Monday, 21 May 2018

TLFG: 21 May - 3 June 2018

In most years, this piece would probably be the last one of the season but not so this time round.

That's largely down to the fact that for the first time ever, London has been chosen to host the CONIFA World Football Cup.

Kicking off in 10 days time, the event will pick up where the EFL play-offs leave off and extend the live action in the capital until 9 June - unusual in most years and exceptional in a FIFA World Cup one.

If you haven't heard of it, the tournament is for teams representing 'nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories' which are not recognised by FIFA.

Competitors in the 16-team tournament include Ellan Vannin (aka the Isle of Man), Northern Cyprus, Panjab, Tamil Eelam and Tibet - every continent bar South America is represented.
The Conifa World Football Cup is coming told London - find out more
There will be one or two familiar faces among the squads and former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg is set to officiate at some of the games.

Also on the refereeing side of things, a green card is also set to be introduced and will be shown to players guilty of dissent or diving - it will lead to them being immediately substituted.

Matches are taking place at 10 different non-league grounds in and around London with the opening ceremony at Bromley on 31 May and final at Enfield Town on 9 June.

Full information about fixtures and tickets can be found here.

There is also a souvenir programme for the tournament which can be ordered in advance and also a range of merchandise - as CONIFA is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers, all purchases will make a big difference.

As it stands, I'm hoping to go to Abkhazia v Northern Cyprus and Tuvalu v Matabeleland on 3 June, the semis on 7 June and the final on 9 June. How about you?

If you are going to a game at the CONIFA World Football Cup, a documentary maker from the Netherlands would like to hear from you and film you at a game. Please get in touch with us if this interests you and we'll put you in touch.

But before all that gets underway, we have the EFL play-off weekend at Wembley. Apart from the Championship game between Aston Villa and Fulham, tickets for the League One and League Two games should be pretty easy to get.

Copies of the official programme can be ordered now
With so much to play for, these games are usually highly charged and have a great atmosphere - try and get to at least one if you can. More details can be found in the Daily Digest below.

Over the last few days, I made my third visit to Wembley in six weeks - this time for Non-League Finals Day.

As usual it provided a feast of football and some great entertainment over the course of nearly seven hours - courtesy of the FA Trophy final going to penalties.

Congratulations to Thatcham Town and Brackley Town for winning the FA Vase and Trophy respectively and my commiserations particularly to local side Bromley who were on the verge of winning the Trophy until a 95th-minute equaliser took the match to extra-time and ultimately penalties.

The one sour note of the day for me was provided by a group of 20-30 young Thatcham fans right in front of our group who spent most of the game abusing and goading the Stockton Town supporters sat a few feet away across a handful of rows of seats.

It was totally out of the spirit of the day and shamed their club. Thankfully their targets didn't rise to it and for the most part kept their dignity.

So disinterested in the action were said group of 'supporters' that the abuse continued after the final whistle while their players were receiving the cup - very poor.

Aside from all that, I also launched this year's Non-League Day last night with the announcement that this year's event will be on Saturday 13 October so put the date in your diary.

Finally, it's nice to report some more good interactions with you dear readers.

Here's your chance to get on the telly with a group of friends

Regular correspondent Chris H was at Wembley on Sunday but also headed out to Greenford on Tuesday to watch PFC Victoria London clinch the Middlesex County League Division 1 West crown by virtue of goal difference alone! Congratulations to coach Emil and the team on your second consecutive promotion.

Lastly, do you fancy yourself as a bit of a Football Genius?

If so then a new ITV quiz show is being launched by the same production company behind 'Have I Got News For You'.

They are looking for teams of five who all support the same club to go head-to-head with supporters of other teams. If you're interested get in touch with the production team via email (footballgenius@hattrick.com).

Thanks this week goes to reader Markus U who gave a generous donation to the TLFG coffee-drinking fund. Thank you sir, much appreciated.

I think that's about it from me for this week - as always, enjoy your football watching and let me know what you've been up to.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are 30 matches in the London area over the next two weeks. The highlights include an England international, the EFL play-offs and the group stage of the CONIFA World Football Cup. It is possible that some CONIFA warm-up games could be added too - there is supposed to be a tournament at Enfield Town on 26 May but the details are proving hard to come by.

With games pretty thin on the ground, I've also included a few from the 11th, 12th and 13th tiers whose seasons are continuing for another week or so. These games are often played at fairly rudimentary grounds, with few facilities and can be particularly susceptible to a change of venue or kick-off time.

As always, 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 (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.

MATCH MAP 21-27 MAY
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




MATCH MAP 28 MAY - 1 JUNE
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin




MATCH MAP 2-3 JUNE
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.

Saturday 26 May

Championship play-off final
Aston Villa v Fulham @5pm - after a very quiet midweek period, things get very tasty on Saturday when the Cottagers head to Wembley to play Villa in what has been dubbed the richest game in football. As a result of the multi-billion pound deal the Premier League has struck with the satellite and cable TV broadcasters, victory in this match is said to be worth at least £200m to the winner so there is a huge amount at stake. Fulham finished third, five points ahead of Villa and beat them 2-0 when they last met in February at Craven Cottage. As it stands, you need a previous booking history with Fulham to be able to get a ticket from them whilst tickets for the Villa end of the stadium go on general sale on Tuesday at 5pm if any are left

