Sunday, 12 August 2012

TLFG: 13-19 August 2012

Hi there and apologies for the slightly later publishing of this week's blog.

My excuse - a trip to the Olympic Park to watch Sunday's men's handball bronze medal match.

Like a lot of people in this country, it's a sport that's totally new to me but it was very easy to pick up and I enjoyed it a lot.

Croatia were worthy winners against Hungary by 33-26. My only reservation about the sport is that goals are too easy to come by and it gets a bit repetitive - I found myself appreciating the goalkeeper's saves rather than the goals.

My afternoon at the Basketball Arena nearly came to a perfect end when the match ball was thrown into the crowd and just missed my outstretched fingers - what a souvenir that would have been.

Anyway that's enough off topic chat, on Saturday I went to my first football match of the season - Wembley v Langford in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary round.

For those who don't know, the Lions have been sponsored by a large beer company this season. One consequence of this involvement is the drafting in of former international footballers like Ray Parlour, Graeme Le Saux, Brian McBride and Claudio Caniggia to play in their FA Cup ties.

All four started and it was the former Argentina striker who gave the Combined Counties League side a 13th-minute lead with a controlled finish in front of ESPN's live TV audience.

Langford, from a level below Wembley, fought back and levelled soon after the half hour through Ashley Fitton. Sadly for them they fell behind again shortly after when last season's top scorer Daryl Atkins made it 2-1 to the hosts.

It looked all over for the visitors when the impressive Atkins made it 3-1 early in the second half. However, the Spartan South Midlands League club fought back again and cut the deficit almost immediately. They then saw a shot come back off the inside of a post as they came very close to grabbing an equaliser but ultimately it was not to be.

A lot of football fans wanted Wembley to fail miserably because of this parachuting in of players and they may be right to think that. However, taken purely at face value this was a decent game and contained plenty of the action you'd hope to see in an FA Cup tie.

On the Non-League Day front, we're about to send out emails to clubs to try and get them to participate and start thinking about what they might do to try and bring a few extra fans their way.

If you would like to help promote this year's Non-League Day on 13 October then you can download one of our banners to put on your website or blog. Thanks if you do.

So what have you been up to this week? Let us know if you went to one of the Olympic finals, took in a friendly or went to an FA Cup match.

Each week at TLFG we attempt to compile a list of what's on general sale to non-members at London's Premier League clubs and for other notable matches (click on the team name for details).

Monday 20 August, 7pm - Bolton Wanderers, Premier Academy League
Saturday 25 August, 2pm - Blackburn Rovers, Premier Academy League

Wednesday 22 August, 745pm - Reading, Premier League

Saturday 18 August, 3pm - Norwich City, Premier League
Saturday 15 September, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Saturday 29 September, 3pm - Manchester City, Premier League
Saturday 20 October, 3pm - Aston Villa, Premier League
Saturday 3 November, 3pm - Everton, Premier League
Sunday 18 November, 4pm - Sunderland, Premier League

Nothing currently available

Saturday 25 August, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Saturday 1 September, 3pm - Norwich City, Premier League

Saturday 18 August, 3pm - Aston Villa, Premier League
Saturday 1 September, 1245pm - Fulham, Premier League

Aside from these there are still tickets available for England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on 11 September and Republic of Ireland's friendly against Oman at Craven Cottage on the same night.

Over the next seven days there are over 60 matches taking place in the London area. Aside from one or two late pre-season friendlies, we also see the start of the Premier League, Football League, Conference South, Ryman League and Evostik League Southern seasons. There are also a few FA Cup replays knocking around too.

With all that in mind, here's this week's match map. If you've never used it 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 miss out. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the left side of the page to make sure you get all the information.

Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures

View London match map 13-19 August 2012 in a larger map 

As always, please check with the host club whether a match is still taking place and also confirm the venue as this can change at short notice where pre-season games are involved. Please also let me know if any of the details are wrong or missing. 

Here's a list of few games that I think could be worth watching in the week ahead:


ARSENAL v SUNDERLAND (Saturday 18 August, 3pm)
The Gunners finished last season as London's top club courtesy of their third place finish in the Premier League. It was quite a turbulent season by the north London club's standards with a rocky patch from November to February seeing some fans calling for Arsene Wenger's head. However, the Frenchman turned things around spectacularly thanks to a run which saw them lose only two of their last 14 games in all competitions. If Arsenal are to be considered among the contenders this season then they'll need to win this opening fixture against the Mackems. TICKET INFO

CRYSTAL PALACE v WATFORD (Saturday 18 August, 3pm)
What better way to start the season than with a derby? That's how these two Championship sides will get their league campaigns under way on Saturday. The Hornets suffered a shaky start under rookie manager Sean Dyche last season but he managed to reverse their fortunes and took them into the top half of the table. Sadly this wasn't enough to save his job when the new Italian owners came in over the summer and now former West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola is in charge. His first competitive match was in the League Cup against League Two Wycombe on Saturday and they scraped a 1-0 win after extra time. The Eagles by contrast got off to a decent start last year but faded away and finished in 17th. The pressure to do well on Saturday will be largely on Watford. TICKET INFO

