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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Reading & District Sunday League Match Report (09/04/2023): Sanctuary Strikers vs. Hype Train FC

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Hype Train FC will be playing in Sunday League for the 2022/23 season, with the team primarily competing in 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 fourth season as a club! All aboard.

Match Report: Hype Train FC

Date: Sunday 9th April 2023

Competition: RDSL Division 3 (10:30am KO)

Opposition: Sanctuary Strikers

Location: South Reading Leisure Centre, Northumberland Ave, Reading RG2 8DH

Final Score: Sanctuary Strikers 1-3 Hype Train FC

Photographer: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam)

Match Report:

The train's encounter against Sanctuary Strikers was the team's 21st competitive outing of the 2022/23 season, with the away from home at South Reading Leisure Centre in RDSL Division 3. This was the club's first competitive outing against a Sanctuary side, with the train having had the last two weekends of football cancelled due to weather conditions in the Berkshire area.

The opening minute of the game nearly brought turmoil for the train when a lose giveaway by Robert Austin when passing back towards goal was intercepted by Sanctuary, with the shot saved well by Halsall. The opening minutes also saw the team slowly wake up, with Halsall called into a strong save from close range, before the team cleared the ball away after some pinball in the penalty area.

Growing into the game, a few chances presented themselves to the team, first when Tom Williams, returning from injury, delivered a set-piece to the back post, with attempts from Phil Newport and Leon Mannion unable to break the deadlock. Latterly, Owen Bowbrick went close with a free kick, before on the half-hour mark, a ball that bobbled across the penalty area bounced off he legs of both Newport and Jon Watkins.

The deadlock in a competitive first-half was broken during the 37th minute from a goal kick by Halsall which was collected by Josh Watkins. The central defender fed the ball out to Owen Bowbrick on the right wing, who guided a perfectly defence-splitting ball that was controlled by Mannion, and then calmly tucked into the net with his right foot, to give the train the lead.

Taking a lead into the half-time, the team did eventually double our lead in the 69th minute. The first play in this came from a corner kick by Cosmin Huhulea which was headed goal bound by Mannion, though cleared off the line, with Huhulea picking up the loose ball and firing a shot off a defender for a corner. The second corner was then flighted towards the far-post and headed back towards the right-post and then glanced in off the head of Owen Bowbrick to secure the second goal of the game.

Only able to register one shot on target, Sanctuary were awarded a free-kick in the 75th minute close to their left touchline twenty-five yards from goal. The flighted shot from range was struck perfectly, caught the wind and struck the back of the net in the exact top-left of the goal - a sublime set-piece to give the hosts a chance back into the game with the score now 2-1 heading into the final quarter of an hour.

The final blow was delivered by the visiting team though on the stroke of the 80th minute when the team recovered the ball from a Sanctuary throw in down our right side, with Callum Gibbons clearing the ball to safety, only to be collected excellently by Huhulea, who fed Mannion with a perfectly timed through ball. Mannion skipped away from his marker, before firing a low shot that was guided in to the back of the net via the post - securing the 3-1 win in league action.

The result means that the team move up to 3rd place in RDSL Division 3 after our victory over Sanctuary with 15 games played in the division. Next up, the team are away from home at Linear Park to take on New England on Sunday 16th April 2023.

Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:

"It's been a frustrating few weeks to be sat at home without any football going on, so the team were raring to go again in the league. We were up against a team that got a point against a top Brothers side, so we weren't taking this game lightly by any means. They are young, quick, and full of energy, and particularly caused us issue in the first 20 minutes of the game.

This was a day where we grew into the game, going from strength to strength throughout. We started playing with the ball, particularly in the second-half, and peppered the goal all day, so from my perspective the goals were only a matter of time if we kept patient. What Sanctuary struggled with was our physicality, we got on them on every touch and gave them little room to breathe when they had the ball, and I believe we stifled them well and were deserving of the win on the day.

2023 has been a trial so far as we look to find some form, though with a couple of wins under our belts, we're looking to build as we have a really busy run in week-to-week until the end of May.

Best of luck to Sanctuary until our reverse league fixture in a few weeks down at Calcot!"

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Manager: Robert Austin

Starting 11:

GK: Jamie Halsall

DEF: Joe Sawyer (Mmanga 50')

DEF: Tom Williams (Gibbons 50')

DEF: Josh Watkins

DEF: Robert Austin

MID: Owen Bowbrick

MID: Liam Bowbrick (Williams 60')

MID: Cosmin Huhulea

MID: Phil Newport (Zaky 70')

MID: Jon Watkins (Matthews 60')

FOR: Leon Mannion (Newport 82')


SUB: Walid Zaky

SUB: Callum Gibbons

SUB: Anwar Mmanga

SUB: Brad Matthews

Goals & Assists:

Goal 1: Mannion (goal), O. Bowbrick (assist)

Goal 2: O. Bowbrick (goal), Newport (assist)

Goal 3: Mannion (goal), Huhulea (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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