Monday, 10 December 2018

TLFG: 10-16 December 2018

Welcome one and all to this week's TLFG and apologies for the late publication.

Work and childcare have caught up with me this week and the blog is back to match maps only as a result.

I haven't really got very much more to add and don't have the time to anyway so enjoy your football watching and I hope to have a bit more for you next week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include action in the Europa League, Premier League, EFL, FA Trophy and most of our local non-league competitions. There are also some eye-catching U23 matches and FA Youth Cup games.

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




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.

Monday, 3 December 2018

TLFG: 3-9 December 2018

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

With my recently born daughter nearly six weeks old, this edition of the blog is pretty much back to full strength with all the normal features restored.

Not only that but I did manage to finally get to a game, taking my five-year-old to her first Harrow Borough match.

With QPR playing Hull on my doorstep, it looked highly likely that that would be our destination but as a result of the fairly last-minute decision to attend, we'd have been looking at a whopping £50+ for the two of us to go!

The purse strings are a bit tight at the moment so it wasn't that hard to decide that a non-league option would be better value.

So with snacks and distractions secured in a rucksack we headed out to the north-western suburbs to watch The Boro who I followed avidly as a youth.

Steve Baker's side have been a revelation since being moved from the Bostik League to Evo-Stik League over the summer.

My eldest daughter snaps some of the action at her first Harrow Borough game
It was usually a case of trying to stave off relegation every year but now Harrow are play-off contenders and scoring for fun.

On Saturday they welcomed a midtable Farnborough side for what could have been a tricky fixture.

With two of Boro's stars of the recent past, Marc Charles-Smith and Kurtis Cumberbatch, in their squad they looked good on paper.

However, that never even came close to being the case as Harrow totally played them off the park.

After wasting a couple of gilt-edged chances, it took 28 minutes for the first goal to arrive when the ball was forced home from close range by top scorer Ryan Moss at a corner.

It stayed that way until the interval and you thought it could be one of those days when a dominant team failing to score more could have been punished but that simply didn't happen.

The goals just kept coming at roughly 10-15 minute intervals for the rest of the half as Farnborough capitulated.

The 5-0 win lifted Harrow to sixth and also gave them the highest goals per game ratio in the division as they continue to entertain.

Despite this, average crowds remain way below what they could and should be so if you live in the area, please get along and see them soon, you won't be disappointed.

Next up they face an incredibly tough trip to leaders Taunton but in form like this who knows what they might achieve?

As for my daughter she actually really enjoyed herself.

A warm welcome from all the club staff she engaged with, a few treats from the tea bar and the chance to run up and down the terraces made a big difference.

She also received a kids' mini camera as a present recently and spent most of the time photographing things - the match, the sky, the Harrow Borough Ultras or moss on the terraces. She even asked if we could come back the next day. Job done!

When I think of her being restricted to an expensive seat at Loftus Road, getting bored and cold I know I definitely made the right call.

The match at Harrow cost us £10 to get into (it was free for her), the programme was £2 (I only bought this because it was her first game) and I think I spent about £4 on refreshments (a hefty slab of bread pudding, a KitKat and a portion of chips). With the Tube and bus fares it probably totalled around £20.

If you've got young kids then give non-league a try - they won't worry about the standard and will probably enjoy the experience a lot more.

Given the highly interrupted sleep I'm getting at the moment, TLFG's coffee drinking fund is coming in very handy during my working days so thanks again to those of you who have donated.

As always, have a great week and enjoy your football watching.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include action in the Premier League, EFL and most of our local non-league competitions. There are also some eye-catching U23 matches and FA Youth Cup games.

