Sunday, 22 August 2021

TLFG: 23-30 August 2021

Greetings one and all and welcome to the August Bank Holiday Special of TLFG.

This edition goes all the way through to next Monday 30 August where there's a whole raft of non-league matches in most, but not all, of our local competitions.

One of the highlights of every bank holiday is the Combined Counties League putting all their matches on at 1130am, allowing you to easily watch two games in a day.

The other thing about a bank holiday fixture programme is that many of the games are derbies so it's usually an exciting time to be watching.

Carlos Simeon makes a fine save as Romford beat Kensington & Ealing in the FA Cup

I've done my best to highlight these in the Daily Digest but I've missed out a lot because there simply isn't the room or time to write about all the good options so you'll have to use the map and your own knowledge to pick out what's most appealing to you.

My footballing week has been surprisingly rich as I managed to watch two games!

On Tuesday lunchtime I headed to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium to watch QPR play Hull City in a highly entertaining U23 game.

The R's saw a 3-0 half-time lead evaporate before winning 4-3 with 10 men thanks to a stunning free-kick just before the end.

Today (Sunday) I headed west to Hanwell Town to watch tenants Kensington & Ealing Borough lose 1-0 to Romford in the FA Cup.

It was a close game, decided by a penalty and played in front of a lively home crowd which was great to see.

The week ahead also has a number of options for me including the first-ever game for QPR's newly formed 'B' team who play a friendly at Wealdstone on Wednesday.

Whether I end up going anywhere depends on work and childcare commitments so we'll see.

Harrow Borough enter the FA Cup draw which will be published at 1pm on Monday so I await that with bated breath.

Have a great week everyone.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, the EFL, FA Cup, most of our local non-league competitions and the FA Women's Championship and National League.

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 - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Monday fixtures - yellow 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 23 August

Premier League
West Ham United v Leicester City @8pm - the week gets underway with this fine-looking match at the London Stadium. Only a point separated these sides last season as they finished sixth and fifth respectively to make it into the Europa League. Both started their campaigns with wins last weekend so it's all teed up to be a good game here. Last season the Hammers won 3-2 as they did the double over the Foxes for the first time since 2012. The last few tickets are on general sale

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Tuesday 24 August

EFL Cup Second Round
The EFL Cup often sees Premier League and Championship sides field heavily altered teams in the early rounds as they give their reserves and youngsters a chance to show what they can do. This gives the lower division sides a great chance of causing an upset but also means tickets are cheap and in plentiful supply. As a result, you get the opportunity to visit stadiums that are often inaccessible to non-members and you get to create a ticket purchasing history with the club that can sometimes be useful when it comes to buying tickets for big games in the future

Watford v Crystal Palace @745pm - one of only two all-Premier League ties in the Second Round, this match tops the bill on Tuesday. Both sides' main priority will be to stay in the top flight this season so they could well see this competition as a distraction. They last played two weeks ago in a pre-season game at Selhurst Park which Palace won fairly comfortably but this match is anyones. Tickets are on general sale for £15
Brentford v Forest Green Rovers @745pm - with the Bees now in the Premier League, tickets for games at their new stadium are going to be hard to get so this presents a fantastic opportunity for groundhoppers. Although Brentford remain unbeaten after drawing at Crystal Palace on Saturday, they can't afford to be complacent as FGR arrive as League Two leaders having won all four of their league games, scoring 13 goals in the process. Tickets are on general sale for £10
Millwall v Cambridge United @745pm - the Lions are yet to win a league game and sit just above the Championship relegation zone after four games so could have a challenging evening if a well-motivated Cambridge side turn up. Mark Bonner's side won promotion from League Two last season and sit comfortably in midtable with just one defeat from four games. Tickets are on general sale for £12
QPR v Oxford United @745pm - this fixture has some real history going back to the final of 1986. The R's had enjoyed a superb run to Wembley with stunning victories over arch-rivals Chelsea and then the all-conquering Liverpool in the semi-finals. Oxford had done well to get there themselves but hadn't beaten anyone of similar pedigree and it looked like QPR's to lose. Sadly for me and thousands of other supporters of the club from W12, Jim Smith's boys just didn't turn up and tamely lost 3-0 - it wasn't even close. It remains the only cup final I've ever seen QPR play in as a fan (as a tiny child with no club affiliation, I actually supported Spurs in the 1982 FA Cup final) so it was a hugely disappointing moment. Aside from friendlies, games between the two have been few and far between since then and this is the first time they've met since 1999 when QPR managed a 1-0 win at Loftus Road. After a bruising schedule, QPR will almost certainly rest a few players which could allow the U's to humble them again. Tickets are on general sale for £15

