Monday 18 September 2023

TLFG: 18-24 September 2023

Greetings everyone and welcome to the latest TLFG.

I bring you this after spending the afternoon to the north of London at St Neots Town which was the venue for the women's game between Cambridge United and Actonians.

It was a classic game of two halves which saw the A's lose a 1-0 half-time lead and go home empty handed after a 2-1 defeat.

St Neots play in the United Counties League and their modern ground is one of the most accessible around being situated next to the railway line and in sight of the station. 

West Ham return to European action this week and tickets are available

Getting from Shepherds Bush via Kings Cross took no more than 90 minutes which I was pretty impressed with given it's almost 60 miles away.

My other football of the weekend was getting to watch my daughter play her first match of the season for Actonians U11s.

They had to travel to Brook House in Hayes for a midday kick-off on a really hot afternoon.

With only one substitute available, it looked like being a tough match.

Thankfully they had too much for their opponents and fatigue was never really an issue as they won 5-1.

Next Saturday they face a long trip north to play Enfield Town.

Like last week, this week's blog isn't complete yet with previews only up to and including Friday but the match maps are complete so you can see what's on at the weekend.

Right, it's been a long day and I'm nodding off at the keyboard - enjoy your week and I'll update the page as the days progress.


With the international break well and truly over, there's plenty to see in the coming days.

We have matches in the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Trophy, FA Vase, Women's Championship and FA Youth Cup among others.

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 or youth matches. 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 18 September

FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
Aveley v Kings Lynn Town @745pm - the Millers' recent record in the FA Cup has been pretty poor, making it to the Third Round Qualifying only three times in the last 10 years. On Saturday they managed a 0-0 draw on their trip to Norfolk. Kings Lynn are struggling in the parallel sixth tier National League North and you'd expect Aveley to win at Parkside 


Tuesday 19 September

QPR v Swansea City @745pm - after taking an early lead against Sunderland on Saturday, the R's had a player sent off and had to play the last 70 minutes with 10 men. The Mackems ground them down and won 3-1. There has been a fair bit of optimism around QPR's performances, even in defeat, but their only wins have come against fellow strugglers. Swansea are such a team, haven't won any games so far and really must be beaten. Tickets

EFL Trophy
The group stage of this competition continues this week. For readers new to English football, this competition is for  clubs in League One, League Two and several U21 sides from Premier League and Championship clubs - it is not a popular format and attendances are usually low. On Tuesday, Leyton Orient welcome Fulham U21 and Sutton United take on Aston Villa U21. Tickets are in plentiful supply and can be bought directly from each club

Premier League Cup
There are a couple of other U21 games elsewhere in London in this competition. Chelsea host Luton Town at Kingsmeadow whilst Charlton Athletic play AFC Bournemouth at Dartford's ground. Again, tickets are available from each club or on the turnstile

National League
Barnet v Aldershot Town @745pm - the Bees lost their big game at Rochdale on Saturday to surrender top spot to Chesterfield. Aldershot are the kind of midtable club that must be beaten if the north London club are to be considered promotion contenders. The Shots have lost on their last six visits to Barnet and have never won at the Hive
Boreham Wood v Rochdale @745pm - Dale are the latest big name from the EFL to fall into non-league football. They've been a little inconsistent in the opening weeks but Saturday's 4-2 win over then leaders Barnet put them in the play-off places. After making the play-offs last season, The Wood are well off the pace so far. If they hadn't beaten Maidenhead on Saturday then they'd probably have ended the weekend in the relegation zone
Dagenham & Redbridge v Bromley @745pm - in the other fifth-tier match of the night, two of our local sides do battle. The Daggers could only manage a 0-0 draw at Oxford City on Saturday which saw them stay in 13th. The Ravens, on the other hand, comfortably saw off Oldham and are now in the top four and should start as slight favourites as a result