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Sunday 27 May

League One play-off final
Rotherham United v Shrewsbury Town @3pm - the second instalment of the EFL's play-off weekend takes place at Wembley at 3pm. As with the match above, it's another fourth versus third battle so you could argue that the 'right' teams have made the final. Rotherham are a proper yo-yo club who have been up and down all three of the EFL's divisions over the course of their history. Prior to this season, they spent three years in the Championship so are looking for an instant return. The Shrews were expected to struggle this year but this is their second visit to the national stadium this season after also finishing as runners-up in the EFL Trophy. Promotion would be a huge achievement for the Shropshire side as they haven't played in the second tier since 1989. Tickets are on general sale now from both clubs

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Monday 28 May

League Two play-off final
Coventry City v Exeter City @3pm - the Sky Blues were a fixture of the top flight between 1967-2001 so it's fair to say that they are way too big a club to playing at this level. Sadly off-pitch problems have seen them fall down the divisions since then but things are turning around with this play-off final absolutely massive for the club who are looking to get out of the fourth tier at the first attempt. They also have a decent record at Wembley having famously won the FA Cup in a thrilling game against Spurs in 1987 and far more recently the EFL Trophy last season. However, although Exeter are a much smaller club they've had a better season than Coventry up until this point with the Grecians winning 1-0 when they last played in January. Tickets for the Exeter fans' section are on general sale now whilst those for Coventry will become available on Tuesday at 9am

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Thursday 31 May

CONIFA World Football Cup Group Stage

After several months of waiting, the CONIFA World Football Cup finally gets underway in London. There are a mouthwatering eight group games taking place on Thursday as all 16 competing teams begin their campaigns. With matches taking place at non-league grounds all over the city and kick-offs staggered throughout the day, it will be possible to do a triple and see three matches at different grounds or you could just camp at one stadium and see two matches back-to-back. Tickets are £11 per adult per game and if you decide to stay at one stadium you will need a separate ticket for each game. Here is a rundown of what's on, including a brief profile of each team:

Abkhazia v Tibet @12pm - hailing from the Caucasus, Abkhazia hosted the last World Football Cup and won it after squeaking past Panjab on penalties in the final. Tibet are arguably the most high profile team in the tournament but are also one of the most inexperienced and are one of the rank outsiders - they are likely to draw quite a few people through the turnstiles though

Ellan Vannin v Cascadia @12pm - more commonly known as the Isle of Man, Ellan Vannin are effectively the local interest in this tournament and are highly fancied by the bookies to do well. Runners-up at the inaugural tournament in 2014, this experienced Manx team should beat North American side Cascadia who have only recently formed but they have a number of players and a coach with English non-league experience so should be able to compete

Szekely Land v Tuvalu @12pm - representing ethnic Hungarians in Romania, Szekely Land are a team on the up. Finishing ninth at the last WFC, they then came third at the European Football Cup in 2017 enjoying notable wins over Ellan Vannin and Abkhazia during the campaign. Lying in the Pacific Ocean between Australia and Hawaii, Tuvalu are probably the most remote of all the teams taking part. Replacements for Kiribati, who dropped out two months ago, Tuvalu are the rank outsiders. Their last match saw them beat Tonga 4-3 back in December

United Koreans in Japan v Western Armenia @12pm- quarter-finalists at the last World Football Cup, UKIJ are one of the top challengers from Asia. With a squad based almost entirely in Japan, tournament sponsors Paddy Power have them at 6/1 to win the title. Western Armenia finished seventh at the last WFC but had some very close games with eventual finalists Abkhazia and Panjab. With players at a number of top division clubs in Armenia, Kazakhstan and Slovakia they could be dark horses at 25/1. 

Northern Cyprus v Karpatalya @3pm - moving on to the mid-afternoon kick-offs we get the chance to take a first look at Northern Cyprus who were runners-up in last year's European Football Cup which they hosted. With this game also being played at Enfield Town, there's likely to be a good attendance as a large Turkish Cypriot community live nearby. Young striker Ahmet Sivri of Galatasaray is said to be the man to watch in their squad. Karpatalya have come in as late replacements for Felvidek. Made up of ethnic Hungarians from Ukraine, they have a couple of players with experience of top-tier football in Hungary and Romania

Padania v Matabeleland @3pm - originating from northern Italy, Padania are among the favourites. Having won both of the European Football Cup tournaments since CONIFA's foundation and coming fourth at the last World Football Cup they should provide formidable opposition for anyone. Their star player is veteran defender Marius Stankevicius who has had a fine career at clubs including Brescia, Lazio, Sampdoria, Sevilla and Valencia. Matabeleland is a region of Zimbabwe and are one of three African sides in the competition. Coached by Englishman Justin Walley, they are another one of the most inexperienced sides in the tournament so could struggle here. Also of note, Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar is set to act as their goalkeeping coach and brand ambassador. Of all the teams in the tournament, they have some great merchandise so buy your shirts and scarves in advance and help fund their trip

Panjab v Kabilya @3pm - a little outside London in Slough, CONIFA world number ones Panjab will take to the field for the first time. With a large south Asian community on the west side of London, all their group games will be played at Arbour Park to try and attract good crowds. Runners-up at the last World Football Cup, Panjab are real contenders and have played a number of warm-up games in recent weeks, most notably against Liverpool U23s. Made up primarily of English based non-league players, they should have enough to win here. Kabilya represent a Berber people based in what is now northern Algeria. They are another one of the more inexperienced sides in the tournament and could struggle

CONIFA World Football Cup Opening Ceremony @7pm
followed by Barawa v Tamil Eelam @8pm - the day comes to an end with a bit of pageantry at Bromley's Hayes Lane ground. Barawa, from Somalia, are the nominal hosts of the tournament. Their young side are almost all from London and play for local clubs with a couple on the books at QPR and Millwall. Like Panjab, they have played a number of warm-up games of late so should be well prepared. Sitting just above Barawa in the rankings, Tamil Eelam are side that tend to blow hot and cold with a hefty win often followed by a heavy defeat. Their last match saw them lose 4-1 to South Korea U23 in Nottingham

