Sunday 25 February 2024

TLFG: 26 February - 3 March 2024

Greetings and welcome to the Leap Year edition of TLFG.

Yes, the quadrennial occurrence that is 29 February takes place on Thursday.

And does it bring us anything special I hear you ask? 

Well, not really - unless you're into youth and development football in which case there's a few things going on.

After having last week off and getting to see a few games, this week has seen me at work every day and I'm here right now at Waterloo station writing this.

This year's Non-League Day is now less than a month away

The most interesting work-related thing I did was get trained on the new trains which South Western Railway are bringing in and which have caused quite a bit of controversy over the last few years.

I won't go into that here as I'll probably say something inappropriate and get sacked but it was an eye-opening day and my current role will change considerably.

Anyway, enough of the railway chat.

How has your football week been? 

With all the work, I saw nothing live but Non-League Day preparations have continued - it's now less than a month away!

There's still plenty to do and hopefully some big announcements to make but things seem to be shaping up well.

The celebrations of our 10-year partnership with Prostate Cancer UK officially launched on Friday and we're really hoping we can add to the £250,000 we've raised over that time.

Our merchandise is now back online with all the classic designs and some new ones - we've got t-shirts, hoodies and badges so please take a look and see if there's anything you fancy.

One other thing I did this week was buy tickets for my first ever Women's Super League game - yes, you read that right.

Despite going on and on about women's football on here and having been to England matches, European Championship, FA Cup and League Cup Finals, I've never seen a top-flight game.

Arsenal play Spurs in the WSL at the Emirates on Sunday - tickets

With Actonians having a break this weekend, I've taken the plunge and bought some tickets for the North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners sold out when they played Manchester United there in their last game earlier this month and I seem to have got some of the few remaining ones for this.

In a sign of the times, I'm going on a lads' trip to the game without any women or children joining me.

My eldest daughter, who is otherwise engaged, is an Arsenal fan and isn't overly impressed that I'm going without her as she's never been to the stadium.

At £15 a ticket, I wasn't going to pass up the chance to sit on the Clock End and enjoy one of the biggest games of the year.

PS - if you read the blog last week, the mystery WSL manager who's volunteered to help out with some junior coaching at Actonians will be involved in this match. 

I've also got a couple of days off during the week so I'm hoping I'll be able to use the impending Non-League Day as an excuse to get to a game or two.

Before I sign off, it would be remiss of me as a QPR fan not to mention the passing of arguably the club's greatest ever player Stan Bowles.

A legend of '70s football in England, the maverick attacking player thrilled the Loftus Road crowd for seven years and was part of the team that fell just a point short of winning the league title during that time - something that seems unthinkable now.

Although I did exist during most of those years, I never saw him play so I've always experienced a bit of a detachment compared to some of my slightly older friends who utterly revere him.

Sadly Alzheimer's caught up with him on Saturday, just after the R's had won their huge game against Rotherham.

He was 75.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Ge W from Deptford for donating to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - it's really appreciated.


This week we've got matches in the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL, National League and Women's Super League 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 26 February

Premier League
West Ham United v Brentford @8pm - the Hammers ended 2023 with back-to-back wins over Manchester United and Arsenal but they haven't won in any competition since and fans are calling for manager David Moyes to go. The last three games have seen them score none and concede 11 - it's looking pretty grim. Next up they face a tricky derby against the Bees who have won all five of the league games they've played against the east London club since joining the top flight in 2021. Tickets

Premier League International Cup Quarter-Final
Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers @7pm - the Eagles made it to the final of this U21 competition last season and they're well on course to do it again. They lost to PSV Eindhoven in that final and the Dutch side have already made it through to the last four this year, beating Chelsea in the process. Wolves finished top of Group A ahead of PSV so they clearly mean business. This match is being played at Sutton United. Tickets will be available on the gate

Premier League Cup
Chelsea v Norwich City @7pm - they might be out of the competition above but the Blues are still in contention for this other U21 trophy. Having come top of their group ahead of Leeds, Colchester and Luton, they're now into the knockout stage. The Canaries were runners-up in their group and finished ahead of Wolves and Charlton. This is being played at Kingsmeadow and tickets will be available on the gate

ECL Division 1 South
Barkingside v May & Baker @745pm - the only non-league option I'm aware of is this match in Ilford between two east London clubs. Both are out of promotion contention in midtable but could do with a win or two to get well clear of the relegation zone. Tickets will be available on the gate

Tuesday 27 February

Professional Development League
Millwall v Ipswich Town @2pm - get your day of football watching underway with a lunchtime trip to The Den for this U21 game. The Lions won the PDL last season, beating Sheffield United in the final. Currently just a point behind leaders QPR but with a game in hand, they're very well placed to top Group South again. Ipswich are fifth so should be no pushovers. Tickets

