Sunday, 5 February 2023

TLFG: 6-12 February 2023

Hello dear readers and welcome to this week's TLFG.

Some of you may have noticed that I launched a podcast last week which saw me attend the FA Trophy match between Harrow Borough and FC Halifax Town, which was an expericence to produce.

I went to another match on Sunday (Actonians v AFC Wimbledon) with grand plans of putting something else together but when I got there I decided I just wanted to watch the game.

Having written a few match reports recently too, I remembered just how much it gets in the way of enjoying a action!

Taking photos is fine but trying to record anything just adds a level of stress which you don't need, especially when you have a child in tow.

West Ham United host Chelsea in a Continental Cup semi-final on Thursday
Tickets

My eldest came along to the game today to be a mascot.

Trotting out alongside captain Naomi Graham, she was joined by one of her U10s team-mates, as she filed through the flag waving guard of honour of which I played a part.

Regular TLFG reader Liam, a Dons fan, joined me for this match but he would have no part in the flag waving.

On paper, the Dons definitely started as favourites and had already beaten the A's 2-0 at Plough Lane back in September.

The tempo was high, tackles flew in and chances came and went for both sides.

On balance though, I felt the visitors were shading things and they took the lead on 24 minutes when Ellie Dorey's low shot beat a diving Amy Butler to her left.

I have to say I feared the worst but two minutes later Meila D'Santos had swept home an equaliser from close range to ensure it was 1-1 at the break.

The second half was a similarly tight affair with the deciding goal  coming just after the hour courtesy of an Ashlee Hincks penalty after Sarah Coomson's hand ball.

A great late chance fell to Samaira Khan but she scuffed her effort and the Dons held on for the win.

With games in hand on all those around them, second place looks like theirs to lose.

Sadly for them, though, only one team goes up and leaders Hashtag United look home and dry as they won again on Sunday.

As for Actonians, anything higher than the fifth place they achieved last season should be seen as a success and that looks quite possible.

At the end of Sunday's game, Naomi Graham came over to discuss the match with fans and had no trouble picking out Liam who she's now met three times and makes a point of having a bit of banter with on each occasion. 

Strangely, the west London club will play the Dons again in their next match in two weeks time.

Paired together in the Capital Senior Cup, will it be third time lucky for Actonians? 

Sadly Liam won't be there - we were both looking forward to the fourth round of his duel with Naomi.

I do have a couple of days off towards the end of the week and like the look of the two Continental Cup semi-finals but realistically I think it could well be a couple of weeks before I get to a match again.

There's also a chance I'll got another podcast out, even if it's just an audio version of this - let's see.

Finally, a huge thanks to Stephen H from Feltham who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really, really appreciate it.

Enjoy your week and let me know what you get up to.

UPDATE - a podcast is now available to accompany this piece

                                                            

                                


 THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include a high-profile friendly and games in the Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Vase, Women's Super League and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin


    
TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, 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 6 February

FA Youth Cup Fifth Round
Watford v Arsenal @7pm - the sixth week of 2023 begins with the Hornets' U18 side taking centre stage with this important last-16 tie against the Gunners at Vicarage Road. Tickets are £5

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Tuesday 7 February

Premier League International Cup
Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven @7pm - the following night it's the U21's turn to entertain you. Taking place at Boreham Wood, the visiting Dutch opposition are currently unbeaten and top of Group B

Isthmian League Premier
Wingate & Finchley v Hornchurch @745pm - there are several games in the seventh tier on Tuesday but I've gone for this as it affects both ends of the table. W&F recorded a fine 1-0 win over promotion contenders Cray Wanderers on Saturday to move clear of the bottom three. The Urchins won 2-1 at Folkestone Invicta to move up for fourth

Isthmian League South East
Beckenham Town v Ramsgate @745pm - after beating frontrunners Chatham in midweek, the Becks missed the chance to go top by losing at Whitehawk on Saturday. On Tuesday they have another opportunity when they welcome the Rams who sit just two points above them in second

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Woodford Town @745pm - in the ninth tier, two of the top four meet at Oakside. If the hosts lose, they'll be left in second  a significant eight points behind leaders Enfield and will have played two games more

CCL Division 1 Cup Second Round
Rayners Lane v Langley @745pm - the best offering in the tenth tier sees the team in fifth host the leaders in the division's cup competition. With Langley losing at RB Kensington on Saturday, Rayners Lane will feel they have a chance to progress
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Wednesday 8 February

FA Women's League Cup Semi-Final
Arsenal v Manchester City @715pm - more commonly known as the Continental Cup, this competition for clubs in the top two tiers of the women's game is down to its final four. City are the reigning champions and are unbeaten in six games since the start of the year. Although the Gunners are also unbeaten inn 2023, they could only manage a 0-0 draw at West Ham on Sunday which makes me feel the visitors might edge this. Being played at Boreham Wood, tickets are available from £8

Premier League International Cup
Crystal Palace v Braga @7pm - there's some more European U21 action on Wednesday at Dulwich Hamlet's ground where the Eagles welcome Portuguese opposition. If they win, it could put them joint top of Group C but only if Everton lose to Dinamo Zagreb in one of the night's other games

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Thursday 9 February

FA Women's League Cup Semi-Final
West Ham United v Chelsea @715pm - on paper, the result of this semi-final looks like a foregone conclusion. The Blues are usually a safe bet to beat anyone outside the WSL's top four so if the Hammers do get through it will be a big upset. However, Paul Konchesky's side raised a few eyebrows by drawing with Arsenal on Sunday so maybe this won't be as straightforward as it first appears. Although this cup is probably their lowest priority, Chelsea have made it to the last three finals and won two of them. My money's on a Chelsea v Manchester City final. Tickets are available from £8

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Friday 10 February

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Fulham @7pm - most of the action in town on Friday takes place in the east with this U21 match at the Hammers' Rush Green facility topping the bill. With four wins from five, the hosts have been in great form of late and another win will push them further clear of the bottom three

