Sunday, 18 August 2019

TLFG: 19-26 August 2019

Welcome to TLFG's August Bank Holiday special.

With a good selection of non-league games scheduled for 26 August, this week's piece runs through until next Monday so you can make plans for the whole weekend.

There are also a number of games on the 26th which kick-off at 1130am so you will be able to see two games on the day if you wish.

Other things to note this week - it's the next round of the FA Cup so there are loads of exciting ties to choose from. I've also included some games in the 11th tier Middlesex County League for reasons given below and Arsenal Women have arranged another eye-catching friendly ahead of the new WSL season.

It's FREE ENTRY at Griffin Park on Tuesday night
For fans of cheap football, there are U23 games at the Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge this week and it's free to see Brentford B play West Ham U23's at Griffin Park.

With my 14th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, I doubt I'll be going to see much live football myself this week but you never know...

Before I go, did any of you make it to the U23 game at Tottenham's new ground on Friday? The posts on TLFG's social media channels advertising it were among the most popular we've ever published so I hope it proved helpful. I was surprised that only around 6,000 turned up but it may well have been limited.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include matches in the Premier League and EFL, the next round of the FA Cup and plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are well over 100 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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
Monday fixtures - yellow 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 19 August

Premier League 2
The week gets underway with some U23 games, the pick of which is the match at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Liverpool at 7pm. Adult tickets are only £5 and can be bought online in advance and picked up on the day. If you don't fancy watching the Blues, their near neighbours Fulham play West Brom at the club's training ground in Motspur Park where it's only £3 to get in

Isthmian League North Division
Aveley v Hullbridge Sports @745pm - the sole non-league match of the day takes place at Parkside where the Millers welcome newly promoted Hullbridge. Last season's Essex Senior League champions began their league campaign on Saturday with a 3-0 loss at home to Witham Town

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Tuesday 20 August

Friendly
Brentford B v West Ham United U23 @7pm - arguably the bargain of the week is to be found at Griffin Park where it's free entry to watch the Bees' second string entertain the Hammers. Remember, this fine old ground is closing at the end of the season so don't miss your chance to visit it if you've never been

Isthmian League South Central Division
Hanwell Town v Harlow Town @745pm - with only one game played so far this season, it's hard to decide which match to recommend in this division on Tuesday but I've gone for this as it features two sides who won on opening day. The visitors have just been relegated from the Premier Division and are seen by some as one of the favourites for promotion. Hanwell's ground is also easy to get to, being just a short walk from Perivale Tube station

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Greenwich Borough v Corinthian @745pm - ever since they lost to Corinthian Casuals in the play-offs to get into the Isthmian Premier a couple of seasons ago, things have started to go backwards for Greenwich. Large sums were lavished on the team to get them climbing the pyramid but it didn't work and financial constraints began to hit hard about 18 months ago. Borough have now suffered relegation, moved to groundshare with Phoenix Sports (some eight miles east of the Cutty Sark and Greenwich town centre) and have lost their opening two games at this level. Corinthian arrive as joint leaders so this looks like being another tough one

Spartan South Midlands League Challenge Trophy First Round
St Panteleimon v Dunstable Town @745pm - the hosts have just moved up to Step 6 and continued their unbeaten run with a draw against Brimsdown on Saturday. On Tuesday they welcome a side from the division above so it will be interesting to see how they fare

Middlesex County League Premier Division
Clapton CFC v Sporting Hackney @745pm - this season I've taken the decision to cover a few games in the 11th tier MCFL. This is in part because Clapton CFC are drawing such big crowds but also because the overall standard seems to be pretty decent and because quite a few clubs play at non-league grounds with spectator facilities rather than on park pitches. The Tons only formed last season but celebrated promotion at their first attempt with 1,266 watching their final match. On Tuesday they play their first game at this higher level against fellow east Londoners Sporting Hackney who lost their opening game on Saturday. The hosts have also moved from one of the outside pitches at Wadham Lodge to the main stadium to groundshare with Walthamstow so it's an exciting time to be associated with CCFC

