Sunday, 23 May 2021

TLFG: 24-31 May 2021

Welcome back to another late season TLFG.

With play-offs, the Euros and various other bits and pieces I don't think the blog will really stop now until next summer unless we have another lockdown.

This week's piece runs for an extra day, including next Monday's Bank Holiday.

There aren't a huge amount of games this week but they're all pretty big with the EFL play-off finals, the last day of the National League season and several important league and county cup matches.

I'll be off to my first post-lockdown game on Tuesday when I head to Bedfont Sports for the Capital Women's Cup Final between Actonians and QPR.

My daughter plays for Actonians U9s and was lucky enough to take part in a Women's Euro 2022 Legacy event at the Middlesex FA's Rectory Park on Wednesday, the same day all the ticketing and match info came out for next summer's tournament.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the EFL, National League and a number of cup matches in various competitions.

As there are a limited number of games, I've also included a few games just outside London which can be reached with relative ease on public transport. Some matches are still to be arranged so there could be one or two additions before the weekend.

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 or youth matches. 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. However, capacity restrictions are currently in place at all grounds because of Covid-19 meaning only clubs from the seventh tier and below can currently admit spectators.

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 - blue 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 23 May

Premier League 2
Crystal Palace v Sunderland @7pm - this week's action begins with another U23 match at Selhurst Park. Last Monday Palace saw off Wolves to make the PL2 Division 2 play-off final against the Mackems so there's quite a bit at stake here. Adult tickets are only £5 but must be bought online by noon on Monday

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Tuesday 18 May

National League
Barnet v Maidenhead United @745pm - the Bees have had a terrible season and under normal circumstances would have been relegated by now but thanks to Covid-19 that's not happening this year. On Saturday they pulled off one of the shocks of the day by drawing at second placed Torquay, almost gifting Sutton the title in the process. With Maidenhead sitting snugly in midtable there's little to play for. Tickets are only available to those with a previous booking history

London Senior Cup Quarter-Final 
Haringey Borough v Hanwell Town @745pm - after months of Covid-enforced hibernation, Haringey return for their first competitive match of the year on Tuesday. This county cup quarter-final against Hanwell looks very decent indeed with the Geordies booking their place in the match after an entertaining 4-3 win at Fisher on Saturday. The winners will host Tooting & Mitcham on Saturday before playing AFC Wimbledon in the final on Bank Holiday Monday - quite a hectic schedule! Tickets are £10 on the door

Len Cordell Memorial Cup Semi-Final
Clapton v Redbridge @745pm - if you're on the east side of town then this cup match between a couple of fifth-tier teams could be for you. The match is being played at Barking's ground with tickets available online or on the day for £6. The final is at Redbridge's ground at the weekend against Holland or Clacton

Capital Women's Cup Final
Actonians v Queens Park Rangers @745pm - the match of the week in our house without doubt - my daughter plays for one of Actonians' youth sides and we all support QPR so we can't really lose. Acton and Shepherd's Bush are right next to each other in the geography of London so it's a very local derby too. It may come as a surprise to some readers to know that Actonians play at a higher level than QPR, Brentford and Fulham so should start as favourites on paper at least. The match is being played at Bedfont Sports and has sold out already

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Wednesday 26 May

Middlesex Premier Cup Final
Kensington & Ealing Borough v St Panteleimon @745pm - the cup final feast continues on Wednesday in Northolt where we have another derby at the Middlesex FA's Rectory Park HQ. The ground has a tiny capacity so all tickets are gone. However, it's little more than a posh five-a-side facility so if you really want to watch, you can just stand outside and look through the chainlink fence

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Thursday 27 May

Women's match
QPR v Saltdean United @745pm - details for this are rather sketchy at the moment but Saltdean have confirmed thy're playing QPR at Brunel University and fans are allowed in - check with the clubs tomorrow to get the latest info

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Friday 28 May

London Senior Cup Semi-Final
Hanwell Town v Tooting & Mitcham United @745pm - after beating Haringey on Tuesday, the Geordies will play the Terrors in this all-Isthmian League clash. With Hanwell's pitch unavailable, the tie has been switched to Haringey's Coles Park - adult tickets are available on the gate for £10. The winners will face AFC Wimbledon in the final on Monday

Women's friendly
QPR v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @745pm - the R's are putting a side out for the third time in four days in this end of season friendly. The match is set to be played at QPR's Harlington training ground but the details are again a bit sketchy so check all the details before you travel

A bit further afield
There are a couple of matches in Kent on Friday night with a friendly at Lordswood and the Kent Challenge Shield Final at Maidstone United's ground between Metrogas and Farnborough OBG


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Saturday 29 May

Championship play-off final
Brentford v Swansea City @3pm - one of the biggest games of any season takes place at Wembley on Saturday. There will be fans but only 10,000 of them meaning each club will only get 4,000 - in other words if you're not a Bees or Swans season-ticket holder, you've got very little chance of getting a ticket. Brentford did superbly well to recover a 2-0 aggregate deficit and beat AFC Bournemouth on Saturday. They also finished third and had the best form coming into the play-offs so, despite their terrible play-off record, they should start as favourites against their Welsh opponents

National League
Barnet v Sutton United @1230pm - just up the road from Wembley, Sutton will arrive at The Hive as champions after beating Hartlepool on Sunday. Tickets are only for home fans with a previous booking history
Boreham Wood v Maidenhead United @1230pm - one of the smallest clubs in the division, the Wood have done well to keep their place in the fifth tier again. They conclude their season against team who sit just next to them in the table so this match will decide who finishes 13th! Adult tickets are £20 and can be bought online
Bromley v Notts County @1230pm - the hosts go into the final game with just goal difference keeping them out of the play-off places. Notts County have already secured their place but still need a point to secure home advantage in the first elimination match. Adult tickets are £25 and are on general sale
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wrexham @1230pm - the Daggers have fallen short in their pursuit of a play-off spot but Hollywood superstar Ryan Reynolds' Dragons side still need points to make sure of a top-seven finish. Adult tickets are £21 and must be bought in advance

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Sunday 30 May

League One play-off final
Blackpool v Lincoln City @3pm - the Seasiders finished the regular season in third and had the best form coming into the play-offs. They saw off last season's beaten finalists Oxford 6-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals and look like favourites to beat a plucky Imps side who did superbly well to beat Sunderland in their semi-final. Tickets are again very limited so your chances of getting one are tiny

Women's friendly
Clapton CFC v London City Lionesses Development @2pm - the season comes to an end for all the Tons' teams on Sunday and there will be an awards ceremony to go with this match up in Walthamstow. Given their sizeable support you'll need to have a ticket and there are less than 200 left - it's also pay what you want 

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Monday 31 May

League Two play-off final
Morecambe v Newport County @3pm - the teams who finished fourth and fifth have made it to Wembley. Welsh club Newport should fancy their chances after doing the double over their opponents during the regular season. Once again tickets are very limited but check with clubs for the latest

London Senior Cup Final
AFC Wimbledon v Tooting & Mitcham United @1pm  - After winning a thrilling semi-final against Hanwell Town on Friday, the Terrors now travel north to play near neighbours AFC Wimbledon at Hendon's ground. Adult tickets are £10 and can be bought online


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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