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 21st October 2023
Competition: EBFL Premier Division (Game 9)
Opposition: Frontline FC
Location: Calcot Recreation Ground, Off Highview, Reading, RG31 4XD
Final Score: Hype Train FC 7-5 Frontline FC
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The train's encounter against Sandhurst was our 17th competitive match of the 2023/24 season, with the team involved in the East Berkshire Football League's Premier Division. This outing was our first league outing against Frontline, with the only time we played the visiting outfit from Slough coming in the quarter-finals of the EBFL Presidents Cup during the 2021/22 season, with the train winning 3-2 after extra-time in a pulsating cup match at Burnham Grammar School.
An end-to-game only look 7 minutes to spring into life and came at the advantage of the visiting Frontline, who were the first to break the deadlock. After the team defended a short set-piece, one of their central midfielders (who was arguably their standout player) picked up the ball and sold our defensive line with a nice turn as the player ghosted into the penalty area and tucked home the opening with a cool finish to the bottom-right corner of Robert Austin's goal.
A minute removed from the opening goal, there was an immediate response from the train when Frontline's goalkeeper collected the ball from a pass back, though was unable to get rid of the ball, allowing Phil Newport to press the keeper and win a corner when the shot stopper tried to clear the ball in a hurry. The resulting corner saw a lovely floated corner by Ciaran Carolan drift into the far-post and was headed home by the diving head of Newport who ghosted in unmarked to level the score.
Frontline were able to get back into the lead, though in controversial fashion, when in the 16th minute another short corner by the visitors led to a low cross that was cleared away via the right knee of George Stanford who was covering on the goal line - though the referee gave a penalty out of the blue believing Stanford had used his hand to clear the ball - the team were incensed at the call as it was obvious it came off the knee of the defender, though faced with a penalty Frontline buried the spot-kick into the bottom-right corner to retake the lead.
The lead was further extended in the 20th minute too for Frontline when they moved the ball from left to right, playing an eventual simple through ball for their Number 9 to win the foot race and to tuck the ball calmly home (in seemingly slow motion, as the ball travelled for a while) into the net.
Chasing the game early on, we didn't let ourselves get down as we were given a golden opportunity back into the game during the 23rd minute when the team won a free-kick just outside of the penalty area when Newport was dragged down after a long drop kick by Austin in goal evaded a Frontline head in defence, allowing Newport to challenge for the ball and winning the set-piece. Stepping up was Carolan from the dead ball, who shot the ball right down the middle of the goal, with the effort somehow going through the legs of the Frontline keeper - a definite error that gave the team momentum back into the match.
This 5-goal encounter showed absolutely no signs of slowing down and in the 31st minute the game was level yet again! Good interplay by Carolan and Mitchell Saunders down the right wing resulted in Saunders crossing in a deep effort to the back post, with Chris Marshall making the late run to power home the header from close range to net his first goal of the season.
The turnaround was then complete during the 34th minute when George Hodder picked up a loose pass by a Frontline midfielder, who then threaded the ball to Carolan, who with his first touch set Newport free one-on-one with an exceptional through ball, which Newport buried as the team took a 4-3 lead into half-time.
The second-half started with as much punch as the first, highlighted by the team's stubborn defending that thwarted Frontline, highlighted by a couple of key saves by Austin in goal, who not only made a stinging near-post save in the first-half, but denied Frontline twice when clear through on goal, whilst Hodder, Josh Robertson, Tom Dalgarno, and Stanford, all made some top quality defensive blocks and tackles, which frustrated the visitors as we looked to not only preserve the lead, but wait for the moment of a potential 5th.
That key moment for the 5th did eventually arrive in the 70th minute as the team weathered a literal storm of heavy rain, and persistent attacks from the visitors, to take command in the game. A quick throw down the right by Saunders to Carolan would then result in a quick one-two between the pair that saw Carolan thread a defence-splitting pass to Saunders who ran the ball across the byline before cutting the ball to Marshall again to prod home inside the six-yard-line for Marshall's brace!
