Erith groundshare with VCD Athletic who play on Saturday. Although the Dockers have home advantage, they are struggling this season and could find Hellenic League side Windsor to be just too strong

FA Women's Super League 1
Arsenal v Sunderland @2pm - the pick of the women's action is to be found in Boreham Wood where the Gunners will look to close the gap on joint leaders Chelsea and Manchester City

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, 30 October 2017

TLFG: 30 October - 5 November 2017

It occurred to me the other day that TLFG must be hitting some kind of anniversary and it turns out this blog became a six-year-old at the beginning of October.

How things have changed in that time.

Back then, 50 page impressions a day was a big thing to get excited about. Now at least 10 times that is a given (still not much I know but it'll do for me).

During that first season I was unemployed and childless so had a lot more time on my hands and went to games at all levels once or twice a week - I also had a QPR season-ticket as they returned to the Premier League after a 15-year absence. Consequently I did a lot of groundhopping and the reviews appeared here. Nowadays I leave that task mainly to you dear readers or other bloggers who are happy to have their work promoted here.

A free cuppa you say? What a fine start to the weekend

Back then the guide used to feature a TLFG Top 10 which fairly strictly had one game and one game only from each of the 10 levels this blog covers. You could therefore see a game played on little more than a park pitch recommended over one in the Premier League but times have changed.

Over the years I'm pleased to say women's football has grown significantly in popularity and made its way into TLFG, various other pages/indexes have been added and several clubs have come and gone at non-league level.

It also says something that on week one of this blog, the top match in London was a game between a struggling Arsenal side and Sunderland who were both in the bottom six - the Gunners won 2-1.

There have been lots of other moments but it has definitely had a big impact on my life. Not only do I know more about football in this city than I ever have but I have made some amazing contacts and experienced some great football moments both here and in Europe as a result.

Apart from that, the other main highlights have all been in the form of feedback I've received from you. The whole purpose of this blog is to promote London football and make it as accessible to you as possible so when I hear or read that people have acted on advice I've given them and had a great time, then it makes all the effort that goes into this really worthwhile.

To coincide with the First Round of the FA Cup, we've got this interesting game
On average this blog takes about eight hours a week to put together and often takes me well past my self-imposed midnight deadline on Sunday night/Monday morning as I try to cram in as much as possible while doing shift work - but if I didn't enjoy it then I wouldn't do it.

It's also my birthday this week so hopefully I'll get to indulge in some live football at some point and tell you all about it on Sunday.

Ok I think that's enough from me, enjoy your week and let me know what you've been up to - photos are always welcome on TLFG's Facebook page.

UPDATE: (02/11/17): If you're at a loose end on Sunday, it's just come to TLFG's attention that there's an historic match taking place in East London where the re-formed Upton Park FC will be playing Clapham Rovers in a re-enactment of the match which produced the first ever goal in the history of the FA Cup back in 1871. The match is being played in West Ham Park where the original tie was played. It will also be the first time Upton Park FC have played at their old home ground for over 100 years so it should be quite an occasion. It kicks off at 115pm and it's free to get in.

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THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days as the Champions League, Premier League and Championship take centre stage. It's also a big week of cup football with the next round of the FA Cup taking place and a number of FA Trophy replays too.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

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

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



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




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

Monday 30 October


FA Trophy First Qualifying Round Replay - this national knockout cup competition is for sides in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley. At this stage the draw is regionalised and limited to clubs in the seventh and eighth tiers. The winning clubs in each tie will receive £3,250 in prize money
Haringey Borough v Harrow Borough @745pm - eighth tier Haringey nearly pulled off a cupset on Saturday but were denied by a last-minute equaliser. Back on their own 3G pitch and in great form, it could be tough for Harrow in this 'Battle of the Boros'

Professional Development League
Earlier in the day there are also U23 games at QPR and Watford. As it stands both games are being played at the clubs' training grounds. If you do want to go, please make sure you check the matches are still taking place, where and when they're being played and if you'll be allowed in

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Tuesday 31 October

Championship

Fulham v Bristol City @745pm - the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is the place to be for the pick of the football action on Tuesday. In the south of the borough we have this interesting game between midtable Fulham who are only four points off a play-off spot and the team currently in fourth
Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield United @745pm - a couple of miles north in Shepherd's Bush, QPR welcome the leaders. The Blades are top courtesy of Rangers' victory over their title rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday so Ian Holloway's team shouldn't be underestimated

