Sunday 19 February 2023

TLFG: 20-26 February 2023

Greetings and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

Sadly it's a work in progress as I've had a rather unexpectedly challenging weekend, looking after a friend's children after a family drama.

So at this stage I've managed to produce the maps and also a preview of games up until Friday - I will try and write up the weekend on Monday.

The only match I'm likely to get to this week is the derby between QPR and Actonians in the Women's National League on Wednesday night at Hanwell Town.

Hopefully I'll have everything up to speed by Monday lunchtime so check back again then.


UPDATE - the weekend Daily Digest has now been updated


The highlights of the next few days include a high-profile friendly and games in the Premier League, EFL, National League, Women's FA Cup, FA Youth Cup 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 20 February

Watford v West Bromwich Albion @8pm - the Hornets are still very much in contention for a play-off place but they can't buy a win at the moment, with too many draws seeing them drop out of the top six. The Baggies were in real trouble in October but since replacing Steve Bruce with Carlos Corberan, they've climbed the table fairly swiftly. If they win here, they'll go above Watford. Tickets

Premier League Cup
Fulham v QPR @7pm - if you prefer a cheaper option on the south-west side of town, then this U21 derby match at Motspur Park should be well worth a watch. The Cottagers play two divisions above the R's so will start as strong favourites. Admission is just £3 on the gate


Tuesday 21 February

Millwall v Burnley @745pm - after beating second placed Sheffield United on Saturday, the Lions will come into this match against the leaders with renewed confidence. After drawing with Watford in midweek, the Clarets got back to winning ways against Luton this weekend and are now 11 points clear at the top. Tickets

National League
Barnet v Altrincham @745pm - with back-to-back defeats to Notts County and Torquay, it's been a bad week for the Bees. However, a win here against midtable opposition will put them within touching distance of third
Dagenham & Redbridge v Aldershot Town @745pm - with only one win from their last five games, the Daggers are starting to lose ground on the top seven. Now five points adrift, they really need to start winning soon or their season could be over. The Shots are four points behind and have lost their last three against D&R

National League South
Dartford v Slough Town @745pm - the Darts dropped another couple of points with a draw at Braintree on Saturday. The result kept them in second but allowed local rivals Ebbsfleet to open an 11-point lead at the top after thrashing Hampton & Richmond. The Rebels are in the bottom half, have lost their last two and should be beaten here

Southern League Premier South
Metropolitan Police v Weston-super-Mare @745pm - the Met are usually there or thereabouts when it comes to getting a play-off place and they're in contention again. Currently four points off the top five, they have a chance but they'll do well to get anything here. WSM are currently top with games in hand on their two nearest challengers

Isthmian League South Central
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Hanworth Villa @745pm - neither of these sides are likely to get promoted or relegated but this is worth considering as it's a local derby. The clubs are located just three miles apart to the south of Heathrow Airport

CCL Division 1
FC Deportivo Galicia v British Airways @745pm - nothing really floats my boat in the ninth tier but we've got this very local derby in the 10th. Like the game above, it's also being played just to the south of Heathrow, with the runway just 700m from the pitch. The hosts can go joint top with Langley if they win here. BA are no mugs though and could go sixth with a win of their own

Wednesday 22 February

Isthmian League Premier
Kingstonian v Herne Bay @745pm - with both sides fighting to stay up, this has the feel of a six-pointer about it. With only seven points between the clubs in the bottom five, this looks like becoming a relegation battle to keep an eye on

Isthmian League South Central
Southall v Basingstoke Town @745pm - the visitors kept a firm grip of top spot with a 4-2 win at Chipstead on Saturday. Despite losing at Thatcham Town, the 'All kept their place in the top eight

CCL Premier North
London Lions v Ascot United @745pm - we're also lucky enough to have the leaders of this division pay a visit to TLFG's catchment area on Wednesday. Currently five points clear, with games in hand on many of their main rivals, it's looking good for Ascot. The hosts got promoted to this level for the first time this season and they're holding their own in midtable

Essex Senior League
Athletic Newham v Clapton @745pm - there's a groundshare derby to enjoy in east London. The hosts are sitting snugly in midtable whist the Tons are fighting the drop

