Sunday, 24 April 2022

TLFG: 25 April - 2 May 2022

Greetings one and all and welcome to TLFG as the season takes another step closer to its completion.

As there's another Bank Holiday, this edition will go through until next Monday.

For the majority of our local non-league clubs, the action came to an end on Saturday meaning the really exciting business of the play-offs can now begin.

Not only that but the county cup circuit heats up a little bit more this week with the London Senior Cup Final on Tuesday and there are a couple of other more junior titles up for grabs too.

Fulham should finally make sure of the Championship title at some point this week whilst several other London clubs face huge matches in Europe or ones which will determine promotion or relegation.

Tickets are now on sale for the Women's FA Cup Final

My only chance of seeing anything is probably going to be next Sunday but other family commitments will probably stop that.

I did, however, book my tickets earlier today for this season's Women's FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley on 15 May.

In the WSL it's been all about Arsenal and Chelsea but that's because City had such bad injuries earlier in the season - now the players are back, they can compete with anyone and beat Chelsea in the League Cup Final last month.

All in all, I think City may well do a cup double.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Michael R who donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. I really appreciate it. 

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, most of our local non-league competitions and the Women's Super League 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
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Monday fixtures - yellow 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 25 April

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Leeds United @745pm - these teams looked safe but following Burnley's resurgence and with six games still to go, both teams could do with a win on Monday. Sadly for the Yorkshire club, it hasn't been a happy hunting ground with their last win coming back in 2006. Tickets are not available to non-members

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Tuesday 26 April

Championship
Fulham v Nottingham Forest @745pm - the Cottagers have already sealed promotion back to the Premier League but this could be the game where they win the title. Second placed Bournemouth are at Swansea the same night and Fulham simply need to better their result to be crowned champions. But it won't come easily as Forest can still finish second themselves and are in better form than either of the top two. Tickets are sold out

League Two
Sutton United v Crawley Town @745pm - the U's suffered defeat at Barrow on Saturday but stayed in the play-off places. With three games to go they can easily be caught and pretty much need to win every one. Midtable Crawley have nothing to play for and are currently without suspended manager John Yems after complaints of 'discriminatory language and behaviour' towards players. Tickets are available

National League
Bromley v Aldershot Town @745pm - the Ravens' loss at Boreham Wood left them nine points adrift of the play-offs with six games to go, significantly diminishing their promotion hopes. Aldershot are just above the relegation zone but have a seven-point cushion over King's Lynn, meaning a win here will keep them up 

London Senior Cup Final
Brentford B v Hendon @745pm - having lost to Barnet in the Middlesex Senior Cup Final, the Bees will want to take this title instead. Beaten finalists in two of the last three London Senior Cup finals, will this be their year? Hendon warmed up for this by winning their last league game of the season against Merthyr Town 6-0 and they beat Brentford 1-0 in that 2020 final. Being played at Dulwich Hamlet, I haven't seen any ticket details yet but it's usually around £10 for adults

Kent Senior Cup Semi-Final
Welling United v Dartford @745pm - there's a local derby at Park View Road on Tuesday. Neither side have got the game listed on their website fixture lists so I don't think they're taking it that seriously. The winners will meet either Folkestone Invicta or Hythe Town in the final

Southern League Premier Division South Play-Off Semi-Final
Hayes & Yeading United v Weston-super-Mare @745pm - of far more importance is this play-off game at the SkyEx. H&YU sealed the runners-up spot in the division with a 2-2 draw at Hartley Wintney in their final game meaning they have home advantage here. There's only one leg and the winners will play Farnborough or Metropolitan Police in the final. Tickets are £10 on the gate

Friendly
AFC Whytleleafe v Surrey International @815pm - if you'd prefer something a little more quirky and you're in the deep south, then the return to action of Surrey's international side could be for you. It's free entry at Church Road too
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Wednesday 27 April

Isthmian League Premier Division Play-Off Semi-Final
Enfield Town v Hornchurch @745pm - the biggest game of the night takes place at the QEII Stadium thanks to the fact that the Towners won their final game and the Urchins lost theirs. The results saw them switch places in the table to give Enfield home advantage in this one-legged game, which could prove to be crucial. The winners wil play Bishop's Stortford or Cheshunt in Monday's final. Tickets are £11 and can be bought online

Isthmian League South Central Division Play-Off Semi-Finals
Bedfont Sports v Hanwell Town @745pm - if north London's not convenient for you, then a match next to Heathrow Airport could be better. A short walk from Hatton Cross Tube station will take you to Bedfont Sports' well-appointed ground. With Bracknell Town having won the title, the battle for second was a close one and ultimately Bedfont and Hanwell fell a bit short. I haven't seen any ticket details yet but they should be available on the gate, with prices no more than £10
Chertsey Town v Basingstoke Town @745pm - the runners-up spot eventually went to Chertsey who continue to build on the strong foundations that former manager Dave Anderson laid back in 2018/19 when they won the Combined Counties League and FA Vase. Losing boss Kevin McClaren to a bizarre bit of ill-discipline midway through this campaign, the Curfews have done superbly well to find themselves in this position under his replacement Ian Selley. Former NLS side Basingstoke are arguably the biggest club in this division and are recovering well after some terrible off-field shenanigans in recent years. Tickets are £9 if bought in advance, £10 on the day

