Monday 14 November 2022

TLFG: 14-20 November 2022

Hi there - how are you?

It's recently gone midnight and I'm writing this while listening to a selection of great tunes on Greatest Hits Radio - "Daydream Believer" is on at the moment.

Today has been largely shaped by cracking tunes thanks to the moment I set foot on a rail replacement bus service at Basingstoke station around 11am this morning.

Now I know what you're thinking - cracking tunes and rail replacement buses aren't traditional bedfellows but today that was the case.

To backtrack a bit, I set off early to make my way to Hampshire to watch Actonians play AFC Stoneham in a Women's FA Cup First Round tie.

Actonians striker Roschelle Shakes keeps Stoneham's defence busy

With the line closed for engineering work, I had to get a bus from Basingstoke to Eastleigh but as soon as I boarded, I was greeted with The Proclaimers belting out '500 miles' and that just set the tone for the rest of the day.

Further classics on the journey included Van Halen's Jump and other top numbers from the likes of KC & The Sunshine Band, Whitney Houston and many, many more - this album is not available in the shops (one for the older readers).

After grabbing a bit of refreshment in Eastleigh, I walked the remaining two miles to the Stoneham Lane football complex, used by Northern Ireland in the Women's Euros, where the match was being played.

It was quite an eventful walk which took me through the back streets of the town and into Lakeside Country Park. 

On its edge I was greeted by a woman walking her dog in the long grass, who exclaimed loudly 'WHERE IS YOUR S***?!" as I passed her - I hope she was successful in her treasure hunt.

Once in the park, I had to navigate a double level crossing across a small gauge steam railway before heading off across the wetlands.

As I was leaving the park, I had to cross a bridge over a river in which a couple of youngsters were having fun driving a car around in - go figure!

With that disorientating sight behind me, I was almost there.

The last landmark was Eastleigh FC's stadium which is on the same road as Stoneham's ground.

Fulham will host West Ham in a friendly during the World Cup

With entry a very reasonable £4, programme included, I was pitchside about 30 minutes before kick-off.

Actonians play two divisions above Stoneham and were strong favourites.

Thankfully they lived up to their billing and won pretty comfortably, with Japanese full-back Chihiro Ebine starring with two goals in a 3-0 win.

The win takes their cup earnings to £10,000 and with £2,000 awarded to losers in the next round, they've guaranteed themselves £12,000 at the very least - a considerable sum for a team at this level.

They'll find out their Second Round opponents in the draw on Monday lunchtime.

If you want a full match report, I wrote my first one in years which you can read on Actonians' website.

I think the last one was for the now defunct Shepherd's Bush Gazette and saw me cover QPR's turgid 1-0 loss to Leicester City at the then Walkers Stadium back in 2005.

The most notable thing I can remember was Ian Holloway deciding to play Georges Santos up front but I digress.

Overall, despite the long journey back from Stoneham, it was well worth going.

The players coming over to say thanks again at the end is always a high point as is the chat with the other supporters who are largely players' parents or injured players who all give great insight.

Thankfully I've got a day off tomorrow to recover.

If you didn't realise, the World Cup break for the Premier League and Championship clubs is now underway.

Next month some of them will be playing friendlies.

So far we know that Crystal Palace will host Botafogo at Selhurst Park and Millwall have Brondby coming to The Den.

We now also know Fulham have West Ham United coming to Craven Cottage.

If you hear of any others let me know.


The highlights of the next few days include games in the FA Cup, EFL, National League, FA Trophy, 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 14 November

Premier League International Cup
Arsenal v Monaco @7pm - the week begins with an eye-catching bit of U21 action at Boreham Wood's ground. It's over two months since the Gunners last played a match in this competition, drawing 1-1 with Feyenoord. Next up are the youngsters from Monaco who beat Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford on Friday. Admission to games at Meadow Park is usually free but it shouldn't be more than a fiver

Premier League Cup
QPR v Brighton & Hove Albion @7pm - if west London is more convenient for you, then the R's are playing their first home game of the campaign in this other U21 competition. They managed a 1-1 draw in their opening fixture at Derby County. Brighton lost 3-0 at home to Bournemouth so have some ground to make up. Being played at Hanwell Town, there is usually a small charge for admission 


