Sunday 12 March 2023

TLFG: 13-19 March 2023

Greetings one and all and welcome to this week's TLFG.

I've been on early shifts this week and haven't been able to go to any live matches.

Most of my free time has been spent on Non-League Day (NLD) preparations which is now less than two weeks away.

With Athletic Bilbao sending a delegation to the match between Dulwich Hamlet and Oxford City on 25 March, that's where I'll be heading and tickets are available now.

This year's Non-League Day is fast approaching

We also had confirmation this week that the Premier League trophy will be heading to a game so that fans can have photos with it - the destination should be announced in the next few days.

One of the things I've always tried to do through NLD is build bridges between clubs, fans and football organisations at all levels.

I've always tried to accentuate the positives, find common ground and generally put on an event that celebrates football at this level.

In other words, it is not a protest movement.

Other organisations have taken a different tack with NLD-style events elsewhere in Europe and they've been crushed fairly swiftly.

Thankfully, other 'days' have sprung in their place with Vrai Foot Day in France and Tag der Amateure in Germany at the forefront.

There is a small event in the Netherlands, something similar in Russia and in September, Athletic hope to launch theirs in the Basque Country.

There are several designs in the Non-League Day t-shirt range and you can choose your own colours

There is still much to do in the remaining time - next weekend I'm going to have to try and produce a Non-League Day and Women's Football Weekend Special.

Yes, the women's event inspired by NLD (a person at the FA admitted that to me in a phone call) has been timed to coincide with my event.

It's annoying as we always tried to avoid each other with WFW usually getting the international break in November all to itself but for reasons best known to themselves, they went for the same weekend as us - we announced ours first.

Anyway, I love them both and will try give them both my support.

As you may have seen last week, we have a new pin badge and have relaunched our range of t-shirts which some of you, particularly of a groudhopping persuasion, might rather like.

A percentage of the proceeds goes to Prostate Cancer UK so you'll be helping a good cause too.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Christopher J from Germany who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really appreciate it. 

It's also been fun advising and chatting with readers Blaine W, Nick G, David V and Mauricio V - keep your messages coming.


The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, National League, 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
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 12 March

Premier League Cup Quarter-Final
Brentford v Arsenal @7pm - the week begins with this U21 derby. The Bees tend to move their development games around and this time, rather randomly, they've selected Sutton United's ground to hold this. Tickets are £5 on the gate

Essex Alliance League Senior Division Cup Quarter-Final
Jolof Sports v Sporting Hackney @8pm - the non-league alternative is this cup match between some 11th-tier teams which is being played at Barking's ground in east London. Both sides are in the league's top five so it should be competitive


Tuesday 13 March

Millwall v Swansea City @745pm - after a midweek loss to Norwich, the Lions returned to winning ways on Saturday with a win at Reading. The result kept them in the play-off spots as we move towards the business end of the season. The Swans are now five without a win and should be beaten. Tickets
Watford v Birmingham City @745pm - Chris Wilder's reign asHornets manager got off to an underwhelming start as his side lost 1-0 at struggling QPR. Winless in three, they're now six points adrift of the top six. Birmingham picked up their first win in a while beating a much improved Rotherham on Saturday, to move 10 points clear of the relegation zone. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Grimsby Town @745pm - the U's extended their unbeaten run to nine matches with a draw against Barrow on Saturday but missed the chance to move into the play-off places by failing to win. Still only a point adrift, a win against midtable Grimsby could well propel them into the top seven. Tickets

National League
Barnet v Yeovil Town @745pm - the Bees' fine season continued on Saturday when they beat Maidstone United on penalties to make the FA Trophy semi-finals. In the league they're in the play-off places and potentially on for a memorable double. Former Championship club Yeovil are only four points above the relegation zone and will start as underdogs
Boreham Wood v Southend United @745pm - arguably the biggest game in the fifth tier on Tuesday is this match between the sides in seventh and ninth. The Wood have won their last four but had this weekend off so should be well rested. The Shrimpers were up among the contenders but four defeats from five have seen them slide
Wealdstone v Chesterfield @745pm - three consecutive wins and only one defeat in five have lifted the Stones up to eighth and back into play-off contention. If they beat fourth-placed Chesterfield, then all associated with the club should really start to believe something big is possible

