Sunday 29 September 2019

TLFG: 30 September - 6 October 2019

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

Another month is about to come to an end and we're into October already - it seems no time since I was writing about pre-season games.

How has your football week been?

After the joy of seeing QPR win at Millwall last Saturday, I was brought firmly back down to earth by West Brom on Saturday who won comfortably in W12 to go top of the Championship.

The 10th Non-League Day is now less than two weeks away

Mark Warburton's side have really impressed at times this season but it has almost exclusively come against mid-level to poor sides. Matches against the Baggies, Swansea and Bristol City have all been lost fairly easily.

However, no-one seems to mind that much.

Nothing was expected ahead of the season starting so to be up in play-off contention and attempting to play good stuff with a bit of spirit is earning the team a lot of credit.

Elsewhere, Harrow Borough ended their four game losing streak with a very well needed win over Blackfield & Langley but then lost again to Gosport Borough - on paper you'd have expected the results to be the other way round as B&L had been doing quite well but that's the topsy turvy world of non-league.

Talking of non-league, we're now less than two weeks away from Non-League Day and next week will be our NLD Special so if your club are doing anything to mark the day, please get in touch.

For me, the highlight of the coming week will be the next round of games in the FA Cup.

The Non-League Day shop has all kinds of merchandise in it
15% of all sales go to Prostate Cancer UK
Although Harrow are out, plenty of other local sides are still involved and are now only two matches away from playing an EFL team in the First Round proper - all of the ties are in the TLFG Daily Digest below.

Before I sign off, it was good to see another big crowd attend the Women's Super League match between West Ham and Spurs at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Over 25,000 turned out as the visitors won 2-0.

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 highlights of the next few days include the return of the Champions League and Europa League, plus a full programme of fixtures in the Premier League and EFL. We also have plenty of games in the FA Cup and all our local non-league competitions - there are over 80 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.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin

In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 30 September

Isthmian League Premier Division
There are two games in the seventh tier on Monday evening with Carshalton Athletic welcoming Lewes and Kingstonian travelling to Haringey Borough. All three London clubs have hugely important FA Cup ties at the end of the week so might have more than half an eye on those games. If they do beat the K's, Haringey will go third

Tuesday 1 October

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Munich @8pm - after disappointing back-to-back defeats to Leicester and Colchester, Spurs returned to winning ways on Saturday against Southampton. German champions Bayern will represent a huge step up in class and they began their European campaign with a 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade. On Saturday they also won 3-2 at Paderborn to extend their unbeaten start to the season and remain top of the Bundesliga - it's going to be very tough for the hosts. Tickets are not available to non-members

Isthmian League Premier Division
Hornchurch v Folkestone Invicta @745pm - without doubt the non-league match of the night sees the top two in the Isthmian League meet at Bridge Avenue. The Urchins are currently second just a point behind Invicta but have way better goal difference - it should be a cracker!

FA Trophy Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Hanwell Town v Harlow Town @745pm - after fighting out a 1-1 draw on Saturday, two of the Isthmian League South Central's top five will have another go. The winners will host AFC Dunstable in the next round on Non-League Day


Wednesday 2 October

Charlton Athletic v Swansea City @745pm - after losing a couple of games it looked like the Addicks' bubble had burst and no-one was really that surprised but on Saturday they propelled themselves back into the top six with an impressive win over promotion rivals Leeds United. Next up are the second placed Swans as the very challenging games continue. Tickets are on general sale
Brentford v Bristol City @745pm - in the other second tier game of the night, the struggling Bees welcome a City side who have only lost once in the league this season. Brentford badly need a win but it looks unlikely here. Tickets are not on general sale

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Crowborough Athletic @745pm - one team to watch are the Becks who appear to be really going for it this season. I've heard there's been some investment and there's a great pitch at Eden Park Avenue. On said pitch, they've been pretty impressive - currently joint top and with three games in hand it's looking really good for the south London club. Crowborough have finished in the top three the last two seasons but they've made a terrible start and are second from bottom


