Monday 8 November 2021

TLFG: 8-14 November 2021

For me, the last week was spent building up to Harrow Borough's huge FA Cup match with Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday.

The day duly arrived but not without trepidation as my wife had picked up what appeared to be norovirus on Friday evening, threatening the cancellation of my trip and all those depending on me for train and match tickets.

Thankfully she mustered enough resolve to allow my departure, and my daughter and I plus my friend Andy left Waterloo on the 1300 train to Portsmouth.

The journey was fast - from my home to Fratton took only a little over two hours and with Greene King giving away free cans of beer on the Waterloo concourse, it was even more enjoyable for my travelling companion.

Harrow Borough (red) gave a great account of themselves against Portsmouth

On arrival at Fratton, we were met by Wayne - a former colleague of mine and local resident.

Despite being a Pompey fan, he joined us in the away end for what turned out to be a much closer contest than I'd expected.

With Wayne getting odds of 26/1 for Harrow just to score, no-one really thought they'd do that well.

After surviving an early scare, Steve Baker's team started to assert themselves and managed a few half chances of their own.

However, around the half-hour mark they did concede from close range but rather than capitulate, they steadied themselves and saw out the half.

The second period was similar - Portsmouth huffed and puffed and had way more of the possession and aside from one shot that hit the post, never really troubled.

It ended 1-0, a result I would have happily taken beforehand.

Avoiding humiliation and being competitive against a side from four levels above is all you can really ask for and we got that in spades.

Most of Harrow's players looked really composed and totally unaffected by playing in front of nearly 7,000 spectators, way more than the normal 150.

Young goalkeeper Josh Strizovic, on loan from Dagenham & Redbridge, was MOTM for most people whilst George Moore was a threat throughout on the left and James Mansfield was, for me, the pick of the defenders although they all did well.

A special mention should go to all at Pompey - they were great hosts.

The stewards were helpful and friendly throughout and many of us have tales of opposition fans showering us with praise after the match on the streets and in pubs around the ground.

It's Women's Football Weekend and Spurs are playing Arsenal

Although the cup run is over, Harrow made around £20,000 in prize money, received £5,000 for having yesterday's match shown live on international channels like ESPN and then got 50% of yesterday's gate receipts so that could be another £20,000 or possibly even more.

For a club averaging meagre attendances of 151 despite playing some great football, this kind of money will make a huge difference.

If you're reading this and live in the Harrow/Northolt area and have never been to watch the Boro, please do - the club would love to see you down there.

The cup football continues relentlessly this week with tough trips to Hampton & Richmond Borough in the Middlesex Senior Cup on Tuesday and Leiston in the FA Trophy on Saturday - here's to another cup run or two!

Looking ahead to this week's action, we've got another international break and the FA have made it Women's Football Weekend to try and attract fans who might be without a men's game to go and watch a Super League, Championship or Women's FA Cup game instead.

The North London derby between Spurs and Arsenal on Saturday tops the bill in London but there are lots of other great options on Sunday - I'll hopefully be going to watch QPR.

Lastly from me, many thanks this week to Brian T from Newquay and Guy C-H from Newcastle for donating to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. I really appreciate it.

Have a great week everyone.


The highlights of the next few days include games in the National League, FA Trophy, most of our local non-league competitions and the Women's Super League and Women's FA Cup. There's also an England game too.

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
Thursday fixtures - purple 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 8 November

FA Cup First Round
Dagenham & Redbridge v Salford City @745pm - the week begins with the concluding tie in the FA Cup First Round. Being broadcast live on ITV, you can watch as the non-league Daggers look to pull off a minor shock by beating League Two strugglers Salford. Neither side are in great form so it could be close. Tickets are available from £10

Isthmian League Premier
Carshalton Athletic v Folkestone Invicta @745pm - the Robins begin the week by welcome title-chasing Folkestone. The Kent club are unbeaten in the league this season and have games in hand on the top two. If they beat their midtable hosts, they could go second

ECL Division 1 South
Barkingside v Benfleet @745pm - the 'Side also have a tough start to the week, as they face another club with title aspirations. Currently fourth, Benfleet will move on to level points with leaders Buckhurst Hill if they win


Tuesday 9 November

Professional Development League
QPR v Ipswich Town @1pm - the R's U23 side return to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium for a bit of lunchtime football. These matches are usually open to the public with voluntary donations taken on the gate for the club's community trust

EFL Trophy
Leyton Orient v Charlton Athletic @7pm - there's actually a pretty good line-up in the much-derided EFL Trophy on Tuesday with two derbies to look forward to. First up the O's entertain League One strugglers Charlton. Both sides safely avoided cupsets on Saturday as they beat Ebbsfleet and Havant & Waterlooville respectively. Who knows what kind of sides the clubs will put out but tickets are only £5
Sutton United v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - when these two south London rivals met in the FA Cup in 2017 it was a huge occasion, with tickets like golddust. Sadly interest isn't anywhere near that level for this one but a derby's a derby so it should be worth watching for that reason alone. Adult tickets appear to start at £12 

