A place in League One is on the line in Sunday’s League Two play-off final at Wembley. Here’s our Crawley vs Crewe prediction and preview.

Crawley vs Crewe Stats: The Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer makes Crawley the favourites for this match, winning 46.1% of pre-match simulations inside 90 minutes.
  • Crewe are unbeaten in their last seven games against Crawley, winning six of them (D1).
  • Crawley’s Danilo Orsi will be looking to follow up his hat-trick in the semi-final second leg and add to his 22 League Two goals this season.

Match Preview

This wasn’t supposed to be the final.

When the League Two play-off participants were finalised, the four teams included an MK Dons side who had hopes of automatic promotion until the last couple of games, and a Doncaster Rovers team who had won 10 and drawn one of their last 11 games.

However, Sunday’s final will be between Crewe Alexandra – who only won one of their last eight games of the League Two season – and Crawley Town – who only won one of their last five and were favourites to be relegated at the start of the campaign.

Crewe’s passage was a dramatic one. After a 2-0 home defeat to Doncaster in the first leg of their semi-final, many expected that tie to be over. It very much wasn’t, though, as they returned the favour in the second leg in Yorkshire and won the resulting penalty shootout thanks to goalkeeper Max Stryjek, signed on an emergency loan from Wycombe Wanderers.

Doncaster v Crewe stats

Crawley’s route here was less dramatic but still more surprising. Up against MK Dons – who finished three places and eight points ahead of the Red Devils – Crawley eased past Mike Williamson’s side 8-1 on aggregate, winning the home leg 3-0 before handing out a 5-1 thrashing in the reverse fixture at Stadium MK. It was the biggest aggregate victory on record in an EFL play-off semi-final in what was Crawley’s first-ever appearance.

Their eight goals in their play-off semi-final was the most by a side in their first two games in the Football League play-offs. The only teams with more goals during their first-ever play-off campaign are Walsall in 1988 (11) and Dagenham and Redbridge in 2010 (10), both of whom made the final. Crawley are looking to become the first team since Coventry City in 2018 to earn promotion in their first appearance in the EFL play-offs.

Crewe, meanwhile, will be able to look back on their play-off history for some confidence, having won each of their last two appearances in the play-off finals – in 1997 in the third tier, and 2012 in League Two. This will be Crawley’s first-ever appearance at Wembley, while Crewe will be making their fifth appearance there, winning on each of their last three trips (D1).

Scott Lindsey’s Crawley were already in form in front of goal prior to their eye-catching performances against MK Dons. Since a 2-0 home league defeat to Doncaster in March, Crawley have scored in each of their last nine games (24 goals); they last netted in 10 successive matches in all competitions in March 2021.

Goalkeeper Corey Addai could get some more attention after his first-leg performance against MK Dons that saw him wander from his goal regularly. Crawley are even selling t-shirts featuring Addai’s now (modestly) infamous touch map from that game.

Corey Addai touch map v MK Dons

Danilo Orsi will be the man to look out for at the other end, with the former Grimsby Town striker hitting 22 league goals this season, including a hat-trick in the semi-final second leg in Milton Keynes.

Tough-tackling midfielder Jay Williams is also in goalscoring form. He has only scored three goals for Crawley in all competitions this season but did find the net in both legs of the semi-final. The last player to score in both legs and the final in a single year in the EFL play-offs was James Wilson for Port Vale in 2022.

Crewe’s goals in Doncaster came from Mickey Demetriou and a James Maxwell own goal. In the top four tiers this season (including play-offs), only Wycombe’s Luke Leahy (10) has more goals among defenders than Demetriou (9), while he has more Football League goals against Crawley (4) than any other side.

Elliott Nevitt could well be the danger man for Lee Bell’s side, as the only Crewe player to hit double figures in League Two this season (16 goals in 45 games). He also scored against Crawley earlier this season, and will be looking to do so again as the two teams battle it out for promotion.

Crawley vs Crewe Head-to-Head

Crewe Alexandra are unbeaten in each of their last seven games against Crawley Town (W6 D1), all of which have come in League Two. The Railwaymen won both meetings this term, winning 4-2 at the Broadfield Stadium in October and 1-0 at the Mornflake Stadium in February.

Crawley v Crewe xG race

Crawley could become just the fourth side in the fourth tier this century to lose both league games but get promoted in the play-off final against the same side after Cheltenham Town in 2006 (vs Grimsby), Dagenham and Redbridge in 2010 (vs Rotherham) and Morecambe in 2021 (vs Newport County).

Recent Form

Prior to the play-offs, Crawley won just one of their last five league games of the regular season (D2 L2), though that was a crucial three points at home to Grimsby (2-0) on the final day to seal their place in the top seven.

Lee Bell’s men enter the League Two play-off final having won just two of their last 11 games (D4 L5), while their 2-0 second-leg win over Doncaster was the first time they’d scored more than once in a game since a 3-2 defeat to Morecambe at the beginning of March.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Sunday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Crawley vs Crewe Prediction

League Two Playoff Final Prediction

Despite Crewe having won both league encounters and finishing ahead of Crawley in the final League Two table, the Opta supercomputer makes the Red Devils favourites to win at Wembley on Sunday.

Lindsey’s men win the League Two play-off final inside 90 minutes in 46.1% of the supercomputer’s 10,000 simulations, while Crewe do so in 28.8%.

The game went to extra-time in 25.2% of sims. Only Tranmere Rovers (6) drew fewer games in League Two than Crawley (7) this season, though, suggesting they don’t like draws.

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