Sunday 5 March 2023

TLFG: 6-12 March 2023

Hi there and welcome to this week's TLFG.

I'm afraid to say that as a result of going to Sunday's Women's League Cup Final and with an early shift at work on Monday, this week's piece is very much a work in progress.

So far you've got the match maps and previews for Monday and Tuesday but that's it - I'll aim to add the rest over the next day or two.

I've actually managed two matches this week.

First up, I went to Hanwell Town against Harrow Borough on Tuesday - yes, I saw the Geordies twice in three days, and you can hear my podcast about here.

This year's Non-League Day is fast approaching

This was followed today (Sunday) with a trip to Selhurst Park for the Women's League Cup Final (a.k.a. the Continental Cup) between Arsenal and Chelsea.

I took my daughter as part of a group of 20 made up primarily by people from her club but also a few from her school team too.

For some, it was their first ever football match so it was a big occasion for them.

Chelsea have been the dominant team in English women's football for the last few years - they've been league champions in five of the last seven seasons, have won three of the last five FA Cup finals and two of the last three League Cup Finals.

Arsenal, on the other hand, hadn't won any title of any kind since the league in 2018/19.

The sides met last weekend in the Women's FA Cup at Kingsmeadow and the Blues won 2-0.

So when Emma Hayes' side went ahead after 90 seconds, it looked pretty ominous for the Gunners.

Amazingly that's not how it panned out.

The north London club kept going, equalised in the 16th minute and found themselves with a commanding 3-1 lead at the break and it was much deserved.

I missed a chunk of the second half, ferrying children to the toilet - the queues were bonkers at half-time but I don't think I missed a huge amount.

Arsenal seemed to control things well and although Chelsea threw more at it in the closing stages and forced a few routine saves from Manuela Zinsberger, it never really looked in doubt.

The final whistle saw joyous celebrations from Arsenal's players and fans, who seemed to provide the majority of the record attendance (at 19,010 it was about 11,000 more than last year).

Apart from their very early goal, Chelsea didn't look their usual selves and many will say this competition was their lowest priority.

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

However, winning the quadruple of Champions League, League, FA Cup and League Cup would've cemented the impressive Emma Hayes's legacy in Chelsea history and I'm sure she'll be disappointed.

As for my daughter and her friends, they had an amazing afternoon and can't wait for the next match.

My only gripe about the day was getting home.

The queue for Selhurst station after the game was huge and we ended up walking to East Croydon instead - a distance of around 2km.

It seemed like a good decision as the walking kept us warm, we got on a train with ease and got seats but when we got to Selhurst there was virtually no-one there. Where did they all go???

There's a 7pm kick-off at Silver Jubilee Park which means you can see three games on Saturday

Anyway, the week ahead will probably see far less live action with most of my spare time concentrated on preparing for this year's Non-League Day on 25 March.

Our match map, with nearly 450 games, covers the whole country so you can use it to find your nearest one which is taking place on the day.

Over the past week we've also launched our 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 Paul N from Yorkshire who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really appreciate it. 


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 6 March

Premier League
Brentford v Fulham @8pm - the week begins with a derby between the current top two in west London. Fans of both sides will probably be pinching themselves that their clubs currently outrank Chelsea and QPR who were the big two in this part of town when I was growing up. This will be the first time the sides have played at the GTech Stadium in front of a full house - the last time was during the Covid period and the Bees won 3-0 in a cup match. As for this season, the Cottagers won the reverse fixture 3-2 and are currently four points ahead. Tickets are not available

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Liverpool @7pm - if you can't get into the match above then this U21 game at Boreham Wood's ground provides a decent alternative. The Gunners are winless in four but could climb back above the Reds into the top four with a win here. Admission is often free but it won't be more than £5

Isthmian League Cup Semi-Final
Aveley v Chatham Town @745pm - the one non-league option of the night looks decent too. Over at Parkside, the team who are second in the Isthmian Premier host the side who are second in the Isthmian South East with a place in a final up for grabs


Tuesday 7 March

UEFA Champions League
Chelsea v Borussia Dortmund @8pm - miles behind in the league and out of all the domestic cups, the Champions League is the Blues' only chance of silverware this season. Having lost the first leg 1-0, victory here isn't impossible but Dortmund are the most in-form team in the Bundesliga right now so it's going to be very tough. Tickets are only available to members