Essex Senior League
Romford v Athletic Newham @745pm - if you prefer a non-league game then this local derby at Barking's ground should be a fine way to spend the evening


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Saturday 11 February

Premier League
West Ham United v Chelsea @1230pm - a very busy day of top-flight action gets underway at lunchtime with this derby at London Stadium. Although still very much in the battle to avoid relegation, David Moyes' side picked up a precious point at high-flying Newcastle on Saturday. That result should give them renewed confidence as they prepare to welcome the Blues who have only won one of their last five. Some tickets appear to be available via the club's exchange service
Arsenal v Brentford @3pm - with some great results in recent weeks, some Gunners fans must have been starting to believe that this was going to be their year. Victory at struggling Everton on Saturday would've put them eight points clear but they lost 1-0. Fortunately, Manchester City lost at Spurs on Sunday so they didn't close the gap. It's not going to get much easier when the Bees arrive either. The west London club breezed past Southampton on Saturday and are top of the division's form table. Tickets are not available
Crystal Palace v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - after losing at Manchester United on Saturday, Palace are now winless in six. Not the kind of form you want when going into a match with your biggest rival, especially when they're flying. The Seagulls moved up to sixth on Saturday by beating Bournemouth and don't seem to be missing Graham Potter at all. Tickets are not available
Fulham v Nottingham Forest @3pm - two sides who came up from the Championship together at the end of last season have experienced contrasting fortunes. Like Brighton and Brentford, the Cottagers have had a cracking campaign and sit snugly in eighth. Forest looked like dead certs for relegation but the club kept faith in boss Steve Cooper and some fine recent results have seen them climb to 13th. Also, this part of south-west London has been good to them as they've won on their last two visits. Tickets 

Championship
QPR v Millwall @3pm - if the Premier League doesn't appeal or the tickets are a bit pricey then this derby in the second tier should keep you royally entertained. The rivalry between these two has become pretty fierce over the last 10 years or so and there's usually a significant security operation in place around Shepherd's Bush. On current form, the Lions should win but a look at the record books says they haven't won at Loftus Road since 1989. There have been quite a few draws though and there were 3-2 and 4-3 wins for the R's in 2021 and 2020. Tickets 
Watford v Blackburn Rovers @3pm - if the high-octane nature of the derby above isn't up your street, then there's a very decent alternative at Vicarage Road where two of the top eight meet. The Hornets could move into the top four if they win. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Fleetwood Town @3pm - their 2-1 win at Exeter made it four wins from five for the Addicks but given their poor start, they're still 10 points adrift of the play-off places. Lancashire club Fleetwood are on a worrying run of four straight defeats and teeter just above the relegation zone. A home win looks highly likely. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Carlisle United @3pm - the Dons went to leaders Leyton Orient on Saturday and gave a good account of themselves during the narrow 1-0 defeat. Next up are Carlisle who are third at the time of writing and looking to keep themselves in the automatic promotion places. Tickets

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Solihull Moors @3pm - with the Fifth Round of the FA Trophy also taking place on Saturday (no ties are in London), there's a very depleted look to the fixtures in the fifth tier. The only one in London is this midtable affair between the Daggers and Solihull who lost out in the play-offs last season. A win for the hosts could see them break into the play-off places. Tickets

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Slough Town @3pm - with new owners coming in at the Beveree, there's been a lot of upheaval behind the scenes in recent weeks. It's not going well on the pitch either, despite the installation of a new manager. Now without a win since the 19 November, Mel Gwinnett's side need to start picking up points fast. This match against The Rebels can probably be classed as a derby as they sit just outside London on its west side not a million miles from Hampton. The Berkshire club are just ahead of the hosts in the table, so both sides really need to get something

Southern League Premier South
Hendon v Winchester City @3pm - there's a relegation six-pointer at Silver Jubilee Park where two of the sides currently in the relegation zone prepare to scrap for three vital points.  Wins for relegation rivals Harrow Borough and Plymouth Parkway saw the Greens slide back into the bottom four after their defeat at Chesham on Saturday. There's a full programme of fixtures on Tuesday night which could put them back up the table but whatever happens then, this is still a hugely important game for both sides

Isthmian League North
Grays Athletic v Stowmarket Town @3pm - everything's much of a muchness in the eighth tier so I've gone for this match between two of the top seven in this division. After losing back-to-back matches against the top two, it appears Grays' title challenge is well and truly over. However, the big news to come out of the Essex club this week is the confirmation of their new groundshare at Tilbury next season. This brings to an end their 10-years at Aveley and sadly takes them out of TLFG's catchment area

FA Vase Fifth Round
Harefield United v Peacehaven & Telscombe @3pm - 586 clubs in the ninth and tenth tiers entered this season's competition, which has its final at Wembley, and now only 16 remain. Harefield are the only London club left. Usually out in the opening couple of rounds, the Hare haven't been this far since 1990 when they lost in the quarter-finals to eventual winners Yeading. Given that they're currently midtable in the CCL Premier North, they've done incredibly well to get this far. Sussex club P&T saw off Egham Town in the last round and should start as marginal favourites

CCL Premier North
Broadfields United v Wallingford & Crowmarsh @715pm - if you fancy doing at least a 'double' on Saturday then these two have brought forward a midweek game to Saturday night. Rayners Lane, whose ground they share, are also at home earlier in the afternoon so you could spend most of your day at Tithe Farm if you feel so inclined

SCEFL Division 1
FC Elmstead v Lydd Town @3pm - the pick of the games in the tenth tier looks like this top-six clash at Sutton Athletic's ground in Kent. 

