Sunday 19 September 2021

TLFG: 20-26 September 2021

It's just after 3pm on a Sunday afternoon, I'm not at a game, but the house is quiet and I'm on the verge of finishing this week's guide well before sunset!

To be fair, I got up at around half five and made a start, before juggling various things throughout the day on my way to this glorious point of near completion.

How was your football week?

I made it to another live game on Wednesday night as QPR B played their first ever game against their counterparts from Brentford.

The match took place at Wealdstone's ground in Ruislip which is pretty straightforward to get to from Shepherd's Bush but with walking at both ends of the journey, still took the best part of an hour.

With tickets a very reasonable £5, a crowd of 200-300 made it to Grosvenor Vale.

Despite being a derby, there was no segregation and fans of both sides mingled pretty happily, although there was a fair bit of banter.

I'd have to say the Brentford contingent were far more vocal but they had a lot more to cheer as they trundled to a pretty comfortable 3-1 win.

I was joined by my near neighbour James M, who is a Bees fan, and met up with fellow QPR/Harrow fan Ash when we got there.

It was also really pleasing to meet another TLFG reader Roy, who introduced himself at half-time and there were several other regulars from the West London non-league/youth football circuit.

On Saturday morning, my nine-year-old daughter returned to action with her Actonians side playing Ruislip Rangers in the Capital Girls League.

She and her team-mates have endured a very tough introduction to football with all the sides they've played seemingly way more experienced.

They lost their first game together, back in April, 19-2 and there were several more bloodbaths after that.

On Saturday things began well enough, but a bad period in the middle of the game where a youngster playing her first ever match volunteered to go in goal, was left unprotected and the score swiftly went from 1-1 to 5-1.

After a bit more rotation, the game ended 8-2.

It must be really tough coaching at this level. 

All the best players who were really starting to get the hang of things, have moved up an age group so can't play anymore and they've largely been replaced by youngsters who've barely kicked a ball in their lives.

The next match, in two weeks, is against Acton & Ealing Whistlers - so I guess it's a case of onwards and upwards!

Hopefully that Saturday will be one of great jubilation all round as Harrow Borough will also be playing in the Third Round Qualifying of the FA Cup.

Boro caused a bit of a cupset by winning 2-0 at National League South side Welling United yesterday and can now look forward to the draw on Monday lunchtime.

Lastly from me, many thanks to Paul F from Greenford for donating to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. Much appreciated, cheers.

There are lots of great games again this week so fill your boots!


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

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise 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 20 September

Youth & Development Matches
To my knowledge there is only one U23 game in the leagues I normally cover but it features Millwall who usually play their games behind closed doors at their training ground. Check with them on Monday morning what the final arrangements are. Elsewhere, Bedfont Sports, Chertsey Town, Chipstead and Uxbridge are among the non-league clubs to have Isthmian youth matches. I don't usually cover football at this level, for time reasons as much as anything else, so the details aren't on the match maps and you'll need to do your own research I'm afraid 

A bit further afield
Reading v Norwich City @7pm - if you're prepared to make a short journey beyond London's western boundary then we have this U23 game at what was formerly known as the Madejski Stadium. Details are a bit sketchy at the moment so please check on the day

Tuesday 21 September

EFL Cup Third Round
Brentford v Oldham Athletic @745pm - we're down to the last 32 now and all the top clubs have now entered the draw. Top-flight new boys Brentford have what should be the easiest tie of the round - a home draw against the side who are rock bottom of the EFL and in all kinds of trouble off the pitch. Saying that, they have had to beat Tranmere and Accrington to get this far so they're not completely useless. Tickets are on sale to non-members for £10
Fulham v Leeds United @745pm - elsewhere in London, there are some pretty decent ties. The Cottagers suffered an unexpected loss to Reading on Saturday but are still among the Championship's top clubs. Consequently, you have to fancy their chances against Leeds who haven't won a league game yet and will no doubt rest a few players for this one. Tickets are £20 for adults 
QPR v Everton @745pm - things were looking good for the R's this time last week but defeats against Bournemouth and Bristol City abruptly ended their unbeaten run. The Toffees could have come into this as Premier League leaders but lost 3-0 at Aston Villa on Saturday to drop to fifth. Nevertheless, this will be incredibly tough for the hosts unless Rafa Benitez makes loads of changes. Tickets are £25
Watford v Stoke City @745pm - the Hornets pulled off a hugely important 3-1 win over Norwich on Saturday to move up to the heady heights of 11th in the Premier League. They'll no doubt rest a few for the visit of the Potters who are one of the Championship's top sides - a cupset is very possible. Tickets are £15 and in plentiful supply

