Sunday 20 January 2019

TLFG: 21-27 January 2019

As always it's been another busy week of football in London.

The biggest match was Saturday's derby between Arsenal and Chelsea which the Gunners did well to win 2-0. With a resurgent Manchester United hot on their heels in the battle for fourth it was a result that was badly needed by the north London club.

Also on the subject of Arsenal, the last few tickets for their Premier League game against Cardiff City on Tuesday 29 January have gone on general sale which is very rare so don't miss out if a trip to the Emirates is on your to-do list.

At the time of writing this on Sunday morning, the weekend's other derby between Fulham and Tottenham is still a few hours away and its impact on the Premier League table could be significant at both ends.

Elsewhere in the top flight it was largely a weekend of disappointment with Crystal Palace and West Ham both losing and Watford grinding out a draw with lowly Burnley.

In the Championship, the good news was all about Brentford who recorded a fine 4-2 win at Rotherham to extend their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions under new Danish boss Thomas Frank.

If you fancy a short trip out of London on Sunday then this U23 match could be for you

Millwall picked up an excellent point at Middlesbrough whilst QPR suffered a surprising 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Preston.

Charlton Athletic kept their place in League One's top four with a narrow win over Accrington Stanley but the bad news continued for AFC Wimbledon who lost heavily at home to Barnsley.

Despite a disappointing 2-0 reverse at Ebbsfleet, Leyton Orient just about managed to hold on top spot in the National League but Solihull Moors are now level on points after winning at Maidenhead.

In the lower non-league divisions there were also wins for Haringey Borough, Hayes & Yeading United, Cray Wanderers, Chertsey Town, Hadley, Bedfont & Feltham and Harefield United who all ended Saturday top of their respective divisions so we're doing pretty well locally!

I didn't manage to see a game this week but I am hoping to get to a match on Saturday.

I had toyed with the idea of going to the FA Cup tie between Portsmouth and QPR but demand has been so high from both sets of supporters that the match is close to a sell out - the away end is completely full.

It is therefore likely that I'll go to the Southern League match between Basingstoke Town and Harrow Borough instead. I haven't been to a match there for almost exactly 25 years so it will be interesting to revisit it. I think it was 1-1 that day and a similar result wouldn't surprise me.

Finally, thanks to Daniel K from Ohio, USA who donated to TLFG's coffee drinking fund this week. I really appreciate it and thanks again to all those who have contributed in the past.

As always, have a great week and enjoy your football watching.

The highlights of the next few days include action in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup and the Fourth Round of the FA Cup plus loads of action in our local non-league competitions. There are also some eye-catching U23 matches too.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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

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

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - 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 21 January

Premier League Cup
Charlton Athletic v Sunderland @7pm - the respective U23 sides from these two League One sides meet at Greenwich Borough's ground. The competition is still in its group stage at the moment with the Mackems currently top of Group A. Charlton are yet to win so they'll need to get something out of this

Bostik League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v AFC Hornchurch @745pm - both sides won promotion to this level at the end of last season and are struggling to assert themselves. The Urchins are just above the relegation zone and the Robins aren't much further ahead so this is a pretty important match for both

Essex Senior League
Barkingside v Hullbridge Sports @745pm - there's also an important game in the ninth tier where an improving 'Side will haul themselves off the bottom of the table with a win. However, Hullbridge are one of four teams involved in a tight title race and will start as strong favourites


Tuesday 22 January

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Fleetwood Town @745pm - a run of only one defeat in four had made things look a little better for the Dons but Saturday's heavy home defeat by Barnsley once again underlined how perilous their position is. Now seven points adrift of safety, it's going to take a remarkable change in fortune to see them stay up. Joey Barton's midtable Fleetwood are winless in four and are the kind of team you feel the hosts will have at least a chance against if they can get themselves motivated enough

Brentford B v Huddersfield Town U23 @1pm - if you've got the whole day off, you might fancy combining a trip to Kingsmeadow with this match over at Brentford's training ground. There's nothing riding on it but it's usually free to get in (double check with the club before you travel) and you'll get to see some promising young talent. This Bees side are currently unbeaten in 10 and have recently notched up wins over Brescia, Bayern Munich and Wingate & Finchley!

