Monday, 23 May 2022

TLFG: 23-29 May 2022

Well that's almost it. 

The Premier League is over for another year and League One is all decided.

All that's outstanding now is this weekend's League Two and Championship play-off finals and the National League play-off final on 5 June at London Stadium.

Thanks to TLFG reader Toby K, we've got a few Essex Alliance League cup finals to look forward to this week and there's a random women's match with an international flavour just outside the capital.

To top it all off, there's a couple of railway games too which I know a few of you really enjoy.

The Women's Euros take place in England in July - tickets are available

Apart from that, there isn't anything else that I'm aware of - please get in touch if you know of anything worthy of inclusion.

My main criteria at this stage is that the match is being played somewhere with reasonable spectator facilities and ideally at least a rail round the pitch - at least a Step 6 quality ground.

With the season barely over for most clubs, talk of pre-season is already hotting up.

I'm huge fan of the summer warm-up games because of the unusual match ups and total lack of pressure which often leads to some fun stress-free games often played in beautiful weather.

While some teams have their schedules published months in advance, others are really cagey.

Sadly, both clubs I follow are in the latter category although QPR have announced a trip to Germany but precise details are pretty light at the moment.

Harrow Borough have said nothing at all, as if it's a great state secret but hopefully they'll have someone half decent coming to Earlsmead at some point.

Probably the biggest friendly to be announced so far is Arsenal v Sevilla at the Emirates on 30 July.

Tickets go on general sale on Monday 30 May for between £25-£40 which doesn't seem too bad.

With so little on for the next few weeks, this could well be the last full blog I write before July but I'll review that this time next week.

As mentioned above, the Women's European Championships are coming to England in July.

Brentford's new ground is the host stadium in London and a a few tickets are still available.

I've got tickets to see Denmark v Germany there and one of the quarter-finals. I've also got some for the final at Wembley too.

The prices are pretty great - the quarter-final ones I recently bought were 10 euros each.

Anyway, if I don't write another piece next week, have a great month off and I'll be back again soon.

MATCH MAPS

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin



TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, 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 23 May

EAL Fenton Cup Final
DTFC v Rapid Chingford @730pm - pretty much all the teams normally covered in TLFG have finished for the season so there are some new teams for you to check out. Thanks to reader Toby K for pointing out that a number of the Essex Alliance League's finals are being played at some of east London's bigger grounds. I know very little about this competition but the clubs compete in the 11th tier and below. This game is being played at Leyton Orient so it's a great chance to visit Brisbane Road if you've never been before

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Tuesday 24 May

EAL Premier Division Cup Final
Wapping v London Park City @730pm - as above and once again, it's being played at Leyton Orient

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Thursday 26 May

EAL Division 3 Cup Final
FC Baresi U23 v Old Barkabbeyans Reserves @730pm - as above but this one's at Dagenham & Redbridge

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Saturday 28 May

League Two Play-Off Final
Mansfield Town v Port Vale @4pm - finishing seventh and fifth respectively, these clubs have done well to find themselves just 90 minutes away from a place in League One. Vale took four points off the Stags during the regular season so should have a slight psychological advantage coming into this. Tickets are available from each of the participating clubs so visit their websites for the latest info

Friendly
International Surrey Women v Afghanistan Development @330pm - if you're prepared to travel a little outside London to Dorking, then head to Meadowbank for this interesting looking friendly. Tickets are £5 and can be bought in advance

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Sunday 29 May

Championship Play-Off Final
Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest @430pm - the so-called richest game in football, given the amount of Premier League cash accessed by the winner, is here again. This time it sees Huddersfield, who played in the top flight between 2017 and 2019, look to make a reasonably swift return and Nottingham Forest. The East Midlands club have a hugely illustrious history with one league title and two European Cups - in 1979 and 1980. They also won the League Cup in 1989 and 1990 and were a decent side until the late '90s when things started to go wrong. They've now been out of England's top division since 1999 so a chance to play alongside the nation's elite is long overdue. Tickets are only available from the participating clubs but will be very hard to get



GET INVOLVED
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.

NEED HELP?
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 or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

TLFG: 16-22 May 2022

Welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

After a hectic week that culminated in a trip to Wembley for the Women's FA Cup Final, I've not got the energy to write a full guide - I'm nodding off at the keyboard as I write this.

As a result, there's no 'Daily Digest' for now but the match maps are available.

Another fun day out at Wembley for the Women's FA Cup Final

The amount on offer has plummeted this week and I've included a few notable games taking place outside the capital to keep you interested.

OK, that's it for now - hopefully, I'll be able to add a bit more as the week progresses.


UPDATE - THE 'DAILY DIGEST' IS NOW UP (SEE BELOW)


THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include the final round of games in the Premier League, Non-League Finals Day and several county cup finals too. 

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin



TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, 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.

