Sunday 4 February 2024

TLFG: 5-11 February 2024

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

This week has been incredibly hectic again as I've tried to juggle this blog, Non-League Day preparations here and in the Basque Country, a job application, my normal work commitments, my eldest daughter's birthday and her subsequent party!

Somehow I also managed to squeeze in a football away day on Sunday afternoon and that's why I'm still writing at 1030pm  and still have a match report to produce for that game before I can go to bed.

The away day in question involved my beloved Actonians who headed to Sussex to play Haywards Heath Town.

Actonians travelled to Haywards Heath Town on Sunday

This match had previously been abandoned at half-time before Christmas because of poor pitch conditions and postponed again since then, so this was the third attempt to get the game played.

The journey from Shepherds Bush to Haywards Heath, via Clapham Junction, is actually pretty quick and takes just over an hour.

Despite loads of taxis parked outside the station, I opted to walk the mile or so to the ground which Google Maps told me was mostly flat - lie! 

Although I arrived shortly after 2pm, the match hadn't kicked off so I was there in time to see the action get underway.

Ahead of the game, most A's fans had been pretty confident of getting something as Haywards Heath Town were bottom of this fourth-tier division.

Hopes were boosted still further by news of star player Skye Bacon's move to league leaders AFC Wimbledon earlier in the week.

However, 70 seconds after the start, goalkeeper Amber Taylor found herself picking the ball out of the net after a scorching 25-yarder found the top corner.

The rest of the first half was turgid with the heavy pitch restricting the quality on show.

Actonians huffed and puffed as they looked for an equaliser and created a number of half chances before the hosts somehow failed to score a second after a lighting break opened up the visitors' defence.

The second half saw the A's keep piling on the pressure but clear-cut chances were few and far between.

Heavy tackles flew in from both sides, with several players left to limp out of proceedings as the clock ran down.

With five minutes to go, Actonians won a free-kick way out on the right which winger Amber Dredge sent straight over the keeper's head into the far corner to finally make it 1-1.

Deep into injury time in something like the 100th minute, Dredge popped up again to send another high effort goalwards.

The diminutive HHT keeper, who had made some good saves during the game, could only palm it into the net to spark wild celebrations.

It's now four wins out of five in 2024 for Actonians and they're up to sixth - bring on Cambridge United on Sunday.


This week we've got matches in the Premier League, EFL, National League, FA Trophy, FA Vase, Women's FA Cup, Women's League 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 5 February

Premier League
Brentford v Manchester City @8pm - with all four teams immediately below them managing to draw this weekend, the Bees are now only three points above the relegation zone. At the other end of the table, City watched with glee as leaders Liverpool got beaten at Arsenal. This means that if they win at the GTech they'll cut the gap on the Reds to just two points and still have a game in hand. An away win looks almost certain BUT Brentford did the double over the eventual league champions last season so they can't be completely discounted. Tickets are not available

Premier League Cup
Charlton Athletic v Wolverhampton Wanderers @7pm - if you can't get in at Brentford then maybe this U21 match could be for you instead. It's being played at Dartford and to be honest it's a dead rubber as the top two spots in Group C have already been secured by Bournemouth and Norwich. Tickets will be available on the gate

ECL Division 1 South
Barkingside v NW London @8pm - just two points apart in midtable, both of these sides are a lot nearer the relegation zone than the top five and could therefore do with a win. Please check the venue and kick-off time before you travel as the club, at the time of writing, haven't confirmed the details yet


Tuesday 6 February

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Chesterfield @745pm - the Daggers recorded a hugely important 2-1 win at Rochdale on Saturday to move five points clear of the relegation zone. With only six points separating the teams in 12th-21st, the fight to avoid the drop looks like it's going to be quite something. The title race, on the other hand, looks over already. With their nearest rivals dropping more points at the weekend, the Spireites' 3-1 win at Eastleigh saw them move 19 points clear at the top. Having already beaten D&R 3-1 earlier in the season, they look like a very safe bet to win here. Tickets

