Sunday, 20 March 2022

TLFG: 21-27 March 2022

Greetings everyone - welcome to TLFG's Non-League Day special edition.

It's been tough to produce as I tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and have been feeling pretty rough.

There was further bad news at the beginning of the week when my Dad, having beaten lung cancer, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

He was in remarkably good form when I spoke to him the other day and maybe believes he can defeat anything that this 'whack-a-mole' kind of disease can throw at him - here's hoping.

Non-League Day takes place on Saturday

On the bright side, I did finally get to pick up my QPR Supporter of the Year award for 2020/21 prior to the R's dismal 3-1 defeat to bottom club Peterborough - a side who have now got the better of them three times this season.

On Saturday I also enjoyed a visit to Silver Jubilee Park to watch Hendon rather undeservedly lose 2-1 to Yate Town in the Southern League.

Although I was originally intending to go to Tiverton to watch Harrow, it had been frowned upon by my other half so I made full use of the free entry offer the Greens had going for their game instead.

On arrival, I had the honour of finally meeting chairman Simon Lawrence who was greeting spectators as they arrived.

Like Harrow, Hendon are another fine seventh-tier club who are really looking to reach out to their local community and bring new fans in so if you're in the Kingsbury/Cricklewood area, please give them a try.

With Non-League Day (NLD) on Saturday, the remainder of this blog will be devoted primarily to that and I'll produce an in-depth look at what's on and update it as clubs announce new offers and events. 

(UPDATE - an NLD guide is now up, scroll down to see more)

I've done three match maps this week, with one focusing entirely on 26 March itself.

My NLD will be spent at Harrow Borough whose game against Merthyr Town kicks off at the slightly earlier time of 2pm to try and encourage fans heading to the England game at nearby Wembley to pop in on their way there.

Northolt Park station is a short walk away from Earlsmead, with trains taking just five minutes to get to the national stadium and Rayners Lane, with frequent services to Wembley Park, is also reachable on foot or by bus or taxi.

I'll be spending Non-League Day at Harrow Borough

Ticket holders for the Three Lions' game against Switzerland or any Premier League or EFL season-ticket holders will get in for half price (£6).

It's even better for NHS staff, emergency services and armed forces personnel who will get in for free as will all U16s.

If you do fancy joining me, tickets are available in advance or on the gate.

One other match I want to give a quick shout-out for is the England v Ukraine fans' match on Friday night at Bedfont & Feltham's ground near Heathrow.

Supporters of both teams are putting on a benefit game to raise funds for humanitarian aid to be sent to the war-torn nation.

So where do you think you'll spend NLD? The options are almost endless with numerous clubs at all levels offering more than I think I've ever seen before.

There's a real feeling that it could well be the biggest NLD yet!

 THE WEEK AHEAD

Aside from the huge selection of non-league games on NLD, there is also a sold-out England match, a couple of games in the EFL and plenty of women's matches. I've also added a stack of youth matches at U18, U19 and U23 levels.

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



SATURDAY MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin



SUNDAY MATCH MAP
Sunday fixtures - orange pin


NON-LEAGUE DAY GUIDE
(This is a work in progress and will be updated as the week progresses)

Saturday 26 March

FIFTH TIER

National League
Wealdstone v Bromley @3pm - the biggest game of the day is this fifth-tier derby between two sides from opposite sides of London. It's been mainly about consolidation for the Stones this season and they seem to have managed that with relative ease. On Saturday they pushed league leaders Stockport County really hard before eventually losing 4-2. Bromley, on the other hand, are still very much in the hunt for a play-off spot and are in the FA Trophy Semi-Finals meaning another trip to Wembley is within their grasp. NLD Deal - it's £10 for all Premier League and EFL season-ticket holders. The club are also taking part in the National Lottery Football Weekends scheme which allows you to bring a friend for free if you have a lottery ticket for Saturday's draw, check with the club for all the T&Cs. Update - this match has been made all-ticket so you must buy in advance

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SIXTH TIER

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Dartford @3pm - although down in 14th, the hosts have two games in hand which if won would put them right back in contention for a play-off spot. Dartford were top but are still third and firmly in the race for promotion. The Cleo Saul Beveree Stadium is one of London's favourite non-league grounds, especially on a sunny spring afternoon so I'd urge you to pay a visit if you're in that part of town. NLD Deal - like Wealdstone, H&RB are taking part in the 2for1 lottery promotion too

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SEVENTH TIER

Southern League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Merthyr Town @2pm - my beloved Boro are pulling out all the stops this year as they look to enjoy their best NLD ever. As mentioned above, the game has been brought forward to 2pm, with the very gracious assistance of their Welsh opponents, to try and encourage people with tickets for England v Switzerland to visit them first. Harrow are lucky enough to have goal machine James Ewington in the side and he's well on course to score 40 goals this season. NLD Deal - ticket holders for the Wembley match will get in for half price as will all Premier League and EFL season-ticket holders. It's also free for all NHS, emergency services, armed forces personnel and U16s
Hayes & Yeading United v Tiverton Town @3pm - the hosts are currently top in what is one of the tightest title races there is. With Metropolitan Police, Taunton Town and Farnborough all within three points of them, it looks like going down to the last day. Although in lower midtable, Tiverton were one of the first teams to stop Hayes winning when they drew 0-0 in Devon back in November. NLD event - this is being declared a 'dementia friendly football match' with a local Dementia Friends group attending the match in what is being described as the first 'Forget Me Not FC' match day

