Sunday 17 November 2019

TLFG: 18-24 November 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

How's your week been?

Mine has been pretty quiet with no live football whatsoever as family commitments have taken priority.

I did do an interview with The Athletic on Friday about "Women's Football Weekend" and the parallels it has with Non-League Day.

Did you get to see a WSL game or something at a lower level? I would've been all over it but my Auntie Beryl booked tickets for the family to go and see the Tutankhamun exhibition months ago so I found myself at the Saatchi Gallery instead which was also very interesting.

Tickets are on sale for Saturday's big derby at the London Stadium
I really don't have a lot more to add. There are a lot of big games this week as the Premier League and EFL return in full.

There are four games in the top flight with West Ham's derby against Tottenham being the highlight of what's on offer - tickets are available too.

Aside from that there are also some cracking non-league games, an FA Cup replay and the next round of the FA Trophy.

As always, have a great week and enjoy your football.

The highlights of the next few days include a full programme in the Premier League, 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.

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 18 November

Professional Developement League
Charlton Athletic v Watford @1pm - the pick of the day's U23 action takes place at The Valley where the Addicks take on their counterparts from Vicarage Road. There's also a game at Crystal Palace's training ground but as with all U23 games, confirm all the details before you travel

FA Youth Cup Second Round
With a lunchtime game under your belt, you can then head to one of the U18 cup matches taking place in the evening. Usually I don't cover this competition until the next round and I'm beginning to remember why as fixtures get postponed and moved at very short notice. At this stage, three games are on - Croydon v Bath City,  Hanworth Villa v AFC Wimbledon and Dulwich Hamlet v Forest Green Rovers. Entry prices vary but never go above £5

Isthmian League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Hornchurch @745pm - if youth football's not your thing then this senior match at Coles Park should be more to your liking as two of the Isthmian League's title contenders go head-to-head. Although Haringey are way down in 10th, they have five games in hand on the leaders thanks to their extended run in the FA Cup. The Urchins are up in fourth but have games in hand too which means these two should both be fighting for honours by the end of the season

Tuesday 19 November

FA Cup First Round Replay
Bromley v Bristol Rovers @745pm - fighting hard for the National League title and taking League One play-off contenders Bristol Rovers to a replay in the cup, the Ravens are having a great season. Over 2,000 tickets have already been sold and the remainder are on general sale for £15 so act fast if you want to go as none will be available on the day

FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round
Bedfont Sports v Paulton Rovers @745pm - the hosts almost got thrown out of this competition after fielding an ineligible player in the opening round but were instead given the chance to re-play the tie. As a result they've been playing catch up for the last few weeks with most sides now getting ready for Third Qualifying Round ties this weekend. After beating a decent Grays side and the higher ranked Hitchin in previous rounds, they should fancy their chances here

Southern League Cup Second Round
Hendon v Hayes & Yeading United @745pm - having met twice already this season in two very entertaining games, these two local rivals will look to put on another goal feast. With 14 goals finding the net in those two encounters which took place in the space of 10 days last month, this will hopefully be another cracker

Essex Senior League
Walthamstow v Takeley @745pm - unbeaten in their 12 league games so far this season, the Stow are second with games in hand on the leaders. One of those games is this one against third placed Takeley who are often among the top clubs in this division - a big game for both


Wednesday 20 November

Isthmian League Premier Division

Kingstonian v Enfield Town @745pm - with only one home win this season, the K's league form has been pretty unimpressive but in the cups it's been a different story. Through to the Second Round of the FA Cup and the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy, the south-west London club have barely put a foot wrong. Enfield are still in the Trophy too but, more importantly, are doing really well in the league and have strong title aspirations

FA Women's League Cup
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - there are a number of games in this competition on Wednesday night with this crosstown derby the standout match. We're still at the group stage at the moment with the top two in each group progressing. Chelsea are currently top and Spurs are third

Thursday 21 November

FA Women's League Cup

Arsenal v Bristol City @730pm - in Group B the top two meet at Boreham Wood. Despite their disappointing league form, it's actually Bristol City who are top, one point ahead of the Gunners