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Cheshunt @745pm - after worrying starts to their campaigns, both sides seem to be mounting a fightback. The Beavers managed an impressive 2-1 win over Chelmsford on Saturday whilst Cheshunt picked up a point against Taunton to extend their unbeaten run to four. The reverse fixture took place on the opening day and Cheshunt won 3-2 so hopefully we'll get another load of goals here

Middlesex Senior Cup Semi-Final
Enfield Town v Harrow Borough @745pm - one of my favourite memories as a Harrow Borough fan was going to watch them in the 1993 MSC Final at Southbury Road, the now demolished home of Enfield (who also no longer exist). That glorious sunny day in London will always make me think fondly of this part of town. On Tuesday, Harrow travel to play a team born out of the ashes of the old Enfield at a different stadium a few hundred metres to the north. They play in parallel seventh-tier leagues but the Towners are pushing for promotion while Boro are fighting the drop. The hosts should win but will they have other priorities on their mind? The winners will play Brentford B or Hayes & Yeading United in the final

CCL Premier North
Egham Town v Hilltop @745pm - game of the day in the ninth tier sees the Sarnies welcome Hilltop. With their roots primarily in London's Somali community, the visitors have been climbing the divisions fairly swiftly and this is the first season they've spent at this level. They come into this week in the top six, a superb achievement, and that's realistically about as high as they will finish given there's a 10-point gap between themselves and Burnham in fifth. Egham are in the top four and trail leaders Ascot by 11 points with 10 games to go - the title looks unlikely but the runners-up spot is definitely within their grasp

Wednesday 15 March

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City @745pm - there's a huge relegation six-pointer in the WSL where Spurs, the division's most out-of-form team, simply have to avoid defeat. The Foxes have been bottom pretty much all season but seven points from their last five games mean they're just a win away from moving above Brighton and Tottenham

Premier League International Cup Quarter-Final
Fulham v Sparta Prague @7pm - the Cottagers' U21 side have made it through to the knockout stages of this European competition played entirely on British soil over the course of the season. If you're interested, Crystal Palace and Liverpool play each other in the other remaining quarter-final whilst PSV and Valencia have already gone through. This match will be played at Motspur Park and tickets are available on the gate for no more than £5

CCL Premier North
Balham v Jersey Bulls @745pm - friend of the blog Emil Kot is a coach at Balham and it's been interesting to follow his tweets as his side have gone on a 14-game unbeaten run in the league. Sadly six of the games have been draws meaning they're still in midtable but they've become incredibly tough to beat. Jersey are the biggest club in the league, although Farnham Town are pushing them close, and a visit from them is always a big occasion. Often pushing for the title, they're in the top four and by no means out of it
Thursday 16 March

Europa League
Arsenal v Sporting Lisbon @8pm - after drawing the first leg 2-2 in Portugal last week, the Gunners have a great chance of making it into the quarter-finals. They warmed up for it by brushing Fulham aside with a very impressive performance at Craven Cottage on Sunday. Sporting are fourth in their league and can't be written off but it looks like being a tough night for them. Tickets are not available

Europa Conference League
West Ham United v AEK Larnaca @8pm - after winning last week's away leg 2-0, a place in the quarter-finals is West Ham's for the taking. David Moyes' side extended their unbeaten run against Aston Villa to 10 games with their draw against them on Sunday and they should make smooth progress here. Tickets

Professional Development League
QPR v Charlton Athletic @7pm - if you're on a bit of a tight budget, then the glamorous European ties above might be out of your reach at the moment. Instead, you could watch this U21 game at Hanwell Town's ground for a fiver

Middlesex Senior Youth Cup Final
Uxbridge v Cockfosters @730pm - I discovered this U18 match by accident the other day when I was browsing the Middlesex FA's website. The most prestigious county cup at this age group is taking place at Bedfont Sports near Heathrow

