Sunday 25 March 2012

TLFG: 26 March - 1 April 2012

This time last week all the talk was about Fabrice Muamba and his collapse on the pitch at White Hart Lane. On Tuesday my football watching began with a trip to Church Road for the Ryman League Division One South match between Whyteleafe and Hythe Town.

What's the connection I hear you ask? Well this match had been re-arranged following another health-related incident this time involving the referee. Following a bee sting, an allergic reaction caused serious problems for Ashley Slaughter and treatment from Whyteleafe physio Gemma Clark saved the day.

As a result of this postponement the club decided to offer free entry to anyone who wanted to come along and threw in a basic programme for nothing too.

For those of you that have never heard of Whyteleafe, it's located right down at the southern fringe of the TLFG catchment area not far from Croydon. It's so far south it's almost in Sussex.

Relatively speaking you're in the country out here. On getting off the train I was instantly struck by the freshness of the air. It was a shame it was dark because the area appeared to be surrounded by wooded hills which must look pretty good in daylight.

The walk from the station is a short one but takes you up a small but steep lane which is poorly lit and soon loses its pavement so a reflective jacket would come in handy to avoid whatever traffic goes that way.

On passing some stables, and accompanying manure smell, you arrive at the ground which is pretty impressive for the level. A large grandstand behind one goal was to be my home for the evening and it was from here that I watched Hythe get off to a lively start.

Whyteleafe's Church Road ground
Despite the efforts of former Arsenal midfielder Ian Selley, Whyteleafe couldn't get control of the game but somehow held their far superior opponents until half-time. The second 45 minutes turned into a bit of a scrap - the visitors even looked like losing it in the closing stages as the Leafe upped their game but ultimately it ended goalless.

The next night I couldn't have been treated to a much more different game as QPR came from 2-0 down with 13 minutes to go to beat Liverpool 3-2. How the Reds didn't win this one is beyond me. Rangers barely got out of their half in the opening 20 minutes with corner after corner keeping them penned inside their own penalty area.

The forward play of Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt in the second half ensured that nothing much changed and when the Dutchman scored Liverpool's second with 18 minutes to go it was no more than they deserved.

What happened in the remaining minutes still has me pinching myself as the three goals that followed came almost out of thin air as one of the country's most famous teams imploded - not unlike AC Milan did in Istanbul in the 2005 Champions League final.

For me, the game seemed to swing on two crucial substitutions - Mark Hughes swapped captain Joey Barton for Jamie Mackie whilst Kenny Dalglish brought Andy Carroll on for Suarez.

With the Uruguayan striker out of the way, QPR's defence had more time to compose themselves and it was the two full-backs Taye Taiwo and Luke Young who got the assists for their second and third goals, the latter of which was scored by Mackie.

Sadly for QPR fans, the majority our big moments tend to feature one off great performances rather than title-winning exploits. With the 8-1 slaughter of Crewe in the Milk Cup in 1983, the 6-0 win over Chelsea in 1986 and the 4-1 triumph at Old Trafford against Manchester United in 1992 all firmly locked in my memory banks. I'm sure Wednesday night's game will join this pantheon and fully expect the commemorative DVD to come out soon.

If that's whetted your appetite for a bit of Premier League action here's what's on general sale for some of the bigger matches coming up in London over the next few weeks (click on the team name for more info):

2 June - Belgium 515pm, Wembley Stadium, international friendly

16 April - Wigan Athletic 8pm, Premier League

29 April - Queens Park Rangers 130pm, Premier League

21 April - Wigan Athletic 3pm, Premier League

11 April - Swansea City 8pm, Premier League

29 April - Blackburn Rovers 4pm, Premier League

In all there are 72 matches taking place across the London area this week. Aside from the normal league games there are fixtures in the FA Cup and a number in league and county cups many of which are at the semi-final or final stage. It is also one of those weeks when you can see a game every day with matches also scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Use the following maps to find out what's on and where:

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

Please let me know if there are any errors or omissions and always make sure you check with a club on the day whether a match is still taking place.