FA Cup Second Round Qualifying
Cray Valley PM v Northwood @745pm - these sides produced an entertaining 2-2 draw on Saturday which ended in a mass brawl and the dismissal of one player from each team. That should add a bit of heat to this already enticing looking cup tie

Wednesday 20 September

UEFA Champions League
Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven @8pm - this season's Champions League group stage gets underway this week. The Gunners are back in the competition for the first time since 2016/17 when they made the last 16. Dutch club PSV head to north London as current leaders of the Eredivisie after thrashing NEC 4-0 on Saturday whilst Arsenal could only manage a 1-0 win at struggling Everton. Tickets are available to members

UEFA Youth League
Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven @1pm - earlier in the day, the two clubs' U19 sides will meet for a game at Boreham Wood's ground. There is little on Arsenal's website about admission details but entry should be ok and no more than £5

Millwall v Rotherham United @745pm - it's not the sexiest of fixtures but with both sides in the bottom seven, it's incredibly important to both. The Lions are unbeaten in five against the Millers and I think they'll definitely extend that run here. Tickets
Watford v West Bromwich Albion @745pm - the Hornets' decent win over Birmingham on Saturday saw them leap into the top half of the table. Things are so tight that if they'd lost, they'd be in the bottom five. The Baggies are on level points with the hosts but they haven't won at Vicarage Road since 2007. Tickets

Thursday 21 September

UEFA Europa League
West Ham United v Backa Topola @8pm - after winning last season's UEFA Europa Conference League, the Hammers got to move back up to the Europa League which they did pretty well in the year before. They begin life in the group stage against last season's runners-up in the Serbian League who are currently top domestically as they come into this. Given they also have Freiburg and Olympiakos in their group, they simply have to win this one. Tickets are available

Friday 22 September

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Southampton @7pm - the weekend begins with a bit of U21 action at the Hammers' Rush Green training base in Romford. Entry is usually around £5, payable on the gate

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
Woodford Town v Enfield Borough @745pm - the Woods play a level above their opponents and are currently top of the Essex Senior League with no defeats. It looks set to be a hugely challenging evening for the visitors
Cannons Wood v Potton United @745pm - the hosts are currently second in the 10th tier ECL Division 1 South so play a level below Potton. The away team aren't pulling up any trees at the moment and look vulnerable to an upset

Saturday 23 September

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Fulham @3pm - the Premier League returns with the Roy Hodgson derby (he had great success with the Cottagers and is now in charge at Palace) in which both clubs should fancy their chances of getting something. Locked on level points just inside the top 10, these two should be pretty happy with the starts they've made. Fulham are unbeaten in three against the Eagles and won 3-0 at Selhurst Park last season - it should be closer than that this time round. Tickets are only available to members
Brentford v Everton @530pm - in the day's later game, the Bees will go in search of only their second win of the season. The chances of them getting it should be reasonably good as the Toffees haven't won any and are in the bottom three. Although Everton drew here last season, they haven't won at Brentford since 1952 - to be fair, they've only played them in west London four times since then. Tickets are only available to members

League One
Charlton Athletic v Wycombe Wanderers @3pm - there aren't any Championship games on Saturday in London so the next best thing is this sort of derby (the Chairboys hail from just outside the capital) at The Valley. With former Blackpool and Oxford United boss Michael Appleton now in the charge, the Addicks will hope their fortunes improve. His match saw them draw 1-1 at Stevenage, a result which stopped the Hertfordshire club going top. They'll need to be well disciplined again another one of the play-off contenders pay a visit. Despite losing long-time manager Gareth Ainsworth to QPR in the spring, Wycombe have remained competitive and are well positioned for another crack at the top six. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Shrewsbury Town @3pm - with only one defeat in their last five, the O's have definitely steadied things after a shaky start. On Saturday they welcome a side who are just one point above them in lower midtable. This will be the first time the clubs have met since 2014 and that season, the east London club won home and away. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v MK Dons @3pm - during pre-season, a friend of mine who'd been watching Sutton felt they'd struggle this year. It was a fair prediction but then they came out on day one and crushed Notts County 5-1. Sadly, for them, they've lost all seven games since then and they're rooted to the bottom of the table. It's unlikely to get much easier on Saturday when another one of the promotion contenders come to town. Tickets

