Sunday, 19 April 2015

TLFG: 20-26 April 2015

With the season coming to a close over the next few weeks, several London clubs have achieved notable successes over the last few days.

On Wednesday Hendon won the Isthmian League Cup against fellow promotion contenders and TLFG team Grays Athletic in what was by all accounts a thrilling 3-2 win.

The same night, Phoenix Sports made sure of the Southern Counties East League title with a narrow 2-1 win at local rivals Erith & Belvedere.

On Saturday the titles continued to head the way of TLFG teams as Bromley secured the Conference South with a comfortable win over Weston-Super-Mare and Haringey Borough made sure of top spot in the Essex Senior League while cheered on by singing superstar and big fan Emeli Sandé - who knew?

Emeli Sandé (number 4) celebrates Haringey Borough's title success
Thanks a lot to David Bauckham for letting me use this photo - he is one of the non-league game's finest snappers. Check out more of his work on his Centre Circle Publishing page on Flickr.

Saturday ended with Arsenal making it to the FA Cup Final after a hard fought extra-time win over Reading and Chelsea made almost certain of winning the Premier League with victory over Manchester United.

This Saturday will hopefully see Barnet crowned as Conference champions and a number of our local sides seal play-off spots or make sure of avoiding relegation.

One side hoping to do the latter are Isthmian League Premier Division minnows VCD Athletic who are running a 'Pay What You Want' promotion for their final game against Billericay Town. Starting just above the bottom four, a win will be enough to keep them up.

Talking of 'Pay What You Want', you may remember Hampton & Richmond Borough were offering this for their final home game against Bury Town on Saturday. Well unsurprisingly it was a big success with 601 through the turnstiles - an increase of 60% on their average.

Finally, I was supposed to go to the Dulwich Hamlet v Maidstone United game. It was all-ticket and a capacity crowd of 3,000 saw the seventh-tier clubs produce a 0-0 draw which effectively, given their huge goal difference, gave the visitors the Isthmian League title. I ended up babysitting my daughter instead. 

Enjoy the week ahead and I hope your team brings you joy (unless you're a West Ham fan - nothing personal).

If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

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

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

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

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures

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


1. Arsenal v Chelsea - after both enjoying success in big games over the weekend, the Premier League's top two lock horns for a game which could leave the Blues 13 points clear if they win. Given there will be only five games to go at that point, the title race will look even more over than it already does. Even though the game is at the Emirates, the Gunners' recent record against Chelsea is poor - they are winless in seven in all competitions against their west London rivals scoring only twice and conceding a whopping 14 times. However, Arsenal are in their best form for a long time so should push Chelsea hard. (Premier League, Sunday 26 April, 4pm. Ticket info)

2. Queens Park Rangers v West Ham United - the day before we have another London derby to look forward to. While the Hammers' season has been over for a long time, QPR are scrapping for every point they can get to avoid relegation. Their recent displays have been decent so they will feel they have a good chance here. If they get anything less than a win then it will be as good as over as their fixtures are few and tough. It's nearly 11 years since Rangers last managed a win over their east London visitors when both were Championship teams. They badly need a repeat result. (Premier League, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Fulham v Middlesbrough - two and half miles to the south across the same borough, the Cottagers host their final home game of the season against title chasing Boro. Fulham are effectively safe but need a point to be mathematically sure of avoiding the drop from the Championship. Their Teesside opponents are third just a point behind leaders Watford so a win could put them top with just one game to go. If the importance of this match isn't enough of a draw, Fulham are also hosting a Fans Day and selling all tickets for a reduced rate of £25. (Championship, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Millwall v Derby County - another game of huge importance in the Championship is taking place at the New Den at the same time. Like Fulham, the Lions are also fighting to avoid the drop but face a much bigger challenge as they are in the bottom three. A lot will hinge on their midweek game at Blackburn. If they win they'll be just a point short of safety with two games to go, giving them a great chance of staying up. However, if they lose then this will become a must win game. The Rams, on the other hand, have blown their leadership of the division and know a place in the play-offs is as good as it will get this season. Given they heartbreakingly lost to a last-minute goal in last season's final, they would've hoped to have avoided this scenario. However, the three teams below them are still in touch and can make sure they end up with nothing so it's pretty much a must win for them too. (Championship, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Leyton Orient v Sheffield United - last weekend's draw against fellow strugglers Crewe extended Orient's unbeaten run to four games as things started to look really promising for Fabio Liverani's side. Since then things have turned sour with back-to-back defeats culminating in the 6-1 humiliation at promotion contenders MK Dons on Saturday. Those results have seen them slip back into the bottom four with three games to go but on paper they are absolute stinkers against sides in the top seven. In midweek they travel to Greater Manchester to face Rochdale who can still squeak into the play-offs if they beat the O's so that will be tough. Then on Saturday they welcome Sheffield United who, on attendance, are League One's biggest club. The Yorkshire side have already booked a play-off spot but have yet to decide whether they will finish fifth or sixth. To make things look even gloomier, the east London club haven't managed a win over the Blades since 1983 - all in all it's looking a bit grim. (League One, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Barnet v Gateshead - Saturday marks the final day of the regular season in the Conference and it's beautifully poised with the top two, Barnet and Bristol Rovers, just a point apart. Both teams have home games but it's hard to guess which is tougher. Rovers host lowly Alfreton but they really need to win to avoid relegation so will be fighting for their lives. The Bees have Gateshead who were play-off contenders for long periods this season but now have nothing to play for and face a long journey down from the north east. Barnet are in pole position so it's theirs for the taking. (Conference National, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Welling United v Southport at the other end of the table, the Wings know a win will keep them up. New boss Loui Fazakerley seems to have been an inspired appointment as he has guided a struggling side to a position where survival is in their own hands. Southport are just a place above them in the table and although mathematically in with a chance of relegation, their goal difference should be enough to keep them up. Matches between these two tend to produce a lot of goals with last season's match ending in a 4-3 win for the hosts so hopefully we'll get more of the same. (Conference National, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Essex Senior Cup Final - the week gets under way with a cup final at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground on the east side of town. This year's final sees holders Concord Rangers, of the Conference South, look to defend their title against Billericay Town from the Isthmian Premier. Both sides have had good seasons which will see them finish just short of the play-offs in their respective divisions. This is good for us as neither will face any league distractions as they go into this. Although Concord play at a higher level, Billericay have a more illustrious history in the competition which begun in 1883/84 and I can see it being close. (Essex Senior Cup Final, Monday 20 April, 745pm. Ticket info)

9. Enfield Town v Witham Town - the Isthmian League wraps up this weekend too and north Londoners Enfield need to win their final match against already relegated Witham to secure a top-five finish and a place in the play-offs. The season got off to a pretty average start and their status as promotion contenders has only really emerged over the last month after an impressive string of wins. After losing to Dulwich on Easter Monday they dropped out of the top five but another seven points from the following three games has put them back in so that shot at the play-offs is really theirs to lose. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Farleigh Rovers v Staines Lammas - last week it was mentioned how long-term leaders Farleigh only needed a point from their game against Worcester Park for the title. Well they lost it and nearest challengers AFC Croydon Athletic won meaning Farleigh go into their final game in second. A draw will still be enough though as the Rams completed their fixtures with that win on Saturday so they will be powerless to affect the outcome. Staines are a decent midtable side but lost comfortably when the sides last met way back in August. Despite this, Farleigh look nervous and could choke. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

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