Sunday, 16 December 2018

TLFG: 17-23 December 2018

Welcome everyone to the latest edition of TLFG and the final one before next week's Christmas/New Year Special which is going to keep me busy over the next few days.

Once again I've been confined to barracks so haven't seen anything live but it's been a great week for the teams I follow.

QPR ended their four-game winless run with a very impressive 2-1 win over Middlesbrough whilst Harrow Borough bounced back from their 7-0 mauling at Taunton Town (three players were sent off) with a 9-3 (!) win at North Greenford in the cup and a 3-0 win over Merthyr Town. The visiting Welsh side also organised a toy collection for children affected by the Grenfell Tower fire which Harrow supporters also took part in so every credit to all those involved.

So what else has been happening in the world of London football?


Our friends at 'Two Men...' paid a visit to The Hive to watch Barnet

In the Premier League, the charge is still being led by Spurs who enjoyed a narrow win over Burnley but they're being closely followed by Chelsea and Arsenal.

In fact it was a great weekend for the remainder of London's top flight clubs with all of them bar Fulham winning.

Things are looking pretty grim for the Cottagers. They enjoyed a victory soon after Claudio Ranieri's arrival but have now failed to win in four. Although bottom, three points would put them right back in contention to stay up so it's not a lost cause just yet.

In the EFL, League One side Charlton are the only one of our local clubs who appear to be mounting a serious promotion challenge. QPR have an outside chance in the Championship whilst Brentford, Millwall and AFC Wimbledon all seem to have long tough winters ahead of them.

Since I last wrote, tickets for Dulwich Hamlet's first game back at Champion Hill on Boxing Day against Eastbourne Borough have gone on sale.

The online allocation for this match appear to have sold out already but some are still available for the following game against Slough on 29 December. I think it's usually the policy of the club to hold some tickets back for sale on the day so getting to the Boxing Day game might still be possible but check with the authorities at Dulwich to make sure.

Lastly this week it was great to be able to help out Gregor from Austria who was looking for a game today (Sunday).

There was nothing on in London but I managed to find out that tickets were available for Southampton v Arsenal and gave him some travel advice.

It all worked out well and he got to see a cracking game too. If you're prepared to travel that bit further but aren't sure about the logistics then get in touch.

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
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 December

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers @7pm - the Gunners' U23 side begin the week by playing Blackburn at Boreham Wood's ground. Freddie Ljungberg's team are struggling for wins at the moment so will want to kick-start their season here

FA Youth Cup Third Round
Millwall v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - there's an eye-catching London derby in the cup for U18 sides. The match is being played at The Den and adult tickets are £5

Bostik League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Carshalton Athletic @745pm - since narrowly losing to AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup, Haringey have gone on a sensational eight game winning run which has seen them become joint league leaders with Lewes and Dorking Wanderers. When I started writing this blog, Boro were playing two levels below this in front of tiny crowds. Two promotions later, with a 4G pitch installed and the club giving out free season tickets, they really are a club to keep an eye on. Carshalton got promoted alongside Haringey last season and haven't made quite the same impact but are more than holding their own

Bostik League North Division
Aveley v Great Wakering Rovers @745pm - Essex clubs are dominating this division at the moment with eight of the top 10 coming from the county. The Millers will move level on points with leaders Bowers & Pitsea if they beat Great Wakering who are struggling and should be beaten

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Sutton Common Rovers v AFC Hayes @745pm - most of the talk in this division has been about Chertsey Town who have led from the off and have only lost one game. However, SCR have kept in touch and will be only a point behind if they beat Hayes who are fighting to avoid the drop

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Tuesday 18 December

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Beaconsfield Town @745pm - two of the most entertaining teams in the division do battle at Earlsmead on Tuesday night in this re-arranged fixture. Harrow, by their usually modest standards, are enjoying a fantastic season following their move over from the parallel Bostik League and have the second highest goals per game ratio in the division. They've played four times over the last two weeks winning three, losing one, scoring 17 and conceding 10. Beaconsfield won the division below this last season and have continued to impress. Although just behind Harrow in eighth, they've had a great FA Trophy run which only ended on Saturday at National League leaders Leyton Orient - it could be a cracker

Bostik League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Bishop's Stortford @745pm - Wingate have had a rocky time of late but recorded an impressive 2-0 win over Dulwich Hamlet in the FA Trophy on Saturday which few expected. Bishop's Stortford are well in the hunt for a play-off place and have former QPR, Norwich and Reading striker Jamie Cureton in their squad who despite being 43 is still banging them in for fun and is top scorer in the division

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Colliers Wood United v Chertsey Town @3pm - midtable CWU entertain the league leaders who could extend their lead at the top to as much as seven points here if Sutton Common come unstuck on Monday