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Saturday 2 June

International friendly
England v Nigeria @515pm - the Three Lions play their penultimate World Cup warm-up game at Wembley as Gareth Southgate gets a better of idea of who to start against Tunisia in their opening group match in Volgograd

CONIFA World Football Cup Group Stage
With only one day off, all 16 sides return to action again on Saturday. This time it's only possible to see two games in a day with four matches kicking off at 2pm and four at 5pm. Based on the brief profiles above, I would recommend Northern Cyprus v Tibet as the game of the day which I believe had the highest ticket sales of any game the last time I heard. It takes place at Enfield Town at 5pm. All other games can be found of the match map

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Sunday 3 June

CONIFA World Football Cup Group Stage
A breathless group stage comes to an end just a day later when all 16 teams return to action after less than 24 hours. This time four games will kick off at 3pm and four at 6pm. The top games would appear to be Northern Cyprus v Abkhazia, Barawa v Ellan Vannin, Padania v Szekely Land and Panjab v United Koreans in Japan. I'm hoping to go to the Northern Cyprus game and then combining it with Tuvalu v Matabeleland later in the evening.



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.

Monday, 14 May 2018

TLFG: 14-20 May 2018

Well what a dramatic weekend it's been.

Maybe not so much for our local Premier League clubs where everything was pretty much settled going into the final round of games, but lower down in the EFL and among the non-league ranks.

Earlier this evening we saw Charlton Athletic succumb to Shrewsbury Town in the League One play-offs after two narrow 1-0 defeats, meaning the Addicks will have to spend another year in the third tier.

Fulham lost the first leg of their Championship semi-final by a similar scoreline and now have it all to do against Derby in the home leg on Monday.

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There was also play-off heartbreak for Boreham Wood who made it to Wembley for the National League play-off final where they faced the very challenging prospect of former EFL side Tranmere Rovers.

Things got off to a bizarre start when Tranmere had a man sent off after 40 seconds but then took the lead minutes later. The Wood managed an equaliser but couldn't take advantage of the extra man and let another one in shortly before the end to lose 2-1.

The other big disappointment about the day was the poor attendance of 16,306. I wasn't predicting many from Boreham Wood but given Tranmere's stature, I would've expected at least 20-25,000 from them alone but it wasn't to be.

It's great that non-league sides are getting the chance to play at Wembley but is it worth it for so few? The atmosphere would've been a lot better in a ground like Loftus Road, The Den or Vicarage Road which would have been nearly full to capacity.

On Sunday in the National League South play-off final, Hampton & Richmond Borough hosted Braintree Town and opted to make the match all-ticket.

Such was the demand for the game that all tickets sold out in advance meaning a 3,000+ crowd, similar to that achieved by Dulwich and Hendon last week.

Tickets are on sale now and will also be available on the day
Like the Bostik Premier final, Hampton and Braintree also produced a 1-1 draw which saw penalties ensue - sadly for the hosts, it was the Essex club who prevailed and they duly returned to the fifth tier after only one season away.

Also I'd like to give a quick mention to Corinthian Casuals who, despite losing in their play-off final to Walton Casuals last weekend, have still been promoted as a kind of lucky loser because they had the best record of all the other teams who had come equally close in parallel leagues.

The other talking point at non-league level this week, was the release of new look divisions at Steps 1-4 (fifth to eighth tiers of the national game) by the FA.

An extra fourth division has been inserted at Step 3 causing my beloved Harrow Borough as well as Hendon, Metropolitan Police and Staines Town to be shunted out of the Isthmian League and into the Southern League.

This ends years of association and tradition for Harrow and Hendon who will now be expected to travel frequently to clubs in Devon, Dorset, Somerset and even Wales! 

Don't get me wrong, this prospect is exciting as there are some great clubs and destinations in the Southern League but the financial implications from all the extra travelling could be significant - it's as if we'd been promoted to the National League South rather than moved sideways!

The decision has already had a big impact on Metropolitan Police whose manager of 15 seasons Jim Cooper resigned pretty much on the spot citing the increased travel as the reason for his exit.

Harrow had an excellent end to their season and finished in the top half for the first time in a while but despite this, still only managed to attract an average of 177 fans to games which is way below where it needs to be. I'm hoping to try and do my bit to up that with plans afoot to discuss things among fellow supporters over the summer. Watch this space...


The Conifa World Football Cup is coming told London - find out more

Don't forget that the CONIFA World Football Cup is coming to London in just over two weeks!

The tournament which runs from 31 May - 9 June is for teams representing 'nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories' which are not recognised by Fifa.

Competitors in the 16-team tournament include Ellan Vannin (aka the Isle of Man), Northern Cyprus, Panjab, Tamil Ealam and Tibet.

Full information about fixtures and tickets can be found here.

Finally, it's nice to report some more good interactions with you dear readers.

Thanks this week goes to long-time reader Daniel R from Sutton who gave a generous donation to the TLFG coffee-drinking fund. Thanks again sir!

I think that's about it from me for this week - as always, enjoy your football watching and let me know what you've been up to.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 30 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include the FA Cup Final, an EFL play-off and Non-League Finals Day.

With games pretty thin on the ground, I've also included a few from the 11th and 12th tiers whose seasons are continuing for another week or so. These games are often played at fairly rudimentary grounds, with few facilities and can be particularly susceptible to a change of venue or kick-off time.

