Monday, 4 May 2015

TLFG: 5-10 May 2015

Hi there and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

Things really do seem to be coming to a rapid end with the matches on offer in the capital this week falling to below 30 for the first time in months.

Congratulations to Chelsea, much as it pains me to say it, for winning the Premier League. It might not have been pretty but they seem to have done it at a canter.

Over the weekend, the regular season in the Football League came to an end with the news that Brentford had made the Championship play-offs - a sensational achievement by one of the division's smallest clubs.

It wasn't quite such great news for Watford who blew the title by conceding a last-minute equaliser against Sheffield Wednesday which handed the crown to Bournemouth instead. Still, second place and promotion to the Premier League isn't a bad consolation prize.

Even as a QPR fan, I'm pretty chuffed for both of them. It'll just be a mighty shame if they both go up and we get relegated which is now almost certain following a 2-1 loss at Liverpool. The derbies would've been great and nearly every week as it would've taken the amount of London clubs in the top flight to eight - a quite staggering amount.

In the Conference South, Boreham Wood have made it to the play-off final where they will host Whitehawk. The match will represent the biggest day in both clubs' histories as neither have played in the Conference National before. How they will fare with crowds of 250-300 against some sides with 10 times that many remains to be seen but good luck to them both.

This week has also seen some interesting correspondence with TLFG readers which resulted in Erik from Sweden ending up appearing on a QPR podcast and Martin from the USA securing tickets for Arsenal v Swansea via the Swans' allocation. The Welsh club's staff were particularly helpful and prompt in helping him order them online. The home sections of the ground are sold out but tickets are still available via Swansea's website so take a look if you fancy a trip to the Emirates for what should be a decent game.

As a general principle, this is pretty much the best way to get tickets at face value for Arsenal, Chelsea and Crystal Palace as membership is usually required to get into their home games.

Elsewhere, we're still no closer to finding out when the Isthmian League Premier Division play-offs will take place.

After being found guilty of fielding an ineligible player in controversial circumstances and subsequently being docked three points, fifth-placed Enfield Town are preparing an appeal which has put the whole post-season on hold. The next few days should be interesting to say the least.

Elsewhere in the lower division Isthmian play-offs, our two local sides who did qualify, Thurrock and Whyteleafe, both came unstuck so will have to spend another year in the eighth tier.

I think that's it from me - I hope to make it to the Middlesex Senior Cup Final this weekend to finally get to see Harrow in action for the first time this season. Very poor by me.

Enjoy your week.

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are only 20-odd matches in the London area over the next seven days so things really are starting to wind down for the summer.

As has become customary at this time of year, the match map has been bulked out with games at Step 7/Level 11 and also some women's football. With the Step 7 games, venue and kick-off times can be hard to get hold of or be unreliable so 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 been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG'S MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

1. Chelsea v Liverpool - with the Blues wrapping up their fourth Premier League title on Sunday this match between two of the country's football giants has lost a little bit of its edge. The rivalry between the two is significant though and the Reds still need points to try and break into the top four. Chelsea are unbeaten in seven against Liverpool and Jose Mourinho will want to make sure that run continues.  (Premier League, Sunday 10 May, 4pm. Ticket info)

2. Crystal Palace v Manchester United - Sunday's narrow defeat at Chelsea has left Palace on 42 points. Mathematically they can still be pulled into the relegation fight but realistically they seem to have comfortably secured another season in the top flight. Having almost made it through that crucial second season, the future looks bright under Alan Pardew and the board they have in place. They are to me a shining example of how QPR should've done things but didn't and consequently one or two of our better players could well end up there next season when we go down. Manchester United under Louis van Gaal have been unpredictable, with most teams capable of pushing them hard as West Brom demonstrated on Saturday. I'm quite happy to predict a win for the Eagles who, when motivated, can give anyone a game at Selhurst Park. (Premier League, Saturday 9 May, 530pm. Ticket info)

3. Brentford v Middlesbrough - no matter what the Bees did on Saturday, their fate was not in their own hands. Derby just needed a draw to keep them out of the play-off places. Sadly for the Rams, their form was poor and they ended up losing comfortably at home to Reading while Brentford strolled to a 3-0 win over Wigan to secure an impressive and unexpected fifth-place finish on their return to the second tier. Their reward is a two-legged semi-final against Middlesbrough. Boro were title contenders until last weekend but only one point from their last two games against struggling Fulham and Brighton sides saw them limp over the line in fourth. Brentford would therefore seem to have the momentum going into this but the Teesside club know how to beat the west Londoners having 'doubled' them during the regular campaign so it is really finely poised. (Championship semi-final play-off first leg, Friday 8 May, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Boreham Wood v Whitehawk - play-off fever also returns to Meadow Park for the second weekend running when The Wood look to complete what would be a remarkable promotion to the fifth tier of English football. By completing a 4-2 aggregate victory over Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday, the Hertfordshire club secured home advantage for the Conference South play-off final against another set of Hawks. The Sussex outfit's presence in the final is also notable as, like Boreham Wood, they are one of the least supported clubs in the division. In fact, if you added the two clubs' average crowds together (312 and 258) it would still come out as less than that of either of the beaten semi-finalists. Despite this, both sides have made solid progress through the divisions in recent seasons with Whitehawk climbing particularly swiftly. They've done this mainly through significant spending which hasn't made them over popular with other supporters but here they stand on the brink of games with the likes of Tranmere Rovers and maybe even Bristol Rovers if the play-offs don't work out. The Hawks took four points off Boreham Wood during the regular season so shouldn't be overawed.  (Conference South play-off final, Saturday 9 May, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. FA Vase Final - if you haven't made it up to Wembley Stadium yet this season, then this presents your next chance. After the drama of the FA Trophy Final back in March, we'll hopefully get more of the same in its sister tournament for clubs playing in the ninth and tenth tiers of the English game. Of the 536 teams which set out on the road to Wembley in September, Glossop North End and North Shields have made it to the final two. At this level, leagues are regionalised to relatively small areas so these clubs won't normally play each other so it's hard to judge who will start as favourite. GNE have had a great season, winning the North West Counties League while the Robins came fourth in the Northern League. Over the last few years, the Vase has been dominated by Northern League clubs which suggests the standard might be higher but it really is too close to call.  (FA Vase Final, Saturday 9 May, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. London Senior Cup Final - with most of the league action over, we've reached the point of the season where we get to enjoy a few local county cup finals. Although the Football Association run the game in this country, each county also has its own local FA with its own cups. Although the big clubs are allowed to enter sides in most of these tournaments, they often don't and consequently they provide a great opportunity for non-league sides to win some silverware. This year's London final is between Isthmian League clubs Hendon and Tooting & Mitcham United. As runners-up in the league and winners of the league cup, the Greens will start as big favourites over their Division 1 South opponents. The match will be played at Metropolitan Police's ground in Thames Ditton. No ticket details are currently available but it's likely to be £10 for adults, payable on the gate. (London Senior Cup Final, Thursday 7 May, 745pm.)