Kent Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Dartford v Maidstone United @745pm - on paper this Kent derby would normally be a cracker but I think it's fair to say that neither club will put out a full-strength side which is a shame. If nothing else, give Princes Park a visit - it's got some of the most hi-spec facilities in non-league

Evo-Stik League Premier Division South
Hendon v Weymouth @745pm - the Greens were among the early season pacesetters but eight straight defeats have seen them plummet into midtable. They finally managed to arrest that run on Saturday with a draw against Tiverton but Dorset club Weymouth are a much tougher prospect and will go second if they win

Bostik League South Central
Hayes & Yeading United v South Park @745pm - the hosts strengthened their hold on top spot by thrashing Chalfont St Peter 4-0 on Saturday. They are now seven points clear with two games in hand and are still the highest scoring team in the country by some distance with 80 goals from just 20 league games.You have to fear for South Park who are in the bottom three

Combined Counties League Premier Division
CB Hounslow United v Chertsey Town @745pm - Dave Anderson's Curfews have been top all season but they're having trouble shaking off Sutton Common Rovers who have doggedly stuck with them. However, Chertsey do have two games in hand so could pull clear - this is the first

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Harefield United v Hillingdon Borough @745pm - although way down in the 10th tier, this should be one of the best games of the night as these two very local rivals meet for what is also a top-six clash. Harefield won again on Saturday to maintain their 15-point lead at the top


Wednesday 23 January

Bostik League North Division
Grays Athletic v Aveley @745pm - over in Essex there's a groundshare derby to be enjoyed where Aveley (whose ground it is) will look to win a game in hand and jump to second. Grays are back in ninth and are by no means out of play-off contention themselves

A bit further afield

Premier League International Cup
Tottenham Hotspur v Athletic Bilbao @7pm - Spurs' U23 side have the chance to top their group with a win over Spanish opposition. This match is being played at Stevenage's ground and adult tickets are £5

Thursday 24 January

Carabao Cup Semi-Final Second Leg

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @745pm - the Blues suffered a disappointing defeat at Arsenal in their big derby match on Saturday which left them 13 points behind leaders Liverpool. If they hadn't already ruled out winning the title, they certainly should now. This means it's now all about the cups for Chelsea and they could still win a glorious treble of them and could book their first final of the season here. They're 1-0 down from the first leg which is by no means insurmountable but Spurs are a great side and will be looking for their fourth consecutive win over the Stamford Bridge club


Friday 25 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
Arsenal v Manchester United @755pm - with the Carabao Cup action having barely finished, the next round of the FA Cup gets underway with arguably the tie of the round brought forward to Friday night for TV coverage. Historically these are the two most successful clubs in the competition with 25 titles between them. This season they're locked in a battle for fourth place, something that looked unlikely until the appointment of interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last month. Since then, the Norwegian has presided over seven straight wins which makes him the manager to have got off to the most successful start in United's history

A bit further afield
It's highly unlikely you'll be able to get a ticket for the match above so if you're really keen to see a game, your next best options lie a bit beyond the M25 in Essex where Brentwood Town host Maldon & Tiptree in a Bostik League game and Woodford Town take on Sporting Bengal United in the Essex Senior League


Saturday 26 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
Millwall v Everton @530pm - all our local Premier League sides have either been drawn away or have been knocked out already. This means the highest-ranked team playing at home on Saturday are the Lions who've landed an attractive tie against the Toffees which will be shown live on BBC One. Neil Harris's side have been in good form of late and backed by a partisan crowd should fancy their chances against Everton. Once members and season-ticket holders have had their chance to buy, any remaining tickets will go on general sale on Tuesday 22 January If you do go to this, local non-league club Fisher have moved their game to 2pm so you can easily watch two matches that afternoon.
AFC Wimbledon v West Ham United @745pm - the day's events will be brought to a close at Kingsmeadow where League One strugglers Wimbledon face a tough derby match against the Hammers. Although bottom of the third tier, West Ham will be foolish to write off or underestimate the Dons who have a proud record in this competition. Aside from winning it in 1988, they have also had some other big ties against the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham in recent years. Given how tiny their ground is (less than 5,000), tickets will be like gold dust

