Monday 3 April 2017

TLFG: 3-9 April 2017

Greetings one and all, I hope you're well.

Not a lot from me this week as I've been working pretty solidly on late shifts since Tuesday so I haven't had the chance to see any football. 

We're coming rapidly to the business end of the season, especially in the non-league competitions many of which conclude this month.

As a result there are big games at all levels this week so you should get to see something pretty decent whatever your budget or interest.

Non-League Finals Day is getting closer - buy your tickets today
I was pleased to see the Tooting & Mitcham United community fun day went well with their free entry promotion generating triple the crowd they normally welcome. If you want to find out more about this, a full ground review and report for the game can be found on 'The Football Journey' blog.

For the second week running we've been doubly spoiled with another ground visit from our friends at 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game'. Their latest adventure took them to White Hart Lane for the recent Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton which Spurs won 2-1.

Lastly from me, just another plug for Non-League Finals Day on 21 May. If you're in London that weekend and are struggling for a Premier League ticket, please seriously consider coming to Wembley instead. For £25 you get to see the Buildbase FA Vase and FA Trophy finals back-to-back and it's only £10 concessions and £1 for U16s. If you bring nine or more people in a group, then adult tickets are reduced to just £12.50! Tickets are available now.

Subscribe to The London Football Guide

Cleethorpes Town will play South Shields in the first game and Macclesfield Town and York City in the latter. There was a crowd of around 48,000 last year, it would be great to better it.

There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next week with games in the 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).

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Wednesday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Orange 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 3 April

Professional Development League
Crystal Palace v Sheffield United @1pm - after a bit of time off, a number of our local U23 sides are back in action on Monday. This match gives you the chance to visit a Premier League ground for just £5 and gives you a great chance to combine it with a non-league game in the evening. Millwall's youngsters also have a game at The Den while all other matches are at clubs' training grounds

Ryman League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Burgess Hill Town @745pm - the pick of the night's non-league action is to be found in south-west London where the K's play one of their last games at Kingsmeadow before moving to groundshare with Leatherhead next season. It's also a big relegation six-pointer so there's plenty at stake


Tuesday 4 April

Premier League

Watford v West Bromwich Albion @745pm - the Hornets managed to arrest their worrying slump in form with a crucial win over bottom club Sunderland on Saturday, This has seen them jump above West Ham and Burnley, giving them a bit of breathing space. The Baggies have had a good season and are kind of in a league of their own marooned in a strange eigth place that's way behind the top clubs and well ahead of all those below them. West Brom won the reverse fixture in December fairly comfortably but I fancy a draw

Brentford v Leeds United @745pm - the Bees have nothing to play for but seem to be enjoying themselves right now, winning their last two and scoring seven in the process. Leeds, one of the biggest clubs in the division, are still fighting to make sure of their play-off place and will bring a large and loud group of travelling supporters

League One
Charlton Athletic v MK Dons @745pm - with only one win in 10, the Addicks are hovering precariously above the relegation zone. The visitors are only just above them in the table and present an excellent opportunity to take three points

Ryman League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Leatherhead @745pm - the hosts have had a significant backlog of games to get through after their fine FA Trophy run and in Leatherhead they face another one. Results haven't been going all their way, however, with a fine win against Billericay followed by defeat at Havant. Consequently the race for a play-off place has become really intense with only four points separating the teams from third to tenth. The Tanners are also in need of the points, coming into this game just above the relegation places


Wednesday 5 April

Premier League
Arsenal v West Ham United @745pm - there's a very big night of action in the nation's top flight on Wednesday. This attractive derby is still only secondary to another game elsewhere in town. The Gunners' season is now all about getting back into the top four and winning the FA Cup - the latter looks more likely at the moment. For some strange reason, I was under the impression that the Hammers were home and dry and looking forward to next season but they're now winless in six and looking over their shoulders again
Chelsea v Manchester City @745pm - the game of the day takes place at Stamford Bridge where two of the top four lock horns. The Blues were seemingly champions elect until Saturday when for the second season running, they lost at home to Crystal Palace. Suddenly the seven-point gap to Spurs looks bridgeable. It certainly will if City take home the points