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v St Albans City @745pm - game of the day in the sixth tier is this match between the teams in fifth and sixth. The hosts ended their three game losing streak on Saturday with a narrow 2-1 win over Truro City whilst St Albans trounced Torquay United 4-0 at Plainmoor. Third place is up for grabs for the winners. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Wingate & Finchley v Chatham Town @745pm - on Tuesday, Wingate lost to Dulwich Hamlet to finally surrender their place in the top five. However, they bounced straight back on Saturday with a solid 3-0 win over Lewes to remain sixth and firmly in touch with the other play-off contenders. The visitors stayed second after a 2-1 win at Whitehawk but with leaders Hornchurch still nine points clear, the runners-up spot looks to be the best anyone else will get. Tickets

FA Youth Cup Fifth Round
Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth @7pm - a place in the quarter-finals is up for grabs on Tuesday night at Plough Lane. Yes, you read that right. For some weird reason, this U18 match is being played at AFC Wimbledon's stadium which is firmly on the south side of the city, nowhere near Tottenham's N17 home. Spurs' youngsters are currently top of the South group of the U18 Premier League, making them one of the best sides in the country. The Cherries play at a lower level so will start as significant underdogs. Tickets

Wednesday 7 February

London Senior Cup Second Round
Welling United v Charlton Athletic U21 @745pm - after surprisingly sacking boss Danny Bloor last weekend, the Wings' board appointed Rod Stringer and he managed a superb win over Hampton & Richmond in midweek before getting another point against Taunton on Saturday. Now unbeaten in three, the Wings next face a squad from local EFL club Charlton. Barking await the winners in the quarter-finals. Tickets

CCL Premier South
Balham v Fleet Town @745pm - the hosts enjoyed a derby win over local rivals Tooting & Mitcham United on Saturday to move into the top six. Now only one point adrift of the play-off places, the south London club need to keep the wins coming to stay in contention. Fleet are 10th so should provide a stern test. Tickets will be available on the gate

Women's League Cup Quarter-Final
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City @730pm - three of the competition's quarter-finals are taking place in London on Wednesday with Chelsea and London City Lionesses also hosting games. This is the pick of the ties as it features two WSL sides. This cup has only been going since 2011 and City have won it four times to put them second on the all-time list of winners behind Arsenal. The Mancunian club are also the WSL's form team and should beat a competitive Spurs side here IF they put out a full-strength side but that's not a given. Being played at Leyton Orient, tickets are available


Thursday 8 February

FA Youth Cup Fifth Round
Crystal Palace v Chelsea @7pm - in the other tie of the week in this U18 competition, we've got a highly competitive looking derby to look forward to. These two are currently level on points in the league, in the top five of the South division. It's also being played at Selhurst Park. Tickets

Friday 9 February

Premier League 2
There's a huge night of U21 action to be enjoyed on Friday with Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Fulham and West Ham United all hosting games. Sadly none of them will be at the clubs' main stadiums. You should be able to pay on the gate for all of them

Isthmian League North
New Salamis v Grays Athletic @745pm - if you'd rather do your bit to support a non-league club instead, then head up to Coles Park in Haringey where two teams in the lower reaches of this eighth-tier division do battle. With one team having already folded, there's only one relegation place to still be decided and these two are well clear of the team in 19th so both have little to fear or play for. Tickets will be available on the gate

Premier League
Fulham v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - just a point apart in midtable and in very similar form, these two will probably avoid the drop but could do with a win or two to keep the pressure off. The Cherries won the reverse fixture on Boxing Day 3-0 and are unbeaten in five against the Cottagers so you'd expect them to at least get a draw here. Tickets are available
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - two of the division's most attractive sides meet at the THS on Saturday. Unbeaten in four, Spurs could get back into the Champions League places with a win here. Roberto De Zerbi's side have won a lot of plaudits since he took over and they recovered really well from their shock thrashing by Luton to inflict a 4-1 defeat on arch rivals Crystal Palace last time out. Sitting just outside the European places, they need to keep the good results coming or they could drift into midtable. Tickets are only available to members 

