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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Berks & Bucks FA Sunday Trophy Match Report (15/01/2023): Hype Train FC vs. Southbank FC

Hype Train FC will be playing across both Saturday and Sunday next season, with the team primarily competing in the Reading & District Sunday League. You can follow all of the team's season coverage right here as we provide match reports and photo galleries from our fourth season as a club! All aboard.

Match Report: Hype Train FC

Date: Sunday 15th January 2023

Competition: BBFA Sunday Trophy (10:30am KO)

Opposition: Southbank FC

Location: Calcot Recreation Ground, Off Highview, Calcot, Reading, RG31 4XD

Final Score: Hype Train FC 4-1 Southbank FC

Photographer: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam)

Match Report:

The train's encounter against Southbank FC was the team's 12th competitive outing of the 2022/23 season, with the team on home soil at Calcot Recreation Ground in the Last 64 of the Berks & Bucks FA Sunday Trophy. This was the club's third encounter against Southbank this season, having played them in RDSL Division 3, and the RDSL Industrial Cup, at home.

On a windy morning down at Calcot, the train were in fine form to start the game as we came out of the blocks with a couple of early goals to help dust the cobwebs off of a prolonged Christmas break. With 7 minutes on the clock the team won a throw in down the right wing, with a long throw by Liam Bowbrick on the menu, with the set-piece being won in the air and flicked on by Phil Newport, with an unfortunate foot of a Southbank played sticking out to connect with the ball and into the net, to catch the Southbank keeper off guard for the first goal of the morning.

We only had to wait until the 15th minute for the second, which started when a team won a corner after an opposing defender cleared a long ball down towards the left wing by Cosmin Huhulea. The Romanian, Huhulea, would then take the corner, which was low and evaded the touch of a single player, ultimately finding its way through to Leon Mannion on the six-yard-line, to finish home to double the team's lead - the goal, which was Mannion's 10th of the season so far, was set up on a plate with the Number 9 never missing from close range.

The game settled into a good rhythm for the hosts in red and a comfortable lead was extended on the half hour mark, and in some style. On the left, Nikhil Garg's throw in saw Liam Bowbrick collect the ball, turning inside before an excellent cross field pass picked out debutant Anwar Mmanga on the right wing, who in turn dribbled in field before finding the feet of Newport, who from 25-yards-out set and rifled in a worldie of a strike that was unstoppable past the rooted Southbank goalkeeper.

The second-half picked up with more chances for the team, with Huhulea twice firing over the bar from just outside the penalty area, before Newport had a case for a second goal when a counter attack saw the Number 11 check inside from 20-yards-out and rifle a shot into the top corner - the ball bounced down off the crossbar and across the line - with Newport and members of the team claiming the ball had crossed the line, though the referee nor many there at Calcot, could be definite, so the game continued.

The icing on the cake arrived in the 79th minute when the team won the ball back in our defensive third, with the ball ending up at the feet of Josh Watkins. The central defender had all the time in the world to pick out cousin, Jon Watkins, on the left wing, with Jon Watkins controlling the ball before sizing up Southbank's last line of defensive. Watkins cuts in with two touches before unleashing a shot that goes back towards the near-post - a clever and clinical finish from Watkins, with this the winger's first goal of the season and the first goal that was scored and assisted by both Watkins in the the team.

There was a late chance for Southbank to get a goal back in the game when they won a penalty kick described by the referee as 'much needed charity' when a low cross on the counter by Southbank evaded the legs of several defenders in the 89th minute, with Garg alleging to have brought down his marker inside the muddy penalty area. The penalty was stroked home to the left of Jamie Halsall (who had a very quiet morning in goal for the team), gifting Southbank something for their troubles as they crashed out of the County Cup at the Round of 64.

The result means that the team have bowed out at the quarter-final stage of the Industrial Cup, in the most cruel way possible. Next up for the team on Sunday's we are away from home against Panthers FC in the Berks & Bucks FA Sunday Trophy on Sunday 22nd January 2023.

Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:

"December was largely a write off, and the first weekend of January was waterlogged for most teams, so after a month plus without football, it was great to be back in action, especially after our last outing left the team so frustrated in cup competition.

The game was decided in the first-half with the team starting really strong out of the blocks. Early goals set the tempo, calmed the team down, and despite a few lapses of concentration across the pitch, we largely dominated the proceedings. Southbank's sole outlet in a 5-3-2 formation was to soak up pressure and then counter quickly with two up top with balls over the top. Once we cottoned on to their tactics, we kept the game out as wide as possible, kept ourselves honest, and could have had even more goals on the day to add to our tally.

Overall, it was a good return to action and a great way to prepare for a tough cup encounter next week against Panthers FC in the next round of the competition. We needed to play, we needed to get rid of the memories of our last game, and it was a productive start as we look to build on our first outing in 2023.

I wish our opponents, Southbank, the best of luck until we meet them again later on in the season. They came with a bare bones team, and are trying to get some new players on board, and never gave up over the course of the game."

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Manager: Robert Austin

Starting 11:

GK: Jamie Halsall

DEF: Anwar Mmanga

DEF: Joe Sawyer

DEF: Josh Watkins

DEF: Nikhil Garg (Boateng 15', Garg 26', Boateng 62')

MID: Owen Bowbrick (Austin 82')

MID: Cosmin Huhulea

MID: Liam Bowbrick

MID: Phil Newport (Watkins 66')

MID: Alvin Mugabe (Zaky 72')

FOR: Leon Mannion (Newport 82')


SUB: Jon Watkins

SUB: Eme Boateng

SUB: Walid Zaky

SUB: Robert Austin

SUB: Callum Gibbons

Goals & Assists:

Goal 1: Own Goal, Newport (assist)

Goal 2: Mannion (goal), Huhulea (assist)

Goal 3: Newport (goal), Mmanga (assist)

Goal 4: Jon Watkins (goal), Josh Watkins (assist)

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in general football and Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.

We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.

In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles. We won both Goal of the Season Awards in the Berkshire and County FA regions, with Callum Parr-Jones winning the Berks & Bucks FA award, whilst Martin King won the PlaySport UK award.

In 2021, we formed the Reading Sunday Social League (RSSL), a competitive Sunday League involving 8 teams in its debut season. During the 2021/22 season, we won our first-ever trophy, lifting the East Berkshire Football League's Presidents Cup!

The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.

You can follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, follow Hype Train FC on Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel for exclusive content, visit our club's dedicate website, or visit our website here at

Believe The Hype!


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