Monday, 14 October 2019

TLFG: 14-20 October 2019

And relax - Non-League Day (NLD) is over for another year. Phew!

The 10th instalment of the event which tries to promote semi-professional and amateur football around the country was quite a challenge to deliver but there were some new personal highs and some unpleasant surprises.

As with all NLD campaigns, you prepare for months but then as the day approaches nothing seems to be happening and you think it's going to be a disaster.

But then, one by one clubs start announcing their plans, media outlets begin asking for interviews and it all falls into place with about 48 hours to go.

Seeing the NLD logo on Football Focus was a very special moment for me
The biggest challenge occurred just over a week before when my web developer announced that traffic to our website was so high that we'd breached Google Maps' free use limit and they suddenly wanted over £200 just for September. On Wednesday, the bill for the first few days of October was already at £185 so I had to make the decision to suspend the match finder - the most crucial part of our website.

I took it offline until Friday morning while I took stock of my finances and my developer adjusted the map settings to make things less costly and then relaunched it and hoped for the best.

With the Premier League sending out a promotional email to over 300,000 UK subscribers and releasing several video packages on social media and many Premier League and EFL clubs doing similar our site took a battering!

This spiked even further on the day itself when BBC coverage of the event began at 0745 with an MOTD Kickabout NLD Special on CBBC.

My personal highlight of the day came at noon when Football Focus came on.

This show is the same age as me and I've watched it all my life so to see a large chunk of the programme dedicated to NLD and to have our logo up on the screen behind the presenters was a very special moment.

A further plug for our website during the show saw my Google Maps costs for this campaign come in at around £650 - I've never spent a penny on this service in the previous nine years so it shows you quite what a surge of interest there was.

With all that out of the way, I made my way with friends and family out to the suburbs to watch Harrow Borough play Truro City.

Despite the poor weather, the pitch held up well and the Cornish side didn't have a wasted journey.

The chips at Harrow were better than the team's performance
Sadly the game was pretty unspectacular, in part because of the conditions and Harrow lost 2-1 despite a very late rally that nearly saw them grab a draw.

During the game I was lucky enough to catch up with non-league legend David Bauckham who advised us during the early years of NLD.

He's most famous for producing some fantastic photographic essays about his trips to clubs up and down the land and he made a first trip to Harrow Borough to catch up with me.

He took some great pictures and the essay will follow soon on his website.

Elsewhere, there were tales of some enormous crowds.

Most notably, our friends at Dulwich Hamlet crammed in nearly 3,000 again and they did it without any ticket price reductions which was incredibly impressive.

In the 11th tier, Clapton CFC attracted over 900 to their match against Stonewall which was also pretty spectacular.

Well I think that's about it from me - I took unpaid leave today to recover and have time to produce this as the football never stops!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include the return of the Premier League and Championship after the international break and a range of exciting looking ties in the FA Cup. We also have plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are over 80 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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 October

Professional Development League
Crystal Palace v Watford @1pm - Monday is usually U23 day and there is a bit of action at that level to get the week underway. The match is at Crystal Palace's training ground and it's free to get in - enter via the cricket ground on Worsley Bridge Road

SCEFL Challenge Cup First Round
SC Thamesmead v Erith Town @745pm - the hosts lost heavily at home to Ascot in the FA Vase on Friday so will want to bounce back with a much more positive result here. However, Erith play in the division above so it could be tough again
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Tuesday 15 October

Premier League International Cup
Monaco v Feyenoord @7pm - the most exotic game of the week takes place in the unlikely environs of Dagenham where U23 sides from these two big European clubs meet at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. There aren't many more details available at the moment but I'm sure it won't be more than a fiver to get in

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Hendon @745pm - these two local rivals meet for the second time in 10 days with the visitors hoping to get revenge for their 5-4 loss in the FA Cup. Both sides came unstuck on NLD and will hoping for improvement here. However, Hayes will no doubt have an eye on their big FA Cup tie at the weekend

Velocity Trophy
VCD Athletic v Phoenix Sports @745pm - talking of local rivals, these two play at grounds just over 200m apart as the crow flies. Both are also in the top eight of the Isthmian League South East so it's going to be close in pretty much every respect

SCEFL Challenge Cup First Round
AFC Croydon Athletic v Croydon @745pm - there's a theme developing here, yes that's right, another derby! These two don't play quite as close as the sides above but there's still an obvious geographical rivalry. The hosts play a level above and should start as favourites

FA Vase First Round Replay
Beckenham Town v Chatham Town @745pm - the top two in the SCEFL meet in this big cup replay. Although they're both ninth tier teams, I'd watch this over the two games above. The hosts are getting good crowds and there's a decent bit of prize money on offer here

A bit further afield
About 50 miles north of London at Stadium MK, England U21 have a Euro 2021 qualifier against Austria. Adult tickets are £15 but I don't think there are too many left so act fast

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Wednesday 16 October

FA Vase First Round
Westside v Deal Town @745pm - after seeing the initial tie postponed on Sunday because of a waterlogged Chalky Lane pitch, the two sides will have another go on Wednesday. The hosts are making their debut in the 10th tier this season and doing pretty well so they should fancy their chances against Deal who play a level above

ECL Division 1 South
Hackney Wick v Lopes Tavares @745pm - one of the stories of NLD was the adoption of Hackney Wick by Roma. The Italian giants created headlines last year by choosing Scottish club St Anthony's and have decided to make it an annual tradition. Sadly it didn't do the Wickers much good on the pitch as they got thrashed by Oxhey Jets in the FA Vase. Lopes Tavares have been superb in the ECL this season winning all seven games and they should win comfortably here

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Thursday 17 October

Premier League Cup

Crystal Palace v Blackburn Rovers @1pm - your only option on Thursday is this U23 game at lunchtime. The match is being played at Dulwich Hamlet and it's free entry


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Friday 18 October

A bit further afield
There are two decent U23 matches taking place just outside London. Chelsea host Arsenal in what should be a good derby at Aldershot Town whilst Tottenham play Leicester City at Stevenage. Tickets are usually £5 and both kick-off at 7pm
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Saturday 19 October