FA Cup Second Round Qualifying Replays
If some of the clubs above view the EFL Cup with disinterest, then that definitely can't be said about the sides fighting out the midweek FA Cup games. With over £3,000 on offer to the winners of each tie, non-league clubs have plenty to play for

Corinthian Casuals v Leatherhead @745pm - there's an all-Isthmian League and all-Surrey affair in Tolworth on Tuesday night which should generate quite a bit of interest. I think it's fair to describe the hosts as one of London's cult clubs (with their historic name, unusual kit and rich historical links to Brazil), this little part of south-west London draws some lively crowds, especially for important matches like this. The Tanners have a proud FA Cup history, making the Fourth Round in 1975, but they've started this season poorly and will do well to win here. Tickets are £12 on the gate. The winners will host Wingate & Finchley
Hadley v Enfield Town @730pm - playing two levels below the Towners, the Bricks did superbly well to draw this north London derby at the QEII Stadium on Saturday. This is the sort of game that the FA Cup is all about so if you're in the Barnet area on Tuesday, get yourself along - it should be a cracker. Hadley usually charge £7 to get in. The winners will travel to Chelmsford City
Jersey Bulls v Sutton Common Rovers @730pm - after drawing at Gander Green Lane on Saturday, the two sides were supposed to meet again in the Channel Islands for the replay. However, SCR have had trouble arranging travel and given the rules relating to offshore clubs, the match has been switched back to GGL. The winners will be at home to Chertsey Town

Hornchurch v Basildon United @730pm - the value option on Tuesday is this friendly between two Isthmian League clubs on the eastern side of town. The club have announced it will be free entry


Wednesday 22 September

EFL Cup Third Round
Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - one of the ties of the round in my eyes, this London derby is the first-ever meeting between the two since the Dons re-formed. It marks a huge night for the League One club who, in their old guise, managed seven wins over the Gunners between 1987-1998. Although Mikel Arteta's side are slowly climbing the Premier League table, they are still highly vulnerable and can't afford to be complacent in any way whatsoever. Tickets are on sale non-members from £11.65
Chelsea v Aston Villa @745pm - one of only four all-Premier League ties, this is a re-run of last weekend's league game between the two which the Blues won 3-0. Aside from their 1-1 draw at Liverpool last month, Chelsea seem to be doing everything at a canter at the moment and I can't see them coming unstuck here. Tickets are supposed to be on general sale but I couldn't find any online - try calling the box office instead
Millwall v Leicester City @745pm - the final tie of the week is another very decent one as the Lions also welcome Premier League opposition. Unbeaten in four, the south London club will hope to record their first win over the Foxes since an FA Cup game in 2017. Tickets are £16

Hampton & Richmond Borough v Brentford B @7pm - having seen off Walton Casuals in the FA Cup on Saturday, the Beavers next welcome the Bees' second string for a re-arranged friendly that fell foul of Covid back in the summer. Tickets are £7

London Senior Cup First Round
Erith & Belvedere v Charlton Athletic U23 @745pm - another pro side to be sending teams out into the non-league community are the Addicks who routinely enter county cup competitions. More sides need to do this in my opinion - it generates interest and toughens up the youngsters with some proper competitive experience. The Deres suffered their first league defeat of the season at Deal on Saturday so they'll want to bounce back immediately here


Thursday 23 September

Youth & Development Matches
Similar to Monday, there's not a lot of senior football taking place that I'm aware of. Cray Valley PM are among the clubs hosting youth matches so do a bit of digging to find out more

London Underground League
For those hardcore football addicts who must get their fix, the LUL usually provides something on Thursday afternoons. According to their fixture list, the British Transport Police are playing London Overground. They matches are at Market Road near Caledonian Road Tube station and tend to kick off at 2pm or 4pm. Check with the league or clubs for details


Friday 24 September

Premier League 2
There's another really decent selection of U23 football on Friday night where the blockbuster fixture between Chelsea and Liverpool at Kingsmeadow tops the card. Tickets are £5 and can be bought online. Elsewhere, West Ham play Crystal Palace at Rush Green and Fulham face Newcastle United at their training ground - entry details to these are yet to be confirmed

Isthmian North
Aveley v Barking @745pm - these two Essex rivals are set to reprise their recent epic FA Cup saga from last week. With the tie requiring a replay and penalties, Barking eventually came out on top and then proceeded to get knocked out by AFC Dunstable in the next round. The Blues have won all four of their league matches so should start as favourites

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
The next round of the FA Vase gets underway on Friday night. If you don't know, this is a national knockout competition primarily for clubs in the ninth and 10th tiers with its final at Wembley in May. Although not as lucrative as the FA Cup, it's highly prestigious for the teams involved.

