Sunday, 9 December 2012

TLFG: 10-16 December 2012

Hello there and welcome to a chilly, wintry edition of TLFG.

With the first snow of the year falling on parts of the capital over the last few days, some matches were called off.

Fortunately for me, my chosen game beat the weather so I enjoyed my first non-league outing for a few weeks.

An English friend of mine has recently moved back from Germany to take up a new job here in London so I decided to take him to the match that was taking place nearest to him.

Despite warning him of the £10 entry fee there were no grumbles, and we happily set off to watch the Isthmian League Premier Division relegation 'six-pointer' between Hendon and Carshalton Athletic.

For those of you who don't know, the Greens no longer play at their spiritual home on Claremont Road in what is more Cricklewood than Hendon. Instead they groundshare with Wembley FC at Vale Farm some four miles to the west.

There's little evidence of Hendon's existence at the turnstiles
The loss of Claremont Road has been a real blow for Hendon whose crowds and finances have suffered accordingly.

In recent years, the running of the club has been taken over by a supporters trust and they have done a superb job to keep the club going.

Last season they were still in contention for promotion to the Conference South on the final day but ultimately they missed out.

Hendon celebrate Julian Owusu-Bekoe's opening goal
Given how things have gone this year (they were joint bottom with Carshalton at the start of play), a stint at a higher level could have been disastrous.

Usually I approach Vale Farm from Sudbury Town but given my friend's new location we took the North Wembley option and walked across the muddy sports fields off East Lane rather than go all the way up to Watford Road.

After warming himself up with a cup of tea, my friend began to enthusiastically root for the hosts but chances for them were few and far between.

However, somewhat against the run of play they took the lead on 38 minutes and then doubled their advantage before the break.

The Robins came out stronger after the interval and after a defensive lapse by Greens captain Scott Cousins let them back in it looked like an equaliser would emerge.

Sadly for them the only thing that did was the bare chests (and moobs) of most of their travelling supporters despite the freezing conditions.

The tops come off as Carshalton push for an equaliser
Gary McCann's side even managed a third to make sure of the points late on.

My friend seemed to really enjoy his first non-league match and I get the feeling he would go again. Another convert!

I forgot to mention earlier, that I got in for £5 as I'm a season-ticket holder at QPR and the same offer applies to all such people at all Premier League, Football League and even Scottish League clubs.

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).

Wednesday 6 February, 8pm - Brazil, international friendly, Wembley

Nothing currently available

Nothing currently available

Monday 10 December, 8pm - Newcastle United, Premier League
Wednesday 26 December, 3pm - Southampton, Premier League
Saturday 29 December, 3pm - Swansea City, Premier League
Saturday 12 January, 3pm - Wigan Athletic, Premier League
Wednesday 30 January, 8pm - West Ham United, Premier League

Saturday 15 December, 3pm - Fulham, Premier League
Wednesday 26 December, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Saturday 5 January, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, FA Cup

Sunday 16 December, 130pm - Swansea City, Premier League
Saturday 22 December, 3pm - Stoke City, Premier League
Tuesday 1 January, 3pm - Reading, Premier League

Saturday 22 December, 3pm - Everton, Premier League
Tuesday 1 January, 3pm - Norwich City, Premier League
Saturday 5 January, 515pm - Manchester United, FA Cup (on sale 13 Dec)

Looking forward a few weeks (5 January) we have the FA Cup Third Round. All London's clubs that are playing at home have announced their ticket prices and all are offering discounts. The game between West Ham United and Manchester United is probably the most eye-catching with tickets to non-members costing £30. Admission to the other all Premier League tie between QPR and West Brom ranges from £25-35. It's £20 at White Hart Lane for Tottenham's game against Coventry, whilst you can get access to Fulham v Blackpool from £15 if bought in advance. There are also deals in place at Charlton, Crystal Palace and Millwall. Not all have gone on sale yet so check with clubs when you can get hold of them.

Don't forget that in-form Brentford are running a 'Pay What You Want' scheme (minimum £1) for their League One match against Stevenage on 22 December so put it in your diary if you want to see two of the best teams in that division on the cheap.

Over the next seven days there are over 70 matches taking place in the London area. We've got big derbies, FA Trophy ties, lots of county cup matches and some FA Youth Cup fixtures to look forward to.

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 might miss them. 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.

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 10-16 December 2012 in a larger map

As a result of the bad weather some cup matches have been rescheduled for the next few days and their outcomes will impact on some of Saturday's fixtures so there could be some changes. Further inclement conditions will almost certainly see more postponements as the week progresses so, as always, check with clubs before you travel. Please also let me know if any of the details are wrong or missing.

Next up is this blog's top 10 recommendations of games that could be particularly worth watching this week, feel free to mention your own in the comments section below.


