Titans down the Bombers – 17/6/12

Manchester travelled to RAF Cranwell looking to rebound from their disappointing loss at Sheffield. Meanwhile, Lincolnshire were looking to get their season back on track after 3 straight losses, following their opening day victory against the DC Presidents.

Lincolnshire won the toss and elected to receive but were forced to into a punting situation from their 42 yard line. A high snap gave the punter no chance and he was tackled by Erivaldo Guimaraes and Matt McCormack.

The Titans offense struggled to move the ball due to numerous penalties and eventually faced a 4th and 3, but RB Niall Sweeney ran for 6 yards to pick up the first down. 2 plays later QB Alan Mead hit WR Will Kinghorn in the endzone for an 18 yard TD. A bad snap left kicker Ric Pennington running for his life but he had the presence of mind to look downfield and find WR Danny Caballero in the endzone for the 2 point conversion and an 8-0 Titans lead.

Both teams exchanged punts on their next 2 possessions and no further score was added in the 1st quarter. That quickly changed in the 2nd quarter however, when on the 2nd play Titans’ CB Joe Hutton intercepted a Bombers pass and returned it 10 yards to the Lincolnshire 5 yard line. 2 plays later, RB Dave Barnett scored from the 1 yard line. Pennington kicked the extra point to make it 15-0.

The Titans Defense forced the Bombers into another 3 and out and after the punt, Manchester’s offense started from their 42 yard line. Another holding penalty left them facing 3rd & 18, but back to back receptions of 14 and 12 yards by WR Rik Lowthion kept the drive alive. The Titans scored again through another TD reception by Kinghorn, this time from 35 yards out. The extra point by Pennington was again successful, giving the Titans a 22-0 lead.

The Bombers were once again forced to punt and, with two minutes remaining in the half, Mead moved the Titans into scoring position with completions of 23 and 11 yards to Caballero. From the 8 yard line, Mead lofted a pass into the endzone to Jon Homer who would have surely scored had it not been for a blatant pass interference penalty by the Bombers, resulting in a Titans 1st & Goal from the 1. Sweeney took the hand-off and punched in a fourth score for Manchester, with Pennington adding the extra point to make it 29-0 to the Titans as the half expired.

The 3rd quarter was unusually disappointing for the Titans: the offense turned the ball over 3 times and the defense gave up 2 TDs as the Bombers looked to get themselves back into the game operating out of the Single Wing formation. With the score poised at 29-14, the Titans defense stepped up again with DB Greg Michael knocking down a Bombers pass on 3rd down to force a punt to end the quarter.

With the Bombers small squad starting to tire, the Titans offense moved the ball effectively down the field with receptions by Kinghorn and WR Matt Barton, whose 2nd catch of the drive moved the ball to the Lincolnshire 1 yard line, allowing RB Ross Profit to score his 2nd TD of the season. A bad snap meant there was no chance of a kick and the score was 35-14.

Another Bombers offensive drive stalled, and just 3 plays after their punt Mead found WR Matt Nelan behind the Lincolnshire secondary for a 53 yard TD. Nelan himself kicked the extra point, for a 42-14 lead.

Having regained control of the game, the Titans defense moved into top gear and again stopped the Bombers from picking up a first down, allowing Manchester to retake possession and run out the clock for the victory.

Manchester now face their local rivals, the Chester Romans on Saturday 23rd June at Salford City Stadium, which promises to be a great fixture.