Monday 15 April 2024

TLFG: 15-21 April 2024

TLFG is back for another week and I'm really glad you could drop in.

How have the last few days of football watching been for you?

I actually managed to see a whopping two matches!

First up, on Tuesday, I took my youngest daughter to see her first match at Loftus Road.

It was an U21 game against Crewe Alexandra and QPR did us all proud by going on to win 7-0.

My first game at Loftus Road was way back in 1983, was also against Crewe and the R's also won by a seven-goal margin (8-1), there's some crazy kind of symmetry going on there!

The impressive THS played host to a Women's FA Cup Semi-Final on Sunday

It was also notable how there were a lot of Bayern Munich fans in crowd for this lunchtime game.

Over for their Champions League match against Arsenal, they'd obviously opted to do a 'double' and it was interesting to see that by the end it was the match with the most check-ins on Futbology so far that day.

On Sunday I took my eldest daughter and a friend to watch Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City in a Women's FA Cup Semi-Final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The THS is now arguably the best stadium in the country. 

I went to the first Premier League game played there against Crystal Palace five years ago and was really impressed with pretty much everything.

This time our seats in the Lower North Stand behind the goal were great but the catering was abysmal.

I'd downloaded the stadium app which promised all kinds of vegetarian and vegan delights but on arrival, the best the club could offer was smashed avocado on sourdough which a couple of 11-year-olds didn't want to touch with a bargepole.

A request to simply buy a portion of waffle fries was refused as you had to buy it in combination with a meat product.

So a bag of salt and vinegar crisps had to suffice - poor, Spurs, very poor!

As for the game itself, Tottenham made heavy weather of it and had to come from behind to beat a spirited Leicester side 2-1 with a goal just before the end of extra time.

The win sees the north London club make it to their first ever Women's FA Cup Final and I'm really chuffed for boss Robert Vilahamn who is also a volunteer youth coach at Actonians and an all-round nice guy by the sounds of things.

They'll play Manchester United at Wembley in four weeks after the Red Devils beat Chelsea in the other tie.

Lastly this week, many thanks to Mark K from Massachusetts, USA who made a donation to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund - I really appreciate it.

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week we've got matches in the Premier League, FA Cup, Europa League, EFL, National League, Women's Super League and all the other non-league and women's competitions which our local clubs compete in.

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


    
TLFG DAILY DIGEST
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.

Monday 15 April

Premier League
Chelsea v Everton @8pm - despite their somewhat embarrassing draw with bottom club Sheffield United last time out, the Blues are still capable of achieving a top-six finish as they've played fewer games than any club in the division. History says they should pick up three points here as they haven't lost to the Toffees at Stamford Bridge since 1994, which is their longest unbeaten home run (28 games) against any club. Sean Dyche's side slipped back towards the relegation zone last week when they were deducted two more points for financial reasons so badly need to get something. Tickets are only available to members

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Aston Villa @7pm - just over 24 hours after seeing the first team suffer a wounding 2-0 defeat to Villa, the Gunners' U21 side face the same opposition in this PL2 game. A win for the hosts will take them into the top four. This match is being played at Boreham Wood

CCL Premier North
Hilltop v Rayners Lane @745pm - leaders Flackwell Heath won their game in hand on Saturday, meaning they're now four points clear of title rivals Rayners Lane with four games to go. Psychologically this must be tough for the visitors' players as they were top for so long. Hilltop are in the bottom four primarily because they've played so few games and their schedule is bonkers with eight games in the next two weeks, then there's a few more after that! This is being played at Uxbridge and tickets will be available on the gate
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Tuesday 16 April

Premier League International Cup Semi-Final
Crystal Palace v Everton @7pm - the Eagles made the final of this U21 competition last season where they lost to PSV Eindhoven. With the Dutch club making the final again, things are all set for Palace to gain revenge. However, they need to get through this tie first and they should as they're several places above the Toffees in the PL2 table. This is being played at Selhurst Park and tickets should be available on arrival

Surrey Senior Cup Semi-Final
Sutton United v Farnham Town @730pm - League Two side Sutton are the second most successful side the in this competition's history with 15 wins from their 28 appearances in the final. On Tuesday they welcome an ambitious club who've just won the CCL Premier South title and will no doubt want to do a double. Tickets will be available on the gate

National League
Wealdstone v Eastleigh @745pm - as we head into the final week of the NL season, one relegation place is still available and a staggering eight teams are all still scrambling to avoid it. Both of these sides are in that group and a draw will be enough for both of them to stay up if Boreham Wood lose their match at Rochdale. If The Wood win, then it could go to the final day. Tickets

Isthmian League South Central
Raynes Park Vale v Metropolitan Police @745pm - with Chertsey winning the title at the weekend, it's now all about who will claim a play-off spot. Five teams are in contention but only four will get one. RPV are currently occupying the last one but Westfield are two points behind with a game in hand so they really need to win this. The Met are in the bottom four and although they will probably stay up they could probably do with one more win to make sure of it. Tickets will be available on the gate

SSML Premier
Cockfosters v Milton Keynes Irish @745pm - the hosts still have a slim chance of making the play-offs. Seventh at the time of writing, they have a 12-point gap to make up on FC Romania but seven games in which to do it. The visitors are second, in a two-horse title race with Real Bedford and could go level on points with a win here. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Division 1 Cup Second Round
British Airways v Amersham Town @745pm - the top two in this division do battle in this cup competition which must be way behind schedule given this is only a second-round game. Amersham have already won the title so they'll be keen to do the double and don't have the distraction of securing second spot which BA still do. Tickets will be available on the gate

