Monday 30 October 2023

TLFG: 30 October - 5 November 2023

Greetings one and all.

This is going to be very brief for now as I'm about to take the kids to school.

So far I've got this week's match maps and previews up until Friday.

A quick mention and a big thank you to Kevin O from Croydon and Thomas G from Massachusetts, USA who donated some money to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really really appreciate it.

One really annoying thing to happen recently was the hacking of my personal Facebook account.

This means I can no longer access TLFG's page. Although recovery attempts and appeals are ongoing, I'm not hopeful so apologies if that page has gone quiet and remains that way.

This week I'm off to QPR U21s on Monday and hopefully Actonians on Sunday to try and celebrate my birthday. I say try as they're playing a very strong AFC Wimbledon side that will be incredibly tough to play against.

FA Cup ties don't get much more magical than this

If you want to visit a newish ground, Brentford reopen Staines Town's old ground Wheatsheaf Park on Tuesday.

They'll be using it primarily for development and youth team matches and they begin against an U21 side from Strasbourg on Tuesday - details on the match map below.

The FA Cup First Round is one of the highlights of the season and it takes place this weekend.

There are some really interesting ties, not least the local derby between Charlton Athletic and Cray Valley PM.

Have a great week and I'll hope to update things as we go.


We've got a great few days of action to look forward to with matches in the Premier League, EFL, FA Cup and Women's Super League as well as all the other non-league and women's competitions which our local clubs compete in.

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 30 October

Professional Development League
QPR v Cardiff City @1pm - the week begins with some U21 action at Loftus Road. The R's youngsters are currently second in the southern section of this league. If leaders Millwall slip up against Bournemouth, they will go back to the top if they beat bottom club Cardiff. Entry is by donation - cash and cards are both accepted

Premier League 2
Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion @7pm - there's more U21 action this evening at Sutton United's ground where the struggling Eagles will look to get out of the bottom three with a win over the Baggies. Tickets are £5 for adults

Tuesday 31 October

Brentford B v Strasbourg U21 @7pm - sadly in July last year, non-league club Staines Town folded. Today, Premier League club Brentford will reopen their old ground at Wheatsheaf Park. They plan to use the well-appointed venue primarily for B team, youth games and possibly women's games in future. There's has been some behind-closed-door action already but tonight will see the first game with spectators. Tickets are £5 but must be booked in advance

Premier League International Cup
There are two games in this U21 competition tonight with Chelsea entertaining Dinamo Zagreb at Kingsmeadow and Fulham playing Feyenoord at Motspur Park. Both games start at 7pm. Tickets will be available on arrival at both

FA Youth Cup First Round
The U18 sides from League One and League Two sides enter the draw at this stage. AFC Wimbledon host Cambridge United at Plough Lane whilst Leyton Orient welcome AFC Sudbury to Brisbane Road. Tickets will be available on arrival 

National League South
Dartford v Weston-super-Mare @745pm - the highest level non-league game takes place at Princes Park where two teams who are a point apart in midtable should put on a competitive match. A win for the hosts will take them into the top 10

Isthmian League Premier
Wingate & Finchley v Enfield Town @745pm - there's a north-London derby to be enjoyed at Summers Lane. W&F are one of the smallest clubs in the division but they're punching well above their weight so far this season. They were up in fourth at one point but are still in the top eight. The Towners are third and need to win if they want to close the gap on leaders Hornchurch who are already 11 points ahead of them

CCL Division 1
Bedfont v RB Kensington @745pm - two of the top four in this 10th-tier division do battle at The Orchard. Leaders Amersham are 12 points clear at the top and seemingly romping away with it. However, both these sides have games in hand which could make the title race a bit more competitive

