Sunday, 22 February 2015

TLFG: 23 February - 1 March 2015

After last week's rather abridged version, I'm happy to say normal service is resumed this time so thanks for sticking with me.

After a restful trip to Ireland, I returned to Blighty in time for the Non-League Day team's next meeting with the FA at Wembley.

If you missed it, we're trying to create a big non-league get-together at the country's national stadium on Sunday 29 March for the FA Trophy Final - effectively the non-league cup final.

It coincides with the next international break and with it being on the Sunday, aside from a match at Fleetwood Town up near Blackpool, there won't be any Premier League or Football League action alongside it. Also, there will be virtually nothing happening lower down the pyramid either so I heartily invite you to join us in north-west London that afternoon.

The record crowd since the competition began in 1969 is 53,262 which was achieved back in 2007 shortly after the 'new' Wembley opened. It'll be a huge challenge to beat it and officially we're not trying to but to get close would be special and send out a strong message to the wider football community.

If you buy before the 4 March then you will qualify for early bird prices of:

Adults: £20
Senior citizens/Students: £10
U16s: £7.50

If you buy 15 or more tickets then you'll qualify for group rates (there is no deadline for this):

Adults: £15
Senior citizens/Students: £10
U16s: £5

Personally I think these are very fair prices, given it's a Wembley cup final. If you're visiting London and want to see a game at one of the best and most famous football stadiums in the world then you won't get a much better chance than this.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS
Saturday saw the playing of the semi-final first legs so we still don't know who will be entertaining you yet. We do know, however, that it will be Bath City/North Ferriby United v Wrexham/Torquay United.

IN OTHER NEWS

Aside from this I did manage to grab a bit of live football action too. 

Regular readers will know that I face a bit of a Dad dilemma on Saturdays. My perfect day sees me take part in a parkrun in the morning and go to a match in the afternoon.

Recently it's becoming the case that I have to choose as childcare commitments have come into play.

This weekend I tried out the fine Burgess parkrun in Camberwell, posting one of my best times for months in the process. I then ran back to Shepherd's Bush to give some company to a friend who is training for the Stockholm Marathon.

With my wife having already shifted a hair appointment in order for me to do this, my match-watching hopes were pretty slim.

Then it came to me that Middlesex County Football League games often happen at weird and wonderful locations not too far from where I live but getting the details can be tricky.

After a bit of research I found that there was indeed a game taking place in the plush surrounds of Holland Park.

Said park lies within Kensington & Chelsea, the most expensive borough to buy property in throughout the UK - the average price is around £2m. 

It was quite weird pushing my daughter's buggy over a muddy playing field overlooked by multi-million pound houses to watch her first ever live match but here we found ourselves.

MCFL action on probably the most valuable sloping pitch in the world 
On offer was a game between the all-Japanese side J-Gaia and east Londoners Mile End Park Rangers in a Division One (Central & East) game. After a bit of arithmetic, I calculated that this was a Step 8 or 12th tier fixture.

With many far more senior sides in the London area calling off their matches because of waterlogged pitches, it was a miracle that this game had survived but it had and the two teams battled gamely in the boggy conditions.

With half-time looming, my two-year-old had seen enough and covered in mud herself after a game involving a stick, puddle and lots of stamping we decided to head off. It was 0-0 at this point but it hadn't been dull. Eventually J-Gaia prevailed 2-0.

The Middlesex County Football League always seems to throw up some decent games and is often free to watch. If you're a hopeless football addict or hardened groundhopper then see what's on near you, there might be a side on your doorstep. 


GET INVOLVED
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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures


Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - this weekend it's League Cup Final time. The first big trophy of the season is up for grabs at Wembley and it's between two big London clubs. After Arsenal, Spurs' biggest rivals are probably Chelsea so the atmosphere should be great. This will also be a repeat of the 2008 final where the north London side, managed by Juande Ramos, came from behind to cause an upset and win 2-1 after extra-time. Once again, Chelsea will start as big favourites but neither will be travelling to the national stadium on the back of good results so it could go the distance again. (League Cup Final, Sunday 1 March, 4pm. Ticket info: SOLD OUT)

2. Arsenal v AS Monaco - with the group stage finishing in December, the Champions League now starts to get serious as the two-legged knockout rounds begin. The first batch of matches took place last week and now it is the Gunners' turn to try and make progress. Thirteen points was only enough for second place in their group but was actually more than Monaco managed in winning theirs which wasn't actually that strong. The French League side are also well off title pace domestically too so Arsene Wenger's side should feel confident. (Champions League, Wednesday 25 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. West Ham United v Crystal Palace - back in the Premier League we have another tasty looking London derby to look forward to on Saturday. After being robbed of victory by a very late penalty at Spurs on Sunday both the Hammers and Eagles will feel disappointed coming into a new week. The south-east Londoners came unstuck against Arsenal and have now only won one in four but shouldn't lack motivation ahead of this one. Although beaten in the reverse fixture 3-1 back in August, Palace have an excellent record against West Ham losing only three times against them over the last 20 years. (Premier League, Saturday 28 February, 1245pm. Ticket info)

