Monday, 4 December 2017

TLFG: 4-10 December 2017

Greetings one and all. I hope this week's blog finds you in good form.

The biggest event of the football week saw the draw for next summer's World Cup in Russia.

England ended up in a group alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. They should fancy themselves to claim at least second place and make it through to the knockout stages but as we all know, the Three Lions rarely make things easy for themselves.

If they do go out early, I will have other options as last week I got the results of a DNA ancestry test. It saw me having links to Scandinavia, the Iberian peninsula, Finland and Russia so I'd hope to have an interest until the quarter-finals at the very least.

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I've had a fascination with all things Soviet and Russian since I was teenager so I'd always eyed a trip to this World Cup but with six months to go it's looking increasingly unlikely for reasons of price if nothing else. I'm not ruling it out totally but my chances of going aren't great. Have you landed any tickets? Will you be making the journey?

If you're not, all is not lost as London is hosting the Conifa World Football Cup shortly before the more famous event gets underway.

Featuring sides from parts of the world not recognised by Fifa, we'll get to enjoy our own rather quirky international tournament in the capital next summer.

With teams like Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Tibet and Tamil Eelam taking part it could also prove to be quite controversial but I guess we'll have to wait and see...

In other news - regular readers will know I've featured the plight of Waltham Forest here in recent weeks. 

They've recently launched a 'Save Our Club' campaign as their finances have taken a turn for the worse.

With roots going all the way back to 1868 they are one of the oldest clubs in the world so it was with this in mind that earlier today (Sunday) I made the trip up to Walthamstow to support a fundraising match that had been set up to aid the cause.

Waltham Forest go on the attack during a well contested first half

In all my years of watching football I'd never had a reason to visit their Wadham Lodge ground and I'd always put it off as, for someone living in west London, it's a real effort to get to on public transport.

An inner London football ground, it's located a good 20-30 minute walk from the nearest Tube station and a bus is highly recommended to help you complete the journey. 

Following the detailed instructions on the club's website I opted to catch the bus and thankfully there are numerous routes heading that way which means you don't have to wait long for one to arrive.

Despite being a Sunday, the bus was packed to the rafters but the traffic was light and the journey took a little over 10 minutes from Walthamstow Central.

The match between old boys' sides from Waltham Forest and Leyton Pennant (the club's former name) was supposed to kick-off at 2pm so I was a little concerned to turn up late and find nothing happening.

After checking with the volunteers on the gate that all was going ahead as planned, receiving an assurance that it was and a warm welcome, I paid what I liked and headed to a well stocked tea bar.

The game eventually got underway at 215pm and, despite carrying quite a bit of timber between them, the two sets of veterans put on a pretty entertaining first half.

With goals ruled out for off-side (a great achievement given there were no assistant refs) and other efforts hitting the woodwork, it was quite a surprise that Forest only held a 1-0 lead at the interval.

The second half was even more action packed as five further goals found the net in a game which ultimately finished 3-3.

Waltham Forest have two proper home matches this week so if you want to do your bit to help them keep their heads above water then pay them a visit - every pound counts.

Lastly from me I'd like to say a massive thank you to Paul C, David C and another person who wanted to remain nameless who very generously donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund this week. As ever, I really appreciate this so many thanks again.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include some big European games, some important derbies and the next rounds of several league and county cups.

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
Thursday fixtures - purple 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 4 December

Premier League Cup
This competition is for U23 sides predominantly from the Premier League and Championship but with a few League One and Two clubs thrown in too. It takes a similar format to the Champions League and we're currently still in the group stage. On Monday, Charlton Athletic (2pm) and Watford (7pm) both have home matches which are being played at Greenwich Borough and Wealdstone respectively. As always, double check with the club that the match is still happening before you travel.

Essex Senior Cup Fourth Round
Aveley v Concord Rangers @745pm - the Millers aren't having a great time in the Bostik League and they face a tough opponent here. If Concord, who play two divisions above them, field a strong team then they could struggle

London Senior Cup Second Round
Tower Hamlets v Tooting & Mitcham United @745pm - the hosts are having a decent season in the Essex Senior League and might fancy their chances against the Terrors who are down near the foot of the Bostik Premier table

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Tuesday 5 December

Champions League
Chelsea v Atletico Madrid @745pm - arguably the biggest game of the week takes place at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. The Blues have already booked their place in the knockout stages but Atletico still have it all to do. Antonio Conte's side are starting to hit some form - with five wins from six they should have the edge

Bostik League North Division
AFC Hornchurch v Maldon & Tiptree @745pm - the Urchins opened a four-point lead at the top on Saturday after beating AFC Sudbury. They now face the Jammers who have promotion ambitions of their own

London Senior Cup Second Round
Corinthian Casuals v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - the team in second in the Bostik South host the leaders of the Bostik Premier in what should be an entertaining game. Dulwich have won the cup five times but haven't made the final since 2004
Greenwich Borough v Cray Valley PM @745pm - in the other tie of the night, two sides who groundshare also meet for a derby. Although Greenwich are the higher ranked club, Cray Valley are the reigning cup holders

