Sunday 10 February 2019

TLFG: 11-17 February 2019

Welcome to this week's TLFG, thanks for dropping by.

It's been another action packed week on the London football scene.

Once again, not a huge amount has changed in regards to league position for our local clubs but the most significant result must have been Chelsea's 6-0 humbling at the hands of Manchester City on Sunday.

It put the reigning champions back on top of the Premier League and saw Chelsea end the weekend in sixth below Arsenal who won at Huddersfield.

Tottenham carried on doing their thing, beating Leicester 3-1 to comfortably retain third and remain as London's top club.

Josh Scowen takes a tumble during QPR's FA Cup win over Portsmouth
In the Championship the match of the day on Saturday came at Loftus Road where visitors Birmingham City raced into a 4-0 lead. With the match into injury time and the score back at 4-3, QPR won a penalty only for on-loan striker Nakhi Wells to see his shot saved by former QPR goalkeeper Lee Camp to deny them a memorable point.

It's as you were in League One with Charlton staying in the top five with a draw and AFC Wimbledon staying bottom after another defeat - the gap to safety is now a hefty 10 points.

In non-league terms, I think my favourite result of the weekend was Chertsey Town's 2-0 win at Irlam in the FA Vase. Out of all the hundreds of teams which entered, the Curfews have made it to the last eight alongside Cray Valley PM.

Dave Anderson's side will now travel to West Auckland Town (near Middlesbrough) in the quarter-finals while CVPM will head to Devon to take on Willand Rovers.

On a personal note, on Monday I got to rub shoulders with a few notables at the 10th anniversary celebration of the QPR Community Trust at the House of Commons.

After getting through security, a journalist friend and I had a bit of spare time before the function began so we took the opportunity to pop into the public gallery and see a debate in progress.

Given all the Brexit shenanigans going on at the moment, it was quite a shock to see MPs discussing some different topics. Although I enjoyed watching John Bercow in full flow, the group of European teenagers on a school trip sat next to me must have been bored out of their minds!

As are you at this point!

Anyway, once the QPR function got underway is was nice to see a few faces from the club's current hierarchy, manager Steve McClaren and legends including Les Ferdinand, Andy Sinton, Andy Impey, Gareth Ainsworth, Don Shanks, Ian Gillard and Mark Lazarus and there could well have been more.

There were some great speeches by some of the above and also by some of those who have benefited from the Trust's activities. There were also some survivors of the Grenfell Tower tragedy which the club played an important role in responding too.

There was also a plug for the upcoming Tiger Feet 10 - a sponsored walk which I helped to set up back in 2010 to raise funds for the QPR Tiger Cubs Down's syndrome football team - the main reason I got an invite.

The following night I headed back to Loftus Road for only the second time this season to watch QPR's FA Cup Fourth Round replay against Portsmouth.

I greatly feared a cupset but it didn't even come close to happening with the visitors only managing one shot on target as we ran out fairly comfortable 2-0 winners.

This means we will now play Watford in the next round on Friday night which I will be taking my daughter to as she begins half term. Remaining tickets, for what is also a derby, go on sale on Monday morning at 10am.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Sami and the other anonymous readers who donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund this week. I really really appreciate it.

To recap, I recently received the news that my Dad has lung cancer. This condition also claimed the lives of my Mum and grandfather so with me powerless to do anything medically to help him, I've decided to ask for all donations to this blog to go to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation which you can contribute to through the fundraising page I've set up. 

Anyway, enough about me - enjoy your football and keep in touch.

The highlights of the next few days include action in the Champions League, FA Cup and EFL and loads of action in our local non-league competitions. There are also some eye-catching U23 and U18 matches too.

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
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 11 February

Professional Development League
There is a real dearth of action in the capital on Monday with a solitary U23 game at lunchtime between Crystal Palace and QPR at the Eagles' training ground - sadly this usually means the public won't be admitted but double check with the club in the morning whether you'll be allowed in. Failing that, contact Leeds United's black ops department for tips on how to get access

A bit further afield
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United @8pm - if your craving for football knows no bounds then there are quite literally a handful of tickets remaining for this game in the Midlands. I wouldn't normally include a game this far from London but there is nothing else on and there is one train back to London after the game at 2245


Tuesday 12 February

Millwall v Sheffield Wednesday @745pm - for all their exploits in the FA Cup, the Lions are still struggling to pull away from the bottom three. Now four games without a win, only four points separate them from the relegation zone. Wednesday are an inconsistent midtable club and one that could come unstuck on a chilly night in Bermondsey

FA Trophy Third Round Replay
Barnet v Carshalton Athletic @745pm - after finally bowing out of the FA Cup in last week's replay at Brentford, the Bees will be looking to keep their hopes of a trip to Wembley alive by overcoming a side from two divisions below them. The original tie ended in a 3-3 draw after a late capitulation by Darren Currie's side. Carshalton come into this on the back of a fine 3-1 win over Bostik League title contenders Haringey Borough but beating Barnet would be quite an upset

