Monday 7 August 2023

TLFG: 7-13 August 2023

After one of the best city breaks of my life in Glasgow this week, arriving back on Saturday night, I didn't know if I'd have time to produce anything for you.

However, getting up at 5am, I managed to get a few hours work in on Sunday morning and have written it all up in the small hours tonight - you're welcome!

So back to that trip.

What can I say? Glasgow is a truly fantastic city.

The last time I went was over 20 years ago and my time there was no more than 24 hours - if that.

On Tuesday I made a long overdue visit to Celtic in Glasgow

On that occasion, I had tickets for Celtic v Motherwell shortly before New Year but it got snowed off much to the disappointment of myself and the two American friends who had come with me.

Once again, this trip was primarily built around a trip to Parkhead because my now favourite La Liga club Athletic Bilbao were playing there in a friendly.

The clubs have a long standing mutual respect and were celebrating James Forrest's testimonial and the Basque club's 125th anniversary.

I took my eldest daughter with me and we went in the family stand behind one of the goals which gave us a pretty good view of the action.

There was much fanfare before kick-off with Forrest's career highlights up on the big screen.

Brendan Rodgers was also back in the Celtic hot-seat for the first time since leaving for Leicester City in 2019.

Prior to kick-off, all three of the trophies they won last season were paraded in front of the crowd who were duly whipped up to produce a cracking atmosphere.

With 80 seconds on the clock, Athletic took the lead when Unai Gomez found the bottom corner with a cracking drive from 25 yards and there was an audible groan from most of the 42,000 in attendance.

It's FREE ENTRY at Erith & Belvedere on Sunday

The visitors looked far slicker in the opening stages so it came as a bit of a surprise when Reo Hatate levelled with a fine finish of his own.

This fired up the crowd again but almost from the kick-off, Athletic restored their lead with another fine goal from Iker Muniain.

With the rain starting to fall quite heavily, slowing the ball considerably, Athletic's passing game suffered and they posed far less threat after the break.

With Forrest ceremonially substituted in the 49th minute (his squad number), the hosts scored two very neat goals to go 3-2 up.

They weathered some late pressure but held on for the win.

Amazingly this was the first ever game I've watched in Scotland and I want more.

There are so many clubs in around Glasgow - aside from Rangers, Partick Thistle and Queens Park play in the Championship.

Clubs like Dumbarton, Greenock Morton, Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Hamilton are all very close by whilst the Edinburgh clubs are less than an hour away.

There are also numerous lower league clubs too.

Aside from the football, there are loads of other great museums, attractions and superb open spaces - we also spent a day at Loch Lomond.

We were also lucky enough to see some of the early action in the UCI World Cycling Championships with some of the riders even staying in our hotel.

So all in all, if you haven't been, check it out when you can.

Lastly, many thanks this week to Frank L from the Netherlands for donating to TLFG's coffee drinking fund - I really appreciate it.


There are matches taking place every day this week except Thursday so you'll need to find something else to do that night.

The Premier League and Isthmian League finally join the party after starting later than all the others and there are some games in the 11th tier too.

One interesting game I've yet to confirm the details for is the U21 fixture between Watford and Jamaica on Wednesday.

Set to kick-off at noon, I'm still trying to ascertain the venue and whether it will be open to the public but I'm not hopeful it will be - please let me know if you have any info.

With ties on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, there are also plenty of FA Cup matches too

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 6 August

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Ilford v Colney Heath @745pm - after being robbed of victory by a very late equaliser on Saturday, the Foxes will have to do it all again against opposition from the parallel ninth tier Spartan South Midlands League. Remember, £1,125 is there for the winner


Tuesday 7 August

EFL Cup First Round
Millwall v Reading @745pm - the Lions missed out on a Championship play-off spot on the final day last season but began the new campaign with a fine away win at Middlesbrough to suggest they will challenge again. The Royals suffered relegation to League One and lost their first game back in the third tier at home to Peterborough. What happens here is anyone's guess as the early rounds of this competition see highly rotated squads and shocks occurring with great frequency. Tickets are £15
Sutton United v Cambridge United @745pm - after being tipped by some to struggle this season, the U's pulled off one of the results of the weekend as they thrashed newly promoted Notts County 5-1. Cambridge, in the division above, also enjoyed a good afternoon as they beat Oxford 2-0. On paper, the visitors should be marginal favourites. Tickets are £15