EFL Trophy
AFC Wimbledon v Luton Town @745pm - the Dons have made no secret of their dislike for this competition after academy sides from Premier League and Championship clubs were introduced last season. As a result they barely advertise these games (I can't find anything about tickets for the game on their website) and consequently attendances are pretty sparse. However, they've won their opening two games and top their group. Luton are just behind and on any other occasion this would be quite a big game as the Hatters play just outside London and used to be a top-flight club at the same time as the original Wimbledon. To clarify, thanks to Luton's website, tickets will be £10 and are only available on the gate

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round Replays
Thurrock v Kingstonian @745pm - there's an all-Bostik Premier tie to be enjoyed at Ship Lane where if we get anything close to a repeat of the 3-3 draw the two played out on Friday in the original game, we'll be very happy indeed
Egham Town v Bowers & Pitsea @745pm - two play-off hopefuls from the parallel Evo-Stik East and Bostik North fought out a 1-1 draw on Saturday. On paper B&P would appear the slightly stronger but they've lost home advantage

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Wednesday 1 November

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid @745pm - we're into November already but what a cracking way to start it with this sold out monster of a game at Wembley Stadium. Not many people gave Spurs much of a chance at the Bernabeu a couple of weeks ago but they recorded a fantastic 1-1 draw to go into this match as joint group leaders with the Spanish giants. A lot could depend on whether Tottenham's star striker Harry Kane will be fit in time to play after tweaking a hamstring last week

Uefa Youth League
Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid @3pm - earlier in the day, the sides' U19 teams will also do battle at Spurs' training ground in Enfield. A small amount of tickets were available for this match but they have all been taken

EFL Trophy
Charlton Athletic v Fulham U23 @745pm - your next best option if you want to see some professional footballers in action is this game at The Valley. As with the AFC Wimbledon game above, the crowd is likely to be small as the Addicks' first-team squad take on the Cottagers' youngsters. Tickets are £10

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round Replay
Grays Athletic v Cray Wanderers @745pm - the non-league option is over at Parkside where sides from the Bostik North and South meet for what should be a pretty even contest - the initial game produced an entertaining 2-2 draw

FA Women's Super League Cup
Millwall Lionesses v Arsenal @745pm - the hosts face a tough game against the Gunners who come from the division above. We are still at the group stage of the competition, with this being the second of four matches for each of the sides. The top two in the five-team group progress to the knockout stages. The match takes place at Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe and costs £5 for adults

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Thursday 2 November

Europa League

Arsenal v Red Star Belgrade @745pm - Arsene Wenger's side are undoubtedly the strongest side in Group H and should beat last season's Serbian League runners-up. Having won the reverse fixture 10 days ago, the Gunners come into this game with a 100% record from their three matches and are already five points clear at the top

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Friday 3 November

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Glebe v Beckenham Town @745pm - get your weekend underway with this south-east London derby in Chislehurst. The hosts have recently installed former Dagenham & Redbridge captain Anwar Uddin as manager. The first British Asian to captain one of 'the 92', he is also the Diversity & Campaigns Manager working on the 'Fans for Diversity' project which is run by the Football Supporters Federation and Kick It Out. This game is being dedicated to that cause and to entice you along, all spectators will get a 'free cuppa at Half Time'

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Saturday 4 November

Premier League
West Ham United v Liverpool @530pm - after seeing his side mount a remarkable comeback at Spurs in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, Slaven Bilic was just moments away from a perfect week when Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha plundered a 96th-minute equaliser to deny the Hammers another derby win. With five goals in two games, West Ham are looking much better than they did against Brighton just over a week ago and will fancy themselves to get something against the Reds' suspect defence

Championship
Brentford v Leeds United @530pm - at exactly the same time on the opposite side of London we have what could be a humdinger of a game in the second tier. The Bees are in lower midtable but are potentially a side on the rise after stringing together a seven-game unbeaten run. I say potentially because four of those games have been draws and it's holding them back. Leeds, on the other hand, made a great start and are up in fifth but on a worrying slide with four defeats from five. Brentford also have a great home record against the Yorkshire club with their last defeat coming nine games ago, way back in 1950!
Millwall v Burton Albion @3pm - tickets for the match above will be hard to get without membership or a previous purchasing history but there shouldn't be any problem getting one for this game. That's because it isn't a particularly mouthwatering prospect. Respectively 15th and 22nd in the table, they've managed only 25 goals between them so far this season which is less than one a game

