Monday 4 October 2021

TLFG: 4-10 October 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of TLFG as we move firmly into autumn.

This week we have the second international break of the season. 

Between 2010-2019 this was often the weekend used to celebrate Non-League Day (NLD), an event which I and a crack team of volunteers used to run.

Covid put pay to last year's event and it's part of the reason why we've postponed this season's one until 26 March 2022 too.

These season's Non-League Day will be in the spring

The loss of some key volunteers and the fact that the last one nearly bankrupted me because it was too successful also played into my decision making.

Thankfully with the backing of the team at Our Game, it looks like everything should get back on track by the spring.

One of the major benefits of holding it in March is that it won't clash with any FA competitions which clubs are usually desperate to avoid as they have to share the gate receipts with the opposition.

The other is that even at almost six months out, we already know what the fixtures are going to be.

Even though NLD won't officially be taking place this weekend, non-league and women's football will be dominating proceedings so if your usual pro club aren't in action, give one of these other teams a try.

Since the beginning of the season, I've been taking a Brentford season-ticket holder to the odd non-league match now that he has a lot more Saturdays free.

This weekend he joined me in going to watch Harrow Borough play Marlow in the FA Cup Third Round Qualifying.

Although the visitors play a level below Harrow, they had won all eight of their matches this season prior to this tie.

Unsurprisingly it was a well-contested affair with a first half of few chances ending 0-0.

With the rain beginning to fall heavily, James Ewington gave Harrow the lead shortly after the restart.

The visitors huffed and puffed but never really looked like getting an equaliser until a sharp turn and shot from Nnamdi Nwachuku drew them level with 17 minutes to go.

With only three minutes of normal time remaining, James Mansfield scored from a corner to restore's Borough's advantage and it proved to be enough to send them through to the next round.

Harrow Borough celebrate James Mansfield's late winner

The Fourth Round Qualifying draw takes place on Monday afternoon and will see all the National League clubs go into the velvet bag for the first time.

As far as I'm aware, it's still regionalised so some of the biggest clubs like Notts County and Wrexham will probably elude Harrow but the likes of Barnet, Dagenham & Redbridge or Southend United are a very real possibility.

Whoever they get, Harrow are now just one win away from the First Round proper and a potential tie against anyone from League One or League Two - exciting times!

On a final personal note, I'm pleased to say that my daughter's Actonians team finally won their first ever match on Saturday after nearly six months of trying.

Having suffered a 19-2, a 14-1 and an 8-2 reverse as recently as two weeks ago, it was truly momentous to see them dispatch Acton & Ealing Whistlers 10-0 at Rectory Park.

To top it all, my daughter netted her first ever goal in the process - a surprisingly calm sidefoot finish during the second half when one-on-one with the keeper.

Who knows where they'll go from here but they're off the mark.

Lastly, many thanks this week to Keith M from Teddington and Marcus D from Walthamstow for donating to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really appreciate it.


The highlights of the next few days include games in the EFL, some FA Cup replays, the next round of the FA Trophy, most of our local non-league competitions and a full programme of women's fixtures.

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 4 October

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Colchester United @2pm - the week gets off to a pretty quiet start with this U23 game at Dartford's ground. As always, check all details before you travel as youth games are notoriously flakey

SCEFL Division 1
SC Thamesmead v Meridian VP @745pm - the only non-league game of the night is a derby between two sides stuck in the bottom three of this division

A bit further afield
Reading v Birmingham 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. Please confirm all details on the day

Tuesday 5 October

EFL Trophy
Charlton Athletic v Southampton U21 @745pm - the Addicks are having a stinker of a season but one of the high points has been their 6-1 thrashing of Crawley in this competition. Southampton's youngsters lost their opening game to Leyton Orient so perhaps it will be another good night for the hosts. Tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Torquay United @745pm - the Wood drew with Eastleigh on Saturday to stay fourth. If they are to challenge this season then they'll need to beat former EFL sides like Torquay who are often there or thereabouts. However, the Devon club have made a slow start and are by no means unbeatable