4. Fulham v Derby County - at Craven Cottage we've got a game which affects both ends of the Championship table. After dropping out of the Premier League, Fulham have found life tough. They made a dreadful start and replaced their manager which had the desired effect as they climbed towards midtable safety. However, things are starting to reverse and, without a win in five, they sit just five points above the relegation zone. The Rams, on the other hand, are currently top and will be many neutrals' favourites to go up after being very unluckily defeated in last season's play-off final. It really doesn't look too good for the Cottagers when you also consider the sides have met twice already this season, in the league and cup, and the Rams scored five on each occasion. (Championship, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Charlton Athletic v Huddersfield Town - to be fair, there's nothing hugely noteworthy about this game from a football point of view. Both sides are trundling along in midtable, locked together on 39 points from 32 games. The main reason this is notable is because Charlton are running their 'Football For A Fiver' promotion, meaning that all tickets for the match are just £5. If you're visiting London and want to see a live match but don't want to spend big bucks then this is a fantastic option. I would also advise booking in advance just to make sure you get a ticket. (Championship, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Boreham Wood v Havant & Waterlooville - there seem to have been a lot of big matches in the Conference South of late and here we have another one. A couple of weeks ago, The Wood looked like they might be starting to lose their grip on top spot after back-to-back defeats against two of their promotion rivals. Bromley were breathing down their necks and with three games in hand, still are. However, they have now gone unbeaten in three and are still right up there following their 4-1 trouncing of Weston-Super-Mare on a day trip to the seaside. Next they welcome Havant, a talented top-five side with an outside chance of mounting a title challenge of their own. H&W edged to a 2-1 win last time out so it should be close. (Conference South, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Kingstonian v Margate - the race for promotion is getting deliciously tight in the Isthmian League's top division. Following a big cash injection, Margate have become one of the big boys and are consequently the only realistic challengers to leaders Maidstone. If they don't catch them then a play-off spot is looking almost certain. Two other places will probably go to Dulwich and Hendon, given the latter's games in hand, meaning there is only one other place up for grabs. At the time of writing, the next five clubs are within two points of each other. Kingstonian are one of these sides and seem to be building a bit of momentum after recent wins over Leiston and Wingate & Finchley who are also in that group. A win over Margate would be a huge statement of intent but with two defeats in league and cup competitions against them so far this season, it's going to be a tough ask. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Walton & Hersham v Burgess Hill Town - the visiting Hillians have been making headlines as one of the toughest teams to beat in the country this season. Unbeaten in 31 league games, they are unsurprisingly seven points clear at the top of the Isthmian League Division 1 South with four games in hand. The Swans are having an unspectacular season in midtable but almost did the unthinkable in the reverse fixture less than two weeks ago. Amazingly 2-0 up at the interval, it looked like they might be the team to end that run but it wasn't to be as they eventually found themselves hanging on for a still impressive 2-2 draw. Burgess Hill do have another game before this, but could W&H go one better this time? Be there and find out. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Club info)

9. Erith & Belvedere v North Shields - to many non-league fans this is arguably the match of the week. South-east Londoners E&B have had a great season after the disappointment of relegation from the Isthmian League. Still in with an outside chance of the Southern Counties East League title, they have also made it to the FA Vase quarter-finals where they have crucially landed a home tie. The Vase is a national cup competition for teams who primarily play in the ninth and tenth tiers of the English league system with its final at Wembley. For the last six years, the final has been won by or featured sides from the Northern League. This is made up largely of sides in the north-east of England in the region around Newcastle and Sunderland. North Shields are also from this league and are currently third. In the last round they saw off E&B's big local rivals Phoenix Sports 4-1 so it looks like they will start as favourites. However, the well over 500-mile round trip could be a leveller. (FA Vase quarter-final, Saturday 28 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Harefield United v Sun Sports - mention was made earlier of how 'deliciously tight' things were in the Isthmian League, well the same could be said for the title race in the Spartan South Midlands League. Given the varying amount of games played by each, any of the top five could win it. Harefield and Sun Sports, two of our local sides, are part of this pack and they clash at Preston Park on Saturday. Although Sun Sports currently trail Harefield by four points, they do have three games in hand. Many would see them as favourites, however, they lost comfortably in December when they last played and the Hare have won their last four so should be formidable opponents. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 14 February, 2pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

TLFG 16-22 February 2015

It's a real rush job from me this week I'm afraid as I'm just about to dash off to the airport for a few days in Ireland so it really is the match map and very little else I'm afraid.

I promised some big news about Non-League Day (NLD) last week and I have some. Briefly, we're partnering with The Football Association to try and turn the FA Trophy Final into a big non-league get together on Sunday 29 March.

Like NLD it takes place on an international break and rather than get everyone to go to lots of different clubs around the country, we want to try and get as many people from the football community to meet up at Wembley instead and enjoy what is arguably the most prestigious game in non-league football.