ECL Division 1 South
Sporting Bengal United v Tower Hamlets @745pm - a little to the west we've also got the Mile End derby where these old rivals, who also groundshare, look to take the local bragging rights

FAWNL Southern Premier
Watford v Portsmouth @745pm - at Wealdstone's ground, there's a huge match in the women's third tier where the third-placed Hornets welcome the leaders. The hosts have three games in hand on Pompey and will go top if they win them

FAWNL Division 1 South East
QPR v Actonians @745pm - there are some decent looking games in the fourth tier too but for me, it's all about this local derby at Hanwell Town. The visitors are ahead of the R's in the table but both bowed out of the Capital Cup on Sunday and the reverse fixture ended 0-0. These games are usually incredibly close with any wins coming by one-goal margins or penalties in cup games

Thursday 23 February

FA Youth Cup Quarter-Final
Arsenal v Cambridge United @7pm - the Gunners haven't reached the final of the country's most prestigious U18 cup since 2018 where they got thrashed by Chelsea. On paper, it would appear that a place in the semi-finals is theirs to lose as Cambridge are the lowest-ranked side left in the competition. This game is being played at the Emirates and tickets are just £4


Friday 24 February

Premier League
Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers @8pm - there's a fine selection of games on Friday with this top-flight game topping the bill. A superb win at Brighton on Saturday saw the Cottagers climb above the Seagulls into sixth as their dream season continues. Wolves have improved greatly under Julen Lopetegui but this weekend's disappointing defeat to Bournemouth left them just three points above the relegation zone. The club from the Midlands are unbeaten in five against Fulham and could sneak a point here. Tickets appear to have sold out

Professional Development League
Watford v Swansea City @1pm - earlier in the day, the Hornets' U21 side welcome their counterparts from south Wales to Vicarage Road. Please check all the details before you travel as the venue might change

Essex Senior League
Romford v Barking @745pm - there's yet another groundshare derby in east London where the tenants take on the landlords. Barking are sixth and will start as favourites

Saturday 25 February

Premier League
West Ham United v Nottingham Forest @3pm - with Bournemouth and Everton both winning at the weekend, the Hammers' defeat at Spurs saw them end the weekend back in the relegation zone. Overall, David Moyes' side has become much harder to beat of late but they're drawing too many. Forest sit five points above them and are in pretty good shape at the moment, meaning another draw looks highly likely. Tickets
Crystal Palace v Liverpool @745pm - there's a rare evening kick-off this Saturday, much to the delight of the away supporters! Palace picked up another draw at Brentford at the weekend, extending their winless run to eight games. The Reds are having an incredibly disappointing season but back-to-back wins over Everton and Newcastle have got them going in the right direction again. Tickets are only available to members

QPR v Blackburn Rovers @3pm - with only one win from 11 league games and with the team seemingly in freefall, the R's fired manager Neil Critchley on Sunday. The former Blackpool boss only took over in December. Personally, I'm sad this happened but have to admit that I found him one of the most uninspiring people we've ever had at the helm. As for Saturday, it goes without saying that Rovers are in far better form but they have become another team who've drawn far too many of late. QPR have won their last three against Blackburn at Loftus Road and would love to continue that run here. UPDATE - QPR appointed former player Gareth Ainsworth as their new manager during the week so this will be his first game in charge. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Sheffield Wednesday @3pm - things have notably improved under Dean Holden but even though the Addicks are now in the top half, they're still closer to the relegation zone than the play-offs. On Saturday they welcome the current leaders who are having a right old battle for the title with Plymouth. Currently locked on 68 points with the Devon club, they have a game in hand and beat their rivals a few weeks ago in front of over 33,000 fans at Hillsborough. Tickets

National League
Barnet v Aldershot Town @3pm - if the Bees win in midweek, then they could well have a chance of going third here. On current form they should beat the Shots but they lost the reverse fixture 3-1 back in September
Boreham Wood v Scunthorpe United @3pm - three consecutive draws have seen The Wood drop out of the play-off places. With former EFL side Scunthorpe in the bottom two, they should be beaten but with seven points from their last five games, they are showing signs of  recovery

