Monday, 9 September 2019

TLFG: 9-15 September 2019

Greetings one and all and first up apologies for another late publication.

As you may have seen on Twitter, I joined Sky Sports News presenter Jeff Stelling and various ex-footballers on Sunday to take part in the 'March for Men' which raises funds for Prostate Cancer UK.

We started off at West Ham before visiting Charlton, Millwall, Arsenal and Spurs where we were given our medals for completing the 26-mile walk pitchside by Ledley King and Ray Clemence.

It was a great day and was very well organised - other walkers included David Seaman, Paul Parker, Mark Bright, Francis Benali and the 'Unbelievable' Chris Kamara who gave motivational speeches throughout the day.

Yours truly at Tottenham after completing the 'March For Men'
The hospitality laid on by the clubs we visited (with the exception of Arsenal who did very little indeed) was superb so many thanks to them.

I primarily took part because I dedicate Non-League Day (NLD) to the same charity and they invited me along.

With less than five weeks to go until NLD, I've got to really knuckle down and get the event over the line. If your club would like to raise funds for PCUK on the day or you as a fan want to put on your own event like a walk to an away game - please get in touch with them so they can support you.

Overall it was a pretty busy weekend as I also went to watch Harrow Borough in the FA Cup.

They hosted Binfield from two levels below them but the Berkshire side came into the game in great form, meaning complacency could have been a real problem.

Fortunately manager Steve Baker put out pretty much the strongest side possible and saw his charges win 5-0 earning them a tough home tie against Carshalton Athletic in the next round.

Michael Bryan gives Harrow the lead from the penalty spot
I think that's it from me. I'm going back on to late shifts this week so I won't get to see any football over the next few days but I hope you do.

Many thanks also this week for the positive emails I received from TLFG readers Lukasz and Les A - I'm really pleased to have been able to help and I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

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 the return of the Premier League and a full programme of fixtures in the EFL. We also have the next round of the FA Vase and plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are over 70 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
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 9 September

Professional Development League
Crystal Palace v Leeds United @1pm - the pick of the U23 games takes place at Selhurst Park where adult tickets are £5
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Tuesday 10 September

London Senior Cup First Round
Hendon v Cockfosters @745pm - there are a number of non-league games on Tuesday, most of which are in cup competitions. To be honest, not many really stand out so I've gone for this as Hendon are the highest ranked team in action and tickets have been reduced to £6

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Wednesday 11 September

Premier League International Cup
West Ham United v Valencia @7pm - the Hammers' U23 side begin their international campaign against Spanish opposition. The match is being played at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground

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Friday 13 September

Premier League 2
There are two U23 games on Friday. The first kicks off at lunchtime where Tottenham Hotspur take on Southampton at their training ground. Spurs often let people in for free to watch these games but sometimes play them behind closed doors so check before you travel. Later in the day, Chelsea welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Stamford Bridge where adult tickets are £5

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
The next round of the FA Vase gets underway on Friday night. If you've never heard of the Vase, it's a national knockout competition for clubs in the ninth-11th tiers with its final at Wembley in May. Broadfields United (who play in Harefield) entertain Hanworth Villa in a battle of two ninth-tier clubs and New Salamis (who play in Enfield) lock horns with Tower Hamlets where the higher ranked visitors should start as favourites
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Saturday 14 September

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace @3pm - with the international break now over, the Premier League returns with this London derby. Palace provided the opposition when Spurs opened their new ground back in April and lost 2-0. After four games of the new season, Palace find themselves in the top four and arrive in N17 on the back of an away win at Manchester United. On paper you'd still have to favour Tottenham - they haven't lost a home league game against the Eagles since 1997. Tickets are only available to members

Championship
Fulham v West Bromwich Albion @1230pm - if you can't get a ticket for the above, do not fear - there's a really good selection of Championship games instead starting with this match at Craven Cottage. Fulham were one of the favourites for promotion after their relegation from the Premier League but they haven't had it all their own way. With three wins from six, they're already six points behind leaders Swansea but they're still very much in contention for a play-off place. On Saturday they will face the Baggies, one of their main rivals in the race to go back up, so there's plenty at stake. Tickets are on general sale but start at a rather pricey £35
Queens Park Rangers v Luton Town @3pm - the early kick-off at Fulham means you should just about be able to do a double and get to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium for this one too. With Luton just outside London, this is to all intents and purposes a derby. With the Hatters having spent a lot of time in the lower leagues in recent years, this will be the first time the sides have played since 2007. With the away allocation having already sold out, there should be a great atmosphere. Tickets are on general sale in home areas
Charlton Athletic v Birmingham City @3pm - the Addicks came up via the League One play-offs last year and have continued their great form into the new season. With four wins from six, they're right up in second and doing really well under Lee Bowyer. Birmingham haven't been quite as impressive but are still a top 10 side and should provide solid opposition. However, tickets are only on sale to people with a previous booking history

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Shrewsbury Town @3pm - the Dons narrowly avoided relegation last season but it looks like being only a stay of execution as they've yet to win any of their first seven. The Shrews are having an indifferent season and are the kind of team Wimbledon really need to beat to have any chance of staying up. Tickets are available from £17

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Leicester City @1230pm - rather randomly, the Gunners are putting on an U23 match at the Emirates Stadium on a Saturday lunchtime. Tickets are only £4 but must be bought in advance - nothing will be available on matchday. General sale begins at 11am on Tuesday 10 September

National League
Barnet v Maidenhead United @3pm - after a decent start the Bees began to lose their way but a win at Eastleigh has kept them ticking over in midtable. The Magpies have enjoyed steady progress on and off the pitch in the time I've been watching football and they're now part of the NL's top four. Consequently they should start as favourites here
Dagenham & Redbridge v Hartlepool United @3pm - locked together on 15 points and just outside the play-off places, these two former EFL sides should put on a decent display as they look for a way into the top seven

National League South
Welling United v Wealdstone @3pm - the pick of the games in the sixth tier is this crosstown derby between the Wings and Stones. Welling finished third last season but with three wins from 10 have really struggled to get going this time. Not so Wealdstone who have won nine of their games and are already seven points clear at the top

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v Hornchurch @3pm - in my opinion, the match of the day in the seventh tier would appear to be this one at Colston Avenue. The hosts finished second last season and are right up in the top four again but so are the Urchins who are looking for their second promotion in three seasons

Isthmian League South East Division
Cray Valley PM v Chichester City @3pm - CVPM won the SCEFL last season and got to the final of the FA Vase at Wembley. Unfazed by the move up to the eighth tier, they're unbeaten after four games and are top. Sussex club Chichester sit only a point behind in third

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Most of our local sides in the ninth to 11th tiers will be playing in this competition. There are numerous ties all over London but the following ones stand out for me:
Beckenham Town v Farnham Town @3pm - the Becks are currently third in the SCEFL and should therefore be one of London's best hopes of making progress deep into the competition. Surrey club Farnham play a level below but are promotion contenders
Molesey v Greenwich Borough @3pm - the Moles have also made a good start in the CCL and could also do well this season. They face another team who got relegated alongside them from the Isthmian League last season but Greenwich have continued to struggle and should be beaten
Wembley v Risborough Rangers @3pm - the FA Vase provides groundhoppers with a very realistic and far more affordable way of doing a 'Road to Wembley' than the FA Cup and if you're going to attempt it, including a game at Wembley FC always seems like a sensible option. The ninth-tier club play a level above the visitors but they'll have to avoid complacency as Rangers have yet to lose a game and are top of their division
Lopes Tavares v Catholic United @3pm - two clubs who are making their debuts in the Vase this season meet at the Terence McMillan Stadium in Newham. The hosts have had a fine start and are second in the ECL Division 1 South. Consequently they should win as Catholic United play a level below
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Sunday 15 September

Premier League
Watford v Arsenal @430pm - bottom after four games and without a win, the Hornets dispensed with the services of manager Javi Gracia just four months after leading them to the FA Cup final. He has been replaced by Quique Sanchez Flores who previously managed the side in 2015-16. After a couple of years with Espanyol and a brief spell in China, he's now back in the Watford hotseat and goes straight in at the deep end with this tough first game against Arsenal. The Gunners are in the top five but haven't won in two and will hope to get back on track here. Tickets are not on general sale

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Edgware Town v Eynesbury Rovers @3pm - can't get a ticket for Watford? Try a Vase game instead. Edgware have made a reasonable enough start in the SSML but it's going to be challenging for them on Sunday as they take on the league leaders. There is also a game at Vale Farm where Cricklewood Wanderers play Long Buckby

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @2pm - if you'd prefer some women's football, the best option would appear to be this match at The Hive where Spurs will play the first game at their new home. Both sides slipped to narrow 1-0 defeats in their opening games so it should be close. Tickets are £6.50 if bought in advance or £8 on match day 

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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