League Two
Leyton Orient v Harrogate Town @745pm - if you want to see an arguably more meaningful game where the two teams should be playing full-strength sides then get yourself over to Brisbane Road where the O's will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to four matches. Tickets are on general sale

FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay
AFC Croydon Athletic v Erith & Belvedere @745pm - the Rams did extremely well to hold the in-form Deres to a 0-0 draw at Park View Road on Sunday. Whether they can overcome them on home turf is anyone's guess 

SCEFL Premier Division
Fisher v Glebe @745pm - I also fancy this ninth-tier match at Salter Road where the Fish play host to Glebe who've won all of their opening three league games. The St Paul's Sports Ground has one of the best backdrops of any non-league ground in London so it's well worth a visit. Tickets are £8

FA Women's National League Division 1 South East
Actonians v QPR @745pm - as regular readers know, I have a vested interest in both of these clubs so I'm very torn when they play each other in this local derby. The main disappointment for me is that QPR scheduled their men's game against Oxford on the same night meaning the attendance for this will almost certainly suffer. The sides last met in the Capital Cup Final in May where QPR came from behind to win a thrilling game on penalties. Tickets are £5 for adults and free for U16s

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Wednesday 25 August

Friendly
Wealdstone v QPR B @730pm - a new era begins on Wednesday when QPR's new B team will play their first-ever game against the Stones. Going forward, Grosvenor Vale will become QPR B's ground for home fixtures. Adult tickets are £8  MATCH OFF

FA Cup Preliminary Round Replays
Sutton Common Rovers v Steyning Town @745pm - I thought for one moment that this match was going to be the first on the new grass pitch at Gander Green Lane but on checking with SCR, this game is being played at Banstead Athletic. The hosts should win as they play at a higher level
Erith Town v Sevenoaks Town @730pm - the Dockers did well to draw at Sevenoaks, who play a level above them, on Saturday. They'll be hoping home turf gives them the advantage they need to see them through

ECL Division 1 South
Park View v Buckhurst Hill @745pm - these two have begun well and are both in the top five at this stage. Buckhurst Hill are playing their first season at this level and are unbeaten as they've made an impressive start

FA Women's National League Southern Premier
Hounslow v London Bees @745pm - there are only two London clubs in the third tier of women's football at they meet at Rectory Meadow on Wednesday. Both sides struggled last year and both begun with defeats last weekend so this has the feel of a six-pointer to it already

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Thursday 26 August

Europa Conference League
Tottenham Hotspur v Pacos de Ferreira @745pm - I think I'm right in saying that this is the first-ever Europa Conference League match to be played in London and you could be there as tickets are on general sale for £20. Having lost the first leg in Portugal 1-0, the result is not a foregone conclusion

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Friday 27 August

Premier League 2
Crystal Palace v Everton @7pm - there are some fine U23 matches on Friday but this one at Selhurst Park is the only one we know that you'll definitely be able to get into. Tickets are £5

Isthmian League North
Aveley v Great Wakering Rovers @745pm - the only non-league game of the night is at the well-appointed Parkside ground in Essex. Having only played one league match each so far, it's hard to say too much about this game or make any predictions but the facilities are fantastic

Women's Friendly
Chelsea v Aston Villa @6pm - the Blues won the Women's Super League and finished as runners-up in the Champions League last season as Emma Hayes's side really impressed. With the new WSL season starting the following weekend, this friendly will be their final warm-up. Tickets are £5

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Saturday 28 August

Premier League
West Ham United v Crystal Palace @3pm - the only Premier League game of the day is this derby at the London Stadium. It seems hardly possible that this is the Hammers' sixth season at this ground - the years are flying by. In the previous five meetings between the two at this venue, Palace have only won once and given the teams' current form I can't see them improving that record. Tickets are on general sale

