Hype Train Football Club officially kicked its first football as the team was dealt a narrow defeat against Reading & District Sunday League side, Berkshire Dons, at the Ibis Club, down Scours Lane in Reading. Read our match report and view our gallery below as we kicked off our pre-season schedule. All Aboard.
Match Report: Hype Train FC at Berkshire Dons
Due to delays at the Ibis Club, our 2pm kick-off time was greatly delayed, with the team kicking off just before 3pm. The team fielded a 4-3-3 formation with left-back Robert Austin as captain for the day.
HTFC struggled in the opening procedures as they got to grip with the nature of the game. Berkshire Dons, who boasted a midfield that could skip past players and play with the ball at their feet, used the long-ball system for the opening half-hour, testing Seb Barton and Joe Sawyer at the heart of the defence.
The only goal of the game came due to a defensive mix up after a goal-kick, with Barton's attempted header back towards our Goalkeeper, finding the feet of the Dons' forward, whose attempt dribbled across the line.
The team grew into the game, with Elliott Simson and Leon Mannion wasting golden opportunities to level the score before half-time, whilst Rod Stevens had an effort saved well by the opposing keeper, and Callum Fox-Spence's fine dribble and eventual shot was blocked on the line.
HTFC limited the Dons' to minimal chances in the second, and besides a spell of 5-10 minutes in which the opposition held the ball, the only chances created were ours. Despite knocking on the door, the squad just could not make the most of our dozen of chances to register our first goal to level the score, with Mannion, substitute Ashley Scott and James Harris, all missing guilt-edged chances.
The Dons' slowed down play in the final 15 minutes, with their keeper saving brilliantly from Mannion, who rounded the shot-stopper, only to be thwarted at the last with a fine block.
HTFC Man of the Match:
Joe Sawyer was excellent as a central defender this afternoon, constantly shutting down threats from Dons' attackers, especially when defending one-on-one situations after long-balls over the top from the opposition.
Thoughts from General Secretary and Matchday Captain, Robert Austin:
"After a two-year process of getting Hype Train FC off the ground, today was a very rewarding day for myself, Sam, Phil and the players. We're on the right track in a testing friendly that has been a big learning curve for the team.
This is a day for celebration as it has taken a lot of hard work, personal finance, scouting, and endless dedication to get this idea turned in to a reality, so I'd like to take this time to actually thank everybody for turning out today, whether playing, watching, or taking an interest with us over social media. Starting a football team is hard work and it is such a good feeling knowing that I have a team around me that are excited and pushing in the same direction for this big project.
In truth, we had enough chances to score 5-10 goals this afternoon if are finishing had been on-point and on another day we would have been well out-of-sight, but that's what happens sometimes in pre-season when players are shaking off ring-rust from a long summer.
We came up against a traditional Sunday league side that hit heavy, with a referee of their choosing and bias, which is the perfect opposition to face when considering that sin bin rules are in effect this season, and how we handle that as a team without facing any dissent charges.
The result is ultimate secondary at this stage, though it would have been nice to have won, but I know a few of the guys in the team will be hungry to rectify their misses, which can only be a positive. As we continue to work on our shape and formation for the season, the seeds of a solid team are in place as we prepare for our EBFL debut on August 31st.
I'd like to thank the Berkshire Dons for providing good opposition for us, and we will look forward to a rematch in the near future!"
View our match gallery below:
Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad
Date: Sunday 21st July 2019
Opposition: Berkshire Dons (A)
GK: Jake Holloway
DEF: Jack Denton (Jones '55)
DEF: Sebastian Barton
DEF: Joseph Sawyer
DEF: Robert Austin - (C)
MID: Rod Stevens
MID: Clayton Holloway
MID: Elliott Simson (Oxlade '50)
FOR: James Harris (Seville '50)
FOR: Callum Fox-Spence (Scott '45, Simson '80)
FOR: Leon Mannion
SUB: Grant Oxlade
SUB: Samuel Seville
SUB: Phil Jones
SUB: Ashley Scott
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.