As always, 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 (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 - magenta 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 14 May

Championship play-off semi-final second leg
Fulham v Derby County @745pm - the Cottagers were on a very impressive run of form coming into the final day of the season but they lost at relegation-threatened Birmingham to miss out on automatic promotion. As a result, they ended up in the play-offs and began by losing the first leg of their semi-final to Derby 1-0. Although the deficit is only small, they've now lost two in a row and the pressure is really on. Both clubs have a history of choking in recent years so it's anyone's
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Tuesday 15 May

Middlesex County League Division 1 West
New Hanford v PFC Victoria London @630pm - quite simply, if the visitors win then they will be crowned champions of the division on goal difference. Anything else and the honours will go to Larkspur Rovers. If PFC succeed, it will be their second title in a row after winning the Second Division last season - a team to watch

Essex Olympian League Division 1
Sungate v Buckhurst Hill @630pm - elsewhere in the 12th tier, you've got the chance to run the rule over a Buckhurst Hill side who have already won the title. They're currently seven points clear and have two or three games in hand on all those immediately below them
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Wednesday 16 May

Combined Counties League Division 1
Farleigh Rovers v Worcester Park @7pm - the visitors have already won the title with relative ease and will look to extend their margin of victory to 12 points on Wednesday evening. Farleigh aren't a patch on the side which claimed the Division 1 crown back in 2014/15 so should be beaten

FA Women's Premier League Southern
Charlton Athletic v Gillingham @745pm - the Addicks' women's team secured the Southern title with a 4-0 drubbing of local rivals Crystal Palace on Sunday. This means they will face off against Blackburn Rovers, who won the Northern title, in two weeks time. In the meantime they need to complete their remaining league fixtures, the first of which is against the lower midtable Gills

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Thursday 17 May

Southern Combination Cup Final

CB Hounslow United v Staines Lammas @745pm - the first bit of silverware for the week comes up for grabs at Bedfont Sports' ground near Heathrow where these two relatively local rivals will meet to try and win it. CB Hounslow play a division above Staines so will start as favourites

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Friday 18 May

Ray Wilkins Memorial Game
Chelsea Legends v Inter Forever @745pm - a selection of former Chelsea, Inter and a few from some of Ray Wilkins' other former clubs will take to the Stamford Bridge pitch to raise funds for the Chelsea Foundation and Crohn's and Colitis UK. Tickets are £20 for adults and £10 concessions

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Saturday 19 May

FA Cup Final
Chelsea v Manchester United @515pm - the match of the week is to be found at Wembley where two of the country's biggest clubs go toe-to-toe for one of the most famous cups in world football. Although both sides will be disappointed with their league performances this year, they did still both finish in the top five. The two also have great FA Cup pedigree with 19 wins between them from a total of 31 appearances in the final. With Manchester City having hoovered up all the other domestic prizes this season, these clubs will be desperate not to miss out

A bit further afield
With the CONIFA World Football Cup heading to London in just over two weeks, one of the favourites will be playing a warm-up game at Slough Town's Arbour Park ground which is also one of the host venues. Panjab were runners-up at the last tournament and are currently top of the organisation's rankings. On Saturday they take on Jersey at 3pm - adult tickets are £5

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Sunday 20 May

Non-League Finals Day
One of the highlights of my year sees the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals played back-to-back at Wembley. The two premier non-league cup competitions used to be played separately, sometimes in front of very sparse crowds. This will be the third year that the FA has decided to play them on the same day and hopefully a decent crowd will turn up. Stockton Town play Thatcham Town in the Vase final at 1215pm before Brackley Town take on Bromley at 415pm. The latter have sold over 15,000 tickets so we should get at least 20,000 for the Trophy final alone. I'm predicting wins for Stockton and Bromley but I'll be sitting with the Thatcham fans. Tickets are available now and will also be on sale from the Wembley box office on the day at a cost of £25 for adults, £10 concessions and £1 for U16s - remember, one ticket gets you in for both games



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.

Monday, 7 May 2018

TLFG: 8-13 May 2018

It's all about quality not quantity as we head into this crucial week of the campaign.

With the regular season now over in the EFL and most of the local non-league competitions, it's becoming all about play-offs and cup finals.

There are only about a fifth of the normal amount of games on offer this week but most are well worthy of your time.

So how has your week been?

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Personally, I made it to the women's FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday which saw Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-1 in front of a record crowd of over 45,000 and then today (Monday) I headed to Imperial Fields in Mitcham to see the Bostik League Premier Division play-off final.

These games are always huge occasions but work usually limits the amount of them I get to go to.

This year's final pitted Dulwich Hamlet against Hendon in a London derby and much was expected of the game.

With a limited amount of 1,250 tickets snapped up in advance, a big crowd for this seventh-tier game was predicted.

I arrived about 45 minutes before kick-off to find most of the grandstand and covered areas behind the goals full already so it was no surprise that with full-time approaching a figure of 3,321 was given as the attendance - quite remarkable for a game at this level. When was the last time there was a crowd like this in the Bostik League?

The match itself was understandably tense and Hendon's goal came against the run of play late in the first half after a goalkeeping howler gifted them the lead.

Dulwich levelled not long after the interval and then saw another effort crash off the bar but the Greens dug in to force extra time.

Chances were scant during the extra 30 minutes, particularly for Hendon who disappointingly created little for their 40-goal striker Niko Muir throughout.

Penalties ensued and with the score at 3-3, it was left to former Stevenage striker Dipo Akinyemi to convert the winning kick and spark a mass pitch invasion.