National League
Barnet v FC Halifax Town @3pm - the Bees swiftly put their loss at Rochdale behind them to beat Aldershot on Tuesday night. The result kept them in third, three points behind leaders Chesterfield. The visitors won the FA Trophy at Wembley last season and it's probably their most likely chance of silverware this year too

National League South
Aveley v Braintree Town @3pm - the Millers made smooth progress in the FA Cup in midweek and face fellow Essex club Braintree here, knowing a win could put them top. The visitors have only won two of their nine games so probably should be beaten
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Yeovil Town @3pm - the Beavers are preparing to host one of their biggest games for years. Having suffered relegation from the National League, former Championship club Yeovil now find themselves in the sixth tier. Unlike most games at the Beveree, fans will be segregated so I'd advise buying tickets in advance

Isthmian League Premier
Enfield Town v Carshalton Athletic @3pm - the game of the day in the seventh tier sees two of the top four meet at Donkey Lane. The Robins are third by virtue of having slightly better goal difference than the Towners. Last season, Enfield won this fixture 4-1 but it should be a lot closer this time

Isthmian League South Central
Chipstead v Raynes Park Vale @3pm - in the eighth tier, the sixth-placed Chips host the leaders RPV. New to this level after promotion from the Combined Counties League, Vale are the only team in the division with a 100% record after four games

FA Trophy Second Round Qualifying
Chertsey Town v Hythe Town @3pm - there are a handful of ties around the London area on Saturday. This one is my pick of them as it sees the teams who are currently seventh in the parallel Isthmian South Central and South East meet at Alwyns Lane

FA Vase Second Round Qualifying
Broadfields United v Virginia Water @3pm - it's also Vase weekend too and the best tie in my opinion is this match between two of the top six in the CCL Premier North. The hosts, who groundshare at Rayners Lane, have never made it past the Second Round proper but they're in great form so who knows? The visitors have gone out at the first attempt for the last four years 

CCL Division 1
Molesey v Berks County @3pm - lastly in the 10th tier, second host fourth in what should be an incredibly competitive game at Walton Road. The visitors are four points behind the Moles but have three games in hand

Sunday 24 September

Premier League
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @2pm - after making their long-awaited return to the Champions League on Wednesday, the Gunners next face Spurs in the North London Derby. Coming into the game, it's Tottenham who are in marginally better form and hence sit second in the table just ahead of Liverpool and Arsenal on goal difference. Given how much closer the sides have been in recent years, I was quite surprised to find that Spurs are 12 without a league win at the Emirates, a run win stretches back to 2010. Tickets have sold out
Chelsea v Aston Villa @2pm - kicking off at the same time on the south-west of town, the Blues will go in search of only their second win of the season against a talented Villa side who are seventh. Despite spending a massive amount on new players, Chelsea have yet to get going and it would be very unsurprising if they lost again. The match has sold out

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Hilltop v Brook House @3pm - with little chance of getting into either of the above, why not watch some knockout football at a slightly lower level instead? Hilltop, who play at Hillingdon Borough's ground near Ruislip, are a club who have their roots in the Somali community. They've made good progress up the leagues in recent seasons and are 10th in the CCL Premier North meaning they should win this derby against a side from nearby Hayes who play a level below them
Ilford v Coggeshall Town @2pm - on the east side of town, two of the bottom three in the ninth tier ESL will scrap it out. It's unlikely to be pretty but it should be competitive

FAWNL Southern Premier
Hashtag United v London Bees @2pm - since coming top of their division in the women's fourth tier last season, the Tags have taken the third tier by storm. Winning all five of their games so far, beating several contenders in the process, they're three points clear at the top. London Bees just about avoided relegation last season but looked doomed as they've lost all five and could receive a real hiding here

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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