Sunday 29 April 2012

TLFG: 30 April-7 May 2012

My Saturday began with a morning trip to Summers Lane, home of Wingate & Finchley, to help my friend Mike run a five-a-side tournament he'd set up.

He'd been fretting about it since Wednesday as the heavens unloaded bucket after bucket of rain onto the capital but fortunately the pitches were deemed playable and the action got under way at 1030am. 

My reward for helping out would be free admission to Wingate's end of season encounter against Carshalton Athletic in the Ryman League on the main pitch later that afternoon.

However, with two and half hours still to go until kick-off and my services no longer required I decided to head elsewhere.

I enjoy watching games at the north London club a lot but there was nothing of great significance riding on this one and I still had time to get myself to a match that did.

From memory I recalled that Wealdstone were hosting Concord Rangers in the same division and that there was a play-off place at stake.

Alex Dyer curls in a free-kick for Wealdstone

What followed were a number of logistical calculations which also included a brief pit-stop back in Shepherd's Bush on my way through.

As the crow flies it's about 11 miles (18km) from Summers Lane to Grosvenor Vale over in the west London suburb of Ruislip. 

To give those who don't know London too well some idea of its scale and public transport network, I got on the tube at West Finchley at 1pm and made it to Wealdstone seven minutes before the 3pm start. 

I hasten to reiterate that this did include a detour which pretty much doubled the overall mileage but two hours does seem like a long time!

Anyway I made it and joined a considerable queue, bigger even than the one I described at Dulwich a couple of weeks ago.

If you haven't read this blog before you may not be aware of what a great season the Stones have had.

They started slowly but have gone on to have a season to remember which has included a sensational run to the FA Trophy semi-finals after beating several Blue Square Bet Premier sides on their way there.

This combined with a run to the Middlesex Senior Cup final had caused a huge backlog of fixtures, one that would end most clubs' promotion ambitions.

In April alone, Gordon Bartlett's side have had to play nine matches in order to finish their season on time.

Ashlee Jones saves from a free-kick as Concord fight back
Sensationally they have won seven of them, drawn one and the only defeat was in the aforementioned cup final against higher league opposition Hampton & Richmond Borough.

All this had seen them creep into the play-off zone just four days before the end of the campaign.

Having accrued a healthy goal difference of plus 35, they only needed to draw against Concord to keep their promotion ambitions alive.

With persistent drizzle still blighting things, the hosts came flying out of the blocks and took the lead after only 30 seconds when Alex Dyer found the net.

Surely getting the point they needed was now a formality with the Essex club obviously not too bothered about what was for them a nothing game.

Nothing could be further from the truth as Concord equalised shortly after and then proceeded to have much the better of the first half. In fact they should've have taken the lead but Harry Elmes contrived to lash the ball over from close range with the goal at his mercy.

With promotion rivals Bury Town and Lewes both winning at half-time there could be no margin for error for the Stones in the second half.

Concord Rangers defend a second-half corner as Wealdstone push for victory
As it turned out they won fairly comfortably in the end with further goals from Richard Jolly (his 48th of the season) and Scott Fitzgerald.

The 3-1 scoreline ensured them a place in Wednesday night's one-legged winner takes all play-off semi-final at Lowestoft Town. If they get through, it'll be either away to AFC Hornchurch or home to Bury Town on 7 May in the final (the team who finished higher in the league gets home advantage).

Here's what is on general sale at some of the bigger matches coming up in London, click on the team or event name for more info:

25 July-11 August, various venues nationwide, on sale Monday 30 April at 1100 BST

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

Nothing currently available

Nothing currently available

6 May - Sunderland 2pm, Premier League

Nothing currently available

Nothing currently available

With most leagues having finished for the season there are a lot less matches this week (which extends to Monday 7 May as it's a Bank Holiday). At the time of writing we've got 28 to choose from but with postponed games yet to be rescheduled, more rain forecast and play-off games to be played, fixtures will be added and moved as the week goes on. 

The games we do have are largely cup finals, play-offs and crucial matches at each end of the various leagues that are in action so there should be plenty to keep you busy.

After being contacted by the Amateur Football Alliance there are also three games from the top division of the Southern Amateur League which might be of interest. I've never seen a game at this level but I'm told the standard is similar to the Ryman League and admission to games is free so check them out if you fancy something a bit different.

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
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures

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

Here are my pick of the matches that are on this week. Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments section below.


