Sunday, 29 November 2015

TLFG: 30 November - 6 December 2015

Hello one and all and welcome to TLFG.

How has your week been? Enjoyed a game or two?

Mine has been notable for the two sides I follow picking up a couple of notable 1-0 wins.

First up I'd like to congratulate Harrow Borough on their surprise victory over Isthmian League leaders Dulwich Hamlet.

Compared to recent years, Boro are having a pretty decent season so it wasn't a total shock but the recent FA Trophy match between the sides at Earlsmead had seen the south Londoners win 3-0 so a repeat wouldn't have been unexpected. 

Shock results like this are one of the best things about being a Harrow supporter. It seems to be a mark of Boro squads that they get themselves up for the big games and then return to far more uninspiring fare soon after, as evidenced by the defeats to lowly VCD Athletic and north London rivals Wingate & Finchley which bookended the Dulwich result.

Elswhere, QPR also returned to winning ways with a well deserved albeit narrow win over Leeds United. Reports suggest the R's gave a far more accomplished performance than of late with star striker Charlie Austin coming off the bench on the hour to score the decisive goal with his first touch. 

Many fans, myself included, would be more than happy to see caretaker manager Neil Warnock continue in the job for at least the rest of the season but whether he or the club want that seems unclear with other names firmly in the frame.

This week, aside from the usual league action we've also got the second round of the FA Cup to look forward to.

This represents the final hurdle for League One, League Two and the few remaining non-league clubs before the big boys of the Premier League and Championship enter the draw.

For clubs like Welling United, the London area's only non-league side left in the competition, it could be a defining moment in their history.


I have received word from the good people at the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Trust that a number of clubs in their part of town have come together to put on a two-game football feast this Saturday 5 December.

Starting at 1230pm you can watch the London Senior Trophy tie between Peckham Town and Tooting Bec for FREE at the Southwark Sports Ground on the edge of Dulwich Park. A match programme is being produced and a 50:50 draw is being held to raise funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Once that finishes, it's just a short ride on the P13 bus to Champion Hill for the Isthmian League game between Dulwich Hamlet and Needham Market. This game is being used to raise awareness of the issues around gambling addiction.

Enjoy your week.

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 80 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 on the following match maps. If you've never used them 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 drop down menu at the top 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
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Black 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. Arsenal v Sunderland - by the time you read this, the Gunners could well be top of the league. It all depends on the result of their Sunday afternoon game at Norwich which they should win. Up until a few days ago, this match against the Mackems would probably have been a formality but Arsenal have wobbled a bit of late and Sunderland have suddenly gone on a two-game winning streak as Sam Allardyce's methods have started to bear fruit. Arsene Wenger's charges should still win and rarely slip up in home games against the Black Cats but it did end all square back in May when they last met. (Premier League, Saturday 5 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Brentford v MK Dons - after a poor start, the Bees sacked their manager and have steadily climbed the table to become London's top-ranked club in the Championship. Caretaker boss Lee Carsley has done a great job but doesn't want it full time and may well have been replaced by the time this game takes place. The visitors had been knocking on the door of the second tier for several seasons and finally made it up in May. Given the resources behind them I expected a much stronger challenge from the Buckinghamshire club but they have become relegation contenders rather than play-off candidates. Another win for Brentford looks likely. (Championship, Saturday 5 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Millwall v Wycombe Wanderers - the FA Cup reaches its crucial second round stage this weekend which means all teams are just 90 minutes away from playing a Premier League club in January's third round. Probably the biggest tie in London is this one. The Lions continued their push for a place in the League One play-offs with an important win over Bury on Saturday. They should start as favourites as Wycombe play in the division below but they too are chasing promotion, are unbeaten in six and often push Millwall hard with games between the two tending to be close. Also, all adults tickets have been reduced to £15. (FA Cup Second Round, Saturday 5 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Leyton Orient v Scunthorpe United there's a chance of a cupset at Brisbane Road where League Two play-off contenders Leyton Orient host the Iron from League One. The O's really should be firmly established among the division's leading pack by now but are being annoyingly inconsistent. They are, however, unbeaten in three - a run which has included tricky opponents like Plymouth and local rivals AFC Wimbledon. Scunthorpe built up some decent momentum in October but things have gone a bit awry of late and they will really hope to arrest their recent poor run here. The vast majority of adults tickets are also selling for £15. (FA Cup Second Round, Saturday 5 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Barnet v Newport County at The Hive we have a game between a pair of League Two's strugglers. Both of these former non-league sides are in the bottom six so could do with the fillip of a good cup run and a draw against one of the nation's biggest clubs. Although the Welsh side are below Barnet in the table, their position is slightly misleading as they are draw specialists and haven't lost in nine games across all competitions. Replay anyone? Once again, adult tickets are £15 throughout the ground. (FA Cup Second Round, Saturday 5 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dagenham & Redbridge v Whitehawk - like the two sides above, the Daggers are also having a rough time towards the foot of League Two and could do with a morale-boosting win here. On paper they should see off Whitehawk without too much fuss as they play two levels below them but it's rarely that straightforward in the FA Cup. Not only are Dagenham a bit iffy, the Hawks are having a fine season progressing well in the league, FA Cup and FA Trophy. There's real cupset potential here. It's also on Sunday with adult tickets ranging from just £10-12 so it's a great chance to do a bit of groundhopping or see a second game if your team are playing on Saturday. (FA Cup Second Round, Sunday 6 December, 2pm. Ticket info)