Premier League
Chelsea v Newcastle United @3pm - with the international break over, there's a full programme of Premier League games to enjoy but if you're not a member you probably won't be able to get a ticket for any of them without paying a fortune. The Blues come into this on the back of four straight wins and should have too much for Newcastle who have been poor not withstanding a win over Man Utd who anyone can probably beat at the moment
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford @3pm - Spurs and Watford are both in a bit of a mess at the moment. After becoming members of the coveted 'top four' club in recent seasons and making the Champions League final last season, to be way down in ninth after eight games is hugely disappointing. Watford have also performed well in recent years, preserving their Premier League status with relative ease and making it to the FA Cup final last season but they're winless from eight and bottom. I doubt this will be a classic but if Tottenham lose, boss Mauricio Pochettino could be in real trouble
Crystal Palace v Manchester City @530pm - the day finishes with what could be a cracker at Selhurst Park. Several TLFG readers have already told me they're coming over for this one and hopefully they won't be disappointed. Roy Hodgson's Palace side have made a fine start and are up in the top six. League champions City have lost two of their last five and are already eight points behind leaders Liverpool and come here knowing that the Eagles were one of the only sides to beat them last season

Championship
Brentford v Millwall @3pm - it's derby day at Griffin Park but like many matches there this season, ticket sales are being restricted to members and people with a previous purchasing history. This is because the ground is small and in its final season so everyone's trying to get a last visit in. As it's Millwall, there's also a security restriction on tickets too. The two are in lower midtable so it should be close
Charlton Athletic v Derby County @3pm - if you're not a member of any of the clubs above, then this is the highest level game that's on general sale to anyone. The Addicks were among the frontrunners but have dropped to 10th. Derby made the play-off final again last season, and lost again. County have had so many near misses since being relegated from the Premier League, it must be really tough being one of their fans. Again fancied to do well, they haven't got going yet and it looks like being another year of disappointment

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth @3pm - after seeing manager Wally Downes suspended on betting charges, the Dons have won their first two games of the season and are slowly climbing the table but are still in the relegation zone. Pompey are one of the biggest sides in the division and as a result, tickets for this aren't available to non-members either!

FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round
Who needs tickets for a league game anyway when you've got a whole load of crucial FA Cup ties to choose from. If you're new to the competition at this stage, this is the final round that the remaining non-league teams have to negotiate to get a place in the hat alongside all the League One and League Two clubs who enter in the next round. The winner of each tie will earn £18,750 in prize money - a significant amount for clubs at this level. 

Bromley v Aldershot Town @3pm - the Ravens are currently second in the National League and are London's top ranked non-league club as a result. Aldershot are having a disappointing season and definitely start as second favourites here. Tickets are cheaper if bought online in advance
Sutton United v Billericay Town @3pm - the U's have had a number of famous FA Cup runs over the years and got all the way to the Fifth Round in 2017 when they lost 2-0 to Arsenal. They begin their campaign against Essex club Billericay who are having problems on and off the pitch at the moment and should be beaten. Tickets are cheaper if bought online in advance
Welling United v Eastleigh @3pm - the Wings find themselves in midtable in the National League South and not in the greatest form. Hampshire club Eastleigh are on a decent unbeaten run and should win. Tickets are £13 on the gate
Haringey Borough v Yeovil Town @3pm - if I was going to choose a game as a neutral I'd probably go for this one. Just over five years ago Haringey were in the Essex Senior League whilst Yeovil were in the Championship some seven divisions apart. Two promotions for Boro and three relegations for Yeovil mean they're now much closer and meeting in a competitive fixture which the hosts could conceivably win. Coles Park is located on White Hart Lane within sight of Tottenham's ground and should be packed. Tickets are on general sale but must be bought in advance and in person from the club - none will be available on the day
Carshalton Athletic v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - there's some more cupset potential at Colston Avenue were one of the Isthmian League promotion contenders host the fifth tier Daggers. Carshalton have been in great form over the last two years and are going well again. The visitors have only won one of their last five so could be vulnerable. Tickets are available on the gate for £10
Whyteleafe v Chippenham Town @3pm - eighth tier Whyteleafe are the lowest ranked TLFG club left in the competition. It's going to be tough against Chippenham as they play two levels above the Leafe but anything's possible in this glorious competition. No particular ticket restrictions appear to be in place which means it's £10 on the gate
Hayes & Yeading United v Poole Town @3pm - there's an all-Southern League tie at the SkyEx Stadium in west London. The hosts know they've got their work cut out as Poole are among the title contenders and it's only this FA Cup run that's keeping them off top spot. Since Hayes and Yeading merged in 2007 the club have only made it to the First Round once where they lost to Wycombe - given they were in the Conference and had a bye to the Fourth Qualifying Round for most of their early years, they haven't had much luck in this competition. Tickets are £10 on the gate
Dartford v Kingstonian @3pm - the Darts have had a rocky start to their NLS campaign but they are improving and should have too much for their Isthmian League opponents. Tickets are £14 on the gate

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Cheshunt @3pm - if the FA Cup's not for you, this derby might appeal instead. Enfield have a game in hand which if won would put them top. The Ambers are new to this level, are still adjusting and will find this pretty tough

Isthmian League North Division
Aveley v Coggeshall Town @3pm - the best match in the eighth tier would appear to be this one at Parkside where two of the top six meet. The visitors are probably most famous for having pop star Olly Murs on their board of directors

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Molesey v Colliers Wood United @3pm - the Moles have responded well to life back in the CCL and are well positioned to mount a challenge for an instant return to the Isthmian League. Visitors Colliers Wood are also right up there and have a game in hand on Molesey so this could have a significant bearing on the title race

ECL Division 1 South
Lopes Tavares v Benfleet @3pm - there isn't really a standout game in the 10th tier so I've picked this one as it could see the hosts extend their 100% record to nine games

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Sunday 20 October

Kent Senior Trophy First Round
Erith & Belvedere v Lordswood @3pm - the only men's game on Sunday sees two midtable SCEFL clubs do battle at Park View Road

FA Women's Super League Cup
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @3pm - also known as the Continental Cup, there are four group games in London on Sunday with this all-Super League derby probably the pick of what's on offer


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 October 2019

TLFG: 7-13 October 2019

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

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

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

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

The 10th Non-League Day takes place on Saturday

Our official charity continues to be Prostate Cancer UK and loads of clubs around the country have signed up to support them.

National League sponsors Vanarama are running another fundraising campaign so hopefully the amount raised will be considerable.

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

All the week's other games will appear on the match maps as usual so have a good look through them to see what else is on but remember it is an international break so the only game taking place in the top four divisions on Saturday is at Brisbane Road where Leyton Orient take on Walsall in League Two.

Other highlights of the midweek programme include the derbies between AFC Wimbledon and Leyton Orient in the EFL Trophy and Barnet and Bromley in the National League. Elsewhere Wealdstone have a crucial FA Cup replay against Bristol Manor Farm.