Tuesday 15 November

FA Cup First Round Replay
AFC Wimbledon v Weymouth @745pm - after being held to a 1-1 draw by the non-league club in the original game, the Dons have another chance to make sure of their place in the Second Round. Playing two divisions above the Dorset club, they should win but that was the case two weeks ago too. The winners will host National League club Chesterfield in the next round. Tickets

Premier League International Cup
West Ham United v Feyenoord @7pm - the Hammers' U21 side have lost their first two games in this competition, including a 5-0 drubbing by PSV Eindhoven last time out. They'll be hoping for better against another Dutch club who have also yet to win a game. This is being played at Dagenham & Redbridge and it's £5 to get in

Middlesex Senior Cup Second Round
Hanwell Town v Harrow Borough @745pm - there's a decent local derby in west London where these two Southern League sides look to make progress in the county cup. The Geordies won the competition two years ago but lost to Harrow in the final when they last won it in 2015

CCL Premier Division North
Raynes Park Vale v Colliers Wood United @745pm - nearly 200 crammed into Wibbandune on Saturday to watch these two local rivals battle it out in the FA Vase. RPV edged to a 1-0 win and they'll be marginal favourites to repeat that scoreline again as these two CCL title contenders meet for one of the most important non-league games of the week


Wednesday 16 November

Surrey Senior Cup First Round
Kingstonian v Corinthian Casuals @745pm - these two Isthmian League clubs were sharing a ground until the end of last season. However, over the summer, the K's moved out and they've now moved in with Tooting & Mitcham United. Wins have been at a premium for both this season so it should be close

SCEFL Premier Division
Erith Town v Erith & Belvedere @730pm - there's another ninth-tier game of huge importance in south-east London on Wednesday. Like the CCL match above, it features two of the top three clubs but whereas RPV and CWU are only three points apart, there's a whopping 15 points between these two. However, the hosts have three games in hand so they simply must win if they're to have any chance of catching the Deres

Thursday 17 November

FA Youth Cup Second Round
Charlton Athletic v Northampton Town @7pm - after thrashing Kingstonian 9-0 in the last round of the country's most prestigious U18 competition, the Addicks' youngsters prepare to take on the Cobblers who edged past Peterborough to get this far. This match is being played at Dartford


Friday 18 November

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Barking @745pm - depending on how results go earlier in the week, the hosts could have a chance to force their way into the top six with a win here. The visitors are still trying to get out of the bottom half


Saturday 19 November

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Manchester United @530pm - with the Premier League and Championship now shut for several weeks because of the World Cup, the biggest match of the day will be this women's game at the Emirates Stadium. In excess of 30,000 tickets have been sold to see the current leaders take on the side in third. You can be there too for only £12 adults, £6 kids

League Two
Sutton United v Rochdale @3pm - now four games without a win after losing 2-0 to Bradford City on Saturday, the U's are down to 17th and badly in need of a win. Rochdale are four points behind them and really must be beaten but they're in slightly better form. When they last played at Gander Green Lane in March, Sutton won 3-0 and they'd dearly love to repeat that here. Tickets

Premier League Cup
Arsenal v Stoke City @1pm - having beaten Swansea and Burnley in their opening two group games, the Gunners' U21 side are currently top of Group G. A 1-1 draw with the Clarets has been enough to put Stoke second behind Arsenal. This is being played at Boreham Wood and should finish just in time for you to get to the game at nearby London Lions which starts at 3pm

National League
Barnet v Torquay United @3pm - the Bees won 2-0 at Oldham Athletic on Saturday to move back into the play-off places. The Gulls have struggled this season but held Derby County to a draw in the FA Cup and have their replay against them in midweek
Dagenham & Redbridge v Scunthorpe United @3pm - a fine 3-0 win at promotion chasing Solihull Moors saw the Daggers extend their unbeaten run to three games and lifted them into the top half. The Iron fell out of the EFL at the end of last season and have been in the National League's relegation zone pretty much all season