FA Cup First Round - with the qualifying rounds completed we've reached that magic moment when the surviving non-league clubs get the chance to play against professional sides from League One and League Two. In some cases, this can mean some of the minnows taking part in the biggest match in their history. Not only is this prestigious but it nets the smaller sides thousands of pounds in gate receipts and prize money which can prove to be transformational if invested wisely. The winners of each tie will receive a cheque for £18,000. 
AFC Wimbledon v Lincoln City @3pm - both these clubs are associated with FA Cup magic. The Dons famously won the competition in 1988 beating a seemingly unstoppable Liverpool side 1-0 in a dramatic final to cause one of the greatest cup upsets of my lifetime. Whilst the Imps, as a non-league side, made it all the way to the quarter-finals last season seeing off the likes of Ipswich, Brighton and Burnley before finally losing to eventual winners Arsenal at the Emirates. Now back in League Two, Lincoln are pushing for promotion again and should prove to be tricky opponents for the hosts who are struggling in the division above
Boreham Wood v Blackpool @3pm - the more romantic tie is to be found at Meadow Park where non-leaguers Boreham Wood welcome former Premier League side and FA Cup winners Blackpool. The Seasiders fielded a very entertaining side in their one season in the top flight back in 2010/11 but some terrible off-the-field shenanigans have seen the club plummet to League Two since then. Now back in the third tier and pushing for promotion, things are looking a bit more promising for the Lancashire club and they should win here. However, the Wood have a habit of making the first round and are no strangers to playing the big boys. Currently one of the top 10 sides in non-league football, the Hertfordshire side should give it a good go

Bostik League Premier Division
Hendon v Kingstonian @3pm - the Greens face a tricky game against the K's who have started the season well at their new temporary home in Leatherhead. Despite some upheaval off the pitch, the Surrey club are still in the top eight and win as many as they lose. If Hendon do triumph they could well return to the top of the table
Thurrock v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - whether they do depends entirely on the Hamlet. With the main title challengers Billericay otherwise engaged in the FA Cup, Dulwich could potentially open up a six-point lead at the top if they vanquish lowly Thurrock

Bostik League North Division
Haringey Borough v Dereham Town @3pm - after their fine FA Cup run, Haringey have seen a number of league matches postponed meaning they're only in fifth at the time of writing. With games in hand on most of the sides above them, they could well become title challengers. We'll get a good indication of how likely that is here as Dereham are the current leaders

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Spelthorne Sports v Westfield @3pm - in my opinion, the pick of the action in the ninth tier is to be had over in Ashford where fifth-placed Spelthorne entertain the league leaders. Westfield, from Woking, are four points clear at the top with two games in hand and are averaging nearly three goals a game

Combined Counties League Division 1
Staines Lammas v FC Deportivo Galicia @2pm - the hosts, with several games in hand, are well placed to push for promotion this year. Recently promoted FCDG have been more than holding their own at this level and made headlines this week by announcing the signing of veteran Spanish midfielder Quique de Lucas. The 39-year-old had a season at Chelsea in 2002/03 and also played many times for Espanyol, Alaves and Celta Vigo during a career totalling well over 500 appearances
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Sunday 5 November

Premier League
Chelsea v Manchester United @430pm - the week comes to an end on my birthday and the football schedulers obviously noticed this as there's a great selection of games. The biggest game of the weekend takes place at Stamford Bridge where two of the heavyweights of the Premier League slug it out in the teatime game. The reigning champions are finding things relatively tough this season and struggled to get past struggling Bournemouth in Dorset on Saturday. Former Blues boss Jose Mourinho is likely to get a good reception on his return to Stamford Bridge but he'll be desperate to win this otherwise his current side could start to look like also-rans too.
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace @12pm - earlier in the day there's also an important London derby at Wembley. Both sides need the points to further their causes at either end of the table. Spurs should be strong favourites to win but with four points from three games, Roy Hodgson is starting to move Palace in the right direction

FA Cup First Round
Charlton Athletic v Truro City @2pm - the Addicks are fourth in League One so should stroll to victory against Truro. The Cornish side play three levels below their hosts but are the highest ranked club in the county's history and will have absolutely nothing to lose
Dartford v Swindon Town @2pm - in the other tie of the afternoon a side from the National League South host one from the fourth tier. With Swindon a former Premier League club, albeit for just one season over 20 years ago, this is also a prestigious occasion for the Darts. Both sides are chasing promotion in their respective divisions so come into the game in reasonable form - there's some real cupset potential here

FA Women's Super League Cup
Arsenal v Reading @2pm - the pick of the women's action comes at Meadow Park where two of the country's top four sides meet for this group stage match
London Bees v Millwall Lionesses @2pm - a short journey to the south there's also a London derby in the same competition featuring two clubs from the second tier of the women's game


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, 23 October 2017

TLFG: 23-29 October 2017

Apologies again for the late publication this week - it's half term and things have got a bit behind schedule.

At this stage I thought I'd just get the match maps up and then I'll try and fill in the gaps a bit later today.

