Sunday, 10 November 2019

TLFG: 11-17 November 2019

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

I've just enjoyed a week a off work. It was my birthday on Tuesday but aside from that, it wasn't a hugely eventful time.

I had a couple of health tests as I'm getting on a bit - one came back all normal but the other result is still pending but hopefully I'll be ok.

It was also my eldest daughter's school play which saw actor Bill Nighy take a seat on the front row as a surprise special guest and I made a first visit to the Design Museum on the edge of Holland Park.

I also began negotiations with a potential sponsor for next year's Non-League Day.

It's Spurs v Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday
But you don't really want to hear about any of that. What football did you see? I hear you ask.

Aside from watching Dulwich Hamlet do themselves proud in the FA Cup on Friday (on TV like most others I hasten to add), I ended the week by going to Wembley to watch England's women take on Germany in a friendly.

As I expected, it was a great experience.

The atmosphere is totally different from big men's games - there's no lack of passion in the crowd but it's totally devoid of all the negativity and aggression.

When you come out for refreshments at half-time, there isn't spilt beer all over the floor and goodness knows what else and there was no drunken behaviour at all.

Call me too middle aged, too middle class or whatever - but I've had enough of all the aggro at football.

With monkey chanting at all levels of the men's game in the last month or so, the 'f' and 'c' words used as a matter of course in the earshot of whoever because 'we're not in a church' and all other kinds of anti-social behaviour creeping back into our grounds, I found my trip to Wembley really refreshing.

Everyone I know who attended enjoyed themselves despite the terrible weather and disappointing last-minute defeat. It only cost me a total of £11 for an adult and junior ticket. Everyone just wanted to have a good time and I'd go back in a heartbeat.

I love football but I haven't taken my wife to a men's game for years - she's not 'white English' and got assaulted on her first visit to QPR in 2005 and given verbal abuse on Uxbridge Road before a game whilst she was shopping by R's 'fans' on the way to a game about 18 months ago. 

There wasn't a hint of that kind of behaviour from a crowd of nearly 80,000 on Saturday and I can't wait for the women's Euros here in 2021. 

Which brings me nicely to the subject of 'Women's Football Weekend' which takes place this weekend.

With it being an international break, the FA have decided to try and promote women's football in a similar way I do semi-pro football with Non-League Day.

In fact, I've directly told the relevant people at the FA that they should be doing this for several years now and have offered to help them out.

I never got a reply but lo and behold, we now have such an event which is great to see.

If you want to take in a match, the north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal is the main event. Not only is it a big derby but it's being played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and tickets are only £6.50 so don't miss out.

I've got another couple of days off in the coming week so hope to get to a game on Tuesday but who knows what will happen.

Lastly from me, many many thanks to readers Bruce G from Massachusetts, USA and Cameron H from Australia who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - it's been made good use of this week, I assure you!

Have a great week and enjoy your football.

THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include a Euro 2020 qualifier, action in the EFL, National League, FA Trophy, Women's Super League and loads of other matches in our local non-league competitions. 

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 11 November

FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round Replay
Aveley v Taunton Town @745pm - the Millers were just five minutes away from recording a notable cupset on Saturday but ultimately had to settle for a 3-3 draw, a result they would no doubt have taken before kick-off. After a long journey down to Somerset to play one of the best sides at the level above them, Aveley had their work cut out but acquitted themselves well. Now it's the west country team who have to make that journey but on a Monday night - it could be another close one

FA Youth Cup Second Round
If the the journey to Essex is too much for you, there are a couple of U18 games in west London that could be more convenient with Uxbridge hosting Newport County and Hanworth Villa taking on AFC Wimbledon in a couple of pretty prestigious ties for the non-league clubs.
Update - the Hanworth game is now taking place next week

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Tuesday 12 November

National League South
Welling United v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - after impressing a live TV audience with a spirited display in the FA Cup on Friday night, Dulwich return to league action with this derby against the Wings. Both sides are perched a little too close to the relegation zone than they'd like to be so a win would do wonders for either

FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round
Carshalton Athletic v Frome Town @745pm - the Robins also saw their fine FA Cup run come to an end on Saturday at the hands of Boston United. However, they go straight back into cup action with this match against Frome. The Somerset club suffered relegation last season but are top of the Southern League Division 1 South as they look to make an instant return to the seventh tier. Given their current form, they could be trickier opponents than their ranking might suggest

FA Trophy First Qualifying Round Replay
Bedfont Sports v Hitchin Town @745pm - after fielding an ineligible player in the Preliminary Round, Bedfont are a round behind everyone else because they had to re-play their tie against Grays which they won. On Saturday they travelled to Hitchin, and like Aveley, they did well to earn a replay against higher level opposition. Hitchin aren't having a great season and could vulnerable