League Two
Sutton United v Crawley Town @745pm - the U's extended their unbeaten run to seven matches but only after grabbing an injury-time equaliser against Crewe on Saturday. Only four points adrift of the play-off places, they'll expect to pick up three points here against a poor Crawley team who have lost five on the bounce. Tickets

Professional Development League
QPR v Swansea City @7pm - on the west side of town, we have some U21 football taking place at Hanwell Town's ground. There is a small charge to watch games here but it won't be more than £5

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wrexham @745pm - there's a busy night of action in the fifth tier but this is definitely the standout game for me. Having recently moved to the top of the table, the visitors and their Hollywood owners are hoping they'll finally make it back into the EFL this year. Relegated in 2008, I heard somewhere a while ago that they're the longest serving team in this division which would be a quite remarkable fact if true. One of the reasons they are top is that the Daggers beat their main title rivals Notts County just over a week ago so they might not have it all their own way. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Hornchurch v Kingstonian @745pm - the Urchins only managed to draw with Lewes on Saturday, to miss the chance to go second. If they win this, they could go joint top. On paper they should as the K's are in the bottom five. However, the Surrey club's crucial win at bottom club Brightlingsea on Saturday saw them move nine points clear of the bottom four

Isthmian League South Central
Northwood v Binfield @745pm - match of the day in the eighth tier sees two of the division's top six meet at Chestnut Avenue. Both sides picked up useful wins at the weekend to keep in the hunt for a play-off place

Essex Senior League Cup Second Round
Redbridge v Enfield @745pm - there are several great games in the ninth tier on Tuesday but this cup match between the top two in the Essex Senior League should be well worth 90 minutes of your time

CCL Division 1
Bedfont v RB Kensington @745pm - over by Heathrow, two of the top eight in this 10th-tier division looks like your best choice at this level. The visitors could break into the top four with a win here

Wednesday 8 March

UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v AC Milan @8pm - one of the matches of the week takes place at the THS where Spurs welcome the reigning champions of Italy. After around a decade in the wilderness, the Rossoneri roared back into everyone's attention by winning Serie A last season. Sadly for them, they've dropped off again and fell to fifth after losing to Fiorentina at the weekend. These two actually look pretty even and with the first leg ending 1-0 to Milan, it's all to play for here. Tickets are only available to members

SCEFL Premier
Phoenix Sports v Erith Town @745pm - apart from the game above, all your other men's options are in the ninth and tenth tiers on Wednesday. The pick of the action in the ninth tier is this match between the sides in second and third. Four wins on the bounce have seen the hosts push the Dockers down to third and they look really strong at the moment

National League U19 Alliance
Brentford v Barnet @2pm - if you want to see two games you could begin by watching this youth game in Gunnersbury Park. Admission is free and you should just be able to stroll up and watch

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Liverpool @715pm - there's a fine selection of elite women's football on Wednesday too. Fresh from winning the League Cup on Sunday, the Gunners return to action at Boreham Wood with this match against the Reds. A whopping nine points adrift of leaders Manchester United but with two games in hand, they really have to win here to have any chance of staying in title contention. Tickets have sold out
Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion @745pm - in south-west London, the Blues will want to bounceback from their League Cup Final defeat ASAP and they have a great chance against struggling Brighton. Like Arsenal, they need to win their games in hand to make sure of staying in the title race and they should see off the Seagulls with relative ease. Tickets

Women's County Match
Middlesex v Essex @745pm - I'm not a huge expert on county representative football but matches do happen fairly often and look well worth a watch. The Middlesex side primarily feature players from local fourth tier clubs like Actonians, Ashford Town and QPR. It's being played at Bedfont Sports near Heathrow Airport
Thursday 9 March

U18 Matches
There are a number of U18 games in various leagues around the capital on Thursday night. Cockfosters, Harrow Borough (at Harefield United), Metropolitan Police, North Greenford United and West Essex all play host so pick the one that's best for you

Friday 10 March

Essex Senior League
Barking v FC Clacton @745pm - there are a couple of games in this ninth-tier division on Friday. Both sides here are currently in the top six so this match shades it for me but a trip to the other game at Buckhurst Hill shouldn't be discounted as it's a new ground for many and it's easy to reach by public transport