The action gets underway at lunchtime with some very interesting U23 games. Crystal Palace have a match at Selhurst Park against Coventry at 1pm but it's also the north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal at Spurs' training  ground at midday. I'm cautious about encouraging you to go to this match as it could be behind closed doors - even now three hours before kick-off, neither club's website or social media is advertising it so be very sure it's on and you can get in before travelling.

Like I say, I'll endeavour to get the rest of the info up later today.

UPDATE: (23/10/17 @1610): TLFG's daily digest has now been added so normal service has now been resumed.

Subscribe to The London Football Guide

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days as the Premier League and EFL take centre stage. It's also a big week of cup football with the next round FA Trophy taking place and a number county cup ties too.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.

A fine way for your kids to end half-term - book here
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 23 October


London Senior Cup First Round
Hendon v Wingate & Finchley @745pm - one of the ties of the round pits these two near neighbours from north London against each other. You should also consider going to this game as vandals broke into Hendon's Silver Jubilee Park over the weekend and did thousands of pounds worth of damage and they've launched an appeal to raise funds for repairs

Bostik League South Division
Carshalton Athletic v Greenwich Borough @745pm - an enticing looking fixture between two promotion contenders is your best option in south London on Monday

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Tuesday 24 October

EFL Cup Fourth Round

Arsenal v Norwich City @745pm - the EFL Cup usually provides a great way to see the big teams play at home at a reduced price and this is the case here. Getting a ticket to see the Gunners at the Emirates is usually tough or very expensive without membership but there are still quite a few tickets available for £20. As for the match itself, Arsene Wenger usually rests quite a few players for these games so it could be quite even as Norwich are doing well in the Championship and will be well backed by several thousand travelling fans

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Macclesfield Town @745pm - there are some great options in the fifth tier on Tuesday night but I'd personally go for this one on league placings. Only six points separate the top seven clubs in a really exciting title race. The Daggers were top for a bit but have dropped back a little while the Silkmen have become the current incumbents and opened a three-point lead after winning the first leg of their east London tour at Leyton Orient on Saturday

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v St Albans City @745pm - after a poor start, the hosts have managed to string together a seven-match unbeaten run in the league. However, most of those games have ended in a draw meaning the Beavers are still way down in 15th. The Saints are currently joint top and, aside from a comprehensive home defeat to Boreham Wood in the FA Cup last week, are unbeaten in six themselves

Bostik League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Leiston @745pm - the Towners usually find themselves in and around the battle for the play-offs but are way down the table at the moment courtesy of a decent run in the FA Cup. With four games in hand on the current leaders Hendon, they could and probably should make significant strides up the table. Leiston are likely to be one of the sides that also challenge and were top themselves a few weeks ago so this should be a decent game

Bostik League North Division
AFC Hornchurch v Dereham Town @745pm - the game of the week in this division sees the sides currently ranked third and second go head-to-head. The Urchins should really be top but they've also enjoyed a decent run in the FA Cup and have three games in hand on the top two

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Walton & Hersham v Bedfont Sports @745pm - the Swans came unstuck against leaders Westfield in the big game last week and then saw Bedfont thrash Chertsey at the weekend to move above them. Therefore this is, as above, a battle of third versus second and gives groundhoppers another chance to check out the new stadium W&H have recently relocated to

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Wednesday 25 October

EFL Cup Fourth Round

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @8pm - on paper this derby should be one of the ties of the round but given this competition is a low priority for Spurs and West Ham are playing really badly, tickets have not been selling all that well. As far as I understand it, the upper tier at Wembley won't open at all and there's still plenty of availability in the lower one. Tickets are cheap too with many available for £20 but you must be on their ticketing database or know a member/season-ticket holder to get one
Chelsea v Everton @745pm - contrast that with this game at Stamford Bridge which is completely sold out. Again, this cup shouldn't be a priority for the Blues and the visitors are also playing badly so why the huge difference in interest? To be fair, Chelsea are playing at their own much 'smaller' stadium and the attendances could end up being quite similar

Bostik League North Division
Grays Athletic v Haringey Borough @745pm - the best non-league option of the night is to be found at Aveley's ground where Haringey will attempt to win one of their games in hand to get their title challenge back on track

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Friday 27 October

Premier League 2

Fulham v Norwich City @7pm - the weekend gets underway with an U23 game at the Cottagers' training ground which is very close to Motspur Park station. It's only £3 to get in and I'm told the facilities for spectators are pretty decent