CHARLTON ATHLETIC v LEYTON ORIENT (Tuesday 14 August, 745pm)
You wait all summer for a derby, then two come along at once. Last season this game would have been of greater significance as the two sides were battling for points at opposite ends of League One. They both ultimately got enough to service their immediate ends as Charlton got promoted and the O's avoided the drop. As a result there's now a division between them and this is just a first round League Cup tie. I'd like to think both sides will take it fairly seriously as it's the first game of their respective seasons and a money spinning tie against a Premier League club could lie in wait for the winners. On the ticket front, Charlton have priced all adults tickets at just £10 while U21s and Over 60s get in for £5. TICKET INFO

BOREHAM WOOD v EASTLEIGH (Saturday 18 August, 3pm)
The Conference South season begins on Saturday and The Wood see their campaign start with a visit from the bookies' favourites for the title. The Spitfires have signed almost an entirely new squad over the summer with Northern Ireland international Mark Hughes the latest to come in from Barnet. The hosts actually finished above Eastleigh last season in a very creditable eighth place so they'll look to push the Hampshire club here too. CLUB INFO

WELLING UNITED v BATH CITY (Saturday 18 August, 3pm)
Elsewhere in the Conference South, Welling will also be looking for a strong start. Having missed out on promotion to rivals Dartford in last season's play-off final, they'll want to try and go up automatically this time. Currently fourth favourites for the title, anything other than a play-off spot will be seen as a failure. Bath at 16-1 for top spot themselves should provide a stern test of their credentials as they look to make an instant return to the Conference Premier which they dropped out of in April. TICKET INFO

Another side fancied to do well this season are Wealdstone of the Ryman Premier. Last season they started slowly but built up an almost unstoppable momentum which took them to the play-offs and an FA Trophy semi-final. Sadly they ran out of steam in both and couldn't quite get over the line against higher ranked clubs. Unbeaten in pre-season, they look very likely to take the points from this opening fixture. Met Police it should be noted are no mugs. Following their promotion, they started last season very strongly before gradually fading into midtable. A similarly solid performance is expected again this term. The Stones are again offering half-price admission of £5 to all adult season-ticket holders from other clubs (other than their opponents) to all their league matches. TICKET INFO

WALTHAM FOREST v GRAYS ATHLETIC (Saturday 18 August, 3pm)
The Gravelmen will be openly targeting promotion this season following their run to the Ryman North play-offs last time.With a new ground at Rush Green they'll hoping to make a positive start to this new era. At 6-1 they have been installed as third favourites for the title so their aspirations appear realistic. Waltham Forest on the other hand are still without a ground of their own and are short on funds, if they can take a point from this one they'll have done well. CLUB INFO

DULWICH HAMLET v RAMSGATE (Saturday 18 August, 3pm)
Play-off defeat is becoming a common theme here and Dulwich are no exception. When I went to see them play Whitehawk back in April, the title was pretty much theirs for the taking but they lost that game and ended up in the end-of-season shoot out where they lost 1-0 to Bognor Regis. The south London club came unstuck in the play-offs the year before as well to further compound the misery. Consequently they are, like the teams above, one of the favourites for their respective title. Ramsgate should be beaten. TICKET INFO

This FA Cup tie made last week's top 10 too and it appears that it was well chosen. Saturday's encounter produced an entertaining 2-2 draw so the sides from the Combined Counties and Essex Senior Leagues will have to do battle again. It appears Bethnal Green's Mile End Stadium is out of use at the moment so they've had to concede home advantage and will return to Rectory Meadow again for this replay. CLUB INFO

BARKINGSIDE v ENFIELD 1893 (Saturday 18 August, 3pm)
At the time of writing, these two are sitting pretty in second and third place respectively in the Essex Senior League with only Basildon United ahead of them. Both had rather unimpressive results in the FA Cup on Saturday so will attempt to win here and get some momentum going in the league. Enfield won the title the season before last and are usually there or thereabouts so they should start as favourites. TICKET INFO

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG via the comments section below or via Facebook, Twitter or email.


  1. I will be in London on Saturday and Sunday. I have already ticket for Fulham-Norwich City game (3 pm).
    Is it possible to watch more than one game?

  2. Maxxer - it seems you've picked one of the rare weekends when there are only 3pm Saturday kick-offs. I'm not aware of any later or earlier kick-offs and there's nothing on Sunday.

    You could always go on a stadium tour instead. Chelsea and Tottenham are away from home this weekend so are offering them and Wembley runs tours as well.




    Hope this helps.

  3. Yeah, I will try stadium tours. I also found information that reserve team of Chelsea is playing on Sunday, but this game will not be played in front of the public. That sucks.
    Thanks for the answer.