Sunday 25 October 2020

TLFG: 26 October - 1 November 2020

Greetings readers - I'm going to keep this brief as I'm on early morning shifts again and need to be up in a few hours.

Hopefully I haven't missed anything crucial out but if I have please let me know or put something in the comments section below.

I haven't been to any football this week. I was too tired by the time Wednesday evening came round so didn't make the trip to Kingstonian. I was also off on Saturday but it was my daughter's birthday so it was spent at the zoo rather than pitchside somewhere.

The week ahead looks pretty full with the FA Trophy and FA Vase dominating proceedings at the weekend.

The FA Vase and FA Trophy take centre stage this week

After representations and suggestions from a couple of readers, I've brought back the 'A bit further afield' section in the daily digest with a couple of interesting matches to tempt you beyond London's extremities. If you know of any more, once again let me know or put them in the comments. At most, they shouldn't be much more than 90 minutes travel time from the capital.

I start a run of 11 days off work on Wednesday so I hope to at least go to Harrow Borough's FA Trophy tie at Burgess Hill Town on Saturday. Who knows what the following week will bring...

Lastly from me, many thanks to all those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. Cheers one and all.


The highlights of the next few days include games in the Isthmian League, Southern League, FA Trophy, FA Vase, FA Youth Cup 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 or youth matches. 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.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - blue 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 26 October

Combined Counties League Challenge Cup Second Round
Sutton Common Rovers v Spelthorne Sports @745pm - the week opens with a very decent looking cup tie as leaders SCR welcome third-placed Spelthorne for what looks like the game of the night

SCEFL Division 1
SC Thamesmead v Forest Hill Park @745pm - Monday evening also gives us the chance to run the rule over the hosts who are currently joint top of the division. FHP have only won two of their opening six league games so face a tough evening


Tuesday 27 October

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Chesham United @745pm - HYU caused one the upsets of the FA Cup Fourth Round Quailfying on Saturday by winning 2-0 at local rivals Wealdstone. With the First Round draw on Monday night, the west London club will know who they'll be playing and tickets could possibly be on sale at the ground. Aside from that, they're also pushing for a place in the top five in the league and a win here against the club just above them could be very significant
Walton Casuals v Metropolitan Police @745pm - elsewhere in the division, there's a local derby. Met Police are only one point adrift of the play-off places but lost at home to Walton Casuals in the FA Cup three weeks ago

Isthmian League South Central Division
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Chertsey Town @745pm - talking of derbies, these two don't play a million miles apart either. To top it all, they're both in the top six and looking to push on

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Cockfosters @745pm - after their superb start to the season, Cockfosters have now gone three without a win to fall five points behind leaders Hashtag United. If they're to stay in the title race, a win at the midtable Motormen looks like a must

SSML Premier Division
Oxhey Jets v Harefield United @730pm - in eighth and fourth place respectively, these are the top two TLFG clubs in this league. With leaders Eynesbury Rovers surprisingly losing at home to North Greenford on Saturday, Harefield missed the chance to go joint top after losing to fellow contenders Biggleswade United in a match that must have been a big blow to their confidence. Oxhey's win at Tring means a place in the top five is now within their grasp

CCL Division 1
Chessington & Hook United v Tooting Bec @745pm - with Tooting Bec earning a valuable point against leaders Farnham on Saturday, Chessington missed the chance to close the gap on the top club by losing at Bedfont & Feltham. Both sides come into this in the top six and only two points apart


Wednesday 28 October

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Merstham @745pm - once again, Cray provide the pick of the action on Wednesday as this is the only seventh-tier match on offer. London's oldest club saw their run in this year's FA Cup come to a disappointing end at Canvey Island in one of the upsets of the round. This means they can now concentrate on winning their games in hand and getting back into the title race. A win against bottom club Merstham looks highly likely and will propel them into the top four

Isthmian League North Division
Grays Athletic v Great Wakering Rovers @745pm - Aveley's well-appointed Parkside ground is the venue for this all-Essex affair between sides who are just a point apart in the table and on the cusp of the play-off places

FA Youth Cup Third Qualifying Round
Wealdstone v Bromley @730pm - one of the ties of the round sees two National League clubs' U18 sides meet as Grosvenor Vale. With both sides' fans locked out of all first-team games, you'd think a good few of them would take the chance to watch this. Tickets are £5 and seem to only be available on the gate but check with the club 

Thursday 29 October

Isthmian Youth League Central Division
If U18 football floats your boat, there are two matches in south-west London that will hopefully keep you entertained - Kingstonian (at Colliers Wood United) and Metropolitan Police host. As always, check all the details before you travel


Friday 30 October

FA Vase First Round
With the qualifying rounds out of the way, the competition proper can begin. If you don't know, this national knockout competition is for clubs in the ninth to eleventh tiers with its final at Wembley. At this stage there are 98 ties being played around the country. All matches are decided on the day with penalties deciding things if the scores are level after 90 minutes

Walton & Hersham v Peacehaven & Telscombe @745pm - the first tie of the round takes place on Friday night because Walton Casuals have a game on the same ground on Saturday. The hosts are in the 10th tier CCL Division 1 which is a level below that of SCFL club P&T. However, the visitors aren't in great form and W&H are doing well - great cupset potential


