Sunday, 18 March 2018

TLFG: 19-25 March 2018

With all our top sides playing away or out of action, this week felt very much like an international break.

The good or bad news, depending on how you look at it, is that this week actually is an international break so we won't get to see any competitive football from the top two divisions until the end of the month.

A time of great boredom for some but of great adventure for others as it affords fans of the beautiful game a chance to check out their local non-league sides and boy are there some big games this week.

For me, the FA Trophy semi-final second leg between Wealdstone and Brackley Town tops the bill and if I wasn't babysitting I'd be trying to get down there and suggest that you do.

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There are also some big games that will go a long way to deciding promotion and relegation too all of which can be found in our usual 'TLFG Daily Digest' below.

A lot has been made of the struggles facing Bostik League club Dulwich Hamlet over the last couple of weeks.

The last few days have also been action packed for the south London club. Not only have they played their first two games at Imperial Fields but they sent a delegation to Parliament (which was received by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn), received further backing from the local council about a possible compulsory purchase order of their ground from the developers and held a protest march in the Dulwich area which over 1,000 were said to have attended.

Hundreds attend the march in support of Dulwich Hamlet
(thanks to Graeme Boxall for the photo)
Momentum, pardon the pun, certainly seems to be with them so here's hoping it all works out.

I've also mentioned in recent weeks that National League side Dagenham & Redbridge are feeling the pinch at the moment.

To help them raise funds, West Ham have agreed to bring a squad to Victoria Road for a friendly on Wednesday. With it being an international break, David Moyes is said to be bringing a fairly strong team.

My week has been devoid of live football but I took great pleasure in hearing about QPR's fine 2-2 draw at local rivals Fulham on Saturday. After being 2-0 down at one of the best teams in the division, it was very pleasing to come away with something - and this came on the back of a stunning 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Tuesday which no-one saw coming! Onwards and upwards.

The Conifa World Football Cup is coming told London - find out more

Since I last wrote, it's been announced that Carshalton Athletic will be hosting both semi-finals in the forthcoming Conifa World Football Cup here in London, whilst Bromley will hold the opening ceremony.

The tournament which runs from 31 May - 9 June is for teams representing 'nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories' which are not recognised by Fifa.

Competitors in the 16-team tournament include Ellan Vannin (aka the Isle of Man), Northern Cyprus, Panjab, Tamil Ealam and Tibet.

Full information about fixtures and tickets can be found here.

Lastly this week I'd like to thank Hans F from Austria and Rod S from the USA for their supportive words and generous donations to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - it's very much appreciated.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days. The highlights include some big games in the National League and an FA Trophy semi-final.

As always, 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 (orange 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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




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 19 March

Professional Development League
There are a number of U23 games on Monday lunchtime. The two standout matches feature Millwall and QPR who are playing their games at The New Den and Loftus Road respectively whilst all the others are at training grounds or non-league stadiums - as always, check the details before you travel as they could change at short notice

Surrey Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Metropolitan Police v Leatherhead @745pm - after clinching a place in the Isthmian League Cup Final last week, the Met will look to make progress in their local county cup as well against fellow Bostik League members Leatherhead

A bit further afield
If it beats the weather, a trip north to Hertfordshire could well be worth a go as Hitchin Town host Didcot Town in the Southern League Cup Final at 745pm
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Tuesday 20 March

Friendly
Brentford B v Manchester United U23 @1pm - the most eye-catching game of the day for the neutral is probably this friendly at Griffin Park. The Bees arrange some great matches for their B side with some of the biggest sides in Europe on their fixture list this season. I haven't seen any official confirmation yet but Brentford supporters I know believe that admission will be free - check all the details before you travel

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Hungerford Town @745pm - with the Brentford game under your belt earlier in the day, you could comfortably combine it with this game on the same side of town in the evening. The hosts look almost certain to clinch a place in the play-offs but the title is still within their reach. Hungerford are fighting to avoid the drop so there's plenty to play for in this one

Bostik League Premier Division
Staines Town v Hendon @745pm - there's also a fair bit riding on this one too as two of the top six lock horns in the battle to secure a play-off place

Bostik League North Division
Barking v Bowers & Pitsea @745pm - the Blues have an outside chance of making the top six. To make it they're going to have to win a good chunk of their final nine games and they begin that run with this match against the team in second. If they beat Bowers, who are 10 points adrift of leaders AFC Hornchurch, it will hammer a nail into the coffin containing their guests' title hopes

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
London Tigers v Oxhey Jets @745pm - there's a relegation six-pointer at Northwood Park as two sides battling the drop meet for what is also technically a derby - I say technically because although London Tigers play at Northwood's ground, it's only a groundshare and their HQ is miles away in Maida Hill so there's no historic rivalry

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Wednesday 21 March

Friendly

Dagenham & Redbridge v West Ham United XI @730pm - the Daggers have fallen on hard times recently and have arranged this friendly to try and raise some much-needed funds to keep the club going. With it being an international break, the Hammers are expected to bring a reasonably strong squad. Adult tickets are available from £10

Essex Senior League
Wadham Lodge v Redbridge @745pm - the Motormen were top of the league for some time but the chasing pack have caught up and now five teams can say they have a decent shot at the title. The hosts have been poor this season and Redbridge simply have to beat them

