Tuesday 2 May 2023

TLFG: 2-8 May 2023

Greetings and welcome to this week's TLFG.

Again, it's another Bank Holiday Special but this time there's much less to choose from as many of our local leagues have now concluded for the season.

My week saw me take in two games.

Firstly I made my first trip to Loftus Road since October to watch QPR's B team take on Hull City in a lunchtime game.

It was close enough in the first half with good chances at either end but the second half saw the visitors up their game and they duly and deservedly won 3-1.

There was a comedy moment after the interval when a foul on giant R's striker Hamzad Kargbo saw a Benny Hill-esque chase ensue as he pursued the aggressor around the pitch!

Also on my way home, it was pleasing to meet Jay, a young TLFG reader and scout for Motherwell who gave me all kinds of insight into that side of the football business.

My second match saw me travel up to the Abbey Stadium on Sunday to see Actonians' final game of the season against Cambridge United.

Actonians celebrate the most successful season in their history

Needing to better Norwich City's result to finish third, they did just that, sweeping the Ambers aside with a very accomplished performance that saw them win 4-0.

With the Canaries losing to AFC Wimbledon, the A's secured the highest finish in their history - a huge achievement given they don't have their own ground, limited finances and a tiny fanbase.

The likes of Brentford, Fulham, Leyton Orient, Millwall and QPR all trailed in their wake.

I took my daughters to the game - their first away from home .

My eldest was lucky enough to join the players on the pitch for their celebratory team photo - a great moment.

My first full season as a committed supporter of a women's football team has been a fairly profound one.

Just over a year ago, I went to Loftus Road to collect a Supporter of the Year Award at QPR.

The rest of the afternoon saw me witness loads of unsavoury behaviour in the stands and some awful football on the pitch.

My then nine-year-old daughter found it an upsetting experience and I just thought that with all the negativity, I didn't need to rush back and pay £35 for the privilege during a cost of living crisis.

So as I approach the end of my 40th season as an R's fan, I've found myself not attending a single first-team game. 

I'm not proud of that but I'm also not even remotely disappointed, something I'm finding hard to explain given my previous passion for the club.

Don't get me wrong, they're still my team but the emotions don't run so deep any more.

However, my interest and enthusiasm in football has been well and truly rekindled over the last few months.

With the superb Women's Euros acting as a catalyst and my daughter already playing junior football for the club, I decided to really make an effort to watch the senior teams at Actonians in 2022/23.

I knew supporting the club was going to be a positive experience when I made the arduous journey to watch the team play eventual champions Hashtag United at Aveley's ground in early September.

Despite losing to an excellent side, they fought hard and then the whole team came over to the small group of travelling supporters to shake our hands and thank us for making the effort.

In all my time, even watching men's non-league football, I'd never personally experienced that.

As the games went by, it kept happening and the bond was strengthened.

The club themselves started to use my amateur match photos, taken on my phone, on their website, social media and even the match programmes.

I've chatted tactics and got real insight from players and have offered encouragement and support to them or the management staff in person or via social media.

Opportunities to volunteer on the some of the club's community projects have been rewarding as have watching the reserves and third teams when I've had the chance.

All in all I've felt valued in a way I never had done before at a football club and I've loved that.

I look forward to the weekends with real excitement again, in a way that had left me.

So thanks to all at Actonians - players, staff, board members and fellow fans (particularly Neil H) and bring on 2023/24.

I can't wait!


With many of our local non-league competitions now concluded, there's far less to watch than normal. The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, National League, Women's Super League and a few other games in our local non-league and women's competitions.

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.

Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Monday fixtures - yellow pin

In the following section, I list 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

Premier League
Arsenal v Chelsea @8pm - after getting mauled by Manchester City at the Etihad in midweek, the Gunners' title hopes appear to be in tatters. With Pep Guardiola's side also beating Fulham on Sunday to top the league for the first time in months, only a miracle will see the north London club come away with the silverware now. In a normal season, a match against the Blues would be tough but they're in such poor form that they're still mathematically within reach of the bottom three. If Arsenal do fail to win, they might as well give up. Tickets are not available to non-members

