Monday 25 December 2023

TLFG: 25 December 2023 - 7 January 2024

Greetings one and all and welcome to the festive edition of TLFG.

As has become the routine in recent weeks, it contains all the match maps for the period but only previews for the first few days - I will add more as the week progresses.

So how has your Christmas been so far?

I spent the last few days at my Dad's in Devon where I also caught up with my brother.

We came back on Christmas Eve as I have to work on the 27th and there are very few national rail trains on Boxing Day, which is something you should consider when travelling to games on that date.

TLFG's Christmas and New Year Special is here

Christmas isn't a big thing in our household so we haven't done a huge amount other than go to the launderette as our washing machine is on the blink - I know, rock 'n roll stuff!

My incredibly annoying cough is probably into its fourth week now and it's in a new phase where the phlegm has dried up and my throat is getting quite sore but you don't need to know any more than that.

In fact, it might well stop me going to a game on Boxing Day as I don't know if standing on a damp terrace for a couple of hours is a great remedy.

If I do go, it will be the north-west London derby between Harrow Borough and Hendon but that's looking really doubtful at the moment.

With the year coming to an end, I guess it's right to consider what some of the highlights have been.

For me, the two amazing trips to Bilbao to work with the good people at Athletic Club stand out a mile.

Getting them to support Non-League Day was a huge moment for me and this year's event went well again with some great coverage and bumper crowds around the country.

A hugely important thing for me was getting seriously involved in women's football and bringing my first full season of watching Actonians at all levels to an end.

I was spoiled by what I experienced with the first team finishing third in their division of the fourth tier - their best ever performance.

The reserves won a league and cup double for the second season running and the Thirds more than held their own in the eighth tier.

This year also saw me visit QPR's new training ground and make my return to watching the first team after nearly two years of self-imposed exile.

So those are my best bits, what are yours?

Christmas also seems to be a good time to briefly review how some of our local teams have fared so far this season.

Starting in the Premier League, Arsenal look like being the capital's top club again. Although far from fallible, they're top and looking capable of going one better than last season with Manchester City faltering. They're also going well in the Champions League, winning their group and face a winnable tie against Porto in the next round.

The consensus appears to be that Tottenham Hotspur, currently fourth, are far more entertaining under new boss Ange Postecoglu and the departure of Harry Kane doesn't seem to have had too much of an impact.

After winning the Europa Conference League last season, West Ham United seem to have pushed on. Up to sixth in the Premier League, at the time of writing, they also won their group in the Europa League.

Brentford, Crystal Palace and Fulham are all bumping along in midtable and could do with a few more wins to allay any fears of getting drawn into a relegation battle.

The biggest underachievers in the division, certainly from a London perspective if not a national one, are Chelsea who have spent hundreds of millions of pounds but are 10th and in really underwhelming form. How they change things up is hard to know but boss Mauricio Pochettino is finding things a bit of a struggle at the moment.

In the Championship, none of our local sides made a great start to the campaign but in recent weeks it's Watford who have started to get a bit of form going and they're closing in on the play-off places.

Millwall and QPR are in a relegation battle with both replacing their managers already. The match between the two on Boxing Day at The Den is going to be some occasion.

Charlton Athletic and Leyton Orient are our two representatives in the third tier but neither look likely to do anything significant, although survival and consolidation at this level following their promotion should be enough to keep O's fans happy. 

It's a different story in League Two where AFC Wimbledon would appear to have a team good enough to get a play-off spot whilst Sutton United are going to have to do something pretty astounding to avoid relegation back to the National League as they're bottom and nine points adrift of safety.

In the National League, the main challengers in the London area are Bromley and Barnet who are second and third respectively. Whether either of them can realistically challenge for the title looks unlikely as top club Chesterfield are already 10 points clear.

Last season Aveley won promotion to the National League South and impressed many for the first few months of this season, getting themselves into promotion contention but that form has worryingly fallen away in the last few weeks and they've plummeted to eighth.

As they've dropped points, they've been overtaken by a Hampton & Richmond Borough side who've gone unbeaten in 13 and surged up to second.

A change of ownership had seen a lot of upheaval behind the scenes and discontent among some of the fans but the results have been superb over the last two or three months and the south-west London club are flying.

In the seventh tier, three of the top four in the Isthmian League are London clubs.

Hornchurch lost in the play-offs last season and lead Chatham Town by eight points at Christmas which seems pretty commanding.

Enfield Town are often there or thereabouts and they're third but the surprise package are Wingate & Finchley who are fourth and having the season of their lives.

Averaging crowds of just 168, they are the smallest club in the division by some distance.

