Monday 22 January 2024

TLFG: 22-28 January 2024

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

How has your week been?

Aside from work, preparations for this year's Non-League Day on 23 March are well underway.

Over the last few days, there have been meetings with team members and our charity partners Prostate Cancer UK.

Our friends at Athletic (Bilbao) were also in touch as well and hopefully I'll have a meeting with them sometime in the next few days too.

As for live football, I went to Rectory Park on Sunday to watch Actonians play their first home game since 5 November.

Molly O'Reilly and captain Roschelle Shakes both scored for Actonians on Sunday

Having won their first two games of 2024 at Cambridge City and Ashford Town, the squad came into this cup match against Sutton United with some confidence.

The A's have made the Capital Senior Cup final twice since 2019, beating Leyton Orient in the first and losing on penalties to QPR in 2021.

Arsenal's youngsters won it last year but bowed out early in their defence, losing to Fulham at Craven Cottage.

With Sutton playing in the division below the hosts, they were expected to face a tough afternoon and so it transpired.

Despite some spirited goalkeeping, they found themselves 2-0 down at the interval.

With a strong wind behind them after the break, they might have hoped for a bit more joy but they barely had a sniff as Actonians raced away to record a resounding 8-0 win.

For the second week running, teenage striker Tori St Clair was named POTM as she bagged four goals.

With seven in her last three, she looks quite a prospect.

Having beaten Charlton Athletic U21s at Plough Lane on Sunday, AFC Wimbledon must surely be the favourites from this point.

As for Actonians, 2024 has begun very well indeed but they'll do well to get anything next week as they travel to title contenders Norwich City.

The Canaries won 5-1 at Rectory Park in September on what turned out to be a very dark afternoon for the west London club.

Things have stabilised somewhat since then so it should be closer but I'll be delighted with a point.


This week we've got matches in the FA Cup, EFL Cup, EFL, National League, Women's Champions League and FA Youth Cup as well as all the other non-league and women's competitions which our local clubs compete in.

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 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 22 January

Premier League Cup
The week begins with a couple of decent U21 games in south London. Chelsea entertain Colchester United at Kingsmeadow whilst Crystal Palace host Birmingham City at Sutton United. Both games start at 7pm and you should be able to pay on arrival with tickets no more than £5

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
QPR v Burnley @7pm - after beating Wolves at Molineux in the last round, the R's U18s now face their counterparts from Turfmoor. The match is being played at Loftus Road and tickets can be bought in advance for £3 

Essex Senior League
Ilford v Tilbury @745pm - the best non-league option of the night takes place at Barking's ground where the struggling Foxes take on top club Tilbury. The Dockers will be looking to extend their lead at the summit to seven points as this is one of their games in hand


Tuesday 23 January

EFL Cup Semi-Final Second Leg
Chelsea v Middlesbrough @8pm - despite facing Championship opposition in this semi-final, the Blues are 1-0 down after the first leg. Out of the race for the title and not in Europe, Chelsea's only chance of redemption this season are the domestic cups. In other words, winning this will be absolutely crucial for them. They've made nine finals, winning five but they haven't won since 2015. Boro have made the final three times, winning it once. One of those lost finals was against Chelsea in 1998. Although the London club are the poorest they've been for a while, victory for the visitors will still be a huge upset. Tickets have sold out but hospitality packages are available from £300

League One
Charlton Athletic v Northampton Town @745pm - winless in 11 games in all competitions, the Addicks are now only seven points above the relegation zone. Michael Appleton badly needs to see his side get something here or his position will surely come under more pressure. Tenth and with 10 points from their last five games, the Cobblers are no pushovers. Tickets

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Dorking Wanderers @745pm - sitting not far above the relegation zone, this is close to being a relegation six-pointer so there's plenty to play for. With wins over Gateshead and Oxford City in recent weeks, the visitors are in better form. Tickets
Wealdstone v Southend United @745pm - having seen manager Stuart Maynard headhunted by League Two club Notts County last week, the Stones will be looking to start life without him on a positive note. The Shrimpers sit just a point above them and have won three of their last five. However, given they suffered a 10-point deduction earlier in the season, their position is somewhat false. Tickets

London Senior Cup First Round
Corinthian Casuals v QPR U21 @745pm - this match has been postponed at least twice over the last couple of months and his holding up the rest of the draw. I don't think the R's have ever entered a side in this competition, they've certainly never won it, but they should start as favourites against a team who are struggling towards the bottom of the eighth tier Isthmian League South Central. Tickets will be available on the gate


Wednesday 24 January

EFL Cup Semi-Final Second Leg
Fulham v Liverpool @8pm - the Cottagers played well in the first leg at Anfield but ultimately lost 2-1. Still, that's far from disastrous now that they have the all-important second leg at home. Fulham have never made the final whilst the Reds are the most successful club in the competition's history with nine wins. Jurgen Klopp's side are also top of the Premier League and will be big favourites to make it to Wembley. Tickets have sold out