Tuesday 17 May

Kent Senior Cup Final
Dartford v Folkestone Invicta @745pm - withy very little on in London this week, I've included a few games outside the M25 including some decent county cup finals. First up is this one which is being played at Chatham Town's ground which can be reached on a high-speed train from St Pancras in just 40 minutes. The Darts are the current holders and should start as favourites as they play a level above Folkestone. Adult tickets are £10 and MUST be bought online in advance

Surrey Senior Cup Final
Dorking Wanderers v Kingstonian @745pm - it's a very similar scenario in Surrey where a top NLS side take on a club from the Isthmian Premier. To make things even tougher for the K's, the match is being played at Dorking's ground. Wanderers have become a real force in recent years but have never been to the final whilst Kingstonian have won it 11 times. Tickets are £12 MUST be bought online in advance

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Wednesday 18 May

London Senior Trophy Final
AFC Cubo v Tooting Bec @730pm - the much delayed LST final is here and being played at Carshalton Athletic's ground. Tooting Bec play a level above Cubo and should start as favourites. Adult tickets are £7.50 and can be bought online or on the gate

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Thursday 12 May

Premier League
Chelsea v Leicester City @745pm - after the disappointment of losing another cup final to Liverpool on penalties, the Blues now have to make sure they don't lose their place in the top four which has looked nailed on for months. If Arsenal win at Newcastle on Monday, they'll be just one point behind and Spurs will be two back. In other words, victory here will be enough for a Champions League place but a loss will put it all at risk going into the final game on Sunday. By their recent standards, the Foxes have had an underwhelming season but a top-eight finish is still possible. Tickets are not available

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Saturday 21 May

League One Play-Off Final
Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers @3pm - finishing fifth and sixth respectively, these clubs have somewhat defied the odds to make it to Wembley for this game. About as much of a David v Goliath contest as it's possible to get at this level, the Mackems are way too big a club to be playing in the third tier and easily sold their allocation. Gareth Ainsworth has been in charge of Wycombe for 10 years now and has done a superb job to put them on the verge of an instant return to the Championship after getting relegated last season. The last match between them in January ended in a 3-3 draw. Tickets are currently only available from Wycombe's ground and you need to prove local residency

National League South Play-Off Final
Dorking Wanderers v Ebbsfleet United @3pm - the hosts end the week and their season with another big game at Meadowbank. Having finished as runners-up to Maidstone United and successfully seen off Oxford City in the play-off semis, they now have home advantage in a game that could propel them to the highest level in their history. Ebbsfleet have spent a number of seasons in the fifth tier but took only a point off Dorking during thge regular season and got thrashed 5-1 on their last visit to the Surrey town in January. Ticket news will be announced on Monday afternoon

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Sunday 22 May

Premier League
Arsenal v Everton @4pm - the final day of the Premier League season has arrived and there's still plenty to play for, certainly at the time of writing. Whatever happens in midweek, the Gunners will still be fighting to secure a place in the top four by the time this comes round. If the Toffees lose or draw with Crystal Palace on Thursday, then they'll still be looking to avoid the drop. Tickets are not available
Brentford v Leeds United @4pm - the Bees' win at Everton on Sunday took them up to 11th and means that a win here could see them finish in the top half, an almost unthinkable feat at the beginning of the campaign. They also now have a huge say in the fate of Leeds who could well go down if they lose here. Tickets are not available
Chelsea v Watford @4pm - if the Blues beat Leicester on Thursday then this match will simply determine whether the Hornets finish 19th or bottom. However, if they don't, then this could become an incredibly tense battle to stay in the top four. Tickets are not available
Crystal Palace v Manchester United @4pm - the Eagles have comfotably avoided any struggles this season and could still finish in the top half with a win here. After finishing second last time, United have had a disastous season by their very high standards. They need to win just to hold on to sixth - a seventh-place finish would be their worst since 2013/14. Tickets are not available

Non-League Finals Day
At Wembley, one ticket will get you access to both the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals which are played back-to-back. The Vase is a national knockout competition primarily for clubs in the ninth and 10th tiers whilst the Trophy is for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers. Tickets could usually be bought from Wembley either online or in person on the day but the official site is saying it's sold out which suggests all neutral tickets are gone so go to one of the participating clubs to secure one. Bromley seem to be the best source of tickets at the moment

FA Vase Final
Littlehampton Town v Newport Pagnell Town @1215pm - neither of these ninth-tier teams have ever made it to this final before. On paper, Littlehampton should start as favourites as they won the Southern Combination title this year whilst Newport Pagnell could only manage fifith in the parallel United Counties League but are the leagues of the same quality? Sunday could give us some indication. It's interesting to note that Littlehampton got thrashed 5-0 by Athletic Newham in one of the earlier rounds but got reinstated after the London club fielded an ineligible player. Personally I'll be rooting for NPT where my uncle lives and my Mum did too until she died

