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!


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.

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

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