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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Pre-Season Friendly Match Report (16/07/2022): Hype Train FC vs. Reading Tigers

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: Hype Train FC vs. Reading Tigers

Date: Saturday 16th July 2022

Competition: Pre-Season Friendly (10:30am KO)

Opposition: Reading Tigers

Location: The Atrium Health Club, Scours Lane, Reading, RG30 6AY

Final Score: Hype Train FC 7-6 Reading Tigers

Photographer: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam)

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Match Report:

The train's encounter against Reading Tigers was the team's first match in pre-season ahead of the 2022/23 season, with the team taking on Reading Tigers at The Atrium Health Club. The Tigers are a new outfit to the East Berkshire Football League and were competing in their first match ahead of a debut campaign in EBFL's Division One.

The game didn't take long to burst into life, with the 6th minute seeing the first goal and it all started when Reading intercepted a long ball that was then collected by Sam Bolwell, who put the ball over the Tigers defence allowing Graham High to use his muscle to stave off the encroaching defender, before lobbing the keeper at the end of the box to take the lead.

Reading came back strong into the game and scored a trio of goals in the 11th, 17th, and 26th minutes, with each strike from outside the penalty area and past Robert Austin in the corners, with the goal being a true rocket of a hit from outside the box, as the new outfit mounted a strong response.

Heading into half-time, the 37th minute saw the team drag a goal back and it happened when Leon Mannion beat the offside trap, though the lino was trying his best to call everything offside, with the referee playing on as Mannion's initial effort was saved, though a second attempt allowed our Number 9 to cut the ball back for George Holloway to convert on the line in his final game for the club!

A few minutes later, the 43rd minute saw the team's equaliser in a good spell for us, when a pair of Josh Watkins corners were cleared away, with Watkins keeping the ball in play, finding Mannion who crossed the ball in, with the bal striking the arm of a Tigers defender as the team were awarded their first penalty kick of the morning. Mannion calmly slotted the penalty to the keeper's left as we went into the second-half with momentum on our side.

The tide turned yet again in this chop-and-change encounter in the heat, with a 4th goal arriving in the 52nd minute when Alvin Mugabe played a ball over the Tigers defensive line, with Mannion controlling and putting the ball over the keeper and into the far-left of the net to double the attacker's goal output on the day.

A 5th goal would then arrive in the form of a second penalty kick when Owen Bowbrick charged into the penalty area from the left of the pitch during the 62nd minute, was bundled over and given the chance to score on his debut from the spot, which the Number 8 did in emphatic fashion, burying his penalty to the far-right of the goalkeeper.

Just as we had done to Reading, the visitors decided that a two-goal lead wasn't for everyone as they fought back as the game went on. Their first goal came in the 72nd minute when a through ball saw their attacker get the chance to lob Austin in goal, whilst their 5th was a stunning strike from the edge of the box after the team had initially cleared a corner kick, before a goal in the 79th minute put the Tigers ahead when a midfielder was played through, who converted to the bottom-left of the goal to gift them the lead.

The drama wasn't over though in the final 10 minutes of the game as Mannion was dragged down inside the penalty area in the 81st minute, with Mugabe taking the penalty. His casual walk up resulted in a tame effort down the middle, though it completely unsighted the Tigers keeper as the ball went through his legs and into the net as the team drew level at 6-6!

The 85th minute saw the winning and final goal in this 13-goal game, and it was arguably the best of the day. Mugabe played Liam Bowbrick the ball, with the midfielder dancing past several players on his way into the penalty area, unleashing an unstoppable effort in the far-right post to give the team the win near the end of the game. The team saw out the Tigers at the 7th time of asking to ensure a win during pre-season.

Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:

"Pre-season is a time to play new players, create new understandings in the team, and get to grips with fitness and finding your feet with the ball. Arguably, that was secondary to any casual passing by and seeing a 7-6 scoreline. It was very hot, the players all got sunburn, and it was not a day for defenders as the teams put on a clinic in front of goal in what was the highest-scoring friendly we've ever endured since our formation in 2019 - definitely a manic day for all involved.

The Tigers were tricky opponents and had some big, physical players that scored some top class long range goals, though I think we created twice as many scoring opportunities and mounted pressure at the right time though. Attackers on both teams were on form and the finishing in front of goal was great by both teams, and on the whole we managed to create several well-worked chances to go alongside our goals.

The squad have learnt a lot, we were able to find goals for many debutants and try out new things across the board, so regardless of the score, we have to look at what worked well, and the areas of improvement as we look to build a new understanding for the season - especially as we haven't had our first training session back as a collective squad and many faces today were brand new. It's always an honour to see new faces play for Hype Train FC, and I hope the experience is the first of many.

Our opposition are going to be a strong side in EBFL's Division One and we wish Hubert and his team nothing but the best for the season ahead, a credit to the league and the Polish community in the Reading area. Here's hoping to many more competitive games down the line between both teams."

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Manager: George Champion

Starting 11:

GK: Robert Austin

DEF: Daniel MacDonald

DEF: Joe Sawyer

DEF: Ryan Knott

DEF: Josh Watkins

MID: George Holloway

MID: Chris Marshall

MID: Owen Bowbrick

MID: Liam Bowbrick

MID: Sam Bolwell

FOR: Graham High


SUB: Jon Watkins

SUB: Alvin Mugabe

SUB: Yazeed Alanazi

SUB: Leon Mannion

Goals & Assists:

Goal 1: High (goal), Bolwell (assist)

Goal 2: Holloway (goal), Mannion (assist)

Goal 3: Mannion (goal), No assist

Goal 4: Mannion (goal), Mugabe (assist)

Goal 5: O. Bowbrick (goal), No assist

Goal 6: Mugabe (goal), Mannion (assist)

Goal 7: L. Bowbrick (goal), No 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. 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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