Monday, 13 November 2017

TLFG: 13-19 November 2017

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

How was the international break for you? Did you venture into the lower leagues for the first time or do something completely different instead?

With non-league football taking a more prominent position than normal, the plight of some of our local sides came more sharply into focus.

One of the biggest stories of the last few days is what has happened at Dulwich Hamlet.

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Amongst the most well known non-league sides in the country, it's been feared for a while that for all their progress on and off the pitch it could all be undone by their property developer owners Meadow Residential if a deal to develop the land around the stadium fell through.

This week those fears came to pass when the company effectively pulled the plug meaning Dulwich now have to raise their own funds fast to keep things going.

Waltham Forest, one of the oldest clubs in London, need help to survive
With average crowds of 1,500 (huge by seventh-tier standards) and with quite a few high profile fans and friends - hopefully they'll pull it off but fans are still being urged to donate and head to Champion Hill in large numbers for their next three home games to give them as much chance as possible.

In north-east London a distress call was also sent out by Essex Senior League side Waltham Forest who have fallen on hard times as well.

The announcement came shortly after the news that the club's chairman had died though whether it is related is unclear.

Why should you care? Formed in 1868, Waltham Forest are the second oldest club in London and therefore one of the oldest in the world so it would be a huge shame to see them fold.

Throughout non-league football, clubs are scrimping and saving to make ends meet so getting along to a game, even if it's just once a season, came make a difference so give it a go if you can.

I fully intend to be at Dulwich on Tuesday to watch my beloved Harrow Borough. Maybe see you there.

THE WEEK AHEAD
With the international break coming to an end, there are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include England's game against Brazil and a couple of cracking local derbies.

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




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 November

FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round Replay
Haringey Borough v Sittingbourne @745pm - after fighting out a 1-1 draw on Saturday, these two promotion chasers from the parallel Bostik North and Bostik South do battle again at Coles Park

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Sutton Common Rovers v Spelthorne Sports @745pm - the hosts have strung together an impressive 11 match unbeaten run which has seen them climb to fourth. Spelthorne are a top eight side themselves

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Tuesday 14 November

International friendly
England v Brazil @8pm - after holding world champions Germany to a 0-0 draw on Friday, the Three Lions next welcome the top side from South America to Wembley. With just one win in 10 against the five-time World Cup winners, it's going to be tough for Gareth Southgate's team

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Millwall @1pm - if you're in town for the match above you could begin your day by watching this south London derby between the clubs' U23 sides at Greenwich Borough's ground

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Harrow Borough @745pm - things have been going pretty well for the Hamlet on the pitch this season where they top the Bostik League. Sadly things have taken a very serious turn for the worse off it where the property group who own the club have suddenly pulled the plug. Although the club are still functioning, they need to raise their own money meaning even more effort that normal is being made to get a huge crowd for this game and all others in November - I fully intend to be there

Bostik League South Division
Whyteleafe v Lewes @745pm - the Leafe are well in contention for a play-off spot but Lewes are top and in great form
Walton Casuals v Greenwich Borough @745pm - if Lewes slip up, Greenwich will go top if they win here but the Stags could make it back into the top five themselves

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Clapton @745pm - two of the league's top four meet for an important game at Oakside. Despite being a ninth-tier game it could easily get a crowd in excess of 200 thanks to the travelling support of the very vocal Clapton Ultras

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Wednesday 15 November

Bostik League South Division
Thamesmead Town v Phoenix Sports @745pm - the top-ranked match of the day is to be found at Princes Park where two midtable sides will be hoping to push on

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Friday 17 November

Premier League International Cup
Arsenal v Porto @7pm - the weekend gets underway with some decent U23 games. The first sees the Gunners begin their European campaign by entertaining their counterparts from Portugal. Porto beat Reading 2-0 in their opening game so arrive in Boreham Wood as Group E leaders

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Derby County @7pm - the Hammers' U23 side are currently ranked fourth in the country and top in London so should be worth a watch. This match is being played at the London Stadium and is only £5 for a ticket but you're advised to buy in advance as only a small section of the ground is being opened


Essex Senior League
Redbridge v West Essex @745pm - if they beat Clapton earlier in the week, Redbridge could come into this match as league leaders. West Essex topped the table themselves earlier in the season and could get right back into things with a victory

Southern Counties East League Division 1
FC Elmstead v K Sports @745pm - the Cocks have made a fine start to the season and find themselves in fourth at the time of writing. On Friday they play host to the division's top side