FA Trophy Final
Bromley v Wrexham @415pm - London club Bromley will hope to go one better after losing the 2018 final to Brackley Town. They come into the game as underdogs after finishing 10th in the National League whilst Wrexham were runners-up. This could be to the Ravens' advantage as the Welsh club will surely have an eye on the play-offs which they will no doubt want to win more than this. However, promotion and this cup would be a huge achievement

GLWFL Finals Day
The Greater London Women's Football League is celebrating its 50th anniversary and has a hat-trick of finals taking place at Bedfont Sports starting at 11am and going on throughout the day, possibly into the early evening. Clubs including Brentford B and Clapton CFC will be on show during what looks set to be a veritable feast of women's football 






GET INVOLVED
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.

NEED HELP?
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 or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

TLFG: 9-15 May 2022

We're now well into May and the season is winding down fast.

The EFL regular season has now finished in all three divisions and we're already into the play-offs.

All we're really left with now is the Premier League and National League, with the latter concluding this weekend.

Overall, I don't have a lot of matches to offer you this week but those that are on are hugely significant.

Apart from anything else, it's FA Cup Final weekend with Wembley hosting the men's final on Saturday and the women's game the day after.

I'm going to the women's final on Sunday and am really rather looking forward to it as it should be the closest one I've been to yet. It surely can't be more disappointing than the last one where Arsenal just didn't turn up and got beaten with ease by Chelsea - more on all that below.

My daughter's first post-match interview

My football week took me to Loftus Road again on Tuesday to watch QPR U23s beat Wigan 3-2 in a very entertaining game - although the school run meant I had to leave about 10 minutes early and miss the R's thrilling late comeback.

Then on Saturday, I headed down to Feltham where my daughter took part in a 'Football Welcomes' event put on by Amnesty International where she played with her Actonians team-mates alongside a load of girls from Afghanistan.

It was a lot of fun and the goody bags and lunch were great - she even did her first post-match interview and was complimented on her performance by the journalist.


THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, FA Cup and National League. 

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Monday fixtures - yellow pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, 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 9 May

Premier League 2
Crystal Palace v Derby County @7pm - it's all about youth and development football on Monday with this U23 match at Selhurst Park topping the bill. Adult tickets are £5

Isthmian Development League Final
Haringey Borough v Hastings United @730pm - the best of the Isthmian League's U23 talent do battle at Aveley's Parkside ground on the far eastern side of town

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Tuesday 10 May

National League
Bromley v Altrincham @745pm - as we enter the final week of the NL season, this has become a dead rubber as both teams will finish comfortably in midtable. For the hosts, it's now all about building momentum ahead of the FA Trophy Final against Wrexham at Wembley on 22 May

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Wednesday 11 May

Premier League
Watford v Everton @745pm - the Hornets confirmed relegation with defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday, a result that takes a lot of the edge off this fixture. The Toffees are still only one point above the relegation zone but have taken 10 points from their last five games to give them more than a fighting chance of staying up. Tickets are available

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Thursday 12 May

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal @745pm - the North London Derby is always a huge occasion but this is one of the biggest for a while. With the sides fighting for fourth and the riches of a Champions League place, there are literally millions of pounds at stake. If the Gunners win, they'll go seven points clear of Spurs and seal that place in Europe with two games to go. If Chelsea drop points at Leeds, then it won't all be over for Tottenham but it would be incredibly difficult so they really must avoid defeat here. Tickets have sold out

National League South Play-Off Eliminator
Dartford v Chippenham Town @745pm - top for a time earlier in the season, the Darts ended up finishing fourth and will now play Chippenham in this eliminator. The winners will travel to Ebbsfleet United on Sunday for the semi-final. You're advised to buy a ticket in advance
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Saturday 14 May

FA Cup Final
Chelsea v Liverpool @445pm - comparable to the Super Bowl, arguably the highlight of the English football calendar is here again. Somewhat diminished in its importance since the advent of the Premier League, this grand old competition seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance in recent years and long may it continue. The Blues have now made it to five of the last six finals, winning in 2018. That took them to a total of eight wins from 15 appearances. In my head, I thought the Reds would have an even better record but they've only managed seven wins from 14 with their last triumph coming way back in 2006. On current form, they have to start as favourites here. Tickets have sold out

MCFL Premier Division
Clapton CFC v Wilberforce Wanderers @3pm - the next biggest crowd of the day will almost certainly come at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow where the Tons should pick up a home win over the bottom club in what I believe is their last game at the venue before moving back to their spiritual home at the Old Spotted Dog in Forest Gate. As a result, it's all-ticket so you must get one in advance

