Sunday, 13 January 2019

TLFG: 14-20 January 2019

Greetings one and all and welcome to the latest TLFG.

I've had a week off work this week and managed to get out and visit what was a new ground for me.

Imber Court, the home of Metropolitan Police FC, is a place I'd last been to way back in the '80s for a police family's wedding.

The whole site plays host to a range of sports and social facilities with the football stadium at its centre.

It's actually a little tricky to find the turnstile, especially after dark, but I stumbled across it in the end.

Much has been written about The Met in recent years in part because of a couple of good FA Cup runs. Probably the most notable thing about the current side is that it doesn't feature any serving officers and is just another seventh-tier side of semi-pros.

Harrow Borough (red) push for an equaliser at Imber Court
The other thing is that because they represent the police and have no police officers in the team, they have very few supporters so their crowds are among the lowest at the level.

On Tuesday I watched them take on my beloved Harrow Borough in the Southern League.

With the sides producing a seven-goal thriller just three days before, a lot was expected of this match which had been re-arranged from earlier in the season.

Sadly it wasn't to be as the hosts managed to grind out a 1-0 win with a goal midway through the second half.

The best thing for me was getting to meet up with some of the Harrow faithful who actually seemed to outnumber the home fans for a change.

I had planned to watch their next match at Beaconsfield Town too but it didn't come to pass and thankfully so as Harrow lost 4-1.

I feel I've rushed the writing of this blog a bit this week because I'm pretty tired - this is because I ended up joining my first London Tube Run on Sunday morning and running all the way from Turnpike Lane to Turnham Green along the Piccadilly Line which is a distance of around 22.5km.

Sunday's London Tube Run heads towards the Emirates Stadium
I haven't gone anywhere near this far for years so it was a very pleasant surprise that I could manage it. The pace is slow and breaks are taken but it's mainly about getting out there and socialising. We also got to do a full circuit of Arsenal's Emirates Stadium (so there is a football point to this story!). If you're into running, think about giving one of their events a go.

Finally, thanks to Scott T from Surrey who donated to TLFG's coffee drinking fund this week. I really appreciate it and thanks again to all those who have contributed in the past.

As always, have a great week and enjoy your football watching.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include action in the Premier League, EFL and most of our local non-league competitions. There are also some eye-catching U23 matches and FA Youth Cup games.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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

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

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



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



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

Monday 14 January

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Manchester City @7pm - the first XIs of these two clubs are among the best sides in the country but at U23 level they're not quite so impressive. City are down in seventh whilst the Gunners are even further back and are seven without a win - it's still the best on offer on Monday

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Tuesday 15 January

Kent Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Bromley v Charlton Athletic U23 @745pm - the pick of Tuesday night's action comes in the various local county cup competitions. The Ravens of the fifth tier National League host an Addicks development side at Hayes Lane

London Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Wingate & Finchley v Brentford B @745pm - after seeing off Wealdstone in the Middlesex Senior Cup last week, the Bees' development side look to make progress in the London Cup too with a tricky but very winnable tie at Summers Lane

Middlesex Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Barnet v Hampton & Richmond Borough @745pm - after seeing off Dorchester Town in the FA Trophy on Saturday, the Bees welcome Hampton & Richmond to The Hive. The visitors brought their poor run of form to an end with a win over Dulwich on Saturday. How strong either side put out for this one is hard to predict but I wouldn't expect the hosts to go that big on it

Combined Counties League Challenge Cup
Chertsey Town v Abbey Rangers @745pm - these two near neighbours are doing well in the league and are both still in the FA Vase and now they get the chance to play each other in this competition

A bit further afield

FA Cup Third Round Replay
Luton Town v Sheffield Wednesday @745pm - a visit to Kenilworth Road is often high on the list of groundhoppers who contact this blog. It's old, ramshackle, pretty unique and has one entrance in the middle of a row of terraced houses. It's located a short distance north of London and there appear to be plenty of tickets still available

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Wednesday 16 January

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Park View v Harefield United @745pm - Harefield appear to be cantering towards the title after Saturday's win at Winslow United put them 12 points clear at the top. Park View are new to this level and are more than holding their own but the Hare should have too much for them

A bit further afield

FA Cup Third Round Replay
Southampton v Derby County @745pm - after fighting out a 2-2 draw at Pride Park last weekend, Frank Lampard takes his Rams side to the Premier League Saints to try and pull off a cupset. Tickets for this televised game are only £12. If you're interested in going by train, it's only a 75-minute journey from Waterloo. There are also plenty of trains heading back to London after the game which you should be able to catch even if it goes to penalties

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Thursday 17 January

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - the match of the night takes place at Boreham Wood where the U18 sides of these two north London rivals go head-to-head. Sadly because of the high profile nature of the game and security surrounding it, even at this level, tickets are only on sale to members
Watford v Southampton @7pm - they'll be no such problem getting entry to the other game of the night at Wingate & Finchley's ground where the visitors should start as favourites
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Friday 18 January

Premier League Cup
Fulham v Birmingham City @3pm - we're still at the group stage of this U23 competition. A win will put the Cottagers on the verge of qualification for the next round. Tickets for games at Motspur Park are usually £3 but the club haven't published the details yet

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Crystal Palace v Bolton Wanderers @7pm - if you go to the match above, you can easily combine it with this U18 game later in the day at Selhurst Park

A bit further afield

Championship
Norwich City v Birmingham City @745pm - the Canaries are pushing hard for automatic promotion and have topped the division at various points this season whilst the Blues have a play-off spot very much in their sights. At two hours, the journey to Norwich is a bit further than I would normally recommend but with the stadium located a short walk from the station it is really easy to get to. Unlike Southampton above, there is only one train back to London after the game at 10pm so don't hang around too long after the final whistle

