Monday 26 February 2018

TLFG: 26 February - 4 March 2018

It's not been a great week for London football.

Arsenal losing to Manchester City in the EFL Cup Final and Chelsea going down at Old Trafford in the Premier League were the most headline-grabbing disappointments but lower down the divisions, pain is being felt too.

Whether you're a QPR fan who, like me, witnessed the 5-2 humbling by a previously poor Nottingham Forest side at Loftus Road or a Barnet fan whose side seem to take one step forward and one then one step back to stay marooned at the bottom of the EFL - things can seem a bit gloomy.

But then you hear about sides like Thurrock who have pretty much announced that this season will be their last after their chairman announced he would step down earlier in the season.

The Bostik League side have flitted between the sixth and eighth tiers in recent years and could still be saved if some new investors emerge.

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Much has been made of the off-field problems at Dulwich Hamlet over the last few months and news about a bid from Rio Ferdinand to save them from their property developer owners appeared in The Independent earlier this week.

The former Manchester United and England defender who hails from nearby Peckham and knows manager Gavin Rose well is said to have had an offer in the region of £10m turned down with the owners wanting somewhere nearer £13m for the club and the valuable inner London site on which it stands.

Our friends at 'Two Men In Search...' recently paid a visit to crisis club Thurrock

National League side Dagenham & Redbridge are also feeling the pinch at the moment and have let a number of experienced pros leave in recent weeks.

To help them raise funds, West Ham have agreed to bring a squad to Victoria Road for a friendly on 21 March with adult tickets priced at £15.

Aside from that, there are also some big positives especially in the Championship where, apart from QPR, all our local sides are really shining at the moment and could feasibly make the play-offs.

Fulham are the form team in the division at the moment and added the scalp of leaders Wolves to their impressive collection with a 2-0 win on Saturday.

The National League and National League South also look set to deliver some London success stories this season with a number of clubs pushing for the title and promotion in both divisions.

Many congratulations to Wealdstone who thrashed big-spending Billericay Town 5-2 in Essex on Saturday to reach the FA Trophy semi-finals. Bromley and Leyton Orient could also join them but will need to negotiate tricky midweek replays at Spennymoor and Gateshead respectively.

Overall, the purpose of this blog is primarily to encourage you to get out there and watch live football - particularly at the lower levels. By all means go to Premier League games, I simply ask that you don't forget the rest - they are the bedrock on which the national game rests so do your bit to ensure those foundations stay strong.

There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include some big games in the Premier League and EFL and there's also an FA Cup replay too.

As always, 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 on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin

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 26 February

Premier League Cup
Watford v Cardiff City @7pm - get the week underway with some U23 football at Wealdstone's Grosvenor Vale ground. As with all matches at this level, double check all the details before you travel as they are highly susceptible to change

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Sporting Club Thamesmead v Bridon Ropes @745pm - the only non-league game in the capital on Monday is this local derby in the 10th tier

A bit further afield
If neither of these float you boat then there are a couple of non-league alternatives just beyond the M25 - Kingstonian entertain Worthing in a Bostik Premier (7th tier) match at Leatherhead's ground whilst title chasing Beaconsfield Town are visited by Bedford Town in the Evo-Stik East (8th tier). Both games kick-off at 745pm - Leatherhead's ground is the easier to get to by public transport

Tuesday 27 February

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Blackburn Rovers @745pm - with four points from their last two games the Dons have just about kept themselves out of the relegation zone. On Tuesday they welcome leaders Blackburn for one of their biggest and toughest games of the season. The Lancashire club won the Premier League 23 years ago and were a feature of the top flight until as recently as 2012. After a few rough seasons, the Rovers faithful look like they might finally have something to cheer about. The match is all-ticket and you'll need to have a previous purchasing history to be able to buy one

FA Youth Cup Quarter-Final
Fulham v Chelsea @705pm - although there might be more significant non-league matches on Tuesday, this U18's fixture between very near neighbours at Craven Cottage should draw a decent crowd. With adult tickets costing only £4 this really is a fine option and great value too

