Sunday 25 September 2022

TLFG: 26 September - 2 October 2022

Welcome one and all to this week's TLFG.

How has the international break been for you?

Have you used it as a time to get away from football and do something else or have you gorged on the fine offerings available to you in non-league and women's football?

Personally I've taken a break, albeit a fatigue-enforced one.

When you work early shifts on the railway for a week, tiredness really catches up with you and even though I could've got to a game on Saturday, I decided to stay at home and watch the WSL game between Arsenal and Tottenham - I still nodded off though.

Peter and I with our finishers' medals

On Sunday morning I went and ran the Ealing Half Marathon, something I mentioned in last week's piece.

Although I had planned to run with TLFG reader Liam, he was much too quick for me and pulled away as early as the two-mile mark, leaving me to run my own race.

It went surprisingly well and after conquering the dreaded Greenford Avenue hill, I relatively bounded the last five miles home to record my fastest time for several years of 1.53.37 - which was very pleasing indeed.

I'd like to give a big shout out at this point to Ealing Half Marathon founder Kelvin Walker who has done a great job establishing this hugely successful event - it's a massive amount of effort to keep something like this going so a big well done to all those involved.

I'm honoured to say he's a reader of this blog and loves to groundhop when he's not watching Spurs.

I'm also pleased to report that fundraising for the girls' section of Actonians was a big success and we managed to exceed our £1,000 target. 

I really appreciate the donations I and my fellow fundraiser Peter received from TLFG readers to help us get to our goal.

There were some very generous amounts given so thank you very much. These included Michael C, Mr Waffles and TLFG Reader - cheers!

If you'd like to add to that fund, the page is still open and every pound will make a difference to the future development of the girls. 

Many thanks also to Matt K who made a donation to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - well done for finding a way to do it after I took all the links down!


The highlights of the next few days include games in the Nations League, Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Cup, Women's League Cup, Women's FA Cup and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

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 26 September

UEFA Nations League
England v Germany @745pm - the week begins with what would normally be one of the biggest games in international football. Don't get me wrong, it's still a huge occasion and Wembley has sold out but there's very little riding on it as the two worst teams in the group, yes you read that right, play for little more than pride. In theory Germany could finish second if they win but Gareth Southgate's side will finish bottom in the four-team group whatever happens


Tuesday 27 September

National League South
Welling United v Dover Athletic @745pm - there are a couple of games in the sixth tier on Tuesday but I've gone with this as the Wings are currently the top-ranked London side in it. Dover got relegated last season after a tumultuous year and are nearer than the bottom than the top

Isthmian League Premier
Enfield Town v Horsham @745pm - in the seventh tier, I'd recommend a trip to the QEII Stadium where two of the top seven go in search of the points. The Towners made the play-offs last season so you'd expect them to be there or thereabouts again

Isthmian League South Central
Walton & Hersham v Northwood @745pm - this game really gets my mouth watering. The Swans have made a great start to the season and are up in fifth. However, they're also on a brilliant FA Cup run and have played two games less than leaders Northwood who've won all of their first six games


Wednesday 28 September

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v West Ham United @745pm - this was supposed to be the Blues' big season opener at Stamford Bridge but the Queen's death saw it postponed. It's now been rearranged for Wednesday night at Kingsmeadow which is a bit disappointing. Emma Hayes' side picked up their first win of the WSL season on Sunday, beating Manchester City 2-0. Over on the eastside of town, the Hammers lost to Manchester United so the sides will come into this one on level points. Tickets

Thursday 29 September

FA Youth Cup Second Round Qualifying
London Lions v Boreham Wood @7pm - there are numerous ties in this U18 competition this week and with nothing else on on Thursday, this takes centre stage. It looks really interesting too as they're very local to each other, although there's four divisions between their senior teams

Friday 30 September

Premier League 2
Fulham v Everton @7pm - there's an U21 match at the Cottagers' Motspur Park training ground on Friday evening. With only one defeat each so far this season, it should be close. Tickets are £3 on the gate

Isthmian League Premier
Enfield Town v Corinthian Casuals @745pm - with a very large tree having fallen on their clubhouse, CCs are having to move all their matches around at the moment. This should've been a home game on Saturday but they've brought it forward a day and switched it round so they're now playing away. With the visitors down in the bottom three, the Towners should win here