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Wednesday 21 August

Championship
Fulham v Millwall @745pm - the game of the night in London is this derby in the second tier. The Cottagers have just come down from the Premier League and are seen by many as favourites to go back up. After losing their opening game, they've responded well with back-to-back wins over Blackburn and Huddersfield to move into the top six. The Lions, on the other hand, narrowly avoided relegation last season and little was expected of them this year but they've made a great start and are one of five clubs to be currently sharing top spot. Sadly tickets are not on general sale - you need at least a previous purchasing history with Fulham to get one
Charlton Athletic v Nottingham Forest @745pm - the Addicks have surprised many with their great start to the new season. Despite their off-field problems, Lee Bowyer brought his side up via the League One play-offs last season and are now joint top of the Championship after three games. Forest are in midtable but are improving with every game and enjoyed a very solid 3-0 win over Birmingham City on Saturday
Queens Park Rangers v Swansea City @745pm - QPR suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday as they lost 2-0 at Bristol City, a club they'd beaten on penalties in the EFL Cup earlier in the week. It looks like being another challenging evening for Rangers as Swansea are one of the teams in that elite group of five who currently top the league. Last season the Swans were expected to beat an ailing QPR side on their visit to Loftus Road but got stuffed 4-0 so I'm hoping for more of the same!

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Margate @745pm - the hosts are back in seventh-tier football after winning the South East Division last season. Three games in and they've still yet to win but have only lost once. Margate are also winless but have drawn all three of their matches - in fact with five draws between them so far, this looks like it can only finish one way

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Glebe @745pm - the Becks appeared to be spearheading London's charge for the SCEFL title for a large part of the 2018/19 season but ultimately they fell away and had to settle for a fifth-place finish. They've started well again this time and are third coming into this game. Glebe have had a poor start and are joint bottom

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Thursday 22 August

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Sporting Club Thamesmead v Kent Football United @745pm - neither club are pulling up any trees yet but it's the best on offer on Thursday

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Friday 23 August

Premier League 2
For the second week running, Friday has some great options to keep you entertained with U23 football taking centre stage. The action begins at midday when Tottenham Hotspur entertain Derby County but the match takes place at the club's training ground and admission details are unclear so please check with the club before you set off. The highlight of the day is the match at the Emirates Stadium between Arsenal and Everton at 7pm. Adult tickets are only £4 but must be bought in advance - there will be none available on the night. If that's not for you then West Ham United play Reading at Dagenham & Redbridge also at 7pm

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Barking v Aveley @745pm - if you want some proper grown up football then you've got a very fine option in the world's favourite cup competition. The Preliminary Round of the FA Cup gets underway on Friday with this Essex derby. With the Mayesbrook Park pitch undergoing improvement works, the Blues have opted to switch the tie to Aveley's ground so make sure you go to the right place

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Saturday 24 August

Premier League
Watford v West Ham United @3pm - there's only one top flight game in the London area on Saturday and it's this derby at Vicarage Road. The Hornets have made a disappointing start to the new campaign with defeats to Brighton and Everton. It's not been much better for the Hammers who have taken only one point from their games against Manchester City and Brighton. Tickets are not on general sale

Championship
Charlton Athletic v Brentford @3pm - if the Addicks beat Forest in midweek then they will come into this game as at least joint league leaders. In this game, they face a derby against west London opposition. The two haven't played since 2016 but the most recent meetings between them have largely gone Charlton's way with the south London club losing only one of their last six matches against the Griffin Park club
Fulham v Nottingham Forest @3pm - having played at Charlton on Wednesday, two-time European champions Nottingham Forest return to the capital again just three days later for what should be a tough game against the Cottagers. Games between the two are often action packed with the last 10 meetings generating 40 goals
Queens Park Rangers v Wigan Athletic @3pm - it pains me to say it, but the least attractive game in the Championship on Saturday must be this one. Aside from a crucial meeting in the play-offs in 2014, matches between these two are rarely classics with QPR often edging to 1-0 wins or maybe 2-1 on a really good day