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Sunday 15 May

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley @12pm - provided Arsenal and Chelsea don't both win in midweek, Spurs will still have a shot at the top four coming into this. However, with Burnley fighting for every point they can get to stay up, it's not going to be easy. The omens look good for Tottenham though as the Clarets lost 5-0 and 4-0 on their two visits to the THS since it opened in 2019. Tickets have sold out
Watford v Leicester City @2pm - at the time of writing, the Foxes still aren't mathematically safe from relegation although a win against bottom club Norwich on Wednesday will be enough to make sure. Realistically, they won't go down so there's really very little to play for here. With the pressure off, this often leads to some very entertaining games. It is worth noting that final league position, even in midtable, can lead to a huge difference in prize money with the side coming 10th banking around £20m more than the one that came 14th last season. Tickets are available
West Ham United v Manchester City @2pm - this weekend's results saw City go three points clear at the top with three games to go, meaning the title is now theirs to lose. Both they and their main challengers Liverpool have midweek games so it's hard to write an accurate preview here but if the Reds lose at Aston Villa and Pep Guardiola's side beat Wolves then Jurgen Klopp's men will be left hoping for miracles. The Hammers' form at the business end of the season has dipped badly and the loss to Frankfurt in Europe must have been really disappointing. However, they bounced back with a resounding 4-0 win at Norwich to mean they're still on course for a top-six finish and another year in European competition. Tickets are all gone bar re-sale so check to see if any come up 

Women's FA Cup Final
Chelsea v Manchester City @230pm - cup final weekend concludes at Wembley with the women's final on Sunday afternoon, which is where I'll be with my daughter. At the last count on Wednesday, over 40,000 tickets had been sold which suggests the record of 45,423 could be beaten. I've been going to these since 2018 and this is probably the one I'm most excited about as it pits the newly crowned WSL winners against the League Cup winners. City finished third but only because the first part of their season was ruined by injury. The latter half of the season has seen them surge up the table and they come into this on a hot streak of form that has seen them win their last 13 games, scoring 46 goals in the process - 25 of those have come in their last five. Their last defeat was a 1-0 loss to Chelsea at Kingsmeadow in February but they beat the Blues a month later in the League Cup Final. Personally, I think and hope City will win here too. Tickets are available and at very reasonable prices too

National League
It's the final day of the regular season in the fifth tier and as far as our local clubs are concerned, it's all about the battle for the last play-off spot 
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wrexham @3pm - the Daggers are one place and three points behind Chesterfield who currently occupy seventh. To have any chance of going up, they have to beat Wrexham who are going for the title and hope that the Spireites lose to Woking. Anything else and it's all over. Surprisingly, this match is not all-ticket but I'd strongly advise you to buy in advance to make sure you get in
Boreham Wood v Solihull Moors @3pm - the Wood are also in contention for seventh but that will all end if they lose their midweek game in hand at Grimsby. For Solihull, it's all about making sure they finish third so they can get a bye to the play-off semi-finals and home advantage. Tickets are available
Barnet v Bromley @3pm - in the other games of the day, there's a London derby to enjoy at The Hive. There's little riding on it and the visitors could rest players ahead of the FA Trophy Final the following weekend. Tickets are available

----------------------------------------------------


GET INVOLVED
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.

NEED HELP?
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 or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

TLFG: 3-8 May 2022

Welcome one and all to the latest edition of TLFG.

It's been a hectic bank holiday weekend so apologies for the slightly late publication.

Again, I'll keep this brief as I'm short on time, but a lot of competitions have now finished or are wrapping up this week so the amount on offer is somewhat reduced.

I managed one game over the last few days - the first match played by QPR Women at Loftus Road.

They took on Norwich City in a fourth-tier match and grabbed a late goal to win 2-1 and secure a fourth-place finish just ahead of Actonians.

Danish TLFG reader Thomas pays a visit to Leyton Orient

An appreciative crowd of around 500, way higher than normal, had an enjoyable afternoon and hopefully more games will be played there next season.

I plan to be back in the same stadium on Tuesday lunchtime when it's the turn of the men's U23 side to take to the pitch and entertain their counterparts from Wigan Athletic.

With manager Mark Warburton leaving the club in less than satisfactory circumstances after the final match at Swansea this Saturday, the mood around QPR is a bit strange at the moment.

Did he need to go? Who will be next?

With three years of service under his belt, he's the fifth longest-serving manager since I started watching the club in the early '80s and that should say something about the overall quality of his work. 

To put that in perspective, the revered Neil Warnock only managed 22 months in the R's hot seat.

Oh well, that's football. Here's to whoever replaces him.

Lastly this week, thanks to Danish reader Thomas M O, who sent me an email about how he and his friends had used TLFG when their trip to see Chelsea fell through.

They ended up going to see the women's team play at Spurs instead and also visited Leyton Orient over the course of the weekend too.


