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!

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