Towards the end of the week there are some decent U23 games at clubs' main stadiums and there's also a packed programme of women's matches over the weekend including the fixture between Charlton Athletic and Aston Villa at The Valley.

I plan to be at Harrow Borough on Non-League Day 
As for Non-League Day itself there's a huge selection of games some of which are offering special deals to get you in - all of the ones I know about are listed below, let me know if I've missed any.

Please be aware that the list of deals is likely to change as clubs often announce their plans quite late in the day so this page will be updated as the week goes along.

As a Harrow Borough supporter I intend to be at their game against Cornish side Truro City. It's free for kids and emergency service personnel and Premier League/EFL season ticket holders will get in for £6 on production of their season ticket.

I've highlighted it below but in case you miss it, there's a very good opportunity to do a groundhop double on NLD as British Airways are playing the all-conquering Jersey Bulls at 730pm. Unsurprisingly, they play right next to Heathrow Airport at one of London's most unusual grounds.

I think that's about it from me. The week ahead is likely to be incredibly hectic and I hope it's all worth it. Thanks again for all your support and if you are free, please try and get to a non-league game on Saturday no matter where you are in the country.

If you're outside London, I've spent a large chunk of my time building a match finder for the whole country which will allow you to discover what your nearest game is depending on your location. 

There are also similar events being held in France and Germany on Sunday so please give them your backing if you're over there.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
Despite it being an international break don't despair. With games in the National League, FA Trophy, FA Vase and many other non-league competitions there are well over 80 matches taking place across London so there's plenty to choose from. 

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.

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

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

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



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



TLFG NON-LEAGUE DAY RECOMMENDATIONS


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

UPDATED ON FRIDAY 11 OCTOBER 
Please be aware that bad weather is forecast to hit the capital on Saturday so some games may get postponed. Thankfully quite a few clubs have 4G pitches so I will indicated this below

Saturday 12 October

National League (Level 5)
Barnet v Woking @3pm - the biggest non-league game of the day in London is this match at The Hive between two of the National League's top six (although that's dependent on midweek results). The Bees could only manage a draw in the derby at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday but it still extended their unbeaten run to three games. After a blistering start, newly promoted Woking are now winless in five but still find themselves in the top four. If you don't know the geography, Woking is only just outside London so there should be a decent away following. Barnet members are being allowed to 'Bring a friend for free' to this game so if you know any, give them a call!

A bit further afield
Aldershot Town v Hartlepool United @3pm - if you want a special deal at this level, it's 'pay what you want' at the EBB Stadium as long as you book in advance


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National League South (Level 6)
Dulwich Hamlet v Weymouth @3pm - over the last few years Champion Hill has become one of the best places to spend Non-League Day as the club have embraced the idea and come up with some great promotions to get new people in. In 2014 they made their match against Hampton & Richmond 'pay what you want' with all profits going to charity - nearly 3,000 showed up and around £10,000 went to good causes. This year they are offering cheap drinks in the bar for season-ticket holders from Crystal Palace, Charlton and Millwall as well as doing a fundraising drive for Prostate Cancer UK. Check the club's website for the latest information. As for the match itself, Dulwich aren't in the best of form in the league but made it through to the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Saturday. Weymouth, however, won the Southern League Premier South last season and are in the top four again so will probably start as favourites

Welling United v Hampton & Richmond Borough @3pm - two TLFG clubs meet at Park View Road where an NLD special offer is available. Any Premier League or EFL club season-ticket holder will get in for £10 as will anyone who can produce a programme from Welling's FA Cup win over Tavistock on Saturday. The Wings aren't quite the force they were last season but are comfortable enough in midtable. Hampton, on the other hand, have begun badly but picked up a crucial win over Tonbridge in their last league game to climb out of the relegation zone

A bit further afield
Slough Town v Billericay Town @3pm - a little to the west of London, the Rebels are offering some great deals for their match against Billericay. It will be FREE ENTRY for season-ticket holders from any Premier League or EFL club and only £5 for everyone else (kids go free). This ground has a 4G pitch

St Albans City v Eastbourne Borough @3pm - Clarence Park is one of my favourite non-league grounds and I spent a very enjoyable NLD their in 2016. City always put a real effort into promoting the day and this year is no different. Aside from reduced admission (even cheaper if booked in advance), there is a beer festival, a penalty competition and lots of activities for kids

Tonbridge Angels v Braintree Town @3pm - if you fancy a short journey into Kent then why not pop down to Longmead Stadium where tickets have been reduced to £7 for adults, which is close to half price

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Southern League Premier Division South (Level 7)
Harrow Borough v Truro City @3pm - there's a clash between two of the division's top eight at Earlsmead on Saturday. The club have arranged a reunion of the squad which won the Isthmian League 35 years ago and a presentation will be made at half time. There are also a number of special deals on offer with free entry for emergency services personnel, any accompanied child and half-price entry (£6) for Premier League and EFL season-ticket holders

Hendon v Salisbury @3pm - the Greens usually put on a good show on Non-League Day but this year the main focus will be on celebrating the life of one of its young fans who sadly passed away over the summer. Bryan, a regular reader of this blog and supporter of NLD, suffered the loss of his son Luca in June and this big match will be dedicated to him. There will be a minute's applause before the game so the bigger the crowd, the better. If you're a season-ticket holder at a Premier League or EFL club or work for the emergency services or armed forces, you'll get in for half price (£6). This ground has a 4G pitch

Isthmian League Premier Division (Level 7)
Carshalton Athletic v Kingstonian @3pm - the Robins have distributed lots of free tickets to local schools and are offering half-price entry to Premier League, EFL and National League season-ticket holders provided you turn up before 215pm. Carshalton play on a 4G pitch so this should go ahead whatever the weather. This ground has a 4G pitch

Cray Wanderers v Enfield Town @3pm - the oldest team in London are offering £5 entry to any Premier League, EFL or National League season-ticket holders. They also plan to put on a Cray legends game at 12pm and were arranging a collection for Prostate Cancer UK. This ground has a 4G pitch

Haringey Borough v Margate @3pm - Coles Park has become arguably the best place to watch non-league football in north London over the last few years. Located on White Hart Lane itself, within sight of Spurs' ground, the club has progressed impressively over the last few years. They're doing well in the league again this season and are on another great FA Cup run - they play host to Yeovil in the next round. If you're not already a holder of one of the club's free season tickets then you'll get in for a reduced price of £5. They are also doing a collection for Prostate Cancer UK. This ground has a 4G pitch

Hornchurch v Bowers & Pitsea @3pm - way out at the far end of the District Line you can immerse yourself in this Essex derby. The Urchins are offering reduced entry of £8 for adults if they can produce the flyer that's downloadable from their website


A bit further afield
Other seventh tier games of interest include:

Cheshunt v Worthing @3pm - lying just beyond the M25 to the north-east of London, the Ambers are running a very tempting 'Pay What You Want' deal and will be collecting money for Prostate Cancer UK

Hitchin Town v Bromsgrove Sporting @3pm - another club who always embrace the spirit of NLD are Hertfordshire club Hitchin. Their historic Top Field ground is quite unique and very popular with visitors. They're offering 25% off if you book online in advance using code 'CANARY25'

Merstham v Leatherhead @3pm - the Moatsiders have always enthusiastically backed NLD and this year is no different with loads planned as part of their 'Family Day'. Aside from free entry for emergency services workers, it's only £5 for season-ticket holders of 'any other club'. There will be a collection for Prostate Cancer UK and lots of kids activities. To top it all, it's a big Surrey derby too!