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Wednesday 17 April

Isthmian League Cup Final
Chatham Town v Hashtag United @745pm - with three cup finals taking place across town on Wednesday, you're really spoilt for choice. The biggest is this one which is being played at Aveley's ground. Running since the 1974-75 season, neither of these sides have ever won it. The Chats are currently second in the league so should start as favourites against the midtable Tags. Tickets will be available on the gate

Middlesex Senior Cup Final
Hayes & Yeading United v Rayners Lane @745pm - after trouncing Harrow Borough 5-0 in last year's final, H&YU are back to defend their title. On paper they should beat Rayners Lane who play two divisions below them but the Tithe Farm club have spent a lot on recruiting players with EFL and higher-division experience so it should be closer than it might at first look. This is being played at Uxbridge and tickets are available in advance

London Senior Trophy Final
Croydon v Wimbledon Casuals @8pm - the Trams bowed out at the semi-final stage last season to lower division opposition. This year they've made it all the way to the final and they're the favourites again as they play a side from the 11th tier Surrey Premier County League. However, Casuals should be tough to beat as they won that league last season and appear to be well on course to win it again. This is being played at Carshalton Athletic and tickets will be available on the gate

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Great Wakering Rovers @745pm - elsewhere in non-league, I really like the look of this game between two sides who are hoping for some play-off glory. The hosts are third and have already secured their place in the post-season whilst GWR have lots of games in hand after making it to the FA Vase Final at Wembley next month. Down in seventh, they have eight games remaining to make up the 13-point gap on fifth placed Sporting Bengal United. Tickets will be available on the gate

Women's Super League
Chelsea v Aston Villa @7pm - it's a really significant night of action in the women's game too. With Emma Hayes leaving the Blues at the end of the season, there was much talk of her completing a quadruple of trophy wins to sign off with. Sadly for her a double is the best outcome now. After losing to Arsenal in the League Cup Final, they lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday so it's now all about the WSL and Champions League. A win by two goals or more against midtable Villa will put them back on top of the league on goal difference with four games to go. This is being played at Kingsmeadow and tickets are available

L&SE Women's League Premier
Dartford v Ebbsfleet United @745pm - Dulwich Hamlet won on Sunday to open a six-point lead over the second placed Darts who have three games to go. Given the Hamlet also have a far superior goal difference, it's effectively a seven-point lead. In the harsh world of women's football, only one team get promoted so realistically a win is the only acceptable outcome for the hosts. Standing in their way are local rivals Ebbsfleet who have nothing to play for but are fourth and clearly a decent side. Tickets will be available on the gate

L&SE Women's League D1 North
Brentford v Richmond Park @745pm - although I'm told they don't pay their players, the Bees' resources dwarf anything that any other team in this division can muster. Despite this, they still have a battle on their hands to win the title. Thirteen points behind leaders SL Benfica, they have four games in hand so if they win them all they'll still be a point adrift. That's because they only managed a 2-2 draw at Clapton CFC on Sunday and Benfica won 10-0 against Hackney. Richmond Park are one of the weakest teams in the division so will almost certainly lose here. The most interesting thing about this game for groundhoppers is that it's being played at Wheatsheaf Park. Staines Town's former ground is now being used as a secondary venue by Brentford in the same way Chelsea do with Kingsmeadow so if you haven't been yet, pay it a visit. Tickets are £2

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Thursday 18 April

Europa League Quarter-Final Second Leg
West Ham United v Bayer Leverkusen @8pm - the chances of the Hammers making a second consecutive European final look slim. Bayer were crowned Bundesliga champions at the weekend and won the first leg 2-0. The Hammers warmed up for this with a 2-0 home loss to Fulham. I don't really know what much more I can say other than for the first time in ages, tickets aren't available which is highly unusual for West Ham games. If you do have one, just go along and marvel at what Xabi Alonso has achieved with the German title winners

Southern League Premier South
Hanwell Town v Plymouth Parkway @745pm - there's a juicy relegation six-pointer to be enjoyed at the Powerday Stadium. The Geordies looked as if they'd pulled themselves clear of the bottom four but one win from seven has left them in a real pickle. Third from bottom but only a point adrift with three games to go, a win here against the side just above them will make a big difference. Tickets will be available on the gate

Middlesex Charity Cup Semi-Final
Uxbridge v Broadfields United @745pm - ninth tier Broadfields continue the defence of their MCC title with a trip to the Reds who won it the year before. On paper, the hosts should start as favourites as they play a level above the visitors. Tickets will be available on the gate

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Friday 19 April

Premier League Cup Semi-Final
Chelsea v Fulham @7pm - get your weekend underway with this attractive looking U21 fixture at Kingsmeadow. Neither of these sides have made the final since the competition began in 2013-14. The Cottagers are one place above the Blues in the PL2 table so it should be close. The winners will play Peterborough United or Sunderland in the final. Tickets will be available on the gate 

ECL Division 1 South
Barkingside v Dunmow Town @745pm - both sides will complete their league fixtures with this game. If the the 'Side win at Hoddesdon on Tuesday, they'll finish snugly in midtable whatever happens here. Dunmow are in a battle with Clapton CFC and Cannons Wood for the last play-off place. If they win at Newbury Forest on Monday, then another win here will secure it. Tickets will be available on the gate
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Previews for the 20-21 April to follow



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, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 

Sunday 7 April 2024

TLFG: 8-14 April 2024

Welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

How was your week? 