7. Middlesex Senior Cup Final - two days later, a short journey across the Thames will take us to Hampton & Richmond's ground for this final. Here we'll have a local derby between Hanwell Town and Harrow Borough. They come from the Southern League Division 1 Central (Level 8) and Isthmian League Premier Division (Level 7) respectively. Although Harrow are in the higher division, they struggled for most of the season while Hanwell were play-off contenders but fell just short. Despite their low finish in the Isthmian Premier, Harrow ended the season on a great streak of form under new boss Steve Baker and I can see this, dare I say it, being carried over into this. (Middlesex Senior Cup Final, Saturday 9 May, 3pm. Ticket info)


If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

TLFG: 27 April - 4 May 2015

It doesn't seem possible that another season is almost complete but that's the position we find ourselves in as the Football League reached its penultimate weekend and most of the non-league competitions in the London area concluded yesterday.

The biggest story was of course Watford sealing promotion back to the Premier League after a break of eight years following a 2-0 win at Brighton. The title isn't theirs just yet but it will be if Bournemouth lose their game in hand against Bolton on Monday.

As we at TLFG Towers hoped, Barnet held on to claim the Conference title on Saturday and return to the Football League after a two-year absence.

At the other end, despite losing to Southport, Welling United just kept their heads above water and can look forward to another season in the fifth tier.

In the Conference South, Boreham Wood claimed the runners-up spot with a nervy 4-3 win at Chelmsford City. This means they'll have home advantage for the second leg of their play-off semi with Havant & Waterlooville and the one legged final if they make it.

On Saturday I set up QPR Runners on social media
The main controversy surrounds what will happen in the Isthmian League Premier Division. The play-off schedule and who will contest the games is hanging in the air after the FA found fifth-placed Enfield Town guilty of fielding an ineligible player earlier in the season. The case is far from cut and dried and to many it would seem that if anyone is guilty of anything it isn't the club. Most neutrals, including myself, will hope to see them claim their place and take on Hendon later in the week.

What happens to Enfield will also affect the Middlesex Charity Cup Final. They have qualified for this and it's set to be held on Monday 4 May at their own ground but this is also the same day as the Isthmian play-off final so the cup final could move.

In the two divisions below, a couple of TLFG sides have made it to the post season with Thurrock and Whyteleafe making it in the Division 1 North and South play-offs respectively. Neither have home advantage in the one-legged semi-finals.

In Step 5, the Combined Counties League Premier Division title went to Molesey while Farleigh Rovers finally managed to get over the line to win the Division 1 crown.

A mention this week must also go to Harrow Borough who completed their great escape from relegation with a 1-0 win at Leatherhead.

Great credit should be given to manager Steve Baker who was brought in from Chipstead in January with the team in dire straits. The club played 21 games under his stewardship, winning 13 and losing only five. They ultimately finished 16th and have also booked a place in two cup finals.

Boro have now maintained Isthmian top-flight status every year since 1979 which is no mean feat given some of the far bigger clubs who have fallen away during that time. 

Finally, regular readers will know I'm also an enthusiastic runner. Yesterday I completed my 50th parkrun at Wormwood Scrubs, taking my overall total to 68. With it also being London Marathon weekend, I decided yesterday to set up a QPR Runners group on Facebook and Twitter. Apart from encouraging fellow Rs to sign up and share their stories and pics, I also want to try and encourage fans of QPR and their opponents to meet on matchdays and take part in the free to enter Scrubs parkrun as a bit of pre-match fun. If you're a Rangers or Newcastle United fan, then you, and everyone else for that matter, are very welcome to take part on 16 May at 9am.

That's it from me, enjoy your week.


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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
With a lot of divisions having finished I've bulked things up by including a few games from Step 7/Level 11 and there's some women's football too. As a result there are still over 50 matches in the London area over the next eight days (I've included the Bank Holiday too) so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday (27 Apr) fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures
Black pin - Monday (4 May) fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list some games which I think could be worth a watch. Given there are lots of finals and play-offs then I'm going to list more than the usual 10 in chronological order so big games don't get missed off. Also, remember that this list will be updated as play-off results come in during the week.