A mammoth crowd of 3,321 roared Dulwich to victory over Hendon on Monday
Having suffered a multitude of play-off woe in recent years, it seemed kind of right that Dulwich finally had their win and a chance to play in the National League South.

With average crowds of over 1,300 they seem well equipped to compete at that level - it's now all about sorting out the future of their ground at Champion Hill but in the meantime they'll have the facilities at Imperial Fields for as long as they need them.

In other London football news this week - Arsenal bowed of the Europa League at the semi-final stage but then gave departing boss Arsene Wenger a great send off in his final game at the Emirates, thrashing Burnley 5-0.

A shock loss to West Brom means that Tottenham's place in the top four is now in doubt with midweek games going a long way to deciding whether they or Chelsea grab a Champions League spot.

With Crystal Palace and Watford already safe, West Ham recorded a relatively comfortable win at Leicester to secure their top flight status for another year too.

In the Championship, Fulham lost at Birmingham to miss out on automatic promotion back to the Premier League and must now face Derby County in the play-offs.

Despite losing, Charlton Athletic earned themselves a play-off spot and now meet Shrewsbury Town in the semi-finals whilst at the other end AFC Wimbledon managed to avoid the drop.

Some great results since Martin Allen's return to the Barnet hot-seat had given the Bees a fighting chance of staying up on the final day. They got the win they needed against Chesterfield but saw Morecambe pick up a point at Coventry to ensure the north London club return to the realms of non-league football again.

In the National League play-offs, Boreham Wood stunned a large crowd at Gander Green Lane to win 3-2 against Sutton United and book themselves a trip to Wembley for next Saturday's final against Tranmere Rovers.

Hampton & Richmond Borough booked their place in the National League South play-off final with a win at Chelmsford City - they will host Braintree Town in the final on Sunday.

In the Bostik North and South play-off finals - Haringey Borough and Walton Casuals prevailed so they'll both be moving up to the seventh tier next season.


The Conifa World Football Cup is coming told London - find out more

Don't forget that the CONIFA World Football Cup is coming to London soon.

The tournament which runs from 31 May - 9 June is for teams representing 'nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories' which are not recognised by Fifa.

Competitors in the 16-team tournament include Ellan Vannin (aka the Isle of Man), Northern Cyprus, Panjab, Tamil Ealam and Tibet.

Full information about fixtures and tickets can be found here.

Finally, it's nice to report some more good interactions with you dear readers.

Thanks this week goes once again to Wayne C from Nevada, USA who gave a generous donation to the TLFG coffee-drinking fund. Thanks again sir!

It was also nice to have a catch-up with Hendon fan Bryan R who I met, in philosophical mood, on the tram back from Imperial Fields on Monday evening.

I think that's about it from me for this week - as always, enjoy your football watching and let me know what you've been up to.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 20 matches in the London area over the next six days. The highlights include some big games in the Premier League, some important play-off matches in the EFL and National League and some minor 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 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 (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
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta 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 8 May

Premier League International Cup Final
Arsenal v Porto @7pm - this glamorous tournament for U23 sides reaches its climax at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night. Tickets are only £4 but must be bought online by 3pm - no tickets will be available on the night

Friendly
Brentford B v Manchester City U23 @7pm - the Bees' second string bring their season to a close with another eye-catching friendly at Griffin Park and once again it's free to get in
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Wednesday 9 May

Premier League
Chelsea v Huddersfield Town @745pm - having seemingly kissed their Champions League hopes goodbye, the Blues are now right back in contention for a top-four finish. A win against a lowly Terriers side would look like a formality but the battling Yorkshire team picked up an unlikely point at champions Manchester City in their last game so can't be written off
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United @8pm - with only two wins from five, Spurs are now in grave danger of being caught by Chelsea. A win against the Magpies is a must and, as above, you'd have to favour them on paper but Rafa Benitez's side are under no pressure and could cause problems

London Senior Cup Final
Balham v Cray Valley PM @745pm - this year's final will be contested by two ninth-tier teams which is quite an achievement given way bigger sides enter the competition. Cray Valley are the reigning champions but Balham have had some great results to get this far, including a memorable 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon. The match is being played at Hendon's ground

FA Women's Super League 1
Chelsea v Birmingham City @7pm - the Blues won only their second women's FA Cup on Saturday by beating Arsenal in the final at Wembley. With that behind them, the London club are thrown straight back into league action and they'll probably need to win this to remain level on points with Manchester City who play earlier in the week

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Thursday 10 May

Premier League

West Ham United v Manchester United @745pm - after a lot of turmoil and worry in recent months, the Hammers secured their Premier League status for another year with a 2-0 win at Leicester on Saturday. Next up they welcome one of manager David Moyes' former clubs who need just a point to guarantee that they finish as runners-up

League One play-off semi-final first leg
Charlton Athletic v Shrewsbury Town @745pm - the Addicks limped into the play-offs with a 1-0 defeat at Rochdale on the final day. In so doing, they claimed sixth and now face the Shrews who suffered the ignominy of losing to a poor MK Dons side on Saturday. With neither team in great form it's hard to pick a winner but the last time the clubs played, only last month, Charlton won 2-0

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Saturday 12 May

National League play-off final
Boreham Wood v Tranmere Rovers @3pm - with the final round of Premier League games being held over until Sunday, this non-league fixture at Wembley takes centre stage. Having negotiated two play-off rounds already (beating AFC Fylde and Sutton United), Boreham Wood will arrive at the national stadium as massive underdogs. With average crowds of only 655 (the smallest in the division), they now have to topple the undisputed giants of the league who were in what is now known as the Championship not all that long ago. On paper it shouldn't really be a contest but the Wood are more than a match for anyone - they have played Tranmere six times over the last three seasons and only lost twice - but will the Wembley stage prove to be too much? To clarify - the winners get promoted to League Two so there's loads at stake