If you're finding the options confusing, here's a list of a few games which I think are worth a special mention:


Fabrice Muamba collapsed during the original playing of this FA Cup quarter-final just over a week ago. The match was abandoned and re-arranged for Tuesday night. As was mentioned a couple of weeks back, the pedigree of both sides in this competition is impressive with 12 wins between them although it's been over two decades since the last one (Spurs in 1991). On paper the hosts should win against their relegation-threatened opponents but recent form would suggest otherwise - while Harry Redknapp's side have gone five without a win against Premier League opposition, the Trotters have won their last two. A Wembley semi-final against Chelsea awaits the winners. TICKET INFO

QUEENS PARK RANGERS v ARSENAL (Saturday 31 March, 3pm)
Wednesday night's win over Liverpool left many fans and pundits predicting a change in fortune for struggling QPR. Sadly the joy was shortlived as star striker Djibril Cisse got himself sent off for the second time in five starts as the west London club slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Sunderland on Saturday. The Gunners are the next to arrive in Shepherd's Bush at a time when they have suddenly become invincible. A few weeks ago Arsene Wenger's job appeared to be on the line but the French master has defied everyone, as usual, and conjured up a seven-game winning run which has seen them climb to third past their bitter rivals Tottenham. The last time these two met at Loftus Road was in an FA Cup tie in 2001 - Arsenal won 6-0 and QPR ended the season with relegation to what is now League One. The omens don't look good. Tickets: SOLD OUT

WEST HAM UNITED v READING (Saturday 31 March, 3pm)
Arguably the most tense game of the week will take place at Upton Park on Saturday where two of the Championship's top three go head-to-head. With Southampton opening up a five-point lead at the top, a scrap has developed between these sides for the second and final automatic promotion place. The Hammers have spent most of the season in the top two but have dropped points here and there and have finally been caught by the Royals who have won 10 of their last 12. The gap between them is currently four points so if Reading do win, it will almost certainly consign West Ham to a place in the play-offs. TICKET INFO

It's derby day at the Valley on Saturday as League One leaders Charlton entertain the O's from north of the river. The Addicks have had a rocky time since their relegation from the Premier League in 2007 but finally look like taking a large step back in that direction. Under the leadership of Chris Powell, the south-east London club have been top of the division virtually all season and go into this one eight points clear of second placed Sheffield Wednesday. You might think that's a very healthy position to be in and you'd be right but it was even better not that long ago. With over 20 points still available to the chasing pack, three defeats in five have started to make them look catchable. A good result is also important for the visitors who are only four points above the relegation zone. On Saturday they narrowly lost 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday so Charlton will need to banish any complacency. TICKET INFO

BARNET v TORQUAY UNITED (Friday 30 March, 745pm)
The main reason I've flagged this up is because it takes place on Friday night, something which doesn't happen all that often. It's also a League Two match of some significance. The Bees are still firmly in the fight to avoid relegation from the Football League. Two consecutive draws have kept their heads above water but a loss here could send them back into the bottom two. The Gulls on the other hand are pushing for automatic promotion and are second at the time of writing. They have played more games than their immediate rivals so a win here will be essential to keep them in with a chance of going up. TICKET INFO

There's more derby action in the Blue Square Bet South at the Beveree on Saturday. These two south-west London clubs both need the points to boost their campaigns at either end of the table. Hampton, threatened by relegation, arguably need the points more as Sutton look pretty certain to finish in the play-off positions. After a season of struggle, Mark Harper's team seem to be showing some signs of grit at the crucial point. They have only lost one of their last five, including a draw with leaders Woking and won at Weston-Super-Mare on Saturday. Victory against Sutton could see them climb out of the bottom three and see them still with games in hand. The U's have just finished a big week which saw them play two of their closest rivals. It began with a humiliating 6-1 reverse at Dartford before a 0-0 draw at Welling United brought back some semblance of pride. Expect a close one. All Premier and Football League season-ticket holders get in for half price. TICKET INFO

THE ALAN BOON (RYMAN) LEAGUE CUP FINAL (Wednesday 28 March, 745pm)
As we approach the end of the season, the cup finals start to come thick and fast. The Ryman League's league cup final takes place on Wednesday night at Staines Town's ground where Bury Town and East Thurrock United contest this relatively major piece of silverware. This year the cup has been named in honour of Alan Boon a former Staines chairman who died in August. The Swans were members of the Ryman League for many years before their promotion and it was here that Mr Boon made many friends and earned a lot of respect. According to the Staines twitter feed, admission is £8 for adults, £4 concessions and £2 for kids.

