Monday, 17 September 2018

TLFG: 17-23 September 2018

Welcome one and all to this week's guide - still a bit late but earlier than last week.

It's been another hectic few days and once again I didn't get to see any live football - I think my last match was QPR's pre-season game at AFC Wimbledon a couple of months ago but I hope to get out there again soon.

I don't have a huge amount to report this week other than a couple of bits of news relating to Non-League Day (NLD).

Firstly, I'm pleased to say we sold all of our badges and raised £120 for Prostate Cancer UK (PCUK) in the process so thanks a lot if you ordered one.

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On the charity theme of the day, PCUK were also announced as the official charity partners of the National League for the rest of the season with sponsors Vanarama temporarily renaming the competition the Manarama National League.

The vehicle leasing business have pledged to donate £50 to the charity for every car they manage to lease out to people through their Motorama arm until NLD on 13 October - so if you're looking for a car, go to them. Their target is to raise £150,000 which would be fantastic!

Some of our other partners have yet to unveil their plans for Non-League Day but I've been given a preview and there's some exciting stuff in the pipeline which I hope to share with you over the next few weeks.

With the draw for the First Round of the FA Vase taking place on Monday, we'll get a much clearer picture of all the games taking place on 13 October so you'll be able to choose where you'll spend your afternoon should you wish to take part.

On the subject of the FA Vase, I'd like to give a special mention to St Panteleimon who pulled off another cupset on Saturday by beating Long Buckby.

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

The Saints, who play in the 11th tier, have never entered the Vase before and have now beaten two higher ranked sides to make the First Round which is some achievement.

The club are also currently challenging for the Middlesex County League title alongside Pitshanger Dynamo and PFC Victoria London in what looks like being a very competitive division - keep your eye on all of them as the season progresses.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days with the Premier League and Championship taking centre stage. There are also a load of ties in the next round of 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
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 17 September

Professional Development League
Watford v Ipswich Town @2pm - there are three U23 games in London on Monday with this one at Vicarage Road being the best on offer. The other games are being hosted by Millwall and QPR but are at the clubs' training grounds so check before you travel whether the public will be admitted

Velocity Trophy First Round
Carshalton Athletic v Corinthian Casuals @745pm - the best non-league option would seem to be this cup match between between two Bostik League Premier Division sides. If you don't know, the Velocity Trophy is the Bostik (Isthmian) League Cup by another name

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Tuesday 18 September

Checkatrade Trophy
AFC Wimbledon v Swansea City U21 @745pm - this competition has had its opponents with the Dons being among the most vociferous critics. They barely publicise their games in it and consequently attendances are pretty low. Tickets are £10 and are not available in advance

National League
Sutton United v Boreham Wood @745pm - there will probably be a bigger crowd a short journey down the road for this non-league London derby between two sides who narrowly missed out on promotion to the EFL last season

London Senior Cup First Round
Harrow Borough v Hendon @745pm - the pick of the night's county cup ties could well be this derby between two old rivals from north-west London. Over the last two or three years, matches between these two have produced stacks of goals with the last one, just a couple of weeks ago, ending in a 4-2 win for Boro

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round Replay
Spelthorne Sports v Bugbrooke St Michaels @745pm - after fighting out a thrilling 3-3 draw up in Northamptonshire on Saturday, these two will do it all again on Tuesday for a place in the First Round proper

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Wednesday 19 September

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Millwall @745pm - picked for live television coverage by Sky, this London derby is often very closely fought - sadly on and off the pitch.The Lions' fans usually travel in great numbers and sold out their initial allocation in quick time. I've been to several of these games over the last 15 years and I can't remember a time which didn't feature an unsavoury moment in or around the ground. Historically Millwall have a good record against QPR and rarely lose at Loftus Road but they haven't won there since 1989

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round Replay
Bridon Ropes v Tunbridge Wells @745pm - the hosts did well to hold Tunbridge Wells to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. The Ropes play a division below their opponents but should fancy their chances against the 2013 finalists who have lost five of their six league games thus far

FA Women's Super League
West Ham United v Reading @745pm - the Hammers are new to this level and play their first game in it against the Royals who began their season with a 4-0 win over Yeovil so it could be tough

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Thursday 20 September

Europa League
Arsenal v FC Vorskla @ - 8pm - after a disappointing sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, the Gunners are having to make do with Europa League football again this season. With a run to the semi-finals last time, they are unsurprisingly one of the favourites to win. Drawn in a group alongside Sporting Lisbon, FK Qarabag and Ukrainian club Vorskla, they should make the knockout phase without too much difficulty. Rarely for a first-team match at the Emirates Stadium, tickets are on general sale at decent prices so take your chance if it's on your to-do list

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Friday 21 September

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Liverpool @7pm - if you're a Gunners fan, you can watch the U23 side in action less than 24 hours later up at Boreham Wood's ground in what should be a decent game

Essex Senior League
Barkingside v Clapton @745pm - if you fancy something a little more gritty and meaningful, you might fancy this east London derby. A couple of years ago when the Clapton Ultras were fully behind their team then this would have been a great place to spend a Friday night but they fell out with those running the club and after a year or more of boycotting home games, they recently disbanded and now the Tons have gone back to playing in front of much smaller crowds which is a great shame

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Rusthall @745pm - the Becks have got off to a great start and currently top the league. They should stay there after this game as Rusthall are struggling
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Saturday 22 September

