Sunday, 17 April 2016

TLFG: 18-24 April 2016

With the season very much into its final furlong, things are really starting to get interesting.

Although there's still a few weeks to go in the Premier League and Football League, some of our local non-league competitions conclude this week.

In the seventh and eighth tiers we see the end of the Isthmian and Southern Leagues and several of our local teams could be celebrating come the final whistle on Saturday.

Hampton & Richmond Borough are all set to be crowned champions of the former and could know as early as Tuesday if Bognor Regis fail to win their midweek game in hand. If they do see off the already relegated Brentwood Town then Hampton will need to draw their final match at home to Enfield Town to make absolutely certain as the goal difference between the two is bridgeable. Enfield will be no pushovers though as they need to win to have any hope of securing a play-off spot themselves.

Ticket sales for Non-League Finals Day passed 30,000 on Friday - join us
Dulwich Hamlet and Kingstonian are also in the mix for that all-important fifth spot so at least two local clubs will miss out there.

In Isthmian Division 1 North the play-off contenders have all been decided, it's now just a battle for position to discover who plays who. Three of the four are from our area - AFC Hornchurch, Cray Wanderers and Thurrock.

All London hopes are pinned on Corinthian Casuals in the Isthmian Division 1 South who moved into the final play-off spot on Saturday afternoon and will need to win their final match at home to Three Bridges to keep hold of it.

Egham Town are our only hope of honours in the Southern League Division 1 Central. Still very much in the hunt for the title, they face a very tough final week against AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Royston Town who are immediately behind them in the top four. A play-off place is assured though.

The Southern Counties East League (ninth tier) concludes this week too but Greenwich Borough won the title last week so there is nothing of significance to be decided there.

Although there's still a couple of weeks to go, Sutton United will clinch the National League South title (sixth tier) with a win over Chelmsford on Saturday. With five wins on the trot and unbeaten in the league since 7 November they will be worthy champions. On Saturday they beat nearest rivals Ebbsfleet United 2-0 in front of 3,142 spectators to make it almost a certainty. 

On the subject of healthy non-league crowds, Dulwich also pulled in just shy of 2,500 for their match against Lewes. It should be noted that both these clubs make huge efforts to really engage with their local communities and it clearly pays off. With attendances like these they can match several League Two sides and even a few in League One.

Staying with non-league football, ticket sales for Non-League Finals Day (NLFD) at Wembley on Sunday 22 May have now passed the 30,000 mark. 

If you want to be part of the first ever NLFD where the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals will be played back-to-back, remember it's only £25 adults, £10 concessions and £1 kids. If you can get 12 or more friends together then adult tickets halve in price to just £12.50 which is damn good value for a whole day at the national stadium. You'll even be able to pass in and out of the ground during the day so you won't be restricted to stadium food and drink. Tempted? Order your tickets here.

Talking of Wembley, it's also hosting the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend. TLFG sides Crystal Palace and Watford will be playing each other in game two on Sunday - good luck to both. 

I think that's it from me. I'm off to Lyme Regis for a few days by the sea but hope to be back for a bit of football next weekend. The games at Hampton and Sutton are both looking very tempting. If you're after a bargain then it's FREE to get in at Chipstead where they take on Walton Casuals in the Isthmian League.


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 almost 100 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 on the following match maps. If you've never used them 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 drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (white pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.

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
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures

In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 18 April
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion @7pm - U21 action at Boreham Wood, a chance to check out the next generation of Gunners stars and it's free to get in
Hendon v Billericay Town @745pm - the Greens badly need a win to make sure they avoid relegation from the Isthmian Premier
Greenhouse Sports v Basildon United @745pm - the visitors are currently top of the Essex Senior League but the title race is still wide open so they need to win

Tuesday 19 April
Brentford v Cardiff City @745pm - the season is over for the Bees but Cardiff can still make the Championship play-offs 
Millwall v Fleetwood Town @745pm - a crucial game for sides at either end of League One, thankfully it's the Lions who are going for promotion
Dagenham & Redbridge v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - sadly the Daggers got relegated from the Football League on Saturday but that should make them more determined to win this derby and damage the Dons' promotion hopes
Leyton Orient v Plymouth Argyle @745pm - elsewhere in League Two, two clubs with hopes of going up go head-to-head
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United @7pm - big U21 match between two of the country's best sides at that level, consequently it is being played at White Hart Lane
Egham Town v AFC Rushden & Diamonds @745pm - big game between two clubs going for promotion in Southern League 1 Central
North Greenford United v Kings Langley @745pm - bottom versus top in the Southern League 1 Central, victory could win the title for the visitors while anything less than that will see NGU go down
Hanworth Villa v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @730pm - Middlesex Charity Cup semi-final and a local derby featuring two sides from the Combined Counties League top five

Wednesday 20 April
West Ham United v Watford @745pm - a big night at the Boleyn Ground where the Hammers need a win in this derby to stay in the hunt for a Champions League place
FC Porto v Villarreal @7pm - the youngsters from these two Iberian clubs contest a semi-final of the Premier League International Cup at Millwall
Greenhouse Sports v Bowers & Pitsea @745pm - the hosts welcome another set of Essex Senior League title challengers

Thursday 21 April
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion @745pm - a rare Thursday night fixture in the Premier League which could see the Gunners go level with Spurs if results go their way between now and then
Rayners Lane v Cockfosters @745pm - the second semi-final of the Middlesex Charity Cup
Arsenal v Chelsea @6pm - big derby in the FA Women's Super League at Boreham Wood

Saturday 22 April 
Everton v Manchester United @515pm - it's FA Cup semi-final weekend at Wembley with this one taking place first
Charlton Athletic v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - a game of equal importance at either end of the Championship, sadly it's the Addicks who are fighting to avoid the drop
Queens Park Rangers v Reading @3pm - a dead rubber for both but effectively a derby with the visitors located just to the west of London
AFC Wimbledon v Leyton Orient @3pm - huge game in League Two as two London clubs fight for a play-off spot
Boreham Wood v Guiseley @3pm - big relegation six-pointer in the National League
Sutton United v Chelmsford City @3pm - a draw will be enough for the U's to win the National League South title and get promoted
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Enfield Town @3pm - the hosts will almost certainly be celebrating winning the Isthmian League title at some point on Saturday while Enfield can still grab the last play-off spot if they win
Thurrock v Aveley @3pm - local derby over in Essex where a win for Thurrock could see them finish second in the Isthmian 1 North
Corinthian Casuals v Three Bridges @3pm - the hosts need a win to make sure of a play-off place in the Isthmian 1 South

Sunday 23 April
Crystal Palace v Watford @4pm - FA Cup semi-final number two and a derby to boot
London Bees v Bristol City @2pm - just up the road from Wembley, we've got some women's football at Barnet's ground

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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