Sunday, 20 September 2015

TLFG: 21-27 September 2015

Hello there and welcome back to TLFG.

How was your week?

Having made it back from Turkey, I still had a few more days off and managed to pack it with sport related activity.

On Wednesday I went to QPR v Blackburn. It produced a 2-2 draw which neither side can have too many complaints about. The defending, particularly from Rangers, was suspect at times but they battled through to salvage a point.

On Thursday I went for a run in preparation for next Sunday's Ealing Half Marathon but a muscle injury returned and I had to walk about 5km home. Hopefully rest will put it right.

By the way, if you're a QPR fan who's taking part in the Ealing Half, I'm arranging a meet-up prior to the race for a 'QPR Runners' team photo. Feel free to join us.

Yesterday I headed down to Gloucester with some Georgian friends to see their side begin the Rugby World Cup with a hard-fought win over Tonga on what turned out to be a day of surprises.
Less than three weeks to go - please help us promote the campaign
Aside from all this, Non-League Day (NLD) preparations have also continued.

Apart from updating the match map, I went for a meeting at the Premier League with some of their communications team who are more than happy to help us push out the message this year via their own channels and those of their member clubs - it was a very significant moment for the campaign.

Please also remember you can do your bit to help support NLD. We've got some new t-shirts available with part of the proceeds going to our charity partners Prostate Cancer UK. There are downloads and banners which you can print off or add to your website to help us promote it and you can vote for us in the 'Football Influencer' category at the Football Blogging Awards. If you think we're worth it, you can vote for us here.

Lots of fixtures have also been confirmed and they are being added to the match map as the days go by. Have a look and see what's on near you.

Right, that's it from me. Heading back in to work shortly for my first shift after two weeks off - urgh.

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 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.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

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

Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.

There are over 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please 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. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (white 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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White 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. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 


1. Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - the first North London derby of the season wasn't expected until well into November but then fate decreed that the two should meet in the third round of the League Cup. At this point in the competition, most sides send out weakened line-ups to give a few kids a chance but I seriously doubt that'll be the case here as the bragging rights are worth so much. In recent years, the sides have met three times in the competition usually at the semi-final stage and there's always plenty of goals. The last time was five years ago at the same stage when Arsenal won 4-1 at White Hart Lane but only after extra-time. It could well go the distance again. (League Cup Third Round, Wednesday 23 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Watford v Crystal Palace - we've got another derby to look forward to on Sunday in the far north-west of our region. The Hornets rejoined the Premier League after an absence of several years at the start of the season with very little expected of them. However, they have made a positive start and are sat nicely in the top half after recording back-to-back wins over Swansea and Newcastle. Palace, by the time this game happens, could be back in the top three if they beat Spurs on Sunday to continue their fine form. The head-to-head between these sides is pretty tight and there will be a little bit of a score to settle for Watford as the last time they faced the Eagles was in the 2013 Championship play-off final which ended in a 1-0 defeat. (Premier League, Sunday 27 September, 4pm. Ticket info)

3. Fulham v Queens Park Rangers - talking of derbies we also have one of the West London variety to enjoy on Friday night. It's fair to say that Chelsea provide the biggest derby for both these sides but the rivalry isn't really reciprocated as the gulf is so large. These two are on a much more even footing and usually provide some cracking games. Rangers have already sold out their allocation and should start as marginal favourites on form. However, they haven't managed a win at Craven Cottage for over 35 years and have shipped an average of nearly four goals a game over their last three visits so can't be overly confident. If you can't get into a Premier League game this week then really seriously consider this one. (Championship, Friday 25 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Millwall v Rochdale it's been a topsy-turvy week for the Lions. Following the joy of winning at Port Vale in midweek, they were brought down to earth with a home defeat against struggling Southend on Saturday. Things look rosier than they did though and now they are only three points off getting back into the play-off spots. If they are to be taken seriously as promotion contenders then they'll need to beat the likes of Rochdale who are occupying one of those berths at the moment. What's also worth noting is that this is the first time the sides have met since 1965. In that Division 4 game at Spotland, Millwall triumphed by two goals to nil so they'll be hoping for a re-enactment. (League One, Saturday 26 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Barnet v Dagenham & Redbridge - I'm almost getting tired of using the D-word but we've got another derby at The Hive. This could prove to be a highly significant game for two sides at the wrong end of League Two. Both sides originally emerged from non-league football but have struggled in recent seasons with average crowds that put them in the bottom five in the attendance league. Their performances on the pitch have also been poor with Barnet leapfrogging the Daggers this weekend to get out of the bottom two. It's really hard to call this one but Dagenham are unbeaten in five against the Bees so that might tell us something. (League Two, Saturday 26 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Chester the Ravens moved up to the fifth tier at the start of the season and have acquitted themselves well. After a slightly inconsistent start, the south-east London club have won four games on the bounce to put them within touching distance of the play-off spots. Chester have only won one of their last five so Bromley should feel pretty confident ahead of this first ever meeting of the two clubs. (National League, Saturday 26 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Wingate & Finchley v Concord Rangers - it's FA Cup time again this weekend and with the competition now at the Second Qualifying Round stage, teams from the National League North and South enter the draw. Isthmian Premier side W&F have belied their minnow status again, moving up to fourth after a fine beginning to their campaign. In Concord they face a club from the division above so said draw could've been kinder but the Essex outfit have lost seven of their last 10 league games so could be there for the taking. (FA Cup Second Qualifying Round, Saturday 26 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Tooting & Mitcham United v Brackley Town - south Londoners T&MU face one of their biggest matches for a while as they entertain The Saints who hail from the National League North some two divisions above. The Northants club struggled last season and are hovering just above the relegation places again so look vulnerable despite the vast experience of 43-year-old former Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair who has just stepped up to become player-manager. Tooting have lost more than they've won to sit in the lower half of the Isthmian South but the £4,500 prize money on offer should level the playing field somewhat. (FA Cup Second Qualifying Round, Saturday 26 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Carshalton Athletic v East Thurrock United - neither side have exactly been pulling up trees this season and sit well down the pecking order in their respective divisions. Carshalton of the Isthmian South play a level below ETU but have home advantage so should be in a position to give it a good go.  (FA Cup Second Qualifying Round, Saturday 26 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Phoenix Sports v AFC Hornchurch - last up we've got a tie between sides from the Isthmian North. The Urchins are currently third and will start as favourites but Phoenix have ousted Guernsey and Lewes, considerably bigger clubs, in previous rounds and will be particularly dangerous on their own pitch. (FA Cup Second Qualifying Round, Saturday 26 September, 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.

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