CHELSEA v LIVERPOOL (Saturday 5 May, 515pm)
Traditionally the FA Cup final was always the last match of the domestic season but somewhere along the line this ended. Now it doesn't even have the day to itself let alone the weekend with Premier League and Football League games also taking place. This year also sees the end of the traditional 3pm kick-off with the match moving back to 515pm. As for the game itself, the Blues must be the overwhelming favourites having just seen off Barcelona in the Champions League and thrashed QPR 6-1 in the derby. Liverpool on the other hand have been far less impressive of late but did manage a solid 3-0 win at Norwich on Saturday. Both sides have to negotiate tricky midweek games before this but with 13 FA Cup crowns between them, they should still put on a good show. TICKET INFO

CHELSEA v NEWCASTLE UNITED (Wednesday 2 May, 745pm)
The big matches just keep coming for Roberto Di Matteo's side with this one being crucial to their hopes of making it into the Premier League top four. With Chelsea seemingly unstoppable at the moment and the Magpies showing great form in the league, this looked like being a cracker. That was until Alan Pardew's men collapsed to a 4-0 humbling at lowly Wigan Athletic on Saturday. Chelsea's aforementioned drubbing of QPR has left them just a point behind Newcastle and with Tottenham Hotspur still very much in the mix, both sides will need to get something out of this. TICKET INFO

Recent victories over the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs had left QPR and their supporters feeling optimistic nay bullish about their chances of picking something up from their trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday but how wrong they were. Even with players rested, the Blues steamrollered them with ease. With a trip to Manchester City awaiting the Rs on the final day, a home win over Stoke looks absolutely essential if they are to stay up. There are still a few tickets left although they must be bought in advance, none will be available on the day. TICKET INFO

WEST HAM UNITED v CARDIFF CITY (Monday 7 May, 430pm)
It seems almost unthinkable that a side who has spent most of the season in the top two and has only lost one of its last 18 matches hasn't earned automatic promotion but that is the case for West Ham. Sadly for them, half of those games ended in draws meaning that they were ultimately eclipsed by Reading and Southampton. In order to go up with them they are going to have to get the better of the Bluebirds over two legs with the all important second home one on Monday afternoon. The signs look quite good for the Hammers who enter the end of season shoot-out on the back of two wins against Leicester City and Hull City - both decent sides themselves. The Welsh club are also in decent form, however, they are notorious for choking in the play-offs having come unstuck there for the last two years. Third time lucky? TICKET INFO

Saturday is set to be a day of celebration at The Valley as the Addicks bring to an end a season where they have pretty much lead from start to finish. With the League One title already in the bag, the former Premier League club will look to beat Hartlepool to take their points tally to 101. At the time of writing, this match is officially sold out but the club are saying some returns could be available from the box office. TICKET INFO

The hosts have had a fine season with their haul of 88 points being enough to have won them the Blue Square Bet South title in previous years. However, they came up against Woking who have been exceptional meaning they have had to settle for second and a place in the play-offs. The top five in this division seemed to have set up their own mini-league a little while back as they pulled further away from everyone else. It wasn't until Basingstoke crashed the party at Chelmsford City's expense four days before the end of the season that anyone else had broken through for months. The visitors sealed their place yesterday by drawing at Welling United who they could meet again in the play-off final. Basingstoke have marginally the better momentum coming into this so they could cause an upset over the two legs (the first is on 2 May). CLUB INFO

These two meet in the other Blue Square Bet South play-off semi-final second leg just down the road on the same day. Although they ended the season seven points apart, recent form for both the sides is pretty similar with three wins from their last five. The last time they met at Park View Road just over a month ago it ended in a 0-0 draw so there really is little to choose between them. If you can't make it to this game, then try and get to the first leg at Sutton on 2 May, details on the match map above. TICKET INFO

AFC HORNCHURCH v BURY TOWN (Wednesday 2 May, 745pm)
Having been in the fight for the Ryman League Premier Division title until last weekend, the Urchins have had to settle for second and a place in the play-offs. In this league these ties are decided over just one leg with home advantage going to the team who finishes the season higher in the table. Therefore if the Essex club win this game they will be at home to Lowestoft Town or Wealdstone in the final on 7 May. Whether they do is by no means a foregone conclusion having lost three of their last five - their two wins were against teams who ended up getting relegated. Conversely, Bury have won three and drawn one of their last five and crushed Tooting & Mitcham United 7-1 at Imperial Fields on the final day to secure their place. I can see the hosts tripping up. TICKET INFO

After watching Dulwich succumb to eventual champions Whitehawk two weeks ago, a disappointing 1-0 defeat at struggling Burgess Hill Town on the final day ensured they finished third and had to make do with a place in the Ryman League Division One South play-offs. Two defeats in three makes the club from SE22 look vulnerable especially when faced with a Folkestone side who have won their last four. However, Dulwich do have home advantage and start the match in the knowledge that they comfortably did the double over the Kent club this season beating them 5-2 at home and 3-1 away. The hosts to edge it. TICKET INFO

(Monday 7 May, 730pm)
The Bank Holiday weekend comes to a close when these two meet for a bit of late-season silverware at Wealdstone's Grosvenor Vale. These local rivals both compete in the Evostik League Southern Division One Central. Northwood harboured play-off ambitions until the final day but disappointingly lost 5-2 at Leighton Town to finish seventh, three points adrift. Ashford didn't do too badly either ending up just a couple of places behind them in ninth. Although having made it to the Middlesex Charity Cup final three times, Northwood have yet to win while Ashford have triumphed once in their history back in 2000. Tickets for this match are £10 for adults and £5 concessions.