I didn't see any live football, most of my focus was on a job interview I had on Thursday - hopefully I'll have some news on that one way or another in the next week or two.

My teams had a very mixed weekend.

After superb back-to-back wins over Birmingham and Swansea to pull themselves six points clear of the relegation zone, QPR lost 2-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday who were and still are in the bottom three!

I'm heading to the THS on Sunday and you could be too - tickets

Harrow Borough are pretty much down but still managed a 2-1 win over Beaconsfield Town to keep the hope alive. 

To be fair, even if they don't make it out of the bottom four, finishing at the top of the relegation zone could be enough to stay up if someone else folds or takes voluntary relegation as was the case last season.

In the women's game, Actonians powered to a 5-2 win over Haywards Heath Town which relegated the Sussex club.

Teenage striker Tori St Clair scored another hat-trick to take her tally to 19 goals in 19 games - impressive stuff for a 17-year-old playing at this level for the first time.

I've got a fair bit of time off this week and might pop into Loftus Road for the U21 game on Tuesday before visiting relatives in Devon at the weekend.

However, I'll be coming back to take my daughter and a friend to see Spurs play Leicester City in the semi-finals of the Women's FA Cup at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

If you've not been to this fine ground, this is a great opportunity to do it at a knockdown price - my ticket was £15.

Anyway, I think that's about it so have a great few days - the football calendar is absolutely packed at non-league level because of all the wet weather postponements in recent weeks.

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week we've got matches in the Premier League, EFL, National League, Women's Super League, Women's FA Cup and all the other non-league and women's competitions which our local clubs compete in.

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


    
TLFG DAILY DIGEST
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.

Monday 8 April

U21 Matches
There are a trio of matches spread throughout the day on Monday. Fulham kick things off against Middlesbrough at their training ground at 12pm, Watford host Hull City at Vicarage Road at 2pm before Crystal Palace conclude proceedings against Everton at 7pm at Sutton United's ground. Tickets should be no more than £5 at any of them. Check with the clubs before you travel for all the latest info

CCL Premier North
Hilltop v Rayners Lane @745pm - the hosts face a brutal schedule to clear their backlog of games before the end of the season. Even if it does ultimately get too much for them, they'll probably still just about stay up. Rayners Lane have been top pretty much all season after assembling an impressive and expensive squad but a points deduction for fielding an ineligible player has seen them usurped by Flackwell Heath. Still only a point behind but having played a game more, they have to win here to keep the pressure on. This match is being played at the Middlesex Stadium in Hillingdon
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Tuesday 9 April

Champions League Quarter-Final First Leg
Arsenal v Bayern Munich @8pm - it seems hard to believe but this is the first time the Gunners have made the last eight of this competition since 2010. During the same period, Bayern have been to four finals and won two to make them truly one of the super clubs of Europe. However, despite this pedigree they're not in great form this year. Currently a whopping 16 points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen with six games to go and on a run of two consecutive defeats, the Bavarian giants look very beatable as they head to north London to take on the Premier League leaders. Tickets are not available

Championship
Millwall v Leicester City @745pm - can't get in at the Emirates? Then head to The Den where this second-tier match has all the ingredients to keep you royally entertained. The Lions sit precariously just two points above the relegation zone whilst leaders Leicester are locked in a thrilling title race with Ipswich and Leeds which often sees all three share top spot over the course of a round of matches - it's that close! Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Wigan Athletic @745pm - the Addicks extended their unbeaten run to 11 matches with an impressive win over play-off chasing Barnsley on Saturday. It took Nathan Jones' side to 50 points which will probably be enough to keep them up. Next up they face 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan who sit just two points above them in the table and look very beatable after only one win in five. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Exeter City @745pm - nine points adrift of the play-off places with four games to go, any slim chance the O's have of going up will almost certainly end here if they don't win. They face a midtable Grecians side with nothing to play for but who are third in the form table after picking up 14 points from their last six games. Tickets

National League
Barnet v Bromley @745pm - it doesn't come much bigger than this in London non-league circles. Currently second and third in the fifth tier these two sides have been fruitlessly chasing now champions Chesterfield all season but only one of them can join them via the play-offs. To get a bye through the first round of the play-offs you have to finish second or third. Barnet look pretty secure but Bromley have Altrincham and Solihull Moors snapping at their heels so they can't afford too many slip ups in their last four games. Tickets
Wealdstone v Southend United @745pm - it's a totally different story for Barnet's local rivals Wealdstone who are in real difficulty after being thrashed 4-0 by fellow strugglers Boreham Wood on Saturday. They face a tough game against the Shrimpers who are unbeaten in 13 and would be in the play-off spots if it wasn't for a points deduction earlier in the campaign. Tickets