SCEFL Division 1 Play-Off Semi-Final
Sutton Athletic v Tooting Bec @745pm - there's another big game lower down the pyramid where two TLFG clubs are looking to get out of the 10th tier. With Stansfeld winning the title, Sutton finished second thanks to a solid 3-0 win over Snodland on the final day. Tooting Bec almost threw it all away by losing at home to relegation-threatened Forest Hill Park but Bridon Ropes came unstuck too and they held on. The hosts should start as favourites

Middlesex Intermediate Cup Final
NW London v Brentham @745pm - after winning the Anagram Records Trophy on Saturday night, NW London go after another piece of silverware on Wednesday. This should be quite a game as they face their main rivals for the MCFL title who beat them at the start of the month. This is being played at North Greenford United but I haven't seen any ticket details yet
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Thursday 28 April

Europa League Semi-Final First Leg
West Ham United v Eintracht Frankfurt @8pm - arguably the biggest game the Hammers have played in years, the pressure will really be on them on Thursday. Following defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, they're now down to seventh and might struggle to get back into Europe next season if they don't win this competition. A bit like Lyon, who they beat in the last round, Frankfurt are having a pretty mediocre league campaign and are ninth in the Bundesliga at the time of writing. However, with wins over Real Betis and Barcelona in previous rounds, they're going to be tough opponents. They also travel in huge numbers so tickets are long gone

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @745pm - after being postponed because of Covid infections in March, the re-scheduling of this match means the clubs will play twice in four days. Sunday's match at The Hive saw the Blues overcome the loss of an early goal and the first-half sending off of their goalkeeper to win 3-1. The performance showed why they will almost certainly be crowned champions and also effectively ended Spurs' hopes of a Champions League place. Tickets are available 

Middlesex Charity Cup Semi-Final
Southall v Uxbridge @745pm - if you'd prefer a non-league match, then CCL Premier North runners-up Southall will hope to continue their successful season by cupsetting the higher-ranked Uxbridge and making it to the final against Hanwell Town
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Friday 29 April

Championship
QPR v Sheffield United @745pm - if the R's had got something out of their game at Stoke on Saturday then this could've been quite something. Sadly they lost 1-0 which means they're six points behind the Blades, who occupy the last play-off spot, with two games to go. Goal difference means that QPR will have to score five or six past here to have any chance of going into the final day with any hope. With Millwall, Middlesbrough and Blackburn all better placed, it really isn't looking very good at all. But this is the Championship and weird things happen. Tickets are available

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Leeds United @7pm - if that doesn't appeal, you want something cheaper or you've never been to the Emirates Stadium, then this U23 game looks like a fine option. Tickets are only £4 and must be booked in advance - there's a limited capacity so don't delay
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Saturday 30 April

Premier League
Watford v Burnley @3pm - there's only one game in the top flight on Saturday but it's the definition of a relegation 'six-pointer'. With the Hornets suffering another defeat at Manchester City on Saturday, only a fool would bet on them staying up. Nine points adrift of safety with five games to go, the game is surely up. However, if they beat the Clarets they'll give themselves half a chance. It seemed really harsh on Sean Dyche when Burnley sacked him earlier this month, but with seven points from the three games since, it could prove to be an inspired decision. A win won't guarantee survival by any means but it will add to the all-important momentum and belief that's required to stay up. Tickets are available

Championship
Millwall v Peterborough United @3pm - with two games to go, the Lions find themselves just three points off a play-off place. With one of the smallest budgets and fanbases in the division, few would've predicted that at the start of the season so it's quite an achievement. With Peterborough already down, this provides a great opportunity to keep their promotion dreams alive. Tickets are available

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Accrington Stanley @3pm - it's the final day in the third tier and with only six wins from their previous 45 league games, the Dons are on the verge of relegation. In fact, if Fleetwood get at least a draw in their midweek game in hand against Sheffield Wednesday then it will all be over. If they are still in with a chance come Saturday, then they'll have to win big and hope Fleetwood and Gillingham both lose - a combination of results that would see them stay up on goal difference. Tickets have sold out

League Two
Sutton United v Bradford City @3pm - the fourth tier goes on a week longer but a win for the U's here against the midtable Bantams might be enough to secure a play-off place. In all likelihood, it will go to the final day but they'll want to have as many points in the bag as possible when they head to Harrogate. Tickets are available