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Sawbridgeworth Town @745pm - leaders Redbridge are also at home on Friday but their match against struggling Clapton doesn't offer quite as much as this clash of two of the top six


Saturday 1 October

Premier League
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - last Saturday lunchtime, the women's teams went head-to-head at the Emirates and now it's the men's turn. With the sides only a point apart in first and third, this is arguably the biggest game of the Premier League season so far. Spurs actually come into this in better form but they haven't won a league game here since 2010. On that occasion they came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 with a late goal from Younes Kaboul. Tickets are not available
Crystal Palace v Chelsea @3pm - there's another big derby at Selhurst Park where the Blues play their first league match under the stewardship of Graham Potter. This will also be their first match for 17 days after seeing their game against Liverpool postponed ahead of the Queen's funeral. If Thomas Tuchel was still in charge then you might fancy the Eagles to get something but he's gone and with only one win this season, it's going to be tough for them. A look into the archives also paints a very bleak picture with Palace losing their last 10 games in all competitions against Chelsea. Tickets are not available to non-members
Fulham v Newcastle United @3pm - the Cottagers have made a sensational start following their promotion. Up in sixth after seven games, their fans must be delighted. Eddie Howe's Magpies team are hugely changed following the arrival of their new Saudi owners but they've become the division's draw specialists and although they've put in some entertaining performances, they're down in 10th. It appears this has sold out too
West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers @530pm - I can't remember the last time there were four top-flight games in London on a Saturday and this weekend's bumper offering comes to an end with this. Both of these sides have impressed in recent seasons but this campaign has begun poorly with both only managing one win from seven. Consequently they're both in the bottom four and in desperate need of the points. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Oxford United @3pm - with none of our local Championship sides playing at home, we move onto the third tier. The Addicks are now five without a win after going down 3-1 at promotion-chasing Barnsley and need an improved performance here. Oxford are usually among the play-off challengers but they're down in 19th and could end the day in the relegation zone if they lose here. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Colchester United @3pm - the Dons picked up a very creditable draw at Bradford City on Saturday but the result extended their winless run in the league to five games. They'll be keen to end it as soon as possible as a hideous winless run that stretched for months last season ultimately sent them down. Colchester didn't pull up any trees last season and they're in the bottom four. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Newport County @3pm - the O's won the big game at title rivals Barrow on Saturday to move five points clear at the top as they continue to go from strength-to-strength. They'll be big favourites to take three points here too as their Welsh opponents haven't made a great start. Tickets

Premier League 2
There are a couple of U21 games at lunchtime with Chelsea entertaining Leicester City at Kingsmeadow at 12pm and West Ham United taking on Crystal Palace at their Rush Green training facility at 2pm. Tickets are £5 for both 

National League
Barnet v York City @3pm - after starting the season so well and briefly topping the table, the Bees continued their slide down it after losing a thrilling derby at Dagenham & Redbridge 5-4. York were going in the opposite direction and would have found themselves in the play-off places on Saturday night but they lost to Notts County and are now just a point ahead of their hosts
Boreham Wood v Maidstone United @3pm - the Wood are currently the top London club in the fifth tier and could move into the top three with a win here. Maidstone fought hard but lost 2-1 to leaders Chesterfield on Saturday to remain in the bottom half

FA Cup Third Round Qualifying
Things are starting to get serious in the FA Cup, with all clubs playing on Saturday now only two games away from a place in the First Round where the League One and League Two clubs enter the draw. Given how important these games are, their geographical spread and the fact I'm pushed for time, these will be my focus for the remainder of Saturday's non-league section. There are nine ties taking place in London, here's my preview:

