Sunday 7 January 2024

TLFG: 8-14 January 2024

Greetings one and all and welcome to the first TLFG of 2024.

I hope the festive period went well for you and you got to a few games.

Sadly my very persistent cough (a virus) and work commitments meant I didn't get to a match until this afternoon (Sunday).

It will come as no surprise that I went to watch an Actonians side, this time the reserves who were playing Crawley AFC from the division above in a cup match.

My afternoon at the Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub was like none I can remember as I witnessed two truly strange footballing occurrences.

To set the scene, there are two 3G pitches at this facility and both had women's games taking place on them - the aforementioned cup match and a friendly hosted by Hammersmith.

TLFG reader Stephen Hall has begun his tuk tuk challenge - find out more

The so-called friendly became quite a testy affair with the referee booking various players and coaching staff and it came to a head when he sent off one of the managers during the second half.

For whatever reason, he didn't like the way things were going and abandoned the game - presumably for excessive dissent.

Amazingly as he walked off, the offending manager took out a whistle and took his place with both sides very happy to carry on without the official.

From the little I saw, the man in the middle did seem to enjoy his authority quite a lot so the fact that the rival teams were content to carry on without him says a lot!

Anyway, in the match I was actually watching, Actonians came from behind to force a 1-1 draw.

With a penalty shootout well underway, it was pointed out by someone that extra-time should have been played before penalties and duly the shootout was abandoned, the players warmed up and extra-time commenced. Bonkers!

The A's totally dominated the following 30 minutes but with time almost up, a Crawley player scored from 30 yards with a speculative shot which no keeper at this level would've saved and it ended 2-1.

Thankfully, the first team won their game at Cambridge City by the same scoreline to make sure my weekend ended on a high after the disappointment of seeing QPR and Harrow Borough lose on Saturday.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Stephen H, Glen B and Tim G from London and Charles J from Atlanta, USA who all donated to TLFG's coffee drinking fund - I really appreciate it.


This week we've got matches in the Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Trophy, Women's FA Cup 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 8 January

Premier League International Cup
Fulham v Benfica @7pm - the week begins with a very tasty bit of European U21 action as Portuguese giants Benfica send a side to London to play the Cottagers at their training ground in Motspur Park. Both sides have played two group games so far with Fulham winning both and Benfica only managing a draw and a loss. Tickets are usually around £3 and available on the gate but check all the details with the club before you set off

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Colchester United @1pm - earlier in the day there's another U21 match at Dartford's Princes Park. These two are in the bottom four of the South group of teams in this league so could both do with a win. Again, tickets should be available on the door and cost no more than £5


Tuesday 9 January

EFL Trophy Third Round
AFC Wimbledon v Oxford United @745pm - after bowing out of the FA Cup to Championship side Ipswich Town on Saturday, the Dons return to action in this competition. After a fine 5-2 win at Fratton Park against League One leaders Portsmouth in the last round, they should fancy themselves at home against another decent side from that division. Tickets

Premier League International Cup
Chelsea v Valencia @7pm - there's another eye-catching European U21 game at Kingsmeadow where the Blues are looking to make up ground on group leaders Brighton who have won all their games. Spanish club Valencia have lost two of their three games so need to be beaten again. Tickets are available in advance but should also be available on the night

National League
Barnet v Dagenham & Redbridge @745pm - the Bees suffered a disappointing 3-2 loss at promotion rivals Altrincham on Saturday. Although still third, their lead over fourth-placed Solihull is down to six points. The Daggers are badly in need of a win too but for the opposite reason as they sit just three points above the relegation zone. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Haringey Borough @745pm - the postponement of Saturday's game at Concord Rangers saw the Towners slip out of the top three for the first time in a while. Now down in fifth, they have Hastings United breathing down their necks in the battle for the last play-off place. On Tuesday they play local rivals Haringey who recorded a hugely important 2-1 win over Canvey Island on Saturday to give their hopes of beating the drop a big boost. Tickets

Essex Senior Cup Fourth Round
Walthamstow v Colchester United @745pm - after beating Billericay on penalties in the last round, the 'Stow next face a side from League Two club Colchester. How strong a side the fourth-tier club send out remains to be seen but they comprehensively beat Heybridge Swifts, who are above Walthamstow in the league, in the last round. Tickets are £10 on the gate


Wednesday 10 January

Isthmian League Cup Fourth Round
Kingstonian v Whitehawk @745pm - the K's are having a terrible season in the Isthmian Premier. Currently second from bottom, they're looking increasingly likely to go down. However, in the League Cup they're doing okay. After beating Dulwich Hamlet in the last round, they face another midtable team. A lot of clubs rotate players in this competition so a lot will come down to who picks their strongest eleven. Tickets are £8 on the gate

