Monday, 2 May 2016

TLFG: 3-8 May 2016

Greetings one and all, I hope you're well.

The last week has again seen a number of major issues settled as we approach the end of another season.

Leicester's fine draw at Manchester United on Sunday put them on the verge of winning the Premier League. To be stopped, Tottenham Hotspur have to win at Chelsea today (Monday) so it could all be over by the time you read this.

Arsenal edged to a 1-0 win over struggling Norwich to move up to third and can still theoretically finish above Spurs in second which would be the ultimate insult to their north London rivals given how this season has gone.

West Ham still have an outside chance of a Champions League place after winning comfortably at West Brom while at the other end, Crystal Palace still need a win to make absolutely sure of staying up.

The Championship comes to end this weekend and there's very little at stake for any of our local teams. If QPR fail to win at Burnley today (Monday) then Brentford will be crowned top London club in the division.

With Wigan and Burton claiming the two automatic promotion spots, Millwall made sure of a League One play-off place with their 3-0 win over Oldham on Saturday. In terms of this division, they play their geographically closest rivals Gillingham in their final game to decide whether they keep home advantage for those all important second legs. The Gills also need a win to make the top six themselves so it should be a cracker.

There's less than three weeks to go - have you got your tickets?
In League Two, AFC Wimbledon drew with Stevenage to earn the last play-off berth in League Two. With still one game to go their opponents in the 'post-season' are still unknown but will be one of either Accrington Stanley, Bristol Rovers or Oxford United.

Since having their relegation confirmed, Dagenham & Redbridge have gone on a winning streak with fine victories over Plymouth and Crawley which must make the fans wonder what might have been. Sadly it is too little too late and the Daggers will be in the National League next season.

Once here, they'll be able to enjoy derbies against Boreham Wood who won their crucial final game at Welling to stay up - a fine achievement by a club with the smallest crowds (avg. 544) in the division. 

The only major issue of note in the National League South for our local clubs was whether Dartford would make the play-offs. They faced a tricky trip to St Albans who were fighting hard to avoid relegation. It seems the hosts wanted it more and won 4-0 meaning the Darts missed out.

By and large, the Isthmian League play-offs proved a disappointment for TLFG clubs. With no representatives making the Division 1 South semi-finals, three of the four spots in Division 1 North were taken by our teams. However, it was Essex club Harlow Town who ultimately prevailed, beating AFC Hornchurch in the final. 

Our only hope of joy comes in the Premier Division final later today where Dulwich Hamlet travel to East Thurrock United. The Hamlet only just scraped into the play-offs because Enfield Town didn't win their final game and to me looked like underdogs against Bognor Regis in the semis. The Sussex club were on fire in the last few weeks of the season and had been scoring for fun. On Thursday, with the game goalless and well into injury time, Ashley Carew scored with a free-kick to send Gavin Rose's side through in dramatic fashion. 

East Thurrock are a tough and well organised side who should really have beaten Dulwich when they last met at Champion Hill back in February - only two injury time goals saved the hosts that day - and will be hard to beat on their own pitch. If Dulwich do win, it will be a shame to lose them from the Isthmian League but with average crowds approaching 1,400 they are arguably well ready for the next level in a way that their opponents with attendances of only 200 aren't. 

In the Southern League there was also play-off disappointment for Egham Town who did really well to finish third in the Division 1 Central before going out in the semis at home to St Ives. 

Edgware Town won the Spartan South Midlands League Division 1 - a fine achievement in only their second season since re-forming. Dartford also beat Charlton to win the Kent Senior Cup and Chelsea's U18s beat Manchester City to win the FA Youth Cup.

With most non-league football now concluded, the week ahead sees a massive drop off in the amount of games that you can watch and as a result I've bulked it out with some 11th tier games from the Middlesex County, Herts Senior County, Essex Olympian, Kent County and Surrey Elite Intermediate Leagues which should give you the chance to experience some new teams and unusual venues.

The week ahead, as far as the Premier League is concerned, will really all revolve around whether Spurs can beat Chelsea today (Monday). If they do, then their game against Southampton could become huge. 

The biggest game in the Football League taking place locally is Charlton Athletic v Burnley. Although the Addicks are down, Burnley may well win the title if they come away with three points here.

The other two highlights for me are the London and Middlesex Senior Cup Finals at Metropolitan Police and Uxbridge's grounds respectively. I'm a big fan of these competitions and they often represent the best chance of silverware most non-league sides get during a season. 

There are also two big U21 games this week at Arsenal and Chelsea. Both teams will be playing at their main stadiums (i.e. the Emirates and Stamford Bridge) and tickets are on general sale which means non-members will have a rare chance to see a game there. Tickets are really cheap but you must buy them in advance - there won't be any sales on the night in either case.

Lastly, we've got another ground visit to enjoy reading from our friends at 'Two Men In Search...' who went to Rayners Lane to watch their Middlesex Charity Cup semi-final against Cockfosters. I shamefully have to admit to having grown up a few minutes drive away from the Tithe Farm, passed it many times but still have never been to a game there. With Harrow Borough and Wealdstone dominating non-league football in that part of London and for some reason playing in the Hellenic League, they are very much the forgotten club in the locale.

That's it from me. Let me know how you get on on your football travels and as always, enjoy it!


