Sunday 15 July 2018

TLFG: 16-22 July 2018

As I write this the World Cup final has just kicked off.

So it wasn't to be for England and despite all the positives to come out of the tournament, I'm still a bit disappointed that our brave boys seemed to well and truly let Croatia off the hook.

At half-time, Gareth Southgate's side were in control and on another night could and should have been home and dry by the interval.

What happened at half-time? The same side never reappeared and ultimately Zlatko Dalic's side were worthy winners. 

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Because we were second best overall, it made the defeat way easier to take than the semi-final losses of 1990 and 1996 and even the quarter-final of 1986 when injustices (a grave one in the latter) and thorough bad luck seemed to rob us. 

It's clear England are nowhere near the finished article but things are looking good. It's important that we don't rest on our laurels and the forthcoming Nations League matches against Spain and Croatia now look really quite meaningful again - tickets are on sale now by the way.

With the World Cup coming to an end, the focus will shift firmly to pre-season.

More Premier League teams will enter the fray this week as the quality of matches on offer gradually creeps up.

For those who went to Boreham Wood on Saturday to watch Unai Emery's debut as Arsenal boss, you wouldn't have been left disappointed with the Spaniard fielding pretty much the strongest side possible.

QPR, in pink, go close during their 1-0 win at AFC Wimbledon
Stars including Cech, Bellerin, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Mustafi, Chambers, Ramsey and Mkhitaryan were all on show as the Gunners routed their non-league hosts 8-0.

By contrast I headed down to Kingston for the London derby between AFC Wimbledon and QPR.

The two EFL clubs put on a far more low-key spectacle and although there were chances it wasn't a classic.

In fact, one of the high points was when the sprinklers accidentally came on very early in the game, forcing a brief suspension of play!

Nonetheless, as an R's fan it was worth going - boss Steve McClaren fielded a full squad over the 90 minutes and Luke Freeman scored the only goal to win it with virtually the last kick of the game, somewhat undeservedly. 

There are over 100 games this week so where will you be going? 

Sadly I move on to late shifts this week so my next opportunity isn't likely to come until the middle of next week.

There are over 100 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days as the pre-season period starts to really get going. The highlights include a few decent friendlies featuring a couple of Premier League sides and several from the EFL.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. 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
Thursday fixtures - purple 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 July

Aveley v Billericay Town @745pm - get your week underway with a trip to the far east (in London terms anyway) for this all-Essex fixture at the well appointed Parkside. Big spending Billericay haven't made any outrageous signings following their promotion to the National League South but have still recruited a few with some EFL experience - Simon Walton formerly of QPR stands out for me


Tuesday 17 July

Dartford v Gillingham @730pm - after suffering a heavy defeat to Millwall in their opening game of pre-season, the Darts have blasted 10 goals past two non-league opponents over the last few days. The Gills, from League One, should provide a much tougher test in this Kent derby
Dagenham & Redbridge v Colchester United @730pm - when the Daggers were in what is now the EFL alongside Colchester they met on three occasions and never lost. Now down in the National League, the hosts will want to continue that run against League Two opposition
Bromley v Crystal Palace XI @745pm - having enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 win over tenants Cray Wanderers on Saturday, the Ravens next welcome a development side from their local Premier League club
Fisher v Millwall XI @745pm - the showpiece of ninth tier Fisher's pre-season is this game against a young side from their Championship neighbours

A bit further afield
Wycombe Wanderers v Brentford @745pm - after narrowly losing to West Ham on Saturday, the Chairboys next face the Bees, who have recorded back-to-back wins over Boreham Wood and Karlsruher, in another challenging fixture
Aldershot Town v Oxford United @745pm - these sides used to meet regularly in the EFL but it's been over five years since they last locked horns. On that occasion Aldershot edged to a thrilling 3-2 win in League Two so hopefully we'll get some more of the same

Wednesday 18 July


Dulwich Hamlet v Charlton Athletic @745pm - after a special and very successful trip to Hamburg for their 125th anniversary this weekend, Dulwich return to London to play the Addicks in their first pre-season game at Imperial Fields. It's listed as a first-team game for the League One side so this should be well worth a watch

