Reading Sunday Social League Match Report (20/06/2021): Woodley Saints FC vs. Hype Train FC
Updated: Jul 4
Hype Train FC played our 18th competitive game of the 2020/21 season as continued our Sunday League journey with a final 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 Woodley Saints FC in the RSSL Grand Final. Read the match report from our game at the Ibis Club in Reading. All aboard.
Match Report: Woodley Saints FC vs. Hype Train FC:
Date: Sunday 20th June 2021
Competition: Reading Sunday Social League (Grand Final)
Opposition: Woodley Saints FC
Location: Rivers Ibis Health Club, Scours Lane, Reading RG30 6AY
Final Score: Woodley Saints FC 1-0 Hype Train FC
Photographer: Sam Austin (@HypeTrainSam)
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Our first-ever final, in the league of our own design, took place against Woodley Saints in an 11:00am kick-off at the Ibis Club in Reading, the right place for the final given that half of the matches in the competition took place at these grounds.
It didn't take long too for the first, and only, goal of the encounter, when a loose pass was collected by Woodley in midfield, before a ball was fed by Woodley's Jordan Sawyer to hit a snap-shot with his left-foot, with his effort catching Jake Holloway out with the ball reaching the far-left post for the game's opener.
Woodley were stronger in the first 25 minutes, forcing Holloway into a couple of good saves, with Woodley also hitting the post whilst looking to build on their early lead, though we would eventually weather the storm and come into our own, growing stronger each minute.
Our first opportunity just before the half-hour mark was a golden one, with a peach of a set-piece by left-back Robert Austin reaching the back-post, with Leon Mannion rising highest and connecting well with the header from close range, though the ball went agonisingly wide for the Blue and Gold.
Mannion was then freed down the middle by Phil Newport and forced a good save from the Woodley shot-stopper, with Newport then striking the foot of the post minutes later from a corner-kick after collecting the ball and hitting a spinning effort that was mere inches away.
In the second-half we continued to press for an equaliser, though several set-pieces that went to the heads of Mannion and others were just shy of the mark as Woodley looked to game manage. Their attacker, Jordan Sawyer, went down looking for a penalty, and then their Number 7, dramatically dived in an effort to gain a penalty, though both appeals were waived off by referee, Stuart Marsh.
The game's turning point then arrived in the 85th minute when Callum Fox-Spence collected the ball after a set-piece from Stefan Sukara was cleared to the feet of Fox-Spence. Our Number 7's quick feet were too much for the Woodley defence as he was tripped in the box, with the ref pointing to the spot.
In the crucial moment though, Sam Bolwell stepped up and hit his penalty centrally, with the Saints custodian making the save to keep the score at 1-0 in the dying moments.
Woodley would eventually see out the time on the clock to earn them the title of being inaugural RSSL Champions! Well done to everyone at Woodley involved in their big win and on the trophy.
Man of the Match: Robert Austin (LB)
Our Match of the Match in the RSSL final was full-back, Robert Austin. The Hype Train gaffer put in a strong, determined performance all afternoon, supplying his support in both halves of the pitch. Rob was unlucky not go get a couple of assists from set-pieces too, as the team were just off the mark in a tense cup final.
Thoughts from Player Manager, Robert Austin:
"It's been some weekend, and one that has gone so quickly without a second to catch your breath. A weekend that I'll always remember, regardless of the result - a day that me and the club have already learnt so much from.
The game was an intense affair, a tight affair that was defined by one lapse for us at the back, combined with our inability to make the most of chances at the other end. Football can sometimes be a matter of moments and on this occasion these moments just didn't materialise and as a result we have to accept that it just wasn't our day.
My players put everything on the line and did everything possible to get back on level terms. On another day we do and it's another story. Everyone who has jumped at the chance to play some Sunday League, our first time doing so, has been such a success. My players deserve all the plaudits for making the final and have nothing at all to be ashamed about in defeat - both clubs put on a great game for those who filled up the Ibis.
I'd like to congratulate everyone at Woodley Saints on their win and the trophy - Ian Pulfer, their Manager who I have all the time in the world for having got to know him through the RSSL, has let me know how much having a trophy to put in their cabinet means to the club. I wish them nothing but the best for the coming season and to congratulate them on an unbeaten campaign.
I'd also like to take this time to thank Paul Gutteridge at Caversham United for co-founding the league with myself, and to every club that made the RSSL a wonderful league to be part of. Andrew Spiers of Lens Digital called the league a 'unique league put together in unique circumstances' and he's completely right. Being able to put in the hard hours to get the league off the ground was worth every second and I want to just put across my thanks for everyone involved in bringing some Sunday League football to the local Reading area, from club volunteers, to those who have to come watch and sponsor of this unique football experience.
Here's to future RSSL events and some big plans for future editions of the competition. Watch this space."
Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad
GK: Jake Holloway (van Lembergen 70')
DEF: Rod Stevens
DEF: Martin King
DEF: Federico Martorell
DEF: Robert Austin
MID: Phil Newport
MID: Sam Bolwell
MID: Callum Parr-Jones (Sukara 55')
MID: Colins Akemche (Rodriguez 60')
MID: Callum Fox-Spence (Watkins 85')
FOR: Leon Mannion
SUB: Walid Zaky
SUB: Stefan Sukara
SUB: Owen Jones
SUB: Chris Marshall
SUB: Sam Rodriguez
SUB: Vincent van Lembergen
SUB: Jon Watkins
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.