In the parallel Southern League Premier South, our local clubs are having a mixed season.

Walton & Hersham started very strongly after their promotion but have lost a bit of momentum. Nevertheless, they're still seventh and only a point shy of the play-off places.

Elsewhere, Hendon are also in with a shout of a top-five finish being only four points adrift at the time of writing.

Hanwell Town, Harrow Borough and Hayes & Yeading United are all trying to avoid the drop.

Moving into the eighth tier and back into the Isthmian League, the South Central division is currently seeing a scrap between Chertsey Town and Raynes Park Vale for top spot with only goal difference separating them at the moment.

In the North Division, the main challenge is coming from Walthamstow following their move across from the Southern League. Currently eighth, they're only two points behind Basildon United in fifth.

After fantastic runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, Cray Valley PM seem to be the London club most likely to challenge for the title in the South East Division. Currently fourth with games in hand on all around them, they're in a very strong position to challenge.

Another club to experience significant upheaval over the summer were Rayners Lane. From the outside, it looked like they were in disarray with the club forgetting to enter the FA Cup and FA Vase.

However, they've rebuilt their promotion winning squad and pushed on again to top the ninth tier CCL Premier North.

In the Essex Senior League, the huge success story so far have been Sporting Bengal United who went top in December following their promotion.

The Mile End based club slipped backed to second just before Christmas but with Woodford Town, they're well placed for a play-off push.

I would normally also give Romford a mention at this point but in mid-November they moved to Rookery Hill following the demise of East Thurrock United so no longer play within TLFG's catchment area - suffice to say, they're in the top four too.

Faversham Town are two points clear at the top of the SCEFL Premier but have both Glebe and Erith Town hot on their heels in second and third.

In the 10th tier, Amersham Town have a whopping 16-point lead at the top and appear to have the CCL Division 1 title wrapped up already. The main contenders from the London area at this stage are Molesey who are fourth and 20 points behind.

We do have a leader, at least for now, in the ECL Division 1 South where Clapton CFC currently top the tree.

I say for now as they've played five games more than their nearest challengers Benfleet and more games than anyone else in the whole division. Cannons Wood, who play at Aveley, are also very much in the mix for at least a play-off place.

What's less in doubt is the lead held by AFC Whyteleafe at the top of the SCEFL Division 1. Although second placed Lewisham Borough have games in hand, they'll still be a point behind if they win them.

In the women's game, reigning champions Chelsea have a three point lead at the top of the Super League despite being thrashed 4-1 by arch-rivals Arsenal two weeks ago.

The Gunners moved level with their old foes by winning that game but followed it up with their first ever North London Derby defeat to Tottenham Hotspur which very few people saw coming.

Spurs are having possibly their best season ever and can count themselves firmly among the contenders to finish fourth.

West Ham United, on the other hand, have been seriously disappointing and are only being kept off the bottom by goal difference. 

In the second tier, we have a thrilling title race on our hands with only two points separating the top five teams. Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace are both in that leading group battling for the solitary promotion place.

Hashtag United won their fourth-tier division last season and are top of the FAWNL Southern Premier as their great performances have continued. However, main rivals Portsmouth are only three points behind with two games in hand.

In the division that Hashtag won last season, we have a thrilling duel between AFC Wimbledon and Norwich City to savour.

Level on points at the halfway stage, only one of them can get promoted and with relatively large sums being spent by both, there's a lot at stake.

In the fifth tier, it's been all about Dartford so far but with only a one-point lead, Fulham and Dulwich Hamlet are ready to pounce if an opportunity comes their way. 

Ok, I think that'll do for a half-term report - I hope you found it informative.

Lastly this week I'd like to thank Gordon N from Quebec, Canada for donating to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - many thanks. 


The highlights of the next two weeks include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Cup and loads of other matches 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.

Boxing Day fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin

New Year's Day 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.

Tuesday 26 December

Millwall v QPR @1pm - unusually for Boxing Day, there are no Premier League games in London. However, don't despair as we have this very spicy derby to entertain you instead. Games between these two are always lively but with both fighting relegation, there's even more riding on it than normal. Despite the highly intimidating conditions for away teams, the R's have only lost one of their last five at The Den. There are only a few tickets left so don't delay buying one if you do want to go
Watford v Bristol City @3pm - if you fancy something a little less intense then head north-west to Vicarage Road. The Hornets have improved their form significantly in recent weeks and could move into the play-off places with a win here. The Robins are only two points behind but haven't won here since 2011 when goals from Nicky Maynard, Marvin Elliott and Brett Pitman saw them win 3-1. Tickets