National League Play-Off Eliminator
Barnet v Boreham Wood @745pm - elsewhere in north London, the NL play-offs get underway with this big derby between the sides who finished fifth and sixth. The Bees edged the two regular season league games between them winning 2-1 at home and drawing 1-1 away. In the play-offs there's only one leg so the stakes are high. The winners face a daunting trip to Notts County in semi-finals. Other non-league play-off games have been drawing some massive crowds over the last week so you're strongly advised to buy your tickets in advance

London Senior Cup Final
Charlton Athletic U21 v Haringey Borough @745pm - it's all going on on the north side of town on Tuesday with this big county cup final also taking place at Hendon's ground. The Addicks have never won this competition whilst Haringey's only victory came way back in 1991 when they beat Walthamstow Pennant 1-0 in the final. Tickets will be available on the gate for around £10

Wednesday 3 May

Women's Super League
Chelsea v Liverpool @745pm - after suffering the disappointment of their narrow defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League, the Blues need to focus on regaining their WSL title. Manchester United have moved seven points clear of Emma Hayes' side at the top but the Londoners have three games in hand which need to be won. The first is against a midtable Reds side who appear to already be 'on the beach' after being thrashed 4-0 by then bottom club Leicester City on Saturday

Premier League International Cup Semi-Final
Crystal Palace v Valencia @7pm - the semi-final of this U21 competition is taking place at Selhurst Park on Wednesday. This young Eagles side have beaten Hertha Berlin, PSG, Braga and Liverpool on the way to the last four and should fancy their chances against their Spanish opponents. PSV await the winners. Tickets are £5

Middlesex Charity Cup Final
Northwood v Broadfields United @745pm - there's another decent bit of county cup silverware up for grabs on Wednesday. After missing out in the Isthmian League play-offs, Northwood will want to end their otherwise decent season on a high whilst underdogs Broadfields, who play a level below their opponents, have done brilliantly to get this far. The match is being played at Uxbridge


Thursday 4 May

CCL Women's Cup
London Seaward v Ebbsfleet United @8pm - it's been a bit of a running joke that this competition is probably the most secretive in the country. The draw is rarely, if ever publicised, often the teams taking part aren't sure where or when they're playing and certainly have no idea about what anyone else is up to. Some are under the impression it's for development teams whilst others have fielded their first teams. Heck, I think this is a semi-final but I'm not even sure as neither club have posted anything  about it on their websites or social media - yet...

Friday 5 May

Women's Super League
Arsenal v Leicester City @730pm - like Chelsea, the Gunners suffered Champions League semi-final disappointment after their extra-time loss to Wolfsburg at the Emirates. A bit like the men, their title hopes are beginning to diminish and they'll be effectively over if they lose to their struggling opponents

Brentford v Newcastle United @6pm - if you could benefit from an earlier kick-off then this U21 match at Hanwell Town could well be for you. A decent crowd should be expected in part because of Hanwell's strong links to both teams which is presumably why they've been chosen to host it

Premier League 2
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion @7pm - just a point apart in the PL2's top six, this U21 encounter at Motspur Park should be well worth a watch too

Essex Senior League Cup Final
Barking v Redbridge @745pm - if you're on the east side of town and want to see a game with a bit more meaning, head to Aveley's Parkside home which will be playing host to the ESL Cup Final aka the Errington Challenge Cup. Having finished second and then won promotion via the play-offs, Redbridge will start as favourites

Saturday 6 May

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace @3pm - now four games without a win, Spurs' Champions League aspirations are all but over. On Saturday they welcome the Eagles who reached 40 points on Saturday after a thrilling 4-3 win over West Ham as Roy Hodgson presided over another valuable win following his recent return to the club. The form guide suggests an away win. Tickets are only available to members

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Manchester City @1pm - with no other football taking place in the top 10 tiers, your next best option is this U21 game at Boreham Wood's ground. City are running  away with the PL2 too so will start as strong favourites. These matches are normally free entry

Sunday 7 May

Premier League
West Ham United v Manchester United @7pm - only four points above the relegation zone with five games to go, the Hammers face an incredibly tough week with a Wednesday night trip to Manchester City followed by this home game against United. If they come out of it with nothing, few will bat an eyelid. Despite all this, David Moyes' side have shown some positive signs in recent weeks and could get something on home territory as the showed against Arsenal recently. Tickets are available