It's going to be a big challenge but with tickets fairly priced (from £15 adults, £5 kids) we've got a chance.

We are also running a non-league photography competition with the winners in junior and adult categories getting their pictures published in the programme and on Wembley's big screens and they will of course win match tickets too.

All the info can be found here on our website. Tickets go on sale from the FA website on Monday 16 February.

Right, got to get to the airport. Enjoy your week and hope to see you at Wembley!

GET INVOLVED
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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures


If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

TLFG: 9-15 February 2015

It's been quite a week at TLFG Towers but I can't really tell you that much... yet.

As a teaser I was asked by the FA, in my Non-League Day capacity, to pay them a visit at their Wembley headquarters to discuss a few things. So on Thursday evening I headed up there with a couple of members of the team to have a good chat.

It went really well and hopefully I'll have a lot more to tell you about what could be a very ambitious project this time next week.

It was a big week for the two teams I follow. After yet another away defeat, Harry Redknapp called time on his tenure as manager of QPR. All the signs suggest former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood will replace him, given most of his backroom team are already in place. I'm surprised he still hasn't been installed if I'm honest.

Wembley Stadium looking resplendent on Thursday evening
In the meantime, caretaker boss Chris Ramsey took charge for the visit of high-flying Southampton. It looked like they might pick up a useful point until Sadio Mane won it for the Saints with virtually the last kick of the game. Cruel stuff.

Up at Earlsmead, Steve Baker presided over his first match as Harrow Borough manager and saw his charges bag a priceless 2-0 win over Peacehaven & Telscombe to ensure the day wasn't a total loss.

In other news it was a shame that after all the plugging and promotion for Haringey Borough's free entry offer, their game against Takeley got postponed. These things are sadly all too common at this time of year so make sure you check and doublecheck before heading out to games.

Last up this week, the good people down at Dulwich Hamlet have asked me to give their friendly against Stonewall FC, the gay world champions, a mention. 

Dulwich have been leading the way with their 'Anti-Homophobia in Football' message this season with this game raising funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. 

Fans of all clubs are being strongly encouraged to attend and proudly wear their own colours. With entrance only £3 for adults and £1 concessions it could be a fine way to spend your Wednesday evening. More info here.

GET INVOLVED
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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 70 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures


Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Crystal Palace v Liverpool - this weekend we reach the fifth round of the FA Cup meaning we're down to the last 16. The best tie in the London area for me is this one between two Premier League teams. These two famously met in the semi-final way back in 1990 and produced one of the best FA Cup matches I've ever watched. The Reds started as big favourites having already beaten the Eagles 9-0 in a league match that season and took a 1-0 lead in the cup match. Palace fought back and eventually won 4-3 in extra-time with current manager Alan Pardew scoring the winner. Since then Liverpool have enjoyed some more big wins but have come unstuck a good few times too with the most recent meeting in November seeing Palace win 3-1. It could be another cracker and I'm backing the Londoners. (FA Cup fifth round, Saturday 14 February, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Everton - the Blues opened a commanding seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday following their win at Aston Villa. Apart from their FA Cup aberration against Bradford, everything's going swimmingly for Jose Mourinho's side right now. Next up are Everton who have halted their losing run in the league but are still finding it hard to do much more than draw. Stamford Bridge is not a happy hunting ground for the Toffees who haven't won here since 1994. When the sides met at Goodison Park in August, Chelsea won 6-3 so another nine-goal thriller would be nice. (Premier League, Wednesday 11 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. Brentford v Watford - just when you think Brentford's bubble is going to burst they get right back on track. When they lost to fellow promotion contenders Middlesbrough last week I thought they might start to slide - a side of their limited resources can only keep a great run going for so long. However, on Saturday they won 1-0 against Leeds United at Elland Road to fire themselves back into the top four. The week ahead is packed with another two big games with the first being this derby against the Hornets. The Hertfordshire club are just two points behind and scoring heavily (13 in four games). They also beat Brentford in the reverse fixture so we could have quite a game on our hands. (Championship, Tuesday 10 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Leyton Orient v Notts County - the O's poor season hit its nadir last week when they got thumped 4-1 at home by fellow strugglers Scunthorpe. It sent them to the bottom of the table some five points adrift of safety meaning it's all a bit grim at the moment. Notts County were competing for a play-off spot not that long ago but seven defeats from their last 10 games has sent them sliding down the table. Things are tight in the League One table so three or four wins could reignite both sides' seasons pretty quickly. (League One, Tuesday 10 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Dagenham & Redbridge v Portsmouth - rewind five years and you come to two very big seasons in each club's history. The Daggers edged into the League Two play-offs and won them to move up to League One. Pompey, on the other hand, made it to the FA Cup final but lost and also lost their Premier League status as their bad finances began to get the better of them. Since then both sides have struggled and they now find themselves in the lower half of League Two with just goal difference separating them. Dagenham are in marginally better form at present but they've lost all three of their previous meetings against the Hampshire club so could be vulnerable. (League Two, Tuesday 10 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Hayes & Yeading United - the Ravens finally moved to the top of the table on Saturday after crushing Staines Town 6-0 at Wheatsheaf Lane. It was their third win on the bounce and put them a point ahead of Boreham Wood who comfortably lost another big game to leave them looking worryingly shaky. Hayes & Yeading needed a reprieve to avoid relegation last season but they look like wasting it as they dangle dangerously above the bottom two at the time of writing. With only one win in 10 league games they could get tonked here. (Conference South, Saturday 14 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hendon v East Thurrock United - my match of the week in the Isthmian League's top flight sees fourth play sixth. Given that these two both average crowds of around 190 it's a great achievement that they're doing so well. Neither have played at a higher level with Hendon having competed in this division every year since 1963 - no mean feat. East Thurrock didn't even exist then so have some catching up to do when it comes to history and honours. Promotion to the Conference South would go some way to redressing the balance. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Monday 9 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Aveley v Brentwood Town - after winning the derby at Thurrock on Saturday, Aveley have another tough all-Essex clash to prepare for on Saturday. With three wins from five, the Millers find themselves in eighth and still in play-off contention. Brentwood are in similar form but are up in third and are the type of side that must be beaten if promotion is to be seriously considered. Having lost their last meeting 3-1 it's going to be tough for the hosts. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 14 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Molesey v Ashford Town (Middlesex) - over on the opposite side of town we have a derby between two title contenders in the Combined Counties League. Although down in fourth, Molesey have games in hand on all above them which if won could put them right in the mix. Prior to their loss to Farnham on Saturday, they had won eight games in row to shoot up the table. Ashford, on the other hand, started the season well but had a dodgy spell in January which saw them miss the chance of taking a sizeable lead. They appear to have put that form behind them since then with two big wins, setting things up nicely for this match on Saturday. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Saturday 14 February, 3pm. Club info)

