The Manchester Titans, sponsored by Manchester Printers, travelled to Crewe and comprehensively beat the Railroaders 52-6.
With every game now a must win for the Titans to make the playoffs, they can’t risk any complacency.
Manchester won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick-off. Behind the running of RB Jonathan Pan Gago, they drove from their 34 to the Crewe 24 yard line but 3 straight incomplete passes turned the ball over on downs.
Crewe’s offense then produced a fine 6 play, 66 yard drive resulting in a 4 yard TD run by Tom Roberts. A high snap on the XP, forced the holder Matt Ambrose to try to make a play but he was tackled for a loss. But the Railroaders had taken a 6-0 lead.
On Manchester’s next series, a 16 yard catch by TE Jon Homer on 3rd and 8 kept the drive alive but Gago was tackled 1/2 a yard short of the First Down on 4th & 6 and the Titans turned the ball over again, this time on Crewe’s 29 yard line. However Manchester’s Defense forced a 3 & out and after a good punt, the Titans had the ball on their 21 yard line. 3 runs by RB Nick Copley picked up a couple of first downs as the 1st quarter came to an end.
A nice 24 yard catch by WR Danny Caballero moved the ball down to the Crewe 10 and 2 plays later, QB Alan Mead found TE Chris Heap in the endzone for a 4 yard TD. Mead hit Heap for the 2PAT and the Titans took an 8-6 lead that they would not relinquish.
Strong tackling and good coverage from the Titans Defensive Backs forced another Railroaders punt but the Manchester offense went 3 and out and punted the ball back to Crewe, pinning them on their own 10 yard line. They managed to move the ball to their 24 but Titans LB Jake Fielden recovered a fumble and 2 Copley runs, the 2nd an 8 yard TD extended Manchester’s lead to 8 points. The extra point kick was aborted due to a high snap, leaving the score 14-6.
With 2 minutes to play, Crewe tried for the tying score and was given a boost with a Roughing the Kicker penalty on 4th down that gave them a 1st Down on Manchester’s 28 yard line. However QB Gavin Meredith’s pass attempt was picked off by CB Ryan Newton who, with a wall of blockers in front of him, ran 75 yards for a TD as time expired. The 2PAT attempt was no good and Manchester went into the half with a 20-6 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Crewe returners bobbled the kick and Titan DB James Dean jumped on it. But 3 plays later, from the Crewe 11 yard line, Gago fumbled and the Railroaders recovered. Another sack by Burridge knocked Meredith out of the game with a knee injury and the Titans Defense held firm on 4th down to give the ball back to Manchester. With back-up QB Nigel Weston under centre, he led them on a 4 play 49 yard drive behind the running of RB Ross Profit and Nick Copley and it was Copley who grabbed his 2nd TD of the game from 9 yards out, with Gago adding the 2PAT. This made the score 52-6 and with only enough time left for a couple of plays for the Railroaders who were unable to add to the scoreboard.
The victory moves the Titans to 6-2, and next week they travel to Stoke to take on the Staffordshire Surge, knowing that nothing less than a win will be good enough.
All Photographs courtesy of Gary Longstaff.