Sunday, 16 October 2011

TLFG: 17-23 October 2011

It's been a very pleasing opening week for TLFG with several of you getting in touch with words of support and appreciation - thanks, it really means a lot.

On the football side of things, I got to take in two games over the last seven days. First up on Tuesday I headed to Summers Lane to watch Wingate & Finchley play out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Harrow Borough in the Ryman League. A penalty save by Nick Pope, on loan from Charlton, ensured the visitors came away with a point.

I've been to see a couple of games up in N12 this season and I really like the ground - the pitch is well known for being one of the best around, it has an old art deco stand which adds character and it's fairly high up on a hill with fine views over Alexandra Palace to the south east. I should also mention the excellent efforts of the lady in the tea bar who went out of her way to cobble together a cheese, pickle and onion roll for me because I didn't fancy a burger - much appreciated.

On Saturday I swapped the Ryman League for the Premier League and took a short stroll to Loftus Road for QPR v Blackburn. I've been supporting the Rs now for 28 years (first game was the 8-1 Milk Cup win over Crewe in 1983) and yesterday I had the honour of taking a friend's seven-year-old to his first ever game. The match itself was a pretty underwhelming 1-1 draw but the highlight for me, and hopefully him, was getting to go on the pitch before the game to be a part of a group of people presenting a cheque to the QPR Tiger Cubs - a football team for kids with Down's syndrome. About 18 months ago, myself and former BBC colleague Chris Charles decided to set up a sponsored walk for Rangers fans from Loftus Road to Crystal Palace before our game there. It went well so we did it again last season for the Watford match and in two weeks a few of us will be strolling to White Hart Lane ahead of the meeting with Tottenham.

Anyway, back to the week ahead. Another very busy few days are coming up and to try and make things a little clearer I've decided to produce two maps this week - one for midweek games and one for the weekend. Apart from the normal league action London's teams are normally engaged in, there's also a significant amount of cup football on offer too be it the FA Cup, FA Trophy, FA Vase or various league cups.

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures

View London midweek match map 17-21 October 2011 in a larger map

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London weekend match map 22-23 October 2011 in a larger map

With 73 matches taking place in the capital over the next seven days, here are my recommendations:


QPR v CHELSEA (Sunday 23 October, 4pm)
The stand-out fixture of the weekend has got to be this West London derby. Rangers fans have been waiting to host the Blues in a top-flight game since 2 January 1996 when their great rivals recorded a 2-1 win. Large police operations used to be necessary for these games as the tension between fans used to be enormous (I can remember witnessing at least one mass pitch invasion in the '80s). These days, however, the rivalry is probably far more one-sided with the younger generation of Chelsea fans now regarding Arsenal and Spurs as bigger concerns. Now finally back in the Premier League, QPR are still searching for their first home win but should be expected to go all out for one here.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v RUBIN KAZAN (Thursday 20 October, 805pm)
I've gone for this as it provides football addicts with something to do on Thursday night. It also offers you the chance to watch a team that have become an emerging power in Russian football over the last few years. The side from the Republic of Tatarstan's most familiar player is probably Obafemi Martins although the Nigerian striker seems to be struggling to get into their starting XI.

Having made a superb start to their League One campaign (they lost for the first time this season on Saturday against Stevenage), the Addicks will start this game at the top of the table. The Cumbrians have also impressed and sit just outside the play-off places meaning this could make for a decent contest.

AFC WIMBLEDON v CRAWLEY TOWN (Saturday 22 October, 3pm)
The Dons missed their chance to move into the top three by losing to Crewe on Saturday but will get another opportunity when former non-league rivals Crawley visit Kingsmeadow. The Red Devils took the Conference title last year ahead of their hosts and currently sit astride the summit of League Two. Expect a decent crowd and atmosphere.

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE v ALDERSHOT TOWN (Saturday 22 October, 3pm)
Towards the other end of the table we see these two go head-to-head. After the high of winning the League Two 2009/10 play-offs, the Daggers struggled in League One and came straight back down. This season hasn't started well either with four wins from 13 leaving them just three points above the relegation places. The visitors have been similarly poor and lie just above them in 19th. Looks like a 'six-pointer' to me.

STAINES TOWN v WOKING (Saturday 22 October, 3pm)
A distance of just eight miles separates these clubs and classifies this Conference South match very much as a derby. The Cards are one of the best supported sides in the division and are also currently the best team in it which means a tough afternoon looks likely for the struggling hosts.

HARROW BOROUGH v HENDON (Tuesday 18 October, 745pm)
On the subject of derbies, we have another one taking place at Earlsmead on Tuesday. These old rivals are only a little over two miles apart following the latter's move to groundshare with Wembley. This meeting takes place in the Ryman League Cup - form would suggest a win for the visiting Greens who have started the league season with seven wins out of 10, including a 3-2 win over the Boro back in August.

HANWORTH VILLA v SLOUGH TOWN (Tuesday 18 October, 745pm)
After drawing 2-2 with their more illustrious opponents on Saturday, Combined Counties League Premier Division club Hanworth find themselves 90 minutes away from a place in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round and therefore 180 minutes away from the First Round proper. Get yourself down to Rectory Meadow if you fancy seeing a possible upset.

HANWELL TOWN v HILLINGDON BOROUGH (Tuesday 18 October, 745pm)
For the second week running Hanwell find themselves involved in another A40 derby match - last week Uxbridge were their opponents, this time it's Hillingdon. At stake is a place in the third round of the Spartan South Midlands League Challenge Trophy.

CHESSINGTON & HOOK v COLLIERS WOOD (Tuesday 18 October, 745pm)
Lastly this week a south-west London derby for you. Neither side are doing particularly well in the Combined Counties League Premier Division so far but only goal difference and five and a bit miles separate them so it could be worth a watch.

If you've been to a match in the previous week or would like to recommend one this time, please tell all in the comments space below. If I've missed anything out or you want to get in touch you can reach TLFG on Twitter, Facebook or via email.

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