Hype Train Football Club competed in our second competitive cup match as we took on North Berks Football League Division 2 outfit, Grove Rangers, in the second round of the Berks & Berks FA Junior Cup. Read our match report as the Blue and Gold managed to extend their unbeaten run to 6 games in competitive fixtures as a club. All Aboard.
BBFA Match Report: Grove Rangers FC vs. Hype Train FC
The Blue and Gold made the journey to the small village of Grove in Wantage as we extended our unbeaten run in competitive games with a hard fought and exhausting win at a very good Grove Rangers side.
HTFC started the stronger of the two sides and had the first chances of the games, though Leon Mannion's cut-back across goal was too powerful for Chris Marshall to get on the end of. Mannion then forced the Grove keeper into several brilliant saves to keep the game goalless in its early stages. Shortly afterwards at the 15-minute mark, we opened the scoring after good work by Noah Hodge on the right teed up Tommy Payne from outside the box to force their Goalkeeper into a far-post save. Sam Paddon collected the ball on the left-channel, with his left-footed cross being met by Mannion in the middle of the goal.
Grove grew into the game and started to dominate possession and had the majority of chances until half-time, with Jack Roche forced into an incredible reflex save after a shot was deflected off the toe of Robert Austin, with Roche changing direction mid-shot. Grove then saw their right winger's back-post header ruled out do the the player climbing on Paddon's back.
After more intense pressure, the squad kept their shape well and went in to half-time with the game at 1-0, with the second-half seeing a shift in the game, but not after Grove hit the post after their Forward won a second-ball in the box, with the rebound effort going inches wide.
With our first substitutes on, the flow of the game began to change and we doubled our lead after 55 minutes, with Leon Mannion's free-kick spilled by the Grove custodian right in to the path of Tommy Payne, who scored his first goal for the club at close range.
With the game at a turning point, we conceded our first ever penalty, with Roche and a Grove midfielder colliding - the referee adjudging that Roche followed through with his studs. The resulting spot-kick was low and hard to Roche's left and hit the foot of the post with Austin clearing the follow-up.
A third was added five minutes later, with fine work from Noah Hodge on the left-wing seeing the number 11 dribbling well in to the box. Their defenders eventually cleared the ball from Hodge's feet, though the clearance fell right to Callum-Fox-Spence, who then laid off Callum-Parr-Jones, who beat two players on the dribble before shooting low and hard to extend our lead.
With weather conditions deteriorating throughout the afternoon, the game slowed in its final five minutes, with the team able to hold on to secure the clean sheet and the win, meaning we advance to the third round (last 32) of the Berks and Bucks Junior Cup.
HTFC Man of the Match:
Our Goalkeeper, Jack Roche, who very much hates the embedded Instagram image of him after the match, had a great showing in between the sticks. Dominant in the air and a commanding figure, Jack made a couple of vital saves when the game still had fine margins, and then watched a penalty hit the post. Jack has now kept clean sheets in 3 of the 4 games he's played in goal for the club!
Thoughts from General Secretary, Robert Austin:
"Miserable conditions and a long drive for most of our squad on Saturday was well worth the trip to Oxfordshire as we beat a strong Grove Rangers side away from home.
We started the stronger of the two sides and were well worth the 1-0 lead, with our opposition growing in to the game. We didn't see a lot of the ball in the first-half and had to defend for large periods of intense pressure from Grove, though we were excelled as a defensive unit and limited their chances on the most part, though Jack made an incredible save to keep us ahead going into half-time.
Half-time was a blessing for us, truthfully, as we were able to reset and use our substitutes wisely to inject a different pace in to the game. We grew into the second and countered very well, which led to our second and third goals. It was a brilliant team performance in difficult conditions and our quality at both ends showed - we were only one of three teams to keep a clean sheet in the Junior Cup yesterday across 50 odd games, so it was a day of positives
Given that we've been unfortunate with a lack of training facilities right now, I couldn't have asked for a better outcome and we didn't show any rust given that this is the first time over the last four weeks that the squad has been together due to opponents pulling out, or due to weather conditions.
I'd also like to say a big thanks to Grove Rangers this week for helping to arrange this fixture, especially given the wet conditions. We had initially been drawn at home, though due to conditions at our home pitch in Reading, all games over the weekend were called off. Danny and the team there had their pitch available and we were able to reverse the fixture with minimal ease, and organise a referee (which proved to be a difficult ask as the Berks and Bucks County didn't arrange a replacement for their original choice - a retired ref). Grove were good hosts with a social atmosphere after the game too.
Good luck to Grove for the rest of the season in the North Berks. We can't wait for the third round (last 32) and the opportunity to keep our first cup run of the season going!"
Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad
Date: Saturday 26th October 2019
Opposition: Barton Rovers
GK: Jack Roche
DEF: Rod Stevens
DEF: Martin King
DEF: Alex O'Keeffe - (C)
DEF: Robert Austin
MID: Noah Hodge
MID: Clayton Holloway
MID: Tommy Payne (Sawyer '62)
MID: Chris Marshall (Parr-Jones '58)
MID: Sam Paddon (Fox-Spence '53)
FOR: Leon Mannion
SUB: Joe Sawyer
SUB: Callum Fox-Spence
SUB: Callum Parr-Jones
Goals and Assists:
Goal 1: Mannion (goal), Paddon (assist)
Goal 2: Payne (goal), Mannion (assist)
Goal 3: Parr-Jones (goal), Fox-Spence (assist)
Jack Roche, Martin King and Robert Austin
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.