Wednesday 1 November

EFL Cup Fourth Round
Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers @745pm - the Blues lost 2-0 at home to Brentford on Saturday as their woes continued. Next up they face Championship club Blackburn, a side they should really be beating. The Stamford Bridge club have made nine finals but haven't won this competition since 2015. Building a bit of momentum would seem to be a major priority for Mauricio Pochettino's side right now so I would hope to see them field a strong side if I were a Chelsea fan. Hospitality packages are available from £240
West Ham United v Arsenal @730pm - this competition would seem to be the perfect kind of thing the Hammers should be targeting to follow up on last season's Conference League triumph. They've made two finals before but never won it. It's a different story for Arsenal who've won it twice and been runners-up sixth further times. It has, however, been 30 years since they last took home this cup and will probably want to focus on bigger things. Tickets have sold out but there will probably be some hospitality packages available

FA Trophy First Round
Kingstonian v Whitehawk @745pm - after seeing the original tie postponed on Sunday, these two Isthmian Premier sides will have another go on Wednesday. The visitors are in better form so will start as favourites. The winners will host Lewes in the next round

ECL Division 1 South
Barkingside v Clapton CFC @745pm - the 'Side have had a tough start to the season and defeat here could leave them on level points with a team in the relegation zone. CCFC on the other hand, will go second with a win in this derby

Thursday 2 November

London Senior Cup First Round
Cray Valley PM v Balham @745pm - these two met in the 2018 final. That year Balham romped to a 4-1 win but they haven't been to the final since. CVPM have a huge FA Cup tie at Charlton on Sunday so you'd think they'll rest a few players ahead of that and probably hand the visitors the advantage

Friday 3 November

Premier League 2
There are two big games in this U21 competition on Friday night with Arsenal hosting Manchester City at Boreham Wood and a derby between Chelsea and Fulham at Kingsmeadow. Both kick-off at 7pm

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Athletic Newham @745pm - the hosts will look to extend their lead at the top to six points with a win here. The visitors could end up in the top six if they triumph

Saturday 4 November

Premier League
Fulham v Manchester United @1230pm - the Cottagers are winless in seven at home to the Red Devils with the last six ending in defeat. Never has that record looked more likely to end than now. Having bowed out of the EFL Cup with a whimper at home to Newcastle on Wednesday, United are in real trouble by their very high standards. The pressure is really on boss Erik ten Hag and defeat here could bring his reign to an end. Tickets and hospitality appear to have sold out
Brentford v West Ham United @3pm - both sides come into this match on the back of big derby wins. The Bees winning 2-0 at Chelsea on Saturday whilst the Hammers enjoyed a comfortable EFL Cup win over Arsenal on Wednesday. Since joining the Premier League, Brentford have won both of their home games against West Ham 2-0. In fact, the east London club haven't won a league game away at Brentford since 1953. Tickets are only available to members

Millwall v Southampton @3pm - these two haven't met in the league since 2012. On that occasion, the Saints won an entertaining game at The Den 3-2. After a brief rocky patch following their relegation from the Premier League, the Hampshire club have now put together a decent unbeaten run that has seen them climb to fourth. After coming close to securing a play-off spot last season, the Lions have struggled this year and parted company with boss Gary Rowett last month. Still with only a caretaker boss in charge, they're winless in four and will start as underdogs here. Tickets

FA Cup First Round
One of the most exciting weekends of the year for lower-league clubs has arrived. At this point of the competition, all the surviving non-league clubs are joined in the draw by the pros of League One and League Two. The winners of each tie receive a whopping £41,000 - a huge amount of money for most non-league sides if they can get through

Leyton Orient v Carlisle United @3pm - the only tie in London between two League One sides takes place at Brisbane Road. With Carlisle in the relegation zone, the O's should start as favourites. Tickets have been reduced to £15
AFC Wimbledon v Cheltenham Town @3pm - these clubs seem to be going in opposite directions in terms of form at the moment. The Dons had a great start to their League Two campaign but they're now five without a win and sliding towards the bottom half. Cheltenham, on the other hand, are second from bottom in the division above but have picked up seven points from their last four. This is really tough to call. Top price tickets are also £15
Sutton United v AFC Fylde @3pm - the U's are bottom of League Two but managed a hugely important 2-1 win over Bradford City in their last game. The visitors have been down in the National League's relegation zone for most of the campaign but a three game unbeaten run has seen them start to climb the table. Again, this is a tough one to call but the hosts should start as marginal favourites. Tickets
Bromley v Blackpool @545pm - the day's final tie looks like being a bit of a cracker. The Ravens have surged up to third in the National League in recent weeks but face a club who were in the Championship last season. The Seasiders have responded well to the setback of relegation and are currently in the top eight of League One. It will take a special performance for Bromley to win. If they do pull it off, it will be the first time they've made the Second Round since 1945/46. If you do want to go, I'd strongly advise buying tickets in advance

