Sunday 26 November 2023

TLFG: 27 November - 3 December 2023

Another month is coming to an end and the match-packed festive period is starting to appear on the horizon. 

How was your week?

On Wednesday I had the honour of being invited to QPR's sparkling new training ground at Heston to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Tiger Cubs, the R's club for young people with Down's syndrome.

If you've been reading this blog for several years, you might remember that a friend (Chris Charles) and I set up an annual sponsored walk for the TC's back in 2010.

Over the years, the team have walked to away games at Arsenal, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford and West Ham United.

Chris and I with a couple of the QPR Tiger Cubs at Heston

In more recent years, the walks have often ended up taking us to Loftus Road for a home game - heading in from the old training ground at Harlington or last year doing a walk around all the club's old grounds in north-west London.

In total, the walkers have raised £155,000 for the TC's which has allowed the club to not only keep going but now operate at three locations around London.   

After being given a tour of all the new facilities, Chris and I were among those to give a brief speech, before the celebrations got fully underway - I even got to meet new manager Marti Cifuentes.

The plan is to walk to another home game from Heston in April, Sky TV permitting!

As for watching some football, I headed down to Gunnersbury Park on Sunday to watch Actonians Reserves in action again.

Today's visitors were title challengers Denham United who had thrashed a depleted A's side 4-1 on the opening day of the season in the reverse fixture.

Far from being depleted again, the side was boosted by the presence of four first-team players (as they didn't have a game), and several more offering support from the sidelines.

It ended up being a really good game.

Actonians dominated for long periods but some stunning goalkeeping from Zara Butt and some wasteful finishing meant the first half ended goalless.

The hosts managed to break the deadlock early in the second half when the aforementioned Butt made a total mess of Rosie Hay's free-kick.

I'm not quite sure what happened but she seemed to get disorientated and it somehow hit the post and went in.

The chances continued to come but Butt redeemed herself with some more great saves and then Denham equalised.

Captain Annie Hewitt drove forward from midfield before lashing an unstoppable effort in off the bar to draw them level with just over 20 minutes to go.

Donkey Lane is the place to be on Tuesday

Thankfully, the A's heads didn't drop and a smart move was clinically finished low into the bottom corner by top scorer Katy Hanscomb soon after.

It turned out to be the winning goal and saw Actonians hold on to third for another week.

Looking forward now, one of the matches of the week for me, takes place at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium in north London on Tuesday night where Enfield Town dip their toes into European football.

Yes, that's right, the seventh tier Isthmian League Towners will be welcoming Danish club BK Skjold for their opening group game in the FENIX Trophy.   

I've written more about this in the match preview below but it should be quite a moment for the north London club and I wish I could be there but alas I'm working.

Work means I won't get to any games this week but I hope you do, so have a great one.     


This week we've got matches in the Champions League, Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Vase, FENIX Trophy, Women's National 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 27 November

Premier League
Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers @8pm - the week begins with another helping of top-flight action on the banks of the Thames. The Cottagers are now four without a win and down in the bottom six. They could really do with three points and Wolves, who sit three points above them in the table, are the sort of team they need to be beating. Unusually for Premier League games, tickets are available so don't miss your chance!

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Cardiff City @2pm - earlier in the day, we have this U21 game at Dartford's ground. Neither team are having a particularly great season but the hosts should start as favourites

EAL Senior Division Cup First Round
Lymore Gardens v FC Petrocub @745pm - the only other senior match of the day is this tie in an 11th tier cup competition. The sides are currently sixth and seventh in the EAL's top division. The match is being played at Haringey Borough


Tuesday 28 November

QPR v Stoke City @745pm - the R's suffered their first defeat under new boss Marti Cifuentes at Norwich on Saturday despite dominating possession. Three games into his reign, the best the Catalan boss has so far managed is a draw so they badly need a win to start climbing the table. Although the Potters are only in 16th, they're tough to beat with only one loss in their last five and are also unbeaten in three at Loftus Road. Tickets
Watford v Norwich City @8pm - these two have spent most of the last few years yo-yoing between the top two divisions. However, that habit seems to be coming to an end as neither of them went up last season and both are well down the table at the time of writing. Two points apart in the table, the Canaries come into this on the back of two wins so they're in marginally better form. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Cheltenham Town @745pm - the Addicks made the 600-mile round trip to Carlisle on Saturday and came back with a point after a 1-1 draw, a result which lifted them to 10th. The visitors had an horrific start to the season, playing 15 games before finally winning one. They've now found their mojo, taking 10 points from their last five games, so they're far more dangerous opponents than their lowly position suggests. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Crewe Alexandra @745pm - the U's are another club to have made a very poor start but they've started to tighten things up and are now unbeaten in four. However, they're still bottom because they're drawing rather than winning. Sadly for them, Crewe are one of the division's form teams and head to south London in fourth after winning five of their last six games. Tickets

