Monday 24 October 2022

TLFG: 24-30 October 2022

Greetings everyone and welcome to TLFG.

In a week where the UK saw another prime minister depart, setting a new record for the shortness of time in post, and an old one threaten to return and then drop out - it's been quite a few days.

On the pitch, Arsenal still lead the way at the top of the English football pyramid despite only managing a draw with Southampton.

In the second tier, QPR went top after beating Cardiff in midweek and then stayed there after another win over Wigan on Saturday. 

They also fended off an approach for manager Michael Beale from Premier League strugglers Wolves, which was a huge boost to all involved at Loftus Road.

A London club also leads the way in League Two, where Leyton Orient returned to the top after a win at Carlisle.

Arsenal are also top of the tree in the women's game too with their win at Liverpool on Sunday evening putting them top of the WSL.

However, it was their 5-1 win at reigning European champions Lyon in midweek that caused quite a stir around the continent and laid down a real marker for the rest of their Champions League campaign.

My own football watching took me to Rectory Park on Sunday to see Actonians take on Ashford Town in the Third Round Qualifying of the Women's FA Cup.

Regular readers might have noticed that the last time these sides played was three weeks ago at the Robert Parker Stadium in a league fixture.

Actonians won 3-0 that day and hadn't played since so they should have been confident going into this one.

Japanese midfielder Natsumi Kanno scored the opener for Actonians

With the terrible weather clearing up almost miraculously in time for kick-off, the two sides got underway in bright sunshine.

The home supporters didn't have long to wait for a breakthrough as Japanese star midfielder Natsumi Kanno scored from range after Ashford's goalkeeper totally misjudged the bounce of the ball and seemed to dive under it - the strong sun probably didn't help.

Chances came and went at either end but Actonians were largely pretty comfortable.

With the half almost up, they inflicted a damaging double strike with Meila D'Santos scoring direct from a corner and Maria Ledezma-Viso crashing an effort into the top-left corner after a strong run down the right.

Trailing 3-0 at the break, it would've been easy for Ashford to wilt and simply give up but that didn't happen.

Perhaps a little complacently, the hosts appeared to coast through the opening 15 minutes after the interval and allowed the visitors to have much more of the ball.

With an hour on the clock they had one back after a cross was bundled in at the far post to make it 3-1.

An injury to Jess Drage allowed boss Danny Harrigan to call his players to the side and give them a brief pep-talk and it seemed to work as minutes later, D'Santos grabbed her second from close range after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

It was one-way traffic after that but there were no further goals and Actonians completed a 4-1 win.

The result saw them pick up prize money of £4,000, which should go a long way at this level, and put them in the hat for Monday's First Round draw when all the third-tier teams enter.

I don't know if you'd noticed, but I'm really enjoying this women's football lark!

As I mentioned last week, TLFG reader Tuncay Y would like to know where different nationalities will gather to watch World Cup matches in London during the tournament which begins next month.

He suggested a bar called El Comandante very close to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium which is run by a Bolivian and is very popular with fans of South American teams.

Do you have any information on where the best places will be to see the likes of Australia play France or Qatar take on Senegal? All suggestions very welcome.

I think that's it from me, have a great week.


The highlights of the next few days include games in the Champions League, Premier League, EFL, FA Trophy, Women's Champions League, Women's Super League, 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 24 October

Premier League
West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth @8pm - the week gets underway with what could become quite a significant game as the season progresses. After a couple of very successful years, the Hammers have made a slow start to this campaign and are just above the relegation zone where the Cherries were expected to be. The Dorset club, still under Gary O'Neil's caretaker management, are doing better than many thought and are a couple of points ahead. David Moyes' team really need to win this or it could be a long season. Tickets

Professional Development League
QPR v Watford @7pm - on the west side of town, the R's U21 side play their counterparts from Watford in what should be a competitive game at Hanwell Town. Admission is usually around £3