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Tooting & Mitcham United v Athletic Newham @745pm - the Terrors suffered relegation to the ninth tier last season, the lowest level they've played at for many years. It looked like the season had started well when they raced into a 3-0 lead in the original tie on Saturday but they fell apart and conceded three goals in the last 11 minutes, necessitating this replay


Wednesday 8 August

EFL Cup First Round
AFC Wimbledon v Coventry City @745pm - with the Dons coming way too close to the League Two relegation zone than they would've liked and the Sky Blues making it to the Championship play-off final, this game should have only one winner but literally anything's possible in the opening round of the EFL Cup. Tickets are £18

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay
New Salamis v Redbridge @745pm - originally scheduled for Tuesday, I've picked this one at Coles Park (home of Haringey Borough) as it features two of the highest ranked teams in London playing in this round. They produced a 2-2 draw on Saturday with New Salamis equalising eight minutes from time.
Colliers Wood United v Abbey Rangers @730pm - only two points apart in the CCL Premier South's top five last season, these two fought out a 0-0 draw on Saturday and it's likely to be close again on Wednesday night


Friday 9 August

Premier League 2
The top U21 league in the country gets underway in the capital on Friday night with two enticing fixtures to reel you in. Up at Meadow Park, home of Boreham Wood, Arsenal welcome West Ham United for a derby. Whilst down at Kingsmeadow, near Kingston, Chelsea entertain Blackburn Rovers. Both matches start at 7pm. Arsenal usually let you in for free and there's often a charge of around £5 at Chelsea


Saturday 10 August

Premier League
Arsenal v Nottingham Forest @1230pm - the new Premier League season starts in London at the Emirates where last year's runners-up get things underway. Buoyed by their penalty shoot-out win over Manchester City in Sunday's FA Community Shield at Wembley, the Gunners should start as strong favourites to beat one of last season's strugglers. Tickets are not available to non-members

Millwall v Bristol City @3pm - as mentioned above, the Lions started the season with a very useful 1-0 win at Middlesbrough. The Robins had to settle for a point after conceding a late equaliser against Preston North End. The West Country club have only won on two of their last 10 visits to The Den so they'll probably be pretty happy with another point here. Tickets
Watford v Plymouth Argyle @3pm - after thrashing a weak QPR side 4-0 on the opening weekend, the Hornets are likely to face a sterner test when they host newly promoted Argyle who beat Huddersfield 3-1 in their first game. This will also be the first game between the two since 2010. Tickets

League One
Leyton Orient v Portsmouth @3pm - after losing the derby at Charlton 1-0, the O's will hope for better against Pompey in their first home game back in the third tier. Although the Hampshire club are one of the biggest in the division, the east Londoners have beaten them on six of their last eight meetings. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Wrexham @3pm - one of the most eye-catching fixtures of the day sees the National League champions pay a visit to Plough Lane. Famously backed by Hollywood royalty, the Welsh club were expected by many to make light work of this division but were given a rude shock by MK Dons who beat them 5-3 at the Racecourse on Saturday. The Dons managed a far less glamorous 0-0 draw at Grimsby and will no doubt be very satisfied with another clean sheet here. Tickets for this match appear to be limited to members

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Southend United @3pm - there are a couple of decent derbies in this division on Saturday with this all-Essex affair first up. Despite all their recent financial problems, the Shrimpers somehow managed to turn in one of their best displays in a long time to demolish former Premier League club Oldham Athletic 4-0 on Saturday. The Daggers, meanwhile, picked up a point with a 1-1 draw at Altrincham. Tickets
Bromley v Barnet @530pm - in the teatime televised game, there's a South versus North derby at Hayes Lane. Both sides made it to the play-offs last season. The Bees took four points from the two games in 2022/23 and began with a win over Hartlepool on Saturday whilst Bromley lost at Halifax. Tickets