National League South
Dartford v Oxford City @3pm - game of the day in the sixth tier sees two of the current top four meet at Princes Park. The Darts' have been a bit iffy of late whilst the visitors are top of the form table and beating all before them. On Saturday they beat promotion rivals Worthing 3-0 and must fancy their chances here

Isthmian League Premier
Cray Wanderers v Hornchurch @3pm - the third-place Urchins thrashed Herne Bay 5-1 on Saturday to keep pace with Bishop's Stortford and Aveley at the top. Cray are also in the top six but have played more than most of those around them and could really do with a win 

Southern League Premier South
Hayes & Yeading United v Hanwell Town @3pm - elsewhere in the seventh tier there's a local derby to be enjoyed. H&YU made a much slower start than last season but four wins from their last five has put them back in contention. Now only four points adrift of the play-off places, they should start as marginal favourites against the Geordies who have lost four of their last five

Isthmian League North
Grays Athletic v Tilbury @3pm - in the eighth tier, we've got an Essex derby. Neighbouring towns on the Thames, these games can get quite lively. Grays are pushing hard for a play-off place, whilst Tilbury are battling the drop

SCEFL Premier
Phoenix Sports v Whitstable Town @3pm - when I started writing this blog, Phoenix were down in the 10th tier and had fairly rudimentary facilities. In the years since, they climbed all the way up to the eighth tier. Sadly, defeat on the last day of last season saw them relegated back to this level along with Whitstable. Thankfully for both clubs, they've responded well and they're in the top six 

SCEFL Division 1
Tooting Bec v Lydd Town @3pm - most games are much of a muchness in the 10th tier but this game between two of the top eight in this division should be good. Both sides have taken eight points from their last five games so it should be pretty close

SPCFL Premier
AFC Cubo v Lyne @2pm - the leaders welcome the club in third to the Quintin Hogg Memorial Ground which is located on the banks of the Thames next to Chiswick Bridge. Cubo won the 2018/19 title and are currently nine points clear at the top

Sunday 26 February

EFL Cup Final
Manchester United v Newcastle United @430pm - the first major Wembley final of the season takes place on Sunday and it sees the Magpies go in hunt of their first serious bit of silverware since winning the Fairs Cup in 1969! With five wins from nine final appearances, Manchester United are one of the most successful sides in the competition's history. The Old Trafford club are also unbeaten in six against Newcastle and should start as favourites here. Tickets have sold out

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea @130pm - the biggest game of the weekend sees these two fierce London rivals meet at the THS. Spurs moved back into the top four after beating West Ham on Sunday, as their habit of blowing hot and cold continued. Elsewhere, the Blues' terribly underwhelming season continued with a 1-0 defeat at home to bottom club Southampton. Almost unbelievably, Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 against Tottenham but that impressive run could well end here. Tickets are not available to non-members

Women's FA Cup Fifth Round
Chelsea v Arsenal @2pm - with the international break over, the big teams return to action in the FA Cup. Without doubt, the tie of the round is this match between two of the heavyweights of the women's game who contested the 2021 final. The Gunners, like the men's team, hold the record for most wins in this competition but haven't won it since 2016. The Blues, however, have won three of the last five. On current form and with home advantage, Chelsea will start as favourites. Tickets
Tottenham Hotspur v Reading @2pm - both sides are in terrible form and in the WSL's bottom four. Neither side has ever been to the Women's FA Cup Final but a place in the quarter-finals is there for the taking. A win here could well kick-start either side's season. Tickets
West Ham United v Aston Villa @3pm - there's another very well balanced looking tie at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. Currently fifth and seventh, the sides produced a fiery encounter back in October which saw a mass brawl break out after Hawa Cissoko hit Villa's Sarah Mayling. Hammers boss Paul Konchesky was also sent off but despite all this, his side won 2-1. With some great January signings, most notably Jordan Nobbs, Villa could be a dark horse when it comes to this competition. Tickets
Charlton Athletic v Birmingham City @2pm - talking of balanced ties, there's another one at VCD Athletic's ground where the teams who are fourth and fifth in the second tier do battle. Tickets

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.

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 

No comments:

Post a Comment