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FA Trophy Preliminary Round (Level 8 teams)
FA rules mean that cutting ticket prices is much harder for cup games like this than it is for league matches so it is very unusual to find special deals. Therefore, I'm going to list a few ties which should be worth a watch regardless.

Hanwell Town v AFC Dunstable @3pm - the hosts are in fantastic form at the moment and sit proudly at the top of the eighth tier Isthmian League South Central. However, they shouldn't have it all their own way as the visitors are second in the parallel Southern League Division 1 Central. Hanwell's ground has received some fine improvements recently and is well located next to the A40 and a short walk from Perivale Tube station on the Central Line

Uxbridge v Northwood @3pm - there's a local derby to be enjoyed at the Honeycroft where two teams from the Isthmian League South Central do battle. The hosts should start as favourites

Whyteleafe v Tooting & Mitcham United @3pm - there's also a south London derby at Church Road. The Leafe are only 14th in the Isthmian League South East but that's partly down to the fact that they're in the middle of a great run in the FA Cup. Their victory at Abbey Rangers on Saturday means they're now only one win away from a place in the First Round and a possible dream tie against an EFL club. Tooting are currently joint top of the South Central Division with Hanwell - this could be a cracker. This ground has a 4G pitch

Barking v Guernsey @130pm - if 3pm kick-offs are a problem for you, then this lunchtime game might give you the opportunity to see a match. The early kick-off is presumably to accommodate the visitors' flight times back to the Channel Islands

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FA Vase First Round (Level 9 & 10 teams)
FA rules mean that cutting ticket prices is much harder for cup games like this than it is for league matches so it is very unusual to find special deals. Therefore, I'm going to list a few ties which should be worth a watch regardless.

Broadfields United v Walthamstow @3pm - the hosts enjoyed promotion to the ninth tier last season but they could find it tough going against the 'Stow who are one of the most highly rated teams in the Essex Senior League this season. This match is being played at Harefield United's ground

Fisher v Greenwich Borough @3pm - there's a local derby between two Southern Counties East League clubs at Salter Road in Rotherhithe. The club are once again running a 'most obscure football shirt' competition so dig out your most unusual one and see how you get on. This ground has a 4G pitch

Hadley v Milton Keynes Robins @3pm - the hosts made a valiant run to the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup and are doing well in the Essex Senior League too, definitely a side to keep an eye on this season

Oxhey Jets v Hackney Wick @3pm - the hosts have dedicated this match to the 'Lives Not Knives' campaign which local police are using to tackle knife crime which is a subject that's a major priority for the visitors too

Welling Town v Erith & Belvedere @3pm - the draw has thrown up this tasty south-east London derby between another two Southern Counties East League sides. The club are offering deals on season tickets which could see you end up paying as little as £2 a game. There's also a promo video for the match on their website which includes loads of great goals and some stonking fouls! This match will be played in Thamesmead

AFC Hayes v AFC Broxbourne Borough @3pm - the tenth-tier hosts are hoping for a big crowd as they try to raise a considerable amount for Prostate Cancer UK

Bedfont & Feltham v Colliers Wood United @3pm - B&F have made a good start to the season but should face a step up in the class when one of the best sides from the division above them pay a visit. You can see two matches at this ground on Saturday as British Airways play Jersey Bulls at 730pm

Lopes Tavares v Stanway Rovers @3pm - LT have made a superb start to the season and are top of the Eastern Counties League Division 1 South. On Saturday they welcome one of the better sides from the division above and could well cause a cupset

New Salamis v Eynesbury Rovers @3pm - with their roots in north London's Cypriot community, New Salamis are new to this level after promotion from the Herts County League. Like to the two matches above, they now face a decent side from the division above so could struggle. This match is being played at Enfield Town 
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Level 9

Essex Senior League
Cockfosters v Redbridge @3pm - tied on 13 points in midtable this should be a close game. To entice you in this match has been made 'Pay What You Want' so give it a go if you're in the area. As the name suggests, Cockfosters play just a short walk from the Tube station of the same name

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Level 10

Combined Counties League Division 1
Chessington & Hook United v Epsom & Ewell @3pm - there's a decent looking local derby in the 10th tier with the hosts really embracing the day and making it 'Pay What You Want'. They will also be raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK

Tooting Bec v Fleet Spurs @3pm - playing at the impressive Imperial Fields near Mitcham tramstop, the Bec have made this match 'pay what you want' but will give you your money back if it finishes 0-0. Bargain!

British Airways v Jersey Bulls @730pm - this match should attract quite a few groundhoppers because of its late kick-off. The ground is also rather unusual being located right next to Heathrow Airport meaning jets are taking off and landing every minute or so. It's only a short walk from Hatton Cross Tube station on the Piccadilly Line so is easy to get to. To increase the novelty factor even further, Jersey are a newly formed team and are playing in the English league system for the first time. They're also rather good and top the division having won all of their first 10 games!

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Newbury Forest v Wivenhoe Town @3pm - the hosts play at one of the easiest grounds to get to by public transport, as Oakside sits right next to Barkingside Tube station. The 10th tier club are dedicating their game to Prostate Cancer UK

Southern Counties League Division 1
Croydon v Meridian VP @3pm - the Trams are really pushing hard to get a big NLD crowd and have made it 'Pay What You Want' to get as many people as possible through the turnstiles. The club suffered a ruinous break-in by vandals last season and could really do with your support if you're in the area

Holmesdale v Greenways @3pm - Bromley based side Holmesdale have cut admission to just £3 for everyone except Bromley season-ticket holders who will get in for just £1!

