Monday, 7 October 2019

TLFG: 7-13 October 2019

It's that time of year again - yes, Non-League Day (NLD) is back!

This will be the tenth time the event has been held and I'm still pinching myself that a brainwave of mine could have made such an impact.

For those of you that don't know, NLD is an annual celebration of semi-professional and amateur football held to coincide with an autumn international break when there are no Premier League or Championship games so as to maximise the amount of publicity we can get and appeal to as many people as possible.

Originally it was intended to be an attempt to reach out to fans of the big clubs to get them to come and try out a non-league game for the first time but it's transformed into more of a general celebration of all things at this level and also a chance for clubs to raise funds, not only for themselves, but also a number of charities.

The 10th Non-League Day takes place on Saturday

Our official charity continues to be Prostate Cancer UK and loads of clubs around the country have signed up to support them.

National League sponsors Vanarama are running another fundraising campaign so hopefully the amount raised will be considerable.

Unsurprisingly this week's guide is dedicated almost exclusively to NLD so the Daily Digest will make way for a focused look at Saturday itself. 

All the week's other games will appear on the match maps as usual so have a good look through them to see what else is on but remember it is an international break so the only game taking place in the top four divisions on Saturday is at Brisbane Road where Leyton Orient take on Walsall in League Two.

Other highlights of the midweek programme include the derbies between AFC Wimbledon and Leyton Orient in the EFL Trophy and Barnet and Bromley in the National League. Elsewhere Wealdstone have a crucial FA Cup replay against Bristol Manor Farm.

Towards the end of the week there are some decent U23 games at clubs' main stadiums and there's also a packed programme of women's matches over the weekend including the fixture between Charlton Athletic and Aston Villa at The Valley.

I plan to be at Harrow Borough on Non-League Day 
As for Non-League Day itself there's a huge selection of games some of which are offering special deals to get you in - all of the ones I know about are listed below, let me know if I've missed any.

Please be aware that the list of deals is likely to change as clubs often announce their plans quite late in the day so this page will be updated as the week goes along.

As a Harrow Borough supporter I intend to be at their game against Cornish side Truro City. It's free for kids and emergency service personnel and Premier League/EFL season ticket holders will get in for £6 on production of their season ticket.

I've highlighted it below but in case you miss it, there's a very good opportunity to do a groundhop double on NLD as British Airways are playing the all-conquering Jersey Bulls at 730pm. Unsurprisingly, they play right next to Heathrow Airport at one of London's most unusual grounds.

I think that's about it from me. The week ahead is likely to be incredibly hectic and I hope it's all worth it. Thanks again for all your support and if you are free, please try and get to a non-league game on Saturday no matter where you are in the country.

If you're outside London, I've spent a large chunk of my time building a match finder for the whole country which will allow you to discover what your nearest game is depending on your location. 

There are also similar events being held in France and Germany on Sunday so please give them your backing if you're over there.

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
Despite it being an international break don't despair. With games in the National League, FA Trophy, FA Vase and many other non-league competitions there are well over 80 matches taking place across London 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.

There's loads going on at Wadham Lodge - find out more
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 NON-LEAGUE DAY RECOMMENDATIONS


In this section I will list a few games I think are particularly worth watching and highlight ones which are offering special deals and events to get new people in. To clarify, non-league teams are classed as those playing in the fifth tier and below. Please note - this list could well get refreshed/updated as the week progresses as many clubs often release their plans quite late in the day.

UPDATED ON FRIDAY 11 OCTOBER 
Please be aware that bad weather is forecast to hit the capital on Saturday so some games may get postponed. Thankfully quite a few clubs have 4G pitches so I will indicated this below

Saturday 12 October

National League (Level 5)
Barnet v Woking @3pm - the biggest non-league game of the day in London is this match at The Hive between two of the National League's top six (although that's dependent on midweek results). The Bees could only manage a draw in the derby at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday but it still extended their unbeaten run to three games. After a blistering start, newly promoted Woking are now winless in five but still find themselves in the top four. If you don't know the geography, Woking is only just outside London so there should be a decent away following. Barnet members are being allowed to 'Bring a friend for free' to this game so if you know any, give them a call!