League Two
Leyton Orient v Crawley Town @3pm - both these sides have made an okay start to this season with four points from their opening three games. The O's have won their last three against Crawley at Brisbane Road but, as a result of their time in the National League, the last time was in 2016  so it's been a while

National League
Bromley v Boreham Wood @3pm - the hosts have made a fantastic start to the season and are up in third after putting together a five match unbeaten run. The Wood, as one of the smallest clubs in the division, are finding things a bit tougher with just five points from five games but they should be up for this derby against the side they got promoted with in 2015
Sutton United v Dover Athletic @3pm - there will probably be a bigger crowd elsewhere in south London where the sixth-placed U's welcome Dover who are just below them. The Kent club have become a bit of bogey side for Sutton in recent seasons with the Surrey club only managing one win from the last six against them

National League South
Wealdstone v Hungerford Town @3pm - the Stones crept into the NLS play-offs on the final day last season after they finished seventh and sixth placed Concord Rangers' stadium was not deemed fit for promotion. They saw off Bath City with ease before travelling to Woking, who had finished as runners-up, in the semi-finals. Unbelievably they found themselves 2-1 up with four minutes to go but fell apart in the remaining time to lose 3-2. Manager Bobby Wilkinson left the club over the summer and former Billericay Town and Kingstonian boss Dean Brennan replaced him. The new season has begun superbly with four wins from five putting them top and this match against a struggling Hungerford side should yield another three points

Isthmian League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Brightlingsea Regent @3pm - another local side to make a bright start are Haringey who have a 100% record after three games, which has put them top. The north London club raced out of the blocks last season too but faded to finish third - it will be interesting to see if they can sustain their title challenge for longer this year. Brightlingsea were in the bottom three in terms of attendance last year and they're also down in that area for their on-pitch performance too

FA Cup Preliminary Round
The second round of the FA Cup (officially known as the Preliminary Round) takes place this weekend with numerous ties being played all over London - I've selected a few which stand out for me. The winners of the Extra Preliminary Round, mainly ninth and 10th tier clubs, join all those from the eighth tier and a few from the seventh who have yet to play a game. This competition is very important to non-league clubs as the prize money is considerable for teams of their size - the winners receive £2,890 and the losers £960. This is added to any money won in earlier rounds, so the more matches you win, the more you earn

Bedfont Sports v Hanworth Villa @3pm - a derby between local rivals who used to play each other in the Combined Counties League. The hosts have since progressed to the Isthmian League so should start as favourites
Chertsey Town v Erith & Belvedere @3pm - the hosts won the Combined Counties League and FA Vase last season whilst E&B enjoyed promotion back up to the ninth tier
Cray Valley PM v Whyteleafe @3pm - CVPM were also great last season winning the Southern Counties East League and getting to the FA Vase Final where they lost to Chertsey. It will be interesting to see how they fare against the Leafe in this all Isthmian League affair
Beckenham Town v Ashford United @3pm - there could be some cupset potential as the high-flying Becks welcome Ashford from the level above them
Tower Hamlets v Horsham @3pm - the hosts haven't made a great start so they'll need to raise their game significantly for this huge game against a side from the Isthmian Premier
Bridon Ropes v Chichester City @3pm - one of the only 10th tier sides from the capital left in the competition, the Ropes also face a tough challenge from Isthmian League opposition
Sutton Athletic v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @3pm - it's a similar story at Lower Road where the hosts, playing in the FA Cup for the first time this year, also take on eighth-tier opposition

Combined Counties League Division 1
British Airways v Bedfont & Feltham @3pm - elsewhere we have one of the best groundshare derbies as BA take on their landlords at a ground which lies next to the runway at Heathrow Airport - if groundhopping and planespotting are your things, it really doesn't get any better than this!