HENDON v CRAY WANDERERS (Tuesday 27 March, 745pm)
In the Ryman League Premier Division the winners go up automatically whilst the next four teams play-off for a second promotion place. At the time of writing Hendon are sixth and Cray are fifth just a point apart. The Greens dropped two points at home to Carshalton on Saturday while Wanderers surprisingly lost at home to lowly Leatherhead earlier today. The top four have opened a bit of a gap between these two and with Lewes and Kingstonian also only a win behind, the battle for fifth place is really hotting up. All Premier, Football and Scottish League season-ticket holders get in for half price. TICKET INFO

ENFIELD TOWN v HARLOW TOWN (Saturday 31 March, 3pm)
Since moving into the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium back in November things have gone pretty well for Enfield Town. Crowds regularly exceed 400, no mean feat at level eight of the national system, and results have seen them pretty much secure a play-off spot with the league title still a possibility. On Saturday they welcome another one of the division's promotion-chasing clubs. Although currently seventh, the Hawks could climb to fifth with a win here and with six games to go every point will be crucial. TICKET INFO

BEDFONT SPORTS v STAINES LAMMAS (Saturday 31 March, 3pm)
Having been thrashed 7-1 by Guernsey in the Combined Counties League Division One title decider on Saturday, Bedfont Sports will need to regroup for this local derby. It's not all bad for the Eagles though as they are guaranteed to finish second meaning promotion at the end of the season. Staines Lammas, who roughly speaking play at the other end of Heathrow's runway to their hosts, still have a mathematical chance of going up themselves although they're 10 points adrift of third with only five games to go. Bedfont took the honours by a goal to nil when they last met in December but with nothing other than pride to play for it could be Lammas's turn to shine. CLUB INFO

If you have any questions or need advice about watching football in London you can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via Facebook, Twitter or email.

Sunday 18 March 2012

TLFG: 19-25 March 2012

It's not often that Bolton Wanderers lead the headlines in Sunday's sports pages but it's happened for the second week in a row and again for the wrong reasons.

Last week it was all about QPR defender Clint Hill's 'goal' that never was against them at the Reebok Stadium while this time it is sadly about the collapse of Fabrice Muamba during their game at Tottenham on Saturday.

I was at Loftus Road on the opening day of the season when the Kinshasa-born midfielder scored a rare goal during a second-half masterclass that saw the Trotters to a 4-0 win. Of the players on display, I was particularly impressed with Muamba's performance and thought that maybe he could have a future in the England team. Hopefully he still will. All the best to him and his family.

On a more mundane note, my football-watching week was supposed to have taken in two games but circumstances dictated that I only made it to one - Wingate & Finchley v Lewes in the Ryman League Premier Division on Tuesday night.

Prior to this season I hadn't been to Summers Lane for 19 years since Harrow Borough played there in a pre-season friendly. This was my fourth trip there this season thanks to the connections I have made at the club through Non-League Day. Not only was Mike on hand to greet me as usual but I also met up with legendary football blogger Stuart Fuller of 'The Ball Is Round' fame, a man who has been very supportive of NLD and this blog as well.

With Mike behind one goal and Stuart, a Rooks fan, behind the other an entertaining game ensued. It turned out to be the proverbial game of two halves with Wingate the better side in the first half, taking a 1-0 lead, and Lewes the superior team after the break coming back to win 2-1. You can see their equaliser courtesy of TLFG's YouTube debut - it's a classic bit of video craftsmanship (not really):

Aside from the result, probably the most worrying thing for Wingate at the moment is their dwindling crowds with the last two home midweek games drawing less than 100. They are very much a community club with a number of youth teams and really deserve a bit more support. If you're in north London and have the time, pay them a visit. They also offer half-price admission (£5) to season-ticket holders from Premier and Football League clubs to their Ryman League matches while all under-16s get in for free.

On Saturday I was also supposed to go to Wealdstone's FA Trophy semi-final second leg against Newport County but had to go elsewhere at the last minute. Unfortunately for them they were held to a 0-0 draw so lost 3-1 on aggregate but it still marked a superb achievement by the Ryman League club. Having reached the final of the Middlesex Senior Cup and with games in hand to still challenge for a play-off place, they still have plenty to play for.

Next up it's ticket news time - here's what's currently on general sale for some of the bigger matches that are coming up in London in the near future:

2 June - Belgium 515pm, Wembley Stadium, international friendly

16 April - Wigan Athletic 8pm, Premier League

7 April - Wigan Athletic 3pm, Premier League

21 April - Wigan Athletic 3pm, Premier League

11 April - Swansea City 8pm, Premier League

27 March - Bolton Wanderers 730pm, FA Cup
29 April - Blackburn Rovers 4pm, Premier League

There are 77 matches taking place in London over the next seven days and as well as all the normal league action we have a semi-final and the final of the NextGen Series while Wembley hosts the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. For those of you wanting an instant football fix at the beginning of the week there are an unusually high number of six games on Monday night - use the following maps to find out what's on and where:

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

Please let me know if there are any errors or omissions and always make sure you check with a club on the day whether a match is still taking place.