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Saturday 19 January

Premier League
Watford v Burnley @3pm - the Hornets climbed into the top seven with a win at Palace on Saturday. The Clarets moved clear of the bottom three with a priceless win over fellow strugglers Fulham but they'll do well to win here
Arsenal v Chelsea @530pm - arguably the match of the week takes place at The Emirates on Saturday teatime where the Blues will look to cement their hold on fourth place and keep Arsenal out of the Champions League places

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Preston North End @3pm - Steve McClaren's side are now three without a win and down in 11th but are still only four points off a play-off place. PNE are in poor form and should be beaten

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Barnsley @3pm - with the Dons rooted to the bottom and five points adrift of safety, things are looking pretty grim for the south London club. This match against the Tykes will be tough as they're in great form and pushing for automatic promotion
Charlton Athletic v Accrington Stanley @3pm - the Addicks are just above Barnsley in the table and will expect and need to win this match against midtable Accrington

National League South
Welling United v Eastbourne Borough @3pm - the Wings have lost their way of late but could force their way back into the top four if they win and results go their way

Bostik League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Margate @3pm - the hosts' lengthy unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday with a shock defeat at relegation threatened Harlow, despite this they stayed eight points clear at the top and will look to extend their lead with a win here

Bostik League South Central
Hayes & Yeading United v Chalfont St Peter @3pm - the hosts kept up their superb run of form with a win at Tooting & Mitcham on Saturday. Not only are they top of the league but with 76 goals from 19 games they're the highest scorers in the country!

Bostik League South East
Cray Wanderers v VCD Athletic @3pm - Cray are another local side in exceptional form with only one league defeat all season. They'll look to move 13 points clear with a victory in this south-east London derby

Kent Senior Trophy Quarter-Final
Fisher v Beckenham Town @3pm - two of the SCEFL's top three meet in the latest round of this county cup. The title race is tight with only one point between the top three so this competition might be seen as a distraction

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Hadley v London Colney @3pm - Hadley moved to the top of the league with a solid 3-0 win over Harpenden on Saturday. London Colney won the title a couple of years ago but are a shadow of that side and will probably come unstuck here

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Sunday 20 January

Premier League
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur @4pm - now five points adrift of safety, things are getting pretty serious for the Cottagers. Their chances of winning against Spurs in this derby are slim but you never know...

London Senior Trophy Quarter-Final
Erith & Belvedere v Phoenix Sports Reserves @3pm - if you're not on Fulham's ticketing database then you'll struggle to get a ticket for the above so if you're really in need of a football fix then this is your alternative


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, 7 January 2019

TLFG: 7-13 January 2019

Greetings one and all - Happy New Year and Happy Christmas to any Orthodox Christian readers who might be seeing this today (7 January).

I hope you all had a great festive period and were able to gorge on football just as much as food and drink.

Some of our local clubs had a great time of it, others not so much.

In the Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur had the best time of it with their results meaning they are London's top ranked club. They also thrashed League Two Tranmere 7-0 on Friday to make it into the next round of the FA Cup. At the bottom it's still looking pretty grim for Fulham. Although they drew with Wolves and beat Huddersfield they've since lost to Arsenal and were then humiliated at Craven Cottage by League Two Oldham in one of the shocks of the FA Cup Third Round weekend.

In the Championship, QPR and Brentford both enjoyed an unbeaten festive period but it was lowly Millwall who stole the show by winning all four of their matches to move well clear of the relegation zone and join their divisional rivals in the hat for the fourth round of the cup too.

Charlton Athletic had a less impressive couple of weeks but managed to keep pace with the big clubs and remain in the top four. At the other end AFC Wimbledon are still rooted to the bottom but results are improving and they're still in the FA Cup too.

Leyton Orient are still top of the National League despite suffering a pretty ropey festive period. With only four points from four games, including a derby defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge and a convincing loss at home to title rivals Salford City, the east Londoners remain in pole position.

Hendon clear their lines during their derby defeat to Harrow on Boxing Day

It was great to see the return of Dulwich Hamlet to Champion Hill where sell out crowds of on or around 3,000 have packed out the ground for the three home matches since Boxing Day - a sensational amount of people for a sixth-tier club.

It was also pleasing to see the three local clubs left in the FA Vase all make it through to the last 16 on Saturday. In a cup often dominated by clubs from the north-east, the level of competition could go up considerably in the next round as the draw stops being regionalised. To find out who Abbey Rangers, Chertsey Town and Cray Valley PM get in the next round, check out the draw later today (Monday).

My festive period has been one of the best its been in a while.

Not only are the two clubs I follow doing well but I got to watch three of their games - I also took my five-year-old daughter to all three and she seemed to enjoy herself.

First up I went to the Boxing Day derby between Harrow Borough and Hendon. Usually these tend to be nailbiting thrillers or humiliating defeats but on this occasion it was, relatively speaking, a bit of a stroll with a relatively straightforward 3-1 win chalked up and a place in the top four achieved.

We then went back three days later to watch a far more open game against Kings Langley which Harrow found themselves 4-1 down in at half-time. However, they fought back strongly to 4-3 with 25 minutes to go and could and should have grabbed at least a point but it was a cracking game nonetheless.

Since last Saturday, Harrow have won two more games 5-1 away at Staines Town and 4-3 at home to Metropolitan Police to stay in fourth and become the side whose games have produced more goals than any other club in at least the top seven tiers anywhere in the country. With 106 goals in 23 league games that's an average of 4.6 per match so you know where to go for entertainment!

My third and final game of the festive season saw me make the short trip to Loftus Road to watch QPR for what I'm ashamed to say was the first time this season.

Leeds United were the visitors for an FA Cup tie and with tickets reduced to £15 I took the opportunity to take my daughter to her first QPR match.

With both teams resting a number of players, a really open and in my opinion entertaining match ensued.

Luke Freeman sees his late free-kick hit the woodwork as QPR beat Leeds in the FA Cup

The play shifted from end to end with both keepers kept in regular action and despite having more possession, Leeds were outshot by the R's and ultimately lost 2-1.