10. Farleigh Rovers v AFC Croydon Athletic - top game of the week in the tenth tier pits first and second in the Combined Counties League Division 1. Farleigh have been top for a while but even with an eight-point lead they can't feel safe. This is because all their main rivals have several games in hand - even Banstead who are 20 points behind in sixth can still overtake them. Despite this they are top for a reason. With 13 wins from their last 15 games they deserve to be up there. The Rams have won 11 in the same time including a 3-0 triumph over Farleigh just after Christmas so they're no mugs. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 14 February, 2pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Monday, 2 February 2015

TLFG: 2-8 February 2015

In last week's TLFG I highlighted the cheap tickets on offer at Dagenham & Redbridge for their League Two match against Cheltenham Town. 

The match and prices were part of the 'Daggers Against Racism Day' and drew a crowd of 2,696 which was their biggest of the season so far.

By writing and researching this blog and putting Non-League Day together, I've come across a lot of special offers which clubs have come up with to get extra people in. 

In my experience, the vast majority of them work especially if they are marketed well. Over the last year or two we've seen several 'Pay What You Want' deals at a handful of clubs at levels all the way up to the Championship which have often delivered spectacular results.

I know such schemes seem risky on paper but they rarely fail and I'd love to see more clubs in the London area try them at least once a season.

FREE ENTRY AT HARINGEY BOROUGH
STRAIGHT AFTER SPURS v ARSENAL

This weekend, Essex Senior League leaders Haringey Borough are throwing their doors open to allow FREE ADMISSION to everyone for their match against Takeley. This is a great effort by the north London club who are having one of the best seasons in their history. Presumably they've done it because Tottenham and Arsenal are playing each other in a lunchtime kick-off quite literally at the end of their road (Haringey play on White Hart Lane). So please, please, please drop in on them afterwards if you're going to the derby game first. I've talked about 'Target 1%' on here before - quite simply if just one percent of the crowd going to the 'big game' head to Haringey's match after then it''ll be their biggest crowd of the year if not many years. Go on, give it a go!

GET INVOLVED
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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - once again this week's top game has been easy to select. Spurs v Arsenal in my book is the biggest London derby. The clubs have been playing competitively against each other since 1909 and I think this will be their 175th meeting. The Gunners have historically been the better side and are unbeaten in four against their north London rivals. This year the sides are desperately close with only two points between them. They are both in good form too. It ended 1-1 last time and it should be tight again. (Premier League, Saturday 7 February, 1245pm. Ticket info)

2. West Ham United v Manchester United - a day later we have another match between two sides chasing European places. The Hammers were in the top four not that long ago but it's gone a bit pear shaped of late with only one win from six. They're now down in eighth, six points adrift of the top four. Manchester United, on the other hand, are a side going in the opposite direction. After a poor start they've now only come unstuck once in their last 15 matches and with a very good record against the east London club, it's not looking too good for Sam Allardyce and his men. (Premier League, Sunday 8 February, 415pm. Ticket info)

