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 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.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise 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 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


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

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


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


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

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 

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!

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.

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