If you can't decide where to watch this week, here are a few games which I think could be worth your while:


CHELSEA v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (Saturday 24 March, 1245pm)
This Premier League match at Stamford Bridge is quite simply absolutely huge. Only four points separate the two who at the time of writing sit either side of Arsenal in fifth and third respectively. Not long ago Spurs were title contenders, now they'll be happy to finish in the top four. Their impressive form has fallen away of late having lost their last three league games while Chelsea, under new boss Roberto Di Matteo, have started to grind out wins and are gradually improving. If the Blues win here, I fear for Tottenham's Champions League qualification chances. Tickets: SOLD OUT

QUEENS PARK RANGERS v LIVERPOOL (Wednesday 21 March, 8pm)
Struggling QPR's stinker of a run-in, which sees them play six of the top seven teams, begins here when the Reds visit Loftus Road. In what is now the fairly distant past, these games used to provide a decent spectacle. The Anfield club would usually win but occasionally Rangers would pull off a spectacular triumph that would make the headlines. Hopefully for Rs fans this will be the night that kick-starts their Premier League campaign as Liverpool aren't the side they were back then but then neither are QPR. By the time of this match it will be two months since the hosts last won a game and that was against bottom club Wigan. Liverpool should come out on top but if Rangers pull something out of the bag, it could be the pivotal moment of their season. Ticket info.

WEST HAM UNITED v MIDDLESBROUGH (Tuesday 20 March, 745pm)
Another big midweek match takes place at Upton Park where two teams chasing promotion from the Championship go head-to-head. It must be a very nervy time for Hammers fans who after seeing their team in the top two for most of the season have finally seen them caught by the almost invincible Reading, meaning they have now dropped into the dreaded play-off places after a third consecutive draw. Boro arrive in the East End as a top six club themselves so should provide another stern test for Sam Allardyce's side. However, they have lost their last two and haven't won at the Boleyn Ground in their last seven attempts. Ticket info.

A win in Saturday's derby against Brentford saw Orient go seven-points clear of the bottom four, giving them a vital bit of breathing space in their fight against relegation. It's just as well as the next two matches see the east London club take on two of the top five - firstly MK Dons away and then this match at Brisbane Road on Saturday. Sadly for the O's, the South Yorkshire club are on a bit of a hot streak having won four of their last five. The hosts have also only managed one victory over the Owls in the last 30 years but significantly it came last season when Orient thrashed Wednesday 4-0 so they'll be hoping for a repeat performance. Ticket info.

BARNET v DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE (Tuesday 20 March, 745pm)
It hasn't been a vintage season for London's three League Two sides and these two have been particularly letting the side down. The battle to avoid finishing in the bottom two and getting relegated from the Football League looks like becoming a thriller with the bottom six all within three points of each other. The fortunes of clubs at this end of the table have been fluctuating wildly, climbing a few places off the bottom one Saturday only to be back there seven days later after playing three games in a week. The Bees had showed signs of pulling away from the strugglers but only two wins in 10 have seen them slide back down while the Daggers looked doomed only for a win over Macclesfield on Saturday to put them back in touch. The last time Dagenham and Redbridge won at Underhill both clubs were non-league sides, hopefully that won't be the case the next time they play. Ticket info.

DARTFORD v SUTTON UNITED (Tuesday 20 March, 745pm)
Woking have been the pacesetters in the Blue Square Bet South for months but they've dropped a few points of late meaning that they could finally and almost unthinkably be caught. Dartford are really the only team that look like being able to do it and if they win this game in hand they'll only be five points behind. Their form is also impressive having won five of their last six. However, Sutton are no fools and arrive at Princes Park five points behind in fourth place and are on an even better run having not lost in eight. With the hosts needing the win, hopefully we'll see an open game. Club info.

WELLING UNITED v SUTTON UNITED (Saturday 24 March, 3pm)
If you want to see more of the U's then set up camp on the south-east side of town as their big week continues with a trip to Park View Road to play the Wings. Normally I wouldn't list the same club twice but neither of their fixtures are at home and this is another big game against one of the division's heavyweights. By the time this match takes place, the sides could've swapped places or they could still be in third and fourth. The form guide would suggest a win for the visitors as Welling have lost three of their last 10 but it's so tight at this end of the table that it's hard to predict which way this one will go. Ticket info.