1. Queens Park Rangers v Fulham - we kick-off this week's top 10 with a west London derby. Traditionally QPR's biggest rivalry has been with Chelsea but this ranks pretty close. Rangers are historically the bigger team but over the last 15 years there has been a power shift which has seen the Cottagers become the bigger and better club (much as I hate to admit it). In terms of playing achievement, Fulham have fairly comfortably consolidated their place in the Premier League and even reached a Europa League final. Since returning to the top flight, Rangers have been a bit nouveau riche with their cash and it's got them nowhere. Despite all this, most QPR fans will regard this as a 'winnable' fixture whereas in reality yet another draw will be a good result.  (Premier League, 15 Dec, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City -  at first glance I didn't think this was a particularly noteworthy fixture but as I thought more about it, the more it appealed. If Swansea had beaten Norwich yesterday they would actually be in fourth place on level points with Spurs. Sadly they lost and Tottenham could move six points clear if they beat Everton later today. However, this still means the clubs are evenly matched and should put on a great show. I've seen both sides play this season - Spurs were poor against QPR while Swansea annihilated them. Overall, the hosts are in better form but the visitors can get wins almost anywhere as they showed at Arsenal last week. A very tough one to call. (Premier League, 16 Dec, 130pm. Ticket info)

3. Millwall v Leicester City - the Lions' amazing 13-game unbeaten run which lifted them into the play-off places came to a very disappointing end at struggling Ipswich on Saturday. Manager Kenny Jackett will want to lift his men as soon as possible so as not to lose ground over the busy Christmas period. The visit of Leicester is the perfect time to start as they are one of their main rivals for a top-six place. Win this and the Bermondsey club will be right back on track. (Championship, 15 Dec, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Dagenham & Redbridge v Barnet - After grinding out a draw in Saturday's derby against AFC Wimbledon, the Bees have to do battle with another local rival in their next game. The struggling north London side enjoyed a bit of a 'bounce' when Edgar Davids joined the club a couple of months ago but they're now five games without a win and back at the bottom of the League Two table. Dagenham found themselves in a fairly similar position last season but managed to pull away and finish comfortably. After a fairly shaky start they've strung a few wins together and a season in midtable looks likely. Despite this, Barnet could sneak a win here. (League Two, 15 Dec, 3pm. Ticket info

5. Dartford v Tonbridge Angels - this weekend sees the playing of the Second Round Proper of the FA Trophy which means we're down to the last 32 teams. If you don't know, this is a knockout competition for teams that play at the top four levels of non-league football with the final played at Wembley in March. In this instance, the draw has given us a Kent derby. Dartford are one of the best non-league sides in the country at the moment but a run of three straight defeats has seen them slip to sixth in the Conference National. Tonbridge play in the division below and are not in the best form themselves but will almost certainly raise their game as they look to pull off an upset. (FA Trophy, 15 Dec, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Kidderminster Harriers - Elsewhere in south-east London, the Ravens welcome another top Conference club to the capital for a very similar match-up to the game above. Bromley, like Tonbridge, are having an unspectacular time in the Conference South while Kidderminster are well placed for a tilt at promotion in the division above. The main difference between Dartford and Kidderminster is that the latter are in form, winning their last five league games. In fact, the last team to beat them were League One side Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup. Away win.  (FA Trophy, 15 Dec, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Sutton United v Oxford City - By their high standards, Sutton have had a pretty rubbish start to the season. However, they seem to have turned a corner and are now climbing the Conference South table. Their opponents from the parallel Conference North division are having a much better time and sit just a win away from a play-off place. That form and the fact Sutton have a pretty poor home record means it could be a good day for the visitors.  (FA Trophy, 15 Dec, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Wealdstone v Enfield Town - on Saturday the title chasing Stones suffered a significant 3-0 loss at promotion rivals Lowestoft. It saw them drop five points behind the leaders Margate and saw their vanquishers close on them. Nonetheless they remain third as this was their first league defeat since August. Enfield are new in this division and are pottering along quite nicely in midtable so why is this significant? During the 1980s, Wealdstone and Enfield were two of the best clubs in non-league football with both winning what is now the Conference and FA Trophy and thus both came close to Football League status. Both clubs have since fallen on hard times and have gone through a process of rebuilding at new locations. In the case of Enfield, the club split into two rival teams but 'Town' are the more senior by two divisions. Both clubs will have fans who remember the great days of the '80s and I'm hoping the old rivalry will generate a decent game and a big crowd. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 15 Dec, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Royston Town - shallow I know, but the sign of a well-run forward thinking club to me is a good website. Ashford have one of the best independently created (i.e. not Pitchero/clubwebsite etc) and maintained ones in the London area. The info it contains is useful and easy to find and I'm told by other bloggers that club officials always provide a warm welcome. Sadly despite all these efforts they struggle to get crowds (average 97) so I urge you to check them out as they take on league leaders Royston Town on Saturday. The hosts are doing okay this season with a play-off place not out of the question. The visitors have only lost twice in the league all season but with Godalming and Burnham only a point behind, there'll be no room for complacency.  (Southern League Division 1 Central, 15 Dec, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Erith & Belvedere v Rochester United - it's a very big weekend in the Kent League with all members of the top four playing each other. While fourth place Whyteleafe entertain leaders Erith Town, it's second versus third at Park View Road. Already it looks like a two-horse race between the two Erith clubs for the title and there is a significant five-point gap between them. Rochester are a further four points behind the Deres so a win is almost essential for both.  (Kent League Premier Division, 15 Dec, 3pm. Club info)

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

1 comment:

  1. hendon never had any support, went there to watch a game with gewoff pike playing, perfect weather and only 150 fans inside, so they never really had support and they lost claremont road through inaction over the years