Sunday 13 August 2023

TLFG: 14-20 August 2023

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

Pre-season is now firmly behind us, with the Premier League, EFL, National League, all our local non-league competitions and FA Cup all up and running.

Despite having had a week off following my return from Glasgow, other commitments have meant I haven't seen any more football which, I have to admit, is a shame.

I suppose the biggest story affecting London football of the last few days has been the conclusion of Harry Kane's protracted transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Bayern Munich.

To some, this has come as a surprise or even a shock but I have to say I find that hard to understand given the rumours linking him to other clubs pretty much constantly for the last two or three years and the fact he only had one year to run on his contract.

Romford will be looking to make it six wins from six when they play landlords Barking

As an outsider looking in, with no axe to grind, this was one of the most telegraphed transfers in football history!

I'm sure new Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou was well prepared for this eventuality and if he wasn't then shame on him.

After their humiliation at the hands of Watford last week, QPR did do something genuinely shocking on Saturday and managed to win at Cardiff City!

In non-league, Harrow Borough came from behind twice to draw 2-2 at Dorchester Town to earn their first point of the season.

After conceding two injury-time goals last week to lose to AFC Totton, it was their turn to score a dramatic late goal and there was over 100 minutes on the clock when they levelled in Dorset.

My football watching this week will be primarily confined to the TV with England's World Cup semi-final against Austraila being the main event on Wednesday.

Hopefully they'll win or the free coaching session my daughter has with former Lioness Karen Carney straight after could be a little flat to say the least!

At the end of the week, I hope to watch Actonians' first game of the season but more on that below.

Have a great week and enjoy your football.


There are matches taking place every day this week - the often barren day of Thursday has been filled out with some ties in the opening round of the FA Youth Cup.

All the main men's leagues we cover are now underway and this weekend we also see the next round of the FA Cup too.

Sunday also sees the women's season from the third to sixth tiers kick-off - something which could prove inconvenient if England make it to the Women's World Cup Final which is played the same day.

As someone hoping to travel to watch Actonians' opening game, which kicks off at 2pm, I'm going to be affected but more on that below. 

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
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 14 August

National League South
Aveley v Eastbourne Borough @745pm - the Millers picked up their first victory in the sixth tier on Saturday with a thumping 4-1 win over Taunton. The visitors are unbeaten after two games and should provide a tougher test than the club from Somerset

Essex Senior League
Ilford v Takeley @745pm - the Foxes have had a disappointing start with only one point from their three first games and are already in the bottom three. Takeley are in midtable and are beatable

FA Youth Cup Extra Preliminary Round
The country's most prestigious cup competition at U18 level gets underway this week with several ties spread over the next few days - I'm not an expert in football at this level so can't really make any meaningful recommendations but check the match map to see what's on near you


Tuesday 15 August

League One
Charlton Athletic v Bristol Rovers @745pm - after the high of winning the derby against Leyton Orient on opening day, the Addicks have followed it up with back-to-back defeats to Newport County and Peterborough in the cup and league. Joey Barton's side have yet to win this season but did the double over Charlton in 2022/23. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Gillingham @745pm - after thrashing Notts County and beating Cambridge on penalties in the cup, the U's encouraging start came to an end with a 2-1 defeat at Barrow on Saturday. The Gills, who make the relatively short journey up from Kent, find themselves in the top three after winning their first two league games. They also recorded a fine 3-1 win over Southampton in the cup which makes them marginal favourites for me. Tickets

National League
Bromley v Wealdstone @745pm - in the fifth tier there's a derby between these two at Hayes Lane. The hosts made the play-offs last season but have begun this campaign with two defeats including a 2-0 reverse against Wealdstone's big rivals Barnet on Saturday. The Stones, one of the smaller clubs in the division, have yet to lose and should fancy their chances of at least a point

National League South
Dartford v Hampton & Richmond Borough @745pm - another two clubs from within the M25 meet at Princes Park on Tuesday with both looking for their first win after only managing a draw thus far. The Beavers face an abnormally tough start to the new season after investing in a new pitch which isn't quite ready. As a result, they will play their first seven games away from home 

Isthmian League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Canvey Island @745pm - the biggest crowd of the night in the seventh tier will probably be found at Champion Hill where the Hamlet will play their first home game back at this level following their relegation from the NLS. Canvey finished third last season and began with a 3-2 win over Haringey on Saturday

Southern League Premier South
Hayes & Yeading United v Chesham United @745pm - elsewhere in the seventh tier, a visit to the SkyEx could well be worth 90 minutes of your time. Both sides have managed top seven finishes for the last two seasons so should be among the frontrunners again

CCL Premier North
Rayners Lane v Egham Town @745pm - after two games, the hosts have a 100% record and are top of the division - not bad for a newly promoted team. However, when you consider the squad effectively went on strike a few weeks ago following the sacking of the manager, it's an even bigger achievement. One of the other reasons they're top is that they forgot to enter the FA Cup, another sign of the off-pitch upheaval during the close season, so have played a league game more than most of their competitors. The Sarnies, on the other hand, finished as runners-up last season but lost their manager and some of their players to Harrow Borough so face a bit of a rebuild