National League
Barnet v Grimsby Town @3pm - the Bees' season is over but they can have a say in who gets a play-off spot. Grimsby are sixth at the time of writing with a healthy six-point advantage over Dagenham & Redbridge in eighth. If they lose here, it could get a lot tighter with three games to go
Bromley v Chesterfield @3pm - as mentioned above, the Ravens' play-off hopes are slim but if they beat Aldershot and Chesterfield who are fifth at the time of writing, then their prospects could look a lot rosier
Wealdstone v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - like Barnet, the Stones' season is over with the objective of avoiding relegation achieved. The Daggers still have a play-off spot in their sights and could find themselves only a point off the pace if they win here

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Sunday 1 May

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City @2pm - in the battle to seemingly AVOID finishing fourth, Spurs had a reasonable weekend by only managing to draw at Brentford. This means they're now two points behind Arsenal who've had a terrible week, beating Chelsea and Manchester United. I jest of course but that's how it's appeared in recent times with the teams between fourth and seventh all wasting presentable chances to nail down that last Champions League place. The Foxes are coasting along in midtable and must now be focused almost entirely on winning the Europa Conference League. Tickets are sold out
West Ham United v Arsenal @430pm - with the Hammers possibly a little jaded coming off their big Europa League game, this could be another great chance for the Gunners to move a little closer to sealing a fourth-place finish. Arsenal are unbeaten in five against West Ham and beat them fairly comfortably when they last men in December. Tickets are available

Isthmian League South Central Play-Off Final
Chertsey Town v Hanwell Town @3pm - after beating Basingstoke Town and Bedfont Sports respectively, it looks set to be quite a ding-dong at Alwyns Lane on Sunday. The Curfews drew over 1,000 fans to their semi-final and this could well sell out so book your ticket in advance

FA Sunday Cup Final
Baitezee FC v Highgate Albion @2pm - I'm not an expert on this competition but it's as prestigious as it gets when it comes to Sunday League football. The match is being played at Millwall and tickets are £5

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Aston Villa @215pm - as we move into the last three games of the season, the Gunners need to win every one to give them the chance of finishing ahead of Chelsea. If the Blues beat Spurs in midweek, then Arsenal will be four points behind coming into this. Villa are the sort of side the hosts should beat with ease, anything else will effectively end their season 

FA Women's Championship
London City Lionesses v Blackburn Rovers @2pm - with Liverpool having already won the title, three clubs are still in with a chance of finishing second. LCL are currently second so simply need to win here to make sure of the runners-up spot

FA Women's National League Division 1 South East
QPR v Norwich City @2pm - this game is notable as it's the first time QPR Women will play a match at Loftus Road. It's their final game of the season and it's free entry although a voluntary donation to the club's community trust would be appreciated

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Monday 2 May

Championship
Fulham v Luton Town @515pm - as mentioned above, the Cottagers could well be champions by the time this kicks-off but if not, they'll have another chance here. Again they face tough opponents who are looking to go up but results earlier in the weekend could have secured the Hatters a play-off spot and this could be all about determining whether they get home advantage in the post-season. Some tickets may still be available but you'll need to register to get one

National League
Boreham Wood v Wrexham @3pm - with three defeats in five, leaders Stockport have allowed Wrexham right back into title contention. The Welsh club are now only a point behind with three games to go. The Wood were the latest team to beat Stockport and still have faint hopes of getting into the play-offs. To have any chance of going up, they must win here - it's huge for both. You're strongly advised to buy tickets in advance and if you do, you'll get free entry to the following game against Solihull Moors too
Dagenham & Redbridge v Torquay United @3pm - the Daggers' win at Wealdstone on Saturday extended their unbeaten run to six games and left them four points behind Chesterfield who fill the last play-off place. If the good momentum continues and they win here, they'll end any hope the Gulls might have of going up

National League South
Welling United v Maidstone United @3pm - the pick of the games in the sixth tier takes place at Park View Road where the struggling Wings have the chance to secure their place in the division. All they need to do is beat the newly crowned NLS champions and hope Billericay drop points against Ebbsfleet - easy!


Premier League 2 & Professional Development League
There's a really fine selection of U23 games on Monday with Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic all hosting games at their main stadiums. In the case of the Premier League clubs, you're advised to buy tickets in advance through their websites

Southern League Premier Division South Play-Off Final
Hayes & Yeading United v Farnborough @3pm - After leading the way for a large part of the season, H&YU ended up in second. Thankfully they came through their semi-final against Weston-super-Mare unscathed but Farnborough should be a slightly tougher challenge. The visitors beat Metropolitan Police in their semi. Tickets are £10 but can only be bought from the ground in person from 11am on Saturday

Isthmian League Premier Division Play-Off Final
Hornchurch v Cheshunt @3pm - both sides upset the applecart in the semis by beating their higher-ranked hosts. The Urchins stunned many in the non-league game last year by winning the FA Trophy at Wembley. After a slow start to this campaign, they finished strongly and are now 90 minutes away from another very successful season. Tickets are £12 and go on sale at midday on 28 April

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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