Sunday 11 February 2024

TLFG: 12-18 February 2024

Welcome to TLFG Valentine's Week Special - not really, I don't have time for any of that!

What's the most eventful Valentine's Day (VD) you've ever had? Mine saw me have my appendix removed when I was 14.

There was also a time at university, when myself and a colleague who ran the hall of residence sports and social committee spent ages writing homemade cards to every woman in the building to make sure no-one missed out - make of that what you will.

With VD falling on a Wednesday this year, some clubs have games. Have you seen any great offers from the clubs for that 'special person in your life'? There's usually one or two.

Midfielder Camila Orozco Saenz was in the thick of the action for Actonians

Anyway, enough of all the VD chat, my football week has seen preparations for Non-League Day continue.

The most exciting thing relating to this was a meeting with a corporate sponsor who are offering opportunities I could only ever have previously dreamed of.

A few things need to fall into place for the full potential of such a relationship to be realised but it's really close and hopefully I'll be able to update you with more news on this soon.

As for live action, I was back at Rectory Park today (Sunday) for the Women's National League game between Actonians and Cambridge United.

Aside from the football, I also made my debut as the gate man after a late call up from the chair in the morning. 

To be honest, I was a bit unsure about doing it but I grew into it and managed to make the club a few quid even though I wasn't provided with a float.

I also managed a bit of chat with some of the punters who included a player's uncle who had travelled from Edinburgh, a player's boyfriend who thought it was free to get in but was happy enough to pay, the Cambridge keeper's boyfriend who lived locally and some of the Cambridge media team.

With the sides neck-and-neck in the table, it was expected to be tight and so it began.

Watching the game with one of Actonians' management team from last season, I enjoyed some great insight into what was going on.

Chances were few and far between as the interval approached but then another well taken goal from Amber Dredge gave the A's a 1-0 lead.

After the break, things continued to be competitive but then the referee made two decisions which changed the course of the game.

Stamford Bridge plays host to Chelsea's U21 side on Thursday

Firstly, a fierce shot from the A's American midfielder Camila Orozco Saenz crashed against the underside of the bar and appeared to cross the line but the officials didn't agree and waved play on.

Then almost immediately, one of the most blatant handballs I've ever seen and heard (the slap was audible from the other end of the pitch) was also missed and the player slammed home an equaliser.

Still smarting from this, the A's defence got opened up again and defender Jennie Brereton stuck out a hand to stop a goal and got sent off - correctly.

The resulting penalty was smoothly converted and, although Actonians hit the woodwork twice in the last half hour, Cambridge rattled off another three goals to win 5-1.

With both sides realistically out of the promotion and relegation battles, this was close to being a dead rubber so it's not the end of the world.

Much more important is Actonians' Capital Senior Cup Quarter-Final against Fulham this Sunday.

The Cottagers beat the A's in the FA Cup on penalties earlier in the season so it would be nice to get some revenge and a cup semi-final place.


This week we've got matches in the Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Trophy, Women's Super League and Premier League International 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 12 February

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Chelsea @8pm - the week begins with this London derby. The Blues have had a very poor season by their standards with two consecutive defeats leaving them 11th in the Premier League. However, Palace are even further down the table and Chelsea seem to well and truly have their number, beating them on the last 13 occasions in all competitions. Tickets are only available to members


Tuesday 13 February

League One
Charlton Athletic v Lincoln City @745pm - the Addicks brought in former Luton and Southampton manager Nathan Jones as their new boss last week and he began with a 2-0 loss at fellow strugglers Reading. Things are looking pretty dire for the new man with his side being kept out of the relegation zone by goal difference alone. On top of that, the two teams below them both have games in hand. The Imps are next to visit and they're building a decent unbeaten run to keep their faint play-off hopes alive. Lincoln won the reverse fixture 3-1 back in October. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Northampton Town @745pm - the O's have had a great few weeks but their unbeaten run came to an end at Barnsley on Saturday. Up in ninth, they're still eight points adrift of the play-off places so they can't afford to lose too many more games if they want to stay in contention. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Wrexham @745pm - the U's have improved a lot under new boss Steve Morison but they still haven't won any of the six games he's presided over. On Tuesday night they face one of the toughest games of the season when Phil Parkinson's promotion contenders head down from Wales. Despite being one of the favourites for promotion, they've lost three in a row so this could be a good time to play them. Tickets have sold out but a waiting list has been opened 