Tuesday 25 October

League One
Charlton Athletic v MK Dons @745pm - three consecutive wins have seen the Addicks fly up to seventh in the table, something that looked unlikely a few weeks ago. The visitors are having a terrible time and are bottom so there's a very real chance of Ben Garner's side moving into the play-off places. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Crewe Alexandra @745pm - the Dons picked up a badly needed win at fellow strugglers Rochdale on Saturday to move six points clear of the relegation zone. Next up they face a side who are in the next group of teams immediately above them in the table. Crewe are winless in six but have a good record against Wimbledon who have only beaten them once since their return to the EFL in 2011. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Gillingham @745pm - a blip of three games without a win saw the O's briefly surrender top spot to Stevenage but their victory at Carlisle on Saturday put them back in pole position. Although the Gills have stopped losing games, becoming the division's draw specialists, they're having real trouble winning and have only managed two all season. A home win looks highly likely. Tickets

National League
Wealdstone v Notts County @745pm - there are three really decent games in the fifth tier on Tuesday but sadly I haven't got time to preview them all. Given I've previously written quite a bit about Boreham Wood and Bromley, I think it's time Wealdstone got a mention. The Stones were the top non-league club in the country back in 1985, winning the equivalent of the National League title and FA Trophy in the same season. Since then, they sold their ground, struggled to find a new one, led a nomadic existence and fell down the leagues. However, they've built themselves back up and now find themselves hosting league games against former top-flight clubs like Notts County who arrive at Grosvenor Vale as league leaders. It should be a huge occasion and I'd strongly advise you to buy tickets in advance

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Worthing @745pm - with the club confirming Paul Barnes as their new boss earlier in the week, the Hamlet picked up a crucial win over relegation rivals Hungerford to move away from the bottom four. Next up are recently promoted Worthing who started well but have lost the ability to win, with a number of draws just about keeping them in the play-off places - another one here looks quite possible

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Poole Town @745pm - having spoken to eye-witnesses, H&YU blew a great chance to beat league leaders Truro on Saturday, throwing away a 2-0 lead to eventually lose 4-3. It's not likely to get much easier on Tuesday as fourth-placed Poole make the journey up from Dorset

Isthmian League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Brightlingsea Regent @745pm - in north London, there's a relegation 'six-pointer' as two of the division's bottom five go in search of a highly valuable win


Wednesday 26 October

UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Sporting Lisbon @8pm - back-to-back league defeats to Manchester United and Newcastle United have significantly weakened Spurs' grip on third place. As a result, they'll probably be quite glad of a switch to European football. Currently top of Group D after beating Eintracht Frankfurt in their last game, Antonio Conte's side will qualify for the next stage if they win here. Sporting come into this game on the back of a 3-1 win  over Casa Pia who they leapfrogged into fourth in the Portuguese league with the victory. Tickets are not available to non-members

UEFA Youth League
Tottenham Hotspur v Sporting Lisbon @1pm - the two clubs' U19 sides will also be playing each other earlier in the day at Spurs' training ground. A very limited number of free tickets are available and to see if any are left you need to call the ticket office on 0344 844 0102, and select Option 2

UEFA Women's Champions League
Chelsea v Vllaznia Femra @8pm - the Blues began their Champions League campaign with an eye-catching win at PSG last week to give them real confidence of going far in this year's competition. Vllaznia are the Albanian league champions and were expected to struggle in this very strong group but they gave a good account of themselves in their opening game, only losing 2-0 to Real Madrid. Nevertheless, anything less than a win will be extremely disappointing for Chelsea. Tickets

Isthmian League North Division
Grays Athletic v Gorleston @745pm - the Blues don't get much of a mention on here but they're doing rather well. Currently fourth in this division, they could cut the gap on leaders Lowestoft to six points if they beat lowly Gorleston

