Monday, 6 September 2021

TLFG: 6-12 September 2021

Apologies for the late publication this week and the reduced content again.

I'm very 'time poor' at the moment with this weekend having been particularly hectic.

Since last Sunday I did actually manage to get to the two games on my wishlist - QPR U23s against Barnsley on Tuesday lunchtime and Harrow Borough v Ramsgate in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Both were particularly enjoyable for having surprise meetings with TLFG readers.

At QPR I met Actonians social media guru Neil and over at Harrow, marathon runner extraordinaire Liam from Putney who bought drinks for myself and my good friend Brentford James who also made the journey.

The matches themselves varied greatly in entertainment with the R's blowing a first-minute lead to ultimately lose 2-1 to the Tykes whilst Harrow and Ramsgate put on a six-goal thriller which Boro eventually closed out 4-2.

The moment of the match was the fantastic fourth goal from George Moore who picked up the ball near the halfway line, ran all the way down left, cut into the box and deftly found the far corner.

As a result, I'll be waiting for the Second Round Qualifying draw this lunchtime with some excitement. (Update - Harrow have drawn Welling United away, tough one!)

I'm moving back on to late shifts this week so won't get to see any live action other than my daughter's return to training with Actonians tonight.

If you are looking for a game tonight, the only senior match I'm aware of takes place just to the north of London at St Albans City's Clarence Park where Watford U23s will take on Newcastle United in a Premier League Cup match.

Tickets are only £4 for adults and you're urged to book online if you can. It's a 6pm kick-off.

Lastly, Shepherds Bush FC also play their first competitive match this weekend as the MCFL Division 1 South/West finally gets underway.

My newly formed local non-league club, who play in the 12th tier, have had some very impressive results in pre-season with wins over teams three or four levels above them.

On Saturday they travel to Roehampton Playing Fields to take on Club Santacruzense De Londres at 2pm - good luck! (THIS HAS NOW BEEN POSTPONED!)

UPDATE (06/09/21) - I found myself with a bit of spare time this morning so have managed to create a 'Daily Digest' for the week


 THE WEEK AHEAD

With it being an international break the highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Vase, FA Women's Super League, and Women's FA Cup. 

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
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 6 September

Premier League Cup
Watford v Newcastle United @6pm - the only match I know of featuring any of our local teams is this U23 game being played at St Albans City. Tickets are just £4
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Tuesday 7 September

EFL Trophy group stage

AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth @745pm - the Dons and Pompey get their EFL Trophy campaigns underway on Tuesday night. This much-maligned competition doesn't usually get very big crowds and tickets are available if you want to tick the new Plough Lane off your list

FA Cup First Round Qualifying
Barking v Aveley @745pm - after coming through their re-played Preliminary Round tie against local rivals Ilford, who fielded an ineligible player, the Blues face another all-Essex tie in the next round. Both clubs play in the Isthmian North so it should be close

FA Cup First Round Qualifying Round Replays
Corinthian Casuals v Worthing @745pm - after recording a very creditable draw against their Sussex opponents on Saturday, CCs welcome Worthing back to Tolworth. On paper, the visitors have the stronger side so should start as marginal favourites
Walton & Hersham v Beaconsfield Town @745pm - the Swans provided one of the results of the round by drawing 2-2 at Beaconsfield, a side from two levels above them. Now that they're back at their Surrey base, they'll surely fancy their chances

Southern League Cup Preliminary Round
Hendon v Harrow Borough @745pm - for the second time in just over a week, these two old rivals meet at Silver Jubilee Park for this north-west London derby. The Greens edged to a 1-0 win on Bank Holiday Monday and it's likely to be tight again if the sides put out full-strength teams

Essex Senior League
Walthamstow v Saffron Walden Town @745pm - one of the matches of the week at non-league level sees two of the early pacesetters in the ESL meet at Wadham Lodge. The Stow have won all six of their league games and are still in the FA Cup after beating higher-ranked opposition at the weekend. Although only third, they have played two games less than leaders Saffron Walden who are only a point ahead. A win for the hosts will surely confirm them as strong title contenders

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Wednesday 8 September

Premier League Cup
Charlton Athletic v Reading @2pm - if you're in the market for a 'double' on Wednesday then this U23 match at Dartford could well be for you. As with all youth and reserve matches, check the details on the day in case anything has changed