Isthmian League Premier Division
Corinthian Casuals v East Thurrock United @3pm - one of London's most colourful and historic clubs, CC's play in Tolworth and are easily reachable by train. With the support of their lively fans, they should have too much ETU who are bottom after winning only 6 of their 34 games. As an NLD treat, there will be a Brazilian samba band playing in the clubhouse after the match - a nod to the club's link with South American super club Corinthians
Cray Wanderers v Kingstonian @3pm - founded in 1860, the hosts are London's oldest club so are worth a watch just for that. They've had a tough season and are currently in the bottom three but have just appointed former Bromley boss Neil Smith as manager. The K's were right up with the title contenders earlier in the campaign but their form has left them and they're now down in midtable. NLD Deal - Premier League/Championship season-ticket holders get in for £5
Haringey Borough v Bowers & Pitsea @3pm - playing on White Hart Lane within sight of the Tottenham Hostpur Stadium, the hosts have left it late to declare their plans but they're pretty great. NLD Deal - quite simply, everyone is allowed in for free with a collection to be split between Prostate Cancer UK and Ukraine Relief
Wingate & Finchley v Bishop's Stortford @3pm - one of the division's smallest clubs, Wingate have been holding their own at this level now for 10 years. With former player Marc Weatherstone now in charge of the team, they're fighting hard again. The visitors are having a fine season - currently second, they will start as favourites. NLD Deal - Premier League season-ticket holders will get in for £6

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EIGHTH TIER

Isthmian League North Division
Aveley v Stowmarket Town @3pm - arguably the game of the day in the eighth tier, leaders Aveley host the team two points behind them in third. Not only this but Stowmarket have a game in hand. The Millers' Parkside ground is very modern and has some of the best facilities of any non-league club within the M25
Barking v AFC Sudbury @3pm - the Blues have struggled this season and AFC Sudbury aren't pulling up any trees but there's something happening that could tempt you to Mayesbrook Park. NLD Deal - a free glass of beer on entry, how big it is and what beer it is we don't know. It's also half price for Premier League, EFL and National League season-ticket holders and kids for a quid

Isthmian League South Central
Chertsey Town v Guernsey @1245pm - with Bracknell already having won the title, it's all about who finishes second. The Curfews are currently in the runners-up spot and will want to hold on to it. A visit from Guernsey, or any club from the Channel Islands, is always a bit of a novelty and that's why the game kicks off so early. As a result of this, you could probably get to Egham Town v Burnham at 3pm and if you're an England ticket holder, you'll definitely make it to Wembley too. NLD Deal - half price for emergency service and armed forces personnel
Chipstead v Thatcham Town @3pm - in the deep south of TLFG's catchment area, the Chips welcome 2018 FA Vase winners Thatcham who are only two places below them. NLD Deal - it's pay what you want and there's a collection for Prostate Cancer UK, although this is currently only being promoted by the away team so double-check this on the day 
Hanwell Town v Westfield @3pm - the Geordies are just a point behind Chertsey and pushing hard for second themselves. Westfield are in lower midtable and should be beaten. With Harrow just up the road, there's a lot of competition in this part of London to tempt you in. NLD Deal - it's free for emergency services and U18s, half price for PL/EFL season-ticket holders and England v Switzerland ticket holders
Sutton Common Rovers v Staines Town @3pm - being played at Sutton United's Gander Green Lane, SCR should be hopeful of taking all the points against bottom club Staines. NLD Deal - all prices have been cut so that adults are now only £5 and there will be a collection for Prostate Cancer UK too
Tooting & Mitcham United v Binfield @3pm - another one of our clubs to be struggling in this division, the Terrors will hope for some extra backing as they go after three crucial three points. NLD Deal - free entry for U18s
Uxbridge v Marlow @3pm - with only five points separating the sides in second and seventh, that race for the runners-up spot is set to be fierce. These two are both among that group. NLD Deal - half price for Premier League/EFL season-ticket holders

Isthmian League South East
Phoenix Sports v Hythe Town @3pm - two of the bottom six do battle to pick up some crucial points. NLD Deal - £5 for any "League or National League" ST holders

