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.

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