Sunday 9 February 2020

TLFG: 10-16 February 2020

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

Once again I aim to keep this brief as I've had a sick child on my hands for the last 24 hours and whilst they're getting some rest I'll get this finally published.

For the second week running I managed to get to a game as I got out of work unexpectedly early on Saturday. This meant I could get out to my old home town to watch the Southern League clash between Harrow Borough and Poole Town.

I went to the same game last February during a very unseasonal heatwave in which I nearly got sunburned and Harrow surprisingly won 4-0!

Only a few tickets remain!
This time round, we were lucky enough to have clear blue skies again but the temperatures were much lower and it was pretty nippy by the end.

The game was also pretty drab and ended 0-0 thanks mainly to some stirling work by Boro goalkeeper Luca Ashby-Hammond who is on loan from Fulham.

It was good to also make contact again with TLFG reader John B who was at the game but I missed him as I received the call to dash home and get my daughter to hospital - she should be fine.

Anyway, I think that's it from me. Enjoy your week. Hopefully the weather won't ruin things too much as it did on Sunday and look out for a couple of quirky options at the weekend in the Daily Digest below.

Lastly, many thanks to all those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. It makes writing this even more worthwhile so many, many thanks.

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, National League, Women's FA Cup 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 - blue 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 10 February

Professional Development League
There are two U23 games at lunchtime with Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic both hosting games albeit not at their main stadiums. Check all the final details with the clubs on the day as they can change at short notice

Isthmian League North
Aveley v AFC Sudbury @745pm - one of the stories of the weekend was the Millers' stunning victory over Chelmsford which saw them progress into the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy - a competition meant to be won by far bigger clubs. They're also doing rather nicely in the league and will find themselves just two points off top spot if they beat lower midtable Sudbury

A bit further afield
If you're prepared to travel beyond London's south-western edge then you can watch Chelsea play Wolves in the FA Youth Cup Fifth Round at Aldershot Town's ground. The Blues have dominated this U18 competition in recent years and should win here

Tuesday 11 February

Brentford v Leeds United @745pm - one of the games of the week takes place in west London where the mighty Leeds will make their last ever visit to Griffin Park. Saturday's results left the clubs in second to fifth place separated by just two points which means the battle for automatic promotion is now really hotting up. If you haven't already guessed, both these sides are in the top five. Despite being a tiny club compared to Leeds, it is the Bees who are in better form and they could well win. Tickets are not available to non-members

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Ipswich Town @745pm - a game of huge significance at either end of the table as the Dons look to pull well clear of the relegation zone and Ipswich look to get back into the play-off places. Both sides are in poor form at the moment so it will probably come down to who wants it more. Tickets are not available to non-members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Mansfield Town @745pm - with tickets difficult to get for both of the matches above, the O's game against Mansfield becomes your best option. Both sides are in the bottom six but given only one team are going down this season and bottom club Stevenage are so bad, they've probably got little to fear. Tickets are available to non-members

Middlesex Charity Cup Second Round
Wealdstone v Harrow Borough @745pm - if this was a league game then I'd have no hesitation recommending this but this Harrow derby is a but a mere county cup match. Given the Stones are top of the division above their opponents and are going for the title, they may well rest quite a few players. As a Harrow fan, I really hope Steve Baker and his team really go for this. Sadly, Wealdstone are a far bigger and more successful club whose shadow we've had to live in for years and this season could be a huge one for them. If the Boro can nick a win, even in this relatively minor competition, it will be hugely satisfying

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Whyteleafe @745pm - two of the division's top six meet at the Badgers as the clubs look to strengthen their chances of making the play-offs

Combined Counties Premier Division
Molesey v Knaphill @745pm - the game of the night in the ninth tier would appear to be this clash between two of the top five at Walton Road


Wednesday 12 February

Millwall v Fulham @745pm - the Championship is serving up some good games with this London derby dominating proceedings on Wednesday. Just as it looked as if the Lions might crack into the top six, their good run of results has dried up and they've slipped to 10th. The same can't be said of the Cottagers who are on cracking form with only goal difference keeping them out of the top two. Tickets are on sale to non-members

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Sutton Common Rovers v Spelthorne Sports @745pm - with SCR seeing their great run in the FA Vase come to an end on Saturday, the south London club now have quite a few league games to make up. If they win them, they'll find themselves in the top three, just behind Spelthorne who are going for the title

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Birmingham City @7pm - the hosts have leaders Manchester City in their sights and could go top if they beat struggling Birmingham which they should do


Friday 14 February

Premier League 2
Fulham v Aston Villa @7pm - got a hot date for Valentine's night but aren't sure where to take them? The show pitch at Fulham's Motspur Park training ground isn't an obvious choice but they certainly won't forget it. Tickets are £3 on the gate


