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 13th January 2024
Competition: EBFL Premier Division
Opposition: Sandhurst Men Reds
Location: Calcot Recreation Ground, Reading, RG31 4XD
Final Score: Hype Train FC 4-4 Sandhurst Men Reds
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The train's encounter against Sandhurst Men Reds was our 30th competitive match of the 2023/24 season, with the team hosting Sandhurst at Calcot Recreation Ground on 13th January 2024 in EBFL's Premier Division. This was the return leg of our league fixture against Sandhurst, losing 4-1 away from home earlier in the season with a makeshift team.
The visiting Sandhurst were the quicker out of the gates and found the back of the net with 8 minutes played. The team in blue and white stripes had the ball down the right wing and put a cross across our back four from deep, and when Anwar Mmanga was unable to clear his lines quickly, we found ourselves robbed of the ball and the eventual shot by the Sandhurst attack was rifled centrally just below the crossbar to give Sandhurst the lead.
Just 4 minutes later with 12 minutes played, an opportunity for a quick equaliser would arise and started when Josh Robertson defended excellently when he headed home towards Robert Austin in goal from high up the pitch to stop Sandhurst runners. Having collected the ball, Austin launched a deep kick into the Sandhurst half on the left flank, which went over the head of the opposing right back, allowing Mitchell Saunders a free run into the penalty area - which resulted in the trailing defender taking down our Number 14 for a penalty kick. The drama wasn't over though, as Ben Heinau's spot kick was saved brilliantly when he dived right to palm out the spot-kick - a good penalty was matched by an even better save to keep the game at 1-0.
Sandhurst were offering spits and spats of danger, mostly notable hitting the bar in the 20th minute when on the counter, whilst forcing Austin into a brace of comfortable saves when flicked free kicks were on target, but most of the half was spent building attacks and testing the Sandhurst defensive line as we chased an equaliser.
Chances to equalise were plentiful, with Eme Boateng and Waqar Janjua forcing the Sandhurst goalkeeper into a good double save, whilst Jon Watkins tested the shot stopper on his left, whilst Boateng flicked wide a header from a Watkins corner with 35 minutes on the clock, whilst the busy opposition goalkeeper saved a one-on-one from Heinau when Saunders played an inch-perfect through ball to the Forward.
Our endeavours testing Sandhurst finally paid off in the 38th minute when Watkins took a quick throw, with Saunders then putting the ball over Sandhurst for Boateng to chase - wriggling away from several markers in the box, Boateng did enough to tee up Heinau to stroke home 12-yards-out from goal with a low and cool finish to square the game up - deserved from Heinau, who had gone close several times already in the game!
The turnaround was complete in added time on the referee's clock, with the move starting when Sandhurst played the ball back to their goalkeeper, and when pressured the resulting kick was high but didn't manage much distance, with Saunders collecting the ball without opposition. Saunders took one touch to set, before teeing up Heinau when he moved back to an onside position, before finishing calmly once again past the Sandhurst goalkeeper for his second of the game, which meant the team carried a 2-1 lead heading into half-time.
A lively first-half would certainly be topped in the second, starting in the 59th minute when Sandhurst were awarded a penalty when Mmanga was adjudged to have been holding a very skilful and fast winger, with the resulting penalty buried into the back of the net low and hard to Austin's right to tie up the game once more.
Sandhurst showed their own powers of recovery in the 69th minute when they were able to flip the script on its head once more, starting when a loose set-piece from Leo Pereira was intercepted, allowing Sandhurst to counter. A swift attack down their right wing led to a cut-back on the six-yard-line, with the ball calmly finished off to give the visitors the lead once more in the game.
Chasing the game again, another attack for the team down our left wing was broken down when Heinau was fouled near the byline during the 76th minute. This resulted in a packed penalty area for a Saunders set-piece, which was wicked and spilled by the Sandhurst goalkeeper to Jon Watkins - who somehow could only stab the ball from close range off the inside of the right post - which then found its way for the fox in the box, Ben Heinau, to tap home to complete his hat-trick, with the Number 9 managing trebles twice this season so far!
We're not done there just yet, with a 7th goal of the game arrived during the 79th minute when a Sandhurst goal kick was won in the air by Janjua, with Watkins collecting the dropping ball, before playing through Saunders on goal - and when faced up with a Sandhurst defender, the attacking midfielder sat the defender down with some nice skill, before moving the ball away from the goalkeeper before tucking home the ball into the net to take the game to 4-3 with another quick turnaround at play for the team.
A manic two minutes though would result in one final cruel twist for the team when in the 81st minute Sandhurst would find an equaliser. Attacking down their left, their winger cut in and hit the post with a shot, and when the team were unable to clear our lines, a Sandhurst player held onto the ball for an age as he run to the byline before crossing the ball - the cross took a deflection off the toe of Le Paih to take the ball over Austin in goal, with the ball ultimately hitting Watkins right on the line as the ball floated off the crossbar and in - squaring up the game a final time at Calcot.
Late in the day during the 85th minute, the visiting Sandhurst were reduced to 10 when Jas Le Paih won a free kick for the team, which then led to the Sandhurst winger kicking out at Le Paih off the ball. The visitors in the very next play protested when the ball was still in play down the left, resulting in them ending the game with 9 players, and with the last attack of the game the team overloaded from a corner, though Le Paih was unable to steer his resulting header on target when marked tightly, which led to the team's first draw of the season.
Next up for the train, we have upcoming cup games in the East Berkshire Football League, first hosting Old Windsor FC Reserves on 20th January 2024 in the Last 16 of the Ascot & Fielden Charity Cup, before we host South Reading in the quarter-finals of the EBFL League Cup on 27th January 2024!
Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:
"Looking back on the game, it's a nice change of pace for the team to feel disappointed that we only came away from this game with a draw. Across the 90 minutes of the game, we were the stronger of the teams and were the team that looked more likely to get a goal, and across the pitch were playing some nice football.
The only thing that prevented us earning all the points were conceding some very sloppy goals on our front. The first was a giveaway at the edge of the box, the second an avoidable penalty, the third coming from a counter after a loose free-kick, and the fourth an unfortunate own goal. These things happen in football and really spared Sandhurst on the day - we pressed well, and they afforded us the chances to win on the day, but ultimately had to settle for a point despite some fine efforts on our front to secure the points.
Draws have also been illusive for Hype Train this season, with this being our first of the season in what was our 30th competitive game, so occasionally these results happen, but again I'll stress that when we are differing with squads and availability each week, as well as missing the EBFL's top scorer due to injury, this was a positive day for us and something to build on after a slow start to 2024.
We'd like to wish Sandhurst the best for the season ahead and hope that Jordan and his team can pick up some results to lift them up the table as the season progresses."
Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad
Manager: Robert Austin
GK: Robert Austin
DEF: Anwar Mmanga
DEF: Josh Robertson
DEF: Tom Dalgarno (Akinbola 70')
DEF: Leo Pereira
MID: Jon Watkins
MID: Waqar Janjua
MID: Jas Le Paih
MID: Mitchell Saunders
MID: Emmanuel Boateng
FOR: Benjamin Heinau
SUB: Nifemi Akinbola
Goals & Assists:
Goal 1: Heinau (goal), Boateng (assist)
Goal 2: Heinau (goal), Saunders (assist)
Goal 3: Heinau (goal), Watkins (assist)
Goal 4: Saunders (goal), 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 www.thehypetrain.co.uk
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