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

Sunday 22 April 2012

TLFG: 23-29 April 2012

For one reason or another it had been a month since I'd last been to Loftus Road - to watch Queens Park Rangers record a dramatic 3-2 win over Liverpool.

In the build-up to the game I mentioned in this blog that a good result for Rangers could be the 'pivotal moment of their season' and so it seems to have been.

Since picking up three points against the Reds, QPR have notched consecutive home wins against Arsenal and Swansea City (home wins had been virtually non-existent before that) to give themselves a fighting chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.

So it was with renewed confidence that I and many other Hoops fans headed to the game with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Spurs have for the most part had a great season and were even in title contention for a while. However, their form has dipped sharply over the last couple of months meaning they were vulnerable.

The hosts started brightly and more than matched their opponents' star-packed team - the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Scott Parker were all made to look human.

The only goal of the game came midway through the first half when QPR were awarded a fortunate free-kick and former Tottenham player Adel Taarabt curled into the bottom corner. To me it seemed to travel in slow motion and perhaps goalkeeper Brad Friedel should've done better.

QPR enjoyed another crucial win on Saturday but will they stay up?
Mark Hughes' team continued to look reasonably comfortable after the break until Taarabt picked up a second yellow card and got sent off. It was his side's eighth red card of the season but unlike most previous occasions it came late in the game meaning they only had to defend their lead for 15 minutes rather than the 60+ they are used to.

Despite the initiative being handed to Tottenham during the closing stages, QPR 'parked the bus' superbly and nothing got through.

The win leaves the W12 club three points above the relegation zone with three to play so there is plenty still to do. However, they have now closed to within a win of Aston Villa and have put Wigan between themselves and the bottom three.

Their final home game in two weeks' time against Stoke City is on general sale so if you're in London or thinking about it, I thoroughly recommend a trip to Shepherd's Bush for what will be a crucial match.

If you're coming to London soon and want to see a game at one of London's bigger grounds, here's what's currently on general sale (click on team name for more info):

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

Nothing currently available

13 May - Blackburn Rovers 3pm, Premier League (on sale 23 April)

6 May - Sunderland 2pm, Premier League 

6 May - Stoke City 2pm, Premier League

29 April - Blackburn Rovers 4pm, Premier League

With some leagues having wrapped up for the season already, we only have 56 games to choose from over the next seven days. However, the ones that are still going are reaching their climax so it's set to be one of the most important weeks of the season.

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.

With so many to choose from, here is a shortlist of a few games which I think could be worth your while. Add your own recommendations in the comments section below.


CHELSEA v QUEENS PARK RANGERS (Sunday 29 April, 130pm)
Although Fulham are geographically closer to Chelsea, the rivalry between  the Blues and QPR is historically more fierce. The sides have met twice already this season in league and cup and both have recorded a 1-0 win each. Sadly both games have been notable for a racism row involving Anton Ferdinand and John Terry. The latter is accused of saying something he shouldn't have towards the end of the first meeting in October and the bad blood carried through to the cup game three months later. Although this will again be a talking point in the coming days, it shouldn't overshadow that this is also a really important game for both clubs. Chelsea will be freshly returned from their Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona and will need the points to try and get back into the Premier League top four. Anything other than defeat for QPR will be a massive bonus as they look to avoid the drop. Chelsea should win but little will be expected of Rangers who could knick something if they are at the top of their game. TICKETS: SOLD OUT

WEST HAM UNITED v HULL CITY (Saturday 28 April, 1230pm)
How important this match turns out to be will depend on how well the Hammers do at Leicester City on Monday. If they win they will find themselves just two points behind second place Southampton going into the final day of the Championship season. If the Saints fail to win against Coventry and West Ham beat Hull then automatic promotion could very much be on the cards for Sam Allardyce's side as the goal difference between them is close. Even if West Ham do slip up at the Walkers Stadium, the club are giving play-off ticket priority to those who attend this game. TICKET INFO

This League One match is massive for both clubs as they go for promotion. The Bees must win if they are to keep their slim hopes of a play-off place alive but even if they do it may not be enough. Above them the Owls are currently third just a point behind bitter city rivals Sheffield United - only one of them can get automatic promotion. Griffin Park is likely to be packed so the atmosphere should be great. When the sides last met in November it ended 0-0 so expect another close one here. TICKET INFO

BARNET v AFC WIMBLEDON (Saturday 28 April, 3pm)
Two of London's former non-league clubs meet at Underhill on the penultimate day of the League Two season. The Dons secured their place in the division a week or two ago but Barnet are still in the thick of the relegation dogfight. A miserable sequence of nine games without a win has left the Bees just two points above the relegation zone. A win here could therefore be enough to keep them up if fellow strugglers Hereford and Macclesfield both come unstuck. Although the visitors have nothing to play for, they come into this match on the back of 2-0 win over promotion chasing Torquay so will be dangerous opponents. TICKET IN

