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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
09:31 18th June 2012

Cheltenham0-2 Crewe

Crewe Alexandra celebrated promotion back to npower League One under Steve Davis thanks to a 2-0 win over Cheltenham Town at Wembley. The Railwaymen showed some real quality in their finishing with Nick Powell scoring arguably one of the finest goals Wembley Stadium has ever seen and Moore slotting home a decisive second goal with just eight minutes left after a clever one-two with AJ Leitch-Smith. Crewe possessed that clinical finish to complete the job after an unbelievable run of 19 games unbeaten.

In fairness, how Crewe kept it at nil was a combination of some resilient defending, some excellent goalkeeping from Steve Phillips and some wasteful finishing from Cheltenham. The gallant losers will certainly rue a collection of missed chances and Moore's killer second ended their hopes in the London sun.

As expected David Artell was given the all-clear to captain the side at Wembley Stadium this afternoon. The centre-half was prepared to play with a fracture in his foot. Luke Murphy, who missed the second leg of the play-off semi-final at Southend United with a hamstring strain, returned the starting line-up in place of Lee Bell in midfield.The versatile Matt Tootle continued on the left hand side of midfield with the on-loan Billy Bodin on the substitutes' bench.

Crewe made a bright start possession wise but just couldn't penetrate the Cheltenham back line through full-back Harry Davis and then the converted winger Tootle. It was the Robins having the first effort after Kaid Mohamed broke from the centre of the pitch but he dragged his shot well side of Steve Phillips' right hand post. Moments later, Nick Powell nearly found AJ Leitch-Smith with an ambitious pass that was just cut out by the out-stretched leg of Steve Elliott.

The Railwaymen began to impose their pressurising game on Cheltenham with Powell dropping a little deeper and robbing possession to start moves. Powell found Murphy some 20 yards goal but his shot was straight at Scott Brown. A couple of minutes later, Powell released Leitch-Smith but from a tight angle, his shot lacked accuracy.

Cheltenham were trying to hit Crewe on the counter attack using the pace of Mohamed and Jermaine McGlashan. After being played in intelligently by Luke Garbutt, McGlashan did force Steve Phillips into a punch away from the danger zone.

After a lively start, Crewe opened the scoring on 15 minutes with one of the finest goals the new Wembley has probably seen. Kelvin Mellor fed the teenager Powell on the edge of the Cheltenham box, and after a sharp turn, he executed an unbelievable drive past a helpless Brown and into the top corner of the net. It was simply stunning again from the England starlet.

Cheltenham hit back almost immediately, with an equally stunning effort from Jeff Goulding. He was so unlucky to see his 25 yards shot smacked Phillips' crossbar and Artell was able to hook the rebound away from danger.

With the Robins wrestling back the possession stakes, Goulding did have the ball in the Crewe net after 25 minutes but he was rightly adjudged offside and the assistant referee had raised his flag very early. Mohamed also shot over after a clever knock down from Ben Burgess, who was beginning to get joy in the air.

The pace of Moore nearly saw him catch out Garbutt when his weak header didn't look as though it was going to carry through to his goalkeeper.Moments later, Goulding again wasted a really good chance after latching on to a flick on from the troublesome Burgess. Goulding got in behind the two Crewe centre-halves but wastefully blasted over.

On 36 minutes, Powell was given far too much freedom and extremely close to making it 2-0 after drifting into a dangerous position. The teenager was influencing everything good about Crewe. Another clipped pass found Leitch-Smith but the ball wouldn't fall invitingly enough for him to strike at goal and he had to settle for a corner.

Five minutes before the interval, a superb corner from Westwood presented Mellor with a great opportunity but the defender just couldn't his header down enough. If he had it would have been 2-0.

Cheltenham still continued to apply stern pressure on the Crewe goal.The Alex defence managed to smuggle a chance from Goulding behind for a corner and from the resulting delivery, Phillips was called into action to tip over a header from Goulding. Mohamed completed a hat-trick of decent chances by again firing high over the bar. It had been another decent chance for the winger.

It was the Railwaymen needing and wanting the half-time whistle. On the post, Powell smuggled a header from Steve Elliott away from the line and that was quickly followed up by an even better clearance from the line by an alert Westwood, who somehow got back to clear a shot from Mohamed. It prevented a certain equaliser and replays showed that it had not crossed the line.

Cheltenham began the second period as they ended the first and Marlon Pack went awfully close to pulling his side level when his low driven shot just missed Phillips' left hand post. Crewe needed to up a gear and find the likes of Moore and Powell more often.

The Alex, and Adam Dugdale especially, had Steve Phillips to thank for a standing up long enough to deny Mohamed. Dugdale got his feet in a tangle and Mohamed raced through on goal for what looked to a certain equaliser, but the vastly experienced goalkeeper made a brave block to keep them at bay once again. To say Crewe were riding their luck a bit was an understatement.

Crewe began to keep the ball better, but Powell wastefully shot from distance and both he and Tootle ran into a wall of red on the edge of the box as we tried to reclaim a grip on the game.

On 69 minutes, Mohamed got at Harry Davis down the outside but again Phillips was alert to the danger and collected the low cross.

Three minutes left and a super delivery from a Westwood free-kick nearly produced a second goal for Crewe. After Artell through himself at the first chance, the ball dropped to Dugdale but before he could adjust his feet to shoot, Brown got enough on it to claw it away from the line.

At the other end, Summerfield flashed a shot just over from an acute angle before the first change of the afternoon saw Daryl Duffy replace the out-of-luck Goulding.

With 15 minutes on the clock, Moore should have pulled the trigger after being released by Powell but after hesitating, the covering Alan Bennett did well to win possession back. There was a strong appeal from the Alex fans when Murphy looked to be manhandled in the box by Pack, but the referee wasn't interested.

A shattered Powell made way with 11 minutes left for his fellow England youngster Max Clayton. His first involvement won a corner and after Westwood's initial cross was cleared, Moore didn't quite catch his shot right after some neat footworkto get his shot on target.

He got it right on 82 minutes though after playing a neat one-two with Leitch-Smith. He collected the ball from Leitch-smith before dispatching it neatly past Brown for 2-0. The Alex contingent erupted.

That prompted a couple of chances from Cheltenham with Pack and Burgess going off and Russell Penn and James Spencer coming on. With minutes remaining, Carl Martin replaced a tiring Leitch-Smith.

Cheltenham were still in the game but needed a quick goal to make it a grandstand finish. Phillips continued to come and collect long balls and Dugdale and Artell stood firm to head clear.

There were still late chances for Moore who dragged a right footed shot wide after another skilful run and then a lively Clayton forced Brown into a smart save after his step over created enough space. In stoppage time, Lee Bell replaced Moore to make sure he made a Wembley apperance for the club.

Crewe stood firm to deal with a late corner to earn that deserved clean sheet, extend a club record to 19 games unbeaten most importantly seal promotion back to League One.


    Data provided by Press Association