Sunday 21 October 2018

TLFG: 22-28 October 2018

Greetings one and all and welcome to this week's TLFG.

It looks like being a big week for me and one which could shape the future of this blog - I have a second child expected to arrive on Wednesday so things will probably get pretty hectic and the amount of content I put out on here could dip or at least vary but I'll do my best to juggle everything and see what happens.

Anyway, enough about that. How has your week been?

After the fun of Non-League Day last weekend, the last few days have been more about recovery and preparation so I haven't seen any games since my trip to see Wealdstone beat Hampton & Richmond.

Subscribe to The London Football Guide

It was a bit of a mixed bag for London's clubs on Saturday with only four of our 12 Premier League/EFL clubs managing to win - so congratulations to Charlton, QPR, Tottenham and Watford.

Aside from them, most of the focus for me was on the sides competing in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup and I'm pleased to say our local sides did rather well.

Barnet, Bromley, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Haringey Borough, Metropolitan Police and Sutton United all made it through and will now go into the hat for the First Round proper alongside a couple of others who have to negotiate replays. They'll also be joined there by all the clubs in League One and League Two which include several big teams like Sunderland who have played in the Premier League at some point in the past.

The draw will take place on BBC Two at 7pm on Monday.

Our friends at 'Two Men In Search...' pay a visit to Beckenham Town

On a sad note, news emerged from south-east London earlier in the week that Bostik League club Thamesmead Town were set to fold with immediate effect mainly through lack of support.

The owners have ploughed a lot of time and money into keeping the club going and have tried numerous things to bring local people through the turnstiles over the years and it just hasn't worked.

I was told one anecdote about the club sending out hundreds if not thousands of flyers to local houses offering free entry on production of said flyer and a tiny number, like two, turned up. Whether that story is true I'm not sure but I can believe it.

Apparently there have been issues over their ground and the all-but forced relocation to groundshare at Dartford can't have helped either.

There were rumours that possible buyers were starting to emerge and the club wasn't completely dead so if you've a spare few quid knocking around and you fancy taking on this fine club then get in touch with them ASAP!

Lack of support is a real problem for a whole host of non-league clubs not least my own personal favourite Harrow Borough.

Ironically they are having one of their best seasons for some time and are currently seventh in the Evo-Stik Premier Division South. They're scoring goals for fun and playing some entertaining football but only managed a gate of 132 as they thrashed Dorchester 4-1 on Saturday.

That figure is worrying and put into stark relief when compared to neighbours Wealdstone who could get their third consecutive home attendance of over one thousand when they play Torquay this weekend.

The Stones do play one level above Harrow but that shouldn't mean they get 10 times as many people through the gate, especially when you also consider their tickets are 30% more expensive too.

I've always been impressed by the way Wealdstone market their club, use social media and try and involve the local community and they've duly been rewarded with decent attendances. Although I know it's not easy, Harrow really must try and do a bit more (getting an official Twitter account would be a good start) or they could get into trouble.

So I think that's it from me for this week. It could be match maps only or maybe nothing at all next week but hopefully I'll produce something for you. Have a great week and as always, enjoy your football.

There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days with the Premier League and EFL taking centre stage. There are also a few ties in the next round of the FA Trophy.

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 22 October

Premier League
Arsenal v Leicester City @8pm - the Gunners come into this as the form team of the top flight with nine consecutive wins in all competitions. They've also won the last seven games against the Foxes on home soil, scoring 21 goals in the process so they should start as strong favourites against the 2015/16 league champions

U23 Development Matches
There are four games at U23 level on Monday with the most notable being Arsenal v Everton at Boreham Wood - strangely though it's also being played in the evening so will be going up directly against the first team. The next best option would appear to be Crystal Palace v Coventry City which is being played at Selhurst Park at 1pm. There are also matches featuring Charlton Athletic and QPR but, as always, check all the details before you travel

Surrey Senior Cup First Round
Sutton Common Rovers v Sutton United @745pm - the pick of the non-league action is most definitely the Sutton derby. These clubs groundshare with the latter being the landlords - they also play four levels above SCR and made the first round proper of the FA Cup after winning at Wealdstone on Saturday. United won't field a first-choice team but should still have too much


Tuesday 23 October

Millwall v Wigan Athletic @745pm - it's a big night of action in the EFL and another important game for the Lions who are struggling at the moment. Defeat at Reading saw them slip into the bottom three on Saturday and points could be hard to come by against the recently promoted Latics who are just one point off the play-off places
Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield Wednesday @745pm - Rangers' wonderfully inconsistent season continued on Saturday with a very comfortable 2-0 win at bottom club Ipswich who look in real trouble. The Owls should be tricky opponents - they were on a tidy unbeaten run until Middlesbrough beat them on Friday. Last season it ended 4-2 to the hosts and it could be entertaining again