Middlesex County League Premier Division
Pitshanger Dynamo v Clapton CFC @3pm - the hosts finished third last year and will start as one of the favourites again. On Saturday they welcome new boys CCFC to Reynolds Field for a game which could well draw a big crowd

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Sunday 25 August

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United @430pm - after beating Aston Villa and battling back to grab a point at Manchester City on Saturday, Spurs must fancy their chances of taking a pretty comfortable three points against a weak looking Newcastle side who have lost both of their opening games. Tickets are not on general sale, membership is required

Women's friendly
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @2pm - if it's Tottenham you want to see, then why not give their women's team a go instead? And what better time to try than this derby against old rivals Arsenal. The match is being played at Boreham Wood's ground in preparation for the new WSL season which kicks off in September. Adult tickets are £7 if bought in advance or £10 on the day

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Cray Wanderers v Hythe Town @3pm - if women's football isn't for you then there's this rather fine looking FA Cup tie at Bromley's ground where the oldest club in London should start as favourites against a team from the division below them

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Monday 26 August

National League
Barnet v Torquay United @3pm - two clubs with EFL pedigree meet at The Hive in this big bank holiday match. The Bees made a great start but have stuttered over the last week picking up only one point from their two games to slide to ninth. Torquay won the NLS last season but have so far struggled to maintain their high standards at the higher level with only two wins from five
Boreham Wood v Ebbsfleet United @3pm - although we're only five games in, this could well turn out to be a relegation six pointer. As one of the smallest clubs, Boreham Wood are likely to struggle and Ebbsfleet already are having lost all of their games
Dagenham & Redbridge v Yeovil Town @3pm - the visitors were playing Championship football under current Torquay boss Gary Johnson just five years ago. This season they start life back in non-league from whence they originally came. The relatively rapid rise and fall of Yeovil was quite sad to see but also proved what non-league clubs can go on to achieve. Like Torquay, their adjustment to life at this new level hasn't been that smooth so a game against a Daggers side who put four past Harrogate in their most recent match (at the time of writing) could be tough

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Slough Town @3pm - with only one defeat from five, the Hamlet have made a very solid start and are fifth at the time of writing. For a club with a great fanbase at this level, it is noticeable that despite some good performances on the field, average attendances at this early stage are 21% down on last season. You would expect Slough on a bank holiday to generate a decent turnout but the Berkshire club have not started well at all and arrive without a win and near the foot of the table

Isthmian League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Haringey Borough @3pm - a north London derby and a match of importance at either end of the table. As one of the smallest clubs in the ILPD, Wingate were always going to struggle. It's a huge achievement that they've stayed at this level since 2011 (when I began writing this blog) and have had some good seasons but they've been reprieved from relegation on one occasion, narrowly avoided relegation last season and are struggling again. As we've heard, Haringey are flying and they've also marketed themselves well - they were playing in front of one man and his dog at a far lower level than Wingate in 2011 and now average crowds of over 400

Isthmian League South East Division
Phoenix Sports v VCD Athletic @3pm - as derbies go they don't get much closer than this with the clubs' grounds just a couple of minutes walk apart. Neither won on the opening day so would love some points to go with the bragging rights

Combined Counties League
There are handful of games in the CCL on Monday which kick off at 1130am which means you can easily do a groundhop double on Monday. The matches at Abbey Rangers, Bedfont & Feltham, Cobham, Molesey and Sutton Common Rovers should all finish around 115pm so can be combined with a huge selection of games. There's also a 1230pm kick off between Westside and Jersey Bulls which should give you plenty of time to get to Kingstonian v Bishop's Stortford



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, 12 August 2019

TLFG: 12-18 August 2019

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

Apologies for another delayed publication, this time a religious holiday intervened and a load of map data went missing at the last moment which was very frustrating!

My week has been mainly focused on preparations for this year's Non-League Day (NLD) on Saturday 12 October.

The annual celebration of semi-professional and amateur football in this country has now unbelievably reached its 10th event.

