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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Hype Train Football Club: 2023/24 Season Review

Welcome aboard the home of Hype Train Football Club. Here, you can read an in-depth review of our 5th season as a football club, with the team competing in both the East Berkshire Football League (EBFL) and the Reading & District Sunday League for the 2023/24 season. All aboard.

East Berkshire Football League (EBFL):

The Train returned to the EBFL for the 2023/24 season after taking a year away from Saturday League after wholesale change at the club after the 2021/22 season ended, with the EBFL Committee deciding to place the team immediately back in the Premier Division upon our return. The squad had completely changed and we looked to just get through the season in one piece in what we envisioned to be a difficult challenge for the team.

The highlights of our return was an impressive 4-3 away win at Old Windsor, with the Train the only team to beat Windsor in league competition as they went on to win the league. We were also able to dispatch Frontline 7-5 at home in extremely wet conditions, with the damp weather the same when we beat Southcote 6-2 at home, whilst we also performed well at home in a 4-3 win over Britwell United.

The squad were limited to playing 15 games in the league as the wet spring season and a host of key injuries to the squad led to 4 matches having to be forfeited towards the close of the season. Though, the key positive is that we have returned to Saturday League football and picked up some key results along the way in hopes of building towards a better 2024/25 campaign. Rome wasn't built in a day.

The team were able to end our Premier Division campaign with a win as we remained unbeaten against Pundit, another team returning to the EBFL, as we won 3-2 away from home at the Cherry Orchard, to round off a season of the highest of highs with wins against top teams, and the lows of some heavy defeats.

This led to the team finishing the season in 10th place and ultimately relegated to EBFL Division One for next season, where we'll look to build back up the team and improve as a collective.

Reading & District Sunday League (RDSFL):

After a 4th place finish in RDSL Division 3 during the 2022/23 season, the Train once again competed in Division 3 and this time managed to secure a 5th placed finish in the table in a compact top-half of the table. The season had highs and low, but ultimately came down to fine margins and the team running out of legs as the season wore on.

The squad only lost to a trio of teams which comprised our 6 defeats, with Allied, Farley, and champions Richfield, doing league doubles, whilst we remained unbeaten against all other teams. We did draw both games against Burghfield, the only team we have ever drawn both league games against in a single season.

Due to a lack of dates in the diary thanks to months of waterlogged pitches and a lack of scheduling during a rainy spring season, our away game at Caversham AFC was mutually cancelled, with a 0-0 draw sanctioned for both teams.

The season led to the train finishing the campaign with 46 points from 24 games, finishing the season in 5th place, and we are unsure of where this leaves our position next season due to clubs folding mid-season in higher divisions.

Hype Train FC - 2023/24 Friendly Schedule:

1) Sat 15/07/2023 - Pre-Season: Gordon Storey Memorial Tournament (Winners)

2) Sat 29/07/2023 - Pre-Season: Reading Tigers 4-6 Hype Train FC

3) Wed 02/08/2023 - Pre-Season: Sandhurst Men Reds 5-1 Hype Train FC

4) Sun 06/08/2023 - Pre-Season: South Reading FC 7-0 Hype Train FC

5) Sun 13/08/2023 - Pre-Season: FC Whitley Wood 4-5 Hype Train FC

6) Sun 20/08/2023 - Pre-Season: Caversham United Reserves 1-1 Hype Train FC

Hype Train FC - 2023/24 Season Schedule:

1) Wed 23/08/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Southcote FC 7-2 Hype Train FC

2) Mon 28/08/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Prestwood FC Reserves 1-4 Hype Train FC

3) Sat 02/09/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Old Windsor FC 3-4 Hype Train FC

4) Sun 03/09/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Southbank FC 2-4 Hype Train FC

5) Sat 09/09/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 0-3 Virginia Water FC Reserves

6) Sun 10/09/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 5-3 Bramley United

7) Sat 16/09/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 0-3 Chalvey Sports FC Reserves

8) Sun 17/09/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 3-4 Richfield Rovers

9) Sat 23/09/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 4-3 Britwell United

10) Sun 24/09/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 4-5 Farley Hill FC

11) Sat 30/09/2023 - EBFL League Cup (Round 1): Real Saracens 2-4 Hype Train FC

12) Sun 01/10/2023 - RDSL Industrial Cup (Round 1): AFC Reading 0-13 Hype Train FC

13) Sat 07/10/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 2-8 Old Windsor FC