Combined Counties League Cup Final
Knaphill v Worcester Park @3pm - there's some silverware on offer at Bedfont Sports where Premier Division Knaphill start as favourites against Division 1 champions Worcester Park

FA Women's Super League 1
Arsenal v Manchester City @1215pm - with landlords Boreham Wood in action at Wembley, Arsenal's women entertain the current league leaders in what will be a very tough game for the second Saturday running

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Sunday 13 May

Premier League
Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - like many other games, by the time this kicks-off it could have become a dead rubber. Palace are already safe but if midweek results go their way then the Baggies could find themselves in with a chance of pulling off one of the most remarkable escapes in Premier League history. Much will hinge on the Swansea v Southampton game on Tuesday
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City @3pm - as above, the significance of this game will depend on how Spurs and Chelsea fare in midweek. If Tottenham better Chelsea's result on Wednesday then a top-four place will be theirs and then this match will decide where in the top four they finish - second spot is still theoretically within their grasp
West Ham United v Everton @3pm - last up we have a definite dead rubber between Sam Allardyce's old club and his latest one. Both sides are safe in midtable - the Toffees will be looking to keep hold of eighth whilst the Hammers could climb towards the top half with a win

National League South play-off final
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Braintree Town @3pm - if you'd prefer a non-league option then this should be a great game. With a place in the fifth tier up for grabs, these two will no doubt give it their all in front of a big crowd at the Beveree which many fans class as being among their favourite grounds in London - especially if the sun's out. If you do want to go please be aware that this match has been made all-ticket which means you must buy one in advance - no tickets will be available on the day

FA Women's Super League 2
Millwall Lionesses v Doncaster Rovers Belles @3pm - third placed Millwall welcome the current leaders and title favourites from Yorkshire



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, 29 April 2018

TLFG: 30 April - 7 May 2018

Well we're almost there - the season is nearly over and for many non-league teams it already is.

On Saturday the National League, Bostik League and Evo-Stik Leagues' regular seasons came to an end and it's now all about the play-offs.

Aside from some crucial games in the Premier League and EFL, these highly entertaining games will take centre stage and I highly recommend that you take in as many as you can.

The games start on Tuesday and run through every day (except Friday) to Bank Holiday Monday which is also included in this blog.

The National League have added an extra round to their play-offs this year meaning the finals will all happen the weekend after that.

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We've also got some county cup finals to look forward to and the Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley which looks like getting its biggest attendance - I'm taking my daughter along for what will be my first women's football match. 

So what, if anything, has been achieved by our local clubs over the past week?

Not all that much unfortunately.

Arsenal had to settle for a 1-1 draw in their Europa League match against Atletico Madrid which given it was at home and their opponents had 10 men for 80 minutes feels like a defeat in many ways.

The performance of the week arguably came from Crystal Palace who all but confirmed their place in next season's Premier League with a 5-0 thrashing of Leicester City. A great deal of credit should be given to Roy Hodgson for what he has achieved.

In the Championship, Fulham chalked up another win over Sunderland to ensure they have a chance of automatic promotion going into the final game but they'll need to better second placed Cardiff's result to avoid the play-offs where they came unstuck last season. Sadly Millwall and Brentford both lost and their promotion dreams now look over (the Lions have a very slim mathematical chance).

Charlton Athletic chalked up a crucial win over Blackburn but they still need to do a bit more to secure a play-off spot in League One. At the other end, AFC Wimbledon need just a point from their last two games to stay up.

Barnet, under Martin Allen, have also given themselves a chance of pulling off a miraculous escape with a win over Morecambe but will still need to rely on other results even if they do win their final game.  


The Conifa World Football Cup is coming told London - find out more

Don't forget that the CONIFA World Football Cup is coming to London soon.

The tournament which runs from 31 May - 9 June is for teams representing 'nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories' which are not recognised by Fifa.

Competitors in the 16-team tournament include Ellan Vannin (aka the Isle of Man), Northern Cyprus, Panjab, Tamil Ealam and Tibet.

Full information about fixtures and tickets can be found here.

Finally this week, it's nice to report some good interactions with you dear readers.

On Monday I went to Loftus Road to watch QPR U23's take on Crewe Alexandra. While there I met long time TLFG reader Nick G from Australia who also gave a generous donation to the TLFG coffee-drinking fund. Thanks again sir!

On Saturday, Felix from Germany also got in touch through Facebook in desperate need of a ticket for QPR v Birmingham which was only on sale to members and those with a booking history. I wasn't around but set him up with a friend who sorted him out and he seemed to get a pretty decent game with a very young R's side winning 3-1.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 60 matches in the London area over the next eight days. The highlights include some big games in the Premier League, EFL and National League and there also some important play-off games and county cup matches too.

