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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Berks & Bucks FA Sunday Trophy Match Report (29/01/2023): Panthers FC vs. Hype Train 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 29th January 2023

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

Opposition: Panthers FC

Location: St Crispin's School, London Road, Wokingham, RG40 1SS

Final Score: Panthers FC 4-2 Hype Train FC

Photographer: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam)

Match Report:

The train's encounter against Panthers FC was the team's 13th competitive outing of the 2022/23 season, with the team on the road at St Crispin's School in the Last 32 of the Berks & Bucks FA Sunday Trophy. This was the club's first encounter against Panthers and our third outing in the competition, with wins against Bracknell Saint-Germain and Southbank FC in previous rounds of the competition.

The game didn't kick-off until 10:52am due to the opponents poor timekeeping, opened with a strong intensity from both sides, with a gritty game on a short pitch having chances open up for Phil Newport on the counter, whilst at the other end a giveaway in defence saw Panthers spurn a shot wide of Jamie Halsall's goal when one-on-one.

The game took until the 20-minute mark though to have its first real game changing moment, and resulted in a horrible moment for the club as the team defended a Panthers attack that was cleared out and away - though when the ball was up in the air, when competing for the ball the team's Number 6, Tom Williams, fell awkwardly on his left shoulder, resulting in a complete dislocation. With Williams down with a serious injury, the hosts played on and ultimately rifled in a shot to the roof of the net to give the hosts a lead. The game stopped for several minutes whilst Williams was carted off of the field and to hospital.

Shellshocked by an injury to a key player, the next 5 minutes of the game flashed by to our detriment, with an attack down the left wing for Panthers seeing their Number 7 compete for the ball in the area, with Joe Sawyer channelling his inner Johnny Lawrence and raising his boot high, taking down the opposing midfielder, with a penalty rightfully awarded. The spot-kick was struck to Halsall's right, with the goalkeeper getting a palm on the ball, but it wasn't enough as the ball just about made its way into the net as the Bracknell & District Sunday League Division 1 outfit doubled their lead.

The game remained 2-0 at half-time, and despite good periods of play, the team were caught off guard for a 3rd goal on the 52nd minute when a long ball was controlled by the hand of a Panthers player - play resumed with the same player playing a through ball through and the on-rushing attacker finishing calmly, to add a third. The referee said he didn't see the handball, the only person at the game not to see the high hand.

The team picked up matters straight away and were back in the game in the 55th minute when Alvin Mugabe fought well for the ball in midfield, before playing the ball off a Panthers player, with the ball ricocheting past the opposition defensive line, allowing Phil Newport to run through on goal, round the keeper, and slot home into an empty net to open the train's account.

With a vein of ascendancy, a series of long shots caused some real trouble. First, Owen Bowbrick checked in on his left before firing a shot a fraction wide of the keeper's left. Second, whilst winning possession high up the pitch, Cosmin Huhulea controlled the ball via his knee before half-volleying, again just inches wide. Josh Watkins then picked up the ball and drove into the opposing half, driving a wicked shot at their goalkeeper from 35-yards-out, forcing a good save.

The team's attempts at goal would be rued in the 65th minute though when a wonder strike from range, which started when a Panthers player turned away before striking perfectly in to the top corner, which led the hosts into a bedlam of a celebration which saw them converge beneath our team's VEO camera.

The final 20 minutes of the game were the team's strongest as we played our best football, and were rewarded a consolation goal when Joe Sawyer rose highest above the Panthers defence to nod home Owen Bowbrick's in-swinging corner kick on the 82nd minute. The team's best passage of play in the game though wouldn't mount to anymore goals as we bowed out of the County Cup in a very competitive game.

The result means that the team have bowed out in the Round of 32 of the Sunday Trophy, and solely have a focus on league action until the end of the season. Next up for the team on Sunday's we are away from home against Southbank FC in RDSL Division 3 on Sunday 5th February 2023.

Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:

"Football is all about learning lessons when you lose, and that's what our exit from the County Cup will be for the team. Were we good enough on the day? No. We were largely inconsistent in periods, had sloppy moments and it just wasn't to be our day, but given that we have a largely new group of players this season and are working week-on-week to improve and create structure within the club, it's a game we will learn a lot from in terms of our fight, application, and development. Panthers deservedly won, and showed some real grit and determination in particular, all features our new base of players can really use as a benchmark as we resume our league action.

The biggest loss is the injury to our midfielder, Tom Williams. Tom has arguably been the team's best player this season, is virtually always in contention for our Man of the Match award, the team universally love him and his qualities as a player on the pitch and as a person off it, and it has been a very painful 24 hours for the club as we process a very serious injury that has seen us potentially lose a player, and an even better person, at the club. On behalf of the team, we wish you the best in your recovery, Tom! The club will be here to support you in any way in the coming months.

Besides the result, a frustration of mine on the day personally was the lack of organisation from Panthers. There were no corner flags, they only had two footballs, one which wasn't fit for purpose, and of course both were flat. They didn't have a pump and relied on our equipment to get the game going ahead. I've never had a scenario where a football team doesn't have a useable football, and it's odd having to pump up their only ball. The game was also heavily delayed due to their players turning up late, and despite reassurances from the referee that the game would be kicking off at 10:30am, we had to wait for over 20 minutes before the referee managed to talk to the captains and linesmen - he went to the toilet knowing the hosts weren't in a fit position to start the game - meanwhile, our team were on point and ready go to at the arranged kick-off time, so were ultimately penalised for being punctual. The ref should have started at 10:30am, it's not our fault that a team has sloppy timekeeping and it should have been our opposition that have suffered from their poor sportsmanship.

As a team, we're excited to returning to league action after months of cup games, and will be aiming to improve and build momentum week-on-week as we get into the middle of our league season."

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Manager: Robert Austin

Starting 11:

GK: Jamie Halsall

DEF: Joe Sawyer

DEF: Tom Williams (Mmanga 22', Zaky 82')

DEF: Josh Watkins

DEF: Nikhil Garg (Dalgarno (46')

MID: Owen Bowbrick

MID: Cosmin Huhulea

MID: Liam Bowbrick (Matthews 71')

MID: Brad Matthews (Mugabe 46')

MID: Eme Boateng (Watkins 70')

FOR: Phil Newport


SUB: Jon Watkins

SUB: Anwar Mmanga

SUB: Walid Zaky

SUB: Tom Dalgarno

SUB: Alvin Mugabe

Goals & Assists:

Goal 1: Newport (goal), no assist

Goal 2: Sawyer (goal), O. Bowbrick (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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