Rangers have one of if not the worst Third Round record of any club in the country so my daughter got to witness a bit of history - it's the first time we've won an FA Cup tie without needing a replay since 1997!

I've now got a week off so will be looking forward to taking in Harrow Borough's next game at Met Police on Tuesday night and possibly their trip to Beaconsfield Town on Saturday too but we'll see what happens.

Finally, thanks again to all those who have donated to TLFG's coffee drinking fund over the last few months. I really appreciate it and could well be dipping in tomorrow given it's approaching 2am again as I write this.

As always, have a great week and enjoy your football watching.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include action in the Premier League, EFL and most of our local non-league competitions. There are also some eye-catching U23 matches and FA Trophy games.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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

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

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



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



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

Monday 7 January

Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @7pm - the biggest game of the day actually takes place outside London at Stevenage's ground where the U23 sides of two of the biggest clubs in the land do battle. Tickets are £5 for adults and can be bought in advance

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Tuesday 8 January

Carabao Cup Semi-Final First Leg
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea @8pm - with nine wins between them, two of the most successful clubs in this competition face each other for a place in next month's final at Wembley. Sadly, this match is being played at the national stadium too so the 'big final' experience is somewhat cheapened again. Both sides made smooth progress in the FA Cup over the weekend and arrive in pretty similar form so it should be close. If you are on Tottenham's database, then you can buy one of the few remaining tickets

National League
Bromley v Wrexham @745pm - if you can't make it to that then your next best option is this fifth-tier match where one of last season's FA Trophy finalists play host to one of the NL title contenders

Middlesex Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Wealdstone v Brentford B @745pm - I've regularly said how much I've wanted to see London's pro clubs enter development sides in the local county cups (as they used to do in the past) and it's been very gratifying to see Brentford join the small list of teams that have. After beating Combined Counties League side CB Hounslow United in the last round, they now travel to Grosvenor Vale for what should be a somewhat tougher test against the sixth-tier Stones

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South
Metropolitan Police v Harrow Borough @745pm - two of the division's top five meet for the second time in three days thanks to the postponement of this match earlier in the season. On Saturday the sides produced a seven-goal thriller which Harrow edged 4-3. Borough matches have now produced more goals than that of any other club in the top seven tiers so far this season - a whopping 106 which is an average of 4.6 goals per game. To their credit, the Met have also been incredibly impressive this season. Only three points behind Harrow with games in hand and having enjoyed a run to the First Round of the FA Cup where they ran giantkillers Newport County pretty close, it's been a good few months at Imber Court. Despite all this success both sides struggle to draw crowds so get yourself down to Thames Ditton on Tuesday for what will hopefully be another cracker - I fully intend to be there

Bostik League South Central
Chipstead v Hayes & Yeading United @745pm - when it comes to high scoring teams, west London seems to be the place to be as Harrow's near neighbours H&YU are leading the way when it comes to goals scored. With 71 goals from just 17 games, no-one in the top eight tiers is even close with the seemingly free-scoring Manchester City only managing 56 from their 21 league games this season. Midtable Chipstead come into this on the back of a 3-0 loss to Hayes's title rivals Bracknell and it doesn't look like getting any easier here

Thurlow Nunn League Division 1 South
Hashtag United v Wormley Rovers @745pm - Coles Park seems to be a charmed place this season with both its clubs currently topping their respective divisions. While Haringey Borough continue to impress at the top of the Bostik League, three divisions below it is Hashtag who are taking the plaudits. The side set up by YouTuber Spencer Owen are only in their first season as a competitive non-league club but they're two points clear, getting fine crowds for the tenth tier and should win this one too

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Wednesday 9 January

Checkatrade Trophy Third Round
Chelsea U21 v Peterborough United @7pm - formerly a competition reserved for League One and League Two clubs, development sides from some of the country's bigger teams now enter too. This has got many people's backs up and support for it has waned. This season's competition is now down to its last 16 clubs with Chelsea one of only three development sides left in. League One play-off contenders Peterborough might have higher priorities than this match right now so might not bring a hugely strong team but what do I know? Whatever the case, this match represents a great chance to see a match at Stamford Bridge for only £5

FA Continental Tyres Cup
This women's competition is still in its group stage at the moment. There are two games in London on Wednesday night featuring four of the top five clubs in the country with current Super League leaders Arsenal hosting fourth-placed Birmingham City at Boreham Wood and last season's double winners Chelsea taking on Reading at AFC Wimbledon - both games kick-off at 730pm

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Friday 11 January

Professional Development League

Watford v Colchester United @3pm - end your week/start your weekend with a trip to Summers Lane where the Hornets take on the U's at Wingate & Finchley's ground

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Saturday 12 January

Premier League
West Ham United v Arsenal @1230pm - the day's top-flight action gets underway at lunchtime with this intriguing derby at the London Stadium. On paper the Gunners should win but I always think West Ham have a chance and will rattle the north London outfit. I don't know why I think this as their recent record against Arsenal is dismal with only one win from their last 23 meetings in all competitions. A lot will depend on how 'up for it' West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic is and whether he's fit - on his day he can be an incredible threat to any defence
Crystal Palace v Watford @3pm - next up we have another derby but this time way down in SE25. Both sides saw off lower league opposition in the FA Cup over the weekend and return to the bread and butter of league football here. Palace have only lost one of their last five, a run which includes that spectacular away win at Manchester City, to move six points clear of the relegation zone. Watford are on a similar run of form and have been better overall this season so should start as marginal favourites
Chelsea v Newcastle United @530pm - the day is brought to a close with this teatime game at Stamford Bridge where former Blues boss Rafael Benitez pays a visit with his Magpies team. Although fighting to avoid the drop, they have one of the best away records of any side in the bottom half with only three defeats from 10 games this season. Chelsea have at times struggled to break teams down (they are the lowest scorers in the top six) so this could be a bit of a grind


