Sunday, 13 September 2020

TLFG: 14-20 September 2020

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

The last week has seen the season continue to get going with the Premier League and EFL getting underway over the weekend.

Saturday also saw the lion's share of the next round of FA Cup ties get played.

It was a happy time for me as QPR and Harrow Borough both enjoyed victories with Rangers getting a slightly surprising 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest and Boro squeaking past Langney Wanderers in the cup on penalties.

The FA Vase gets underway this week

Over the next few days we see the start of the Isthmian League and Southern League, the opening round of the FA Vase and the next round in the women's FA Cup.

In other words there's no reason to miss out as there's plenty on offer.

On Saturday it's even possible to do a 'double' thanks to the FA Vase tie at Walton & Hersham kicking off at 745pm.

I'm all set to go to the SSML match between North Greenford United and Edgware Town on Tuesday and hopefully a game somewhere on Sunday but we'll see.

I also began a virtual run around 'the 92' with some of the QPR Runners on Saturday. As a group we're trying to run the 3,000+km as quickly as we can. Three of us did a QPR-Fulham-Chelsea-QPR loop yesterday morning which was a around 15km. I believe there are plans to run to Brentford on Saturday.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Isthmian League, Southern League, FA Vase, Women's National League and Women's FA Cup. There are also games at higher levels but none of them are open to the public.

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. However, capacity restrictions are currently in place at all grounds because of Covid-19 meaning only clubs from the seventh tier and below can currently admit spectators.

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 - blue 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 14 September

London Senior Cup Final
Brentford B v Hendon @730pm - there's only one game on Monday night and it's a good one. With last season's competition delayed by Covid-19, the final is only now being played. Hanwell Town's Powerday Stadium plays host and with a limited capacity, only a few tickets are left. The Brentford allocation has sold out but Hendon still have some on sale for £10

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Tuesday 15 September

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Southall v Hanworth Villa @745pm - the hosts have made a superb start to the season, winning all four of their matches. The last of those was Saturday's impressive FA Cup win over Ashford Town who play a level above them and whose ground they share. Hanworth have made a reasonable start and are also in the top five

Essex Senior League
Fisher v Tower Hamlets @745pm - hailing from either side of the Thames, this is a local derby of sorts. Sadly, the sides have only accrued one point between them from the five games they've played so this could be an important game even at this early stage. Tower Hamlets could find things tougher than normal this season as they've taken up a groundshare with Phoenix Sports way down in south-east London and their already small fanbase will no doubt shrink

Combined Counties League Division 1
Chessington & Hook United v Farnham Town @745pm - the visitors were all set to finish as runners-up to Jersey Bulls last season but saw Covid-19 rob them of promotion. This season has begun well again with three wins out of three. Chessington had a poor campaign but have made a much better start this time round

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Wednesday 16 September

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Balham v Welling Town @745pm - the hosts have moved to groundshare with AFC Croydon Athletic this season and they've made a reasonable start with two wins out of three propelling them into the top five. The Boots have only played two league games and won them both to sit fourth

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Friday 18 September

FA Vase First Qualifying Round
With the FA Cup already underway, the Vase starts on Friday. This national knockout competition is for clubs in the ninth to eleventh tiers and usually has its final at Wembley so it's hugely prestgious for the clubs involved. On Friday there are two ties to sink your teeth into. There's an all-SSML tie at Rayners  Lane's ground between Broadfields United and Aylesbury Vale Dynamos whilst in east London Barkingside entertain Coggeshall United 

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Saturday 19 September

Seventh tier

Isthmian League Premier Division
With pre-season out of the way, the Isthmian League kick-offs on Saturday. Cray Wanderers, London's oldest club, were second at the time Covid-19 intervened last season so they'll hope to have another good campaign. They start with an interesting home game against Kingstonian. Only a point behind Cray in third were Carshalton Athletic. The Robins have had a great couple of years and have made impressive progress off the pitch too. They are definitely ones to watch and will fancy their chances against Potters Bar Town. For me, the pick of the action in north London should come at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium where Enfield Town host former National League/Conference club Lewes

Southern League Premier Division South
It's also opening day in the parallel Southern League. Hayes & Yeading United were flying when things came to an abrupt end in March. Third and the highest ranked TLFG side in the league, the west London club must have been gutted to see things end early. They begin their campaign with a tricky game against Taunton Town who should be in with a shout of the play-offs

Eighth tier

Isthmian League North Division
Like Hayes, Aveley also got stuck in third but had the games in hand to comfortably finish second. With one of the best grounds of any non-league club in TLFG's catchment area, they'll be hoping for at least play-off place this season. On Saturday they welcome Norfolk club Dereham Town who should also be competitive in 2020/21

Isthmian League South Central Division
On and off the pitch, Hanwell Town have made great strides in the last couple of years. The west London club were title challengers in 2019/20 and little has changed for them to be considered as anything less this time. They have an opening day game against Bedfont Sports who finished in midtable. There's a mouthwatering game at Alwyns Lane where Chertsey Town welcome Uxbridge. These sides finished third and fourth so we could be in for a cracker!

Ninth and tenth tiers

FA Vase First Qualifying Round
The main action at these levels on Saturday is in the opening round of this competition. There are numerous ties taking place all over London. 

It's quite hard to pick which ones will be the best at this early stage in the season but here's a few that standout for me.

First up we have some derbies. In Ilford, Frenford welcome near neighbours Newbury Forest to their recently revamped ground. Next to Heathrow, British Airways entertain CB Hounslow United whilst up in north London there's a 'name' derby (for want of a better description) between Hadley and Hadleigh United.

Lewisham Borough CFC are the only London club to be making their debut in the competition this season and they have a tough home draw against Balham (update - this has now been switched to Balham).

Of big interest to grondhoppers will be the evening kick-off between Walton & Hersham and Meridian VP which starts at 745pm. This allows you to combine it with a huge selection of the 3pm games and do a 'double'.

Combined Counties League Premier Division
If you don't fancy a Vase game, the impressive Southall side I mentioned above play Ascot United. The visitors were pretty much champions elect last season and are right up among the frontrunners again. If the 'All can beat them too then they'll have to be taken very seriously indeed.

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Sunday 20 September

Isthmian League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Bowers & Pitsea @3pm - the hosts have their roots in the local Jewish community and often see their games moved at this time of the year for religious festivals - this time it's Rosh Hashanah. Wingate were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the season ending early as relegation was looking increasingly likely. Essex club B&P were in no danger of the drop but weren't pulling up any trees either

FA Vase First Qualifying Round
There are three more ties to savour on Sunday as West Essex, Croydon (at Glebe) and Westside all host matches to liven up your Sunday afternoon


Women's Football
There are several games open to spectators on Sunday with the Women's National League match between Hounslow and Crawley Wasps at Rayners Lane topping the bill. There are also several FA Cup ties with AFC Wimbledon, Brentford, Fulham, Millwall  and QPR among those in action



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!

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