The Beavers' fight against relegation from the Blue Square Bet South took another step backwards on Saturday when they slipped to a 2-0 home defeat against Welling United who secured third spot in the process. Although they have slipped to second from bottom they remain only two points adrift of safety with a game in hand on the sides immediately above them. That crucial extra fixture takes place on Tuesday night against Basingstoke. Sadly for the hosts, the match is of equal importance to the visitors who have won seven of their last eight games to give them a real chance of stealing into the play-off places right at the death. All Premier and Football League season-ticket holders get in for half price. TICKET INFO

SUTTON UNITED v FARNBOROUGH (Saturday 28 April, 3pm)
Although at the time of writing they could mathematically still be caught by Basingstoke, Sutton have guaranteed a place in the Blue Square Bet South play-offs. It is a fine achievement by the south London side who came up from the Ryman League last season. Farnborough, despite a five-point deduction, have secured their place in the division so don't have anything to play for. It's just as well because the U's form from earlier in the campaign has deserted them, having won only two of their last 10. Saturday has also been designated a Community Fun Day with all sorts of activities going on with kids getting in for only £1. TICKET INFO

WEALDSTONE v CONCORD RANGERS (Saturday 28 April, 3pm)
Several title/promotion/relegation issues were settled on Saturday in the Ryman League Premier Division but the battle for the last two play-off places is still wide open. Six teams are in with a shout of grabbing a place and one of those is Wealdstone. As a result of two impressive cup runs, the Stones have had to get through a sizeable fixture backlog which has seen them play six times in the last two weeks. Five of those were in the league and four of them were won. The Ruislip-based club are now one point and one place off the play-off places with a game in hand. If they win at Margate in midweek then they will jump up to fourth and then try and protect that by beating Concord on the final day. All Premier and Football League season-ticket holders get in for half price. TICKET INFO

AVELEY v HENDON (Saturday 28 April, 3pm)
Another team who could squeak in behind them are Hendon. They only have this match to go and come into it having thrashed already relegated Tooting & Mitcham United 5-0. Confidence should be high on this trip to Essex as Aveley have also been relegated and are five without a win. The Greens have been there or thereabouts all season and even lead the Ryman League at one point so they are well worth a place in the play-offs. It would be a great achievement for a team who are run by a supporters' trust, don't have their own ground and struggle to achieve the crowds their play deserves. CLUB INFO

(Tuesday 24 April, 745pm @Dartford FC)
On Tuesday, Dartford play host to Hythe Town as they look to defend the cup they won last year. Having beaten Charlton Athletic in the semi-finals, the Darts are overwhelming favourites to win. Not only are they the second best team in the Blue Square Bet South (two divisions above their opponents) but they have partly achieved that by only losing once in their last 15 outings. Hythe have had a much more modest season in the Ryman League Division One South but are on course for a top-eight finish. With the end of season play-offs looming, Dartford may rest a few key players to even things up but a good contest should ensue whatever. Tickets: £10 adults, £5 concessions, £2 U12s (although free with a paying adult).

(Tuesday 24 April, 745pm @Hanwell Town FC)
If Dartford is too far to travel, then you have the chance to see another cup final on the same night at Hanwell Town. Located a short walk from Perivale tube station on the west side of London, you can watch the 'Battle of the Boros' in the Spartan League Cup. The two Premier Division sides should be pretty evenly matched although Haringey have had the better season, currently fourth, and should start as favourites. No ticket details as yet but standard Spartan League admission for adults is around £6.

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

Sunday 15 April 2012

TLFG: 16-22 April 2012

As with so many other ground visits for me this season, Saturday afternoon at Dulwich Hamlet's Champion Hill was a trip down memory lane.

I think the last time I made my way to SE22 to watch the Pink and Blues was in the early '90s shortly after the famous ground had been re-opened following its renovation.

It was at the time one of the best non-league grounds around and I can remember some excitement in going to visit it with Harrow Borough for a game which I think they won.

With this in mind I headed off from W12 and enjoyed a smooth journey through parts of London that are largely untouched by the Tube network. As I've mentioned before, people from my side of town rarely venture to these parts so it is interesting to see how green and hilly these areas are compared to my own.

Champion Hill is historic but so too is Herne Hill Velodrome which the train passes on its way to and from Tulse Hill. Luckily there was a race meet in progress so I caught a glimpse of the venue in use as I passed it.

From East Dulwich station, Hamlet's ground is only a short walk away which makes it one of the easiest grounds to get to by public transport in London.

With the best part of 20 years having elapsed since my last visit, I wondered how much the stadium would've changed/deteriorated.