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Sunday 12 February

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United @12pm - it's all about women's football on Sunday and the action gets underway early at the THS. From memory, this was supposed to have been played just after the Queen died so it got postponed. Fast forward five months and Spurs sit bottom of the WSL form table after another, albeit spirited, defeat to Chelsea. United, on the other hand, have turned out to be Chelsea's main title rivals but even they dropped points against Everton this weekend giving the Blues a two-point lead at the top. The smart money would appear to be on an away win

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Durham @12pm - neck and neck in midtable, the best either of these two can realistically hope for is to finish sixth. After a brilliant opening day win at London City Lionesses, Palace have only won four more games and are nowhere near the battle for promotion

FA WNL Southern Premier
London Bees v Portsmouth @2pm - with Oxford coming unstuck at Cheltenham, Pompey took full advantage and beat Gillingham to go top. Hosts London Bees lost at home to a struggling Plymouth side and slipped into the bottom four themselves 

FA WNL Division 1 South East
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v London Seaward @2pm - with Hashtag United winning handsomely at Cambridge United on Sunday, the Essex club opened up an almost unassailable eight-point lead at the top. It's now really all about the battle to finish second and third. Sunday's results mean that only one point separates the teams from second to sixth and two of those sides meet here. As an Actonians fan who has seen them beat Ashford fairly comfortably twice this season already, I fancy the visitors to get something here and ultimately finish above them


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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 


Thursday, 2 February 2023

TLFG Podcast episode one

After a lot of procrastination, I've finally produced the first episode of a podcast for The London Football Guide.

I'd never made one before so technically it's not as slick as it could be but I've had a go.

There's a little bit of background about me and the blog before I head to Earlsmead for the FA Trophy match between Harrow Borough and FC Halifax Town.

I give a few thoughts on the game, stand among the fans as it's going on and even grab an interview with one of them who currently sits on Talksport's payroll.

It's only 21 minutes long so won't take a huge chunk out of your day if you do decide to give it a listen.

Going forwards I'm not sure what form it will take - maybe I'll do one for every match I go to or maybe I'll simply do an audio version of the blog.

This could allow me a bit more freedom to speak about several more games that I wouldn't have the time to write about. We'll see.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and thanks as ever for all your support.


Monday, 30 January 2023

TLFG: 30 January - 5 February 2023

Greetings one and all and welcome to TLFG as we move into February - it'll be summer time soon!

How has your week been?

After the excitement of the last two or three weeks, I've had a pretty sedate time with a week of late shifts making live football watching impossible.

My clubs QPR and Harrow Borough both suffered dismal weekends, losing 3-0 at Hull City and Hendon respectively.

I'm hopefully going to watch Harrow for the first time this season when they play FC Halifax Town in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night - it's been postponed three times so hopefully it will finally get played.

Leyton Orient host AFC Wimbledon in one of the games of the week - tickets

At the end of the week I intend to be back at Rectory Park to see Actonians take on AFC Wimbledon in the race for the runners-up spot in their division of the FA WNL.

In other news, my wife is trying to find ways for me to monetise this blog.

It's not something I'm particularly bothered about doing but as it takes up the same amount of time as a part-time job, she's getting keener and keener to make it pay!

On that point, a huge thanks to Kjell GJ from Norway and Micahel P from London who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really, really appreciate it.

It's got late once again, so I need to wrap this up.

Enjoy your week and let me know what you get up to.

 THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include a high-profile friendly and games in the Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Trophy, Women's Super League and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin


    
TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.


Monday 30 January


Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Millwall @1pm - the week begins with this U21 game between two local rivals from south-east London. The match is being played at Darford's ground - make sure you check all the details before you travel

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Tuesday 31 January

Premier League Cup
Arsenal v Burnley @7pm - with the Gunners having already won Group G and Burnley unable to finish higher than third, this is a bit of a dead rubber but hey, U21 games played at Boreham Wood are usually free to get into so there are a lot worse things you could be doing

Professional Development League
QPR v Cardiff City @7pm - the R's U21 side have had a poor season in the PDL and could find the visit of the third-place Bluebirds a bit of a challenge. This is being played at Hanwell Town

FA Trophy Fourth Round
Harrow Borough v FC Halifax Town @745pm - postponed three times, seventh tier Boro haven't been this far in the competition since they got to the semi-finals in 1983. As a result this is quite simply a huge game for the club and will be the biggest match they've hosted since Chesterfield visited in the FA Cup in 2010. The Shaymen made the National League play-offs last season which means they play two levels above Harrow and will start as big favourites. Tickets

Isthmian League South East
Beckenham Town v Chatham Town @745pm - another big game to have fallen foul of the weather on several occasions, the Becks welcome the leaders from Kent. Currently four points behind in third, the result will go a long way to deciding whether or not the London club are real title contenders

CCL Premier Division South
Raynes Park Vale v Knaphill @745pm - RPV thumped Camberley 4-0 on Saturday to keep the pressure on leaders Abbey Rangers. Just two points behind the Surrey club but with four games in hand, the club from Grand Drive will go top with a win here. However, the visitors are a top five club with several games in hand themselves
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Wednesday 1 February

Premier League International Cup
Fulham v Wolfsburg @7pm - second in Group A, the Cottagers' U21 side will move level with leaders Valencia if they win here. Being played at the club's training ground in Motspur Park, the German side have only won one of their three games so far

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
AFC Wimbledon v Leeds United @7pm - with wins over Lewes, Swindon Town and Leyton Orient, the Dons' U18 side have made good progress. Now they welcome Leeds to Plough Lane for their toughest test yet. Tickets are £5

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Friday 3 February

Premier League
Chelsea v Fulham @8pm - after a quiet Thursday, the action returns with a bang on Friday. It's West London Derby time, coming just three weeks after the last time they played. On that occasion, Fulham recorded a famous 2-1 win - their first over the Blues since 2006. Since losing that game, Chelsea have picked up four points from games against Crystal Palace and Liverpool whilst Fulham have lost to Newcastle and Spurs and scraped a draw against Sunderland in the FA Cup. It's likely to be finely balanced again. If Fulham do win, it will be their first success at Stamford Bridge since 1964! Tickets are not available to non-members