Essex Senior League
Athletic Newham v West Essex @745pm - in the ninth tier we have a match between two sides who started pretty well but have drifted in recent weeks leaving them in midtable. The visitors are five points adrift of the play-off places but have games in hand which could put them back in contention. Tickets will be available on the gate


Thursday 11 January

Youth & Development games
All today's action features some of our local non-league sides' U23 and U18 teams. If you want to see a game which has a bit riding on it then Abbey Rangers have a Surrey Premier Cup game against Nottsborough which kicks-off at 745pm

Friday 12 January

Premier League 2
The weekend gets underway with a trio of U21 games in north and south-west London. Arsenal and Fulham both have home games but top billing goes to Chelsea who host Manchester United at Kingsmeadow - tickets are available in advance for this. All games start at 7pm

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
West Ham United v Manchester City @7pm - there's also a great tie in the country's most prestigious U18 competition where the holders take on a talented City side. At the time of writing the Hammers are top of the U18 Premier League South whilst City are second in the north. Sadly, it's only being played at Rush Green rather than London Stadium. I haven't found any ticket details yet so check with the club nearer the time

Saturday 13 January

Premier League
Chelsea v Fulham @1230pm - the biggest game of the week is this West London derby at Stamford Bridge on Saturday lunchtime. With just over a mile between their stadiums, these teams really are local rivals. However, over the course of time it's been a very one-sided relationship with the Cottagers winning only one of their last 24 games against the Blues. That took place on the same weekend last year so maybe they could be in luck again, especially given how beatable the current Chelsea team are. Tickets are only available to members and hospitality packages are available from £300

Millwall v Middlesbrough @3pm - three league wins on the bounce have pulled the Lions 10 points clear of the relegation zone. Next up they face a Boro side who created headlines in midweek by beating Chelsea 1-0 in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final. Only four points ahead of Millwall in the table, they lost 1-0 at home to the London club in the reverse fixture in August so this looks like being a pretty tight game. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Peterborough United @3pm - the Addicks are now nine games without a win in all competitions. Although still 13th, they are much closer to the relegation zone than the play-off places. On Saturday they welcome perennial promotion contenders Peterborough. Currently third, Posh have the longest unbeaten league record in the division (9 games), with Wigan being the last side to beat them at the beginning of November. When these two last played in August, Peterborough won 1-0 and they should be fairly confident of repeating that here. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Barrow @3pm - bottom of the table Sutton begin life under new boss Steve Morison. The former Millwall striker was manager of Isthmian League leaders Hornchurch prior to his appointment which represents quite a promotion (a leap of three divisions) for the young manager. With four points from their last three games, the U's aren't in terrible form but they are still six points adrift of safety. Barrow are fourth and should provide a formidable test for the new boss and his team. Tickets

FA Trophy Fourth Round
This knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley is down to its last 32 teams. The winners of each tie receive £5,250 and the losers £1,500. There are three ties in London:

Bromley v Chippenham Town @3pm - the Ravens are currently London's top ranked non-league club. Second in the National League, they've got a good recent record in this competition too. Making two of the last six finals, they won it in 2022 beating the mighty Wrexham 1-0 at Wembley in front of 46,111 fans. Chippenham are in the lower reaches of the division below them, have never made the final and should be beaten. Tickets
Aveley v AFC Fylde @3pm - after a worrying slump in form, the Millers have won their last two games to move back into the NLS play-off places. On Saturday they welcome one of the strugglers from the division above who make the long journey down from Lancashire. Although the Essex club should fancy their chances, Fylde did win it in 2019 so have some pedigree in the competition. Tickets
Welling United v Chesterfield @3pm - although they're only a division apart, this really is a David v Goliath tie. Whilst the Wings are struggling towards the bottom of the NLS, the Spireites are nine points clear at the top of the National League. Last weekend, it took a 95th-minute goal for Watford to beat them in an FA Cup tie at Vicarage Road. All I can say is good luck Welling, you're going to need it! Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v Hornchurch @3pm - in the seventh tier the Robins are eighth but still seven points shy of the play-off places. Here they welcome the league leaders who, as mentioned above, have just lost their manager to Sutton so it will be interesting to see how they respond. Tickets

Isthmian League South Central
Chertsey Town v Raynes Park Vale @3pm - for most of the season these two have been in the top two in their eighth-tier division but over the last week things have changed and they're now second and fourth respectively. The hosts have the games in hand to reclaim top spot from Southall whilst RPV could get back up to third if they win theirs. One way or another, I'd say the visitors probably have slightly more to lose here as defeat will seriously dent their automatic promotion ambitions. Tickets

