Monday, 6 March 2017

TLFG: 6-12 March 2017

Apologies for the later than normal publication this week - I've had a hectic few days of childcare and late shifts and as I write this at just after 1am, I have a child whimpering away in the background who I will need to attend to very shortly.

After the excitement of Dulwich v Macclesfield in the FA Trophy last Saturday, I haven't seen anything this week. The much anticipated replay in Cheshire on Tuesday got snowed off so the two sides will try again this Tuesday. Consequently there could be a very big fixture added to this week's proceedings if the Hamlet pull off an upset.

The prize for winning will be a semi-final against former League Cup finalists Tranmere Rovers who were a second-tier team not that long ago. The first leg will take place at Champion Hill this Saturday and will be all ticket meaning you will have to buy a ticket in person from the club sometime before close of play on Friday. (UPDATE: Sadly Dulwich lost the replay 2-0 so will now play host to Merstham in a league match instead)


I've got Tuesday off so I've been debating whether to go to the replay up in Macclesfield with a few friends who support Dulwich, go to QPR v Barnsley (a fairly meaningless and expensive option on my doorstep) or head down to Sussex to watch Harrow Borough at Burgess Hill Town (a ground I've never visited before). Which would you go for? 

Last up this week, we're lucky to have another piece by 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' who made another trip to Wembley to watch Spurs in a European game. Once again it didn't turn out too well for the north London club but you can read about it all here.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next week with action in the Champions League, FA Cup, EFL, National League and several minor league and county cup competitions.

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).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Wednesday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Orange pin - Sunday fixtures




TLFG DAILY DIGEST
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 6 March

Premier League
West Ham United v Chelsea @8pm - the week begins with this humdinger of a derby. The Blues head to the London Stadium as virtual champions elect, with many of their opponents already seeming to have publicly conceded that they appear uncatchable. However, their lead is only seven points and the Hammers have improved a lot over the last couple of months. In fact Chelsea lost on their last visit here for an EFL Cup tie in October - sadly that match was most notable for the crowd trouble which ensued and it will be a concern again here

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Crystal Palace @2pm - if you've got the day off and are going to the match above then you could combine it with this U23 game at Greenwich Borough's ground earlier in the day

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Tuesday 7 March

Champions League

Arsenal v Bayern Munich @745pm - we've reached the knockout stages of Europe's top club competition and unfortunately for the Gunners it looks almost certain that it's going to be them that go out. After being trounced 5-1 by the German champions in the first leg, their chances of progress look slim to say the least

Championship
Fulham v Leeds United @745pm - the pick of the night's other games takes place at Craven Cottage where two promotion-chasing teams do battle for three precious points. Interestingly, the last three games between them have ended in 1-1 draws
Queens Park Rangers v Barnsley @745pm - elsewhere in the second tier, an improving QPR host the Tykes whose results have dipped of late. As a result, neither side have much to play for but that could lift pressure and provide an entertaining game

League One
Charlton Athletic v Scunthorpe United @745pm - the Addicks are struggling at the moment and have gone eight without a win. On Tuesday they welcome title contenders Scunthorpe, however, the Iron have seen their form collapse of late and are on a seven-game winless streak themselves so are definitely vulnerable

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Stoke City @7pm - if you couldn't get a ticket to see the first team on Monday, then you can check out a game at the Hammers' new London Stadium home the following evening as the U23 sides of these clubs go head-to-head. Please be aware that you must by tickets in advance and none will be available on arrival

Ryman League Premier Division
Hendon v Billericay Town @745pm - the Greens are in desperate need of points to avoid relegation and on Tuesday they welcome an Essex club who have made a lot of headlines over the last week. Following the involvement of a new investor, Billericay have announced ambitious plans to climb the divisions and pulled off the coup of enticing former England defender Paul Konchesky to sign for them a couple of days ago. With average crowds of 361, many are convinced it will end in tears...

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Wednesday 8 March

Ryman League Division 1 South
Cray Wanderers v Herne Bay @745pm - the top match of the night doesn't have a huge amount going for it. Both sides are solidly in midtable and have little to play for. If you're looking for a reason to go, the fact that Cray are believed to be the oldest club in London could be worth the trip to Bromley

Combined Counties Premier Division
Colliers Wood United v Raynes Park Vale @730pm - elsewhere over on the south-west side of town we've got the A3 derby to look forward to. Neither side are having a great campaign, with Vale second bottom and battling relegation

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Saturday 11 March

FA Cup Quarter-Final
Arsenal v Lincoln City @530pm - the nation's premier cup competition is down to its last eight teams and sensationally we've been handed a tie between the most successful club in the history of the competition and a non-league side. To get this far, the Imps have had to see off Guiseley, Altrincham, Oldham Athletic, Ipswich Town, Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley - including replays they've had to play a total of eight matches to get this far. No-one gives them a chance of causing an upset here but who knows? They're actually unbeaten in three against the Gunners, winning two and scoring seven in the process - however, the last match was 102 years ago and a lot has changed!