Friday 22 November

Fulham v Queens Park Rangers @745pm - pretty much every west London derby gets picked for TV these days and this one is no different. Unfortunately for QPR their record in such derbies is pretty poor. Against Brentford they've lost eight of the last 11 and against the Cottagers it's six of the last 10, including a 6-0 and a 4-0. No matter who's in charge or who the players are, Rangers really struggle to get themselves properly prepared for these matches. With Fulham only a couple of points ahead of QPR, on paper at least, it should be a close game. Unusually for a game at Craven Cottage, tickets are only on sale to people with a previous purchasing history and QPR's allocation sold out a long time ago

Premier League 2
If you can't get a ticket for this but still want to watch Fulham, their U23 team are also in action on Friday night as they host Swansea City at the club's training ground. Over on the other side of town, it's also West Ham United v Aston Villa at Dagenham & Redbridge's stadium


Saturday 23 November

Premier League
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - a packed programme of Premier League action gets underway at lunchtime with this derby in the Olympic Park. Both clubs fought for control of the Olympic Stadium a few years ago with the Hammers eventually coming out on top. Given what Spurs have ended up with instead, I don't think they'll have too many complaints. Back to the present day and both sides are going through a pretty bad patch at the moment with only bottom clubs Southampton and Norwich in worse shape. Unsurprisingly there are quite a few tickets available for what is normally one of London's bigger games
Arsenal v Southampton @3pm - as mentioned above, the Saints have had a very poor start to the season and the Gunners are struggling too. Both managers are under huge pressure and a win for either could see the other sacked. Since returning to the Premier League in 2012, Southampton haven't won a league game at the Emirates so their chances of picking up three points look slim. Tickets are not available to non-members but if you want to see an Arsenal side in action, their U23 team are also playing Southampton in a Premier League 2 game at Boreham Wood at 1pm
Crystal Palace v Liverpool @3pm - after losing at Chelsea last weekend, Palace slipped to 12th as their winless run extended to four games. It's not going to get any easier on Saturday as the unbeaten league leaders visit Selhurst Park. There have been some pretty epic matches between these two over the years, not least last season's seven-goal thriller at Anfield, but it's the Reds who invariably come out on top. Jurgen Klopp's side put in a very professional performance to win 2-0 in south London on their last trip in January and I expect something similar here. Tickets are not available to non-members
Watford v Burnley @3pm - it's not the sexiest of games by any means but it could be crucial, particularly for the Hornets. After being bottom for so long, Watford finally got their first win last week against fellow strugglers Norwich. That result has put them only three points from safety and this should be a game that they target another three points. Despite being incredibly unfashionable, Burnley continue to hold their own and ended a poor run with a solid win over West Ham in their last game. Tickets are available

Charlton Athletic v Cardiff City @1230pm - there's some lunchtime action in the second tier where the Addicks welcome the Bluebirds. After a fine start, Lee Bowyer's side are now four games without a win and could do with a positive result. Cardiff lost their last match and saw veteran manager Neil Warnock leave the club. On Saturday they replaced him with former Millwall manager Neil Harris. Tickets are available to non-members
Brentford v Reading @3pm - in this division, Brentford are geographically Reading's closest rivals so this is very much a derby. Rail connections between the two towns are good and I've been on trains that have been absolutely heaving from fairly early in the day. The Bees are higher up the table and in good form but the Royals are enjoying a big change in fortune under new boss Mark Bowen and should be more than competitive on what will probably be their last ever visit to Griffin Park before its demolition. As a result, tickets are not available to non-members

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Gillingham @3pm - with 7 points from their last five games, the Dons have improved significantly under Glyn Hodges. The Gills' form is similar and are the sort of team Wimbledon could well beat. Tickets are available to non-members

Level Two
Leyton Orient v Forest Green Rovers @3pm - the O's suffered the ignominy of losing at home to Maldon & Tiptree in the FA Cup First Round. With four divisions separating the two, it was a proper giant killing and cost manager Carl Fletcher his job just 29 days after being appointed. Former non-league club FGR arrive at Brisbane Road as one of the division's top clubs and will be very tough to beat. Tickets are available

