Monday 8 May 2023

TLFG: 9-14 May 2023

Hi, I hope you're well. Welcome to one of the last editions of TLFG for this season as all the leagues and cups start to really wind down.

Although there's not a lot on this week, what is happening is pretty big with a number of cup finals and league title/relegation deciders taking place.

One Wembley final has tickets available so if you've never been to the national stadium, this could be your chance - details are in the Daily Digest below.

Other than a youth tournament that my daughter's taking part in on Saturday, I'm not sure what I'll get to see this week as I stupidly booked myself into the Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday morning without checking my football dates!

Tickets are available for Saturday's game

With a lot of the senior football now completed, there's an extra focus this week on youth football and there are one or two extra games which could be of interest which I've included below.

So that's about it from me. Thankfully I've actually managed to get this published on time and thanks to all of you over the last week who have sent me updates or pointed out corrections where I'd got things wrong - much appreciated.

Lastly, many congratulations to Rayners Lane who won their CCL Division 1 Play-Off Final on Monday to finally make it out of the 10th tier - it seems they've been there or thereabouts for years so it's great to finally see them go up.



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

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange 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 9 May

Premier League Cup Final
Brentford v Blackburn Rovers @745pm - the GTech Stadium plays host to this U21 cup final on Tuesday. These sides both started off in Group D together and have made it all the way to the last two. In the group stage, the Bees won 3-2 at Blackburn while Rovers won the reverse fixture 2-1 so it should be close. Tickets are available and cost just £3

Professional Development League
Elsewhere in London there are three other U21 games at lunchtime which are all being played at clubs' main stadiums. Charlton play Hull at The Valley, QPR take on Wigan at Loftus Road and Watford entertain Burnley at Vicarage Road

Isthmian Youth League Final
Cray Valley PM v Worthing @745pm - the winners of the east division take on the champions of the south division in this U18 final at Bedfont Sports

Wednesday 10 May

Women's Super League
Chelsea v Leicester City @7pm - the Blues demolished Everton 7-0 on Sunday to close in on leaders Manchester United. The Foxes are still fighting hard to avoid relegation and only lost 1-0 to Arsenal on Friday so they can't be totally written off going into this one

Isthmian Development League Final
Brentwood Town v Hastings United @730pm - the champions of the north and south divisions of the Isthmian Development League do battle at Aveley for this U23 trophy

Thursday 11 May

UEFA Europa Conference League Semi-Final
West Ham United v AZ Alkmaar @8pm - after beating Manchester United on Sunday, the Hammers have put themselves in a strong position to avoid relegation from the Premier League. If they stay up and then win a European trophy, it'll probably go down as a pretty successful season. Dutch side AZ look like tricky opponents though - currently fourth in the Dutch league, they drew 0-0 with Ajax in Amsterdam on Saturday and knocked out Anderlecht and Lazio in previous rounds of this competition. Tickets have sold out

Surrey Premier Cup Semi-Final
FC Deportivo Galicia v Nottsborough @745pm - the hosts, who play at a higher level, will start as favourites here. The winners will play Godalming Town in the final

Saturday 13 May

Premier League
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest @3pm - the Blues scored a convincing victory at Bournemouth on Saturday to make absolutely sure of their place in the Premier League next season. On Saturday, Forest will be looking to take a large stride towards achieving the same thing. A hugely important win over Southampton on Monday took them out of the bottom three and a win here could leave them six points clear with two games to go. Tickets are available to members and their guests
Crystal Palace v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - despite losing to Spurs on Saturday, Palace are safe from relegation for another season. The Cherries are just a point behind them and will definitely avoid the drop with at least a draw here although they could still lose and stay up depending on other results. Tickets have sold out

National League Play-Off Final
Chesterfield v Notts County @330pm - they made it very hard for themselves but the teams who finished just behind champions Wrexham both scraped through to Wembley after winning their semi-finals 3-2. The organisers will probably be pretty chuffed about it too as these sides should generate a big crowd and create a great spectacle. Notts County beat the Spireites 2-1 when they last played in February and also came out on top when they met in the play-offs two years ago. Tickets are available

Anagram Records Trophy Final
Belstone v Old Bradwell United @3pm - aka the Capital Counties Feeder League Trophy, this knockout competition is for clubs, primarily in the 11th tier, who don't qualify to compete in the FA Vase. The final is taking place at Uxbridge FC. If you want to make a day of it, the same venue is hosting the MCFL Division 1 Cup Final between Ickenham and Hayes & Hillingdon at 745pm

SPCFL Premier Division
Staines & Lammas (Middlesex) v Wimbledon Casuals @3pm - in the 11th tier, there's a title decider being played at Abbey Rangers' ground in the Addlestone/Chertsey area. Currently level on points with leaders AFC Cubo, who have completed their fixtures, Wimbledon Casuals just a need a draw to win the title

Sunday 14 May

Premier League
Brentford v West Ham United @2pm - the Bees narrowly lost to Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday but with 50 points they remain in the top half. As mentioned above, the Hammers recorded a hugely important 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Sunday which means that a win here will see them avoid the drop. Tickets are not available
Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion @430pm - the Gunners kept their title hopes alive by notching an impressive away win at Newcastle over the weekend. One point behind leaders Manchester City but having played a game more, they're still very much the underdogs but they have a chance. Brighton's hopes of a top-six finish were dealt a blow by relegation-threatened Everton who went to the Amex and stunned everyone by winning 5-1 on Monday. Still with two games in hand on sixth-placed Spurs, the Seagulls could and should finish among the country's elite group of teams. Tickets are not available

Women's FA Cup Final
Chelsea v Manchester United @230pm - I've been to every final since 2018 but stupidly booked a place in the Bristol Half Marathon, on Sunday morning, without checking my dates and ruled myself out of being able to go this. Thankfully I won't be missed because for the first time ever, the final has sold out and Wembley should be rocking. It's also the first time the Red Devils have made it to the final and with them currently top of the WSL and Chelsea second, it should be an absolutely cracking game. The Blues are also the reigning champions and have won three of the last five finals, so I really hope United prevail just to see someone different win

LSE Women's Regional League Premier Division
Millwall Lionesses v Dulwich Hamlet @630pm - originally scheduled to be played at a different ground at lunchtime, this local derby has been moved to The Den at short notice to see that both sides end their seasons on a high. To top it all, it's been made free entry and given the late kick-off, you can now see three games on Sunday. Great stuff!

LSE Women's League Division 1 North
AFC Whyteleafe v Brentford @330pm - with the season reaching its climax it's now a two-horse race for the title between the Bees and Dorking Wanderers. The Surrey club have a game in hand against bottom club Leatherhead on Tuesday. If they win, they will go top by one point and then both sides will have two games to go. Both sides are playing very similar midtable teams on Sunday but if the Bees lose here and Dorking win at Watford Development, then the title race will be over with a game to spare

GLWFL Cup Finals Day
If you're on the west side of town and fancy gorging on a double bill of women's cup final football then head to Bedfont Sports, a short walk from Hatton Cross Tube station. For £3 you'll get to see the dramatically named Impact take on AFC Wimbledon Development in the Sue Sharples Memorial Trophy at 1115am before Actonians Reserves look to complete a league and cup double by beating Tooting Bec in the John Greenacre Memorial Trophy at 230pm

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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