Sunday, 6 March 2022

TLFG: 7-13 March 2022

After running out of time last week, I've managed a fuller edition of TLFG this time - yes, the Daily Digest is back.

For most of the week, I was expecting another short version as Non-League Day (NLD) prep is really taking up a lot of time.

Our match finder is now finally available and the whole site should be up and running by the end of the week too.

We're still in discussions with Kick It Out about which matches will feature as showpiece games but we'll probably know in the next few days.

There's less than three weeks to go until Non-League Day

It was disappointing when the FA scheduled England's match against Switzerland on the same day (26 March) but the 530pm kick-off means that several clubs close to Wembley have games which they hope Three Lions fans and hopefully a few Swiss ones will want to go to beforehand.

My own club Harrow Borough have brought forward their game against Merthyr Town to 2pm and are offering half-price entry to England v Switzerland ticket holders as well as season-ticket holders of any Premier League or EFL club. 

Other clubs hosting games in the area include Edgware Town and Wembley who both have views of the stadium from their grounds. 

In other news, I was supposed to pick up my QPR Supporter of the Year Award on Saturday ahead of the R's game against Cardiff City.

Sadly, I was working so couldn't go but it doesn't sound as if I missed much on the pitch as Rangers threw away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 with a terrible second-half performance.

I did, however, get to a game on Sunday.

Over the last few months, regular readers will know that my daughter has started playing for Actonians U9 team.

Today she and her team-mates were invited to be mascots for the first team in their FA Women's National League game against London Seaward (formerly known as Leyton Orient until the club inexplicably took the name off them last season) at Rectory Park.

My daughter ended up being paired with goalkeeper Roschelle Shakes - I say goalkeeper, she's usually a striker but injury to Paige Horsnell meant she had to start the game in goal.

A commanding presence, she barely put a foot wrong and pulled off a couple of decent saves as Actonians generally dominated the game and won 3-0.

Maria Ledezma-Viso makes it 3-0 to Actonians

The win left them fourth in the table with QPR, who have games in hand,  being the only club likely to catch them.

Talking of the R's, they were playing on the neighbouring pitch at the same time so I got two games for the price of one!

Their match against Cambridge United was a thriller that saw them win 3-2 with a very late goal despite having a player sent off and another sin-binned.

Rumours suggest they could play some more games at Rectory Park so there could be some more doubleheaders coming up.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Trophy, most of our local non-league competitions and the Women's Super League 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.

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 7 March

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton @8pm - despite some iffy results of late, a place in the top four is still within Spurs' grasp. On paper, they should beat a relegation-threatened Toffees side who haven't enjoyed a 'new manager bounce' under Frank Lampard. It's hospitality packages only at this stage

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Ipswich Town @1pm - the pick of the youth action is this lunchtime kick-off at The Valley. As always, check all the details before you travel for this and any other academy game

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Tuesday 8 March

Isthmian Premier
Corinthian Casuals v Bognor Regis Town @745pm - the highest level of football you can watch on Tuesday is this seventh-tier match in Tolworth. With both sides trundling along in midtable, there's very little riding on it

Combined Counties League Premier South
Beckenham Town v Badshot Lea @745pm - there's a feast of great games in the CCL on Tuesday so it's really hard to pick just one but I've gone for this as it pits second against fourth. It's also worth checking out the matches at Abbey Rangers, AFC Croydon Athletic and North Greenford United

Combined Counties League Division 1
Hilltop v Hillingdon Borough @745pm - the hosts have been one of the breakthrough teams of the season and are top of the division after stepping up to this level for the first time in 2021/22. In this match they take on the club they groundshare with and they should win

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Wednesday 9 March

Isthmian Premier
Cray Wanderers v Haringey Borough @745pm - Sitting 19th out of 22, London's oldest club are in danger of relegation. The last time I checked, they had games in hand so the table looked a bit false. However, they've now played more than all those around them and they're still down there. Haringey are only six points ahead of them and they drew 1-1 earlier in the season so it should be close again

Combined Counties League Premier South
Colliers Wood United v Raynes Park Vale @730pm - always one of my highlights of the season, the A3 Derby is back. Postponed from earlier in the season, this should be worth a watch if you're in south-west London. Up in the top six, RPV are favourites

