Sunday, 26 April 2015

TLFG: 27 April - 4 May 2015

It doesn't seem possible that another season is almost complete but that's the position we find ourselves in as the Football League reached its penultimate weekend and most of the non-league competitions in the London area concluded yesterday.

The biggest story was of course Watford sealing promotion back to the Premier League after a break of eight years following a 2-0 win at Brighton. The title isn't theirs just yet but it will be if Bournemouth lose their game in hand against Bolton on Monday.

As we at TLFG Towers hoped, Barnet held on to claim the Conference title on Saturday and return to the Football League after a two-year absence.

At the other end, despite losing to Southport, Welling United just kept their heads above water and can look forward to another season in the fifth tier.

In the Conference South, Boreham Wood claimed the runners-up spot with a nervy 4-3 win at Chelmsford City. This means they'll have home advantage for the second leg of their play-off semi with Havant & Waterlooville and the one legged final if they make it.

On Saturday I set up QPR Runners on social media
The main controversy surrounds what will happen in the Isthmian League Premier Division. The play-off schedule and who will contest the games is hanging in the air after the FA found fifth-placed Enfield Town guilty of fielding an ineligible player earlier in the season. The case is far from cut and dried and to many it would seem that if anyone is guilty of anything it isn't the club. Most neutrals, including myself, will hope to see them claim their place and take on Hendon later in the week.

What happens to Enfield will also affect the Middlesex Charity Cup Final. They have qualified for this and it's set to be held on Monday 4 May at their own ground but this is also the same day as the Isthmian play-off final so the cup final could move.

In the two divisions below, a couple of TLFG sides have made it to the post season with Thurrock and Whyteleafe making it in the Division 1 North and South play-offs respectively. Neither have home advantage in the one-legged semi-finals.

In Step 5, the Combined Counties League Premier Division title went to Molesey while Farleigh Rovers finally managed to get over the line to win the Division 1 crown.

A mention this week must also go to Harrow Borough who completed their great escape from relegation with a 1-0 win at Leatherhead.

Great credit should be given to manager Steve Baker who was brought in from Chipstead in January with the team in dire straits. The club played 21 games under his stewardship, winning 13 and losing only five. They ultimately finished 16th and have also booked a place in two cup finals.

Boro have now maintained Isthmian top-flight status every year since 1979 which is no mean feat given some of the far bigger clubs who have fallen away during that time. 

Finally, regular readers will know I'm also an enthusiastic runner. Yesterday I completed my 50th parkrun at Wormwood Scrubs, taking my overall total to 68. With it also being London Marathon weekend, I decided yesterday to set up a QPR Runners group on Facebook and Twitter. Apart from encouraging fellow Rs to sign up and share their stories and pics, I also want to try and encourage fans of QPR and their opponents to meet on matchdays and take part in the free to enter Scrubs parkrun as a bit of pre-match fun. If you're a Rangers or Newcastle United fan, then you, and everyone else for that matter, are very welcome to take part on 16 May at 9am.

That's it from me, enjoy your week.


GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground 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.


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THE WEEK AHEAD
With a lot of divisions having finished I've bulked things up by including a few games from Step 7/Level 11 and there's some women's football too. As a result there are still over 50 matches in the London area over the next eight days (I've included the Bank Holiday too) 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).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday (27 Apr) fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures
Black pin - Monday (4 May) fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list some games which I think could be worth a watch. Given there are lots of finals and play-offs then I'm going to list more than the usual 10 in chronological order so big games don't get missed off. Also, remember that this list will be updated as play-off results come in during the week.

Monday 27 April
FA Youth Cup Final second leg - Chelsea U18s host their counterparts from Manchester City and hold a 3-1 lead from the first leg. Tickets must be purchased by 4pm on Monday. (Stamford Bridge, 745pm  - Ticket info)
Middlesex Intermediate Cup Final - LPOSSA v Park View at Bedfont & Feltham (730pm)

Tuesday 28 April
Fulham v Manchester United - U21 Premier League action at Craven Cottage for only £3 which can be bought on the gate. (7pm, Ticket info)
Barking v Clapton - East End derby in the semi-final of the Essex Senior League Cup (745pm, Club info)
Haringey Borough v Bowers & Pitsea - top two from Essex Senior League meet in the other semi (745pm, Club info)

Wednesday 29 April
Crystal Palace v Colchester United - U21 action at Selhurst Park, great opportunity to visit a Premier League ground on the cheap (2pm, Ticket info)
Middlesex Premier Cup Final - Edgware Town v Enfield Town U21 at Northwood FC (745pm)
Surrey Elite Intermediate League Cup Final - Horsley v Ripley Village at Carshalton Athletic (730pm)

Thursday 30 April
Chelsea Ladies v Arsenal Ladies - Women's Super League action at Staines Town (730pm, Ticket info)

Saturday 2 May
West Ham United v Burnley - the Hammers host struggling Burnley who are battling for Premier League survival (3pm, Ticket info)
Watford v Sheffield Wednesday - the Hornets guaranteed promotion on Saturday but go for the Championship title in this final game of the season (1215pm, SOLD OUT)
Brentford v Wigan Athletic - this will decide if Brentford make the Championship play-offs and could see the Latics relegated if they don't go down in midweek (1215pm, SOLD OUT)
Charlton Athletic v Bournemouth - depending on midweek results Bournemouth could either be fighting Watford for the title or simply trying to secure second place and automatic promotion. Charlton have nothing to play for (1215pm, Ticket info)
AFC Wimbledon v Cheltenham Town - if you struggle to get in at any of the above, then this could be your chance to watch some pro football. The Dons have nothing to play for while Cheltenham have already been relegated - they will want to avoid finishing bottom of League Two though. (3pm, Ticket info)
Boreham Wood v Havant & Waterlooville - second leg of the Conference South play-off semi-final, the Wood finished the regular season as runners-up. (3pm, Club info)
Southern Counties East League Cup Final - Greenwich Borough face Tunbridge Wells at Welling United for a decent bit of silverware. (3pm)
Middlesex County League Premier Division Cup Final - Sporting Hackney v LPOSSA at Uxbridge (745pm)

Sunday 3 May
Chelsea v Crystal Palace - London derby which if results go their way could see Chelsea in a position to win the league if they win this, unlikely though. (130pm, Ticket info)
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - top-six clash between sides who are playing for little more than position at this stage. (4pm, Ticket info)

Monday 4 May
Fulham v Chelsea - west London derby in the U21 Premier League at Motspur Park (12pm, Ticket info)
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division Cup Final - Berkhamsted v Colney Heath at Oxhey Jets FC (3pm)


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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