Sunday, 12 February 2017

TLFG: 13-19 February 2017

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

This week I managed a rare foray to a live game over in south-east London.

Having earned a creditable draw at National League side Braintree Town in the FA Trophy on Saturday, Dulwich Hamlet welcomed the Essex club back to Champion Hill for the replay on Tuesday night.

Playing in the seventh tier, the hosts came into the game as the lowest-ranked team left in the competition so were the underdogs in most people's eyes.

Braintree seemed to have the better of the opening exchanges without really taking charge and it was Dulwich who took the lead with a penalty shortly before the half hour but it was all square at the break after a corner was poorly defended at the near post.

The ticket deal of the week is to be found at Dagenham & Redbridge
After the break, Dulwich took control but only after a moment of outrageous fortune restored their lead when keeper Sam Beasant (son of Dave) saw his clearance hit one of his own defenders and loop back over him into the net. 

Gavin Rose's players grew in confidence and opened up an unassailable 4-1 lead with 15 minutes to go. By this time Braintree were also down to 10 men and although they pulled one back, there was still time for sub Jacob Erskine to add another as Dulwich recorded a memorable 5-2 win.

Next up, in the quarter-finals, is a blockbuster home tie against former third-tier club Macclesfield Town. The Cheshire side are now back in the National League but are among its play-off contenders so will be incredibly tough to beat.

Thanks to reader Moran for this great panoramic of Brisbane Road
Both sides average sizeable crowds so Champion Hill's 3,000 capacity is likely to be reached for the game which takes place on Saturday 25 February. Tickets are on sale online and are being kept at the normal rate of £10 for adults which is impressive.

Elsewhere this week, it's Dagenham & Redbridge's annual 'Daggers Against Racism Day'. Guiseley are the visitors for a National League game and tickets start at just £2.50 for adults if bought in advance. 

Southall also have their hugely important FA Vase quarter-final against Cleethorpes Town on Saturday. They will start as considerable underdogs but the lure of a trip to nearby Wembley for the final could see them raise their game again.

We're lucky again this week to have a blog from 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' who paid a visit to Barking who are currently top of the Essex Senior League. I've never been to Mayesbrook Park so will take particular interest in this.


Lastly this week, thanks to reader Moran from Israel who visited Leyton Orient as their terrible run continued with defeat against Morecambe. He had a good time nonetheless and sent some great photos of his experiences. Thanks again Moran.

I'm heading up to Edinburgh this week. Sadly there don't seem to be any games on while I'm there but I'll try and squeeze in a match down here before I go.

Enjoy your week and, as always, let me know what you've been up to.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 70 matches in the London area over the next week with action in the FA Cup, EFL, FA Vase and several minor league and county cup competitions.

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).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Wednesday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Orange pin - Sunday fixtures




TLFG DAILY DIGEST
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 13 February

Premier League Cup
Fulham v AFC Wimbledon @7pm - there are three games in this U23 competition on Monday with this derby at the Cottagers' training ground the one I'd go for

National League South
Wealdstone v Whitehawk @745pm - with average crowds of 745, the Stones should draw a bigger crowd for the non-league game of the day
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Tuesday 14 February

Championship
Fulham v Nottingham Forest @745pm - the match of the night takes place at Craven Cottage where the hosts will look to push again for a play-off place. They're six points off the pace at the moment and should beat Forest but they don't have a great record against them with five wins from their last 20 meetings

League One
Millwall v Port Vale @745pm - the Lions are on a great 11-game unbeaten run which has lifted them into top six and the fifth round of the FA Cup. The visitors are struggling so that run should get extended
AFC Wimbledon v Coventry City @745pm - these clubs made history and won a lot of fans with unlikely FA Cup victories in consecutive years in the late '80s. Sadly both sets of supporters have suffered greatly since then and find themselves in League One. In the case of the Dons, things have hopefully reached their lowest point and they're a club on the up but for the Sky Blues, the downward trajectory continues. Currently bottom and winless in the league since the 1 November, a place in League Two looks a certainty

Ryman League Cup Quarter-Final
AFC Hornchurch v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - the eighth-tier Urchins welcome Dulwich from the division above. Both sides have hopes of promotion this season but the Hamlet seem to be dropping away a bit with the focus and performances seemingly being saved for their cup games. The visitors should start as favourites but Hornchurch are in much better form

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Wednesday 8 February

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Colliers Wood United v Sutton Common Rovers @730pm - if you're looking for a game on Wednesday, get yourself down to the Wibbandune for a match between two sides from south London. Neither are pulling up trees this season but their league positions are possibly a bit false as they both have several games in hand on the teams around them

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Saturday 18 February

FA Cup Fifth Round
Millwall v Leicester City @3pm - we're down to the last 16 and the Lions have done superbly well to get there, seeing off top-flight sides Bournemouth and Watford in the previous two rounds. Next up they welcome the reigning Premier League champions who have made a shocking defence of their title and are fighting the drop. Given who they've already beaten, Millwall should fancy their chances again

League Two
Barnet v Portsmouth @3pm - the Bees welcome former Premier League side Pompey for one of their biggest games of the season. Both were pushing hard for a play-off place a few weeks ago but Barnet have gone five without a win to fall to 12th. The gap is still only five points so a win against a fellow challenger would be very useful
Leyton Orient v Notts County @3pm - there's a massive relegation six-pointer over at Brisbane Road where two of the division's bottom three meet for a crucial game in their fight to remain in the EFL

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Guiseley @3pm - the Daggers got relegated from League Two last season but are right up in second as they look to make an immediate return. On Saturday they welcome struggling Guiseley for their annual 'Daggers Against Racism Day' where tickets are reduced to just £2.50 (standing) and £9.99 (seats) for adults but you must buy in advance to get the deal. Don't hang about!

National League South
Dartford v Chelmsford City @3pm - the Darts have won six on the trot to surge into title contention in the NLS. A win here could even see them leapfrog Ebbsfleet and Maidenhead to go top. However, Chelmsford have play-off ambitions of their own so can't be taken lightly

Ryman League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Needham Market @3pm - the big games are coming thick and fast for the Hamlet at the moment. Having beaten National League side Braintree in the FA Trophy and drawn with Ryman League leaders Bognor on Saturday, second-placed Needham are next up for what should be another challenging game for the club from SE22

FA Vase Quarter-Final
Southall v Cleethorpes Town @3pm - if you're in west London the non-league game of the day takes place at Hanwell Town's ground where tenants Southall have done superbly well to make it to the last eight of the Vase. Finalists back in the '80s, this is probably the club's biggest game since. Sadly, in Cleethorpes they've drawn one of the strongest teams left in the competition - the Lincolnshire club are currently top of the Northern Counties East League and have won a staggering 14 of their last 15 games in all competitions

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Fisher v Croydon @3pm - Bermondsey club Fisher moved back to a ground of their own at the start of the season and they're holding a Community Day there this Saturday when Croydon pay a visit. Among other things, funds are being raised for breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel

Combined Counties League Division 1
Banstead Athletic v Chessington & Hook United - two of the top three meet for a game which could have a big bearing on who wins the title

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Sunday 19 February

FA Cup Fifth Round
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur @2pm - there's a mouthwatering London derby to look forward to at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon. Both sides will probably be more concerned with their league campaigns so might rest one or two players but hopefully not. Tickets are still available but you must have a previous booking history with Fulham to be able to get one

Women's FA Cup Fourth Round
Millwall Lionesses v Nottingham Forest @2pm - if you can't get a ticket for the above, you needn't go without as you'll be able to get in at Salter Road, home of Fisher, for this game in the women's version of the FA Cup


GET INVOLVED
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. 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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