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 40 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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 (white 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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



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
Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers @7pm - U21 Premier League Division 2 play-off semi-final at the Emirates, great chance to see a game at one of the big grounds for just £4 (must buy online by 3pm on the day)
London Senior Trophy Final @730pm - Glebe (10th tier) take on Tooting Bec (11th tier) for some silverware at Enfield Town's ground

Wednesday 4 May
Premier League International Cup Final @7pm - the U21 sides of PSV Eindhoven and Villarreal meet at Millwall where it's just £3 to get in
London Senior Cup Final @745pm - Tooting & Mitcham United play Hendon at Met Police's Imber Court in a repeat of last year's final which the Greens won 
Molesey v Camberley Town @745pm - a little further up the road, these two contest a Southern Combination Cup semi-final

Thursday 5 May
Broadfields United v Hillingdon Borough @745pm - a local derby in the Spartan South Midlands League being played at Harefield United's ground

Friday 6 May
Chelsea v Manchester United @705pm - the recently crowned U21 Premier League champions visit Stamford Bridge to play the Blues in their final game of the season (tickets must be bought by 4pm on match day)

Saturday 7 May 
Crystal Palace v Stoke City @3pm - a win for the hosts will see them avoid relegation from the Premier League
Charlton Athletic v Burnley @1230pm - the Addicks are already down but a win for the Clarets could see them finish top of the Championship
AFC Wimbledon v Newport County @3pm - the Dons go into their final game having already secured a League Two play-off place
Middlesex Senior Cup Final @3pm - Northwood start as underdogs against Enfield Town at Uxbridge's ground
Epsom Athletic v CB Hounslow United @3pm - depending on results earlier in the week, the visitors could wrap up the Combined Counties Division 1 title here

Sunday 8 May
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton @130pm - if Spurs beat Chelsea on Monday, then they'll need to win this to keep their Premier League title hopes alive
Chelsea v Liverpool @2pm - FA Women's Super League 1 action at Staines Town


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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

TLFG: 25 April - 2 May 2016

This weekend looked like being significant and it didn't disappoint.

In the Premier League, Leicester took another massive stride towards the title after thrashing Swansea 4-0 meaning Tottenham simply must beat West Brom on Monday to stay in with a chance. Defeat would leave them eight points adrift with three games to go, a deficit which a team of seasoned winners would find hard to overcome let alone one which hasn't won the title for 55 years.

A disappointing 0-0 draw at Sunderland saw Arsenal slip to fourth and with the Foxes winning, their already slim chances of finishing top are now over.

The biggest success story of the weekend for our top flight clubs was Crystal Palace winning their FA Cup semi-final against Watford. They will now face Manchester United in a repeat of the 1990 final in just under four weeks.

In the Championship, the only news of note was not positive as Charlton Athletic finally lost their long struggle against relegation as Brighton beat them 2-1 at The Valley.

At only £25 adults, £10 concessions and £1 U16s it looks like a great value day out
GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
They could well be swapping places with near neighbours Millwall who are now pretty much guaranteed a League One play-off place following their 3-1 win at Bury. That result still leaves them with a mathematical chance of an automatic promotion spot but they'll have to win their last two to even think about it.

With Dagenham & Redbridge already relegated, the main news to come out League Two was AFC Wimbledon winning the derby against Leyton Orient. The slender 1-0 win has given the Dons a very strong chance of making the play-offs while at the same time condemning the O's to finish in midtable.

In the National League, with Bromley having secured a very creditable midtable finish and Welling United sadly relegated, the focus is now very much on Boreham Wood and their fight to stay up. With two wins on the bounce, including a crucial win over fellow strugglers Guiseley on Saturday, the Wood have put their fate in their own hands. However, they are only one point clear of the bottom three and travel to Welling for a derby on the final day - it will be tense.

Congratulations are due to Sutton United who claimed the National League South crown with a 2-0 win over Chelmsford on Saturday. I'm staggered it's taken them so long given they haven't lost a league game since early November. They now return to the fifth tier for the first time since 2000.

Elsewhere in the division, Dartford can still make the play-offs if midweek results go their way and they beat St Albans City in their final game. St Albans are still fighting hard to avoid relegation and are in decent form so will be no pushovers.

Like Sutton, there was also title joy for Hampton & Richmond Borough in the Isthmian League Premier Division but they put their fans through it. They needed to draw with Enfield Town to finish top but their Middlesex rivals also needed a win to nick the final play-off berth from Dulwich Hamlet if the south Londoners slipped up at struggling Needham Market.

Elsewhere, second-placed Bognor Regis could steal top spot if they beat Hendon and achieved a four-goal swing in the process. They duly won 4-0 but an Enfield goal did not materialise and the title headed to the Beveree. Dulwich did come unstuck at Needham Market but had enough points to scrape over the line. They now face Bognor in Sussex on Thursday night in the one legged semi-final.

In the Isthmian League Division 1 North, three of the four play-off places went to local clubs with Thurrock, Cray Wanderers and AFC Hornchurch all making it. In the parallel Division 1 South, Corinthian Casuals were well on course for a play-off place until Friday when they controversially had three points deducted for fielding an ineligible player way back in January. They won their final game but so did the teams above them and they cruelly missed out.

Egham Town were one of the surprise packages of the Southern League Division 1 Central season and went into the final week as contenders for top spot. Sadly it didn't quite work out for them and they finished third - still a massive achievement for a club not long out of the Combined Counties League and averaging attendances of 102. They welcome St Ives Town on Tuesday for their one legged play-off semi-final.

In the ninth and tenth tier, there are still a few issues to be settled. A title win should be a formality for Edgware Town in the Spartan South Midlands League Division 1. Three local clubs can all win the Combined Counties League Division 1 title and should all get promoted - good luck to Abbey Rangers, Bedfont & Feltham and CB Hounslow United.

In other news I had planned to take in one of Saturday's big games but ended up babysitting. Not to be defeated I made my first trip to see my local non-league side.

The Linford Christie Stadium plays host to some Middlesex County League football
Kensington Dragons play in the Middlesex County League, part of the 11th tier of English football. The day's opponents were AFC Wembley and an even game ensued at the Linford Christie Stadium - a multisport venue (i.e. there was a running track and athletics facilities) sandwiched between Hammersmith Hospital and Wormwood Scrubs.

