Monday 3 October 2022

TLFG: 3-9 October 2022

It's October already - how did that happen?

The season will be over in no time at this rate!

Anyway, how has your week been?

With football back in full swing after the international break, there's been plenty going on around the capital.

Arsenal won the North London Derby 3-1 against old rivals Spurs to stay top of the Premier League.

Chelsea scraped past Crystal Palace to move into the top five and West Ham picked up a crucial win over Wolves to move clear of the relegation zone.

QPR recorded a useful 2-1 win at Bristol City to move up to fifth and remain as London's top club in the Championship.

While in League Two, leaders Leyton Orient finally lost their unbeaten record as they went down 2-1 at home to Newport County.

Actonians picked up a hard-fought win at Ashford Town on Sunday

In the FA Cup, Hornchurch caused a bit of an upset by beating Braintree Town and eighth tier Beckenham Town also made it through.

My football weekend began on Saturday morning when I took my daughter up to the wilds of Southgate for her first match of the season in an Actonians U10s shirt.

The hosts were AC Finchley who started brightly, took their chances and then held on well as they completed a resounding 6-1 win.

With one big win and two heavy defeats for my daughter's side so far, it's been a case of feast or famine and a lot needs to improve before the visit of Enfield Town this Saturday.

On Sunday afternoon, I travelled to watch the Actonians first team take on Ashford Town (Middlesex) in an FA WNL match - the fourth tier of the women's game.

Ashford beat Actonians twice in cup competitions last season and won the London & SE Women's League to get promoted to this level.

Their results, like their opponents, had been mixed in the early stages of the season but I had a good feeling about this one.

Actonians made a good start with star Japanese midfielder Natsumi Kannou pulling the strings and going close herself on a couple of occasions.

Midway through the first half they got the goal they deserved when last season's top scorer Maria Ledezma-Viso broke clear and calmly slotted under the advancing keeper.

At the other end, Amy Butler pulled off a stunning double save when Ashford looked certain to equalise and it remained 1-0 at the break.

Soon after the interval, manager Danny Harrigan brought on new signing Akane Miyoshi to increase the number of talented Japanese players on the pitch to three.

The tall centre-forward quickly asserted herself but could do little to prevent a concerted period of heavy pressure from the hosts.

With shots hitting the woodwork, Butler making some more fine saves and a goal being ruled out for offside, it was a nervous time for the travelling fans.

Thankfully, with around 15 minutes to go, Kannou shrugged off a defender and found the bottom corner to steady those nerves.

Shortly before the end, Ledezma-Viso surged down the right and rather than shoot, laid it on a plate for the onrushing Miyoshi who tapped home to seal the win and grab a debut goal.

It finished 3-0 and gave Actonians their first win of the season - a huge relief all round.

Once again, the players came over to celebrate with us and a photo was taken of the fans and team celebrating together but the physio, who took it, has yet to circulate it.

Next up are home games against Wymodham Town and Hounslow, the bottom two, so anything less than six points will be disappointing.


The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Trophy, two women's internationals, FA Women's National League 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 3 October

Professional Development League
If you're around on Monday afternoon then you've got a couple of good U21 options in south-east London with Charlton Athletic hosting QPR at The Valley and Millwall playing Bristol City at The Den. Both matches kick-off at 2pm and tickets should be no more than £5


Tuesday 4 October

National League
Barnet v Maidstone United @745pm - winless in five, both sides are experiencing a worrying loss of form at the moment. The Bees conceded five goals for the second game in a row on Saturday as they lost 5-0 at home to York City and the former leaders are now down to 13th
Boreham Wood v Bromley @745pm - the same can't be said of these other two TLFG clubs as they're currently fourth and fifth and doing really well. The pair came up from the NLS together in 2015 and haven't really looked back. The Wood even made it to the play-off final in 2018 and have been there or thereabouts ever since. Unbeaten in four against the Ravens, I'd make the hosts marginal favourites

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Gosport Borough @745pm - if your budget doesn't quite stretch to National League football, then this seventh-tier game might be more to your liking. The hosts finished as runners-up in this division last season but lost in the play-offs. Shorn of quite a few of the players that got them there, this campaign hasn't begun so well and they're in midtable. Gosport threatened to make the play-offs too but fell away in the latter stages - on current form, they should be able to get something here

