Monday 27 March 2023

TLFG: 27 March - 2 April 2023

Greetings and welcome to this week's TLFG.

As you can imagine, I've had a particularly hectic weekend with Non-League Day (NLD) on Saturday and Women's Football Weekend on Sunday.

Early indications suggest NLD was a great success, possibly the best ever thanks to a whole host of things, not least the interest and involvement shown by La Liga club Athletic Bilbao.

As a result of this, I went to meet their delegation of officials and fans who attended the National League South match between Dulwich Hamlet and Oxford City.

A crowd of over 3,000 watched Dulwich Hamlet on Non-League Day

It was great to meet up with them and do a couple of interviews for the club and a big Spanish YouTube channel - the latter gave me a tip off that another La Liga club could be getting involved soon too but I won't tell you who just yet.

The game itself produced an entertaining 2-2 draw and a crowd well in excess of 3,000 - there was talk in the boardroom that a further 400 people had been turned away.

My other highlights of the day were seeing BBC Football Focus once again dedicated to the day with Alex Scott, Glenn Murray and Ashley Williams bringing us the show from Scarborough Athletic.

The Premier League trophy went to Coventry Sphinx in the company of Dion Dublin to the delight of many locals.

The games at Slough Town and Wealdstone were both broadcast live on BT Sport with the Stones seeing a record attendance (3,000+) for their derby against Barnet.

Another important stat for us was our position at the top of the UK's Twitter trending chart for a large chunk of the day which was very pleasing.

On Sunday, I showed my support for Women's Football Weekend by attending the FA Women's National League game between Actonians and Norwich City.

Neck-and-neck in the battle for fourth place, it was the hosts who dominated proceedings and, bar a slightly uncertain final quarter, came away with a 4-1 win.

New signing Sophie Baigent, a youngster on loan from Super League side Reading, looked really good.

A composed centre-back, she kept things tight at the back and then scored with a powerful header from a corner to make it 3-0 in the second half - definitely one to watch.

The other highlight of the afternoon for me was taking my daughter and a friend along.

My daughter led the team out again as a mascot whilst her friend did a bit of flag bearing.

The pair and all the other kids present, took part in a half-time penalty shootout, got autographs from the players at full-time and then posed for a team photo on the goal-line.

The visiting friend now wants to join the club as soon as possible as she had so much fun.

As I've been so rushed off my feet, I've only written match previews for Monday and Tuesday so far and I'll hopefully add a bit more as the week goes on.


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
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 27 March

Professional Development League
QPR v Birmingham City @7pm - the week begins with this U21 game at Hanwell Town's ground. The R's had been on a good run but disappointingly came unstuck at bottom club Watford last week. The Blues are fifth in Group North so should start as marginal favourites. It's usually around £5 to get in, payable on the gate

MCFL Premier Division
PFC Victoria London v Shepherd's Bush @745pm - there's a random bit of 11th-tier action at Rectory Park on Monday night. Currently second and 10 points behind leaders Clapton CFC, the visitors have an outside chance of the title. PFC are only two points above the relegation zone so badly need a win themselves

Tuesday 28 March

U21 International Friendly
England v Croatia @745pm - the Three Lions continue their build-up to this summer's Euro U21 tournament with this friendly at Craven Cottage. Tickets are £15

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Walsall @745pm - defeat to Barrow on Saturday extended the Dons' winless run to 11 games. Still 11 points clear of the relegation zone, they'll probably be fine but a win here against the midtable Saddlers would be very welcome. Tickets

National League
Wealdstone v Oldham Athletic @745pm - after smashing their attendance record at Grosvenor Vale on Non-League Day, the Stones should expect another healthy turnout for the visit of a former Premier League team. The Latics looked like suffering back-to-back relegations earlier in the season but they're now nine points clear of the relegation zone and should be okay. Tickets
Boreham Wood v Torquay United @745pm - in the other fifth-tier game, the hosts should expect to beat relegation threatened Torquay. If they do come away with three points, they'll move up to fifth. Tickets

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Taunton Town @745pm - the Beevers' great recent form came to an end on Saturday when Farnborough beat them 1-0. Next up, they face a side only a point behind them. Both could do with a win to give themselves a bit of breathing space in the battle to avoid the drop