With my three-year-old happily playing with some of the players' kids in the long jump sand pit, I was afforded plenty of time to watch the action.

To be fair, there wasn't much but the pitch was heavy and the grass long so passing was tough. The hosts eventually won 2-1 with a late goal. Sadly I missed it as I was retrieving a ball from an earlier wayward shot, something I did four or five times.

Overall, I'm a bit of a fan of this league as long-term readers will know. Over the next month, as most leagues finish, this one will keep going a bit longer and I'll add its games to the map.

For the eagle-eyed among you, this week's piece runs through until next Monday as we have another Bank Holiday with several big games taking place.

Lastly, our friends at 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' have paid a visit to Isthmian League club AFC Hornchurch - find out how they got on.

It's going to be another defining week - enjoy it! 

LATEST TICKET NEWS

Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are almost 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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 (white 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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



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
Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion @8pm - Spurs' title challenge continues and they simply must win to keep in realistic contention
U21 Premier League Cup Final @7pm - West Ham's youngsters take on Hull City at one of the last ever games at the Boleyn Ground for the week's first piece of silverware
Waltham Forest v Bowers & Pitsea @745pm - a win for the visitors, who made the FA Vase semi-finals, will put them top of the Essex Senior League with one game to go

Tuesday 26 April
AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth @745pm - a big game in League Two as both sides look to make sure of their play-off places
Kent Senior Cup Final @745pm - Dartford host Charlton Athletic in the second final of the week
Southern League Division 1 Central play-off semi-final @745pm - Egham Town host St Ives Town in this one legged winner takes all match

Wednesday 27 April
FA Youth Cup Final Second Leg @745pm - the U18 sides of Chelsea and Manchester City drew the first leg 1-1 meaning it's all to play for at Stamford Bridge 
Isthmian League Division 1 North play-off semi-final @745pm - Thurrock play host to local rivals AFC Hornchurch for a place in Sunday's final
Middlesex Premier Cup Final @745pm - Hillingdon Borough, former FA Trophy finalists, meet Woodford Town at Wealdstone

Thursday 28 April
London Tigers v London Colney @745pm - depending on results earlier in the week, London Colney might still have a very slim chance of winning the Spartan South Midlands League title 

Saturday 30 April 
Arsenal v Norwich City @530pm - an important game for clubs at opposite ends of the Premier League table
Brentford v Fulham @3pm - it's west London derby time in the Championship but apart from local bragging rights, there's little else to play for
Millwall doubleheader from 3pm - the men's side, still with an outside chance of automatic promotion from League One, entertain Oldham at a 3pm before the women's side play Yeovil at 630pm, one ticket will get you in for both
Dagenham & Redbridge v Crawley Town @3pm - with relegation confirmed, this will be the Daggers' last home game as a Football League club
Welling United v Boreham Wood @530pm - with the hosts already relegated from the National League, the Wood need to win this derby to make sure of avoiding the same fate
Abbey Rangers v Banstead Athletic @3pm - the hosts need to win to keep their chances of winning the Combined Counties League Division 1 title alive
Edgware Town v Arlesey Town Reserves @3pm - the Wares could secure the Spartan South Midlands League Division 1 title on Tuesday night, if they don't then they almost certainly will here

Sunday 1 May
Isthmian League Division 1 North play-off final @3pm - finalists and venue to be decided
Arsenal v Birmingham City @2pm - FA Women's Super League 1 action at Boreham Wood

Monday 2 May
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @8pm - a huge London derby with the Blues having the chance of thwarting Spurs' Premier League title hopes
The Legends: England v Germany @4pm - special 1966 commemorative match at West Ham's Boleyn Ground, it could be your last chance to visit before it closes
Middlesex Senior Charity Cup Final @3pm - Cockfosters and Hanworth Villa contest another piece of county silverware at Northwood FC
Southern Counties East League Cup Final @3pm - after a disappointing league campaign, Erith & Belvedere will hope to end the season on a high against Hollands & Blair


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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

TLFG: 18-24 April 2016

With the season very much into its final furlong, things are really starting to get interesting.

Although there's still a few weeks to go in the Premier League and Football League, some of our local non-league competitions conclude this week.

In the seventh and eighth tiers we see the end of the Isthmian and Southern Leagues and several of our local teams could be celebrating come the final whistle on Saturday.

Hampton & Richmond Borough are all set to be crowned champions of the former and could know as early as Tuesday if Bognor Regis fail to win their midweek game in hand. If they do see off the already relegated Brentwood Town then Hampton will need to draw their final match at home to Enfield Town to make absolutely certain as the goal difference between the two is bridgeable. Enfield will be no pushovers though as they need to win to have any hope of securing a play-off spot themselves.

Ticket sales for Non-League Finals Day passed 30,000 on Friday - join us
Dulwich Hamlet and Kingstonian are also in the mix for that all-important fifth spot so at least two local clubs will miss out there.

In Isthmian Division 1 North the play-off contenders have all been decided, it's now just a battle for position to discover who plays who. Three of the four are from our area - AFC Hornchurch, Cray Wanderers and Thurrock.

All London hopes are pinned on Corinthian Casuals in the Isthmian Division 1 South who moved into the final play-off spot on Saturday afternoon and will need to win their final match at home to Three Bridges to keep hold of it.

Egham Town are our only hope of honours in the Southern League Division 1 Central. Still very much in the hunt for the title, they face a very tough final week against AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Royston Town who are immediately behind them in the top four. A play-off place is assured though.

The Southern Counties East League (ninth tier) concludes this week too but Greenwich Borough won the title last week so there is nothing of significance to be decided there.

Although there's still a couple of weeks to go, Sutton United will clinch the National League South title (sixth tier) with a win over Chelmsford on Saturday. With five wins on the trot and unbeaten in the league since 7 November they will be worthy champions. On Saturday they beat nearest rivals Ebbsfleet United 2-0 in front of 3,142 spectators to make it almost a certainty. 