UEFA Women's Champions League
Chelsea v Real Madrid @8pm - the Blues, who are top, will take a huge stride towards winning this group if they beat their Spanish opponents. Although a huge name in the men's game, the women's team aren't quite at that level and are bottom with just one point from four games and will go out if they lose. That point actually came against Chelsea in Madrid so they know something about containing the London club. This is being played at Stamford Bridge and tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Eastleigh @745pm - unbeaten in four, the Wood have moved six points clear of the relegation zone. However, most of that unbeaten run has been draws so they could definitely do with another win. Eastleigh are only four points shy of the play-off places but they're three games without a victory and this could be a good time to play them. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Kingstonian v Concord Rangers @745pm - in the seventh tier there's a huge relegation six-pointer between the division's bottom two. The K's are without a home of their own and this can't have helped their ability to operate at the high levels they used to enjoy. The visitors, who hail from Canvey Island, got relegated from the NLS last season and look set to go down again. Locked together on 12 points, they're both 10 points adrift of safety so it's looking bleak 

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Athletic Newham @745pm - two sides who sit just outside the play-off places meet at Ashton Stadium on Wednesday. Just a point behind fifth placed Great Wakering Rovers, the hosts could get back into the top five with a win here

Thursday 25 January

Middlesex Premier Cup Quarter-Final
CB Hounslow United v RB Kensington @745pm - there's one senior game on Thursday and it's this cup tie at Green Lane. This competition is for teams in the 10th and 11th tiers. The hosts were in the 10th tier last season alongside RBK but got relegated. On paper, the visitors should start as favourites

Friday 26 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
Chelsea v Aston Villa @745pm - the country's favourite cup competition is now down to its last 32 and there are two big ties in the capital on Friday night. With 15 wins between them, these are two of the most successful clubs in FA Cup history. For most of the last 20 years, you'd expect the Blues to start as strong favourites but not any more. Under Unai Emery, Villa have become the top-four club who are challenging for honours on several fronts, the role Chelsea have held for most of the 21st century. Now stuck in the midtable doldrums, they've also lost their last two against the Birmingham club at Stamford Bridge. To me, EFL Cup glory looks far more likely for Chelsea. Tickets are currently on sale to members only but check with the club to see if that changes. Hospitality packages are available from £300
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City @8pm - in north London there's another fascinating looking game between two more sides with 15 wins between them. At the time of writing, only three points separate the clubs in the league as City have failed to win seven of their 20 games so far this season. Pep Guardiola's side are the reigning champions but you have to go all the way back to 1991 to find Spurs' last win, something that I still find hard to believe. Tickets are on sale to members and hospitality packages are available from £349

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Stoke City @7pm - if you can't get a ticket for either of the above, you could go to this U21 game at the Hammers' Rush Green training facility in Romford. The hosts are second in this 26-team division so will start as favourites. Tickets should be available on the gate but check all the details with the club before you travel

CCL Premier South
Epsom & Ewell v Cobham @745pm - there are some reasonable non-league alternatives too including this groundshare derby in leafy Surrey. On this occasion it's tenants versus landlords and with both in the bottom four, there's plenty to play for. Tickets will be available on the gate

Saturday 27 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
Fulham v Newcastle United @7pm - the biggest game of the day takes place at the end of it, much to the delight of the away fans I'm sure! The Cottagers come into this on the back of losing to Liverpool in the EFL Cup semi-finals on Wednesday so this competition represents their only chance of silverware this season. Fulham have never won the FA Cup and although Newcastle have enjoyed six triumphs, it's 69 years since the last one. Both sides are in poor league form coming into this with only one win in the last five so it's a pretty tough one to call. Tickets were on general sale but seem to now only be available to members

Millwall v Preston North End @3pm - this is the only second-tier game in London on Saturday and it's quite hard for me to sell. Neither team are doing particularly well and there isn't any great rivalry that I'm aware of. However, what seems clear from the stats is that Millwall are a bogey team for PNE - they're unbeaten in nine against the Lancashire club which is pretty unusual at this level. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Mansfield Town @3pm - the hosts suffered the ignominy of losing 3-1 to arch rivals MK Dons on Tuesday to slip to 10th. Of the five games they've played in January, they've only managed to win the EFL Trophy match against Oxford United so they're not in the best form. The Stags are third in the table but are three without a win in the league and only managed a draw against struggling Sutton United on Tuesday. Tickets

Premier League 2
Chelsea v Reading @2pm - if you're on a tight budget then this U21 match at Kingsmeadow could be a good option for you. When it comes to first-team football, these two are light years apart with the Royals struggling badly in League One. However, in this competition, it's Reading who are in the top six and the Blues down in midtable. Tickets

National League
Wealdstone v FC Halifax Town @3pm - there are three games in the fifth tier on Saturday but if I were to pick one to recommend it would be this. Last week, the Stones lost manager Stuart Maynard to Notts County. This will be the first game under new boss David Noble who has joined from St Albans City. As a player, Noble played first-team games for the likes of Watford and West Ham before establishing himself at Bristol City and Exeter City. He's joined by Neil Banfield who was second in command at QPR under Michael Beale last season so the Ruislip-based club clearly have some ambition. His first match will be a tough one against Halifax who won the FA Trophy last season and will probably move into the play-off places if they win here. Tickets