SCEFL Premier Division
Erith & Belvedere v Glebe @745pm - with one thing and another, I've not given enough attention to the Deres this season and I probably should have. Currently top of the league, five points clear and with games in hand on their nearest rivals, it's looking really good for the south-east London club. Glebe were the best the capital had to offer in this division last season and finished third. They've started well again this year and are fifth but they'll do very well to get anything here


Wednesday 5 October

UEFA Champions League
Chelsea v AC Milan @8pm - the champions of the world take on the champions of Italy at Stamford Bridge in what you could probably call quite a big game. The Blues scraped past Crystal Palace on Saturday to move back into the top five in the Premier League and will need to up their game to get the vital win they need here. After taking only one point from matches against Dinamo Zagreb and RB Salzburg, Chelsea are bottom of Group E. The visitors are top and have only lost once so far this season in all competitions - it's going to be tough. Tickets have sold out

Watford v Swansea City @745pm - Slaven Bilic became the Hornets' ninth manager in three years after replacing Rob Edwards last week. Highly experienced and successful at this level, the Croatian oversaw a 4-0 drubbing of Stoke on Saturday as his tenure at the club began very impressively. The result left them just outside the play-off places only two points ahead of Swansea. The Welsh side have won three of their last four and beat West Brom, one of Bilic's former sides, 3-2 in their last game. Tickets

Premier League International Cup
Fulham v Valencia @7pm - the Cottagers play their first match of the season in this U21 competition. It takes place at Craven Cottage and tickets are just £3. If you've not heard of this competition, it pits a number of top English academy sides against others from around Europe but all the games are played on British soil. This is a group match

Isthmian League Cup First Round
Grays Athletic v Tilbury @745pm - what a tie to get in the opening round of this cup, an Essex derby between two very local rivals from the north shore of the Thames estuary. Although attendances at these games aren't vast, there has been trouble in the past. On current form, the hosts should win

Thursday 6 October

UEFA Europa League
Arsenal v FK Bodo/Glimt @8pm - after successfully seeing off Spurs in the North London Derby, the Gunners return to European action with this group game against Norwegian opposition. Bodo/Glimt won the league last season and got to the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League thrashing Roma 6-1 along the way. Although Arsenal will start as strong favourites, they can't afford any complacency. Tickets are only available to members


Friday 7 October

Women's International Friendly
England v USA @8pm - when it comes to the women's game, it doesn't come much bigger than this. Wembley Stadium plays host as the newly crowned European champions take on the reigning world champions in front of a sell out crowd. Although England rarely beat them, the last win was in 2017, the games are usually tight and this one should be closer than ever

QPR v Reading @8pm - with that game sold out, you could head to Shepherd's Bush instead to watch this intriguing-looking game between two of the division's top five (at the time of writing). I think it's fair to say that both of these sides have made a brighter start than many would've predicted but the Championship is like that. I think I'm right in saying that QPR are geographically Reading's nearest rivals in this division so it always has a derby feel to it. The clubs also wear blue and white hoops so it's also a battle to decide who are the 'real' and 'fake' Hoops. Back in January, QPR were flying and won this fixture 4-0 so they'll be hoping for more of the same. Tickets


Saturday 8 October

Premier League
Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - over the course of history, the head-to-head record between these two is incredibly close with Chelsea just three wins ahead. Since returning to the Premier League in 2018, Wolves have proved to be a tough nut to crack and are currently unbeaten in four against the London club. However, the West Midlands side have made a very poor start and Saturday's 2-0 loss at fellow strugglers West Ham saw them slip into the relegation zone. The Blues haven't been up to their usual high standards but they should have too much for the visitors on this occasion. Tickets have sold out

Millwall v Middlesbrough @3pm - the Lions are on a win one/lose one run at the moment and are pottering along in midtable as a result. Boro, on the other hand, are down in the bottom three which I don't think many would've predicted when the season begun. With many fancying Chris Wilder's side to go up, it's very strange to see them with only two wins from 11 games. That kind of form, a long journey down and an inhospitable Den could make for a uncomfortable evening. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Tranmere Rovers @3pm - with three defeats from five, the U's are failing to hit the heady heights of last season but it's early days and a win here against a team two points above them, could get them right back in contention. Tickets