                                                                 THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, some of our local non-league competitions and the final day of the Women's Super League too. 

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, 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.

Tuesday 3 May

Professional Development League
With the season coming to a close for most U23 teams, Millwall, QPR and Watford are all playing games at their main stadiums on Tuesday lunchtime. Entry is often free, pay what you want or no more than a fiver - check with the club on the day for all the details

MCFL Premier
NW London v Clapton CFC @8pm - the hosts won another cup at the weekend and will take a huge stride towards the MCFL title if they win this. Anything less than a win will knock the third-place Tons out of the race

MCFL Division 1 South/West
Shepherd's Bush v Hayes & Hillingdon @745pm - when Shepherd's Bush FC launched near me last summer, I was more than a little excited. However, my enthusiasm was quelled by them playing virtually all their games at Brunel University in Uxbridge. Despite this, it's been a great debut season and they'll win the division with a victory here. On this occasion, they're playing at Northwood so the spectator facilities will be much better than normal

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Wednesday 4 May

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @715pm - the biggest crowd of the night should be found at the Emirates Stadium where the women's version of the North London Derby is taking place. With Chelsea four points ahead, a defeat for the Gunners in their penultimate game will end their title hopes and see the Blues crowned champions. Tickets are available

Middlesex Charity Cup Final
Hanwell Town v Uxbridge @745pm - the Geordies secured promotion to the seventh tier on Sunday with a play-off win at Chertsey Town. On Wednesday they have the chance to bring home some more silverware and end their season on a real high. Uxbridge didn't finish far behind them in the league so it should be close. It's being played at Enfield Town

CCL Division 1 Play-Off Semi-Final
Hilltop v Eversley & California @745pm - after a superb debut season at this level, Hilltop finished second and now face this tricky play-off match against E&C who finished fifth

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Thursday 5 May

MCFL Premier
CB Hounslow United Reserves v NW London @745pm - if they haven't already won the title, NW London might have another chance to clinch it here

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Premier League
Brentford v Southampton @3pm - with Burnley and Everton picking up some crucial wins in recent weeks, the Bees and Saints aren't quite safe just yet and therefore, a win would do very nicely for both. When the clubs last met in January, Southampton enjoyed a convincing 4-1 win. Tickets are not available to non-members
Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - the hosts appeared to have sewn up third place weeks ago but only two wins from their last five has suddenly put that in doubt. With Arsenal and Spurs rapidly catching up, they badly need to win here against eighth-placed Wolves to arrest the slide. Tickets are not available
Crystal Palace v Watford @3pm - a win here will almost certainly secure the Eagles' place in the division. Sadly, the same can't be said of Watford who could win and still get relegated as they're that far adrift. Tickets are only available to members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Tranmere Rovers @3pm - it's the final day of the season in the fourth tier. The O's have managed a midtable finish and have nothing to play for. The same cannot be said of Tranmere who can squeak into the play-offs with a win. Tickets are available

CCL Division 1 Play-Off Final
Hilltop v Wallingford Town @3pm - there are bigger games at non-league level on Saturday but this, for me, is the most significant. The hosts, who have their roots in the Somali community, are new to football at this level and have impressed many people I've spoken to with their style of football. Finishing as runners-up to London Lions, they should start as favourites. However, their form dipped noticeably in the final few games and they've done well to raise their standards again to make it this far. The visitors, on the other hand, finished well and could have the momentum required to go up

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Sunday 8 May

Premier League
Arsenal v Leeds United @2pm - a game of huge importance at either end of the table. The Gunners need the win to stay in the hunt for a Champions League place whilst Leeds need three points to try and keep them up. Tickets are only available to members

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Manchester United @12pm - it's the final day of the WSL and the biggest game is this match between two of the top three. It's possible that the Blues could be league champions by the time this kicks-off but if not, then a win here will seal it for Emma Hayes's side. Anything less and they could let Arsenal nick it from them at the death. Tickets are sold out
West Ham United v Arsenal @12pm - with tickets like gold dust for the game above, you should be able to get one for the next biggest game of the day at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground. If the Gunners beat Spurs on Wednesday, then a win here could be enough to pip Chelsea to the title

MCFL Premier Division Cup Final
Kensington Dragons v Clapton CFC @3pm - if you'd prefer a non-league match, then this cup final at Uxbridge's ground should draw a lively crowd of several hundred. The Tons, roared on by their large following, should start as favourites

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GET INVOLVED
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.

NEED HELP?
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 or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

TLFG: 25 April - 2 May 2022

Greetings one and all and welcome to TLFG as the season takes another step closer to its completion.

As there's another Bank Holiday, this edition will go through until next Monday.

For the majority of our local non-league clubs, the action came to an end on Saturday meaning the really exciting business of the play-offs can now begin.