New Salamis v Takeley @745pm - groundsharing at Haringey Borough, the hosts are one of the top clubs in the Spartan South Midlands League.This is only the third time they've competed in the competition and they've made it to the First Round in the two previous seasons so have a little bit of pedigree. Takeley are usually one of the stronger teams in the parallel Essex Senior League but they've made a disappointing start
Bedfont & Feltham v Rayners Lane @745pm - there's another attractive tie at The Orchard were B&F welcome fellow CCL Division 1 club Rayners Lane. The visitors are currently second so should come out on top


Saturday 25 September

Premier League
Chelsea v Manchester City @1230pm - the day's action begins with this gargantuan clash at Stamford Bridge. It's a battle of the European champions and Premier League champions. City ceded control of top spot on Saturday when they were surprisingly held to a draw by Southampton at the Etihad. In fact, if Chelsea beat Spurs on Sunday then they could go top. Thomas Tuchel has also won all three of the matches against City which he has presided over as Blues boss. Only hospitality packages appear to be available at this stage
Watford v Newcastle United @3pm - in the middle game of the day, there's another big game for clubs hoping to avoid the drop. Although the Hornets are currently pushing for a place in the top half, it's early days and they're still fancied to go down. The Magpies, on the other hand, are in obvious trouble - winless from five and in the bottom three. Many fans want to see boss Steve Bruce replaced so defeat here could prove terminal for the experienced manager. Tickets are available to non-members
Brentford v Liverpool @530pm - the day's action concludes with arguably the Bees' toughest test since joining the Premier League. Having won at Wolves on Saturday to go ninth, they're doing way better than many thought but surely the Reds will prove to be a level too far? We'll see. This will also be the first time the clubs have played since 1989 when Liverpool beat a valiant Brentford side who were on a great run in the FA Cup. It may have ended 4-0 that day but it was still a fine performance as the gulf between them was huge. Unsurprisingly, tickets are long gone

League One
Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth @3pm - with both of these former Premier League sides in the bottom half after seven games, it's fair to say they're underachieving. The Addicks are actually second from bottom with only one win so things are looking dark at The Valley. Pompey have won three of their last four league games here and you can see them picking up three points again. Tickets are available

League Two
Leyton Orient v Mansfield Town @3pm - the O's have begun this campaign really well and with only one defeat from eight, are sitting second at the time of writing. The Stags aren't far above the relegation zone so another three points should be staying in E10 on Saturday evening. Tickets are available
Sutton United v Carlisle United @3pm - the U's finally got a couple of wins to pull them out of the bottom two but defeat at Exeter on Saturday means they could slide straight back in. Carlisle are the kind of midtable team they'll hope to beat so we should get an evenly-contested game. Tickets are available

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Solihull Moors @3pm - of the matches in the fifth tier, this looks like the best. Currently second and eighth and with only two defeats between them, this should provide a decent contest. Last season this fixture produced a five-goal thriller so hopefully we'll have some more of the same. Tickets are available

National League South
Welling United v Dartford @3pm - although only a sixth-tier game, I'd choose to watch this derby over several of those listed above. Playing only a few miles apart, games between these two generate quite a bit of interest. Over the last decade, the Darts have dominated and should win again as they top the division. The Wings are struggling and lost at home to the lower ranked Harrow Borough in the FA Cup on Saturday. Tickets are available

Southern League Premier Division South
Metropolitan Police v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - in the seventh tier, I recommend a trip to Imber Court where two of the division's top five do battle. In fact, Met Police have a game in hand which if won would put them third. H&YU are top and one of the most in-form teams in the country at the moment. Having won their first seven league games, they're also still in the FA Cup having trounced National League South club Tonbridge Angels 5-0 on Saturday. Their imperious run must end at some point. Tickets are available on the gate for all games at this level and below

