Something for the weekend

A weekly preview of my groundhopping options for the weekend ahead.  

17 March

A full programme of fixtures for me to choose between this weekend, well hopefully. There are rumours that some bad weather might be on its way at some point this weekend. As a result I've included a variety of potential fixtures to ensure i’ll get a game in somewhere. As usual i’m currently just looking at games within 50km on the Groundhopper app.

Ware on earth should I go?

Ware v Hertford Town

This Bostik North clash has been pencilled in for a while now. It’s an intriguing local derby and both sets of fans consider each other to be their biggest rivals. Both clubs have fairly recently returned to the Bostik North Division. Ware were transferred from the Southern League ahead of last season and only avoided relegation after Worcester City voluntarily moved down a couple of levels from the National League South.

I’ve not heard too much about Ware’s Wodson Park home, so it promises to be a fun journey into the unknown. The home side have been struggling again this season but should have enough to steer clear of the drop zone. They’re currently in 21st place, seven points ahead of bottom club Romford.

Hertford, who won promotion from the South Midland League last season, have performed better and currently sit in 13th place, 13 points better off than their local rivals. I visited Hertford Town in February to see them score a late winner against struggling Romford.

Wembley awaits

Bromley v Gateshead

A late arrival on the fixture list is the first leg of the FA Trophy semi-final. Bromley only made it to this stage on Wednesday after overcoming Spennymoor Town via an away replay. Gateshead also required a replay to overcome Leyton Orient after originally drawing the first game in East London.

Bromley’s Hayes Lane ground is well thought of amongst groundhoppers and regularly well reviewed - it’s been on my ‘to-do list’ for a while. It’s one of several artificial pitches in the National League giving Bromley the potential headache of having to get rid of it if they win promotion. They’re currently five points off the play-off spots with a couple of games in hand meaning they could join Sutton in potential 3G pitch limbo.

The two sides are currently only separated by two places in the National League. Bromley, in 10th, are currently seven points ahead of Gateshead in 12th with a game in hand. The clubs have only met once so far this season, with Bromley winning 2-1 in the North East. They will become familiar foes soon though as they have their two legged semi-final and a second league meeting coming up in the next month.

Title showdown

FC Romania v Redbridge

The Essex Senior League is shaping up to be one of the most interesting title battles in non-league football. There are currently three teams separated by three points with two more sides with games in hand that would put them in the mix. Two of the top three clash on Saturday in Cheshunt.

FC Romania currently share Cheshunt FC’s smart new ground and they host a powerful Redbridge side who’ve looked one of the favourites for the title for the majority of the season. The league won’t be settled this week, but the loser will have ground to make up. A draw would also give Great Wakering Rovers and the chasing pack a massive boost.

I’ve seen both sides this season. Romania at Waltham Forest and Redbridge at home to Sawbridgeworth.  Both games ended 1-1 but just based on those games I would say that Redbridge looked the slightly stronger side. The Motormen also won the two side’s previous meeting 3-2. You never know what might happen when the pressure is on though.

West London Championship double

Fulham v QPR and Brentford v Middlesbrough

One for the adventurous amongst us. A potential double bill of Championship action is available in West London. Fulham take on local rivals QPR in the lunchtime kick off and Brentford then entertain Middlesbrough at Griffin Park. Tickets do currently seem to be available for both matches.

Craven Cottage and Griffin Park are two great London grounds and an overground train from Putney to Brentford takes around 15 mins, so with a little planning it should be manageable to do both games. Fulham are the form team in the Championship at the moment and Brentford continue to build a competitive side that play good football.