FA Cup First Round Qualifying Replays
Kingstonian v Oxhey Jets @745pm - the K's were given a scare on Saturday as ninth-tier Oxhey held them to a 2-2 draw in Hertfordshire. The Isthmian League leaders will hope to make up for that surprise result here
Bedfont Sports v Spelthorne Sports @745pm - although not quite as eyebrow-raising a result as Oxhey's, Spelthorne also did well to hold higher division opposition too. The two only play a couple of miles apart so it's a derby

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Friday 10 August

Premier League 2
Fulham v Southampton @7pm - the Cottagers' U23 side welcome Southampton to Motspur Park on Friday evening. For some reason, Fulham have been a bit cagey about admission details for these matches this season. Usually they are open to the public and cost about £3 but check with the club on the day to make sure

A bit further afield
Brighton & Hove Albion v Blackburn Rovers @7pm - probably the best option of the evening is this U23 match at Brighton's Amex Stadium. Located right next to Falmer station and with lots of car parking, it's easy to reach from London

Isthmian League North
Barking v Tilbury @745pm - if you'd rather stay in London, there's another all-Essex affair to be enjoyed at Mayesbrook Park. The Blues have a 100% record at the time of writing so should pick up another three points here

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Saturday 11 September

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - London is absolutely overflowing with Premier League football on Saturday with a whopping five games taking place within the M25. The first of them is this derby which sees the Eagles welcome league leaders Spurs. Recent years have not been kind to the hosts who have failed to win any of their last six league games against Tottenham at Selhurst Park. Given current form, they'll do well to get a draw. Tickets are only available to members
Arsenal v Norwich City @3pm - the Gunners have made such a bad start that they're down in the bottom two with the Canaries, giving this the feel of a relegation six-pointer. It is still ridiculously early in the season but you'd have to fear for the manager's job if they lose this too. If a well-motivated Norwich side turn up at the Emirates then this dysfunctional Arsenal team could be there for the taking. Tickets are only available to members
Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - not the most glamorous match of the afternoon but a hugely important one for those involved. Although they've both made very satisfactory starts, both would view this as a match to take points from when surveying the fixture list. It's certainly more of a must-win for the Bees but they do have an iffy record at home to the Albion so it will probably be tight. Tickets are only available to members
Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - after winning their opening game the Hornets have lost their next two to sit snugly in midtable. Wolves, with a new manager, have lost all three of their opening games to find themselves in the relegation zone. Despite this, I hear the Black Country club are still creating loads of chances so they can't be written off. Tickets are available to non-members
Chelsea v Aston Villa @530pm - the day's action ends at Stamford Bridge where the Blues should feel pretty confident of picking up their third win of the season against an indifferent Villa side who haven't won away to Chelsea since 2011 although they did get a point last season. Hospitality packages are available if you've got loads of money

League One
Charlton Athletic v Cheltenham Town @3pm - with no Championship teams at home on Saturday, we next head to The Valley. The Addicks have made a very disappointing start but recorded a vital win over Crewe the last time out. Cheltenham are three places above them and can be caught with a win. Tickets are available to non-members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Oldham Athletic @3pm - O's fans will be pleased with the start they've made and this game gives them the perfect opportunity to push even further into the top six. The Latics have been really bad this season, with their only win coming against bottom club Sutton. Tickets are available to non-members 
Sutton United v Stevenage @3pm - as mentioned above, the U's have struggled to adapt to life as this level and are still searching for their first win. Stevenage are much improved on last season but are definitely beatable. Tickets are available to non-members

Premier League 2
There are a couple of high profile U23 games on Saturday too which is highly unusual. Arsenal entertain Manchester United at Boreham Wood at 1pm whilst Spurs play Liverpool at Stevenage at 3pm. The early kick-off at Boreham Wood should allow you to scoot across to Rowley Lane for the London Lions v St Panteleimon FA Vase match at 3pm if you want to do a 'double'


National League
Barnet v Eastleigh @3pm - the Bees have picked up where they left off last season, being winless after four games. Hampshire club Eastleigh are just above them in the table so a win is almost essential for the hosts
Bromley v Boreham Wood @3pm - the Wood are third at the time of writing and will arrive at Hayes Lane knowing a win could put them top
Wealdstone v Altrincham @3pm - the Stones started with two defeats but have arrested that run with two very decent draws against Southend and leaders Dagenham & Redbridge. Although Alty have made a decent start, this could provide Wealdstone's breakthrough win

National League South
Dartford v Tonbridge Angels @3pm - in the sixth tier, Dartford are very much the talk of the town having won all five of their league fixtures to sit two points clear at the top. Fellow Kent club Tonbridge have made an underwhelming start and should be beaten