National League
Sutton United v Bromley @3pm - since losing highly successful manager Paul Doswell, Sutton's fortunes have plummeted as replacement Matt Gray has struggled in the role. With only four wins from 20 league games so far this season, it's quite surprising that he's still in the job. On Saturday they welcome local rivals Bromley who are challenging for the title, playing the likes of Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup and having possibly the season of their lives - it could be an uncomfortable afternoon

FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round
This national knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers, with its final at Wembley, has reached its final qualifying round. There are numerous ties across the city, some of which are still to be decided - here are a few of the more notable ones.
Dulwich Hamlet v Chippenham Town @3pm - after their FA Cup run ended at the hands of Carlisle, the Hamlet's only remaining way of getting to Wembley this season is through this competition. Both sides are in midtable in the National League South so it should be closely contested. Dulwich drew another crowd in excess of 3,000 on Saturday so turn up early to get a decent view as the sightlines aren't great
Carshalton Athletic v Tooting & Mitcham United @3pm - the hosts also saw their fine FA Cup run end last week and should, in theory, start as favourites here. However, this is a south London derby and Tooting are in superb form albeit in the division below. It's an intriguing one
Enfield Town v Maldon & Tiptree @3pm - again at first glance the hosts should be strong favourites. They play a division above the visitors and are one of the best teams in it but M&T are also in great form and grabbed all the headlines recently by beating Leyton Orient in the FA Cup

A bit further afield
Leatherhead v Dorking Wanderers @3pm - just beyond the M25 we've got a big Surrey derby at Fetcham Grove. Matches between these two have drawn big crowds in recent years and hopefully this will be no different. Given Wanderers now play at a higher level and there will be no league games between the two, there's even more reason for a good turnout

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Guernsey @2pm - following their promotion, CVPM have settled in superbly at this level and are top after 11 games. Guernsey joined the English league system in 2011 and looked like surging up the pyramid after winning back-to-back promotions in front of huge crowds. However, the eighth tier is as far as they've got. Last year was dreadful by their standards as they finished in the bottom three but this year they're back in contention and could move into the play-off places with a win here - note the early kick-off time
Phoenix Sports v Chichester City @3pm - hoping to keep Guernsey out of the top five are Phoenix who are just ahead of them on goal difference. The south-east London club welcome one of the most famous teams in non-league at the current time with the Sussex side creating lots of headlines in the FA Cup this season. After receiving a bye in the First Round because of Bury's sad demise, the tiny club will now travel to either Tranmere or Wycombe in the Second Round.  Although well down the league table, they should be right up there among the play-off contenders if they win their games in hand

SSML Premier Division
Wembley v Tring Athletic @3pm - there are no real blockbuster fixtures in the ninth tier this week so I've gone for this one as it sees the Lions welcome the current league leaders. Over the summer, former England manager and current Crystal Palace supremo Roy Hodgson conducted a coaching session for the Tring players and it seems to have paid off as they've made a great start to the season. With only 12 points from 12 games, the same can't be said for Wembley who could well struggle here

SSML Division 1
St Panteleimon v New Salamis @3pm - the standout game of the day in the 10th tier sees the top two in this division go head-to-head. Both sides are new to this level of football after enjoying promotion at the end of last season and are 'smashing it' as I believe the youth say. The hosts, who play at North Greenford United, have yet to lose any of their opening 16 league games so will start as favourites. The pair met in the Division 1 Cup recently and it went to penalties with the Saints edging through so it should be close again. Both sides also have their roots in the Greek/Cypriot community as well


Sunday 24 November

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Liverpool @2pm - there are two WSL games on Sunday with this match being the most eye-catching as reigning league champions Arsenal take on Liverpool. The Reds are having a terrible season so far and have picked up only one point from their opening five games. Tickets to watch the Gunners at Boreham Wood are cheaper if bought online in advance
West Ham United v Reading @3pm - in the other top-flight game of the afternoon, last season's beaten FA Cup finalists host the Royals. Both are currently locked in midtable so it should be close. Tickets for matches at Rush Green are £8

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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