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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Hype Train Football Club: 2022/23 Season Review

Phil Newport, Walid Zaky, Joe Sawyer, Josh Watkins, and Tom Dalgarno, celebrate a goal. Photography by Sam Austin

Welcome aboard the home of Hype Train Football Club. Here, you can read an in-depth review of our second full Sunday League season as a football club, with the team competing in the Reading & District Sunday League's Division 3 for the 2022/23 season. All aboard.

Reading & District Sunday Football League (RDSFL):

During the 2021/22 season, Hype Train entered the Reading & District Sunday League (RDSL) and started in the basement league, Division 4. After recording 52 points in the division, we finished as runners-up to flawless Reading United, with the champions winning all 20 games.

This was the first season that the club would compete solely in Sunday League competition, with the team deciding to take a year away from Saturday League football in order to rebuild after a summer of transition at the club.

With our 2nd place finish the season prior, the club were promoted to RDSL Division 3, and were joined in the same league as Brothers United and Core FC, who were also elevated from the division.

The season led to the train finishing the campaign with 47 points from 24 games, finishing the season in 4th place, and below you can see our full list of results and statistics from the season just gone.

Hype Train FC - 2022/23 Friendly Schedule:

1) Sat 16/07/2022 - Pre-Season: Reading Tigers 6-7 Hype Train FC

2) Sat 23/07/2022 - Pre-Season: Stoke Poges FC 1-3 Hype Train FC

3) Sun 24/07/2022 - Pre-Season: Zone RG 5-4 Hype Train FC

4) Sun 31/07/2022 - Pre-Season: Goring United FC 4-2 Hype Train FC

5) Wed 10/08/2022 - Pre-Season: Caversham United 0-3 Hype Train FC

6) Sat 13/08/2022 - Pre-Season: Southcote FC 3-2 Hype Train FC

7) Sun 21/08/2022 - Pre-Season: Woodley Saints Lowfield 5-1 Hype Train FC

8) Sat 27/08/2022 - Pre-Season: Britwell FC 3-3 Hype Train FC

9) Sun 28/08/2022 - Pre-Season: FC Whitley Wood 1-1 Hype Train FC

10) Sun 04/09/2022 - Pre-Season: Brothers United 3-1 Hype Train FC

Hype Train FC - 2021/22 Season Schedule:

1) Sun 18/09/2022 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 6-1 Farley Hill FC

2) Sun 25/09/2022 - RDSL Division 3: Burghfield FC 'B' 0-9 Hype Train FC

3) Sun 02/10/2022 - RDSL Industrial Cup (R1): Hype Train FC 3-3 Southbank FC (Hype Train win 4-3 on penalties)

4) Sun 09/10/2022 - RDSL Division 3: Woodley Saints Lowfield 3-2 Hype Train FC

5) Sun 16/10/2022 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 3-1 Caversham AFC

6) Sun 23/10/2022 - BBFA Sunday Trophy (R2): Bracknell Saint-Germain 1-8 Hype Train FC

7) Sun 30/10/2022 - RDSL Division 3: Caversham AFC 2-4 Hype Train FC

8) Sun 06/11/2022 - RDSL Industrial Cup (R2): Caversham AFC 1-5 Hype Train FC

9) Sun 13/11/2022 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 3-0 Burghfield FC 'B'

10) Sun 20/11/2022 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 5-0 Southbank FC

11) Sun 04/12/2022 - RDSL Industrial Cup (Last 8): Hype Train FC 2-2 Burghfield FC 'A' (Burghfield wins 3-2 on penalties)

12) Sun 15/01/2023 - BBFA Sunday Trophy (R3): Hype Train FC 4-1 Southbank FC

13) Sun 29/01/2023 - BBFA Sunday Trophy (Last 16): Panthers FC 4-2 Hype Train FC

14) Sun 05/02/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Southbank FC 3-2 Hype Train FC

15) Sun 12/02/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 9-1 New England

16) Sun 19/02/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Core FC 1-3 Hype Train FC

17) Sun 26/02/2023 - RDSL Division 3: RE United 2-2 Hype Train FC

18) Sun 05/03/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Southcote FC 3-1 Hype Train FC

19) Sun 12/03/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Brothers United 4-0 Hype Train FC

20) Sun 19/03/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 7-4 Core FC

21) Sun 09/04/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Sanctuary Strikers 1-3 Hype Train FC

22) Sun 16/04/2023 - RDSL Division 3: New England 2-6 Hype Train FC

23) Thu 20/04/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 2-2 Southcote FC

24) Sun 23/04/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 2-1 FC Woodley

25) Tue 25/04/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 3-2 Sanctuary Strikers

26) Sun 30/04/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 1-3 RE United

27) Thu 04/05/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Farley Hill FC 4-2 Hype Train FC

28) Sun 07/05/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 5-1 Woodley Saints Lowfield