Brentford B v Swansea City XI @1pm - the Bees' second string welcome another interesting opponent to Jersey Road for this lunchtime kick-off. Admission to games at Brentford's training ground is usually free but check the details before you travel

National League
Boreham Wood v Maidenhead United @745pm - the hosts' impressive winning streak came to an end with a 0-0 draw at Woking on Saturday. It meant that Luke Garrard's side missed out on moving into the top three as they continue to defy their status as minnows of the division. On Tuesday they welcome Maidenhead who have acquitted themselves well after promotion and with a concerted effort could just squeeze into the play-off places come the end of the season

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Hungerford Town @745pm - the Beavers ground out a vital 1-0 win over Bognor on Saturday to climb back into second spot and keep the pressure on leaders Dartford on whom they have a game in hand. Hungerford aren't a patch on the side that challenged for promotion last year and should be beaten

Bostik League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Billericay Town @745pm - after losing a couple of matches, Wingate brought back a bit of stability with a fine 0-0 draw against title contenders Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday. Next up they welcome leaders Billericay for another tough game. After sweeping most sides away this year, the cracks of a team built on slightly suspect foundations are starting to show. With owner-manager Glenn Tamplin spending a relative fortune on assembling his side over the last few months, things have started to go a bit wrong. Even though they are one point clear at the top and have at least five games in hand on all of their challengers, they are wobbling at a crucial time. Having lost their last two league games, they also got knocked out of the FA Trophy on Saturday by Wealdstone at home, shipping five goals in the process. Tamplin said before the game that he would resign as manager if he lost and he stuck to his word - see how the players respond by getting down to Summers Lane on Tuesday

Middlesex Charity Cup Quarter-Final
AFC Hayes v Hayes & Yeading United @745pm - arguably the tie of the round is the Hayes derby. I'm not a huge Hayes aficionado but I can't remember the last time these two played but whenever it was, this should be pretty important locally. It's also only £5 to get into

Wednesday 28 February

FA Cup Fifth Round Replay
Tottenham Hotspur v Rochdale @745pm - despite being one of the best teams in the country, Spurs have made heavy weather of getting this far in the competition, needing a replay to beat League Two Newport County in the last round and another one to get past a side from the third tier here. Keith Hill's side did superbly well to hold Tottenham to a 2-2 draw last week but if they come even close to that again it will be a major upset. Tickets are also great value with most priced at just £10


Thursday 1 March

Premier League
Arsenal v Manchester City @745pm - after being seen off with relative ease in Sunday's EFL Cup Final, the Gunners have to face this mightily impressive City side again just four days later. Gunners fans I know have already written off the match given what they saw from their side at Wembley. When you consider Arsene Wenger's side have also recently lost matches to Ostersunds, Spurs and Swansea it's not a particularly happy time at the Emirates

Friday 2 March

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Chelsea @705pm - the weekend gets off to a fine start with this U23 fixture at Boreham Wood's ground. Also at 12pm, Tottenham host Derby at their training ground - admission to both of these games is likely to be free but check all the details with the clubs before you travel in case either are to be played behind closed doors


Saturday 3 March

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Huddersfield Town @3pm - there are two Premier League games in London this weekend and tickets are available for both which is something of a rarity. With Manchester City pretty much champions already, the fight for second place is now what it's all about. Spurs could end the day in third with a win here and they should get it against the relegation-threatened Terriers. However, David Wagner's side have won their last two and should be well motivated to do well on their trip to Wembley
Watford v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - if City are dead certs for the title, then the Baggies are equally likely to go down. Seven points adrift of safety at the bottom and with only three wins all season, it's looking grim for Alan Pardew's side. Watford are the kind of unpredictable midtable side who will either arrive in complacent mood, coast and give West Brom a chance or smell blood and rip them to pieces

Brentford v Cardiff City @3pm - after their stunning 5-0 demolition of Birmingham in midweek, the Bees had the chance to jump up to seventh on Saturday but lost 1-0 at Leeds. The result still leaves them only four points away from the play-off places so there's still plenty to play for. After a dip in form around Christmas, Neil Warnock's Cardiff side are firing on all cylinders again with four wins on the trot seeing them eat up the ground on the seemingly uncatchable leaders Wolves who are hitting a rough patch of their own. If Brentford are to be taken seriously as promotion contenders then they must be targeting a win here
Millwall v Sunderland @3pm - the Lions climbed into the top half with another win on Saturday. The victory at Burton means the Bermondsey club are now just six points adrift of the play-off places and with 12 games to go and with the kind of momentum they currently have, who knows what could be possible. If they can't beat Sunderland then they might as well bin off such dreams - the Mackems have been absolutely woeful this season and are bang on course for another relegation. However, they've started to develop a habit in recent weeks of snatching 3-3 draws against supposedly much better teams so Millwall you have been warned!