On the subject of healthy non-league crowds, Dulwich also pulled in just shy of 2,500 for their match against Lewes. It should be noted that both these clubs make huge efforts to really engage with their local communities and it clearly pays off. With attendances like these they can match several League Two sides and even a few in League One.

Staying with non-league football, ticket sales for Non-League Finals Day (NLFD) at Wembley on Sunday 22 May have now passed the 30,000 mark. 

If you want to be part of the first ever NLFD where the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals will be played back-to-back, remember it's only £25 adults, £10 concessions and £1 kids. If you can get 12 or more friends together then adult tickets halve in price to just £12.50 which is damn good value for a whole day at the national stadium. You'll even be able to pass in and out of the ground during the day so you won't be restricted to stadium food and drink. Tempted? Order your tickets here.

Talking of Wembley, it's also hosting the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend. TLFG sides Crystal Palace and Watford will be playing each other in game two on Sunday - good luck to both. 

I think that's it from me. I'm off to Lyme Regis for a few days by the sea but hope to be back for a bit of football next weekend. The games at Hampton and Sutton are both looking very tempting. If you're after a bargain then it's FREE to get in at Chipstead where they take on Walton Casuals in the Isthmian League.

LATEST TICKET NEWS

Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are almost 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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 (white 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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



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 18 April
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion @7pm - U21 action at Boreham Wood, a chance to check out the next generation of Gunners stars and it's free to get in
Hendon v Billericay Town @745pm - the Greens badly need a win to make sure they avoid relegation from the Isthmian Premier
Greenhouse Sports v Basildon United @745pm - the visitors are currently top of the Essex Senior League but the title race is still wide open so they need to win

Tuesday 19 April
Brentford v Cardiff City @745pm - the season is over for the Bees but Cardiff can still make the Championship play-offs 
Millwall v Fleetwood Town @745pm - a crucial game for sides at either end of League One, thankfully it's the Lions who are going for promotion
Dagenham & Redbridge v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - sadly the Daggers got relegated from the Football League on Saturday but that should make them more determined to win this derby and damage the Dons' promotion hopes
Leyton Orient v Plymouth Argyle @745pm - elsewhere in League Two, two clubs with hopes of going up go head-to-head
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United @7pm - big U21 match between two of the country's best sides at that level, consequently it is being played at White Hart Lane
Egham Town v AFC Rushden & Diamonds @745pm - big game between two clubs going for promotion in Southern League 1 Central
North Greenford United v Kings Langley @745pm - bottom versus top in the Southern League 1 Central, victory could win the title for the visitors while anything less than that will see NGU go down
Hanworth Villa v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @730pm - Middlesex Charity Cup semi-final and a local derby featuring two sides from the Combined Counties League top five

Wednesday 20 April
West Ham United v Watford @745pm - a big night at the Boleyn Ground where the Hammers need a win in this derby to stay in the hunt for a Champions League place
FC Porto v Villarreal @7pm - the youngsters from these two Iberian clubs contest a semi-final of the Premier League International Cup at Millwall
Greenhouse Sports v Bowers & Pitsea @745pm - the hosts welcome another set of Essex Senior League title challengers

Thursday 21 April
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion @745pm - a rare Thursday night fixture in the Premier League which could see the Gunners go level with Spurs if results go their way between now and then
Rayners Lane v Cockfosters @745pm - the second semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup
Arsenal v Chelsea @6pm - big derby in the FA Women's Super League at Boreham Wood

Saturday 22 April 
Everton v Manchester United @515pm - it's FA Cup semi-final weekend at Wembley with this one taking place first
Charlton Athletic v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - a game of equal importance at either end of the Championship, sadly it's the Addicks who are fighting to avoid the drop
Queens Park Rangers v Reading @3pm - a dead rubber for both but effectively a derby with the visitors located just to the west of London
AFC Wimbledon v Leyton Orient @3pm - huge game in League Two as two London clubs fight for a play-off spot
Boreham Wood v Guiseley @3pm - big relegation six-pointer in the National League
Sutton United v Chelmsford City @3pm - a draw will be enough for the U's to win the National League South title and get promoted
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Enfield Town @3pm - the hosts will almost certainly be celebrating winning the Isthmian League title at some point on Saturday while Enfield can still grab the last play-off spot if they win
Thurrock v Aveley @3pm - local derby over in Essex where a win for Thurrock could see them finish second in the Isthmian 1 North
Corinthian Casuals v Three Bridges @3pm - the hosts need a win to make sure of a play-off place in the Isthmian 1 South

Sunday 23 April
Crystal Palace v Watford @4pm - FA Cup semi-final number two and a derby to boot
London Bees v Bristol City @2pm - just up the road from Wembley, we've got some women's football at Barnet's ground

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Monday, 11 April 2016

TLFG: 11-17 April 2016

After another action packed few days, the blog has taken a bit of a backseat and that's why it's arriving on Monday morning - apologies.

The week has again featured planning meetings ahead of Non-League Finals Day and also working with Goalshouter (GS) who have entered into a partnership with my Non-League Day organisation (different to the aforementioned event which belongs to the FA). I don't want to bore you with details of that right now but if your club could make do with a free annual subscription to Goalshouter then get in touch as soon as possible as we have a few available.

Being new to London, I took one of the GS team to the derby between QPR and Charlton on Saturday. 

Having finished work at Waterloo at 2pm, I managed to dash across to Shepherd's Bush in time to meet him, walk to the ground and buy a ticket on the gate.

It was alarming to be told there were only restricted view seats available as Loftus Road is famous for having some of the worst seats in this category anywhere in the country.