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Wednesday 6 December

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v APOEL Nicosia @745pm - Spurs have really impressed in the group stage so far and will finish top, ahead of Real Madrid, if they draw against the side who are currently bottom and without a win

Uefa Youth League
Tottenham Hotspur v APOEL Nicosia @2pm - the two clubs' respective U19 sides meet earlier in the day at Spurs' training ground where a very limited amount of spectators will be admitted

Essex Senior Cup Fourth Round
Grays Athletic v Dagenham & Redbridge @745pm - this strong county cup competition is down to its last 16 clubs. On paper the visitors, who play three divisions above the hosts, should win but they're likely to field a weakened side

London Senior Cup Second Round
Metropolitan Police v Clapton @745pm - this should be quite an interesting one to attend as it pits The Met against the Tons or more specifically their Ultras who have a reputation for pushing boundaries (Update - the Met have since announced, in a highly controversial move, that all away fans will be banned from attending)

FA Women's Super League Cup
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - if you've not been to a women's game before then maybe this derby could be for you. As one of the best sides in the land, Chelsea will start as strong favourites
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Thursday 7 December

Europa League
Arsenal v BATE Borisov @805pm - despite failing to win their last two games they've already wrapped up the Group H title and can look forward to some knockout football in the New Year. BATE, from Belarus, still have it all to play for and need a win

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Friday 8 December

Premier League 2
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion @7pm - the Cottagers' U23 side have won five on the bounce to become the form team of the division. Brighton are just behind them in the table. This match is scheduled to take place at Fulham's training ground so please remember to check all the details before you travel

Bostik League South Division
Molesey v Carshalton Athletic @745pm - I'm not sure why this has been moved to Friday night but I do approve as it gives you more options over the weekend as a whole. The Moles, near the bottom of the division face a tough night against a Robins side who are very much in title contention

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Woodford Town (2017) @745pm - if the far south-west of town isn't handy for you, then a trip to watch the ESL leaders on the east side might be more appealing

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Saturday 9 December

Premier League
West Ham United v Chelsea @1230pm - if the Atletico game is to be overshadowed this week then this should be the one to do it. Games between the Hammers and Blues are always quite testy, especially in the stands. With West Ham really struggling at the moment, the atmosphere could turn ugly if they put in a poor performance here
Crystal Palace v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - at Selhurst Park we've got a relegation six-pointer. Unbeaten in four, Palace are starting to turn things round and have moved up two places. A win against Bournemouth could leave them on the verge of finally leaving the bottom three
Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City @3pm - things were looking pretty rosy for Spurs a few weeks ago but they're now winless in four, down to sixth in the league and below Arsenal. The Potters should be beaten so some serious questions will be asked if they're not

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United @3pm - QPR's poor run continued on Saturday with a 1-0 defeat at Preston. The result left them way down in 18th just six points above the relegation zone. Leeds are pushing for a play-off place but are annoyingly inconsistent and are therefore struggling to crack into the top six
Fulham v Birmingham City @3pm - a couple of miles south the Cottagers take on Birmingham who are struggling to get out of the bottom three

League One
Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth @3pm - the match of the day in the third tier pits these two former Premier League teams against each other. Both currently in the top eight, this should be decent

National League
Leyton Orient v Sutton United @3pm - the biggest London club in the division against the best. The O's are having a bad time and are on course for a second consecutive relegation. The appointment of new boss Justin Edinburgh in midweek made no difference, in fact they suffered possibly their worst result of the season - a 1-0 loss at bottom club Solihull. Sutton, on the other hand, beat Eastleigh to stay joint top with Wrexham
Boreham Wood v AFC Fylde @3pm - both sides flew the non-league flag in the FA Cup this weekend. The Wood unsurprisingly lost 3-0 at Coventry City whilst AFC Fylde did well to hold League One leaders Wigan to a 1-1 draw. Boreham Wood are in far better form in the league so should win here

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v East Thurrock United @3pm - the Beavers could go joint top with Dartford if they win here. ETU are a decent side in their own right, however, and will move into the play-off places with a victory of their own

Bostik League Premier Division
Staines Town v Billericay Town @3pm - two of the top three meet at Wheatsheaf Park in the BLPD game of the day. Having played four more games than big spending Billericay, Staines are unlikely to finish higher than third unless they win matches like this one

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Sporting Bengal United @3pm - it's Mile End derby time on Saturday afternoon. Both clubs originally have their roots in the local Bengali community and share the same ground so there's usually a reasonable turnout for this one

FA Women's Super League Cup
London Bees v Oxford United @2pm - the hosts are winless in the league and will be desperate to pick up a victory here against a team from the same division

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Sunday 10 December

FA Youth Cup Third Round
Watford v Sunderland @1pm - the U18s of these two sides get the chance to play at Vicarage Road in one of the biggest matches of their fledgling careers

FA Women's Super League 1
Arsenal v Liverpool @2pm - it's Super Sunday in the women's game where the teams in third and fourth open proceedings at 2pm before...
Chelsea v Manchester City @630pm - the top two go head-to-head in the evening game meaning you could easily go to both 

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.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing such an amazing post regarding the match. I'm sure those who missed seeing the match life appreciate your efforts of summarizing it up on your blog.

    ReplyDelete