Monday 27 April
FA Youth Cup Final second leg - Chelsea U18s host their counterparts from Manchester City and hold a 3-1 lead from the first leg. Tickets must be purchased by 4pm on Monday. (Stamford Bridge, 745pm  - Ticket info)
Middlesex Intermediate Cup Final - LPOSSA v Park View at Bedfont & Feltham (730pm)

Tuesday 28 April
Fulham v Manchester United - U21 Premier League action at Craven Cottage for only £3 which can be bought on the gate. (7pm, Ticket info)
Barking v Clapton - East End derby in the semi-final of the Essex Senior League Cup (745pm, Club info)
Haringey Borough v Bowers & Pitsea - top two from Essex Senior League meet in the other semi (745pm, Club info)

Wednesday 29 April
Crystal Palace v Colchester United - U21 action at Selhurst Park, great opportunity to visit a Premier League ground on the cheap (2pm, Ticket info)
Middlesex Premier Cup Final - Edgware Town v Enfield Town U21 at Northwood FC (745pm)
Surrey Elite Intermediate League Cup Final - Horsley v Ripley Village at Carshalton Athletic (730pm)

Thursday 30 April
Chelsea Ladies v Arsenal Ladies - Women's Super League action at Staines Town (730pm, Ticket info)

Saturday 2 May
West Ham United v Burnley - the Hammers host struggling Burnley who are battling for Premier League survival (3pm, Ticket info)
Watford v Sheffield Wednesday - the Hornets guaranteed promotion on Saturday but go for the Championship title in this final game of the season (1215pm, SOLD OUT)
Brentford v Wigan Athletic - this will decide if Brentford make the Championship play-offs and could see the Latics relegated if they don't go down in midweek (1215pm, SOLD OUT)
Charlton Athletic v Bournemouth - depending on midweek results Bournemouth could either be fighting Watford for the title or simply trying to secure second place and automatic promotion. Charlton have nothing to play for (1215pm, Ticket info)
AFC Wimbledon v Cheltenham Town - if you struggle to get in at any of the above, then this could be your chance to watch some pro football. The Dons have nothing to play for while Cheltenham have already been relegated - they will want to avoid finishing bottom of League Two though. (3pm, Ticket info)
Boreham Wood v Havant & Waterlooville - second leg of the Conference South play-off semi-final, the Wood finished the regular season as runners-up. (3pm, Club info)
Southern Counties East League Cup Final - Greenwich Borough face Tunbridge Wells at Welling United for a decent bit of silverware. (3pm)
Middlesex County League Premier Division Cup Final - Sporting Hackney v LPOSSA at Uxbridge (745pm)

Sunday 3 May
Chelsea v Crystal Palace - London derby which if results go their way could see Chelsea in a position to win the league if they win this, unlikely though. (130pm, Ticket info)
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - top-six clash between sides who are playing for little more than position at this stage. (4pm, Ticket info)

Monday 4 May
Fulham v Chelsea - west London derby in the U21 Premier League at Motspur Park (12pm, Ticket info)
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division Cup Final - Berkhamsted v Colney Heath at Oxhey Jets FC (3pm)


If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

TLFG: 20-26 April 2015

With the season coming to a close over the next few weeks, several London clubs have achieved notable successes over the last few days.

On Wednesday Hendon won the Isthmian League Cup against fellow promotion contenders and TLFG team Grays Athletic in what was by all accounts a thrilling 3-2 win.

The same night, Phoenix Sports made sure of the Southern Counties East League title with a narrow 2-1 win at local rivals Erith & Belvedere.

On Saturday the titles continued to head the way of TLFG teams as Bromley secured the Conference South with a comfortable win over Weston-Super-Mare and Haringey Borough made sure of top spot in the Essex Senior League while cheered on by singing superstar and big fan Emeli Sandé - who knew?

Emeli Sandé (number 4) celebrates Haringey Borough's title success
Thanks a lot to David Bauckham for letting me use this photo - he is one of the non-league game's finest snappers. Check out more of his work on his Centre Circle Publishing page on Flickr.

Saturday ended with Arsenal making it to the FA Cup Final after a hard fought extra-time win over Reading and Chelsea made almost certain of winning the Premier League with victory over Manchester United.

This Saturday will hopefully see Barnet crowned as Conference champions and a number of our local sides seal play-off spots or make sure of avoiding relegation.

One side hoping to do the latter are Isthmian League Premier Division minnows VCD Athletic who are running a 'Pay What You Want' promotion for their final game against Billericay Town. Starting just above the bottom four, a win will be enough to keep them up.

Talking of 'Pay What You Want', you may remember Hampton & Richmond Borough were offering this for their final home game against Bury Town on Saturday. Well unsurprisingly it was a big success with 601 through the turnstiles - an increase of 60% on their average.

Finally, I was supposed to go to the Dulwich Hamlet v Maidstone United game. It was all-ticket and a capacity crowd of 3,000 saw the seventh-tier clubs produce a 0-0 draw which effectively, given their huge goal difference, gave the visitors the Isthmian League title. I ended up babysitting my daughter instead. 

Enjoy the week ahead and I hope your team brings you joy (unless you're a West Ham fan - nothing personal).


