Monday 10 July 2023

TLFG: 10-16 July 2023

Greetings everyone and welcome to TLFG's preview of week three of pre-season.

Arguably the biggest news in the London football community this week was the untimely death of Millwall owner John Berylson in a car crash in the USA.

Involved with the club since 2006, he was hugely admired by many people at the Championship side and presided over some of their most successful times.

After narrowly missing out on the play-offs last season, it will be very interesting to see how they fare this time.

Barnet host Premier League side Crystal Palace on Tuesday - tickets

In other news, I finally got to watch my first live match of the new campaign.

As regular readers will know, I was planning to go and watch Actonians play Real Bedford at Rectory Park but the visitors pulled out and I went to watch the reserves play Leatherhead at Gunnersbury Park instead.

The reserves had won back-to-back promotions to find themselves heading into their first ever season in the women's sixth tier alongside some good sides including local rivals Brentford's first team.

Leatherhead finished bottom last season so would provide the newcomers with a good idea of how tough this new level was likely to be.

I arrived around five minutes late to discover that the visitors had already scored after a rare lapse by one of the A's best defenders.

Featuring a couple of first teamers who were returning from injury, the A's were always competitive and drew level with a fine individual strike from Molly O'Reilly.

Unperturbed, Leatherhead kept going and found themselves 2-1 up at the break after a fine move down the right found a well-placed striker who headed them back in front.

With a squad of only 12, Actonians' players didn't enjoy much rotation and signs of fatigue started to show but they still managed two further goals from captain and last season's top scorer Kayleigh Peters as they hung on to win 3-2.

Overall it was a good workout for both teams. With both teams hitting the woodwork on numerous occasions, the score could've been very different.

I hope you've enjoyed some good games this week and have your eye on a few more over the coming days.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Jay B from Kingston for his donation to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really, really appreciate it.


There are friendlies to be enjoyed every day this week with Crystal Palace and West Ham United becoming the first Premier League clubs looking likely to field some first-team players this summer.

Several Premier League and EFL clubs will also be sending out development teams to play some non-league clubs.

Outside London, I've included some extra games featuring EFL clubs that might also be of interest.

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 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 10 July

Boreham Wood v West Ham United @7pm - the Hammers become the first Premier League team to field a side ahead of the new season as they travel to Meadow Park, home of fifth tier Boreham Wood. The hosts always put together a strong pre-season programme and managed a solid 0-0 draw with Championship side Watford on Wednesday. Tickets are £15

Tuesday 11 July

Barnet v Crystal Palace @730pm - after managing a 1-1 draw with Norwich City in their first home friendly last week, the Bees next welcome top-flight opposition in the form of the Eagles. Listed as a first-team fixture on the Palace website, the south London club should be expected to field some decent players. Tickets are £12
Wealdstone v MK Dons @745pm - after an entertaining 3-2 win over Southern League Bracknell Town on Saturday, the Stones should face a far sterner test in the form of League Two side MK Dons on Tuesday. Tickets are £10

A bit further afield
Havant & Waterlooville v Sutton United @745pm - the U's get their pre-season underway with a trip to Hampshire to play H&W. Four years ago, these two were in the same division but now they're two apart. Tickets are £10
Bognor Regis Town v Portsmouth @745pm - if you fancy a midweek trip to the Sussex seaside then this game could be for you. The hosts finished in the bottom half of the Isthmian Premier last season and will hope for a lot better this time. Pompey are one of the biggest clubs in League One and will be keen to escape it. Tickets are £10
Hitchin Town v Stevenage @745pm - to the north of London there's a Hertfordshire derby as the Southern League's Canaries welcome Stevenage who won promotion to League One last season. Tickets are £13
Brentwood Town v Leyton Orient @745pm - after drawing 0-0 at Billericay Town on Friday, the O's continue their tour of Essex with a trip to another Isthmian League club. After winning the League Two title last season, the visitors should have more than enough to win here. Tickets will be available on the door
East Grinstead Town v Crawley Town @730pm - the visitors finished just three points above the League Two relegation zone to narrowly avoid becoming a non-league side again. The hosts had an underwhelming midtable finish in the eighth tier Isthmian League South East 


Wednesday 12 July

Boreham Wood v Brentford XI @730pm - with only a day's rest, the Wood are back in action again on Wednesday. With this game not featuring on the Bees' website as an official first team or B team game, they're likely to field a very young/experimental team for this one
Metropolitan Police v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - the same can't be said of the Dons who have this match listed as a first-team game. The League Two side began pre-season with a 1-0 win over Reading in Spain on Saturday so this trip to Imber Court will mark a significant shift in pace. The Met have been really competitive in the Southern League in recent seasons but stunned many in May when they applied for voluntary relegation to the eighth tier
AFC Wimbledon Women v Ebbsfleet United @730pm - after finishing as runners-up to Hashtag United in the women's fourth tier last season, the Dons will be highly fancied to go one better this season. Their pre-season begins against Ebbsfleet who finished runners-up to Worthing in the division below last year and will also hope to be challenging again this time. This is being played at Carshalton Athletic

