Monday, 3 September 2018

TLFG: 3-9 September 2018

Welcome one and all to this week's TLFG - I hope you're well.

With this weekend's action concluded, the first international break of the season begins and with it the usual chorus of groans and moans that there is 'no football going on'.

There may not be any Premier League or Championship action but there are well over 70 other matches for you to enjoy elsewhere in the EFL, National League and FA Cup - to name just three competitions. There also one or two rather unusual matches taking place too - see the daily digest below.

Why not go to the match that's causing the break in the first place?

Thanks to their showing at the World Cup, England's match against Spain at Wembley now looks far more tempting than it did before the tournament in Russia and tickets are still available. Its evening kick-off time means it can also easily be combined with another match earlier in the day with some clubs close to the national stadium offering great deals on admission and even parking to get you interested.

Subscribe to The London Football Guide

Having spent the last week or so holidaying in Somerset and Sussex, I'm now back in the capital and have a couple of football related events booked later in the week.

The first is a reception to mark 10 years of the QPR Community Trust who I have done a bit of work with over that time and the second is still to be confirmed but could include a live TV appearance as the promotion of this year's Non-League Day starts to really get going.



Non-League Day is coming up and you can order a limited edition badge to show your support
On the subject of Non-League Day, for the first time this year, we've produced a limited number of enamel badges to mark the event and these can be ordered for £3 (+£1.25 P&P) from my colleague Ian who can be contacted here.

Lastly this week I'd like to say a big thanks to the two readers who have very generously donated to TLFG's coffee drinking fund this week. Both have been very supportive of this blog for a long time, contributing and offering kind words numerous times over the years. So many thanks once again to Chris H and Mr Anonymous (you know who you are) - it means a huge amount to me and I really appreciate it. Thanks also to all those who wished me well with the birth of my second child, scheduled for next month - what a great bunch TLFG readers are.
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THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 70 matches in and around the London area over the next seven days with the FA Cup and non-league football more generally dominating proceedings during the international break.

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



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 3 September


Professional Development League
The week begins with several U23 games in this competition. The highlights are matches at Crystal Palace and QPR who are both playing at their main stadiums in lunchtime kick-offs

FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay
Erith Town v Loxwood @730pm - once you've digested one of the games above you could move on to this cup tie in south-east London. The original tie in Surrey ended in a 1-1 draw - the victors will travel on Saturday to the winners of the other replay between Raynes Park Vale and Spelthorne Sports


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Tuesday 4 September

Checkatrade Trophy Group Stage
Charlton Athletic v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - the much maligned Checkatrade Trophy gets underway again on Tuesday with this decent looking London derby. Tickets to watch these two crosstown rivals from League One go head-to-head are only £10

National League
Leyton Orient v Solihull Moors @745pm - there are four very decent games in the fifth tier on Tuesday night with this the pick of the bunch. The O's are averaging crowds of well over 4,000 and are rewarding their fans with some decent results. Unbeaten in their first eight games they're up in fifth only a point behind leaders Wrexham in what appears to be a very competitive division. The visitors are also right in there among the leaders so this could be a cracker
Boreham Wood v Chesterfield @745pm - after a disappointing start, The Wood are now unbeaten in three and gradually climbing the table. On Tuesday they welcome the Spireites who in May became the latest long-term members of the EFL to fall into non-league football. With new boss Martin Allen in place for the new season they got off to a flying start but now it's all gone wrong and they've lost five in a row and could well be there for the taking
Bromley v Barnet @745pm - there's a derby at Hayes Lane where two clubs from north and south London separated by only one point in midtable do battle. Bromley made the FA Trophy final at Wembley last season whilst the Bees, like Chesterfield, fell out of the EFL
Dagenham & Redbridge v Braintree Town @745pm - there's an early season relegation six-pointer at Victoria Road where the bottom two scrap for points - it's also an all-Essex affair

FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay
Hanworth Villa v AFC Croydon Athletic @730pm - managed by former Fulham defender Rufus Brevett, Hanworth have had an iffy start to their campaign but did well to hold the Rams in the original game last week. AFC Croydon are currently joint top of the SCEFL so must start as favourites. A trip to AFC Uckfield Town awaits the winners
Spelthorne Sports v Raynes Park Vale @745pm - the other replay of the night sees two well matched midtable CCL Premier Division teams meet again


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Wednesday 5 September

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Croydon @745pm - with AFC Croydon playing in the cup on Tuesday, the Becks have a great chance to leapfrog them and go top with a win against the Rams' near neighbours. The Trams have made a very poor start, losing all four of their league games

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Saturday 8 September

Uefa Nations League
England v Spain @745pm - the Three Lions play their first game since returning from what was seen overall as a successful World Cup in Russia. This is also Gareth Southgate's side's first match in the all new Uefa Nations League - a competition so unnecessarily convoluted I won't go into it here. Essentially it's a way of making friendlies a bit more meaningful and with games against Los Toros and Croatia, they don't come much bigger right now. Whoever comes top of this group of three teams goes into the semi-finals against the winners of the other three groups at this top level of European football