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Hartley Wintney @3pm - nothing really stands out in the seventh tier on Saturday so I recommend, once again, going to watch what appears to be the best team in it. H&YU have won their opening five league games, scoring 16 goals in the process. On Saturday they scored another four as they beat Bognor in an exciting FA Cup tie

Isthmian League South East
VCD Athletic v Haywards Heath Town @3pm - again there aren't any attention-grabbing fixtures in the eighth tier but this one features Haywards Heath who are currently top of this division with three wins from three. VCD made the long trip to Jersey in the FA Cup on Saturday and got stuffed so it looks like being a tough couple of weeks

FA Vase First Round Qualifying
The FA Vase gets underway this weekend. If you don't know, it's a national knockout competition for clubs in the ninth and 10th tiers with its final at Wembley. At this stage the draw is regionalised to minimise travel for the competing clubs. There are lots of ties across London - here are a few that standout

Buckhurst Hill v Enfield @3pm - the hosts are new to this level of football and making their debut in the Vase. They've had some impressive results so far but Enfield play a level above so it will be interesting to see how they fare
London Lions v St Panteleimon @3pm - a north London derby between two clubs who have found themselves shunted over to the Combined Counties League for the start of the new season. There is also a strong religious element to both clubs with the hosts being the capital's top Jewish side and the visitors one with its roots in the Greek/Cypriot Orthodox community. Both have made a great start to the season but St Panteleimon play a level above and should be favourites. As mentioned above, this can be combined with the Arsenal v Manchester United U23 game at Boreham Wood at 1pm
Lingfield v Erith & Belvedere @3pm - Sussex club Lingfield have been playing a lot of games at Church Road in Whyteleafe. They begin their Vase campaign against a very strong Deres side who've won all four of their league games this season
Walthamstow v Hadleigh United @3pm - one of the ties of the round sees leading clubs from the Essex Senior League and Eastern Counties League go head-to-head in E17- definitely worth considering if you're on that side of town
Wembley v Oxhey Jets @3pm - if you're planning on following the FA Vase all the way to Wembley, then why not start your adventure at Wembley FC just down the road from the national stadium? The Lions have made a good start in the Combined Counties League and Oxhey have performed heroics in the FA Cup so this has a lot going for it

MCFL Premier Division
Stonewall FC v Brentham @2pm - it may only be 11th-tier football but it's being played at the London Marathon Community Track facility in the shadow of London Stadium, the home of West Ham. I was there on Sunday and the pitch looked immaculate. There is still some doubt as to whether fans will be allowed pitchside but you can easily watch the match from the path above which has a railing and affords a great view of the pitch. If I get more details I will update this section. Update - we have been informed by Brentham that it's a 2pm kick-off and visitors need to fill out an online Covid form

FA Women's Super League
West Ham United v Aston Villa @1130am - if you're looking for a 'double' on the east side of town then the Hammers' match at Dagenham & Redbridge will give you several options. West Ham lost 2-0 at Brighton in their opening game so will want to bounce back here

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Sunday 12 September

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Hungerford Town @3pm - there are some really good non-league options on Sunday with the Hamlet hosting Hungerford in this sixth-tier clash. Apparently it's been delayed by Covid much to the great benefit of neutrals and groundhoppers

Isthmian Premier
Cray Wanderers v Potters Bar Town @3pm - the hosts, London's oldest club, play a good deal of their home matches on Sundays because of their groundshare with Bromley. They've made a slightly disappointing start and bowed out of the FA Cup at home to lower-league opposition on Saturday. PBT are one of those teams who seem to perennially drift around lower midtable and you'd expect Cray to win

FA Vase First Round Qualifying
Tooting Bec v Jersey Bulls @1pm - one of the best Vase ties of the weekend has been held over until Sunday because of the Bec's groundshare. These two had some good duels in the CCL Division 1 but Jersey have now been promoted and after thrashing VCD Athletic in the FA Cup on Saturday, should have the upper hand here

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Everton @1230pm - the Blues began the defence of their title with a controversial 3-2 defeat at the Emirates against big rivals Arsenal on Sunday. They will need to get back to winning ways immediately here and they should do as the Toffees lost heavily to Manchester City in their first game

A bit further afield
Reading v Arsenal @2pm - after getting that hugely important win over Chelsea, the Gunners next face the Royals at what was formerly known as the Madejski Stadium

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Sunderland @2pm - the Eagles women's team welcome leaders Sunderland to Selhurst Park as they hope to entertain their fans on the big stage

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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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