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 3 December

FA Youth Cup Third Round
West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers have both landed home ties in this competition for U18 sides. The Hammers play Brighton at Dagenham & Redbridge whilst QPR will entertain Rochdale at Loftus Road. Both matches kick-off at 7pm and cost somewhere in the region of £3 to get into

London Senior Cup Second Round
Haringey Borough v Leyton Orient @745pm - after pushing AFC Wimbledon hard in their recent  FA Cup First Round tie, Haringey next get the chance to take on the O's in another big cup tie. The visitors, who currently top the National League, will probably rest a few players but it should still be worth a watch

A bit further afield
In the Premier League International Cup the Tottenham U23 side will play their counterparts from Wolfsburg at Stevenage's Lamex Stadium in Hertfordshire at 7pm

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Tuesday 4 December

Premier League
Watford v Manchester City @8pm - Saturday's 2-0 loss at Leicester extended the Hornets' winless streak to four games, a period in which they've scored only one goal. Leaders City are seemingly unstoppable at the moment, scoring an average of just over three goals a game. It doesn't look great for the hosts...
West Ham United v Cardiff City @745pm - both sides picked up valuable wins this weekend to keep themselves clear of the bottom three. They haven't played each other for nearly five years when the Hammers won 2-0 in Wales, a result which took their winning run against the Bluebirds to six games in all competitions

EFL Trophy
Chelsea U21 v AFC Wimbledon @7pm - the Dons have had a miserable time in the league this season but made it through to the Third Round of the FA Cup with a win at Halifax on Saturday. Next up they travel to Stamford Bridge to play a Blues' development side. Tickets are only £5 for adults

National League South
Dartford v Torquay United @745pm - the Gulls won at Dulwich on Saturday and play another game south of the river on Tuesday (do they go all the way back to Devon or stay in town???). That win them propelled them into the top three and given Dartford are also in the top six, this could be a cracker

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Wednesday 5 December

Premier League
Fulham v Leicester City @745pm - after losing Sunday's derby at Chelsea, the Cottagers will come into this game at the foot of the table. Although nowhere near their championship winning form of 2016, the Foxes are still a very solid Premier League outfit with their current five game unbeaten run lifting them to eighth so they should start as favourites here. Most notably it will also see new Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri have the chance to get one over his former employers
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton @8pm - having suffered the disappointment of defeat in Sunday's North London Derby, Spurs will want to get back to winning ways immediately. In Southampton they face one of the best opponents they could hope for as they have been poor this season. However, they took a point of Manchester United on Saturday so can't be completely written off

FA Continental Tyres Cup
ArsenalChelsea, London Bees and Millwall Lionesses all have games in the latest round of group matches in this women's competition
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Thursday 6 December

A bit further afield
I never thought I'd be writing about the possibility of watching Paris St Germain play PSV Eindhoven at Woking but that's exactly what you'll be able to do on Thursday night as the clubs' U23 sides meet in the Premier League International Cup

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Friday 7 December

U23 Development Matches
There are three games on Friday and they're staggered nicely so you could see all of them. The action starts at midday at Spurs' training ground where Tottenham entertain Everton - check with the club whether the public will be admitted but it's quite common. Then at 3pm Watford face Millwall at Wingate & Finchley and finally Chelsea play West Ham at 7pm at Aldershot Town's ground

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Saturday 8 December

Premier League
Chelsea v Manchester City @530pm - the game of the week in London is this clash between two of the top three. Chelsea conceded their unbeaten record a couple of weeks back but City still have theirs intact (unless they lose at Watford). Including the FA Community Shield, City have won their last three against the Blues and will fancy their chances of extending that run here
West Ham United v Crystal Palace @3pm - there's an intriguing derby at the London Stadium where two sides towards the other end of the table battle it out for what could be three important points. Palace have only lost on four of their last 10 trips to West Ham so history suggests they should be able to get something
Arsenal v Huddersfield Town @3pm - the Terriers' recent revival came to an end against Brighton on Saturday, a defeat which must have been disappointing. The Gunners ended their week with a very satisfying 4-2 win over arch rivals Spurs to climb back into the top four. Huddersfield haven't beaten Arsenal since 1971 and that doesn't look like changing here