Frontline didn't give up the chase themselves though and were gifted a route back into the game during the 79th minute when a through ball left Austin and Hodder in no man's land at the edge of the box, which allowed a Frontline substitute to sneak in and prod the ball through Austin's legs to bring the game back to 5-4 with 10 minutes left to play.
Thankfully for the train, our blunder at the back was rectified just a minute later when more high pressing from Newport and Jeffrey Laryea resulted in Newport winning the ball back and back-heeling the ball to Laryea, who spun around his marked and shot at the edge of the box on his left - resulting in a stinging shot that bounced off the ground and into the net, sparking an impassioned celebration by Laryea who netted his first goal, and the rest of the team.
The cherry on top of a good day at the office came in the 84th minute when the team won a free-kick at the halfway line, with Marshall's deep cross going just inside the penalty area, with Newport rising highest to win the header and netting another hat-trick for the team - a dominant header that compounded Newport's display on the day.
With a minute left on the referee's watch, he decided to award Frontline a second penalty when Saunders, who finished the game at right back, was deemed to have stamped on a Frontline player inside the penalty area when challenging for the ball - it's a soft penalty award, though nonetheless we had another spot-kick to face, which was ultimately again buried into the bottom-left corner by the scorer of Frontline's 4th goal - a couple of very good spot-kicks, that ultimately weren't enough for the visitors as Hype Train sealed a 7-5 win in a wild and open game of local football.
Next up for the train, we were in action in Reading & District Sunday League's Division 3 against Core FC at East Park Farm on Sunday 22nd October 2023, which is the 7th time we've faced Core in competitive action since we entered the RDSL in 2021.
Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:
"The Friday before our game, I didn't think the game would be going on. We were lacking players and the weather and forecast with horrendous. We have a long injury list and players being away, so had to rely upon a couple of new faces to come in to help us out on the day, so in truth I didn't know what to expect. We could have been beat heavily, or sprung a surprise - we've been running hot and cold depending on our team week-to-week, and were caught on the hot side for the afternoon and really gave Frontline a game on home soil. Largely, I was just happy to have gotten the game going ahead, it was worth all of the early-morning organising.
As for the game itself, we started really slow and perhaps were lacking in confidence in the early stages, but despite being 3-1 down early, we believed we could get back into the game as we noticed that the visitors weren't used to playing on a pitch like Calcot and made life hard for themselves. The conditions in the pouring rain favoured us, we showed a great battle and fight to turn the game around in the first-half, and then really closed their tactics down in the second-half to exploit them at the back. The team showed a real fighting spirit and heart to get the points though, and to install a belief to never count yourself out in football.
It was great seeing senior players mix with new players - we had George Hodder and Josh Robertson join us and both did really well at the back, whilst George Stanford had a battling performance too at the back - whilst it was great seeing Chris Marshall get a brace on the day, and I don't have enough good words about Phil Newport. Our captain has been dragging the team through on Saturday's and has been incredible for me and the team this season - I'm really happy that Phil has stuck with the team in our transition back to Saturday football, he's arguably been the best performing player in the EBFL this season, and the numbers don't lie.
Games between ourselves and Frontline are also exciting and I'd like to thank Imran and his team for making the trip out on the day, and best of luck until the reserve fixture later in the season."
Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad
Manager: Robert Austin
GK: Robert Austin
DEF: George Stanford (Marshall 77')
DEF: Josh Robertson
DEF: George Hodder
DEF: Tom Dalgarno
MID: Mitchell Saunders
MID: Waqar Janjua
MID: Chris Marshall (Zaky 70')
MID: Phil Newport
MID: Jeffrey Laryea
FOR: Ciaran Carolan
SUB: Walid Zaky
Goals & Assists:
Goal 1: Newport (goal), Carolan (assist)
Goal 2: Carolan (goal), Newport (assist)
Goal 3: Marshall (goal), Saunders (assist)
Goal 4: Newport (goal), Carolan (assist)
Goal 5: Marshall (goal), Saunders (assist)
Goal 6: Laryea (goal), Newport (assist)
Goal 7: Newport (goal), Marshall (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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