On Monday I headed to Premier League headquarters in central London for a meeting with representatives from their organisation, the FA, Prostate Cancer UK and influential sports presenter/commentator Caroline Barker - as a non-league aficionado she was the first journalist to pick up on NLD and helped the initial event become the success it was.

Some great ideas were thrown around so hopefully NLD10 will be the best yet.

On Thursday I went to have a chat with Kick It Out to see what their approach will be this year.

It was the first time I'd been to their new offices not far from the Emirates Stadium and it was interesting to hear how they really want to work with clubs at Step 7 and below and also women's teams.

The Gunners welcome Barcelona in the build-up to the new WSL season

Finally on Saturday I got to see my first match of the summer, making a short stroll to the renamed Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium to watch a completely revamped QPR side under new boss Mark Warburton take on Huddersfield Town who finished bottom of the Premier League last season.

It was a pretty even game which ended 1-1 after Rangers captain Grant Hall grabbed a late equaliser. The visitors played a very 'professional' game picking up five yellow cards as they tried to hold onto a lead they'd earned just after half time with a penalty.

All in all, it was a much improved performance on what I'd last seen with a better style of football clearly being employed. Here's to a good season.

My next decision is whether to watch them, or more likely the reserves, again in EFL Cup action against Bristol City on Tuesday (I have some interest from family members to attend) or to catch the long awaited derby between Hayes & Yeading United and Harrow Borough which has been years in the making.

For women's football fans, the highlight of the week is league champions Arsenal's pre-season friendly against Barcelona at Boreham Wood on Wednesday - tickets are £7 if bought in advance.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include some matches in the Premier League and EFL, the opening round of the EFL Cup, some FA Cup replays and plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are well over 90 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

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 12 August

Professional Development League
The week gets underway with the first batch of PDL games - effectively the third tier of U23 football. Two matches are taking place at clubs' main stadiums so if you've never been to see Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park or Watford at Vicarage Road then now's your chance - adult tickets are £5 and £3 respectively

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v East Thurrock United @745pm - with all of the U23 games taking place at lunchtime, you can easily combine any of them with the sole non-league match of the day. The Robins returned to the top division of the Isthmian League last season and finished as runners-up but suffered defeat in the play-offs. This season's campaign began on Saturday with a disappointing 2-0 loss at Potters Bar and it's unlikely to get any easier here. East Thurrock have just been relegated from the National League South and started with an impressive 4-1 win over Cheshunt to become the very early league leaders

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Tuesday 13 August

EFL Cup First Round
AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons @745pm - from at least a London perspective, this is the tie of the round as two of the bitterest rivals in English football meet at Kingsmeadow. If you don't know the history, this piece in the Telegraph from a few years ago will give you some idea. Remaining tickets are being restricted to people with a purchasing history
Brentford v Cambridge United @730pm - there's more cheap football to be had on Tuesday night as a number of our local sides begin their assaults on the EFL Cup. If you're new to English football, Premier League sides don't join the draw until the next round and most Championship clubs don't usually field anything close to a full-strength team at this stage. This looks likely to be the case here as adult tickets are available from just £5. Griffin Park is one of the most well liked stadiums in London but it's being demolished at the end of the season so don't delay your visit if you've never been
Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers @745pm - the Addicks have made a dream return to the second tier, winning both of their opening games. Whether they'll want to keep that momentum going with an unchanged team here is unlikely but you never know. Forest Green hail from League Two and have made a solid enough start with four points from their first two games. Adult tickets are £15
Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City @745pm - lastly there's an all-Championship clash at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. With QPR signing 14 new players over the summer, it's likely that a good chunk of them who have missed out so far will get a run out here. City have yet to win and might play a strong side to build some morale. Adult tickets are £15

National League
Barnet v Dover Athletic @745pm - the Bees have made a strong start, accruing seven points from their opening three games. Dover are also in the top six after two wins from three so this should be a competitive one
Dagenham & Redbridge v Boreham Wood @745pm - neither of these sides have looked convincing in the early stages of this campaign and are consequently in the lower reaches of the table. Although there's no particular rivalry between these two, it's still a derby of sorts so hopefully that should make it worth a watch