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Rayners Lane v Park View @3pm - north west London club Rayners Lane had their completely rebuilt ground re-opened by Watford legend Luther Blissett earlier in the week. As part of the £10m refurbishment, the club have installed a 4G pitch so this match should go ahead. This is just a short journey from Harrow Borough which could fall foul of the rain - £6 admission, including a programme
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Middlesex County Football League (Level 11)
Clapton CFC v Stonewall FC @230pm - although way down in the 11th tier, one of the best fan experiences of the day is likely to be found at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow. CCFC's fans are among the most fun anywhere in the capital with great singing, banners and even occasionally some naughty pyro (shhh!). The atmosphere is highly inclusive and families are very welcome. Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out have picked a handful of games around the country to help further their cause and this is one of them. Entry is by donation 

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, 29 September 2019

TLFG: 30 September - 6 October 2019

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

Another month is about to come to an end and we're into October already - it seems no time since I was writing about pre-season games.

How has your football week been?

After the joy of seeing QPR win at Millwall last Saturday, I was brought firmly back down to earth by West Brom on Saturday who won comfortably in W12 to go top of the Championship.

The 10th Non-League Day is now less than two weeks away

Mark Warburton's side have really impressed at times this season but it has almost exclusively come against mid-level to poor sides. Matches against the Baggies, Swansea and Bristol City have all been lost fairly easily.

However, no-one seems to mind that much.

Nothing was expected ahead of the season starting so to be up in play-off contention and attempting to play good stuff with a bit of spirit is earning the team a lot of credit.

Elsewhere, Harrow Borough ended their four game losing streak with a very well needed win over Blackfield & Langley but then lost again to Gosport Borough - on paper you'd have expected the results to be the other way round as B&L had been doing quite well but that's the topsy turvy world of non-league.

Talking of non-league, we're now less than two weeks away from Non-League Day and next week will be our NLD Special so if your club are doing anything to mark the day, please get in touch.

For me, the highlight of the coming week will be the next round of games in the FA Cup.

The Non-League Day shop has all kinds of merchandise in it
15% of all sales go to Prostate Cancer UK
Although Harrow are out, plenty of other local sides are still involved and are now only two matches away from playing an EFL team in the First Round proper - all of the ties are in the TLFG Daily Digest below.

Before I sign off, it was good to see another big crowd attend the Women's Super League match between West Ham and Spurs at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Over 25,000 turned out as the visitors won 2-0.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include the return of the Champions League and Europa League, plus a full programme of fixtures in the Premier League and EFL. We also have plenty of games in the FA Cup and all our local non-league competitions - there are over 80 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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 30 September

Isthmian League Premier Division
There are two games in the seventh tier on Monday evening with Carshalton Athletic welcoming Lewes and Kingstonian travelling to Haringey Borough. All three London clubs have hugely important FA Cup ties at the end of the week so might have more than half an eye on those games. If they do beat the K's, Haringey will go third
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Tuesday 1 October

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Munich @8pm - after disappointing back-to-back defeats to Leicester and Colchester, Spurs returned to winning ways on Saturday against Southampton. German champions Bayern will represent a huge step up in class and they began their European campaign with a 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade. On Saturday they also won 3-2 at Paderborn to extend their unbeaten start to the season and remain top of the Bundesliga - it's going to be very tough for the hosts. Tickets are not available to non-members

Isthmian League Premier Division
Hornchurch v Folkestone Invicta @745pm - without doubt the non-league match of the night sees the top two in the Isthmian League meet at Bridge Avenue. The Urchins are currently second just a point behind Invicta but have way better goal difference - it should be a cracker!

FA Trophy Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Hanwell Town v Harlow Town @745pm - after fighting out a 1-1 draw on Saturday, two of the Isthmian League South Central's top five will have another go. The winners will host AFC Dunstable in the next round on Non-League Day

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Wednesday 2 October

Championship
Charlton Athletic v Swansea City @745pm - after losing a couple of games it looked like the Addicks' bubble had burst and no-one was really that surprised but on Saturday they propelled themselves back into the top six with an impressive win over promotion rivals Leeds United. Next up are the second placed Swans as the very challenging games continue. Tickets are on general sale
Brentford v Bristol City @745pm - in the other second tier game of the night, the struggling Bees welcome a City side who have only lost once in the league this season. Brentford badly need a win but it looks unlikely here. Tickets are not on general sale

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Crowborough Athletic @745pm - one team to watch are the Becks who appear to be really going for it this season. I've heard there's been some investment and there's a great pitch at Eden Park Avenue. On said pitch, they've been pretty impressive - currently joint top and with three games in hand it's looking really good for the south London club. Crowborough have finished in the top three the last two seasons but they've made a terrible start and are second from bottom

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Thursday 3 October

Europa League
Arsenal v Standard Liege @8pm - the Gunners have had a great 10 days with three wins in a row, starting with a 3-0 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt in their opening Europa League game. Only three days before this match, Arsenal have a huge Premier League game against Manchester United at Old Trafford so they might not be at their freshest. Tickets are not currently on general sale

Premier League Cup
Crystal Palace v Blackburn Rovers @1pm - if you're free at lunchtime you might like to pop down to Dulwich Hamlet's Champion Hill for this U23 game. I'm unsure of ticketing arrangements at the moment but I wouldn't expect entry to cost more than £5

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Friday 4 October

Premier League Cup
Charlton Athletic v Swansea City @1pm - the following day there's some more U23 action at Dartford's Princes Park. Once again, don't expect to pay more than £5

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Takeley @745pm - the hosts have struggled this season and find themselves in the bottom three. As a result, it looks like being a tough night for the Mile End club as Takeley are in the top four and going for the title

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Newbury Forest v Frenford @745pm - neither of these sides are doing particularly well but it's an Ilford derby so hopefully that should add a bit of spice to proceedings
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Saturday 5 October

Premier League
Watford v Sheffield United @3pm - the Hornets' winless start to the season continued with a defeat at fellow strugglers Wolves on Saturday. In theory it should get easier against a newly promoted side but the Blades have been reasonably impressive and only narrowly lost to leaders Liverpool in their last game. Watford have to win and tickets are on general sale
West Ham United v Crystal Palace @530pm - the evening's TV game sees the Hammers and Eagles face off in a London derby. West Ham find themselves, slightly surprisingly, in third after a draw at Bournemouth so confidence at the London Stadium should be high. Although not doing quite so well, a win over Norwich put Palace into the top 10 too so this should be well contested. Tickets are on general sale