Friendly
Arsenal Legends v Real Madrid Legends @2pm - one of the great things about England's late kick-off at Wembley is that it gives you plenty of time to combine it with another game. Over at the Emirates Stadium there's another type of England v Spain encounter with an old boys game between two of the biggest clubs in those countries. These matches usually draw big crowds and with Spain also in town, there should be even greater interest

League One
Charlton Athletic v Wycombe Wanderers @3pm - if you fancy something a bit more meaningful then this encounter at The Valley might be more to your liking. Wycombe play just outside London so there is a bit of a derby feel to this one to make things even more interesting

Irn Bru Cup Second Round
Boreham Wood v Dunfermline Athletic @1pm - one of the biggest oddities of the season so far takes place at Meadow Park, not all that far from Wembley, where an English side will play in the Irn Bru Cup for the first time. Alongside fellow National League side Sutton United, The Wood are taking part and will entertain opposition from the Scottish Championship in a competition for clubs from all over the UK and Ireland. It will be interesting to see how a top English non-league club fares against one from the second tier north of the border

National League
Barnet v Maidenhead United @3pm - if you are going to the England match and want to see a second game earlier in the day then this could well be the one for you. Located a little to the north of Wembley close to Canons Park station on the same Tube line as Wembley Park, you're being offered the chance to watch this fifth-tier game and get parking for only £10 which is a great deal. Just present your ticket for the England game at the box office on arrival - full details

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Wealdstone @3pm - down at Imperial Fields, two former Isthmian League rivals will lock horns in what should be a decent encounter. The Stones came up four years ago and have more than held their own at this level and are currently among the frontrunners. The Hamlet came up via the play-offs in May and despite being known for their attacking brand of football and large support, they've really struggled to get going in the sixth tier. With only two wins from eight, they're sitting just above the relegation zone

FA Cup First Qualifying Round
With the two preliminary rounds out of the way, all remaining clubs in the seventh tier enter the draw as the quality of sides goes up a gear. Ties are still generally regionalised at this stage with the winners of each tie receiving £6,000. Several ties have yet to be decided as midweek replays still need to be concluded but here are three I really like the look of

Hendon v Harlow Town @3pm - I've gone for this tie first as the clubs have agreed between them to cut admission to only £6 for England v Spain ticket holders. Located closer to Wembley than Barnet but not quite as conveniently for the Tube, this match between two seventh tier sides is well worth a watch and both should be commended for agreeing to this deal
Egham Town v Staines Town @3pm - these two towns lie either side of the River Thames on the far west of the London area and only one stop apart on the local train network - this is without doubt a derby. The Sarnies have played at a lower level than Staines for some time so they don't play that often. The FA Cup should be a great leveller
Walthamstow v Beaconsfield Town @3pm - the hosts are one of the lowest ranked London clubs left in the FA Cup. Currently fifth in the Essex Senior League, the club from E17 welcome a team struggling towards the wrong end of a division two levels above them - my mouth's watering at the prospect of a cupset!

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Chertsey Town v Horley Town @3pm - former AFC Wimbledon manager Dave Anderson took over at the Curfews towards the end of last season to steer them away from the relegation zone. He seems to have done some amazing things over the summer as Chertsey have come out and won all five of their opening league games to go top. Get down to Alwyns Lane to see how they get on against eighth placed Horley

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Oxhey Jets v Tring Athletic @3pm - two of the top four in the SSML meet for a game that could send either of them to the top of the table. This is also another reasonable option for fans heading to the England game as the ground is close to Carpenders Park station which is only a 16-minute ride into Wembley Central on London Overground - I'm not aware of any deals though
Wembley v Edgware Town @3pm - why not do the Wembley double and see the town's very own club in action? Playing a bus ride away at Vale Farm, they are struggling and can do with all the support they can get for this derby against near neighbours Edgware

Combined Counties League Division 1
Bedfont & Feltham v Ash United @3pm - the hosts have made an unbeaten start to the season and are top by just one point. Despite their slender lead, they are by far and away the division's highest goalscorers and are netting an average of almost five goals a game! Fourth placed Ash should present them with a tougher challenge than most of their opponents so far

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Welling Town v Holmesdale @3pm - arguably the game of the day in the 10th tier is this match at Bayliss Avenue where the top two battle for supremacy. Welling have only just moved up to this level but are taking it by storm and are unbeaten after six games. Holmesdale have only slipped up once and will be looking to wrest top spot away from the Boots

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Broadfields United v Enfield Borough @3pm - there's also another strong contender for game of the day at this level over at Preston Park (in Harefield) where fifth placed Broadfields take on the leaders. Since forming in 2016, the Panthers have developed a habit of flying out of the blocks - sometimes they sustain it, sometimes they don't. This season they've won five of their first six to go top again but Broadfields, also a team to watch, have two games in hand which if won would put them in pole position


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Sunday 9 September

FA Women's Super League
Hot on the heels of England qualifying for next year's Women's World Cup, the Super League returns with two absolutely mammoth games to get things going. At 1230pm, up at Boreham Wood's ground, last season's beaten FA Cup finalists Arsenal host Liverpool. Then at 2pm down at Kingsmeadow, last season's doublewinners Chelsea entertain their biggest rivals Manchester City in a game which could go a long way to deciding the title even at this early stage in the season

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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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