Sunday, 30 September 2018

TLFG: 1-7 October 2018

Greetings all - welcome to this week's guide.

As the baby and Non-League Day draw nearer, my time is getting more and more limited so I'm going to keep this really brief.

I've produced maps and a full daily digest below so fill your boots and keep telling me what you've been up to.

Thanks to all those who've contacted me this week - whether you've been to U23 games, FA Trophy matches or the Petrolux Kanu Cup, I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

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There's now less than two weeks to go until this year's Non-League Day

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days with the Champions League, Europa League and Premier League taking centre stage. There are also a few ties in the FA Cup.

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple 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 1 October

Professional Development League
There are a couple of games at U23 level on Monday afternoon. The best looking one is the derby between Millwall and Charlton but it's taking place at the Lions' training ground which usually means the public won't get to see it - check with the club on Monday morning to see what the latest info is. Elsewhere, QPR entertain Cardiff at their training ground which is usually open to whoever wants to watch

Bostik League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Harlow Town @745pm - for me, the pick of the non-league action is this match on White Hart Lane in north London where newly promoted Haringey could go as high as fourth with a hefty win over lowly Harlow

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Tuesday 2 October

Championship
Brentford v Birmingham City @745pm - the Bees salvaged a draw against Reading on Saturday with a late equaliser after being reduced to 10 men. That gritty performance saw them climb into the top six as their impressive start to the season continued. Birmingham are well down the table but that's because they are the draw specialists of the division (seven from their opening 10 games) so they should be tough to beat

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Bradford City @745pm - the Dons picked up an important win over fellow strugglers Oxford on Saturday and now face an equally important game against another side who have found it tough going this season. The Bantams, a former Premier League club, are one of the biggest clubs in this division so a decent crowd is expected

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
Hendon v Lancing @745pm - it's a big week in the FA Cup with the Third Qualifying Round taking place on Saturday but before that there are still a few ties to settle from the previous round after of a number of ineligible player incidents. Hendon saw their initial tie against Phoenix Sports called off for this reason with the south-east London club removed from the competition and Lancing reinstated. The Greens start this game as strong favourites and will travel to Chippenham Town on Saturday if they win

Bostik League Premier Division
AFC Hornchurch v Folkestone Invicta @745pm - both sides have made a good start and could potentially climb into the top three with a win. However, the Urchins have a big FA Cup tie on Saturday and might hold a bit back in preparation

Bostik League South East
Whyteleafe v Ramsgate @745pm - the Leafe also fell foul of an ineligible player ruling in the FA Cup and bowed out but they've looked impressive in the league and will no doubt want to focus on getting promotion - victory here could put them second

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Broadfields United v Park View @745pm - Preston Park looks like being an exciting place to watch football this season. Harefield, whose ground it is, are celebrating their 150th year and are top of the division while tenants Broadfields can jump above them if they win both of their two games in hand

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Wednesday 3 October

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona @8pm - the match of the week takes place at Wembley where Spurs welcome Spanish champions Barcelona for this group stage game. After losing their opening match against Inter Milan and with only the top two going through, Tottenham will be desperate to get something out of this match. The sides have only met once before way back in 1982 when Barcelona beat Spurs 2-1 over two legs in the semi-final of the Cup Winners' Cup

Friendly
Brentford B v Queens Park Rangers U23 @12pm - earlier in the day there's a west London derby to enjoy at the Bees' training ground. These games are usually open to the public and free to get into but, as always, check with the club before you travel

Bostik League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Tonbridge Angels @745pm - the K's have moved back to the borough they come from after time groundsharing at Leatherhead but things aren't going too well at their new home. In the bottom five along with landlords Corinthian Casuals they're finding things tough and on Wednesday they welcome league leaders Tonbridge for another challenging fixture

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Erith Town @745pm - the Becks are among the sides to watch in the lower divisions this season. After winning all eight of their opening games, they're already five points clear at the top and looking impressive

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Thursday 4 October

Europa League
Chelsea v MOL Vidi @8pm - the Blues begun their European campaign with a win in Greece over PAOK. On Thursday they welcome Hungarian champions Vidi (formerly known as Videoton) for a game they will be expected to win

