• Robert Austin

Hype Train Football Club: 2021/22 Saturday League Season Review

Updated: May 31


Club Captain, Vincent van Lembergen, about to lift the EBFL Presidents Cup. Photography by Gary House

Welcome aboard the home of Hype Train Football Club. Here, you can read an in-depth review of our third season in the East Berkshire Football League (EBFL), with the club placed in the Premier Division, the first time the club has completed in a league's top tier. All aboard.


East Berkshire Football League (EBFL):

Hype Train FC formed in July 2019 and since we have been a member of the EBFL, with this being the club's third season in the league. Our first two campaigns ended prematurely due to lockdowns and government measures imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the 2021/22 season our first full season in the East Berks.


Our routes in cup competitions this season...

Due to the club starting our Saturday League season at the end of October, we decided to withdraw from all outside cup competitions, a regular feature within the EBFL, and to purely focus on the league and internal cups.


We were involved in the Berks & Bucks FA Charles Twelftree Trophy however, a County FA competition, bowing out in the 2nd round against Wraysbury FC - the club's first outing in a stadium, and a huge learning curve for us. We also bowed out of the EBFL League Cup after a thread-bare team lost 3-1 at home to a strong Iver Heath. Then finally, we were entrants in the EBFL Presidents Cup.


Our route in the Presidents Cup, which is a competition featuring bottom-half Premier Division and Division One teams within the EBFL, saw the team enter in the preliminary round, overcoming Sandhurst 8-0 at home, which set up a Round of 16 encounter away against unbeaten Division One leaders, Harts of Bracknell. The team battled from behind to take a 2-1 lead, which was extinguished with virtually the last kick of the game. Right from kick-off though, we went down the other end of the pitch, won a corner, with Chris Marshall scoring at the death to advance to the quarter-finals.


The Last 8 saw the team's toughest challenge as we went away from home again, this time to Premier Division outfit Frontline FC. The team took a 2-0 lead in at half-time, before Frontline levelled the game with a wonder-strike from range, before Callum Parr-Jones scored a worldie of his own in extra-time, to seal our progression to the semi's. Then in the semi-finals, a confident 5-2 victory over Old Windsor FC Reserves, our first ever win over an Old Windsor outfit, sealed our spot in the final at Burnham FC's 1878 Stadium.


In the final against AFC Cressex, the team ran out 4-3 winners in normal time in what was our 100th game as a club to secure our first piece of silverware on a historic day for all involved.



Our journey in EBFL's Premier Division...

As for matters in the league, in the middle of October there was a Special General Meeting (SGM) called that was called by the league's Committee to do with the status of two clubs in the league: Stoke Poges and ourselves. Both teams argued their legitimate cases for being included in Division One, though ultimately when put to a vote, both clubs were elected to remain in the Premier Division. Our case was simple - we had a small squad and we wouldn't be able to potentially see out the season with limited numbers against the top tier in the league, especially as we haven't completed a full season to date and were second bottom in Division One the previous year.


The result of the AGM meant that we were to belatedly start our EBFL Premier Division campaign at the end of August, with our first game coming against Pundit FC on 30th October at The Cherry Orchard. The game was back and forth, finishing in an entertaining 2-2 draw, and gave the team a huge confidence boost heading into future league matches - beating Iver Heath (3-1) and Pundit (7-4), as well as beginning 2022 with a 3-3 draw away at Iver Heath.

Yet to be tested by the more established teams in the division, we were humbled 7-0 at home against Singh Sabha on a day when we gifted them virtually goal, before our immediate return outing the following game on 5th March saw the club's best result to date, a brilliant 2-2 draw on 4G against Sabha, that was filled with drama until the very end. Sabha missed a penalty in additional time, though substitute keeper, Callum Parr-Jones, made a brilliant double save to dent their title hopes, then in a twist at the end of the game, Ash Ali wasn't able to convert a golden chance on the counter as we registered a huge and confidence building result on the road.


In the midst of our route to the Presidents Cup final, our run-in to the showpiece event saw the team go unbeaten in the league, performing a league double over KS Gryf (4-1 at home, 4-3 away), whilst for the first time in 4 visits, we were able to register a win on Stoke Poges' own soil in a 4-3 win. The only drip was a goalless draw against Cressex just two weeks before the cup final, with both teams weighing one another up in a stale game at Calcot Recreation Ground.


Our cup win over Cressex ultimately made life harder for us to fulfil games in the Premier Division, though we were able to have a very highly competitive game against Britwell FC in an EBFL Showcase game on May 18th 2022, before we played our final game of the season away at The Chicken Ranch, with Britwell beating the team 4-1 to secure the Premier Division crown.



Thoughts from Club Owner, Robert Austin:

"The honest truth about our Saturday League season is that it nearly didn't happen. At one point in October prior to our SGM meeting, which essentially put our team's problems on the table for all to pick apart, I became disillusioned with our predicament in the league, felt the communication was non-existent and that we simply didn't have enough players to get across the line. It was never my intent to mess teams around, to cause anarchy in the league, but had a real and valid argument to be kept in Division One, and still after the AGM I was just hours away from cancelling our season. From that point to right now, it feels like those moments are a thousand years apart and I'm so happy that the team pressed on and we were able to get to grips with the Premier Division, and overcoming any doubts we had as a footballing unit.