Thursday 27 October

UEFA Europa Conference League
West Ham United v Silkeborg @8pm - with their game against Bournemouth on Monday and a trip to Manchester United not long after this, the Hammers face a tiring week. With the Premier League proving a bit of a struggle, this competition has provided a nice change of pace for David Moyes' side who've won all their games so far. With a place in the next stage already guaranteed, a point here will see them confirmed as group winners. Silkeborg are currently fourth in the Danish league and lost the reverse fixture 3-2 back in September. Tickets

UEFA Women's Champions League
Arsenal v FC Zurich @8pm - the Gunners' women return to the Emirates in stunning form. Top of the WSL with a 100% record and freshly returned from France where they destroyed reigning European champions Lyon 5-1, things are looking really good for Jonas Eidevall's side. Their Swiss opponents lost their opening group game 2-0 against Juventus and should be beaten here. Tickets

Friday 28 October

National League
Barnet v Scunthorpe United @745pm - there's a rather random bit of fifth-tier action to look forward to on Friday night. If Barnet win their derby game at Bromley on Tuesday, then success here will probably see them climb back into the play-off places. The visitors lost their place in the EFL last season and they've really struggled to adjust to life in non-league. Although their form has improved in recent weeks, they're still just a point above bottom club Torquay. Tickets

Professional Development League
QPR v Ipswich Town @1pm - there are a couple of U21 matches on Friday but this one is being played at the R's main Loftus Road home. Entry is usually by donation to club's community trust

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Saffron Walden Town @745pm - for me, the best non-league option of the night is this one between two of the top eight in the ESL


Saturday 29 October

Premier League
Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - with three games to choose from, there's a pretty busy top-flight programme on Saturday. The Bees suffered a 4-0 humbling at the hands of managerless Aston Villa on Sunday but they remained 10th as other results went their way. Wolves are also without a manager at the moment but rather than thriving, they lost 4-0 to fellow strugglers Leicester to make things even gloomier at Molineux. Thomas Frank's side are tough to beat at home and you'd expect them to bounce back here. Tickets are only available to members
Crystal Palace v Southampton @3pm - another two of the division's also-rans meet at Selhurst Park for a game that both sides will hope to get something from. Only a point apart in midtable, there isn't much to separate these two but the Eagles will hope the flair of Eze and Zaha sees them over the line. It should be noted, however, that the Saints have done well here in recent years with only one defeat from their last five visits. Tickets are only available to members
Fulham v Everton @530pm - the day concludes with this match at Craven Cottage where the hosts will look for a third win in a row, which could lift them into the top six. Marco Silva's side have been a revelation since coming up from the Championship with no-one predicting they'd do this well but consecutive victories over Aston Villa and Leeds United have put them right back up there. The Toffees have been much improved after their problems last season, with Frank Lampard making them much tighter at the back. Their problem now is scoring goals, averaging less than one a game. Fulham could well win again but it looks like a draw to me. This game appears to have sold out 

League One
Charlton Athletic v Ipswich Town @3pm - the hosts could well be in the play-off places by the time this kicks-off, meaning this match could be huge. Suffolk club Ipswich have made a very bright start and if they beat Port Vale on Tuesday, they could arrive at The Valley as leaders. In 2002 both these clubs were in the Premier League - could this be the season they both take a big step back towards it? Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Harrogate Town @3pm - after their match against Crewe in midweek, the Dons face another important game against a club at the wrong end of the table. Yorkshire club Harrogate are still relatively new to life in the EFL having won promotion to it in 2020. With only three wins from 14 this season, they're down in 20th and in serious need of some points. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Salford City @3pm - we know that the O's are having a cracking season but what of Salford? Famously owned by a consortium including David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phillip Neville and Paul Scholes, the Ammies flew through the divisions following their initial investment but seem to have stalled upon reaching the fourth tier in 2019. Currently eighth and very much in contention for a play-off spot, they'll be hoping for a repeat of the 2-0 win they managed here last season. Tickets