A bit further afield
Aldershot Town v Hartlepool United @3pm - if you want a special deal at this level, it's 'pay what you want' at the EBB Stadium as long as you book in advance


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National League South (Level 6)
Dulwich Hamlet v Weymouth @3pm - over the last few years Champion Hill has become one of the best places to spend Non-League Day as the club have embraced the idea and come up with some great promotions to get new people in. In 2014 they made their match against Hampton & Richmond 'pay what you want' with all profits going to charity - nearly 3,000 showed up and around £10,000 went to good causes. This year they are offering cheap drinks in the bar for season-ticket holders from Crystal Palace, Charlton and Millwall as well as doing a fundraising drive for Prostate Cancer UK. Check the club's website for the latest information. As for the match itself, Dulwich aren't in the best of form in the league but made it through to the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Saturday. Weymouth, however, won the Southern League Premier South last season and are in the top four again so will probably start as favourites

Welling United v Hampton & Richmond Borough @3pm - two TLFG clubs meet at Park View Road where an NLD special offer is available. Any Premier League or EFL club season-ticket holder will get in for £10 as will anyone who can produce a programme from Welling's FA Cup win over Tavistock on Saturday. The Wings aren't quite the force they were last season but are comfortable enough in midtable. Hampton, on the other hand, have begun badly but picked up a crucial win over Tonbridge in their last league game to climb out of the relegation zone

A bit further afield
Slough Town v Billericay Town @3pm - a little to the west of London, the Rebels are offering some great deals for their match against Billericay. It will be FREE ENTRY for season-ticket holders from any Premier League or EFL club and only £5 for everyone else (kids go free). This ground has a 4G pitch

St Albans City v Eastbourne Borough @3pm - Clarence Park is one of my favourite non-league grounds and I spent a very enjoyable NLD their in 2016. City always put a real effort into promoting the day and this year is no different. Aside from reduced admission (even cheaper if booked in advance), there is a beer festival, a penalty competition and lots of activities for kids

Tonbridge Angels v Braintree Town @3pm - if you fancy a short journey into Kent then why not pop down to Longmead Stadium where tickets have been reduced to £7 for adults, which is close to half price

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Southern League Premier Division South (Level 7)
Harrow Borough v Truro City @3pm - there's a clash between two of the division's top eight at Earlsmead on Saturday. The club have arranged a reunion of the squad which won the Isthmian League 35 years ago and a presentation will be made at half time. There are also a number of special deals on offer with free entry for emergency services personnel, any accompanied child and half-price entry (£6) for Premier League and EFL season-ticket holders

Hendon v Salisbury @3pm - the Greens usually put on a good show on Non-League Day but this year the main focus will be on celebrating the life of one of its young fans who sadly passed away over the summer. Bryan, a regular reader of this blog and supporter of NLD, suffered the loss of his son Luca in June and this big match will be dedicated to him. There will be a minute's applause before the game so the bigger the crowd, the better. If you're a season-ticket holder at a Premier League or EFL club or work for the emergency services or armed forces, you'll get in for half price (£6). This ground has a 4G pitch

Isthmian League Premier Division (Level 7)
Carshalton Athletic v Kingstonian @3pm - the Robins have distributed lots of free tickets to local schools and are offering half-price entry to Premier League, EFL and National League season-ticket holders provided you turn up before 215pm. Carshalton play on a 4G pitch so this should go ahead whatever the weather. This ground has a 4G pitch

Cray Wanderers v Enfield Town @3pm - the oldest team in London are offering £5 entry to any Premier League, EFL or National League season-ticket holders. They also plan to put on a Cray legends game at 12pm and were arranging a collection for Prostate Cancer UK. This ground has a 4G pitch

