Titans Suffer First Loss
After the rearranged Herts fixture, the Titans faced Birmingham for their first post Christmas fixture. After a close reverse fixture earlier in the season that ended with the Titans narrowly becoming only the second team ever to beat the Lions at Xplosion the Titans went into this game with high expectations.
The Lions started fast with a pick 6 after a lofted throw by Sam Huxtable was caught in the strong cross winds and picked off by the Lions corner-back. After a shocking start the Titans offence got to work marching down field. A series of hard running by Huxtable and running back Canice Gonzague got the Titans on the score board with a simple inside run from Canice. The momentum then quickly shifted back to the away team with a trick kick return allowing the Lions to fool the Titans kick-off team and run it home for a touchdown. It was a start that the Titans did not want.
After the madness of the first few minutes the game calmed down and both teams got into their rhythm. Both offences were moving the ball but both defenses were doing their best at keeping the game close. Into the second quarter and the Lions scored again, this time a simple slant route caught for a touchdown. The Titans also suffered 2 huge loses to their team, first up was the ejection of corner-back Ben Cooper. A secondly was the loss to injury of star Quarter-back Sam Huxtable. To fill his place came in wide-receiver Elliot Bodman.
Most would have forgiven the Titans for entering panic mode with the loss of Hux but they continued the drive he had started and ended it with a touchdown throw from Elliot Bodman to receiver Dan Marshall for his first Touchdown of the season. The Titans defense held up for the rest of the half, D-line Ike Amuze pulling off a few huge tackles and corner-back Harry Calton keeping the Lions passing game at bay. The Titans offence without Hux was still surprisingly efficient and with one play left on the clock before half time the Titans scored again with another deep pass to Dan Marshall from Bodman. Leaving the half time score 20-20.
The Titans offence in the second half stalled, a few interceptions thrown by Bodman and a fumble recovered by the Lions Defense left the Titans offence struggling. Thankfully the Titans defense was working at full capacity. Captain Gethyn Chadwick putting in one of his usual dominate performances stopping the Lions run game. After a scoreless third quarter the Lions hit back with two touchdowns to start the fourth quarter. Firstly another slant route beating stand-in corner back Peter Doyle and the second a goal line hold by the Titans defense finally succumb to the Lions after a fourth down run by the Lions QB put them 2 scores ahead. To add insult to injury safety Achiga Binyiri was taking out due to injury.
The Titans offence took to the field with a just under two minutes on the clock. Once again when needed Bodman stepped up and was able to move the chains, once again the Titans added to the score board with another Marshall and Bodman link up for a third touchdown for the pair. This put the score at 28-32.
After trying to kneel the game out the Lions left the Titans with three seconds on the clock and one final play to take the win. What happened next could have been one of the greatest moments in Titans history. The ball on their own 10 yard line, Bodman received the snap and took off, beating defenders with his feet he made it up to mid-field. When it looked like he would be tackled he lateral passed the ball to Gethyn Chadwick. Gethyn with a free run to the end-zone, ran it in for what was going to top off an amazing comeback only for the refs to bring back the play for flag. They claimed the pass was forwards and therefore illegal. A decision that the Titans did not agree with and after reviewing footage post game was also shown to be a bad call. The game therefore ended 32-28 to the Lions. A game the Titans will feel they lost for themselves rather than being beaten by the better team.