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Saturday 28 October

Premier League
Crystal Palace v West Ham United @3pm - the game of the day in London is this crunch clash between two sides who are desperate for a win at the wrong end of the table. The Eagles opened the season with seven straight defeats and couldn't even manage a goal. Last week they sensationally beat Chelsea before battling hard but ultimately losing to a late goal at Newcastle on Saturday. These performances seem to indicate that things are improving under Roy Hodgson but the same can't be said about Slaven Bilic. His Hammers side gave a pretty abject performance against Brighton on Friday and it's believed he's been given two games to start turning things around. A defeat here might end his reign even sooner
Arsenal v Swansea City @3pm - once again there has been a lot of hand wringing from Arsenal fans this season but they are still in all the cups and gave Everton a good stuffing on Sunday to move up to fifth. Even at this early stage, a title bid still looks out of the question but a win over a mediocre Swansea side could propel them back into the top four
Watford v Stoke City @3pm - if you're not a member of any of the clubs above, this game still has a few tickets available on general sale so you should be able to get to see some Premier League football this weekend if you book swiftly. The Hornets have had a fine start to the season and could also find themselves back in the top four if they win and other results go their way

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - the R's are currently joint second in the division for drawing games this season so although they're way down in 17th they are proving tough to beat. If Sheffield United fail to win at Leeds on Friday, Wolves will arrive at Loftus Road as leaders and will no doubt bring a large and lively following with them
Fulham v Bolton Wanderers @3pm - if you'd rather spend a more leisurely afternoon down by the river then pay Craven Cottage a visit. Fulham, who are still firmly in the hunt for a play-off place, should see off bottom club Bolton

League One
Charlton Athletic v AFC Wimbledon @3pm - if it's a London derby you want then get yourself down to The Valley for this south-east versus south-west affair. The smart money is definitely on the Addicks who are fourth and on a seven-game unbeaten run. For some reason, it's also 'Kids For A Quid' - bargain!

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Manchester City @1pm - earlier in the day there's this rather strangely scheduled U23 fixture at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground. The kick-off time doesn't even let you get to another game unless you shave off the end of this one or the start of another one - Barking are the nearest club if you do attempt a 'double'

National League
Sutton United v Ebbsfleet United @3pm - the biggest crowd of the day at this level locally is likely to be found at Gander Green Lane. Sutton are one of several teams to have briefly held top spot this season and a win over newly promoted Ebbsfleet, who are in the play-off hunt themselves, could put them right back in it
Boreham Wood v Bromley @3pm - there's a cross-London derby at Meadow Park where two teams in the top eight will both look to advance their causes. Although their average attendances have increased significantly this year, the Wood are still getting the lowest crowds in the division so it is some achievement that they are continuing to more than hold their own at this level

National League South
Dartford v St Albans City @3pm - the title race in this division is even tighter than the division above with a ridiculously tiny three points separating the top eight clubs. At the time of writing, these two find themselves in that group so this should be one of the matches of the day
Welling United v Wealdstone @3pm - after the struggles of recent years it's not often you've been able to say that Welling are the form team of the division but that is currently the case. With six wins on the trot and two draws before that, they've climbed to fifth. The Stones, from west London, are unbeaten in six themselves and are also climbing the table quickly after an iffy start

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round - this knockout competition is for clubs who play in the fifth to eighth tiers of the national system. Seventh-tier teams enter the draw at this stage alongside those eighth-tier teams who survived the opening round. Winners of each tie earn £3,250 in prize money. There are several ties in London on Saturday, here are my pick
Hendon v Kings Langley @3pm - at the time of writing the Greens are top of the Bostik League meaning they should win this tie. The visitors, who hail from just north of Watford, play in the parallel Evo-Stik Premier but have made a poor start
Staines Town v Margate @3pm - the hosts have made a bullish start to the season, enjoying a few big wins as they've cemented themselves a place in the top five of the Bostik Premier. Margate suffered relegation from the NLS last season and have yet to really get going so could come unstuck here
Harrow Borough v Haringey Borough @3pm - these two have surpassed all my expectations so far this season. Harrow only avoided relegation last season because of another club's poor finances so to see them in the top seven as we approach November is quite remarkable. When I started this blog a few years ago, Haringey were a pretty run of the mill Essex Senior League club, playing in a slightly shabby stadium in front of pretty meagre crowds. Since then they won that league, installed a 3G pitch and made the Bostik North play-offs last season. Challenging for promotion again and with a great run in the FA Cup also under their belts, they're looking strong and could cause an upset here

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Sporting Club Thamesmead v K Sports @3pm - with not much of interest going on in the ninth tier, the best game in the 10th is this one. SC Thamesmead are currently fourth in this division, making them the best that London has to offer. This match will see them take on the current leaders

FA Women's Super League 2
London Bees v Millwall Lionesses @2pm - if you'd rather see a women's game then this derby at The Hive (also home of Barnet) is the match for you
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Sunday 29 October

