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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Mid-Season Friendly Match Report (05/12/2020): Barton Rovers vs. Hype Train FC

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

Hype Train FC returned to the field after the second national UK Lockdown, with the team making the short trip to local neighbours and fellow East Berkshire Football League outfit, Barton Rovers, in what was our first-ever mid-season friendly outing. Read the match report from our trip to Theale Green School. All aboard.

Match Report: Barton Rovers vs. Hype Train FC:

Date: 5th December 2020

Competition: Mid-Season Friendly

Opposition: Barton Rovers

Location: Theale Green School, Church St, Theale, Reading RG7 5DA

Final Score: Barton Rovers 3-3 Hype Train FC

Photographer: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam)

Match Report:

Our 2pm kick-off against a much-changed Barton Rovers side under new ownership, got underway in what was a classic December match - a little bit wet, windy and chaotic for both sides.

The home side started the stronger of the two sides, with Barton flashing a couple of early shots wide, before the eventual opener in the 15th minute arrived when a cut-back in to our penalty area was parried away well by Jack Roche, with the rebound falling to a Barton forward to net in true poacher fashion.

With the home side on top, the Blue and Gold were nearly level instantly when we won the ball back with the high press after their goalkeeper lost control of the ball in his own area, with Emmanuel Boateng on his debut stabbing just inches wide with the goal at his mercy.

We eventually found our footing midway through the first-half and went close again when another player making his debut, Ollie Artwell, who was lively all afternoon forced a save from the Rovers custodian - then later Liam Lukeman teed up Callum Fox-Spence to fire just over with a curled effort from outside the penalty area.

The equaliser did eventually come for the team when a Rod Stevens corner was stopped dead in the penalty area during a melee, with Chris Marshall at hand to prod the ball home whilst on the spin, turning to celebrate with the squad and Jon Watkins on the side-line - this being Marshall's first goal since netting against Berks Elite FC on 1st February 2020!

It didn't take long for the hosts to snatch a lead back when a ball played in behind our defensive line was collected by Roche, though Rovers collected the ball and slid the ball into the net with a couple of defenders on the line attempting to block the shot.

The second-half saw a host of changes from both sides and it was the travelling train that took the initiative and were unlucky not to equalise when Dany Setiawan struck from range when cutting in, before we came from behind a second time in the game. Another Stevens set-piece from the right was whipped in, with Marshall beating the goalkeeper to the ball and powerfully heading in for his second goal of the game, with the second coming from central defence after Callum Gibbons was forced off through injury in the first-half.

This back and forth encounter continued as Barton were able to restore their lead when they broke through midfield. Barton's Number 10 had only Roche to beat before Robert Austin recovered well, though the ball fell out to Barton to score their second poaching goal of the day with a nice finish in to our far corner.

The table tennis encounter took another turn as our high press worked again when Jon Watkins won the ball high up the field, with his interception feeding Phil Newport to stride towards goal before firing home a strike in to the roof of the net.

With the game tied at 3-3, Barton had two nearly moments to take the lead when strikes from their left-channel went inches wide of bursting the net, before Stevens hit the cross-bar from a free-kick just over 20-yards-out, with the game in the dying light eventually called to a draw.

Thoughts from Player Manager, Robert Austin:

"After a month of lockdown, with the team not training together and ripped from our season, we found ourselves training on Friday night for the first time, before scrambling a squad together for the following day.

Fortunately, we were able to organise on short notice, though it did take us a while to get in to the match and we grew stronger as the game went on. Rusty, yes, and missing a few players, we were able to give debuts to three players from the start and rotate in more senior member of the squad.

We played this same Barton team last season and beat them 8-1 in the Berks & Bucks Junior Cup and from that squad, only a couple of remain for them. For the EBFL and themselves, Barton are much improved and had a lot of good players on show that gave us a very good game.

This game for us was purely to stretch our legs out and get some minutes under our collective belts. Anything else was a bonus, with the team taking away three goals and a lot to learn from as we continue our development as a relatively new club.

Thank you for hosting and organising Barton, it was a good game and we wish you luck in the remainder of your season in EBFL Division 2."

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Starting 11:

GK: Jack Roche

DEF: Rod Stevens

DEF: Callum Gibbons (Bolwell 25')

DEF: Robert Austin

DEF: Jamie Carter

MID: Sammy Seville (Watkins 46')

MID: Chris Marshall

MID: Liam Lukeman (Seville 75')

MID: Callum Fox-Spence (Artwell 70')

MID: Emmanuel Boateng (Setiawan 46')

FOR: Oliver Artwell (Newport 46')


SUB: Sam Bolwell

SUB: Phil Newport

SUB: Jon Watkins

SUB: Dany Setiawan

Goals and Assists:

Goal 1: Marshall goal, no assist

Goal 2: Marshall goal, Stevens assist

Goal 3: Newport goal, Watkins assist

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in 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.

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, or visit our website here at

All aboard.

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