Sun 14/05/2023 - RDSL Division 5: Home Walkover Loss vs. Brothers United

29) Sun 21/05/2023 - RDSL Division 3: FC Woodley 2-5 Hype Train FC

Thoughts from Club Owner, Robert Austin:

"Reflecting upon the season, I think it is worth putting where we started and the hand the club was dealt heading into pre-season. We were firstly having trials with two Manager's that went on too long, and were unsuccessful, whilst the entire squad was in transition. We had more than 20+ players leave and move on from our squad over the summer and had to basically rebuild the entire squad bar a few positions. We fought all summer to get both days of football on the weekend going, but when the squad was set in early September we had to make the difficult decision to step back from Saturday's and focus on the new group.

Why that is important in our season is that ultimately we fell slightly short of our goals on the pitch this season, and that is largely because we have been building foundations both off and on the field. We scored more goals this season, and were on the front foot in most of our games, but ultimately it never came together quickly enough in the bigger games against the top teams. That said, we had some very good days at the office, scored some incredible goals, and largely had a settled squad for the season - if you had told me we would have had this season when we started the campaign, I would have grabbed it with both hands, given how severe our transition was in the summer.

I'd like to throw out my thanks to a couple of teams in the RDSL this season - Core FC, Burghfield, Brothers, Caversham AFC, and New England - were a credit to the league this season and played us without any issues. We largely had a divisive decision from our point-of-view, games played in a poor manner that caused a lot of frustrations and emails sent to the league over conduct on our end, so it is worth pointing out when teams are excelling, and those teams I mentioned were a joy to deal with this season both off and on the pitch.

My biggest thanks to the season is to the players that came together and really pushed the club up - we have a top bunch of players and people that are supportive and want to see the club grow in the right direction. Phil Newport and Josh Watkins helped stepped up as captain throughout the season, we came together well during a couple of bad losses, training numbers were always good, the team was constructive and supportive to our Management team, especially as I was in charge on the sidelines for the first time properly this season. Lastly, we had two volunteers in Sam Austin and Paige Alexander who helped bring the club to life on social media through their photography, both were selfless and have been a great support to myself personally and have nothing but my thanks and love for the hard work.

I'll be working my hardest for this team over the summer to ensure that we come back stronger and have an even better season in 2023/24 and congratulations to all league and cup winners throughout the RDSL that went on to win trophies and have success this season."

Our Favourite Picture: Walid Zaky (middle) celebrates his goal vs. New England. Photography by Paige Alexander

Hype Train FC - 2022/23 Sunday League Season Statistics:

Friendly Matched Played: 10

Competitive Matches Played: 29 (23 league, 6 cup)

Win/Draw/Loss Record: 19 W / 2 D / 8 L / 1 Walkover Loss

Walkover Losses: 1 (1 home)

RDSL Division 3 Record: 15 W / 2 D / 6 L / 1 Walkover Loss

Goals Scored: 109 (85 league, 24 cup)

Goals Conceded: 55 (43 league, 12 cup)

Clean Sheets: 3 (2 league, 1 cup)

Top Scorer: Leon Mannion (27)

Most Assists: Cosmin Huhulea (16)

Most Clean Sheets (GK): Jamie Halsall (2), Sam Bolwell (1)

Top Goal Scorers:

Leon Mannion (27)

Phil Newport (24)

Joe Sawyer (8)

Josh Watkins (8)

Callum Parr-Jones (7)

Cosmin Huhulea (6)

Owen Bowbrick (6)

Alvin Mugabe (5)

Tom Williams (4)

Liam Bowbrick (3)

Brad Matthews (2)

Eme Boateng (2)

Walid Zaky (2)

Jon Watkins (1)

Robert Austin (1)

Tom Dalgarno (1)

Own Goals: 2

Total Goals: 109

Most Assists:

Cosmin Huhulea (16)

Phil Newport (14)

Leon Mannion (13)

Owen Bowbrick (12)

Josh Watkins (9)

Brad Matthews (7)

Tom Williams (7)

Jamie Carter (4)

Callum Parr-Jones (3)

Liam Bowbrick (3)

Alvin Mugabe (2)

Anwar Mmanga (1)

Callum Gibbons (1)

Eme Boateng (1)

Joe Sawyer (1)

Jon Watkins (1)

Nikhil Garg (1)

Sam Bolwell (1)

Tom Dalgarno (1)

No assists: 10

Total Assists: 109

Other Club Statistics - 2021/22 Sunday League Season:

Biggest Win: The club's first away outing of the season saw the train beat Burghfield FC 'B' 9-0 at Burghfield CSA to register our biggest win, whilst our biggest margin of victory at home was a 9-1 win over New England.

