Sunday, 8 November 2015

TLFG: 9-15 November 2015

Hello there and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

How has your week been?

It's been another important one in the world of London football.

The big match of the week between Arsenal and Spurs produced a highly entertaining 1-1 draw on Sunday which kept the Gunners tied on points at the top of the Premier League with Manchester City. The point was also enough for Tottenham to move above West Ham, who drew with Everton, into fifth as the two north London clubs become the capital's top-ranked teams.

Chelsea's woes continued with a 1-0 defeat at Stoke to leave them down in 16th just three points above the relegation zone.

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace ended their three-game winless streak with a superb 2-1 win at Liverpool to stay firmly in the hunt for a place in the top six whilst Watford lost 2-1 at high-flying surprise package Leicester.

The main story in the Championship this week was manager Chris Ramsey being 'relieved of first-team duties' by QPR. He was by no means a disaster in the job but the board want at least a top-six finish and that appears to be slipping away. Former boss Neil Warnock, who brought the Championship title to Loftus Road in 2010/11, has replaced him on at least a temporary basis and began with a 0-0 draw against Preston.

My most recent #instabalti contribution - Clapton v Ilford
All our other local Football League clubs and a few non-league ones were involved in the first round of the FA Cup this weekend.

Of the ones that progressed to the second round, Barnet were the only ones to cause an upset as they beat former Premier League side Blackpool at The Hive.  

Leyton Orient, Millwall and Welling United all won through too while Dagenham & Redbridge and Boreham Wood earned replays so will take their places in Monday night's draw as well.

This week sees another international break so if you were hoping to see one of London's top clubs then I'm afraid you're out of luck. There are a couple of U21 games at some of the clubs' main stadiums that might interest you instead but mainly the focus shifts onto our local non-league teams again.

There are some big games in the National League, some FA Trophy ties, several derbies and lots of midweek county cup action.

Lastly if you're an Instagram user, our friends at 'The Chicken Balti Chronicles' would love to see your football photos from wherever you are in the world. Whether you're at the Old Spotted Dog, the Olympiastadion or Ordos Stadium they want your pictures - just tag them #instabalti and they'll be much appreciated. You can also add them to their Facebook page too.

Have a great 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
Black pin - Friday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday 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. Dagenham & Redbridge v Oxford United - as a result of this weekend's international break, the top ranked local team in action over the next seven days are the Daggers. Of 'the 92' Football League clubs they are currently bottom of the pile with only one league win all season. On Wednesday they welcome Oxford for this Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie and will start very much as second favourites to a side who are challenging for the divisional title. Tickets start at just £10 for adults. (Johnstone's Paint Trophy Area Quarter-Finals, Wednesday 11 November, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Bromley v Boreham Wood - last season these two fought out a thrilling battle for the Conference South title with Bromley eventually coming out as champions. Undeterred, The Wood won the ensuing play-offs to join their rivals in the fifth tier. The hosts are a much bigger club than their opponents, averaging nearly 1,000 more through the turnstile for each game (a huge amount at this level) and have unsurprisingly made a much better start to life at this level. After 19 games they sit fourth just five points behind leaders Forest Green while Boreham Wood are doing superbly well to be above former Football League sides Torquay, Southport, Kidderminster and Halifax who currently fill the relegation places. Strangely, this season's reverse fixture at Meadow Park has already been played and produced a thrilling 3-2 win for the Kent outfit. Over the last decade or so, Bromley have much the better record between the two and should be confident of adding another win. (National League, Tuesday 10 November, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. Welling United v Forest Green Rovers - a few miles to the north east the same evening, Bromley's local rivals Welling will be entertaining the aforementioned Forest Green. The Gloucestershire club provide daunting opposition for the struggling Wings as not only are they top of the league, they beat League Two's AFC Wimbledon 2-1 on their own pitch in the FA Cup on Saturday. Welling also made progress in the cup but only at the expense of Barwell who play two levels below them - a draw will therefore be a fine achievement. (National League, Tuesday 10 November, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Dartford v Maidstone United - there's a mouthwatering Kent derby to look forward to at Princes Park on Saturday in the National League South. The Darts, alongside Welling, were the big boys of the non-league scene on the western side of the county over the last couple of years but got relegated last season and now look like falling behind a resurgent Maidstone who have been climbing steadily up the divisions in recent seasons. Having won six on the bounce in the league and narrowly lost to League Two strugglers Yeovil Town in the FA Cup on Sunday, the Stones are well on course for at least a play-off place. The hosts, however, are undergoing a season of consolidation and sit comfortably enough in midtable having gone on a nice little run which has seen them take seven points from three games. Both sides are well supported so I'd expect a turn out of 1,500-2,000. (National League South, Saturday 14 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Harrow Borough v Wealdstone another, sadly more low-key, derby is taking place at Earlsmead on Tuesday. Following the Stones' promotion to the National League South, these old rivals only now get the chance to meet in cup competitions and this week the two have been paired in the Middlesex Senior Cup of which Harrow are the current holders. Boro are the smaller club and very much the underdogs but are doing better than they have for several seasons so will hopefully give it a good go (not that I'm biased - much). Wealdstone looked vulnerable earlier in the season but have now gone seven league games without defeat and gave League One side Colchester United a tough first half in the FA Cup on Saturday before losing 6-2. The fact this is only a county cup tie could see either or both clubs rest some players but the fans will still want those bragging rights regardless. (Middlesex Senior Cup First Round, Tuesday 10 November, 745pm. Club info)