Championship
Brentford v Huddersfield Town @3pm - with no Premier League games taking place in London, the next best game is this one at Griffin Park. The Bees have blown hot and cold of late and are nestled snugly into midtable pretty much certain of another season in the second tier next season. Visitors Huddersfield are one of the main contenders for promotion this season but have had a disappointing week which has seen them take one point from two league games and get thrashed by Manchester City in the FA Cup. They are still a formidable outfit though and should be well worth a watch - several TLFG readers have told me they're going to this so I hope to get some photos

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Northampton Town @3pm - as with many teams at this time of year, pride is about all there is left to play for. The play-off dream for both these sides is now over and relegation too looks unlikely. As I said for the QPR game above, with the pressure off, we could just see a good game of football
Charlton Athletic v Walsall @3pm - the same can almost be said about this game but for the fact that the hosts are on a worrying run of bad form. Being only six points above the relegation zone, it won't take much for the Addicks to get dragged into a dog fight so they need to start picking up wins

League Two
Barnet v Crawley Town @3pm - the Bees were having a decent go at landing an unlikely place in the play-offs but a spell of four games without a win seems to have put paid to that. Crawley are in pretty much the same boat in lower midtable so as with several of the above, not much to play for
Leyton Orient v Grimsby Town @3pm - the focus in League Two, from a London perspective, will now almost entirely be on the O's and their battle to avoid relegation and financial meltdown. Things have gone disastrously both on and off the pitch since their Italian owner took over but they picked up a crucial 4-0 win at fellow strugglers Newport on Saturday to give them hope

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Forest Green Rovers @3pm - the match of the weekend in the fifth tier is undoubtedly this top four clash at Victoria Road. The last week has seen the Daggers suffer back-to-back defeats against Maidstone and Gateshead allowing FGR to leapfrog them and become Lincoln's nearest challengers. Another defeat against one of their main rivals could effectively rule them out of the title race

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Hungerford Town @3pm - the Beavers seem to be running out of steam at just the wrong time. Having topped the league early in the season, they've now dropped to seventh some eight points adrift of the play-off places. Hungerford are just above them in the table so must be beaten

Ryman League Premier Division
Staines Town v Tonbridge Angels @3pm - the Swans recently went on a superb three-game winning run which saw them score nine and concede none. On Saturday they kept another clean sheet as they drew with Merstham. Sadly, a top-five place looks out of their reach but they should be able to give promotion-chasing Tonbridge a run for their money

Ryman League Division 1 South
Greenwich Borough v Corinthian Casuals @3pm - as mentioned in previous posts, the title race is now between Tooting and Dorking Wanderers leaving the rest to scrap for play-off places. These two are currently third and fourth and with a game in hand, Greenwich could very conceivably still grab second if they win big games like this

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Cockfosters v Hertford Town @3pm - London Colney have topped this division for weeks and have looked uncatchable. However, second placed Hertford could still mount a challenge as they have a game in hand. Cockfosters are tucked in in third but with a deficit of 14 points, the title looks beyond them despite a great campaign

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Glebe v Sutton Athletic @3pm - these two have been among the challengers for the last couple of seasons but have never quite made it. Both in the top four again, the divisional title is still firmly in the sights of the hosts


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Sunday 12 March

FA Cup Quarter-Final
Tottenham Hotspur v Millwall @2pm - the match of the day is this sold out London derby at White Hart Lane. It pits sides who are having good seasons in the Premier League and League One respectively. Spurs will of course start as huge favourites but the Lions come into this on a 17-game unbeaten run which has included FA Cup wins over Premier League sides Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester. They will also be backed by a large and 'lively' band of travelling supporters so shouldn't be underestimated

FA Women's Super League 2
Millwall Lionesses v Brighton & Hove Albion @2pm - if you can't get a ticket to see the men's team play, head over to Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe instead to see the women's side in action. They're still in search of their first win this season and it could come here


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. 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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