Sunday 8 October 2023

TLFG: 9-15 October 2023

After a month of missing deadlines and not completing guides at all, this week's piece is up on time and in its entirety.

It's been another busy week and I even had to go to a funeral at one point - a friend's mother.

The only positive about that sad day was arriving in the area early and getting to check out the local non-league ground, as you do.

After many years writing about the goings on there, I finally got the chance to have a stroll around the outside of the Ladywell Arena which plays host to Lewisham Borough and Forest Hill Park.

The biggest match of the week takes place at Wembley on Friday 

It is primarily an athletics facility and a pretty good one by the looks of it and I could probably have just walked in but I opted to do a lap around it on the path that goes around the outside. 

Lewisham Borough have been a club on the up for a year or so now and they're well placed for a tilt at promotion from the SCEFL Division 1.

With crowds growing significantly, they're a club to definitely keep an eye on this season.

That was about as close as I got to any action this week. In the days ahead, I hope to get to Hanwell Town on Wednesday to watch the derby between QPR and Actonians in the Women's National League.

The games are often quite dramatic and in my time following the A's, QPR have tended to shade things.

I always feel particularly strange on these days. As someone who's followed the R's men's team for 40 years (it was the anniversary of my first game last Wednesday), I'm totally committed to supporting Actonians in the women's game and want to win these matches more than any other.

Anyway, that's enough from me. Enjoy your week.


Despite it being an international break, 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 EFL, FA Cup, Women's Super League and 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.

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 9 October

Premier League Cup
Charlton Athletic v Norwich City @7pm - the week begins with some U21 action at Dartford's ground. This competition is currently in its group stage and didn't begin well for the Addicks when they lost their opener to Bournemouth 4-0. Norwich drew their first game against Wolves 2-2 so you'd have to make them marginal favourites here

Isthmian League Premier
Carshalton Athletic v Canvey Island @745pm - the Robins come into this on the back of a week where they got knocked out of both the FA Cup and FA Trophy by Cray Valley PM who play a level below them. Although CVPM are a decent side eighth-tier side, Carshalton are one of the title contenders at this level so it was a shock to see them lose. They'll be hoping their league form returns swiftly against midtable Canvey - a win will put them on level points with leaders Hornchurch


Tuesday 10 September

EFL Trophy Group J
Two of our local sides have been drawn in this group and they both play on Tuesday. Charlton Athletic lost their opening game 4-3 at Crawley Town last month whilst Sutton United lost on penalties to Aston Villa U21s after drawing 2-2. Today the match-ups switch around with the Addicks hosting Villa and Sutton entertaining Crawley Town

Isthmian League Premier
Hornchurch v Hastings United @745pm - top at the time of writing, the Urchins had a similar week to title rivals Carshalton as they went out of both the FA Cup and FA Trophy. With those two competitions out of the way, they can concentrate on the league. With Hastings in the top five too, this is one of the non-league games of the week

Isthmian League South Central
Corinthian Casuals v Raynes Park Vale @745pm - my pick of the games in the eighth tier is this local derby. Sadly, CCs have made another poor start and could be headed for back-to-back relegations. It's the opposite case for newly promoted RPV who could go top with a win

Essex Senior League
West Essex v Romford @745pm - another one of the non-league games of the week takes place at Wadham Lodge on Tuesday where the teams in second and third will look to cut the gap on leaders Woodford Town 


Wednesday 11 October

Women's League Cup
Tottenham Hotspur v Reading @730pm - although there are a smattering of men's non-league games on Wednesday, the biggest matches are all in the women's game. Also known as the Continental Cup, Spurs made it to the quarter-finals last season. They drew the Royals in the group stage last season too and beat them 2-1, a result which contributed to the Berkshire club failing to make the knockout stage. Since then, Reading have suffered relegation and lost a number of key players so you'd expect another Spurs win. This is being played at Leyton Orient
West Ham United v Charlton Athletic @730pm - the Hammers got all the way to the semis last season before being demolished 7-0 by Chelsea. They'll hope for another good run this season and they start at home to the Addicks who play a division below them. Karen Hills' side have only lost one of their opening six games and will be hopeful of causing an upset. This is being played at Dagenham & Redbridge
London City Lionesses v Watford @7pm - the other tie of the night sees two Championship sides meet at Dartford's ground. LCL narrowly missed out on the title last season but with only win from six this season, it's not going well. The Hornets won promotion to this division last season and they're struggling too. A lot could depend on which side rotates their squad the most