League One
Leyton Orient v Charlton Athletic @1pm - there's another fine looking derby in the third tier where teams from east and south-east London do battle. The O's won promotion from League Two last season and began life back at this level with a 1-0 loss to the Addicks at The Valley. Coming into this match, they're only four points behind Charlton so it should be close. As I mentioned last week, Michael Appleton's side don't lose much but they draw too often and they were held again by Burton on Saturday which left them in 11th, 11 points adrift of the play-off places. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Sutton United @3pm - the so-called Thameslink derby completes the EFL offering in the capital on Boxing Day. With only one defeat from their last seven league games, the Dons are in the play-off places but the competition is fierce and anything less than a win here will probably see them slip down. They should win here as Sutton are bottom and nine points adrift of safety. Sadly for neutrals this has sold out

National League
Boreham Wood v Kidderminster Harriers @3pm - Boxing Day is usually all about big derbies in the fifth tier but for some reason, in London, it's not this year. The Wood's biggest derby against Barnet actually got played on Saturday and they'll want to forget it quickly as they lost 6-0. Although five places above the relegation zone, the lower reaches of the table are really tight with only six points between 16th and 22nd. Therefore it is pretty much essential that they beat bottom club Kidderminster. Tickets
Dagenham & Redbridge v Eastleigh @3pm - with one win from five, the Daggers are also in the group of strugglers who are just about keeping their heads above water. Hampshire club Eastleigh are being kept out of the play-off places by goal difference so it looks like being a tough afternoon for the east London club. Tickets

National League South
Welling United v Dartford @1pm - in the sixth tier we do have a big local derby. With Ebbsfleet United no longer in the division, this is as big as it gets for these two. Located about five miles apart, more or less on the same road, there have been some big games between these two in recent years. Last year the Darts finished as runners-up in this division but that form has not returned for this campaign and they're in the bottom seven. With Welling in the relegation zone, this has the feel of a six-pointer to it. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Carshalton Athletic @3pm - with average crowds of 2,314, the biggest attendance of the day in the seventh tier will almost certainly be found at Champion Hill. Although not the biggest rivals, they're both from south London and are only one place apart in the push for a play-off place. If you want to go, you are advised to buy tickets in advance and arrive about half-an-hour early to secure a spot with a decent view
Haringey Borough v Hashtag United @1pm - with the hosts fighting to get out of the relegation zone and the Tags trying to get into the play-off places, there's plenty to play for here. The visitors' fanbase has primarily been built online so they're not really associated with a specific geographical location. However, when they started their progression up the leagues, they did groundshare with Haringey so there's a connection. Tickets will be available on the gate

Southern League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Hendon @3pm - my personal choice for Boxing Day, if I'm well enough, will be this derby between two old rivals. Until recently, games on 26 December in this fixture produced loads of goals, 28 from the last five, but this will be the first meeting between them on this day since 2019. On current form, Hendon should win as the Boro are battling relegation. Tickets are cheaper if bought online in advance
Hayes & Yeading United v Hanwell Town @3pm - there's another derby a little to south of Earlsmead. Aside from Hendon, all the clubs from this part of London in the Southern Premier South are struggling. Harrow are in the relegation zone, so are Hanwell and H&YU are two points above the drop zone so there's quite a bit riding on this. Tickets are available on the gate

Isthmian League South Central
Chertsey Town v Thatcham Town @3pm - top of the division and with average crowds of over 500, the Curfews are definitely the side to be watching in the eighth tier at the moment. Like Chertsey, Thatcham have also won the FA Vase in recent years but haven't carried that form into league football at this higher level. In no danger of relegation, the Berkshire club are more than holding their own but a home win looks the most likely outcome here
Raynes Park Vale v Sutton Common Rovers @1pm - pushing Chertsey hard are newly promoted RPV who are being kept off top spot by goal difference alone. With fifth-placed Marlow having a couple of games in hand, the title race in this division is looking very exciting indeed. SCR's main priority would seem to be making certain they avoid relegation 

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Phoenix Sports @1pm - after their fantastic runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, CVPM now need to refocus on the league where they have a chance of doing great things this season. Currently fourth and with games in hand on all those above them, they're very much in the title race. Fellow south-east Londoners Phoenix Sports are in the lower reaches of the table but will hope to throw a spanner in the works