Most Goals in a Game: The team's 7-4 home win over Core FC was the second time we were involved in a 10-goal game, with the reverse fixture against Core the only game to reach 11 goals. Core were the only team to score 4 goals on our own ground throughout the season, whilst we only shipped 3+ goals on 2 occasions at home in league action.

How did we score our goals?: Across our 109 goals, we scored a total of 96 open play goals, 8 penalty kicks, 4 free kicks, and 1 directly from a corner kick

First to 50 Assists: Phil Newport registered a hat-trick of assists against FC Woodley on the final day of the season, to become the first Hype Train player to register 50 assists for the club in competitive matches. Newport's assists were numbers 50, 51, and 52.

2021/22 Goals vs. 2022/23 Goals: The team scored 109 goals this season, 2 more than throughout the previous 2021/22 season, though the team played a total of 29 matches, 5 more than the 24 matches we played throughout 21/22.

Most Appearances: The player with most competitive appearances this season was midfielder, Brad Matthews, who featured in 27 of the club's 29 matches this season. This is more than Phil Newport (26), Joe Sawyer (25), Josh Watkins (25), and Jamie Halsall (25)

High Scoring Defenders: The club experienced our highest goal scoring season for defenders, with Joe Sawyer and Josh Watkins both scoring 8 goals. All 8 of Sawyer's goals came from open play, whilst 4 of Watkins' goals came from the penalty spot.

Direct from a Corner: Cosmin Huhulea scored a direct corner kick against Core FC during the team's 7-4 win in league action. This is only the second time a corner kick has directly gone in, whilst it is the first time a corner has been scored in a league match.

Biggest League Campaign: Our RDSL Division 3 campaign saw the team compete in 23 league matches (we had to concede a 24th unfortunately) in a division of 13 teams, the single longest season we have had since we formed in 2019, and the largest number of games in a league campaign.

First Ever Penalty Kicks: The club's first-ever penalty shootout took 117 matches to arrive, with the team drawing 3-3 with Southbank in the RDSL Industrial Cup. We would go on to win 4-3 on penalties, whilst we were involved in a second shootout in the quarter-finals at home again, this time against Burghfield FC 'A'. We would go onto lose 3-2 on penalties, meaning we have experienced the highs and lows of penalties in the same season, during the same cup competition, for the first time.

Joint Best Home Record: Alongside Brothers United, we only lost once at home in RDSL Division 3 and accumulated 28 points on home soil, whilst we scored the second most goals at home in the division (46) behind RE United (47).

A Different Playmaker (Finally): The club's top goal scorers from the past 3 seasons have also managed the most assists as well for the club during the season - Leon Mannion (2019/20 & 2021/22), Phil Newport (2020/21) - with Cosmin Huhulea's 16 assists the most of any player this season, meaning for the first season we don't have an undisputed winner of goal contributors.

5 Hat-Trick Heroes: Of our 109 goals throughout the season, on five separate occasions we registered a player scoring 3 goals in a match. Phil Newport (vs. Farley Hill and Core) and Leon Mannion (vs. BSG and New England) both bagged a brace of hat-tricks, whilst Alvin Mugabe scored our first treble (vs. Burghfield) away from home.

The 1 Goal Conceded: The club was only able to register 3 clean sheets throughout the season, a record low in a single season for the team - though of all the divisions RDSL Division 3 registered more goals and the highest scorers of any of the 5 divisions. Throughout the season, on 10 occasions the team conceded a single goal in a game that we would go onto win, also a record high for a single season.

First Tuesday & Thursday Games: Our first-ever games on Tuesday/Thursday evenings also took place during the season, with the team's 2-2 home draw vs. Southcote the first time we competed on a Thursday, whilst our 3-2 home win vs. Sanctuary Strikers was our first Tuesday outing. All previous midweek matches had taken place on Wednesday evenings.

Most Played Opposition: The team have played Core FC in 6 competitive matches, the most games against any opposition since we formed in 2019. We played them 4 times during the 2021/22 season, and completed a league double over them during 2022/23, and across all 6 matches have a 100% winning record.

Last Goal of the Season: Leon Mannion has scored the team's final goal of the season for three successive seasons. Goals against Caversham United (2020/21, 5-3 win), Britwell FC (2021/22, 4-1 loss) and FC Woodley (2022/23, 5-2 win) have also been scored in away matches, and to this day we have not completed a single league campaign across Saturday or Sunday with our final game at home.

Three Amigos: Callum Parr-Jones, Jon Watkins, and Leon Mannion, are the only 3 players in Hype Train history that have scored in all 4 of our seasons as a club.

Big Picture Numbers: Our final match of the 2022/23 season vs. FC Woodley was our 110th competitive game as a club (143rd overall including friendlies), with the team scoring 356 goals during those 110 matches, whilst we have conceded 199 goals during the same period. Our overall record has the train registering 65 wins, 13 draws, and 32 losses.

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

Believe The Hype!

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