FAWNL Division 1 South East
QPR v Actonians @745pm - as far as these two teams are concerned, this is as close as it gets to a West London Clasico. Hailing from the neighbouring districts of Shepherds Bush and Acton, this is a proper local derby. As with most derbies, the form book usually goes out the window with the team which finishes higher in the league, often disappointing in these games. Last season saw the A's enjoy their best season ever but they drew at home and got thumped 5-3 away. Both sides look unlikely to challenge the leading group this season with fifth probably the best either can achieve. Both lost on Sunday - QPR had their goalkeeper sent off and apparently don't have a replacement whilst Actonians were pretty toothless against Worthing so it's really tough to call. It is being played at Hanwell Town


Thursday 12 October

FAWNL Division 1 South East
London Seaward v Cambridge United @745pm - the other two sides who will probably challenge for fifth meet at Redbridge's ground the day after. Seaward beat a depleted Actonians side on the opening day but then lost comfortably at home to QPR a few weeks later. They then recovered to inflict title contenders Worthing's only defeat of the season before getting thrashed at struggling Chesham on Sunday, demonstrating just how unpredictable a side they are. In recent weeks, Cambridge have enjoyed two wins over Actonians in the league and cup and picked up a stunning win at previously unbeaten Ashford Town on Sunday. However, in the middle of all that, they conceded eight at home to AFC Wimbledon showing once again how crazy this league looks like being this season. Prior to Sunday I would have Seaward as favourites but now I'm not so sure

Youth football
There are seven U18 matches on Thursday. All the details are on the match map but please doublecheck everything with the hosting clubs on the day as venues and kick-off times can be subject to change


Friday 13 October

International friendly
England v Australia @745pm - if you didn't already know, another international break is taking place this week. The first of the Three Lions' games sees them host the Socceroos at Wembley in this friendly. The last time these two played was in 2016 at the Stadium of Light where goals from Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney saw England win 2-1. The previous game to that in 2003 saw Australia's only win in the fixture as a side full of Premier League players recorded a memorable 3-1 success at Upton Park. The last few tickets sold out on Sunday

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Tilbury @745pm - if that game's not for you, then this is your next best option. The hosts have made a blistering start to the season. Unbeaten after 12 league games, they're five points clear at the time of writing, although that could change in midweek. Tilbury suffered relegation from the Isthmian League last season and have adjusted pretty well. If midweek results go their way, they could go fourth

Saturday 14 October

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Bradford City @3pm - the aforementioned international break means the highest level match you'll be able to see is this fourth tier one at Plough Lane. A fine return of 11 points from their last five games means the Dons are up to the heady heights of the top four. The Bantams made the play-offs last season but with only four wins from 12, they're languishing in midtable. The last three games between the two have ended in a draw 

FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying
One of the most exciting days of the non-league calendar is here again. This round of the cup sees all the fifth tier National League clubs enter the draw alongside the smaller clubs who have survived the previous five rounds. The winners of each tie receive £9,375 to go with any winnings from previous rounds but more importantly they go into the prestigious First Round draw with all the League One and Two clubs. This could see one of the minnows take on a former Premier League club like Bolton, Charlton, Derby or Portsmouth. My own club Harrow Borough did this two years ago, pushing Pompey hard and only losing 1-0 at Fratton Park - a fantastic experience. There are several ties taking place in the London area:

Aveley v Barnet @3pm - the Millers won promotion to the National League South last season and have begun well. With six wins from 11, they're in the top six. After beating local rivals Hornchurch in a replay last week, they've landed a very tough draw. The Bees came from behind to win 3-2 at Dorking Wanderers on Saturday, to stay second in the National League and they'll start as favourites here. Given how big a game this is for Aveley, I'd advise buying tickets in advance
Boreham Wood v Welling United @3pm - there's another all-TLFG area tie at Meadow Park. The Wood have had some great runs in the FA Cup in recent seasons, most notably getting to take on Everton at Goodison Park in the Fifth Round in 2022. They'll do very well to repeat that as they're not in the greatest of form but neither are the Wings who play a division below them. A home win looks like the most likely outcome
Bromley v Wealdstone @3pm - two of our local fifth-tier sides have also been drawn together at Hayes Lane in what is arguably the tie of the day locally. The Ravens have made the Second Round on three occasions but not since 1945 so as one of the National League's top clubs, it's about time they at least matched that. In my head, I had the Stones as being a decent FA Cup side and although they did make the Third Round in 1978, they haven't been to the First Round since 2015. With only one win in five in the league, their chances of progress this time don't seem great
Cray Valley PM v Enfield Town @3pm - London's lowest ranked remaining team are CVPM and they've got a great chance of joining the big boys in the First Round. After beating Carshalton in the last round, the Towners don't present any bigger threat so a cupset is definitely possible. Despite their relatively lowly status, Cray Valley also made the First Round in 2020 and the FA Vase Final in 2019 so they know a thing or two about playing in cups. Let's not completely forget about Enfield Town though as it's a huge moment for them too. Since their formation in 2001, the Isthmian Premier club have never been beyond this round 