3. Fulham v Sunderland - it's FA Cup time again on Tuesday when we have a real chance of an upset in this fourth round replay. The initial match at the Stadium of Light ended in a goalless draw just over a week ago so you'd think the hardest work was out of the way for the Cottagers. The west London club aren't having the best of seasons in England's second tier but they're competitive at home and have nothing to lose. The Mackems are among the top flight's more vulnerable looking teams but warmed up for this with a tidy 2-0 home win over Burnley. They have also won at Craven Cottage on their last two visits so can't be written off. Also, tickets for this are only £15 if purchased before match day. Bargain! (FA Cup, Tuesday 3 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. AFC Wimbledon v Newport County - I think I'm right in saying that the Dons are having their best season since they came up from the Conference. At present they're 13th in League Two with a game in hand on most of those above them, which if won would leave them only four points short of the play-off places. With 19 games still to go, promotion is still very much a possibility. If they are to challenge then they'll need to beat Newport who are currently one of the leading pack but looking shaky. With three defeats on the trot and not a single goal scored their confidence will be low and they should be there for the taking. (League Two, Saturday 7 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Barnet v Woking - up at The Hive we've got a top-six tussle in the Conference. The Bees have impressed under Martin Allen and have opened up a seven-point lead at the top. They went through a slightly worrying patch at the turn of the year but got things back on track last weekend with a 4-0 drubbing of Southport. On Saturday their game at Halifax got called off so two weeks will have passed by the time this game comes round. If my memory serves me correctly, the Cards were their main challengers earlier in the season but a poor December and January has dropped them well out of title contention. They are still well positioned to fight for a play-off place though and having held Barnet to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture, should be capable of giving them a good game. Oh yes, it's also a bit of a derby too with Woking located just outside the M25. (Conference National, Saturday 7 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Farnborough - somehow relative minnows Boreham Wood have been at the top of the Conference South for sometime now but I have a feeling they're going to get toppled pretty soon. A sound 4-0 thrashing at home to fellow contenders Basingstoke on Saturday must have been devastating and leaves them only two points ahead of Bromley. The Ravens have been on their heels for a while and would've overtaken them already if they hadn't had such a bad start to 2015. However, they've bounced back superbly with consecutive wins over Basingstoke and Havant & Waterlooville who are also right up there. With two games in hand on the leaders, they're in a very strong position. The first of these is this one against Farnborough who are on a run of three straight defeats and in the bottom two. Surely the Kent club will be top by the end of Tuesday night, won't they? (Conference South, Tuesday 3 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Wingate & Finchley v Maidstone United - it's not often that W&F make the Top 10 two weeks in a row but they're having one of the best seasons in their history. Last week I told you to go and check out their game at local rivals Harrow Borough but bad weather saw the game postponed. This week they face the toughest of challenges as the Isthmian League's biggest and currently best club roll into town. W&F are one of the smallest clubs in the division but shrewd management has seen them remain in the top seven all season. With David Knight, the league's top scorer, leading the line they are a match for anyone. They'll need to be in top form on Saturday for this too as Maidstone look to extend their lead at the top to seven points. The hosts are in marginally better form at the moment but lost comfortably when the two last played in October. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 7 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Thurrock v Aveley - it's derby day over in Essex this weekend as these two very local rivals go head-to-head. The Thurrock council area in general is a hot bed of non-league football but with only a mile separating these two you won't find too many that are closer (excluding groundshares). Having suffered relegations in recent seasons, both sides are used to bigger and better things but they are neck and neck in the race to steal into the play-off places as we move into the last third of the season. Predicting an outcome to this will be tough as the sides have already played three times this season with Aveley winning two cup games but then getting stuffed 4-0 at home in the league. It's anyone's. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 7 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Barking v Haringey Borough - matches don't get much bigger than this in the ninth tier this week with the top two in the Essex Senior League battling for supremacy. Most of the talk has been about Haringey and their amazing form this season as they have pretty much led the way from the outset. However, they haven't been able to shake off the Blues just yet. Although they have a six-point lead and a game in hand, there is still the best part of half a season of games still left to play so the east Londoners could easily make up the ground - especially if they win here. Bring it on! (Essex Senior League, Tuesday 3 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

10. Harefield United v Tring Athletic - over in the parallel Spartan South Midlands League we've got a game between two of the top five to look forward to. From a local point of view it's been all about Sun Sports so far in this division but they've now been usurped by Harefield to become the main challenger from TLFG's catchment area. Currently third and five points off championship pace, they've got to keep winning to have any chance of bridging the gap especially when you consider they've played five games more than top dogs Kings Langley. Given that Tring also have games in hand on Harefield, the two sides are pretty evenly matched. (Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, Saturday 7 February, 3pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

TLFG: 26 January - 1 February 2015

Is it that time again? It's amazing how a week can go so quickly.

How has it been for you? For me, not much happened until Friday when we held our first informal Non-League Day 2015 planning meeting.

A few interesting things came up and the day has the potential, once again, to grow even more. Our German and Swiss counterparts have already got their date announced and website up and running with their joint event 'Lokalrunde' being held over the weekend of 5/6 September. If you fancy trying some some non-league football over there then put the dates in your diary now - I have.

