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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

EBFL Premier Division Match Report (09/09/2023): Hype Train FC vs. Virginia Water Reserves

Welcome aboard the home of Hype Train Football Club. Here, you can read the match reports from the train's outing across Saturday & Sunday League action throughout the 2023/24 season, with the team competing in the East Berkshire Football League (EBFL) and the Reading & District Sunday League (RDSL). All aboard.

Match Report: Hype Train FC

Date: Saturday 9th September 2023

Competition: EBFL Premier Division (Game 4)

Opposition: Virginia Water FC Reserves

Location: Calcot Recreation Ground, Reading, RG31 4XD

Final Score: Hype Train FC 0-3 Virginia Water Reserves

Photographer: Paige Alexander

Match Report:

The train's encounter against Virginia Water FC Reserves was our 5th competitive match of the 2023/24 season, with the team involved in the East Berkshire Football League's Premier Division. This outing against Virginia Water was the first time we have faced the new addition to the EBFL, and the first home fixture for the team this season.

The train's first home outing of the season took place on an arid and hot day at Calcot Recreation Ground, with multiple water breaks taking place, with Jamie Halsall called into a couple of early saves in the first period from set-piece situations. One corner from Virginia during the 11th minute flashed across the line and onto the post, and with Halsall picking up the ball as it is veering over the line, the visiting team made strong claims the ball went over the line, though the referee waived away the appeals.

The team's substantial chances of a goalless first-half first arrived during the 19th minute when a team counter led by Jordi Ebanga teed up Emmanuel Boateng to cut into a shooting position 8-yards-out, but leaning back when shooting, fired over the bar. Second, on the stroke of half-time after Mitchell Saunders was dragged down just outside of the penalty area, the free-kick routine that followed saw Ebanda's low drive struck against the wall and away for a corner.

The second-half saw the visitors take control and were dangerous from set-pieces in particular, flashing several headed chances over the bar, as the team were holding onto the game at 0-0. Against the run of play during the 72nd minute as the game progressed, Saunders' great work saw him get into a great shooting position on the half volley, though the effort was saved well.

With the second water break of the game over, and the team running out of legs having defended well for the game, the final 10 minutes led to a series of late goals that stunned the team in the final 10 minutes.

First, during the 81st minute after clearing a corner kick, the second ball in fell invitingly for a Virginia Water player after hitting one of their substitute attackers in the head, fell for a tap in to finally break the deadlock.

A minute later, Water's left winger was freed down the left wing and ran to the byline, and when crossing the ball in, from point blank range the ball hit Robert Austin's right hand and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. The Virginia Water forward then stepped up and fluffed his lines, with Jamie Halsall saving the effort! From the resulting corner, which was defended, the second cross went over our defensive line, and we switched off, allowing a Virginia player to win the header to nod into the net to double the lead.

The cherry on top then arrived in added time when a giveaway in midfield saw the team caught out of shape as a through ball to the Virginia attacker who missed the penalty, to have a second bite in front of goal as he fired into the roof of the net, securing the win.

Next up for the train, our Sunday League season in Reading & District Sunday League's Division 3 continued, with the team hosting RDSL newcomers Bramley United in Division 3 on 10th September 2023.

Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:

"Upon reflection of the game, tactically, we just got the final 15 minutes of the game wrong. Made a few changes that ultimately didn't work out - it happens - though in the moment they were necessary as the guys were running on fumes and needed some fresh legs as Virginia Water had taken control of the second-half.

We really missed an attacking outlet, and in the thick heat this played a difference, though we did well to carve out some golden opportunities that on another day see the team take the lead on several occasions. The game though was largely an even affair as both teams fought well in a back-and-forth game, the key difference was fitness levels that saw them able to break us down in the closing minutes of the game.

We have absolutely nothing to be ashamed though, it wasn't a 3-0 game at all, and we did very well, just didn't have that bit of luck or fortune on our side and fills me with confidence that we can fight and compete at a good level against a very established and well drilled outfit.

I'd like to thank Russell and his team for making the visit out, the game was touch and go due to our pitch, and we're happy to have tested our new team out against a team that I have earmarked as favourites for the league prior to the start of the season. We're looking forward to the reverse visit later during the season!"

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Manager: Robert Austin

Starting 11:

GK: Jamie Halsall

DEF: Anwar Mmanga

DEF: Joe Sawyer

DEF: Callum Gibbons (Austin 80')

DEF: Hussein Radwan

MID: Mitchell Saunders

MID: Cory McManus (Akinbola 86')

MID: Waqar Janjua (Watkins 80')

MID: Usamah Choudhry (Freemantle 52')

MID: Emmanuel Boateng (Follington 46')

FOR: Jordi Ebanda


SUB: Christian Freemantle

SUB: Jon Watkins

SUB: Nifemi Akinbola

SUB: Luke Follington

SUB: Robert Austin

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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