National League South
Wealdstone v Chippenham Town @745pm - after a midweek stutter at Dulwich Hamlet, the Stones returned to winning ways with an impressive 4-0 drubbing of an increasingly hapless looking Braintree side who have lost all three since coming down from the National League. Chippenham look like being a tougher prospect but I still fancy a home win here

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Bishop's Stortford @745pm - both these sides missed out on the play-offs last season despite having two of the best strikers in the division. Stortford actually had the top scorer in the form of former Reading, Norwich and QPR player Jamie Cureton. The veteran striker, who turns 44 at the end of August, made his 1,000th career appearance towards the end of last season and scored in their win over Bognor on Saturday
Hayes & Yeading United v Harrow Borough @745pm - my personal choice for match of the day is this derby between two old rivals over in west London. As a youth, matches between these two (the hosts were simply Hayes in those days) were among the highlights of the season but since Hayes won the Isthmian League in 1996 to move up to the Conference, league matches between the two have been rare - in fact this will be the first league game between the two since Hayes merged with Yeading in 2007

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replays
Cobham v Chertsey Town @745pm - the Hammers did incredibly well to earn a replay against a powerful Chertsey side who won the Combined Counties League and FA Vase last season. Consequently, the Curfews now play a division above Cobham and were one of the highest ranked teams in the Extra Preliminary Round draw. Adult tickets for what is also a bit of a derby are only £7
Wembley v AFC Hayes @745pm - there's also a bit of a derby at Vale Farm where the ninth-tier hosts should start as favourites. The original tie finished 1-1 and it should be close again. A home tie against Berkhamsted awaits the winners 
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Wednesday 14 August

Women's Friendly
Arsenal v Barcelona @730pm - the biggest crowd of the night should be found at Boreham Wood where the Gunners title-winning women's team of last season entertain their counterparts from Catalan giants Barcelona. Adult tickets are only £7 (£10 on match day) and are said to be selling well

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Folkestone Invicta @745pm - the best men's offering takes place at Bromley's Hayes Lane where last season's Isthmian League South East Division champions play their first home game back in the seventh tier. Folkestone missed the play-offs by one point last season and started with a solid 2-0 win over Worthing on Saturday

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Colliers Wood United v Raynes Park Vale @730pm - in the ninth tier, there aren't many bigger games than the A3 derby (named after the road which links these two neighbouring clubs). Both sides suffered early exits from the FA Cup at the weekend and will be looking to make up for that disappointment here

Combined Counties League Division 1
FC Deportivo Galicia v Jersey Bulls @745pm - an historic fixture is taking place next to Heathrow airport on Wednesday where the newly formed Jersey Bulls play their first ever competitive away game. The Channel Islands club are now officially the most southerly club in the English leagues. They began their season with a healthy 3-0 win over Ash United so will fancy their chances against FCD who got hammered 6-0 on opening day by Westside

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Friday 16 August

Premier League 2
After a quiet Thursday, there's a great selection of games on Friday evening with a couple of U23 games really catching the eye. Arsenal entertain Brighton at Boreham Wood where admission is free whilst north London rivals Spurs have a huge game against Manchester City which is being played at the recently opened Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Tickets are only £5 for adults but are only currently available to members - keep an eye on the club's website for further details about general sale

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Barkingside v Hackney Wick @745pm - there are also four games in the 10th tier with this east London derby arguably the pick of what's on offer. It was quite a surprise to see the 'Side relegated to this level at the end of last season but they've responded well with a win over local rivals Newbury Forest in the league and an impressive 4-1 win over Stansted in the FA Cup. The Wickers have yet to play a league game and lost in the FA Cup after seeing their home tie against Framlingham switched to their opponents' ground after their home ground at the Old Spotted Dog was deemed unfit - something which, as tenants, was beyond their control
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Saturday 17 August

