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  • Writer's pictureRobert Austin

Reading & District Sunday League Match Report (16/04/2023): New England vs. Hype Train FC

Updated: Apr 21, 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 16th April 2023

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

Opposition: New England

Location: Linear Park, Calcot, Reading, RG31 7AW

Final Score: New England 2-6 Hype Train FC

Photographer: Paige Alexander

Match Report:

The train's encounter against New England was the team's 22nd competitive outing of the 2022/23 season, with the team away from home at Linear Park in RDSL Division 3. This was the club's second competitive outing against New England this season, with this the return league fixture, having won the first outing at home 9-1 at Calcot Recreation Ground.

The game only took 2 minutes to notch its first goal of the day and arrived when a second corner in quick succession was guided towards the back post by Cosmin Huhulea, and headed home powerfully by Josh Watkins - scoring his 5th goal of the season!

A game loaded with goals only had to wait until the 11th minute of action for the lead to be doubled. This time, play started centrally when the ball was worked to the feet of Leon Mannion in attack. The Number 9 was able to turn onto his left and then clipped a ball that was easy for the New England goalkeeper to collect - the twist here is that the shot stopper has somehow failed to collect the ball, gifting Phil Newport a goal with his left foot and in to an empty net to take the game to 2-0.

A second set-piece goal arrived during the 18th minute and it was a way back into the game for the hosts. The initial corner for New England was won when Anwar Mmanga made a good recovery tackle to win the corner, with the resulting dead ball whipped towards the near-post, we have failed to clear the ball as a New England player has stabbed the ball home from close range to put the score at 2-1 in a lively start to the game for both teams.

The 4th goal of the half was also from a set-piece scenario and arrived during the 27th minute, starting when Mannion won a free-kick on the right wing after being clipped by the opposing left back. Stood over an in-swinging free-kick, Josh Watkins delivered a peach of a dead ball towards the penalty spot, with Joe Sawyer running onto the ball and guiding the ball with his head into the roof of the net - with this being Sawyer's 7th goal of the season, big numbers for a defender!

Keeping the game on our toes, New England did find another way back into the game during the 38th minute, and you guessed it - it was from a set-piece. An out-swinging corner was initially won by the train, though the ball was only deflected to the path of a New England central defender, who was composed enough to shoot low and hard to the bottom left corner, meaning the game went in 3-2 at half-time.

The opening 20 minutes of the second-half was a probing affair from both teams we the hosts looked to equalise, whilst we were trying to extend our lead, with the game swinging in the 67th minute when a series of shots by Mannion and Jon Watkins were repeatedly blocked by the opposition defenders, with the ball arriving to the feet of Josh Watkins on the left of the six-yard-line, who clipped a ball to the back post for Mannion to head back across goal and into the net, taking the game further away from the hosts down at Linear Park - with Mannion's latest goal his 20th of the season!

Like buses, a brace of goals arrived almost immediately after the 4th when the team attacked down the right again, this time with Jon Watkins playing through Mannion on goal, who glided onto his left foot and forcing a save from the goalkeeper, though to our benefit the save was only parried towards Newport, who had the easy task of tapping home the rebound to secure the 5-2 lead - also meaning Newport is only 1 goal behind Mannion having scored his 19th of the current campaign.

The icing on the cake arrived in the 90th minute as the ball was worked from left to right, culminating with Josh Watkins finding the feet of Eme Boateng on the right flank. Boateng easily skipped past his marker before cutting the ball back towards Number 16, Walid Zaky, who took the ball past his marker before calmly slotting home his first goal of the season (and third for the club) - with a wholesome moment following as Zaky celebrated with the team and his son.

The result means that the team remain in 3rd place in RDSL Division 3 after our victory over New England with 16 games played in the division. Next up, the team are playing our first midweek game of the season, hosting Southcote FC down at Calcot Recreation Ground (6pm kick-off) on 20th April 2023.

Thoughts from Club Secretary, Robert Austin:

"Reflecting on our game against New England, the major takeaways are that we have had some confidence boosting goals in the bag today and in recent weeks, and the team morale since being well beaten by Brothers, has greatly improved, so there are signs of a good upturn in form for us.

What I am wary of is that we weren't at our best today, we made life harder for ourselves than what I would have personally liked, something we have to tighten up quickly as we have a tough run of home games upcoming. Though for all that, we had a great end to an OK performance with Walid's goal. I can't speak highly enough of a player in his late 40's being able to hang consistently and at a good level with players half his age, our Egyptian King is an inspiration and a reminder that age is only a number and you can make the most of your football playing days for years to come!

Best of luck to Dan and his team at New England for the remainder of the season, they did well with just the bare 11 players, never gave up and really gave the game a really good go!"

Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad

Manager: Robert Austin

Starting 11:

GK: Jamie Halsall

DEF: Anwar Mmanga (Carter 65')

DEF: Joe Sawyer

DEF: Callum Gibbons

DEF: Jamie Carter (Dalgarno 46')

MID: Jon Watkins (Zaky 68')

MID: Josh Watkins

MID: Cosmin Huhulea

MID: Brad Matthews (Newport 65')

MID: Phil Newport (Boateng 46')

FOR: Leon Mannion (Watkins 83')


SUB: Walid Zaky

SUB: Tom Dalgarno

SUB: Eme Boateng

Goals & Assists:

Goal 1: Josh Watkins (goal), Huhulea (assist)

Goal 2: Newport (goal), no assist

Goal 3: Sawyer (goal), Josh Watkins (assist)

Goal 4: Mannion (goal), Josh Watkins (assist)

Goal 5: Newport (goal), Mannion (assist)

Goal 6: Zaky (goal), Boateng (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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