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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are 70 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Arsenal v Chelsea - after both enjoying success in big games over the weekend, the Premier League's top two lock horns for a game which could leave the Blues 13 points clear if they win. Given there will be only five games to go at that point, the title race will look even more over than it already does. Even though the game is at the Emirates, the Gunners' recent record against Chelsea is poor - they are winless in seven in all competitions against their west London rivals scoring only twice and conceding a whopping 14 times. However, Arsenal are in their best form for a long time so should push Chelsea hard. (Premier League, Sunday 26 April, 4pm. Ticket info)

2. Queens Park Rangers v West Ham United - the day before we have another London derby to look forward to. While the Hammers' season has been over for a long time, QPR are scrapping for every point they can get to avoid relegation. Their recent displays have been decent so they will feel they have a good chance here. If they get anything less than a win then it will be as good as over as their fixtures are few and tough. It's nearly 11 years since Rangers last managed a win over their east London visitors when both were Championship teams. They badly need a repeat result. (Premier League, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Fulham v Middlesbrough - two and half miles to the south across the same borough, the Cottagers host their final home game of the season against title chasing Boro. Fulham are effectively safe but need a point to be mathematically sure of avoiding the drop from the Championship. Their Teesside opponents are third just a point behind leaders Watford so a win could put them top with just one game to go. If the importance of this match isn't enough of a draw, Fulham are also hosting a Fans Day and selling all tickets for a reduced rate of £25. (Championship, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Millwall v Derby County - another game of huge importance in the Championship is taking place at the New Den at the same time. Like Fulham, the Lions are also fighting to avoid the drop but face a much bigger challenge as they are in the bottom three. A lot will hinge on their midweek game at Blackburn. If they win they'll be just a point short of safety with two games to go, giving them a great chance of staying up. However, if they lose then this will become a must win game. The Rams, on the other hand, have blown their leadership of the division and know a place in the play-offs is as good as it will get this season. Given they heartbreakingly lost to a last-minute goal in last season's final, they would've hoped to have avoided this scenario. However, the three teams below them are still in touch and can make sure they end up with nothing so it's pretty much a must win for them too. (Championship, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Leyton Orient v Sheffield United - last weekend's draw against fellow strugglers Crewe extended Orient's unbeaten run to four games as things started to look really promising for Fabio Liverani's side. Since then things have turned sour with back-to-back defeats culminating in the 6-1 humiliation at promotion contenders MK Dons on Saturday. Those results have seen them slip back into the bottom four with three games to go but on paper they are absolute stinkers against sides in the top seven. In midweek they travel to Greater Manchester to face Rochdale who can still squeak into the play-offs if they beat the O's so that will be tough. Then on Saturday they welcome Sheffield United who, on attendance, are League One's biggest club. The Yorkshire side have already booked a play-off spot but have yet to decide whether they will finish fifth or sixth. To make things look even gloomier, the east London club haven't managed a win over the Blades since 1983 - all in all it's looking a bit grim. (League One, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Barnet v Gateshead - Saturday marks the final day of the regular season in the Conference and it's beautifully poised with the top two, Barnet and Bristol Rovers, just a point apart. Both teams have home games but it's hard to guess which is tougher. Rovers host lowly Alfreton but they really need to win to avoid relegation so will be fighting for their lives. The Bees have Gateshead who were play-off contenders for long periods this season but now have nothing to play for and face a long journey down from the north east. Barnet are in pole position so it's theirs for the taking. (Conference National, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Welling United v Southport at the other end of the table, the Wings know a win will keep them up. New boss Loui Fazakerley seems to have been an inspired appointment as he has guided a struggling side to a position where survival is in their own hands. Southport are just a place above them in the table and although mathematically in with a chance of relegation, their goal difference should be enough to keep them up. Matches between these two tend to produce a lot of goals with last season's match ending in a 4-3 win for the hosts so hopefully we'll get more of the same. (Conference National, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Essex Senior Cup Final - the week gets under way with a cup final at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground on the east side of town. This year's final sees holders Concord Rangers, of the Conference South, look to defend their title against Billericay Town from the Isthmian Premier. Both sides have had good seasons which will see them finish just short of the play-offs in their respective divisions. This is good for us as neither will face any league distractions as they go into this. Although Concord play at a higher level, Billericay have a more illustrious history in the competition which begun in 1883/84 and I can see it being close. (Essex Senior Cup Final, Monday 20 April, 745pm. Ticket info)

9. Enfield Town v Witham Town - the Isthmian League wraps up this weekend too and north Londoners Enfield need to win their final match against already relegated Witham to secure a top-five finish and a place in the play-offs. The season got off to a pretty average start and their status as promotion contenders has only really emerged over the last month after an impressive string of wins. After losing to Dulwich on Easter Monday they dropped out of the top five but another seven points from the following three games has put them back in so that shot at the play-offs is really theirs to lose. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Farleigh Rovers v Staines Lammas - last week it was mentioned how long-term leaders Farleigh only needed a point from their game against Worcester Park for the title. Well they lost it and nearest challengers AFC Croydon Athletic won meaning Farleigh go into their final game in second. A draw will still be enough though as the Rams completed their fixtures with that win on Saturday so they will be powerless to affect the outcome. Staines are a decent midtable side but lost comfortably when the sides last met way back in August. Despite this, Farleigh look nervous and could choke. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 25 April, 3pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

TLFG: 13-19 April 2015

Footballwise it's been a pretty poor one for me this weekend.

As you may well be aware, QPR took on the mighty Chelsea in the west London derby this afternoon (Sunday) and lost 1-0 to virtually the last kick of the game - the Blues' only shot on target.

I thought former England manager Graham Taylor, who was summarising on the radio, was going to cry so aggrieved did he seem with the result.

Before the game I said to friends that I felt this could be the pivotal point of the season - a win or even a draw would have given QPR's players great heart and belief as they went into the final five games. 