Wednesday 27 December

Premier League
Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers @730pm - despite giving Aston Villa a good game at the GTech in their last outing, the Bees lost 2-1 to make it just one win from six. Still seven points above the relegation zone, the west London club need to start winning. Wolves enjoyed a 2-1 Christmas Eve victory over Chelsea to move level on points with the Blues in 11th. This is the type of game Brentford need to be getting something out of but they've only beaten the Midlands club once in their last eight matches. Tickets are only available to members
Chelsea v Crystal Palace @730pm - with two wins from their last six Premier League games, the hosts are 10th. After losing to Wolves on Sunday, the grumblings of discontent grew louder with fans' ire starting to be directed towards boss Mauricio Pochettino in a way I haven't heard so far this season. Although far closer to the bottom than the top, Palace are one of those sides who can get a result against almost anyone as their fine draw at Manchester City last week showed. However, with 12 defeats in a row, Chelsea appear to be a real bogey team for them. Tickets are only available to members. Hospitality packages are available from £400

Isthmian League South Central
Metropolitan Police v Westfield @745pm - the highest level non-league game of the day takes place at Imber Court where the Met are fighting to avoid another relegation after voluntarily taking one last season. Westfield, who hail from Woking, are six points short of the play-offs so will be targeting a win here

Thursday 28 December

Premier League

Arsenal v West Ham United @815pm - to my knowledge, all we have on Thursday is this big derby at the Emirates. Although winning only one of their last three, the Gunners are still top as others have dropped points too. At the time of writing, only four points separate the top four and if Manchester City win their game in hand, it will get even tighter. After a great win over his former club Manchester United, David Moyes' side are now in the top six and doing really well. Sadly, their recent away form has been more than a bit suspect with them conceding five on their visits to Fulham and Liverpool. Although the Hammers haven't managed a league win over the Gunners for a while, they did knock them out of the EFL Cup when they last played in November. Tickets are only available to members and all hospitality packages have sold out


Friday 29 December

Millwall v Norwich City @745pm - after their hugely important derby win over QPR on Boxing Day, the Lions are at home again on Friday. This time it's the midtable Canaries' turn to visit The Den. Although down in 12th, that part of the table is incredibly congested with only three points separating the sides in sixth and 14th, so a win here could put them right in the mix. Norwich appear to be a bit of bogey team for Millwall as they're unbeaten in eight against the Bermondsey club. Tickets
Watford v Stoke City @745pm - the Hornets would've moved into the top six if they'd beaten Bristol City at Vicarage Road on Tuesday but it all went wrong and they lost 4-1. With only one win in five, Stoke are towards the wrong end of the table and should offer Watford a good chance to bounce back. Tickets

League One
Leyton Orient v Wycombe Wanderers @745pm - like Millwall, the O's enjoyed a Boxing Day derby win too. Their 1-0 win over Charlton saw them move up to 13th but with the play-off spots still 15 points away, it looks like a midtable finish is likely to be as good as it gets. Wycombe used to really punch above their weight when Gareth Ainsworth was in charge but since his ill-fated departure for QPR, they've struggled. Winless in 11 league games, they're down to 17th and appear to be in some trouble. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Colchester United @745pm - on Boxing Day the Dons welcomed local rivals Sutton to Plough Lane for a sold out derby. The U's had won only three games all season and were stuck at the bottom but somehow they won 1-0 and moved up to 23rd. Wimbledon blew a place in the top six in the process. Colchester sit just above Sutton in the table so this should be viewed as a great opportunity to recover but it could turn out to be another banana skin. Apparently it's approaching another sell out, so make sure you buy your tickets in advance if you want to go 

Isthmian League Premier
Cray Wanderers v Enfield Town @745pm - there are also some decent non-league options on Friday as well. London's oldest club entertain the Towners at Bromley's ground in a match which is of great importance at either end of the table. Cray sit one place above the relegation zone thanks to their marginally better goal difference so need every point they can get. Enfield, on the other hand, are third and eight points behind leaders Hornchurch. With only one side going up automatically, they won't want to give up on their title ambitions just yet. Tickets
Hornchurch v Lewes @745pm - the Urchins have only suffered one league defeat but it was a significant one, losing 2-0 to second placed Chatham shortly before Christmas. If they had won, they'd be 11 points clear with three games in hand. As it stands, that lead is only five points but they do still have the three extra games. Although still in a very healthy position, it boosted the hopes of the chasing pack and they should feel a need to up their game again. Sussex club Lewes are down in midtable but they shouldn't be underestimated as they drew 2-2 in the reverse fixture back in August, making them one of only four teams to get something out of a game with Hornchurch in the league this season. Tickets

Saturday 30 December

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Brentford @3pm - with most of the sides below them picking up points in recent weeks, pressure is starting to build at both of these clubs who are really struggling to win. Lose here and it's possible that Palace could end the day in the bottom three if results elsewhere go against them. Strangely, since the Bees' arrival in the Premier League, all five games between the two have ended in a draw and it looks highly likely that it could end the same way here. Tickets are only available to members