Friday 17 March

Premier League 2
Chelsea v Everton @7pm - seemingly one of the busiest stadia in London with a grass pitch, Kingsmeadow hosts this U21 game on Friday. Having seen off Liverpool 3-1 on Saturday lunchtime to go top of PL2, they'll hope to do something similar to the Toffees. Tickets are £5

Essex Senior League
Ilford v Romford @745pm - in the ninth tier there's an east London derby at Cricklefields. Both sides are in lower midtable but the hosts will probably just about start as favourites

Saturday 18 March

Premier League
Brentford v Leicester City @3pm - the Bees suffered their first defeat in a while on Saturday, losing 1-0 to Everton at Goodison Park. Despite this, they remain ninth and are 14 points clear of the relegation zone. Currently on the legendary 38 points usually required to avoid the drop, grabbing a place in Europe is still a realistic target. Sadly the same can't be said for Leicester who just can't break free from the relegation dogfight. Saturday's loss at home to Chelsea saw them end the day with only goal difference keeping them out of the bottom three. Tickets are only available to members
Chelsea v Everton @530pm - after picking up precious wins on Saturday, both these sides should come into this with renewed confidence. Unlike Brentford, the Blues have still to reach the 38-point mark after a great week which also saw them knock Borussia Dortmund out of the Champions League. The Toffees have a lot more about them since the appointment of Sean Dyche and seven points from their last five has seen them climb to 15th. Tickets are not available

Millwall v Huddersfield Town @3pm - after winning his first match in charge, veteran boss Neil Warnock has now seen his Terriers side go four without a victory. Joint bottom and six points adrift of safety, it's not looking good for the Yorkshire club. The Lions, in need of points to continue their promotion push, are unlikely to show them any charity either. Tickets
QPR v Birmingham City @3pm - the R's finally brought their lengthy winless run to an end on Saturday when they beat local rivals Watford 1-0 at Loftus Road. It was a huge moment for new boss Gareth Ainsworth who'd overseen consecutive 3-1 defeats to Blackburn and Rotherham in his first two games. On Tuesday they have a long trip to struggling Blackpool before coming back home to play another side who are also having a season to forget. Led by former QPR coach John Eustace, the Blues are on level points with them and won the reverse fixture 2-0 in October. Tickets
Watford v Wigan Athletic @3pm - as mentioned above, the Hornets are looking to start impressing under new manager Chris Wilder. After the loss at QPR, they have consecutive home games against two of the division's strugglers. If they don't pick up any points here, the latest man in the Vicarage Road hotseat could suffer an even quicker exit than most of his predecessors. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Crawley Town @3pm - the Dons can't buy a win at the moment, with Saturday's loss at Doncaster their fourth on the bounce. Thankfully they have a 13-point cushion to rest on above the relegation zone so in effect, their season is over. Crawley have had a dreadful season but gave themselves a chance of avoiding the drop by beating Harrogate on Saturday. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Colchester United @3pm - the O's had their match at Mansfield postponed on Saturday, allowing second placed Carlisle to cut the gap to eight points. The top three go up automatically and the gap between Richie Wellens' side and fourth place Northampton is 12 points so they can still afford a few bad results. Colchester were having an horrific season, seemed to turn things round but have now lost four in a row and are coming into the sights of the bottom two again. Tickets 

National League
Barnet v Notts County @3pm - there's a monster programme of action in the fifth tier on Saturday with this match between two of the top six topping the bill. Both former EFL sides would dearly love a return to League Two but with leaders Wrexham looking increasingly likely to claim the only automatic promotion place, only one of these sides will have any chance of joining them. Neck-and-neck with the Welsh club until a couple of weeks ago, a loss to Dagenham & Redbridge and draw with Bromley has seen Notts County fall four points behind in what is a two-horse race (third place Woking are 19 points behind). They'll be hoping for some good news from Hayes Lane...
Bromley v Wrexham @3pm - having taken a point off Notts County last week, the Ravens will hope to do something similar here. Famous for their Hollywood owners, the visitors are looking pretty formidable right now and are second only to Boreham Wood in the form table. Bromley are losing their form at a bad time and now two without a win, they're down tenth at the time of writing
Dagenham & Redbridge v Oldham Athletic @3pm - last but not least, the Daggers welcome former Premier League opposition to the Chigwell Construction Stadium. Both have become models of inconsistency in recent weeks and unless something can be done to correct that, then midtable mediocrity beckons

