Tuesday, 7 May 2019

TLFG: 7-12 May 2019

We're now into the second week of May and the season is well and truly winding down.

There's very little on over the next few days but what is taking place is highly important with many title deciders, play-off games and cup finals.

I've had to cast around a bit to fill up the map with a few 11th and 12th tier games and several matches from beyond the M25.

The week gets underway with a pretty decent friendly which is offering free entry but more on that below.

Get your tickets now - 20% off with discount code 'tlfg''
Many congratulations this week to AFC Wimbledon who seemed to do the almost impossible and keep themselves in League One - a fantastic achievement but boy was it close!

There was also play-off success for Welling United and Metropolitan Police with both now going into big finals next weekend - give them your support if you can.

My football watching took me to Wembley for the Women's FA Cup Final between Manchester City and West Ham United.

Last week I predicted a poor attendance because of unfortunate scheduling of a West Ham men's game and engineering work on the railways but I was pleasantly surprised to see a very healthy crowd of over 43,000 turn out - it makes you wonder what would've happened if things had been different.

The game itself was also a lot closer than I thought it would be. City did eventually win 3-0 but two goals came very late on and it had been goalless at half-time.

Tickets are now on sale for Non-League Finals Day
Overall it was a great family day out with the excellent ticket prices almost certainly proving to be a big draw for many.

I'll be heading back to Wembley again in a couple of weeks for Non-League Finals Day to see the FA Vase and FA Trophy Finals played back-to-back but more on that soon.

As mentioned last week, later this month sees the return of the London Festival of Football Writing.

It takes place between 21-25 May and features some great speakers and events - what's more you can get 20% off your ticket or festival pass price by quoting the discount code 'tlfg' when booking online.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Robert J and all those who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund this week. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words.

To recap, I recently received the news that my Dad has lung cancer. This condition also claimed the lives of my Mum and grandfather so with me powerless to do anything medically to help him, I've decided to ask for all donations to this blog to go to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation which you can contribute to through the fundraising page I've set up. 

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include some crucial games in the Europa League, Premier League and a number of play-off games in many of our local non-league competitions too.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. 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
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple 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.

Tuesday 7 May

Friendly
Brentford B v Manchester City U18 @730pm - it might all be over for the Bees' first team but not so their development side who will be hosting City's youngsters at Griffin Park on Tuesday night where it will be free entry for everyone

A bit further afield
There are several county cup finals being played beyond TLFG's M25 border with the nearest being the Surrey Senior Cup Final between Metropolitan Police and Tooting & Mitcham United at Dorking Wanderers' ground. The Met would normally start as favourites but with this game coming just a day after their tense play-off win over Poole Town and with the resulting Super Play-Off Final on Saturday, they're likely to field a much weakened side. Elsewhere, Bognor Regis Town take on Burgess Hill Town in the Sussex Senior Cup Final which is worth going to as it's being played at Brighton & Hove Albion's Amex Community Stadium

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Wednesday 8 May

A bit further afield
A bit of a random one this but I'm not aware of anything taking place in London. The main reason to head to the Suffolk Premier Cup Final between Felixstowe & Walton United and Leiston is that it's being played at Ipswich Town's Portman Road ground which is within a 90-minute train ride of London

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Thursday 9 May

Europa League semi-final second leg

Chelsea v Eintracht Frankfurt @8pm - the Blues drew last week's first leg in Germany 1-1 which, in theory, means they should come into this as favourites. Both in the top four of their respective leagues, the sides should still be well matched with Eintracht bringing a large contingent of travelling fans many of whom probably won't have tickets - I'm told they received 28,000 applications for their much smaller allocation. Only hospitality tickets and packages are available at this stage if you do want to go

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Saturday 11 May

National League Promotion Final
AFC Fylde v Salford City @3pm - a few short years ago both these sides were pootling around in the lower divisions of the non-league pyramid making few headlines. Now both backed by wealthy owners the clubs have undergone radical transformations and sit on the brink of a place in the EFL. AFC Fylde finished fifth but managed to get the better of Harrogate Town and Solihull Moors to make it to Wembley. Salford, driven on by Man Utd's class of '92, finished second and scraped past Eastleigh on penalties in Sunday's semi-final. The pressure is all on them but it would seem the form is with Fylde - it should be an intriguing contest. Tickets are available

Super Play-Off Final
Metropolitan Police v Tonbridge Angels @3pm - for those not in the know, the FA restructured a number of divisions at non-league level prior to the start of this season. Not everything was as even as they'd have liked it and as a result the play-offs have been a bit of a muddle in the seventh and eighth tiers. For the first time, play-off winning teams would not be guaranteed promotion as there aren't enough places to go around. This means that in the seventh tier, only two of the four play-off winners will be able to go up and we now have two 'Super' Play-Off Finals to decide who goes up. The one taking place in London sees the Evo-Stik Premier Division South and Bostik Premier play-off winners go head-to-head for that one place. To get here, The Met have had to beat Salisbury and Poole Town while Tonbridge have beaten Haringey Borough and Merstham. For me, the momentum seems to be with Metropolitan Police who defied all the odds to get this far and beat far bigger clubs. They have nothing to fear and have home advantage. With average crowds of just 156, it would be quite a story if they made it to the National League South. Tickets should be available on the gate

Middlesex County Football League Division 1 Central & East
FC Roast v Clapton CFC @3pm - although way down in the 12th tier, this match could well draw a crowd of 800+ as it will decide if the Tons win the title. Although listed as an away game, the match has been switched to the Stray Dog so they'll have home advantage for this all-important game. On paper they should come out on top but with only a win good enough, pressure may take its toll

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Manchester City @1230pm - it's the final day of the women's season and the standout fixture is this match between the top two. Sadly there's nothing riding on it as Arsenal have already won the title whilst City picked up the FA Cup on Saturday

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Sunday 12 May

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton @3pm - it's the final day of the season in the top flight and although there are several matches in the capital, this is the only one of any significance as it will decide whether or not Spurs finish in the top four and get a Champions League place. With three defeats from four in the league and a loss to Ajax in Europe, their form is decidedly dodgy. Everton are in better shape coming into this but have little to play for other than the eighth place they already occupy. Tickets are only available to members

Elsewhere in the Premier League you can still get tickets for the final day game between Fulham and Newcastle United whilst the matches at Crystal Palace and Watford are on sale to members only.

A bit further afield
After their dramatic comeback against Wealdstone on Sunday, Woking will now host Welling United in the National League South Play-Off Final. The sides finished second and third respectively so it should be close. However, the smart money should still be on the Cards as they were unbeaten in the three league and cup games against the Wings earlier in the season. The winners will get to take their place in the fifth tier alongside the likes of Notts County and Yeovil Town so there's plenty at stake

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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.

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