National League
Barnet v Southend United @3pm - back-to-back wins over Boreham Wood and Southend seem to have brought the Bees' worrying slump to an end. Having only beaten the Shrimpers three days ago, the north London club should have a pretty good idea of how to do it again. If they do, they could go second. Tickets
Bromley v Ebbsfleet United @3pm - in order for Barnet to go second, current incumbents Bromley will need to slip up here. Ebbsfleet won the NLS title by some margin last season but sadly they're stuck in the relegation zone alongside Oxford City who they came up with. In the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, it was the Ravens who won 3-2. Tickets

National League South
Dartford v Welling United @3pm - with Aveley having well and truly lost their mojo, this is most definitely the match of the day in the sixth tier. As mentioned above, these two are big local rivals and both were looking for points to fight off relegation going into Boxing Day's game. On that occasion, the Darts edged to a 1-0 win and put themselves right up into midtable in the process. The Wings are now eight points adrift of safety and badly need a victory here. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Dulwich Hamlet v Horsham @3pm - my pick in the seventh tier is this battle of two of the biggest clubs in the Isthmian League. As we know only too well, the Hamlet draw crowds of 2,000-3,000 for most of their games these days, whilst Horsham are pushing an average attendance of 900. Both sides sit ready to pounce just outside the play-off places but the Hornets have played fewer games than most of those around them because of their fantastic FA Cup run. You are strongly advised to buy tickets in advance if you want to go

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Sittingbourne @3pm - talking of great FA Cup runs, CVPM had one too which means they're third in their eighth-tier division and have games in hand on all of those around them. Here they take on the side who are one place and one point below them. Tickets are available on the gate

SCEFL Premier
Stansfeld v Glebe @3pm - in the ninth tier, why not pop down to Chislehurst for this groundshare derby at Foxbury Avenue? This time it's tenants versus landlords. As it stands, Glebe are second and fighting for the title alongside five other teams whilst Stansfeld are only a point off the bottom. Tickets will be available on the gate

ECL Division 1 South
Enfield Borough v Clapton CFC @3pm - for a match in the 10th tier, there should be a reasonable atmosphere as CCFC's fans tend to travel in reasonable numbers and make a good amount of noise. It's also a game of major significance at either end of the table with Enfield battling the drop and CCFC currently top. This match is being played at Wingate & Finchley and tickets will be available on the gate 

Sunday 31 December

Premier League
Fulham v Arsenal @2pm - the footballing year comes to an end in London with a double helping of top-flight games. At Craven Cottage, Fulham will be keen to end a three game losing run with a huge derby win over the title-chasing Gunners. It must be agonising being an Arsenal fan right now as every time a chance opens up to pull clear at the top, they blow it. Having seen off a tricky Brighton side and got a decent draw at Liverpool just before Christmas, they then lost at home to West Ham on Thursday. They really should beat the Cottagers but if they don't, they could end the day in fourth. Tickets and hospitality have sold out
Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth @2pm - it's a not too dissimilar story at Spurs. Just when they threaten to get going, the wheels come off. After three consecutive wins, they lost 4-2 at Brighton as Thursday night became a miserable one for North London's two giants. Normally you'd expect a match against the Cherries to be highly winnable but not anymore. After a poor start, they're now unbeaten in seven and top of the Premier League form table. That run included wins over Newcastle United and Manchester United and a draw against Aston Villa so Tottenham better watch out! Tickets are only available to members and hospitality packages have sold out too

Monday 1 January

QPR v Cardiff City @3pm - the R's responded well to their poor performance at Millwall on Boxing Day by drawing 0-0 at second placed Ipswich on Friday. Next up they play the Bluebirds who are one of the only sides they've actually managed to beat this season. Cardiff were poor in those early weeks of the season and they have improved significantly. However, with only one win in five they are beatable. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Oxford United @3pm  - after drawing too many games to make decent progress up the table, the Addicks are now starting to lose. Back-to-back defeats to Leyton Orient and Bristol Rovers means they're now closer to the relegation zone than the play-off places. Although they lost their big game to Derby on Friday, Oxford are still in the top six and should be confident of getting something here. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Newport County @3pm - sadly for the U's, they couldn't follow up their derby win over Wimbledon with another three points at Gillingham as they lost 1-0 in Kent. Still six points adrift of safety, they need to keep picking up points wherever they can. Welsh club Newport are in the bottom seven so Sutton should feel they have a chance. Tickets