FA Trophy Second Round
The national knockout competition for sides in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley, reaches its second round. This stage features all the remaining clubs from the sixth to eighth tiers, the fifth tier clubs enter the draw in the next round. There are four ties in the London area:

Hampton & Richmond Borough v Farnborough @3pm - neck-and-neck in midtable in the National League South, this tie is very hard to call. They haven't played each other yet in the league but Farnborough are in the middle of a great run in the FA Cup. Having caused an upset by beating Sutton United in the last round, they will next travel to Wrexham and with this momentum in mind, I favour them to prevail here
Welling United v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm - there's another tie between two sixth-tier sides at Park View Road too. The Wings have slipped to 11th in the NLS after going a third game without a win. H&W are third and only three points behind the leaders so they're the favourites coming into this
Hanwell Town v Slough Town @3pm - with only five wins from their 18 league games, Slough have made an underwhelming start and could be in danger of suffering a cupset. The Geordies, who play a level below, have lost a bit of form recently but spurred on by their growing home support, they might just have enough to cause a shock
Uxbridge v Dover Athletic @3pm - with the Reds playing in the eighth tier, they are one of the lowest ranked teams left in the competition. In Dover, they face a side recently relegated from the National League so they face a huge challenge. With average crowds of only 120, Uxbridge will be hoping for a bumper attendance here

Isthmian League South Central
Walton & Hersham v Westfield @3pm - currently tied on 24 points in third and fourth, this eighth-tier game probably also qualifies as a derby as the visitors hail from Woking. The Swans have pulling in incredibly impressive average crowds of 325 this season and should get at least that for this

Isthmian League South East 
Beckenham Town v Whitehawk @3pm - a fine run in the FA Cup means the Becks have some games in hand to make up and if won, they should find themselves back in the top four alongside Whitehawk who have become one of their main promotion rivals

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Southend Manor @3pm - there are no standout games across the whole ninth tier so I'd suggest going to watch The Motormen who are very much in the ESL title race, currently three points behind leaders Enfield in third. The visitors are bottom and should be beaten

ECL Division 1 South
Frenford v Sporting Bengal United @3pm - if you haven't already done so, it should be worth taking a look at the hosts who are a point clear at the top with a game in hand on most of their rivals. Former ninth-tier club SBU are closing in on a play-off place


Sunday 20 November

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @1pm - over the last couple of years, the November international break has been given over to Women's Football Weekend. To the best of my knowledge, it hasn't been officially branded that way this year but with Arsenal playing at the Emirates on Saturday and Chelsea playing this match at Stamford Bridge, it effectively is. In their last match, the Blues taught upstarts Manchester United a lesson by beating them 3-1 at Leigh Sports Village, ending their perfect start to the season. Quite simply, Spurs aren't as good as Man Utd and could easily ship three or four goals here. Tickets
West Ham United v Leicester City @3pm - Paul Konchesky's Hammers side have been models of inconsistency this season with three wins and four defeats. Although two of those defeats were against Arsenal and Chelsea, they pushed both sides hard and should be more than capable of beating the Foxes who have lost every game. This is being played at Dagenham & Redbridge. Tickets

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Charlton Athletic @2pm - it's derby day in the second tier where these two local rivals, who are fifth and fourth, play each other at Selhurst Park. The Eagles are only a point behind the Addicks but have a game in hand. Tickets

FA Women's National League Southern Premier
Watford v Billericay Town @2pm - after sweeping past Fulham in the Women's FA Cup on Sunday, the Hornets return to league action against Billericay. A win, at Wealdstone's ground, could put them back on top of the third tier

Capital Women's Senior Cup Second Round
Fulham v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - the Cottagers play in the fifth tier but are hosting this match against the third tier Dons at Craven Cottage. It's a local derby but Fulham will have to be at their very best to get even close. Tickets are £5

Capital Women's Intermediate Cup Second Round
Actonians Reserves v Brentford @2pm - elsewhere in west London there's another derby taking place in Gunnersbury Park. Actonians' second string are currently top of the seventh tier whilst Brentford are doing well in the division just above them. The two clubs have their HQs on either side of the park this match is being played in - it really is a local derby. Entry is free

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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