A bit further afield
If you can't get a ticket for either of the above but still want to see an FA Cup tie then head south to Sussex where tickets are on general sale for Brighton & Hove Albion against West Bromwich Albion at 3pm. Adult entry is £15 if bought in advance or £20 on the day if any are left

National League
Leyton Orient v Maidstone United @3pm - the biggest crowd of the day anywhere in non-league could come at Brisbane Road where the league leaders will hope to get back to winning ways against the relegation threatened Stones. Despite their struggles, Kent club Maidstone are one of the best supported sides at this level and should bring a sizeable following for what is also an important game for them. The O's are still top despite winning only one of their last five games but the sides below are queuing up to unseat them
Sutton United v Ebbsfleet United @3pm - there's also an intriguing looking game at Gander Green Lane where two relatively local sides (given this is a national division) are currently battling for the last play-off spot

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Chelmsford City @3pm - in terms of attendance and atmosphere this match should be the biggest on offer in the sixth tier. Since returning to Champion Hill on Boxing Day, Dulwich have drawn close to capacity crowds of around 3,000 for each of the three games they've played there. However, their performances have been disappointing and they're now winless in five league games. This has left them five points above the relegation zone and in desperate need of a win. Chelmsford were among the title contenders last season and are firmly in contention for at least a play-off spot again so it's going to be tough

Bostik League Premier Division
Corinthian Casuals v Bognor Regis Town @3pm - again if it's atmosphere and experience that you're after then a trip to Tolworth to watch CCs is probably the order of the day in the seventh tier. After some near misses, Casuals finally got promoted last season and they're more than holding their own at the higher level. They're also building a growing following with crowds up almost 40% so far this year. Incredibly popular with fans in Brazil because of their historical links to Sao Paulo giants Corinthians, I know at least one TLFG reader from those shores who will be paying them a visit for this one. For reference, Bognor are pushing hard for a play-off spot after being relegated from the National League South so should start as favourites

Bostik League North Division
Aveley v Bowers & Pitsea @3pm - depending on midweek results, this could well be a top-two clash and a local Essex derby making it the standout game in the eighth tier

Essex Senior League
Walthamstow v Redbridge @3pm - it's been really hard to pick out a fixture to recommend in the ninth tier this week as they're all much of a muchness. I've gone for this one as Walthamstow are currently leading the charge by London clubs in this league. Currently sixth, they could climb into contention if they win their games in hand

Thurlow Nunn League Division 1 South
Hashtag United v White Ensign @3pm - the hosts are still top of the division but their visitors on Saturday are just two points behind with a game in hand so this is a huge match for both


Sunday 27 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur @4pm - there are two good ties in London on Sunday with both selected for live TV coverage. The first is this London derby. Palace were unlucky to lose to league leaders Liverpool at Anfield in a seven-goal thriller on Saturday and will be well up for this one against Spurs. The north London club are the joint third most successful club in the history of the competition but haven't won it since 1991. The Eagles have never won the cup but made it to the final in 2016, narrowly losing to Manchester United
Chelsea v Sheffield Wednesday @6pm - strangely and unpopularly scheduled for an early evening kick-off, the Blues should make progress into the last 16 after coming up against a Championship team for the second round running. At the time of writing, tickets are on general sale for £30

A bit further afield
One of the most eye-catching fixtures of the week is the Premier League International Cup match between the U23 sides of Bayern Munich and Benfica. The match is being played at Aldershot Town, kicks off at 1pm and adult tickets are only £3. Given the early start and the ground's close proximity to the station*, this match can easily be combined with the late match at Stamford Bridge (*even though there is some rail engineering work, the journey to West Brompton via Clapham Junction should still take less than 90 minutes by bus and train)

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Birmingham City @2pm - if you don't fancy a trip out to Hampshire you could instead do a Chelsea double and watch the women's team ahead of the men's. Sadly they don't both play at Stamford Bridge and you'll have to head out to Norbiton to watch them at the ground they share with AFC Wimbledon. At the time of writing, this is an important match which sees third play fourth

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. Another double header chance for anyone going to Millwall, nearby Fisher have moved their kick off to 2pm on Saturday.

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