Premier League International Cup
West Ham United v Monaco @7pm - there are a couple of U21 games on Friday night but this match at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground is the most eye-catching. If you're in north London, you might find Arsenal's match against Reading to be more convenient

Essex Senior League
May & Baker v Frenford @745pm - if you prefer a non-league option then this top-six clash in the 10th tier at Aveley's ground might be more to your liking

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Saturday 4 February

Premier League
Brentford v Southampton @3pm - there's only one top-flight offering in London on Saturday and it comes at the GTech. If Fulham lose at Chelsea and Brighton fail to beat Bournemouth, the Bees will end the day sixth in the Premier League if they win - you read that right, sixth! An amazing achievement. Their chances of picking up three points here are good as the Saints are bottom. Tickets are not available to non-members

Championship
Millwall v Sunderland @3pm - sitting a point apart just outside the play-off places, this match has a fair bit riding on it. With the clubs in almost identical form, Millwall lost the reverse fixture 3-0 at the beginning of December. However, they're unbeaten at home against the Mackems since 1995. Tickets

League Two
Leyton Orient v AFC Wimbledon @3pm - there's a great looking London derby at Brisbane Road which looks well worth considering. The O's are still top but their form is becoming worrying. With only one win in six, their lead at the top is only two points. The Dons have improved a lot and with only one defeat in six, they're now only three points adrift of the play-off places. Tickets
Sutton United v Stevenage @3pm - Orient's main title challengers are Stevenage who travel to Gander Green Lane in the day's other fourth-tier game. With only three defeats all season, the Hertfordshire club are in impressive form. Like Wimbledon, Sutton have improved a lot of late and they're also well placed to make an assault on the top seven. Tickets

Premier League International Cup
Crystal Palace v Dinamo Zagreb @2pm - rather randomly scheduled on a Saturday afternoon, the Eagles' U21 side welcome Croatian opposition to Champion Hill

National League
Boreham Wood v Chesterfield @3pm - the pick of the games in the fifth tier is this match between two sides who did non-league clubs proud in the FA Cup this season. Both sides put up good fights in getting to the Third Round, with Chesterfield just seconds away from beating West Brom. The hosts sit three points outside the play-off places, whilst the Spireites are fourth

National League South
Welling United v Dartford @3pm - there's only one game in the sixth tier but it's a biggy as two local rivals from the south-east side of town do battle at Park View Road. Two consecutive defeats have put a real dent in the Darts' title ambitions so they badly need to beat the midtable Wings to avoid losing too much ground on leaders Ebbsfleet

Isthmian League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Cray Wanderers @3pm - in the seventh tier I'd go for this match which is of importance to clubs at either end of the table. Wingate are one of the smallest clubs in the division but have managed to keep their heads above water at this level for over 10 years now. Cray, London's oldest club, are just a point off top spot in an incredibly tight title race

Isthmian League South Central
Tooting & Mitcham United v Basingstoke Town @3pm - it's a similar story in the eighth tier but here it's simply a case of bottom versus top. With only three wins from 21 games, it's been a pretty miserable season for the Terrors

SCEFL Premier Division
Phoenix Sports v Erith & Belvedere @3pm - there aren't any real standout fixtures in the ninth tier but this game between two of the top five in the SCEFL should suffice. The Deres appear to be the best TLFG team at this level. A whopping 23 points clear at the top after 23 games, a return to the Isthmian League looks a certainty

CCL Division 1
RB Kensington v Langley @3pm - formerly known as Kensington & Ealing Borough, the club merged with Rising Ballers over the summer to take on this new name. Now playing at North Greenford United's ground, they're up in the top six and welcome the leaders on Saturday

MCFL Premier
Shepherds Bush v Clapton CFC @3pm - for connoisseurs of 11th-tier football, there's a hugely important game between the top two at Rectory Park in Northolt. The hosts are two points behind CCFC who also have a game in hand. Both sides have applied for promotion but only one of them can go up. It's quite likely that this game could draw more supporters than several games in the ninth and 10th tiers 
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Sunday 5 February

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City @430pm - a lot has been made of how well Spurs tend to do against City but that all came crashing down a couple of weeks ago when they let a 2-0 lead slip before losing 4-2. However, at home they've won the last four and with the visitors not at their indestructible best, they could pull off an upset again. Tickets are not available to non-members

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea @1230pm - earlier in the afternoon, the women's team have the chance to try and pull off an unlikely victory against the joint league leaders. Dumped out of the League Cup by the Blues last week, Spurs are also bottom of the WSL form table so it really looks like being a very tough afternoon for Rehanne Skinner's team
West Ham United v Arsenal @645pm - the final match of the weekend pits a dangerously unpredictable Hammers side against the Gunners who are prone to dropping the odd point here and there. Both sides made it through to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup this weekend and almost any result is possible here

FA Women's Championship
Charlton Athletic v Coventry United @2pm - the gulf between divisions was exposed really clearly at times during Sunday's FA Cup ties. The Addicks and Coventry United both played top fourth-tier clubs (AFC Wimbledon and Hashtag United) and demolished them 5-1 and 4-0 respectively. Given Coventry are bottom with only one league win all season, this was a bit of surprise to me. On paper, this should be a fairly comfortable home win
London City Lionesses v Sunderland @2pm - last week I predicted LCL to give Spurs a run for their money in the FA Cup but they lost 5-0. Losing so heavily to the WSL's most out-of-form team must serve as a huge wake-up call to the Championship leaders and make them think hard about what they'll need to do to survive next year if they do go up. The Black Cats, on the other hand, aren't having a particularly great season but turned in one of the performances of the round as they narrowly lost 2-1 to WSL leaders Manchester United. In theory, LCL should return to winning ways here but you never know