London Senior Cup Semi-Final
Dulwich Hamlet v Brentford B @745pm - the Bees' second string have been making smooth progress in the county cups this season and have beaten stronger sides than Dulwich. However, they arrive at Champion Hill on the back of a run of four games without a win. Admittedly they were all friendlies and included fixtures against the likes of Slavia Prague and Borussia Dortmund but you get the point. The Hamlet have had a disappointing debut season in the National League South but picked up a priceless derby win over Welling on Saturday and should be supported by a sizeable crowd

Velocity Trophy Semi-Finals
Also known as the Bostik League Cup, we're down to the last four in this significant non-league competition. The bigger game is the all Premier Division tie between Enfield Town and Bishop's Stortford who field two of the league's top goalscorers between them. In Stortford's case it's former Bristol Rovers, QPR and Reading striker Jamie Cureton who is still banging them in at the grand old age of 43! There is also a game between AFC Hornchurch and South Central Division promotion chasers Bracknell Town.

Surrey Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Colliers Wood United v Tooting & Mitcham United @745pm - with Colliers Wood and Tooting right next to each other geographically, I'd love to say that this is a big derby but with CWU playing over 5kms away from their home town for almost 30 years it's not as big a rivalry as it could be. Nonetheless it should be feisty enough. It's also worth watching the hosts as, being formed in 1874, they are one of the oldest clubs in the country. Tooting play a level above and should start as favourites

Wednesday 13 February

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund @8pm - the Champions League returns this week with the knockout stages getting underway after the competition's winter hiatus. Spurs have landed a very tough tie with current German league leaders Dortmund heading to Wembley for this first leg. Borussia head to London after a thrilling but disappointing 3-3 draw with midtable Hoffenheim which allowed Bayern Munich to cut their lead at the top to five points. Spurs, on the other hand, recorded a solid 3-1 win over Leicester on Sunday to further strengthen their grip on third place in the Premier League. The north London club on 'home' turf should be capable of at least a draw. Tickets are available but only to those on Tottenham's database

Brentford v Aston Villa @745pm - the Bees' decent unbeaten run came to an end at Nottingham Forest on Saturday and they'll find the visit of Villa challenging too. In terms of attendance, the Birmingham club are the biggest in the division and shouldn't really be in the second tier but they are and could well be sticking around for another year. With only one win in five, Dean Smith's side are now six points adrift of the play-off places. Eleven points clear of the relegation zone, the main priority for Brentford will be getting one over Smith who left them earlier in the season for Villa. Like the match above, tickets are on restricted sale as the away allocation has sold out

Bostik League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Tonbridge Angels @745pm - with tickets hard to come by for both of the above your next best option is this seventh-tier game in north London. After moving up to this level in 2011, Wingate have impressively punched above their weight and even made it to the play-offs two seasons ago. Not so this season as managerial issues have taken their toll and they've found themselves in the bottom three. With two games in hand and a three-point deficit to make up on Harlow, they can turn things around but it will be tough against Tonbridge who are among a large pack of clubs chasing a play-off place

SCEFL Challenge Cup Quarter-Final
Cray Valley PM v Corinthian @745pm - after getting postponed last week, two of the top three in this league will try and do battle again for a place in the semis of this cup competition


Friday 15 February

FA Cup Fifth Round
Queens Park Rangers v Watford @745pm - with no senior men's football anywhere in England on Thursday, next up is the opening game of the next round of the FA Cup. QPR have made it to this point by beating Leeds United and Portsmouth so playing the Hornets, ranked eighth in the Premier League, is going to be quite a step up in class. The Shepherd's Bush club are also on a run of four straight league defeats after a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Birmingham City on Saturday (QPR were 4-0 down and saw a injury-time penalty saved). Watford ground out a 1-0 win over Everton in their last match and are the definite favourites to win but it's a derby, it's on TV and QPR are in the fifth round for the first time in 22 years so who knows? Tickets are set to go on general sale at 10am on Monday - I've got mine

Professional Development League
Watford v Charlton Athletic @3pm - if you've got the day off, you could enjoy a double helping of Hornets action with this U23 match at Wingate & Finchley

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Ilford @745pm - the best non-league option of the night would appear to be this East End derby in Mile End at one of the most centrally located grounds in the capital

A bit further afield
There are three Premier League 2 games all taking place just outside London. The biggest is Tottenham v Arsenal at Stevenage but it's members only for security reasons. Chelsea are playing Swansea at Aldershot Town while Reading entertain Newcastle United at Wycombe Wanderers - both of these will be open to the public but check all details before you travel