National League South
Aveley v Taunton Town @3pm - after two consecutive promotions, the Millers now find themselves at the highest level they've ever played at. On Saturday they will play their first home game as a sixth-tier club. Promoted from the Isthmian League, they will face the side who won the Southern League Premier South title in 2021/22 and are fairly new to this level too

Southern League Premier South
Walton & Hersham v Swindon Supermarine @3pm - if you thought Aveley had done well recently, check out W&H who have won three consecutive promotions. Life in the seventh tier was supposed to have got underway on Saturday but their match at Winchester City got abandoned with the Swans trailing 2-0. So all eyes will now turn to this match instead. The Surrey club were getting some huge four-figure crowds by the end of last season so expect a decent turnout for this one too

Isthmian League South Central
Raynes Park Vale v Ascot United @3pm - without doubt, my MOTD in the eighth tier takes place at Grand Drive where the winners of last season's CCL Premier South and Premier North go head-to-head at the higher level following their promotions. Ascot also won the FA Vase at Wembley in what was a stellar season for the Berkshire outfit. Both clubs are ambitious and it will be really interesting to see how they fare this season

CCL Premier South
Cobham v Guildford City @3pm - as it's so early in the season, it's hard to pick out any outstanding fixtures in the ninth tier so why not trot down to Surrey to have a look round the Hammers' recently refurbished facilities and brand new 3G pitch which will also be playing host to Epsom & Ewell this season

ECL Division 1 South
Clapton CFC v Basildon Town @3pm - with seven points from their opening three games, it seems fair to say that CCFC are settling in nicely after winning promotion from the Middlesex County League. On Saturday they welcome last season's runners-up for what should be a good test of their tenth-tier credentials


Sunday 13 August

Premier League
Brentford v Tottenham Hotspur @2pm - Saturday's 0-0 draw with French club Lille at the GTech saw the Bees end pre-season without a win. Whether that is particularly significant for one of the Premier League's smallest clubs remains to be seen but with star striker Ivan Toney banned until 2024 for betting offences, it's an uncertain time. Spurs thrashed Shaktar Donetsk 5-1 at the THS on Sunday but travel to Catalonia in midweek to play Barcelona in another friendly so they might not be quite as fresh as their London rivals come Sunday. Last season in this fixture, Tottenham came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2. Tickets are only available to members
Chelsea v Liverpool @430pm - the biggest game of the opening weekend in the Premier League takes place at Stamford Bridge where Mauricio Pochettino will preside over his first game as new Blues boss. The west London giants hugely underperformed last season and got through three managers as they finished twelfth. By their recent high standards, the Reds had an off season too as they finished outside the Champions League places. Interestingly, the last six matches between these sides have all ended in draws with penalties required in the two cup finals between them - Liverpool won both. Tickets have sold out

Isthmian League South East
Erith & Belvedere v Ashford United @3pm - after winning the SCEFL title last season, the Deres will begin life back in the eighth tier with this match against an Ashford side who finished ninth and will no doubt want to push for a play-off spot this season. The hosts warmed up for this game by thrashing Littlehampton 6-0 in Sunday's FA Cup tie. As it's been nine years since the club played at this level, it's been made FREE ENTRY for all so don't miss out

Women's friendly
AFC Wimbledon v London Bees @2pm - of the friendlies taking place in the women's game on Sunday, this match tops the bill. After finishing as runners-up in the fourth tier last season, the Dons are many people's favourites to win the title this time. The visitors play a level above them and have enjoyed some decent wins in pre-season, culminating in last week's 8-1 demolition of Fulham at Motspur Park. This match is being played at Carshalton Athletic and is also FREE ENTRY

ERWFL Premier
Haringey Borough v Luton Town @2pm - this fifth-tier division gets underway on Sunday. Haringey managed a creditable fifth-place finish last season but will have their work cut out against the Hatters who were runners-up

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.

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