Monday 4 March 2024

TLFG: 4-10 March 2024

Welcome to TLFG for the first full week of March - spring is finally here, well at least it's been quite sunny today.

It's been another busy few days on the Non-League Day (NLD) preparation front with things looking very positive in several areas.

Our showpiece game, which several of our partners will be focusing on, looks like being the National League fixture between Eastleigh and Hartlepool United down near Southampton.

It's one of 10 games around the country which our charity partners Prostate Cancer UK will be having a presence at.

This year's Non-League Day is now less than three weeks away

As anyone browsing the NLD website may have noticed this week, a major corporate partner has appeared on our website for the first time.

The press team at South Western Railway (SWR), my employer, contacted me about a month ago saying how the company wanted to get involved.

Having had a couple of meetings, their plans are pretty exciting with a decent amount of resource being thrown behind the campaign in a way I could only dream of.

A few things have still to be signed off so I won't go into further details but their big launch will be on 11 March.

As part of the preparations, I'm off Corinthian Casuals on Wednesday to record a short promotional film as part of the SWR build-up.

We picked them as they're on the train company's network and the line passes right next to the ground offering a great photographic opportunity.

Anyway, that's all for the future.

Earlier today, Sunday, I went to the Emirates with TLFG reader Liam B to watch the derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the WSL.

Despite being a regular watcher of women's football, I'd never been to a top-flight game before so with a seat on the Clock End going for £15 I couldn't say no.

We travelled up on the Piccadilly Line from Hammersmith and ended up missing the first 10 minutes.

So many people were using Arsenal station that trains were backed up all the way to Holborn where we sat for several minutes. 

Whilst waiting at Caledonian Road, we were told the two trains in front of us hadn't even been allowed to stop at Arsenal because the crowds were too large.

Thankfully ours was but the queues to actually get into the sold out game were immense so that slowed us down even more.

It was my first visit to the Emirates for a match since 2012 when I went in the away end to watch QPR lose 1-0 in a Premier League game.

The match itself wasn't exactly thrilling as underdogs Spurs set up to defend and did a pretty good job, making it to half-time without conceding a goal.

Liam and I (left) at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday

Sadly for them, Alessio Russo found a way through soon after the break and that was about it - I can't remember either keeper having to make any stunning saves at any point.

The overall experience is so different to a men's game, the atmosphere is much flatter than a men's North London Derby but far less threatening with fans of both teams sitting together - we had a couple next to us who were supporting opposing teams but there were no issues whatsoever.

The seats we had were superb - in the upper tier directly behind the goal.

For £15 the view was fantastic, the legroom was great and the seat was padded - the same seat for the men's game against Tottenham is about £100!

The rest of the afternoon saw us pop into a local mosque, grab a coffee and walk a circuit of Finsbury Park and finish with a meal in a Uyghur restaurant which went down very well indeed.

Aside from the continuing NLD preparations, I'm hoping to get down to Bedfont Sports on Tuesday night to see Actonians play Chesham United in their next Women's National League game.

Lastly, if you want to help the NLD cause, check out our full range of merchandise which can be customised to your club's colours, an example of which can be found below:

Get NLD merchandise in your club's colours now!


This week we've got matches in the Premier League, EFL, FA Trophy, FA Vase and Women's FA 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 4 March

National League South
Aveley v Yeovil Town @745pm - the Millers are having a very tough few days. On Saturday they played second placed Chelmsford City and lost 2-0 to fall out of the play-off places. Just over 48 hours later they're back in action against the leaders. The Glovers were a Championship side as recently as 2014 so it's fair to say the last 10 years have been pretty traumatic for them. However, it looks like the sixth tier is as far as they're going to fall as they've dominated for large parts of this campaign. Tickets

Tuesday 5 March

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Grimsby Town @745pm - there were wild scenes at Plough Lane on Saturday when a last-minute goal saw Wimbledon beat their bitter rivals MK Dons for the first time since 2017. The result lifted Johnnie Jackson's side into the top 10, four points shy of the play-off places. On Tuesday, they have a great chance to pick up some more points as the visitors are in the bottom four. Tickets

Professional Development League
QPR v Millwall @7pm - most U21 games don't mean a huge amount but this one has quite a bit riding on it. The Lions were crowned PDL champions last season and look very well placed to do it again as they went back to the top of Group South last week. They replaced the R's at the summit so this is a top-two clash. Being played at Hanwell Town, tickets are £5 on the gate

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Eastbourne Borough @745pm - the Beavers kept their place in the top seven despite seeing their game at St Albans City postponed. On Tuesday they face an Eastbourne side who are fighting to avoid the drop. Of the sides in the bottom four, they're in the best form but that's not saying much. Tickets

London Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Charlton Athletic U23 v Barking @745pm - with wins over Cockfosters and Welling United in the opening two rounds, the Addicks' development team are through to the last eight of this county cup. With AFC Wimbledon, Brentford, Leyton Orient and QPR already out, Charlton are the only pro club with a squad left in the competition. Barking are among the frontrunners in the Essex Senior League and claimed the scalp of Orient in the opening round so this could be close. This match is being played at Dartford - tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Premier North
North Greenford United v Rayners Lane @745pm - with virtually the whole programme of games washed out in this division on Saturday, there wasn't much change in the table. Both of these local rivals are having a fine season. NGU are fifth but because of their great run in the FA Vase (they play in the quarter-finals on Saturday), they have games in hand on all of those above them. Rayners Lane are top but only by virtue of having a slightly better goal difference than Flackwell Heath. It's a big game and hopefully the pitch will be ok. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Division 1
British Airways v Berks County @745pm - with leaders Amersham Town 15 points clear at the top, the battle to see who finishes second looks far more interesting. As it stands, these two are second and third with just a point between them. This match is being played at Bedfont and tickets will be available on the gate

FAWNL Division 1 South East
Actonians v Chesham United @745pm - literally just over the fence at Bedfont Sports, we've got this fourth-tier women's match. With their usual home at Rectory Park presumably booked up, the A's have moved this game to the Heathrow area. Actonians have been a club in transition this season after seeing Danny Harrigan, their most successful ever manager, move on in the summer. After a rocky start to the current campaign, new boss Kieran Beesley has steadied the ship and a top-six finish is a very realistic goal. Chesham are in the bottom four and lost the reverse fixture 5-0 back in September. Tickets will be available on the gate for £5

Wednesday 6 March

QPR v West Bromwich Albion @8pm - the R's recorded one of the results of the weekend by beating leaders Leicester City 2-1 at the King Power Stadium. It extended their winning run to three games and kept them out of the relegation zone. However, it was generally a good weekend for all the strugglers so only goal difference is keeping them out of the bottom three. The Baggies are another one of the division's top clubs and they've only beaten them twice in the last 10 attempts so it looks like being a challenging evening at Loftus Road. Tickets
Watford v Swansea City @745pm - with the form of teams towards the bottom improving significantly, teams in midtable are starting to look over their shoulders with some anxiety. Although 15th, Swansea are now only four points above the relegation zone and even the Hornets in 12th are now much closer to the drop zone than the play-off places. Watford won 1-0 when they last played in October. Tickets

Women's League Cup Semi-Final
Arsenal v Aston Villa @715pm - after beating Spurs in the WSL at the Emirates on Sunday, the Gunners head back to Boreham Wood to continue the defence of the trophy they won last season. With the top two of Manchester City and Chelsea meeting in the other tie, it's far to say Arsenal got the best draw they could have. Villa have been really inconsistent this season and got stuffed 4-1 at home by Liverpool on Sunday - a home win looks highly likely. Tickets

SCEFL Division 1
Lewisham Borough v Croydon @745pm - the best non-league option of the night, for me, is this 10th-tier match between clubs from neighbouring boroughs in south London. Now four without a win, the hosts' title hopes seem to be over but a play-off place is very much there for the taking. The Trams are in eighth but are still 10 points adrift of the top five so to have any chance of going up, they must win games like this. Tickets will be available on the gate

Thursday 7 March

Youth & Development matches
Thursday is, once again, all about the youngsters. The highest level matches are a trio of U23 games at Abbey Rangers, Erith Town and Molesey


Friday 8 March

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - there are a couple of games in this U21 competition on Friday but this one clearly stands out. Currently third and first respectively, it should be a great game. It's being played at Boreham Wood but, at the time of writing, I'm unaware of any admission details so check the club's website as the week progresses. Elsewhere, West Ham are playing Fulham at Rush Green


Saturday 9 March

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Luton Town @3pm - with four points from their last three games, Palace have moved eight points clear of the relegation zone but they still probably need another three or four wins to make sure of staying up. Despite being a club in the bottom three, a match against the Hatters always seems to be a tricky one. They give it their all against whoever they play and only tend to lose games when they run out of steam in the closing stages. Worryingly for the hosts, Luton didn't tire enough in the reverse fixture at Kenilworth Road and won 2-1. Tickets are only available to members
Arsenal v Brentford @530pm - in the day's late game we've got a derby at the Emirates. The Bees famously beat the Gunners in one of their first ever Premier League games back in 2021 but have failed to win any of the five matches between them since. Mikel Arteta's side are third in the league and top of the form table after winning seven games in a row, scoring a staggering 31 goals in the process! Brentford's star striker Ivan Toney has been regularly linked with a move to north London so he should be looking to impress. Tickets are only available to members

