Sunday 14 January 2018

TLFG: 15-21 January 2018

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

How has the week been for you?

After the bonanza of festive football we all enjoyed in recent weeks, things have calmed down a bit but there's still been plenty going on.

Personally my own football watching has been hampered by having a sick child whose vomiting bug will almost certainly emerge in my system in the near future so brace yourselves! 

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However, I know that's not been the case for many readers with regular contributor Chris H and many other hoppers making it out to watch Altis FC at their new ground next to West Ham's home at the London Stadium. Check out pictures from his and other readers' visits to games on our Facebook page.

Interestingly that particular game had been thought up and partly staged by football journalist and groundhop supremo Tony Incenzo to allow people the chance to see a game at that ground. Last week we had the chance to enjoy a one-off at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre so where else would you like to see a game played?

Several amateur teams have unusual grounds not least the Honorable Artillery Company who occasionally play at their grounds in Moorgate right in the centre of the City of London on what must be one of the most valuable football pitches in the country if not the world!

Send in your suggestions or get them over to Tony and see what can be arranged.

'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' pay a visit to Aveley's fine new stadium

If you're really keen to visit one of the capital's biggest clubs but can't get a ticket or have been put off by the cost then there are some good opportunities to do it on the cheap this week with both Chelsea and West Ham hosting FA Cup replays and Crystal Palace playing an FA Youth Cup match at Selhurst Park. All these games are on sale to non-members and tickets are much cheaper than normal.

Also this week, I've included an 'A bit further afield' section on Sunday because there's not a lot going on in London and a few tickets are still available for a Premier League game not all that far away - scroll down to find out where.

Once again we're very lucky to have another ground/club/match review from our good friends at 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' who headed out to the TLFG border town of Aveley to see their highly regarded new facilities.

Finally this week, many thanks to Dutch reader Benjamin D who very generously donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund  - it is very much appreciated and everyone knows Feyenoord are vastly superior to Ajax :-)

There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include some matches in the Premier League and EFL and some FA Cup replays.

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 15 January

Premier League 2
There are a several games at U23 level on Monday with the standout one being Arsenal v Manchester United. The game is being played at Boreham Wood's ground at 7pm. Entry always used to be free to games like this but getting the details has been hard so check the Arsenal website on the day for the latest. Earlier in the day at 12pm, Tottenham Hotspur host Everton at their training ground which should also be worth seeing but, as above, check all the details before you travel just in case something has changed

Bostik League North Division
Haringey Borough v AFC Hornchurch @745pm - the best of the day's non-league action should be found at Coles Park where Haringey play the latest of their games in hand. The last week has been a good one for the north London side who have enjoyed back-to-back wins over Aveley and Bury Town to keep themselves well in with the promotion-chasing pack. Next up is the visit of the division's top side. The Urchins have been top for a while now and although only three points clear, have three games in hand on their nearest rivals - a big game for both teams


Tuesday 16 January

FA Cup Third Round Replay
West Ham United v Shrewsbury Town @745pm - if you've not been to see the Hammers at the London Stadium yet then now's your chance. Most tickets to watch them take on the League One title contenders are only £10 and they're in plentiful supply. Consequently the atmosphere is likely to be a bit lacking but it's a chance to tick off one of the big grounds at a fraction of the normal cost

FA Trophy Second Round Replay
Boreham Wood v Gateshead @745pm - after fighting out an entertaining 3-3 draw on Saturday, these two National League sides will have to do it all again on Tuesday. Sadly this is unlikely to draw a big crowd as the hosts have the lowest attendances in the division and the visitors have the best part of a 500 mile round trip to undertake

Middlesex Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Wealdstone v Hampton & Richmond Borough @745pm - these two have dominated this competition over the last 10 years with Hampton winning it four times, beating Wealdstone in three of those finals. The Beavers edged to a 1-0 win in last year's final and on paper should win again. However, given their current title bid, Hampton will almost certainly rotate their squad

Velocity Trophy Quarter-Final
Wingate & Finchley v Billericay Town @745pm - as we approach the business end of what is more commonly known as the Isthmian League Cup, Wingate welcome the current league leaders and reigning cup holders. The big spending Essex club will no doubt be prioritising their league games so might rest one or two players

