Crawley win at Wembley to seal promotion to League One

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Crawley win at Wembley to seal promotion to League One

Crawley Town sealed promotion to League One after nine years away, after beating Crewe Alexandra 2-0 at Wembley.

Tipped by many for relegation before the start of the season, Crawley defied the odds and victory in the League Two play-off final on Sunday sees them reach the third tier for just the second time in their history, and the first since 2015.

Goals from Danilo Orsi and Liam Kelly late in each half proved enough for them to get the job done in sweltering conditions in London, and on Crawley’s first ever visit to Wembley in their 128-year history.

For Crewe, who were undoubtedly second best, a third-straight season in League Two beckons.

Crawley dominate final as VAR plays crucial role

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C rawely Town lift the trophy after beating Crewe in the League Two play-off final at Wembley.

It was a quiet first half for the most part, set alight in the closing stages by the brilliant move that saw Crawley open the scoring.

Orsi was the man who took the chance, after some brilliant combination play on the edge of the box with Kelly, before some superb footwork and a delightful teased finish with the outside of his boot beat Max Stryjek in the Crewe goal.

Neither manager wanted VAR at Wembley, but Crawley boss Scott Lindsey would have been delighted it was there early in the second half. Adam Campbell’s error allowed Chris Long a free run at goal. Referee Ben Toner then pointed to the spot after Corey Addai had appeared to bring him down. But replays showed that no contact was made between goalkeeper and forward, and the decision was rightly overturned.

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VAR overrules referee Ben Toner’s on-field penalty call after Crewe’s Chris Long went down in the Crawley area.

And Crawley would take advantage as they doubled their lead late on, as Kelly went from provider to scorer, seeing his cross deflect back to him, before finding the back of the net at the second time of asking.

Orsi: I couldn’t have imagined topping off the season with a play-off win!

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Crawley’s Danilo Orsi was over the moon to have scored in the League Two play-off final win at Wembley.

Crawley’s Danilo Orsi on Sky Sports Football:

“I don’t think there’s any words to describe it. We were the underdogs at the start of the season and to finally come away and say we’ve won the play-offs is an amazing feeling.

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Crawley’s Danilo Orsi scores his 25th goal of a remarkable season to give Crawley a deserved lead at Wembley!

“I’ve had a good season and it’s thanks to the coaches and the rest of the players. We play football like that all day every day and I was just happy to put one in the back of the net today – and at Wembley.

“Coming here knowing I was going to be playing week in, week out was important. As a striker, you get into a bit of a rhythm and the manager and the rest of the players have given me so much confidence. To top it off with a play-off win, I couldn’t have imagined it!”

Lindsey: We were unbelievable

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Scott Lindsey says his Crawley side have been outstanding all season and deserve promotion after beating Crewe in the playoff at Wembley.

Crawley manager Scott Lindsey on Sky Sports Football:

“The players have been unbelievable. I’ve put a lot of information to them and they’ve taken it on and executed it brilliantly all season.

“We were unbelievable in the semis against MK Dons and we turned up today and I thought we were outstanding. The boys deserve it. It’s not about me it’s about them.

“We’ve instilled a belief into them. The start of the season we won games early and they bought into it and believed in it. Then they kept going.

“It’s the first time this football club has been to Wembley. But we wanted to come here and win, there’s no point in coming here and losing.”

Crawley’s turnaround one of the best stories in EFL history

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Liam Kelly tries to square a ball into the six-yard box, but is unable to. He then gets a second bite of the cherry, goes alone and finds the back of the net!

Jobi McAnuff on Sky Sports Football:

“I’ve got to give Crawley all of the credit, just for how they executed it. We talk about how difficult it can be to do this on such a stage but, to a man, everybody stepped up.

“Liam Kelly absolutely ran the show in terms of his distribution and the way he gets on the ball, but not just playing passes for the sake of it. He impacts the game higher up the pitch and we saw that with his assist and the goal he scored.

“What a turnaround Crawley have had under Scott Lindsey. They were a team that were struggling and nearly relegated last year, so to turn that mentality around from being a team that’s expected to be around the bottom, to one that’s actually gone and achieved this is one of the stories in EFL history.”

Bell: Let’s go one better next year

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Crewe boss Lee Bell thinks they were stretched to thin to create enough chances in the League Two play-off final at Wembley.

Crewe manager Lee Bell:

“First off, congratulations to Scott and his team. I thought they fully deserved that today. It’s just been a stretch for us in recent weeks with a really thin squad, but I’m so proud of the players. They are an amazing group. The fans, the staff – I couldn’t ask for anything better.

“The old cliche, these young players have got to learn from it and let’s go one better next year.

“There were no real key moments, I just thought we struggled throughout the game to really create any chances. That’s my evaluation without watching it back – and I’m not going to watch it back.”

What’s next?

Crawley will return to play in Sky Bet League One for the 2024/25 season, while Crewe will remain in Sky Bet League Two for another year.

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