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.

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