Sunday, 27 October 2013

TLFG: 28 October - 3 November 2013

Hello there dear readers and welcome to this week's TLFG.

As I write this the FA Cup First Round draw has just been completed and I have to say that, with a couple of exceptions, it was a bit underwhelming.

Several of our local non-league sides drew other non-league sides or face long journeys to Football League clubs they have no particular rivalry with. However, there are a couple that do stand out with Boreham Wood hosting League One side Carlisle United and Staines Town travelling the short distance to Brentford if they can beat Poole Town in Tuesday's replay. Of the all-Football League ties, 1988 winners AFC Wimbledon against 1987 winners Coventry City stands out for me.

Apart from that, I enjoyed a rare trip to football this week. With nothing planned for the afternoon and the club letting everyone in for free I decided to take a stroll down to Loftus Road to watch QPR reserves (or Elite Development Squad as they prefer to be known) take on their counterparts from near neighbours Brentford in a lunchtime contest.

Despite relatively little publicity and the 1pm start, a good few hundred had also decided to spend their afternoon checking out the upcoming talent including a small group of Borussia Dortmund fans using the match as an hors d'oeuvre to their Champions League game at Arsenal later that evening.

The Rangers XI featured three first team squad members - the almost permanently injured Andy Johnson, recent signing from Blackpool Matt Phillips and Uruguayan striker Javier Chevanton picked up on a short-term deal after being released by Italian side Lecce in the summer.

I was particularly interested to see how the latter fared as his acquisition came out of the blue and I have to admit knowing very little about him. I was impressed - his attitude was good, his passing and link up play with Johnson was decent and his finishing was sharp as evidenced by the two goals he scored in what became a 4-0 win.

QPR deserved their victory but the Bees could've had a couple themselves if some wasteful finishing hadn't let them down. They looked certain to score from one goalmouth scramble and finally forced it over the line after two or three blocks only to see it disallowed for offside.

The second half was also livened up considerably by a large group of primary school children who appeared in the stands during the interval. They were chanting for QPR but I don't think they knew who was who and got incredibly excited when Brentford went on the attack. Ultimately though, they had a good time as did most of us.

It makes me wonder why more isn't made of reserve or EDS football at all our local clubs as the football is reasonable and the cost of tickets is minimal. I only found out about the game a couple of hours before kick-off and when I research ticket info for this blog, many sides don't release details until very late in the day.

If you can't afford to see your favourite Premier League team in action or want to experience one of the capital's best stadiums without having to fork out £40+ then this is an excellent way to do it.

All the capital's Premier League clubs do have such games at their main stadiums throughout the season so keep your eye on this blog or their websites for more info.

Before I go, there's set to be some terrible weather lashing London over the next 24 hours so if you were planning on seeing a game at the beginning of the week it might get postponed so check before you travel.

Lastly, the FA celebrated its 150th anniversary on Saturday. As part of the celebrations England are hosting Germany in a friendly at Wembley on 19 November. Tickets for this go on general sale on Tuesday and I think you'll have to act pretty quickly to get one.

Enjoy your week!


As always, please remember to let me know what you've been up to and if you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via Facebook, Twitter or even by good old email.

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).

Friday 15 November, 8pm - Chile, international friendly, Wembley 
Tuesday 19 November, 8pm - Germany, international friendly, Wembley (on sale 29 Oct)

Monday 18 November, 745pm - International friendly, Craven Cottage

Nothing currently available

Nothing currently available

Tickets are only available to season-ticket holders, members and their guests

Saturday 23 November, 3pm - Swansea City, Premier League
Wednesday 4 December, 8pm - Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League
Sunday 8 December, 130pm - Aston Villa, Premier League
Saturday 21 December, 3pm - Manchester City, Premier League

Wednesday 30 October, 745pm - Hull City, League Cup
Thursday 7 November, 805pm - Sheriff Tiraspol, Europa League
Sunday 1 December, 12pm - Manchester United, Premier League 

Saturday 2 November, 3pm - Aston Villa, Premier League
Saturday 23 November, 530pm - Chelsea, Premier League
Saturday 30 November, 3pm - Fulham, Premier League (on sale 29 October)
Thursday 26 December, 3pm - Arsenal, Premier League
Saturday 22 March, 3pm - Manchester United, Premier League
Saturday 5 April, 3pm - Liverpool, Premier League
Saturday 3 May, 3pm - Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League

Over the next couple of weeks Tottenham Hotspur are pricing all adult tickets at £20 for the visits of fellow Premier League side Hull City in the League Cup and FC Sheriff in the Europa League. Family tickets are also available.

On Saturday West Ham United are operating a 'Kids for a Quid' scheme for their Premier League game against Aston Villa.

In mid-November there's a mini feast of international football to be enjoyed in London. Chile and Germany are both coming to play England in friendlies at Wembley while sandwiched in between there's a very interesting looking game between Euro 2012 finalists Italy and reigning African champions Nigeria at Fulham's Craven Cottage. Tickets for the latter start at just £20 which seems like good value to me.

If you know of any other deals I may have missed or your club is running a promotion let me know.

