Monday, 17 April 2017

TLFG: 18-23 April 2017

So how was it for you? Did you gorge on football over the Easter period? Did you manage more than one game in a day?

Sadly I've been working all week and have missed out on everything, although my teams (QPR and Harrow Borough) have left themselves in with a great shot of relegation as we head into the final games!

This week is again highly important with the FA Cup Semi-Finals at Wembley taking top billing. There are some big games in the EFL but some really big ones in the Ryman League and Southern League which both conclude on Saturday with many of our local sides still having plenty to play for.

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From a personal point of view I'm working early shifts right through until Thursday and might get to see something over the weekend but it's unlikely.

Once again, there's almost certainly more I could put in at this point but I've got to be up for work at at the crack of dawn so I'll wrap it up here for now pending later edits through the week if anything interesting comes up.

Have a great week and let your friends know about this page. Cheers.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are 70 matches in the London area over the next week with games in the FA Cup, Premier League, 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
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Easter Saturday fixtures
Orange pin - Easter 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.

Tuesday 18 April

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Cockfosters v Edgware Town @745pm - the hosts have been the best London club in the SSML this season and with three games to go could still finish as runners-up. If they win this game in hand, against north London rivals Edgware, they'll find themselves just two points behind Hertford

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Hillingdon Borough v Southall @745pm - these two are vying to be the top London club in the division below. Southall are currently in pole position but Hillingdon are only three points behind

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Wednesday 19 April

FA Women's Premier League Southern

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @7pm - the Spurs women's team get a rare opportunity to entertain you on the hallowed turf of White Hart Lane

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Thursday 20 April

London Senior Cup Semi-Final
Cray Valley PM v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - both sides are having pretty decent seasons in the league but with Cray playing two divisions below the visitors, Dulwich should start as favourites. However, with their season ending on Saturday and third place still up for grabs (earning home advantage in the play-off semis), the Hamlet could well rest a few players

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Friday 21 April

Professional Development League
Watford v Queens Park Rangers @2pm - there's a derby to be enjoyed in the U23 league but it's being played at the Hornets' training ground so check with the club before you travel whether the public will be allowed in UPDATE: this match will be played at Vicarage Road

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Saturday 22 April

FA Cup Semi-Final
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @515pm - the cup has made some headlines this year, especially after the exploits of non-leaguers like Lincoln and Sutton, and we're now down to our last four and what a quartet they are. The first semi sees the top two in the Premier League go head-to-head, something enhanced even further by the fact that they're also fierce crosstown London rivals. Spurs haven't won the cup since 1991 but are the form team coming into this one

Premier League
West Ham United v Everton @3pm - the Hammers will have to be at their best on Saturday if they want to avoid defeat by a talented Toffees side who are pushing for a top-five-finish. Ronald Koeman's side have lost only two of their last 10 games and will fancy their chances against a West Ham side with little to play for

Championship
Brentford v Queens Park Rangers @3pm - it's derby day in west London where these two old rivals look to claim the bragging rights. The Bees have been enjoying a fine run of late and have made it into the top half. QPR, on the other hand, have gone from being the form team of the division a month ago to the most out of form one now following five straight defeats. Much as it pains me to say it, home win!

League One
Millwall v Oxford United @3pm - a disappointing defeat at promotion rivals Fleetwood on Monday means the Lions are going to have to fight to the end to secure a play-off place. Currently occupying the last spot, they're well within reach of the three teams immediately below them with two games to go. Oxford are just behind this group of teams but saw their chances of a place in the top six end on Saturday when they came unstuck at Bradford

Ryman League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - none of the games taking place in the National League are of any great significance, particularly for the London clubs, so the focus moves instead to the Ryman League and its crucial final day of the regular season. With average gates of only 140, Wingate are one of the smallest clubs in the division so it is a huge achievement to see them on the verge of clinching a play-off place. All they need to do is draw against Dulwich, the giants of the RLPD, who have already claimed theirs
Enfield Town v Leiston @3pm - the Towners have been knocking on the promotion door for a number of seasons and keep falling short. This season they look almost certain to claim a play-off place after timing a storming seven-game winning run to perfection. Former leaders Leiston have been leapfrogged over the Easter period after their results against struggling sides really let them down. They will start this match in sixth, three points adrift of the all important top five so simply have to win
Hendon v Staines Town @3pm - the Greens have been stuck in the bottom four for a long time but have come good at exactly the right time with three crucial wins strung together to put them two points above the bottom four. It really is tight down there with eight clubs within three points of each other - two will go down. For the record, Staines are slap bang in the middle of the table and have nothing to play for
Kingstonian v Havant & Waterlooville @3pm - the K's are one of that group of eight but at the top end with a pretty healthy goal difference so they should stay up. Aside from that, this is a huge game as it sees them welcome the league leaders for a title-deciding match and it will also be their last ever match at Kingsmeadow before they move to groundshare at Leatherhead next season
Grays Athletic v Folkestone Invicta @3pm - the hosts, who play at Aveley, have had a disastrous season and are already down. However, with the pressure off they've become dangerous opponents as Dulwich discovered to their cost on Monday. Here they'll be doing their best to try and drag fellow strugglers Folkestone down with them

Ryman League Division 1 North
AFC Hornchurch v Bowers & Pitsea @3pm - the Urchins have secured a play-off spot but they'll still want to pip Thurrock to third to get home advantage in the one legged semi-finals. Depending on their midweek results, B&P could still be in the hunt for a play-off place themselves come kick-off in this one
Haringey Borough v Norwich United @3pm - the hosts currently have ownership of the final play-off spot meaning it's theirs to lose - a point here against a Norwich side who have just missed out is all that's required to be certain

Ryman League Division 1 South
Dorking Wanderers v Tooting & Mitcham United @3pm - I'm going to break with convention in order to include the biggest match of the day in the division which takes place just outside London at a picturesque ground in the shadow of Box Hill. I'm doing this because T&MU are one of our clubs and only a miraculous collapse against second placed Dorking Wanderers will see them robbed of the title. Although only three points ahead of their Surrey rivals, their goal difference is nine better so they should have enough!

Southern League Division 1 Central
Egham Town v Barton Rovers @3pm - there had been very little to shout about in this division from a London perspective until a superb run of 10 wins from their last 14 games fired the Sarnies into the top five. With just one game to go, Egham are on the verge of reaching the play-offs for the second season running. However, they only have a slender lead over the two teams below them and Barton are a top-three side themselves

Combined Counties League Premier Division
Spelthorne Sports v Colliers Wood United @3pm - there's little at stake here but if you want a bargain, Spelthorne are holding a club day and are letting everyone in for free so if you're anywhere near Sunbury then this could be the match for you

FA Women's Super League 2
Millwall Lionesses v Oxford United @530pm - the Lionesses could conceivably go top with victory here

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Sunday 23 April

FA Cup Semi-Final
Arsenal v Manchester City @3pm - by their illustrious standards, these two are having pretty poor seasons with the FA Cup now becoming their only chance of silverware. The Gunners picked up a very well needed win at struggling Middlesbrough on Monday but overall their current form is iffy. City, in my opinion, should have too much for them

FA Women's Super League 1
Arsenal v Notts County @2pm - a few miles to the north, the Gunners women's team will be getting their season underway with this fixture against Notts County. We're told that the FA are trying to grow the women's game but the scheduling here is absolutely terrible. Even if Arsenal weren't in the FA Cup, putting that competition's semi-finals on the same weekend as the opening one of the women's top flight seems a bit daft!

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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