League One
Charlton Athletic v Oxford United @745pm - despite their off-field problems, the Addicks recorded a very useful win over Barnsley on Saturday to keep touch with the promotion chasing clubs. Oxford have only won one of their last 10 matches in all competitions and are down in the relegation zone

FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round Replay
Dagenham & Redbridge v Boreham Wood @745pm - by the time this kicks off the clubs should know who'll they'll be facing in the First Round. With former Premier League clubs like Bradford, Charlton, Coventry, Portsmouth and Sunderland all in the draw it could be quite a prize at stake, not to mention the £25,000 they'll get for simply winning this match. The original game on Saturday saw the Daggers come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw

Bostik League Premier Division
Corinthian Casuals v Haringey Borough @745pm - two of the capital's most cult teams do battle in this Bostik League encounter on Tuesday. After following up their Non-League Day win over AFC Hornchurch with a 5-0 thrashing of Croydon in the London Senior Cup in midweek, Casuals came back down to earth with a 3-0 reverse at Bishop's Stortford on Saturday. For Haringey, the story has been mainly about the FA Cup so far this season with a place in the First Round secured on Saturday with a victory over Poole Town. The north London club, who play on White Hart Lane, have never been this far in the competition so there are some excited people at Coles Park. I'm still hoping for a dream tie against Spurs at their new ground in the Third Round. It's now only two wins away from becoming a possibility...

Wednesday 24 October

Brentford B v Southampton U23 @6pm - the Bees' second string are back in action at Griffin Park against the Saints on Wednesday night. The club usually offers free admission to these games but check all details before you travel

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Cray Valley PM v K Sports @745pm - the hosts are side worth keeping an eye on. Although down in seventh at the moment, they're in good form and and have four games in hand on the leaders which would put them four points clear if they won them. They've also scored a staggering 30 goals in the eight games they have played and should put a few more past midtable K Sports

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Forest Hill Park v Lewisham Borough @745pm - on the south-east side of town we've got a groundshare derby in the 10th tier. Neither side are doing anything particularly special in the league

Thursday 25 October

Europa League
Chelsea v BATE Borisov @8pm - the Blues preserved their unbeaten record in the Premier League with a late equaliser against Manchester United on Saturday. Next up is this Europa League group stage game against a side they should beat. The top club from Belarus have been totally dominant domestically winning the league title every year since 2006. They have claimed one or two notable scalps in European competition in recent years but they haven't managed to get anything from their group games against PAOK and Vidi this year so should be brushed aside here

Friday 26 October

Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa @745pm - this match has been selected for live TV broadcast meaning the R's will have to play three times in six days. This is always one of QPR's biggest games of the season and according to the Villa website, there is only one ticket available in the away end so they're bringing a big following down from Birmingham. The match is of even greater significance as Villa have just installed a new management team of Dean Smith (former Brentford manager) and John Terry (Chelsea legend) - two men who are not hugely popular with QPR fans. They won their first game in charge against Swansea and confidence will be high. As mentioned above, QPR beat Ipswich on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run to three games so this should be close. Tickets are available in 'home' areas of the ground

Essex Senior League
Barkingside v Woodford Town @745pm - if you'd rather enjoy a bit of non-league action instead, head over to Ilford where you'll be warmly received by all at Barkingside. Sadly they've been too generous as hosts on the pitch this season and are bottom with no wins from 14. Woodford will no doubt hope to win and push on towards a  place in the top five

Saturday 27 October

Premier League
Fulham v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - after losing at fellow strugglers Cardiff on Saturday, it looks like being a long tough winter for the Cottagers. With only one win from nine league games and conceding goals for fun , Fulham are now fully paid up members of the bottom three. In most seasons you'd expect the Cherries to also be down there but Eddie Howe has worked wonders and they're currently in the top six,  no doubt hoping to do a Burnley and get into Europe
Watford v Huddersfield Town @3pm - the Hornets ended a dodgy run of results with an assured performance to win 2-0 at Wolves on Saturday. That win put them back up to seventh and they should also beat the Terriers who have yet to win this season

Millwall v Ipswich Town @3pm - at the time of writing both of these sides are in the bottom three. Even if they have good midweek results, this match must still be viewed as a relegation six-pointer so it should be worth watching for that alone

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Luton Town @3pm - if you can get a ticket then I would recommend going to this game over the one above. With Luton based just outside London, this is effectively a derby and the Dons' small ground should be close to full. As for their respective form, Wimbledon are in a bit of trouble with a fourth consecutive defeat dropping them into the relegation zone on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Hatters beat promotion rivals Walsall to move to within touching distance of the top six