There are over 75 matches in the London area this week so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

With very bad weather predicted at the start of the week, make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following 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 map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

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

Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. Add your own in the comments section below.


It's another massive week for the Gunners who first entertain London rivals Chelsea in the League Cup on Tuesday before hosting fellow early season pacesetters Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday. With the League Cup usually the lowest priority for both Arsenal and Chelsea, this league match should be the bigger occasion. At the time of writing these two fill the top two spots with both only having lost once this season but neither have had a particularly challenging fixture list. The next 10 games look a lot tougher for both with this being the first big test. Stat - Arsenal are winless in three against the Reds at the Emirates. (Premier League, Saturday 2 November, 530pm. Ticket info)

After their crucial win over fellow strugglers Crystal Palace on Monday, Fulham got back to losing ways at in-form Southampton on Saturday. This week looks like being even tougher as they welcome reigning Premier League champions Manchester United to Craven Cottage. Having seen eight games against the Red Devils go by without a win (not that unusual), this time Fulham have got a much better chance as United appear to be at their most vulnerable for sometime. Since David Moyes took over from Sir Alex Ferguson they've looked decidedly shaky and are duly eight points off the title pace already. However, this is all relative and they should have more than enough to see off the Cottagers - we'll see. (Premier League, Saturday 2 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

There are some big games in the Championship over the next seven days but I think this is just about the pick of them. Watford got off to a great start, suffered a bit of a dip, started to recover but then lost a couple again. Consequently they're still well placed for a tilt at the play-offs being just two points off sixth. Leicester on the other hand are on a great run with four wins in five lifting them up to second on Saturday. These two last met in the play-offs back in May where the Hornets came from a goal down after the first leg to beat City 3-2 on aggregate.  (Championship, Saturday 2 November, 1215pm. Ticket info)

After successfully avoiding an FA Cup banana skin on Saturday, Barnet get back to league duty with the tricky visit of Kidderminster. The Worcestershire club finished runners-up in the Conference last year but came unstuck in the play-offs and missed out on the chance to return to the Football League for the first time since 2005. Perhaps spurred on by that disappointment, they find themselves among the promotion contenders again and currently sit in second. The Bees seem to have got through their rough patch and are now unbeaten in five in the league meaning a win here could lift them into the top five. Owing to the yo-yoing nature of these teams between the divisions, this is the first time they've played since 2001 when Kiddy won 2-1. (Conference Premier, Saturday 2 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

In case you missed it, Saturday was FA Cup 4th qualifying round day. These two local rivals were paired together and produced a 1-1 draw in front of a bumper crowd of 2,895 which is about four times Ebbsfleet's normal attendance. A mouthwatering replay is now all set up for Tuesday night at Dartford's fine Princes Park stadium. The hosts should start as favourites as they play a division above Ebbsfleet but with another big crowd expected it could well go either way. (FA Cup, Tuesday 29 October, 745pm, Ticket info)

There's also FA Cup replay action to the south side of town where Conference South title contenders Sutton host Southern League leaders Hemel. These two played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in the original tie on Saturday. As above, the hosts play one level above their visitors so should be classed as favourites but perhaps more so than Dartford because they are in generally good form too. However, so are the Tudors who have only lost once in the league all season. It looks like being another cracker. (FA Cup, Tuesday 29 October, 745pm. Ticket info)

The cup football doesn't end on Tuesday though ladies and gentlemen, oh no. On Saturday we've also got the next round of the FA Trophy with the pick of the ties in the London area almost certainly this one. The two 'Stones' are among the promotion contenders in the Isthmian League with the home team currently sixth and the visitors top. When they played in Kent on the opening day of the season they drew 1-1 in front of a crowd of over 2,000 which, by all accounts, sadly produced a little bit of argy bargy so there might be a bit of an edge to this one. (FA Trophy, Saturday 2 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

On the east side of London we have these two sides who are having rather a good time of things in the Isthmian League Division 1 North. Both had seasons to forget last time with the Motormen finishing in the bottom three and Thurrock suffering relegation from the Premier Division after fielding an ineligible player. The opening months of this campaign have been far more positive with Redbridge well placed in fourth after 15 games just a point and a place behind Thurrock. The form guide, however, would suggest it could be Redbridge who take the honours as their four game unbeaten run is far better than the two defeats in four that their opponents have recorded. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 2 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

It's derby time in the Isthmian League Cup on Tuesday. As above, these two were poor last season with Casuals finishing bottom of the Isthmian League Division 1 South and W&H only a few places above them. This year is almost the exact opposite with Casuals top of the tree and W&H just a point off the play-off places. Who will win this time? Last time they played in August, Tuesday's hosts won 2-0. (Isthmian League Cup, Tuesday 29 October, 745pm. Club info)

Last up this week we have a clash between two of the top three in the Combined Counties League. Epsom were setting the pace for some while but they've been usurped by South Park after winning only two of their last five. Hanworth, with only one defeat in 10, have been making up ground and with two games in hand could soon pass E&E if they win here.  (FA Cup, Saturday 26 October, 3pm. Ticket 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 Facebook, Twitter or email.

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