Isthmian League South Central
Northwood v Uxbridge @3pm - with a lot of teams involved in FA Trophy ties outside London, there's not much happening in the eighth tier on Saturday. However, of those games that remain, this derby should be worth a watch. Uxbridge are in their 150th year and pushing for promotion. Second at the time of writing, they'll be looking to close the gap on Bracknell with a win over midtable Northwood

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
Erith Town v Sheppey United @3pm - two of the SCEFL's top four meet at the Erith Leisure Centre. The Dockers have made it to the Third Round proper a couple of times in recent years. Sheppey also made the Third Round in 2019 but came unstuck against eventual finalists Cray Valley PM. The visitors are currently only a point ahead in the league table so this should be close
Croydon v Horley Town @3pm - the Trams have made a great start to the season and are four points clear in the 10th tier SCEFL Division 1. On Saturday they welcome Horley who doing well in the CCL Premier South, one level above. With Horley located just north of Gatwick on the Southern mainline, this has the flavour of a derby to it too
May & Baker v Glebe @3pm - the hosts, who groundshare at Aveley, are third in the ECL Division 1 South at the time of writing after a fine start. The visitors, who play a level above, are three points clear at the top of the SCEFL and have yet to lose a league game

MCFL Premier Division
Clapton CFC v NW London @3pm - the biggest crowd in the 11th tier, anywhere in the country, will almost certainly be found at Wadham Lodge where league leaders CFC play for the first time this season. Crowds in excess of 300 have attended their games on neighbouring pitches so I wouldn't be surprised to see at least 500 for this one - whatever happens it should be lively. Admission is usually by donation


Sunday 26 September

Premier League
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @430pm - there have been some big games in the capital this week but arguably the biggest has been saved until last. For years the Gunners ruled in north London but Spurs have definitely been more successful of late, certainly in terms of final league position. Much has been made of Arsenal's terrible start but a couple of wins against fellow strugglers has pulled them up the table. Tottenham started really well and then lost to Palace, meaning a lot will depend on how they fare in Sunday's game against Chelsea. If they pull off a win against the Blues then they'll go second. Lose and they'll be only a win ahead of that lot from the Emirates. Talking of the Emirates, Spurs haven't won a league game there since 2010 and have received a few hidings since. Tickets for these matches do not go on general sale

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Manchester City @645pm - for all those Gunners fans who can't get tickets to the above, there should be no hesitation about heading to Boreham Wood instead for this huge WSL game. With Chelsea and Manchester City in their opening three games, they couldn't have been given a much tougher start. However, they beat Chelsea and then saw off Reading and come into this in top form. City surprisingly lost to Spurs last week so this could be the season that Arsenal become strong title contenders again having not won since 2018-19. Tickets are cheaper if bought in advance but I couldn't actually find a way to do that on Arsenal's website when I looked - it usually is there but not when I looked. Pay on the gate if you can't do this. UPDATE - online tickets are now available (thanks to TLFG reader N5N7Badges for the info)

Tottenham Hotspur v Reading @2pm - in the interests of fairness, Spurs fans can also watch their women's side in action. As mentioned above, Tottenham have made an equally fine start to the Gunners and are one of four clubs with maximum points in these early stages. Reading have had a bit of a shocker and should also be beaten. This match is being played at The Hive and tickets are only £6.50
West Ham United v Leicester City @3pm - in the other top-flight game of the day, the Hammers go in search of their first win of the season against newly promoted Leicester. The Foxes lost their first two so will be quite happy just to pick up a point. Most of West Ham's games are played at Dagenham & Redbridge. Tickets start at £11

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
Hilltop v Broadfields United @3pm - back in the men's game, there are two very agreeable ties in the Vase with this Middlesex derby at the Middlesex Stadium great if you're on the west side of town. The hosts, who have their roots in London's Somali community, are new to this level and have made a fantastic start. Top of the CCL Division 1 after nine games, they've played some good stuff. Broadfields, who hail from Harrow, play a level above them and saw a great FA Cup run come to an end on Saturday against Hastings
Newbury Forest v Buckhurst Hill @2pm - if you're on the east side of town, then this Central Line/Essex derby is the one for you. Both sides play in the ECL Division 1 South but it is Buckhurst Hill who have been grabbing all the headlines so far this season. Having just stepped up to this level for the first time, they've lost only one of their eight games, have scored a ridiculous amount of goals and have games in hand on all of those above them which would put them well clear if they won them. The hosts, who groundshare at Redbridge, aren't doing too badly either and are just three points behind. They could actually be level on points when this kicks off as the two meet for a league game on Tuesday

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!

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