These sides lie either side of the M25 on the western edge of London so this Evostik League Southern Division One Central match must qualify as a derby. The visitors used to be one of the best non-league sides in the country but have struggled over the last few years and fallen down the divisions. Recently their fortunes on the pitch have improved, getting to the play-offs two years running. This time they're looking to go up automatically and are currently locked on level points with St Neots Town at the top of the table. Three points will therefore be crucial for them at Ashford but they are on a great run of their own having won their last six in all competitions. When these sides met earlier in the season, Slough won 4-3 so ideally we'll get some more of the same. Ticket info.

WHYTELEAFE v HYTHE TOWN (Tuesday 20 March, 745pm)
On paper this Ryman League Division One South match doesn't look particularly significant so why have I gone for it? The answer dear readers is that the Surrey club have decided to let everyone in for FREE. Yes you read that right - FREE. Recently Sutton offered a 'pay what you want' scheme for their match against Boreham Wood but the Leafe aren't even asking you to do that. To top it all, their Church Road ground is also very straightforward to get to lying just a short walk from Whyteleafe South station which is direct from both Victoria and Clapham Junction. Although there's not currently a great amount of info about the deal on the club's website, I've had it confirmed that it is being offered so don't be put off. Contact them yourself if you're not sure. Club info.

SEMI-FINAL & FINAL (Wednesday 21 March, 7pm & Sunday 25 March, 130pm)
The NextGen Series is a tournament contested by the academy sides of some of Europe's top clubs and it reaches its climax in London this week. On Wednesday night you'll be able to see Inter Milan play Marseille at Brentford's Griffin Park in the second semi-final (the other one has already been played). The winner will then face Ajax in the final at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road on Sunday. Tickets for both matches are just £3 for adults if bought in advance or £5 on the day. Ticket info.

If you have any questions or need advice about watching football in London you can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via Facebook, Twitter or email.

Sunday 11 March 2012

TLFG: 12-18 March 2012

Not a lot to personally report this week mainly thanks to a power failure which blighted my Saturday afternoon plans.

With a sub-editing shift lined up at West London Sport I had planned to go to the early kick-off between Sporting Hackney and Kodak (Harrow) over on the legendary Hackney Marshes in the shadow of the growing Olympic Park.

I don't usually cover Step 7/Level 11 football in this blog but my Non-League Day colleague Mike and I had received many cordial invitations from the east London club and as we were both free decided to go.

Sadly on arrival at Shepherd's Bush station I was advised that the crucial part of the London Overground network between Gospel Oak and Stratford was down because of the aforementioned power failure. Undeterred I headed up to Willesden Junction in case things improved but they didn't and I had to call things off. Mike did make it and had a great time and even went as far as to say he was 'rather smitten' by his Hackney experience. So it sounds as if they're worth a visit.

If you're based outside London and are planning a trip, here's what tickets are currently on general sale for some of the bigger matches that are coming up in the capital:

2 June - Belgium 515pm, Wembley Stadium, international friendly

Nothing currently available

18 March - Leicester City 205pm, FA Cup
7 April - Wigan Athletic 3pm, Premier League

21 April - Wigan Athletic 3pm, Premier League

11 April - Swansea City 8pm, Premier League

17 March - Bolton Wanderers 530pm, FA Cup
21 March - Stoke City 745pm, Premier League
9 April - Norwich City 3pm, Premier League

Next up we have this week's match maps:

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

Please let me know if there are any errors or omissions and always make sure you check with a club on the day whether a match is still taking place.

If you thought there was a lot on last week, there's even more to choose from this time round with 84 matches scheduled to take place in London over the next seven days. As well as the normal league matches we've also got action from the Champions League, FA Cup and FA Trophy plus some regional cup fixtures and a few games which were re-arranged after the recent cold spell. Here's a selection of a few that particularly stand out:


ARSENAL v NEWCASTLE UNITED (Monday 12 March, 8pm)
The week gets under way with this big Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. Both sides start the game with ambitions of securing a place in next season's Champions League with the Gunners currently occupying the much coveted fourth spot. The Magpies have massively overachieved this season with very few expecting them to still be in the running at this point with a win here leaving them just two points adrift of their London opponents. The current form guide massively favours the hosts but Newcastle know they can win here having done so by 1-0 last season. Tickets: SOLD OUT