London Senior Cup Second Round
Hendon v Leyton Orient @745pm - as regular readers know, I'm a huge advocate of London's pro clubs entering development sides in local county cup competitions. It used to be a common occurrence when I was growing up but it barely happens these days. However, Leyton Orient are one of the sides who do and every credit to them. After winning at Tower Hamlets in the First Round, the O's next play a side from two levels higher up who should present them with a decent challenge

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Wednesday 13 November

FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round

Hayes & Yeading United v Soham Town Rangers @745pm - at the time of writing, the hosts are about to take on Oxford United in an FA Cup tie which will be arguably the biggest match in the club's history. Whatever happens in that match, they'll have to go straight into this delayed FA Trophy game three days later. Soham play a level below Hayes so Paul Hughes' side should start as favourites

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Thursday 14 November

Euro 2020 qualifier

England v Montenegro @745pm - the biggest match of the week takes place at Wembley where the Three Lions could clinch top spot in Group A with a win here. Their Balkan opponents have been very poor with no wins from their seven group games so far and they lost 5-1 at home to Gareth Southgate's side in the reciprocal fixture back in March. The most notable thing about this match is that it's England's 1,000th men's international and tickets are available

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Friday 15 November

Professional Development League
Queens Park Rangers v Coventry City @2pm - if you're free at lunchtime on Friday, there's an U23 game at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. These games are usually free entry but check with the club on the day

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Saturday 16 November

League Two
Leyton Orient v Scunthorpe United @3pm - with it being an international break, the highest level match you'll be able to see will be this fourth tier one at Brisbane Road. On paper, it's not hugely mouthwatering as it features two of the bottom nine. Neither are in great form and unsurprisingly, tickets are available

National League
Bromley v Harrogate Town @3pm - the Ravens are currently top of the National League and are therefore the best non-league side in the country. On Saturday they welcome Harrogate who are up in the play-off places and should provide stiff opposition. Both sides will be coming into this off the back of huge FA Cup games against Bristol Rovers and Portsmouth respectively, which will no doubt have some bearing on their performances. Tickets for Bromley games are always cheaper if booked online in advance

National League South
Wealdstone v Hampton & Richmond Borough @3pm - the Stones saw their match against Eastbourne Borough postponed on Saturday but they still ended the day seven points clear at the top. On Saturday they face Middlesex rivals Hampton & Richmond for what is often an entertaining game. After a bit of a revival to lift themselves out of the relegation zone and up into midtable, Gary McCann's side have now lost two in a row and will have to do something special to get something here

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Folkestone Invicta @3pm - when it comes to non-league football, England's seventh tier is probably my favourite. The standard is good, the grounds are decent and the admission fee is on or around a tenner (£11 in this case). The match of the day at this level takes place at Donkey Lane where two of the Isthmian League's top four do battle. Enfield have several games in hand on all of the teams above them and they'd be top if they won them

Isthmian League South Central
Tooting & Mitcham United v Hanwell Town @3pm - there's also a huge game in the eighth tier at Imperial Fields where fourth placed Tooting host the leaders. This might as well be a top-two clash as both sides have games in hand on the teams in second and third so it's pretty huge. Both sides also normally wear black and white stripes so it's a 'kit derby' too

CCL Premier Division
Spelthorne Sports v Colliers Wood United @3pm - there's another top-four clash in the Combined Counties League too. Again both sides have games in hand on the leading pair so a win here for either could be crucial

MCFL Premier Division
Clapton CFC v Pitshanger Dynamo @2pm - nothing really takes my fancy in the 10th tier but this 11th tier match at Wadham Lodge should be well worth a watch. Although both sides are outside the top four, the Tons have the games in hand to move up alongside the frontrunners and they have a good chance of winning here. Pitshanger are usually among the title challengers so it's a bit of a surprise to seem in sixth with more games played than most others. As regular readers know, you're guaranteed a great match experience at Clapton CFC games - the fans are among the liveliest, most creative and inclusive of any around and could easily get 400-500 for this match which is the same as some of the bigger teams in the seventh tier get. Entry is by donation so you could technically get in for free too

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Sunday 17 November

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal @3pm - this weekend sees the first 'Women's Football Weekend' where the FA try to promote football at this level during an international break (a bit like Non-League Day). The standout game in the capital on Sunday is this north London derby which is being played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Tickets are still available and are only £7 for adults including a booking fee. If you've not been to Spurs' fantastic new stadium, this is your chance
Chelsea v Manchester United @2pm - if that's not for you, then you might prefer this other blockbuster clash in south-west London. Sadly this isn't being played at Stamford Bridge but at Kingsmeadow which Chelsea Women share with AFC Wimbledon. Adult tickets for this are also available but come in at a slightly more expensive £9


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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