Sadly I feel the manner of this defeat, which left some players visibly devastated could have the opposite effect - perhaps more than a comprehensive defeat which most people would have expected.

Only time will tell.

On the non-league side of things, Harrow Borough's lengthy unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday at the hands of bottom club Bury Town - a team so bad, they had already been relegated. Although Boro remain outside the relegation places, it's only on goal difference so the final two league games will be a nervy affair.

Coming soon...
The high point of the weekend, however, was meeting up with German TLFG reader Christoph who was visiting from Freiburg. Along with his friend Daniel from Munich, he's here for a five-day feast of London football spanning last Friday to this coming Tuesday.

With visits to Fulham and AFC Wimbledon completed, I met him ahead of his visit to the aforementioned QPR v Chelsea game and gave him a tour of W12 taking in the sights of Shepherd's Bush Green, Westfield, the now closed BBC TV Centre, the 1908 Olympic heritage at the other BBC campus further up Wood Lane and a general walk around QPR's ground and surrounding streets giving a bit of background to club and the match in question and pointing out my former flat opposite the turnstiles on Ellerslie Road.

As a result of his love of football here in the capital, he's made a move into sports book publishing and has set up his own house/label called 'pretty good books' who among other things will be publishing a German translation of Dutch TLFG reader Paul's book 'Match Days' which I've frequently mentioned on here before.

Not only this but he's working on a German language football guide book to London with the inspired title 'Der London Fussball Guide' - hmmm, maybe I should get royalties?

Anyway, it was a pleasure to meet him and Christoph, if you're reading, good luck and I'm sure I'll see you again soon.

UPDATE 17/04/15: We love a 'Pay What You Want' deal at TLFG and we've only recently discovered that Hampton & Richmond Borough are running such a promotion for their Isthmian League match against Bury Town tomorrow (Saturday) so give it your support if you're free.


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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Chelsea v Manchester United - after successfully earning wins in tricky looking derby games on Sunday, these two giants of the English game meet at Stamford Bridge this weekend. Personally I think it's a disgrace that this match has been scheduled to take place at the same time as the FA Cup semi-final mentioned below, it shouldn't even be on the same day but what do the TV barons care? With that grumble out of the way, this match will give Chelsea an almost unassailable 10-point lead over Arsenal if they win with United left even further behind. Quite simply the Blues could effectively, though not mathematically, win the title here and United could lose any chance of catching them. (Premier League, Saturday 18 April, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Arsenal v Reading - we've come to that time of the year when only four teams remain in the FA Cup. Now played over a weekend, both semi-final ties are held at Wembley and we get under way on Saturday with a match which looks easy to predict - in theory. The Gunners are second in the top flight, reigning FA Cup champions and are in spectacular form with 10 wins from their last 11 in all competitions. The Royals, however, are winless in five in the Championship and are generally having a season to forget. Somehow they've managed to get to the final four of this competition without meeting Premier League opposition and needed a replay to get past League One side Bradford in the last round. Surely there can only be one winner - right?  (FA Cup semi-final, Saturday 18 April, 520pm. Tickets are only available from the participating clubs)

3. Aston Villa v Liverpool - the following day we have what should be a much more closely contested match. For both sides, this represents their only remaining chance of silverware this season. Interestingly, Villa and the Reds have both won seven times so they both have plenty of pedigree in the competition. However, Liverpool must start as favourites - they are the better side and won at Villa Park when they last played in January. Tim Sherwood's team are also not quite safe from relegation so the new man in the hot-seat might  have half an eye on protecting his players for the last few league games - let's face it, for winning the FA Cup you get a cheque for £1.8m which is chicken feed compared to what you get for staying in the Premier League. (FA Cup semi-final, Sunday 19 April, 3pm. Tickets are only available from the participating clubs)

4. Millwall v Wigan Athletic - there are some perhaps more attractive games in the Championship this week but this one will be more decisive for the two clubs involved. Both are level pegging in the bottom three and need to win to have any chance of realistically avoiding the drop. If fellow strugglers Rotherham win at Fulham the following night, the losers of this game will be left nine points adrift. Mathematically defeat won't be terminal for either but with less than a handful of games to go, the writing will be on the wall. (Championship, Tuesday 14 April, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Bromley v Weston-Super-Mare - with the regular season coming to an end for most of our local non-league competitions over the next two weeks, many big issues could get resolved over the next few days. The first is the Conference South title which, as it stands, looks likely to be heading to Bromley on the south-east side of town. They've been neck and neck with north London rivals Boreham Wood all season and crucially beat them last weekend. Despite this they are only two points clear with two games to go. However, The Wood have played a game more meaning that if the Ravens win here then glory will be theirs and a place in the Conference National will await them next season. West Country side WSM are at the wrong end of the table but have avoided relegation so have nothing to play for. At this stage only nerves can deny Bromley but it is effectively the biggest match in their history as they have never played above this level. It's huge for all concerned. (Conference South, Saturday 18 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dulwich Hamlet v Maidstone United - a little over six miles to the north west, we have another monster of a game which could see the Isthmian League title decided. Dulwich and Maidstone, in terms of attendance, are the two biggest clubs in the division and a few weeks ago both were in contention for the championship. As a result, the powers that be at Champion Hill declared that this match should be made All-Ticket as demand would probably outstrip supply. Sadly for the Hamlet they went on a pretty dodgy run and fell out of the title race, so much so that this match will actually decide whether or not they make the play-offs! Given their current four-point cushion they'll probably be fine but they can't take any chances. Since losing at second-placed Hendon last weekend, Maidstone have put themselves back in the driving seat and know that all they need to do is better the Greens' result at Grays to claim a place in the Conference South. Matching it will effectively also give them the title as they have a vastly superior goal difference. Don't forget, this is still All-Ticket, which means you need to purchase in advance to attend - online options are available. I've got mine. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 18 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Erith & Belvedere v Phoenix Sports at Park View Road not only have we got another possible title decider but it's a local derby as well. Phoenix have topped the Southern Counties East League for ages but for a long time they were being pushed hard by near neighbours E&B. The latter have fallen away to third but are mathematically still in with a chance of toppling them with four games to go. Really it should all be over already but Phoenix made a right mess of Saturday's home game against second-placed Ashford who came from behind with 10 men to win with an 89th-minute goal. That result means that a win for Ashford in their game against Sevenoaks the previous night will keep the title race alive no matter what happens here but if they drop any points then a Phoenix win will prove decisive. (Southern Counties East League, Wednesday 15 April, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Haringey Borough v Bowers & Pitsea - as a result of bad weather both these title-chasing sides have three re-arranged league games to play (one for HB and two for B&P) before this match takes place on Saturday. Consequently this could be an Essex Senior League title decider between the top two or a match between the champions and the third-placed team depending on how things go. Aside from a couple of brief weeks, Haringey have led all the way and it would take a spectacular collapse to see them come unstuck. It is, though, still possible. Watch the results as the week progresses to see how significant this match becomes. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 18 April, 3pm. Club info)