Our restricted view at Loftus Road on Saturday wasn't too bad
However, on taking up our positions in Block X of Ellerslie Road (where I once had a season ticket), I found the views were no worse than some so-called normal seats. With a fraction of the goal in front of the Loft slightly obscured by a pillar, the significantly cheaper ticket was looking well worth it and I would seriously consider buying it again. 

With QPR sitting snugly in 11th, this would be the first late-season game I'd attended in about six years where Rangers had absolutely nothing to play for. I'd become accustomed to watching tense matches which had decided title wins, play-off glory, that game which gave Manchester City the Premier League title in 2012 and kept us up and sadly some terrible performances which had led to a couple of abject relegations. It was a pleasure to just be able to sit in the stands and enjoy a game of football.

Unfortunately for the Addicks, the opposite was true. Second from bottom and well adrift of safety, a win was absolutely essential for a club which had struggled both on and off the pitch this season. With the fans desperate to get rid of their Belgian owner, who has run the club very badly in their opinion, I was interested to see how many would come.

In years gone by, the away end would have been largely full for a game between our sides but tickets were only sold in the top tier this time and there was still space available there. 

With the stage set, the game commenced and produced a reasonably entertaining spectacle. Although there were lulls in proceedings, the teams were pretty evenly matched and both created chances.

The opener fell to QPR in first half injury-time when Matt Phillips's speculative cross to the far post evaded everyone, confused goalkeeper Nick Pope (a man with time at Harrow Borough on his CV) and dropped inside the far post. There were a few furious appeals, presumably for off-side but the referee was unmoved.

On the subject of Matt Phillips - I personally really rate him but scores of QPR fans can't stand the man. Many around me were labelling him 'useless' midway through the game despite us leading through his goal. The man may not take every chance that comes his way (e.g. the sitter he missed to make it 2-0 in this one) but he is technically one of our best. He also has one of the most ferocious shots in the country which makes him a threat almost anywhere inside the opposition's half as Crystal Palace found out last year. His goals and performances this season alone, have saved us on several occasions and I think we'd be worse off without him. 

Back to Saturday and the second half was a much more open affair. With relegation looming, Charlton threw caution to the wind and attacked with more purpose. With an injury to James Perch forcing a reshuffle of QPR's back four, the left-side, now made up entirely of unproven youngsters, became vulnerable.

With a great chance coming back off the bar, it wasn't long before the visitors were level through Jordan Cousins' low effort.

The last half hour saw plenty of chances at both ends with Charlton looking the far more likely to score. With just minutes to go, Igor Vetokele found himself through on Alex Smithies but the Rangers keeper made a crucial block and it proved decisive as substitute Nasser El-Khayati bent a superb effort into the top corner with virtually the last kick of the game to win it for QPR.

The result left Charlton 10 points adrift with only five games to go. Relegation now looks certain and it's something I take no pleasure in. The Addicks were a well run local club, punching well above their weight in the Premier League for a long time but the last 10 years have been traumatic and the immediate future looks bleak. If you're a Charlton fan, good luck.

Lastly this week, we've got another piece from 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' who recently paid a visit to Isthmian League leaders Hampton & Richmond Borough. The Beavers could win the title this week so give it a read. 


LATEST TICKET NEWS

Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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 (white 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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



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 11 April
Brentford v Crewe Alexandra @1pm - U21 action at Griffin Park, chance to check out one of the capital's pro-club grounds and combine with another match later in the day
Charlton Athletic v Leeds United @1pm - U21 game at The Valley, also allowing you to do a 'double'
Millwall v Barnsley @2pm - U21 fixture at The Den but a little bit later
Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland @7pm - the pick of the day's U21 games takes place at White Hart Lane in the evening
Sutton United v Bishop's Stortford @745pm - a win for Sutton will put them top of the National League South
Kingstonian v Farnborough @745pm - significant game for both clubs in the Isthmian Premier as they fight for promotion and survival respectively

Tuesday 12 April
Essex Senior Cup Final @745pm - Concord Rangers look to win the cup for the third year running and will start as favourites against Heybridge Swifts in the match at Dagenham & Redbridge
Egham Town v Fleet Town @745pm - the Sarnies, currently top, continue their quest for the Southern League Division 1 Central title against a very beatable Fleet side
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Camberley Town @745pm - with the Combined Counties League title now probably beyond them, second play third in the CCL Cup semi-final
Clapton v Bowers & Pitsea @745pm - the Tons welcome FA Vase semi-finalists Bowers to the Old Spotted Dog as the visitors look to close the gap on leaders FC Romania in the Essex Senior League

Wednesday 13 April
West Ham United v Manchester United @7pm - a big night at the Boleyn Ground where the old stadium will host its last ever FA Cup tie which, for the record, is a quarter-final replay
Crystal Palace v Everton @8pm - a win for either will pretty much guarantee Premier League survival for another season

Thursday 14 April
Crystal Palace v Sheffield United @1230pm - U21 game at Selhurst Park which could be combined with one of the day's later kick-offs
Watford v Cardiff City @7pm - U21 match at Vicarage Road allowing you to visit two Premier League grounds in a day

Saturday 16 April 
Chelsea v Manchester City @530pm - two of the biggest clubs in the land meet at Stamford Bridge but with the Premier League title out of their reach, they're playing to secure a Europa League (unlikely) and Champions League spot respectively
Charlton Athletic v Derby County @3pm - a game of equal importance at either end of the Championship, sadly it's the Addicks who are fighting to avoid the drop
Leyton Orient v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - East London derby with both requiring wins at either ends of the table in the fourth tier
AFC Wimbledon v Crawley Town @3pm - the Dons continue their slightly surprising push for a play-off spot in League Two
Sutton United v Ebbsfleet United @3pm - massive game in the National League South as the top two meet at Gander Green Lane, they could come into this match with only goal difference separating them
Grays Athletic v Hampton & Richmond Borough @3pm - depending on midweek results, Hampton could seal the Isthmian League title with a win here
Enfield Town v Needham Market @3pm - in the same division, this match sees two sides scrapping for points at either end of the division
Egham Town v AFC Rushden & Diamonds @3pm - a real David and Goliath clash in the eighth tier as Egham take on a re-born former League One side whose results have dropped off sharply in recent weeks, a win could leave the hosts on the verge of the Southern League Division 1 Central title
Abbey Rangers v Worcester Park @3pm - having only joined the Combined Counties League Division 1 this season, the hosts look set for an instant promotion

