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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Pre-Season Friendly Match Report (29/07/2023): Reading Tigers vs. Hype Train FC

Welcome aboard the home of Hype Train Football Club. Here, you can read the match reports from the train's outing across Saturday & Sunday League action throughout the 2023/24 season, with the team competing in the East Berkshire Football League (EBFL) and the Reading & District Sunday League (RDSL). All aboard.

Match Report: Hype Train FC

Date: Saturday 29th July 2023

Competition: Pre-Season Friendly

Opposition: Reading Tigers

Location: Burghfield CSA, Reading, RG30 3RS

Final Score: Reading Tigers 4-6 Hype Train FC

Photographer: Paige Alexander

Match Report:

The train's encounter against Reading Tigers was the team's 1st pre-season friendly ahead of the 2023/24 season, with the team on the road to the Burghfield CSA. This was the second time the club has faced Reading Tigers, the first being a 7-6 win during pre-season action in July 2022.

A 5-goal first-half burst into life during the 10th minute after Reading Tigers were passing the ball in midfield. After some pressure by our central midfielders a loose past back towards the Tigers right back was intercepted by Padraig Gorman - the winger drove towards goal with Christian Freemantle in support - Gorman then timed a cut-back at the right time for Freemantle to calmly finish past the opposing goalkeeper to give the team the lead.

With the lead established, a quickfire second would come less than 3 minutes later, starting when a Tigers corner kick was initially headed away, though the seconds was won by a Tigers midfielder who fired on goal, though the effort was cleared off the line by Dominic Eneh who was on the left post. From the resulting throw in after Eneh cleared the ball, we won back possession by clearing our defensive line at the edge of the box with Freemantle picking up the pieces. Freemantle would then place a delicious through ball to Gorman, who timed his run to perfection, with the winger bearing down on goal before calmly slotting the ball through the shot-stoppers legs to double our lead.

The game was threatening to run away from the hosts at Burghfield CSA when several nearly moments evaded a third goal - punctuated by close shots on goal by Gorman and Luke Follington, whilst Mitchell Saunders rose highest to a header at the back-post from a corner. By not taking our chances, a lifeline was offered by Reading Tigers in the 23rd minute when their left winger raced down the left wing, eventually playing the ball back into the middle of the pitch. After an initial shot was saved and parried by Jamie Halsall in goal, the follow-up was fortunate for Reading as they slotted home their first goal of the day from close range.

Restoring our 2-goal margin, and in some style, during the 28th minute, the team won the ball back in the middle of the park and football pinball ensued when Saunders and Freemantle got toes onto the ball during a loose ball, which would eventually ricochet off the shins of Will Longmatey and into the path of Eneh - with the full back then stepping up to the mark to control the ball and fire an absolute worldie from range that looped over the Tigers goalkeeper, curling perfectly into the far left of the goal - an absolute superb strike from range to give the train a 3-1 lead!

The final goal of the first-half was another top draw effort, and it all started when Saunders won possession of the ball in our defensive third before quickly turning and unleashing an inch perfect cross-field ball that was on a plate for Follington on the right wing. Follington only had to take one touch to set, before burying his shot into the bottom right corner of the goal - a clinical pass and finish that saw the team take a 3-goal lead into half-time.

Tigers came out from the break with a point to prove and got themselves an early goal during the 47th minute when build up play on the left would eventually lead to a cross that bounced over our defensive line, with the midfielder controlling well before firing into the roof of the net to open the scoring in the second period.

Approaching the 54th minute, link up play on the right side of the pitch between Longmatey and Anwar Mmanga led Longmatey to showing some good skill and strength as he got to the byline to win the team a corner. Gorman stepped up for the set-piece and aimed the corner at the back-post, with Saunders winning the initial header - headed on target towards goal, former Hype Train player Rod Stevens helped the team out as he steered Saunders header over his own goalkeeper and into the net - taking the score to 5-2!

The team's 6th and final goal arrived in the 62nd minute, starting with good work by Nifemi Akinbola to give the ball to Cory McManus, who ghosted through a few midfielders who were putting their foot in, before picking out Gorman with an outside-the-boot through ball. Gorman glided inside the penalty area before shooting coolly with his left into the far left of the goal for his second of the game.

The game was far from over though as the hosts really dug in during the final 30 minutes of the game and were awarded a penalty in the 66th minute as a free kick on their left wing bounced once in the penalty area and happened to bounce off an unsuspecting Eneh, with the resulting penalty slotted to Halsall's left to take the score to 6-3.

After riding some pressure with several shots saved by Halsall, whilst at the other end Gorman hit the bar for the team in white, the 10th goal would come in the 85th minute and started when a Hype Train corner was cleared away, and then latterly collected by their goalkeeper. A long kick forward left their forward one-on-one with Robert Austin, with Austin shielding the ball back towards Halsall in goal. The Tigers attacker has barged into the back of Austin and caused a collision with goalkeeper, Halsall, with the loose ball eventually collected by their player and tapped into the empty net - we did protest for a foul, but the referee was adamant there was no pushing, despite the coming together.

A half-dozen number of goals was enough to see the team, which included 9 players playing for the first time, which means in 2 games against the Tigers in pre-season there has been a crazy 23 goals! Next up for the team, we have another pre-season game this coming Wednesday, 2nd August 2023, as we travel out to Sandhurst Town Reds for an evening game on 3G.

Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:

"It's been a long summer for the club even before kicking a ball for the first time in pre-season action this afternoon. We've been growing and adding to the squad to get the team back to Saturday football next season, so before I go into anything I'd like to thank all the hard work from the players and volunteers for running some great trial sessions recently - we've added some really great guys into the team that are going to help the squad out massively in the year ahead.

Today was a first step after our trial process, and we had 9 players put on a Hype Train shirt for the first time today, so it was good opportunity to get everyone together for the first time to help build morale, and to put it plainly it was a good first step. The team played as a team, our midfield was very strong, and we had a lot of pace and energy out wide. In front of goal we were clinical and our range of passing was defence-splitting all afternoon - we scored some top goals today, but some of the assists were outrageous in comparison. Defensively, it was a game of some lapses, but that it is largely, and I told my players that I am not disappointed with the nature of our goals conceded - we have to spend time building the right way, and know how to correct this in the future.

I'm very pleased to see so much fresh blood come into the team this summer though, it has been much needed, and to see the players really give today a good go and come away with some quality goals, interplay, and some nice football, is a big positive, as we look to build up towards the start of the season in late August.

I'd also like to thank the guys at Reading Tigers. I have a lot of time and respect for their club and they have some great volunteers involved in their set-up. I wish them nothing but the best ahead of their second season in the EBFL!"

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Manager: Robert Austin

Starting 11:

GK: Jamie Halsall

DEF: Anwar Mmanga (Austin 67')

DEF: Joe Sawyer

DEF: Robert Austin (Ferreira 46')

DEF: Dominic Eneh

MID: Luke Follington (Akinbola 46')

MID: Mitchell Saunders

MID: Cory McManus

MID: Will Longmatey

MID: Padraig Gorman

FOR: Christian Freemantle (Mmanga 72')


SUB: Nifemi Akinbola

SUB: Jose Ferreira

Goals & Assists:

Goal 1: Freemantle (goal), Gorman (assist)

Goal 2: Gorman (goal), Freemantle (assist)

Goal 3: Eneh (goal), Longmatey (assist)

Goal 4: Follington (goal), Saunders (assist)

Goal 5: Gorman (goal), McManus (assist)

Goal 6: Saunders (goal), Gorman (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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