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Thursday 10 March

FA Women's Super League
West Ham United v Chelsea @745pm - women's football takes centre stage on Thursday as the Hammers look to take advantage of the Blues' current inconsistency. Having lost Saturday's League Cup Final to Manchester City, Chelsea have now won only one of their last three games which is unusual for a side of their ability. Despite an upturn in their recent fortunes, it will take something pretty special for the hosts to prevail. Tickets are available

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Friday 11 March

Premier League 2
Chelsea v West Ham United @7pm - the following night, the two clubs' male U23 sides meet at Kingsmeadow. At this level, Chelsea are having a stinker and are second bottom, whilst West Ham are third with games in hand on all of those above them. Tickets are £5 and will be available on the gate

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v FC Clacton @745pm - if you'd rather a non-league option then head to north-east London for some ESL action. Woodford are always welcoming to new visitors and would love to see you there. The two clubs are neck-and-neck in midtable so it should be competitive

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Saturday 12 March

Premier League
Brentford v Burnley @3pm - the Bees are in the middle of a crucial run of games, which will surely decide whether they retain their Premier League status. After losing to Newcastle, they picked up a priceless 3-1 win at bottom club Norwich on Saturday to move six points clear of Burnley and the relegation zone. If they beat the Clarets as well, things will look very rosey indeed. Tickets are only available to members

Championship
Millwall v Middlesbrough @3pm - from almost out of nowhere, the Lions have become the form team of the division with five wins on the trot. This has catapulted them up 10th just three points behind Boro who occupy the last play-off spot. They could even start this match on level points if they win their midweek trip to Blackburn. Tickets are available

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Lincoln City @3pm - the Dons lost at title contenders Wigan to extend their winless run to 17 games. Somehow, they're still just above the relegation zone as the teams below them have faltered too. The Imps are a couple of places above them so this is a must-win game. Tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Chesterfield @520pm - in the late televised game, two of the title contenders meet at Meadow Park. The Wood impressed many people with their run to the FA Cup Fifth Round which saw them eventually bow out at Everton on Thursday. Although fifth, they have games in hand on all the clubs around them and are still well in the hunt for top spot. Former EFL club Chesterfield, who also had a big FA Cup trip to Chelsea in January, are second but have played more than everyone else. The reverse fixture saw the Spireites win 2-1 at the end of October

FA Trophy Quarter-Finals
Bromley v Solihull Moors @3pm - in case you don't know, the FA Trophy is a national knockout competition for sides in the fifth to eighth tiers, which usually has its final at Wembley. As we're now down to the last eight, it's fair to say things are getting pretty serious. At Hayes Lane, 2018 finalists Bromley welcome fellow National League play-off hopefuls Solihull who are currently on a 10-game unbeaten run. This might worry most teams but probably not the Ravens, who were the last side to beat them two months ago. Tickets are available
Dagenham & Redbridge v York City @3pm - in the other London tie, the Daggers will start as favourites as they host a side from the level below. However, York have a good recent record in this competition and have made the final three times since 2009, winning twice. If the east London club manage to ward off complacency, then they should be ok. Tickets are available

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm - when there are no real standout fixtures in the sixth tier, it's really hard not to recommend a visit to the Hamlet. I might just as well copy and paste this paragraph every time they have a home game. A trip to Dulwich might not represent a typical afternoon out at this level, but it should be a good one. Often sold out on Saturdays, Champion Hill is one of the most welcoming, lively and colourful grounds in the capital and is well worth trying out. At the time of writing, the hosts are just about holding on to a play-off spot and will have to be on their game if they want to avoid any mishaps against an improving Havant side. If you do want to go, you're strongly advised to buy tickets in advance and arrive at least 30 minutes before kick-off to get a good view

Isthmian Premier
Hornchurch v Enfield Town @3pm - after an unspectacular start to the campaign, last season's surprise FA Trophy winners Hornchurch have started to build up a head of steam which has seen them rise to fifth. Enfield were giving leaders Worthing plenty to think about until they lost to them last weekend on the south coast. They're now fourth and 11 points adrift. If they lose this, they'll be swapping places with the Urchins

Isthmian South East
Cray Valley PM v Hastings United @3pm - game of the day in the eighth tier sees fourth play first. CVPM have lost three in a row so it doesn't look like a great time to be playing the U's who have won six on the bounce and are 10 points clear