CHELSEA v NAPOLI (Wednesday 14 March, 745pm)
This match on Wednesday represents England's last chance of getting a team through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. It looks like a tough ask though as the Blues trail their Italian rivals 3-1 after the first leg. However, a 2-0 win is not out of the question for Roberto Di Matteo's team who have won both matches since he took over a week ago. If he manages to mastermind victory here, it will do his chances of getting the job full time a power of good. Tickets: SOLD OUT

The FA Cup quarter-finals roll into town on Saturday meaning these two are just 90 minutes from Wembley. Both have an illustrious history in the competition and have won it 12 times between them but plenty of time has past since either last triumphed. As someone who grew up in the '80s and '90s  the FA Cup seemed like Tottenham's tournament so I was staggered to find that they haven't won it for 21 years. As the current top-ranked team left, you'd expect them to win here and go the whole way. Ticket info.

MILLWALL v SOUTHAMPTON (Saturday 17 March, 3pm)
The Lions welcome Championship leaders Southampton back to the Den just a few weeks after they last met in the FA Cup. On that occasion the sides drew 1-1 before Millwall recorded a surprise 3-2 win at St Mary's in the replay. The Saints haven't lost since and are now three points clear of West Ham and Reading at the top of the table. With Millwall only seven points above the relegation zone, both teams will need the points as they look to consolidate their positions at either end of the division. Ticket info.

LEYTON ORIENT v BRENTFORD (Saturday 17 March, 3pm)
This League One match stands out primarily because it's a good old fashioned 'East v West' London derby. The Bees' outside hopes of a play-off place took a knock on Saturday when they lost at home to Sheffield United so midtable looks to be their likely finish. Orient have more to worry about though, sitting as they do just six points above the bottom four without a win in five. Although Brentford have a much better head-to-head record in these games, winning 5-0 earlier in the season, they haven't won at Brisbane Road since 1995 so an 'upset' is quite possible. Ticket info.

Recent back-to-back wins over Morecambe and Bradford City seemed to mark a change in fortunes for the Daggers as they climbed out of the League Two relegation places. Now just over a week later, they're rooted  to the foot of the table having lost to Swindon Town and AFC Wimbledon whilst the results of fellow strugglers Northampton have gone the other way. If the Essex club are to retain their Football League status then this falls into the 'must win' 'six-pointer' category without any doubt. To encourage people to come along, all under-18s can get a terrace ticket for just £1. Ticket info.

WEALDSTONE v NEWPORT COUNTY (Saturday 17 March, 3pm)
The biggest non-league match in London this week takes place in the north-west suburb of Ruislip where Ryman League club Wealdstone look to pull off an upset in this FA Trophy semi-final second leg. The Stones gave a good account of themselves in Wales on Saturday in the first leg but were a little unfortunate to lose 3-1 against a team from two divisions above them. However, the spirit still appears to be high in the underdogs' camp and the fact they haven't lost at home since mid-November gives them cause for confidence. With Barrow and Dartford having come unstuck at Grosvenor Vale in previous rounds, Newport will have to be disciplined to make it to Wembley. Given the large crowd expected, this match has been designated ALL TICKET so you'll have to buy in advance of the day if you want one. Ticket info.

SUTTON UNITED v CHELMSFORD CITY (Saturday 17 March, 3pm)
If that game's not for you, you could do a lot worse then head down to the Borough Sports Ground to see two of the best teams in the Blue Square Bet South continue their respective scraps for a play-off place. The top five clubs seemed to have pulled away and set up their own mini-league recently but three defeats in four for City have given sixth-placed Dover a glimmer of hope. Sutton who came up last season are looking more solid and could well be on course for back-to-back promotions. With leaders Woking having dropped some unlikely points of late even they could be caught in the remaining 10 games meaning there's plenty to play for here. Ticket info.

ERITH & BELVEDERE v HERNE BAY (Saturday 17 March, 3pm)
Regular readers will know that Herne Bay are the team to beat in the Kent League and they took another giant stride towards the title with a 1-0 win over their nearest challengers Erith Town on Saturday. This coming weekend they travel to Welling United's ground to play third placed Erith & Belvedere. The Deres also had a good weekend picking up a fine 2-1 win at VCD Athletic. This is of even greater significance because VCD are the only side to have beaten Herne Bay this season in the league and also beat them in a League Cup match in midweek. With 10 games to go, a win here is essential if Erith & Belvedere want to keep their already faint hopes of the title alive. Club info.