Southern League Premier Division South
Metropolitan Police v Chesham United @745pm - the Met have accrued several games in hand and are well placed to challenge for a play-off spot at the very least. The Generals are pottering along in midtable and should be beaten

Middlesex Senior Cup Second Round
Hayes & Yeading United v Barnet @745pm - there are lots of good ties in the MSC on Tuesday but this match between a very impressive H&YU side and Barnet, who play two levels above them, looks intriguing. The hosts are unbeaten in the Southern League and lost narrowly to League Two side Sutton United in the FA Cup on Saturday. The Bees were struggling but are improving greatly under caretaker boss Dean Brennan. If the sides both went for it and put out full-strength teams then it could be very entertaining but I get the feeling there could be quite a few changes 

CCL Premier Division North
Egham Town v Hanworth Villa @745pm - the visitors won their big game with St Panteleimon to end Saturday five points clear at the top. Next up they travel to Egham who could be a top-three side themselves if they win their games in hand

CCL Division 1
Rayners Lane v London Lions @745pm - among the leading group heading into the autumn, October was a tough month for Rayners Lane. Three defeats from four must have hit their confidence but a resounding 5-1 win at British Airways in their last game means they are still in the top five. London Lions have had a season to remember. With only one league defeat, Saturday's 2-1 win at Berks County ensured they stayed five points clear at the top

MCFL Premier
Clapton CFC v Stonewall FC @745pm - there's a rare bit of 11th-tier football to be enjoyed at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow on Tuesday. MCFL leaders Clapton CFC will look to open up a clear lead over title rivals FC Soma with three points here. Stonewall are among the early season strugglers and are only two points off the bottom. If you want a bit of atmosphere, the Tons have an average attendance of 309 which is comparable to clubs playing four levels above them

Wednesday 10 November

Isthmian League North
Grays Athletic v AFC Sudbury @745pm - another side to be doing well are Grays. Currently third but with the games in hand to go top, they take on FA Cup celebrities AFC Sudbury who played Colchester United live on the BBC on Friday. As a result of that cup run, they have the games in hand to challenge for the title too so this is effectively a top-of-the-table clash

Thursday 11 November

Premier League Cup
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion @7pm - this U23 match at Boreham Wood's ground tops the bill on Thursday. Despite being the biggest club in this group, the Gunners are only second after drawing their first two games. The Baggies, on the other hand, have maximum points and are top. Arsenal U23 games at this venue are often free entry but check all the details on the day

Remembrance Day Match
Chelsea Women's Academy v UK Armed Forces Women @730pm - with it being the 11th day of the 11th month, there's a women's friendly to mark the occasion at Kingsmeadow. Adult tickets are £5 and can be bought in advance with proceeds going to the Royal British Legion

Friday 12 November

Fifa World Cup qualifier
England v Albania @745pm - a couple of draws in recent games against Poland and Hungary have made England's qualification for Qatar that little bit harder than it needed to be. In theory they should beat Albania with relative ease but they've been a lot better than many people expected. Gareth Southgate's team need four points from their final two games to be certain of qualification, so if they only get one point here, they should get three from San Marino in their last match. Apparently this match is sold out, which I'm genuinely quite shocked about


Saturday 13 November

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal @130pm - the November international break means it's time for Women's Football Weekend. A bit like Non-League Day, women's teams look to take centre stage whilst all the top men's teams take a rest. The match of the weekend in London is this derby at The Hive. The Gunners are the top team in the country right now so it's going to be tough for Spurs. However, the N17 club are much improved on last season and are in the top three. Here's to a competitive afternoon. Adult tickets are only £6.50

EFL Youth Alliance South East
Sutton United v AFC Wimbledon @11am - if you fancy a 'double' of games on Saturday, this U18 boys' match at Gander Green Lane will give you ample time to get to a whole load of other fixtures around London later in the afternoon

National League
Wealdstone v Barnet @3pm - with absolutely no Premier League or EFL action taking place in London on Saturday, the stage is clear for all our local men's non-league clubs to showcase their talents too. Arguably the biggest game of the day is this derby at Grosvenor Vale. Barnet currently play at The Hive, a stadium initially intended to house the Stones following their departure from Lower Mead. Things didn't work out financially and Barnet eventually bought and finished developing the site, playing their first game there in 2013. Since then the Bees have dropped out of the EFL and Wealdstone have moved up to the National League. Not only that but Barnet are now led by the manager, Dean Brennan, who got the Stones to this level. If you're anywhere near Ruislip, this is the game for you 

National League South
Dartford v Oxford City @3pm - the Darts' stumbled to another draw on Saturday as their winless run extended to a fourth match. Luckily for them, main challengers St Albans were busy causing a cupset in the FA Cup so didn't get the chance to knock them off the top. The visitors also didn't play on Saturday but are firmly part of the top five and just four points behind the hosts
Dulwich Hamlet v Bath City @3pm - although not quite as important a match as the one above, the international break should mean close to a sell-out crowd at Champion Hill. In terms of attendance, the Hamlet are the biggest club in this division by some distance averaging 2,400 per game. Some matches have attracted the best part of 3,500 and I expect this to be another. In other words, you're strongly advised to buy tickets in advance and arrive early as latecomers tend to get a poor view of proceedings