Isthmian League Premier
Dulwich Hamlet v Kingstonian @3pm - the Hamlet suffered relegation from the NLS last season and have struggled on their return to the seventh tier. Just a point above the bottom three after eight games, this season is threating to be another huge disappointment. On Saturday they play another one of the division's strugglers in what already looks like a crucial game. Without a ground of their own for several years now, the K's are finding life tough and their fortunes haven't improved since moving to Imperial Fields. Playing over six miles from central Kingston, retaining and building a fanbase at this level is going to be tough

Isthmian League South Central
Uxbridge v Leatherhead @3pm - in other news, Uxbridge play their first game at the refurbished Honeycroft. The new 3G pitch will see leaders Leatherhead provide very challenging opposition but with the Red Army in promotion contention too, this could be well worth a watch. It's also 'Pay What You Want'

Essex Senior League
Sporting Bengal United v FC Clacton @3pm - if they both win in midweek then they'll start this game as fourth and fifth. SBU won promotion back to this level last season and have started impressively well again. Playing at the Mile End Stadium, they are one of the most centrally located clubs in London

CCL Division 1
Molesey v Bedfont @3pm - game of the day in the 10th tier sees second play third in this division. The visitors have two games in hand on the top two. If won, it would put them second, two points behind leaders Amersham Town

AFC Premier Division
Honourable Artillery Company v Old Salvatorians @130pm - having just come to my attention on Thursday night, there's a real treat in store for groundhoppers as HAC are playing a match at their historic HQ off City Road. Located half way between Old Street and Moorgate stations, it's the only ground in the City of London and not to be missed. It's free entry but you need to DM the club via one of its social media channels to reserve a spot

Women's Super League
Chelsea v West Ham United @530pm - there's a rare bit of Saturday night football in the WSL as champions Chelsea welcome the Hammers. On paper this has home win written all over it but the Blues made heavy weather of beating Spurs at Stamford Bridge in their opening game and needed an injury-time equaliser to get a 1-1 draw against the nine players of Manchester City on Sunday, so it will be interesting to see how they do back at Kingsmeadow. These games often reach capacity so I'd advise buying tickets in advance. The late kick-off means you can probably combine it with one of the nearby non-league matches


Sunday 15 October

Isthmian League Premier
Cray Wanderers v Hornchurch @3pm - there's one men's game on Sunday and it sees London's oldest club host the current Isthmian League leaders. Being played at Bromley's ground, Cray need some points to start pulling away from from the bottom six 

Women's Super League
Arsenal v Aston Villa @2pm - after setting a WSL attendance record of 54,115 for their season opener against Liverpool, the Gunners will have another go at beating it as they welcome Villa to the Emirates Stadium. They suffered a shock 1-0 loss to the Reds in that game and will have to up their game against Villa who are in theory a stronger side although they too lost to Liverpool on Sunday. Tickets for men's games at the Emirates are very hard to get without membership and incredibly expensive. If you simply want to see a game at this venue, this gives a great chance at a good price. Tickets

Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v London City Lionesses @2pm - there's a south London derby in the second tier. Palace are the top-ranked London side in this division after thrashing leaders Blackburn 4-0 on Sunday. The result leaves them one point off top spot. As mentioned above, LCL are struggling so they'll do well to win this match which is being played at Sutton United's ground
Watford v Lewes @2pm - the Hornets face a huge game against fellow strugglers. With only one team going down, beating bottom club Lewes will give them a great chance of staying up. This match is being played at Wealdstone

FAWNL Division 1 South East
QPR v Haywards Heath Town @2pm - formerly known as Crawley Wasps, HHT have struggled following their relegation from the third tier and have won only one match this season. The R's should win. Interestingly, the sides will play again next week in the next round of the FA Cup

L&SE Women's Regional League Premier
Dartford v Sutton United @3pm - the Darts finished seventh last season but showed a few signs of putting a good side together in the closing weeks of the campaign. This campaign has begun really well with them winning all seven of their opening games, putting them top with a five-point lead over Fulham. The U's slipped to fifth after losing 4-1 at Fulham on Sunday

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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  1. James don't feel bad about your change of allegiance. I was born in Watford and have followed them for about 60 years. Now I live elsewhere so I follow my local non-league team now. Also the Watford Women's team gets my support now rather than the men's team with the way the club is being run now and all the changes going on there!

  2. Thanks a lot Tony 👍