Thursday 3 October

Europa League
Arsenal v Standard Liege @8pm - the Gunners have had a great 10 days with three wins in a row, starting with a 3-0 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt in their opening Europa League game. Only three days before this match, Arsenal have a huge Premier League game against Manchester United at Old Trafford so they might not be at their freshest. Tickets are not currently on general sale

Premier League Cup
Crystal Palace v Blackburn Rovers @1pm - if you're free at lunchtime you might like to pop down to Dulwich Hamlet's Champion Hill for this U23 game. I'm unsure of ticketing arrangements at the moment but I wouldn't expect entry to cost more than £5


Friday 4 October

Premier League Cup
Charlton Athletic v Swansea City @1pm - the following day there's some more U23 action at Dartford's Princes Park. Once again, don't expect to pay more than £5

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Takeley @745pm - the hosts have struggled this season and find themselves in the bottom three. As a result, it looks like being a tough night for the Mile End club as Takeley are in the top four and going for the title

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Newbury Forest v Frenford @745pm - neither of these sides are doing particularly well but it's an Ilford derby so hopefully that should add a bit of spice to proceedings

Saturday 5 October

Premier League
Watford v Sheffield United @3pm - the Hornets' winless start to the season continued with a defeat at fellow strugglers Wolves on Saturday. In theory it should get easier against a newly promoted side but the Blades have been reasonably impressive and only narrowly lost to leaders Liverpool in their last game. Watford have to win and tickets are on general sale
West Ham United v Crystal Palace @530pm - the evening's TV game sees the Hammers and Eagles face off in a London derby. West Ham find themselves, slightly surprisingly, in third after a draw at Bournemouth so confidence at the London Stadium should be high. Although not doing quite so well, a win over Norwich put Palace into the top 10 too so this should be well contested. Tickets are on general sale

Fulham v Charlton Athletic @1230pm - if a top flight match isn't for you, there's a good selection of matches in the EFL with this derby between sides with their eyes on a play-off spot meeting at Craven Cottage. Fulham were among the favourites for promotion whilst little was expected of Charlton but it's the latter who are higher at the time of writing but that could change in midweek. Tickets are on general sale
Millwall v Leeds United @3pm - after losing at Charlton on Saturday, Leeds have to make another trip to south-east London just a week later. The Lions were right up with the leaders early in the season but they're now five without a win and are sliding down the table. For many, the most interesting match up could be between the rival fans who have two of the worst reputations in the country. Tickets no longer appear to be on sale
Queens Park Rangers v Blackburn Rovers @3pm - if you're heading to Fulham as a tourist or groundhopper, it is just about possible to get yourself back up to Shepherd's Bush in time for this one. One TLFG reader attempted this a couple of weeks ago and made it by using a Santander Cycle to get him there. It was a bit tight but only because the nearest docking station to the stadium was full - perhaps a dockless Lime Bike would be more useful. As for the match, QPR's winning run came to an end against West Brom on Saturday. The Baggies went top and were far superior by all accounts. Rovers missed the chance to move level on points with Rangers by losing to Luton. Tickets are on general sale

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Rochdale @3pm - the wait for a Dons win has been extended by another week following their 3-2 loss at Peterborough United. With manager Wally Downes suspended in midweek over a betting charge, it's a depressing time at Kingsmeadow. Rochdale are also struggling so this is an important game for the south London club. Tickets are on general sale

National League
Bromley v Barrow @3pm - although the hosts lost at Yeovil on Saturday, they did manage to retain top spot. Although back in seventh, Barrow will provide formidable opposition as they are the division's most in-form team with five consecutive wins
Dagenham & Redbridge v Barnet @3pm - both sides drew at the weekend to keep themselves firmly in the hunt for a play-off place. This is of course also a derby and one which the Bees have dominated in recent years, winning the last four