Not only that but the county cup circuit heats up a little bit more this week with the London Senior Cup Final on Tuesday and there are a couple of other more junior titles up for grabs too.

Fulham should finally make sure of the Championship title at some point this week whilst several other London clubs face huge matches in Europe or ones which will determine promotion or relegation.

Tickets are now on sale for the Women's FA Cup Final

My only chance of seeing anything is probably going to be next Sunday but other family commitments will probably stop that.

I did, however, book my tickets earlier today for this season's Women's FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley on 15 May.

In the WSL it's been all about Arsenal and Chelsea but that's because City had such bad injuries earlier in the season - now the players are back, they can compete with anyone and beat Chelsea in the League Cup Final last month.

All in all, I think City may well do a cup double.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Michael R who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. I really appreciate it. 

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, most of our local non-league competitions and the Women's Super League too. 

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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Monday fixtures - yellow pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, 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 25 April

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Leeds United @745pm - these teams looked safe but following Burnley's resurgence and with six games still to go, both teams could do with a win on Monday. Sadly for the Yorkshire club, it hasn't been a happy hunting ground with their last win coming back in 2006. Tickets are not available to non-members

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Tuesday 26 April

Championship
Fulham v Nottingham Forest @745pm - the Cottagers have already sealed promotion back to the Premier League but this could be the game where they win the title. Second placed Bournemouth are at Swansea the same night and Fulham simply need to better their result to be crowned champions. But it won't come easily as Forest can still finish second themselves and are in better form than either of the top two. Tickets are sold out

League Two
Sutton United v Crawley Town @745pm - the U's suffered defeat at Barrow on Saturday but stayed in the play-off places. With three games to go they can easily be caught and pretty much need to win every one. Midtable Crawley have nothing to play for and are currently without suspended manager John Yems after complaints of 'discriminatory language and behaviour' towards players. Tickets are available

National League
Bromley v Aldershot Town @745pm - the Ravens' loss at Boreham Wood left them nine points adrift of the play-offs with six games to go, significantly diminishing their promotion hopes. Aldershot are just above the relegation zone but have a seven-point cushion over King's Lynn, meaning a win here will keep them up 

London Senior Cup Final
Brentford B v Hendon @745pm - having lost to Barnet in the Middlesex Senior Cup Final, the Bees will want to take this title instead. Beaten finalists in two of the last three London Senior Cup finals, will this be their year? Hendon warmed up for this by winning their last league game of the season against Merthyr Town 6-0 and they beat Brentford 1-0 in that 2020 final. Being played at Dulwich Hamlet, I haven't seen any ticket details yet but it's usually around £10 for adults

Kent Senior Cup Semi-Final
Welling United v Dartford @745pm - there's a local derby at Park View Road on Tuesday. Neither side have got the game listed on their website fixture lists so I don't think they're taking it that seriously. The winners will meet either Folkestone Invicta or Hythe Town in the final

Southern League Premier Division South Play-Off Semi-Final
Hayes & Yeading United v Weston-super-Mare @745pm - of far more importance is this play-off game at the SkyEx. H&YU sealed the runners-up spot in the division with a 2-2 draw at Hartley Wintney in their final game meaning they have home advantage here. There's only one leg and the winners will play Farnborough or Metropolitan Police in the final. Tickets are £10 on the gate

Friendly
AFC Whytleleafe v Surrey International @815pm - if you'd prefer something a little more quirky and you're in the deep south, then the return to action of Surrey's international side could be for you. It's free entry at Church Road too
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Wednesday 27 April

Isthmian League Premier Division Play-Off Semi-Final
Enfield Town v Hornchurch @745pm - the biggest game of the night takes place at the QEII Stadium thanks to the fact that the Towners won their final game and the Urchins lost theirs. The results saw them switch places in the table to give Enfield home advantage in this one-legged game, which could prove to be crucial. The winners wil play Bishop's Stortford or Cheshunt in Monday's final. Tickets are £11 and can be bought online

Isthmian League South Central Division Play-Off Semi-Finals
Bedfont Sports v Hanwell Town @745pm - if north London's not convenient for you, then a match next to Heathrow Airport could be better. A short walk from Hatton Cross Tube station will take you to Bedfont Sports' well-appointed ground. With Bracknell Town having won the title, the battle for second was a close one and ultimately Bedfont and Hanwell fell a bit short. I haven't seen any ticket details yet but they should be available on the gate, with prices no more than £10
Chertsey Town v Basingstoke Town @745pm - the runners-up spot eventually went to Chertsey who continue to build on the strong foundations that former manager Dave Anderson laid back in 2018/19 when they won the Combined Counties League and FA Vase. Losing boss Kevin McClaren to a bizarre bit of ill-discipline midway through this campaign, the Curfews have done superbly well to find themselves in this position under his replacement Ian Selley. Former NLS side Basingstoke are arguably the biggest club in this division and are recovering well after some terrible off-field shenanigans in recent years. Tickets are £9 if bought in advance, £10 on the day

