Sunday, 16 January 2022

TLFG: 17-23 January 2022

My week off has come to an end but I put it to fairly good use.

I did some Non-League Day prep, which included speaking to an MP about what we're getting up to, began house hunting and went to two games - yes, two!

The first, on Tuesday, saw me travel down to Tolworth in south-west London to watch Corinthian Casuals take on Harrow Borough in a much delayed London Senior Cup First Round tie.

I go past the ground regularly on the train and have been to a pre-season match there before featuring two other teams but I'd never seen CCs in action themselves.

The clubs both play in the seventh tier in the parallel Isthmian and Southern Leagues and I can't remember many games between them so this was a bit of a novelty.

With light rain falling all day, the pitch was soggy to say the least and I'm sure some refs might have called it off but our one didn't and everything went ahead as planned.

Harrow Borough push for an equaliser at Yate Town

Unsurprisingly, the conditions led to a game of little quality but lots of honest effort and endeavour as both sides did their best on the heavy surface.

It ended 0-0 and thankfully went straight to penalties.

CCs saw their first one saved when Harrow keeper Josh Strizovic went possibly a little early, and then watched as the visitors unerringly converted all five of theirs to win 5-3.

The mouthwatering prize of a home tie against Brentford B at the end of the month now awaits the Boro. 

In my second game, I went even further - all the way to Yate Town in Gloucestershire.

This match had been on my schedule for a while as my brother lives in north Bristol about five miles from the ground.

I took the train down and on arrival at Paddington, I discovered it had lost several coaches and was packed to the rafters.

Consequently, I had to stand for the duration of the two-hour journey to Bristol alongside a small group who had occupied the universal toilet as there was no other space!

My brother met me on arrival and we spent a couple of hours walking around the city's docks before having lunch and driving to the game.

Despite being a talented sportsman, my brother is not a watcher of others and declined my offer of treating him to the match and bade me farewell.

Like Harrow, Yate had a good run in the FA Cup this season and the sides were pretty evenly matched throughout.

The Boro started very poorly, went a goal down, survived a couple more scares and then started to have the better of things.

Their play earned a late equaliser but with a Yate defender requiring lengthy treatment for a head injury, a whopping 10 minutes of injury time got added on.

It's FREE ENTRY at Hampton & Richmond on Tuesday

And it was in that 10th minute that the hosts grabbed a scrappy winner from a corner as it finished 2-1.

Agonising stuff for all involved with Harrow.

Thankfully, I'd ducked out just before to catch a train as there aren't that many in this part of the world and didn't experience that moment of utter deflation.

Undeterred, I plan to be back on the road with them on Saturday as they return again to the Portsmouth area for another tough fixture against Gosport Borough.

One of the highlights of this away day will be the need to catch a ferry as part of the journey to Privett Park.

Before I go, a quick shout out to the Actonians U9s who pulled off their most memorable win so far.

When the team played their first-ever match against Ruislip Rangers back in April, they lost 19-2.

On Saturday they turned things around and recorded a 4-2 triumph.

Sadly neither I nor my daughter were involved because of my trip to Yate but we'll be back for the next one against Acton & Ealing Whistlers in a couple of weeks.

Lastly from me, many thanks this week to Lawrence L from Virginia, USA for donating to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. I really really appreciate it.


                                                             THE WEEK AHEAD

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

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 kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 17 January

Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur v Blackburn Rovers @7pm - begin the week with the rare opportunity of watching the Spurs U23 side at the THS. Seats are available in the West Stand for just £5 but make sure you book your ticket online in advance

Essex Senior Cup Third Round
Aveley v Barking @745pm - two Isthmian North clubs do battle in the county cup at Parkside, the winners will host Grays Athletic in the next round
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Tuesday 18 January

Championship
Fulham v Birmingham City @745pm - having scored 13 goals in the process of winning their last two games, the Cottagers may well have got through their wobbly patch. Now two points clear of AFC Bournemouth at the top, the west London club should have too much for a struggling Birmingham side who are winless in six. Tickets are available

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth @745pm - given Pompey's relative closeness to London, any match in the capital will tend to draw a big crowd - especially ones on the south side of town. The Dons could only manage a 0-0 draw with Morecambe on Saturday, to slide perilously close to the relegation zone whilst Portsmouth suffered a 2-1 defeat in their important match against fellow play-off contenders MK Dons. The atmosphere should be great inside the new and very compact Plough Lane but only a few tickets remain so don't hang about

League Two
Sutton United v Colchester United @745pm - the U's needed a 98th-minute equaliser to salvage a point at struggling Stevenage on Saturday, so a match against another one of the clubs at the wrong end of the table might not be the foregone conclusion it should be. Despite the result, Sutton are still fifth and having a great debut season at this level. Tickets are available

Premier League Cup
Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth @7pm - the Gunners' U23 side entertain their counterparts from Dorset at Boreham Wood's ground. Regular Premier League 2 games are often free entry but there might be a small charge for a game in this competition - check all the details on the day