National League South
Dartford v Worthing @745pm - the Darts pulled off a vital away win at Havant & Waterlooville in their big relegation six-pointer on Saturday. The result keeps them in the bottom four but only one point adrift of safety. The visitors, on the other hand, picked up a stunning 3-1 win at leaders Yeovil to stop them winning the title whilst all-but securing their own play-off place. It looks like being a tough night for the hosts. Tickets
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Bath City @745pm - two more sides looking secure play-off spots meet at The Beveree. In this division the sides in second to seventh make the post-season and these clubs currently fill the last two spots. With the three or four sides below them all within touching distance, this is a game neither can really afford to lose. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Wingate & Finchley v Hastings United @745pm - we've got a bit of a David v Goliath contest here as one of the smallest clubs in the division takes on one of the biggest. Despite being one of the minnows, W&F always keep their heads above water but this year, they're threatening to do the unthinkable and get promoted! Last week they beat Hornchurch to delay them winning the title and now sit fourth after a comfortable win at bottom club Concord Rangers on Saturday. Hastings sit just two points outside the top five and will be desperate to win here so they can break into that elite group. Tickets will be available on the gate

Premier League International Cup Semi-Final
West Ham United v PSV Eindhoven @7pm - the Hammers take on reigning champions PSV in the last four of this U21 competition. The Dutch club beat Crystal Palace in the final last year and look well capable of defending their crown. This is being played at Dagenham & Redbridge and tickets should be available on the gate

Professional Development League
QPR v Crewe Alexandra @1pm - if you fancy seeing two games on Tuesday and want to visit Loftus Road on the cheap then this is the match for you. The R's U21 side will go second in Group South if they beat Crewe and they should as they're bottom of the 11-team Group North. Games like this are usually "pay what you want" with all proceeds to the club's trust

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Wednesday 10 April

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Barnsley @2pm - this early kick-off provides another chance to see two games in a day. Being played at Dartford's ground, this midtable U21 clash isn't quite as enticing as some of the others above but a double's a double right? Tickets will be available on the gate

SSML Premier
London Lions v Cockfosters @745pm - there's a north London derby at Rowley Lane on Wednesday. Neither of these sides have pulled up any trees this season until now. Suddenly Cockfosters have a chance of breaking into the top five. Although 11 points adrift, they have four games in hand on fifth placed Harpenden and a total of 10 games still to play. Their schedule over the next few weeks is punishing but will they pull it off? A win here would help. Tickets will be available on the gate

Middlesex Premier Cup Final
Brook House v RB Kensington @745pm - a decent bit of silverware is up for grabs at Hanwell Town on Wednesday where two CCL Division 1 sides will battle it out. On the current league standings RBK will start as favourites. Tickets are £8

SCEFL Division 1
FC Elmstead v Lewisham Borough @745pm - a fierce battle for the final play-off spot in this division is in full swing. The hosts are the current incumbents but Lewisham are one of three teams within two points of them and they have a game in hand. Tickets will be available on the gate 

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Thursday 11 April

National League
Wealdstone v Dorking Wanderers @745pm - the Stones, along with Gateshead, have played fewer games than anyone else hence the need for another midweek fixture. It's looking like being absolutely huge too as it's against one of their main rivals to avoid the drop. Tickets

Southern League Premier South
Hanwell Town v Sholing @745pm - at the time of writing, these two are also in a relegation scrap in this seventh-tier division. The table could look slightly different after results earlier in the week but a win here would be priceless for both. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Premier North
North Greenford United v Bedfont Sports @745pm - the visitors have been third for seemingly ages and it's highly likely that's where they'll finish. NGU have a load of games in hand after poor weather and a great run in the FA Vase caused a number of postponements. In theory they have the players to get a play-off place but will they have the fitness to secure it? Tickets will be available on the gate

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Friday 12 April

Premier League 2
Crystal Palace v Chelsea @7pm - get your weekend underway with this attractive looking U21 fixture at Sutton United's ground. The Blues could break into the top six with a win at the midtable Eagles. Tickets will be available on the gate

Essex Senior League
Woodford Town v Sporting Bengal United @745pm - if you'd prefer a non-league game instead then head north-east where two sides who have led the division meet for a bit of Friday night football. The hosts have already secured their play-off spot and a win for SBU would pretty much wrap-up theirs. Tickets will be available on the gate
Ilford v Coggeshall Town @745pm - at the other end of the division it's approaching last-chance saloon time for Ilford who are eight points adrift of safety with four games to go. Here they play the bottom club who have already been relegated who will no doubt want to do what they can to take them with them. This is being played at Barking's ground and tickets will be available on the gate
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Saturday 13 April

Premier League
Brentford v Sheffield United @3pm - the Bees came from 2-0 down to eventually draw 3-3 at high-flying Aston Villa last weekend to extend their unbeaten run to three games. Sadly for them, all three have been draws so they're still only four points above the relegation zone. The Blades have been bottom for a while and seemingly a lost cause in many people's eyes but they managed a 2-2 draw with Chelsea and Sunday and are mathematically quite capable of staying up. Essentially this is a must-win game for both. Tickets are only available to members

Championship
Millwall v Cardiff City @3pm - the Lions picked up a priceless and unexpected 1-0 win over title-chasing Leicester on Tuesday to give their hopes of staying up a massive boost. Still only four points above the relegation zone, they've still got plenty to do. Nine points adrift of the play-off places with four games to go, Cardiff have realistically little to play for other than trying to end a winless run at The Den which stretches back to 2012. Tickets