On arrival I joined a queue of about 30 people at the turnstile, something I hadn't seen at a non-league ground all season - the visit of Whitehawk for the Ryman League Division One South table-topping clash obviously proving to be quite a draw.
A sizeable crowd enjoys the action at Champion Hill
With my exact change (£8) at the ready, the gentleman in front of me suddenly turned and said he was on the guest list and had a spare 'plus one' - would I like it? I gratefully accepted and went in - great start!

The buzz within the ground was evident as soon as I entered but I opted to head to the south side of the pitch where it was quieter and afforded the best view of the ground.

As I took it all in, I realised that nothing had really changed. The impressive grandstand/clubhouse still dominated things and the pitch was still a bit ropey in parts. However, the support had swelled massively (there were over 600 on Saturday) and there was a real feeling that the club was part of the local community.

Although technically a neutral I began the game wanting league leaders Dulwich to win, mainly because of an acquaintance I hold with captain Francis Duku who I've had the pleasure of meeting through Non-League Day.

Dulwich unsuccessfully try to get back in the game
Sadly third placed Whitehawk came flying out of the blocks and had James Fraser to thank for two fine goals which put them 2-0 up after only 16 minutes. Although the hosts were much improved after the break and spent a lot of time in the Sussex club's penalty area, they hardly worked the goalkeeper and it ended 2-0.

The already close top three (also including Bognor) now only have one point between them with two games to go. If Dulwich are your local club and you haven't been to see them, their last home game of the season is on Saturday (21 April) against Faversham Town. Get down there and cheer them on to promotion.


If you're coming to London soon and want to see a match at one of London's bigger grounds here's what's currently on general sale (click on team name for info):

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

Nothing currently available

20 April - Blackburn Rovers 7pm, FA Youth Cup final 1st leg
2 May - Newcastle United 745pm, Premier League

21 April - Wigan Athletic 3pm, Premier League
6 May - Sunderland 2pm, Premier League

6 May - Stoke City 2pm, Premier League

29 April - Blackburn Rovers 4pm, Premier League

Overall there's a slight increase in games this week with 63 to keep you amused over the next seven days. The midweek period is mainly dominated by cup football be it Champions League or a county cup final, while the weekend is all about those crucial title/promotion/relegation deciding matches. Here are 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

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.

With so many to choose from, here is a shortlist of a few games which I think are worth a special mention. Feel free to add your recommendations in the comments section below.


CHELSEA v BARCELONA (Wednesday 18 April, 745pm)
Chelsea are currently in the early stages of a run of six games which will see them play four London derbies and two legs of a Champions League semi-final against arguably the best team in the world - it really doesn't get much tougher. The Catalan club are the overwhelming favourites coming into this match having won their last 11 league games (they haven't lost in any competition since 2 November) and they hold the balance of power in the head-to-head between the two sides too - Chelsea's last win was in 2006. If Roberto Di Matteo pulls off a win over two legs, the Blues manager's job must be his for next season. TICKETS: SOLD OUT

ARSENAL v CHELSEA (Saturday 21 April, 1245pm)
With Barcelona out of the way, Chelsea then have to take on the Gunners at the Emirates. Despite a recent slip up at QPR, Arsene Wenger's side are still joint top of the Premier League form table having won nine of their last 11 games. The run has left them sitting comfortably in third with a match on Monday against Wigan still to play before this. The Blues' recent record against Arsenal is pretty decent though having won three of their last five encounters. From the neutral's perspective there are usually quite a few goals (eight back in October) and draws are rare (the last one was in 2007). The west London club probably need the points that little bit more than the Gunners but fatigue might be an issue for them. TICKETS: SOLD OUT

QPR v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (Saturday 21 April, 530pm)
Another crucial London derby takes place in Shepherd's Bush later the same day when Queens Park Rangers continue their scrap against relegation against Spurs who need the points to try and get back into the Champions League. Many, including myself, had written off QPR's chances of staying up because of their horrendous run-in but three straight home wins over Liverpool, Arsenal and Swansea have given them cause for hope. A couple of months ago, the thought of beating Tottenham would've been unthinkable but their results, by their previously very high standards, have started to dip. QPR v Spurs games back in the '90s always used to be well contested so I'm expecting another great London derby here. TICKET INFO

On Saturday a win at Carlisle saw the Addicks clinch promotion from League One back to the Championship to complete the first part of the former Premier League side's revival. This weekend you can be there as they attempt to seal the league title. A win over Wycombe will be enough if second placed Sheffield United draw or lose at MK Dons. However, the Buckinghamshire club will be fully intending to ruin the party as they badly need to win themselves to avoid the drop, sitting as they do just three points adrift of safety. TICKET INFO