FA Cup Third Qualifying Round Replays
Hornchurch v Bowers & Pitsea @745pm - after fighting out a 2-2 draw with Essex rivals Bowers & Pitsea, the Urchins will hope to make the most of home advantage to get through to the next round. Both sides play in the Isthmian Premier so it could well be tight again. The winners will host Aldershot Town
Wingate & Finchley v Corinthian Casuals @745pm - another couple of sides from the Isthmian Premier also produced a 2-2 draw on Saturday. With the earlier league match between them also ending 2-2, penalties could be the order of the night here. The winners will host either Metropolitan Police or St Albans City

Wednesday 6 October

Women's Champions League
Chelsea v Wolfsburg @8pm - the biggest match of the night is this Women's Champions League match at Kingsmeadow. Since their opening weekend loss to Arsenal, Emma Hayes' side have won all their games in the league and cup. Wolfsburg are unbeaten and second in the Bundesliga and have won this competition twice. It should provide a real test of the Blues' credentials. Tickets are available

Hampton & Richmond Borough v QPR B @730pm - the Beavers are becoming the go-to opposition for local pro clubs' reserve and youth teams. Having played Brentford B a couple of weeks ago and QPR's U23 side in the summer, the R's are back in town again with their new B team. With it being an international break, hopefully Rangers will field several of their fringe first-team squad who aren't on international duty. Adult tickets are £7 UPDATE - MATCH OFF

SCEFL Division 1
Bridon Ropes v Stansfeld @745pm - in south-east London there's a battle of two of the top four in this 10th-tier league. Both of them have games in hand on top club Croydon who are also playing on Wednesday

ECL Division 1 South
May & Baker v Burnham Ramblers @745pm - in the parallel ECL there's a match between third and fifth. Sadly for the clubs involved, they don't have games in hand on leaders Ipswich Wanderers and have a six-point gap to make up


Friday 8 October

Premier League 2
Fulham v Stoke City @7pm - get your weekend underway with this U23 game at Motspur Park, Fulham's training ground. The spectator facilities are pretty decent but check on the day whether you'll be allowed in - it's usually about £3

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Clapton @745pm - over on the north east side of town these two will be looking for three points to climb the table after unspectacular starts to the campaign. The Tons could find it tough after playing only 48 hours before at Ilford


Saturday 9 October

League Two
Sutton United v Port Vale @3pm - with it being an international break, the mighty U's top the bill in London on Saturday. After slow beginnings at this level, Sutton have now won four of their last five games to climb into the top half. Vale are currently third so this could be a pretty decent game. Tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - the biggest non-league game of the day is this derby between two of the current top four. The Daggers are only one game ahead in the overall head-to-head between the sides so it should be close again
Bromley v Torquay United @3pm - the Gulls make their second visit of the week to the capital and face another side several places above them in the table, at the time of writing. They've been unbeaten on their last two visits so will hope to extend that run
Wealdstone v Eastleigh @3pm - talking of Torquay, the Stones got thrashed 5-0 by them on Saturday to stay a little too close to the relegation zone for comfort. Eastleigh are on level points with the Ruislip-based club so anything less than a win will be very disappointing

National League South
Dartford v Hungerford Town @3pm - the Darts have made a cracking start to the campaign, winning six and drawing one to top the league. Hungerford are down in 16th but, like Dartford, made it through to the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round on Saturday
Dulwich Hamlet v Billericay Town @3pm - the Hamlet are one of the best supported non-league clubs in London and usually get a bumper crowd when the big clubs have the weekend off. They've been doing much better this season and are fifth at the time of writing. Billericay are bottom and should be beaten
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Chelmsford City @3pm - the midtable game of the day with not a huge amount immediately riding on it takes place at the Beveree. One of the capital's favourite non-league grounds, it's always worth a visit. Also, if you're a Premier League or EFL season-ticket holder you can get in for a reduced price of £10 on production of your season ticket

Isthmian Premier
Corinthian Casuals v Merstham @3pm - there isn't really a standout game in the seventh tier but this match between two sides in the bottom five should be worth a watch. A visit to CCs is usually a colourful affair thanks to a great group of fans

FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round
Aveley v Uxbridge @3pm - all of our eighth-tier clubs are in FA Trophy action on Saturday. It's hard to pick out some really great ties but I'm going for this one as Uxbridge are currently top of the Isthmian South Central and doing well
Northwood v Haywards Heath Town @3pm - it's pretty much the same scenario here where a midtable side play host to a leading club. HHT are currently top of the Isthmian South East and unbeaten in seven

CCL Premier Division South
Walton & Hersham v Horley Town @3pm - in the ninth tier, there's a top-four clash at the Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub. The hosts are currently second and pushing for another promotion whilst Horley are just behind in fourth, although they've played a game more

CCL Division 1
London Lions v Cove @3pm - again there aren't any real standout games in the 10th tier so why not check out London Lions who are currently top of this division. London's top Jewish club, they're currently two points clear after winning nine of their first 10 games. Cove are struggling and will do well to get anything

London Senior Trophy First Round
Peckham Town v Croydon @1230pm - this early kick-off will allow you to do a 'double' with Dulwich Hamlet. Eleventh tier Peckham face a tough afternoon against SCEFL Division 1 leaders Croydon. The hosts will also be visited by local charity Peckham Sponsors Refugees who will be raising funds to help a refugee family settle in the area


Sunday 10 October

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Leicester City @1230pm - women's football takes centre stage on Sunday and there are plenty of great options to choose from. After playing Wolfsburg in midweek, the Blues get back to domestic issues against the Foxes. New to this level, the visitors have lost all four of their opening fixtures and will find life very difficult here. Tickets
Arsenal v Everton @3pm - the Gunners are the team to beat this year. Having already seen off Chelsea and thrashed Manchester City and Tottenham (in the FA Cup), they're starting to look untouchable. Everton were fancied to do well but made a disappointing start. However, they recorded a comfortable win at Reading on Sunday to move up to eighth. Tickets
West Ham United v Birmingham City @3pm - the Hammers notched an impressive 3-0 win at Manchester City on Sunday as one of the country's top clubs continued to struggle. The Hammers are now up to fifth and should fancy their chances against a Birmingham side who have lost every game.

FA Women's Championship
Charlton Athletic v Bristol City @2pm - the Robins got relegated from the Super League last season and have found the landing at this level to be a little bumpy. Currently holding their own but not looking likely to go back up, they face an Addicks side just above them in the table
London City Lionesses v Watford @2pm - the hosts, who play at Dartford, are currently London's top-ranked club in this division. A win against a pretty hapless Hornets side who prop up the table will probably leave them in the top three come teatime on Sunday

FA Women's National League Southern Premier
Hounslow v Keynsham Town @2pm - it's sad to have to say this but Hounslow have looked like a team in the wrong division for a while now. Ever since QPR gave up their place in this division and gave their licence to Hounslow, the west London side have struggled. Regularly thrashed by teams in their own division and beaten by ones from divisions below in cup matches and friendlies, only the pandemic has kept them in the third tier as seasons have been curtailed. All six matches have been lost this season, with last weekend's 11-0 home drubbing by Portsmouth the latest low. Keynsham have won two games this season but have conceded almost as many as Hounslow so maybe the hosts could get off the mark here
London Bees v Gillingham @2pm - after suffering relegation from the Championship, London Bees started this season pretty well but have suddenly nosedived after losing four on the trot. The Gills are also in midtable but their form is going the other way and should start as favourites

FA Women's National League Division 1 South East
London Seaward v Actonians @2pm - for most of last season the hosts were known as Leyton Orient Women until the O's decided out of the blue to revoke their permission to use the name and dropped all links to them. It came as a huge shock to all involved at the club and raised eyebrows around the women's football community. Thankfully they managed to keep their place in the fourth tier, picked up a new name and new backers and have started this season well enough, sitting sixth after six games. The team play at Wadham Lodge which they share with the men's teams from Walthamstow, West Essex and Clapton CFC. Actonians are another women's team with no link to a major men's club and are fourth after routing Cambridge United 6-0 away on Sunday. If I wasn't working on Sunday, I'd be heading here 

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.

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