EBFL Presidents Cup Match Report (19/03/2022): Frontline FC vs. Hype Train FC
Updated: Mar 26
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: Frontline FC vs. Hype Train FC
Date: Saturday 19th March 2022
Competition: EBFL Presidents Cup (Quarter-Final)
Opposition: Frontline FC
Location: Burnham Grammar School, Hogfair Lane, Slough, SL1 7HG
Final Score: Frontline FC 2-3 Hype Train FC (after extra-time)
Photographer: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam)
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Our encounter against Frontline was the first time we have ever encounter the Slough based outfit, with our contest coming in the quarter-finals of the EBFL Presidents Cup, with the team having to beat Sandhurst Town (8-0) at home in the Preliminary Round of the competition, before we found passage to the quarter-finals in the Last 16 away at Division One league leaders, Harts of Bracknell (3-2).
The game opened with an intense start on a fast, 4G pitch, with probing efforts from both teams testing the goalkeepers early, with the first sizeable action arriving in the 17th minute. After working a throw-in down our right channel, Callum Fox-Spence put a ball into Frontline's back four to clear, which led to Robert Austin winning the loose ball and finding the feet of Leon Mannion, who on his first touch, knocks the ball out left to an on-rushing Phil Newport - with Newport's first touch beating the keeper, with Mannion safeguarding the ball into the net and across the line without touching the goal-bound effort. This gave the team the lead after much early pressure from the hosts.
The lead was doubled in the 37th minute and it all started when a free-kick by Shane Cooper-Clark on the left byline of the goal was whipped in and struck the opposing Frontline in the arm, you can even hear their own management staff bemused at how the referee hasn't picked up the handball. This allowed Frontline to clear their lines, but again the loose ball was collected by Austin, who played a one-two with Vincent van Lembergen, before finding Cooper-Clark out left, with the midfielder driving in-field before unleashing a vicious shot at goal. The stinging effort could only be parried into the path of Jon Watkins, who smashed the ball home with a low drive to double the team's lead. The hosts linesman then argued and flagged that Watkins was offside (which he never was), with the ref overruling the decision to give the goal, and in turn the team a 2-0 lead.
There were two big chances to extend our lead further, though Leon Mannion, who was subject of a bad tackle in the first minute and suffered ligament damage, was unable to convert from close range, with the team also not converting a corner that flashed past. At the other end of the pitch, captain van Lembergen, made several top draw interceptions and tackles to ensure we would go in at half-time with a 2-0 lead.
Much of the second-half was consistent Frontline pressure, with the hosts squandering a host of chances as our defensive block was sinking lower and lower to deal with Frontline's overload in attack. Jamie Halsall in goal made two saves from range at close range, and also parried away two dangerous in-swinging corners that threatened the goal due to the team being against the wind.
With Mannion off the pitch, our best chances to sink a third goal in came when Cooper-Clark powered through the Frontline defensive line, though their keeper made an impressive save to deny the attacker, whilst Cooper-Clark and Phil Newport traded crosses for one another, with neither able to beat the Frontline shot-stopper.
Frontline's relentless pressure finally delivered a goal in the 78th minute when we were defending three consecutive Frontline corners, the third of which was short and they drove into the box and fired in a shot, which allowed their Number 18 to head home from close range to put the game on a knife edge.
In a game which saw the hosts continually frustrated and attempting to sway the referee, Frontline should have been reduced to 10 men in the 88th minute of the game when their Number 18, who had minutes ago given them a way back into the game, has completely kicked through full-back, George Fradgley, in a disgusting moment of rage on the pitch that doesn't belong in football. The referee was ball watching on our left wing, missing the rash kick-out on our player, but was close enough to be able in eye-line of the incident.
Then in the 90th minute of the game, their Number 18 who should have been off, was pulling at the shirt of Fox-Spence to win the ball back, with a Frontline attacker on the left wing collecting the ball, taking one touch before scoring an unbelievable strike from 30-yards-out, with the ball catching in the wind and dropping right into the far-left corner - gifting Frontline an equaliser and the prospect of extra-time.
With the last chance of the game, Frontline could have snatched it at death when they won a free-kick for a 50/50 challenge, with the referee taking forever to set the wall's distance, with the eventual effort only mere inches from being buried in the top corner - all which meant the game was destined for an additional 30 minutes - and the first time the club has ever been involved in extra-time.