The Beavers have improved a lot recently which has left them in a good position to avoid relegation from the Blue Square Bet South. However, a defeat on Saturday at Eastbourne has seen them stay in the bottom three. Fortunately they have games in hand on their nearest rivals and one of those comes against Salisbury on Tuesday. If they win that then they will be well placed to take on the challenge posed by promotion-chasing Welling on Saturday. The Wings have already confirmed their place in play-offs and are unbeaten against Hampton in six. Mark Harper will have to hope his side are the more motivated to win as Welling will almost certainly finish third whatever they do in their final two regular season games. All Premier and Football League season-ticket holders get in for half priceTICKET INFO

KINGSTONIAN v HENDON (at Metropolitan Police FC)
If Chelsea v Barcelona isn't for you, there's surely only one place to be on Wednesday night and that's at Imber Court for the London Senior Cup final. With holders Wingate & Finchley dumped out back in November, there will be a different winner this year. Both sides have a decent pedigree in this competition having won it three times each. However, Hendon  have the better recent history in the event having reached four of the last five finals. They also warmed up for this by beating the K's 2-1 at Vale Farm on Saturday and are generally in better form so the smart money looks to be on them. TICKET INFO

HARROW BOROUGH v AFC HORNCHURCH (Saturday 21 April, 3pm)
Both sides came into this weekend's fixtures off the back of draws in huge local derbies as they attempted to beat the drop/go for the title. Both then proceeded to lose to teams below them in the table to make their tasks a lot harder. Hornchurch's 2-1 loss at Wealdstone, themselves going for a play-off spot, was understandable but Harrow's 3-1 reverse at Hastings who were on a dreadful run was very disappointing. The results, with two games to go, have left the Urchins five points behind the leaders Billericay while Harrow are just three points above the relegation zone. Essentially both teams need to win. Hornchurch look the more likely but Harrow are very unpredictable and do pull off unexpected results every so often. All Premier and Football League season-ticket holders get in for half priceCLUB INFO

ENFIELD TOWN v LEISTON (Saturday 21 April, 3pm)
The top two in the Ryman League Division One North go head-to-head at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium on Saturday in a match that could decide the title. Leaders Leiston could have wrapped up the title on Saturday but surprisingly lost 3-1 at midtable Maldon & Tiptree while Enfield hammered Cheshunt 5-0. The gap is now four points with two games to go, meaning the hosts will need to win if they are to stay in contention. The last time the clubs met in December, the Suffolk side edged to a 2-1 victory so there's little to choose between them. TICKET INFO

DULWICH HAMLET v FAVERSHAM TOWN (Saturday 21 April, 3pm)
After blowing their chance to take a giant stride towards the Ryman League Division One South title on Saturday, Dulwich Hamlet have another go when they face Faversham in their last home match of the regular season. The Kent club are in lower midtable, have absolutely nothing to play for and their form isn't great either having gone five without a win. Surely only nerves can stop the Londoners winning this one. TICKET INFO

NORTHWOOD v BURNHAM (Saturday 21 April, 3pm)
Like other local side Uxbridge, the Woods are making a late charge for a place in the Evostik League Southern Division One Central play-offs. On Saturday the Reds consolidated their place in fourth with a 1-1 draw against Leighton Town while Northwood moved to within three points of the play-off places with a stunning 3-1 win at Beaconsfield SYCOB, one of the teams they have to catch. Burnham meanwhile are another team with little to play for at this point and have only won one of their last six so the hosts should have a great chance to further their promotion claims. TICKET INFO

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

Monday 9 April 2012

TLFG: 10-15 April 2012

One of the biggest weekends of the football calendar is coming to a close and I hope it's been a good one for you.

With 80 matches taking place between Friday and today there was plenty on offer for all. Did you make it to a match everyday? Did you complete a Monday triple? Let us all know.

Personally I only made it to the one game on Saturday afternoon. I had been weighing up my options on Friday night when a Bedfont Town fan flagged up their match against Slough Town in the Evostik League Southern Division One Central the following day.

With Slough still very much in the hunt for the divisional title and the two clubs located only a few miles apart, I thought why not?

A large Virgin Atlantic plane soars into the air over The Orchard
Readers of TLFG may remember I paid a visit to Bedfont Sports back in October. The two clubs' grounds are literally side by side so remembering how to get there wasn't a problem.

You might also recall that the two clubs are located at the eastern end of Heathrow airport's southern runway so the entertainment at these games isn't provided solely by the players.

Bedfont Town's pitch is at its closest point only around 600m from the runway and by the time some of the larger aircraft manage to get off it they can't be much more than 200 feet above the ground so you get unusually close.

I wouldn't admit to being a plane spotter but I find watching huge lumps of metal roaring into the sky at close quarters quite an awesome experience as a number of the visiting supporters seemed to as well.

If it wasn't for the planes I would possibly have fallen asleep because the first half was really poor - neither side managed a shot on target. However, it got a bit tastier after the break. The Rebels managed to get their act together and scored twice either side of a red card to one of their centre-backs as they edged to victory. The hosts pulled a goal back through a late penalty (video here) but it wasn't enough.