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Saturday 18 November


Premier League

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - on most normal weeks England v Brazil would be the standout match, however I think most neutrals would probably prefer to watch this if given the choice. The first north London derby of the season has arrived and it looks like being as intriguing as ever. For years the Gunners have dominated the relationship but that seems to be changing. Spurs finished above Arsenal last season and have only lost one of their last seven against their old rivals. Mauricio Pochettino's side also come into this game in better form and should be confident of getting at least a point
Crystal Palace v Everton @3pm - with both sides having already sacked their managers this season, this is of huge significance at the other end of the table. It looked like Roy Hodgson might have stopped the rot a few weeks ago when the Eagles managed to beat Chelsea but since then a draw with fellow strugglers West Ham is the best they've managed. The Toffees were on a terrible run until last week when they picked up a crucial 3-2 win over Watford. Palace's record against Everton is also pretty poor with only five wins since the formation of the Premier League 25 years ago

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa @3pm - the match of the day in the second tier features these two former Premier League teams. QPR picked up highly impressive back-to-back victories against Wolves and Sheffield United then followed it up by getting thrashed at Nottingham Forest last weekend. Aston Villa are sixth at the time of writing and did the double over Rangers last season so should be favourites here
Fulham v Derby County @3pm - since beating QPR in the derby at the end of September, the Cottagers' season has taken a bit of nosedive. Winless in five, they'll be looking to arrest that run here but perennial promotion chasers Derby are looking good again and will be tough to beat

League One
Charlton Athletic v MK Dons @3pm - the Addicks' fine season continued last weekend as they comfortably saw off non-league Truro to make the second round of the FA Cup. They get back into league action here with a derby of sorts against a side with few friends from just outside London

Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea @12pm - one of the most attractive U23 matches of the season has been weirdly scheduled to coincide with the first team's derby match against Arsenal. Taking place at the club's training ground, I'm not even certain if it will be open to the public but it was last season - check before you travel

National League
Leyton Orient v Dover Athletic @3pm - the O's initially looked like they'd settled quite well into non-league football but it's all fallen apart. Winless in the league since the 2 September, they now find themselves just three points above the relegation zone. Dover have been pushing hard for promotion in recent seasons and arrive as the latest of many sides to top the league this season

National League South
Dartford v Gloucester City @3pm - the Darts lost control of top spot after coming unstuck at Truro on Saturday. A win here could well see them return to the summit


Bostik League Premier Division

Metropolitan Police v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - I didn't think that by the middle of November I would be describing the Met as title contenders but currently in third that's exactly what they are. Although they've played more games than anyone else it's still quite an achievement for a side with a tiny fanbase. Whatever happens in midweek, Dulwich will arrive as league leaders

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Croydon @3pm - these two are the top ranked clubs in this division from the London area. If Croydon win they could go joint top with Sevenoaks

Combined Counties League Division 1
AC London v Worcester Park @3pm - groundsharing at Whyteleafe, AC London have enjoyed a fine start to their campaign. Up in fourth they have a good shot at getting promoted. On Saturday, leaders Worcester Park come to Church Road for one of the biggest matches of the season
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Sunday 19 November


Premier League

Watford v West Ham United @4pm - the week comes to an end with this derby at Vicarage Road. The Hornets have made a strong start to the season and were briefly in the top four. However, three defeats in a row have seen them start to slip in a way that will worry fans. On Sunday they welcome a Hammers side who will be overseen by new manager David Moyes for the first time and his players will hopefully want to impress

FA Women's Premier League Southern
West Ham United v Crystal Palace @2pm - earlier in the afternoon, the pick of the women's action is this derby which is being played at Thurrock FC



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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
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.

5 comments:

  1. Guess I picked the wrong day to get to London. As only game I can visit on Sunday is the Watford game.

    Do you know if, besides the 4 lower league games, there are any (youth) games near the Hackney area on Monday the 20th? Otherwise I might have to do some sightseeing ;).

    And I better not forget to check next weeks post as I will be back then for Spurs and West Ham games.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bennie - on the 20th there is an U23 game between Crystal Palace and Colchester United but it takes place at the Eagles' training ground way down in Beckenham which is nowhere near Hackney.

      In the evening there is a non-league match between Tower Hamlets and Redbridge which is close to Mile End Tube station - very near to Hackney. Check next week's blog to see if anything else catches your eye.

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  2. The Tower Hamlets game is the one planned at 19:45. And as my hotel is near Hackney was looking for an earlier game near the area. Will have a look for the Palace U23 game if it fits. Otherwise might check for a stadium tour.

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  3. The under-23 side's game at home to Colchester United on Monday 20th November will be played behind closed doors at the club's Copers Cope training ground, meaning fans are not permitted to attend.

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  4. Good to know about that game being behind closed doors as it really varies - last week's match there was open to the public.

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