Npower League Two Play-Off Final 2012
Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Cheltenham Town

Delighted Crewe players gather around goalscorer Nick Powell after the Premier League bound youngster hit a stupendous goal for Alexandra



By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor from Wembley Stadium

Crewe were promoted to League One after Nick Powell's stunning volley, Byron Moore’s late goal and some dogged defending helped them defeat Cheltenham 2-0 at Wembley.

18-year-old Powell opened the scoring with a spectacular left foot strike after flicking the ball up on the edge of the box before Cheltenham were left fathoming how they didn’t equalise in the game, before Byron Moore’s late, clinical strike ended the match and sent Alex into a state of delirium.


Crewe ended the season in spectacular form to bulldoze their way into the play-offs. When Steve Davis was promoted to manager following Dario Gradi’s resignation, they sat in 18th place – just 6 points clear of the relegation zone. But since February, an amazing 19 game unbeaten run, has seen the Alex gate-crash the Play-Offs and were victorious today.




Crewe haven't lost any match since February - their longest unbeaten run in 39 years.


They sat 12th in the table following their last defeat, a 1-0 loss against Southend in February, and have scored in all of their 19 games since then.


Powell, who has been in stunning form for the Railwaymen and is a rumoured target of Manchester United, won every single Crewe players' award this season.


Robins’ boss Mark Yates made the call to start Goulding up front in place of James Spencer – despite him having only started 16 league games this season.


The teenager played just off striker AJ Leitch-Smith and most of the Alex's best moves in the first half came through the attacking midfielder.


He battled well to win the ball near the halfway line and fed Luke Murphy, whose shot was easily saved from the edge of box, and then set up Leitch-Smith, who shot wide, whilst McGlashan had a shot held by Phillips.


But then came his glorious Wembley moment. Kelvin Mellor found Powell, who turned back on himself to beat a defender by flicking the ball up brilliantly on the edge of the box and firing a stunning volley in that gave Scott Brown no chance.


He had an opportunity to make it 2-0 when he was not closed down outside the box but his shot fizzed just wide from 20 yards out.


On 17 minutes, Town should have drawn level; they almost replied instantly. Jamie Goulding let fly with a stinging effort which crashed against the bar with Phillips beaten. He put the ball in the net a few minutes later and Robins’ fans thought they had levelled but he was in an offside position when Ben Burgess headed the ball into his path.


Cheltenham were coming into the game and Burgess blazed over from 12 yards out and they ended the first half well with Summerfield having a shot that was nowhere near, but it was kept in play and from a corner Goulding was denied by an excellent save by Phillips – diving full stretch to push the ball away. Just before the break came another pivotal moment as Steve Elliott and Kaid Mohamed had chances blocked off the line in quick succession and Luke Summerfield blazed over keeping Crewe ahead at the break.


Robin’s keeper Scott Brown's long kicks were causing problems for the Alex and Goulding blazed over after another headed flick-on from Burgess.


Marlon Pack fired just wide from 20 yards out for the Robins after the restart before the lively Kaid Mohamed beat Crewe defender Adam Dugdale at the edge of the box but shot straight at Phillips.





This was Cheltenham's first defeat in a play-off match: they had won 5 and drawn 3 of their previous 8 matches.


With Crewe now under pressure and a Cheltenham goal seemingly inevitable, Davis’s team went to try to kill the game off and Brown had to be alert to deny Dugdale a decisive goal.


Powell’s influence waned in the second half and he was replaced by Max Clayton after 80 minutes to a rapturous applause.


Two minutes later, and the game was over when Moore played a one-two with Leitch-Smith around the edge of the box, and slotted home from an angle – the shot going across the keeper to nestle into the far corner.


But the game will be remembered for Powell's wonder goal. The Alex go up along with Champions Swindon Town, Shrewsbury Town and Crawley Town. Crewe boss Steve Davis, who only took over in November, will face a battle to keep the starlet despite their rise up the Football League ladder, and his team in League One next season.



Sunday 27th May 2012

Npower League Two Play-Off Final

Wembley Stadium


Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Cheltenham Town                           KO 3pm             (HT 1-0)

Powell 15                        
Moore 82


Crewe:  01. Phillips- 7.5/10, 05. Artell (C)8.5/10, 02. Tootle- 8/10, 06. Dugdale- 8.5/10, 03. Davis- 8/10, 17. Mellor- 8/10, 04. Westwood- 9/10, 08. Murphy- 8.5/10, 10. Leitch-Smith- 8.5/10 (Martin 85- 2/10), 11. Moore- 9/10 (Bell 90), 25. Powell- 9.5/10 (Clayton 80- 3/10)

Subs not used:  13. A. Martin (GK), C. Martin

Booked:      None


Cheltenham Town:  01. Brown- 6.5/10, 06. Elliot- 7/10, 15. Bennett (C)- 7.5/10, 19. Garbutt- 7/10, 22. Jombati- 6.5/10, 25. Summerfield- 7/10, 07. Pack- 6.5/10 (Penn 84- 1.5/10), 20. McClashan- 7/10, 10. Goulding- 6.5/10 (Duffy 75- 3/10), 23. Mohamed- 7/10, 29. Burgess- 7.5/10 (Spencer 83- 1.5/10).

Subs not used:  02. Lowe, 11. Smikle

Booked:      None

My Man of the Match:     Nicky Powell (Crewe Alexandra)- Rating 9.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:    Marlon Pack (Cheltenham Town)- Rating 6.5/10

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)- 9/10
Assistant Referees: Stephen Bratt and John Brooks
Fourth Official: Nigel Miller (County Durham)
Reserve Assistant Referee: David Rock
Attendance: 24,029

Match Facts

Possession: Cheltenham Town- 47%                 Crewe Alexandra- 53%

Shots: Cheltenham Town- 15                 Crewe Alexandra- 11

Shots on target: Cheltenham Town- 5                 Crewe Alexandra- 5

Shots off target: Cheltenham Town- 10                 Crewe Alexandra- 6

Corners: Cheltenham Town- 8                 Crewe Alexandra- 6

Fouls: Cheltenham Town- 11                 Crewe Alexandra- 8

Offside: Cheltenham Town- 2                 Crewe Alexandra- 2

Assists: Cheltenham Town- None                 Crewe Alexandra- Mellor, Leitch-Smith

Mark Yates - Cheltenham Town Manager

"Hopefully this is a turning point. I know the Chairman will help me to get the best possible squad as possible. We're a club on the up. [The defeat today] is an experience we can build on for next season. I'm immensley proud of the players. We haven't got the biggest budget ot the biggest squad but we've competed with some of the big clubs in the division."

Click here for the full interview

Steve Davis - Crewe Manager

"When I spoke to the Chairman [when I took over in November] he said, 'Get us out of the bottom 6.' Get us safe. If we dropped out of the Football League, the Academy would be hit so it was important. Then with the results the confidence grew and the team started to perform better - the players began to play near their potential and they've continued with that. A 19 match unbeaten run is fantastic for such a young group."

Click here for the full interview

Click here to hear the thoughts of some of the Crewe players

Teams interested in our players - full story here

Match Highlights - click here

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