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Chelmsford City @3pm - game of the day in the sixth tier was an easy pick as two of the top five meet at The Beveree. H&RB's lengthy unbeaten run finally came to an end at Braintree on 6 January but they haven't played since as the weather has wiped out their fixtures. In that time, Chelmsford have stormed up the table winning six in a row and they're now third. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Enfield Town v Hornchurch @3pm - the Urchins arrive at Donkey Lane in top spot. It's a position they've held for a while but their lead is being reduced after three straight draws. The last two of those have come after the departure of manager Steve Morison to Sutton United so it will be interesting to see how his loss will affect them for the remainder of the season. The Towners are fourth. One time title contenders, they're 10 points behind the visitors at the moment so they really have to win this to keep any hopes of automatic promotion alive. Tickets

Southern League Premier South
Harrow Borough v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - elsewhere in the seventh tier there's a derby at Earlsmead. To top it all it's a relegation six-pointer so there's a lot riding on it. As a fan of the Boro, it was sad to see them slip to the bottom following Didcot's midweek win. Now eight points adrift of safety, it's looking like last-chance saloon time already. Surprisingly, H&YU are in a mess too. Third from bottom but only two points adrift, they could deal a real hammer blow to their local rivals with a win here. Tickets will be available on the gate

Isthmian League South Central
Chertsey Town v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @3pm - the battle for the title in this division is tight. The hosts are currently top, separated from Southall by goal difference alone. Regularly drawing crowds of over 700, which is exceptional for this level, the Curfews are well worth a watch. Ashford are fifth from bottom and don't play a million miles away from Alwyns Lane so there's a bit of a derby element to this too. Tickets

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Ashford United @3pm - over on the south-east side of town, CVPM play the other Ashford who come from Kent. As someone who works on the railway, I've lost count of the times passengers get their Ashford's muddled up and arrive in the Middlesex one looking for a Eurostar to Paris. Anyway, I digress. CVPM are second and still have three games in hand on top club Ramsgate who are 11 points ahead. With only one team going up automatically, it's still a tough ask for Steve McKimm's side but a win here against the team in 11th will keep them firmly on course for at least a play-off place. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Premier North
Bedfont Sports v Burnham @3pm - if you're not far from Heathrow or fancy doing a bit of plane spotting then this top-six clash could be for you. With Rayners Lane and Flackwell Heath pulling well clear of the rest, it now seems to be all about who will finish third. The hosts are the current incumbents whilst Burnham are five points behind them but with two games in hand. The fight for play-off places in this division should be worth keeping an eye on. Tickets will be available on the gate

SCEFL Premier
Glebe v Snodland Town @3pm - having won their big top-of-the-table clash at Faversham Town last weekend, Glebe are now four points clear in first. With three consecutive wins, their form is good but not as good as third placed Corinthian who are six points behind but have a worrying four games in hand. In other words, the hosts simply have to keep winning to keep their rivals at bay - there is very little margin for error. Snodland won the First Division title last year and are well placed for a play-off push this season so they should provide a stern test. Tickets will be available on the gate

SCEFL Division 1
Croydon v Staplehurst Monarchs @3pm - with almost 400,000 inhabitants, Croydon is the biggest London borough in terms of population. However, it's two main non-league clubs play way down the pyramid and struggle to get big crowds as Premier League Crystal Palace dominate the local football scene. The Trams are in the 10th tier and have a chance of making the play-offs. Although sixth, they're seven points shy of that all-important fifth place which will get them into the post-season. On Saturday, the team in fourth pay them a visit so a win is pretty much essential. Tickets will be available on the gate

Sunday 28 January

QPR v Huddersfield Town @130pm - there's a bonus bit of second-tier action in Shepherds Bush on Sunday and it's a hugely important game. After beating London rivals Millwall 2-0 in their big game last weekend, the R's have put themselves in a position where a win here against their fellow strugglers will finally take them out of the bottom three. Huddersfield are four without a win and sit just above QPR in the table, so defeat will see them drop into the relegation places instead. Tickets

FA Cup Fourth Round
Watford v Southampton @2pm - if you fancy some cup football instead then head to Vicarage Road where two Championship clubs will be battling it out for a place in the last 16. The visiting Saints will start as favourites and they won't want to lose. Last weekend's win over Swansea saw them set a new club record of 21 games without defeat and I'm sure they'll want to keep that run going. Tickets

Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City @2pm - with three consecutive wins in the league and cup, Spurs are now establishing themselves as part of the top six. On Sunday they welcome the division's form team to Brisbane Road for a huge test of their credentials. Unbeaten in eight matches and up to second in the WSL, City demolished Spurs 7-0 when they last played at the end of November. Tickets are not available online - whether this means it's sold out or just too short notice I'm not quite sure but check with the club on the day for the latest

Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Charlton Athletic @2pm - there's a huge game in the second tier where these south London rivals meet at Sutton United's ground. The Addicks are one point clear at the top but third place Palace are just two points behind with a game in hand. With only three points separating the top five and only one promotion place available, this title race looks like being one of the most thrilling around. Tickets

If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've  been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

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