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League Two
May 19, 2024 at 1pm UK
The People's Pension Stadium

2 - 0

Orsi (41'), Kelly (85')
Addai (90+3')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Rowe (19'), Adebisi (59'), Tabiner (66')

Preview: Crawley Town vs. Crewe Alexandra - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Crawley Town vs. Crewe Alexandra - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's League Two clash between Crawley Town and Crewe Alexandra, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Following goal-laden successes in their respective League Two playoff semi-finals, Crawley Town and Crewe Alexandra fight for the ultimate prize at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

Scott Lindsey's troops decimated MK Dons 8-1 over two legs to advance to the coveted playoff final, while the Railwaymen nervously edged out Doncaster Rovers in a penalty shootout.

Match preview

Only one of Crawley's final five League Two regular-season fixtures may have ended in victory, but Lindsey's men had flaunted their attacking prowess throughout, and there was no shortage of ruthlessness on show across 180 minutes of semi-final action with MK Dons.

Putting one foot in the Wembley showpiece on May 7 with an emphatic 3-0 win, Crawley were in no sort of merciful mood four days later and turned domination into a dismantling with a 5-1 second-leg crushing, where star striker Danilo Orsi struck a heroic hat-trick.

Jack Roles and Jay Williams also made the Stadium mk nets bulge as Crawley booked their first-ever Wembley trip, and the Red Devils are now bidding to become the first side since Coventry City in 2018 to win promotion in their first-ever playoffs campaign.

Such a feat would only be made more praiseworthy when considering that Lindsey's team only just sneaked into the post-season conversation - holding off Barrow and Bradford City by just one point in seventh position - and the Red Devils have now struck multiple goals in seven of their last nine fourth-tier contests.

Regardless of events at Wembley, a page of history has already been written by free-scoring Crawley, whose eight goals against MK Dons represents a new record for a team in their inaugural two playoff games; in stark contrast, their visitors' attacking prowess was virtually non-existent in the closing period of the campaign.

A paltry two goals were registered by Crewe Alexandra in their final seven regular-season fixtures, and a striking absence of offensive proficiency would seemingly dash their promotion hopes if a 2-0 first-leg loss against Doncaster was to be a harbinger of doom.

However, Lee Bell's men relit the blue touch paper when it mattered most, as Mickey Demetriou's early header and a James Maxwell own goal forced the dreaded 12-yard shootout, where Max Stryjek made himself the hero thanks to a truly unorthodox tactic.

The Crewe goalkeeper was filmed launching a water bottle belonging to Doncaster goalkeeper Thimothee Lo-Tutala - which contained his penalty notes - into the stands, before saving from Zain Westbrooke and Hakeeb Adelakun to complete a stunning Railwaymen turnaround.

As debate raged over whether Stryjek's actions were genius or not in the spirit of the game, Bell's men rejoiced in edging ever closer to a return to the third tier, which they achieved in their most recent playoff final in the 2011-12 season.

In fact, each of Crewe's last three trips to Wembley have seen the Railwaymen come up trumps, and they are on a magnificent seven-game unbeaten run against Crawley - winning six of them - but their recent lack of potency arguably makes the Red Devils Sunday's favourites.

Crawley Town League Two form:

Crewe Alexandra League Two form:

Team News

Crewe's triumph over MK Dons in the second leg came at a terrible cost, as Harry Forster was taken off just before the half-time whistle, while Will Wright and Klaidi Lolos's nights were also cut short before the hour mark.

While there has been no official word on their seriousness of their afflictions, Forster should cede his spot on the right to Kellan Gordon, while Joy Mukena and goalscorer Roles are waiting in the wings if neither Wright nor Lolos make the cut.

Thanks to his terrific treble at Stadium mk, star striker Orsi is just one strike away from hitting 25 for the season across all competitions, while Williams was on target in both legs in the semi-final success over MK Dons.

In contrast, Crewe Alexandra emerged unscathed from their nerve-jangling penalty success over Doncaster and are set to be working with an identical squad at Wembley, where Bell will surely see no reason to tinker with his first XI.

Now on nine goals for the season across the regular campaign and playoffs, Demetriou is the second-highest scoring defender in England's top four tiers this term - only behind 10-goal Wycombe Wanderers man Luke Leahy - and Crawley just so happen to be the 34-year-old's favourite foe; he has netted four times against them in the past.

Crawley Town possible starting lineup:
Addai; Mukena, Maguire, Conroy; Gordon, L. Kelly, Williams, J. Kelly; Roles, Campbell; Orsi

Crewe Alexandra possible starting lineup:
Stryjek; Billington, Turns, Demetriou, Adebisi; Tabiner, Thomas; Tracey, Rowe, Long; Nevitt

We say: Crawley Town 2-1 Crewe Alexandra

While Crawley may be slightly weakened by their fresh batch of injuries, the Red Devils' attacking effectiveness over the springtime period has been far superior to that of Crewe, even if form does go out of the window at Wembley and all that jazz.

As such, the Railwaymen's exceptional record in this fixture is unlikely to count for much, as we expect Crawley's affinity for finding the back of the net to come to the fore and propel them to the third tier.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Premier League Table
CStockport CountyStockport462711896484892
4MK Dons462391483681578
5Doncaster RoversDoncaster46218177368571
6Crewe AlexandraCrewe461914136965471
7Crawley TownCrawley46217187367670
9Bradford CityBradford461912156159269
10AFC Wimbledon4617141564511365
13Harrogate TownHarrogate461712176069-963
14Notts County46187218986361
16Tranmere RoversTranmere46176236770-357
17Accrington StanleyAccrington46169216371-857
18Newport CountyNewport46167236276-1455
19Swindon TownSwindon461412207783-654
20Salford City461312216682-1651
21Grimsby Town461116195774-1749
22Colchester UnitedColchester461112235980-2145
RSutton UnitedSutton46915225984-2542
RForest Green RoversForest Green46119264478-3442
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