Championship
Fulham v Charlton Athletic @1230pm - if a top flight match isn't for you, there's a good selection of matches in the EFL with this derby between sides with their eyes on a play-off spot meeting at Craven Cottage. Fulham were among the favourites for promotion whilst little was expected of Charlton but it's the latter who are higher at the time of writing but that could change in midweek. Tickets are on general sale
Millwall v Leeds United @3pm - after losing at Charlton on Saturday, Leeds have to make another trip to south-east London just a week later. The Lions were right up with the leaders early in the season but they're now five without a win and are sliding down the table. For many, the most interesting match up could be between the rival fans who have two of the worst reputations in the country. Tickets no longer appear to be on sale
Queens Park Rangers v Blackburn Rovers @3pm - if you're heading to Fulham as a tourist or groundhopper, it is just about possible to get yourself back up to Shepherd's Bush in time for this one. One TLFG reader attempted this a couple of weeks ago and made it by using a Santander Cycle to get him there. It was a bit tight but only because the nearest docking station to the stadium was full - perhaps a dockless Lime Bike would be more useful. As for the match, QPR's winning run came to an end against West Brom on Saturday. The Baggies went top and were far superior by all accounts. Rovers missed the chance to move level on points with Rangers by losing to Luton. Tickets are on general sale

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Rochdale @3pm - the wait for a Dons win has been extended by another week following their 3-2 loss at Peterborough United. With manager Wally Downes suspended in midweek over a betting charge, it's a depressing time at Kingsmeadow. Rochdale are also struggling so this is an important game for the south London club. Tickets are on general sale

National League
Bromley v Barrow @3pm - although the hosts lost at Yeovil on Saturday, they did manage to retain top spot. Although back in seventh, Barrow will provide formidable opposition as they are the division's most in-form team with five consecutive wins
Dagenham & Redbridge v Barnet @3pm - both sides drew at the weekend to keep themselves firmly in the hunt for a play-off place. This is of course also a derby and one which the Bees have dominated in recent years, winning the last four

FA Cup Third Qualifying Round
Things are starting to get serious for the non-league clubs still left in the competition with the winners of each tie earning £11,250 in prize money to add to any won in previous rounds. They are also now only 180 minutes away from the First Round proper and the chance of playing a League One or League Two team. This round is for all remaining teams from the sixth tier downwards - fifth tier clubs enter in the next round

Dulwich Hamlet v Eastbourne Borough @3pm - the Hamlet demolished Bognor in the previous round and have now landed a more challenging home draw against a fellow National League South club. Dulwich are only three places above Eastbourne so it should be close
Welling United v Tavistock @3pm - one of the mismatches of the day would appear to be at Park View Road where NLS side Welling entertain ninth tier club Tavistock who face a long trip up from Devon. A trip to Tavistock to watch QPR back in 2010 inspired me to launch Non-League Day and they've enjoyed at least two, possibly three promotions since then
Haringey Borough v Cray Wanderers @3pm - two of the Isthmian League's top 10, at the time of writing, meet at Coles Park. Boro made it to the First Round last season and narrowly lost to AFC Wimbledon whilst a win for Cray will equal their best ever performance in the competition
Hayes & Yeading United v Hendon @3pm - if I were to pick a game to go to, it would be this one. Two old Isthmian League rivals, now both in the Southern League, meet in this derby at the SkyEx Stadium. The Greens are finding things tough at the moment so the hosts look more likely to progress
Kingstonain v Weston-super-Mare @3pm - with Grays Athletic being thrown out of the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible player just over a week ago, the K's found themselves playing March Town (Grays' previous opponents) in a hastily re-arranged Second Qualifying Round game in midweek which they won. They've landed a tough but winnable home tie against Southern League opposition
Tooting & Mitcham United v Poole Town @3pm - the Terrors pulled off one of the shocks of the last round by beating Dorking Wanderers from two levels above them. Next up they have another tricky game against Poole. The Dorset club play one level above them, are top and in decent form. The fact Tooting are at home and they beat an even stronger side in the last round should give them a high level of confidence coming into this one
Abbey Rangers v Whyteleafe @3pm - the last tie taking place locally is between two of the lowest ranked teams left in the competition. Hailing from Addlestone, Combined Counties League club Abbey got this far by beating Walthamstow in a replay last week. Given they started in the Extra Preliminary Round, another victory here against the Leafe, who play one level above them, would see their total winnings increase to £27,640 which could be transformative for a club of their size. It's also a huge amount of money for the visitors too and it is they who should start as favourites

Isthmian League South Central Division
Hanwell Town v Chalfont St Peter @3pm - with Tooting involved in the FA Cup, Hanwell have the chance to climb above them into second with a win here. If they get a really hefty victory and leaders Westfield lose, then they could go top. However, Chalfont are a top four club themselves so this could be a bit of a humdinger

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Balham v Ascot United @3pm - the best match in the ninth tier would appear to be this one at the Wibbandune where fourth-placed Balham host the league leaders. Ascot are two points clear and have a great goal difference already so they should be pretty tough to stop

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Lopes Tavares v Little Oakley @3pm - look no further than the Terence McMillan Stadium in Newham for the match of the day in the 10th tier. Lopes Tavares are top and saw off challengers Halstead with relative ease on Saturday. Next up they face the team in second

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Sunday 6 October

Premier League
Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth @2pm - with three games in seven days the Gunners starting XI should see some rotation. With the matches against Man Utd and Standard Liege out of the way, Arsenal finish the week with an important game against a highly competent Bournemouth side. The clubs have only ever played nine times with the Cherries winning just once. Eddie Howe's men are unlikely to win but a draw isn't inconceivable. Tickets are not available to non-members

Premier League Cup
Fulham v Everton @11am - earlier in the day there's an U23 match at Fulham's training ground in Motspur Park. Unusually the admission details haven't been published yet but it's usually £3 for adults - check before you travel


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, 22 September 2019

TLFG: 23-29 September 2019

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

It's been a busy old week on the pitch for most of our local clubs.

The top sides were all involved in European and league action with differing results.

Tottenham blew a 2-0 lead to draw with Olympiakos in Athens and Chelsea came unstuck against Valencia at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League. Arsenal were the only success story, winning 3-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.

Come the weekend, the disappointment continued for Spurs and Chelsea as they both lost to Leicester and Liverpool respectively whilst Arsenal again stole the show with a superb late comeback to beat Aston Villa with 10 men.

The 10th Non-League Day is now less than three weeks away!

Elsewhere in the Premier League, West Ham inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Manchester United as the Red Devils' underwhelming start to the season continued.