Isthmian League Premier
Enfield Town v Hornchurch @745pm - this game at Donkey Lane immediately got my attention when I saw it was taking place this week. The Towners picked up a solid 3-1 win at Herne Bay on Saturday to keep their place in the top five. The Urchins, meanwhile, suffered a surprise loss at home to Margate as the title race took another twist. Although they remain top with a game in hand, Bishop's Stortford are now back on level points

London Senior Cup Semi-Final
Haringey Borough v Wingate & Finchley @745pm - both in the bottom eight in the Isthmian League, these two could probably do with the distraction of a cup semi-final. To add a bit of spice, this is a north London derby too

Middlesex Senior Cup Semi-Final
Hayes & Yeading United v Brentford B @745pm - there's also a cup final place up for grabs at the SkyEx where Southern League side H&YU welcome the reserve side from their local Premier League club. Hendon knocked the Bees out of the London Senior Cup last week so Hayes, a better side, should be capable of doing something here. The winners will play Harrow Borough in the final

Surrey Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Metropolitan Police v Sutton United @745pm - I think it's fair to say that The Met, with three final appearances in the last 10 years, have taken this competition more seriously than the U's. Although Sutton are the second most successful club in the history of the competition, they haven't won it for 20 years and haven't been to the final since 2013. As an EFL side, the visitors should start as favourites but they're likely to only field a development side

SCEFL Challenge Cup Semi-Final, Second Leg
Sutton Athletic v Fisher @745pm - having won the first leg 3-1, the Fish head to Kent as strong favourites for this one. The winners will face Hollands & Blair or Kennington in the final

London Senior Trophy Final
Tooting Bec v FC Petrocub @745pm - a big night of cup football comes to an end with one of the first finals of the season. Open to clubs primarily in the 10th and 11th tiers, these sides from the Southern Counties East League and Essex Alliance League will contest the Trophy at SC Thamesmead's ground. Tooting Bec will start as favourites as they play a level above their opponents

Wednesday 29 March

UEFA Women's Champions League Quarter-Final
Arsenal v Bayern Munich @8pm - trailing 1-0 after the first leg, the Gunners have a good chance of making it to the final four of the continent's top women's club competition. They warmed up for this by thrashing local rivals Spurs 5-1 on Saturday to keep themselves in the hunt for the Super League title. This match is being played at the Emirates Stadium and tickets are available for £12

FA Women's Champonship
Charlton Athletic v Lewes @645pm - if an unusually earlier kick-off could be good for you, head to VCD Athletic's ground in south-east London to see this women's second-tier game. Currently fourth and unbeaten in five, the Addicks could still finish second and should start as favourites here

SCEFL Premier Division
Holmesdale v Phoenix Sports @745pm - if leaders Erith & Belvedere slip up on Tuesday, then the huge lead they had at the start at February could be cut to just three points if second placed Phoenix Sports win here

SCEFL Division 1
Lewisham Borough v Bermondsey Town @745pm - the hosts pushed leaders Snodland hard on Saturday but narrowly lost 1-0 in front of a record crowd on Non-League Day. After a great run, that's now two defeats in a row but in bottom club Bermondsey, they face a team who can't buy a win and three points look likely

Thursday 30 March

UEFA Women's Champions League Quarter-Final
Chelsea v Lyon @8pm - if Arsenal have a good chance of making the semis, the Blues' opportunity is even greater because they beat the reigning European champions 1-0 in the first leg. However, unlike Arsenal, they come into this match after losing their big Super League game at Manchester City on Sunday. Emma Hayes' side had looked like strong favourites to win a domestic treble this season but after losing to Arsenal in the League Cup Final, that target has gone. Although they're well placed to win the league, they're starting to look far more fallible than they did, giving the likes of City, Manchester United and Arsenal real hope of challenging them. Lyon arrive as leaders of the French league after beating Guingamp 6-0 on Sunday. The match is being played at Stamford Bridge and tickets are available

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Halstead Town @745pm - after a bit of last-minute rescheduling, Woodford now place Halstead on Thursday and have seen their match on Friday at Ilford moved to Saturday afternoon. On paper, this looks like a home banker


