Monday 6 May 2024

TLFG: 7-12 May 2024

Greetings one and all and welcome to this week's TLFG.

Well, well, well it's been quite a weekend with several divisions coming to an exciting end with their play-off finals.

Huge congratulations to Bromley, Enfield Town, Erith Town and Sporting Bengal United who all find themselves celebrating promotion at the end of this Bank Holiday weekend.

Hands up, I have to admit to finding it really hard to keep up with the play-off fixtures with the leagues' own websites lacking accurate info in some cases - so apologies if you missed a match because I wasn't up to speed.

Thankfully there's some more thrills and spills on Tuesday with the Combined Counties League play-offs taking centre stage.

NLFD takes place at Wembley on Saturday - tickets

The one bad thing about this point of the season is that there aren't many games.

Aside from the play-off finals next week, the EFL season is over in London as is the National League, Isthmian League, Southern League and pretty much all of our local ninth and 10th tier leagues too.

This weekend's highlights are several matches in the Premier League, the Women's FA Cup Final and Non-League Finals Day which both take place at Wembley.

I had initially thought I'd go to the Women's FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur but it's sold out and going to watch Spurs in the semi-final wasn't enough for me to qualify for a ticket. 

So going to Non-League Finals Day is the more likely possibility.

If you haven't been before, it sees the FA Vase and FA Trophy finals played back-to-back and it's a lot of fun but it's a LONG day and there's no readmission between matches so once you're in, you're in. I know smokers who won't attend because they just can't handle going that long without a ciggy - if the Trophy goes to penalties, you could be there for around seven hours!

Earlier in the week, there's a good chance I'll finish work early on Tuesday and have enough time to get to Loftus Road for QPR's U21 match against Barnsley so I should get to see something.

I'll hope to have full previews for the weekend by Friday - have a great one!


This week we've got matches in the Premier League, Women's FA Cup, FA Trophy, FA Vase and some of 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 7 May

Professional Development League
QPR v Barnsley @1pm - Tuesday's action gets underway at Loftus Road with this U21 match. The top two in each group make it into the semi-finals and the R's need to win this to make sure they stay on course to finish as runners-up in Group South. Admission is by donation to the club's trust 

CCL Premier Division Play-Off Final
Rayners Lane v Bedfont Sports @745pm - the hosts finished as runners-up to Flackwell Heath after leading for a large part of the campaign. They're now 90 minutes away from earning a place in the eighth tier but so are Bedfont Sports. The visitors have only lost one of their last 21 games so should provide formidable opposition. Tickets will be available on the gate for around £8

CCL Division 1 Play-Off Final
British Airways v Berks County @745pm - a level below, both these sides are looking to win a place in the ninth tier for the first time in their histories. BA finished as runners-up to runaway leaders Amersham Town who accumulated a whopping 111 points from their 42 games. The visitors came third and lost both league fixtures against British Airways during the regular season. Tickets will be available on the gate

Wednesday 8 May

MCFL Premier Division
There are three games in this 11th-tier division on Wednesday night and they feature all three of the current top three. It's hard to predict who'll win this division as the amount of fixtures played by each side varies quite significantly and the season is set to run until the end of the month so it should provide you with your football fix for several weeks yet. As for Wednesday, leaders PFC Victoria London travel to Indian Gymkhana Club by Osterley station. Second placed Shepherds Bush host Larkspur Rovers at Harefield United whilst third placed Pitshanger Dynamo take on Hayes & Hillingdon at Brentham Club near Hanger Lane. As far as I know, Indian Gymkhana and Pitshanger don't have floodlights at their grounds so the kick-offs are likely to be before 7pm but they haven't published them yet - check social media on the day


Thursday 9 May

SPCFL Challenge Cup Final
CB Hounslow United v Worcester Park @745pm - being played at Abbey Rangers, this cup final for 11th-tier clubs should be a fun way to spend Thursday evening. CBHU are sitting snugly in midtable but face a tough evening against a strong Worcester Park side who are currently second in the league and still have an outside chance of the title 


Friday 10 May

Robert Rowan Invitational
Brentford v AFC Bournemouth @7pm - the Bees' B team (effectively their U21s) welcome their counterparts from the Cherries to the GTech for this charity match. Held in the memory of the club's former technical director who died from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 28. Tickets are £3