CCL Division 1
Spartans Youth v Molesey @745pm - the hosts moved up to this level for the first time last season and finished in the bottom five as they found the adjustment quite tough. The club's HQ is in a park in the shadow of Brentford's GTech Stadium but the adjoining pitch and facilities are not good enough for the 10th tier so they have to play all their home games at Northwood, nine miles to the north-west. Consequently, building a fanbase is tough. After three games of this campaign they're down in the bottom four without a win and will do incredibly well to get one here as Molesey are top after winning all three

Wednesday 16 August

EFL Cup First Round
QPR v Norwich City @745pm - this time last week it was all doom and gloom for R's fans but after a morale raising 2-1 win at Cardiff City on Saturday, things are looking a lot better. Like Hampton & Richmond above, QPR's pitch wasn't ready for the start of the new season hence the reason for playing this a week after all the other ties. On paper, Norwich should start as favourites but given this could be given low priority by both managers, it could turn into little more than an U21 game. Tickets

National League
Boreham Wood v Solihull Moors @745pm - with four points from their opening two games, these two should provide a competitive spectacle. The Wood made the play-offs last season and will hope to at least match that in 2023/24

Essex Senior League
Romford v Barking @745pm - there are a couple of games in the seventh tier on Wednesday but neither of them are doing it for me so my next recommendation takes you to east London for the Mayesbrook Park groundshare derby. On this occasion it's a case of tenants versus landlords. Romford have made a blistering start, winning all of their first five games in the league and FA Cup. Barking aren't doing too badly either, having suffered only one defeat from five, meaning this has real potential to entertain


Thursday 17 August

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Hornchurch v Brentwood Town @745pm - there are three youth matches on Thursday night, with this Essex derby probably the pick of what's on offer


Friday 18 August

Premier League 2
The top U21 league in the country provides the bulk of the entertainment on Friday with Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham and West Ham United all hosting games at 7pm. Sadly none of them will be at their main stadiums but all provide pretty decent value with admission varying from free to £5

Professional Development League
Watford v Fleetwood Town @2pm - if you do want to visit one of the big stadiums on the cheap, then this other U21 match is scheduled for Vicarage Road with tickets just £5. A big effort is being made to get kids along to this one as it's the school holidays - something more pro clubs should do

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Epsom & Ewell v Metropolitan Police @745pm - the next round of the FA Cup begins on Friday night and it's the Salts who get things underway in the London area. With landlords Cobham also having a home tie, this match has been brought forward. Having beaten Horsham YMCA in the last round, they should a face a sterner challenge from The Met who play a level above them. The winners will receive the rather random amount of £1,444 whilst the losers will get an equally unusual £481


Saturday 19 August

Premier League
Fulham v Brentford @3pm - although there are only two games in the top flight on Saturday, they're both huge. First up we have the West London derby between the Cottagers and Bees. Both sides surpassed themselves last season, finishing in the top 10, well ahead of Chelsea. Last season, each match between them produced five goals with each side recording a 3-2 home win so hopefully we'll get more of the same here. Any remaining tickets are only available to those with a previous booking history
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United @530pm - in the day's late game, Spurs will play their first game at the THS following the departure of Harry Kane to Bayern Munich. This fixture is often a tough one for the north London club and they're winless in five against the Red Devils. You have to go back to 2018 for their last home win and that was played at Wembley. Tickets are only available to members

QPR v Ipswich Town @3pm - after the disastrous 4-0 defeat at Watford on the opening day, the R's climbed into midtable with a badly needed 2-1 win at Cardiff on Saturday. However, it's likely to get a lot tougher when the Tractors Boys pay a visit this weekend. Newly promoted from League One, Kieran McKenna's side have won their first two in the league and made progress in the EFL Cup as well. This will be the first meeting between the two in almost five years. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Port Vale @3pm - after a humiliating 7-0 thrashing at Barnsley in their first game, Vale have done really well to respond with back-to-back wins over Fleetwood and Reading. They travel to Blackpool for a midweek game prior to this and will arrive at The Valley looking for their first win there since 1996. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v AFC Wimbledon @3pm - if you can't get a ticket for the derby at Craven Cottage, then this south London derby provides a great alternative. With their grounds just over four miles apart, this rivalry was properly rekindled last season following the Dons' relegation from League One. The U's did the double over them in the league but it was Wimbledon who came out on top in an EFL Trophy game. As mentioned above, Sutton have started fairly well and the visitors are unbeaten after holding big-spending Wrexham to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Tickets

National League
Barnet v Woking @3pm - as mentioned above, the Bees made the play-offs last season and have begun well again with wins over Hartlepool and Bromley. They come into this on the back of a visit to Eastleigh on Tuesday but know they should face a tough game against the Cards. The Surrey club also made the play-offs last season but are still looking for their first win of this campaign

