Monday 28 August 2023

TLFG: 29 August - 3 September 2023

Well it's been a hectic few days both around this blog and in my life in general.

With the bank holiday being so crammed full of fixtures, I've been updating last week's piece while simultaneously trying to write this one.

Mistakes have been made but I think it's pretty much there now.

Since last weekend's trip to London Seaward, I haven't made it to any more live games but I did buy my first Actonians season-ticket for a very reasonable £40.

I hope to get to my first home game of the campaign this Sunday, when they should finally have something resembling a full-strength squad for the visit of Cambridge City.

The match at Ashton Stadium looks like on of the ties of the round

There is a very strong chance that I'll actually be joining the matchday staff and you could possibly find me acting as the new gate person - a job fulfilled last season by a player with an ACL injury. 

Aside from all the big Premier League and EFL games taking place at the weekend, we also have the next round of the FA Cup.

This is the stage where my beloved Harrow Borough enter the draw but sadly for the second year running, they've been paired with a very decent Bracknell Town team who will be strong favourites to win.

The main difference this time is that the Boro have home advantage.

Although Bracknell lost 5-2 in their big bank holiday game at Walton & Hersham, Harrow have still yet to win a game.

However, they did pick up a crucial point with a 2-2 draw in the derby at Hendon on Monday to give them some hope.

As you'll see in the Daily Digest below, the tie that really appeals to me is the one at Woodford Town.

The north-east London club have made a cracking start to the season and often draw sizeable and lively crowds for a ninth-tier team.

Having beaten one Isthmian North team in the last round, they've got every chance of repeating the feat on Saturday against Felixstowe & Walton United.

TLFG reader Neil A made a long journey from south London to watch that win and was good enough to email with all the details of his very enjoyable night.

Thanks also to Nick G who gave his thoughts on a visit to watch Charlton Athletic in their Women's Championship opener against Sheffield United on Sunday.

Keep your messages coming and have a great week.


There are matches taking place every day this week - the often barren day of Thursday has been filled out with some youth games.

Aside from that there are games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, and the Women's Championship plus all the other non-league and women's matches involving local clubs.

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.

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.

Tuesday 29 August

EFL Cup Second Round
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur @745pm - it's the second round of the League Cup this week when most Premier League teams enter the draw. Although there aren't many ties in London, the ones we do have are decent. First up, we have this derby at Craven Cottage. Both sides had decent weekends with Spurs beating Bournemouth 2-0 to extend their unbeaten record while Fulham managed a 2-2 draw at Arsenal despite having a player sent off. Much has been made of Tottenham's lack of trophies in recent years but with four wins from nine final appearances, this is one competition they've done well in. Tickets were on general sale so check with the club for the latest availability

CCL Premier South
Cobham v Epsom & Ewell @745pm - eagle-eyed readers may well have noticed that I had this in last week's piece as taking place on Monday morning. Well as of 7pm on Monday night, I've just seen it's actually being played on Tuesday night! Anyway, give this a go as it sees the landlords take on their new tenants in a groundshare derby

CCL Division 1
Westside v Molesey @730pm - the visitors have made an incredibly impressive start, winning their first six league games. Can they make it seven in a row? Westside, who are fifth, are no mugs and should provide a real test of their abilities

ECL Division 1 South
Newbury Forest v Barkingside @745pm - the hosts have begun the campaign well and could move into the play-off places with a win here. The main reason I've highlighted this match is that it sees the 'Side make a return to their old ground which they had to leave in 2014 when they couldn't afford the rent any more. For anyone associated with the club for a long time, these visits must always be painful


Wednesday 30 August

EFL Cup Second Round
Chelsea v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - in the other tie, it's another all-London affair with the League Two Dons travelling to Stamford Bridge. According to my records, since their creation in 2002, the visitors have never played The Blues so this is a big moment for the south London club. The original Wimbledon had some great games against their more illustrious opponents and even beat them 4-0 at Stamford Bridge when they first played them in 1986. With Chelsea having won the cup five times, most recently in 2015, I wonder price you can get on an away win? Tickets appear to be sold out

CCL Premier South
Colliers Wood United v AFC Croydon Athletic @730pm - with only one point from three games, CWU have made a disappointing start but you could argue that the Rams have been even more underwhelming. After all the big summer news about Wilfried Zaha and Stormzy buying the club, you'd think they'd be flying high by now. However, they too have yet to win any of their league games and are only a point above the hosts. Will either of them get that elusive first victory on Wednesday?