Thursday 6 April

London Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Dulwich Hamlet v Tooting & Mitcham United @745pm - the draw has thrown up a derby between two old rivals from south London. Currently a division apart they haven't played each other in the league for a while. Sadly I would expect neither to field a full-strength team as they are both heavily embroiled in promotion campaigns which will surely take priority


Friday 7 April

Queens Park Rangers v Brighton & Hove Albion @745pm - the weekend gets underway with what could be a cracker at Loftus Road. With Brighton located just to the south of London, games against clubs from the capital are all effectively derbies. With QPR in decent form and Brighton going for the title, the ground should be close to capacity but there are still a few tickets on general sale

Premier League 2
Chelsea v Sunderland @705pm - a couple of miles down the road there's also an U23 game going on at Stamford Bridge. This presents a great chance to see a game at one of London's top grounds for only £5 but tickets must be bought by 4pm from the box office or you won't be able to get in


Saturday 8 April

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford @1230pm - Saturday's action begins bright and early at White Hart Lane where Spurs should beat Watford as they look to close the gap on Chelsea and keep their title bid alive
West Ham United v Swansea City @3pm - if the Hammers lose against Arsenal in midweek, this game could become highly significant. It's quite conceivable that such a result could leave them only three points above the relegation zone and the Swans will be one of their main rivals when it comes to keeping out of it

Fulham v Ipswich Town @3pm - after weeks of near misses, the Cottagers finally made it into the all-important top six with a scraped 1-0 win over bottom club Rotherham. No-one has games in hand on them so the position is theirs to lose. On Saturday a hopelessly out of form Ipswich side pay a visit and should be beaten

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Bristol Rovers @3pm - the Dons are firmly in midtable and have absolutely nothing to play for. Rovers are just outside the play-off places so will be desperate for victory to keep their hopes alive
Charlton Athletic v Southend United @3pm- this game should be more interesting as both sides need to win. Charlton, as mentioned above, need to stave off relegation while Southend are currently occupying the final play-off place

League Two
Barnet v Luton Town @3pm  - this is effectively a derby with Luton located just a little north of London from where the Bees play. It's also a big game for the Hatters who still have an outside shot of automatic promotion

National League
Bromley v Wrexham @3pm - the Ravens have been going along nicely in midtable for most of the season but seven defeats from 10 have teed up a slightly nervy finish to the campaign. Still six points above the bottom four, they need to beat their Welsh opponents to allay any concerns

National League South
Dartford v Eastbourne Borough @3pm - with a play-off place pretty much certain for the Darts, it's now all about maintaining momentum to make sure of home advantage in the post-season. A disappointing two game winless run has seen them slip to fourth so they'll want to reverse that trend here

Ryman League Premier Division
Dulwich Hamlet v Lowestoft Town @3pm - if midweek results go to plan then Dulwich should find themselves in the top five by kick-off in this one. Lowestoft, relegated from the NLS last season, are surprisingly not amongst the pack of teams contesting promotion but are pretty much the best of the rest and should be no pushovers. I'd expect yet another close to capacity crowd at Champion Hill (c.3,000), one which almost certainly dwarf several in League Two and maybe even one or two in League One

Ryman League Division 1 South
Tooting & Mitcham United v Three Bridges @3pm - despite recently winning 14 games on the trot to top the league, Tooting haven't been able to pull clear of Dorking Wanderers who lie just three points behind in second. The Terrors enjoyed another win over South Park on Saturday and should win here against a Three Bridges side destined for relegation but will nerves get the better of them???

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Glebe v Orpington @3pm - the hosts, with four games in hand on the leaders Rusthall, are the favourites to win the division. Being only a point behind, they could well go top here

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment