Sunday 20 October 2019

TLFG: 21-27 October 2019

Greetings one and all and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

For the second Saturday running, not only have I found myself off work but I made it to a game.

I had initially planned to take my daughter out of London to watch either QPR play up at Hull or Harrow Borough at Salisbury.

In the end she got invited to a party and I had to stay in town to drop her off and pick up.

'Two Men In Search...' pay a visit to Corinthian Casuals on Non-League Day

As a result I only had time to stay local so it didn't take much time to decide to go to an FA Cup match, with the most local being the one at Hayes & Yeading United.

The west London club were only formed in 2007 when Hayes and neighbouring side Yeading merged.

Initially playing in the fifth tier at Hayes' old Church Road ground, the club have now moved to the site of Yeading's old stadium which although impressive on the face of things, is still very much a work in progress.

The draw had pitted H&YU against fellow Southern League club and title contenders Poole Town so it was always going to be tough.

Things got much tougher when the hosts had defender Keano Robinson sent off for a professional foul in only the fourth minute but they held on relatively comfortably until half time.

At the interval I caught up with Non-League Show presenter Tim Fuell who is also a senior official at H&YU. As we were talking I was also lucky enough to meet TLFG reader Jonathan B who introduced himself and we also had a quick chat. 

The second half saw Hayes create far more chances but they fell behind with just over 20 minutes to go.

There was plenty of huff and puff from the hosts but they never really looked like scoring until the 94th minute when James Clark found an equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game to set up a replay in Dorset on Tuesday night. 

Hayes & Yeading celebrate their late equaliser
As this was all going on, news was coming in from Haringey Borough where their FA Cup tie against Yeovil Town had been abandoned because of alleged racist abuse of their players.

Last week, I said this would be the tie to watch but never had I thought it would make the headlines for these unsavoury reasons.

I have to admit that there was an uncomfortable air at Hayes too where some QPR fans like me with nothing much else to do had gone to this game.

Unlike me, they were coming out with loud and abusive comments from the off and had stewards on them within minutes warning them of their behaviour.

Although there wasn't anything racist said, they were soon moaning about how much focus there had been on the 'racialism' in England's midweek game in Bulgaria and how you 'couldn't call a blackboard a blackboard any more'. 

Later in the game I heard a Hayes supporter comment how impressed he'd been by the black referee because he hadn't given the team with black players preferential treatment! 

Although not grossly offensive, I left the ground feeling uneasy.

If you do hear or see anything that crosses the line at a match, whatever the level, report it to anti-discrimination charity 'Kick It Out' through one of the various ways listed on their website.

On checking the results from elsewhere, I discovered Harrow had lost at Salisbury but that QPR had won on their travels again to move up to fifth - Premier League here we come!

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

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 21 October

Professional Development League
Crystal Palace v Charlton Athletic @1pm - once again the week begins with a bit of U23 action. There are three games on but this derby is far and away the best on offer because it's being played at Selhurst Park. Tickets are £5 for adults and you can buy in advance


Tuesday 22 October

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade @745pm - after the humiliating defeat to Bayern Munich in their last group game, Spurs will be looking to get their European campaign back on track against the Serbian league champions. Despite being way stronger on paper, the north London club are going through a rough patch and will have to avoid complacency at all costs. Away fans have been banned by Uefa from attending this game, increasing the allocation available to Tottenham fans but you'll still need to be a member to buy one

Uefa Youth League
Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade @3pm - earlier in the day, the clubs' U19 sides meet at Spurs' training ground in Enfield. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance by calling 0344 844 0102 and selecting Option 2

Millwall v Cardiff City @745pm - the Lions started the season brightly but results dropped off and club legend Neil Harris stepped down as manager at the beginning of this month. Days later they beat Leeds but surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at Brentford in the derby on Saturday. Cardiff haven't really got going since their relegation from the Premier League but have only lost one of their last five to keep themselves in contention for a play-off spot. Tickets are on sale to non-members
Queens Park Rangers v Reading @745pm - with the Royals playing just over 30 miles west of Shepherd's Bush, this is effectively a derby so should be worth a watch. QPR picked up their seventh win of the season as they won 3-2 at Hull on Saturday. The result moved Mark Warburton's side into the top five. Reading, on the other hand, are having another season of struggle and sacked boss Jose Gomes nearly two weeks ago. However, new manager Mark Bowen (formerly on QPR's coaching staff) presided over a 1-0 victory over Preston on Saturday so they could be a trickier opponent than they could have been. Tickets are on sale to non-members

FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round Replays
Winners of each tie receive £18,750 prize money and qualify for the First Round where League One and League Two clubs enter the draw. The draw takes place on Monday so all the sides below should have a good idea of who they will be playing if they win

Barnet v Potters Bar Town @745pm - if you'd prefer a bit of cup drama the two replays on offer shouldn't disappoint. First up is this local derby. After years of living in Barnet's shadow, Potters Bar have moved up the pyramid in recent years and are now only two levels below their hosts. In Saturday's original televised tie, the minnows pinched a late equaliser to earn a shock 1-1 draw and this trip to The Hive. Barnet should, of course, start as favourites but anything is possible. Tickets are available to non-members
Wealdstone v Maidenhead United @745pm - the Stones did well to hold the Magpies, from a division above, to a draw on Saturday. If you want atmosphere it could well be better at this game than the one above because the ground is far smaller and likely to be busy. Wealdstone's fans are also among the most passionate at this level of the game. Tickets are available to non-members and you can buy in advance or pay cash on arrival. Unlike most non-league games, rival fans will be segregated

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Hornchurch @745pm - in north London there's a big game in the Isthmian League where two of the top four will duel for three precious points. A win for the hosts could see them go top on goal difference

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Whyteleafe @745pm - this fixture in the eighth tier looks intriguing. CVPM have made a fine start to life at this level after promotion from the SCEFL and find themselves in the top three. The Leafe are way down in 16th but have only played four league games because of a great FA Cup run which came to an end on Saturday. The Surrey club would go top if they won all their games in hand so it will be interesting to see how good they really are

SCEFL Premier Division
Erith & Belvedere v Erith Town @745pm - the standout game in the ninth tier is most definitely the Erith derby in south-east London. Neither side are pulling up any trees this season and are side-by-side in lower midtable so both could do with a win

SSML Division 1
St Panteleimon v London Lions @745pm - in terms of form, the hosts are one of the best sides to watch in London right now. The Greek Cypriot club, who groundshare at North Greenford United, are new to this higher level and haven't lost any of their opening 13 games to put themselves nine points clear at this early stage. The visitors, a Jewish club, are coasting along nicely enough in midtable but they'll do well to get anything here


Wednesday 23 October

Fulham v Luton Town @745pm - the match of the day takes place at Craven Cottage in what is also effectively a derby given Luton's close proximity to London. The Hatters' fans always travel in large numbers to these sort of games with QPR getting their biggest crowd of this season against them. The Cottagers haven't lived up to the tag of pre-season favourites and lost to a pretty hapless Stoke side on Saturday but given how tight the division is, they are still very much in contention. Having only been recently promoted, this season will be all about consolidation for the visitors and they're doing enough to survive at the moment. Tickets are on sale to non-members

Brentford B v Reading U23 @730pm - with Griffin Park closing at the end of the season, demand for tickets to see the Bees' home games has been high as people try to get in a final visit. If you've not made it yet then this match gives you the perfect opportunity to do it as entry is free and open to everyone

CCL Premier Division
Colliers Wood United v Hanworth Villa @730pm - two points off top spot and with two games in hand, CWU are in the best position I can remember them being in since I started this blog in 2011. With only one league defeat, it's looking good for the south-west London club. Hanworth Villa have been one of the stronger sides in the CCL over the last few years but they've gone right off the boil and could go down

FA Vase First Round
Westside v Deal Town @745pm - having seen this match postponed a week ago, these two will have another go at getting a result here. The hosts play a level below their opponents but they have a good chance of pulling off a cupset nonetheless


Thursday 24 October

Europa League

Arsenal v Vitoria @8pm - at the time of writing, the Gunners are on an eight-game unbeaten run so come into this in pretty good shape. With wins over Liege and Frankfurt in their first two group games, a win over Portuguese side Vitoria looks likely. The Primeira Liga club were humiliated by third-tier side Sintra in the Portuguese Cup on Saturday and lost their previous league game. With defeats in their first two Europa League games too, there can surely be only one winner. This match has sold out


Friday 25 October

Premier League 2
Fulham v Sunderland @2pm - if you're off on Friday and want to take the kids somewhere for half-term, it's only £3 for adults and £1 children to watch this U23 game at the Cottagers' training ground in Motspur Park


Saturday 26 October

Premier League
Watford v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - the Hornets came agonisingly close to a shock win at Spurs on Saturday but ultimately had settle for a 1-1 draw. The result kept the Hertfordshire club winless and rooted to the bottom of the table. On paper, the Cherries are the smallest club in the Premier League by some distance with their tiny ground of 11,000 half the size of the next smallest. Yet somehow they keep doing what they need to do to keep things ticking over on the pitch. Their dull draw with Norwich on Saturday kept them in the top half. Since moving into the top flight together in 2015 there have been eight matches - six have ended in draws with a win apiece. It could well be tight. Tickets are available to non-members
West Ham United v Sheffield United @3pm - the Hammers made a decent start to the season but with only one win in five, they've drifted back down to 10th. Newly promoted Sheffield United will probably be satisfied with the fact they are not in the bottom three at this stage but they could easily find themselves in there if they lose this. Tickets are available to non-members