Premier League
Arsenal v Burnley @1230pm - there's only one top-flight game in the capital on Saturday and on paper you'd have to favour the hosts. Buoyed by an away win at Newcastle in their first match and with a record that has seen them win their last 10 against the Clarets, it doesn't look good for Sean Dyche's side. However, the Lancashire club put in an impressive display whilst beating Southampton on Saturday and will arrive in north London with very little to lose. Tickets are not on general sale and the away allocation has sold out

Championship
Brentford v Hull City @3pm - the Bees picked up their first win of the season on Saturday with an unexpected victory at Middlesbrough. Next up they face a Hull side who have also only one win to their name. Brentford thrashed the Tigers 5-1 in this fixture last season and will hope for more of the same. Once again, don't forget, the countdown to the demolition of Griffin Park is well and truly on so your chance of seeing a game here is diminishing by the week
Millwall v Sheffield Wednesday @3pm - with four points from their opening two games, most Lions fans will probably be pretty satisfied with the start they've made. Supporters of the Owls should be even happier as they've won both and arrive at the Den top on goal difference

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Accrington Stanley @3pm - the Dons pulled off a minor miracle by staying up last season but sadly it looks like being another year of struggle after losing their opening two league games. Accrington have also yet to win but saw their game on Saturday against crisis club Bury postponed. Matches between these two are usually a close run thing with last season's game ending in a draw and most other games rarely have a winning margin of more than one goal

League Two
Leyton Orient v Stevenage @3pm - following the death of manager Justin Edinburgh over the summer, the O's notched an emotional win over Cheltenham in their first match last weekend. However, on Saturday they lost comfortably at Sol Campbell's Macclesfield side who narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of last season. Stevenage head to Brisbane Road, for what is effectively a derby, having lost both games so far and they can no longer count of the talents of youngster Ilias Chair who has returned to QPR

National League
Barnet v Chesterfield @3pm - the biggest game in the fifth tier you'll find in the capital on Saturday is likely to be this one between two former EFL clubs. The Bees have made a great start and at the time of writing find themselves unbeaten and in the top three. Conversely, the Spireites have yet to win and are in the bottom three
Boreham Wood v Sutton United @3pm - after their midweek trip to Dagenham, the Wood face their second derby of the week against the U's. The highest ranked London club at this level last season after Leyton Orient, Sutton are up in early contention for the play-off spots again after making an unbeaten start to this campaign. The hosts are winless and can expect to struggle again

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Concord Rangers @3pm - one of the games of the day comes at Champion Hill where two of the only sides in the country with a 100% record after three games go head-to-head in front of what is likely to be a large crowd. With over 1,400 attending their two games so far this season, the Hamlet are one of the best supported clubs at this level

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Horsham @3pm - there are quite a few games in the seventh tier on Saturday but nothing really grabs my attention. If I had to pick any, I'll go for this simply because it will represent Horsham's first visit to the capital since winning promotion last season. They've just opened a new ground which drew a crowd of over 700 to their match against Leatherhead on Saturday so hopefully a good amount of them will travel to north London for this one too

Isthmian League South East Division
Cray Valley PM v Hastings United @3pm - CVPM celebrated their centenary in style last season, winning the Southern Counties East League and making it to Wembley for the FA Vase final. This will be their first home league game following promotion and it's a tough one against one of the title challengers

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Hashtag United @3pm - by the time this kicks off, the Motormen could be top of the league with three wins out of three but they'll have to beat Takeley, one of the other top clubs, in midweek to do this. On Saturday they welcome newly promoted Hashtag United. Previously of this parish, the club founded by YouTuber Spencer Owen decided to relocate from Haringey Borough to Tilbury over the summer meaning they are no longer covered by this blog. After a fine debut season, it will be interesting to see how they fare at a higher level

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
St Panteleimon v Brimsdown @3pm - the hosts won the Middlesex County League last season allowing them to move up to the 10th tier for the first time in their history. The club, with its roots in the Greek Orthodox community, have made a blistering start winning all three of their opening fixtures and scoring 13 goals in the process. On Saturday they welcome a club with links to the Turkish community so this could have a little bit of extra spice to it
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Sunday 18 August