We've pretty much chosen our date too but have a couple of things to double check before we can officially announce it.

Dagenham & Redbridge is the place to be for cheap tickets this week
With that out of the way I faced a dilemma on Saturday. Since I began this blog I have become a father. My ideal Saturday starts with a parkrun in the morning and continues with a football match in the afternoon.

Since the arrival of my daughter I feel very lucky and guilty if I get to do both and now pretty much have to make a choice. If QPR are playing at home then it's easier as the ground is pretty much at the end of my road so attending only takes up about two hours which I can usually get away with. 

However, it has now been decreed that I can do both IF I take my daughter with me. 

It was a tantalising prospect so I put the feelers out on Friday night asking fellow fans where they recommended for the buggy users amongst us. 

I got some very helpful suggestions but some were immediately ruled out. I don't drive and travel by train to most places so step-free access was an issue for some destinations.

Others were also thought better of because the games were too big and the compact grounds likely to be too busy.

The strongest contender was ultimately Fisher, in the Southern Counties East League, whose chairman was swift to invite me to their game against Croydon. They groundshare with Dulwich Hamlet at Champion Hill - a ground easily reached by public transport with good access all the way along the route. I was even told by another fan that nappy changing could be undertaken in the boardroom!

Ultimately it proved to be just a fact-finding exercise as the timings went out the window - one of the challenges of having a small child. We ended up spending our afternoon at Battersea Park Children's Zoo instead.

Thanks again to all those that did respond and hopefully we'll start getting out and about to football soon.

Oh yes, just in case you were wondering, I did get to complete the parkrun part of my ideal day (my local event at Wormwood Scrubs). Next Saturday I hope to do the new one in South Oxhey near Watford. Give it a go if you're in the area or even if you're not.

GET INVOLVED
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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 70 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Chelsea v Manchester City - it didn't take much to decide what should be match of the week. Quite simply these are the top two teams in the country right now, although you wouldn't have thought it on Saturday as both bowed out of the FA Cup at home to lower division opposition. This will be different, though. No players will be rested, no chances will be taken. The Blues were having a mini blip in the league at the start of the month which saw City catch them but now it's the Mancunians who are slipping up. The gap is currently five points so City really can't afford to lose. If fit and selected, this will also mark Chelsea legend Frank Lampard's return to Stamford Bridge with an opposing team. He famously scored a late equaliser in the reverse fixture back in September. (Premier League, Saturday 31 January, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Brentford v Middlesbrough - we've got a mouthwatering clash in the Championship too as a couple of title contenders duel for top spot. The table is so tight at the moment, that anyone of the top five could be leading the pack come tea-time on Saturday. With the Bees being freshly promoted and Boro finishing 12th last season, both sides have come a bit from nowhere which is always pleasing to see. The Teesiders are of course former members of the Premier League so their challenge isn't a great shock but Brentford are a big surprise. They are one of the smallest clubs in the division and have rarely competed at this level so when they lost 4-0 at the Riverside earlier in the campaign, no-one would've expected them to regroup and keep up their amazing form. That said, Boro are a bogey team for the Bees who are winless against them since 1964. (Championship, Saturday 31 January, 1215pm. Ticket info)

3. Leyton Orient v Scunthorpe United - by the time you read this you might struggle to get a ticket for both of the above but that won't be a problem here. That's not to say this isn't a significant game, far from it. The O's have had a turbulent season and are currently languishing in League One's dreaded bottom four but they'll almost certainly move out of it if they beat fellow strugglers Scunthorpe who are just three points ahead. The Iron, however, are doing pretty well following the appointment of former Man Utd player Mark Robins as manager in October. With only three defeats in their last 17 games they will be tough to beat. They have, however, lost their last two so it could be a good time to play them. (League One, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Dagenham & Redbridge v Cheltenham Town - the Daggers didn't play on Saturday and duly remained in the League Two relegation zone. The Essex club have been flirting with a return to non-league football for a year or two now and they'll really need to get a good result here to keep spirits up. Cheltenham are actually in worse form than Dagenham, with only one win in 12, so should represent one of the softest targets they've been presented with for a while. It's also 'Daggers Against Racism Day' so ticket prices have been cut - standing will cost you just £2.50. However, you must buy in advance to get these prices. (League Two, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Dartford v Bristol Rovers - I'm still pinching myself that a club of the Pirates' stature are plying their trade in non-league football this season. The West Country club, in terms of attendance, are the giants of the Conference with average crowds of over 6,000 which is nearly double what nearest rivals Grimsby Town and Wrexham get. Despite their huge following, they aren't running away with the league. They actually had a bit of a shaky start but are now up in third and a shoe-in for a play-off spot at least. Dartford are almost the exact opposite - with only 1,000 fans attending games and only five wins under their belt, they are third from bottom. Dartford gave a decent account of themselves when they last met in October, narrowly losing 1-0 and they'll have to be at their best to avoid defeat here. (Conference National, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Havant & Waterlooville - the Ravens have had a great campaign but suffered a bit of a dip in form recently as they took only one point from three games. On Saturday they got back on track with a morale boosting 2-1 win at promotion rivals Basingstoke Town to stay second. This Saturday they face another big challenge in the form of third placed H&W. The Hawks are only three points behind and ready to try and avenge the home defeat they suffered on the opening day of the season. Both sides have two games in hand on leaders Boreham Wood, so wins will put both in a strong position to challenge for the title. (Conference South, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Harrow Borough v Wingate & Finchley - as has been well documented, I like Harrow so find it hard to see them struggling. Manager Dave Anderson announced his resignation nearly two weeks ago but decided to stay on until a replacement was found. On Saturday they narrowly lost again at Grays as the gloom continued. This morning, however, his successor was finally announced - Steve Baker who was in charge at Chipstead. His first match is likely to be this one against neighbours W&F. Wingate have been superb this season and are another fine example to Harrow of how well a club with a small fanbase and limited resources can do. With five wins from their last six, they find themselves well in contention for a place in the Conference South, something that a club averaging crowds of 136 shouldn't be able to do. They are also in possession of the division's top scorer David Knight so he should be worth taking a look at too.  (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Club info)

