Hype Train FC played our 14th competitive game of the 2020/21 as continued our Sunday League journey with a fourth outing in the Reading Sunday Social League - the league that we co-created with Caversham United - with the team making the short trip to play Tilehurst Titans. Read the match report from our game at the Ibis Club in Reading. All aboard.
Match Report: Tilehurst Titans vs. Hype Train FC:
Date: Sunday 16th May 2021
Competition: Reading Sunday Social League (Game 5)
Opposition: Tilehurst Titans
Location: Rivers Ibis Health Club, Scours Ln, Reading RG30 6AY
Final Score: Tilehurst Titans 2-7 Hype Train FC
Photographer: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam)
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Our 10:30am kick-off against Titans was our third match at the Ibis Club, and the early start had some few sleepy moments as the first-half was a back-and-forth of goals for both teams.
The Blue and Gold went close within the opening minutes when Callum Fox-Spence fed Phil Newport the ball from the left, with Newport gliding past the Tilehurst defensive line before rattling a shot off the bar.
The game's first goal arrived in the 20th minute when the referee awarded Tilehurst a free-kick at the edge of the box when the team in gold smashed the ball into Clayton Holloway's hand from close range, with Scott Terry's free-kick hitting the wall and dropping dead to the advantage of Titans midfielder, Frankie Perryman, to stab home from close range to give our opponents the lead.
Striking back immediately, it only took until the 23rd minute to find the equalising strike when Sam Bolwell was in the middle of the park with time to play a delightful ball over Titans defensive line, with Holloway controlling the ball before thundering a strike into the roof of the net with his second touch (you can see Clayton's goal at the bottom of this match report).
A freak moment restored Titans lead when the hosts broke following a corner, with a defensive clearance falling to former HTFC player, Scott Terry, who shot speculatively from range, with the effort going through the hand of Jake Holloway in between the sticks - a truly bizarre goal for the YouTube highlights.
Just as before, the lead for Tilehurst didn't last long as we found another equaliser in the 35rd minute when Callum Fox-Spence was afforded time to bring the ball down on the left-flank and provide an inch-perfect cross for Jon Watkins to race into space and fool the keeper, with his header guided into an empty net after their custodian rushed from his net.
With the goals shared going into the second-half, it took another 20 minutes until the next breakthrough when we took the lead for the first time in the match. For the second time, Bolwell had time and space in midfield, spinning an opposing midfielder brilliantly with a fine piece of skill before he is able to set himself and provide a peachy free-kick for Newport to head home.
With the lead gained, the team never looked back despite a set-back as Jake Holloway had to make way in goal due to injury, and it only took until the 75th minute for the decisive goal of the game when Jon Watkins laid the ball across the box with a low-cross for birthday boy, Callum Fox-Spence, to net from close range - Fox-Spence's third goal of the season!
Just a few minutes later in the 79th minute the game had runaway from our opponents when Newport scored his second headed effort of the game, this time connecting sweetly from Rod Stevens dangerous cross from the right, with Newport's header looping over the Titans keeper into the net.
Keeping his team from suffering more goals, the Titans keeper saved expertly from close range twice, first from Newport's drilled effort, and second from a Watkins close-range stab after a low-cross from Robert Austin.
Titans were then reduced to 10-men when Terry received a straight red card from the referee due to violent conduct when he kicked out rashly at Stevens in the right-back position - the disgraced opponent given his marching orders without hesitation to compound a bad day at the office for Tilehurst.
A combination of the sending off, Holloway's injury in goal, and the Titans trying to kick every of our balls into the railyard opposite the pitch or the mazed car park, meant that the second-half lasted 57 minutes and it was in the 98th and 100th minute of the game when the icing on the cake for the team was provided when Stefan Sukara secured a last-gasp brace of his own.
Sukara's first goal was a free-kick that deflected in from 20-yards-out, a second dead ball effort by the midfielder in the league, before Newport's charge into the box eventually teed up Sukara to calmly slot home from close range as the second-half slowly played itself out.