QPR v Norwich City @3pm - with seven points from their last three games, the R's have given themselves a chance of getting out of the bottom three. If they beat the Canaries and Huddersfield lose, then they'll move out of the relegation zone. However, the visitors are going along pretty nicely at the moment and could move into the top six if they are victorious. The East Anglian club are unbeaten in eight against QPR so they're becoming a bit of a bogey club for Rangers. Tickets
Watford v Leicester City @3pm - with only one win from five, the Hornets' play-off ambitions have suffered a bit of hit recently. Still only four points adrift of sixth, they are in contention but they can't let their form continue in this way. Sadly, they might have to wait a bit longer to pick up that next win as the Foxes are rapidly becoming the champions elect even at this relatively early stage. Already 11 points clear at the top, they've had a fine season. However, they've only won three of their last five so they aren't infallible. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Barrow @3pm - the Dons' form has been pretty inconsistent of late but they're still only one point outside the play-off places so there's plenty to play for. On Saturday they welcome a gifted Barrow side to Plough Lane. Up in third, the Cumbrian side have only lost five of their 30 games but the London club did manage a 0-0 draw when they last played in October. Tickets

FA Trophy Fifth Round
This national knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers, which has its final at Wembley, is down to its last 16 teams. Four of the eight ties are being played in London:

Bromley v Aveley @3pm - the Ravens are pushing hard for promotion into the EFL and are doing really well in this competition which they won in 2022 in front of 46,111 fans.  The Millers play in the division below and although they were top earlier in the season, they're now down in eighth. Although underdogs, they took Bromley's promotion rivals Barnet to a replay in the FA Cup earlier in the season so the hosts will have to avoid being complacent at all costs. Tickets
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Macclesfield @3pm - the sixth-tier Beavers play a level above their opponents who are travelling down from Cheshire.On paper they should start as favourites as they've had a great season. However, Macclesfield are a reincarnation of former EFL club and former FA Trophy winners Macclesfield Town. With average crowds of over 3,000 (the eighth highest in non-league football) they are a force to be reckoned with. They famously have former Premier League player and BBC radio presenter Robbie Savage as director of football whilst Alex Bruce and Phil Bardsley head up their coaching team. A bumper crowd is expected so buy your tickets in advance
Wealdstone v Hendon @3pm - given that these sides could have drawn opponents from much further away, they'll be pretty pleased to have ended up with this local derby. 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
Welling United v Barnet @3pm - in the last London tie we've got another derby, although it's not quite as local as the one above. For the second round running, the Wings have drawn one of the best teams left in the competition. Despite being in the sixth tier's relegation zone, they somehow beat National League leaders Chesterfield in the Fourth Round which few saw coming. Next up they play the Bees who are third in the fifth tier. Unbeaten in the league under new manager Rod Stringer, I'm sure Welling will be well motivated to cause another upset. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Hornchurch @3pm - possibly the biggest non-league crowd of the day could come at Champion Hill where the Hamlet welcome the league-leading Urchins. Despite only being a midtable seventh-tier team, the hosts frequently get sell-out crowds in excess of 3,000. Sitting six points outside the play-offs, the south London club can still make the post-season but their east London rivals could well leave them nine points adrift by the end of the day. Definitely buy your tickets in advance if you want to go 

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Chichester City @3pm - unbeaten in the 23 league games they've played this season, CVPM are now breathing right down the necks of leaders Ramsgate whose sizeable lead has been cut to three points. The reason they're not top already is because of their great runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy which saw them amass several games in hand. Chichester are seventh but were beaten 3-0 in the reverse fixture last month. Tickets will be available on the gate

FA Vase Fifth Round
This national knockout competition for clubs in the ninth and tenth tiers, which has its final at Wembley, is down to its last 16 teams. One of the eight ties is being played in London:

Hilltop v Romford @3pm - being played at Cobham's ground, the hosts have used a number of venues this season but have settled on this newly refurbished stadium in Surrey for this one. With their roots in London's Somali community, it would be truly sensational if they made it all the way to Wembley this season. They play in the ninth tier CCL North and were bottom until recently, mainly as a result of this cup run and poor weather - they have seven games in hand on some of the teams above them. The visitors play in the parallel Essex Senior League and they too are on to their second ground of the season, having moved into Rookery Hill following the sad demise of East Thurrock United. Fourth in their league, they would appear to be marginal favourites. Tickets will be available on the gate for £8