NORTHWOOD v HAREFIELD UNITED (Tuesday 13 March, 745pm)
Last up this week I recommend you check out this local derby in the Middlesex Charity Cup. The clubs' grounds are pretty much parallel to each other and just 2.5 miles apart. The Woods are the more senior team and on paper should win but with local pride and a place in the semi-finals at stake it could go either way. Northwood's management have also decided to cut admission prices for this one to just £5 for adults and it's FREE for under-16s. Ticket info

If you have any questions or need advice about watching football in London you can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via Facebook, Twitter or email

Sunday 4 March 2012

TLFG: 5-11 March 2012

This time eight weeks ago news was coming through of Neil Warnock's sacking by QPR, today it's the turn of Andre Villas-Boas at neighbours Chelsea.

Both seem to have been hard done by in many ways. Warnock was tasked with keeping the Shepherd's Bush club out of the bottom three come January, something he did but he was still shown the door and Mark Hughes, his replacement, has so far fared little better. A short distance away at Stamford Bridge, a promising young manager appears to have been let go despite apparently agreeing to a tricky three-year plan of rebuilding an ageing squad.

I was actually really disappointed when AVB took the Chelsea job, believing it had come far too early in his fledgling managerial career. One and a bit seasons at Porto, albeit very successful ones, didn't seem enough for a 34-year-old with little top level playing experience. He would have been better served spending another year or two with the Portuguese champions trying to re-establish them in the Champions League. If he won that, like Jose Mourinho, then he would have been far better placed to move to one of Europe's biggest clubs.

After several weeks of disappointment, QPR actually managed to avoid defeat on Saturday by drawing 1-1 with Everton. They seemed to have figured out that keeping all 11 players on the pitch might help and probably should have beaten the Toffees who hardly mustered a shot in the second half. New signing Bobby Zamora started to show some of the attributes which he was signed for and had his best game in a hooped shirt.

QPR fans stream out of Loftus Road with plenty to ponder
Although Rangers are currently top of the mini relegation league of five clubs at the foot of the Premier League, many will see them as favourites to go down as their remaining fixtures are truly terrible with six of the top seven clubs all yet to be played.

That's enough about my concerns, here's what tickets are on general sale for some of the bigger matches that are coming up in London over the next few weeks:

2 June - Belgium 515pm, Wembley Stadium, international friendly 

Nothing currently available

18 March - Leicester City 205pm, FA Cup (on sale 9 March)

17 March - Swansea City 3pm, Premier League
31 March - Norwich City 3pm, Premier League

Nothing currently available

9 April - Norwich City 3pm, Premier League 

With all that digested, here are this week's match maps:

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

Please let me know if there are any errors or omissions and always make sure you check with a club on the day whether a match is still taking place.

A bumper midweek schedule ensures that there is an impressive total of 80 games to choose from in London over the next seven days with FA Cup, FA Youth Cup and various county and league cups boosting your viewing options. A lot of games that look really good on paper have failed to make the top 10 this week so make sure you take a close look at the maps above before deciding where to go.


ARSENAL v AC MILAN (Tuesday 6 March, 745pm)
Two of Europe's biggest clubs meet in the second leg of this last 16 Champions League tie at the Emirates on Tuesday. A year or two ago this could well have been tightly poised at this stage but sadly for the Gunners they find themselves on the wrong end of a 4-0 deficit from the first encounter. Despite a morale-boosting win at Liverpool on Saturday, there appears to be too much to do for Arsene Wenger's side. However, if they do pull it off it will be one of the greatest European displays of all time. Tickets: SOLD OUT

CHELSEA v STOKE CITY (Saturday 10 March, 3pm)
Usually this wouldn't have made the cut but since the departure of AVB this match has taken on far greater significance. It will be the first home game following his departure and it will be interesting to see how the Blues' players react against the tough team from the Potteries. Tony Pulis's side have been on a rocky run of late but have recovered, winning their last two. They have also managed to draw their last two games against Chelsea but wins have been much harder to come by. The last time Stoke beat the London club in any competition  was in 1975 and their last success at Stamford Bridge came the year before. Tickets: SOLD OUT