As always, 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 (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 - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Bank Hoilday 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 30 April

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford @8pm - as we approach the end of the season, there's still quite a bit riding on this match. If Spurs lose this derby, they'll be only two points ahead of Chelsea with three games to go, meaning their place in the top four could be in real jeopardy. The Hornets have reached the magic 38-point mark which is normally enough to keep teams up and they almost certainly will survive but a point here would be useful

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Erith Town v Beckenham Town @745pm - there are a handful of non-league options on Monday but none of them are of any great significance. This will be the final match of the season for both sides - Erith have had an uninspiring campaign but managed to avoid the drop whilst Beckenham have had their best season for a while and will finish fourth

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Tuesday 1 May

Professional Development League
Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest @7pm - if you haven't managed to get to Selhurst Park so far this season then this U23 match could be your chance. Adult tickets are only £5 and can be bought online now

Surrey Senior Cup Final
Leatherhead v Merstham @745pm - two Bostik League sides from just outside London head to Sutton United's ground to fight it out for a decent bit of silverware

Bostik League South Division play-off semi-final
Cray Wanderers v Walton Casuals @745pm - the hosts claimed third place with a final day 4-0 win over Guernsey whilst the visitors recorded an impressive 4-1 victory at Ashford United to pip Hythe Town to the last play-off spot. Most non league play-off games are contested over only one leg so this game could go to penalties
Greenwich Borough v Corinthian Casuals @745pm - unlike the two sides above, this couple limped into the play-offs with Boro losing their final game and Casuals grabbing a last-minute equaliser in their match. The winners of these two ties will meet in the final on Saturday - the team who finished the regular season in the highest position will host

Middlesex Premier Cup Final
Broadfields United v Harefield United @745pm - Broadfields won this competition last year and will attempt to defend their crown against a side they groundshare with. This will be played at Harrow Borough's ground
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Wednesday 2 May

National League South play-off elimination round
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Truro City @745pm - these sides met in the final league game of the season on Saturday and secured their play-off places with a 1-1 draw. As a result they've been paired up in this match meaning another lengthy journey for Cornish side Truro. Although this is also a one-legged affair, the National League play-offs have three rounds for the first time this year. The winners of this will go through to the semi-finals and then there will be a final after that so these two still have a long way to go

Bostik League North Division play-off semi-final
Haringey Borough v Heybridge Swifts @745pm - these two both recorded 2-1 wins on the final day to finish fourth and fifth. Boro won their last eight games of the season which followed their last meeting with Heybridge - a game which produced a thrilling 3-3 draw. This could be a humdinger - the winners head to the play-off final on Sunday

Evo-Stik League East Division play-off semi-final
Hayes & Yeading United v Cambridge City @745pm - after the last few years of disappointment which saw Hayes suffer three relegations, it's really pleasing to see them settled in a new stadium with a team that's doing well. H&YU have won their last three, scored 12 and managed to beat eventual champions Beaconsfield in the process so they arrive in the 'post-season' in fine form. They also did the double over Cambridge over the course of the regular season so should strongly fancy their chances here

A bit further afield
If none of the games above float your boat or you've ticked off all these grounds already then there are also play-off matches at Aldershot Town (National League), Hemel Hempstead Town (National League South),  Slough Town (Evo-Stik League Premier Division) and Bowers & Pitsea (Bostik League North Division) which are all in reasonably close proximity to London

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Thursday 3 May

Nattional League play-off elimination round

Boreham Wood v AFC Fylde @7pm - much has been made on TLFG over the last few years of how successful The Wood have been given how small a club they are. Financially very well run, the club have been able to punch well above their weight and with average crowds of just 655 now find themselves in the play-offs, only three wins away from a place in the EFL. A 3-1 win over bottom club Guiseley saw them finish fourth way above the likes of Leyton Orient, Hartlepool United and Wrexham. Lancashire club Fylde have also climbed rapidly through the divisions in recent seasons and got to showcase their fine stadium on national television when they held former Premier League side Wigan Athletic to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup back in December. League meetings between the two this season saw Boreham Wood come out on top with a 1-0 win and 2-2 draw - it should be close

Bostik League Premier Division play-off semi-final
Dulwich Hamlet v Leiston @745pm - finishing second and fifth respectively, neither had a cracking final day with the Hamlet scraping a 1-1 draw with Margate and Leiston lost at home to Hendon. Dulwich are the favourites to progress and are the form team of the division but their play-off record is pretty dreadful - this is the fourth consecutive year that they've made it and they'll be desperate to avoid another failure. Leiston have never got this far, despite a number of strong starts to seasons, and face a long journey down from Suffolk to Tooting & Mitcham's ground where this match will be played
Hendon v Folkestone Invicta @745pm - in terms of attendance, Hendon are the smallest of the four clubs taking part in the play-offs so it's a great achievement for them to make it again. With four wins from their last six matches, the Greens arrive in the 'post-season' in good shape especially when compared to Folkestone who have only won two in the same time. Invicta head to Silver Jubilee Park off the back of bruising encounters with champions Billericay and runners-up Dulwich so should be battled hardened and well supported by their sizeable fan base

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Friday 4 May

Professional Development League 2 play-off final
Charlton Athletic v Crystal Palace @7pm - I don't normally cover U18 football in TLFG but there's nothing else on, it's a big game and it's being played at The Valley so there's a lot going for it. Adult tickets are also only £3

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Saturday 5 May

Premier League
Watford v Newcastle United @3pm - if the Hornets get anything from their match at Spurs on Monday then this will become a fairly meaningless end of season midtable jolly up. If that is the case, the pressure will be off for both sides and we could get a really entertaining game. Watford are also developing a bit of a dominance over the Magpies with four consecutive wins in all competitions

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Bury @530pm - unbeaten in five, the Dons can secure their place in League One if they draw or win their midweek game at Doncaster. If they slip up then it will all come down to this match against bottom club Bury who were relegated some time ago

League Two
Barnet v Chesterfield @3pm - it's also a huge day for the Bees but unlike Wimbledon, their destiny isn't in their own hands. Since recently returning to the club, manager Martin Allen has had a huge impact and has given the north London club a great chance of surviving the drop, something which looked unthinkable a few weeks ago. Three wins from five, including victory over fellow strugglers Morecambe on Saturday have left them two points adrift going into this final game. Chesterfield have already finished bottom and will no doubt want to take Barnet down with them

Women's FA Cup Final
Arsenal v Chelsea @530pm - if you want to a 'double' on Saturday then you could combine the Barnet game with this cup final at Wembley. The two grounds are only a short journey apart on the Jubilee Line so it's very doable. At £15 for adults and free for kids, tickets for this match are also cheap so it's a great way to take in a game at the national stadium. So far, over 40,000 tickets have been sold which is a new record for this match. As for the game itself, Chelsea are currently the top team in English women's football so will start as favourites.