National League South
Aveley v Weston-super-Mare @3pm - the Millers are probably pinching themselves. After winning promotion via the Isthmian League play-offs, they've taken to life in the NLS like ducks to water. Up to second after winning at St Albans on Saturday, they're now six points behind leaders Yeovil. With only one win from five, WSM are in the bottom half and should be beaten

Isthmian League Premier
Hornchurch v Enfield Town @3pm - undoubtedly the biggest game of the day in the seventh tier sees first host second in this massively important match. Even at this early stage, the Urchins are already eight points clear so the Towners really need to win to keep their title hopes going

Isthmian League North
Walthamstow v Gorleston @3pm - there aren't any games as blockbuster as the one above in the eighth tier, but the 'Stow look well worth having a look at. Up in fifth in this division, they could climb into the top three if they win here against the club in 12th UPDATE: MATCH OFF

SCEFL Premier
Glebe v Deal Town @3pm - based in Chislehurst, the hosts have got off to a flyer and are currently two points clear at the top with a game in hand on second placed Erith Town. However, third placed Faversham have two games in hand on them which if won would put them top. All in all, the title race is looking interesting and Glebe need to beat midtable Deal to keep with the pace

SCEFL Division 1
Forest Hill Park v Lewisham Borough @3pm - in the 10th tier look no further than the Catford Classico at the Ladywell Arena. Lewisham won the last meeting between the two at the beginning of September with a last-minute goal in front of a bumper crowd of nearly 200. These two groundshare and are both in the top five so there should be a good turnout again

Sunday 5 November

FA Cup First Round
Charlton Athletic v Cray Valley PM @530pm - unsurprisingly shifted to Sunday evening for live TV coverage, this is the kind of tie that the FA Cup is all about. Not only have eighth tier CVPM battled through five rounds and eight matches (including replays) to get this far but they've been drawn against their local pro club. Lying just three miles north of their own Artic Stadium in south-east London, The Valley will play host to the biggest match in the Isthmian League club's history. The Addicks should start as overwhelming favourites and will almost certainly win but if they don't, it will be the story of the weekend. Tickets are £10

Women's Super League
Arsenal v Manchester City @1230pm - there are some great women's games on Sunday with two of the WSL's best sides meeting at Boreham Wood's ground at lunchtime. The Gunners have made a disappointing start, winning only two of their four games. City, however, are top of the league and have already taken a point off reigning champions and co-leaders Chelsea. It looks like a mouthwatering prospect and it's sold out
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton @2pm - after narrowly losing their opening game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Spurs have won all of their games since and are one point off top spot. With only one win from four, the Toffees are down near the bottom and should be beaten. This is being played at Leyton Orient and tickets are available
West Ham United v Bristol City @3pm - the Hammers' form from last season seems to have carried over to this one with a very mixed bag of results so far. They should have enough to beat newly promoted City though as they've lost all four games since coming up. This is being played at Dagenham & Redbridge and tickets are available

Women's Championship
Watford v Crystal Palace @2pm - with only one win from eight, the newly promoted Hornets are bottom and in desperate need of points. Although only one point from safety, every point is hard to get in this division if you're one of the weaker teams. Palace are fourth but could go second with a win. This match is being played at Wealdstone. Tickets

FAWNL Division 1 South East
Actonians v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - after only being able to muster a squad of 12 against AFC Sudbury last week, the A's will need to be as close to full strength as possible for the visit of the leaders. The Dons demolished fellow title contenders Worthing 5-0 on Sunday so anything less than a win here will be quite a shock. With it being my birthday that day, I'll be at Rectory Park and hoping for something special! 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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