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v STEVENAGE (Wednesday 7 March, 730pm)
Stevenage were a non-league side the season before last and now they're knocking on the door of the Championship after another fine campaign in League One. On Wednesday night they return to FA Cup action when they travel to White Hart Lane for this replay. The Boro acquitted themselves well in the initial match and held Spurs to a 0-0 draw but it seems to have taken it out of them with a winless streak of four games ensuing since then. Whether they can pull off an amazing cup shock will probably depend on how seriously Harry Redknapp takes it but with it being Tottenham's only realistic chance of silverware they're likely to go for it. Tickets: SOLD OUT

WEST HAM UNITED v WATFORD (Wednesday 7 March, 745pm)
Elsewhere in London on the same night we have this game which by Championship standards can be classed as a derby. The Hammers picked up a fine 2-0 win at Cardiff on Sunday to close the gap on top club Southampton to just one point with a game in hand. The Hornets' current form isn't nearly as impressive as their hosts' but a 3-2 win over Burnley on Saturday which eased them even deeper into the midtable comfort zone means they'll arrive at Upton Park with little pressure on them. There are also reduced price tickets of £20 available so you might regard this as a bit of a bargain. Ticket info.

The games are coming thick and fast now for the Addicks who are dead certs for the League One title. Promotion would be no more than the south-east London club deserve having lost only twice all season. Whether they'll be able to maintain their unbeaten home record against the in-form Magpies remains to be seen. New boss Keith Curle took over on 20 February and has already won his first four matches, lifting them into the play-off places. Charlton took the honours at Meadow Lane earlier in the season but only by 2-1 meaning this should be another close one. Ticket info.

BRENTFORD v SHEFFIELD UNITED (Saturday 10 March, 3pm)
Another League One match catches the eye this weekend too. Uwe Rosler's Bees have been loitering around the edge of the play-off places for most of the season and a win against the former Premier League Blades would do their chances of making the top six a world of good. Sadly for them this won't come easily as Danny Wilson's team arrive at Griffin Park in second place. Their form though is a little inconsistent as witnessed by their 3-2 home defeat to Oldham on Saturday. However, Brentford haven't managed to beat the Yorkshire club since 1983 so the omens don't look too good for the London side. Ticket info.

It's a battle of south-west against east as these two TLFG teams go head-to-head in this League Two encounter on Saturday. Neither of these former non-league sides have done particularly well this season but the Dons will probably feel they've done just enough to avoid an immediate return to the Conference sitting as they do some nine points above the relegation zone. The Daggers, on the other hand, have been really struggling but have managed to pull themselves out of the relegation places by winning their last two. They will target this match as one to win to keep the momentum going. Ticket info.

HENDON v AFC HORNCHURCH (Saturday 10 March, 3pm)
The Greens have had some big games in recent weeks and this is another one. Hendon were the early season pacesetters but have fallen back a bit since then. They are still firmly in the race for a play-off place though but with Canvey Island closing the gap on them, a win here will be a huge priority. The Urchins will almost certainly get a top six finish but they'll be more interested in winning the title and going up automatically as they are the current main challengers to top club Billericay Town. In fact, if they win their two games in hand they'll go three points clear. Don't forget that season ticket holders at Premier/Football/Scottish League clubs get in for £5. Ticket info.

VCD ATHLETIC v HERNE BAY (Tuesday 6 March, 745pm)
A trip to Oakwood, near Dartford, on Tuesday night will give you the chance to see two of the top three in the Kent League in action. The hosts will start this League Cup semi-final first leg as underdogs against the almost invincible Herne Bay. Simon Halsey has put together one of the strongest teams in the country at Level 9 with them having lost only once in the league. Notably, a 2-1 win at Shortwood United on Saturday also put the Bay into the semi-finals of the FA Vase. So why should VCD believe they can win here? Well that only league defeat was inflicted by them at the end of January so if anyone can, they can. Club info.

You may remember me recommending this game a couple of weeks ago, well it's come round again but this time it's a cup match. Get yourself along to Clapton's Old Spotted Dog ground in Forest Gate if you fancy seeing this East End derby. For those that don't know, APSA have their roots in the local Pakistani community while Sporting trace theirs back to Bangladesh (although there are players from various backgrounds at both clubs) so there'll be plenty of pride at stake. Club info.

A special mention should also go to Wealdstone this week who travel to Wales on Saturday to play Newport County in the first leg of their FA Trophy semi-final tie. If they get past them, it'll be a trip to Wembley to play Luton or York.

If you have any questions or need advice about watching football in London you can contact TLFG via the comments section below or via Facebook, Twitter or email.