Championship
Brentford v Stoke City @3pm - following the departure of manager Dean Smith to Aston Villa, the Bees' fortunes declined rapidly but it seems new boss Thomas Frank is gradually shoring things up and they are now unbeaten in five. The Potters ended their 10-year-stay in the Premier League in May and seem to be struggling to adapt to life back in the second tier. Four games without a win, including a draw at Shrewsbury in the FA Cup has put manager Gary Rowett under some pressure so to say they need a win would be an understatement
Millwall v Blackburn Rovers @530pm - the Lions were struggling going into Christmas but have had the festive period of dreams with four wins out of four in the league and cup. As a result they are now six points clear of the relegation zone and in the hat for the Fourth Round of the FA Cup - good times! Rovers are in midtable and showing signs of emerging from a recent bad run with a win over West Brom and a draw at Newcastle in the cup

FA Trophy Second Round
This competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley in May is down to its last 32. There are two ties in London on Saturday with National League Barnet entertaining Dorchester Town from two levels below them and Bostik League Carshalton Athletic are also at home to Salisbury. The winners of each tie will get to bank a cheque for £7,000.

National League South
Dartford v St Albans City @3pm - unbeaten in five, City have surged up the table in recent weeks and sit just one point and one place outside the play-off zone. Their latest win took them above the Darts who have fallen out of the top seven after winning only two of their last five
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - these two TLFG sides both made it to play-off finals last season so are used to winning. This season has been a bit of a shock to the system with Hampton unable to recapture their form under new boss Gary McCann and the Hamlet finding the step up to this level something of a challenge. Both are keeping their heads above water and should avoid the drop but with only one win between them in their last five games, they're not out of the woods yet

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South
Metropoliatan Police v Hendon @3pm - if it goes really well for the Met against Harrow on Tuesday, they could come into this game as the top London club in this league. Hendon were right up there among the title contenders earlier in the season but they've lost their way of late and are now down in tenth and will struggle to make the play-offs if they don't start putting some wins together soon

Bostik League South Central
Tooting & Mitcham United v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - I've said all I need to say about H&YU above so you'll know by now that the Terrors have a tough afternoon coming up. However, Tooting aren't doing too badly themselves at the moment with a five-game unbeaten run lifting them into the top seven. Although firmly in contention for a play-off spot, they would appear to be still some way off the levels achieved by their west London opponents and could see that run end here

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Hanworth Villa v Chertsey Town @3pm - the visitors continue to be the team to watch at this level. With only one league defeat they currently top the division and only saw Sutton Common draw level with them on Saturday because they were busy making it through to the last 16 of the FA Vase. Hanworth are having a disappointing season and should be beaten here

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Hadley v Harpenden Town @3pm - another team to keep your eye on in the ninth tier are Hadley who could go top of the SSML if they see off struggling Harpenden

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Welling Town v Stansfeld @3pm - the Boots are new to this level but have pretty much led from the off. With only three defeats this season they are currently seven points clear. The visitors are having a reasonable season down in seventh but pretty much represent the best of the rest such is the buffer between them and the top clubs

Thurlow Nunn League Division 1 South
Hashtag United v Frenford @3pm - in a very similar match to the one above, first plays seventh. Unlike midweek, Hashtag's opponents are from the London area so there should be a bigger crowd

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Sunday 13 January

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United @430pm - the biggest match of the week is saved until last when two Titans of the top flight go head-to-head at Wembley in a game that could be pivotal to both their seasons. With their eyes still just about on the title, Spurs really must win this or they could end the weekend nine points off the pace. For United, back in sixth, their hopes of a top-four finish could effectively be ended with a loss too. If you are on Tottenham's database then you'll be able to get a ticket for this pretty easily as they're opening up the whole stadium and there appear to be plenty left

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @12pm - if you're going to the game above then you could easily combine it with this U23 game earlier in the day. It's being played at Dagenham & Redbridge which is a bit of a schlep from Wembley but you'll still have more than enough time to make it between the two

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Chelsea @1230pm - if you can't be bothered going all the way over to Dagenham then this blockbuster women's game at Boreham Wood is much closer to Wembley and again you'll have ample time to get between the two. This match should be more than worth watching on its own and should provide a great introduction to women's football if you never been to a game before


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.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

TLFG: 24 December 2018 - 6 January 2019

Welcome one and all to TLFG's Christmas and New Year Special.

Apologies for the late publication again but two young kids, a wife with shingles, an annoying cold of my own and shift work take up quite a bit of time.

This annual bumper edition covers the next two weeks taking you all the way through to FA Cup Third Round weekend on 5-6 January.

This time of year is absolutely jam packed with games many of which are big local derbies.

At non-league level there does seem to be quite a bit less action, especially on Boxing Day and New Year's Day but there's still plenty to entertain you including the return of Dulwich Hamlet to Champion Hill.

On Boxing Day it should be possible to do a 'groundhop triple' and see three games but it will depend largely on whether you can get your hands on a ticket for Watford v Chelsea in the evening.

Failing that, doing a 'double' should be very easy. With games kicking off at 1100, 1200 and 1230 getting to a 3pm game shouldn't be any trouble at all.

There's a nice west London combo of Fulham v Wolves and QPR v Ipswich - tickets are still available for both.

TRAVEL ADVISORY
One thing to bear in mind over the Christmas and New Year period is how much public transport will be available.

The London Underground will be running a decent amount of trains and there will be plenty of buses but National Rail services shut down completely on Boxing Day.

As a result, going by rail to the games at Crystal Palace and AFC Wimbledon will be tricky as will some of the bigger non-league games at Boreham Wood, Dulwich Hamlet and Sutton United.

There will also be an impact on journeys to watch Watford and Millwall but there are Tube stations within a 15-20 minute walk of both stadiums.