League One
Leyton Orient v Blackpool @745pm - the O's closed the gap on the play-off places to six points with a hugely important 2-1 win at Oxford United on Saturday. Next up they face another crucial game against the side just above them in the table. If they beat the Seasiders, then they'll have to be classed as promotion contenders. Tickets

National League
Barnet v Chesterfield @745pm - the big games seem to be coming thick and fast in the fifth tier right now. Last week, Bromley were second when they took on leaders Chesterfield. Since then, they've been replaced by the Bees so this has become a top-of-the-table clash. The Spireites dropped some more points on Saturday with their draw against Rochdale but their lead is still a massive 20 points. Barnet's record against the visitors is also poor - they lost 4-2 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and have only won two of their last 10 games against them. Tickets

National League South
Welling United v Truro City @745pm - there are three games in the sixth tier on Tuesday but I'm going for this one as my pick of the night. The Wings remain unbeaten since new boss Rod Stringer took over with their draw against promotion-chasing St Albans leaving them just one point adrift of safety. Cornish club Truro are two points above them so if the London club win, they will finally break free of the relegation zone. Tickets

Middlesex Senior Cup Semi-Final
Hendon v Hayes & Yeading United @745pm - these two local rivals meet at Silver Jubilee Park for a place in the county cup final. Both play in the seventh tier Southern League Premier South and are in midtable so it should be close. Interestingly, the hosts are the most successful club in the competition's long history, winning it 15 times since it began in 1888. H&YU, on the other hand, are the reigning champions. Rayners Lane await the winners in the final. Tickets will be available on the gate

Essex Senior Cup Semi-Final
Redbridge v Maldon & Tiptree @745pm - two clubs from the eighth tier Isthmian League North contest the other county cup semi-final of the night. Neither side have won this title before and on this season's performance, you'd expect the visitors to progress. Whoever makes it through will play Colchester United in the final. Tickets will be available on the gate

SCEFL Challenge Cup Semi-Final Second Legs
Erith Town v Deal Town @745pm - sitting just outside the play-off places with a couple of games in hand, the Dockers are well placed for a promotion tilt. One of their main rivals for promotion are Deal who are in great form. The Kent seaside club are having a season to remember. Not only are they in the semi-finals of this competition with a 2-1 lead from the first leg, they're also in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase and have eight games in hand on the leaders which if won would put them 13 points clear at the top. Tickets will be available on the gate
AFC Whyteleafe v Corinthian @745pm - in the other tie, First Division leaders Whyteleafe entertain another one of the league's top clubs. Their chances of progressing look slim though as they lost the first leg 3-0. Tickets will be available on the gate

Wednesday 28 February

FA Cup Fifth Round
Chelsea v Leeds United @730pm - after suffering the disappointment of an extra-time defeat to Liverpool in the EFL Cup Final on Sunday, the Blues have to quickly pick themselves up for this. The FA Cup now represents their only chance of winning some silverware and salvaging their otherwise poor season. In recent years, you'd expect the Stamford Bridge club to get through a tie like this but Leeds are in fantastic form as they push hard for the Championship title and could well cause an upset. Tickets are only available to members

Isthmian League Premier
Kingstonian v Cheshunt @745pm - the top non-league match of the night is this relegation six-pointer in the seventh tier. The bottom four go down in this division and both are in the bottom four. The visitors are only two points from safety whilst the K's are propping everyone else up and really can't afford to lose many more games. Tickets will be available on the gate

Essex Senior League
Sporting Bengal United v Athletic Newham @745pm - in the ninth tier, two of the division's top six meet at Mile End Stadium which is one of the capital's most centrally located grounds. The teams in second to fifth make the play-offs so there's plenty to play for. Tickets will be available on the gate
Woodford Town v Buckhurst Hill @745pm - we've also got the Roding Valley Derby to look forward to on Wednesday. This is quite a new rivalry but it still generates quite a bit of interest and should draw a decent crowd. The hosts are second and will start as favourites. Tickets will be available on the gate for £7. UPDATE - the club have now decided to make it free entry for everyone so don't miss out!