8. Tooting & Mitcham United v Burgess Hill Town - the Terrors haven't really lived up to their nickname this season, coasting along comfortably in midtable where they will probably finish. You get the sense that with their fine facilities, if they got everything in place they could do something really impressive a bit like arch rivals Dulwich Hamlet (dare I say it). That all seems a long way off at the moment though, with the main reason for you going to see this game being the visitors. Sussex club Burgess Hill are, in terms of form, one of the best in country at any level. With 27 league games played this season, they are unbeaten. They are only three points clear at the top of the Isthmian League Division 1 South but they have a whopping four games in hand on their two nearest rivals so it's looking pretty good for them. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Club info)

9. Barking v Clapton - if you fancy a good old East End derby then get yourself down to Mayesbrook Park for one of the games of the day in the Essex Senior League. Both these sides are enjoying good times at the moment, sitting nicely in the top five. The Blues are second so will start as favourites but a large and lively away following will make sure the Tons feel at home. The last match between them ended in a 0-0 draw and it's likely to be close again this time. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Phoenix Sports v Tunbridge Wells - it's almost three years since I last went to see Phoenix in action. They were in the Kent Invicta League in those days and hoping for big things. Here we are in 2015 and they look well capable of repeating the meteoric rise of neighbours VCD Athletic who have climbed all the way up to the Isthmian Premier. Still a couple of years away from that level, Phoenix are hot favourites to win the Southern Counties East League this season and move up again. They have also done superbly well to make it to the last 16 of the FA Vase, a tournament that Tunbridge Wells made it to the final of two seasons ago. Along they way they grew their fanbase considerably making them one of the biggest clubs in this division. It should make for a lively Wednesday evening. (Southern Counties East League, Wednesday 28 January, 745pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

TLFG: 19-25 January 2015

Welcome to TLFG, it's great to have you here.

Last week I wrote about how Harrow Borough needed to change things up a bit in order to avoid relegation. On Monday Dave Anderson, their manager, stood down. Dave has done a decent job on very tight finances over the last three and half years and has continued the club's proud tradition of somehow avoiding the drop.

Sadly that tradition is under real threat and they lost again to a late goal at Hampton & Richmond on Saturday while a replacement was still being sought. 

QPR, my first love, are in an equally precarious situation but manager Harry Redknapp is still hanging on following a 2-0 loss at home to Manchester United.

I went to this game and Rangers did give it a good go, arguably shading the first half which ended goalless.

Joey Barton prepares to swing in a free-kick as QPR search for an equaliser
Some tactical changes by Louis van Gaal made the difference after the interval but with only a one-goal lead going into injury time, it wasn't easy for the Red Devils.

Elsewhere, long time TLFG reader Paul B from the Netherlands, was back in town to watch Charlton's game up at Watford. The tickets were cheap but sadly the Addicks, his favourite English club, got thrashed. It wasn't a completely miserable trip as I'd arranged for some Watford fans to look after him before the game and give him a bit of background about the Hornets.

If you haven't heard of Paul before, I gave him a hand researching his book on London football at the end of 2013. If you speak Dutch and are thinking of coming here to see a game I recommend you give 'Matchdays' a read. I caught up with him in Shepherd's Bush after the game and apparently it's proving popular.

Last week I went back to working Monday-Friday for the first time in almost 15 years so maybe I'll get to see a bit more live football in the near future.