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Liverpool @4pm - if you fancy a bit of U21 action on Saturday then the Hammers welcome the Reds to their Rush Green training facility near Romford. Admission is usually £5 on the gate

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wealdstone @3pm - at the time of writing, these two are locked together in midtable on 19 points but both have midweek games that could see a gap open up between them. The Daggers are unbeaten in six against the Stones and they won five of those games

National League South
Dartford v Weymouth @3pm - there aren't any stand-out games in this division on Saturday so I'd advise you to go and check out the Darts who are currently third and seemingly the most likely TLFG club to make a title challenge. The visitors are bottom but managed their first league win of the season on Saturday as they won 3-2 at Slough

FA Trophy First Round
Harrow Borough v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - the standout tie of the round in the London area is this derby between two old rivals on the west side of town. Currently both in the Southern League, the sides last met in August at the same ground and it was H&YU who came away with a 2-1 win which they could well repeat here. The winners will receive a cheque for £3,000 and the losers £775

Isthmian League South Central
Northwood v Chipstead @3pm - there aren't any obvious humdingers in the eighth tier so see what you think of Northwood. They've made a blistering start and are seven points clear at the top at the time of writing. With 10 points from 10 games, the Chips could've made a better start

CCL Premier Division North
Egham Town v Broadfields United @3pm - it's a similar story across the ninth tier where none of the top clubs are playing each other. Of the ones that are in action, the Sarnies are currently first in this division and they'll hope this is the year they make it back into the eighth tier which is arguably their more natural home. Broadfields are pottering along in midtable and will do well to get anything here

SCEFL Division 1
Meridian VP v Lydd Town @3pm - sadly there aren't any huge match-ups in the 10th tier either so if you head down to Charlton, you can watch Meridian take on top club Lydd who will be looking to extend their two-point lead at the top

Sunday 30 October

Premier League
Arsenal v Nottingham Forest @2pm - at the time of writing this match sees the top club play the bottom one. Realistically, Manchester City will probably be top by the time this kicks-off as they play the day before but you never know. Forest have found life back in the top flight to be tough but they managed a morale-boosting win over Liverpool on Saturday to stay in touch with the clubs above them. Steve Cooper's side hit the headlines last season when they beat the Gunners in the Third Round of the FA Cup at the City Ground. However, they haven't won away to Arsenal since their 3-1 victory at Highbury in 1989 when goals from Stuart Pearce, Nigel Clough and Franz Carr saw them come from behind a few weeks before the Gunners famously won the title at Anfield. Forest won the League Cup themselves that year and both outcomes are still possible this season. Tickets are only available to members

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v West Ham United @645pm - with the men's game out of the way, Gunners fans will have the best part of three hours to make the journey north to Boreham Wood for this women's game. As mentioned earlier, Jonas Eidevall's side are firing on all cylinders at the moment so should start as favourites for this derby game. Hammers boss Paul Konchesky made numerous signings over the summer and they're up in fifth after winning three of their opening five. Tickets
Chelsea v Aston Villa @2pm - if you're up for it, it's actually pretty easy to do a WSL doubleheader on Sunday given this match at Kingsmeadow starts at 2pm. The Blues are currently on level points with Arsenal and Manchester United at the top but have crucially played a game more. The margins at this end of the table are particularly fine with every point crucial in what is usually a tight title race. A Villa side inspired by new signing Rachel Daly made a great start but consecutive losses to West Ham and Everton have seen them slide back into midtable. Tickets

FA Women's Championship
Charlton Athletic v Bristol City @2pm - the pick of the action in the women's second tier sees the Addicks, currently in fourth, welcome the leaders. Three points clear at the top, City are the only side in the division with an unbeaten record

Women's FA Cup Third Round Qualifying
QPR v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - clubs in the women's fourth tier enter the draw at this point in the competition and two of them have drawn each other in what for me is the tie of the round in the London area. Currently fifth and third respectively, these two should put on a good show. Originally scheduled for last Sunday, this match is being played at Hanwell Town

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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