Dulwich Hamlet v Folkestone Invicta @3pm - with average crowds of around 1,800 the biggest attendance will probably come at Champion Hill. There's also a chance of a cupset as the hosts are in dreadful form and recently sacked long-serving manager Gavin Rose. Folkestone play a level below Dulwich but have a decent away following and could cause them problems
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Paulton Rovers @3pm - on paper the Beavers should have too much for the visitors as they play two levels above them. However, they're not playing well and will need to avoid any complacency at all costs
Carshalton Athletic v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm - the Robins are having a disappointing season in the Isthmian Premier and face a very tough afternoon as NLS title challengers H&W travel up from Hampshire
Hanwell Town v Ebbsfleet United @3pm - this could be an FA Cup classic as one of the form teams from the Southern League take on the NLS leaders. On paper, the visitors should navigate their way through this fairly smoothly but the Geordies will no doubt have other ideas
Hendon v Herne Bay @3pm - it's hard to pick a winner here as both sides are struggling in the parallel Isthmain and Southern Leagues. With home advantage, the Greens should probably just shade it
Hornchurch v Braintree Town @3pm - I really like the look of this one too. The Urchins are currently top of the seventh tier Isthmian Premier whilst Braintree are pushing for a place in the NLS play-offs. It's an all-Essex affair too and should draw a decent crowd
Metropolitan Police v Chippenham Town @3pm - the Met have managed top-four finishes in the last two completed seasons in the Southern League and are in contention again this year. Chippenham play a level above but could be there for the taking. The hosts have made the First Round twice in the last 10 years so they have experience of causing the occasional cupset
Beckenham Town v Binfield @3pm - there's an intriguing tie at Eden Park Avenue where two eighth-tier clubs who are both in great form go head-to-head. Both currently sit second in the parallel Isthmian South East and Isthmian South Central respectively. The Becks caused one of the shocks of the last round by winning 2-1 at NLS side Dartford. Not to be outdone, Binfield raised possibly even more eyebrows by thrashing one of the Darts' rivals Tonbridge Angels 4-0. Whichever way this goes, the winner will be well worth keeping track of in the next round
Romford v Chelmsford City @3pm - the hosts are the lowest ranked club left from the London area, some achievement for a ninth-tier side. They also face a fellow Essex club but one from three levels above. My own club Harrow Borough caused an upset by beating Chelmsford last season so they are prone to the odd slip up but surely not to a team from the Essex Senior League? We'll see...


Sunday 2 October

FA Women's League Cup
London City Lionesses v West Ham United @2pm - the WSL takes a break this week and we have the opening round of group games in this competition instead. With Arsenal and Chelsea sitting things out because of their European commitments, the rest of the teams in the WSL and Championship begin the fight for a place in the quarter-finals. LCL enjoyed a 3-0 win over Durham on Sunday to raise their spirits ahead of a match against a Hammers side who finished sixth in the top division last season

FA WNL Southern Premier
London Bees v Cheltenham Town @2pm - after seeing off fourth tier Portishead in the FA WNL Cup on Sunday, the hosts return to league action on Sunday. Up in third, they've made a good start and should fancy their chances against a Cheltenham side who've lost three in a row in the league and got dumped out of the cup by fourth tier AFC Wimbledon on Sunday

FA WNL Division 1 South East
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Actonians @2pm - despite playing a level below Actonians last season, the Tangerines beat them in two cup competitions. Now playing in the same division, it will be really interesting to see how this goes. Although the hosts are just ahead of the visitors in the table, it can be argued that Actonians have had a much tougher fixture list. On Sunday both of them played in the FA WNL Cup - Actonians won 4-2 at Cambridge City whilst Ashford lost 7-0 at Hashtag United. Unsurprisingly, I want an away win and hope to be there
AFC Wimbledon v Wymondham Town @3pm - if you've never been to Plough Lane before, this is your chance to do it on the cheap. Women's games here are only £5 and you should see a stack of goals as the Dons are in great form and Wymondham quite simply aren't
London Seaward v QPR @3pm - up in third, Walthamstow based London Seaward should be very happy with the start they've made. They also enjoyed a cup win over Swindon Town on Sunday and should start as favourites against an inconsistent QPR side who've now gone four games without a win and lost their latest game 7-0 at home to Ipswich in the cup

Women's FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
Bromley v Millwall Lionesses @2pm - it's also the next round of the Women's FA Cup and there are a number of ties around the capital. The pick of them is this one between two clubs from south-east London. The Ravens are one of the early pacesetters in the sixth tier London & South East Women's Regional League Division 1 South whilst Millwall are currently top of the Premier Division which sits just above 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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