Premier League
Chelsea v Leicester City @430pm - after suffering a disastrous 4-0 defeat at Manchester United in Frank Lampard's first competitive game as manager, all Blues fans will be hoping for something much better here. In recent years, Chelsea seem to have formed a bit of a boom/bust rotation with the year either ending with a trophy or two or abject failure. After winning the Europa League, getting to the EFL Cup Final and finishing third in the Premier League, last season must go down as a pretty good one so who knows what will happen this time. Leicester began their campaign with an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Wolves as the two well-matched sides cancelled each other out. The Foxes are also becoming used to doing well at Stamford Bridge, taking four points from their last two visits and will be dangerous opponents again. Tickets have sold out

FA Women's Championship
London Bees v London City Lionesses @2pm - elsewhere on Sunday it's all about women's football and this derby would appear to be the best on offer. Being played at The Hive, the Bees welcome a side who were previously known as Millwall Lionesses but the women's side went their own way over the summer and took the London City name instead


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, 5 August 2019

TLFG: 5-11 August 2019

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

I'm afraid to say that this week's piece is a bit of a rush job again as I've only just got back from a week long trip to Istanbul and I only started work on this at 10pm (Sunday night) so it's pretty much just the maps again - apologies.

The big news this week is the return of the Premier League with four games staggered across the capital on Saturday.

As well as action in the EFL and National League, the other action of note comes in the opening round of the FA Cup (aka the Extra Preliminary Round) so if you want to start your 'Road to Wembley' now is the time.

The FA Cup gets underway on Saturday
If you want to see Wembley FC in the opening round, they're away at AFC Hayes.

The FA Cup has complicated things for quite a few eighth-tier teams who have been left without a game so many have seen their pre-seasons extended by yet another week with several having arranged further friendlies.

My own club QPR started their latest season in the Championship on Saturday with an unexpected 2-1 win at Stoke City which has lifted everyone's mood around Loftus Road.

New boss Mark Warburton brought in a whole new squad of players over the summer and a mix of them and some of Rangers' youngsters produced an impressive display to win in the Potteries.

Next up are Huddersfield Town who have just come down from the Premier League - if the team from W12 can pick up another three points it will be quite something as little was expected of them.

Going back to Istanbul - you may remember I made several appeals for match info for clubs in the city.

I was really struggling and I'd given up until a late night search on Friday finally uncovered a little previously publicised friendly between Galatasaray and Greek giants Panathinaikos in what looked like a cracker on paper.

I had concerns over whether a Passolig ID would be required and whether I'd get one at such short notice but then I read about rumours of free tickets being given out at the club shop if you spent more than 100 lira (about £16) on merchandise.

I paid a visit to the home of Besiktas on Saturday
Sadly it didn't kick-off until 9pm on Saturday night on the opposite side (and continent!) of town to where I was staying so it wasn't really practical given my early departure today - journeys across Istanbul and the Bosphorus can easily take two hours given its truly vast size.

Instead I had to make do with another trip to Besiktas, my adopted Turkish team, and another visit to the club shop - something I'd last done 10 years ago. I picked up last season's black kit which was on clearance so I got a pretty decent price.

The Vodafone Arena has been completely rebuilt since I last went and it was being prepared for next week's Uefa Super Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool.

I've been to Istanbul three times and have never seen a local club in action - the one match I did see was the 2009 Uefa Cup final between Shakhtar Donetsk and Werder Bremen at Fenerbahce's ground and even then the local fans who did attend the game were totally bonkers! One day it will happen...

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days sees the return of the Premier League, the second round of matches in the EFL and the opening round of the FA Cup - there are almost 100 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from.

Getting details on all games taking place this week has been a challenge, especially the lower down you go. Several clubs have published nothing at all, incorrect information and/or have not responded to requests for clarification - so there could be one or two matches I've missed. 

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





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.