Sunday 8 January 2023

TLFG: 9-15 January 2023

Greetings and happy new year to you all, I hope 2023 finds you in good form.

Did you cram loads of games into the last three festive weeks?

I'm disappointed to say that I didn't see a single game as all my plans were scuppered by a broken boiler (it finally got replaced shortly before Christmas) and illnesses that consecutively affected both my kids and wife.

At one point on Christmas Day I was chasing an antibiotics prescription at one of the only open pharmacies in this part of town.

A few days later, my eldest daughter was being swabbed for Strep A such was her parlous condition but thankfully we all came through and should hopefully be alright for the next few weeks.

Welling United are offering discounts to trade union members on Saturday

The next couple of days will almost certainly make up for all that disappointment when I head to Spain to preach the Non-League Day (NLD) message to some of the directors of a La Liga club who have invited myself and my team to let them know how to do it.

I guess I'm now a football consultant, for a couple of days at least.

The itinerary they have planned for us is jaw dropping and I'll fill you all in on it next week when I get back.

The other thing I did recently was finally register an account on groundhopping app 'Futbology'.

I've flirted with it for ages but have finally taken the plunge. 

Recording all the games I've ever seen will probably be impossible as I don't always buy programmes and plenty of them merge into one but I'll try and get all the grounds on there - eventually!

Lastly, many thanks to Michael P and Kevin O who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really appreciate it.


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.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise 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 9 January

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Watford v Everton @7pm - the country's most prestigious U18 competition is now down to its last 32 and this tie gets the fourth round underway on Monday night. It's being played at Vicarage Road and adult tickets are £5

Essex Senior Cup Fourth Round
Romford v Hornchurch @745pm - there's an east London derby to be enjoyed in the last 16 of this county cup. Being played at Barking's ground, the visitors should start as strong favourites as they play two levels above the hosts


Tuesday 10 January

National League
Wealdstone v Chesterfield @745pm - it looks like being a tough evening for the Stones as they welcome a side who are going well in the league and were just seconds away from beating Championship club West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup on Saturday. Eventually having to settle for a 3-3 draw, the Spireites will be hoping to make it a third win in a row over Wealdstone. However, Stuart Maynard's side are on a decent run themselves and back in the play-off places. Tickets

Isthmian League South East
Beckenham Town v Ramsgate @745pm - with at least a game in hand on all around them, the Becks have the chance to climb to third if they win here. Whether they do is another matter entirely as the visitors are top. However, they lost 2-0 at promotion rivals Cray Valley PM on Saturday so they're by no means unbeatable

London Senior Cup Second Round
Erith & Belvedere v Brentford B @745pm - there are lots of great county cup ties on Tuesday night but this one just about edges it for me. The Bees' second string are the current LSC holders and have made three of the last four finals. Park View Road could be an awkward place to go as the Deres are running away with SCEFL and will be looking to cause an upset

Wednesday 11 December

Welling United v Leyton Orient @7pm - to keep things ticking over, the Wings have organised a friendly against the League Two leading O's. How strong a side the visitors will bring remains to be seen but it's £10 to get in

Premier League International Cup
Fulham v Porto @7pm - the Cottagers' U21 team continue their European exploits with this eye-catching game against Portuguese opposition. Being played at the club's Motspur Park training ground, I haven't seen any admission details yet but you can usually get in. Check with the club over the next few days

SCEFL Division 1
Forest Hill Park v Lewisham Borough @745pm - if you're looking for a non-league option then head to the Ladywell Arena for this groundshare derby. Both clubs are in the bottom three and in desperate need of a win

Women's League Cup
Charlton Athletic v Crystal Palace @730pm - as the group stage comes to a close, only the Addicks can make the next stage but they'll have to win big to have any chance and hope that Bristol City fail to get anything against Lewes later in the week


Thursday 12 January

Premier League
Fulham v Chelsea @8pm - it's derby day in west London where two very local rivals meet at Craven Cottage. The Blues' dominance of this fixture is total with Fulham now 21 games without a win against them in all competitions. Their last victory came against them in a league game back in 2006. However, much to everyone's surprise, it's the recently promoted Cottagers who are having the better season. Up in seventh and through to the next round of the FA Cup, morale should be high among Marco Silva's squad. Chelsea, on the other hand, are down in 10th and struggling to find their rhythm following the appointment of Graham Potter. Tickets are not available to non-members 


Friday 13 January

U21 Development Football
With matches in Premier League 2 and the Premier League Cup, there's a really fine selection of games to choose from today. With Crystal Palace kicking off at 1pm against Sheffield United (at Dulwich Hamlet), it will be easily possible to see two games. Arsenal, Chelsea and QPR all have games at 7pm and if you want to travel a bit further afield, head to Woking where Brentford take on Aston Villa

ECL Division 1 South
May & Baker v Stanway Pegasus @745pm - the best non-league game on offer takes place at Parkside in Aveley where two of the divisions top six meet. The visitors will go second if they win


Saturday 14 January

Premier League
Brentford v AFC Bournemouth @530pm - after suffering the disappointment of losing to West Ham in the FA Cup on Saturday evening, the Bees return to league action with what would appear to be a very winnable game. After humbling Liverpool in their last Premier League match, Thomas Frank's side come into this in ninth. The Cherries seemed to be more than holding their own a few weeks ago but a worrying run of results sees them now just one point above the relegation zone. Tickets have sold out