The 2-1 win moved Slough to within a point of leaders St Neots Town and today's results saw them draw level so the final few games in that division look like being a tense affair.

If you're coming to London over the next few weeks and want to see a game, here's what international and Premier League tickets are on general sale (click on the team name for more info):

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

16 April - Wigan Athletic 8pm, Premier League

2 May - Newcastle United 745pm, Premier League

21 April - Wigan Athletic 3pm, Premier League
6 May - Sunderland 2pm, Premier League (on sale Tue 10 Apr)

11 April - Swansea City 8pm, Premier League

29 April - Blackburn Rovers 4pm, Premier League

After the feast of last week's 99 matches there's a virtual famine this time round with only 55 to choose from (the midweek schedule is much reduced). The biggest games in the capital in the coming days are the two FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley but with fixtures running out it's really hotting up at both ends of the table in all our various leagues too. Here are this week's match maps:

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.

Here are a few games I think are worth a particular mention, some of which might have a bigger significance than you may have been aware of. If I don't include a match you think should be highlighted, post the details in the comments section below.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v CHELSEA (Sunday 15 April, 6pm)
Wembley Stadium plays host to both FA Cup semi-finals this weekend, with Liverpool v Everton taking place on Saturday afternoon. I've highlighted this one as it involves two London clubs. At the time of writing, Spurs are fourth and Chelsea sixth in the Premier League so the FA Cup represents the only bit of domestic silverware each of them could win this season. The Blues' form is definitely better at the moment but they could only draw 0-0 with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge a couple of weeks ago. Extra-time looks likely. TICKET INFO

The Hammers seem to be playing big match after big match at the moment as they strive to get back into the Premier League. Sadly their home results (seven without a win) are letting them down in a big way with a defeat against Reading and a battling draw against Birmingham in their last two games. Brighton are the next team scheduled to visit and they too are among the chasing pack. If the Sussex club manage to win at Reading on Tuesday night then I fear for Sam Allardyce's side on Saturday. TICKET INFO

BRENTFORD v NOTTS COUNTY (Saturday 14 April, 3pm)
Just over two weeks ago the Bees' play-off hopes looked to have ended but five straight wins and a draw since then have put them right back in contention. The sixth-placed team that they have to catch come to Griffin Park on Saturday. The gap between the two is currently only three points so there is little to separate Uwe Rosler's side from Keith Curle's. The last time these sides played back in October it finished 1-1 and I expect another close game here. TICKET INFO

BARNET v HEREFORD UNITED (Friday 13 April, 745pm)
Two of the bottom three sides in League Two meet in this big 'six-pointer' at Underhill on Friday night. The hosts are currently better off, some three points above Macclesfield and Hereford who fill the relegation spots. Both sides lost their matches on Easter Monday so neither will be in particularly high spirits ahead of this game. If the thrill of an important match alone isn't enough to get you up to north London on Friday night then maybe the reduced entry fee of £10 will. TICKET INFO

SUTTON UNITED v DARTFORD (Saturday 14 April, 3pm)
Both clubs ended the Easter period with wins which means Sutton are now on the verge of sealing a place in the Blue Square Bet South play-offs while Dartford are still in with an outside chance of winning the title. Either way these are two of the division's best teams and they still have plenty to play for. Astonishingly when they met for the reverse fixture in March, the Darts won 6-1. Don't expect the same thing to happen this time but a big crowd and lively game is almost a certainty. TICKET INFO

HARROW BOROUGH v WEALDSTONE (Wednesday 11 April, 745pm)
If you're looking for a game on the west side of London on Wednesday and don't fancy going to QPR then I highly recommend this one. As derby matches go in the Ryman League this is one of the biggest with one of the most intense rivalries between clubs at this level that I have ever experienced. The amount of enmity that some Stones fans have for Boro is quite astounding given that their's is the bigger and far more successful club. The match is of even greater significance than normal as both sides are scrapping for points at opposite ends of the table. The form guide says Wealdstone should win but Dave Anderson's side are incredibly unpredictable at present and come into this on the back of two consecutive away wins so shouldn't be written off. As with many non-league clubs in the area, all Premier and Football League season-ticket holders get in for half price (£5). CLUB INFO

CRAY WANDERERS v LEWES (Saturday 14 April, 3pm)
Elsewhere in the Ryman Premier these two continue their fight for promotion. In this division the top team go up automatically while the next four play-off. Cray and Lewes currently sit fifth and sixth respectively with only goal difference separating them. Both sides enjoyed wins on Easter Monday but the form guide would probably favour the Rooks as the hosts have recently lost home games to Harrow and Leatherhead who are battling against the drop. Also of note - Cray Wanderers are the oldest currently active football club in London having been founded in 1860. CLUB INFO