As a general rule, always double check your travel plans before setting out as things can change quite a bit at this time of year.

Lastly, many thanks this week to Will O and Chris T for their donations to TLFG's coffee drinking fund - it's much appreciated as I work on this well into the night.

Have a great festive period and enjoy your football watching.


THE WEEKS AHEAD
The highlights of the next two weeks include action in the Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, FA Vase and most of our local non-league competitions. There are also some eye-catching U23 matches.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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

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

MATCH MAP 24-28 DECEMBER
Boxing Day fixtures - magenta pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



MATCH MAP 29-30 DECEMBER
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




MATCH MAP 31 DECEMBER-4 JANUARY
New Year's Day fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



MATCH MAP 5-6 JANUARY
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.

Wednesday 26 December



Premier League

Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers @1230pm - the Cottagers picked up a useful point at Newcastle on Saturday but remained bottom. Wolves saw their recent good run ended by league leaders Liverpool on Friday but stayed in the top 10. It's going to be tough for Fulham but you'd expect them to be eyeing this one to pick up something
Crystal Palace v Cardiff City @3pm - the Eagles were the stars of the weekend with their win at Manchester City being described by many as the shock of the season so far. The victory lifted them six points clear of the relegation zone and a win here against fellow strugglers Cardiff could give them some real breathing space
Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - there's a top eight clash at Wembley to look forward to on Wednesday. After a brief wobble, the Cherries got back to winning ways against Brighton on Saturday whilst Spurs thrashed Everton on Sunday. Bournemouth have only ever played Tottenham six times in the league, all of them since coming up in 2015, and they have a pretty poor record of one draw, five defeats, scored two and conceded 17 - there looks like being only one winner
Watford v Chelsea @730pm - it's a bumper day of top flight football in London on Boxing Day with this derby concluding proceedings. The Hornets' win at West Ham over the weekend moved them into the top seven meaning this is arguably the game of the day. The Blues have totally dominated the head-to-head in this fixture in recent years but got stuffed 4-1 at Vicarage Road last season. With two defeats from five, Chelsea are also far from fallible so this could be close

Championship
Millwall v Reading @3pm - there's a big relegation six-pointer at The Den between two sides in the bottom four. Neither side have won in their last five. The Royals appointed Portuguese manager Jose Gomes on Saturday so they'll no doubt be looking to impress in his first full game in charge. When the sides last met in October, Reading won 3-1
Queens Park Rangers v Ipswich Town @3pm - Rangers head into Christmas in high spirits after ending their 84-year-wait for an away win at Nottingham Forest. Captain Toni Leistner came up with the only goal to end the hoodoo on Saturday and lift QPR into the top 10. Although bottom, Ipswich have picked up four points from their last two games and are improving under Paul Lambert and could be dangerous

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Plymouth Argyle @3pm - the Dons enjoyed a crucial win over play-off challengers Wycombe on Saturday but stayed rooted to the foot of the table. The visit of the Pilgrims is an even bigger game as they're right down there with Wimbledon and a win would lift them off the bottom and could even take them out of the relegation zone. Plymouth are also one of the biggest sides in the division and will bring sizeable support

National League
Boreham Wood v Barnet @1pm - some of the best derbies of the day are to be found at non-league level with the NL fixture computer throwing up some real crackers. These two north London clubs whose grounds are just four miles apart have actually never played each other in a league game. The Wood have climbed rapidly up the divisions over the last few years - a huge achievement for what is still a relatively small club. Barnet have regularly yo-yoed between the fourth and fifth tiers and will arrive at Meadow Park two points and two places below The Wood
Dagenham & Redbridge v Leyton Orient @1pm - the game of the day at this level must be this east London derby at Victoria Road. The vast majority of games between these two took place in League One and League Two as both were until recently EFL sides. Although still way down the table, the Daggers will fancy their chances against the league leaders because they're in better form.With 13 points from their last five matches, they should be more than a match for anyone
Sutton United v Bromley @3pm - we've got derbies in the north and east and this one sees the south covered too. The sides only met last weekend in the FA Trophy (Bromley won 2-1) and will play again on New Year's Day. In the league, Sutton are challenging for promotion again whilst the Ravens were struggling but got a much needed win over Maidenhead on Saturday to push clear of the bottom four

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Eastbourne Borough @3pm - one of the biggest stories of the day will be written in SE22 where Dulwich make their return to Champion Hill after nearly a year in exile. Forced out by the owners of the ground early last year, the Hamlet have been groundsharing at Tooting & Mitcham since. With a deal now done, Gavin Rose's side head back to the famous old ground which once hosted Olympic football in 1948. They'll be hoping the familiar surroundings will improve their performance on the pitch as they're winless in five. Eastbourne aren't doing much better so could be there for the taking. If you do want to go, 400 tickets are left and they'll be on sale from 12pm - first come, first served
Wealdstone v Slough Town @1pm - there's a midtable clash between two sides on the west side of town. Slough aren't a London club but reside just beyond the M25 to the north of Windsor so don't have to travel far. The sides have been averaging crowds of around 900 this season so there should be a decent turnout for this one.
Welling United v Dartford @1pm - a sizeable crowd is pretty much guaranteed at Park View Road where we have a proper south-east London derby. Not only this but both sides are in the top six and pushing hard for promotion

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Hendon @1pm - once you drop below the sixth tier, the amount of matches taking place tails off sharply which from memory is a change from previous years. The pick of the games in the seventh tier is this north-west London derby between two sides who were groundsharing until 2016. At the time of writing both are in the top seven and playing some great stuff. You should also consider this one as matches between the two often produce a ridiculous amount of goals - the clubs have played eight times in all competitions since Boxing Day 2015, scoring 45 times

Bostik League North
Grays Athletic v Aveley @1pm - the match of the day in the eighth tier is between these two Essex rivals who groundshare. Aveley's new Parkside ground has received a number of plaudits since opening so is well worth checking out. The two are also in the top six