Premier League 2
Once again there are a couple of U21 games in the capital on Saturday afternoon. The pick of the action takes place at Hotspur Way where Tottenham take on bitter rivals Arsenal at 12pm. A small amount of supporters are usually allowed in but you must book in advance by calling the ticket office. Later in the afternoon at 4pm, West Ham United welcome Chelsea to their training base at Rush Green - tickets are usually £5 on the gate

Women's International Friendly
Australia v South Africa @1230pm - we love a random international friendly here at TLFG and I've been to quite a few over the years. However, you don't get many women's ones and with quite a few of the Matildas based in England, it makes a lot of sense to play it here. The match between the teams ranked 12th and 54th in the world is taking place at Kingsmeadow, the home of Chelsea Women. Tickets

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Southend United @1230pm - for me, the game of the day in the fifth tier is this local derby between two Essex clubs. Both currently in midtable, it's the Shrimpers who are in better form at the time of writing but the Daggers are on a three game winning run against them so it should be close. Tickets 

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Dartford @3pm - the Hamlet ended their worrying losing run with a 3-0 win at fellow strugglers Cheshunt last week but followed it up with a very disappointing home loss to Isthmian League club Folkestone Invicta in the FA Cup.Still in great need of more points, they welcome third placed Dartford who are now the top club within the M25 in this division

FA Trophy Third Round Qualifying
Enfield Town v Chesham United @3pm - there are numerous Trophy ties in London on Saturday but the pick of them for me is this game at Donkey Lane. If you're able to make the trip to north London, you'll be able to see two of the top best teams in the Isthmian League and Southern League go head-to-head for a place in the First Round

Isthmian League South East
Beckenham Town v VCD Athletic @3pm - the Becks beat Binfield 5-3 on Saturday to make it into the Fourth Round Qualifying of the FA Cup, some achievement for an eighth-tier club. At the time of writing, they're also third in the division with games in hand on those above them. Fellow south-east Londoners VCD are close behind in fifth so this should be well worth a watch

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Romford @3pm - the Motormen have enjoyed a great start with only one defeat from their first eight taking them to the top of the table. Romford are back in 11th but thanks to a great run in the FA Cup, have enough games in hand to join Redbridge at the summit

Combined Counties League Division 1
London Samurai Rovers v Bedfont @3pm - with LSR based at Hanworth Villa's ground, this should be classed as a derby albeit a very new one. The hosts are doing well in fifth but not as well as Bedfont who top the league at the time of writing, no mean feat when you consider they played several games away or at neutral venues following fire damage to their ground

Sunday 9 October

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Leeds United @2pm - with only one win to their name, the Eagles are teetering just above the relegation zone. By all accounts they're playing quite well and should've got at least a point from their game against Chelsea on Saturday but they just can't win. Midtable Leeds are one of the teams they must beat if they are to stay up. Tickets are only available to members
West Ham United v Fulham @2pm - we've got an East versus West derby on Sunday afternoon too. The Cottagers were brought down to earth with a bang on Saturday when Newcastle beat them 4-1. Still in eighth, they should expect at least a point from this one. Tickets
Arsenal v Liverpool @430pm - there are some big matches this week and this is arguably the biggest of them all. After beating Spurs 3-1, the Gunners ended the week still one point clear at the top. Liverpool fought out a thrilling but ultimately disappointing 3-3 draw with Brighton to slide to ninth, 11 points behind the leaders. Current form would suggest a home win. Tickets are not available

FA Women's National League Southern Premier
Watford v Plymouth Argyle @2pm - the Hornets have responded well to relegation and have made a good start to life in the third tier. Up in third after after five games, they have a game in hand on the top two. Argyle were struggling but two wins in a row has lifted them to eighth

FA Women's National League Division 1 South East
Hounslow v QPR @2pm - there are a number of games in this division on Sunday but this is the most notable. QPR Women were a third-tier team until 2018 when they gave up their place and formed a new team further down the pyramid. The club formerly known as QPR continued but re-named themselves Hounslow and carried on in the third tier. After being saved from relegation by two Covid curtailments, Hounslow got relegated last season after losing every match. In the meantime, QPR have come up and now they're in the same division. The hosts have had real trouble putting a squad together and have postponed most of their games so far this season. However, they're now up and running but losing heavily. QPR should win comfortably

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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