National League
Bromley v Solihull Moors @3pm - having lost at home to Solihull in the FA Trophy last weekend, the Ravens now have a chance for some instant revenge in the league. Last time a trip to Wembley was at stake, this time it's a place in the top three and a bye through the first round of the play-offs. Both teams have accrued nine points from their last six games but the visitors seem to have a bit more momentum and will move above Bromley with a win here. Tickets
Wealdstone v Chesterfield @3pm - the Stones were sinking fast under news boss David Noble and they took the decision to sack him on Sunday after the 4-0 humiliation at Boreham Wood. His tenure lasted only 73 days. First-team coach Sam Cox took charge for a busy schedule of two midweek games. They lost 2-1 to Southend before coming from 2-0 down to beat relegation rivals Dorking Wanderers 4-2 on Thursday to keep themselves out of the bottom four. On Saturday they welcome the Spireites who have already won the league. With three defeats from four, they appear to have taken their feet off the gas. Tickets

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Dover Athletic @3pm - the hosts' lack of form finally caught up with them on Thursday night as Farnborough beat Chippenham to move above them into seventh. Now outside the play-off places on goal difference, the Beavers have got three games to turn things around and force their way back in. They won't get a much better chance to win than a match against bottom club Dover. The Kent club have been pretty abject this season and have already been relegated. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Wingate & Finchley v Haringey Borough @3pm - in the seventh tier we have a north London derby at Summers Lane. Located around 3 miles apart, either side of Alexandra Palace, these two have experienced very different seasons. If Wingate win this and other results go their way then they will secure a play-off spot, a superb achievement for a club which draws the smallest average attendance in the division. Haringey have had an unexpected shocker and have already been relegated - let's see if they have enough to ruin their neighbours' big day. Tickets will be available on the gate

Isthmian League South Central
Chertsey Town v Ascot United @3pm - Alwyns Lane would appear to be the place to be in the eighth tier on Saturday. The Curfews have been top for a while and they'll clinch the title with a win here, a draw could also be enough if Marlow fail to beat Westfield. The visitors stormed to the CCL Premier North title last season and won the FA Vase so a lot more was expected of them than the midtable finish they're set for. Nevertheless, they only play a few miles to the west and should bring a few fans for this derby. Chertsey have been averaging crowds of 580 this season and it wouldn't surprise me if they break four figures for this one so buy your ticket in advance

CCL Premier North
Bedfont Sports v Flackwell Heath @3pm - the biggest game in the ninth tier would appear to be this match between the sides in third and first in this division. The hosts are on an impressive 14-match unbeaten run which should see them make the play-offs. It should also mean they provide incredibly stiff opposition for the Heathens who need every point they can get to pip Rayners Lane to the title and the one automatic promotion place which is available. Tickets will be available on the gate

SCEFL Division 1
AFC Whyteleafe v Lewisham Borough @3pm - with four games to go, the Leafe are another local side who have a title win in their sights. Not as dominant as some clubs, they only have a three-point lead so a win here is vital. Lewisham, however, broke back into the top five with a crucial win at FC Elmstead on Tuesday and will do whatever it takes to hold on to that last play-off spot. Tickets will be available on the gate

AFA Senior Cup Final
Civil Service v Actonians @3pm - the showpiece event for the amateur game in London takes place at Norsemen FC in Edmonton. Founded in 1863, Civil Service are one of the oldest clubs in the world and have reached the final 10 times, more than any other club. Actonians, the men's side, have won all four of the finals they've competed in. The sides are only two points apart in the Southern Amateur League so it should be close. Admission is free so just turn up and enjoy
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Sunday 14 April

Premier League
West Ham United v Fulham @2pm - with only one defeat in five, the Hammers are just about hanging on to seventh place which would see them qualify for Europe again. The Cottagers have coasted to midtable safety this season and have little to play for coming into this. They also come into the game knowing they demolished David Moyes' side 5-0 when they last played in December so pretty much any result is possible here. Tickets
Arsenal v Aston Villa @430pm - the big game of the day sees two of the top five meet at the Emirates. The Gunners are top of the table and top of the form table so things are looking pretty good for Mikel Arteta's side. However, with Liverpool and Manchester City still snapping at their heels, they'e got to keep winning. Villa blew a 2-0 lead against lowly Brentford last weekend to lose their place in the top four so they'll be desperate to reclaim it as soon as possible. Tickets are only available to members. Hospitality packages are available from £1,630

Isthmian League South East
Erith & Belvedere v Three Bridges @3pm - if you fancy a non-league game instead then your're in luck. The Deres have had a very disappointing season after winning promotion to this level last year. With four games to go, they're seven points adrift of safety so although the task ahead of them is incredibly tough it's not impossible. It's a different story for the visitors who could confirm a play-off place with a win here. Tickets will be available on the gate 

Women's FA Cup Semi-Final
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City @12pm - the biggest match of the day in the women's game takes place at the THS where Spurs have made it to the final four for the first time in their history. Since taking over in the summer, boss Robert Vilahamn has done a fine job to guide his side into the top six and be on the verge of a Wembley final. Leicester are ninth in the table and were beaten in a league game recently so they'll rarely get a better chance to make it to an FA Cup Final. Tickets are £15 and I've got mine



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, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 

Monday 1 April 2024

TLFG: 2-7 April 2024

Welcome one and all to this week's TLFG.

The last couple of weeks has required a lot of plate spinning on my behalf with the demands of Non-League Day (NLD), this blog, work and family drama!

Thankfully everything's more or less where it should be.

Going back to NLD on 23 March, I had quite a day.