Premier League International Cup
West Ham United v Lyon @7pm - this bemusingly low key U21 competition resumes on Tuesday with this match at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground. It's still at the group stage at the moment and these two are top of Group B (there are eight teams in it). In their previous games, the Hammers beat Celtic and Valencia whilst Lyon have enjoyed wins over Chelsea and Southampton. Tickets should be available on the gate

FA Youth Cup Second Round
Leyton Orient v Tring Athletic @7pm - elsewhere in east London, it's a huge night for the youngsters of both these sides but particularly those of the visitors. Hertfordshire club Tring see their first team play in the ninth tier so for them to produce an U18 side good enough to go this far is some achievement. Not only will they get the chance to play at Brisbane Road here but if they win, they'll be away to Newcastle United in the next round. Tickets are £4 and entry is via the club's main reception

FENIX Trophy
Enfield Town v BK Skjold @745pm - one of the biggest highlights of the week for me sees some European football under the lights at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium. Yes, you read that right. The FENIX Trophy is an invitational competition for semi-pro and amateur clubs across the continent which is now in its third season. Founded in Italy in 2021, the first winners were FC United of Manchester who beat Prague Raptors in the final in Rimini. Last season, Danish club BK Skjold won after also getting the better of Prague in a match at Milan's San Siro - a fantastic occasion. This season, the competition has expanded from nine to 12 teams with the Towners making their debut and it looks like they couldn't have got a much tougher opening opponent. Tickets are £12 and can be bought online

Wednesday 29 November

UEFA Champions League
Arsenal v RC Lens @8pm - the Gunners won 1-0 at Brentford on Saturday to go top of the Premier League so they should go into this match with some confidence. Lens are sixth in the French league after a 3-0 win at Clermont on Saturday and beat Arsenal 2-1 in the reverse fixture at the start of October so they need to be taken seriously. Tickets are only available to members but you should be able to get into the UEFA Youth League game between the clubs' U19 sides which is being played at Boreham Wood at 1pm - admission is usually free

Isthmian League Premier
Cray Wanderers v Whitehawk @745pm - the best non-league option of the day sees London's oldest club take on opposition from Sussex. Unbeaten in three, Cray are now three points clear of the bottom four and hoping to push up the table. Whitehawk are 12th but have games in hand on most of those above them, so they should be higher up and will start as favourites

Essex Senior League
Sporting Bengal United v Hullbridge Sports @745pm - the hosts won promotion back to this level last season and have made a great start. Currently fourth, they've played less games than the three clubs above them and win here could put them second. Hullbridge could move into the top five with a win of their own

Thursday 30 November

Youth & Development games
Today is all about U23 and U18 football with matches at numerous non-league clubs around the capital - see the map for more details

Friday 1 December

UEFA Women's Nations League
England v Netherlands @745pm - Sarina Wiegman's team return to Nations League action against the country of her birth. Things haven't gone that smoothly for the reigning European champions since returning from the World Cup with away defeats to Belgium and the Netherlands leaving them third in the group with two games to go. If they do want to progress, they really need to win this huge game which is being played at Wembley. Tickets

Premier League 2
If women's football isn't for you then there's a couple of men's U21 games to consider. Fulham entertain Brighton & Hove Albion at their training ground at Motspur Park whilst West Ham United take on Nottingham Forest at Rush Green. Both matches start at 7pm

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Frenford @745pm - there are a couple of decent options in this division on Friday but I'm going for this as it affects things at either end of the table. Woodford may have slipped to third by the time this comes round and they'll want to get back in the hunt for the title. Newly promoted Frenford are in the bottom three and badly need a win to revive their fortunes

