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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

EBFL Presidents Cup Final Match Report (07/05/2022): Hype Train FC vs. AFC Cressex

The team photo for the team's 100th game, in the Presidents Cup final. Photography by Gary House.

Hype Train FC will be playing across both Saturday and Sunday next season, with the team competing in the East Berkshire Football League and 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 third season as a club! All aboard.

Match Report: Hype Train FC vs. AFC Cressex

Date: Saturday 7th May 2022

Competition: EBFL Premier Division (Final)

Opposition: AFC Cressex

Location: 1878 Stadium, Burnham FC, Wymers Wood Rd, SL1 8JG

Final Score: Hype Train FC 4-3 AFC Cressex

Photographers: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam) and Gary House (@GaryHousePhoto)

Match Report:

Our encounter against AFC Cressex was the team's first game in May and the culmination of our run in the EBFL Presidents Cup, with the team taking on AFC Cressex at the 1878 Stadium in the showpiece event. This was the team's second match against Cressex in the space of 3 weeks, with the team drawing 0-0 at home in the league against Cressex in a warm-up to the final itself, setting the stage perfectly for both team's big outing.

The build-up to the game was long and the team in their new white Kitlocker PowerUp strip arrived in good spirits, with the game taking until the 16th minute for the first goal of the game. After a quick throw to Leon Mannion's feet, the attacker won a corner kick after some good hold-up play on the left. The resulting set-piece saw Shane Cooper-Clark flash in a perfectly weighted corner, which was headed home inside the six-yard-box by George Holloway!

Chances were there for the team, with Mannion brought down inside the penalty area, dragged down by a central defender, though the referee adjudged that Mannion had fouled the opposing player, whilst Cooper-Clark forced the Cressex keeper into a stinging save from range, and then denied Hatfield the chance of a double from the edge of the box.

The team's lead doubled in the 35th minute when George Holloway intercepted a Cressex cross on their right wing, before taking the ball out of the box and feeding Phil Newport on the left wing. Newport fed Mannion down the line, who then used his pace to glide down the left before supplying a cross to Paul Hatfield, who collected excellently before firing in on the half-volley and in off the far-right post, to extend our lead!

Within 2 minutes of doubling our lead, a freak moment saw Cressex half their deficit when they won a corner, that was an in-swinger that was sharp and quick, managing to go over Jamie Halsall in the goal and straight in - a lifeline for the team in black as the game went into half-time at 2-1.

The second-half saw the team start strong and regain our 2-goal advantage in the 54th minute, and all started when George Fradgley intercepted a Cressex attack and then won the second tackle which was played to Mannion. The Number 9 then played in Fradgley who overlapped on the right, set himself before finding Mannion in the box, who then provided a sublime touch back to Hatfield at the edge of the box - Hatfield then squared the ball to Newport, who set himself on his left-foot, before powering in a finish at the near-post in what was an excellent team goal!

Not making life easy for ourselves, we allowed Cressex back into the match in the 67th minute when we won an initial header in from a goal kick, with the second's dropping in between Robert Austin and Cooper-Clark. A miscommunication between the two saw a loose header played down Cressex's right, which was cut-back to their Number 5 to slot home a second, bringing the game back to 3-2 with just over 20 minutes to play.

The 72nd minute saw another change in the score when a long throw by Fradgley down the right fell perfectly to Cooper-Clark, who turned and played and excellent pass over the top of Cressex's defensive line to Mannion, with the Forward beating his man, turning in on his left before calmly finishing to the keeper's right, silencing a Cressex-heavy crowd at the 1878 Stadium.

With Cressex pressing for a goal, in the 94th minute of the game a corner kick was flashed into the back post and powered home, meaning the team had to hold out for 2 minutes in order to seal the cup. Cressex did have one final chance, a free-kick from distance that was central and saved by Halsall in goal. With the team taking the ball to the corner at the over end of the pitch, the full-time whistle was blown and history for the club in the Presidents Cup was secured.

The win in the club's 100th game proved to be written in the stars as the team achieved its first-ever trophy after being formed in June 2019. Up next for the club, the morning after the final we played our final game of the RDSL Division 4 season, away against Core FC, whilst our next Saturday outing is against Cressex again in league action on Saturday 14th May 2022.

Thoughts from Club Owner, Robert Austin:

"A lot of preparation and planning went into this game, from organising a new kit, having weeks of tactical training, meetings, media, promotion and everything else that comes into planning a cup final, and it's all of these intricate details that help the team get across the line. Every single player and member of the management staff were organised right from the get-go on the day and it made a big difference - we were assured on the pitch, we played a very good attacking game and really took the game to Cressex. Playing them a few weeks prior to the final was ideal for both teams, so we could figure one another out, but I always believed we had extra gears to go to, and that's ultimately what we managed on the day as we won a first-ever trophy.

The squad put in an incredible performance, we learnt from losing a cup final last year, and it was written in our 100th game that something special was on the cards. To each player, volunteer, and company, and the league itself, that helped make today special for everyone at Hype Train FC - thank you. Myself and Sam wouldn't be here, celebrating a first trophy without all the hard work around us, as well as the immense amount of work we dedicate to this club. It's an honour and privilege to be involved in a cup final, and I am personally beyond happy about what for me has been the perfect day - we are finally off the running with a first piece of silverware and it is a dream that has been 7 years in the making since forming The Hype Train.

Our entire journey to the Presidents Cup has been one hell of a ride. We were in the preliminary round ahead Sandhurst, scored a last-minute winner against Harts of Bracknell, before we went through extra-time for the first time in a dramatic win against Frontline. We were then able to beat an Old Windsor outfit in the semi-finals for the first-time, and then were able to overcome a good Cressex side in the finals - the team who we managed our first landmark win over way back in our debut season. It's been an incredible ride, we beat the strongest teams in the competition, and on the whole deserve our place amongst the winners of the competition.

My commiserations go out to Mitch and all players and crew at Cressex, they played a good game and kept us honest throughout. It was a thriller for the neutral and they bought a lot of supporters with them and it was the extra crowd support that saw them have the 12th man so to speak - thankfully we were able to silence the crowd noise at the end of the game, but it did make for a great atmosphere in the game.

Again, thank you to everyone involved for a day which finally saw us become champions, and yes it is only our beginning."

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Management Team: Sam Austin, James Mason

Starting 11:

GK: Jamie Halsall

DEF: George Fradgley (Watkins 74')

DEF: Joe Sawyer

DEF: Vince vsn Lembergen

DEF: Robert Austin

MID: Paul Hatfield (Izzo 78')

MID: Shane Cooper-Clark

MID: George Holloway (Fox-Spence 82')

MID: Chris Marshall (Snell 65')

MID: Phil Newport (Ali 78')

FOR: Leon Mannion


SUB: Jon Watkins

SUB: Ash Ali

SUB: Matt Snell

SUB: Gino Izzo

SUB: Callum Fox-Spence

Goals & Assists:

Goal 1: Holloway (goal), Cooper-Clark (assist)

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

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

Goal 4: Mannion (goal), Cooper-Clark (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.

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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