After getting ready, four of us met at Clapham Junction and headed down to Hampshire to watch the match between Eastleigh and Hartlepool United.

We got there around 1245 and after signing in we went pitch side to meet the team from our charity partners Prostate Cancer UK.

Yours truly during a chat with Glenn Murray at Eastleigh

Alongside them was the Premier League trophy dazzling in the sun on its plinth and available for photos.

After having a snap or two with it, legendary football presenter Jeff Stelling arrived.

A fan of Hartlepool and PCUK ambassador, he joined me for a picture with the trophy too before setting off to do some more media.

Not to be outdone, I had a chat with BBC Tees and then did an interview for the Premier League with former Crystal Palace and Brighton striker Glenn Murray asking me the questions - a very affable chap.

There was more Premier League presence in the rival dugouts with Hartlepool led by 1999-00 golden boot winner Kevin Phillips and former Sunderland goalkeeper Kelvin Davis who had recently taken over at Eastleigh.

With all the talking out of the way, it was time to enjoy the game.

Eschewing a seat in the press box, the four of us headed out to the terraces instead.

Starting off alongside the pitch, we swiftly moved when some very dark clouds began rolling down from the north.

We managed to get some of the last spots on the covered terrace behind the goal and remained there as an almighty hail storm battered the players and the ground.

The match itself wasn't a classic and ended 1-1 which seemed about right.

NLD is primarily an awareness raising exercise so it was pleasing to see #NonLeagueDay climb as high as number two on the X trending charts in the UK during the game.

At Eastleigh, the crowd of 2,500 was about 18% up on their average attendance.

During the week I got round to doing some more figures and discovered that the average attendance rise at each match was 24% whilst the increase in the overall aggregate attendance in Steps 1-4 compared to the average amount was up 22.7%.

All in all, it was a pretty successful day.

In the week since, I've seen QPR have a fantastic Easter beating Birmingham City and Swansea City to move six points clear of the relegation zone.

Harrow Borough blew a healthy lead at Walton & Hersham to draw 4-4 and then welcomed nearly 700 fans to Earlsmead on Monday to witness Chesham United win 4-1 and clinch the Southern League Premier South title.

In the women's game, Actonians won the big derby against QPR 4-2 to do the double over their local rivals for the first time in a while.

Liam and I meet AFC Wimbledon mascot Haydon

The only match I went to see live came elsewhere in the A's division as I went to watch leaders AFC Wimbledon host second placed Norwich City on Easter Sunday at Carshalton Athletic with my increasingly frequent match companion Liam.

A win for the Dons would pretty much have assured them the title and promotion and they headed into injury time with a 2-0 lead but somehow blew it as the Canaries scored twice for a 2-2 draw - the equaliser can be seen on TLFG's YouTube channel.

Although the south London club will still almost certainly win the title, they can't celebrate just yet.

Right that's it - all my focus is now on getting ready for a job interview at work on Thursday. 

However it goes, I can't wait for it to be over!

THE WEEK AHEAD

This week we've got matches in the Premier League, EFL, National League, two big games at Wembley and all the other non-league and women's competitions which our local clubs compete in.

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 - turquoise 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 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 April

Premier League
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur @815pm - with Easter behind us, this week's truncated coverage begins with this big derby at the London Stadium. The rivalry between these clubs has always been pretty fierce but it's worth noting that the two fought over the right to make this ground their home after the 2012 Olympics. The Hammers are currently unbeaten in three against Spurs at this venue and won the reverse fixture at the THS in December. Tottenham are 12 points clear of West Ham at the time of writing and you'd expect them to start as favourites. Tickets

U21 Matches
There are a couple of good U21 options on Tuesday with Watford hosting Swansea City at Vicarage Road at 2pm and QPR playing Charlton Athletic at Hanwell Town at 7pm. Tickets to watch the Hornets can be bought online in advance whilst it's pay on the gate for Rangers - it's £5 at both

CCL Premier North
Hilltop v Chalfont St Peter @745pm - there's a relegation six-pointer in this ninth-tier division where two of the bottom three meet at Uxbridge's ground. Only one team go down but there's only four points between the three teams at the foot of the table so this is big. Tickets will be available on the gate
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Wednesday 3 April

Premier League
Arsenal v Luton Town @730pm - the Hatters travelled to north London on Saturday to Spurs and fought hard before losing to a late goal, sadly a very familiar story to their fans this season. On Wednesday they appear to have an even tougher task against the title-chasing Gunners. Mikel Arteta's side drew 0-0 at reigning champions Manchester City on Sunday to remain in a very strong position. On paper you'd expect Arsenal to win fairly comfortably but it wasn't easy at all at Kenilworth Road where they edged to a 4-3 victory in one of the games of the season. Tickets are only available to members
Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion @730pm - the Bees scored a 99th-minute equaliser to salvage a point against Manchester United on Saturday, a result which left them five points clear of the relegation zone. Since joining the Premier League in 2021, Brentford have only won one of the five games against the Seagulls and lost at the Amex in December. Brighton have been inconsistent this season and are sliding towards midtable. However, a win here could put them back in strong contention for a Europa Conference League place. Tickets are only available to members

London Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Balham v Metropolitan Police @745pm - securing a play-off place must surely be the priority for the hosts but doing well in this cup, which they won in 2018, would be a nice bonus. The Met looked to be on course for a second consecutive relegation but that fear seems to have been put to bed, freeing them up to concentrate on this. Playing a level above Balham, they're probably marginal favourites