Saturday 31 October

FA Trophy Third Round Qualifying
Saturday is all about cup football with the next round of the FA Trophy (for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers) taking place alongside the Vase. There are a number of ties, here are my top three:

Corinthian Casuals v Hendon @3pm - an all-seventh tier tie in Tolworth should hopefully produce a competitive contest. Casuals earned a point after drawing with Leatherhead in a front of a Covid-19 limited sell out crowd of 600. The south-west London club are one of several who are seeing a real surge in support whilst local clubs like Chelsea, Fulham, AFC Wimbledon and Sutton United remain shut to spectators. Hendon's last match saw them routed 6-2 by Brentford B in the London Senior Cup so they'll be looking for a much better result here
Aveley v Beaconsfield Town @3pm - admittedly this isn't the sexiest tie in town but it's interesting because eighth tier Aveley had a fantastic run in this competition last season, upsetting several bigger sides. They made it all the way to the quarter-finals where former top-flight side Notts County finally beat them 5-0 at Meadow Lane. The Essex club have made a decent start to the season unlike Beaconsfield who play a level above them so once again, an upset could be on the cards
Uxbridge v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - it's derby day in west London where these two very local rivals meet at Honeycroft. The hosts play a level below H&YU and aren't doing all that well with only five points from five games. As has been mentioned above, the visitors are in great cup form and will start as firm favourites

FA Vase First Round
Welling Town v Hanworth Villa @3pm - there are loads of ties in London on Saturday and it's been hard drawing up a shortlist as there are very few obvious humdingers. First up I've gone for this all ninth-tier match between two of our local sides from opposite sides of town. They don't usually get to play each other in league football and given how new The Boots are to senior football, this may well be the first time the clubs have played. On current form, you'd probably have to go with the visitors
Holmesdale v AFC Uckfield Town @3pm - the hosts have made a fine start to the season and are currently third in the SCEFL Division 1. They'll need to be in top form again as Sussex club Uckfield play a level above in the SCFL and are in the top five
Sutton Athletic v Sheppey United @3pm  - two SCEFL clubs meet in this tie with Sheppey one of four clubs starting to breakaway at the top of the league. Sutton play in the division below and will have to do something special to come out on top
Tooting Bec v Guildford City @3pm - after an entertaining penalty shoot-out win over Lydd Town in the last round, TB now face a step up in class as they face a CCL Premier Division side. Guildford are struggling and look vulnerable to a cupset
Newbury Forest v May & Baker @3pm - lastly we've get a derby on the east side of town where two ECL Division 1 sides go head-to-head in Barkingside. The home side should win

A bit further afield
Sandhurst Town v North Greenford United @730pm - it's been pointed out to me by regular TLFG reader Chris H that NGU's match against Sandhurst has been moved to Saturday evening as they groundshare with Bracknell Town who are also playing that day. If you fancy two matches on Saturday then here's your opportunity. Bracknell is a one hour train ride from Waterloo and sits just off the M4 if you're driving

Middlesex County League Premier Division
Clapton CFC v Stonewall FC @230pm - after holding leaders Brentham to a 2-2 draw, the Tons next face Stonewall FC at Wadham Lodge. Last season these two drew a crowd of 909 on Non-League Day as Clapton came from 2-0 down to win 5-2. Sadly stadium capacity is currently Covid-capped at 300 so you'll do well to get in. Check the club's website for how to reserve a spot 


Sunday 1 November
UPDATE 01/11/20 - given the government's announcements about a second Covid-19 lockdown, this could be the last chance you get to watch football at the weekend for at least a month so don't miss your opportunity. In the capital it's all about women's football but there are also a couple of men's games just outside it

London & SE Women's Regional League
Dulwich Hamlet v Dartford @2pm - there are five women's games to pick from in the capital on Sunday with this league game likely to draw the biggest crowd. The Hamlet's men's team frequently attract attendances in excess of 2,000 but with fans banned from National League South matches, a lot of them are going to watch the women's team instead. Almost 600 turned up for their last home game against Leyton Orient so expect another decent attendance here. I'm not sure if it's mandatory but I strongly advise you to buy tickets in advance if you want to go

Women's FA Cup Third Round Qualifying
Actonians v Worthing @2pm - among the women's games there are two ties in the FA Cup. I'm going to this tie with my daughter who enjoyed her first ever football camp with Actonians earlier in the week and wants to see what the first team are all about. The match is being played at Rectory Park in Northolt which is the Middlesex FA's HQ. Tickets are £3 for adults and free for U16s but must be booked in advance - there were only 30 remaining as of Sunday morning

A bit further afield
Aylesbury United v Margate @3pm - if it has to be men's football for you, then the final FA Trophy tie of the Third Round Qualifying is being played at Chesham United's ground which although it's outside TLFG's catchment area, is still on the Tube so is very easy to get to. The Ducks play a level below Isthmian Premier side Margate but are top and beat a talented Tilbury side in the last round. Tickets are £9 adults and available on the gate.
Coggeshall United v Hashtag United @3pm - there's also an FA Vase game out in the wilds of Essex. Unless you have a car, I wouldn't bother with this one as it's fairly remote. If you do have a car, then give it some consideration. On paper, Essex Senior League leaders Hashtag should win as they play a level above the hosts. Tickets are £6 for adults and are available on the gate

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.

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 


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