The win means that we have moved up to 3rd place in the Reading Sunday Social League and will move into second place with a win against a fellow train name-sake side in the area, Thames Valley Railway, next Sunday due to leaders Woodley Saints taking on Southbank FC.
Next up for the team, if we can stave off poor forecasted weather for a week we be back to Saturday action in the EBFL against Iver Heath FC at home, before we play our penultimate RSSL regular season game as we take on Thames Valley Railway at the Ibis Club.
Man of the Match: Jon Watkins (RM)
Our right midfielder, Jon Watkins, ran the show on the right of midfield with a well-rounded attacking performance for the squad! Watkins scored the team's second goal, a fine header that out-foxed the Titans goalkeeper, before putting a low-cross on a plate for Callum Fox-Spence to convert from close range.
In addition to his returns, Watkins hit the bar and forced an incredible point-blank save from the opposing shot-stopper, who denied the Number 20 a hat-trick on the day!
Thoughts from Player Manager, Robert Austin:
"Sunday's game against the Titans wasn't actually a walk in the park for stages, so the team and myself have come away thinking, and knowing, it should have been more than the big 7-2 score that it was despite a few scares. We played out from the back and controlled the ball on the floor well, but got stung with two fortunate goals for them - strikes that on other days we just don't concede.
On the whole, we dominated the ball for large spells of the game, passed the ball well in large spells, created a lot of chances and were denied some destined goals by a good goalkeeping performance by their GK. We also were effective from set-pieces and running deep for clipped balls, so overall it was a good day at the office and it's good to see 12 goals on Sunday's over a couple of weekends. The second-half was 56 minutes long and the only thing I wish for now in hindsight is that we didn't take the foot off the gas and remained focused once the 5th goal went in - that's all part of the learning curve though as we look to managed games and situations.
I was happy with our clinical nature when chances presented themselves, we put them to the sword and they imploded after the 4th goal went in. One of our former players decided to kick out at one of our own to put the icing on the cake for a bad day at the office for them, so I'm not going to talk about them at all or shine a light on their application in the match - this was one game to get the win and move on as we build a case for the top two in the league and a place in the RSSL Grand Final.
We have Thames Valley Railway next week before a huge crunch match against Caversham at the beginning of June. The players are starting to believe we have a real chance to get to the final so it's going to be a few enjoyable, fun weeks with some good games at hand - this is exactly what we wanted since grassroots football returned, especially as our Saturday League has been rigid and flatter than a pancake, the RSSL has been such a good experience for everyone involved in the local area - we're thrilled this league was able to happen!"
Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad
GK: Jake Holloway (Fox-Spence 60')
DEF: Rod Stevens
DEF: Vincent van Lembergen
DEF: Federico Martorell
DEF: Robert Austin
MID: Jon Watkins (Zaky 72')
MID: Sam Bolwell
MID: Stefan Sukara (Parr-Jones (51')
MID: Clayton Holloway (Sukara 67')
MID: Callum Fox-Spence (King 51')
FOR: Phil Newport
SUB: Walid Zaky
SUB: Callum Parr-Jones
SUB: Martin King
Goals & Assists:
Goal 1: C. Holloway (goal), Bolwell (assist)
Goal 2: Watkins (goal), Fox-Spence (assist)
Goal 3: Newport (goal), Bolwell (assist)
Goal 4: Fox-Spence (goal), Watkins (assist)
Goal 5: Newport (goal), Stevens (assist)
Goal 6: Sukara (goal), no assist
Goal 7: Sukara (goal), Newport (assist)
Did You Know?:
- Stefan Sukara is currently the top scorer in the RSSL with 4 goals in 3 appearances in the competition.
- We have scored 18 goals in 5 RSSL matches, the highest of any team in the competition.
- Scott Terry is the first former player to score against the club, and also the first former player to receive a straight red card against us - both achieved in the same match.
- This is the first time ever we have had five different goalscorers in the same competitive match, with Clayton Holloway, Jon Watkins, Callum Fox-Spence, Phil Newport (2) and Stefan Sukara (2) finding the net.
Above: Watch Clayton Holloway score the team's first goal of the game, collecting a ball from Sam Bolwell before powering past the Titans keeper.
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.