Thurlow Nunn Division 1 South
Fire United v Lopes Tavares @11am - there's nothing at all in the ninth tier but there are a couple of early kick-offs in this division allowing you to do a good bit of groundhopping. These two are struggling near the foot of the table and groundshare so there's plenty at stake

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Thursday 27 December

A  bit further afield
Southampton v West Ham United @745pm - there's nothing on in London on Thursday but at the time of writing there were a handful of tickets left for this game down in Hampshire. Bear in mind that if you're thinking of going by train, there's a strike on South Western Railway that day which means there will be a reduced service on the most direct line to Southampton and there are only two trains back after the game

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Friday 28 December

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Sporting Club Thamesmead v Welling Town @745pm - there's a groundshare derby in south-east London on Friday night where 'visitors' Welling are currently top of the division

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Saturday 29 December

Premier League

Fulham v Huddersfield Town @3pm - as the year approaches it's end, Craven Cottage prepares to host one of its biggest games of the year. These two are currently the bottom two in the division and fighting for their lives
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - up at Wembley Spurs will be looking to extend their winning run to five matches. Wolves are no mugs and are eyeing a top six place themselves - with the national stadium limited to a 51,000 capacity for Tottenham games, this one has already sold out
Watford v Newcastle United @3pm - a couple of wins have put the Hornets back into the top seven and they should start as favourites here as Newcastle aren't in great form and have only won on two of their last 10 visits

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Reading @3pm - QPR's last home game of the year sees them take on the Royals in the battle for hooped supremacy. Despite being fairly local rivals, the biggest bone of contention between fans is who are the real hoops as both wear an almost identical kit. On paper Rangers should win but Reading have a new manager in post so they might be a bit better than of late
Millwall v Nottingham Forest @3pm - if the Lions can beat Reading on Boxing Day, then another three points here could put them well clear of the relegation zone. However, Forest are pushing for a play-off place and should be tough opponents

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Blackpool @3pm - after their huge Boxing Day game against fellow strugglers Plymouth, the Dons welcome promotion chasing Blackpool. Although the Lancashire club need the points to keep up with the top six, they may well have half an eye on their huge FA Cup clash against Arsenal next weekend

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Barnet @3pm - of the three games in this division in London on Saturday, this derby is definitely the best on offer. After their terrible start to the season, the Daggers are now up in midtable and have become the form team of the division in the process. The Bees are on level points so hopefully they should put on a good show

National League South
Welling United v Concord Rangers @3pm - at the time of writing these two are both in the top five so this Kent v Essex clash should be well worth a watch
Dulwich Hamlet v Slough Town @3pm - if you miss out on the Hamlet's homecoming on Wednesday then this match should also see a big crowd

Bostik League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Merstham @3pm - after just coming up from the eighth tier, Haringey have become the surprise package of the season and find themselves five points clear at the top at Christmas after a sensational run. Merstham are having a decent campaign and could make the play-offs themselves

Bostik League South Central
Hanwell Town v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - at Reynolds Field the Magpies have a local derby to enjoy against the leaders who have scored a whopping 60 goals in just 15 games!


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Sunday 30 December

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Chelsea @12pm - there's a cracking London derby in the offing at Selhurst Park on Sunday lunchtime which should have a bearing on both ends of the table

Bostik League South Central
Phoenix Sports v VCD Athletic @2pm - tickets for the match above will be next to impossible to find but this non-league option should make a reasonable alternative for the hardened football addicts among you. These sides play at grounds which lie a stone's throw apart - a derby it most definitely is

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Tuesday 1 January

Premier League
Arsenal v Fulham @3pm - the new year begins with a London derby at the Emirates where the hosts should pick up a fairly comfortable three points but you never know...

Championship
Brentford v Norwich City @3pm - the Bees are struggling at the moment and it won't get any easier as the title chasing Canaries pay a visit to Griffin Park

League One
Charlton Athletic v Walsall @3pm - the Addicks will be looking to crack into the top two over the Christmas period and three points should be achievable against the midtable Saddlers

National League
All the great derbies of Boxing Day are reversed on New Year's Day so it should be a cracking afternoon of action in the NL with Barnet v Boreham Wood, Bromley v Sutton United and Leyton Orient v Dagenham & Redbridge

National League South
It's the same in the sixth tier where we get to see Dartford host Welling United and Hampton & Richmond & Borough take on title contenders Woking - however, the Cards host Watford in the FA Cup at the weekend so might be tempted to rest a few players

Bostik League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Haringey Borough @3pm - there's a north London derby at Summers Lane where Wingate welcome the league leaders

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Wednesday 2 January

Premier League
Chelsea v Southampton @745pm - the Blues welcome the rapidly improving Saints to Stamford Bridge for a game they must win to keep their place in the top four
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion @745pm - the game above is sold out but this midtable clash at the London Stadium seems to have plenty of availability

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Friday 4 January

Premier League 2
Fulham v Middlesbrough @1pm - if you're around all day then you could kick things off with this U23 match at lunchtime

Essex Senior League
Barkingside v Tower Hamlets @745pm - and you could finish it off with this ESL game in Ilford between two east London clubs

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Saturday 5 January

FA Cup Third Round
The third round marks a hugely important stage in this famous old cup competition as it sees all the Championship and Premier League clubs enter the draw. On paper there are some pretty spectacular mismatches but consequently the chances of getting cheap tickets improve massively with most ties having plenty of availability. The games at Chelsea, Crystal Palace, West Ham United and Brentford are all on sale to non-members so fill your boots!

