Monday 18 September 2017

TLFG: 18-24 September 2017

Greetings one and all and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

For me, today was primarily about completing the Harrow Half Marathon and that's partly why this going up a bit late again.

For the last two weeks I've been battling a calf injury and it seemed to be pretty good so I gave the race a try.

Sadly it flared up after about four kilometres and rather than give up, I dug in and ground out the remaining 17km finishing in a time of 2:05:12 which, although way off my best, I'm rather happy with all things considered. I can now hardly walk but that's sport!

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The momentum seems to be picking up ahead of Non-League Day with lots of clubs starting to announce their plans - reduced admission, charity events and even fancy dress are so far on offer.

Former West Ham manager Alan Pardew also lent his support, doing a nice short film for our charity partners Prostate Cancer UK.

Find out how you can help Prostate Cancer UK on Non-League Day

For individual fans, the charity and I are still trying to encourage people to walk, run or ride to whichever game they're going to. Apparently one team in the National League is getting a group of fans to walk around 20 miles to an away game which should be very doable and hopefully a lot of fun. I've done a number of cross London walks with QPR fans over the last few years and you get to meet some great people in the process.

If you fancy doing something like this get in touch with the charity or simply text BADGE to 70004 to donate £5 and you'll get one of their iconic 'Man of Men' badges sent to you.

There's now less than three weeks to go until this year's Non-League Day
We've also launched our new range of NLD t-shirts to go with some of the most popular ones from previous years. If you're a groundhopper then I hope you'll like the theme. With these, the manufacturer will also be donating a percentage of the proceeds to PCUK and grassroots football charity Street League. All the designs can be found towards the bottom of our homepage and several of them can be customised to your club's colours.

In other news, Tuesday night looks set to be an emotional one for Walton & Hersham fans as they bid farewell to their Stompond Lane ground ahead of the move to a new home elsewhere in the borough. Local rivals Chertsey Town provide the opposition for what should be a good game regardless.

Finally from me, our good friends at 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' have been on their travels again. In their latest piece, they pay a visit to National League side Dagenham & Redbridge so give it a read and check out the photos.

There are over 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days as the Premier League and EFL take centre stage. It's also a big week of cup football with the next rounds of the EFL Cup and FA Vase and there are a few FA Cup replays too.

As always, 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 (orange 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.

A must have for watching football in England in 2017-2018

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.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin

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 18 September

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Liverpool @7pm - get your week off to a flyer by checking out some of the best U23 talent in the country at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground


Tuesday 19 September

EFL Cup Third Round

Crystal Palace v Huddersfield Town @745pm - arguably the pick of the night's ties is this all-Premier League affair at Selhurst Park. It's rare that non-members can get a ticket here so now's your chance and U12s get in for free with a paying adult
Tottenham Hotspur v Barnsley @745pm - this is hardly the most mouthwatering of match-ups but how often are you going to get to see a game at Wembley for a tenner?
West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers @745pm - not been to the London Stadium since the Hammers moved in? This is your opportunity as tickets are in plentiful supply and they're cheap

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round Replays
Wingate & Finchley v Hemel Hempstead Town @745pm - with the Tudors playing in the league above, the hosts did really well to get a draw on Saturday. Back on home soil, they should have a good chance of causing an upset
Enfield Town v Hanwell Town @745pm - the Towners would have been expected to win at Hanwell on Saturday, as the west London club are having a poor season, but they didn't. It would be a big upset if they came unstuck here
Phoenix Sports v Glebe @745pm - the visitors did well to hold the higher ranked Phoenix on Saturday but with home advantage gone this derby is going to be tough
Hayes & Yeading United v FC Romania @745pm - again this should see a home win but FC Romania are a canny side and there is potential for Hayes to lose here

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Walton & Hersham v Chertsey Town @745pm - it's a big night for the Swans who play their final ever game at Stompond Lane before moving to groundshare with local rivals Walton Casuals at the recently finished Elmbridge Sports Hub - it will be an emotional night for many


Wednesday 20 September

EFL Cup Third Round
Arsenal v Doncaster Rovers @745pm - MATCH ON GENERAL SALE AT THE EMIRATES ALERT! As many of you know, opportunities to go and watch the Gunners at home without membership are rare but tickets are available for this one. Arsene Wenger never fields a full strength side for these games and Rovers are in terrible form so don't expect a classic
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest @745pm - over at Stamford Bridge you could get something a bit more competitive as the Blues will also no doubt rest a few players and Forest will want to make the most of the occasion

Kent Senior Cup Second Round
Welling United v Charlton Athletic @745pm - the Wings have landed an eye-catching tie against local League One rivals Charlton. Although three divisions separate the two, the Addicks will only field a development side and we could get a good game


Friday 22 September

League One
AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons @745pm - one of the matches of the week comes at Kingsmeadow where these two bitter rivals go head-to-head for the first time this season. If you don't know the back story, in brief, AFC Wimbledon were formed after the original Wimbledon were moved against the fans' wishes to Milton Keynes and eventually turned into MK Dons in one of the biggest scandals in English football history. Neither are doing well in the league so the points and bragging rights are important to both. Sadly without membership, you won't officially be able to get a ticket