Games against Singh Sabha only made us stronger, whilst games against Frontline and Pundit really galvanised the team, whilst a marquee win against Iver Heath, a team we have struggled against in the past, made the team start to believe more and more each week. This ultimately all bled into our run in the Presidents Cup, with the expectations and experiences making us stronger and more robust for a cup run that will go down in club history as infamous.


The confidence gained by a strong start meant we swept aside Sandhurst, before a bare bones squad of 11 players won in dramatic fashion against Harts of Bracknell at the death, whilst our resolve and endurance was tested to its maximum against Frontline in extra-time. Beating an Old Windsor outfit in the semi-finals in clinical manner showed our progression (we lost 3-1 to them last season in a really low moment for the team), whilst we fought all as warriors against a physically strong Cressex outfit in a cup thriller at Burnham FC to ensure a first piece of history.


So our experiences within the league and the cup are combined. Without being placed in the Prem Division, I don't think we have sharp enough claws to cut down our opposition in latter rounds, and ultimately I think we found our place in the top division, we didn't look out of place besides a few tough games, and for that I am nothing but proud of the guys that battled alongside me and the team each week - it was a highly rewarding season and we were well worth our place amongst the league and cup champions this season!


From an individual viewpoint, football is my life and this team means everything to me and Sam (Club Chairman). Each week we ride the highs and lows of running the team, grind away all the time to make this the strongest possible version of the club, and to actually be on the winning side of a cup final really does mean everything, and there is nothing sweeter than the first! Nobody ever takes the journey alone though, and you have a group of focused players and volunteers alongside us that have really bought into this team and project - they deserve all the credit for showing faith in us and we are nothing but grateful for everyone who have given us a perfect moment in the Presidents Cup final."


Phil Newport (left) and Leon Mannion (right) scored 40 of the team's 62 Saturday League goals this season! Photo by Sam Austin

Hype Train FC - 2021/22 Friendly Schedule:

1) Sun 08/08/2021 - Pre-Season: New England 1-2 Hype Train FC

2) Sat 14/08/2021 - Pre-Season: Hurst FC Reserves 2-2 Hype Train FC

3) Sun 15/08/2021 - Pre-Season: Rose & Thistle FC 0-4 Hype Train FC

4) Sat 21/08/2021 - Pre-Season: Burghfield FC Reserves 1-0 Hype Train FC

5) Sun 12/09/2021 - Mid-Season: Hype Train FC 3-3 Caversham United

6) Fri 01/10/2021 - Mid-Season: Wokingham & Embrook FC Development 1-5 Hype Train FC


Hype Train FC - 2021/22 Season Schedule:

1) Sat 30/10/2021 - EBFL Premier Division: Pundit FC 2-2 Hype Train FC

2) Sat 06/11/2021 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 3-1 Iver Heath FC

3) Sat 13/11/2021 - BBFA Charles Twelftree Trophy (R1): Hype Train FC 4-0 Lambourn Sports FC

4) Sat 20/11/2021 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 2-3 Stoke Poges FC

5) Sat 27/11/2021 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 7-4 Pundit FC

6) Sat 11/12/2021 - BBFA Charles Twelftree Trophy (R2): Wraysbury FC 2-0 Hype Train FC

7) Sat 08/01/2022 - EBFL Premier Division: Iver Heath FC 3-3 Hype Train FC

8) Sat 22/01/2022 - EBFL Presidents Cup (Preliminary Round): Hype Train FC 8-0 Sandhurst Town U23's

9) Sat 29/01/2022 - EBFL League Cup (R1): Hype Train FC 1-3 Iver Heath FC

10) Sat 05/02/2022 - EBFL Presidents Cup (Last 16): Harts of Bracknell FC 2-3 Hype Train FC

11) Sat 12/02/2022 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 0-7 Singh Sabha Slough FC

12) Sat 05/03/2022 - EBFL Premier Division: Singh Sabha Slough FC 2-2 Hype Train FC

13) Sat 19/03/2022 - EBFL Presidents Cup (Last 8): Frontline FC 2-3 Hype Train FC (AET)

14) Sat 26/03/2022 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 0-3 Old Windsor FC

15) Sat 02/04/2022 - EBFL Presidents Cup (Last 4): Old Windsor FC Reserves 2-5 Hype Train FC

16) Sat 16/04/2022 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 4-1 KS Gryf

17) Wed 20/04/2022 - EBFL Premier Division: Stoke Poges FC 3-4 Hype Train FC

18) Sat 23/04/2022 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 0-0 AFC Cressex

19) Sat 30/04/2022 - EBFL Premier Division: KS Gryf 3-4 Hype Train FC

20) Sat 07/05/2022 - EBFL Presidents Cup (Final): Hype Train FC 4-3 AFC Cressex

21) Wed 18/05/2022 - EBFL Premier Division (Showcase Game): Britwell FC 4-2 Hype Train FC

22) Wed 25/05/2022 - EBFL Premier Division: Britwell FC 4-1 Hype Train FC

*The club were unable to field teams against Old Windsor FC (A), Frontline FC (H), Frontline FC (A), whilst AFC Cressex (A) was voided.



