Just one week after the Titans demolition of the Railroaders in AJ Bell Stadium, Manchester looked to continue where they had left off. However Crewe, still smarting from the 69-0 drubbing, had other ideas.
With starting QB Warren Thomas injured in the previous fixture, former Titan Rik Lowthion stepped up at QB and led the Railroaders to a surprising 19-14 half-time lead.
Crewe started quickly with Lowthion throwing a TD pass on just the 3rd play for a 6-0 lead. The Titans first possession ended just inside Crewe’s half when RB Carl Rugen fumbled. Manchester’s defense then held the Railroaders, forcing a turnover on downs.
QB Alan Mead hit WR Ben Barker deep for a 27 yard gain but the Titans failed to convert on 4th down, giving the ball back to Crewe. With DL Paul Welsh leading the charge, Manchester forced a punt and this time the Titans drove the ball successfully down the field through the running of RB Ryan Newton. Newton carried 4 times for 51 yards to reach the Crewe 16 yard line as the 1st quarter ended.
On the 1st play of the 2nd quarter, Mead hit TE Ste Kimmins in the endzone for the touchdown, with Newton kicking the extra point. Crewe then went on a 14 play drove which culminated in a 4th down TD run to retake the lead, 12-7. 3 plays later Newton, broke free for a 46 yard TD run and converted the kick, giving the Titans back the lead, 14-12.
However Lowthion immediately hit back with another long bomb for a TD, the extra point making the score 19-14. The Titans drove from their 20 yard line to the Crewe 35 but Mead’s pass was intercepted and Crewe ran out the clock ending the 1st half.
Manchester received the 2nd half kick off and looked to regain the lead, however Crewe held them to a 26 yard Field Goal by Newton, taking the score to 19-17. The Titans defense forced a punt on the next possession and again Manchester drove deep into Crewe territory. However Newton fumbled the ball on the Crewe one yard line and the Railroaders recovered.
But on the very next play, Rick Hurst and John Oxley combined for a Safety, tying the scores at 19-19. The resulting free kick gave Manchester possession, and once again they drove into Crewe’s redzone. A great catch on a deflected pass by TE Andy Burridge gave the Titans a 1st and Goal at the Crewe 1 yard line as the 3rd quarter ended.
Mead sneaked in from a yard out to give Manchester the lead on the next play, Newton’s kick making the score 26-19. Lowthion tried to get the Railroaders back into the game but DB Steve Spence intercepted his pass and on the next play Mead hit WR James Newnes deep down the left sideline for a 30 yard TD pass. A bad snap meant Newton was unable to get the kick off but Holder Nick-Nige Weston flipped the ball to Newton who ran in the 2 point conversion. In 4 plays, Manchester had gone from 19-19 tie to a 34-19 lead.
The Titans Defense forced Crewe to punt on their next drive and now the Titans were rolling, with Mead again hitting Kimmins from 16 yards out, making the score 40-19. Another Interception by Manchester – this time by DB Adam Newton, gave the Titans the ball on the Railroaders 15 yard line, where they again drove down to the 1 yard line. As he had done in the last game, Backup QB Weston went in and sneaked the ball in for an apparent touchdown but controversially the officials ruled he had lost possession and awarded a touchback for Crewe.
Crewe were unable to pick up a first down and Manchester ran out the clock relieved 40-19 winners. RB Ryan Newton finished with 20 carries for 231 yards and a TD, WR James Newnes was the Titans leading receiver with 5 catches for 68 yards and a TD. Defensively, LB Aurelien Dahci was the leading tackler with 6 solos and 4 assists, while DB Ainsley Battel had 5 solo tackles and John Oxley had 4 solos and 3 assists.
The Titans next fixture is home against the Merseyside Nighthawks on Sunday 22nd June.