6. Dulwich Hamlet v VCD Athletic - after comfortably seeing off Harrow last weekend, Dulwich next take on fellow south-east Londoners VCD in next round of the FA Trophy. Both sides currently compete in the Isthmian League Premier Division but the chasm between the two is vast with the hosts top and backed by over 1,000 fans a game and the visitors bottom with a tenth of the support. They last met in the league just over a month ago with the Hamlet enjoying a resounding 5-2 win - it's hard to see anything much too different happening here. (FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round, Saturday 14 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Molesey v Harlow Town - there's an interesting inter-division tie elsewhere in the draw which plays off promotion contenders from the Isthmian League's Division 1 South and North respectively. The Moles are new to this level having won the Combined Counties League title last season and are already up to second after making a dream start. Harlow, however, are down in 12th in their division but an extended FA Cup run means they have a whopping seven games in hand on leaders Cray Wanderers and four or five on most of the teams immediately above them. Having come close to promotion last year and with a relatively strong support base, they should provide tough opposition for anyone at this level. (FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round, Saturday 14 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Egham Town v Beaconsfield SYCOB - for me, the brilliantly nicknamed Sarnies have been one of the surprise packages of the season so far. Following promotion from the Combined Counties League in 2013, Egham have held their own in Southern League Division 1 Central but have never finished higher than 11th. This time they've come flying out of the blocks to establish themselves as title contenders. Although currently down to second, they have a game in hand on leaders Chalfont St Peter so are well in the hunt for honours alongside a string of other clubs including visitors Beaconsfield who are just a point behind down in sixth. In fact, only three points separate the top 10 so this looks like being a very exciting title race indeed. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Saturday 14 November, 3pm. Club info)

9. Clapton v Newham - our final derby of the week takes place at London's oldest ground - the Old Spotted Dog - over in Forest Gate in east London. Regular readers will know I paid the Tons a visit on Non-League Day just over four weeks ago (time flies) when an impressive crowd of nearly 800 turned up for another derby against Ilford. For one reason or another, this will be their first home league match since so it will be interesting to see how many attend this one. Cross-borough rivals Newham, who used to groundshare with Clapton, are having to travel all the way to the Essex port town of Tilbury to fulfil their home fixtures at the moment - something no doubt contributing to their poor record this season. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 14 November, 3pm. Club info)

10. Worcester Park v Bedfont & Feltham - looking for a fix of tenth-tier football? Then this could be the match for you. Worcester Park have been one of the most successful sides in the Combined Counties League Division One since I began writing this blog back in 2011 but they never get promoted because their ground is nowhere near good enough. With no floodlights or perimeter fencing, watching a game here is very much akin to attending a match at your local park (albeit within a private sports club). If that hasn't put you off, they are once again top of the league and entertain B&F who are currently fourth but with four games in hand so it should be a good contest. It is also very easy to get to by public transport with the pitch overlooked by the southbound platform of Worcester Park station around 25 minutes ride from Waterloo in central London. Please also note the early kick-off time because of the aforementioned lack of floodlights. (Combined Counties League Division One, Saturday 14 November, 2pm. Club 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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