Championship
Fulham v Stoke City @3pm - the top game of the day in the EFL sees first play third at Craven Cottage. Both sides are locked on 10 points after making excellent starts. After being in the doldrums for a few years, the Potters appear to be firing again but this part of SW6 rarely yields them any points. Fulham have an uncanny knack of winning this fixture 1-0 and it's likely to be tight again. Tickets are on general sale
QPR v Coventry City @3pm - just up the road in Shepherd's Bush there's a game between two sides who are also in the top five. The R's came from 2-0 down to draw with Barnsley on Saturday as they maintained their unbeaten record while Coventry beat Reading to leapfrog Mark Warburton's team. QPR are unbeaten against Coventry at Loftus Road since 2007. Tickets are on general sale
Millwall v Blackpool @3pm - at the other end of the table we've got a clash of two sides in the bottom four so there are some really good games on offer in this division on Saturday. Both have had a pretty tough opening run of fixtures but they would probably both have hoped to have one win by now. The Lions have lost two on the bounce whilst Blackpool came from 2-0 down to get a very creditable draw at promotion-chasing Bournemouth on Saturday. Tickets are on general sale

League One
Charlton Athletic v Crewe Alexandra @3pm - after the optimism of a new takeover, the Addicks have made a very disappointing start with Saturday's 2-0 loss to Wigan leaving them in the relegation zone. Crewe have made a similarly poor start meaning this has become highly important for both clubs. Tickets are on general sale

League Two
Leyton Orient v Bradford City @3pm - if the O's win their midweek game they'll go third just behind Bradford so this could be another really important game in what is clearly a big weekend for our local EFL clubs. Tickets are on general sale
Sutton United v Oldham Athletic @3pm - last but not least we have this match of great historical significance as the recently promoted hosts prepare to play their first home game in the EFL on their new grass pitch. With former top-flight club Oldham currently bottom of League Two, they won't get many better chances to win. When I last checked, over 1,000 tickets were still available. If you do want to go, you're urged by the club to buy online in advance 

National League
Boreham Wood v Aldershot Town @3pm - with average crowds of only 650 it's quite an achievement that The Wood are about to start their seventh season in the fifth tier. They finished next to Aldershot, a much bigger club, in midtable last season and started this campaign with a solid 2-0 away win at Weymouth. The Shots, meanwhile, lost 2-0 to Chesterfield. In 2020/21, games between these two produced 11 goals so hopefully we'll have another goalfest
Dagenham & Redbridge v Bromley @3pm - the Daggers notched a very respectable 3-1 win at Stockport County in their opening day game on Saturday to set a very positive tone ahead of this derby. Bromley lost their televised game against Grimsby to Covid so they've yet to play

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Dartford @3pm - talking of derbies, there's another one at Champion Hill. Given the odd number of teams in the division, the Hamlet had the weekend off whilst the Darts beat Slough 3-0 to make it two wins from two to top the division. If you're thinking of going to a game here, you're advised to buy tickets online in advance and arrive in good time as the small ground fills up early

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Taunton Town @3pm - the pick of the action in the seventh tier sees the free-scoring Hayes & Yeading look to extend their 100% record with this match against third-placed Taunton. The hosts have scored 12 goals in their opening three games to move two points clear already

Isthmian League South Central
Uxbridge v Westfield @3pm - in the eighth tier, just down the road from Hayes, there's a top-four clash in the ILSC. Uxbridge pulled off a fine 1-0 win over Cray Valley PM in the FA Cup on Saturday to take their place in Monday's draw. Westfield drew 3-3 at Hythe so will have to replay in midweek which could take that little bit more out of them ahead of this one

CCL Premier North
Edgware Town v Abbey Rangers @3pm - I think I'm right in saying that this will be the first league meeting between the two as they've been in different leagues up until now. Both have made a great start with only two points dropped between them so far. Abbey have won all their games and made further progress in the FA Cup on Saturday so will probably start as favourites

SCEFL Division 1
Croydon v Kent Football United @3pm - second plays fourth at the Croydon Arena in my game of the day in the 10th tier. The Trams have won four of their opening five games, scoring a hefty 13 goals in the process. KFU have played a game less so will move level with them if they win

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Sunday 29 August

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford @2pm - as a result of their European exploits, Spurs face another Sunday match at the THS. The smart money is overwhelmingly on a Tottenham win as they haven't lost at home to the Hornets since a cup game in 1994 with their last home league defeat way back in 1985. Tickets are not on general sale