National League
Wealdstone v Maidenhead United @3pm - with the Stones based in Ruislip and Maidenhead a little to the west of London on the Elizabeth Line, this is pretty much a derby given this is a national division. The clubs are also close in the table with Wealdstone 12th just a place and two points above the visitors. The hosts won the reverse fixture 2-0 on Boxing Day and are unbeaten in five against the Magpies. Tickets

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Slough Town @1pm - these two fought out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Arbour Park on Boxing Day. The result extended H&RB's lengthy unbeaten run and kept them in second but it also continued Slough's great run too. Despite being down in 17th, the Rebels are second in the NLS form table so this will hopefully give us another cracker. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Carshalton Athletic v Kingstonian @3pm - there are a number of derbies in the seventh tier with this one representing the south side of town. The K's geographical home of Kingston isn't a million miles from Colston Avenue but now they're groundsharing at Tooting & Mitcham United, this is a much more local affair. The Robins are pushing for a play-off place and demolished Haringey Borough 6-0 at Coles Park on Saturday. The visitors are third from bottom and the only side in the division without an away win. Tickets
Enfield Town v Haringey Borough @3pm - on the north side, the Towners will be looking to recover from their surprise loss to struggling Cray Wanderers on Friday. With top club Hornchurch also dropping points against Lewes and Chatham not playing since Boxing Day, they're still third. As hinted at above, Haringey are in trouble near the bottom. After a great win against Billericay Town shortly before Christmas, they've shipped 10 goals in the two 'festive' games they've played since and will do well to get anything at Donkey Lane. Tickets

Southern League Premier South
Hendon v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - the Greens will be looking to follow up their derby win over Harrow Borough by seeing off another local team. The Boxing Day victory took Hendon up to ninth, only four points adrift of the play-off places. Sadly the same can't be said of the visitors who lost their big derby against strugglers Hanwell Town, meaning only goal difference is now keeping them out of the relegation zone. Tickets will be available on the gate

Isthmian League North
Walthamstow v Basildon United @3pm - there are a few games in the eighth tier too and if I were to go to a game, it would be this one. The Stow are chasing a place in the top five whilst the visitors are currently up there. If they beat them, it makes them pretty strong contenders in my book. Also, with average crowds of 320, there's usually a decent atmosphere at their games too. Tickets will be available on the gate

Tuesday 2 January

Premier League
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion @730pm - with back-to-back wins over Manchester United and Arsenal, 2023 came to a pretty great end for the Hammers. Up to sixth in the Premier League, doing nicely in the Europa League and with an FA Cup Third Round tie to come, 2024 holds a lot of promise for David Moyes' side. Brighton are eighth and having a pretty similar season although their form is a little more patchy at the moment. Interestingly, since joining the top flight in 2017, the Seagulls have built up a great record against West Ham losing only once in 13 matches. Tickets

SCEFL Premier
Erith Town v Fisher @745pm - the one non-league option of the night is an all south-east London affair at Bayliss Avenue in Thamesmead. The Dockers are currently fifth but only four points behind leaders Faversham, with a game in hand in what is an incredibly tight title race. The Fish are coasting along in 10th and need to start winning if they want to make the play-offs. Tickets will be available on the gate

Wednesday 3 January

Isthmian League South Central
Sutton Common Rovers v Marlow @745pm - during December, SCR managed to draw 0-0 at top clubs Chertsey Town and Raynes Park Vale whilst losing to other lesser teams. Overall, they failed to win any of the six games they played during the month and are down in 14th as a result. On Wednesday they face Marlow who are sixth. The Buckinghamshire club were looking like genuine contenders when they thrashed Binfield 8-1 at the start of December but they haven't won since and are now 14 points behind the leaders. Even if they win their three games in hand, they'll still be off the pace. This match is being played at AFC Whyteleafe

Essex Senior League
Buckhurst Hill v Romford @745pm - although down in the bottom four, the hosts will probably have enough to stay up. Only the bottom two go down and they're seven points clear of them. Romford, on the other hand, are third and well in the hunt for the title. At the time of writing, only five points separate the top four but leaders Tilbury have games in hand on all those below them. Tickets will be available on the gate

Thursday 4 January

FA Cup Third Round
Crystal Palace v Everton @8pm - I could be wrong but I can't remember an FA Cup Third Round getting underway on a Thursday before but that's what's happening here with the game being broadcast live on ITV4. Presumably selected because it features two Premier League sides, I'm not sure what kind of spectacle we'll be treated to. With both teams trying to make sure they stay up, the cup might not be their biggest priority and there could be a few reserves and youngsters on show. That's reflected by the fact that tickets are on sale to non-members, something which rarely happens for first-team games at Selhurst Park