Thursday 13 July

Erith Town v Lewes @730pm - since beginning their new groundshare at Bayliss Avenue, the Dockers have produced some highly entertaining games. Beating landlords SC Thamesmead 3-2 and drawing 5-5 with FC Elmstead, we're all hoping for plenty more goals here. However, the Rooks play two divisions above them and should provide a much tougher evening
Dulwich Hamlet Women v Rising Ballers @745pm - if women's football is more your thing, then head to Champion Hill for the Hamlet's first pre-season game


Friday 14 July

Hanwell Town v Wycombe Wanderers XI @745pm - the Geordies ramp up their pre-season preparations with a visit from a Chairboys squad. The Buckinghamshire club missed out on a League One play-off place last season and are starting their first full season without long-serving boss Gareth Ainsworth who left for QPR back in the spring

A bit further afield
Slough Town v Brentford XI @745pm - the Bees' experimental side are on the road again on Friday when they make the short trip to Berkshire to play the Rebels. Their modern Arbour Park ground is worth a visit and very accessible by all forms of transport


Saturday 15 July

Sutton United v Reading @3pm - the U's welcome a very troubled club to Gander Green Lane on Saturday. Relegated from the Championship last season following a points deduction for financial issues, the Royals received a winding up petition for unpaid tax bills last month as their problems continued. Losing to League Two's AFC Wimbledon in a friendly on Saturday, it shouldn't get any easier here. Tickets are £12
Barnet v MK Dons from 12pm - one of the highlights of the afternoon will be the Bees' community day which will feature a doubleheader for the men's and women's teams of both clubs. The men's game kicks off at 3pm, following London Bees' match against their Dons female counterparts at 12pm. All the fun initially starts at 10am with loads for all the family to enjoy. Tickets (covering both matches) are £12
Bromley v Fulham XI @3pm - there's another doubleheader at Hayes Lane where the Ravens' U23 side get the action underway at 12pm against SCEFL side Fisher. This is followed at 3pm by the first team taking on a side from Craven Cottage
Enfield Town v QPR XI @3pm - the Towners just missed out on a play-off place in the Isthmian Premier last season and should be expected to challenge again. On Saturday they welcome a development side from Loftus Road. The young R's players lost 3-2 to a US Air Force XI on Friday
Clapton CFC v FC United of Manchester from 2pm - like Barnet, CCFC are also hosting a doubleheader. In their case it's against the men's and women's teams of FCUM. Being played at the Old Spotted Dog, which is London's oldest ground, over 800 tickets have already been taken so move fast if you want to get one

A bit further afield
Northampton Town v Leicester City @3pm - just under an hour from London by train, Northampton is easy enough to reach for an away day from the capital. The League One hosts welcome a club who've won the Premier League and FA Cup in the last seven years but who find themselves starting this campaign in the Championship. Tickets appear to be £16
Gillingham v Millwall @1pm - having lost owner John Berylson in a tragic accident last week, the Lions will make the short journey to Kent for their first friendly of the summer. Having narrowly missed a place in the Championship play-offs, they will start this match against League Two opponents as strong favourites. Tickets are £12
Ebbsfleet United v Colchester United @1pm - after romping to the National League South title last season, the Fleet find themselves preparing for another season back in the fifth tier for the first time since 2020. Colchester had looked doomed at one point last season but rallied and kept their place in League Two. Tickets are £12
Woking v AFC Wimbledon @12pm - the Cards finished fourth in the National League last season but came unstuck in the play-offs. In fact their good season saw them finish only seven places below the Dons who struggled in League Two - this should be close. Tickets are £10
Havant & Waterlooville v Portsmouth @1pm - League One Pompey travel to local NLS club H&W for what could be a hotly contested derby. Tickets are £10
St Albans City v Cambridge United @1pm - Clarence Park is one of my favourite non-league grounds in the south-east and is, therefore, well worth a visit. On Saturday they welcome a Cambridge side who avoided relegation from League One on the final day of the season. Tickets are £10
Three Bridges v Crawley Town @3pm - after playing East Grinstead in midweek, Crawley continue their tour of local clubs with a trip to Isthmian League opposition. Tickets are £10

Sunday 16 July

Actonians v Millwall Lionesses @2pm - after seeing their opening friendly against Real Bedford cancelled, the A's will try again against more illustrious opposition at Rectory Park. The hosts actually play a level above the Lionesses so you'd expect them to get a win for their new boss Harry Berkeley
Fulham v Portsmouth @230pm - the Cottagers came third in the women's fifth tier but missed promotion by a whopping 22 points as Worthing and Ebbsfleet fought hard for the title. Pompey, on the other hand, also enjoyed a top-four finish but in the third tier so they will start as strong favourites

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.

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 


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