CCL Premier Division North
Hanworth Villa v Abbey Rangers @3pm - at the time of writing, these are the top two in this ninth-tier division. Midweek results could see Abbey drop a place or two if they lose but it should still be good. Over the 10 years or so that I've been writing this blog, Hanworth have often been there or thereabouts without really threatening to win the title. This year, it looks almost impossible for them to lose it. Currently 23 points clear with eight games to go, only Abbey and Southall have any vague chance of catching them because they have some games in hand

SCEFL Division 1
Stansfeld v Snodland Town @3pm - although second and four points behind leaders Sutton Athletic, the hosts must still be title favourites as they have three games in hand. Snodland are two points behind in third but have played more games and will be fourth if Tooting Bec win on Tuesday

MCFL Premier Division Cup Semi-Final
Clapton CFC v Cricklewood Wanderers @2pm - there's a double of sorts over at Wadham Lodge where The Tons go for cup glory on the pitch next to the main stadium where West Essex will be playing at 3pm. Although down in the 11th tier they often get lively crowds of 400+ so are well worth experiencing. With the overlap in kick-off times between the two games, you'll have to leave one early or turn up late for the other but with Clapton CFC games being pay what you want, you can't really go wrong  

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Sunday 13 March

Premier League
Chelsea v Newcastle United @2pm - there are three top-flight games in London on Sunday including this intriguing game at Stamford Bridge. Uncertainty is swirling around the west London club at the moment as owner Roman Abramovich has put the club up for sale. The Russian billionaire has transformed the club into one of the biggest in the world since taking over in 2003 and no-one's quite sure what his departure will bring. It's been a rollercoaster of a week on the pitch which began with a penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool in the EFL Cup Final, a hard-fought 3-2 win at Luton in the FA Cup and a 4-0 drubbing of Burnley at Turf Moor. Here, a section of Blues supporters decided to sing their owner's name rather than show solidarity for the people of Ukraine prior to kick-off. Since the humiliation of losing to Cambridge United in the FA Cup at the start of January, Newcastle are now unbeaten in seven and almost certain to avoid relegation. Chelsea have won eight of their last 10 games against the Toon but that record could come under some pressure here. Only hospitality packages remain
West Ham United v Aston Villa @2pm - the Hammers narrowly lost their big game at Liverpool on Saturday to miss their chance of returning to the top four. Having played three games more than some of the clubs around them, a Europa League spot looks increasingly like their most realistic target. Villa have stabilised under Steven Gerrard and won't go down or get into Europe - it's now all about playing for places and the prize money that goes with them. West Ham appear to be a bit of a bogey team for Villa who have only beaten them once in their last 11 attempts. Tickets are available
Arsenal v Leicester City @430pm - the day concludes with a chance to watch a resurgent Arsenal who after four straight wins, find themselves back in the top four. It seemed almost unthinkable that they'd come anywhere near this earlier in the season but boss Mikel Arteta has pulled off a minor miracle to put them right back in there with all the other big clubs. They have games in hand too, so catching third-place Chelsea should also be possible. After winning last season's FA Cup, Leicester have been very underwhelming this season. With only nine league wins, they're very much stuck in the midtable doldrums and should be beaten. Tickets are only available to members

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City @1230pm - Spurs drew with Reading on Sunday which meant they were unable to reclaim third place from Manchester United who won on Saturday. City, on the other hand, are starting to looking ominously good. After seeing injuries ruin most of their season, the stars are returning and so are the wins. Saturday saw them come from behind to beat Chelsea 3-1 in the League Cup Final as they picked up the first major bit of silverware of the campaign. An away win looks most likely and will leave them just two points off third. Tickets are available
Chelsea v Aston Villa @1pm - if you're in south-west London you'll be much better placed to head to Kingsmeadow where the Blues will look to restart their chase of Arsenal. Emma Hayes' side haven't played a league game for nearly a month since they drew 0-0 with the Gunners and they're now eight points behind the north London club but have three games in hand. Villa sit just above the bottom three and their fine young England goalkeeper Hannah Hampton will probably have a busy afternoon. Tickets are available

FA Women's Championship
Charlton Athletic v Liverpool @2pm - in the second tier of the women's game, it looks like being a tough afternoon for the Addicks who welcome the leaders. A couple of games without a win have seen the hosts slip to fifth but they should take heart from seeing London City Lionesses hold the Reds to a 1-1 draw on Sunday

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.

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