Hype Train Football Club competed in our first match of 2020 as we took on North Berks Football League Division 2 outfit, Hagbourne United Reserves, in the Last 16 of the Berks & Berks FA Junior Cup. Read our match report as the Blue and Gold managed to extend their cup run to a quarter-final at the end of the January. All Aboard.
BBFA Match Report: Hype Train FC vs. Hagbourne United Reserves
With the sun beaming down for this early January encounter, we kicked off against Hagbourne at 13:30pm on Saturday, with the team wearing our change gold and red strip, with the visitors in a dark grey and pink kit.
The first-half saw both teams take quarter of an hour to warm into the occasion, with a chess match unfolding with both teams probing in midfield as chances began to open up. Hagbourne had the first real opportunity after confusion at the back with Alex O'Keeffe's scuffed clearance deemed to have been a pass-back to Jack Roche in goal. The resulting indirect free-kick from six-yards-out saw Hagbourne's number 10 feel the pressure, with his shot going out for a throw at our right-back position.
The visitors then had their best chance of the match, when a ball bobbled invitingly through our defence, with their number 9 looping a ball over an advancing Roche. Fortunately for the home side, the ball soared inches over the ball and out, letting us off of what should have been the opening goal of the afternoon.
Midway through the first-half, Hagbourne had their Goalkeeper to thank for a goal-line clearance, with a scramble in the box following a corner-kick falling to Chris Marshall a few yards out from goal. Marshall's powerful effort was saved brilliantly by their shot stopper, who was outstretched at point blank range to deny a first goal of the day.
With the first-half coming to a close, we believed we had scored the first goal of the day after a well-worked thrown in down our right channel between Elliott Simson and Rod Stevens freed Marshall, with the midfielder cutting a cross back into the box, with Sam Paddon's first-time effort bulging the back of the net - though our celebrations were cut short when referee, Mark Firmager, called for an offside. After a lengthy discussion with their linesman, the referee believed that Paddon was in an offside position, despite Marshall's cross travelling backwards.
The second-half was tense and nervy in periods as both teams looked not to lose, though our substitutes all managed to carve open chances, with Hagbourne's keeper keeping the travelling side in the contest as we grew into the second 45 minutes.
First, Leon Mannion teed up James Carter, with the left midfielder's first-time shot square at their custodian in a one-on-one situation with one of his first touches of the game. Minutes later, Mannion and Marshall combined, playing through Callum Parr-Jones in another one-on-one, with Parr-Jones's effort well saved again, with the Hagbourne keeper coming off his line well to narrow the shooting channels. Lastly, Mannion worked a shot of his own making on the right-flank, with their shot stopper saving a fierce shot with his trailing right leg, before Callum Fox-Spence's follow up was deflected wide for a corner-kick.
With five minutes or so left on the clock, and penalty kicks looming, we finally made the breakthrough in the game when Carter won the ball back after a cross-field pass. Robbing the ball of Hagbourne's right midfielder, Carter played in Mannion down the left-flank, with Mannion taking two touches before rifling a shot in off the keeper's right-hand post from 18 yards out to give us the lead - with the entire team joining in on the celebrations as the relief of a close encounter edged our way.
Mannion's goal was his 13th of the season and 7th strike in the Junior Cup, with the team managing a second clean sheet in the competition, only conceding once in a trifecta of matches.
With the team advancing to the quarter-finals of the cup, we travel to Milton Keynes to take on Hanslope Reserves on Saturday 25th January looking to book our spot in the semi-final.
Our Berks & Bucks Cup Run:
Round 1 (28/09/19): Hype Train FC 8-1 Barton Rovers
Round 2 (27/10/19): Grove Rangers 0-3 Hype Train FC
Round 3 (23/11/19): Hype Train FC default home win over Hungerford Academy
Last 16 (04/01/20): Hype Train FC 1-0 Hagbourne United Reserves
HTFC Man of the Match:
Encapsulating the professionalism of a good team performance was our attacking midfielder, Chris Marshall, who was the engine room all afternoon. Chris provided several chances for the team throughout the afternoon and was unlucky not to have opened the scoring in the first-half, with Hagbourne's keeper saving at point blank range to deny Marshall a second goal of the season.
Thoughts from General Secretary, Robert Austin:
"Coming away from a well contested encounter, I couldn't be happier with how the team applied themselves, especially considering this was the first time we had been together as a team since the Xmas break.
I asked the team to get back to basics, to play to feet and be confident on the ball and on the most part the boys applied my instructions very well. We played some very good stuff at times and didn't try to rush the play given the occasion.
All of Hagbourne's best chances were created by our own mistakes, limiting them to very little when they probed our defensive line when on the front foot. The midfield won the battle too and we created enough one-on-one chances to have won the game by a much greater margin, though a lot of credit has to go to their Goalkeeper for keeping them in the contest as we pressured them in the second-half.
We wouldn't be denied, however, as we showed great spirit and work rate for the entire game, with Leon's goal right near the end of the game well deserved and probably right given the flow of the contest.
All credit to Hagbourne for making the trip down to Reading from the Oxfordshire area. Their players played a fair game and are a credit to their club for contesting a well-fought game with no animosity. We wish them nothing but luck in the North Berks league this season.
Ultimately, I couldn't be happier with the team's performance, another clean sheet and a place in the quarter-finals of a county cup competition! It has been a great start to 2020 and we'll be looking to kick on next week as we return to EBFL league action against Iver Heath's Reserves team at home."
Hype Train FC: Matchday Squad
Date: Saturday 4th January 2020
Opposition: Hagbourne United Reserves
GK: Jack Roche
DEF: Rod Stevens
DEF: Martin King
DEF: Alex O'Keeffe - (C)
DEF: Robert Austin
MID: Elliorr Simson (Fox-Spence '70)
MID: Clayton Holloway (Parr-Jones '60)
MID: Aaron Holloway (Browne '85)
MID: Chris Marshall
MID: Sam Paddon (Carter '65)
FOR: Leon Mannion
SUB: James Carter
SUB: Callum Fox-Spence
SUB: Callum Parr-Jones
SUB: Warren Browne
Goals and Assists:
Goal 1: Mannion (goal), Carter (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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