Monday 31 October 2022

TLFG: 31 October - 6 November 2022

Despite my best efforts to grab a bit of time here and there, it's approaching 1am and I'm still up writing this week's piece.

Don't get me wrong, I love doing it but I would rather be in bed at this time of night - thankfully I have a day off tomorrow or rather today.

I managed to get two games in this week - they were both entertaining and both were free to watch, happy days!

On Friday I made my second visit of the season to Loftus Road to watch QPR's B team play Ipswich Town in a lunchtime game.

I could only make it for the second half and on my way to the ground, friends were sending messages not to come as we were 4-1 down at the interval.

Millwall are hosting Brondby in a friendly during the World Cup - tickets

Undeterred and knowing I had nothing to lose by attending, I carried on with a foolhardy optimism that we would turn things around.

Such faith was not misplaced as the R's fought back to make it 4-4 and would probably have gone on to win it if defender Connor Masterson hadn't been sent off with around 10 minutes to go, adding another intriguing twist to an already very entertaining game.

My next match on Sunday was a very different affair.

Returning to the Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub, I went to watch Actonians Reserves take on Camden Town.

The hosts were top of the Greater London Women's Football League after steamrollering several opponents and Camden weren't expected to offer much.

However, for the second game in a row, the favourites started poorly and went 1-0 down within seconds after a mix-up in defence gifted a chance to Camden's centre-forward who wasted no time in lobbing Actonians' stranded goalkeeper.

The rest of the half was a real grind for the leaders and they could easily have fallen further behind as the visitors' pacey front three caused them all kinds of problems.

Thankfully for them, an equaliser from Anne-Marie Pejcic arrived shortly before half-time when she bundled in from close range on what was scheduled to be her last game before a move to Maidenhead United.

The second half was again desperately close but Actonians probably just about shaded things but also rode their luck at times.

With three minutes to go, right-back Shadia Edwards-Dashti curled a ball to the back post where Kayleigh Peters saw her effort hit the post.

Unable to get hold of it, Camden's keeper could do little to stop Peters turning home the rebound to spark wild celebrations.

Actonians Reserves endured a tough afternoon against Camden Town

The referee had caused numerous grumbles from the home support but more than made up for it when the last kick of the game seemed to smash firmly into an Actonians player's hand in the area.

However, he waved all penalty appeals away and blew the final whistle instead.

The 2-1 win keeps Actonians top ahead of their crunch match against title rivals Islington Borough this Sunday at the same venue.

In other news, I  noticed this weekend that Millwall have scheduled a friendly during the World Cup against Danish club Brondby - tickets are only £10 and should be well worth a watch.

I'm not aware of any other clubs doing anything similar but let me know if you hear of anything on your travels.

QPR have lots of B team games during that period so I presume they'll just put out really strong sides to keep things ticking over.

As I mentioned recently, 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.

Since then I've heard from another reader Balham, who recommends Casa Benfica not far from Clapham Junction for Portugal matches.

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, Europa League, Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, Women's Super 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 31 October

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Crystal Palace @7pm - there are a couple of decent U21 options on Monday with the Gunners' match against the Eagles being the pick of the games. Being played at Boreham Wood, entrance is usually free

Professional Development League
Millwall v Cardiff City @2pm - earlier in the day, the Lions' youngsters welcome their counterparts from Cardiff to The Den. Tickets are £5

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v Margate @745pm - if you'd prefer to watch a match of some importance then this seventh-tier game could be for you. The sides are only a point apart in midtable but the hosts have games in hand that could move them into the top six if they win them


Tuesday 1 November

National League
Barnet v Southend United @745pm - with Halloween out of the way, we're into November and it's non-league football that takes centre stage on Tuesday. This match between two former EFL clubs looks well worth 90 minutes of your time. Both are in decent form and find themselves on the cusp of the play-off places. Tickets

National League South
Dartford v Welling United @745pm - if you're on the south-east side of town, it's all about this derby. The hosts have had some decent results of late and have climbed back up to second, two points behind leaders Ebbsfleet. The Wings are having one of their best seasons for a while and rose to eighth after beating Hungerford on Saturday. Princes Park is one of the most modern non-league grounds within the M25 and should welcome a hefty crowd for this one. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Hornchurch v Haringey Borough @745pm - the Urchins moved up to third after winning at Margate on Saturday. This means they're the top club in the league from the London area. Now only three points behind leaders Potters Bar Town, they've got two games in hand and things are looking good. Haringey are in the bottom six and should be beaten

FA Youth Cup First Round
With the qualifying rounds out of the way, the country's most prestigious U18 competition reaches its first round 'proper'. There are a couple of ties on Tuesday with Sutton United and Leyton Orient meeting for a decent-looking derby and Haringey based New Salamis playing Colchester United in what will be a huge night for the non-league club's youngsters