Premier League
Fulham v Watford @1230pm - a very full weekend of top flight action in the capital gets underway with this derby at Craven Cottage. With only one win from five, the hosts have found their return to their Premier League pretty tough going. The Hornets, on the other hand, had a 100% record until Saturday when they lost to Manchester United. Despite this setback, they'd have to start as favourites in my book
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United @3pm - any team in the bottom half of the table can be regarded as a viable contender for relegation so every win is vital. Palace picked up their second of the season with a valuable away victory at Huddersfield on Saturday. The Magpies are finding things a bit tougher and have only managed to glean one point from their opening five games and could well flounder again here

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Norwich City @530pm - you can spend your whole day in west London if you combine this match with the one at Fulham. QPR have ended up on Sky again (yes - twice in a matter of days) for a match that is often competitive and well attended. Given what travel is like from East Anglia, games in London have a bit of derby feel to them with Canaries fans often turning out in force. After a dreadful start, Steve McClaren seems to be turning things around at Rangers with the club now unbeaten in four games. Norwich are usually expected to challenge for promotion so they'll be disappointed with the indifferent start they've made

League One
Charlton Athletic v Plymouth Argyle @3pm - with three wins on the trot, the Addicks are the form team of the division. They should extend that run here as Plymouth are winless and rooted to the bottom of the table

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Chelsea @1pm - with the first XIs set to meet on Sunday, the U23 teams will do battle at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground on Saturday lunchtime. If you get a shift on, you should be able to combine this with the match at Barking at 3pm or you could easily make it over to Shepherd's Bush for the QPR game later on

National League
Sutton United v Wrexham @3pm - the U's were the top ranked non-league club in London last season, finishing third in the National League. Sadly they lost out in the play-offs so will have another go again this year. With only one defeat from their opening 10 games, they're right up amongst the contenders again but so are Wrexham who are in even better form and up in second

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
At this stage all sides in the sixth tier (i.e. National League North and National League South) enter the draw alongside those who have successfully made it through the three previous rounds. A sum of £9,000 is awarded to the winner of each tie. There are quite a few ties in London on Saturday but here are three I particularly like the look of

Dulwich Hamlet v Tonbridge Angels @3pm - over the last few years these two were rivals for promotion in the Bostik League. Last season Dulwich finally made it up whilst Tonbridge finished well short. This season the Hamlet have struggled to get to grips with life at the higher level but managed to stun leaders Woking with a fine win in Surrey on Saturday. Conversely, Angels are unbeaten in seven and top of the Bostik League so should arrive at Imperial Fields in confident mood
Egham Town v Brightlingsea Regent @3pm - after upsetting local rivals Staines in the last round, the Sarnies face another seventh level opponent this time in the form of Bostik Premier side Brightlingsea. The Essex club haven't had a great start to the season and Egham may well fancy their chances
Hanwell Town v Lowestoft Town @3pm - the Geordies play in the same division as Egham but have overall made a much better start to this campaign. Like the Sarnies they also beat a seventh-tier opponent in the previous round so should be capable of repeating the feat here on Saturday

Bostik League South Central
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Bracknell Town @3pm - if the FA Cup's not for you then this match near Heathrow could be. The Tangerines have made a solid start to the season but will need to be at their best as Bracknell are top with a 100% record from five games

Bostik League South East
Cray Wanderers v Hythe Town @3pm - London's oldest club have made a fine start to their campaign and are top of this division after five games. Kent side Hythe aren't far behind and are usually among the challengers

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Chertsey Town v Cobham @3pm - former AFC Wimbledon manager Dave Anderson is working his magic at Alwyns Lane where the unbeaten Curfews top the league despite having played three games less than their nearest challengers - and they've only played six games! Cobham are ailing near the foot of the table and should be picked off with relative ease

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Hadley v Tring Athletic @3pm - the Bricks have only played four games but find themselves in the top six. They have three games in hand on the current leaders who by chance are Tring so a win here will put them firmly among the contenders

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Enfield Borough v Amersham Town @3pm - the Panthers have made a really good start with five wins from seven in the league. On Sunday they also saw off the higher ranked Sporting Bengal United to the make the First Round of the FA Vase. If they win here against midtable Amersham then they could go top

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Sunday 23 September

Premier League
West Ham United v Chelsea @130pm - the Hammers picked up their first three points of the season on Sunday with a 3-1 win at Everton. The result saw them climb off the bottom and jump four places up the table, showing just how close clubs are and how important every point is at this level. The Blues are having no such difficulties and moved top of the Premier League on goal difference after beating Cardiff 4-1 on Saturday. They should win again here but West Ham often raise their game against the Blues and have won three of their last four home games against the Stamford Bridge club
Arsenal v Everton @4pm - later in the afternoon there's some more top-flight action over at the Emirates. Both sides have made unspectacular starts to their campaigns but with three wins on the bounce, the Gunners might be starting to come good

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v West Ham United @2pm - with both clubs' men's sides in action on Sunday afternoon, the scheduling of this match seems a bit unfortunate. Nevertheless, the Gunners should be among the frontrunners this season and with favourites Chelsea and Man City sharing the points in their big game last week, they went top after crushing Liverpool 5-0 in their opening game

FA Women's Championship
London Bees v Manchester United @2pm - having gone many years without a women's team of their own, Man Utd have finally set one up and have joined the second tier in time for this season. They began in spectacular style, destroying Aston Villa 12-0 so hosts London Bees will need to ready themselves for a tough afternoon 

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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