Sunday 15 October 2017

TLFG: 16-22 October 2017

After all the busyness of preparing for Non-League Day last week, things have been far less eventful.

I'm currently on a seven-day run (Tuesday-Monday) of late shifts at work so football has been well and truly off the menu for me this week - I'm heading in again shortly so need to finish up quick.

However, I have a week off from next Sunday and with no firm plans at the minute, a little voice inside me is saying 'Do a great London groundhop' - in other words, try and see a game every day for a week. Now I'm not even sure if there are games every day or whether my family will appreciate it but it would be a lot cheaper than going away somewhere and would get the lack of live football well and truly out of my system. Have you ever undertaken such a thing? What's your record for amount of games watched in a week?

I've actually got a couple of days off this week too and am very tempted by some of the matches on offer with Leyton Orient v Dagenham & Redbridge catching my eye in the FA Cup.

Download your voucher to get cheap entry at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday

There's also a really great deal on offer at AFC Wimbledon where you can get into their League One match against Rotherham on Tuesday for only £10 if you download a voucher from their website.

There are also several good options in the U23 leagues this week which allow you to see a couple of games a day on Monday and Friday - there's also a 'double' possible on Saturday as well but you'll have to read on to find out where.

Tickets for England's friendlies against Germany and Brazil at Wembley in November also went on sale last week so buy now if you don't want to miss out.

Right, I think that's it from me. Enjoy your week and let me know what you've been up to - photos are always welcome on TLFG's Facebook page.

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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 round FA Vase taking place and a number of 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.

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 16 October

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Sunderland @7pm - the biggest crowd of the day will be found at the Emirates Stadium for this U23 game. The Gunners are currently third and looking to cut the gap on Liverpool and Everton who currently lead the way. Like the first team, the Mackems' youngsters are also having a tough season. Tickets are only £4 but must be purchased online by 3pm on Monday - no tickets will be available on the night

Professional Development League
Earlier in the day there are also U23 games at Charlton Athletic (@The Valley), Millwall (@Dartford FC) and Watford (@Vicarage Road).  All can be combined easily with the match above, however, details on admission are sketchy at the time of writing and venues can change at short notice so check with the clubs what the details are before travelling

Bostik League North Division
Haringey Borough v Maldon & Tiptree @745pm - the hosts suffered the disappointment of an FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round home defeat to Heybridge on Saturday but get the chance to bounce back straight away with this league game against one of their fellow promotion contenders


Tuesday 17 October

League One

AFC Wimbledon v Rotherham United @745pm - the Dons managed to notch an absolutely crucial win at fellow strugglers Northampton on Saturday. Next up they welcome promotion contenders Rotherham who have won their last three. It's going to be tough and to help them put up a good fight, Wimbledon are offering tickets for just £10 in order to get a big crowd

League Two
Barnet v Mansfield Town @8pm - I have to confess having taken my eye off the Bees in recent weeks so it was quite a shock to discover they're down in the bottom four and in terrible form. A month or so ago they looked more likely to be pushing for promotion. Mansfield are slap bang in the middle of the table so are definitely beatable

FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round Replays - with the draw being made on Monday at 7pm, all the following sides will know who they'll potentially be playing in the next round. With League One and League Two sides in that draw, the remaining non-league sides could see themselves paired with former FA Cup winners Coventry City, Portsmouth or Wigan Athletic. The winners of each tie will also receive £12,500 in prize money so a lot is at stake. Also, all replays will go to extra-time and penalties if required
Leyton Orient v Dagenham & Redbridge @745pm - if you missed the chance to see these two east London rivals meet on Saturday then you've got another chance on Tuesday after they ground out a 0-0 draw in the original tie. It's set to be very tight again but with the O's now unbeaten in eight against the Daggers, they should start as favourites
Bromley v Dover Athletic @745pm - a little overshadowed by the game above, this Kent derby is also well worth a watch and features two sides who are actually in better form. The Lilywhites have had a good start and are up in seventh in the National League while Dover are just a point off top spot and have gone close to promotion several times in recent years
Enfield Town v Maidstone United @745pm - on paper you'd think the Towners would've been pretty chuffed to have earned a replay at a side who play two levels above them. However, the match finished 2-2 after the Stones grabbed a last-minute equaliser. Has Enfield's chance been and gone? Get down to Donkey Lane to find out

