Hype Train Football Club were back in action this past Saturday as we travelled to Burnham Grammar School to take on Thames Valley Division 4 outfit, Phoenix Old Boys 'Development', for our final pre-season action before our EBFL Division 2 season starts next Saturday at home to Sandhurst Town. The match was our second away trip to the East Berkshire region as we ended our 7th and final friendly with a big win. All Aboard.
Match Report: Phoenix Old Boys 'Development' vs. Hype Train FC
With our first and only midweek pre-season friendly under the lights at Burnham Grammar School for an 8pm kick-off, we lined up with 4-1-4-1 formation and found ourselves up against the play from the first whistle as our opponents fielded a very young and energetic side.
Phoenix started the brighter of the teams and pressured our full-backs well, though they also blazed over from a few free-kicks within range of our shot-stopper, Jack Roche. We grew in to the game but were limited to chances over the top, with Scott Terry and Callum Fox-Spence both going close, with Fox-Spence hitting the post and Terry glancing a header wide.
Teams went in at the half with the score 0-0 and the team made a host of substitutions to freshen the squad for the second-half. Phoenix began fading in influence and we began seeing a lot of the ball, with a lot of passing sequences across the field before we scored our first goal. Leon Mannion, our top scorer in pre-season, on as a second-half substitute, worked the left channel well with Sammy Seville, before Leon's cross was controlled by Scott Terry, whose calmness in front of goal led to a solid strike that beat the goalkeeper.
We scored our second minutes after, with Rod Stevens and Elliott Simson combining well down the right, with Simson playing in Mannion for a one-on-one. Mannion dinked the flat-footed keeper to double our lead. Mannion then scored his second after Terry's low cross from the left was easily tapped home by the Forward.
Terry was at the heart of the action again for our 4th goal of the night, with Mannion playing in the attacking midfielder, whose initial touch took him away from goal. Terry's effort, which was already heading in, was poked home on the line by a jubilant Elliott Simson.
Our last goal was also a product from our right-side, with Stevens and Simson winning the ball back, freeing the pacey Mannion again, whose trickery beat Phoenix's central defender, with his left-footed rocket beating the keeper at his back post.
Phoenix then scored their only goal of the game when our midfield switched off and their right-winger robbed the ball, used his pace to deliver a low cross, which was turned home well by an attacker in the box from 10 yards out.
HTFC Man of the Match:
Scott Terry, who made his first appearance for the team, starting in an attacking midfield role, scored our opening goal of the evening and provided a further two assists. Terry was all over the pitch, making tackles, linking play with wingers and attackers, and possessed a relentless work rate on the night.
Thoughts from General Secretary, Robert Austin:
"Our first pre-season as a club is done and dusted and after seven games I've had the opportunity to field thirty players, play a variety of formations and styles, and have faced teams of varying level, including a few EBFL Premier Division teams that helped shape our ambition for the coming year.
Last night, we played a young Phoenix Old Boys Development side that was full of running and energy in the first-half. As a team, we had to do a lot of defending and I'm very happy that was a defensive block, we were able to withstand a lot of pressure to go in at half-time with the game goalless.
The second-half afforded us the chance to bring on our big scorers from pre-season and once our opponents began to tire, we put them to the sword with quick passing, pace and clinical finishing. We had the difference makers on this occasion and I'm happy that we were able to adapt well to last-minute changes to the team due to traffic issues with the team travelling down the M4 from Reading to Slough.
The biggest takeaway for the team was we have been beginning to find the fight and togetherness that a team needs to be competitive at grassroots level and this only happens with time and a desire to battle for one another on the pitch. Our team is beginning to gel nicely and it's put us in a very good position to start the season next weekend.
I've been nothing but complimentary to our opponents during pre-season, and our team last night was no different. It was a good and honest game and with time and extra fitness to see them through the second-half of games, they'll have a good season next year in the Thames Valley league.
Tonight was hopefully a turning point for the team and I'm happy that a lot of our team put themselves in to contention for next weekend against Sandhurst. I've got some tough and positive decisions to make, which is only to the players' credits after a good win."
Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad
Date: Wednesday 28th August 2019
Opposition: Phoenix Old Boys 'Development'
GK: Jack Roche
DEF: Rod Stevens
DEF: Alex O'Keeffe - (C)
DEF: Robert Austin
DEF: James Carter
MID: James Harris (Simson '45)
MID: Callum Parr-Jones (Payne '50)
MID: Ashley Scott (Barton '45)
MID: Scott Terry (Paddon '80)
MID: Sam Paddon (Seville '45)
FOR: Callum Fox-Spence (Mannion '45, Fox-Spence '75)
SUB: Sam Seville
SUB: Leon Mannion
SUB: Seb Barton
SUB: Elliott Simson
SUB: Tommy Payne
Goals and Assists:
Goal 1: Terry (goal), Mannion (assist)
Goal 2: Mannion (goal), Simson (assist)
Goal 3: Mannion (goal), Terry (assist)
Goal 4: Simson (goal), Terry (assist)
Goal 5: Mannion (goal), Simson (assist)
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.
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