Haringey Borough v Margate @3pm - Coles Park has become arguably the best place to watch non-league football in north London over the last few years. Located on White Hart Lane itself, within sight of Spurs' ground, the club has progressed impressively over the last few years. They're doing well in the league again this season and are on another great FA Cup run - they play host to Yeovil in the next round. If you're not already a holder of one of the club's free season tickets then you'll get in for a reduced price of £5. They are also doing a collection for Prostate Cancer UK. This ground has a 4G pitch

Hornchurch v Bowers & Pitsea @3pm - way out at the far end of the District Line you can immerse yourself in this Essex derby. The Urchins are offering reduced entry of £8 for adults if they can produce the flyer that's downloadable from their website


A bit further afield
Other seventh tier games of interest include:

Cheshunt v Worthing @3pm - lying just beyond the M25 to the north-east of London, the Ambers are running a very tempting 'Pay What You Want' deal and will be collecting money for Prostate Cancer UK

Hitchin Town v Bromsgrove Sporting @3pm - another club who always embrace the spirit of NLD are Hertfordshire club Hitchin. Their historic Top Field ground is quite unique and very popular with visitors. They're offering 25% off if you book online in advance using code 'CANARY25'

Merstham v Leatherhead @3pm - the Moatsiders have always enthusiastically backed NLD and this year is no different with loads planned as part of their 'Family Day'. Aside from free entry for emergency services workers, it's only £5 for season-ticket holders of 'any other club'. There will be a collection for Prostate Cancer UK and lots of kids activities. To top it all, it's a big Surrey derby too!

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FA Trophy Preliminary Round (Level 8 teams)
FA rules mean that cutting ticket prices is much harder for cup games like this than it is for league matches so it is very unusual to find special deals. Therefore, I'm going to list a few ties which should be worth a watch regardless.

Hanwell Town v AFC Dunstable @3pm - the hosts are in fantastic form at the moment and sit proudly at the top of the eighth tier Isthmian League South Central. However, they shouldn't have it all their own way as the visitors are second in the parallel Southern League Division 1 Central. Hanwell's ground has received some fine improvements recently and is well located next to the A40 and a short walk from Perivale Tube station on the Central Line

Uxbridge v Northwood @3pm - there's a local derby to be enjoyed at the Honeycroft where two teams from the Isthmian League South Central do battle. The hosts should start as favourites

Whyteleafe v Tooting & Mitcham United @3pm - there's also a south London derby at Church Road. The Leafe are only 14th in the Isthmian League South East but that's partly down to the fact that they're in the middle of a great run in the FA Cup. Their victory at Abbey Rangers on Saturday means they're now only one win away from a place in the First Round and a possible dream tie against an EFL club. Tooting are currently joint top of the South Central Division with Hanwell - this could be a cracker. This ground has a 4G pitch

Barking v Guernsey @130pm - if 3pm kick-offs are a problem for you, then this lunchtime game might give you the opportunity to see a match. The early kick-off is presumably to accommodate the visitors' flight times back to the Channel Islands

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FA Vase First Round (Level 9 & 10 teams)
FA rules mean that cutting ticket prices is much harder for cup games like this than it is for league matches so it is very unusual to find special deals. Therefore, I'm going to list a few ties which should be worth a watch regardless.

Broadfields United v Walthamstow @3pm - the hosts enjoyed promotion to the ninth tier last season but they could find it tough going against the 'Stow who are one of the most highly rated teams in the Essex Senior League this season. This match is being played at Harefield United's ground

Fisher v Greenwich Borough @3pm - there's a local derby between two Southern Counties East League clubs at Salter Road in Rotherhithe. The club are once again running a 'most obscure football shirt' competition so dig out your most unusual one and see how you get on. This ground has a 4G pitch

Hadley v Milton Keynes Robins @3pm - the hosts made a valiant run to the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup and are doing well in the Essex Senior League too, definitely a side to keep an eye on this season

