Nick Powell's stunning volley set Crewe Alexandra on their way to League Two play-off final delight as they defeated Cheltenham at Wembley to win promotion.

The 18-year-old opened the scoring with a spectacular strike after flicking the ball up on the edge of the box.

The Robins had opportunities to level, most notably when Jeff Goulding struck the crossbar from 25 yards.

But the Alex sealed the win that takes them up to League One when Byron Moore slotted home with eight minutes left.

Steve Davis - Crewe hero

  • Crewe boss Steve Davis was promoted from assistant manager in November after club legend Dario Gradi stepped aside.
  • He has only lost four of his 32 games in charge.
  • His previous managerial experience was at Northwich and Nantwich.

Crewe ended the season in spectacular form to bulldoze their way into the play-offs. They sat 12th in the table following their last defeat, a 1-0 loss against Southend in February, and 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.

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.

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.

Analysis

"Two-nil is not a fair reflection of the game but who can begrudge Crewe their victory? They have a responsibility and care on the ball and I cannot remember a player panicking on the ball or a defender hoofing the ball upfield. Cheltenham will be disappointed, especially not to have got that equalising goal when they had their chances. They had to get the second goal but Crewe did. What a wonderful occasion and what a wonderful achievement from Crewe's young players"

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.

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

And Goulding had the Robins' best chance of the game, soon after Powell's strike, when he found the woodwork.

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 shot over from 12 yards out.

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

Both sides had chances before half-time, Mellor heading over from six yards and Phillips denying Goulding's header.

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 blasted over.

Robins' play-off pedigree

This was Cheltenham's first ever defeat in a play-off game, they had won five and drew three of their previous extra-season games, winning promotion in 2002 and 2006.

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

Crewe 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 rapturous applause.

Two minutes later 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.

But the game will be remembered for Powell's wonder goal and 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.

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (6)

Cheltenham

  • 01 Brown
  • 06 Elliott
  • 15 Bennett
  • 19 Garbutt
  • 22 Jombati
  • 07 Pack (Penn - 84' )
  • 20 McGlashan
  • 25 Summerfield
  • 10 Goulding (Duffy - 75' )
  • 23 Mohamed
  • 29 Burgess (Spencer - 83' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Lowe
  • 11 Smikle
  • 16 Penn
  • 09 Duffy
  • 14 Spencer

Crewe

  • 01 Phillips
  • 02 Tootle
  • 03 Davis
  • 05 Artell
  • 06 Dugdale
  • 04 Westwood
  • 08 Murphy
  • 17 Mellor
  • 10 Leitch-Smith (Martin - 85' )
  • 11 Moore (Bell - 90' )
  • 25 Powell (Clayton - 80' )

Substitutes

  • 13 Martin
  • 15 Martin
  • 07 Bell
  • 34 Bodin
  • 19 Clayton
Ref: Pawson
Att: 24,029

Match Stats

Shots

15 11

On target

5 5

Corners

8 6

Fouls

11 8

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +7:53 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +6:57

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Luke Garbutt.

90:00 +6:06 Substitution

Substitution Lee Bell on for Byron Moore.

90:00 +4:17

The ball is delivered by Luke Garbutt.

90:00 +3:01

Short corner worked by Matt Tootle.

90:00 +1:57

The assistant referee flags for offside against Russell Penn. Steve Phillips takes the indirect free kick.

90:00 +0:50

Centre by Max Clayton, clearance by Sido Jombati.

89:36

Max Clayton takes a shot. Scott P Brown makes a save.

89:12

Matt Tootle concedes a free kick for a foul on Russell Penn. Free kick taken by Russell Penn.

88:34

Byron Moore produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

87:08

Carl Martin is caught offside. Scott P Brown takes the free kick.

86:29

Russell Penn concedes a free kick for a foul on Max Clayton. Free kick taken by Adam Dugdale.

85:56

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Darryl Duffy by Ashley Westwood. Free kick crossed left-footed by Luke Garbutt from left channel, clearance made by Adam Dugdale.

84:10

Scott P Brown takes the free kick.

84:10 Substitution

Substitution Carl Martin replaces Ajay Leitch-Smith.

84:10

Max Clayton concedes a free kick for a foul on Sido Jombati.

82:55 Substitution

Substitution Russell Penn is brought on as a substitute for Marlon Pack.

82:55 Substitution

Substitution James Spencer replaces Ben Burgess.

81:40

Ajay Leitch-Smith provided the assist for the goal.

81:40 Goal scored

Goal! - Byron Moore - Cheltenham 0 - 2 Crewe Byron Moore grabs a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Cheltenham 0-2 Crewe.

80:40

Effort from the edge of the penalty box by Byron Moore goes wide of the right-hand upright.

80:08

Ashley Westwood takes a inswinging corner.

78:25

Free kick crossed right-footed by Ashley Westwood, Luke Summerfield manages to make a clearance.

78:25 Substitution

Substitution (Crewe) makes a substitution, with Max Clayton coming on for Nick Powell.

78:25

Free kick awarded for a foul by Steve Elliott on Nick Powell.

77:37

Effort from a long way out by Marlon Pack goes wide right of the goal.

77:00

The ball is swung over by Byron Moore, Marlon Pack manages to make a clearance.

76:25

Ajay Leitch-Smith gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Luke Garbutt. Direct free kick taken by Scott P Brown.

74:09 Substitution

Substitution Darryl Duffy joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jeff Goulding.