Saturday 11 March

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Nottingham Forest @3pm - Spurs' disappointing 0-0 draw with AC Milan saw them knocked out of the Champions League on Wednesday night and means that securing a place in the top four is now all they have to fight for. Although currently fourth, Liverpool and Newcastle who are immediately behind them both have games in hand so any slip up will be incredibly costly. Games featuring Forest are tough to call - in recent weeks they've been thrashed by West Ham but drawn with Manchester City. Spurs won the reverse fixture at the City Ground 2-0 back in August but lost 2-0 at the same venue in the League Cup three months later. Overall, the stats predict a home win but I think there could be something in this for the visitors. Tickets are only available to members

Crystal Palace v Manchester City @530pm - the Eagles can't buy a win at the moment and although there have been some notable draws, they haven't tasted victory in 2023. City, of course, are still very much in the hunt for the title but they uncharacteristically dropped four points in February which means they trail leaders Arsenal by five points as they come into this. Although a home win looks unlikely, Palace have one of the better records against City over the last five years beating them twice and picking up draws on two other occasions. Tickets are not available to non-members

QPR v Watford @3pm - talking of woeful runs, the R's one takes some beating. Despite bringing in new boss Gareth Ainsworth, the defeats have kept on coming and their winless run now goes back to 17 December. Top of the table in October, their current form if it continues will probably see them relegated. Talking of managerial changes, the Hornets fired Slaven Bilic in midweek and made Chris Wilder their ninth boss since they sacked Javi Gracia in 2019. In recent years, QPR have only lost three of their last 10 against Watford but a fourth defeat looks on the cards here. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Accrington Stanley @3pm - now four games without a win and 20 points adrift of the play-off places, the Addicks' season looks pretty much over. However, being only eight points above the relegation zone means they can't take their feet off the gas just yet. If they are to be much more certain of staying up, then they must been Stanley who are one point above the bottom four. Tickets

Premier League 2
Chelsea v Liverpool @1pm - with this U21 game at Kingsmeadow kicking off so early, it should be possible for you to do a triple on Saturday. You could easily combine this with the Isthmian League game at Corinthian Casuals before heading north to watch Edgware Town at 7pm. Other combinations are available depending on your mode of transport. As for this match, the sides are second and third in the PL2 so this should be a decent game. Tickets are £5  UPDATE -  since writing this, the kick-off time has moved from midday to 1pm meaning it's going to be a lot harder to get to that second game. If you have a car, Corinthian Casuals could still be reachable though

National League
Boreham Wood v Gateshead @3pm - four consecutive wins have taken the Wood back into the top six. By contrast, the Heed have managed only one win from their last five and they're down in the bottom four. The reverse fixture on Tyneside ended in a 1-1 draw back in September

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm - after a series of poor results, the Hamlet sacked their second manager of the season. Paul Barnes made way for seasoned non-league boss Hakan Hayrettin fresh from his sacking by Maidstone United. Game one saw a valuable 1-0 win over St Albans before they travelled to Chelmsford on Monday night and lost 5-1. Havant are in the top five but on a stinking run of their own and could be there for the taking. As with all Dulwich games, you're strongly advised to buy tickets in advance as they do sell out

Isthmian League Premier
Aveley v Folkestone Invicta @3pm - game of the day in the seventh tier sees the two top clubs in the ILP form table meet at Parkside. Although the hosts are second and poised to potentially go top if they win, Folkestone are the team in the best form and could break into the top six if they triumph

Isthmian League South Central
Northwood v Basingstoke Town @3pm - the big game in the eighth tier sees third play first. With the hosts trailing Basingstoke by 15 points, their already incredibly slim title hopes will surely end if they lose here. Elsewhere in the division, there's also a big derby between Chertsey Town and Walton & Hersham who are also both in the top six. The visitors in that one are also Basingstoke's only realistic title challengers so there's plenty to play for there too

CCL Premier North
Edgware & Kingsbury v Egham Town @7pm - in the ninth tier I'm focusing on this game mainly for the late kick-off time which makes it accessible to most fans looking for a second or third game on Saturday. It's kicking off late because Hendon, who they groundshare with, are also playing at home at 3pm. Not only can you see two games at Silver Jubilee Park but if you do, you'll get into the second game for just £3. Apart from the price, they're both in the top eight

CCL Division 1
London Samurai Rovers v Sandhurst Town @3pm - LSR are a team to watch. With their roots in the capital's Japanese community, they're unbeaten in eight and climbing the table fast. The goals are flowing too with the last three games seeing them net 16 whilst only conceding two. Although it's going well, Sandhurst could really give them something to think about. Currently seventh, they have games in hand on all those above them and could go well clear at the top if they win them

