Monday, 1 May 2017

TLFG: 2-7 May 2017

Greetings one and all and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

With the regular season in League One and National League complete and all the main non-league competitions finished as well, the season is well and truly winding down.

As is customary at this time of year, I've padded the match map out with a few games from the 11th tier but even they are few and far between.

Apart from some huge games in the Premier League, the highlights this week are the National League play-offs, a couple of county cup finals and some U23 football at clubs' main stadiums.


During the week just gone, many of you got to enjoy the Ryman League play-offs which produced some epic games. Dorking Wanderers, who had finished joint top of the Ryman League Division 1 South with a whopping 105 points, were the first to go up on Saturday but they were taken to penalties in the semi-finals by Hastings and Corinthian Casuals in the final.

Thurrock caused a bit of an upset by beating Maldon & Tiptree in the Division 1 North final and at the time of writing, we're still waiting for the Premier Division final between Bognor and Dulwich to get underway - good luck to all involved at the Hamlet.

Egham Town made the Southern League play-offs but fell at the first hurdle against Farnborough - nevertheless, it was still a fine achievement by the Sarnies to get there for a second consecutive season.

Less than 3 weeks to go until Non-League Finals Day - get your tickets now!!!

From a personal point of view, after the disappointment of seeing Harrow Borough get relegated last week, it was a huge relief to see QPR avoid the drop by beating Nottingham Forest 2-0. This means we have an end-of-season dead rubber to enjoy at Norwich next Sunday which I am currently planning to attend. Despite Carrow Road being a very easy ground to get to, I've never previously been so I'm looking forward to ticking it off the list.

Before I forget, there's a special fundraiser taking place in south London on Saturday where Peckham Town take on Somaliland in a friendly. Entry is by donation with all proceeds going to good causes. See the club's website for more detials.

I think that's about it from me. Once again, if you're around, please consider coming to Wembley for Non-League Finals Day on 21 May - two cup finals back-to-back for £25 is great value so I hope to see you there.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are only 27 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 National League 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 - 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.

Tuesday 2 May

Professional Development League
Crystal Palace v Bristol City @1pm - the pick of the day's action is this U23 match at Selhust Park which provides you with a great opportunity to visit a Premier League ground for only £5

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Wednesday 3 May

Professional Development League
Watford v Cardiff City @2pm - start the day with a bit of U23 football at Vicarage Road, you can then move on to one of the far more significant games listed below in the evening

National League South play-off semi-final first leg
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Ebbsfleet United @745pm - the hosts finished the campaign in seventh but still managed to qualify for the play-offs as the two teams above them were found to have grounds that weren't suitable for promotion. In Ebbsfleet they face a team who missed out on the title by only two points so should provide formidable opposition. However, the two meetings between them during the regular season ended in 1-1 draws so it should be close again

London Senior Cup Final
Cray Valley PM v Metropolitan Police @745pm - Cray come into this match very much as underdogs as they play two levels below the Met. However, the SCEFL side have seen off the likes of Welling United, AFC Wimbledon and Dulwich Hamlet in previous rounds so this match shouldn't faze them at all. The game is being played at Dulwich Hamlet

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Thursday 4 May

League One play-off semi-final first leg
Millwall v Scunthorpe United @745pm - the Lions put their fans through the wringer on the final day of the season with their rollercoaster 4-3 win over Bristol Rovers but it was enough to see off Southend to claim the final play-off place. In Scunthorpe they face a team who were top for a while and who come into the play-offs on the back of five straight wins. It's going to be tough

National League play-off semi-final first leg
Dagenham & Redbridge v Forest Green Rovers @7pm - the Daggers disappointingly dropped out of the Football League last season but have responded well to life back in non-league. They topped the National League for a while but although fading a bit, still held on for a play-off place. FGR finished just ahead of them and have never played in the EFL despite having been title challengers for a few seasons now

Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City @7pm - this match is being played at White Hart Lane and has become a benefit match for the family of Spurs youth coach Ugo Ehiogu who sadly died last week. This is also Leicester's last match of the season and they need to win to try and avoid relegation

FA Women's Super League 1
Arsenal v Liverpool @730pm - the Hive plays host to this match as the Gunners welcome the league's early leaders who have flown out of the traps with two straight wins

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Friday 5 May

Premier League
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @8pm - the weekend gets underway with this important derby at the London Stadium. A three-game winless run has left the Hammers still needing a point or two to absolutely guarantee Premier League survival while Spurs need the win to keep their title hopes alive. If they do triumph then the gap between themselves and leaders Chelsea will be temporarily cut to just one point

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Saturday 6 May

London Senior Trophy Final
Balham v Glebe @3pm - you can really see how much the season has wound down when a cup final between two 10th-tier teams takes top billing on a Saturday afternoon. Balham have enjoyed a decent debut season at this level, coming third in the CCL Division 1. Glebe, on the other hand, arrive as SCEFL Division 1 champions having finished 12 points ahead of their nearest rivals. Two good teams from parallel leagues - it's a hard one to call. This match is being played at the home of Corinthian Casuals

Middlesex County Football League Premier Division Cup Final
Deportivo Galicia v FC Assyria @745pm - the teams which finished one and two in the league meet in this cup final at Uxbridge's ground. Both sides are interesting in that they represent minority communities and yet with a limited crop of players to pick from have had great seasons

Friendly
Peckham Town v Somaliland @3pm - the hosts are pushing hard for the Kent County League title but have managed to squeeze in this charity match against Somaliland. Entry will be by donation with all proceeds going to good causes

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Sunday 7 May

Premier League
Arsenal v Manchester United @4pm - defeat to Spurs left Arsenal's already slim hopes of a top-four finish hanging by a thread. Six points adrift with five games to go, this match against the team just above them is absolutely crucial. Consequently, United need the win too to make sure they're not edged out by old foes Manchester City

Championship
Brentford v Blackburn Rovers @12pm - the Bees' season comes to an end on Sunday and although a win could see them finish in a very respectable eighth position, it could and probably will also condemn Rovers to relegation. Only one relegation spot still remains to be claimed with Blackburn, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City all trying to avoid it. Although Blackburn are the lowest ranked at the moment, they are in the best form and only one goal (not point) behind Forest. Therefore, even if they narrowly lose, a heavy defeat for Forest could see them stay up

National League South play-off semi-final second leg
Dartford v Chelmsford City @3pm - the Darts missed the play-offs by five points last season so they'll be pretty pleased to have made it this time round. They've had a solid year, finished third and confirmed their place with games to spare. Aside from Ebbsfleet, they have the best form of anyone in the division so we should get a final between the two of them which would be enormous as they are neighbouring towns - I'm sure Chelmsford will do their best to ruin things though


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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