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NINTH TIER

CCL Premier Division North
Edgware Town v Holyport @3pm - currently seventh, the hosts should see off bottom club Holyport with ease. There are clear views of the Wembley Arch from the north end of Silver Jubilee Park and the 83 bus, which stops nearby, will drop you off at the top of 'Wembley Way' if you're going to the England game. However, traffic might mean you need to leave before the end. NLD Deal - free entry for Premier League and EFL season-ticket holders and members 
Wembley v North Greenford United @3pm - a local derby not far from the national stadium so another good option if you're going to watch England. However, despite sharing a name and being in the same part of London, it's still a two-mile walk so you'd probably have to leave before full time. There are no deals in place that we're aware of

CCL Premier South
Walton & Hersham v Knaphill @3pm - Surrey club W&H are having a fine season and are engaged in a titanic title fight with Beckenham Town. The Swans are currently one point clear but have played more games. Knaphill, near Woking, don't have far to travel so should give this a bit of a derby feel. NLD Deal - free entry for Premier League and EFL season-ticket holders

Essex Senior League
Cockfosters v Redbridge @3pm - just around the corner from the Tube station of the same name, Cockfosters welcome the second-placed Motormen. NLD event - one of the more unusual but highly important things to be taking place anywhere in the country, the hosts are holding a stem cell donor recruitment event on behalf of the Leukaemia Cancer Society
Ilford v Sawbridgworth Town @3pm - two of the bottom six are set to battle it out for a crucial three points at Cricklefields. The Foxes appear to be hosting a collection for Prostate Cancer UK, with adult entry a reasonable £7
West Essex v St Margaretsbury @3pm - the hosts are coasting along comfortably in midtable whilst the hosts are down in the bottom three. NLD Deal - it's pay what you want for everyone at Wadham Lodge and there's a free burger and beer for the first 10 people through the gate

SCEFL Premier Division
Erith & Belvedere v Canterbury City @3pm - the Deres have an outside chance of a top-three finish and should have enough to win here. NLD event - 50% of the gate receipts will be donated to the local foodbank
Glebe v Bearsted @3pm - with Chatham and Sheppey well clear in the top two spots, it's all about securing third for Glebe. Bearsted are down in 11th. NLD Deal - buy one, get one free on drinks until kick-off

SSML Premier
Harefield United v Arlesey Town @3pm - there's a midtable clash at Preston Park which lies in a part of suburban west London that's more like a country village. NLD Deal - pay what you want

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TENTH TIER

CCL Division 1
AFC Hayes v Kensington & Ealing Borough @3pm  - a midtable contest at Farm Park, it should be pretty even. NLD Deal - free entry for NHS staff and armed forces
Bedfont & Feltham v Sandhurst Town @3pm - located very close to the runway at Heathrow Airport, this is one of the most photographed non-league grounds in London. Sandhurst, pushing for a place in the top three, will start as favourites. NLD Deal - £3 for Premier League/EFL season-ticket holders
FC Deportivo Galicia v Bagshot @3pm - playing next door at Bedfont Sports' ground, FCD are the division's highest scorers with a whopping 108 goals from 33 games. The visitors have been struggling this season and should be beaten. NLD Deal - everyone paying the £5 entry fee gets a free pin badge and very smart they are too
Hilltop v London Lions @3pm - one of the biggest games of the day at any level, this top-two clash should be well worth a watch. Being played at the Middlesex Stadium near Ruislip, it pits one side with their roots in the Somali community against one with a Jewish background. NLD Deal - all ticket prices halved so it's now only £2.50 for adults and there will be a collection for Prostate Cancer UK
Rayners Lane v Wallingford Town @3pm - there's another fine game in this division just a few miles to the east. The Lane are third, a position they will probably finish in. One of the most entertaining sides in the division, they're one of four clubs to have so far scored 100 goals or more. The visitors are in the top six too so we could have another cracking match on our hands. Close to Rayners Lane station, this is another good option if you're going to the England game. NLD Deal - half price for Premier League/EFL season-ticket holders, a prize draw for those who buy a programme and half of all gate receipts will go to the Ukraine Relief Fund
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ELEVENTH TIER

Middlesex County Football League
Stonewall FC v Larkspur Rovers @2pm - there aren't any special deals that we're aware of in the 11th tier but the games are really cheap or free anyway. This match features the capital's top LGBT football club and it's being played at the London Marathon Community Track which sits in the shadow of the London Stadium in what was the Olympic Park
Kensington Dragons v Sporting Hackney @2pm - if you're an England fan looking for an early kick-off then this match at Linford Christie Stadium on the edge of Wormwood Scrubs could be for you. 
Pitshanger Dynamo v NW London @2pm - playing at North Greenford United's ground, this is another one that's well placed for fans heading to Wembley. The hosts are battling to avoid the drop whilst NW London are going for the title

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TWELFTH TIER

Surrey South Eastern Combination
AFC Whyteleafe v Frenches Athletic @3pm - the hosts are a phoenix club set up at the start of the season following the sudden and rapid demise of Isthmian League side Whyteleafe. Consequently, the club play in a much better stadium and have a much bigger fan base than most clubs at this level. They're targeting a record crowd of around 400 and have made it free entry so anything's possible



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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