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Thursday 22 March

A bit further afield
With nothing on in London on Thursday, your football cravings will best be satisfied by one of the three Bostik League games happening within easy reach of the capital. The pick of the matches sees Tonbridge Angels entertain Premier Division title contenders Billericay Town whilst there are also matches at Brentwood Town and South Park in the North and South Divisions
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Friday 23 March

Essex Senior League
West Essex v Waltham Forest @745pm - the only game in the capital on Friday evening is this unremarkable midtable contest which is little more than a dead rubber at this stage of the season, although Forest could do with a few more points to make sure they avoid picking up the division's proverbial wooden spoon

A bit further afield
Bowers & Pitsea v AFC Hornchurch @745pm - of way more significance is this fixture over in Basildon where the top two in the Bostik North meet for what could effectively be the title decider. At the time of writing, the Urchins are 10 points clear of B&P so a win here would pretty much seal it

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Saturday 24 March

League One
Charlton Athletic v Plymouth Argyle @3pm - with all our local Premier League and Championship sides having the week off, this third tier match is as good as it gets. The Addicks' disappointing run continued with a draw against struggling Fleetwood on Saturday. The result means they are now four without a win, down to ninth and five points adrift of the play-off places. The team they need to keep pace with are sixth placed Plymouth who arrive as one of the division's form sides so it's going to be tough

National League
Sutton United v Chester FC @3pm - the U's are currently the top ranked non-league side in London. Second in the division and only two points off the top, they should beat Chester who are in dreadful form and will need a minor miracle to avoid relegation
Leyton Orient v Woking @3pm - the biggest crowd of the day in London's fifth-tier matches will almost certainly come at Brisbane Road where the O's entertain the Cards in what is effectively a derby - it's also only £5 for adults and £1 for everyone else (thanks to reader Kevin M for the tip). Both sides should be safe from relegation but both could still do with a few extra points to be sure
Dagenham & Redbridge v AFC Fylde @3pm - given the Daggers' poor financial situation, the remainder of the season will be all about consolidating and keeping things respectable. Fylde are a club on the up, with a fine new stadium and a decent team which took Wigan Athletic to a replay in this season's FA Cup second round. They currently sit just outside the play-off places and should be hungry for the win

FA Trophy Semi-Final Second Leg
Wealdstone v Brackley Town @3pm - for me, the biggest game of the day will be at Grosvenor Vale where the Stones are just 90 minutes away from earning a place in a Wembley final. They lost the away leg 1-0 on Saturday but they are more than capable of turning that deficit around on home turf. Tickets are on sale now but should still be available on the day - check with the club to see how ticket sales are going just in case there is a huge spike in demand

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Braintree Town @3pm - the Beavers continue their promotion push against another side looking to go up. The Iron suffered relegation last term and are suffering a dip in form at a crucial point in this season so they could well miss out

Bostik League Premier Division
Hendon v Billericay Town @3pm - the Greens could find themselves in the top four by the time this one kicks off while Billericay could be top. The Essex side arrested a worrying slump with a narrow midweek win over Dorking Wanderers but their huge fixture backlog will almost certainly take its toll over the coming weeks and they could struggle again

Bostik League North Division
Haringey Borough v Heybridge Swifts @3pm - aside from Hornchurch, London's main contenders for promotion are Haringey who face a very useful Heybridge side on Saturday. The Essex club, like Billericay, have games in hand on everyone which could see them leap up the table but have they got the stamina to pull it off?

Bostik League South Division
Corinthian Casuals v Cray Wanderers @3pm - it's second versus fourth in the division's game of the day. With Cray having played more games than all those around them, they need a win that tiny bit more than their hosts

Evo-Stik League East Division
Hayes & Yeading United v Uxbridge @3pm - with seven points from their last three games, Hayes are keeping the pressure on the top three. Although they've played more games than those above them, they're still in touch and very much a threat. On Saturday they welcome their near neighbours for a derby

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Takeley @3pm - as mentioned above, the hosts are part of a five-way battle for supremacy in this competition. Takeley are also in that group so this should be fiercely contested

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
London Lions v Winslow United @3pm - only the top two get promoted from this division and with these sides in third and fifth it's now all about winning if they're to have any chance

FA Women's Super League 2
London Bees v Durham Women @12pm - the hosts welcome third placed Durham for what should be a tough game at The Hive. The early kick-off means you should be able to comfortably combine this with a number of games in the area with the Hendon v Billericay match being the easiest to get to

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Sunday 25 March

FA Women's Super League 1
Chelsea v Reading @2pm - the Blues provide the pick of the action on Sunday as they look to extend their lead over Manchester City at the top of the women's game.Reading are nestled nicely enough in midtable but should be the kind of side the unbeaten Chelsea should see off with ease

Varsity Match
Cambridge University v Oxford University - the oldest regular fixture in world football returns to Barnet's home at The Hive for a second year. The men's game starts at 2pm and is followed by the women's game at 5pm - adult tickets are £10



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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

1 comment:

  1. Just to add that tickets for Orient are only a fiver. The football has gone off the boil a bit since they went out of the FA Trophy and are probably safe from relegation and too far behind for the play offs but you can’t beat football for a fiver!

    ReplyDelete