Bostik League South Division play-off final
Corinthian Casuals v Walton Casuals @3pm - these sides finished fifth and sixth in the table but both came through their semi-finals on Tuesday causing a bit of an upset in the process. The hosts have been in the top six all season and lost on penalties in last year's play-off final so they'll be desperate to go one better this time. Walton have also been competitive for most of the campaign but only just squeaked into the play-off spots on the final day. If they do go up they have a fine new stadium and facilities which would be more than capable of hosting football at a higher level

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Sunday 6 May

Premier League
Arsenal v Burnley @430pm - this time last year, this match would've been important but for very different reasons with the Gunners trying to secure a top-four finish and the Clarets trying to avoid the drop. By the time this comes round, this could go a long way to deciding which of the two finishes sixth - a quite amazing change in fortunes. A lot will depend on how Arsenal fare at Manchester United today but if they lose then it'll be all to play for come Sunday
Chelsea v Liverpool @430pm - at the same time in south-west London, the biggest game of the week will see the Blues try and keep their push for a Champions League place alive. If Tottenham drop points against Watford on Monday then they'll have a decent chance of catching them. Liverpool could still do with a point or two to make absolutely sure of their top-four finish

Championship
Brentford v Hull City @1230pm - this game could have been a lot more important if recent results had gone differently. The Bees headed to Barnsley on Saturday knowing a win would place them right on the cusp of the play-off zone with one game to go and would have everything to play for going into this one. Sadly they lost and their promotion hopes ended. Hull have been fighting the drop all season but have managed to secure survival despite some indifferent results of late - in essence there's nothing riding on this
Millwall v Aston Villa @1230pm - there also looks like being a tale of heartbreak elsewhere in London where the Lions also look like falling at the final hurdle. Neil Harris's side have been superb in 2018 and went on a storming run which saw them surge into the play-off places a couple of weeks ago. Sadly their form has dipped at the crucial moment and they come into their huge final game against Villa on a three-game winless streak. This means that only a win over one of the division's top sides will do and they'll need Derby to lose by a hefty margin at home to relegation threatened Barnsley - in other words, mission almost impossible

National League play-off semi-final
Sutton United v Boreham Wood @3pm - the U's secured third place in the National League this season meaning, under the new system, that they received a bye to the semi-final stage of the play-offs. Their opponents saw off AFC Fylde on Thursday night and now travel to Gander Green Lane for this south versus north London derby to battle it out for a place in next Sunday's final at Wembley - a massive game

National League South play-off final
Dartford v Braintree Town @3pm - the Darts went toe-to-toe with Havant & Waterlooville all season and ultimately lost the divisional title on goal difference. As runners-up they receive a bye to the semi-finals. If they win this tie they will host the winner of the other semi-final at Princes Park in the final. Braintree got this far by beating Hemel Hempstead on penalties on Wednesday evening

Bostik League North Division play-off final
Haringey Borough v Canvey Island @3pm - Boro made comfortable progress through the semis, seeing off a very decent Heybridge side 2-0 in front of nearly 442 spectators - a fantastic attendance for an eighth-tier game. Canvey caused a bit of an upset by winning 2-0 at Bowers & Pitsea in an Essex derby so will be very dangerous opponents

Friendly
Surrey v Barawa @430pm - somewhat overshadowed by all the other important games going on in and around London, the newly formed Surrey international side are playing their first ever game. Like Yorkshire, the English county have formed their own team, affiliated themselves to CONIFA and have lined up this friendly against African side Barawa. The match will take place at Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe so can be combined very easily with the match at Millwall

Capital Women's Senior Cup Final
Charlton Athletic v Crystal Palace @2pm - if women's football is your thing then this county cup final between two south-east London rivals should be well worth a watch. It is being played at Bedfont Sports next to Heathrow Airport

A bit further afield
A short journey into Essex will get you to the other National League South play-off semi-final between Chelmsford City and Hampton & Richmond Borough


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Monday 7 May

Bostik League Premier Division play-off final
Dulwich Hamlet v Hendon @3pm - Gavin Rose's side finished as runners-up this season and should go into this game as favourites. However, their play-off record is poor and they only edged past sixth-placed Leiston 1-0 on Thursday. The Greens, on the other hand, demolished Folkestone 4-0 in their semi-final to extend their winning run to four games. They also beat Dulwich at Champion Hill in the regular season, drew with them at home and they possess 40-goal striker Niko Muir so they look like very dangerous underdogs indeed. Don't forget that this match will be played at Tooting & Mitcham United's ground

Middlesex Charity Cup Final
Hanworth Villa v Spelthorne Sports @3pm - there are a few non-league games on Bank Holiday Monday with this county cup final at Northwood's ground among the best on offer. Credit should be paid to these two Combined Counties League sides who have upset the form book and some much bigger clubs to make it this far. There are also a number of Combined Counties League games which kick-off at 1130am and can easily be combined with this, the nearest being the match between AFC Hayes and North Greenford United



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.