Bostik League Premier Division
Hendon v Needham Market @745pm - the Greens nicked a 90th-minute winner over Tonbridge Angels on Saturday to move up to third. Victory here against struggling Needham could put them top if results go their way elsewhere
Dulwich Hamlet v Harlow Town @745pm - if Hendon do fail to capitalise then Dulwich also have a chance to climb to the summit of the Bostik League with a win here. Harlow have also been poor of late but managed a 2-1 win home win over Harrow on Saturday

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Walton & Hersham v Westfield @745pm - one of the non-league matches of the week sees the top two in the CCL do battle at the newly opened Elmbridge Sports Hub. The visitors are currently two points clear with a game in hand and are averaging a staggering 4.7 goals a game! W&H have been great by most normal teams' standards but they're going to have to raise their game here


Wednesday 18 October

Champions League
Chelsea v Roma @745pm - the Blues come into this game on the back of what many would see as a very embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace who had looked pretty hopeless prior to playing them. Roma should provide a real step up in class. The Italian side are currently fifth in Serie A with five wins from seven games but have lost on both previous occasions that they have played at Stamford Bridge

Essex Senior League
Sporting Bengal United v Clapton @745pm - the biggest crowd of the night for a non-league game will probably be found at the Mile End Stadium where a large contingent of the Clapton Ultras will almost certainly put in an appearance. With a boycott of home games still continuing, the Ultras make even more of an effort to get to the away ones especially local derbies like this - an attendance of 300-350 is quite possible

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Oxhey Jets v Berkhamsted @730pm - the hosts have made a steady start to the campaign and are up in 10th but they'll have to be at their best for the visit of the league leaders

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
London Lions v Southall @8pm - in the division below it's also 10th versus first. It's a real shame that Southall's plans to groundshare with Hayes & Yeading fell through as they've been forced all the way out to Burnham to play their home games. It seems to be working well for them on the pitch but it means they're no longer in TLFG's catchment area - hopefully they'll be back next year


Friday 20 October

Premier League

West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion @8pm - the weekend gets underway with an important match between sides looking to put some daylight between themselves and the bottom three. The Hammers picked up a draw at Burnley over the weekend as did Brighton against Everton. The last time these sides met back in 2012, West Ham crushed the Seagulls 6-0 at Upton Park

Professional Development League
Queens Park Rangers v Ipswich Town @2pm - if you're in London for the game above you could combine it with this game at Loftus Road earlier in the day. Entry to these matches is often free but as with all U23 games, check with the club before you travel to make sure of all the details

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Bedfont Sports v Chertsey Town @745pm - this match near Heathrow Airport provides the only non-league option of the night. This ground, along with Bedfont & Feltham's next door, is famous for being a great place to watch football and airliners as it's less than 700m from the runway


Saturday 21 October

Premier League
Chelsea v Watford @1230pm - after seeing Arsenal slain at Vicarage Road on Saturday, Antonio Conte will know his side can't afford to be complacent against this highly combative Watford side. And why should they be? Marco Silva's Hornets are now above Chelsea in the table and pushing for a place in the Champions League!

Brentford v Sunderland @3pm - neither of the Championship matches on offer this weekend are particularly mouthwatering. Normally the visit of Sunderland, one of the biggest clubs in the division would be quite a big deal, but they've been in dreadful form since relegation from the Premier League. Nonetheless they are still well supported and the ground should be close to capacity
Millwall v Birmingham City @530pm - for some reason this match has been selected for live TV. Neither side have been pulling up any trees this season and Birmingham have been particularly bad, however, they did manage a superb victory over Cardiff on Friday so maybe they've turned the corner. The late kick-off could also see you combine this with the game at Dulwich Hamlet which kicks off at 3pm - there's a 1707 train from East Dulwich after the game which should get you to The Den just in time

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Plymouth Argyle @3pm - after facing promotion contenders Rotherham in midweek, the Dons then play Plymouth in a hugely important relegation six-pointer. The hosts are currently fourth from bottom while Argyle are rock bottom - a must-win game for both

League Two
Barnet v Yeovil Town @3pm - in the division below, there's another game between two strugglers although the Glovers are in a far more healthy position than Plymouth

National League
Bromley v Woking @3pm - there are three games in the London area on Saturday in this division and they're all important, especially when you consider only six points separate the top 10 clubs. First up the Lilywhites have this derby against Woking. At the time of writing this represents a battle of seventh versus third so a win for the Cards could send them to the top
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wrexham @3pm - I'm pretty sure both of these top six sides have held a share of top spot at some point this season. The Welsh club are in marginally better form at the moment and boast the second highest levels of support in the whole of non-league football (only Tranmere get more). They may also be more refreshed as they don't have a midweek game
Leyton Orient v Macclesfield Town @3pm - last up is this game at Brisbane Road where the O's welcome the current leaders. Macclesfield have won five on the trot and demolished Stourbridge 5-0 away in the FA Cup on Saturday

National League South
Wealdstone v Truro City @3pm - after a dodgy start the Stones have turned things around under new manager Bobby Wilkinson and are gradually climbing the table. On Saturday they entertain title contenders Truro. Top a couple of weeks ago, City became the highest ranked Cornish club in history. On Saturday they saw off Hampton & Richmond to make the first round of the FA Cup so they've got some real momentum behind them

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Burgess Hill Town @3pm - there are no real standout games in this division but if you're new to the non-league game and want a good experience then a trip to Champion Hill is always a good place to start. By the time this game kicks-off the Hamlet could be top of the league. Burgess Hill's lowly league position is also slightly false as they've been otherwise engaged in a great FA Cup run which sadly ended on Saturday. As mentioned above, you could combine this game with the 530pm kick-off at Millwall

Bostik League North Division
Grays Athletic v Tilbury @3pm - neither side are having a stellar season on the pitch so far but I've picked this because it is a derby. The two Essex clubs have produced some feisty encounters over the years and there was even some trouble at a game in 2011. The fact Grays are currently groundsharing away from their home town might take some of the sting out of it but maybe not

Bostik League South Division
Whyteleafe v Greenwich Borough @3pm - the game of the day in this division takes place on the 3G of Church Road. Third plays fourth as they look to keep pace with early leaders Lewes. Interestingly, both sides have scored 26 and conceded 13 this season but the Leafe have played a game more

Evo-Stik League East Division
Hayes & Yeading United v AFC Rushden & Diamonds @3pm - two clubs who have seen very much better days meet at the SkyEx on Saturday. As regular readers know, H&YU have suffered three relegations during the time I have been writing this blog to fall all the way down from what is now the National League. Fans of the visitors would have been watching what was their side (simply Rushden & Diamonds) in the third tier as recently as 2004. Since then the club dissolved and had to be re-formed by fans back in non-league. As a result of this history, the club is the biggest in the division in terms of support with average crowds of nearly 500 so a good attendance is expected

FA Vase First Round - with the two qualifying rounds out of the way, the knockout competition for clubs in tiers 9-11 of the national system really starts to hot up. The winners of each tie receive a cheque for £825. There are several ties in London on Saturday - here are the ones which stand out for me
Cray Valley PM v Cricklewood Wanderers @3pm - as one of the only 11th-tier teams left in the competition, Cricklewood face a very tough journey to ninth-tier Cray who will definitely start as favourites
Edgware Town v Walton & Hersham @3pm - an interetsing inter-league match at Edgware's well appointed Silver Jubilee Park. Aside from Westfield, Walton & Hersham are one of the strongest teams in the CCL so it will be interesting to see how they fare against SSML opposition
Spelthorne Sports v Lordswood @3pm - teams from the top six of the CCL and SCEFL meet in Sunbury so another good chance to try and gauge which league is stronger
Cobham v Westfield @3pm - the hosts play a division below their all-conquering visitors. As leaders of the fifth tier CCL, Westfield should in theory be one of the favourites to win the Vase
Enfield Borough v Newmarket Town @3pm - the Panthers' blisteringly good start has slowed down marginally but they're still doing well in the SSML1 and should provide a very stern test for Newmarket who are one of the frontrunners in the Eastern Counties League, one level above them
London Lions v Clapton @3pm - the Lions did really well to see of Malmesbury in the last round and have been rewarded with a London derby against the Tons. As mentioned above, Clapton's fans will probably travel in large numbers so expect a lively atmosphere at Rowley Lane

Sunday 22 October

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @4pm - the football week comes to an end with arguably its highlight. Two members of the Premier League royal family meet at Wembley for one of the only Spurs games so far this season to have sold out. On paper Tottenham should win but their record at the national stadium in big games is poor and the Reds, on their day, are more than capable of winning

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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