Hype Train FC - 2021/22 Saturday League Season Statistics:

Friendly Matched Played: 6

Competitive Matches Played: 22 (14 league, 8 cup)

Win/Draw/Loss Record: 11 W / 4 D / 7 L

Walkover Losses / Voided Game: 4 (2 away, 1 home, 1 voided game)

EBFL Premier Division Record: 5 W, 4 D, 5 L, 3 Walkover Losses, 1 Voided Game

Goals Scored: 62 (34 league, 28 cup)

Goals Conceded: 54 (40 league, 14 cup)

Clean Sheets: 3 (1 league, 2 cup)

Top Scorer: Leon Mannion (21)

Most Assists: Leon Mannion (12)

Most Clean Sheets (GK): Chris Marshall (1), Jamie Halsall (1), Daniel Bone (1)


Top Goal Scorers:

Leon Mannion (21)

Phil Newport (19)

Paul Hatfield (4)

Ash Ali (3)

Jon Watkins (3)

Callum Fox-Spence (2)

Callum Parr-Jones (2)

George Holloway (2)

Robert Austin (1)

Graham High (1)

Chris Marshall (1)

Shane Cooper-Clark (1)

Own Goals: 2

Total Goals: 62


Most Assists:

Leon Mannion (12)

Phil Newport (9)

Shane Cooper-Clark (6)

Paul Hatfield (5)

Joe Sawyer (3)

Danny Basden (2)

Robert Austin (2)

Abz Raisa (1)

Chris Marshall (1)

Gino Izzo (1)

Stuart Stannard (1)

Callum Parr-Jones (1)

Callum Fox-Spence (1)

George Holloway (1)

Ash Ali (1)

Dany Setiawan (1)

Matt Snell (1)

Jon Watkins (1)

No assists: 4

Total Assists: 62


Other Club Statistics - 2021/22 Saturday League Season:

100th Game: The club's 100th match in all competitions came in the EBFL Presidents Cup Final against AFC Cressex at Burnham FC's 1878 Stadium.


History in our first EBFL Final: The club managed to win the Presidents Cup 4-3 against Cressex, winning our first piece of silverware in our 100th game.


High Scoring League Game: The club's 7-4 home win against Pundit FC was the highest scoring game in the Premier Division, with no other game managing 11 goals.


Highest Scoring Cup Final: Our 4-3 outing against Cressex in the Presidents Cup final was the highest scoring cup final result during the 2021/22 season.


The League's Only 0-0 Draw: The club's only clean sheet in the Premier Division was against Cressex on April 23rd. This was the only goalless draw in the EBFL Premier Division all season long - yes, no other teams were involved in a 0-0.


Joint Highest Scorer: Leon Mannion scored 21 goals in Saturday League action, which is level with Singh Sabha's Pritpal Raju.


Stoke Poges Anomaly: The club lost 5 matches in EBFL's Premier Division, with the only defeat against a side outside the 'Big 3' coming against Stoke Poges in a 3-2 home defeat.


Rules of the Sin Bin?: The club saw 3 players enter the Sin Bin throughout the season (Chris Marshall, Phil Newport, Leon Mannion), all for different reasons. Mannion contested a clear onside call, Marshall was talking to his own team moments after we had conceded a free kick, whilst Newport contested a potential penalty.


Never Seeing Red: The club did not receive a red card throughout the season.


100th Appearance: Robert Austin managed a century of appearances for the club during the EBFL Showcase game against Britwell FC on 18th May 2022 at Burnham FC's 1878 Stadium.


Record Loss: The team's 7-0 home loss against Singh Sabha on 12th February in the Premier Division was the club's largest record loss, and the first time we have conceded 2 own goals in a single game (Vince van Lembergen and Callum Gibbons).


Best League Result against a 'Big 3' Club: Our 7-0 loss against Sabha was followed up with the club's best league result in the Premier Division, a 2-2 draw away at Singh Sabha.


Two Penalty Saves: The club registered 2 penalty saves throughout the season, the first coming from Callum Parr-Jones against Singh Sabha in a 2-2 draw, with CPJ's save coming in the 90th minute to deny the hosts victory. The second came from Jamie Halsall in the EBFL Presidents Cup semi-final against Old Windsor FC Reserves, with the score at 2-0 at the time of Halsall's crucial save.


Strike Partners: Leon Mannion (21) and Phil Newport (19) scored 40 of the club's 62 goals in Saturday League action this season, which is 64.5% of the team's goals.


First time in Extra-Time: The club's 3-2 win at Frontline FC in the quarter-finals of the Presidents Cup was the first time the club has ever played an additional 30 minutes of football. We have yet to feature in a penalty shoot out.


Longest Match in Club History: The 3-2 (AET) win against Frontline FC on 19th March 2022 is timed at 141 minutes and 43 seconds, the longest game of football the club has been involved in.



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

Believe The Hype!



47 views0 comments