Saturday 2 December

Premier League
Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - these two experienced very contrasting fortunes in midweek with the Gunners thrashing Lens 6-0 in the Champions League and Wolves losing 3-2 at Fulham in the Premier League. Mikel Arteta's side are riding the crest of a wave right now, coming into this as leaders. However, Gary O'Neil is seen by many as a very canny young manager who is doing a good job at his new club. They will definitely start as underdogs but dangerous ones. Tickets are only available to members but hospitality packages are available from £350
Brentford v Luton Town @3pm - in terms of average attendance, these are two of the smallest clubs in the top flight with the Hatters' crowds of 10,937 making them the smallest. When you consider that 23 Championship, six League One and two League Two sides get more than that, it's fair to say they're punching well above their weight. Four points clear of the relegation zone after 13 games is no mean feat and with this being a derby of sorts, the atmosphere should be great. I can vouch for this having seen these two play each other at a packed Griffin Park way back in 1996. On that occasion, I believe the Bees came from 2-0 down to win a classic 3-2. It wouldn't surprise me if we got some more of the same here. Tickets are only available to members

Millwall v Sunderland @3pm - there should be no lack of atmosphere at The Den either where the Lions welcome the biggest club in the division (in terms of attendance). After Joe Edwards' brilliant start at Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall's new manager was brought crashing down to earth with back-to-back defeats to Coventry and Ipswich. The Mackems are eight places above them in the table but arrive on the back of two defeats against teams fighting the drop so it could be a good time to play them. Tickets

FA Cup Second Round
Sutton United v Horsham @3pm - with AFC Wimbledon playing on Monday, there's only one tie taking place in London this weekend and it looks pretty special. Sutton are one of the most famous giantkilling clubs in FA Cup history. In 1989, whilst playing in the fifth tier, they managed a 2-1 win over a Coventry City side who were fifth in the top flight - the equivalent of Barnet beating Tottenham Hotspur today. More recently in 2016/17, they beat Cheltenham Town, local rivals AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United before bowing out at home to Arsenal in the Fifth Round, losing 2-0 whilst still a non-league side. Now members of League Two they'll start as favourites against Isthmian League opposition who find themselves here after Barnsley fielded an ineligible player in the last round, getting themselves disqualified. Horsham gave it a good go against the Tykes though, drawing 3-3 at Oakwell before losing a replay. With only around 25 miles between the clubs, it's practically a derby too so I'd buy tickets in advance just to make sure you get in

National League
Bromley v Rochdale @3pm - the Ravens find themselves right up in second as they prepare for this huge game against former EFL club Dale. Although second in the table, they're a whopping 11 points behind leaders Chesterfield so they need to keep winning to have any chance of the title. The visitors have won four of their last five and will almost certainly break into the play-off places if they win this huge game. Again, this is one that's worth getting tickets for in advance

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Hemel Hempstead Town @3pm - the Beavers are the division's form team. Unbeaten in nine, with eight of those wins, it's a great time to watch the team from south-west London. Up to fourth, they could go second with a win here against midtable Hemel but they've only lost one of their last five too. It has all the ingredients for a great game. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Billericay Town @3pm - there will be far bigger crowds in the seventh tier on Saturday but there's only one game featuring two of the top five. W&F are the smallest team in this division with crowds of only 170 but they're having a fantastic season and find themselves in the play-off places after 17 games - usually they're at the other end. Billericay are third and are now in their second season at this level following relegation from the NLS and will provide a very stern test. Tickets

Isthmian League South Central
Corinthian Casuals v Chertsey Town @3pm - there's a game of some significance affecting the top and bottom of this eighth-tier division on Saturday. CC's came down from the Premier Division last season and being in the bottom three, are on course to go down again. Chertsey, on the other hand, are a team who appear to be on a steady up. In 2019, they did the double by winning the Combined Counties League and FA Vase. They've made the play-offs at this level since then and are top coming into this after winning their massive match against title rivals Southall last week. Over 600 packed into Alwyns Lane for that game and I'm sure they'll take a few to Tolworth for this one. Tickets are £12 on the gate 

FA Vase Third Round
This national knockout competition for teams in the ninth and 10th tiers with its final at Wembley is now down to its last 64 teams so things are getting quite serious. There are five ties in the London area on Saturday with the winners receiving £1,125 and the losers £350