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
AC London v Horley Town @745pm - the next round of the FA Vase gets underway on Friday night with the now famous AC and their really young manager/chairman trying to cause an upset against Horley


Saturday 16 September

Premier League
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - there's only one Premier League game in London this weekend but it's a good one as these two big rivals meet at the London Stadium. Aside from their intense dislike of Millwall and Arsenal respectively, fans of these clubs tend to rank each other as number two on their lists with some pretty fiery derbies ensuing. Despite a poor record at their new home, West Ham did beat Spurs here last season

Fulham v Middlesbrough @3pm - the pick of the games in the Championship can be found at Craven Cottage. Fulham made it to the play-offs last season but have been inconsistent so far and are stuck in midtable. Boro, having come down from the Premier League, were expected to do well and are unbeaten in four. Fulham are also hosting a Fun Day in neighbouring Bishop's Park so this is a good one if you've got kids
Queens Park Rangers v Burton Albion @3pm - the R's gave a plucky performance at Middlesbrough on Saturday but ultimately lost 3-2. At home they are unbeaten in the league and should have too much for the Brewers

League One
Charlton Athletic v Bury @3pm - the Addicks got off to a great start and were right up with the leaders but back-to-back defeats have seen them slide down to seventh. The Shakers have only managed one win from eight so should be beaten

League Two
Barnet v Crawley Town @3pm - this time last week things were looking rosy for the Bees as two wins on the trot had fired them up the table. A week later and with only one point garnered from another two games, they're back in midtable. Harry Kewell's Crawley side are winless in three, down in 20th and desperate to turn things around so could be dangerous

National League
Sutton United v Barrow @3pm - the U's missed the chance to go top on Saturday with defeat at Woking. Next to visit Gander Green Lane are Barrow who make the long trip down from Cumbria seemingly a shadow of the side who finished seventh last season. Down in 18th, they are still proving tough to beat but are drawing too many games

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Leatherhead @3pm - two of the pre-season favourites go head-to-head at Champion Hill. Dulwich, despite their large fan base and good squad, have got off to another disappointing start and find themselves down in 10th and out of the FA Cup. The Tanners had a better opening to the season but the brakes have come on and they're only a point ahead of the Hamlet in what is a tight table. Also, if you're an employee of Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark or Wandsworth councils you'll get in for £5 on production of work ID as part of the club's 'Public Sector Day'

Bostik League South Division
Walton Casuals v Lewes @3pm - the game of the day in this division sees the third placed Casuals host the leaders - there's currently only one point between them. This match also provides another opportunity to visit Walton's new ground

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round - this national competition is exclusively for clubs at Levels 9-11 of the pyramid. The draw is still regionalised at this stage to reduce travel expenses and the winners of each tie receive £725 in prize money, the losers £250. There are lots of ties in the London area on Saturday - I've picked out a few which I think are most notable
West Essex v Great Wakering Rovers @3pm - two of the top four in the Essex Senior League meet for a bit of Vase football at Barking's ground
Enfield Borough v Woodbridge Town @3pm - the Panthers disappointingly came unstuck in their big game against Ampthill but they're still joint top of the SSML 1. Woodbridge lead the parallel Eastern Counties Division 1 so it will be interesting to see which league is stronger
London Lions v Malmesbury Victoria @3pm - go to this one if you've never been to the Lions' well appointed Rowley Lane ground and tick it off your list. Also go because you're being given a very random chance to see a Western League side from Wiltshire play in London, something which doesn't happen very often
Cricklewood Wanderers v Rayners Lane @3pm - one of the only 11th-tier teams left in from the London area, Cricklewood will be looking to cause an upset at Wembley's Vale Farm ground against a side from a couple of miles away
Tooting Bec v Fisher @3pm - the other minnows left in the draw are Bec who face a tough but winnable game against SCEFL opposition

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Croydon v Sevenoaks Town @3pm - the Trams have got off to a good start and could go top if they beat fellow title contenders Sevenoaks

Combined Counties League Division One
Worcester Park v Eversley & California @3pm  - the visitors have already opened up a six-point lead at the top so Worcester Park, in third, are going to need to win here to stay in the title race


Sunday 24 September

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Barkingside v Whitton United @1pm - the action starts early at Cricklefields where the hosts, who play a level above their opponents, should begin as favourites
Erith Town v Mile Oak @3pm - the scenario is fairly similar here but Erith look arguably more vulnerable to an upset

FA Women's Super League 1
Chelsea v Bristol City @1230pm - the FAWSL returns after its summer break and for me this is the most notable game as it will be the Blues' first at their new home. Somewhat controversially, Chelsea have bought Kingsmeadow in Kingston off AFC Wimbledon and are moving their women's side in. The Dons will remain until their new ground is ready but it's non-league Kingstonian, the town's actual club, who have been made to make way and sent to Leatherhead. Whatever you think about that, it should be a great move for Chelsea who have heavily marketed the game in the local area which is described as a 'stronghold of Blues support'

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 in 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. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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


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