GET INVOLVED
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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 70 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures


Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - it's a really big week for Spurs with back-to-back home games in two cup competitions which they should win. In midweek they host Sheffield United in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final and then have this game in the FA Cup fourth round. Spurs haven't won the league for over 50 years but with 12 domestic cup wins under their belts, they know a thing or two about knock-out football. With only two all-Premier League ties nationwide, this becomes one of the biggest games of the round. On paper this should be a certain home win - Tottenham are fifth in the table while Leicester are bottom. Spurs also beat the Foxes 2-1 on Boxing Day at the King Power Stadium so the omens don't look too good for the visitors. (FA Cup fourth round, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Bradford City - the only other tie in the capital could well provide one of the mismatches of the season. The Blues are in imperious form at the moment as a hapless Swansea City discovered on Saturday. The Swans are a decent Premier League side so you have to fear for the League One Bantams. The Yorkshire club will come to London with nothing to lose and to be fair they are one of the best sides in their division. Despite this, Jose Mourinho will almost certainly rest a good amount of his first team but even then they should have more than enough for their opponents. (FA Cup fourth round, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Fulham v Nottingham Forest - both these sides really should be doing better. Before the season, both were fancied to do well in the battle to get into the Premier League. The Cottagers had just come down along with their TV parachute payments while Forest had invested in new players and had former playing legend Stuart Pearce in charge. Fulham started badly and plummeted to the bottom while Forest got off to a flyer. Since then their seasons' have inverted and consequently they're now more or less alongside each other in midtable. Hopefully we'll get a repeat of September's match at the City Ground where the sides laid on an eight-goal thriller which Forest won 5-3. (Championship, Wednesday 21 January, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Watford v Blackpool - with both sides making swift exits from the FA Cup they return to league action this weekend. The Hornets hammered the previously tough to beat Charlton 5-0 on Saturday, a result which made the sacking of Bob Peeters look a bit rash. The result kept them in the top six well on course for a play-off place. This weekend they have a great chance to make further progress as bottom club Blackpool pay a visit. The Seasiders have been pretty poor this season as off-field problems have taken their toll. They have, however, taken four points from their last three league games so there are signs of a revival. If you're a neutral you should strongly consider going to this as all tickets are half price. Bargain!  (Championship, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. AFC Wimbledon v Accrington Stanley - after the highs of giving Liverpool a run for their money in the FA Cup a couple of weeks ago, it's all gone a bit flat for the Dons. They've played two league games since and lost both with the 3-1 reverse against struggling Carlisle at Kingsmeadow being particularly disappointing. In order to stop the rot they'll need to see off Accrington who are locked on level points with them in midtable. Since joining the Football League in 2011, the Kingston-based club have failed to win any of their seven games against the Lancashire outfit so it could be tricky. (League Two, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dartford v FC Halifax Town - slightly strangely in my opinion, the powers that be have decided to schedule the next round of the FA Trophy alongside that of the FA Cup. Out of the remaining 16 teams fighting for a chance to get Wembley, only one is from the TLFG catchment area. Given how bad the Darts have been in the league this season, it's no mean feat that they've got this far in the Trophy. On Saturday they play host to Yorkshire club Halifax who are having a much better time of things and who won at Princes Park only five days ago in a Conference game. (FA Trophy third round, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hampton & Richmond Borough v Maidstone United - a tough week beckons for Hampton as they welcome two of the top three to the Beveree for back-to-back Isthmian League matches. It starts with the visit of leaders Maidstone. The Kent side are the biggest club in the division who average crowds of over 1,700 - impressive for a seventh tier side. After just missing out on a play-off place last season, they have become hot favourites for the title this time round. Presently they are three points clear of local rivals Margate but have two games in hand so that could become nine points. Although unbeaten in nine league fixtures, they have drawn four so are by no means unstoppable. Prior to Saturday's important win over Harrow, Hampton had been winless in seven so it could be a tough evening. If you can't make this game, then Saturday's match against Dulwich Hamlet also looks well worth a watch. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Tuesday 20 January, 745pm. Club info)

8. Thurrock v Harlow Town - in the division below you've got a chance to look at another title-chasing team as the table topping Hawks travel to Thurrock. At the time of writing, Harlow are six points clear of Needham Market but they have three crucial games in hand so it's close. To stay well ahead they'll need to win at Ship Lane but it shouldn't be easy as the hosts have promotion ambitions of their own. They may be down in eighth but they're only four points adrift of the play-off places. When they last met in September it ended in a 1-1 draw so it should be close again. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Whyteleafe v Merstham - in the parallel southern division, we've got a Surrey derby to look forward to. These two play either side of the M25 and are both chasing a play-off place. They've already played twice this season in the league and county cup and the honours went to Merstham on both occasions. However, both those games were played at Moatside so this will be the Leafe's first chance to have a crack at them on their own turf. It's a bigger game for the Leafe as defeat could potentially leave them eight points adrift that all important fifth place. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. North Greenford United v Kettering Town - the Blues' game against Kettering is another contender for mismatch of the week. North Greenford have been struggling for a while now and currently find themselves ahead of bottom club AFC Hayes solely on goal difference. The Poppies should be playing at a much higher level but events off the pitch have seen them fall down the divisions in recent years. After some gloomy times, which has seen them lose their ground, things appear to be looking up as they have climbed to the top of the Southern League Division 1 Central. They're not having things all their own way by any means, however, with only five points separating the top four. Sadly NGU still look like cannon fodder on this occasion. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Club info)

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