Sunday, 25 September 2016

TLFG: 26 September - 2 October 2016

After last week's moaning I'm feeling a bit more positive.

I'm not sure why - QPR have gone another two games without winning as have Harrow Borough but I've had a few days in the country enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation.

I've received some interesting emails from some of you and saw an interview I gave about Non-League Day published in this month's copy of German football magazine 11Freunde. I've also been invited to co-author a book which is both flattering and a really big challenge. 

It looks like being another action-packed week with even more on offer than the last seven days. 

The chances of me seeing a game look slim again as I move on to early shifts (I have to be up at 4am tomorrow and 3am on Tuesday) but Wednesday could be a possibility.

This week 'Two Men In Search...' pay a visit to Wembley

Our good friends at 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' have been out and about again. Their latest trip took them to Wembley for Tottenham's first Champions League 'home' game against Monaco a couple of weeks back. The other two games against Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow are set to go on general sale on Wednesday at pretty reasonable prices so see the Spurs website for more info if you're interested.

Personally, the main highlights of the week for me will be QPR's big derby game at Fulham and also the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round both of which take place on Saturday afternoon. If you fancy going to the game at Craven Cottage, at the time of writing, there are still tickets available on general sale in the QPR end for £25.

I think that's about it from me - enjoy!

There are over 100 matches in the London area over the next week with games in the Champions League, Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, FA Vase, several county cups and the development leagues.

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
Magenta pin - Wednesday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Orange pin - Sunday fixtures

In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 26 September

Premier League 2
Fulham U23 v Norwich City U23 @7pm - Monday is becoming the day to get your dose of development football with the Cottagers entertaining the Canaries at their Motspur Park training ground where it's only £3 to get in
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion @7pm - if you'd rather see a game at a proper stadium, the Hammers will playing this at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground


Tuesday 27 September

Brentford v Reading @745pm - in terms of mileage, Brentford are the Royals' nearest divisional rivals so this is a derby. They're both also in with an excellent chance of making the play-offs this year

League Two
Leyton Orient v Plymouth Argyle @745pm - the O's welcome the leaders for this match between clubs who should be playing at a higher level

Ryman League Division 1 North
Phoenix Sports v Maldon & Tiptree @745pm - the hosts have had a great few years which has seen them win a couple of promotions and develop their ground significantly. They now find themselves top of this division and take on one of the other early pacesetters here
Thurrock v Aveley @745pm - if it's a derby you want, these two play just one mile apart, they're both also in with a shout of the play-offs

Essex Senior League
Clapton v London Bari @745pm - we've got a grounshare derby in Forest Gate where only one place and two points separate the teams in the ESL table
West Essex v Barking @745pm - a bit further to the east we've got another groundshare derby where the 'visitors' are among this season's title contenders


Wednesday 28 September

Champions League
Arsenal v FC Basel @745pm - at first glance you'd expect an in-form Gunners side to win this with ease but the Swiss outfit have become a decent side in recent years and have won nine out of nine domestically this season so should be no pushovers

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
AFC Croydon Athletic v Beckenham Town @745pm - on Wednesday night we've got a chance to take a look at the Rams who've made a great start to sit two points clear after eight games, it's also a derby too

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round Replay
SC Thamesmead v Ringmer @745pm - both sides play in the 10th tier and both are down near the bottom, partly due to having had a decent cup run. If the hosts win, it will be the furthest they have been in the competition


Friday 30 September

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Cray Valley PM v Erith Town @745pm - CVPM have made a great start to the campaign and are second at the time of writing whilst Erith are rooted to the bottom


Saturday 1 October

Premier League

Watford v Bournemouth @3pm - the Hornets and Cherries both came up last season and confounded many by staying up. The hosts could well be up in seventh by the time this game comes round which would be some achievement
West Ham United v Middlesbrough @3pm - the Hammers have arguably been the disappointment of the season so far with five defeats from six. They really must win against new boys Boro or things will start to get really tricky for boss Slaven Bilic

Fulham v Queens Park Rangers @1245pm - this west London derby is one of the biggest non-Premier League games you can see in London. The Cottagers are a huge bogey team for QPR so will start as considerable favourites

League One
Charlton Athletic v Rochdale @3pm - neither side are doing particularly well but it's a great chance to watch some EFL action on the cheap as all tickets are just £5

League Two
Barnet v Leyton Orient @3pm - we've also got a derby at The Hive where the Bees welcome the only other London club in the division

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Tranmere Rovers @530pm - the game of the day in non-league takes place at Victoria Road where first plays fourth, a huge game

FA Cup Third Qualifying Round - it's starting to get serious for the 80 clubs who have made it to this round with £7,500 of prize money up for grabs and only two matches between themselves and the likes of Bolton, Charlton and Sheffield United in the first round proper 

Wealdstone v Banbury United @3pm - the Stones play a division above their visitors so should start as favourites but the Puritans are having a fine season so should push them
Welling United v Swindon Supermarine @3pm - the Wings have drawn eighth-tier opposition for the second round running which should see them progress despite their poor league form
Hendon v AFC Rushden & Diamonds @3pm - the Greens welcome the reincarnation of a former third tier team for this tie. Rushden have been climbing the leagues in recent seasons but are still a division below their hosts
Harrow Borough v Winchester City @3pm - Boro made it to the fourth qualifying round two years ago and the first round in 2010 and with this home draw against lower division opposition, have a great chance of progressing again

Sunday 2 October

Ryman League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Grays Athletic @3pm - neither side are pulling up any trees but there's nothing else on so give it a go


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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