Sunday 17 April
Arsenal v Crystal Palace @4pm - a London derby at the Emirates where the Gunners will need points to make sure of their Champions League place, while Palace will hopefully have their top-flight status all but secured by this point
Kingstonian v Staines Town @3pm - there's a bonus bit of Isthmian League action at Kingsmeadow on Sunday with the K's still hopeful of nicking a play-off spot
Arsenal v Sunderland @2pm - Women's FA Cup semi-final at Boreham Wood
Chelsea v Manchester City @2pm - Women's FA Cup semi-final at Staines Town


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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

TLFG: 4-10 April 2016

The end of the season is drawing nigh with matches becoming more and more important.

While there's still a fair way to go in the professional ranks, some of our local non-league clubs are down to their last four or five games with some already securing play-off places and others, sadly, relegated.

Finals are also starting to come thick and fast with those of the Isthmian League Cup and Surrey Premier Cup taking place this week and others looming in the not too distant future.

After last week's feast of live football, I've gone back to fasting this week and haven't seen any. Apart from work, it's been all about promoting Non-League Finals Day which is apparently going pretty well. A few days ago FA Vase finalists Hereford revealed that they'd sold well over 12,000 tickets so with three other teams also taking part we could hit the first major target of selling out Wembley's lower bowl.

Tickets are on sale now - join us at Wembley 
If you are in London on Sunday 22 May, you are warmly invited to join us at the national stadium for the doubleheader of finals (FA Vase and FA Trophy). Remember it's only £25 adults and £1 kids. Also if you get a group of 12 or more together then adult tickets halve to just £12.50 each which is excellent value for a whole day at Football HQ.

The main change to this week's blog sees at least a temporary end to TLFG's Top 10. Compiling it every week had become incredibly time consuming as there was quite a bit of research involved. However, instead I've gone for a new Daily Digest like the one I do at Christmas and Easter. In many ways this is better - it's quicker to produce and there's no limit to the number of games I can include. Hopefully it works for you.

Have a great week and thanks again for reading.

LATEST TICKET NEWS

Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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 (white 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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Black pin - Friday




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures




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 3 April
Arsenal v Manchester City - FA Youth Cup semi-final second leg at the Emirates, great opportunity to visit this stadium on the cheap
Fulham v Derby County - U21 Premier League action at Craven Cottage, as above, another chance to visit one of the capital's top grounds for pennies
Wealdstone v Hemel Hempstead Town - two clubs with a chance of making National League South play-offs meet at Grosvenor Vale
Kingstonian v Bognor Regis Town - battle of Isthmian League promotion contenders 

Tuesday 4 April
Brentford v Bolton Wanderers - a win for the Bees would pretty much secure their Championship status and end Bolton's
Dagenham & Redbridge v Morecambe - last chance saloon time for the Daggers as they look to pull off a miraculous escape from relegation in League Two
Egham Town v Royston Town - third versus second in the hotly contested Southern League Division 1 Central title race
Thurrock v Cray Wanderers - second versus fourth in the Isthmian North with a win for the hosts keeping their very slim title hopes alive
Corinthian Casuals v Carshalton Athletic - south London derby in the Isthmian South
Erith Town v Erith & Belvedere - local derby in Southern Counties East League, a shame neither of them have their own grounds or play in Erith

Wednesday 5 April
Isthmian League Cup Final - Faversham Town take on Kingstonian at Carshalton Athletic for a major bit of non-league silverware
Surrey Premier Cup Final - there's another trophy on offer at Imber Court where Frimley Green play Nottsborough

Thursday 7 April
Charlton Athletic v Bristol City - U21 game at The Valley
Hillingdon Borough v Edgware Town - a win for the visitors will take them a step closer to winning the Spartan South Midlands 1 title

Friday 8 April 
Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers - FA Youth Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge
Arsenal v Newcastle United - U21 Premier League action at the Emirates Stadium

Saturday 9 April
West Ham United v Arsenal - game of the day in London as two local rivals, both in the Premier League's top five, battle to secure the highest finish possible
Crystal Palace v Norwich City - a scrap at the other end of the table as the sides look to secure their top flight statuses
Fulham v Cardiff City - match of equal importance at either end of the Championship table with Fulham looking to avoid the drop and Cardiff hoping to grab a play-off place
Queens Park Rangers v Charlton Athletic - London derby, QPR have little to play for but the Addicks can still avoid relegation
Millwall v Shrewsbury Town - the Lions are still in the League One play-off places but the chasing pack aren't far behind
Barnet v Leyton Orient - London derby in League Two with the O's firmly in the hunt for a play-off place
Dagenham & Redbridge v Portsmouth - bottom club Dagenham welcome one of the big boys of the division who haven't given up hope of an automatic promotion place
Welling United v Kidderminster Harriers - battle of the bottom two in the National League, a win is a must for both
Barkingside v Redbridge - bottom two in the Isthmian North and also a local derby between teams who used to groundshare
Edgware Town v Harpenden Town - first versus fifth in the Spartan South Midlands 1

Sunday 10 April
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - a huge game to finish the week with Spurs still chasing the title and the Red Devils fighting for a Champions League place


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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Monday, 28 March 2016

TLFG: 29 March - 3 April 2016

With two games attended over the Easter weekend, it's been a busy few days by my standards.