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Dorking Wanderers @745pm - the biggest crowd for any non-league game on Tuesday will almost certainly come at Champion Hill. Matches at the Hamlet frequently sell out although there is usually a bit of a dip for midweek games. Here they welcome the leaders who are in great form and should bring a few supporters of their own. Dulwich are currently seventh and have games in hand on all of those above them so a win would be very useful indeed. Book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Braintree Town @745pm - the hosts could get right back into the play-off race if they beat the bottom club. The most notable thing about this game, though, is that it's free entry to all as long as you claim a place online in advance

Isthmian South Central
Chertsey Town v Uxbridge @745pm - despite the best efforts of the chasing pack, Bracknell seem pretty untouchable at the moment and are currently 14 points clear at the top. On Saturday they won 1-0 at former leaders Uxbridge who stay in the top four not far behind Chertsey who are second. The Curfews drew a crowd of almost 500 for the visit of Ashford Town on Saturday to show they are definitely a club on the up

Middlesex Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Brentford B v Hanwell Town @745pm - it's always great to see pro clubs fielding sides in the county cups and the Bees have been leading the charge, certainly among local Premier League clubs, for several years. Although drawn at home, they tend to switch all their ties to the opposition's ground so this is being played at the Powerday Stadium. The links between these two local clubs are significant not least the fact that Brentford B's manager Sam Saunders is also a player for Hanwell so there's quite a conflict of interest there!

Surrey Senior Cup Second Round
Tooting & Mitcham United v Balham @745pm - it's derby day at Imperial Fields where teams from two areas right next to each other on the Northern Line go in search of county cup glory. The hosts play a level above Balham so will start as favourites

SCEFL Premier
Glebe v Sheppey United @745pm - third place Glebe host the side just above them in a huge game at Foxbury Avenue. With leaders Chatham starting to pull away, Sheppey badly need a win to keep in touch whilst the hosts can pretty much forget about any title ambitions if they lose

CCL Premier South
Molesey v Jersey Bulls @745pm - Walton & Hersham are 10 points clear at the top and cruising. However, second-place Jersey have four games in hand the first of which is against the Moles who currently prop up the league

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Wednesday 19 January

Premier League
Brentford v Manchester United @745pm - postponed from shortly before Christmas, these two will have another go on Wednesday. The Bees come into this on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool which left them in 14th. Prior to that, they lost 4-1 at Southampton which was probably their worst performance of the season. United are rarely easy to play against but are way off their best and blew a 2-0 lead to draw at Aston Villa on Saturday. Tickets are only available to members 

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Leatherhead @745pm - there's a big relegation 'six-pointer' at Hayes Lane on Wednesday where two of the bottom three will scrap for three vital points in the battle to avoid the drop. It's looking a bit grim for both sides at the moment but Cray are still in touching distance of safety and have some games in hand

FA Women's Super League Cup Quarter-Finals
Arsenal v Manchester United @715pm - it's a big night in women's football with three of the four quarter-finals being played on our patch. WSL leaders Arsenal host Manchester United in the match of the night at Meadow Park. Tickets are available from £8 
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @730pm - if Spurs beat West Ham on Sunday then they will come into this game in third place and should start as strong favourites against the Reds who are currently top of the Championship. Tickets for this match at The Hive are £8
West Ham United v Chelsea @730pm - the other tie gives us a London derby to enjoy. The Blues have won this competition for the last two years and should see off the midtable Hammers at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground. Tickets are available from £5

FA Women's National League Division 1 South East
QPR v Actonians @745pm - given my own interest in both clubs, I couldn't let this derby go by without a mention. Hailing from the neighbouring areas of Shepherd's Bush and Acton, there's a decent rivalry starting to build between these two. QPR won a thrilling Capital Cup Final on penalties in May and Actonians won the reverse league fixture at Rectory Park at the start of this season. The visitors inflicted a first defeat of the season on league leaders Hashtag United last weekend so will probably start as marginal favourites here. The match is being played at Hanwell Town. Tickets are £3

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Thursday 20 January

EFL Cup Semi-Final Second Leg
Arsenal v Liverpool @745pm - the Gunners confounded many people by managing a 0-0 draw in the first leg at Anfield despite playing over an hour with 10 men. Now back on home soil, they've got every chance of making it to Wembley for their first EFL Cup Final since 2018. The most successful side in FA Cup history, Arsenal have only won this competition twice with the last time being way back in 1993. Tickets are only available to members

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Friday 21 January

Premier League
Watford v Norwich City @8pm - the Canaries' win over Everton on Saturday lifted them off the bottom and left them just one point behind Watford who sit just above the relegation zone. Before this weekend, Norwich were in shocking form but things are so tight at the bottom that this one win made a huge difference. Therefore this game is massive for both clubs. For the neutral, this should provide an entertaining start to the weekend and there are a few tickets still available