9. Molesey v Camberley Town - at the time of writing these are the only two clubs with a realistic chance of winning the Combined Counties League title. Although Camberley are currently six points clear, they have played three games more than the Moles. The hosts travel to Colliers Wood in midweek so could close the gap to three. As above, there are several permutations affecting the significance of this game but defeat for Molesey at The Wibbandune and in this one would effectively hand the visitors the title. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Saturday 18 April, 3pm. Club info)

10. Farleigh Rovers v Worcester Park in the division below, long-term leaders Farleigh know a draw against third place Worcester Park will be enough to seal the divisional crown. An Easter victory over closest rivals AFC Croydon Athletic made almost sure of things but the Rams' win over CB Hounslow on Saturday kept their hopes alive for another week. If they do get the required result, the celebrations will no doubt be tinged with some disappointment as their ground doesn't meet the standards required for promotion so Croydon will probably enjoy the last laugh as theirs does and three teams can go up. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 18 April, 3pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

TLFG: 7-12 April 2015

Apologies for the late publication this week. I had my first Easter weekend off in years and took full advantage with a couple of live games and some other days out with the family.

How many games did you cram in? It was possible to see three on Monday alone if you'd got yourself well organised.

Personally I spent my time indulging in Isthmian League action as the race for the title and play-off places really hotted up.

On Saturday I took my two-year old daughter to her first ever proper fee-paying football match (i.e. not a kickabout in the park). It was also doubly challenging as I had to take her on public transport in her buggy on a route that was as far from step-free as it was almost possible to be.

The match I chose was the top of the table clash between Hendon and Maidstone United.

The Greens have been in the Isthmian League's top flight without being promoted or relegated since 1963 which I think is some kind of record.

In recent years they have led a nomadic existence since the loss of their Claremont Road home and their support and finances have suffered as a result.

Sam Murphy scores Hendon's winner at Earlsmead
Despite this they have somehow put themselves in a position where if they win their remaining games, the title will be theirs and their 52-year stay in the Isthmian League will be over.

Maidstone started the game as league leaders and being a much bigger club, with regular crowds in excess of 2,000, this was a real David v Goliath contest.

On the day, United's supporters outnumbered Hendon's by approximately three to one (att. 759) and things looked ominous when they took a deserved lead in the 15th minute. It was pretty much one-way traffic until shortly before the interval when the hosts drew level with a fine free-kick.

The second half saw Hendon come much more into it and they took the lead from the spot after a professional foul left Maidstone a goal and a man down.

The Kent club showed little sign of being affected by this disadvantage and created a number of chances to equalise but failed.

The result still left Hendon five points behind but with two games in hand, the title is theirs for the taking.


On Monday, for the second time this season, I headed south to Champion Hill to watch Dulwich Hamlet v Enfield Town.

The Hamlet have been among the leading pack all season but a sticky patch over the last month or so had left them fearing for their play-off place.

A team to have emerged from midtable at the last moment after a pretty average start to the campaign, Enfield were suddenly breathing down their necks only a point behind.

Despite their lower ranking, many would've fancied the in-form north Londoners to have won here to push Dulwich out of the way.

Maybe it was my presence as a lucky mascot but things started really positively for the hosts and they made it to half-time with a commanding 2-0 lead.

Brad Quinton's side didn't give up though and pulled one back during a second half which got increasingly desperate and dirty - a brawl led to one of the visitors being sent off at one point.

Like Maidstone, Enfield kept battling and the nerves around a busy Champion Hill (att. 1,204) were really jangling when the referee announced eight minutes of injury time.

Gavin Rose's side saw the game out though to give themselves a four-point cushion over the non play-off places which with three games to go should be just be enough.

Hendon and Dulwich go head-to-head this Saturday in another massively important game for both so I strongly recommend a visit to Earlsmead if you're looking for something to do. 