Friday 31 March

Premier League 2
Fulham v Leicester City @7pm - the pick of the games is this U21 match at the Cottagers' training ground in Motspur Park. Currently a top-five club in the country's elite development division, Fulham have a fine crop of young players and they should have more than enough to beat bottom club Leicester. Admission is usually around £5, payable on the gate

Professional Development League
Watford v Peterborough United @1pm - earlier in the day, you've got the chance to visit Vicarage Road on the cheap as the Hornets' U21 side welcome their Posh counterparts. Tickets are £5 and can be bought in advance


Saturday 1 April

Premier League
Arsenal v Leeds United @3pm - if Manchester City lose the early game against Liverpool then the Gunners will go 11 points clear if they win here. With Leeds just two points above the relegation zone, a home win looks almost certain. The Yorkshire club have a pretty poor record against Arsenal in recent years - their last win against them was in 2003. Tickets are only available to members
Crystal Palace v Leicester City @3pm - with only four points between the bottom nine clubs, the relegation fight has never been so tight. This will be Roy Hodgson's first game in charge of Palace since returning to the club and it's a crucial one against one of their fellow strugglers. The 75-year-old pulled off a minor miracle keeping Fulham up in 2007/08 and hopefully he'll be able to get things right here too. Tickets are only available to members
Chelsea v Aston Villa @530pm - in the late game, two clubs locked on 38 points in the middle of the table will look for a win that could get them back in contention for a European place. The Blues have only lost one of their last 12 against Villa but the visitors are in marginally better league form and could get something here. Tickets are sold out

League One
Charlton Athletic v Shrewsbury Town @3pm - with teams 15 and nine points adrift of the play-off places respectively, this is approaching 'dead rubber' status. Mathematically it's not all over, certainly not for the visitors, but there isn't a whole lot to play for here. The Addicks won the reverse fixture 1-0 back in October so I'm not expecting a classic here. However, funny things often happen at this point of the season and it could end up being a 5-5 draw. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Rochdale @3pm - if the Dons fail to beat Walsall in midweek, then they'll get the best chance they'll get of ending their winless run here. The visitors are bottom, 10 points adrift of safety and seem destined to be playing non-league football next season. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Carlisle United @3pm - the match of the day in the fourth tier sees the leaders host the side in fourth. The O's are five points clear at the top and eight points clear of fourth so a win here would take them a huge step towards automatic promotion as the top three go up by right. This game is so hot that it's sold out

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Blackburn Rovers @2pm - I'm pretty sure that the original kick-off time for this was 12pm which would've allowed you to see two games on Saturday. However, it's been moved back a couple of hours so unless you're a fan of either side or a connoisseur of U21 football, then I wouldn't bother. It's been played at West Ham's Rush Green facility near Romford and it's usually about £5, payable on the gate 

National League
Bromley v Solihull Moors @3pm - on level points just outside the play-off places, this looks like the game of the day in the fifth tier. Averaging even bigger crowds than Dulwich Hamlet, the Ravens are the best supported non-league side in the capital. With modern facilities, the club are all set to push on to the next level. Last season they won the FA Trophy at Wembley and they have a chance of more glory if they can bridge the seven-point gap to the top seven. Solihull made it to the play-off final at the London Stadium last season but lost 2-1 to Grimsby Town after extra-time after initially taking the lead. Tickets

National League South
Dartford v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - talking of the Hamlet, they've got this derby against the Darts the same afternoon which means we should get a decent attendance here too. Of importance at either end of the table, there's quite a bit riding on this. The hosts seem to have been second for weeks and weeks, despite only one win from their last five. While they've clung to this position, leaders Ebbsfleet have pulled well clear at the top and will almost certainly claim the title in the next couple of weeks. Dulwich, on the other hand, are in the relegation zone but a win here could seem them climb out as Cheshunt are only a point ahead

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Cray Wanderers @3pm - head to Donkey Lane for the match of the day in the seventh tier. Things were pretty tight at the top but the top four have started to put a bit of daylight between themselves and the chasing pack in the last few weeks. At the time of writing, Enfield and Cray are the best of the rest in fifth and sixth and need to win here to keep touch. If the Towners beat Hornchurch in midweek, then another win here could see them move right back into contention