FA WNL Southern Premier
Watford v Ipswich Town @2pm - two of the top four meet at Grosvenor Vale as they bid to close the gap on the leading pair. The Hornets have fallen eight points behind leaders Oxford but have two games in hand - they can't really afford to lose here

FA WNL Division 1 South East
Actonians v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - on Sunday the A's demolished Chesham United 9-0. With the Dons in FA Cup action and Norwich losing at London Seaward, the west London club moved up to second for the first time this season. Having played more games than most of those immediately below them, it is a slightly false position but it's still one they should take great pride in. If they are to have any chance of claiming that runners-up spot or even coming third, then getting something out of this huge match against AFC Wimbledon will be absolutely crucial. The reverse fixture at Plough Lane in September saw the hosts enjoy a fairly comfortable 2-0 win

LSE Women's Regional League Division 1 North
SL Benfica v Clapton CFC @2pm - I thought I'd also include this big game in the sixth tier as it's taking place on the adjoining pitch to the Actonians match at exactly the same time at Rectory Park in Northolt. You can go to one and look through the fence at the other or flit between the two. I'll be at the Actonians game in the company of TLFG reader Liam who is a big fan of both the Dons and the Tons so he can't believe his luck!

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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 


Monday, 23 January 2023

TLFG: 23-29 January 2023

Apologies one and all for the tardy publication of this week's piece.

On Sunday I decided to be selfish and go and watch a game rather than stay home and write this.

Normally I would have written things up on my return and although I started it, it got to 10pm and I just didn't have the energy to continue.

Knowing I had the day off on Monday, I thought I'd finish it today and I duly have.

The game in question was my first Actonians match of 2023.

Despite the chilly conditions, it was still bright and sunny.

New signing Anna Shimizu playing for Actonians against Cambridge United

I got to meet up with a few people I haven't seen for several weeks and several months in some cases, so that was very pleasing.

Anyway, the match itself was an FA WNL game against Cambridge United who were only two points behind the hosts at the start of play.

The visitors spurned an excellent early chance before Actonians' Japanese star player Natsumi Kanno opened the scoring once again after winning a penalty which she promptly converted.

It was one way traffic until shortly before half-time when the visitors scored from a corner which the home defence failed to clear.

With the sides tied at the interval, the second half was a totally different affair with the sides rattling in another five goals as the hosts held on for a thrilling 4-3 win.

Now only a point behind Norwich City and AFC Wimbledon who drew to stay second and third, Actonians play the latter in their next game in two weeks time.

One of the highlights of this game for me was getting to see new signing Anna Shimizu in action.

Joining Kanno and Chihiro Ebine, Actonians now have three Japanese players in their starting line-up.

Playing at right-back, I was impressed with how tenaciously she stuck to Francesca Partridge throughout - much to her frustration!

I think that's about it from me, so have a great week and enjoy your football.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include a high-profile friendly and games in the FA Cup, Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Vase, Women's FA Cup and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin


    
TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, 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 23 January

Premier League
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur @8pm - the week begins with a London derby which should keep us all royally entertained. After being predicted to struggle again, Fulham fans must be having the time of their lives. Up in seventh, they can actually move ahead of Spurs into the top five with a win here. Although Tottenham are unbeaten in eight against the Cottagers, they really look vulnerable here. Only hospitality packages appear to be available at this stage

Isthmian League Premier
Aveley v Hastings United @745pm - for most fans, non-league football will provide a more realistic option on Monday. If you're on the east side of town then a trip to Parkside could be for you. The Millers lost their big game against Cray on Saturday, a result which saw the visitors go level on points with leaders Hornchurch. However, with only five points between first an eighth, sixth-placed Aveley are still very much in contention. Promoted at the end of last season, Hastings could still easily get themselves in contention too if they put a good run together
Carshalton Athletic v Lewes @745pm - a narrow win over Bowers & Pitsea on Saturday saw the Robins join the title-chasing group of eight. Like Hastings, Lewes are in the next group of teams looking to emerge from midtable. When the clubs met earlier in the season, it was the club from Sussex who won 2-0

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Tuesday 24 January

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Walsall @745pm - the Dons aren't losing many at the moment but they're not winning very much either. The Saddlers sit just a point above them in the table so present a decent chance to get a good run going again. Tickets

National League
Bromley v Dagenham & Redbridge @745pm - the Ravens came from behind to earn a draw against Aldershot on Saturday, a result which saw them leapfrog the Daggers into the play-off places. The east London club  have won their last three against Bromley, including a 4-1 win back in August

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Ebbsfleet United @745pm - the Hamlet missed a good chance to climb the table by losing a thrilling game at Slough on Saturday. Tuesday night sees them visited by the leaders who will look to build a lead over title rivals Dartford

Isthmian League Premier
Enfield Town v Billericay Town @745pm - two of the leading group in the Isthmian League lock horns at the QEII Stadium on Tuesday as they look to keep pace with Hornchurch PITCH INSPECTION AT 6PM

Isthmian League South Central
Northwood v Binfield @745pm - the hosts saw their game against Uxbridge postponed on Saturday, allowing Basingstoke to win at Sutton Common Rovers and knock them off the top for the first time in weeks. Next up they face Binfield who have the games in hand to make themselves title contenders too MATCH MOVED TO WEDNESDAY
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Wednesday 25 January

FA WSL Cup Quarter-Final
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea @745pm - having seen their matches postponed or abandoned on Sunday, both these sides will hope Leyton Orient's pitch is up to it on Wednesday. With Spurs in terrible form, the Blues will start as strong favourites

Isthmian League South Central
Southall v Basingstoke Town @745pm - the best non-league offering on Wednesday would appear to be this match between two of the top eight in this eighth-tier division. As mentioned above, Basingstoke went top at the weekend and they'll look to keep hold of that position with a win here