Friday 5 January

FA Cup Third Round
Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers @715pm - there are three more ties on Friday night and they're all in London. With slightly staggered kick-offs, the first one is another all-Premier League game at the GTech. The Bees are on a terrible run and bottom of the PL form table so it will be interesting to see what Thomas Frank does here. Will he play a strong side to try and win and build morale and momentum or give other players a chance because the cup doesn't matter? Wolves are enjoying a bit of a purple patch under boss Gary O'Neil. Highly unlikely to be relegated, the Midlands club are exactly the sort of team that should be thinking of giving the FA Cup a really good go. Again, it's highly unusual to be able to get tickets for games at this venue but they are available to non-members for this one
Fulham v Rotherham United @730pm - although some of these FA Cup ties might not be the most sexy on paper, they do represent a great opportunity to get yourself on a Premier League club's ticketing database which can be really useful when buying tickets for bigger games. This match between the Cottagers and Championship strugglers Rotherham is one such match. Complacency should be Fulham's greatest threat here. Dispel any thought of that and they should get through. Tickets
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley @8pm - the last tie of the night is at the THS where Spurs welcome a side who've won only 3 of their 20 Premier League games this season. Again, it's really hard to know what kind of game we'll get here. Tottenham's main priority will probably be a top-four league finish but winning the FA Cup would be huge for a club who haven't won anything for a while. The Clarets are all about staying up so a long run in the FA Cup is probably not in Vincent Kompany's plans. Surprisingly, this has still to go on sale to non-members but that could change in the next day or two so check the club's website for the latest

Essex Senior League
Ilford v Hullbridge Sports @745pm - the best non-league alternative of the night is to be found at Mayesbrook Park. The Foxes are in the bottom two and desperate for points whilst Hullbridge still have hopes of making the play-offs

Saturday 6 January

FA Cup Third Round
AFC Wimbledon v Ipswich Town @1230pm - having seen off Cheltenham Town and Ramsgate in the previous two rounds and scoring 10 goals in the process, the Dons are the kind of opponent that Championship high-flyers Ipswich would probably have wanted to avoid travelling too. Although the Suffolk club are second in the second tier, their form has faltered of late and they're winless in five. There's definitely some cupset potential here. There aren't many tickets left so buy ASAP if you want to go
Millwall v Leicester City @1230pm - the Lions have had a superb festive period, winning all three of their league games as they've moved well away from the Championship relegation zone. Now unbeaten in five, the last team they lost to were runaway leaders Leicester but it was close with the Foxes edging to a 3-2 win in the Midlands. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Millwall's appearance in the FA Cup Final which they lost 3-0 to Manchester United. What a great time to have another good run in the competition. Tickets
QPR v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - when I initially saw this draw I was pretty underwhelmed. The Cherries weren't doing particularly well in the Premier League at the time and I just saw this as a battle of two strugglers in front of sparsely populated stands whose minds would be on other things. Since then, the R's have continued to struggle but Bournemouth have become one of the most in-form teams in the top division. QPR made the final in 1982 whilst the visitors never have - could this be their year? Tickets
Watford v Chesterfield @3pm - the Hornets have landed a home tie against one of the last remaining non-league sides in the competition. Not just any old non-league team though but the ones who are currently top of the National League. Fully professional, this isn't a team of part-timers. They also famously made the FA Cup semi-finals in 1997 but they were a league side back then. Like Millwall, Watford have a big anniversary this year too - it's 40 years since they played Everton in the final of 1984. Worryingly, I remember it very well! I don't know if it's a glitch or if it has sold out but I couldn't find any way of buying tickets for this match on Watford's website, with no men's games available at all. I would therefore suggest calling the club for the latest
Chelsea v Preston North End @530pm - in the final tie of the day, two clubs with 10 FA Cup wins between them do battle at Stamford Bridge. With eight titles, the Blues are joint third in the overall rankings for the competition alongside Liverpool and Tottenham. Although PNE's last win was way back in 1938, their's is an illustrious history with seven appearances in the final in total. Midtable in their respective divisions, neither are having a particularly great season but you'd expect the hosts to prevail. The last time PNE played here was in another FA Cup tie in 2002 and they lost 3-1 - it could be a similar story here. Tickets have sold out but hospitality packages are available from £300

Premier League Cup
Tottenham Hotspur v Bristol City @1pm - since originally publishing this guide nearly two weeks ago, this U21 game has been added too. Most of Spurs' U21 games are played at Stevenage's ground outside London but this is being played at Enfield Town. Tottenham are currently top of the Premier League 2 and have won all their group games so far in this competition, consequently they will start as strong favourites. Tickets are £5