Firstly I can't remember when I last had the whole four days off and to get to see two matches as well was a real bonus.

The main catalyst for this was a visit by my Dutch friend Paul who regular readers will have heard many mentions of.

He's researching his latest book on London football and had/has a really packed schedule of games between Good Friday and Tuesday (tomorrow). 

Originally planning to watch Luton v Dagenham & Redbridge, he saw this postponed but having booked a flight to the Bedfordshire town still paid a visit to an empty Kenilworth Road on his arrival. He then jumped on a train and went, via central London, to Maidenhead United for his first game of the trip where I joined him.

A bumper York Road crowd enjoy an historic win over Bath City
Having raced past York Road countless times on express trains bound for the West Country and Wales, I'd seen the ground but never been.

Although not a London club, it's only just outside TLFG's catchment area and really easy to get to being less than half an hour from Paddington and then only a 200-300m walk from the station.

Loads of clubs also fit this description but York Road's USP is that it is the oldest ground in the world to be in continual use by the same club - Maidenhead have played here since 1871, some achievement. 

On Friday they faced Bath City, another non-league club with great history, in a National League South fixture.

Paul had arrived earlier and been given a full tour by club programme editor Steve. He joined us for the game and provided excellent company, filling us in on club history. Being of a similar vintage to myself, it was also fun reminiscing about more general non-league experiences and sharing how we had both initially got into the game and how we'd seen it develop over the years.

He also informed us that Maidenhead had never beaten Bath in the 50-odd years they had been playing each other so it came as something of a shock when the hosts ran out comfortable 3-1 winners.

As a promoter of the non-league game, it was striking that a large crowd of 899, double their normal average turned out. Encouraged by the great weather and the international break, it was great to see. The atmosphere was also buoyant and very family friendly.

I also lucky enough to meet Maidenhead's chairman after the match. Being a big supporter of Non-League Day it was nice to finally meet him after a few exchanges on Twitter. 

The following day, Paul and I headed out to Ruislip where we met my former colleague Rich. He has recently moved to the area and was keen to make his non-league debut with a visit to his new local club Wealdstone.


Playing in the same division as Maidenhead, they welcomed Kent club Margate who were new to the division.

Unlike the previous day, the weather was poor as Storm Katie began to hit town. Nevertheless, the crowd was good. With free chocolate eggs for the first 200 kids through the turnstiles, the crowd was 100 up on the average. 

The Stones made the most of the conditions and eventually coasted to a 4-1 win to leapfrog their troubled opponents who announced earlier in the week that backer Bob Laslett was standing down as chairman. His investment, rumoured to be around £2.5m over the last two years, powered them to promotion but without this things could now begin to fall apart.

With Paul achieving his goal of meeting the Wealdstone Raider, Rich also enjoyed his afternoon at Grosvenor Vale.

In contrast to Maidenhead, the Wealdstone experience is a much more 'gritty' one with several members of the crowd merciless in their treatment of certain players and officials. Although hardly unique in this respect, it was noticeably different from 24 hours before and could be right up your street if you love a bit of 'banter'.

Looking ahead, there's a special match taking place on Tuesday afternoon at Welling United. The Cumbrian Flood Friendship Trophy will be contested by the England Fans team and a side from the London branch of the Carlisle United Supporters Club. It's £4 adults, £2 concessions and £1 kids with monies raised going to the Cumbria Flood Appeal.

Also don't forget tickets are on sale for Non-League Finals Day at Wembley on Sunday 22 May. FC Halifax Town will play Grimsby Town in the FA Trophy final while Hereford face Morpeth Town in the FA Vase. Apparently Hereford have sold over 10,000 tickets already so a bumper crowd looks possible. #LetsFillWembley

LATEST TICKET NEWS

Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 70 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. 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 (white 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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below.

TLFG TOP 10

1. England v Netherlands - the Three Lions' recent record against the Dutch is poor with their last win being that famous 4-1 win at Wembley during the group stages of Euro 96. In the intervening 20 years England have managed four draws and two defeats against the Oranje and have achieved nothing of note on the international stage. Contrast this to the Netherlands who have made two European Championship semi-finals, two World Cup semi-finals and even a World Cup final in 2010. So England start as underdogs right? Wrong. Roy Hodgson's side are one Europe's most in-form teams and shocked many by coming from two goals down to beat Germany 3-2 in Berlin on Saturday. Danny Blind's side, however, are one of the weakest the Dutch have fielded for many years and sensationally failed to qualify for Euro 2016 trailing home in fourth behind the Czech Republic, Iceland and Turkey. In international terms this is a derby and despite the current Dutch malaise the match has unsurprisingly sold out. (International friendly, Tuesday 29 March, 8pm. Ticket info)