Evo-Stik League East Division
Egham Town v Hayes & Yeading United @745pm - from a TLFG perspective it's been all about the Sarnies in this division over the last couple of years as they've challenged for promotion. A similar push looks unlikely this year but in the case of Hayes, it's still all to play for. After several seasons of struggle, the west London club are finally in their new ground and are playing some good stuff. Up in fourth, they could cut the gap on the top three to just three points with a win here

Wednesday 17 January

FA Cup Third Round Replay
Chelsea v Norwich City @745pm - as with West Ham's game above, tickets to see the Blues take on the Canaries in this unwanted FA Cup replay are cheaper than normal and readily available. Although they're not as cheap, £30 to watch Chelsea take on a Championship side still represents pretty good value if you've never been to Stamford Bridge

Bostik League South Division
Cray Wanderers v Ashford United @745pm - the hosts' long unbeaten run continued on Saturday with their 1-0 win at Guernsey keeping them in second just a point behind leaders Lewes. A win over struggling Ashford looks likely and with the Rooks not playing, they should go top

Friday 19 January

Brentford B v Reading U23 @1pm - the closest you'll get to see some professional footballers in action on Friday will be this friendly for Brentford's second string at their training ground. As always, check all details with the Bees before you travel UPDATE:18/01/17 - this match has now been moved to Sunday 21 January at 1pm

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United @7pm - if you want to see some of the stars of the future then get yourself along to Selhurst Park which is hosting this cup match for U18s. Tickets are £5 if bought in advance but jump to £10 if you buy on the day

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Barkingside @745pm - probably the most meaningful match of the day will take place at Oakside. These clubs used to groundshare but it was one-time owners Barkingside who ultimately ended up moving out after they sold the stadium lease to Redbridge (then Ford United) who, several years later, put the rent up and effectively forced them out meaning this derby has a bit extra to it. From a purely footballing perspective, Redbridge are currently top and looking to get back into the Bostik League


Saturday 20 January

Premier League
Arsenal v Crystal Palace @3pm - the game of the week must surely be this derby at the Emirates. Although the Gunners are up in sixth, it's their manager Arsene Wenger who is under far more pressure following their cup upset at Nottingham Forest last week and their Premier League humbling at Bournemouth this weekend. Rumours abound that Carlo Ancelotti could be coming in to replace him if the Frenchman leaves in the summer but it could come a lot sooner if results continue to flounder. Contrast this to the mood at Palace where despite their relatively lowly position, things are well and truly on the up. The appointment of former England boss Roy Hodgson seems to have been an inspired one as they have climbed from rock bottom to the heady heights of 12th following a 1-0 win over Burnley on Saturday. Despite this, the Gunners should still start as favourites - especially when you consider the Eagles have only beaten them twice on their travels since 1934
West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - without membership it will be very hard or expensive to get tickets for the Arsenal game but there are still a few available to non-members for this one. Like Palace, the Hammers have turned things round since bringing in a new manager and although they're up in 11th they're still only five points above the relegation zone so things could still go south quickly, especially if they lose to the Cherries who are one of the teams below them

Fulham v Burton Albion @3pm - the Cottagers made the play-offs last season and are the top ranked London club in the division again following a five-game unbeaten run. On Saturday they picked up an impressive win at fellow promotion contenders Middlesbrough to move into eighth just one point adrift of the play-off places. With average crowds of under 5,000 Burton are the smallest club in the division by a long way and it's no surprise that they find themselves in the bottom three but they have spirit and can beat most clubs in the division on their day
Queens Park Rangers v Middlesbrough @3pm - after all the despondency following their loss to MK Dons in the FA Cup, Rangers responded well with a 3-1 at Burton on Saturday. With only one defeat in five league games, things seem to be stabilising. Boro, freshly relegated from the Premier League and with new boss Tony Pulis in charge pose a significant threat. There are often quite a few goals when these two play with the last two matches alone producing 10 goals