SCEFL Division 1 Play-Off Semi-Final
Sutton Athletic v Tooting Bec @745pm - there's another big game lower down the pyramid where two TLFG clubs are looking to get out of the 10th tier. With Stansfeld winning the title, Sutton finished second thanks to a solid 3-0 win over Snodland on the final day. Tooting Bec almost threw it all away by losing at home to relegation-threatened Forest Hill Park but Bridon Ropes came unstuck too and they held on. The hosts should start as favourites

Middlesex Intermediate Cup Final
NW London v Brentham @745pm - after winning the Anagram Records Trophy on Saturday night, NW London go after another piece of silverware on Wednesday. This should be quite a game as they face their main rivals for the MCFL title who beat them at the start of the month. This is being played at North Greenford United but I haven't seen any ticket details yet
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Thursday 28 April

Europa League Semi-Final First Leg
West Ham United v Eintracht Frankfurt @8pm - arguably the biggest game the Hammers have played in years, the pressure will really be on them on Thursday. Following defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, they're now down to seventh and might struggle to get back into Europe next season if they don't win this competition. A bit like Lyon, who they beat in the last round, Frankfurt are having a pretty mediocre league campaign and are ninth in the Bundesliga at the time of writing. However, with wins over Real Betis and Barcelona in previous rounds, they're going to be tough opponents. They also travel in huge numbers so tickets are long gone

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @745pm - after being postponed because of Covid infections in March, the re-scheduling of this match means the clubs will play twice in four days. Sunday's match at The Hive saw the Blues overcome the loss of an early goal and the first-half sending off of their goalkeeper to win 3-1. The performance showed why they will almost certainly be crowned champions and also effectively ended Spurs' hopes of a Champions League place. Tickets are available 

Middlesex Charity Cup Semi-Final
Southall v Uxbridge @745pm - if you'd prefer a non-league match, then CCL Premier North runners-up Southall will hope to continue their successful season by cupsetting the higher-ranked Uxbridge and making it to the final against Hanwell Town
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Friday 29 April

Championship
QPR v Sheffield United @745pm - if the R's had got something out of their game at Stoke on Saturday then this could've been quite something. Sadly they lost 1-0 which means they're six points behind the Blades, who occupy the last play-off spot, with two games to go. Goal difference means that QPR will have to score five or six past here to have any chance of going into the final day with any hope. With Millwall, Middlesbrough and Blackburn all better placed, it really isn't looking very good at all. But this is the Championship and weird things happen. Tickets are available

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Leeds United @7pm - if that doesn't appeal, you want something cheaper or you've never been to the Emirates Stadium, then this U23 game looks like a fine option. Tickets are only £4 and must be booked in advance - there's a limited capacity so don't delay
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Saturday 30 April

Premier League
Watford v Burnley @3pm - there's only one game in the top flight on Saturday but it's the definition of a relegation 'six-pointer'. With the Hornets suffering another defeat at Manchester City on Saturday, only a fool would bet on them staying up. Nine points adrift of safety with five games to go, the game is surely up. However, if they beat the Clarets they'll give themselves half a chance. It seemed really harsh on Sean Dyche when Burnley sacked him earlier this month, but with seven points from the three games since, it could prove to be an inspired decision. A win won't guarantee survival by any means but it will add to the all-important momentum and belief that's required to stay up. Tickets are available

Championship
Millwall v Peterborough United @3pm - with two games to go, the Lions find themselves just three points off a play-off place. With one of the smallest budgets and fanbases in the division, few would've predicted that at the start of the season so it's quite an achievement. With Peterborough already down, this provides a great opportunity to keep their promotion dreams alive. Tickets are available

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Accrington Stanley @3pm - it's the final day in the third tier and with only six wins from their previous 45 league games, the Dons are on the verge of relegation. In fact, if Fleetwood get at least a draw in their midweek game in hand against Sheffield Wednesday then it will all be over. If they are still in with a chance come Saturday, then they'll have to win big and hope Fleetwood and Gillingham both lose - a combination of results that would see them stay up on goal difference. Tickets have sold out

League Two
Sutton United v Bradford City @3pm - the fourth tier goes on a week longer but a win for the U's here against the midtable Bantams might be enough to secure a play-off place. In all likelihood, it will go to the final day but they'll want to have as many points in the bag as possible when they head to Harrogate. Tickets are available