2. Arsenal v Watford - after being humiliated by the Hornets in their recent FA Cup quarter-final at the Emirates, the Gunners get an almost immediate chance to avenge that defeat with this league match. Since that humbling, Arsenal then exited the Champions League to Barcelona but responded well by recording a 2-0 win at Everton to leave them third in the Premier League. Aside from that cup success, Watford's league form has become decidedly iffy with three consecutive defeats reminding them that they aren't quite safe from relegation just yet. However, a repeat victory here will almost certainly secure them another season in the top flight. They know they can do it so why not? (Premier League, Saturday 2 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. West Ham United v Crystal Palace - we've got another derby to look forward to at the Boleyn Ground. A huge match for both teams who are scrapping for points at either end of the table. In this season of upsets, a place in next season's Champions League is very much within the Hammers' grasp with a win here potentially putting them in the top four. Unbeaten in five and very unlucky to only draw at Chelsea last time out, Slaven Bilic's side will start as favourites as Palace are struggling. Despite making it to the FA Cup semi-finals, the Eagles are in woeful league form, not winning since before Christmas. Thankfully they had a strong start to their campaign which means they have a seven-point buffer between themselves and the bottom three but they are far from safe and in desperate need of a win. (Premier League, Saturday 2 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Queens Park Rangers v Middlesbrough - thanks to the TV gods we've got a bit of Friday night football to kick off a weekend of football watching. QPR's mini-revival over recent weeks had got a few supporters giddily thinking a play-off spot could somehow be back on the cards. However, a last-minute goal saw two points dropped at Preston in their last match and the gap to the top six became 11 points again. Although Rangers realistically have little to play for, they are in the best form they've been in for some time with several players looking to impress new boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as he looks to build his squad for next season. Boro, on the other hand, are very much in the title race and consequently have it all to play for. After some recent infighting which saw manager Aitor Karanka on the verge of resigning, the Teesside club recorded a crucial win over promotion rivals Hull to stay third. Aside from one aberration in 2009, QPR's recent home record against Middlesbrough is good. One of the most sensational wins I ever saw as a Rangers fan was the 5-0 drubbing in 1998 of a Boro side packed with stars who ended up getting promoted to the Premier League. QPR were pretty hopeless at the time and eventually avoided relegation to the third tier by just one point - Manchester City went down instead! (Championship, Friday 1 April, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Fulham v MK Dons - a couple of miles south the following day, we have a proper relegation 'six-pointer'. Relegated from the Premier League, the Cottagers found life tough on their return to the second tier but they stayed up fairly comfortably in the end. This season nothing has changed, in fact things seem to be getting worse. With eight games to go they are only one point above the bottom three and are six without a win. MK Dons are the team immediately below them so they really must win. Newly promoted, I personally expected a lot more of the Buckinghamshire club but things haven't worked out and they've only managed nine wins from 38 games so far. With Bristol City and Rotherham United now resurgent it looks like it could come down to a fight between these two for the last relegation place. The stakes are high. (Championship, Saturday 2 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dartford v Maidenhead United - all our League One and Two clubs are away this week and nothing is stirring me in the National League so next we head to Princes Park. Way out on the south-eastern edge of TLFG's catchment area, Dartford are mounting a promotion challenge a year after suffering relegation. Having moved up and down quite a bit this season, they're still in touching distance of the play-off places and held leaders Ebbsfleet to a 1-1 draw in Monday's derby in front of nearly 2,500 fans. On Saturday they welcome Maidenhead who followed up Saturday's win over Bath with a 5-2 victory over Hayes & Yeading in their groundshare derby on Monday. The result moved the Magpies into the top five making them the target team that Dartford have to catch. As above, there's plenty to play for. (National League South, Saturday 2 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Dulwich Hamlet v Bognor Regis Town - the match of the week in the Isthmian League sees two promotion rivals go head-to-head at Champion Hill. Dulwich were title contenders but form began to desert them in February and now the play-offs are the best they can realistically hope for. An important win over third-placed Tonbridge Angels on Monday will have restored some confidence which they will need against a strong Bognor side. Having made it to the FA Trophy semi-finals, the Sussex club are fourth with five games in hand on all those above them. Win them all and they'll be six points clear at the top. The reverse fixture in November saw Dulwich edge to a 3-2 win. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 2 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. AFC Hornchurch v Brightlingsea Regent - with only five games to go, the one automatic promotion place in Isthmian League Division 1 North is pretty much AFC Sudbury's. The race for the play-offs, however, is very much alive. Only a spectacular collapse in form will see Thurrock and Harlow Town fail to make end-of-season shoot-out, while fourth-placed Cray Wanderers will probably secure a place too. Which means the final place will be the most hotly contested. The Urchins are the current incumbents but are ahead of Cheshunt and Brightlingsea by virtue of goal difference only. The hosts were up in the sixth tier three years ago so are well used to bigger and better things. Fellow Essex outfit Brightlingsea have only been in existence for 11 years and only joined the Isthmian League last season so another promotion would take them to the highest level in their history. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 2 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Clapton v Tower Hamlets - while West Ham and Palace will be fighting out a derby at the Boleyn Ground, a stone's throw away there'll be an all East End affair taking place at The Old Spotted Dog - the oldest ground in London. The very antithesis of all things Premier League, a visit to Clapton is an experience most football fans never forget. Despite its history, the ground is a shabby and neglected place but it drips with character and is, in my opinion, a must visit for all lovers of the sport. I would've said this regardless of the recent rise of the politically left-wing Clapton Ultras who have added a huge amount to match day proceedings in Forest Gate. Aside from local bragging rights, there is little to play for in this match and the relationship between the clubs is cordial meaning there'll be a fun air surrounding this game. I went to the reverse fixture on a chilly Friday night in November - Clapton took well over 300 fans who sang their hearts out for the 90 minutes and beyond. They watched their side dominate but lose 1-0 and then gave their opponents a rousing reception as they clapped them off the field. Some find the whole thing contrived or simply not to their liking and can't handle it at all but I can't recommend a visit enough. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 2 April, 3pm. Club info)

10. Arsenal v Notts County - with the FA Women's Super League now in full swing, I end this week by recommending a trip to Boreham Wood for this Women's FA Cup Quarter-Final. With 13 wins to their name, the Gunners are by far the most successful club in this competition. Last year, however, they went out at this stage to eventual champions Chelsea so they will be looking for an improvement on that showing. Notts County made it to the final where they lost to the Blues but it was a tight affair with only one goal in it. It's all about women's football on Sunday in London so if this game is tricky to get to, Chelsea are playing Aston Villa in another tie at Staines Town. (Women's FA Cup Quarter-Final, Sunday 3 April, 2pm. Ticket info)


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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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

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