Surrey Senior Cup Second Round
Colliers Wood United v Balham @730pm - there's a south London derby to be enjoyed at Wibbandune where near neighbours on the Northern Line do battle in the county cup

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Thursday 26 January

FA WSL Cup Quarter-Final
Arsenal v Aston Villa @745pm - in this competition's brief history, it began in 2011, the Gunners have been the most successful club with five wins. However, it's been five years since their last triumph. In theory, they're still on for the quadruple but this would definitely be their lowest priority. Villa have never made the final but with Arsenal legend Jordan Nobbs among a number of recruits joining them in the last few weeks, they should have more than a chance of doing something here

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Friday 27 January

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - the biggest game of the day is undoubtedly the U21 version of the North London Derby. It's being played at Boreham Wood's ground but as yet, I've found no details about admission. Arsenal U21 games are usually easy enough to get into but the normal rules often don't apply when they play Spurs. Check the club's website for the latest
Chelsea v West Ham United @7pm - no such problems exist for your alternative U21 derby game. Taking place at Kingsmeadow, tickets are £5 and can be bought online or when you arrive

Premier League Cup
QPR v AFC Bournemouth @7pm - the feast of U21 football continues with this match at Hanwell Town's ground. There is usually a small charge, no more than £5, which can be paid on the gate

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Romford @745pm - there are also a couple of ESL games if you prefer a non-league option, with this one just about shading it for me. The hosts get some of the best crowds in the division and a win here could take them up to third

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Saturday 28 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
Fulham v Sunderland @3pm - everyone's favourite cup competition is back. The Cottagers saw off Hull City in the last round and have landed another Championship side this time. Given their current form, Fulham could be dark horses for the FA Cup this season and I'd like to hope Marco Silva won't rest too many players. A point off the top six in the second tier, the Mackems should present a slightly sterner test than Hull but they'll do incredibly well to force a replay. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Bolton Wanderers @1230pm - three wins in a row have hauled the Addicks away from the relegation zone they were getting dangerously close to. Next up they face a talented Trotters side who are among the leading pack. Wanderers boss Ian Evatt has only been in management for a little over four years but has won promotions with Barrow and Bolton and could be set to complete another one in a few months time - definitely one to watch. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Stockport County @3pm - newly promoted County should be a fairly similar opponent to Walsall as they're just a point ahead at the time of writing. The most notable thing about this game is that all tickets are £5 so snap one up 

National League
Barnet v Chesterfield @3pm - without doubt, the game of the day in the fifth tier sees two from the top five meet at The Hive. Although they've only drawn their last two, the Bees have still built a seven game unbeaten run to put them right back in promotion contention. The Spireites have made a lot of headlines in the FA Cup, taking Championship side West Brom to a replay in the Third Round. Their form is marginally better and they won the reverse fixture 3-1

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Eastbourne Borough @3pm - although not quite as daunting a prospect as Ebbsfleet, Eastbourne should be tough opponents for the Hamlet too. With just goal difference keeping them out of the play-off places, the Sussex club will fancy themselves to take at least a point

Isthmian League Premier Division
Hornchurch v Aveley @3pm - by the time this kicks off, this could be first against third. To top it all, it's also a local derby. The Millers won the last game 1-0 back in November in front of a crowd of nearly 700 so this should be well worth a watch

Isthmian League North
Grays Athletic v AFC Sudbury @3pm - it's third versus first at Parkside, meaning this is the pick of the action in the eighth tier. We few TLFG clubs in the North, this provides you with a rare chance to go and see a match of such importance in this division

FA Vase Fourth Round
This knockout competition for clubs in the ninth and tenth tiers with its final at Wembley is down to its last 32 clubs. There is one tie locally:

Egham Town v Peacehaven & Telscombe @3pm - the Sarnies made it to the last 32 last season too and will look to win here to set a new club record for progress in the competition. Currently third in the ninth tier CCL Premier North, they look very evenly matched against Sussex club P&T who are fifth in the parallel Southern Combination 

ECL Division 1 South
Frenford v Stanway Pegasus @3pm - the standout game in the 10th tier is this top-two clash not far from Gants Hill Tube station. The hosts have been top for a long time but got toppled on Saturday after Stanway beat Newbury Forest 3-1. The visitors now lead by a point but Frenford have four games in hand

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Sunday 29 January

Women's FA Cup Fourth Round
With no men's Fourth Round ties taking place in London, why not watch a women's game instead? This is the round that the WSL teams join the draw and most of our biggest local sides are in action

Tottenham Hotspur v London City Lionesses @12pm - with Spurs in terrible form at the moment and LCL currently top of the Championship, this game has got cupset written all over it. The match is being played at Leyton Orient
Chelsea v Liverpool @1pm - after seeing the WSL game between these two on Sunday abandoned in the sixth minute because of a frozen pitch, they will try again in the FA Cup. The Blues have won the last two FA Cups and are very strong favourites to succeed here
Arsenal v Leeds United @2pm - despite failing to win this competition since 2016, the Gunners are the most successful club in its history with 14 titles. Leeds have made the final twice in their history but not since 2008 and they now play in the fourth tier. A home win looks almost certain
AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic @3pm - the Dons, another fourth-tier team to get this far, are having a decent season. Beating higher-ranked opposition Billericay Town and Gillingham in the previous two rounds, the challenge of Charlton doesn't look insurmountable. Nonetheless, the Addicks are fourth in the Championship, on a good run and will expect victory 


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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 


Sunday, 15 January 2023

TLFG: 16-22 January 2022

Well, well, well - what a week I've had.

After missing out on all the Christmas action, I had one of the best football experiences of my life!

On Monday morning, I set off with a group of friends and flew to the Basque country after being invited by some of the directors of Athletic Bilbao.

We were treated like kings.