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round
Thamesmead Town v Brightlingsea Regent @2pm - by virtue of their new groundshare arrangement with Dartford, Thamesmead look set to provide us with a fair bit of Sunday football entertainment this year, especially if they make progress in this competition. They've landed a tough tie here against a side from the division above but they held the mighty Billericay here a few weeks ago so should be more than capable of getting a result here

FA Women's Super League 1
Chelsea v Yeovil Town @2pm - with three wins from three, the new season has begun well for Chelsea. Joint top with Manchester City and seemingly well settled at their new Kingsmeadow home, victory against the struggling Glovers should be a formality


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, 15 October 2017

TLFG: 16-22 October 2017

After all the busyness of preparing for Non-League Day last week, things have been far less eventful.

I'm currently on a seven-day run (Tuesday-Monday) of late shifts at work so football has been well and truly off the menu for me this week - I'm heading in again shortly so need to finish up quick.

However, I have a week off from next Sunday and with no firm plans at the minute, a little voice inside me is saying 'Do a great London groundhop' - in other words, try and see a game every day for a week. Now I'm not even sure if there are games every day or whether my family will appreciate it but it would be a lot cheaper than going away somewhere and would get the lack of live football well and truly out of my system. Have you ever undertaken such a thing? What's your record for amount of games watched in a week?

I've actually got a couple of days off this week too and am very tempted by some of the matches on offer with Leyton Orient v Dagenham & Redbridge catching my eye in the FA Cup.

Download your voucher to get cheap entry at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday

There's also a really great deal on offer at AFC Wimbledon where you can get into their League One match against Rotherham on Tuesday for only £10 if you download a voucher from their website.

There are also several good options in the U23 leagues this week which allow you to see a couple of games a day on Monday and Friday - there's also a 'double' possible on Saturday as well but you'll have to read on to find out where.

Tickets for England's friendlies against Germany and Brazil at Wembley in November also went on sale last week so buy now if you don't want to miss out.

Right, I think that's it from me. Enjoy your week and let me know what you've been up to - photos are always welcome on TLFG's Facebook page.

Subscribe to The London Football Guide

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days as the Premier League and EFL take centre stage. It's also a big week of cup football with the next round FA Vase taking place and a number of FA Cup replays too.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

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

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



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




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

Monday 16 October


Premier League 2
Arsenal v Sunderland @7pm - the biggest crowd of the day will be found at the Emirates Stadium for this U23 game. The Gunners are currently third and looking to cut the gap on Liverpool and Everton who currently lead the way. Like the first team, the Mackems' youngsters are also having a tough season. Tickets are only £4 but must be purchased online by 3pm on Monday - no tickets will be available on the night

Professional Development League
Earlier in the day there are also U23 games at Charlton Athletic (@The Valley), Millwall (@Dartford FC) and Watford (@Vicarage Road).  All can be combined easily with the match above, however, details on admission are sketchy at the time of writing and venues can change at short notice so check with the clubs what the details are before travelling

Bostik League North Division
Haringey Borough v Maldon & Tiptree @745pm - the hosts suffered the disappointment of an FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round home defeat to Heybridge on Saturday but get the chance to bounce back straight away with this league game against one of their fellow promotion contenders

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Tuesday 17 October

League One

AFC Wimbledon v Rotherham United @745pm - the Dons managed to notch an absolutely crucial win at fellow strugglers Northampton on Saturday. Next up they welcome promotion contenders Rotherham who have won their last three. It's going to be tough and to help them put up a good fight, Wimbledon are offering tickets for just £10 in order to get a big crowd

League Two
Barnet v Mansfield Town @8pm - I have to confess having taken my eye off the Bees in recent weeks so it was quite a shock to discover they're down in the bottom four and in terrible form. A month or so ago they looked more likely to be pushing for promotion. Mansfield are slap bang in the middle of the table so are definitely beatable

FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round Replays - with the draw being made on Monday at 7pm, all the following sides will know who they'll potentially be playing in the next round. With League One and League Two sides in that draw, the remaining non-league sides could see themselves paired with former FA Cup winners Coventry City, Portsmouth or Wigan Athletic. The winners of each tie will also receive £12,500 in prize money so a lot is at stake. Also, all replays will go to extra-time and penalties if required
Leyton Orient v Dagenham & Redbridge @745pm - if you missed the chance to see these two east London rivals meet on Saturday then you've got another chance on Tuesday after they ground out a 0-0 draw in the original tie. It's set to be very tight again but with the O's now unbeaten in eight against the Daggers, they should start as favourites
Bromley v Dover Athletic @745pm - a little overshadowed by the game above, this Kent derby is also well worth a watch and features two sides who are actually in better form. The Lilywhites have had a good start and are up in seventh in the National League while Dover are just a point off top spot and have gone close to promotion several times in recent years
Enfield Town v Maidstone United @745pm - on paper you'd think the Towners would've been pretty chuffed to have earned a replay at a side who play two levels above them. However, the match finished 2-2 after the Stones grabbed a last-minute equaliser. Has Enfield's chance been and gone? Get down to Donkey Lane to find out