Championship
Brentford v Swansea City @3pm - at the time of writing the Bees have lost four of their last five and now lie just three points above the relegation zone. Swansea are back in this division after several years in the Premier League but aren't having it all their own way and are slap bang in midtable after also losing four of their last five. If you want to see two sides in bad form, this is the one for you!
Millwall v Hull City @3pm - it's a battle of the Lions against the Tigers at the Den on Saturday as two teams fighting hard to avoid the drop go head-to-head. Both had reasonable weekends with Millwall drawing at Bristol City and Hull beating QPR at Loftus Road

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Rochdale @3pm - neither side are having a great time in the league at the moment so it could be quite close. The Dons will look to have appointed a new manager by the time this game comes round with former player Wally Downes currently the favourite

Premier League 2
Fulham v Stoke City @1pm - if you've never been to Craven Cottage then this U23 fixture gives you a fine opportunity at a low price of just £3 payable on the gate

National League
Boreham Wood v Leyton Orient @1235pm - the game of the day in this division is the televised derby between last season's beaten play-off finalists and the current league leaders. The Wood aren't quite the force they were last season but are more than holding their own whilst the O's have lost only once and have already reached 50 points
Dagenham & Redbridge v FC Halifax Town @3pm - facing financial ruin, the Daggers were really struggling but with their future secured following a takeover fronted by former Man Utd goalkeeper Tim Howard, they've won four in a row and are now up in 15th. Saturday's win at Hartlepool actually put them above Halifax who were playing AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup
Sutton United v Solihull Moors @3pm - with only one win in six, the U's promotion challenge has faltered. They'll do well to get it back on track against Solihull who are on a decent unbeaten run and held League One side Blackpool to a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup on Friday

National League South
Dartford v Slough Town @3pm - if the Darts beat Torquay in midweek they could start this as proud members of the top four. Slough play just outside London and should muster a decent away following. The Berkshire club narrowly lost to League One outfit Gillingham in the FA Cup on Sunday so could be a tricky opponent

Bostik League Premier Division
AFC Hornchurch v Kingstonian @3pm - despite getting walloped by Haringey Borough on Saturday, the K's ended the weekend as the top ranked London club in the Bostik League. The Urchins aren't having a great time and will do well to win here
Haringey Borough v Folkestone Invicta @3pm - since narrowly losing to AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup, Haringey have gone on a spectacular five game winning run, beating some of the best teams in the division. Up to seventh, they could make serious inroads into the top five with another win here

Bostik League North
Aveley v Coggeshall Town @3pm - at Parkside we've got an epic clash to look forward to with the current leaders taking on the side in third. The Seed Growers are probably most famous for having pop star Olly Murs on their board

Bostik League South East
Cray Wanderers v Phoenix Sports @3pm - there's a south-east London derby at Hayes Lane where the current top club, and London's oldest, play host to Phoenix who are still very much in contention for a play-off place

FA Vase Third Round
Redbridge v Chertsey Town @3pm - after seeing this match postponed last week these sides from parallel ninth tier leagues will have another go. The winners will have a home tie in the last 32. Chertsey are currently top of the Combined Counties League so should start as favourites

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Fisher v Chatham Town @3pm - it's also leaders versus fourth at Salter Road. The difference here is that Chatham have two games in hand on Fisher and are currently six points behind so this game could be crucial

Combined Counties League Division 1
Epsom & Ewell v Bedfont & Feltham @3pm - B&F were top but have dropped to second recently as a result of playing three less games than leaders Frimley Green. They are still only two points behind but could find it tough to win at E&E who are third

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Welling Town v Sutton Athletic @3pm - with 12 wins from 17 the Boots are four points clear at the top. Although well down in sixth, Sutton have four games in hand which if won would put them top so, again, this could be a significant game come the end of the season

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Broadfields United v Winslow United @3pm - Broadfields groundshare with Harefield and the two currently fill the top two spots. If they're to keep pace with Harefield they'll need to beat Winslow who are in third. The Buckinghamshire side have a number of games in hand after having their pitch vandalised so their third place is slightly false
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Sunday 9 December

FA Women's Championship
London Bees v Leicester City @2pm - things are looking pretty quiet on Sunday with this women's game between two midtable sides being the only thing on offer


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.