Crystal Palace drew with Wolves but the biggest humiliation of the entire week was suffered by struggling Watford who lost 8-0 at Manchester City to stay rooted to the bottom.

In the Championship, QPR are now the top London club after they extended their winning streak with a 2-1 derby win at Millwall. The result leaves them just one point off top spot in what is a very congested division.

Charlton experienced defeat for only the second time this season but it came in the form of a 2-0 loss to struggling Wigan which would have been particularly disappointing - anything's possible in this division.

Fulham and Brentford slipped further down the table with a couple of unremarkable draws.

AFC Wimbledon lost again to remain firmly in the League One relegation zone - only Bolton with their huge points deduction are below them.

Following their promotion from the National League, Leyton Orient are also finding things tough going and they lost again with Colchester notching a 2-1 win.

As we come into a new week, the fifth tier is being topped by Bromley who beat former EFL club Notts County at Hayes Lane in front of a crowd of over 3,000 - impressive stuff from the south London outfit.

Aside from that it was all about the FA Cup as far as I was concerned. My side Harrow Borough sadly lost 1-0 to an accomplished Carshalton Athletic team so won't be tasting the glamour of  playing EFL opposition in the First Round proper, something they last achieved with a trip to Northampton Town in 2016.

There were some big shocks as the magic of the cup manifested itself in several locations around the capital.

West Ham Women play at the London Stadium on Sunday - tickets are on sale now
Ninth tier Hadley edged past Ramsgate to make it into the hat for the Third Qualifying Round. However, the biggest upsets were caused by Corinthian Casuals, Enfield Town and Tooting & Mitcham United who all vanquished National League South opposition.

Plenty of other London clubs also made it through - the draw will take place on Monday lunchtime.

My week has been spent preparing for Non-League Day (NLD), there's now less than three weeks to go.

A few clubs and leagues have started to announce their special offers.

If you've not heard of NLD, it's an event I set up back in 2010 to promote semi-professional and amateur football.

It's always held on an international break to maximise the media opportunities for clubs at this level and hopefully scoop up a few fans of the big clubs who might still want to see a game when their favourite side has the week off.

We must be doing something right as we've made it to a tenth year.

I'm very pleased to say that sister events are happening in France and Germany on the same weekend this year so if you're in either of those countries please take part.

Many thanks also this week for the emails and correspondence I received from TLFG readers including Nick G, Chris H and Sam W.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include the return of the Premier League and a full programme of fixtures in the EFL. We also have plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions and a first ever Women's Super League game at the London Stadium - there are over 100 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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 23 September

Professional Development League
Queens Park Rangers v Crystal Palace @1pm - get your week underway with some U23 football. This match is being played at QPR's training ground near Heathrow where it's usually free entry but check all details before you travel

London Senior Cup
Tower Hamlets v Leyton Orient @745pm - originally scheduled for Tuesday night (thanks to TLFG reader El Hugh for informing me of the change) this match sees the ninth tier hosts take on what will probably be an U23 side from their near neighbours. Tickets are £5
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Tuesday 24 September

Carabao Cup Third Round
Arsenal v Nottingham Forest @745pm - this competition often represents the best chance to see the big teams in action if you don't have membership. Tickets are on general sale and are very reasonably priced at £10 and £20 for lower and upper tier. There's real cupset potential here as the Gunners are in iffy form and will probably rest a few players while Forest are flying in the Championship and could really give it a go, no doubt roared on by several thousand of their own travelling fans
Watford v Swansea City @745pm - after being demolished by Manchester City on Saturday, the Hornets will hope for a morale boosting win here but they may well have to work hard for it as Swansea are joint top of the Championship. Tickets are on general sale for £10

National League
Bromley v Woking @745pm - of arguably far greater importance is this match between two of the top three in the fifth tier. The Ravens have made steady improvement in recent years but very few expected them to be top and unbeaten after 12 games. The newly promoted Cards are also raising a few eyebrows with their performances too and are only a point behind
Sutton United v Dagenham & Redbridge @745pm - all in all it's a pretty big night of NL action in the capital with this derby also taking place at Gander Green Lane. The U's are still finding their feet under new boss Matt Gray but they absolutely thumped struggling Chesterfield on Saturday to stride back towards the top half. The Daggers dropped a couple of points at Torquay but extended their unbeaten run to eight games, keeping them in the play-off places
Boreham Wood v Notts County @745pm - another side to impress on Saturday were the Wood who thrashed Stockport 4-0, a result I didn't see coming. Next up they entertain another famous County who are still struggling to make headway in the division after narrowly losing 2-1 at leaders Bromley

Southern League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Blackfield & Langley @745pm - after watching the Boro thrash Binfield 5-0 in the FA Cup two weeks ago, things have dipped worryingly for Steve Baker's team. The four matches since then have all been lost. Blackfield & Langley, from the Southampton area, are little more than a village team who have made great progress of late and will be very dangerous opponents. Among the frontrunners in the division and through to the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, it could well be a tricky night for Harrow

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round Replay
Abbey Rangers v Walthamstow @745pm - after fighting out a 1-1 draw on Saturday, we'll have to wait until Tuesday night to discover which of these two local ninth tier teams will make it into the Third Qualifying Round. Hadley pulled off a shock to make it through on Saturday but there aren't any other teams left from a lower level than this. By this stage the draw will have been made and they'll know who they'll be getting in the next round

London Senior Cup First Round
Metropolitan Police v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - there are a number of ties on Tuesday with the most notable being this derby at Imber Court. Although the first team are allowed to play, it's highly likely you'll only get an U23 side from the Dons

Middlesex Charity Cup First Round
Rayners Lane v Cockfosters @745pm - there's nothing particularly exciting about this one other than it's between the two stations at either end of the Piccadilly Line 
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Wednesday 25 September

Carabao Cup Third Round
Chelsea v Grimsby Town @745pm - unlike the matches at Arsenal and Watford, the Blues have managed to sell out this tie against League Two opposition which is quite an achievement. Chelsea have a decent record in this competition, winning it five times and finishing as runners-up three times including last season. It's been 23 years since the clubs last faced each other and on that occasion the London club won 4-1 at Stamford Bridge in an FA Cup replay and a similar score looks likely here

London Senior Cup First Round
Beckenham Town v Brentford B @745pm - the Bees entered sides in this and the Middlesex Senior Cup last season, winning the latter and getting to the final of this competition. It's therefore fair to say that they take this sort of thing pretty seriously. Beckenham are doing well in the league but it will still take some doing for a ninth tier team to beat a Championship club's reserve side

