Football: Crewe hit back to knock out Luton

Luton Town 2 Crewe Alexandra 2 Crewe win 4-3 on aggregate
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The Independent Online
In the previous two seasons they had stumbled at the semi-final stage of the Second Division play-offs, but this year Crewe Alexandra are at last going to step out at Wembley having last night overcome the shock of finding their first leg lead quickly erased.

Going to Kenilworth Road with a 2-1 advantage was not only less than Crewe would have liked but it also had to be set against with the potentially intimidating memory of a 6-0 defeat there earlier in the season. Obviously they had the feeling that they should have made more of their chances on home ground last weekend when Luton had to play a large part of the second half with 10 men, Julian James having been sent off.

But their initial policy yesterday was to keep tight at the back and hope for security. For 20 minutes it worked but then Lee Unsworth lost possession to Paul Showler, whose centre was hit firmly beyond Jason Kearton by David Oldfield.

Oldfield's confidence grew and Crewe's defensive attitude and organisation began to diminish. They offered Luton's Tony Thorpe possession he did not expect and he took them to task, squaring the ball across the penalty area for Oldfield to shoot inside the far post.

Yet if Luton thought the were in the ascendancy they were soon brought back to earth when Crewe's Dele Adebola drove the ball across their goalmouth, drawing out Ian Feuer, who managed to push the ball away. It spun high to Colin Little, who headed in.

Crewe accommodated the loss of Unsworth, who fell heavily on his shoulder, while Luton began to regret the header that late in the first half might have given Oldfield his third goal but hit the crossbar. Composure amid the pressure brought Crewe a deserved equaliser, an aggregate lead and place at Wembley when Gareth Whalley's centre was headed on by Ashley Westwood, and Shaun Smith scrambled the ball in.

Luton Town (4-4-2): Feuer; Patterson, S Davis, Johnson, Thomas; Alexander, Waddock (Fotiadis, 66), McLaren, Showler (Marshall, 80); Oldfield, Thorpe. Substitute not used: K Davis (gk).

Crewe Alexandra (4-3-3): Kearton; Unsworth (Johnson, 45), Macauley, Westwood, S Smith; Murphy (Lightfoot, 84), Whalley, Charnock; Little, Adebola, Rivers (Garvey, 73).

Referee: R Pearson (Durham).

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