Picked up from our hotel, we were driven to their start-of-the-art training ground at Lezama where we were given a full tour of the 13 hectare (32 acres) complex.

Our comprehensive tour of Lezama took us onto the roof terrace

We saw the training pitches, the swimming pool, gym and canteen. We even went on the roof terrace!

And that was just the first team area. We then went on to look around the academy and women's team facilities where several players were in the process of training and also met former captain Carlos Gurpegui, a veteran of over 300 games, who led Athletic to the Spanish Super Cup in 2015.

After this we were taken back into town to visit the club's HQ which sits in an old silk trader's house near the river.

It was quite simply stunning with valuable Basque art on the wood panelled walls which went all the way up to a glass ceiling.

With this part of the trip over, we walked to San Mames where we were treated to a night in the President's Box watching their La Liga game against Osasuna.

Athletic and Osasuna do battle at San Mames

Whilst there, we were introduced to the recently elected president Jon Uriarte which was quite a privilege.

After enjoying some metaphorical prawn sandwiches, we took our seats for what turned out to be a "good 0-0" with the hosts having enough chances to win comfortably.

The following day we headed back to San Mames for a tour of the museum and the stadium itself.

Again our contacts came through and the museum's director took us on a tour with a very knowledgeable young lady acting as translator.

The exhibition was really immersive and packed with things to see and buttons to press.

Did you know that Athletic are one of only three sides, alongside Barcelona and Real Madrid, to have never been relegated from the Spanish top flight which began in 1929?

Did you also know that they've achieved this by only fielding players of Basque heritage? Around 80-90% of their current first team came from their academy which is staggering when you think how competitive they are.

On the tour with Dulwich Hamlet legend Francis Duku

After leaving the stadium, we did a brief bit of non-football sightseeing.

With the Guggenheim and several other high quality museums to enjoy, this clean and vibrant city has a lot going for it.

The people were friendly, English was fairly widely spoken and the food and drink were great too.

I've certainly got myself a La Liga club to support now and I heartily recommend you make a trip there too.

Hopefully I'll be able to go into a bit more detail about this trip in the coming weeks and with a bit of luck I'll be able to get out there again.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include a high-profile friendly and games in the Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Trophy, FA Vase, FA Youth Cup, Women's Super League, Women's Championship and many other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin


    
TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, 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 16 January

Premier League 2
Crystal Palace v Fulham @7pm - the week gets underway with some U21 football at Champion Hill, home of Dulwich Hamlet. The Eagles will move into third if they win, just a point behind leaders Manchester City

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Tuesday 17 January

National League
Barnet v Yeovil Town @745pm - a game of importance at either end of the table. With a decent unbeaten run starting to build, the Bees now have the top four in their sights. The Glovers are only five points above the relegation zone so defeat could leave them in a very precarious position
Dagenham & Redbridge v Eastleigh @745pm - if Barnet slip up, then the Daggers have the chance to catch them as they're only three points behind. If they lose, then Eastleigh will catch them - our local clubs have little room for error
Wealdstone v Oldham Athletic @745pm - I'm sure there's quite a few Stones fans who are still pinching themselves that they're playing week in, week out against sides like Oldham. The Latics were a Premier League side as recently as 1994 but have suffered all kinds of off-field trauma since. This is the first season they've spent in non-league football and they've struggled. However, they've started to pick up some points and they're out of the relegation zone

FA Trophy Fourth Round
Harrow Borough v FC Halifax Town @3pm - postponed from Saturday, seventh tier Boro haven't been this far in the competition since they got to the semi-finals in 1983. As a result this is quite simply a huge game for the club and will be the biggest match they've hosted since Chesterfield visited in the FA Cup in 2010. The Shaymen made the National League play-offs last season which means they play two levels above Harrow and will start as big favourites. Tickets

Professional Development League
QPR v Charlton Athletic @7pm - if you fancy a slightly earlier start, this U21 match at Hanwell Town could be the one for you. A short walk from Perivale Tube station and just off the A40, this is one of London's more accessible grounds

London Senior Cup Second Round
Hendon v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - last week it was Erith & Belvedere who made all the headlines in this competition as they hosted a Brentford side which included Romeo Beckham. To top it all, his father David made an appearance in the crowd. There's unlikely to be any such stardust at Silver Jubilee Park for this but given their struggles in the league, the Greens will probably welcome this distraction

SCEFL Challenge Cup Third Round
Stansfeld v Glebe @745pm - if you're in south-east London then you might like the look of this groundshare derby. Stansfeld are the tenants, are higher in the league than Glebe but they can't buy a win at the moment - it should be close
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Wednesday 18 December

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Manchester United @8pm - a run of five consecutive league wins has seen the visitors surge up to third in the table, just a point behind Manchester City who they beat on Saturday. Palace have games in hand on all around them which if won could lift them into the top half. However, given current form, they'll do well to get anything here. Tickets are not available to non-members

Premier League Cup
Arsenal v Burnley @7pm - the Gunners' U21 team welcome their counterparts from Turf Moor to Meadow Park, home of Boreham Wood. These matches are often free but never more than £5

Middlesex Premier Cup Quarter-Final
Park View v Enfield Borough @745pm - for me, the best non-league option of the night is this cup match between two north London clubs. Being played at the New River Stadium on White Hart Lane, just across the road from Haringey Borough, these sides are currently in midtable in the tenth tier ECL Division 1 South

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Thursday 19 January

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
AFC Wimbledon v Leeds United @7pm - with wins over Lewes, Swindon Town and Leyton Orient, the Dons' U18 side have made good progress. Now they welcome Leeds to Plough Lane for their toughest test yet. Tickets are £5

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Friday 20 January

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Manchester United @7pm - get your weekend underway with some U21 football at the Hammers' Rush Green facility near Romford. It's usually £5 to get in but check all the details on the day