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 70 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Queens Park Rangers v Chelsea - it's west London derby time again. This is the game which QPR fans always look out for in June when the fixtures are revealed. The Blues are without doubt the most hated team for fans of the W12 club and recent unsavoury incidents like that which saw John Terry in court following a verbal exchange with Anton Ferdinand show how heated these games can become. For most Chelsea fans, however, Rangers are becoming little more than an annoying cousin who needs to be put in his place once in a while. However, it doesn't always work out that way and over the last three years or so QPR have been one of the teams that have given them quite a bit of difficulty. Jose Mourinho's side come into this game without top scorer Diego Costa and Rangers put in their best performance of the season on Saturday at West Brom. Chelsea must avoid complacency at all cost otherwise they could come unstuck against what should be a highly motivated QPR. (Premier League, Sunday 12 April, 130pm. Ticket info)

2. Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa - this match will have a bearing on both ends of the table but is probably most notable for marking the return of former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood as Villa manager. Having been somewhat harshly removed from his position at White Hart Lane, he will undoubtedly have a point to prove. Having lost eight of their last 10 games, Villa also badly need the points to avoid the drop. Tottenham still have an outside chance of making the top four and have won their last six against the Birmingham club so should triumph here. (Premier League, Saturday 11 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Charlton Athletic v Fulham - on Tuesday we've got a derby in the Championship. With the Addicks tucked snugly into midtable and with absolutely nothing to play for, this game is all about the Cottagers and whether they can pick up the points they need to keep them away from the bottom three. Dangling just above it, things look worse than they are as they have a seven-point cushion over Millwall just below them. With six games left they can be caught but a point here would be useful. The good news for the west Londoners is that they are unbeaten in seven against Charlton and triumphed 3-0 when they last met in October. (Championship, Tuesday 7 April, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Millwall v Watford - the Lions looked finished recently but with Neil Harris now in charge, things have started to pick up. Now undefeated in three and with a derby win over Charlton, Millwall can potentially catch the teams immediately above them. It will take a Herculean effort to pull it off and with title chasing Watford the next to visit it's not getting off to an easy start. The Hornets have become a little inconsistent of late but are still only one point behind leaders Bournemouth and have a very good record against the Bermondsey side. This has real potential to entertain. (Championship, Saturday 11 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Barnet v FC Halifax Town - dropping down to Conference level, local side Barnet are still on course for the title and a return to the Football League. After a wobble which let Bristol Rovers and Grimsby Town into the race for top spot, the Bees kept hold of pole position with a 1-0 win at struggling Dartford on Monday. Halifax are unbeaten in nine and consequently also in with a chance of promotion. However, they've drawn eight of those games so are still only down in eighth. They've also done well against the Bees over the last couple of seasons so should be very dangerous opponents. (Conference National, Saturday 11 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dartford v Nuneaton Town - this match represents a last throw of the dice for the Darts who will get relegated if they don't win. Even if they do, if Alfreton draw at Eastleigh it will all be over. Nuneaton are also up to their necks in it and will have to win to ensure they don't also drop down a level too. In short it's a fight to the death which could end up with both combatants snuffing it. The last match between them saw Dartford win 2-1 so they've got hope. (Conference National, Saturday 11 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hendon v Dulwich Hamlet - the Greens had a great weekend as they enjoyed back-to-back wins over league leaders Maidstone and local rivals Wingate & Finchley. These results mean the title is theirs to win because of the games in hand they have. If they do end up winning, it should be one of the sports stories of the year. Averaging crowds of around 200, without their own ground and with meagre finances they are currently on a 16-game unbeaten run which has been crammed into just eight weeks! This match against fellow promotion rivals Dulwich will be their fourth in seven days, all of them against tough opponents. Hamlet, on the other hand, are a much bigger club who regularly pull in crowds of 1,000+ and have been in the leading pack all season. However, of late they've had a major wobble going on a five-game winless streak. They finally stopped this trend with a crucial win over Enfield on Monday but with this and other tough fixtures to come, they can't let up yet. Huge game for both. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 11 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Phoenix Sports v Ashford United - the game of the weekend across all our local Step 5 leagues sees the top two in the Southern Counties East League lock horns for what could well be the title decider. Phoenix have been top for most of the season and appear to be a club going places. I watched them three years ago in the season they finished runners-up to Bly Spartans in the Kent Invicta League. A year later they won it and moved up to the SCEFL where they've added floodlights and other ground improvements which will see them almost certainly join the Isthmian League next season. On Saturday a win here will give them the title but anything else will surely just be delaying the inevitable given their 11-point lead. (Southern Counties East League, Saturday 11 April, 3pm. Club info)

9. Ilford v Barking - a bit further north across the Thames, this East End derby could decide who wins the Essex Senior League. Barking have pushed leaders Haringey Borough pretty hard this season but got firmly put in their place on Saturday as they were swept aside 4-0 at Coles Park. To be in with a chance of prolonging their title challenge they will have to win at Cricklefields and hope Boro lose. Given Haringey have a midweek game in hand at Basildon, Barking could find themselves eight points adrift coming into this game with only three to play so this really is their last chance. Ilford won't make it easy either - it is a derby and they won the reverse fixture 2-1. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 11 April, 3pm. Club info)

10. AFC Croydon Athletic v CB Hounslow United - like the previous game, the result of this match could see the title handed to someone else. The hosts have been there or thereabouts for a while now and I thought either they or Worcester Park would catch Farleigh but it hasn't happened. With two games to go, the Rams are second but six points adrift therefore a win is essential in this one. If Farleigh do implode in their final two games then Croydon's vastly superior goal difference could still see them come out on top so there could be a final twist. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 11 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Monday, 30 March 2015

TLFG: 30 March - 6 April 2015

What a day! 