National League
Leyton Orient v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm -the biggest crowd of the day for a non-league game should come at Brisbane Road where the O's will look to get back to winning ways and possibly go top by teatime. Havant, like Orient, suffered defeat in the FA Cup on Saturday and have only won two league games all season - a home win looks highly likely
Boreham Wood v Bromley @3pm - after playing back-to-back games against Dagenham & Redbridge, the Wood end the week with another derby against Bromley. Both teams are solidly in midtable but the Ravens are now on a four game unbeaten run and are looking good
Dagenham & Redbridge v Harrogate Town @3pm - the Daggers are in woeful form in the league so it was impressive that they showed the character to fight back and an earn a replay at Boreham Wood in the FA Cup. They face another stern test here as Harrogate are among the early season pacesetters

National League South
Wealdstone v Torquay United @3pm - back in 2013/14 the Stones won the then Ryman League title to move up to the level they are now. Down in Devon at the same time, the Gulls finished bottom of League Two to drop into the Conference. Even then, the prospect of these two meeting in a league match seemed fairly remote but after several more years of struggle, Torquay went down again and actually head to Grosvenor Vale as marginal underdogs based on their respective league positions. Despite relegation, they should still bring a lot of fans so Wealdstone could well get a crowd of 1,000+ for the third weekend running
Welling United v Gloucester City @3pm - it's boom time for London clubs in this division with four of our local clubs in the top seven. The Wings are the pick of the bunch in second just two points behind leaders Billericay and should win here against a Gloucester side who are just above the relegation zone

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round - this national competition is for clubs playing in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley in May. At this stage only clubs in the seventh and eighth tiers are taking part and the draw is still regionalised along a north and south divide. The winners of each tie earn £3,250 prize money. There are several ties in London over the weekend but here are a few which standout for me
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Lewes @3pm - it's often quite hard to pick games at this stage because they're all much of a muchness so I've gone for three where a lower ranked team is at home and they have the best chance of causing an upset - the first is this one down near Heathrow at the Robert Parker Stadium. Ashford are midtable in the Bostik South Central but will no doubt give it a good go against the Rooks who have settled well back in the Bostik Premier after last season's promotion-winning display. The East Sussex club are a well-supported side so will hopefully bring a few and generate a bit of atmosphere
Molesey v Walton Casuals @3pm - the Moles are having an absolute stinker so far this season and are winless from their opening nine games. Casuals are holding their own following their move to the Evo-Stik Premier and should win but this is a local derby so anything could happen
VCD Athletic v Leiston @3pm - two teams in form meet at Old Road where the hosts, who are fifth in the Bostik South East, will fancy their chances against a team who are seventh in a division one level above them

Essex Senior League
Walthamstow v Sporting Bengal United @3pm - we've got a top-six clash to enjoy at Wadham Lodge where the hosts will be looking to close the gap on the top two with a win. Sporting have done really well this season and have games in hand on all of those above them, meaning a place in the top three could soon be theirs too

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Cray Valley PM v Fisher @3pm - after winning their big midweek game at leaders Beckenham Town, Fisher have put themselves firmly in title contention. In fact, they've now won six games in a row and have scored 20 goals in the process. As I mentioned above, Cray are also in hot form and this could produce quite a ding-dong!

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Hillingdon Borough v Harefield United @3pm - the game of the day in the 10th tier has to be this local derby between the sides who are currently first and second. Boro are doing superbly well considering they were bailed out last season by former player Yannick Bolasie after the club announced they were about to fold. With nine wins from 12, including a 6-1 win at Amersham on Saturday, they are currently two points clear. However, Harefield are just behind them and have two games in hand. The visitors effectively play on the same road as Hillingdon and are celebrating their 150th anniversary season


Sunday 28 October

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Arsenal @130pm - we end the week with a London derby at Selhurst Park. At the time of writing Palace haven't had a great season but they're keeping their heads above water and are a lot better off than they were this time last year. As mentioned above, the Gunners are in great form and could arrive here on the back of an 11th consecutive win if they enjoy success in their midweek games against Leicester and Sporting Lisbon

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Liverpool @1230pm - there are a number of women's games in the capital on Sunday but this is the only top-flight fixture. After edging to a 1-0 first leg win over Fiorentina in the Champions League on Wednesday, the Blues only managed a 0-0 draw at Birmingham City on their return to league action on Sunday. The result leaves the reigning champions down in seventh and eight points behind leaders Arsenal - a gap which looks unbridgeable even at this early stage. Elsewhere, the Reds won 1-0 at West Ham to move into the top four

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 comment:

  1. Do Cockfosters play Colney Heath tonight at 7.45? On the club's website the match is to be played at 15.00.