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Sheppey United @3pm - elsewhere in the eighth tier there's a match between two of the top six. Both sides enjoyed great runs in the FA Cup bowing out to Charlton Athletic and Walsall respectively. CVPM had a great run in the FA Trophy too so they have three games in hand on leaders Ramsgate. Currently second, they'll be only two points behind them if they win them all. Tickets will be available on the gate for £10 but it's only £6 if you have a season ticket for a Premier League, EFL or National League club

FA Vase Fourth Round
This knockout competition for clubs in the ninth and tenth tiers with its final at Wembley is down to its last 32 teams. The winners of each tie receive £1,875 and the losers £600. There are two ties in London:

Holmesdale v Highworth Town @3pm - the hosts have been playing in this competition since 2008 and have never previously been beyond the First Round so this run has smashed all club records. Given they're 13th in the ninth tier SCEFL Premier, they've done really well to get this far. On Saturday they face a club from Wiltshire who are currently sixth in the parallel Hellenic League Premier. Ties go straight to penalties if they're level after 90 minutes. Tickets will be available on the gate
North Greenford United v Brixham @3pm - although they've been to the Third Round twice in recent years, getting to the Fourth Round is a best for NGU as well. They face quite a test on Saturday as Devon club Brixham made the Fifth Round last season. Intriguingly they're both currently sixth in their respective ninth-tier divisions so this could be pretty epic. Tickets will be available on the gate

Sunday 14 January

QPR v Watford @12pm - there's a random bit of EFL action in London on Sunday lunchtime and it's a decent derby between two sides who play about 15 miles apart - I know this as I walked to the away game at Vicarage Road once. These sides last met on the opening day when the Hornets crushed Gareth Ainsworth's side 4-0. In the following weeks, the R's actually rallied to briefly climb above Watford in the table but it's been downhill ever since for the west London club. Now with Marti Cifuentes in charge, performances have improved but a very disappointing festive period has left them firmly in the relegation zone and seen them knocked out of the FA Cup. Watford are just four points from the top six and still in the cup - they look the more likely to win. Tickets

Isthmian League South East
Erith & Belvedere v Lancing @3pm - there's also a non-league option too. With Welling United playing in the FA Trophy on Saturday, the Deres' match has moved to Sunday. It's an important game which affects both ends of the table. The hosts are second bottom and fighting the drop whilst Lancing are fourth and going for promotion

Women's FA Cup Fourth Round
This country's most prestigious cup for women with its final at Wembley is down to its last 32 teams. At this stage the Women's Super League teams enter the draw. The winners of each tie receive £54,000 and the losers £13,000. There are five ties in London:

Arsenal v Watford @1pm - like their men's team, the Gunners have won the FA Cup more times than anyone else - with 14 wins they're well ahead of everyone else. However, they haven't won it since 2016 so it would seem about time they did it again. The draw has pretty kind as the Hornets are bottom of the Championship with only one league win all season and will have to pull off a minor miracle to keep the scoreline respectable. This match has sold out
Chelsea v West Ham United @1pm - the Blues are the holders and have actually won it for the last three years. Top of the WSL, they'll start this match against the struggling Hammers as huge favourites. All is not lost for the east London club though as they've signed three big name international players during the transfer window. With Kristie Mewis (USA), Shelina Zadorsky (Canada) and Katrina Gorry (Australia) all joining, they've got a chance. Also, possibly more critically, Chelsea lost star striker Sam Kerr to a dreaded ACL injury during a winter training camp in Morocco to rock their preparations. Tickets
Crystal Palace v Blackburn Rovers @1pm - also at 1pm there's an all-Championship tie at Sutton United's ground. The race for the second-tier title is incredibly tight with two points separating the top five and Palace are in this group. Although Rovers are seventh, they have games in hand which would put them right back in contention if they won them. When the sides met in the league in October, the Eagles won 4-0 so you'd expect them to win here too. Tickets
Tottenham Hotspur v Sheffield United @2pm - like the three ties above, a home win looks highly likely here too. Spurs are sixth in the WSL and come into this on the back of their first ever derby win over Arsenal. With the Blades midtable in the Championship, it looks like a very tough ask for the Yorkshire club. Tickets
London City Lionesses v Moneyfields @3pm - LCL nearly won the Championship last season but didn't quite make it. In the bottom four, this season has been very disappointing by comparison. The visitors are a fourth-tier side and hence one of the lowest ranked teams left in the competition. Scoring an average of six goals in their league games so far, they could make things difficult for the hosts. 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.

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 


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  2. Thanks a lot again! Went to AFC Wimbledon v Oxford and today QPR v Watford. Curious for whats coming this week! Will keep an eye on the site!