Sunday 12 March

Premier League
Fulham v Arsenal @2pm - the week might be coming to an end but there's no sign of the live action winding down. Top of the bill is this intriguing derby between sides who are faring much better than many would've expected. Despite the setback of their defeat against Brentford on Monday, the Cottagers are still sitting pretty in seventh with their fans probably pinching themselves that they're even close to that position. The Gunners are top and have one of the most one sided head-to-head records between Premier League clubs I've ever seen. Since they first in an FA Cup tie in 1904, Fulham have only beaten Arsenal eight times in 60 attempts. Mikel Arteta's team have more resolve than some Arsenal squads, but they still don't have the impregnability or fear factor of some of the great sides that have dominated this league over the years - Fulham have a chance. Tickets are not available
West Ham United v Aston Villa @2pm - on the east side of town, the Hammers have a very important game against Villa. Manager David Moyes is under huge pressure after their abject performance against Brighton and many have said his job could depend upon a good result here. Villa, for me, have gone a bit under the radar over the last few months with Unai Emery steadying the ship nicely after Steven Gerrard's dismissal. Now well clear of the relegation zone, they have far less on their shoulders and could use that to their advantage. However, West Ham's record against the Birmingham club is superb - they've won their last five and are unbeaten in nine against them. Tickets are available

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Manchester United @1230pm - on the women's side of things,there's loads on offer with three top-flight games strung out across the day. First up is this monster fixture between the reigning champions and the current leaders. The Blues beat Brighton on Wednesday night to put themselves just a point behind United with a game in hand. The visitors, who are relatively new to the WSL, have never found themselves in this position before so it will be interesting to see how they handle the situation. The reverse fixture ended in a 3-1 win for Chelsea and they'll be hoping for some more of the same at Kingsmeadow. Unsurprisingly, it's sold out
West Ham United v Aston Villa @3pm - these two fought all the way to a thrilling penalty shoot-out in the FA Cup two weeks ago which Villa edged 7-6. The sides also produced a fiery contest at Walsall's ground in October which saw a mass brawl leading to players and management staff being sent off. Villa made a number of really good signings in January and are in better form - they should get at least a point. Tickets
Arsenal v Reading @645pm - the day's WSL action concludes with this game at Boreham Wood. On paper, this game looks the easiest to call with the Gunners starting as strong favourites. Buoyed by their League Cup win over Chelsea and a comfortable victory over Liverpool in midweek, Jonas Eidevall's side appear to be getting their mojo back. The Royals have only won three league games this season and will do well to get anything here. Tickets

FA Women's Championship
London City Lionesses v Lewes @2pm - after their shock loss to struggling Sheffield United on Sunday, LCL were left in second but six points behind leaders Bristol City. With only one club going up and top clubs rarely slipping up, it looks like the south London side may have missed their opportunity. If they are to have any chance, then they simply have to win this. Lewes are the epitome of a midtable team but for them it's now all about the FA Cup where they've sensationally made the quarter-finals and are the lowest-ranked team left in it. All they have to do to make the semi-finals is beat the current WSL leaders Manchester United who visit the Dripping Pan next weekend. Tickets

FAWNL Division 1 South East
QPR v Hashtag United @2pm - two major events have occurred in this division over the last couple of weeks. Firstly, leaders Hashtag United got thrashed 4-0 at home by AFC Wimbledon. The Dons have been their main challengers for most of the season but the 11-point gap between them seemed unassailable so even this emphatic victory felt more symbolic than anything else. However, a few days later, bottom club Hounslow folded and saw all their results expunged from the record books. Rather alarmingly for the Tags, this now left them only two points ahead of the Dons with six games to go. How the Essex club respond to this big psychological blow will be incredibly interesting to see. Previously, the R's were the kind of side Hashtag would dispatch with ease but will they now?
London Seaward v Actonians @2pm - currently third and fifth, these two clubs are the only ones in the division who have no association with a men's club and are striving hard to do things on their own. The hosts, who play at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow, have surged up the table in recent weeks but will probably find breaking into the top two just beyond them in the remaining time
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Norwich City @2pm - the Tangerines are another side who have picked up some eye-catching results in the last few weeks, most notably their 2-0 win at London Seaward on Sunday. Norwich were among the frontrunners for the first few months of the season but two heavy losses to Hashtag, defeat to London Seaward and only a point against AFC Wimbledon  have seen them drop out of contention. A top-four finish looks like the best they can hope for

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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