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Edgware Town v Wembley @3pm - plodding along nicely in midtable, it looks like being a pretty forgettable season for the hosts but this derby against near neighbours Wembley should be worth getting up for. The Lions are just above the relegation zone so will be thankful for any points gleaned here

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Wednesday 19 December

Carabao Cup Quarter-Finals
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @745pm - given the amount of reserve sides that Premier League clubs tend to field in this competition, the organisers will be pretty happy that four of the country's biggest six clubs are still in it. By far and away the tie of the round, these two old rivals have been drawn together four times since 2007 with some memorable games ensuing. There's little between them in the league at the moment with Arsenal beating Spurs 4-2 at the Emirates two weeks ago. Given the high security which always surrounds this fixture, any remaining tickets are available to members only
Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth @745pm - in the other match of the night we have a repeat of last season's tie which also took place just before Christmas. Since making it up to the Premier League in 2015, the Cherries have won on two of their four visits to Stamford Bridge and can't be underestimated. The Blues have won this cup five times and could well make it a sixth this season

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Friday 21 December

Friendly

Brentford B v Queens Park Rangers U23 @12pm - these two development sides meet for a west London derby at the Bees' training ground next to the picturesque National Trust property Osterley House which you could also visit if you've not been to the area before. Games at this venue are usually open to the public and free to get into but make sure you check all the details before you set off

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Saturday 22 December

Premier League
Arsenal v Burnley @1230pm - both sides suffered disappointing defeats over the weekend. The Gunners rather surprisingly lost 3-2 at struggling Southampton on Sunday whilst the Clarets were a little unlucky to be undone by an injury-time goal by Spurs at Wembley. Arsenal will still start as overwhelming favourites because they've won their last eight games against Burnley with the Lancashire club not having won at Arsenal since 1974
Chelsea v Leicester City @3pm - after a couple of iffy results, the Blues have turned things around with a couple of very tidy wins. They should pick up another one here as the Foxes have managed only one victory against the west Londoners in their last 16 attempts and that, unsurprisingly, came during their title winning season
West Ham United v Watford @3pm - tickets for both of the above will be hard to get without membership but the good news is that plenty appear to be on general sale for what should be a decent derby. The Hammers are on a great four-game winning streak and are now up into the top half. The Hornets beat Cardiff on Saturday to remain on level points with West Ham so this should be close

Championship
Brentford v Bolton Wanderers @3pm - as we approach the half-way point of the season this is taking on the look of a relegation six-pointer. Both are on a poor run of form and lost important games on Saturday. The Bees are unbeaten in five against Bolton so should start as marginal favourites

League One
Charlton Athletic v Gillingham @3pm - despite all the off-field problems at The Valley, Charlton keep on winning - the derby victory over AFC Wimbledon kept them in the top five. Gillingham are coasting along in midtable but this is worth watching as this is effectively derby given the Gills location in nearby Kent

National League
Leyton Orient v Chesterfield @3pm - the O's are having one of their best seasons in years. Top of the league and still in the FA Trophy, the east Londoners are on course for a memorable double. Chesterfield fell out of the EFL last season and started really well under new boss Martin Allen but it's all gone wrong since then and they're just above the relegation zone. However, they are unbeaten in five and might not be the pushovers the table suggests

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Torquay United @3pm - the Beavers might be down in 13th but they're only three points adrift of the play-off places such is the tightness of the table. Torquay got relegated to this level last season and started a bit slowly but they're in full flow now and with five wins on the bounce, they're top

Bostik League Premier Division
Corinthian Casuals v Kingstonian @3pm - in my opinion the game of the day at this level is the Kingston derby. From the beginning of this season the clubs began groundsharing at Casuals' King George's Arena. Both made a pretty poor start to the campaign but both have picked up considerably and are in the top 10 at the time of writing. The clubs are also holding a food and clothes collection for a local homeless charity so bring an item

Bostik League South Central
Hayes & Yeading United v Bedfont Sports @3pm - Paul Hughes is doing a fine job at Beaconsfield Road and a win in this derby could well put them top. Even if they don't, they have three games in hand on leaders Marlow and are only a point behind

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Corinthian @3pm - the game of the day in the ninth tier sees second take on third in the SCEFL. If leaders Fisher slip up at Erith Town then Beckenham could retake the top spot they surrendered earlier in the season

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Harefield United v Broadfields United @3pm - in the 10th tier there shouldn't be too many games better than this. The two are currently first and second in the table and they groundshare - it should be a pre-Christmas cracker!

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Sunday 23 December

Bostik League South East
Cray Wanderers v Sittingbourne @3pm - the hosts have gone three games without a win but are still eight points clear at the top. Sittingbourne ended a worrying losing streak with a solid 4-1 win over Sevenoaks on Saturday


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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