Saturday 15 February

Charlton Athletic v Blackburn Rovers @3pm - with the Premier League still on its staggered winter break, it's the second tier that will take centre stage on Saturday and there are three rather uninspiring games to choose from. First up, in alphabetical order, is this match at The Valley where the struggling Addicks welcome midtable Blackburn. The best thing about this is that Charlton are running their annual 'Football For A Fiver' promotion so tickets are only £5 which is very good value. The last time I checked, it was approaching a sell out so be quick if you want to go
Fulham v Barnsley @3pm - the Cottagers could be in the top two by the time this comes around and they'll expect to beat the Tykes who are in the bottom three and having a poor season. Again, tickets are very reasonably priced with most between £20-25 and U18s getting in for just £1
Queens Park Rangers v Stoke City @3pm - possibly the most 'meh' game of the lot is taking place at the KPF Stadium where two lower midtable sides will hope to grind out a good result. Both sides need a win to push them away from the bottom three and it is the visitors who are in better form. Tickets are available to non-members

National League
Barnet v Harrogate Town @3pm - the Bees caused a considerable upset on Saturday by beating NL leaders Barrow to make the FA Trophy quarter-finals. They'll be joined in the draw by Harrogate who are currently second in the table and looking for their first promotion to the EFL

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Welling United @3pm - only six points separate the teams between 14th and 21st which means the battle to avoid the drop still includes a significant number of clubs. Both these sides are in that group and both hail from the south-east side of town. The Hamlet are averaging crowds of well over 2,000 this season and you're advised to book in advance and get there early if you want to get a decent view of the action

Southern League Premier Division South
Hendon v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - two old rivals (or three as Hayes and Yeading were separate clubs) formerly of the Isthmian League meet at Silver Jubilee Park for what should be a decent contest. Although neither are in the leading group, they are probably the division's top two on form with Hendon winning six on the trot and H&YU five of their last six

Isthmian League South Central
Hanwell Town v Bracknell Town @3pm - the hosts have been top for a large part of this season but are struggling to shake off Ware who are just behind them. Bracknell are an ambitious club and are in the top six at the time of writing

Essex Senior League
Hadley v Walthamstow @3pm - the match of the day in the ninth tier is at Brickfield Lane where two of the top four meet. Both have games in hand on leaders Saffron Walden and the Stow could go top with a win

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
St Panteleimon v New Salamis @3pm - there's a big game to look out for in the 10th tier where the top two in the division do battle. Both clubs have their roots in the Greek Cypriot community which adds a little more spice to the occasion. With the Saints nine points clear at the top, this is pretty much a title decider. For some reason, St Panteleimon have moved most of their home games to the Middlesex FA's HQ at Rectory Park which means it's being played at a glorified 'Goals' facility, albeit with 11-a-side pitches, which is slightly disappointing

Arthur Dunn Cup Quarter-Final
Old Alleynians v Old Carthusians @11am -  if you fancy something a little different but incredibly historic then you might want to check this out on Saturday morning. Whatever you think about the class system and English public schools, they and some of they're pupils have been absolutely fundamental to the foundation of the game in this country and hence around the world. This cup is named after the Old Etonian FA Cup winner who proposed it back at the very start of the 20th century. The match is being played in the grounds of Dulwich College, one of the country's top public schools and visitors Old Carthusians are the most successful club in its history wining it 28 times, including five of the last six. Entry is free and can easily be combined with the Dulwich Hamlet game or several others in south London later in the afternoon


Sunday 16 February

Premier League
Arsenal v Newcastle United @430pm - winless in four and down to 10th, the Gunners are now closer to the relegation zone than they are to the top four as what looks like being their worst season since 1994-95 grinds on. I have to admit that by the tone of the pundits when I've had Football Focus/MOTD on in the background in recent weeks, I thought Newcastle were in much more trouble than they are but they're on level points with Arsenal which says it all! Tickets are not available to non-members

Women's FA Cup Fifth Round
Chelsea v Liverpool @1230pm - there are several ties in London on Sunday but this would appear to be the biggest. Sadly for the Reds, their women's team are not dominating in the way their men's team are and anything other than a home win would be quite an upset. Elsewhere, Arsenal entertain Lewes and Crystal Palace host Brighton. UPDATE - THIS MATCH HAS BEEN MOVED TO MONDAY NIGHT TO AVOID STORM DENNIS

The wildcard
For something completely different I give you a charity match put on by the London Middle Eastern Project between London Lebanon and London Iraq at the New River Stadium in Haringey at 2pm. Tickets are £5 in advance and £10 on the door which includes food and drink and other Middle Eastern entertainment - it could get lively!

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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