League One
Charlton Athletic v Sunderland @3pm - if the cup's not your thing, then this huge game between two former Premier League teams who are both going for promotion may well float your boat instead

National League
Leyton Orient v Salford City @3pm - there's not much doubt about the big game of the day at this level as the top two, at the time of writing, do battle at Brisbane Road

National League South
Wealdstone v Dartford @3pm - there should be a healthy crowd at Grosvenor Vale as the Stones welcome these promotion hopefuls from Kent

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Metropolitan Police @3pm - at the time of writing these two are both in the top five which is quite an achievement given the clubs' relatively small fanbases. Consequently there might not big a big turnout for this but the football should be decent enough

FA Vase Fourth Round
This national knockout competition for clubs in the ninth to eleventh tiers is down to its last 32 and three London clubs are still involved. The final is at Wembley in May so it's starting to get pretty serious
Chertsey Town v AFC St Austell @3pm - although the draw is still regionalised along north and south lines at this stage, Cornish club St Austell still have a lengthy journey ahead of them. Currently fourth in the South West Peninsula League, they actually play a level below Chertsey who top the Combined Counties League so they should start as favourites
Cray Valley PM v Baffins Milton Rovers @3pm - the hosts are among the title contenders in the Southern Counties East League at the moment and play a team from Portsmouth of a very similar ranking in the parallel Wessex League. The fourth round is also the furthest CVPM have ever been in this prestigious competition

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Millwall Lionesses @730pm - with Bromley playing a National League game on the same pitch at 3pm, this women's derby match a couple of hours later means you can watch two games at Hayes Lane on Saturday. In fact you should be able to combine it with a whole host of other matches if you're looking for a 'double'

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Sunday 6 January

FA Cup Third Round
As above, there are another reasonable selection of ties on Sunday with reduced-price tickets available for all of them. If you've never been to Fulham, Millwall or QPR, now's your chance

Bostik League South East
Cray Wanderers v Three Bridges @3pm - there also a non-league option too as Cray, the oldest club in London, will look to beat opponents from Sussex and move even further clear at the top

FA Women's Super League
There are a number of women's games in London on Sunday with the pick of the fixtures being the derby between West Ham United and current league leaders Arsenal at 1230pm


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, 16 December 2018

TLFG: 17-23 December 2018

Welcome everyone to the latest edition of TLFG and the final one before next week's Christmas/New Year Special which is going to keep me busy over the next few days.

Once again I've been confined to barracks so haven't seen anything live but it's been a great week for the teams I follow.

QPR ended their four-game winless run with a very impressive 2-1 win over Middlesbrough whilst Harrow Borough bounced back from their 7-0 mauling at Taunton Town (three players were sent off) with a 9-3 (!) win at North Greenford in the cup and a 3-0 win over Merthyr Town. The visiting Welsh side also organised a toy collection for children affected by the Grenfell Tower fire which Harrow supporters also took part in so every credit to all those involved.

So what else has been happening in the world of London football?


Our friends at 'Two Men...' paid a visit to The Hive to watch Barnet

In the Premier League, the charge is still being led by Spurs who enjoyed a narrow win over Burnley but they're being closely followed by Chelsea and Arsenal.

In fact it was a great weekend for the remainder of London's top flight clubs with all of them bar Fulham winning.

Things are looking pretty grim for the Cottagers. They enjoyed a victory soon after Claudio Ranieri's arrival but have now failed to win in four. Although bottom, three points would put them right back in contention to stay up so it's not a lost cause just yet.

In the EFL, League One side Charlton are the only one of our local clubs who appear to be mounting a serious promotion challenge. QPR have an outside chance in the Championship whilst Brentford, Millwall and AFC Wimbledon all seem to have long tough winters ahead of them.

Since I last wrote, tickets for Dulwich Hamlet's first game back at Champion Hill on Boxing Day against Eastbourne Borough have gone on sale.

The online allocation for this match appear to have sold out already but some are still available for the following game against Slough on 29 December. I think it's usually the policy of the club to hold some tickets back for sale on the day so getting to the Boxing Day game might still be possible but check with the authorities at Dulwich to make sure.

Lastly this week it was great to be able to help out Gregor from Austria who was looking for a game today (Sunday).

There was nothing on in London but I managed to find out that tickets were available for Southampton v Arsenal and gave him some travel advice.

It all worked out well and he got to see a cracking game too. If you're prepared to travel that bit further but aren't sure about the logistics then get in touch.

Given the highly interrupted sleep I'm getting at the moment, TLFG's coffee drinking fund is coming in very handy during my working days so thanks again to those of you who have donated.

As always, have a great week and enjoy your football watching.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include action in the Premier League, EFL and most of our local non-league competitions. There are also some eye-catching U23 matches and FA Youth Cup games.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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

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

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



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



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

Monday 17 December

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers @7pm - the Gunners' U23 side begin the week by playing Blackburn at Boreham Wood's ground. Freddie Ljungberg's team are struggling for wins at the moment so will want to kick-start their season here

FA Youth Cup Third Round
Millwall v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - there's an eye-catching London derby in the cup for U18 sides. The match is being played at The Den and adult tickets are £5

Bostik League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Carshalton Athletic @745pm - since narrowly losing to AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup, Haringey have gone on a sensational eight game winning run which has seen them become joint league leaders with Lewes and Dorking Wanderers. When I started writing this blog, Boro were playing two levels below this in front of tiny crowds. Two promotions later, with a 4G pitch installed and the club giving out free season tickets, they really are a club to keep an eye on. Carshalton got promoted alongside Haringey last season and haven't made quite the same impact but are more than holding their own

Bostik League North Division
Aveley v Great Wakering Rovers @745pm - Essex clubs are dominating this division at the moment with eight of the top 10 coming from the county. The Millers will move level on points with leaders Bowers & Pitsea if they beat Great Wakering who are struggling and should be beaten

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Sutton Common Rovers v AFC Hayes @745pm - most of the talk in this division has been about Chertsey Town who have led from the off and have only lost one game. However, SCR have kept in touch and will be only a point behind if they beat Hayes who are fighting to avoid the drop