Wednesday 2 November

UEFA Champions League
Chelsea v Dinamo Zagreb @8pm - the Blues suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat at Brighton on Saturday but should face a slightly more comfortable evening here. Although they lost the away match in Croatia at the beginning of September, they come into this knowing that they're already through to the next round - they just need a draw here to win the group. Tickets have sold out

EFL Trophy
Charlton Athletic v Brighton & Hove Albion U21 @7pm - we're two games into the group stage and these sides have managed one win between them. This competition is a real drag for most of those taking part and there's little to get the juices flowing here other than the £10 entry fee. Tickets

London Senior Cup First Round
Cray Wanderers v Leyton Orient @745pm - London's oldest club begin their LSC campaign with a match against the O's. Kudos to the east London club for continuing to enter a side - hopefully we'll see more Premier League and Championship clubs do the same soon. Orient can potentially field a full-strength team but it's more likely to be an U21/U23 side

Thursday 3 November

UEFA Europa League
Arsenal v FC Zurich @8pm - the Gunners' women played Zurich in the Champions League here last week and won 3-1. Mikel Arteta's side will be hopeful of achieving something similar after winning the away game against their male counterparts 2-1 in September. With qualification for the next stage secured, it's now about making sure of top spot and only a win here will do. Tickets are only available to members

FA Youth Cup First Round
AFC Wimbledon v Lewes @7pm - if you haven't had a chance to visit the new Plough Lane yet then this could be your chance. Tickets for this U18 game are just £5


Friday 4 November

Premier League 2
Crystal Palace v Leicester City @7pm - tickets for matches at Selhurst Park are hard to come by unless you have membership. However, anyone can go to U21 games so if you want to get this ground ticked off your list it's only £5 for tickets

Essex Senior League
Romford v Ilford @745pm - although neither are doing particularly well, this is one of the biggest derbies in the ninth tier. If you look at the map, you can see how close together they are. Romford are without a ground of their own, so this is at Barking

SCEFL Premier Division
Stansfeld v Glebe @745pm - on the south-east side of town, we've got a tenants versus landlords groundshare derby. Stansfeld won promotion to the ninth tier at the end of last season and are pushing for promotion again. Glebe had a great season last year but have yet to get going and are down in 10th


Saturday 5 November

Millwall v Hull City @3pm - despite a large number of London clubs playing in the Premier League, their European commitments mean many of them aren't playing until Sunday so the Championship is the best you'll get today. The Lions saw their decent winning run come to an end on Saturday at Huddersfield and saw them miss out on a place in the top five. Hull have made a disappointing start and could conceivably find themselves in the relegation zone if they lose. Tickets
QPR v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - the R's lost their place in the top two after a fairly comfortable 2-0 defeat at Birmingham on Friday night. Still third with a game in hand, things are looking pretty rosy and they should fancy their chances against the bottom club. Besides, it's my birthday that day and they simply have to win for that reason! Tickets
Watford v Coventry City @3pm - three wins from four have seen the Hornets move back up to 7th, seemingly ending their rather sticky patch. The Sky Blues are in the bottom three but have played fewer games than everyone else as their pitch wasn't fit to host games at the beginning of the season. The club are now in further turmoil as the owners of their stadium are in financial difficulty and they could be locked out again very shortly. They've also had a transfer embargo imposed on them while they pay debts they owe to HMRC -  a worrying time for all involved. Tickets

FA Cup First Round
For me, this is one of the most exciting days of the football calendar as all the surviving non-league teams go into the draw alongside all the pro clubs from League One and League Two. The winners of each tie receive a cheque for £41,000 which added to winnings in previous rounds, could mean a transformative amount of money for some clubs - the stakes are high!

Barnet v Chelmsford City @3pm - there's an all non-league tie at The Hive where the fifth-tier hosts should start as favourites. Possibly in the National League's play-off places by the time this match begins, the north London club should have too much for their Essex opponents. However, the visitors beat fifth tier Aldershot Town in the last round so they needn't feel overawed. Tickets
Boreham Wood v Eastleigh @3pm - the Wood were the non-league story of the FA Cup last season as they made it all the way to Fifth Round, eventually losing 2-0 to Everton at Goodison Park. They made it to the Third Round the year before too so they've got some decent recent pedigree. Currently sixth in the National League, you'd expect them to see off Eastleigh who are in midtable. Tickets
Charlton Athletic v Coalville Town @3pm - for the cup romantics, this is probably the most eye-catching tie in London this weekend. It pits a former Premier League side against a club from a small town in Leicestershire who play in the seventh tier. They've made the First Round once before but have never gone any further and it will take a Herculean effort for them to make progress here. Tickets
Sutton United v Farnborough @3pm - there's one other tie between a league and non-league club but with Sutton so new to the pro ranks, to me this still feels like a non-league match as these two must have played each other loads of times over the years. Two divisions currently separate them and with home advantage and a proud FA Cup tradition of their own, the U's should prevail. Tickets