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Holmesdale v FC Elmstead @745pm - the visitors are top, unbeaten and five points clear even at this early stage. Holmesdale are a top seven club so this should be a good test of their title credentials

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Thursday 26 September

Professional Development League
Watford v Wigan Athletic @2pm - if you've never been to Vicarage Road before then this U23 game should provide you with a good value opportunity. As with all games at this level, check all the details before you travel - Watford games often get switched to their training ground at short notice

Women's Champions League
Arsenal v Fiorentina @730pm - the Gunners won the first leg in Italy 4-0 so progress into the last 16 looks almost certain. This match is being played at Boreham Wood - adult tickets are £7 in advance or £10 on the gate

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Friday 27 September

Championship
Fulham v Wigan Athletic @745pm - get your weekend underway with a trip to Craven Cottage. The hosts were among the hot favourites for promotion this term but haven't quite got going yet with three wins from their opening eight fixtures leaving them slap bang in the middle of the table. Wigan were expected to struggle and are hovering just above the relegation zone. Tickets start at £25 and are in reasonable supply

Premier League 2
Fulham v Middlesbrough @12pm - if you really like Fulham then you can get a double helping on Friday by going to this U23 match earlier in the day at the club's training ground. The spectator facilities are pretty reasonable and it's £3 to get in

Velocity Trophy
Barking v Brentwood Town @745pm - the best non-league option of the night is this all-Essex affair at Mayesbrook Park where these two contest a group game in what is also known as the Isthmian League Cup
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Saturday 28 September

Premier League
Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - the Blues have been a bit hit and miss so far this season - thrashing Wolves last Saturday and then losing at home to Valencia and Liverpool a few days later. However, even with this kind of form you wonder whether Brighton should even turn up as they've lost every time they've played Chelsea, home or away, since 1967! Tickets are not available to non-members
Crystal Palace v Norwich City @3pm - despite some positive performances and surprise wins, both these sides will still be happy simply to avoid the drop this season. After their heroic win over Manchester City last week, Norwich were brought back down to earth by Burnley on Saturday and Palace were also thrashed by Spurs after wins over Man Utd and Villa. I still fancy Palace though as the Canaries haven't won on their last 15 visits to Selhurst Park. Tickets are not available to non-members
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton @3pm - Spurs' defeat at Leicester on Saturday has left them 10 points behind leaders Liverpool meaning their hopes of the title look over already. Southampton lost their derby against Bournemouth on Friday and will be coming into this on the back of another derby against Portsmouth in the cup. On paper you'd expect Spurs to win but the Saints could conceivably nick a draw. Tickets are not available to non-members

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion @1230pm - the day's action starts at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium where two of the division's form sides go head-to-head. QPR extended their winning run to four matches with a 2-1 win at Millwall on Saturday. The Baggies have drawn a couple of late but extended their unbeaten run with a 4-2 win over Huddersfield on Sunday. This match will see the return of striker Charlie Austin to a club where he is still adored after helping them into the Premier League in 2014. Tickets are available
Charlton Athletic v Leeds United @3pm - after their brilliant start to the season, the Addicks have lost a couple of games and are back down in seventh. However, the table is desperately tight and a win here against the current leaders will put them level on points. Tickets are only available to people with a previous ticket booking history

League Two
Leyton Orient v Port Vale @3pm - with only one team going down this season, it is likely that quite a few poor sides could survive. The O's have found life back in the fourth tier a struggle with only two wins from 10 games. Despite being way down in 21st they are still five points clear of the relegation zone and will probably stay up. Port Vale are coasting along in 13th so this is unlikely to be a classic but what do I know? Tickets are available from £18

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Liverpool @1pm - the Gunners have decided to play another U23 game on a Saturday lunchtime. This one takes place at Boreham Wood where matches are usually free to get in but check before you travel

National League
Barnet v Solihull Moors @3pm - the Bees' title hopes took a knock on Saturday as they lost at fellow contenders Halifax. Solihull were runners-up last season but are in shocking form at present and should be beaten
Dagenham & Redbridge v Chorley @3pm - the Daggers could be in the top five if things go well in midweek and they should fancy their chances against newly promoted Chorley. The Lancashire club have started badly but are showing signs of improvement so can't be totally ruled out

National League South
Wealdstone v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm - the game of the day at this level sees the runaway leaders host the team in third. Dean Brennan's Stones are eight points clear after only 11 games and thrashed Farnborough 5-0 to make smooth progress in the FA Cup on Saturday. Havant have only lost once in the league this season so they could conceivably get something here
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Tonbridge Angels @3pm - at the other end there's a big relegation six-pointer between two of the bottom three. Hampton are bottom but are only a point behind Tonbridge so a win for either will do their league position a power of good
Dartford v Slough Town @3pm - after an iffy start, the Darts have started to pull away from the bottom but they'll find things tough here as Slough are second only to Wealdstone in terms of current form

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v East Thurrock United @3pm - there are no real standout fixtures in the seventh tier on Saturday but this match between two of the division's top eight should be competitive enough. Remember, if you're new to London, it's always worth watching Cray as they're the oldest club in the capital

Velocity Trophy
Aveley v Grays Athletic @1pm - there's a groundshare derby between two Isthmian League North clubs at 1pm. The early kick-off is because Clapton also groundshare at Parkside and have an Essex Senior League game against leaders Saffron Walden Town at 4pm so you can see two games without changing location although a separate admission fee will apply

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Abbey Rangers v Molesey @3pm - the hosts are turning into a decent cup team. Last season they made it to the fifth round of the FA Vase and this season they're just a replay away from a place in the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup which would be a club record. As a result they have a couple of games in hand which if won would put them just behind Molesey in the race for the title

Combined Counties League Division 1
AFC Hayes v Jersey Bulls @1pm - the all-conquering Bulls fly over from the Channel Islands looking to extend their 100% winning record to a ninth game. The hosts are down in midtable and it looks highly unlikely they'll get anything out of this

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Lopes Tavares v Halstead Town @3pm - the Newham based hosts have been a revelation this season and are gaining some very positive reviews as the weeks go by. A 2-0 win at Holland on Saturday saw them leapfrog Saturday's visitors into top spot

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Sunday 29 September

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Sunderland @12pm - the Hammers' U23 side are unbeaten in the PL2 this season and should extend that run against the Mackems who have yet to win. This is being played at Dagenham & Redbridge

FA Women's Super League
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @230pm - the biggest crowd is likely to be found at one of the day's women's games as West Ham host Spurs in this derby at the London Stadium. To top it all, adult tickets are just £2 and kids go free



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