Millwall v Birmingham City @3pm - all our local second-tier teams are at home on Saturday with this big relegation six-pointer topping the bill. With struggling clubs like QPR and Sheffield Wednesday really hitting form at this crucial point of the season, sides like Millwall and Birmingham have been pulled right back into the relegation dog fight. Only six points separate the teams in 14th-23rd so who will go down, other than Rotherham, is anyone's guess! Tickets
QPR v Middlesbrough @3pm - the R's have a had a good few days, winning 2-1 at league leaders Leicester on Saturday and coming from behind to draw 2-2 with West Brom on Wednesday, picking up four points from two games many would've predicted them to lose. Boro have lost three of their last five to put a big dent in their play-off hopes. The hosts won 2-0 at the Riverside earlier in the season and they should be confident of getting at least another point here. Tickets
Watford v Coventry City @3pm - the Hornets sit 13th just below Boro in the table and are actually significantly closer to the relegation zone than the top six. In recent months, their target was definitely promotion, but now avoiding the drop has become the most immediate priority. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Carlisle United @3pm - after dropping like stones under former manager Michael Appleton, new boss Nathan Jones has steadied the ship. Losing only one of the seven games he's presided over, they've moved up to 14th and are seven points clear of the relegation zone. Carlisle are bottom and seemed doomed to go down, so there should be some more points for the Addicks. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Grimsby Town @3pm - despite netting four points from three games, the U's are still bottom and six points adrift of safety. If they're to have any chance of staying up, they simply have to win this game against another one of the bottom four. Tickets

FA Trophy Quarter-Finals
This national knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers, which has its final at Wembley, is down to its last eight. We're lucky enough to have two of the four ties in the capital:

Bromley v Barnet @3pm - these two London clubs are third and second respectively in the fifth tier so it's the biggest tie of the round by far. Only two points separate them in the league and their recent FA Trophy pedigree is impressive with the Ravens winning it in 2022 and the Bees making it to the semi-finals last year. The visitors are unbeaten in three against Bromley and won 2-0 at Hayes Lane in August which makes them marginal favourites in my book. Tickets
Wealdstone v Solihull Moors @3pm - things were starting to look worrying for the Stones but four points from two games has made sure they've stayed outside the relegation zone. Solihull, on the other hand, are fourth and pushing for promotion so it looks tough for the hosts who last won the Trophy in 1985. Tickets

FA Vase Quarter-Final
This national knockout competition for clubs in the ninth and 10th tiers, which has its final at Wembley, is down to its last eight. We've got one of the four ties in the capital:

North Greenford United v Romford @3pm - if I wasn't working then this is probably where I'd be spending my Saturday afternoon. NGU are having a great season, pushing for a play-off place in the CCL Premier North and 90 minutes away from a place in the Vase semis. They've gone a whole three rounds further in the competition than they ever have before and impressively won at Essex Senior League leaders Tilbury in the last round. Next up they face another side from the ESL who've also never been this far before. Currently second to Tilbury, they should pose a very similar challenge to the one offered by the Dockers in the last round. Tickets will be available on the gate

Sunday 10 March

Premier League
West Ham United v Burnley @2pm - David Moyes' tenure as Hammers manager looked like it was coming to an end but the board stuck with him and they enjoyed back-to-back wins over Brentford and Everton. However, this was followed by a 1-0 loss to Freiburg in Germany in the first leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday. The doubters at the London Stadium are still many in number and nothing less than a win against relegation certainties Burnley will do. Tickets

Women's FA Cup Quarter-Final
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City @3pm - featuring two of the WSL's top six, this would appear to be the tie of the round. Unlike the men's side, Spurs women have very little pedigree in this competition with investment into the side being a relatively new thing. Having already lost to them in the WSL and League Cup, City were probably the last team Robert Vilahamn's side wanted to see come out of the hat. However, after defending well against Arsenal at the Emirates and only losing 1-0, they should be able to give the visitors, who played in midweek, a good game. This is being played at Leyton Orient. Tickets should be available on arrival

Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v Sheffield United @12pm - the Eagles are second but only on goal difference from Southampton and local rivals Charlton Athletic. They have two games in hand on leaders Sunderland who are four points clear. The Blades are eighth and still need some wins to guarantee staying up. This match is notable for being played at Selhurst Park. Tickets

FAWNL Division 1 South East
QPR v Cambridge United @2pm - why not celebrate Mothers' Day at Loftus Road where the R's are throwing open the turnstiles and letting everyone in for free. The match itself should be closely contested with the sides three points apart in the top six

Normally I would write more previews for the weekend's games but I've simply run out of time - apologies

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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