If you're a regular reader of this blog then you'll know I've been helping the Football Association promote this season's FA Trophy Final.

Said match was on Sunday at Wembley and featured Conference National side Wrexham from Wales and Conference North club North Ferriby United from Humberside.

Wrexham, as the more senior club, started as favourites and breezed into a 2-0 lead which they held until 14 minutes from the end - then it all went a bit bonkers.

In the space of 10 minutes, the Villagers had drawn level and forced extra-time.

The part-timers then had the audacity to go 3-2 up but with only two minutes of the game remaining the Dragons drew level to salvage a shoot-out.

The teams line up for the national anthems
This also went on and on as several players missed their kicks before North Ferriby finally prevailed 5-4 on penalties

I took a number of friends - some of whom had never been to a football match and some who had no non-league experience but they all left the stadium buzzing. 

One of the newbies, primarily there to escort her kids, was all but pulling her hair out during the shoot-out.

Another claimed that he wasn't usually that bothered about football because most people he knew only watched it on TV and he couldn't get into it at all but the live experience was so much more engaging and would definitely return. There must be many more like him, we've just got to get them into the grounds.

It must surely be a contender for best FA Trophy Final of all time and one of the best of any kind of final that Wembley has hosted, it was that good. The only downside was that only 14,585 turned out to watch it.

This wasn't a great shock though - most neutrals have probably never heard of North Ferriby, the club itself come from a village of less than 4,000 inhabitants, Brazil were playing Chile over at Arsenal and the weather was pretty abysmal. Adult tickets were also £30 which if you're not interested in either team is highly likely to put you off - it was a reason I heard many times from supporters who told me they would not be going.

If that can be addressed and a couple of other tweaks can be made here and there, I genuinely believe the FA Trophy could become a much bigger event which the whole non-league and wider football community could embrace. If the FA invite us (the Non-League Day team) to participate again, which I hope they do, then I believe we could make it a really great day out.

On the subject of Non-League Day, we also announced the date of this year's event today. We've gone for Saturday 10 October.

We've switched from September because England have a Euro qualifier on the Saturday which we don't want to clash with. Now it's just a case of waiting for those fixtures to come out to see who's hosting and whether it's an FA Cup, Trophy or Vase day. 

Talking of the Vase, its final is on Saturday 9 May at Wembley between Glossop North End and North Shields. Tickets go on sale at 10am today (Monday) and I'd highly recommend it after today's fantastic match.

FOOTBALL BONANZA
The fun looks set to continue over the next week or so as we hit the Easter period.

Aside from Christmas, this is the best time to be in London to watch football as there is so much on. Most clubs will play twice between Friday and next Monday and more often than not it will be a derby. There are a few potential title deciders and a couple of minor cup finals too. Clubs could also get relegated during this time so it's a huge few days.

I've done two match maps this week to make sure things don't get too crowded and given you a special Easter weekend one which includes next Monday too. 

On the Monday it will also be possible to see two games in a day with all Combined Counties League games kicking off at 1130am, allowing you plenty of time to get to a 3pm kick-off somewhere else.

As a result of the huge amount of great games and partly due to a lack of time, there won't be a Top 10 this week. However, if I do get a bit of breathing space then I may revisit this decision before the weekend. UPDATE (01/04/15) - I have now put together a list of recommended games towards the bottom of the page.

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. 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.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP: 30 MARCH-2 APRIL
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures



MATCH MAP: 3-6 APRIL
Claret pin - Good Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Easter Saturday fixtures
Yellow pin - Easter Monday fixtures


TLFG TOP GAMES
In this section I recommend a few games which I think are worth a special mention. Given it's Easter and there are so many good games taking place, I've listed more than the normal 10.

Good Friday
Fulham v Brentford - huge west London derby which has a bearing on both ends of the Championship table.
Millwall v Charlton Athletic - big south-east London derby in the Championship which could see the Lions all but down if they lose.

Easter Saturday
Arsenal v Liverpool - two of the biggest teams in the land battle to secure a Champions League spot.
Barnet v Nuneaton Town - massive game for both Conference clubs as they fight for the title and against relegation respectively.
Bromley v Boreham Wood - top two clash in the Conference South
Hendon v Maidstone United - top two clash in the Isthmian Premier
Enfield Town v Bognor Regis Town - battle for a play-off place in the Isthmian Premier
Metropolitan Police v East Thurrock United - another match between two play-off contenders in the Isthmian Premier and also only £1 to get in
Haringey Borough v Barking - top two clash in the Essex Senior League

Easter Monday
Crystal Palace v Manchester City - the Eagles welcome the reigning Premier League champions and title contenders
Watford v Middlesbrough - second versus third in the Championship
Dagenham & Redbridge v AFC Wimbledon - London derby in League Two
Dartford v Barnet - London derby in the Conference with both sides desperate for points at opposite ends of the table.
Dulwich Hamlet v Enfield Town - two teams scrapping for a play-off place in the Isthmian Premier
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Kingstonian - south-west London derby featuring teams who both have plenty to play for.
Wingate & Finchley v Hendon - north London derby between two teams chasing promotion and the title in the latter's case.
Thurrock v Romford - the hosts take on their tenants as they look to sneak into the Isthmian Division 1 North play-offs.
Barkingside v Redbridge - Ilford area derby between teams who used to groundshare but the original owners (Barkingside) were the ones that ended up moving out.
Walton Casuals v Walton & Hersham - local derby in Surrey, little to play for in terms of promotion or relegation though.


If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.