London & SE Women's League Premier
Dulwich Hamlet v Fulham @745pm - there's a huge match in the women's fifth tier on Wednesday. In this division only the champions get promoted. If the hosts win this game in hand, they will move above Dartford and go top on goal difference and leave the Cottagers four points behind in third with three games to go. If Fulham win then only three points will separate the top three going into the final games of the season. Tickets will be available on the gate

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Thursday 4 April

Premier League
Chelsea v Manchester United @815pm - Thursday night's programme is dominated by this huge match between two of the biggest clubs in the country. Although they are big, both are somewhat on their uppers being nowhere near as successful as they have been. Multiple title winners, both are well off the pace and come into this on the back of disappointing draws against two of the smallest clubs in the top flight. Given some of the titanic matches these sides have played, I was surprised to find that United are unbeaten in 12 league games against the Blues. Tickets have sold out but hospitality tickets are available from £800!

Premier League Cup Quarter-Final
Fulham v Crystal Palace @7pm - if £800 is out of your price range, then this U21 game at the Cottagers' training ground in Motspur Park could be for you. Tickets are usually available on the gate for no more than £5
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Friday 5 April

UEFA Women's Euro 2025 qualifier
England v Sweden @8pm - the Lionesses begin the defence of their European title at Wembley against the country they thrashed 4-0 in the 2022 tournament's semi-finals. Both sides went on to have a decent start to 2023 too, with England making the World Cup final and Sweden the semi-finals. However, both bowed out in the group stage of the Nations League at the end of the year. Since the start of 2024, Sarina Wiegman's team have thrashed Austria and Italy in friendlies and will hope for a good performance here. Tickets

Premier League 2
West Ham United v Derby County @7pm - if you fancy a bit of U21 action instead then head east to the Hammers' Rush Green training facility in Romford. The hosts are second in the 26 team PL2 and could go top with a win here if Spurs drop points at Aston Villa on Tuesday. Tickets will be available on the gate

Isthmian League Premier
Cray Wanderers v Hashtag United @745pm - the pick of the night's non-league action sees London's oldest club take on a fairly new one. Founded in 1860, the hosts are way older than the Tags who only came into being eight years ago. Both sides are comfortable in midtable with little prospect of promotion or relegation so this could free them up to produce a fun game. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Premier North
Hilltop v Wokingham & Emmbrook @745pm - it's a huge week for the hosts as they play their two biggest relegation rivals in back-to-back matches. W&E are bottom at the time of writing. This is being played at the Middlesex Stadium which is primarily the home of Hillingdon Borough. Tickets will be available on the gate

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Sunday 6 April

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Manchester City @1230pm - with one win in five, the Eagles' form could be better. Eight points clear of the relegation zone, they'll probably be ok but it's not the best position to be in when you go into a game against the reigning English and European champions. However, compared to most Premier League clubs, their record against City is pretty good with one win and two draws from their last five games against them. Although Pep Guardiola's side are still formidable, they're not quite as invincible as they have been in recent years and Palace might have a sliver of a chance. Tickets are not available to non-members
Fulham v Newcastle United @3pm - in very similar form, these two could give us quite a fun game at Craven Cottage. The hosts are still one of the smaller clubs in the division and after a recent history of yo-yoing between the divisions, a season where they've comfortably held their own is a decent achievement. The Magpies, although not as impressive as last season, are still in the hunt for a European place and are unbeaten in eight against the London club. Tickets are only available to members

Championship
QPR v Sheffield Wednesday @3pm - after a superb Easter weekend which saw them beat Birmingham and Swansea, the R's are now up to the heady heights of 16th. Six points clear of the relegation zone with six games to go, there's a lot of optimism around Loftus Road. Just over a week ago, these two were neck-and-neck in the table and this fixture was looking absolutely massive. However, the Hoops' results have not been matched by the Owls who remain second from bottom. Despite this, the stakes are still high for both and there are only a tiny amount of tickets left
Watford v Preston North End @3pm - fourteen points adrift of the play-off places and 10 points clear of the relegation zone, the Hornets don't appear to be going anywhere fast this season. PNE, on the other hand, are still in with a shot of crashing the play-off party and should be pulling out all the stops to win here. Defeat may well end their chances. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Barnsley @3pm - boss Nathan Jones has done a fine job stabilising the Addicks since his appointment in February. Seemingly in freefall, they're now unbeaten in 10 games and eight points clear of the relegation zone. Notably, seven of those games have been draws so their progress up the table has been limited but they're going in the right direction. The Tykes made the play-offs last season and look all set to qualify again so the hosts will do well to extend their good run of results. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Cheltenham Town @3pm - the O's looked like they might make the top six but a run of only one win from six would appear to have ended those hopes. Still in the top 10, they've got a great chance of picking up some points here against one of the division's strugglers. The Robins famously went 15 games into the campaign before winning their first game. Things improved a bit but now another run of one win from eight means they're in the bottom four. Only two points adrift of safety, with games in hand on all of those around them, they've still got a chance. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Salford City @3pm - with five teams separated by three points, the battle for the last play-off place looks like it's going to be fierce. The Dons are in this group and badly need to win against a club in the bottom five if they want to keep up. Tickets
Sutton United v Stockport County @3pm - there's a game of huge significance at either end of the table at Gander Green Lane. The U's seemed to be dead and buried but four consecutive wins have taken them out of the relegation zone. On Saturday they welcome the leaders who could take a huge stride towards automatic promotion with a win here. Tickets