FA Cup Third Qualifying Round
Things are starting to get serious for the non-league clubs still left in the competition with the winners of each tie earning £11,250 in prize money to add to any won in previous rounds. They are also now only 180 minutes away from the First Round proper and the chance of playing a League One or League Two team. This round is for all remaining teams from the sixth tier downwards - fifth tier clubs enter in the next round

Dulwich Hamlet v Eastbourne Borough @3pm - the Hamlet demolished Bognor in the previous round and have now landed a more challenging home draw against a fellow National League South club. Dulwich are only three places above Eastbourne so it should be close
Welling United v Tavistock @3pm - one of the mismatches of the day would appear to be at Park View Road where NLS side Welling entertain ninth tier club Tavistock who face a long trip up from Devon. A trip to Tavistock to watch QPR back in 2010 inspired me to launch Non-League Day and they've enjoyed at least two, possibly three promotions since then
Haringey Borough v Cray Wanderers @3pm - two of the Isthmian League's top 10, at the time of writing, meet at Coles Park. Boro made it to the First Round last season and narrowly lost to AFC Wimbledon whilst a win for Cray will equal their best ever performance in the competition
Hayes & Yeading United v Hendon @3pm - if I were to pick a game to go to, it would be this one. Two old Isthmian League rivals, now both in the Southern League, meet in this derby at the SkyEx Stadium. The Greens are finding things tough at the moment so the hosts look more likely to progress
Kingstonain v Weston-super-Mare @3pm - with Grays Athletic being thrown out of the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible player just over a week ago, the K's found themselves playing March Town (Grays' previous opponents) in a hastily re-arranged Second Qualifying Round game in midweek which they won. They've landed a tough but winnable home tie against Southern League opposition
Tooting & Mitcham United v Poole Town @3pm - the Terrors pulled off one of the shocks of the last round by beating Dorking Wanderers from two levels above them. Next up they have another tricky game against Poole. The Dorset club play one level above them, are top and in decent form. The fact Tooting are at home and they beat an even stronger side in the last round should give them a high level of confidence coming into this one
Abbey Rangers v Whyteleafe @3pm - the last tie taking place locally is between two of the lowest ranked teams left in the competition. Hailing from Addlestone, Combined Counties League club Abbey got this far by beating Walthamstow in a replay last week. Given they started in the Extra Preliminary Round, another victory here against the Leafe, who play one level above them, would see their total winnings increase to £27,640 which could be transformative for a club of their size. It's also a huge amount of money for the visitors too and it is they who should start as favourites

Isthmian League South Central Division
Hanwell Town v Chalfont St Peter @3pm - with Tooting involved in the FA Cup, Hanwell have the chance to climb above them into second with a win here. If they get a really hefty victory and leaders Westfield lose, then they could go top. However, Chalfont are a top four club themselves so this could be a bit of a humdinger

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Balham v Ascot United @3pm - the best match in the ninth tier would appear to be this one at the Wibbandune where fourth-placed Balham host the league leaders. Ascot are two points clear and have a great goal difference already so they should be pretty tough to stop

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Lopes Tavares v Little Oakley @3pm - look no further than the Terence McMillan Stadium in Newham for the match of the day in the 10th tier. Lopes Tavares are top and saw off challengers Halstead with relative ease on Saturday. Next up they face the team in second


Sunday 6 October

Premier League
Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth @2pm - with three games in seven days the Gunners starting XI should see some rotation. With the matches against Man Utd and Standard Liege out of the way, Arsenal finish the week with an important game against a highly competent Bournemouth side. The clubs have only ever played nine times with the Cherries winning just once. Eddie Howe's men are unlikely to win but a draw isn't inconceivable. Tickets are not available to non-members

Premier League Cup
Fulham v Everton @11am - earlier in the day there's an U23 match at Fulham's training ground in Motspur Park. Unusually the admission details haven't been published yet but it's usually £3 for adults - check before you travel

If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

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