Isthmian League South Central
Walton & Hersham v Basingstoke Town @3pm - if I wasn't working on Saturday, this is the game I would be making a beeline for. Only a point apart, these two are currently well clear of the rest at the top of the division. Unsurprisingly, they draw some of the best attendances in the eighth tier and I would expect at least 500 to turn out for this one, if not considerably more

CCL Premier North
North Greenford United v Flackwell Heath @3pm - despite covering several leagues in the ninth tier, there's nothing to match what's going on at Walton & Hersham. Instead, this match between two of the top eight in the CCL North is the best I can find. The visitors are currently third and get the biggest crowds in the division 

CCL Division 1
British Airways v FC Deportivo Galicia @3pm - with average crowds of around 30, don't expect a cracking atmosphere for this derby. The sides groundshare at stadiums that are right next to each other in the shadow of Heathrow Airport and its flightpath - if you like getting close to big planes, then this is the ground for you. On the pitch, the visitors are currently top and beat eighth tier Ashford Town in the Middlesex Charity Cup last week

SPCFL Premier
AFC Cubo v Worcester Park @3pm - at first glance, the league table seems to suggest AFC Cubo are cantering to the title thanks to an 11-point lead over the second-placed club. However, when you look at the games played, you notice that several other teams have quite a backlog of fixtures and could come right back into contention. One of those are third placed Worcester Park. If they win their four games in hand, and succeed here then they'll be top. Cubo need to see them off. This is being played at a sports ground close to Chiswick Bridge


Sunday 2 April

Premier League
West Ham United v Southampton @2pm - the week ends with this huge relegation six-pointer at London Stadium. As mentioned above, the clubs in the bottom half are ridiculously close together so any win is extremely valuable. Currently both in the relegation zone, a win will probably lift either of them out of it. Despite being a such an important match, tickets are available

EFL Trophy Final
Bolton Wanderers v Plymouth Argyle @3pm - if you want to go to a Wembley final then this is your chance as two of the top sides in League One do battle. This competition is primarily for third and fourth tier teams with a few Premier League U21 sides thrown in for good measure. Adding the academy sides has proved incredibly unpopular and thankfully none have ever made it to the final. On paper, League One leaders Plymouth should start as marginal favourites but both still have so much more to play for in the league, that you wonder what kind of sides they'll put out. Tickets are available directly from each club - Bolton tickets, Plymouth tickets

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Manchester City @1230pm - it's also a big day of action in the women's game. At Meadow Park, two of the title contenders meet in the biggest match of the weekend. After a little wobble, the Gunners have now won three in a row to leave themselves three points behind co-leaders Manchester United and Manchester City. Given how tight the margins are in this division, you feel anything less than a win for the hosts will end their chances of becoming champions. This match has sold out
West Ham United v Liverpool @5pm - the early kick-off above means you easily do a WSL doubleheader on Sunday thanks to this one starting so late. Again, this should be really evenly balanced as the sides are just a point apart in midtable. Tickets are available

FA Women's Championship
London City Lionesses v Charlton Athletic @2pm - if the Addicks win their midweek game in hand then this will see second play third in the women's second tier. LCL looked out of the title race but then beat leaders Bristol City to give themselves a chance. Sadly, they followed it up with an unexpected 3-0 loss at Durham to put them back to square one. If Charlton and Birmingham both win on Sunday, then they could end the week in fourth. Tickets

FAWNL Division 1 South East
Actonians v Hashtag United @2pm - in the fourth tier, many eyes will be on what happens at Rectory Park. The Tags are currently top but only one point ahead of AFC Wimbledon with a game in hand. The Dons are at home to bottom club Cambridge City who they should beat with ease. Fifth-place Actonians should provide Hashtag with more of a challenge and they've put up a decent fight in the previous two meetings this season (4-2 in the league and 3-0 in the FA Cup). Last season, the A's actually won when they met at this venue and having dispatched Norwich City 4-1 on Sunday, they might fancy themselves to get a point but it's a big ask. 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!

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  1. James always grateful for your coverage of the football matches in London for the week ahead. Know you are often very busy so don't mind waiting a day or two while you catch up with yourself and find time to post the next few days. Keep up the good work of promoting Non-League and Womens football.

  2. British Airways v FC Deportivo Galicia OFF today. Also Tuesday 4 Northwood v DGL... off