ECL Division 1 South East
Cannons Wood v Basildon Town @745pm - founded by Arsenal fans in 2019, Cannons Wood originally played their games in Harlow which is outside TLFG's catchment area. This season they've migrated to Aveley's ground so now come under our purview. Last season they came ninth but are already up in second. On Wednesday they play the team who finished second last season


Thursday 31 August

Youth & Development games
In my eyes, the summer officially ends when September begins and we've reached that point already - sigh. Therefore, celebrate the last day of summer with one of the U23 or U18 games that are taking place but make sure you check all the details before you leave home 


Friday 1 September

Premier League 2 & Professional Development League
There's a fantastic selection of U21 football around London on Friday with Fulham welcoming Southampton to Motspur Park at 3pm. With that game out of the way, you've then got two hours to make the short journey north-west (about a two-mile walk) to Kingsmeadow where Chelsea entertain West Brom at 7pm. If you're on the east side of town then West Ham United play Everton at Rush Green at 7pm too. In the lower ranked PDL, Watford take on Peterborough United at Vicarage Road at 2pm so you could combine that with Chelsea or West Ham. Check all the details before you travel but you shouldn't pay more than £5 for any of them


Saturday 2 September

Premier League
Brentford v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - as mentioned last week, every time the Bees have played Crystal Palace since they joined the Premier League it's ended in a draw. On Saturday it was no different as it finished 1-1 to extend that run to five consecutive games. The Cherries have had a tough run of fixtures that have seen them play three of the top four, hence the reason they only have one point so far. This is a game they could have more joy in although the Dorset club haven't won on their last 10 visits to Brentford, a run which stretches back to 2005. Tickets are available to members
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest @3pm - elsewhere in west London, the Blues will be looking to follow up their win over Luton last Friday with another three points against one of last season's strugglers. On Saturday, Forest gave Manchester United an almighty scare at Old Trafford as they raced into a 2-0 lead before ultimately going down 3-2 with 10 men. Steve Cooper's side can also take heart from the fact they drew home and away with Chelsea last season and Mauricio Pochettino's side do have their vulnerabilities. Tickets have sold out 

League One
Charlton Athletic v Fleetwood Town @3pm - with both sides losing four on the bounce, this has the feel of a relegation six-pointer already. Things looked good for the Addicks when they beat Leyton Orient in the derby on the opening day but it's been downhill ever since and they now sit just one point above the relegation zone - something which caused Dean Holden to become the first EFL managerial casualty of the season. The highlight of Fleetwood's season so far was a 1-1 draw at Carlisle on the opening day. Scott Brown's side managed a 2-1 win on their last visit to The Valley in February and they'll be hoping for more of the same. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Stevenage @3pm - these two finished first and second in League Two last season and it's fair to say that Stevenage have adapted better to life at the higher level. Currently fifth with only one defeat from their first five, the Hertfordshire club are looking good. After losing their first three, the O's have now picked up four points from their last two and are starting to climb the table. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Forest Green Rovers @3pm - after demolishing newly promoted Notts County 5-1 on the opening day, the U's have gone into freefall. Four consecutive defeats mean they're now in the bottom two and desperate for some points. FGR suffered relegation into this division last season and they've struggled to get going again. They did, however, pick up a very useful point after drawing at high flying AFC Wimbledon on Saturday. Tickets

National League
Boreham Wood v Barnet @3pm - in the fifth tier, the undisputed MOTD is this north London derby at Meadow Park. The last time these two met was in the play-offs in May where The Wood recorded a 2-1 win at The Hive to end their local rivals' promotion hopes. This season, it's the visitors who've made the better start and they should start as favourites. Tickets are cheaper if bought in advance
Dagenham & Redbridge v AFC Fylde @3pm - the Daggers enjoyed a good Bank Holiday win at Wealdstone to make it two victories on the bounce. The visitors, who hail from Lancashire, are finding life at this level challenging with only one win from six leaving them in the relegation zone. Tickets

National League South
Aveley v Torquay United @3pm - Millers fans must be pinching themselves after their 4-0 win over Hampton & Richmond saw them climb to fifth. Remember, this is their first season playing in the sixth tier and next up they face former EFL side Torquay who make the long journey up from Devon. A point and a place above the Essex club, this should be quite a game. Tickets

FA Cup First Round Qualifying
The next round of the FA Cup takes place this weekend. At this stage of the competition, all clubs in the seventh tier join the survivors of the two previous rounds. The winners of each tie receive £2,250 and the losers £750 - this is added to any prize money accrued from previous rounds. There are numerous ties in London, here is my pick of what's on offer:

Enfield Town v Potters Bar Town @3pm - first up we have this derby between two Isthmian Premier clubs in one of London's most northern suburbs. The hosts dropped their first points of the season on Monday when they drew at Haringey in another derby. PBT who play just outside London were top this time last year but their manager resigned midway through the season and they've never recovered. This season they've lost all of their opening five league games and it will take a minor miracle to see them prevail here. Tickets
Dulwich Hamlet v Haringey Borough @3pm - there's another all-Isthmian Premier tie at Champion Hill too. The draw against Enfield, mentioned above, was Haringey's first point of the season and as a result they're down in the bottom four. After being relegated from the NLS, I think most people were expecting a lot more of the Hamlet but they're struggling too so this could be close. Tickets
Walton & Hersham v Chesham United @3pm - this tie in Surrey could be a real humdinger as two of the top four in the Southern Premier South do battle at the Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub. The ground is new and part of a larger council run sports complex but I've never been as it's in a bit of public transport wilderness with the nearest station well over two miles away. If you've got a car or fancy a brisk walk, then this should be well worth a go. Tickets do not appear to be on sale yet but they should appear here
Woodford Town v Felixstowe & Walton United @3pm - given that I've been to Enfield and Dulwich and Walton & Hersham is too much of a faff to get to, if I was to pick a tie to go to on Saturday as a neutral it would be this one. As I've alluded to in previous pieces, the Woods have made a dream start to the season. Their 5-0 away win in the Roding Valley Derby against Buckhurst Hill saw them soar to the top of the Essex Senior League on Monday. They're also going strong in the FA Vase and now they have this FA Cup tie against a side who are in the top six of the division above them. Having beaten another side from the Isthmian North in the previous round, they will be full of confidence coming into this one.Tickets do not appear to be available yet but you can usually buy online or on the gate


Sunday 3 September

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers @2pm - the Eagles finished a very creditable 11th last season and that's where they find themselves after three games of this campaign. Wolves finished two places below them and they're in a similar position coming into this one, thanks in large part to their hugely important win at Everton on Saturday. Palace haven't lost at home to the Midlands club since 2018 and I think we'll probably see a draw here. Tickets are only available to members
Arsenal v Manchester United @430pm - the biggest game of the week comes right at the end. The Gunners and Red Devils finished second and third last season as they emerged as the main challengers to eventual champions Manchester City. Three games into this season and City are already the only team with a 100% record. Arsenal probably could and should be up there with them but they failed to beat the 10 men of Fulham on Saturday to drop their first points of the season. United are further back having lost at Spurs the week before. A loss for either side will deal a significant blow to either of their title hopes. Current form and the fact the Gunners are unbeaten in five against the visitors at the Emirates makes them slight favourites for me. Tickets have sold out 

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Reading @12pm - if you're lucky enough to have a ticket for the Man Utd game, you can very easily get a double helping of Arsenal action on Sunday as the U21s have a game at Boreham Wood too

FA Cup First Round Qualifying
Kingstonian v Lydd Town @3pm - with landlords Tooting & Mitcham playing at home on Saturday, the K's cup tie moves to Sunday afternoon. Lydd won through to this game on Monday after their original tie with Deal Town was abandoned because of a serious injury. On paper, the hosts should win as they play two levels above the visitors
Erith & Belvedere v Hastings United @3pm - the Deres are also playing on Sunday as Welling United, who they share with, have a game on Saturday too. I would expect this to draw a bigger crowd than the one above as Hastings are a well supported seventh-tier team who should start as favourites

Women's Friendly
Chelsea v Roma @8pm - just two weeks after the World Cup Final, the reigning WSL champions return to action against the winners of Serie A in this eye-catching friendly. How strong a side Emma Hayes elects to field is unclear but you'd like to think players like Niamh Charles and Hannah Hampton who got little or no time for the Lionesses in Australia will get a run out alongside many of the other internationals who bowed out earlier in the tournament. Tickets are available and the match is being played at Kingsmeadow

FA Women's Championship
London City Lionesses v Watford @1pm - both sides began their seasons with draws on Sunday. Although it was away from home, LCL will probably feel a bit disappointed to have dropped points against the side who finished just above the relegation zone last season. The club from south-east London could actually have won the title on goal difference if they'd won their final game but lost and finished third. Watford are new to the division following promotion so I think they'll be more than happy if they can head home with a point. Tickets

FAWNL Division 1 South East
AFC Wimbledon v QPR @2pm - game of the day in the women's fourth tier is this London derby at Plough Lane. The Dons finished as runners-up last season and are the favourites to go up after a really strong pre-season. Having seen their opening fixture postponed because of the World Cup Final, they finally got underway on Sunday with a league cup match against Chatham Town from the division above. They won 2-0 to further underline their title credentials. QPR were well off the pace last season but have begun this campaign with a win in the league and a win in the cup. Around this time last year, they pulled off arguably their best result of 2022/23 by beating the Dons 1-0 and they'll be absolutely delighted if they can come anywhere close to doing that again. Tickets are £5

L&SE Women's Regional League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Ebbsfleet United @2pm - the Hamlet are holding a 'Big Kick Off Party' at Champion Hill on Sunday which looks set to start at 1pm and go on all day. With DJs until 1030pm, they'll be expecting a big crowd for the visit of last season's runners-up. Tickets

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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