Professional Development League
QPR v Watford @7pm - if you're into U21 football or simply want a slightly earlier kick-off then this derby at Hanwell Town could be for you. The R's youngsters are having a fine season and currently top Group South whilst the Hornets are down in eighth with nearly half the points. Entry is usually £5 on the gate but check all the details with QPR on the day

FA Trophy Fifth Round
Wealdstone v Hendon @745pm - with the original tie postponed on Saturday, these two local rivals will give it another go on Tuesday. As members of the National League, the Stones play two levels above the Greens and will be big favourites to win. However, the north-west London club caused one of the upsets of the competition so far by beating Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park in the last round and defeating sides from higher divisions in the two rounds before that. The club who play within sight of the Wembley arch, should travel to Grosvenor Vale with little to fear. Tickets

Middlesex Senior Cup Semi-Final
Rayners Lane v North Greenford United @745pm - there's a lot of great stuff going on in west London on Tuesday with this all-CCL derby in the county cup. Rayners Lane are top of the ninth-tier division both clubs are in whilst NGU are sixth and well in with a chance of getting a play-off spot. The visitors also pulled off a fantastic win at Essex Senior League leaders Tilbury in the FA Vase on Saturday to take them into the last eight of that competition. The winners will play Hayes & Yeading United or Hendon in the final. Tickets will be available on the gate

Wednesday 14 February

Millwall v Ipswich Town @745pm - after a great festive period which seemed to pull them well clear of the bottom three, the Lions are now sliding back into the mire. Saturday's loss at Coventry means they're now only four points above a relegation zone which is topped by a QPR side who are unbeaten in four and growing in confidence. Since sensationally losing to non-league Maidstone in the FA Cup, Ipswich have failed to win their next two league games meaning they're now down to fourth. Tickets 

Isthmian League South East
Phoenix Sports v Beckenham Town @745pm - the best non-league option of the night would appear to be this relegation six-pointer in south-east London. Both clubs are in the bottom three and fighting for every point so there's plenty to play for. Tickets will be available on the gate


Thursday 15 February

Premier League International Cup Quarter-Final
Chelsea v PSV Eindhoven @7pm - if there's a youngster in your life who likes Chelsea or would just enjoy a visit to Stamford Bridge then this U21 match could make for a great half-term excursion. The Blues have never been beyond the semi-finals in this competition whilst PSV are the reigning champions, made the final on one other occasion and are the only non-English club remaining in this year's competition. Tickets

Friday 16 February

Women's Super League
Chelsea v Manchester City @715pm - there's an absolutely huge game in the WSL on Friday night, which might as well be a title decider given how precious points are in this division. The Blues are currently three points ahead of City at the top but the visitors are in better form. On Sunday, Gareth Taylor's side notched an impressive 2-0 win at Arsenal in the FA Cup whilst Chelsea huffed and puffed to a 1-0 win over Championship club Crystal Palace. For the good of the league, if nothing else, I'm really hoping for a City win. Given its importance, it's kind of weird that this match is at Kingsmeadow whilst the U21s are at Stamford Bridge the night before - as a result it's sold out

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Southampton @7pm - back in the men's game, we've got some more U21 football. The Gunners are third in the 26 team PL2 but some way behind leaders Spurs. The Saints are way down in 18th and should be beaten. This is being played at Boreham Wood - entrance is often free for these games but shouldn't be more than £5

