Sunday, 26 September 2021

TLFG: 27 September - 3 October 2021

It's another short one from me tonight - I've had a very busy week at work and am now writing this to the backdrop of the sound of a screaming child who just won't go to sleep.

Got to go - sorry.                    

UPDATE (01/10/21) - having found a few spare minutes this morning, I've dashed off a quick preview of the weekend's action which you can find towards the bottom of the page. It's not as comprehensive as usual because of time restrictions but it's better than nothing. I intend to be at the FA Cup game between Harrow Borough and Marlow on Saturday so maybe see you there. 

Enjoy!                                 

                                                            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 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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple 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 location

Friday 1 October

Professional Development League
Millwall v QPR @1pm - get your weekend underway early with this U23 derby at The Den. Most of the Lions' youth games are played behind closed doors at their training ground so this is a rare opportunity to see them and visit the club's main stadium. Adult tickets are £5

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion @7pm - in the evening you can grab your second game of the day at the Emirates Stadium which will also be hosting an U23 match. Tickets for this are a very reasonable £4 but you must buy online before you arrive

ECL Division 1 South
May & Baker v Brimsdown @745pm - if you fancy a non-league game instead, the hosts have the chance to go second in the table with a win over bottom club Brimsdown

MCFL Premier Division Cup
Sporting Hackney v Clapton CFC @745pm - although playing another level down from May & Baker, this derby match at Barking's ground could well draw a bigger crowd. The Tons are currently the team to beat in the MCFL and get the biggest crowds so it could be lively
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Saturday 2 October

Premier League
Chelsea v Southampton @3pm - after making a fine start to their campaign, the Blues have had a tough week losing back-to-back games against Manchester City and Juventus. On paper, the winless Saints should provide the perfect opportunity to bounce back. However, they don't lose very often and have so far managed draws against Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham so it could be tighter than you might think.Tickets are not on general sale but a few very expensive hospitality packages are still available

Championship
QPR v Preston North End @3pm - if you can't get in at Stamford Bridge, then head a couple of miles north to Shepherd's Bush where QPR will be looking to get back into the top six. Despite a recent iffy run, the R's are playing their best football for a decade with the likes of Illias Chair and Chris Willock mesmerising defences. Like Southampton above, Preston occupy a lowly position in the table but that's because they draw loads of games and will be tough to break down here. In fact, QPR have a terrible recent record against PNE at Loftus Road, losing four of their last five. Tickets are available

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Burton Albion @3pm - if you still haven't been to the Dons' new stadium then you've got another chance on Saturday. Three straight defeats has seen Wimbledon slide to 14th but in a division like this, you can climb the table pretty quickly again if the wins start coming. Burton are three points and four places above so are definitely beatable. Tickets are available

FA Cup Third Round Qualifying
There are some National League games at Barnet and Dagenham & Redbridge and lots of matches in the other non-league divisions, but the main focus for me on Saturday will be the next round of the FA Cup. At this stage no new clubs enter the draw so it's whoever's left from the sixth tier and below. The winners of each tie receive £5,625 and will then find themselves only 90 minutes away from a place in the First Round proper which brings the opportunity of playing a League One or League Two club - the stakes are high. There are six ties in London:

Hampton & Richmond Borough v Wimborne Town @3pm - with Dulwich and Welling already out and Dartford away, Hampton & Richmond are the highest ranked of our local sides to be hosting a tie on Saturday. They should start as overwhelming favourites too as Wimborne are bottom of the Southern League Premier Division South, one level below them. As with all games at this level or below, tickets will be available on the gate
Corinthian Casuals v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - elsewhere in south-west London, two clubs towards the wrong end of the Isthmian Premier do battle. The sides produced an entertaining 2-2 draw in a league back in August so it would be nice to see something similar here. CCs haven't made it to the Fourth Round Qualifying since 1983 and Wingate have never been beyond this round so you could see a little bit of football history made if they triumph here
Harrow Borough v Marlow @3pm - as a Harrow fan, when I first saw the draw I was delighted. We'd drawn a team from the level below and had managed to avoid one of the top clubs from the NLS. However, since the start of the season, the Blues have won all eight of their league and cup matches so have the potential to be very tricky opponents indeed. Nevertheless, Harrow are in cracking form themselves, winning their last six matches in all competitions so it could be a thriller
Hayes & Yeading United v Whitehawk @3pm - talking of form teams, Hayes & Yeading were starting to look unstoppable after winning their first nine games but last Saturday Metropolitan Police managed to hold them to a 1-1 draw in the league. So with a record of won nine and drawn one this season, the hosts should have way too much for Whitehawk who are struggling at a level below them
Metropolitan Police v St Albans City @3pm - having held Hayes & Yeading to that impressive draw last week, The Met should fancy their chances of causing a cupset here. St Albans do play a level above them and will hope to secure a play-off place this season so are no slouches but the hosts have some cup pedigree, making the First Round in 2018 and 2012, and should be able to make life difficult for the visitors
Bedfont Sports v Sholing @3pm - two of the lowest-ranked clubs left in the competition have ended up drawing each other. Playing in the eighth tier, they've already had to get through three rounds to reach this stage. Both picked up surprise away wins in the last round with Sholing triumphing at Tiverton and Bedfont humbling Dulwich at Champion Hill. Sholing have made the better start to their league campaign but it really is anyone's

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion @1130am - if you want to a double and see two games on Saturday then you could start off by heading to Kingsmeadow where it's a battle of the big name women's managers - Emma Hayes versus former England boss Hope Powell. As reigning league champions, the hosts will of course start as favourites but Brighton are currently level on points with them and have made a promising start. Tickets are available

Isthmian League South Central
Sutton Common Rovers v Guernsey @12pm - staying on the subject of a double, you can also begin your day at Gander Green Lane where SCR entertain Guernsey just a few days after playing Jersey - that can't have happened too often!
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Sunday 3 October

Premier League
West Ham United v Brentford @2pm - there are a trio of games kicking off a 2pm in the top flight on Sunday but I'm only going to preview this one as I'm pushed for time and it's the only one which still has tickets on general sale. It should be good - it's a derby, both sides are doing well and it will be another excellent opportunity to gauge just how good the Bees are. No-one expected them to draw 3-3 with Liverpool last week so who knows what they can do here?

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Sheffield United @2pm - the best match of the day in the women's game sees the Eagles take on the division's early leaders. The Blades are currently top on goal difference after winning three of their opening four games

 





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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.

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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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