The Lincolnshire Bombers were punished for their errors as top of the table Shropshire Revolution extended their unbeaten run to six matches in Telford.
Having hosted the Revolution in week one of the season and been comfortably beaten 42-8, the Bombers knew they were up against a formidable force, one that had so far proved unstoppable, even against the pre-season division favourites - the Chester Romans.
A quick start was therefore necessary – and the game got one. However, not the intended result for the Bombers.
Playing with a considerable wind, the Revolution connected their second play of the game 35 yards down the left-hand side with their #23 receiver (a feature that would become common during the game) before running in for the touchdown on just their fourth play through #20 to take a 7-0 lead.
The Bombers, playing into the wind and without two key receivers, went three and out on their first drive and struggled to mount any offence throughout the day when playing into the breeze. The Revolution's defence set up well to defend against the run.
On the next drive the Bombers defence held well and although Matt Hales missed an interception opportunity, the Revs were forced to punt.
Under the cosh, the Bombers struggled to alleviate the pressure from the Revs in the blustery first quarter. Another drive by the hosts took them to first and goal but an excellent stand and DB coverage on third down allowed Matty Benson the time to pick up a sack for a 15 yard loss. The Revs forced to go for a field goal, but finding it blocked by Callum Huckle.
That, however, was as good as it got in the first quarter as on the Bombers next possession a tight end screen was fumbled leaving the Revs on the Bombers 10 yard line. An opportunity they would not pass up as shortly after their #28ran home for the touchdown. Another PAT blocked by Callum Huckle followed but the lead was already 13-0.
With the first quarter finally over, the Bombers picked up their first 1st down in the second only to shoot themselves in the foot with a fumbled snap/hand-off on the next play leading to Revs #12scooping up for the score – 20-0.
After that the Bombers started slowly getting into the game. A Chris Wilson interception was ruled out for pass interference by another defensive back, although the same player was fortunate to escape with a fumbled punt return that was called back because a headbutt by the Revs was spotted and the player ejected.
Finally, using the benefit of the wind, the Bombers got on the board as quarterback Andy Bagnall was able to drop the ball deep over the Revs DB to Matt Hales who ran in unchallenged to the endzone. A spectacular 70 yard touchdown on a 2nd and 20 play.
Just when the team thought they'd closed the gap, another error, a fumbled snap by the Bombers eventually resulted in a touchdown pass to #23 to extend the lead to 27-7 at half-time.
The second half was a better effort from the Bombers after some stern words from Head Coach, Michael Etheridge, with the defence in particular playing hardball.
Although the hosts flew out of the blocks and scored another opening drive touchdown – #23 picking up his second reception of the day, the defence gave away very little afterwards until the end.
A Callum Huckle interception in the endzone prevented the Revs from putting more points on the board while two Ben Harris sacks allowed the Bombers to start their drive in opposition territory.
They only finally succumbed when Revs receiver #23 picked up his hat-trick following a long drive.
The offence, meanwhile, drove well on three occasions although couldn't seal more than a single touchdown from their efforts. Two field goal attempts were missed either side of an excellent drive – built by runs from Ross Wheatley, Joe Pinkstone and Andy Bagnall, that saw QB Bagnall sneak over from close distance to reduce the final arrears.
The final action of the day was a fumbled punt return by the Revs which was jumped on by Ben Price to give the Bombers the ball in good position. The result of which was one of the aforementioned failed field goal attempts.
While the match was always likely to be a tough assignment to begin with, the Bombers gave themselves far too much work to do with a number of sloppy errors. If these can be reduced to a minimum for the trip to bottom of the table Crewe Railroaders, then a third Bombers win of the season should be on the cards.