Watford v Blackpool @3pm - the Hornets are fourth and still TLFG's top club in this division. With only two wins from their last five, they're doing well to stay up there given how tight the table is. Blackpool are down in the bottom three but caused one of the shocks of the round in the FA Cup on Saturday, thrashing Premier League Nottingham Forest 4-1 while Watford lost 2-0 at Reading. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Barnsley @3pm - two wins on the trot have seen the Addicks climb back into the top half of the table. If they still harbour dreams of a play-off place then they'll need to beat the the Tykes who currently occupy sixth. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Bradford City @3pm - after grinding out a goalless draw at Crewe on Saturday, the Dons climbed to 13th. A place in the top half will almost certainly be theirs if they win here but the Bantams are going well under Mark Hughes and will be tough to beat. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Barrow @3pm - the biggest game of the day in the fourth tier takes place at Brisbane Road where the leaders welcome the side in sixth. The O's have built a five-point lead at the top and they'll be keen to extend that as their nearest challengers Stevenage have a game in hand. With only three points separating the teams between fourth and twelfth, the visitors know anything less than a win could see them drop out of the play-off places. Tickets 

Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @12pm - if you want to head out of London for a bit of groundhopping then this U21 game is taking place at Stevenage's ground. The early kick-off means you should be able to catch a 3pm match too. If you've got a car, Luton Town should be within your reach or there are numerous non-league clubs in the area too

FA Trophy Fourth Round
This knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley is down to its last 32 clubs. There are two ties in London:

Dagenham & Redbridge v Maidenhead United @3pm - despite losing to Woking and surrendering their play-off place on Saturday, the Daggers should start as favourites here. Maidenhead are also in the fifth tier but are on a poor run and suffered an embarrassing 3-0 loss to bottom club Scunthorpe this weekend. Tickets have been reduced to £10
Harrow Borough v FC Halifax Town @3pm - 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

National League South
Welling United v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - there are some good options in the sixth tier but I've gone for this as it's a derby. Not only that but the club are holding a Trade Union Day with members of any union offered discounted entry on production of their membership card. On the football side of things, only four points separate the clubs in midtable so it should be close. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Hornchurch v Canvey Island @3pm - the game of the day in the seventh tier pits the leaders against the side in sixth. Both clubs have been doing Essex proud this season with the Urchins potentially opening up a six-point lead if they win here

Isthmian League South Central
Northwood v Binfield @3pm - there's no standout game in the eighth tier for me so I suggest going to check out leaders Northwood to see if they can hold on at the top. A big part of their success this season was based on star striker Sydney Ibie but he was offered the chance to turn pro with Dagenham & Redbridge just before Christmas and they now have to manage without him. A win at Tooting & Mitcham kept them top on Saturday but Walton & Hersham and Basingstoke Town are hot on their heels and they can't afford any slip ups. Binfield are back in seventh but have four games in hand so are still title challengers too

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

CCL Division 1
FC Deportivo Galicia v Rayners Lane @3pm - FCDG have always been an entertaining team but haven't quite managed to do enough to get promotion. With five wins in a row lifting them to second, could this be their year? The visitors were also unlucky not to go up last season and they're in the top six again


Sunday 15 January

Premier League
Chelsea v Crystal Palace @2pm - after what should be a challenging derby at Fulham on Thursday, the Blues have another match against local opposition on Sunday. On paper Chelsea should win as they historically dominate this fixture too - they've won the last 11 but we know they're vulnerable at the moment. With a lengthy injury list and a new manager who is yet to settle, the Eagles have their best chance of winning at Stamford Bridge since they last did it in 2017. Tickets have sold out
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal @430pm - the biggest game of the week is saved until last. North London derbies are always huge affairs but when both are in the top five and one is going for their first title in almost 20 years, it's even bigger than usual. In recent years, Spurs have built a decent home record against the Gunners. Now unbeaten in eight league games in N17 against their biggest rivals, they've won six of those matches. Arsenal are definitely in better form at the moment but they'll have to be at their best to win here. Tickets are sold out

Isthmian League Premier
Cray Wanderers v Bishop's Stortford @3pm - if non-league football's more your thing then one of the best matches of the weekend at this level is taking place at Hayes Lane. At the time of writing, these clubs are second and third in the seventh tier Isthmian Premier so it should be a cracker

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Chelsea @12pm - it's a huge day in north London. Not only are the Gunners men's team playing Spurs but the women are hosting title rivals Chelsea at the Emirates. The Blues are currently three points clear at the top of the table, but Arsenal will draw level with a win and then still have a game in hand to play. Tickets are £12 
West Ham United v Manchester City @645pm - another evening kick-off  (there are others) means there are all sorts of two-match combinations in London on Sunday. The Hammers have made a good effort to bridge the gap between the 'Big Three' and the rest and begin 2023 in fifth. City were always part of that elite group but rivals Manchester United have pushed them down to fourth. Gareth Taylor's side have to get something here or they could end the day six points adrift of third. Tickets

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v London City Lionesses @6pm - having lost only once all season, LCL travel to Hayes Lane as leaders for this derby with Palace. They may have only suffered one defeat but it was at home to the Eagles on the opening day so are the south-east London club their bogey team? Only one point ahead of Bristol City, who have a game in hand, they must win to keep control of top spot. As you may have noticed, this is taking place at the same ground as Cray Wanderers' match earlier in the afternoon so you can easily combine the two but you'll have to go in and out between games. Tickets

Capital Women's Senior Cup
Dulwich Hamlet v Actonians @2pm - there are a number of ties around London on Sunday but this may well draw the biggest crowd. Although only a fifth-tier club, the Hamlet made it to last season's final, regularly draw three-figure crowds and they'd love to get one over an A's side who play in the division above
QPR v Enfield Town @2pm - the R's won this competition in 2021, beating Actonians on penalties in the final. With the Towners suffering relegation to the fifth tier at the end of last season, QPR will start as favourites
Sutton United v Arsenal Academy @2pm - the U's aren't having a great season in the fifth tier so they could struggle against a Gunners' development side

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!

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