Bostik League Premier Division
Hendon v Needham Market @745pm - the Greens nicked a 90th-minute winner over Tonbridge Angels on Saturday to move up to third. Victory here against struggling Needham could put them top if results go their way elsewhere
Dulwich Hamlet v Harlow Town @745pm - if Hendon do fail to capitalise then Dulwich also have a chance to climb to the summit of the Bostik League with a win here. Harlow have also been poor of late but managed a 2-1 win home win over Harrow on Saturday

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Walton & Hersham v Westfield @745pm - one of the non-league matches of the week sees the top two in the CCL do battle at the newly opened Elmbridge Sports Hub. The visitors are currently two points clear with a game in hand and are averaging a staggering 4.7 goals a game! W&H have been great by most normal teams' standards but they're going to have to raise their game here

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Wednesday 18 October

Champions League
Chelsea v Roma @745pm - the Blues come into this game on the back of what many would see as a very embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace who had looked pretty hopeless prior to playing them. Roma should provide a real step up in class. The Italian side are currently fifth in Serie A with five wins from seven games but have lost on both previous occasions that they have played at Stamford Bridge

Essex Senior League
Sporting Bengal United v Clapton @745pm - the biggest crowd of the night for a non-league game will probably be found at the Mile End Stadium where a large contingent of the Clapton Ultras will almost certainly put in an appearance. With a boycott of home games still continuing, the Ultras make even more of an effort to get to the away ones especially local derbies like this - an attendance of 300-350 is quite possible

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Oxhey Jets v Berkhamsted @730pm - the hosts have made a steady start to the campaign and are up in 10th but they'll have to be at their best for the visit of the league leaders

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
London Lions v Southall @8pm - in the division below it's also 10th versus first. It's a real shame that Southall's plans to groundshare with Hayes & Yeading fell through as they've been forced all the way out to Burnham to play their home games. It seems to be working well for them on the pitch but it means they're no longer in TLFG's catchment area - hopefully they'll be back next year

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Friday 20 October

Premier League

West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion @8pm - the weekend gets underway with an important match between sides looking to put some daylight between themselves and the bottom three. The Hammers picked up a draw at Burnley over the weekend as did Brighton against Everton. The last time these sides met back in 2012, West Ham crushed the Seagulls 6-0 at Upton Park

Professional Development League
Queens Park Rangers v Ipswich Town @2pm - if you're in London for the game above you could combine it with this game at Loftus Road earlier in the day. Entry to these matches is often free but as with all U23 games, check with the club before you travel to make sure of all the details

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Bedfont Sports v Chertsey Town @745pm - this match near Heathrow Airport provides the only non-league option of the night. This ground, along with Bedfont & Feltham's next door, is famous for being a great place to watch football and airliners as it's less than 700m from the runway

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Saturday 21 October

Premier League
Chelsea v Watford @1230pm - after seeing Arsenal slain at Vicarage Road on Saturday, Antonio Conte will know his side can't afford to be complacent against this highly combative Watford side. And why should they be? Marco Silva's Hornets are now above Chelsea in the table and pushing for a place in the Champions League!

Championship
Brentford v Sunderland @3pm - neither of the Championship matches on offer this weekend are particularly mouthwatering. Normally the visit of Sunderland, one of the biggest clubs in the division would be quite a big deal, but they've been in dreadful form since relegation from the Premier League. Nonetheless they are still well supported and the ground should be close to capacity
Millwall v Birmingham City @530pm - for some reason this match has been selected for live TV. Neither side have been pulling up any trees this season and Birmingham have been particularly bad, however, they did manage a superb victory over Cardiff on Friday so maybe they've turned the corner. The late kick-off could also see you combine this with the game at Dulwich Hamlet which kicks off at 3pm - there's a 1707 train from East Dulwich after the game which should get you to The Den just in time

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Plymouth Argyle @3pm - after facing promotion contenders Rotherham in midweek, the Dons then play Plymouth in a hugely important relegation six-pointer. The hosts are currently fourth from bottom while Argyle are rock bottom - a must-win game for both

