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Wonderful composure and VAR drama a relief for Crawley in playoff final win

Wonderful composure and VAR drama a relief for Crawley Town in the League Two playoff final win over Crewe Alexandra at Wembley.

The only goal of the first half came on 42 minutes, when Crawley’s Danilo Orsi netting his 25th goal of a remarkable season, combining with Liam Kelly to stay calm under pressure from Crewe’s centre-backs and then found the back of the net with a shot with the outside of his boot.

Liam Kelly then made it 2-0 with a deserved goal to send his side back to the third tier of English football for the first time since 2015.

Sky Sports’ Simeon Gholam at Wembley: “A half lacking in quality and played at a fairly slow pace in real heat here at Wembley. But one moment of quality has defined the half, and it’s no surprise it was Danilo Orsi who finished it off. The footwork, the finish – simply sublime. Crewe with work to do, or Crawley will be off to League One.”

Notts County striker MacAuley Langstaff on Sky Sports Football: “He hadn’t had much to feed off. But it’s incredible from Liam Kelly then an unbelievable feet and a great finish with the outside of his foot.”

Chesterfield manager Paul Cook on Sky Sports Football: “There were two big moments of quality in the first half. It was a fantastic goal and we expected that when it dropped to him.”

Jobi McAnuff on Sky Sports Football: “Crewe had just been getting themselves in the game. Then a few minutes later they go and concede.”

Gary Smith (Crawley Town commentator for BBC Radio Sussex and BBC Radio Surrey): “He still works part time for his uncle’s plumbing company and Danilo Orsi has found the leak in the Crewe defence and driven it home. There’s a long way to go, but Crawley have their noses in front.”

Peter Morse (Crewe summariser on BBC Radio Stoke): “Liam Kelly was involved, again. Crawley got the rub of the green they needed and Danilo Orsi showed good composure. Max Stryjek was a sitting duck who was never going to do a lot about it.”

Tony Vessey (Former Crawley Town captain, on BBC Radio Sussex): “It’s a very difficult technique – hitting the ball on the half volley and trying to keep it down. You need to keep your head over it, but it’s tricky.”

Chris Peddy (BBC Sport at Wembley): “That goal has given the Crawley fans and players a huge lift – they’re beating the drums, the air was filled with red smoke from a flare and they’re in full voice as they finish this half strongly. You can see the difference in the players as they come off at half-time, Crawley are jogging off with a spring in their step as Crewe’s players walk towards the tunnel. Two big half-time team talks coming up.”

Matt Tootle (Former Crewe Alexander defender on BBC Radio Stoke): “It’s looking bleak for Crewe. I think Crawley were completely in control. Liam Kelly has ran the game – you saw with the goal, he made that goal himself. I’d like to see Crewe be a bit more brave. I think someone has got to say ‘we’ve got to get in this game’. It’s not working whatever they have tried. If Crewe can put this Crawley team under some pressure, Crewe can do well here. Crawley haven’t been put under any real pressure. They aren’t unbeatable, Crewe just need to find a way of getting the ball into the Crawley half.”

Tony Vessey: “Crawley deserve this, they have just got to start again. Don’t give anything silly away – make Crewe earn their way back into the game. Crewe will have to put in more effort and take more risks to get back into it. As we saw in the semi-final Crawley are good at exploiting space.”

Then on the 52nd minute, Chris Long went clear, with the Crawley defence taken by surprise, Corey Addai came away from his line, slid in, but Long had dived to ground. Crawley players called for VAR and Ben Toner went to the screen and had his decision overturned.

Sky Sports’ Simeon Gholam at Wembley: “Addai got a touch on the ball, and none on the player. Neither manager wanted VAR here, you can be sure that Crawley boss Scott Lindsey is delighted that it’s here now.”

Peter Morse (Crewe summariser on BBC Radio Stoke): “I think they are going to have a long look at this on VAR. It doesn’t get more guilt-edged than that. A really howler of a mistake from Crawley’s point of view. If Corey Addai gets away with this, he’s fortunate.”

Tony Vessey: “It’s huge. They are thinking they are back in the game if they score it. It’s a big moment in this game. It was a good chance. Quite right that he overturned it. It’s not good fortune, it’s the way it should be. Addai has touched the ball. The referee has changed his mind and made the right decision.”

Peter Morse: “It shows Crawley can be got at. They can make mistakes. Crewe need to build on it.”

The game became rather cagey, Crawley pushing for a second goal, while Crewe needed an equaliser.

But in went in the way of Crawley, with Liam Kelly doubling his side’s lead on 84 minutes in a blow for Crewe.

The Irish midfielder got on to Dion Conroy’s ball into the inside left channel, looked to cut it back for Danilo Orsi only for it to get blocked, it came back to his feet and with Crewe keeper Max Stryjek out of position, Kelly slotted the ball home from an angle into an unguarded net.

Peter Morse: “If anyone deserved a goal, it was him. Mickey Demetriou got the block he needed but it just swam perfectly to Liam Kelly. It looks like heartbreak for the Alex.”

Tony Vessey: “It’s an unbelievable ball from Dion Conroy which split the defence. It’s fortunately ricocheted back to Liam Kelly off the defender with the keeper committed, but it’s a very calm finish into the empty net. The Crawley fans are chanting ‘we are going up’… five minutes and stoppage time left… there’s been some weird things in football down the years. I’m not going to call it yet.”

Gary Smith: “Who would have thought this when we sat there at Broadfield Stadium on the first day of the season when Crawley beat Bradford 1-0 with a Will Wright goal? On the day when it mattered most, in the sunshine, under the arch, in NW10, Crawley have turned up, and look like they are going to be going up.”

Gary Smith: “This squad of misfits, players taken from non-league that people raise their eyebrows about… Scott Lindsey has got them playing football in a majestic way and it looks like it’s going to bear fruit, at Wembley Stadium, of all places. It’s been a phenomenal season. Scott Lindsey’s heroes. A squad of players who didn’t fit in at other clubs. They couldn’t get a game. Their first time ever at Wembley and Crawley have turned up and got the job done.”

Peter Morse: “There’s no time for the comeback now. Crewe have done so well to get to this stage but they can’t have any complaints on the day. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a day of disappointment.”

Matt Tootle: “It’s hugely disappointing. I don’t think Crewe ever really got going. Tiny glimpses – glimpses is probably being kind – where we looked okay. Crawley were outstanding.”

Tony Vessey: “There aren’t words for what this means. This certainly tops that day against Manchester United (in the FA Cup) by a long way. In these last three games these players have shown their worth. This is absolutely amazing. I never thought I’d see this for Crawley. It’s a scene to behold. Crawley were the better side for the whole 90 minutes. They deserved to win and deserve to be promoted. I think they’ll be fine in League One. A lot of that is down to the manager and the things he instils into the team. I am sure there will be reinforcements too. Crawley came from nowhere this season, favourites for relegation in August, to promotion in the play-off final in May. They will probably be favourites for relegation again next season, but I think they will be fine.”

Crawley defender Dion Conroy speaking to Sky Sports:

“We were favourites to get relegated this season so to do what we’ve done is simply outstanding.

“The boys have worked so hard from the start of preseason to today. Everyone deserves it, the fans deserve it.

“We knew all season how good we were. We knew if we turn up on the day, we can do that to anyone so we had no doubt.

“To perform how we did today is the cherry on top.”

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