The brief pause in play was what was needed for the team as we were able to reshape the team, with the 92nd minute brought around the game's all important 5th goal. Good pressure off the ball in our attacking third by Mannion and Ash Ali, resulted in a throw-in, which was taken quickly by Austin towards the path of Newport, with Callum Parr-Jones asking Newport to leave it for him - CPJ then set himself before striking a wonderful effort from 25-yards-out, that rocketed past the Frontline keeper as the ball bounced over the keeper and into the net, to restored the team's lead after a second-half of intense pressure from the hosts.
This entire sequence of the home team scoring at the death of the game, only to go out to a goal scored a minute later happened again (as it did against Bracknell), as CPJ's strike put the team on course for the semi-finals.
The game really opened up, with their Number 18 then hitting the post after seemingly beating our offside trap to end the first-half of extra-time, before a barrage of shots from the home team in the second period were either wide of the mark or saved by Halsall, with the best save coming a few minutes from the end of the contest (which at this point was the 135th minute) when a Frontline midfielder shot from the edge of the box to Halsall's left, with the ball only parried to you guessed it, their Number 18, who shot from point blank range, with Halsall recovering well to pull off a crucial double save.
On the counter at the other end of the pitch, Mannion was set free, running towards the byline, with his eventual cross just shy of reaching an unmarked Fox-Spence who had made a long supporting run for Mannion. Parr-Jones then drew another fine save from the Frontline keeper at the edge of the box, before Frontline won a corner with just seconds left on the clock. Up stepped their goalkeeper who raced onto the ball, headed goalward with his effort cleared off the line by Fradgley on the post, with the eventual shot cleared from danger again by Fradgley as the full-time whistle was finally met, and the team advancing to the semi-finals of the Presidents Cup after a 139-minute thriller against Frontline away from home.
The win for the team means that we have advanced through to the semi-finals of the competition alongside Chalvey Sports, Old Windsor FC Reserves and AFC Cressex. The draw for the penultimate round of the cup competition will be made on Friday 25th April 2022, with both semi-finals taking place on Saturday 2nd April 2022.
Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:
"Both teams might have just endured one of the longest football matches of the season, it will take some beating for a game to eclipse the 139 minutes that we all endured, but every second made it worthwhile when the full-time whistle went and we booked our passage into the next round!
When the draw for the quarter-finals came out, all 4 of the remaining Premier Division teams had been drawn against one another, and we had to travel out to the team in the highest position of all teams left, and a very capable footballing side in Frontline, so we were under no illusions of how much of a challenge the game would have been. It was a match that could have easily graced the final itself - it was played a quick pace, was open throughout and would have been one for the spectators to enjoy on a perfect day to play football in.
We put our chances to bed in the first-half, defended well throughout the game and also had luck on our side as Frontline wasted some really strong chances to score, though they fought back well in the second-half and scored a wonderful second goal to take the game to extra-time. They played on the deck and everything went short, so for us it was about having constant awareness and desire to keep a good shape in defence and to be switched on at every second. I'm over the moon for the squad as we overcome a difficult opponent to advance and had a real battle - it might be our sweetest victory to date.
The only element that was threatening to ruin the game entirely were some of the referee's calls and the way he communicated with both teams - it was a heated day and the ref's actions eventually allowed for one of their players to commit an assault that went unpunished. This game needed linesmen from the league to keep everything in check and to help out the official in the middle, that's for sure.
Regardless of little niggles though, we're keeping ourselves on the ground as we have a big cup semi-final next weekend, so here's to another big day for the club - that is what football is all about!"
Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad
Manager: Robert Austin
GK: Jamie Halsall
DEF: George Fradgley
DEF: Joe Sawyer
DEF: Vincent van Lembergen
DEF: Robert Austin
MID: Jon Watkins (Ali 66')
MID: Callum Fox-Spence
MID: Shane Cooper-Clark (Watkins 75', Mannion 91')
MID: Gino Izzo (Basden 57')
MID: Phil Newport
FOR: Leon Mannion (Parr-Jones 55')
SUB: Danny Basden
SUB: Ash Ali
SUB: Callum Parr-Jones
Goals & Assists:
Goal 1: Newport (goal), Mannion (assist)
Goal 2: Watkins (goal), Cooper-Clark (assist)
Goal 3: Parr-Jones (goal), Austin (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 www.thehypetrain.co.uk
Believe The Hype!