Saturday 16 February

FA Cup Fifth Round
AFC Wimbledon v Millwall @3pm - with all our local Premier League sides either playing away or not playing at all, this derby between two EFL clubs takes top billing on Saturday. After the sensational win over West Ham in the last round, the Dons have returned to their sorry form in League One and are now 10 points adrift of safety at the bottom of the division. As mentioned above, Millwall aren't having a great season in the Championship either so this could be a close one. Given the derby nature of the game and Wimbledon's tiny stadium capacity, tickets will be very hard to come by without membership

A bit further afield
Brighton & Hove Albion v Derby County @3pm - if you simply must see a Premier League team in action then a short trip south to Sussex should be able to see you grab a ticket for this FA Cup tie against Championship promotion hopefuls Derby. At the time of writing, tickets seem to be in plentiful supply so don't miss out

League One
Charlton Athletic v Blackpool @3pm - although not as glamorous as a last 16 FA Cup tie, this third tier match has plenty going for it with the Addicks looking for a win which could put them in the top four. The Tangerines are also in the top eight and won the reverse fixture a couple of months ago. Despite the high league position of both sides, both sets of fans are in dispute with their respective owners so the turnout could be somewhat lower than you might expect

National League
Leyton Orient v Maidenhead United @3pm  - there are some decent games in the fifth tier on Saturday with this one likely to draw the biggest crowd. In what has become a tight title race, the O's draw at Hartlepool United on Saturday was enough to keep them top but only just. At the other end, Maidenhead are fighting to beat the drop and recorded an invaluable win over Boreham Wood to move out of the relegation zone
Bromley v Maidstone United @3pm - the other match at this level which I really fancy is this Kent derby at Hayes Lane. Bromley haven't quite recaptured their form of last season but are more than holding their own in midtable. The same can't be said of Maidstone who look set for a return to the National League South despite being one of the division's big six in terms of attendance. Consequently there should be at least 2,000 for this one

National League South
Welling United v Torquay United @3pm - the best option in the sixth tier must be this match as play-off hopefuls Welling welcome the current leaders. Managed by former Bristol City, Yeovil Town and Latvia boss Gary Johnson, the Gulls have climbed to the top after a lacklustre start to the season. It looks like being a tough afternoon for the Wings...
Wealdstone v St Albans City @3pm - at Grosvenor Vale there's a clash of the two teams just below Welling who are fighting to take their place in the play-off positions

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South
Metropolitan Police v Salisbury @3pm - after nicking a late goal to earn a 4-4 draw with fellow title contenders Weymouth on Saturday, the Met next have to host another of the leading pack. Managed by former Birmingham, Leicester and Portsmouth striker Steve Claridge, the Wiltshire club are gradually climbing back up the pyramid after reforming in 2015 following financial problems. These two sides are level on points at the time of writing in what has become an exciting title race

Bostik League South Central
Egham Town v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - it could well be a day many are dreading at the Runnymede Stadium as bottom club Egham host the ridiculously high scoring runaway league leaders

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Chertsey Town v Sutton Common Rovers @3pm - the top two in the CCL meet for a game of gargantuan proportions in the ninth tier. While Chertsey were making smooth progress into the quarter-finals of the FA Vase on Saturday, Sutton Common were beating CB Hounslow to retake top spot. The south London club now have a two-point lead over Chertsey but they have three games in hand

Combined Counties League Division 1
Bedfont & Feltham v Tooting Bec @3pm  - unlike the game above, there aren't any really eye-catching games in the 10th tier this week but this one at The Orchard should be decent enough. The hosts are currently joint top with Frimley Green and will be looking to pull away from them with a win here. The visitors are a top six club themselves and could push into the top five if things go their way. Once again, it's worth pointing out that this is being played at one of the quirkiest grounds in the country as it's located at the end of Heathrow Airport's runway


Sunday 17 February

Women's FA Cup Fifth Round
Chelsea v Arsenal @2pm - like the men's competition, we're down to the last 16 and there are three ties in the London area on Sunday. This is undoubtedly the match of the round and is a repeat of last year's final which the Blues won 3-1. On Sunday Chelsea travelled to Super League leaders Manchester City and drew 2-2 (unlike their male counterparts) to stay third just behind Arsenal. The Gunners beat Manchester United in their League Cup semi-final in midweek and should start as marginal favourites

A bit further afield
If women's football is not your thing then you could head down to the West Country and watch the FA Cup tie between Bristol City and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Tickets seem to be in good supply and there are regular trains and coaches to and from Bristol before and after the game which kicks off at 1pm. City play a level below Premier League Wolves but are in red hot form and should more than fancy their chances

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.


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  3. great guide but one comment that you might want to add. For some reason travel from London to Brighton is over 2 hours with a detour after Gatwick Airport due to construction so people should be made aware of potential delays.