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic @3pm - one of the games of the day in the EFL is this London derby at Kingsmeadow. Both sides are desperate for the points at either end of the division and the small ground is likely to be packed to the rafters. Like the Blackburn game earlier in the week, tickets are only available to people with a previous purchasing history and must be bought in advance

League Two
Barnet v Port Vale @3pm - it's been another strange week for the Bees, losing their home game to Carlisle but winning away at Colchester on Saturday. That fine result means Graham Westley's charges are still six points from safety at the bottom but are showing signs of improvement. Next up are Port Vale who are the side in 22nd that they need to catch to get out of the bottom two - a huge game for both sides

National League
Boreham Wood v Macclesfield Town @3pm - if they can see off Maidenhead earlier in the week, The Wood will go second which means this will become a top-two clash as the Silkmen are currently five points clear at the top. Luke Garrard's side held Macclesfield to a 0-0 draw in Cheshire back in November so they should be able to at least match them again here

National League South
Welling United v Hemel Hempstead Town @3pm - the focus on this division in recent weeks has mainly been on Dartford and Hampton & Richmond but the Wings have been mounting a promotion push of their own. Although the title would seem beyond them, getting a place in the top seven is a real possibility. With four wins from five, Welling have climbed to eighth and next face Hemel who currently hold the coveted seventh place. The Hertfordshire club are winless in four and there for the taking

Bostik League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Tonbridge Angels @3pm - in a week where further details about the turbulent times affecting the Hamlet off the field have emerged, the club will look to sustain their promotion challenge with a win against opposition from Kent. Tonbridge are usually among those hoping for at least a play-off spot but it hasn't really happened for them this season. Nonetheless, Dulwich won't be able to take anything for granted and will need to be well focused in order to take the points

Bostik League North Division
Barking v Bowers & Pitsea @3pm - with only one defeat in five, the Blues still harbour realistic hopes of making it to the play-offs. On Saturday they welcome Essex club B&P who are currently second and looking very likely to make the 'post season' to use an American term

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
AFC Croydon Athletic v Sevenoaks Town @3pm - the hosts have had a decent season and are currently fifth. Given they've played more games than those immediately above them, it's unlikely they'll finish much higher. On Saturday they entertain the league leaders and could do local rivals and title contenders Beckenham a big favour by beating them

Combined Counties League First Division
Worcester Park v Badshot Lea @3pm - we've got a top-three clash to enjoy at Skinners Field on Saturday as the hosts will look to take another significant step towards securing the title. Already eight points clear and with games in hand, Worcester Park are almost there

Sunday 4 March

FA Women's Premier League Southern
Crystal Palace v Swindon Town @2pm - the Eagles' take on bottom club Swindon knowing a win against their struggling opponents will put them top of what is effectively the third tier of women's football in England

A bit further afield
A short trip north-west of London will see you at Kings Langley FC which provides a home for Watford Ladies. They have a Super League 2 game against Sheffield FC which kicks-off at 3pm

If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

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

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


  1. Hello,do you know anything about u10 or u12 football or something like that in weekend,we are coming from Finland and like to watch some game or training because we coach kids football in our country. Thanks

    1. Hi - I'm not a huge expert on this subject but I would suggest getting in touch with one of the professional clubs and seeing if you can attend one of their Saturday kids training sessions.

      QPR have several sessions taking place on Saturday morning for various age groups. There is a facility next to the club's stadium in Shepherd's Bush and also one next to Wembley Stadium.

      I would suggest contacting Michael Nyarko from the list below and see what he says.