Athletic Newham v Erith Town @3pm - the tie of the round in our area must be this one at the Terence MacMillan Stadium. Two seasons ago, the hosts thrashed Littlehampton Town 5-0 in the Fourth Round but then got thrown out of the competition for having fielded an ineligible player. Following their reprieve, Littlehampton went all the way to Wembley before losing in the final to Newport Pagnell Town. In other words, Athletic Newham have some unfinished business in this competition. Currently sixth in the Essex Senior League, they take on the Dockers who are a big part of the SCEFL title race. The south-east London club made the Fourth Round last year so they'll be looking to make it that far again
Egham Town v Cobham @3pm - the Sarnies have made it to the Fourth Round for the last two years so it would be rude not to complete the hat-trick. In 2021/22 they beat Cobham on their way there, winning 3-0 at their place in the Second Round. The Hammers made it all the way to Fifth Round the previous year so they've both got some recent form in this competition. On current form, I'd put my money on Egham to prevail here
Harefield United v Jersey Bulls @1245pm - in one of the day's early kick-offs, the Hares welcome opposition from the Channel Islands to Preston Park. After finishing in lower midtable last season, the hosts are really struggling this time and will probably find it really tough against Jersey who are pushing for the title in their ninth-tier division
Hilltop v Hamble Club @3pm - this is only the third season that Hilltop have taken part in the FA Vase and this is the furthest that they've gone. The club with its roots in London's Somali community have made steady progress up the leagues in recent seasons and although promotion looks unlikely this season, a great run in this competition would represent a big success. Hamble play in the parallel ninth-tier Wessex League and hail from the Southampton area - this could be close
London Lions v Stanway Pegasus @3pm - the capital's most senior all-Jewish club will equal their best ever run in the competition if they win here on Saturday. Playing a level above Stanway, they have a great chance of making progress

SCEFL Division 1
Lewisham Borough v AFC Whyteleafe @3pm - by 10th-tier standards there's a monster of a game at the Ladywell Arena where the division's top two meet. The visitors are currently four points clear at the top but Lewisham have two games in hand so this is huge!

Sunday 3 December

Premier League
Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion @2pm - with five points from five games, the Blues are just about hanging on to a place in the top 10. On Sunday they face a highly rated Seagulls side who are enduring a bit of a blip with only six points from five games themselves. The Sussex club did, however, beat AEK Athens 1-0 in Greece on Thursday in the Europa League so should arrive in good spirits. Brighton are also unbeaten in five league games against Chelsea but lost to them 1-0 in the EFL Cup at Stamford Bridge two months ago. Tickets are only available to members but hospitality packages are available from £300
West Ham United v Crystal Palace @2pm - the Hammers made it four wins in a row in all competitions with a 1-0 win in Serbia over Backa Topola in the Europa League on Thursday. Up to ninth in the Premier League, things are looking pretty rosy for David Moyes' team right now. The Eagles have lost four of their last five including three big dropped points at Luton last weekend. Last season Palace did the double over West Ham but that looks unlikely this year. Tickets are available

FAWNL Southern Premier
Hashtag United v Cheltenham Town @3pm - there's an international break taking place in the women's game so the highest level matches you'll be able to see will be in the third tier. The Tags are currently top of this division and should start as strong favourites against seventh-placed Cheltenham. This match is being played at Aveley's ground

FAWNL Division 1 South East
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v QPR @2pm - in the fourth tier there's a west London derby near Heathrow Airport. The Tangerines were the division's early leaders but despite dropping to fifth, they're still a much better side than they were last season. The R's have done really well after what appeared to be a rather disorganised pre-season and they've powered up to third. Ashford are only a point behind them with a game in hand so this should be really close

ERWFL Premier Division
Barking v Real Bedford @2pm - the Blues won the Division 1 South title last season to move up to this level. The east London club are more than holding their own in midtable but the visit of the leaders will no doubt be tough

London & SE Women's Regional League Cup
Dulwich Hamlet Reserves v Brentford @130pm - these two sixth-tier sides could well end up battling each other for the divisional title. Dulwich's second string are currently top whilst the Bees are well down in seventh but they've played five games less after a lengthy FA Cup run and would go top if they won them all. A win for either side here would do wonders for morale

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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