National League South
Dartford v Braintree Town @3pm - if results go their way in midweek, the Darts could come into this game as leaders. Even if they don't, it will still see two of the top five meet for a hugely important game

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Hastings United @3pm - my pick in the seventh tier sees the fifth placed Towners welcome Hastings who are eighth at the time of writing. Enfield often draw a lively crowd and with the visitors getting the highest average attendances in the division, there should be a decent atmosphere

Isthmian League South East
Beckenham Town v Chatham Town @3pm - while their FA Cup run was going on, the Becks lost a bit of ground in the league. Currently seven points adrift of top spot, a midweek win over Chichester could cut the gap considerably and then Chatham, the current leaders arrive. It could be a very significant afternoon at Eden Park Avenue

SCEFL Premier Division
Erith & Belvedere v Rusthall @3pm - there aren't any standout games for me in the ninth tier so I advise you to head down to Park View Road to check out the progress of the Deres. They're currently seven points clear at the top with two games in hand on their nearest challengers. On Saturday they welcome Rusthall who are well capable of challenging for the runners-up spot

ECL Division 1 South
Frenford v Newbury Forest @3pm - everyone loves a derby so I'd recommend this 10th-tier fixture between two local clubs from the Ilford area. The hosts are currently second with games in hand on the leaders whilst Newbury Forest are in the bottom four. A win for Frenford could well put them top


Sunday 6 November

Premier League
Chelsea v Arsenal @12pm - arguably the match of the week gets things underway at midday. London derbies don't come much bigger than this and there have been some absolute classics between the sides over the years. At the time of writing, the Gunners are having their best season in a while with Sunday's 5-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest keeping them two points clear at the top. The Blues were doing pretty nicely under new boss Graham Potter until he returned to his former club Brighton on Saturday and lost 4-1. The defeat saw them end the weekend in sixth. Arsenal are unbeaten in three at Stamford Bridge and look well capable of extending that run here. Tickets have sold out
West Ham United v Crystal Palace @2pm - with that game over, we move from west to east for another London derby. Unless you're one of the top clubs, every point in this division is really hard won and incredibly precious. Only a couple of points apart in midtable, both sides will be eyeing wins here. Tickets
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @430pm - Spurs retained their place in the top three with a nervy 3-2 win at Bournemouth on Saturday. With an ever-improving Newcastle breathing down their necks, they can't afford too many slip ups. Normally one of the biggest games of the season, the Reds are a shadow of the side which won the league a couple of years ago. With four defeats from 12, they're already 15 points off the title pace and eight points adrift of fourth. If they're to get into the Champions League places, they're going to have to start looking for snookers already. Tickets are only available to members

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Everton @1pm - there's a rare bit of U21 action on Sunday afternoon at Boreham Wood. It's usually free to get in so this should provide a fine alternative if you can't into any of the above or are on a tight budget

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton @2pm - if you're a Spurs fan who can't get into the THS to watch the Liverpool game, head to Brisbane Road instead. Rehanne Skinner's side have been blowing hot and cold this season but they were in red hot form on Sunday as they crushed Brighton 8-0 to move back up to fifth. The win moved them above Everton on goal difference. The Toffees lost 3-0 to leaders Manchester United who have won every game and are yet to concede a goal. Tickets
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - the Hammers fought gamely against Arsenal on Sunday evening and briefly held the lead. If they'd held on, they would have finished the weekend in fourth but it was not to be and they fell to seventh. As mentioned above, Brighton got thrashed on Sunday and have made a poor start. Defeat here could send them bottom. Tickets

FA Women's Championship
London City Lionesses v Birmingham City @2pm - LCL only managed a disappointing 0-0 draw with Blackburn on Sunday but kept hold of second place. That status is likely to slip in midweek when third placed Southampton play bottom club Coventry United. The Blues are sixth, so you'll get to see two of the division's best sides whatever happens
Crystal Palace v Sheffield United @2pm - the Eagles got themselves back into the top four with a 1-0 win at Durham on Sunday. The Blades have been disappointing this season and three defeats on the bounce have seen them slide to ninth

FA Women's National League Cup First Round
AFC Wimbledon v Watford @2pm - after crushing QPR 7-1 in their FA Cup tie on Sunday, the Dons will fancy themselves to cause an upset in this competition. Currently third in the fourth tier, they should be full of confidence coming into this one but they'll need to be as the Hornets are top of the division above them

GLWFL Premier Division
Actonians Reserves v Islington Borough @2pm - there's a game of huge importance at the Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub where the top two in the seventh tier do battle. Both have 100% records but the hosts are top because they've played a game more. Actonians have a huge +24 goal difference after just six games but were made to work really hard on Sunday by a Camden side who Islington put six past earlier in the season. Another great option if you're on a budget as it's free entry

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!

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