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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Pre-Season Match Report (19/09/2020): Harchester Hawks FC vs. Hype Train FC

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Hype Train FC played our first game in Reading in six months as we continued our return to the field, continuing our 2020/21 pre-season campaign by visiting Thames Valley Premier League outfit, Harchester Hawks. Read the match report from our seventh away trip in the off-season as we made the visit to Sol Joel Park in Reading. All aboard.

Match Report: Harchester Hawks FC vs. Hype Train FC:

Date: 19th September 2020

Competition: Pre-Season Friendly

Opposition: Harchester Hawks FC

Location: Sol Joel Park, 8 Church Road, Earley, Reading RG6 7DG

Final Score: Harchester Hawks 1-3 Hype Train FC

Photographer: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam)

Match Report:

Our meeting against Hawks was our second pre-season encounter against the hosts in purple, with our side prevailing 5-4 at Bohunt School in Wokingham last season. A year on, two weeks away from the start of our EBFL Division 1 campaign, we played our first game in the Reading area since March, with the grassroots football season falling victim to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The first-half didn't have much in the way of goals, though there was attacking intent from both sides on what was a bobbly pitch on a hot September afternoon. Hawks started the stronger and tried from range on a couple of occasions from range, though Jack Roche wasn't tested. Our best opportunities also came from range, with Chris Marshall, Sam Bolwell and Callum Fox-Spence all testing the substitute Hawks goalkeeper, without managing to break the deadlock.

The second-half saw Phil Newport and Callum Parr-Jones introduced and it didn't take more than two minutes to open the scoring as we spread the ball to our right side, with Rod Stevens playing in Sammy Seville, who hit a low cross in the path of Newport inside the penalty area. Newport got a touch on the ball as it rebounded off a Hawks defender and into his own net, floating past the stranded keeper.

Building on the momentum of the opening goal, we doubled the lead twenty-two minutes into the second-half as a flighted Rod Stevens corner was headed home expertly and with power by Marin Pendov, with the Bulgerian central defender scoring his first goal for the club in clinical fashion with the Hawks shot-stopper unable to to get more than a soft hand to Pendov's header.

With Hawks leaving more men up top as they looked for a goal to narow the deficit, we were able to hit them on the counter, though efforts from Parr-Jones and Fox-Spence were unable to put the game to bed - then with less than three minutes left on the clock Hawks found a way back into the game as a one-two from a throw-in from the left-flank saw an eventual cross headed well into the top-right corner by their Number #9.

With the hosts having hope of a late comeback, the game was put to bed in the 90th minute when a free-kick by Pendov was cleared but only into the path of Parr-Jones. The attacking midfielder controlled the ball well before gliding past a Hawks midfielder before shifting the ball onto his right and hitting a lovely effort over the keeper and into the roof of the net to put the contest to rest.

Thoughts from Player Manager, Robert Austin:

"After six visits to East Berkshire it was refreshing to make the short trip to Sol Joel Park in what feels like an eternity ago since we played in the local area. The game itself took a while to get going at Hawks started the brighter of the two teams, but I feel we grew into the game and were fully deserving of our win on the day.

Our changes at the start of the second-half changed the game in our favour - the hosts ran out of legs and their three central defenders became a little flat-footed as we took control of the match with a couple of goals. Their header a couple of minutes from the death nearly sparked a grandstand finish to the game, so it was great to see us kill the game dead when we did.

I'm largely happy that we navigated a hot day, a bobbly pitch, and were able to build on our 0-0 last week and actually put the ball in the net. We have one last chance next week to iron out our niggles ahead of a big opening day game at Iver Heath and I'm confident we can be in good shape for the start of the season in October.

All credit to Chris Berry and Hawks today, they gave us an honest performance and made us work for every ball and chance at goal. Good luck in the TVPL this season, we're backing you to get promoted!"

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Starting 11:

GK: Jack Roche

DEF: Rod Stevens

DEF: Joe Sawyer (King 68')

DEF: Marin Pendov

DEF: Robert Austin

MID: Sammy Seville (Lanzagorta 60')

MID: Chris Marshall (Bolwell 68')

MID: Sam Bolwell (Parr-Jones 45')

MID: Callum Fox-Spence

MID: Dominic Clarke

FOR: Martin King (Newport 45')


SUB: Inigo Lanzagorta

SUB: Phil Newport

SUB: Callum Parr-Jones

Goals and Assists:

Goal 1: Own Goal, Newport assist

Goal 2: Pendov goal, Stevens assist

Goal 3: Parr-Jones goal, no 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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