73:59

Shot from inside the area by Luke Summerfield clears the bar.

72:59

Byron Moore concedes a free kick for a foul on Jermaine McGlashan. Marlon Pack takes the free kick.

71:34

Steve Elliott concedes a free kick for a foul on Nick Powell. The ball is delivered by Ashley Westwood, Adam Dugdale takes a shot. Scott P Brown gets a block in.

70:42

Kaid Mohamed produces a cross, save by Steve Phillips.

67:35

Ben Burgess is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Steve Phillips.

66:41

Effort from 35 yards by Nick Powell went wide of the right-hand post.

63:35

The ball is crossed by Byron Moore.

62:19

The assistant referee flags for offside against Ajay Leitch-Smith. Indirect free kick taken by Scott P Brown.

61:18

Ashley Westwood takes the outswinging corner, Jeff Goulding manages to make a clearance.

60:30

Marlon Pack gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nick Powell. Steve Phillips takes the direct free kick.

59:49

Free kick awarded for a foul by Luke Murphy on Kaid Mohamed. Scott P Brown takes the direct free kick.

56:59

The offside flag is raised against Ben Burgess. Steve Phillips takes the indirect free kick.

55:21

Luke Summerfield crosses the ball, Steve Phillips makes a save.

54:19

The assistant referee flags for offside against Ajay Leitch-Smith. Scott P Brown takes the indirect free kick.

54:05

Kaid Mohamed takes a shot. Save by Steve Phillips.

53:06

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Marlon Pack played to the near post, Nick Powell makes a clearance.

50:45

Marlon Pack has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area which goes wide right of the goal.

50:05

Jermaine McGlashan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kelvin Mellor. Adam Dugdale takes the direct free kick.

49:26

The ball is crossed by Luke Garbutt, save made by Steve Phillips.

47:59

Unfair challenge on Jermaine McGlashan by Matt Tootle results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by Luke Garbutt, clearance made by Kelvin Mellor.

46:04

Corner taken left-footed by Luke Garbutt, Matt Tootle manages to make a clearance.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:00 +3:09 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.

45:00 +1:33

Shot on goal by Luke Summerfield from just inside the area goes over the target.

45:00 +0:18

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Marlon Pack from the right by-line, Steve Elliott takes a shot. Nick Powell gets a block in. Kaid Mohamed takes a shot. Blocked by Matt Tootle.

44:47

Nick Powell concedes a free kick for a foul on Alan Bennett. Scott P Brown restarts play with the free kick.

43:36

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Luke Garbutt, Kaid Mohamed produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.

43:18

Corner from the right by-line taken by Marlon Pack, Jeff Goulding takes a shot. Save made by Steve Phillips.

42:50

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Marlon Pack played to the near post, Luke Summerfield takes a shot.

42:26

A cross is delivered by Luke Garbutt, clearance by David Artell.

40:01

Inswinging corner taken by Ashley Westwood, Kelvin Mellor has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.

39:47

Centre by Ashley Westwood, Steve Elliott makes a clearance.

39:16

Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Westwood from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Alan Bennett.

36:28

Effort from long range by Nick Powell goes wide right of the target.

35:36

Ashley Westwood takes the outswinging corner, clearance made by Sido Jombati.

32:29

Jeff Goulding produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.

28:31

Corner taken by Marlon Pack, Unfair challenge on Adam Dugdale by Ben Burgess results in a free kick. Steve Phillips takes the direct free kick.

27:53

Centre by Luke Garbutt, Adam Dugdale makes a clearance.

26:51

Effort on goal by Kaid Mohamed from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

26:40

Sido Jombati delivers the ball, clearance by David Artell.

25:11

Ben Burgess is ruled offside. Steve Phillips restarts play with the free kick.

23:32

Unfair challenge on Ajay Leitch-Smith by Luke Summerfield results in a free kick. Adam Dugdale takes the direct free kick.

21:49

A cross is delivered by Nick Powell.

20:16

Jeff Goulding challenges Ashley Westwood unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Artell takes the free kick.

18:19

The referee blows for offside. Steve Phillips takes the free kick.

16:54

Jeff Goulding takes a shot.

14:46

Assist by Kelvin Mellor.

14:46 Goal scored

Goal! - Nick Powell - Cheltenham 0 - 1 Crewe Goal scored by Nick Powell from just outside the penalty box to the top right corner of the goal. Cheltenham 0-1 Crewe.

13:47

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matt Tootle by Jermaine McGlashan. Steve Phillips takes the free kick.

12:18

A cross is delivered by Byron Moore, save made by Scott P Brown.

11:02

Jermaine McGlashan takes a shot. Save by Steve Phillips.

9:23

Ajay Leitch-Smith has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.

8:49

Luke Murphy takes a shot. Scott P Brown makes a save.

7:40

The ball is sent over by Ashley Westwood, clearance by Steve Elliott.

6:13

Ben Burgess concedes a free kick for a foul on Adam Dugdale. Free kick taken by Adam Dugdale.

5:00

The assistant referee flags for offside against David Artell. Free kick taken by Scott P Brown.

4:18

Nick Powell fouled by Luke Summerfield, the ref awards a free kick. Ashley Westwood takes the direct free kick.

2:48

Jeff Goulding is ruled offside. Adam Dugdale takes the free kick.

2:14

Kaid Mohamed has an effort at goal and missed to the left of the goal.

0:35

Harry Davis sends in a cross, Steve Elliott makes a clearance.

0:00

The match gets underway.

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