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Saturday 6 October

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - unbeaten in three games in all competitions, the Eagles are doing a darn sight better than they were this time last year. On Saturday they welcome recently promoted Wolves who have impressed since coming up and moved up to eighth with a win over Southampton on Saturday. Palace have a very good recent record against the club from the Black Country winning all of their last three games against them
Tottenham Hotspur v Cardiff City @3pm - after the rigours of Wednesday night's big match against Barcelona, Spurs return to Wembley where they welcome Neil Warnock's Bluebirds. At the time of writing, the Welsh club are still without a win and will almost certainly struggle here - Tottenham are unbeaten in seven against Cardiff and haven't lost to them since 1977
Watford v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - Vicarage Road plays host to two of the surprise packages of the new season. The Hornets started superbly but have slightly worryingly gone three games without a win to slide to sixth. The Cherries play Palace on Monday night and will move level on points with Watford if they win so this could see one of them crack the top five with another victory

Championship
Millwall v Aston Villa @3pm - with only one win from their first 10 games, things have begun really badly for Neil Harris's side. Things were looking good against a strong Sheffield United side on Saturday until two late goals saw them lose a third game on the trot. Villa are one of the giants of the Championship but are struggling to get going and badly need the win
Queens Park Rangers v Derby County @3pm - it's fair to say these clubs have a bit of history. Since Rangers rather undeservedly beat the Rams with a last-minute goal in the 2014 Championship play-off final, there's been a bit of grudge held in the Midlands. To make things even weirder, Derby's then manager Steve McClaren is now in charge of QPR whilst Chelsea legend Frank Lampard (not the most popular at Loftus Road) is managing at Pride Park. On form, the visitors should win

League One
Charlton Athletic v Coventry City @3pm - the Addicks are now unbeaten in seven matches and are nestled nicely in the top six. On Saturday they entertain former top-flight side and FA Cup winners Coventry who have had a terrible few years but are on the up after winning last season's League Two play-offs

National League
Barnet v Solihull Moors @3pm - the Bees are models of inconsistency at the moment. They begun badly, went on a five-game winning streak and are now four games without a victory. That run could get extended when fifth-placed Solihull, on a hot run themselves, pay a visit

FA Cup Third Qualifying Round
Hampton & Richmond Borough v AFC Hornchurch @3pm - things are starting to get pretty serious for non-league sides in this grand old competition. With a princely sum of £15,000 up for grabs for winning this tie and the knowledge that only one more win in the fourth qualifying round will put them in the First Round proper against EFL sides. The Beavers, doing well in the National League South, will start this one as strong favourites against their Bostik League opponents who, don't forget, have a game in midweek to negotiate before this
Haringey Borough v AFC Sudbury @3pm - in the only other tie taking place in the capital, Haringey have a great chance of making progress as they take on a side who are stuggling badly in the eighth tier. Imagine if they eventually made the Third Round and took on Spurs at their new ground literally just down the road...

Bostik League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Merstham @3pm - if Tonbridge slip up over the course of the week, there is a chance that the Towners could be top by teatime on Saturday. With 23 goals from eight games they are way out in front in the goals scored department and Merstham are, with all due respect, nothing special so should be there for the taking

Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Harrow Borough v Hartley Wintney @3pm - talking of goals, Harrow are still among the most free-scoring teams in this division with 20 from eight games. They're not quite as accomplished as Enfield though tending to lose one game 1-0 and win the next 4-0 as they did at Chesham on Saturday, consequently they're firmly in midtable. The visitors have a had a great couple of years and are on course for their third consecutive promotion although it's obviously still early days

Bostik League South East
Cray Wanderers v Faversham Town @3pm - the hosts' 100% record may have come to an end but they are still unbeaten and already seven points clear at the top. That lead is a little false as their nearest challengers have games in hand so they'll want to keep that healthy buffer in place with another win here

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Chertsey Town v Colliers Wood United @3pm - the Curfews also saw their 100% record end this week when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sutton Common Rovers. That result left them three points clear at the top but unlike Cray above, they are the ones with games in hand on those around them. CWU are tonking along quite nicely in seventh and will be given confidence by SCR's performance against the leaders

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Erith & Belvedere v Welling Town @3pm - talking of unbeaten sides, the Boots are leaving everyone for dust in this division and strangely, given their name, travel to Welling to play away to E&B. With nine wins and a draw they are a staggering 10 points clear at the top after only 10 games. The hosts, however, are fourth and have three games in hand meaning a win here could put them firmly in contention

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Sunday 7 October

Premier League
Fulham v Arsenal @12pm - the week ends with a London derby on the banks of the Thames as the Gunners travel south-west to take on the Cottagers. Current form suggests an away win as do the history books - Fulham have won only one of their last 10 games against Arsenal home or away


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.

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