FA Trophy First Round
With the qualifying rounds now complete, the remaining 78 clubs from the seventh and eighth tiers do battle for a winners' cheque of £3,000 and a place in the next round

Cray Wanderers v Bedfont Sports @3pm - London's oldest club have been a bit disappointing this season and are down in the lower reaches of the Isthmian Premier. To be fair, they have some games in hand and could climb the table a bit. On Saturday they welcome a side from the level below but a very good one. Up in fourth, with games in hand, Bedfont enjoyed a great FA Cup run and only narrowly lost 1-0 to former EFL club Kidderminster Harriers. In many ways I fancy them to cause another cupset
Hanwell Town v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - there's an almost identical match up here, although this time the lower division club are at home. This should, therefore, give Hanwell an even greater chance of making it through
Hayes & Yeading United v Worthing @3pm - the tie of the round in the whole south of England must be this one. As we've already mentioned, H&YU are pretty much the best club in the Southern League whilst Worthing are currently top of the parallel Isthmian League. If I had no other commitments, I'd be heading here
Walton Casuals v Uxbridge @3pm - there's some more cupset potential here as midtable Southern Premier side Walton are visited by Uxbridge who've been top of the Isthmian South Central, a level below, for most of the season

CCL Premier North
Egham Town v Abbey Rangers @3pm - it was hard to pick a standout game in the ninth tier but this derby should do the trick. If they win their games in hand and other results go their way, Abbey could move up from third and very possibly challenge leaders Hanworth. The Sarnies also have some games in hand, which means a place in the top four is very much within their grasp too

Poppy Match
Oxhey Jets v Coldstream Guards @3pm - the hosts had one of their players killed while on active service in Afghanistan 10 years ago. As a result, they hold a Poppy Match on Remembrance Weekend to raise funds for the Royal British Legion. This year their opponents are the Coldstream Guards. It's £5 to get in

ECL Division 1 South
Buckhurst Hill v Burnham Ramblers @3pm - the hosts are new to this level and have made a staggeringly good start. With only one league defeat, they're one point clear at the top with games in hand on all the teams below them. Burnham are among the chasing pack but current form dictates another home win

MCFL Premier
FC Soma v Clapton CFC @2pm - in the 11th tier we've got a top-of-the-table clash at the Bannister Sports Centre in Harrow Weald. As previously mentioned, the Tons could go three points clear on Tuesday but if they lose, Soma will go top on goal difference without even playing


Sunday 14 November

FA Women's Super League
West Ham United v Reading @3pm - women's football completely dominates proceedings on Sunday as Women's Football Weekend continues. The only top-flight game in London is this match at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground. The Hammers are now two without a win whilst the Royals have won their last two, meaning they're now close together in midtable. Although not the biggest Super League match of the day by any means, it should be one of the most competitive. Adult tickets start at £11

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Charlton Athletic @2pm - in the women's second tier, we have a very decent south-east London derby to look forward to at Bromley's ground. Both clubs are neck-and-neck in the top five with only a point between them. Adult tickets are £8 
London City Lionesses v Sheffield United @130pm - never mind Palace and Charlton, the top-ranked club from the capital in this division are LCL who strengthened their grip on third after winning 2-0 at Sunderland on Sunday. The Blades were right up there earlier in the season but four games without a win has seen them slip to sixth. Adult tickets are £8 and the match is being played at Dartford

Women's FA Cup First Round
With the qualifying rounds out of the way, third-tier clubs from the FAWNL Premier Northern & Southern divisions enter the draw alongside the lower-division survivors. To give you some idea of the gulf in finances between the men's and women's games - sides who won a men's First Round game this weekend banked a cheque for £22,629. A women's team winning this weekend will get only £850

London Seaward v Cambridge City @1pm - two rivals from the fourth tier FAWNL Division 1 South East do battle at Wadham Lodge. Only one place and three points apart in midtable, this should be close but I'd put my money on the hosts
QPR v Bromley @115pm - the R's enjoyed a comfortable win at Stevenage in the FAWNL Plate on Sunday and should feel confident of making progress here. Bromley are in fine form but play three levels below their opponents
Fulham v Oxford United @230pm - the Cottagers picked up a fine away win at Dulwich Hamlet in the league on Sunday which should boost their confidence ahead of this really tough game against a side from two levels above them
Millwall Lionesses v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - fifth-tier club Millwall are going along really nicely at the moment with Sunday's success against Dartford extending their winning run to seven matches. The Dons play a level above them and are in decent form themselves, winning six in a row and scoring 31 goals in the process - an away win looks likely
Sutton United v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @2pm - the U's are another one of the minnows to still be going at this point. Down in the sixth tier, they'll be looking to channel some of that FA Cup magic that the men's team are famous for. Ashford are top of the level above them so they'll have their work cut out to beat them

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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