7. Welling United v Carlisle United - of all the non-league clubs in the TLFG region which entered the FA Cup this season, the Wings are the last ones still standing. After seeing off Grays Athletic and Barwell in previous rounds, they find themselves facing a much sterner test in League Two promotion hopefuls Carlisle. The Cumbrians impressively beat Plymouth in the previous round and should start as strong favourites here despite another long journey south. Welling play in the division below, sitting just above the relegation places. They are winless in six in the league and will have to give the performance of their lives to make it through. This is also on Sunday, so another good chance to groundhop or see two games in a weekend. (FA Cup Second Round, Sunday 6 December, 2pm. Ticket info)

8. Wingate & Finchley v Billericay Town - despite their reputedly tiny budget and small fanbase, Wingate have, aside from one bad season, competed well in the Isthmian Premier since promotion in 2011. Things are going particularly well this time round with the club lying third as we move into December. In fact if they win their game in hand on leaders Dulwich, they'd even draw level with them. On Saturday they welcome Essex club Billericay who also find themselves in the top eight of what is a very congested table. Wingate aren't one of the division's most glamorous clubs and, like many others, don't get perhaps as much coverage as they should so if you don't fancy any of the above then consider this, especially if you're in north London. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 5 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. AFC Hornchurch v Bury Town - unfazed by their slightly surprising relegation last season, the Urchins' push for an immediate return to the top division of the Isthmian League is progressing well. With only three defeats from 21 games and with matches in hand on leaders Cray Wanderers which could put them top, things are looking rosy. This weekend they take on Bury Town who also fell into the eighth tier at the end of last season, again quite surprisingly. They too are doing well and are fifth, also with games in hand on the teams above them. It should be close. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 5 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Tooting & Mitcham United v Folkestone Invicta - sadly this recommendation is more about seeing the visitors than our local side. The Kent club are currently top dogs in the Isthmian League Division 1 South - four points clear, with a game in hand. They are averaging more than two goals a game and have the meanest defence in the division. Our beloved Terrors are having a much more unspectacular season, currently down in 18th but well ahead of the real strugglers. They also got a very creditable draw against second-placed Worthing in Saturday so can't be written off. It's fair to say the south London club have seen much better days but they are well worth a visit with one of the best non-league grounds in the capital and fans who will make you feel welcome. It's also only a short walk from Mitcham tram stop so it's pretty easy to get to too. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Saturday 5 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

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.

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