A bit further afield
Woking v Chelsea U23 @745pm - a short train ride from Waterloo or Clapham Junction will bring you to the Surrey commuter town of Woking. The Cards suffered relegation from the National League last season but will be looking to bounceback with a new management team which includes Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler who is also a very experienced coach at this level


Thursday 19 July

VCD Athletic v Bishop's Stortford @745pm - there are a handful of games taking place on Thursday with this one between two Bostik League sides being the best on offer
Raynes Park Vale v Worcester Park @710pm - there's also a very local derby between these two south-west London clubs

Friday 20 July

Erith Town v Aveley @745pm - after a year or two on the road, the hosts are playing back in Erith and next welcome some Bostik League opposition

A bit further afield
Braintree Town v Cambridge United @745pm - if the match above doesn't grab you then a train north from Liverpool Street into deepest Essex will give you the chance to enjoy this match between teams from the National League and League Two


Saturday 21 July

AFC Wimbledon v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - after entertaining Championship sides Reading and QPR earlier in July, the Dons conclude their pre-season home games with the visit of Premier League opposition. Games between the Seagulls and London clubs effectively rank as derbies so a decent attendance should be expected for this one
Barnet v Ipswich Town @3pm - the Bees have already faced two Championship clubs, West Brom and QPR, in pre-season and both games ended in 3-0 defeats. For good measure they also lost to Fulham's U23s so things haven't exactly got off to a flyer. A trip to non-league Maldon & Tiptree precedes this game so hopefully they'll come into it on the back of a more positive result
Dartford v Colchester United @3pm - the Darts end the week with a friendly against another EFL opponent. On paper they shouldn't be as tough as Millwall or Gillingham but you never know
Sutton United v Chelsea U23 @3pm - the U's often manage to line-up a pre-season game with a side from Chelsea and this season is no different
Welling United v Watford U23 @3pm - after narrowly losing their annual game against Charlton on Saturday, the Wings will next welcome a development side from Premier League Watford
Corinthian Casuals v Crystal Palace U23 @3pm - CCs, despite suffering play-off final defeat last season, got promoted to the Bostik Premier and will look forward greatly to this visit from a young Eagles XI

A bit further afield
Derby County v Southampton @3pm - although Derby is some way north of London, it takes less than 90 minutes to get to by train from St Pancras and the stadium is close to the station. This is worth seeing as it marks the first home match for Frank Lampard as he makes his first foray into football management. Things began well for the Chelsea and England legend on Saturday as his new side won 4-1 at Notts County. This match against Premier League Southampton should see a significant step up in class
Oxford United v Crystal Palace @3pm - there should also be some Premier League talent on show at the Kassam Stadium where the Eagles head to for their first game after returning from a short tour of Scandinavia
Cambridge United v Millwall @3pm - there will also be some London interest in this fixture at the Abbey Stadium where the Championship Lions pay a visit
Woking v Salford City @3pm - head down to Kingfield if you'd like to take a look at one of the rising powers on non-league football. Backed by the a string of Manchester United legends (the Nevilles, Giggs, Scholes and Butt), Salford have soared through the divisions in recent seasons and are about to begin life in the National League


Sunday 22 July

A bit further afield
Southend United v Leeds United @2pm - if the weather holds then you might want to end your week at the seaside with this interesting looking game between two EFL sides. I couldn't find anything about it being all-ticket but you might want to buy one in advance to make sure you can get in

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. Hi, just discovered your incredible site and I have a question. I'm going to be in London from Dec. 26-31 this year and want to see as many matches as possible. I've made note of all the EPL, EFL and National league matches for that period but I'm wondering about scheduling in the lower divisions. Are matches spread out over a few days as in the premier league? Meaning, all League 1, League 2 and National league matches won't really be played at 3 pm on Boxing Day. Or will they? Thanks in advance,

    1. I advise you to regularly check all the league sites from around November onwards.TV dictates and will want to cherry pick their fixtures. If youre lucky you could do a double header Boxing Day....