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Tuesday 18 December

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Beaconsfield Town @745pm - two of the most entertaining teams in the division do battle at Earlsmead on Tuesday night in this re-arranged fixture. Harrow, by their usually modest standards, are enjoying a fantastic season following their move over from the parallel Bostik League and have the second highest goals per game ratio in the division. They've played four times over the last two weeks winning three, losing one, scoring 17 and conceding 10. Beaconsfield won the division below this last season and have continued to impress. Although just behind Harrow in eighth, they've had a great FA Trophy run which only ended on Saturday at National League leaders Leyton Orient - it could be a cracker

Bostik League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Bishop's Stortford @745pm - Wingate have had a rocky time of late but recorded an impressive 2-0 win over Dulwich Hamlet in the FA Trophy on Saturday which few expected. Bishop's Stortford are well in the hunt for a play-off place and have former QPR, Norwich and Reading striker Jamie Cureton in their squad who despite being 43 is still banging them in for fun and is top scorer in the division

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Colliers Wood United v Chertsey Town @3pm - midtable CWU entertain the league leaders who could extend their lead at the top to as much as seven points here if Sutton Common come unstuck on Monday

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Edgware Town v Wembley @3pm - plodding along nicely in midtable, it looks like being a pretty forgettable season for the hosts but this derby against near neighbours Wembley should be worth getting up for. The Lions are just above the relegation zone so will be thankful for any points gleaned here

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Wednesday 19 December

Carabao Cup Quarter-Finals
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @745pm - given the amount of reserve sides that Premier League clubs tend to field in this competition, the organisers will be pretty happy that four of the country's biggest six clubs are still in it. By far and away the tie of the round, these two old rivals have been drawn together four times since 2007 with some memorable games ensuing. There's little between them in the league at the moment with Arsenal beating Spurs 4-2 at the Emirates two weeks ago. Given the high security which always surrounds this fixture, any remaining tickets are available to members only
Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth @745pm - in the other match of the night we have a repeat of last season's tie which also took place just before Christmas. Since making it up to the Premier League in 2015, the Cherries have won on two of their four visits to Stamford Bridge and can't be underestimated. The Blues have won this cup five times and could well make it a sixth this season

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Friday 21 December

Friendly

Brentford B v Queens Park Rangers U23 @12pm - these two development sides meet for a west London derby at the Bees' training ground next to the picturesque National Trust property Osterley House which you could also visit if you've not been to the area before. Games at this venue are usually open to the public and free to get into but make sure you check all the details before you set off

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Saturday 22 December

Premier League
Arsenal v Burnley @1230pm - both sides suffered disappointing defeats over the weekend. The Gunners rather surprisingly lost 3-2 at struggling Southampton on Sunday whilst the Clarets were a little unlucky to be undone by an injury-time goal by Spurs at Wembley. Arsenal will still start as overwhelming favourites because they've won their last eight games against Burnley with the Lancashire club not having won at Arsenal since 1974
Chelsea v Leicester City @3pm - after a couple of iffy results, the Blues have turned things around with a couple of very tidy wins. They should pick up another one here as the Foxes have managed only one victory against the west Londoners in their last 16 attempts and that, unsurprisingly, came during their title winning season
West Ham United v Watford @3pm - tickets for both of the above will be hard to get without membership but the good news is that plenty appear to be on general sale for what should be a decent derby. The Hammers are on a great four-game winning streak and are now up into the top half. The Hornets beat Cardiff on Saturday to remain on level points with West Ham so this should be close

Championship
Brentford v Bolton Wanderers @3pm - as we approach the half-way point of the season this is taking on the look of a relegation six-pointer. Both are on a poor run of form and lost important games on Saturday. The Bees are unbeaten in five against Bolton so should start as marginal favourites

League One
Charlton Athletic v Gillingham @3pm - despite all the off-field problems at The Valley, Charlton keep on winning - the derby victory over AFC Wimbledon kept them in the top five. Gillingham are coasting along in midtable but this is worth watching as this is effectively derby given the Gills location in nearby Kent

National League
Leyton Orient v Chesterfield @3pm - the O's are having one of their best seasons in years. Top of the league and still in the FA Trophy, the east Londoners are on course for a memorable double. Chesterfield fell out of the EFL last season and started really well under new boss Martin Allen but it's all gone wrong since then and they're just above the relegation zone. However, they are unbeaten in five and might not be the pushovers the table suggests

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Torquay United @3pm - the Beavers might be down in 13th but they're only three points adrift of the play-off places such is the tightness of the table. Torquay got relegated to this level last season and started a bit slowly but they're in full flow now and with five wins on the bounce, they're top

Bostik League Premier Division
Corinthian Casuals v Kingstonian @3pm - in my opinion the game of the day at this level is the Kingston derby. From the beginning of this season the clubs began groundsharing at Casuals' King George's Arena. Both made a pretty poor start to the campaign but both have picked up considerably and are in the top 10 at the time of writing. The clubs are also holding a food and clothes collection for a local homeless charity so bring an item

Bostik League South Central
Hayes & Yeading United v Bedfont Sports @3pm - Paul Hughes is doing a fine job at Beaconsfield Road and a win in this derby could well put them top. Even if they don't, they have three games in hand on leaders Marlow and are only a point behind

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Corinthian @3pm - the game of the day in the ninth tier sees second take on third in the SCEFL. If leaders Fisher slip up at Erith Town then Beckenham could retake the top spot they surrendered earlier in the season

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Harefield United v Broadfields United @3pm - in the 10th tier there shouldn't be too many games better than this. The two are currently first and second in the table and they groundshare - it should be a pre-Christmas cracker!

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Sunday 23 December

Bostik League South East
Cray Wanderers v Sittingbourne @3pm - the hosts have gone three games without a win but are still eight points clear at the top. Sittingbourne ended a worrying losing streak with a solid 4-1 win over Sevenoaks on Saturday


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