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Chelsea @1pm - there's a very decent looking U23 match at West Ham's Rush Green facility on Sunday afternoon. However, it's not yet clear whether the public will be admitted and I think it's doubtful. Check with the club before you travel

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Bristol City @2pm - the phased return of the women's season sees the second tier return to action on Sunday. The Eagles, who play at Bromley's ground, welcome the Robins fresh from their relegation from the Super League

FA Women's National League Division 1 South East
QPR v Billericay Town @2pm - these two found the net 14 times between them on the opening day of the season and both won again in the second round of games. There is a set of games in midweek too but these could be the top two by Sunday afternoon

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Monday 30 August

National League
Barnet v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - the August Bank Holiday is a huge day in the non-league calendar with many leagues scheduling games, many of them derbies. The only derby on offer in the fifth tier is this match at The Hive where Harry Kewell's Barnet will be desperate to improve on the 5-0 mauling they suffered in their last match against Notts County. They could find it tough as the Daggers have started well
Wealdstone v Southend United @3pm - although not a derby, I really fancy this one between the Stones and Southend who have just come down from League Two. It wasn't long ago that Wealdstone were playing the likes of my side Harrow and now they're in a division packed with former EFL clubs. The Shrimpers scraped past Kings Lynn in their first game so a pumped up Stones team backed by their raucous fans could get something out of this

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Maidstone United @3pm - given how early it is in the season, it's quite hard to pick standout games when there are no derbies. As I've given Dartford a mention above already, then why not take a trip down to the Beveree? The hosts welcome a Maidstone side who have made a solid start and the ground is one of the most popular among groundhoppers on this side of town

Isthmian League Premier Division
Corinthian Casuals v Kingstonian @3pm - a visit to watch CCs is always worth doing but when they're hosting the K's in a groundshare derby, you can't go wrong. A sizeable and colourful crowd usually turns out for this fixture so don't miss out. The stadium is a short walk from Tolworth station so it's pretty easy to get to
Hendon v Harrow Borough @3pm - pretty much every match in this division is a derby so you'll do pretty well in that respect wherever you go. I've gone for this one as both clubs are in London and both used to groundshare too. In recent years these matches have produced a huge amount of goals with one Boxing Day match ending 5-5 a few years ago. The Greens will start as marginal favourites as they're at home but there shouldn't be much between them

Isthmian League North
Grays Athletic v Aveley @3pm - I still haven't been to Parkside but it's supposed to have some of the finest facilities of any non-league club in the south east. These two Essex clubs have been sharing since it opened so it should generate a decent crowd

SCEFL Premier Division
Erith & Belvedere v Glebe @3pm - at the time of writing, these are two of the top teams in the SCEFL. The Deres have won every league game and are still in the FA Cup. Glebe aren't far behind so this should provide some fine Bank Holiday entertainment MATCH OFF - COVID

CCL Division 1
Hillingdon Borough v Hilltop @1130am - it's a Bank Holiday tradition in the Combined Counties League to start all games in the morning, allowing groundhoppers the chance to comfortably see two games in a day. This match showcases another couple of groundsharers, with Hilltop currently top and scoring for fun. You could easily combine this match with the ones at Wealdstone, North Greenford United* or Hanwell Town to name just three. UPDATE - this match now starts at 1pm so it's no use if you're trying to do a double with a 3pm kick-off, check the map for alternatives

*Don't go to North Greenford as they kick-off at an early time too - thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for noticing. 

PS - Try Barnet or Hendon instead

POSSIBLE "TRIPLE" NOW AVAILABLE
It has come to my attention that there are now several FA Youth Cup ties on Monday night. So far I've only confirmed the location for the game at Woodford Town but Lewisham Borough and Walton & Hersham also have ties.

Also, just outside London, there's a Southern League game between Beaconsfield Town and Hayes & Yeading United being played at Kings Langley's ground at 745pm.


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.

8 comments:

  1. James. Thanks for the excellent guide. A small problem with the recommendation for 2 games on the BH Monday. Hillingdon Borough are kicking off at 11.30 but so are North Greenford.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well spotted, I will amend. In actual fact, North Greenford are now kicking-off at 1pm but it still won't allow for a double. Cheers

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