CCL Premier North
Rayners Lane v Bedfont Sports @3pm - five points clear at the top but having played a game more than title rivals Flackwell Heath, the hosts still have work to do. On Saturday they face a visit from the team in third for what could turn out to be a really crucial match. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Premier South
Abbey Rangers v Knaphill @3pm - elsewhere in the ninth tier, there's a big clash between the sides in third and second. With Knaphill a short journey away from Addlestone, it's probably fair to describe this as a derby. With leaders Farnham Town well clear at the top, it would now seem to be about who will finish as runners-up. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Division 1
Molesey v Langley @3pm - there aren't any standout fixtures in the 10th tier but this one between two sides who are fighting for the last play-off spot should be worth a watch. Not a million miles from Hampton Court, you could combine this match with a visit to a Tudor Palace. Tickets will be available on the gate

Women's FA Cup Fifth Round
Tottenham Hotspur v Charlton Athletic @515pm - the day comes to a close with a last-16 tie in this competition too. Spurs are a WSL side so will start as strong favourites but the Addicks are top of the Championship and could give them a challenging evening. Being played at Leyton Orient, tickets are available

Sunday 11 February

Premier League
West Ham United v Arsenal @2pm - the Hammers lost fairly comfortably at Manchester United on Sunday to allow the Red Devils to push ahead of them into the top six. It's unlikely to get any easier on Sunday as the third placed Gunners pay a visit to the London Stadium. Having said that, David Moyes' side have beaten the north London giants twice already this season - winning at the Emirates in the league and knocking them out of the EFL Cup at home. One of the best things about West Ham is that tickets are usually always available for their games and Sunday is no different

Isthmian League Premier
Cray Wanderers v Concord Rangers @3pm - last Sunday saw Cray's women's team play the first match on the pitch at their new ground. The stadium will hopefully be ready for men's football next season and they'll want to make absolutely sure they avoid relegation this season as a result. Ten points clear of the bottom four, they should be fine but they need a few more wins to be sure. Concord are really struggling so this represents a great chance to get more points. Tickets are available

Isthmian League South East
Erith & Belvedere v Sittingbourne @2pm - elsewhere in south-east London, the Deres continue their fight for survival. Currently in the relegation zone but only on goal difference, their chances of staying up are okay. It's going to be tough on Sunday though as Sittingbourne are third and looking to go up. Tickets are available on the gate for £10

Women's FA Cup Fifth Round
Arsenal v Manchester City @1230pm - the tie of the round gets the action underway in the women's game at lunchtime. Despite the return of talismanic captain Leah Williamson from injury, the Gunners suffered an unexpected 2-1 loss at struggling West Ham last week. It leaves them six points behind leaders Chelsea and realistically ends their title ambitions. Therefore, the FA Cup will now be a huge priority for them. Sadly they've drawn City who are in even better form than Chelsea and can't stop winning. When the sides last played in November, Arsenal won 2-1 and they'd be delighted with a similar result here. This match is being played at Boreham Wood and has sold out
Chelsea v Crystal Palace @2pm - Emma Hayes' side have won the FA Cup for the last three years as their dominance of the English domestic game has been almost absolute. With the Eagles a Championship side, albeit a good one, the chances of them causing an upset here must be minimal. This match is being played at Kingsmeadow and tickets are available
London City Lionesses v Liverpool @2pm - the last tie in the wider London area is an intriguing one as it pits a Championship side against a midtable WSL one. LCL were title contenders last season but are not the force they quite were and removed their coaching team on Wednesday. The Reds, however, are the best they've been for a while. Liverpool should win but you never know. This game is being played at Dartford and tickets are available

FAWNL Southern Premier
London Bees v Hashtag United @2pm - the only two sides within the M25 in this division meet at The Hive on Sunday. Although the hosts have been playing in the second and third tiers for most of their existence, they're in real trouble and have yet to win a league match this season. The Tags, on the other hand, are firmly in with a chance of a second consecutive promotion and are a pretty safe bet to win here. Tickets will be available on the gate

FAWNL Division 1 South East
Actonians v Cambridge United @2pm - with four wins out of five in 2024, the A's moved up to sixth on Sunday which might well be the highest they've been all season. Picking up another couple of injuries, they might not be as strong as they'd like for the visit of the U's who've beaten them twice already this season in the league and league cup. Those games both ended 2-1 and the hosts would dearly love to get one over Darren Marjoram's side. Tickets are £5 - maybe see you there

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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