Isthmian League Premier
Hornchurch v Carshalton Athletic @3pm - the biggest crowd of the day in this division will probably be found Dulwich but if you want to check out a couple of title contenders, then I've seen quite a bit of chat about these sides coming into this season. The Urchins led for large parts of last season before having to settle for second and defeat in the play-offs. Although the Robins were a long way off promotion pace last season, they've made some interesting signings and thrashed Potters Bar 5-0 in their first game on Saturday

Southern League Premier South
Hanwell Town v Merthyr Town @3pm - in the parallel Southern League, it's Welsh club Merthyr who are tipped by many to do well after receiving some investment. After some years of struggle, the Martyrs managed a ninth-placed finish last season and are top after winning their first two of this campaign. The Geordies picked up their first win on Saturday at newly promoted Basingstoke

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Corinthian Casuals v Uxbridge @3pm - there are numerous ties around the capital on Saturday but the biggest of the afternoon is probably this all-eighth tier tie in south-west London. The hosts suffered relegation from the Isthmian Premier last season, hence their earlier than usual entry to the competition. Sadly their struggles continued on Saturday as they got thumped 4-0 at Northwood as they made the worst possible start. Uxbridge are another club whose ground isn't ready to host games yet and they've entered a temporary groundshare agreement with Slough Town. The only match they've played so far was the 3-2 win at Tunbridge Wells in the previous round of the FA Cup 
Athletic Newham v Westfield @3pm - in the last round, the hosts came back from 3-0 down to earn a replay against Tooting & Mitcham which they went on to win. They've also made a decent start to their Essex Senior League campaign and are in the top six. The visitors, from Woking, play a level above but lost their opening league game and could be there for the taking
Romford v Welwyn Garden City @3pm - elsewhere in east London, we could possibly see the hosts win their seventh game on the trot and cause a cupset in the process. This will of course depend on them beating Barking in midweek but even if they don't, they look well capable of giving their Southern League opponents a run for their money


Sunday 20 August

Premier League
West Ham United v Chelsea @430pm - the week comes to an end with another big derby in the Olympic Park as the Hammers look for their first win of the season against a Blues side under new management. Historically, the west London club have dominated matches between them but they've only won on one of their last six visits to this part of town. A few tickets do appear to be available

Women's Football
In what could prove to be an awkward bit of scheduling, several women's leagues get underway on Sunday. I say awkward because it's the same day as the Women's World Cup Final and if England get there it could make things very difficult for players and fans alike, especially if it drags all the way to a penalty shoot-out. In this scenario, the game wouldn't finish until 130-2pm. With players usually going through final warm-ups and fans arriving at games, that's far from ideal. Even if the game finishes in normal time, it'll be highly inconvenient for away fans who'll either have to travel really early or miss the conclusion of the game and any trophy presentation. As an Actonians fan hoping to go to their first game, I find myself very much in this position. Knowing England, they'll lose to Australia and we won't have a problem but I hope clubs are given the opportunity to put kick-off back if they want to. UPDATE - England did make the final and a number of kick-off times have moved and several games have been postponed altogether. All details have been updated on the match map and in the previews below

FA WNL Division 1 South East
London Seaward v Actonians @3pm - compared to those that are backed by or linked to men's teams, these two independent women's clubs have their work cut out when it comes to attracting finance and fans so they do really well not just to survive in the fourth tier but compete strongly. Last season they finished third and fifth respectively with the A's drawing 2-2 at home and winning 3-1 at Wadham Lodge in the matches between the two. With the visitors seeing their manager and several key players leave over the summer, it will be interesting to see how their new look side fare. The big news for Seaward is the start of a new groundshare with Redbridge at Oakside which is located next to Barkingside Tube station in north-east London, meaning this is pretty straightforward to get to. UPDATE - kick-off in this game has now moved from 2pm to 3pm, with the World Cup Final screened at the club beforehand

L&SE Women's Regional League Premier
Sutton United v Millwall Lionesses @2pm - there are several great looking games in the fifth tier but this derby at Gander Green Lane looks like the pick of them
Fulham v Ashford United @230pm - if you fancy a visit to a Premier League training ground then Motspur Park is playing host to this one. The Cottagers finished third in this division last season whilst Ashford won the division below to earn promotion to this level

L&SE Women's Regional League D1 North
Brentford v Hounslow @3pm - the Bees finished as runners-up in the sixth tier last season which was not good enough for promotion. I understand the Premier League club will be throwing quite a bit of resource at getting themselves up this season so the pressure is on. Local rivals Hounslow have been a bit of crisis club for a while and dropped out of the fourth tier midway through last season. How they will perform at this new lower level is anyone's guess but they've been given an incredibly tough start. This match is being played at Bedfont Sports MATCH OFF
Clapton CFC v SL Benfica @2pm - elsewhere in the division, there's a match at London's oldest ground where the hosts will be looking to improve on their fourth-place finish of last season. The visitors, unsurprisingly made up predominantly of people with Portuguese heritage, ended up just two points behind CCFC so this should be close MATCH OFF

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 

No comments:

Post a Comment