WEALDSTONE v AFC HORNCHURCH (Saturday 14 April, 3pm)
Cup commitments earlier in the season have caused a fixture backlog which will mean this match will be Wealdstone's fourth in a week and again it's another biggie. At the time of writing, the Stones are five points adrift of the play-off places but have two games in hand. If they beat Harrow that gap will reduce to two and a win here could put them in the top five. However, the Urchins have already booked their place in the play-offs and are still very much in the hunt for the league title being just two points behind leaders Billericay who they drew with on Monday. The same ticket discount Harrow are offering for Premier and Football League season-ticket holders applies here. TICKET INFO

DULWICH HAMLET v WHITEHAWK (Saturday 14 April, 3pm)
In the division below, the race for the title looks to be going down to the wire. Dulwich are currently top while their Sussex opponents are third just five points behind, while Bognor who lost on Monday are sandwiched in between. If the hosts win this it could leave them five points clear with just two games to go while an away victory could put the top three within two points of each other so a lot rests on the result. CLUB INFO

UXBRIDGE v LEIGHTON TOWN (Saturday 14 April, 3pm)
The Reds enjoyed a great run of 10 straight wins in the league and cup back in October/November which made them look like a good bet for promotion from the Evostik League Southern Division One Central. Their form became a lot more ordinary after that and threatened to keep them in midtable for the remainder of the campaign. However, five wins out of their last six league matches has suddenly put them back into the top four. Automatic promotion is out of their reach so keeping hold of their play-off spot is what it's now all about. With only three games to go a win here could put them on the verge of clinching it. CLUB INFO

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

Sunday 1 April 2012

TLFG: 2-9 April 2012

Hello and welcome to TLFG's first Easter weekend special edition which for a change will cover games right through to next Monday 9 April.

As a football fan you know that Easter is a busy time for clubs, with most having to play two games in three days. However, it's only when you write a blog like this that you discover just how much action is being crammed into every corner of the capital in such a short space of time.

Between 6-9 April, London will be putting on its own football festival with a whopping 80 matches taking place, many of which will be local derbies. And that's not to mention the other 19 games that will take place between the 2-5 April giving us a grand total of 99 games over the next eight days.

The Easter weekend is also often a crucial time which can go a long way to making or breaking a team's season. When I recall Easters past, the one that sticks out for me is always 1993. As someone who identifies his favourite two clubs as QPR and Harrow Borough those were a glorious few days.

For sides who tended to struggle or be decidedly average, 1992-93 was a season to savour for both. Les Ferdinand was at the peak of his powers for Rangers and hit back-to-back hat-tricks that weekend as Nottingham Forest and Everton were beaten 4-3 and 5-3 respectively. Harrow meanwhile spent a sunny Monday afternoon at Enfield's old Southbury Road ground pipping local rivals Wembley 1-0 in the 100th staging of the Middlesex Senior Cup final.

That trip to north London with friends in a cramped Fiesta roaring around the North Circular has to be one of my favourite memories from my teenage years. So what about you? Which Easter weekend stands out and why?

If you're coming to London over the next few weeks, here's what international and Premier League tickets are on general sale (click on the team name for more info):

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

16 April - Wigan Athletic 8pm, Premier League

2 May - Newcastle United 745pm, Premier League

21 April - Wigan Athletic 3pm, Premier League

11 April - Swansea City 8pm, Premier League

9 April - Norwich City 3pm, Premier League
29 April - Blackburn Rovers 4pm, Premier League

As previously mentioned, there are 99 matches in the London area over the next eight days. Alongside all the league matches there are also a couple of minor cup finals which are always worth a go. Here are this week's match maps:

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

Magenta pin - Good Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Easter Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Easter Sunday fixtures
Yellow pin - Easter Monday 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.

It was incredibly tough coming up with a TLFG Top 10 this week but after a lot of effort I managed to narrow it down. Sadly on going to give the piece a final once-over, I discovered that Blogger had suffered a funny turn and wiped most of what I'd written so I'll leave you to post your own recommendations in the comments section below because I can't be bothered doing it all again!

Having slept on it, I thought I couldn't let such a big week go by without putting some recommendations up. For the groundhoppers among you there are also some 'doubles' available. Instead of giving you a full explanation of why games are so important, I'll list them chronologically with brief reasons (league positions correct at time of writing):

(League Two relegation v promotion battle)

(Champions League quarter-final second leg, 1-0 agg.)

(Kent Invicta League Cup final at Welling United)

(3rd v 2nd in Premier League)


('SW20' derby - Colliers Wood fighting relegation in Combined Counties)

(2nd v 1st in Ryman Premier & Essex derby)

(Local derby which could see Tooting relegated from Ryman Premier)

(3rd v 4th in the Championship)

(Middlesex Senior Cup final at Uxbridge FC)

(West London derby)

Well there you have it, those are my recommendations. Strangely I haven't selected anything on the Saturday when there are loads of games, it just seems the more important ones are on Monday. Enjoy your football watching.

If you need any help or advice about watching football in London you can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.