Saturday 11 May

Premier League
Fulham v Manchester City @1230pm - a packed programme of top-flight action begins with this match which could have a crucial effect on the title race. The Cottagers are coasting along in midtable and are under no pressure whatsoever. City, however, are one point behind leaders Arsenal with a game in hand. To most observers the title is theirs to lose but lose it they could if they come unstuck here. The chances of it happening are slim though as the visitors have won their last 15 games against the London club. Tickets are not available
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley @3pm - a huge game for both clubs with defeat for either ruining their hopes and dreams. Spurs' slim chances of a top-four finish will end if they get anything less than a win, and even a victory might not be enough if Aston Villa beat Liverpool on Monday night. The Clarets, on the other hand, will get relegated if they fail to win and like Tottenham a win might still not be enough. Tickets are only available to members
West Ham United v Luton Town @3pm - after some great results at various points during the season, the Hammers appear to have run out of steam and now face a battle to stay in the top 10. With one win from five, their form isn't great and manager David Moyes will leave at the end of the campaign. It's a different story for the Hatters who could be relegated on Saturday if they lose here. Tickets

Non-League Finals Day
The big showpiece event of the non-league calendar is here again. Taking place at Wembley, the finals of the FA Vase (for clubs in the ninth and tenth tiers) and the FA Trophy (for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers) are played back-to-back with one ticket getting you access to both games. It's a lot of fun but it's a long day and if the Vase only requires 90 minutes of play then there's around a two-hour interval between matches and you're not allowed to come and go from the stadium so smokers beware! Tickets

FA Vase Final
Great Wakering Rovers v Romford @1215pm - the day begins with the Vase final which for the first time in the competition's history will be contested by two clubs from the Essex Senior League. Although both sides finished in the top six, neither managed to do enough to get promoted so this match will define their season. The sides have already met three times in 2023/24 in the league and cup and Romford won them all

FA Trophy Final
Gateshead v Solihull Moors @415pm - both of these National League sides suffered huge play-off disappointment but for very different reasons. Gateshead qualified for the post-season but were then suddenly told they couldn't take part because of problems with their stadium, something which must have been absolutely devastating after such a great season. Solihull played in all three rounds of the play-offs and claimed the scalp of runners-up Barnet prior to losing on penalties in the final, also at Wembley, to Bromley last weekend. As a result of these huge set-backs, both will desperately want to win here

Premier League 2 Play-Off Quarter-Final
Arsenal v Chelsea @1pm - if you're looking for good value then head to Boreham Wood's ground for this eye-catching U21 match. The Gunners finished the regular season in fifth just below the Blues on goal difference so this should be close. Admission to Meadow Park is free and the winners will play Spurs or Liverpool in the next round

MCFL Premier Division Cup Final
Kodak (Harrow) v Stonewall FC @745pm - if you want to see a couple of games on Saturday then this evening kick-off at Uxbridge's ground gives you that opportunity. Neck-and-neck in midtable in this 11th-tier division we should hopefully get a decent game. As yet I haven't seen any info about tickets but it won't be expensive

Sunday 12 May

Women's FA Cup Final
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur @230pm - since this competition's launch in 1970, neither of these sides have won and it's Spurs' first appearance in the final so whatever happens, someone new is going to win it. United only made the final for the first time last year where they lost to Chelsea. Fifth and sixth in the table, it's a really tough one to call. When the sides last met three weeks ago in the north-west, it finished 2-2. Personally I really want to see Spurs win. If you haven't read this blog before, you might have missed that their Swedish manager Robert Vilahamn has been volunteering his time on Monday nights coaching Actonians at youth level. Last month I went to see him oversee Tottenham's win over Leicester in the FA Cup semi-final at the THS and the following day he was grassroots coaching at the club my daughter plays for - brilliant! Tickets for the final have sold out. If you do want to go there's likely to be a few going round on social media. Huge thanks to TLFG reader Kelvin W who offered me some, sadly my aforementioned daughter starts her SATS exams on Monday so we're going to be focusing on that instead

Premier League 2 Play-Off Quarter-Final
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @7pm - it's all about Spurs on Sunday with this U21 game taking place too. Thankfully they've scheduled it for the evening so you can potentially do both. To top it all it's being played at the THS so if the women win at Wembley earlier in the day, this could turn into quite a party! Tickets are £10

Surrey International v Wanderers FC @4pm - if you fancy something a bit different, the Surrey men's team return to action with this friendly against one of the oldest clubs in the world. Although playing well down the pyramid these days, Wanderers won five of the first seven FA Cup finals to make them one of the most successful clubs in the competition's history. The match is being played at Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe. Admission is £5

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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