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Saturday 22 January

Premier League
Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - the Bees' tough run of games continues with the visit of an in-form Wolves side. The Black Country club kept themselves in eighth on Saturday with a solid 3-1 win over Southampton. Earlier in the campaign, Brentford won 2-0 at Molineux so will fancy their chances here. Strikingly, the head-to-head between these sides over history is exactly equal with 12 wins apiece and three draws. Tickets are only available to members

League One
Charlton Athletic v Fleetwood Town @3pm - after a great start under Johnnie Jackson, the Addicks climbed right up into the top half of the table. However, the honeymoon seems to be over and they're now winless in four league games. They picked up a point at Cheltenham on Saturday and face a very winnable game here against a side just above the relegation zone so they really should take three points, for a morale boost if nothing else. Tickets are available

League Two
Leyton Orient v Port Vale @3pm - the O's were up among the frontrunners but have lost their way a bit of late. Three defeats from five have seen them slip to 12th, seven points adrift of the play-off places. It's a similar story for the visitors who have also lost three of their last five to drop out of the top seven. In other words, it should be close. Tickets are available
Sutton United v Northampton Town @3pm - if midweek results go Sutton's way then this could be a clash of third versus fourth. Whatever happens, these two are among the contenders for promotion so it should be well worth a watch. Tickets are available

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Stockport County @520pm - the non-league match of the day takes place at the Chigwell Construction Stadium where the Daggers host Stockport. At the time of writing, both sides are in the top eight and it's been picked for live broadcast by BT Sport. The Hatters are one of the biggest clubs in the division and were playing at Championship level just over 20 years ago so will almost certainly sell out their allocation. Tickets are available and you're probably wise to buy in advance

National League South
Dartford v Hampton & Richmond Borough @3pm - despite some iffy form of late, the Darts are still the highest-ranked TLFG team in this division (subject to midweek results). They were top for many weeks but are now down in fifth after only one win from five games. Hampton were in play-off contention and although down in 15th, they're still only five points off the pace such is the tightness of the table

Isthmian League Premier
Kingstonian v Enfield Town @3pm - in the seventh tier, I really like the look of this one as two of the top five meet in Tolworth. The reverse fixture in October saw a 2-0 win for the Towners so the K's will be hoping for some revenge here

Isthmian League North
Aveley v Brentwood Town @3pm - the Millers stayed top of the division with a 1-0 win at Heybridge Swifts on Saturday. However, with only one point separating the top three, the title race is tight. Brentwood, in fifth, are also very much in contention as they have games in hand on all of those above them so this all-Essex affair should be a well worth a couple of hours of your time

CCL Premier Division North
Abbey Rangers v Egham Town @3pm - with Abbey playing in the Chertsey/Addlestone area, this match is very much a derby. Only two points currently separate the sides in third and fifth and with both having games in hand on the leading pair, they need to go all out for victory here

London Senior Trophy Quarter-Final
Tooting Bec v Bridon Ropes @3pm - the pick of the action featuring 10th-tier clubs is probably this cup match at Imperial Fields. Both sides are currently in the top five of the SCEFL Division 1 so should provide a competitive contest

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Sunday 23 January

Premier League
Arsenal v Burnley @2pm - after a fairly quiet day on Saturday, London is heaving with top-flight action on Sunday. The Gunners have struggled against the Clarets in recent seasons, winning only one of their last four games. This season could see that trend end as Sean Dyche's side are really struggling. Arsenal won 1-0 at Turf Moor in September and will expect to at least match that result here. Tickets are only available to members
Crystal Palace v Liverpool @2pm - at the same time on the other side of town, the Eagles welcome the Reds to Selhurst Park. If Palace get anything out of this, it will be a minor miracle as they've lost nine in a row against Liverpool since 2017, scoring five and conceding 27 goals in the process! Patrick Vieira's side are quite tough to beat but they don't win enough so you feel a draw will be the best they can hope for here. Tickets are only available to members
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @430pm - with two legs of EFL Cup semi-final action only just behind them, these two meet again for a league game. Although they've only won one of their last five, the Blues look pretty certain to claim a top-four place whilst Spurs still have a bit to do. A home win looks almost nailed on when you also consider Tottenham have only won once at Stamford Bridge since 1990. Tickets are only available to members

FA Women's Super League
West Ham United v Everton @3pm - the pick of the women's action is to be found at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground. After a bright start, the Hammers have slid down to eighth but they have some games in hand which could take them back into the top half. With only one defeat from their last five, at the time of writing, they're not doing too badly and I think they should win here. Tickets are available

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Liverpool @2pm - with the men's teams playing each other at the same time, the scheduling of this big second-tier game between third and first, seems very unfortunate. On the plus side, getting a ticket for this will be a lot cheaper and easier than the closed shop of the match at Selhurst Park. Please note, that tickets for this game at Bromley's ground are cheaper if bought in advance


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!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

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