FA Trophy Semi-Final
Bromley v Solihull Moors @3pm - just 90 minutes of football separate these sides from a trip to Wembley for the final of this national knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers. The Ravens beat Wrexham to win it two years ago and were also runners-up in 2018. The visitors have never made the final. The two are currently third and fifth in the National League and meet each other again here next weekend. A trip to the national stadium is an amazing experience but do the clubs value promotion more? It will be interesting to see if there's any squad rotation. Tickets

National League
Boreham Wood v Wealdstone @3pm - a run of only one win from 10 games has seen The Wood drop into the relegation zone. Rather than sack long-serving manager Luke Garrard, they've announced his departure at the end of the season. Next up they face a huge local derby against the Stones who are also battling the drop - it could get lively. Tickets

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Taunton Town @3pm - with the hosts just about clinging on to their place in the top seven and the visitors doing all they can to stay in the division at the other end, there's a lot riding on this sixth-tier game. With one win from five, Hampton are losing their form at precisely the wrong time. When it comes to form, Taunton have lost theirs completely but they're still in touch and have games in hand on all of those around them. Tickets
Welling United v Torquay United @3pm - sitting a few points above the relegation zone, these two members of the bottom eight will probably be fine but they could do with a win or two more to be on the safe side. The Wings under Rod Stringer have been one of the success stories of the season. Often among the division's strugglers, the new man came in early in 2024 and really turned things around. It's now looking increasingly likely that local rivals Dartford, who were runners-up last year, will go down. Former EFL club Torquay have had a lot of off-field problems recently but should just have enough to stay up. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier
Hornchurch v Chatham Town @3pm - there are a fine selection of games in the seventh tier on Saturday but not many better than this top-two clash. These clubs have been first and second for weeks and it's likely that's where they'll finish. In fact, by my calculations, the Urchins need only to draw this to win the title as it will leave them 10 points clear with Chatham then only having three games to go. Tickets

Isthmian League South Central
Hanworth Villa v Chertsey Town @3pm - the Curfews have been one of the best sides in the eighth tier this season and could take a large step towards securing the title if they win at Hanworth on Saturday. In fact if results go their way elsewhere, a win could actually see them crowned champions at Rectory Meadow. The hosts are a top eight side themselves and still have a slim chance of making the play-offs so they should be giving it their all. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Premier South
Abbey Rangers v Jersey Bulls @3pm - with Farnham having already won the title, it's now all about the battle for play-off places. In third, Jersey are looking pretty good for one of those spots but in sixth, Abbey Rangers still have a lot of work to do. Currently one point adrift of Balham in the last play-off place, they've played more games than the three teams immediately below them so simply have to keep winning. Tickets will be available on the gate

CCL Division 1
British Airways v Brook House @3pm - Amersham Town recently claimed the title meaning that in this division too, it's all about the play-off places. BA have had possibly their best season ever and look almost certain to qualify for the post-season. Second at the time of writing, they should have too much for their lower midtable opponents who hail from Hayes. This match is being played at Bedfont FC whose ground is right next to the runway at Heathrow so you'll be able to watch the planes too. Tickets will be available on the gate
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Sunday 7 April

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Nottingham Forest @6pm - the THS plays host to this important top-flight game on Sunday. With Spurs in hot pursuit of fourth placed Aston Villa, they badly need to win this game if they want to qualify for the Champions League. Forest sit just above the relegation zone and need every point they can get to make sure of staying up. Tickets are only available to members

EFL Trophy Final
Peterborough United v Wycombe Wanderers @430pm - if you fancy experiencing a final at Wembley then get yourself along to the national stadium on Sunday afternoon. This competition is primarily for League One and League Two clubs with a few academy sides thrown in. Thankfully two third-tier sides have made it this far. Posh are pushing for promotion and should start as favourites. Tickets are available from each of the competing clubs so pick which one you want to support and head to their website for the latest availability

Capital Senior Cup Semi-Final
Ashford Town (Middlesex) v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - after seeing their quarter-final against London Seaward postponed numerous times, Ashford finally made it through and now face the daunting task of playing the Dons. The south London club look almost certain to win the fourth-tier division the two play in and would love to end the season as double-winners. Fifth tier Haringey Borough await the victors in the final. Tickets will be available on the gate

FAWNL Division 1 SE
Actonians v Haywards Heath Town @2pm - the A's 2024 has been a huge improvement on the first half of the season. Climbing to fifth in the league and making a cup semi-final was way more than looked possible approaching the back end of last year. On Sunday a win against bottom club HHT will relegate the Sussex club who've had a miserable campaign since coming down from the third tier at the end of last season. This is being played at the Middlesex FA's HQ in Rectory Park, Northolt. Tickets

L&SE Women's Regional League Premier
Fulham v Dartford @230pm - quite simply, the Cottagers' entire season could hang on the outcome of this game. Involved in an exciting title battle with Dulwich Hamlet and Dartford all season, they lost to the Hamlet in midweek and now have to avoid defeat here against the Darts to stay in it. Given its importance, the match is being played at Craven Cottage so they'll be hoping for a big crowd to cheer them on in this make or break fifth-tier game. Tickets


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, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here