Thursday 29 February

Youth & Development matches
It's a leap year but nothing particularly special is happening today. The two highest level matches are a couple of U23 games in the Suburban League at Abbey Rangers and Molesey. At U18 level, the Middlesex Youth Cup Semi-Final between Northwood and Bedfont Sports tops the bill


Friday 1 March

Premier League 2
Chelsea v Arsenal @7pm - there are a trio of games in this U21 competition on Friday but this one clearly stands out. Currently fourth and third respectively, it should be a great game. FYI - Tottenham and West Ham are the top two with Spurs seven points ahead of the third-place Gunners. Tickets will be available on the gate

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Frenford @745pm - there are also some non-league games too with our friends at Ashtons swiftly back in action after their Wednesday night derby. With the visitors in the bottom five, the smart money would appear to be on a home win. Tickets will be available on the gate


Saturday 2 March

Premier League
Brentford v Chelsea @3pm - since joining the top flight in 2021, the Bees have made a habit of humiliating the Blues in derbies between the two. The smaller club have won all three of their away games at Stamford Bridge including the one earlier this season. A lot has been made of Chelsea's poor from this season but it's currently significantly better than Brentford's so they should still start as favourites here. Tickets are not available
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - the Cottagers recorded their first win at Old Trafford since 2003 last weekend, a result which should go a long way towards securing a comfortable midtable finish - a fine achievement for a club more used to yo-yoing between the top two divisions. Here they face a tricky Brighton side who haven't dazzled quite as much as last season but are still in the top seven. Talking of seven, that's how long Fulham's unbeaten record is against the Seagulls with their last loss to them coming in 2017. Tickets are only available to members
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace @3pm - there's another derby at the THS too. When Spurs opened their new ground five years ago, they played the Eagles in the first competitive match and won 2-0. Since then they've won all four of the following games between them at the venue and most of the matches at Selhurst Park too. New Palace boss Oliver Glasner won his first match in charge against Burnley last week so he'll be looking for another positive performance here. Tickets are only available to members

Millwall v Watford @3pm - the Lions appeared to be sinking like stones prior to last week's incredibly tough looking trip Southampton. However, they pulled off a fine 2-1 win to keep themselves out of the bottom three. Next up they face a derby of sorts against the Hornets. The Hertfordshire club are in the top half but have lost four of their last five games so there's definitely the potential for some more points here. Tickets

League One
Leyton Orient v Bristol Rovers @3pm - whether the O's make it into the play-offs or not, Richie Wellens' side have given their fans some special moments this season. With wins over leaders Portsmouth and promotion contenders Bolton and draws against several of the other leading clubs, they've more than proved themselves in this division following promotion. Over the last week they've enjoyed back-to-back wins over Oxford and Blackpool who were both above them. Now they find themselves in eighth, five points adrift of the play-off places and another promotion is starting to appear feasible. Rovers are eight points behind them in midtable and it ended 1-1 in the reverse fixture. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons @1230pm - one of the games of the day in London is this huge grudge match at Plough Lane. I won't go into the full history of the rivalry, as most of you know it, but the visitors came into being after Wimbledon's highly controversial move to Milton Keynes. This was driven by Pete Winkelman who is still MK Dons' chairman to this day. The League Two table is tight so even though a four game winless run has seen the hosts slip to 13th, they're still only four points shy of a play-off place. The visitors are fifth and are still very much in the hunt for automatic promotion. They are also unbeaten in nine against AFC Wimbledon, so if the hosts do win the celebrations could be notable. Tickets are only available to members

National League
Boreham Wood v Gateshead @3pm - the Wood's fine run to the play-offs last season and has felt like a distant dream for much of this campaign. Hovering around the lower reaches of the table for most of it, they've enjoyed an uplift in form recently with three wins from five pushing them up to 14th. However, one of the most notable things about this division is how congested the bottom half is with the club in 11th only six points clear of the relegation zone. The pressure on clubs is massive with a couple of bad results potentially landing them in real trouble. Gateshead, on the other hand, are fifth and are having a good year. Although the race to go up isn't quite as tight, clubs like Halifax are starting to emerge from the chasing pack and could break into the play-off places very soon. Tickets
Bromley v FC Halifax Town @3pm - with the Ravens in second and the Shaymen on a great run, this is my pick of the action in the fifth tier in London on Saturday. The hosts went back up to second in midweek, despite not playing, because Barnet used up their game in hand with defeat to leaders Chesterfield which made their goal difference worse than Bromley's. As mentioned above, last season's FA Trophy winners Halifax are on the verge of breaking into the play-off places after winning four on the bounce. They also beat Bromley 2-0 back in August when they met at The Shay so this should be some game. Tickets
Dagenham & Redbridge v Altrincham @3pm - the Daggers are a point behind Boreham Wood in 15th so could really do with a win or two to relieve their own relegation fears. Altrincham were right up in the top four earlier in the season but four straight defeats have seen them slip to ninth. The hosts are capable of beating pretty much anyone in this division on their day and I've got a feeling they could do well here. Tickets