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Enfield FC @745pm - the best non-league option appears to be this cracker between two of the top four in the ESL. Usually well supported at home, Woodford should draw an even bigger crowd than normal for the visit of the leaders

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Saturday 21 January

Premier League
West Ham United v Everton @3pm - one of the most important games of the weekend takes place at the London Stadium where two of the bottom three meet for a relegation six-pointer. Locked together on 15 points alongside bottom club Southampton, it really doesn't get much bigger for the clubs involved. Some tickets are available via the club's exchange service
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United @530pm - after back-to-back games against Chelsea and Manchester United, the Eagles next face another title contender in what looks like being an incredibly tough week. With only one defeat in six against the London club, Newcastle should start as favourites. Tickets are not available to non-members

Championship
QPR v Swansea City @3pm - locked together in midtable only a point apart, this looks like being a cagey encounter. Both sides are models of inconsistency so they could both do with a win. The R's fought back from 2-0 down to draw at Reading on Saturday whilst the Swans won at Sunderland. Tickets
Watford v Rotherham United @3pm - the Hornets kept their promotion bid on track with a comfortable 2-0 win over struggling Blackpool. On paper, you'd expect them to despatch the Millers with relative ease too but they surprised many by thrashing Blackburn 4-0 on Saturday. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Crawley Town @3pm - after a recent uptick in form, the U's returned to losing ways at promotion-chasing Salford. The visitors are four without a win and could end up in the bottom two if they lose heavily here. Tickets

National League
Bromley v Aldershot Town @3pm - if results go their way in midweek, the Ravens will have the chance to move into the play-off places with a win here. A run of four straight wins has seen the Shots slide down the table and they're now just four points above the relegation zone

National League South
Dartford v Taunton Town @3pm - my pick in the sixth tier, I suggest going to watch the Darts as they continue their push for the NLS title. Three points clear of local rivals Ebbsfleet but having played three games more, they badly need to win this game against one of the division's strugglers MATCH OFF

Isthmian League Premier Division
Aveley v Cray Wanderers @3pm - head to Parkside for my match of the day in the seventh tier. The hosts were top earlier in the season and with only five points separating first from sixth, they're currently fifth and still very much in contention. Cray could well be joint top by the time this game kicks-off so it could be a real humdinger!

Isthmian League South Central
Tooting & Mitcham United v Walton & Hersham @3pm - we've got an ampersand derby at Imperial Fields where teams at opposite ends of the table badly need to win. The Terrors have had a very disappointing season and having recently spoken to one of their longest-serving fans, optimism is in short supply. The Swans slipped to third after having their match postponed on Saturday so they'll be keen to make up the ground on Basingstoke Town who moved ahead of them

FA Vase Fourth Round
This knockout competition for clubs in the ninth and tenth tiers with its final at Wembley is down to its last 32 clubs. There is one tie locally:

Egham Town v Peacehaven & Telscombe @3pm - the Sarnies made it to the last 32 last season too and will look to win here to set a new club record for progress in the competition. Currently third in the ninth tier CCL Premier North, they look very evenly matched against Sussex club P&T who are fifth in the parallel Southern Combination MATCH OFF

CCL Division 1
FC Deportivo Galicia v Berks County @3pm - FCDG kept the pressure on leaders Langley with a 2-0 win over Rayners Lane on Saturday. They're back at home again this weekend against another one of their promotion rivals. It's a wonder that Berks are where they are as they've barely played in the last couple of months

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Sunday 22 January

Premier League
Arsenal v Manchester United @430pm - the week comes to an end with a real clash of the titans at the Emirates. With both sides winning their big derby matches this weekend, they became the top two in the Premier League's form table. The Gunners' victory at Spurs means they're now eight points clear and starting to look more and more like champions. However, their one league defeat this season came against an out-of-sorts United side at the beginning of September. Erik ten Hag has made the Old Trafford outfit a far better team since then so this really should be some game. Tickets are not available

Premier League 2
Fulham v Chelsea @230pm - there's a random bit of U21 action at the Cottagers' training ground in Motspur Park on Sunday afternoon. Please check the club's website for admission details  

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Liverpool @1230pm - Sam Kerr scored a priceless 89th-minute equaliser at The Emirates on Sunday to deny Arsenal the chance of catching them at the top. The Reds, on the other hand, lost heavily at Manchester United to stay in lower midtable. Although a home win looks almost certain, Liverpool inflicted Chelsea's only league defeat of the season back on the opening weekend
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City @2pm - Beth England scored on her Spurs debut but it was not enough as they lost 2-1 at Aston Villa. The loss means they're now bottom of the form table after Leicester picked up their first win of the season against Brighton on Sunday. If Tottenham don't win here, some serious questions are likely to be asked of coach Rehanne Skinner MATCH OFF

FA Women's Championship
Charlton Athletic v Lewes @2pm - the Addicks saw their game at Blackburn postponed this weekend and they fell five points behind leaders London City Lionesses as a result. If they eventually win that game in hand, then they'll be right back in the title race. Lewes got a useful win at Southampton which means another three points here could put them in the top five

FAWNL Cup Quarter-Final
Watford v MK Dons @2pm - with wins over Norwich City, AFC Wimbledon and Hashtag United, the Hornets have beaten the best that the division below them can offer. Now they go up against a team from the same division as themselves. Being played at Wealdstone's ground in Ruislip, the hosts should start as firm favourites

FAWNL Division 1 South East
Actonians v Cambridge United @2pm - sitting just behind the leading trio mentioned above are the A's. Danny Harrigan's side played their first match for five weeks on Sunday and came away from Champion Hill with a very satisfactory 2-0 win over Dulwich Hamlet in the Capital Women's Cup. Cambridge sit a couple of points behind them in the table and come into this on the back of two straight defeats. Last season, Actonians beat them 7-0 on aggregate over the two games but I think it will be a bit closer this time



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