Oxhey Jets v Hackney Wick @3pm - the hosts have dedicated this match to the 'Lives Not Knives' campaign which local police are using to tackle knife crime which is a subject that's a major priority for the visitors too

Welling Town v Erith & Belvedere @3pm - the draw has thrown up this tasty south-east London derby between another two Southern Counties East League sides. The club are offering deals on season tickets which could see you end up paying as little as £2 a game. There's also a promo video for the match on their website which includes loads of great goals and some stonking fouls! This match will be played in Thamesmead

AFC Hayes v AFC Broxbourne Borough @3pm - the tenth-tier hosts are hoping for a big crowd as they try to raise a considerable amount for Prostate Cancer UK

Bedfont & Feltham v Colliers Wood United @3pm - B&F have made a good start to the season but should face a step up in the class when one of the best sides from the division above them pay a visit. You can see two matches at this ground on Saturday as British Airways play Jersey Bulls at 730pm

Lopes Tavares v Stanway Rovers @3pm - LT have made a superb start to the season and are top of the Eastern Counties League Division 1 South. On Saturday they welcome one of the better sides from the division above and could well cause a cupset

New Salamis v Eynesbury Rovers @3pm - with their roots in north London's Cypriot community, New Salamis are new to this level after promotion from the Herts County League. Like to the two matches above, they now face a decent side from the division above so could struggle. This match is being played at Enfield Town 
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Level 9

Essex Senior League
Cockfosters v Redbridge @3pm - tied on 13 points in midtable this should be a close game. To entice you in this match has been made 'Pay What You Want' so give it a go if you're in the area. As the name suggests, Cockfosters play just a short walk from the Tube station of the same name

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Level 10

Combined Counties League Division 1
Chessington & Hook United v Epsom & Ewell @3pm - there's a decent looking local derby in the 10th tier with the hosts really embracing the day and making it 'Pay What You Want'. They will also be raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK

Tooting Bec v Fleet Spurs @3pm - playing at the impressive Imperial Fields near Mitcham tramstop, the Bec have made this match 'pay what you want' but will give you your money back if it finishes 0-0. Bargain!

British Airways v Jersey Bulls @730pm - this match should attract quite a few groundhoppers because of its late kick-off. The ground is also rather unusual being located right next to Heathrow Airport meaning jets are taking off and landing every minute or so. It's only a short walk from Hatton Cross Tube station on the Piccadilly Line so is easy to get to. To increase the novelty factor even further, Jersey are a newly formed team and are playing in the English league system for the first time. They're also rather good and top the division having won all of their first 10 games!

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Newbury Forest v Wivenhoe Town @3pm - the hosts play at one of the easiest grounds to get to by public transport, as Oakside sits right next to Barkingside Tube station. The 10th tier club are dedicating their game to Prostate Cancer UK

Southern Counties League Division 1
Croydon v Meridian VP @3pm - the Trams are really pushing hard to get a big NLD crowd and have made it 'Pay What You Want' to get as many people as possible through the turnstiles. The club suffered a ruinous break-in by vandals last season and could really do with your support if you're in the area

Holmesdale v Greenways @3pm - Bromley based side Holmesdale have cut admission to just £3 for everyone except Bromley season-ticket holders who will get in for just £1!

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Rayners Lane v Park View @3pm - north west London club Rayners Lane had their completely rebuilt ground re-opened by Watford legend Luther Blissett earlier in the week. As part of the £10m refurbishment, the club have installed a 4G pitch so this match should go ahead. This is just a short journey from Harrow Borough which could fall foul of the rain - £6 admission, including a programme
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Middlesex County Football League (Level 11)
Clapton CFC v Stonewall FC @230pm - although way down in the 11th tier, one of the best fan experiences of the day is likely to be found at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow. CCFC's fans are among the most fun anywhere in the capital with great singing, banners and even occasionally some naughty pyro (shhh!). The atmosphere is highly inclusive and families are very welcome. Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out have picked a handful of games around the country to help further their cause and this is one of them. Entry is by donation 

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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