National League South
Dartford v Worthing @3pm - the Darts appointed former Bournemouth player Adrian Pennock as their new manager on Friday. His first game in charge is a very tough one as third placed Worthing pay a visit to Princes Park. Only four points above the relegation zone, local rivals Welling United are catching up and could leapfrog them depending on Saturday's results. Tickets
Welling United v Braintree Town @3pm - if the Wings are to move above Dartford, they'll also have to pull off an impressive win as they're entertaining one of the division's top clubs too. Since new boss Rod Stringer took over in January, Welling have gone six games unbeaten in the league to climb out of the bottom four which looked unlikely before his arrival. Braintree are the division's most in-form club with seven straight wins so it's going to be tough. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Hastings United @3pm - despite drawing three games in a row, minnows W&F have kept their place in the top four as their amazing season continues. On Saturday they welcome one of the biggest clubs in the division who should bring a sizeable following to Summers Lane. The Sussex club missed a play-off spot by three points last season and could move into the top five with a win here. Tickets

Southern League Premier South
Hendon v Chesham United @3pm - the Greens suffered the disappointment of losing their Middlesex Senior Cup Semi-Final to Hayes & Yeading on Tuesday and next up they face a visit from league leaders Chesham. The Buckinghamshire club are now 12 points clear at the top and increasingly looking like champions. The hosts are nine points from the play-offs and 10 points clear of the relegation zone so they're about as midtable as it's possible to be. The reverse fixture ended in a 2-1 win for the Generals. As a showbiz side note, Taskmaster's Alex Horne is a director of Chesham, a big fan of non-league and will quite possibly be found somewhere in the crowd. Tickets will be available on the gate

Isthmian League South Central
Chertsey Town v Marlow @3pm - in the eighth tier it doesn't get much bigger than this top-two clash at Alwyns Lane. The hosts are eight points clear with a game in hand so if Marlow lose, it looks very close to being game over for everyone else as far as the title's concerned. A pitch inspection has been scheduled for 1000. Tickets

Essex Senior League
Barking v Romford @3pm - in the ninth tier, two of the top four go head-to-head. These clubs were groundsharing earlier in the season but following the sad demise of East Thurrock United in September, Romford moved into Rookery Hill and took themselves out of TLFG's catchment area in the process. With Woodford Town seeing their Friday night game postponed, the visitors only need to draw to go second. Tickets will be available on the gate

SCEFL Division 1
AFC Whyteleafe v K Sports @3pm - there aren't really any standout fixtures in the tenth tier - no top of the table clashes, derbies or big relegation six-pointers so my default position is always to recommend going to watch the best. The Leafe are currently 12 points clear at the top of the division and have won their last four. The rest of the top five have games in hand on them but they'll still be six points clear in the worst-case scenario. K Sports are winless in five, in midtable and should be beaten. Tickets will be available on the gate

Sunday 3 March

Women's Super League
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - one of the biggest crowds of the weekend will be at the Emirates Stadium which looks to have pretty much sold out for the second WSL game in a row. Last time out, the Gunners comfortably beat Manchester United 3-1 to leave themselves just three points behind co-leaders Chelsea and Manchester City. Spurs are sixth and are the type of side Arsenal would normally beat but under new boss Robert Vilahamn, they did the unthinkable and won the North London Derby for the first time just before Christmas. Tickets are almost gone but there are a few left so don't delay
West Ham United v Manchester United @3pm - having pushed Chelsea close in the FA Cup and beaten Arsenal in the league, this new improved Hammers side are capable of giving anyone in this division a game on their day. Still a disappointing 10th out of 12, they could do with a win to push them well clear of bottom club Bristol City. Manchester United are in very unconvincing form and are now playing simply to hold on to fourth - this could go either way. This match is being played at Dagenham & Redbridge. Tickets

Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Birmingham City @2pm - with only five points separating the leaders from the club in fifth and with some clubs in that group having a game in hand, the title race in this division is wide open. Both of these sides are in the leading pack but the Blues could effectively drop out if they lose here as it could leave them eight points adrift of top spot. The Eagles will go top if they win and Sunderland drop any points against Southampton. This match is being played at Sutton United. Tickets
Watford v Charlton Athletic @2pm - there's a match affecting both ends of the table at Wealdstone's ground where an improving Hornets side are now just a draw away from moving out of the relegation zone. The Addicks are going in the other direction and are another side who could potentially go top with a win. Tickets

Capital Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v London Seaward @2pm - having seen the original tie postponed, these two midtable fourth-tier clubs meet at the Robert Parker Stadium with a semi-final place against favourites AFC Wimbledon up for grabs. 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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