14) Sun 08/10/2023 - BBFA Sunday Trophy: Hype Train FC 0-9 Brothers United

15) Sat 14/10/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Sandhurst Men Reds 4-1 Hype Train FC

16) Sun 15/10/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 6-3 Southbank FC

17) Sat 21/10/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 7-5 Frontline FC

18) Sun 22/10/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Core FC 3-4 Hype Train FC

19) Sat 28/10/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 3-4 Singh Sabha FC

20) Sun 29/10/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 3-1 AFC Pangbourne

21) Sun 12/11/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 7-4 Reading Kites

22) Sat 18/11/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 6-2 Southcote FC

23) Sun 19/11/2023 - RDSL Industrial Cup (Last 16): Hype Train FC 5-2 Rose & Thistle FC

24) Sat 25/11/2023 - EBFL League Cup (Last 16): FC Riverside 2-4 Hype Train FC

25) Sun 03/12/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 8-1 Barkham United

26) Sat 16/12/2023 - EBFL Premier Division: Chalvey Sports FC Reserves 4-0 Hype Train FC

27) Sun 17/12/2023 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 3-2 Core FC

28) Sat 06/01/2024 - EBFL Premier Division: Frontline FC 6-1 Hype Train FC

29) Sun 07/01/2024 - RDSL Industrial Cup (Last 8): Give Back FC Reserves 9-0 Hype Train FC

30) Sat 13/01/2024 - EBFL Premier Division: Hype Train FC 4-4 Sandhurst Men Reds

31) Sun 14/01/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Barkham United 0-1 Hype Train FC

32) Sat 27/01/2024 - EBFL League Cup (Last 8): Hype Train FC 0-2 South Reading FC

33) Sun 28/01/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 2-2 Burghfield FC 'A'

34) Sat 03/02/2024 - EBFL Premier Division: Singh Sabha 9-1 Hype Train FC

35) Sun 04/02/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 6-4 Caversham AFC

36) Sun 11/02/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Richfield Rovers 4-0 Hype Train FC

37) Sun 18/02/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Bramley United 2-3 Hype Train FC

38) Sun 10/03/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Farley Hill FC 3-2 Hype Train FC

39) Sat 23/03/2024 - EBFL Premier Division: Pundit FC 2-3 Hype Train FC

40) Thu 11/04/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Woodley Saints Lowfield 3-4 Hype Train FC

41) Sun 14/04/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Allied Community Elite 7-2 Hype Train FC

42) Tue 16/04/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 1-5 Allied Community Elite

43) Sun 21/04/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Hype Train FC 2-2 Woodley Saints Lowfield

44) Sun 28/04/2024 - RDSL Division 3: AFC Pangbourne 5-6 Hype Train FC

45) Sun 05/05/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Burghfield FC 'A' 3-3 Hype Train FC

46) Sun 12/05/2024 - RDSL Division 3: Reading Kites 1-7 Hype Train FC

Thoughts from Club Owner, Robert Austin about the 2023/24 season:

"When looking back at this time a year ago, when the 22/23 season ended, we were in a fragile position and in need of a reset. A chunk of the older squad members had moved on, leaving a massive hole to fill across the squad. We got hard at work to recruit players across the board for two days of football, and were able to do so by hook or by crook, though realistically we have been in a building year, with key individuals coming in across the season that have embedded in to the team, whilst the cornerstone of a better season was installed this year.

This element of building carried over into the season and was reflected in several games, which has capped us somewhat as we were bedding in an entirely new squad. On Sunday's we have been slightly inconsistent and every player would agree that we have squandered or lost out on some key points in games that have blighted us, but I'll support the team in saying that they're all young and top lads off and on the pitch, and given some time they'll only grow from strength to strength as a squad.

On Saturday's, we had a harder time to get football going ahead at times, but we got some excellent results against the curve of our development, which was brilliant to be a part of. We had our best ever league win when we beat Old Windsor 4-3, whilst we really gave Frontline a lesson in trying to play out from the back in monsoon conditions in our 7-5 win, whilst it was a sweet feeling beating Southcote 6-2 at home, which was our best creative performance in any game.

I have a lot of people to thank who have helped recruit players and provide advice. My Committee members, Owen, Jon, and Sam, were invaluable, whilst Anwar and Mitchell in the squad were brilliant in helping the squad bring in players over the course of the year, and to both I have so many thanks for their commitment to the cause.

