Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Falcons No Match For The Titans

Photos courtesy of Gary Longstaff

The Manchester Titans hosted the Leicester Falcons at Salford City Stadium for their 2nd game of the season. Much as it had been the week before the rain was falling hard and a strong wind was blowing down the pitch making passing difficult.

The Falcons won the toss and deferred possession, choosing instead to start with the wind at their backs.

Steve Spence returned the kick-off and the Titans started the game on their own 34 yard line. Quickly establishing the run with back Nick Copley, they were soon in Falcons territory and with the 6th play of the game quarter back Alan Mead found receiver Danny Caballero from 12 yards out, who took a one handed catch in the end zone for the games' first score. The point after attempt from Ric Pennington blew wide and the Titans led 6-0.
The Falcons first possession saw three plays for a loss, Titans linebacker John Oxley and defensive end Andrew Burridge with a shared sack. The Falcons punted deep and the Titans started on their own 19. Adverse weather was hindering progress and the teams exchanged further punts and the Titans were again in possession on their own 20. Quarter back Mead found speedy receiver Will Kinghorn who broke for 63 yards before Copley smashed home from 4 yards. Pennington’s kick was good this time and the score 13-0 at the end of the 1st quarter.

With the wind in their faces now, the Falcons were able to move the ball on the ground, but with veteran linebacker Sandy Kyriacou stuffing the middle they were forced to pass and Titans rookie linebacker Jake Fielden intercepted one pass for a 29 yard return. The Titans wasted no time in capitalising and Mead connected with tight end Matt Borthwick to set-up 1st and goal where Copley punched home for his second touchdown. Pennington’s point after attempt was blocked and the score was 19-0.

The Falcons started on their own 22 yard line and after strong running found themselves with 4th and 2 yards to go. A gutsy call to go for it didn't come off with the Titans defensive end Andrew Burridge making the tackle behind the line of scrimmage. Starting with the ball on the Falcons 29 yard line they needed only one play as Mead found Caballero again for the Texan’s second touchdown of the game. The Titans went for a 2 point conversion and Copley was able to scamper home to make the score 27-0.

The Falcons next possession saw success on a screen play, however another sack from Burridge assisted by Frank Guimaraes forced a punt. The Titans started just inside their own half, Mead twice found Borthwick before Copley completed his hat-trick from two yards out. The Titans went for two again but the pass to Caballero was well defended by the Falcons.

The Falcons started on their 21 yard line, however a fumble forced by Burridge saw them with 3rd and long. Despite completing the pass they were forced to punt. The Titans drove 57 yards with strong running from Ross Profit, before a screen pass to Kinghorn on 3rd and goal saw the Titans score for the fourth time in the quarter. Running Back Profit took the ball for the 2pts and the Titans led 41-0 at the half.

The second half started in a deluge and both teams were forced to run. The Falcons started with ball and advanced on the ground. A false start left them with 2nd and 13 at half way and deciding to take to the air, were intercepted by Titans Cornerback Ryan Newton who returned the ball 32 yards. The Titans took over and strong running from Niall Sweeney moved them into the Falcons half before a well-executed draw play saw Sweeney score from 24 yards out. The 2 point conversion was stuffed on the line and the score moved to 47-0.

Pennington kicked off and the ball had appeared to be heading out of bounds but a fortunate bounce saw it stop just inside the line at the Falcons 12. Another tackle for a loss by the insatiable Burridge forced a punt and Titans took over on halfway. Strong running from Jonathan ‘Fatneck’ Gago saw him break tackles and the Titans had 1st and goal. The Falcons Defence stood strong and forced the turnover on downs.

The Falcons moved the ball on the ground before they were intercepted again, this time by Safety James Dean; a short return was helped by a personal foul and Titans had the ball on the Falcons 16. Two plays later Gago got his reward for earlier strong running taking the ball from eight yards out. The wind had relented at this point and Matthew Nelan kicked the extra point to make it 54-0.

Into the fourth and the rain was now relentless. Starting on their own 14 yard line good work by the Titans' Guimaraes saw a tackle in the backfield followed by a sack. Faced with 3rd and 16 the Falcons passed but Ryan Newton was there for his 2nd interception of the day, this time taking the ball home from 24 yards out for the touchdown. The point after attempt was missed on a bad snap and the Titans led 60-0.

The running game took over for both teams who had three possessions each, but despite good efforts neither side could mount a serious drive and the game ended with the Titans winning 60-0 and moving to 2 and 0.

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