National League South Play-Off Semi-Final
Dartford v St Albans City @1230pm - the Darts finished second to local rivals Ebbsfleet United and will hope to join them in the fifth tier next season. To do that they'll need to beat the Saints who made it through the midweek eliminator at Chelmsford City with an extra-time win. The last time they met at Princes Park was for a league game only two weeks ago and Dartford won 2-1. A large crowd is expected so you're advised to buy your tickets in advance

Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @12pm - there's also an U21 game at Spurs' training ground. It's a derby and a limited amount of free tickets are available - call 0344 844 0102 and choose Option 2 to book them

Women's Super League
Chelsea v Everton @645pm - if the Blues win here and, in the unlikely event, other results go their way, they could end the day just one point behind the leaders. Everton are the kind of midtable side they should beat fairly comfortably but the Merseyside club have only lost one of their last five and are looking to pip Aston Villa to fifth

ERWFL Premier
Haringey Borough v AFC Sudbury @2pm - with no more second, third or fourth tier women's football left to be played in London this season, the focus will next focus on the promotion battles in the fifth tier. The hosts' title bid has now ended but securing a place in the top three or four is still on. The visitors are five points clear at the top but with teams below them having games in hand, the title race isn't quite over. In most women's divisions, only one team go up so they'll want to win to keep themselves in the driving seat

LSE Women's League D1 North
Clapton CFC v Dorking Wanderers @2pm - by the time this kicks off, Dorking will probably have won one of their games in hand and moved up to second. As a result, CCFC will have slipped to fourth. As I understand it, the visitors have a bit of budget behind them thanks to the efforts of celebrity chairman Callum Best and they'll probably ultimately edge out Brentford for the title and the one promotion spot. The hosts could put a serious dent in their hopes if they do win in front of what should be a sizeable crowd at the Old Spotted Dog, London's oldest ground 

Monday 8 May

Premier League
Fulham v Leicester City @3pm - after appearing to have conquered their predisposition to yo-yo between the Premier League and Championship, finishing in the top half will surely be the Cottagers' very realistic goal at this point. They face a tough trip to Anfield in midweek before returning home to face a relegation-threatened Foxes side who are being kept out of the bottom three by goal difference. Tickets are available

Millwall v Blackburn Rovers @3pm - the Championship season concludes on Monday and there are still two play-off places up for grabs and five clubs vying for them. Two of them meet at The Den where the atmosphere should be amazing. The Lions have never played in the Premier League and a win here will secure a play-off semi-final against either Luton Town or Middlesbrough. Unsurprisingly it's sold out
QPR v Bristol City @3pm - the other two games have absolutely nothing riding on them at all thanks to the R's winning their last two games at Burnley and Stoke to secure survival in the division for another season. The ground should be close to full though as the Robins usually always bring a fair few to Loftus Road. It will also certainly be the last time veteran winger Albert Adomah plays for the hosts and he might even retire. A QPR fan himself, he's always been popular with the fans and he's also a Bristol City legend too so he should get a great send off. Games like this often end up being really entertaining as the shackles come off and the goals often fly in at both ends. Tickets
Watford v Stoke City @3pm - among the promotion contenders at the start of the season, the Hornets need to win this to have any chance of finishing in the top half. The churn of managers which often yields positive results at Vicarage Road, hasn't worked this time and latest boss Chris Wilder will be lucky to survive much beyond the final whistle of this one. The Potters have been even more underwhelming and can finish only as high as fifteenth if they win and Bristol City lose. Tickets

League Two
Sutton United v Carlisle United @1230pm - the League Two season also concludes on Monday. The U's have nothing to play for and are ending the season on a very poor run of form which is disappointing but they're safely in midtable. Carlisle, however, need a win to make sure of a play-off place so they've got plenty to for. Tickets

CCL Division 1 Play-Off Final
Rayners Lane v Langley @3pm - finishing fourth and fifth in the regular season, these two have caused a bit of an upset by beating London Samurai Rovers and Berks County to get this far. A place in the ninth tier will go to the victors

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.

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!

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1 comment:

  1. Absolutely unbelievable - the CCL Women's Cup game between London Seaward and Ebbsfleet United has been cancelled an hour before kickoff. All well and good to apologise but considering it takes an hour to get from certain parts of London by tube, that's not good enough