I'm extremely excited about the future of Hype Train and the development and improvements we are planning will help take us to new heights and I hope the players are looking forward to the journey next season and in the years ahead!"

Other Club Statistics - 2023/24 Season:

Most Goals in a Game: The team's 7-5 home win over Frontline in EBFL's Premier Division on Saturday 21st October 2024 was the first time that any competitive Hype Train game has managed 12 goals in a single game.

New Leading Scorer: Phil Newport (91) goals has overtaken Leon Mannion (89) as the club's top goalscorer, scoring 21 goals across 19 appearances, primarily playing in the team's Saturday outfit.

Hat-Trick Heroes: The club managed a total of 13 trebles across the 2023/24 season, which is just 3 fewer than the 16 amassed during the 2021/22 season. Ciaran Carolan managed the most hat-tricks, netting a treble on 4 occasions.

Direct from a Corner: Padraig Gorman scored a direct corner kick against Allied Community Elite during a 7-2 defeat in RDSL Division 3. This is only the 3rd time a corner kick has directly gone in, following on from Rod Stevens (vs. AFC Winkfield) and Cosmin Huhulea (vs. Core FC).

How did we score our goals?: Across our 154 goals, we scored a total of 135 open play goals, 11 penalty kicks, 7 free kicks, and 1 directly from a corner kick.

Set-Piece Specialist: Ciaran Carolan scored 5 goals directly from free-kicks throughout the 2023/24 season, the most by a player in a single season for the club.

Record Win & Loss (just a week apart): On Sunday 1st October 2023 the team beat AFC Reading 13-0 away from home in the RDSL Industrial Cup, surpassing our 12-1 away win at RG6 during the 2021/22 season. Just a week later on Sunday 9th October 2023, the team lost 9-0 at home to Brothers United in the Berks & Bucks FA Sunday Trophy, our worst defeat as a club. Just a week apart, and both in cup competition.

Hat-Trick Treble: For the first time in club history, during our record 13-0 win away at AFC Reading, the team registered a trio of hat-tricks - with Ciaran Carolan, Padraig Gorman, and Jordi Ebanda, all netting a treble on the day.

Old Windsor's Only League Defeat: Old Windsor FC's first team won the 2023/24 EBFL Premier Division, suffering only one loss in the division. That loss came ourselves at Hype Train, when a Phil Newport hat-trick, and a Will Longmatey effort from a corner, secured a 4-3 win away from home on Saturday 2nd September 2023.

Most Played Opposition: The team have played Core FC in 8 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 both the 2022/23 and 2023/24 campaigns, and across all 8 matches have a 100% winning record.

500th Goal: Robert Austin, the team's founder and Manager, scored the team's 500th competitive goal, netting the team's 6th goal in a 6-5 win away from home against AFC Pangbourne on Sunday 28th April 2024. The goal was a header from a corner kick routine, and assisted by Padraig Gorman.

Lone Ranger: Jon Watkins is the only player in Hype Train history that have scored in all 5 of our seasons as a club, with his lone goal during the 2023/24 season, a worldie on his left-foot, winning the club's Goal of the Season award.

Penalty Woes: The team conceded 22 penalty kicks this season, the most ever in a season. Some of the calls given against the team were outrageous, with the team conceding multiple penalties in 7 matches. The team's 4-0 loss at Chalvey Sports in EBFL's Premier Division saw the team concede 3 spot kicks, the first time we have conceded a trio of penalties in a single game.

Final Home Game: For the second consecutive season, our final home game of the season was against Woodley Saints Lowfield in RDSL Division 3. During the 22/23 season, the Train ran out 5-1 winners, whilst during the 23/24 season the sides drew 2-2 at Calcot Recreation Ground.

4+ Goals in a Game: The team scored 4 or more goals throughout the 2023/24 season, just one goal shy of our record of 22 times, achieved during the 2021/22 season.

Sunday League Playmakers: Ciaran Carolan (20), Mitchell Saunders (19), and Padraig Gorman (17) were the top 3 assists providers in RDSL Division 3 throughout the 2023/24 season.

Saturday League Talisman: Phil Newport score a total of 18 goals in just 13 EBFL appearances, putting him 4th in the overall goalscoring charts. Injury curtailed the second-half of the season for Newport, denying him a podium spot.

Deadlocked: In RDSL Division 3, the team drew both of our league outings against Burghfield FC 'A', the first time we have ever drawn both home and away games against a single opposition in a season. The team drew 2-2 at home, whilst were involved in a 3-3 draw on the road.

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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