Isthmian League Premier
Haringey Borough v Hornchurch @3pm - the hosts haven't had many mentions this season because they haven't really done very much. They're certainly not pushing for promotion and they look to have done enough to avoid the drop. This game is more about you getting the chance to take a look at the Urchins who look more and more like this season's champions. A comfortable 4-1 win over Brightlingsea on Saturday saw them go two points clear at the top with two games in hand

Isthmian League South Central
Tooting & Mitcham United v Sutton Common Rovers @3pm - after advising you to go and watch two of the top three play last week, this time I'm asking you to head to Imperial Fields to see the bottom two have a good old scrap - it's a derby too

CCL Premier South
Raynes Park Vale v Abbey Rangers @3pm - the hosts have been leading the way for a while but, at the time of writing, are still only three points clear of Badshot Lea. Also still in contention are third placed Abbey Rangers who hail from the Addlestone/Chertsey area. The visitors are six points behind and have played more games so they really have to win to stay in the race

SCEFL Division 1
Tooting Bec v Faversham Strike Force - two go up in this division but only the champions enjoy automatic promotion. The teams who finish second to fifth fight it out in the play-offs. The hosts are currently three points adrift of fifth but have two games in hand. The eye-catchingly named visitors are fourth so winning here would be hugely important for both

Sunday 19 March

Premier League
Arsenal v Crystal Palace @2pm - as a result of a Europa League game on Thursday, the Gunners are playing Sunday football again. Their incredibly impressive win at Fulham saw them end the week five points clear at the top after Palace narrowly lost 1-0 to their main title rivals Manchester City. Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira manages the Eagles and although they're still 12th despite a lengthy winless run, the bottom half of the table is ridiculously tight with only five points separating the bottom nine clubs. Has it ever been that tight so late in the season? Tickets are not available

FA Women's Championship
London City Lionesses v Bristol City @2pm - it's Women's FA Cup Quarter-Final weekend meaning there are no WSL games and all four ties are being played outside London. As a result, the biggest women's game of the day in the capital is this massive match between the top two in the second tier. With only the eventual champions getting promoted, the stakes are high. It was incredibly close until about a month ago but LCL lost the reverse fixture in Bristol 3-1 and then lost at home to Sheffield United last weekend. Consequently, Bristol City are six points clear - a win here will put them nine points ahead and effectively end the title race

FAWNL Southern Premier Division
Watford v Oxford United @2pm - fourth and third, at the time of writing, both these sides have the games in hand to go top if won. Both have one of those games in hand in midweek and if won, this will be a battle of fourth and first

Capital Women's Senior Cup Semi-Final
AFC Wimbledon v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @3pm - with Hashtag United seeing their match at QPR postponed on Sunday, the Dons took full advantage with their hardfought win at Cambridge United putting them top of the FAWNL Division 1 South East for possibly the first time this season. With only one team going up, promotion is everything to a club like Wimbledon so how strong a team they'll put out for this match is unclear. Ashford will coast to a midtable finish so picking up a nice bit of silverware must surely be their priority. They also won this competition last season so will want to defend their title

ERWFL Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Luton Town @2pm - for some reason, Haringey have ended up in a fifth-tier division that's not really for London clubs and consequently I haven't mentioned them much this season. However, they're currently fourth with some games in hand and have an outside chance of the title. Although back in fifth, Luton are looking like the team to beat. This is because they have five games in hand which, if won, would put them well clear at the top. If the hosts can win this, it will keep their promotion hopes alive

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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