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Blackpool @3pm - the Dons could only manage a draw at arch rivals MK Dons on Saturday, a result which saw them slide down to 22nd. Despite this there is still cause for hope as it's tight down there with four teams all within a win's reach. Blackpool are just beyond this group so are definitely beatable
Charlton Athletic v Walsall @3pm - just when it looked like the Addicks could be slipping out of the promotion race they picked up two crucial wins over struggling Oldham and Bury to stay in the top six. The Saddlers should be tougher opponents than either of those two so we'll get a better idea of how significant Charlton's resurgence is

League Two
Barnet v Lincoln City @3pm - defeat at Crawley on Saturday saw the Bees remain bottom and their losing run extended to five games. It's looking pretty gloomy for all connected with the north London club right now and it's not likely to get any easier when the Imps pay a visit on Saturday. The newly promoted side, who enjoyed a famous run in the FA Cup last season, are up in sixth and beat them earlier in the season

National League
Boreham Wood v Dover Athletic @3pm - the NL fixture computer has thrown up a couple of very decent looking games in this division on Saturday. Firstly we have this match between sides occupying the last two play-off places. Despite being the smaller club, the Wood have become a bit of bogey team for their Kentish opponents having won four of the five games played against them since joining the fifth tier in 2015. Current form would also suggest they win this one too
Sutton United v Dagenham & Redbridge @1230pm - down at Gander Green Lane we've got this derby between teams in the top eight which will generate a far bigger crowd. Former leaders Sutton's form has become a bit patchy of late allowing current leaders Macclesfield to move six points clear of them in third. The Daggers were also among the pacesetters but only one win in five has seen them drop down to eighth and they could conceivably drop another two or three places with defeat here. Also, given the early kick-off you can easily combine this with the game at nearby Carshalton Athletic which kicks-off at 3pm

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Hungerford Town @3pm - back at Christmas something like one point separated the top six but since then things have become more stretched. It's great to see one of our local sides Dartford still leading the way and nice to see Hampton tucked in just behind them. The Beavers could go top themselves if they win against midtable Hungerford

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Merstham @3pm - the Hamlet currently top the Bostik League but you feel it's only a matter of time before Billericay catch them. Having lost at Margate on Saturday, Dulwich are only five points clear of their Essex rivals who now have six games in hand. Merstham are one of the division's strugglers and got thrashed here last season so simply must be beaten

Bostik League South Division
Cray Wanderers v Lewes @3pm - one of the matches of the day at non-league level sees the top two in this division do battle at Hayes Lane. Who is first and who is second at the start of the game depends on how Cray do in their midweek game against Ashford but it should hopefully be a humdinger whatever

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Hadley v Welwyn Garden City @3pm - for me the pick of the games in the ninth tier is this one at Brickfield Lane where midtable Hadley welcome the league leaders. WGC are currently two points clear at the top and have three games in hand. They also made it to the FA Vase third round and are in the SSML Premier Division Cup final so should be formidable opponents

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Enfield Borough v Brimsdown @3pm - up in north London it's derby time at the QEII Stadium. Although Brimsdown currently ground share at Haringey Borough, the Enfield area is their heartland so hopefully we'll get a game with a bit of passion


Sunday 21 January

Brentford B v Reading U23 @1pm - the closest you'll get to see some professional footballers in action on Sunday in London will be this friendly for Brentford's second string at their training ground. As always, check all details with the Bees before you travel

Kent Senior Trophy Quarter-Final

Erith Town v Whitstable Town @3pm - two SCEFL Premier Division clubs meet for a place in the semis in the only men's game on Sunday

FA Women's Premier League Southern
Queens Park Rangers v Crystal Palace @2pm - the best of the women's action is this third tier game being played at Uxbridge FC

A bit further afield - given it's a pretty quiet day in London, you might be interested to know that the last few tickets are currently available to non-members for Southampton's Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur at 4pm. Trains from London Waterloo take less than 90 minutes to reach Southampton so it's a very doable day trip. UPDATE:(16/01/18) - a handful of tickets are still available but engineering work on the rail line to Southampton means journey times will be a lot longer than normal so factor this is in if you plan to go

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.


  1. Unfortunately, trains between London and Southampton take rather longer when the main line is closed, as it is on Sunday. :(

    1. Excellent point - it's a shame the National Rail website is so misleading.