Premier League
Brentford v Liverpool @1230pm - having missed the first half of the season with a betting ban, Ivan Toney is back in the Bees' side and making a huge impact. With three goals in four games, Thomas Frank's side are a different proposition with him in the team and they should beat the drop. Whether they get any points against the league leaders is another matter although they are unbeaten in the two games against them at the GTech and they scored three in each. Tickets are not available
Fulham v Aston Villa @3pm - four and half miles along the Thames path, you come to Craven Cottage which plays host to this match. With only one defeat in five, the Cottagers have put 10 points between themselves and the relegation zone so things are looking pretty promising. Villa, on the other hand, are up in fifth and looking for a Champions League place. Although losing to Manchester United last weekend, most reports said they were very unlucky and should've got something. With four wins from five against the west London club, Unai Emery's side should start as favourites. Tickets are unavailable but hospitality packages are available from £400+
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - building a nice unbeaten run, Spurs are back in the top four and looking to cement their place there. Getting another three points against Wolves though, won't be easy. Although down in 11th, a Europa Conference League place is starting to come into view for the Midlands club. Gary O'Neil has done a superb job at Molineux and must be in the running for at least a place on the shortlist for manager of the season. They've also only lost one of their last five against Tottenham and won the reverse fixture 2-1 in November. Tickets are only available to members

Women's Super League
Arsenal v Manchester United @1230pm - the roads and public transport network in north London look set to be very busy on Saturday. With around 60,000 heading to Spurs, a similar amount of people have bought tickets for this women's game at the Emirates - the first time a WSL match at this venue has sold out. The Gunners have had a very difficult couple of weeks, losing to struggling West Ham in the league and getting knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester City. Trophy-wise, the League Cup is all they realistically look capable of winning now. Aside from that, keeping hold of third place and qualifying for Europe is also a top priority and the only team likely to nick it off them are United. When they last met in October, it ended 2-2. Tickets are not available

Millwall v Sheffield Wednesday @3pm - with all of the above sold out, the highest level game the casual fan or groundhopper can get a ticket for on Saturday is this one. It looks like a potential cracker too with both battling to avoid the drop. With Birmingham, Stoke and Huddersfield all winning in midweek, the Lions are now just above the relegation zone. Although they have a four-point cushion between themselves and QPR, their form is poor and it's a worrying time for their fans. Wednesday are seven points adrift of safety so losing this would make staying up very difficult indeed. Tickets

League One
Leyton Orient v Burton Albion @3pm - with only one defeat in 10, the O's are up in eighth but still seven points off the all-important top six. The visitors are down in 18th but with seven points from four games, they've got a bit of momentum and are staying just ahead of the strugglers. The last match between them ended goalless, so hopefully there'll be a few more goals this time. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Morecambe @3pm - locked together on 46 points and only a point shy of the play-off places, this is a big game for both sides. With four wins from five, the Shrimps are in better form than the Dons and they thrashed them 4-1 in October. Tickets

National League
Bromley v Chesterfield @3pm - the match of the day in the fifth tier sees the top two meet at Hayes Lane. With the Spireites way out in front at the top, a win here could potentially leave them 26 points clear with 13 games to go and make this effectively a title decider ,if it wasn't a foregone conclusion already. Although the title might be beyond them, finishing second makes things easier in the play-offs and the Ravens are also still doing well in the FA Trophy so they still have plenty to play for. Tickets

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Aveley @3pm - my pick of the day in the sixth tier sees two of the play-off hopefuls meet at the Beveree. The hosts are currently just about holding on to seventh, the last play-off spot, whilst former leaders Aveley are four points behind in 10th. With only six points separating the clubs in 6th-13th, it's shaping up to be quite a battle. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Hornchurch v Haringey Borough @3pm - there's a game of some significance at either end of the table in the seventh tier. The Urchins seem to be permanently nine points clear at the top, with second-placed Chatham refusing to let them go. On Saturday you'd expect them to get another win against a Haringey side who are battling the drop. It was tight when they played at Coles Park with Hornchurch winning 2-1. Tickets

Isthmian League South Central
Chipstead v Chertsey Town @3pm - it's a similar story at High Road where the struggling Chips welcome the division-leading Curfews. The hosts are currently in the bottom four but, with only two going down, will probably just about keep their heads above water. Chertsey, on the other hand, are six points clear with two games in hand on their nearest rivals - it's looking really good for them. Tickets are £10 on the gate

Essex Senior League
Athletic Newham v Sporting Bengal United @3pm - in the ninth tier, why not check out this east London derby between sides from the neighbouring boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets? Not only is this a derby, the sides are both in the top five and looking to go up. Tickets will be available on the gate