National League South
Welling United v Aveley @3pm - with their winless run getting longer, the Millers finally got a victory on Saturday. The win over Dover Athletic means they stay in eighth, two points adrift of the play-offs so promotion is still on the cards but they need to start building another good run. Welling present a good opportunity for some more points as they're down in the relegation zone and really struggling for form. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Hornchurch v Horsham @3pm - six points clear with two games in hand, it's looking pretty good for the Urchins who are top of the Isthmian League. A solid 3-0 win at Hashtag United on New Year's Day showed what they're capable of. As mentioned above, Horsham are still in with a shot at the play-offs as they have some games in hand after their FA Cup run. However, with only one point from their three festive games, they're starting to lose ground. Tickets

Southern League Premier South
Harrow Borough v Hanwell Town @3pm - elsewhere in the seventh tier, there's a derby at Earlsmead. Harrow are only playing at this level after accepting a reprieve from relegation last season. It came at such a time that the club were all set up for eighth-tier football so this campaign was always going to be a struggle. Although second from bottom, they've often been undone by late goals and red cards as they've fought hard against much better resourced clubs. Still only four points adrift of safety, the season isn't over. Local rivals Hanwell were in the relegation zone too going into Christmas but a good festive period has seen them pull clear so it is doable. Tickets are cheaper if bought online in advance

Isthmian League South Central
Hanworth Villa v Binfield @3pm - there aren't any standout games in the eighth tier so I've decided to put Hanworth in the spotlight. Last season, they finished the season incredibly strongly and made it to the play-offs almost out of nowhere. This season started slowly again but the momentum is building and they're now four points outside the top five. On Saturday they play bottom club Binfield who've shipped 77 goals in 19 games so there's virtually no chance of this ending goalless. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Premier South
Abbey Rangers v Balham @3pm - two of the top six in this division meet at Addlestone Moor on Saturday. This season the top team gets automatically promoted and the next four play-off for one more promotion place. The hosts are fourth whilst Balham sit just outside the leading group but have games in hand on the two teams immediately above them

CCL Division 1
FC Deportivo Galicia v Langley @3pm - in the 10th tier, TLFG reader Steve Hall is starting an epic virtual trek around the football clubs of England on his digital tuk tuk from this game. He's raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK and FC Deportivo Galicia. As for the match, both sides are in midtable 

Sunday 7 January

FA Cup Third Round
West Ham United v Bristol City @2pm - the weekend concludes with two more FA Cup ties. The Hammers are enjoying a decent run at the moment. Their 0-0 draw with Brighton on Tuesday kept them sixth in the Premier League. In other words, they should start as strong favourites against a midtable Championship team. West Ham have won the cup three times but haven't been to the final since 2006 when they lost an absolute classic to Liverpool. City made the final once but it was way back in 1909 and they lost 1-0 to Manchester United. Tickets
Arsenal v Liverpool @430pm - the tie of the round takes place at the Emirates later in the day. Despite not having won the cup since 2020, the Gunners are the record holders for most titles with 14 wins - two ahead of Manchester United. Liverpool are joint third on the list with eight wins. Back to the present day, Arsenal are fourth in the Premier League after a bit of a wobble which has seen them concede top spot to the Reds. It doesn't get much bigger than this. Tickets are only available to members and hospitality has sold out

National League
Boreham Wood v York City @2pm - there's a random bit of fifth-tier action at Meadow Park if the games above are no good for you. Both clubs are in lower midtable and could be even lower if Saturday's results go against them. Since these clubs first met in 2016, all five games between them have ended in a draw and it looks like being a very likely outcome again here. To make this match even more interesting, adult tickets are only £10 which is half the normal charge but they must be bought in advance to get this price

Isthmian League North
New Salamis v Bury Town @3pm - there's also an odd bit of eighth-tier football too. The hosts play their games at Haringey Borough so if you're in north London and you've been to Boreham Wood before, then this could be for you. Bury Town are chasing a play-off place and should start as marginal favourites. Tickets will be available on the gate

FAWNL Division 1 South East
QPR v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - the biggest match of the day in the women's game is this London derby between the fourth-placed R's and leaders Wimbledon. I don't think it's unfair to say QPR have overachieved so far this season so it's credit to all involved that they've done so well. The Dons are in a fight to the death with Norwich City for the title. With only one team getting promoted, they're level on points with the East Anglian club and can't afford any slip ups. The reverse fixture produced an entertaining 5-3 wins for the Dons back in September. This match is being played at Hanwell Town and tickets will be available on the gate

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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