Millwall v Stoke City @3pm - with only one win in five, at the time of writing, the Lions badly need to get something against struggling Stoke. Sadly for them, the Potters have finally started to hit some form with back-to-back wins over highly fancied Swansea and Fulham sides lifting them off the bottom. Tickets are available to non-members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Carlisle United @3pm - with three wins on the trot, the O's have hit a hot streak. The results have pushed them up to 12th only two points away from the play-off places. Carlisle are having a disappointing season and have lost four of their last five to sit 20th. However, the Cumbrian club have won on three of their last five visits so it appears Brisbane Road is a happy hunting ground for them. Tickets are available to non-members

National League
Bromley v FC Halifax Town @3pm - without doubt the match of the day at non-league level sees the top two in this division clash at Hayes Lane. Only goal difference currently separates the clubs so this should be a cracker. Halifax are in marginally better form but both lost on Saturday. Tickets are available to non-members but are cheaper if bought online in advance

National League South

Wealdstone v Tonbridge Angels @3pm - there aren't any really eye-catching games in the sixth tier but if you go to this one, you'll get to see whether the Stones can extend their lead at the top to eight points. Tonbridge are just above the relegation zone so an away win looks unlikely

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round
This national knockout competition is for clubs in the fifth to the eighth tiers and has its final at Wembley. At this stage, clubs from the seventh tier enter the draw to play all the eighth tier clubs who've made it this far. There are several ties in the London area on Saturday, here are my top three

Haringey Borough v Horsham @3pm - north London club Haringey hit the headlines on Saturday when they decided to take their players off the pitch during an FA Cup tie with Yeovil because of alleged racist abuse by some of the visitors' fans. The Isthmian League club return to cup competition a week later with a tough match against fellow Isthmian League promotion contenders Horsham. The Sussex club enjoyed promotion at the end of last season, have just moved into a new ground and are second in the league. It should be close
Kingstonian v Corinthian Casuals @3pm - over in south-west London we've got this mouthwatering groundshare derby to look forward to. Both in the Isthmian League Premier Division's bottom eight, neither are in good form but these occasions usually draw a good crowd so it should be well worth a watch
Uxbridge v Bognor Regis Town @3pm - the hosts are only a couple of points away from the play-off places in the Isthmian League South Central. In Bognor they face a tough draw against a club from the division above but the Sussex club aren't in the best form so they've got half a chance

Middlesex Senior Cup Second Round
Hanwell Town v Brentford B @3pm - already out of the FA Trophy and presumably without a league game, Hanwell have arranged this attractive county cup match for Saturday afternoon. With Brentford's first team not in action that day, you'd hope a few of their fans would make the short journey north to see this match. Once again, I'd like to applaud the Bees for putting a side in this competition and the London Senior Cup and I wish more of our local Premier League and EFL clubs would do too

SSML Premier Division
Oxhey Jets v Newport Pagnell Town @3pm - two of the top five meet at the Boundary Stadium on Saturday in a match of great importance in the ninth tier. The visitors are desperately trying to keep up with leaders Tring Athletic and if they lose here, they could find themselves eight points off title pace

SCEFL Division 1
Croydon v FC Elmstead @3pm - there's no doubt about the game of the day in the 10th tier where the top two in this division meet. The visitors are currently two points clear at the top but Croydon have a game in hand - a hugely important game at this level


Sunday 27 October

Premier League
Arsenal v Crystal Palace @430pm - the week comes to a close with this derby at the Emirates Stadium. Given the Gunners' current form and the fact Palace have only won twice on their last 10 visits to this part of London, you'd expect the Selhurst Park club to come unstuck again. Tickets are not available to non-members

Isthmian League North Division
Grays Athletic v Dereham Town @3pm - there's a random bit of non-league action in Essex where the FA Trophy draw has seen Grays have to move this game to Sunday as their landlords are have landed a home draw. Grays are firmly in the hunt for the title so they should expect to win here against midtable opposition

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Manchester City @230pm - the biggest game of a busy programme of women's football sees this hugely important clash between last season's league champions and FA Cup winners. City are currently top with a 100% record so Arsenal will need to win to draw level. This match is being played at Boreham Wood and tickets are cheaper if bought online in advance

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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