London Senior Trophy Semi-Final
Croydon v Cockfosters Reserves @3pm - no 10th-tier games are really grabbing me but this important cup match does. The Trams made it to the semi-finals last season too before losing on penalties to eventual champions FC Petrocub. They're up against 11th-tier opposition so will start as favourites. Tickets will be available on the gate

Sunday 18 February

Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa @2pm - sixth in the league and through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, Spurs are having a pretty satisfactory season. On Sunday they welcome a side who did really well last season but have found this campaign much more of a struggle. Having improved considerably, Villa are now up in midtable and in very little danger of relegation. The sides' current league form is identical over the last five games so a draw looks highly likely. This is being played at Leyton Orient. Online sales appear to have ended but I'm sure you can pay on arrival - adult tickets are £10

Women's Championship
Charlton Athletic v Reading @2pm - the Addicks pushed Spurs really hard in the FA Cup last week before losing 1-0. Karen Hills' side return to league duty here where they find themselves top of an incredibly tight division. Remember that only one team goes up at the end of the season and there are currently only four points between the top five. Sadly for the Royals, they are not one of them. Relegated from the WSL last season, off-field issues have really blighted the Berkshire club and they could go down again. This is being played at VCD Athletic. Tickets
Crystal Palace v Blackburn Rovers @2pm - the Eagles are also in the title-chasing group and crucially have a game in hand which would put them top on goal difference if they won it. Rovers are the ultimate midtable club. Sitting sixth, they're 12 points behind Charlton so realistically have little chance of going up. They're actually much closer to the relegation zone but it would be quite a surprise if they end up in the bottom two. This match is being played at Sutton United. Tickets
London City Lionesses v Durham @2pm - with a change of ownership in December and management this month, this is very much a season of transition for the hosts. Knocked out of the FA Cup and League Cup over the last few days, it's been a tough week. Now they return to the crucial business of league football where a marginally better goal difference than Watford is all that's keeping them out of the relegation zone. Durham are locked on points with Blackburn so are beatable. This being played at Dartford. Tickets

Essex Women's Cup Semi-Final
Hashtag United v Chelmsford City @130pm - in the lower tiers of the women's game it's all about county cups on Sunday. Let's just say if the third-tier Tags put their strongest side out here, they'll probably score double figures against a side who play four levels below them. I think it's fair to say, there'll be a fair bit of squad rotation as Hashtag are far more worried about winning the Southern Premier title and getting into the Championship. Tickets will be available on the gate

Capital Senior Cup Quarter-Finals
Actonians v Fulham @2pm - there should be some far better matches in this competition where the teams will be far more focused on doing well and playing their first teams. Almost certain to finish in midtable, this is now a big priority for the A's who play in the fourth tier, one level above Fulham. The Cottagers, however, are in the title race in the fifth tier and beat Actonians on penalties in the FA Cup in October so this should be really competitive again. This is being played at Rectory Park in Northolt. Tickets are available online or on the gate (cash only) where there's a chance I could be taking your money
AFC Wimbledon v Millwall Lionesses @2pm - the Dons made the final last year where they lost to Arsenal's youngsters. With the Gunners already knocked out by Fulham, Wimbledon are probably now the favourites but a lot will depend how seriously they take it. In a really tight title battle with Norwich City, promotion will be their top priority. Millwall play a level below but picked up the notable scalp of QPR in the last round. Tickets will be available on the gate
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v London Seaward @3pm - on paper, the most balanced tie of the round sees two midtable fourth-tier clubs do battle at the Robert Parker Stadium near Heathrow. The hosts have had a better season so far but there really is little to choose between them as the 1-1 draw between them two weeks ago demonstrated. Tickets will be available on the gate
Haringey Borough v Tottenham Hotspur U21 @2pm - in the final tie there's an intriguing north London derby between two clubs who are based within sight of each other. Strictly speaking, it's Haringey who are actually based on White Hart Lane whilst Spurs are on Tottenham High Road but you get the idea. The hosts play in the fifth tier but so do Dulwich Hamlet who Spurs only managed to scrape past on penalties in the last round. 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, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

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