League Two
Barnet v Yeovil Town @3pm - in the division below, there's another game between two strugglers although the Glovers are in a far more healthy position than Plymouth

National League
Bromley v Woking @3pm - there are three games in the London area on Saturday in this division and they're all important, especially when you consider only six points separate the top 10 clubs. First up the Lilywhites have this derby against Woking. At the time of writing this represents a battle of seventh versus third so a win for the Cards could send them to the top
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wrexham @3pm - I'm pretty sure both of these top six sides have held a share of top spot at some point this season. The Welsh club are in marginally better form at the moment and boast the second highest levels of support in the whole of non-league football (only Tranmere get more). They may also be more refreshed as they don't have a midweek game
Leyton Orient v Macclesfield Town @3pm - last up is this game at Brisbane Road where the O's welcome the current leaders. Macclesfield have won five on the trot and demolished Stourbridge 5-0 away in the FA Cup on Saturday

National League South
Wealdstone v Truro City @3pm - after a dodgy start the Stones have turned things around under new manager Bobby Wilkinson and are gradually climbing the table. On Saturday they entertain title contenders Truro. Top a couple of weeks ago, City became the highest ranked Cornish club in history. On Saturday they saw off Hampton & Richmond to make the first round of the FA Cup so they've got some real momentum behind them

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Burgess Hill Town @3pm - there are no real standout games in this division but if you're new to the non-league game and want a good experience then a trip to Champion Hill is always a good place to start. By the time this game kicks-off the Hamlet could be top of the league. Burgess Hill's lowly league position is also slightly false as they've been otherwise engaged in a great FA Cup run which sadly ended on Saturday. As mentioned above, you could combine this game with the 530pm kick-off at Millwall

Bostik League North Division
Grays Athletic v Tilbury @3pm - neither side are having a stellar season on the pitch so far but I've picked this because it is a derby. The two Essex clubs have produced some feisty encounters over the years and there was even some trouble at a game in 2011. The fact Grays are currently groundsharing away from their home town might take some of the sting out of it but maybe not

Bostik League South Division
Whyteleafe v Greenwich Borough @3pm - the game of the day in this division takes place on the 3G of Church Road. Third plays fourth as they look to keep pace with early leaders Lewes. Interestingly, both sides have scored 26 and conceded 13 this season but the Leafe have played a game more

Evo-Stik League East Division
Hayes & Yeading United v AFC Rushden & Diamonds @3pm - two clubs who have seen very much better days meet at the SkyEx on Saturday. As regular readers know, H&YU have suffered three relegations during the time I have been writing this blog to fall all the way down from what is now the National League. Fans of the visitors would have been watching what was their side (simply Rushden & Diamonds) in the third tier as recently as 2004. Since then the club dissolved and had to be re-formed by fans back in non-league. As a result of this history, the club is the biggest in the division in terms of support with average crowds of nearly 500 so a good attendance is expected

FA Vase First Round - with the two qualifying rounds out of the way, the knockout competition for clubs in tiers 9-11 of the national system really starts to hot up. The winners of each tie receive a cheque for £825. There are several ties in London on Saturday - here are the ones which stand out for me
Cray Valley PM v Cricklewood Wanderers @3pm - as one of the only 11th-tier teams left in the competition, Cricklewood face a very tough journey to ninth-tier Cray who will definitely start as favourites
Edgware Town v Walton & Hersham @3pm - an interetsing inter-league match at Edgware's well appointed Silver Jubilee Park. Aside from Westfield, Walton & Hersham are one of the strongest teams in the CCL so it will be interesting to see how they fare against SSML opposition
Spelthorne Sports v Lordswood @3pm - teams from the top six of the CCL and SCEFL meet in Sunbury so another good chance to try and gauge which league is stronger
Cobham v Westfield @3pm - the hosts play a division below their all-conquering visitors. As leaders of the fifth tier CCL, Westfield should in theory be one of the favourites to win the Vase
Enfield Borough v Newmarket Town @3pm - the Panthers' blisteringly good start has slowed down marginally but they're still doing well in the SSML1 and should provide a very stern test for Newmarket who are one of the frontrunners in the Eastern Counties League, one level above them
London Lions v Clapton @3pm - the Lions did really well to see of Malmesbury in the last round and have been rewarded with a London derby against the Tons. As mentioned above, Clapton's fans will probably travel in large numbers so expect a lively atmosphere at Rowley Lane
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Sunday 22 October

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @4pm - the football week comes to an end with arguably its highlight. Two members of the Premier League royal family meet at Wembley for one of the only Spurs games so far this season to have sold out. On paper Tottenham should win but their record at the national stadium in big games is poor and the Reds, on their day, are more than capable of winning


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

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