National League
Barnet v Grimsby Town @3pm - the Bees' season is over but they can have a say in who gets a play-off spot. Grimsby are sixth at the time of writing with a healthy six-point advantage over Dagenham & Redbridge in eighth. If they lose here, it could get a lot tighter with three games to go
Bromley v Chesterfield @3pm - as mentioned above, the Ravens' play-off hopes are slim but if they beat Aldershot and Chesterfield who are fifth at the time of writing, then their prospects could look a lot rosier
Wealdstone v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - like Barnet, the Stones' season is over with the objective of avoiding relegation achieved. The Daggers still have a play-off spot in their sights and could find themselves only a point off the pace if they win here

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Sunday 1 May

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City @2pm - in the battle to seemingly AVOID finishing fourth, Spurs had a reasonable weekend by only managing to draw at Brentford. This means they're now two points behind Arsenal who've had a terrible week, beating Chelsea and Manchester United. I jest of course but that's how it's appeared in recent times with the teams between fourth and seventh all wasting presentable chances to nail down that last Champions League place. The Foxes are coasting along in midtable and must now be focused almost entirely on winning the Europa Conference League. Tickets are sold out
West Ham United v Arsenal @430pm - with the Hammers possibly a little jaded coming off their big Europa League game, this could be another great chance for the Gunners to move a little closer to sealing a fourth-place finish. Arsenal are unbeaten in five against West Ham and beat them fairly comfortably when they last men in December. Tickets are available

Isthmian League South Central Play-Off Final
Chertsey Town v Hanwell Town @3pm - after beating Basingstoke Town and Bedfont Sports respectively, it looks set to be quite a ding-dong at Alwyns Lane on Sunday. The Curfews drew over 1,000 fans to their semi-final and this could well sell out so book your ticket in advance

FA Sunday Cup Final
Baitezee FC v Highgate Albion @2pm - I'm not an expert on this competition but it's as prestigious as it gets when it comes to Sunday League football. The match is being played at Millwall and tickets are £5

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Aston Villa @215pm - as we move into the last three games of the season, the Gunners need to win every one to give them the chance of finishing ahead of Chelsea. If the Blues beat Spurs in midweek, then Arsenal will be four points behind coming into this. Villa are the sort of side the hosts should beat with ease, anything else will effectively end their season 

FA Women's Championship
London City Lionesses v Blackburn Rovers @2pm - with Liverpool having already won the title, three clubs are still in with a chance of finishing second. LCL are currently second so simply need to win here to make sure of the runners-up spot

FA Women's National League Division 1 South East
QPR v Norwich City @2pm - this game is notable as it's the first time QPR Women will play a match at Loftus Road. It's their final game of the season and it's free entry although a voluntary donation to the club's community trust would be appreciated

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Monday 2 May

Championship
Fulham v Luton Town @515pm - as mentioned above, the Cottagers could well be champions by the time this kicks-off but if not, they'll have another chance here. Again they face tough opponents who are looking to go up but results earlier in the weekend could have secured the Hatters a play-off spot and this could be all about determining whether they get home advantage in the post-season. Some tickets may still be available but you'll need to register to get one

National League
Boreham Wood v Wrexham @3pm - with three defeats in five, leaders Stockport have allowed Wrexham right back into title contention. The Welsh club are now only a point behind with three games to go. The Wood were the latest team to beat Stockport and still have faint hopes of getting into the play-offs. To have any chance of going up, they must win here - it's huge for both. You're strongly advised to buy tickets in advance and if you do, you'll get free entry to the following game against Solihull Moors too
Dagenham & Redbridge v Torquay United @3pm - the Daggers' win at Wealdstone on Saturday extended their unbeaten run to six games and left them four points behind Chesterfield who fill the last play-off place. If the good momentum continues and they win here, they'll end any hope the Gulls might have of going up

National League South
Welling United v Maidstone United @3pm - the pick of the games in the sixth tier takes place at Park View Road where the struggling Wings have the chance to secure their place in the division. All they need to do is beat the newly crowned NLS champions and hope Billericay drop points against Ebbsfleet - easy!


Premier League 2 & Professional Development League
There's a really fine selection of U23 games on Monday with Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic all hosting games at their main stadiums. In the case of the Premier League clubs, you're advised to buy tickets in advance through their websites

Southern League Premier Division South Play-Off Final
Hayes & Yeading United v Farnborough @3pm - After leading the way for a large part of the season, H&YU ended up in second. Thankfully they came through their semi-final against Weston-super-Mare unscathed but Farnborough should be a slightly tougher challenge. The visitors beat Metropolitan Police in their semi. Tickets are £10 but can only be bought from the ground in person from 11am on Saturday

Isthmian League Premier Division Play-Off Final
Hornchurch v Cheshunt @3pm - both sides upset the applecart in the semis by beating their higher-ranked hosts. The Urchins stunned many in the non-league game last year by winning the FA Trophy at Wembley. After a slow start to this campaign, they finished strongly and are now 90 minutes away from another very successful season. Tickets are £12 and go on sale at midday on 28 April

GET INVOLVED
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.

NEED HELP?
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 or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.