They were indebted to a goal in the 106th minute by Paul Miller, a pounds 100,000 signing from Wimbledon, which dramatically wrested the initiative from Crewe. A 97th minute goal by substitute Darren Rowbotham looked to have set Dario Gradi's team up for the chance of a second successive promotion but the division's form team - one defeat in 17 games - were not to be denied.
"I've been to Wembley before when I was coach of Watford in 1984," John Ward, the Rovers manager, said. "But this time I'll be wearing the best suit." Of his team's effort, Gradi said: "They started the season as boys but ended as men."
The sending-off of two Mansfield players - Kevin Lampkin and Mark Peters - did for Andy King's team as they went down 5-2 on the night and 6-3 on aggegate to Chesterfield after forcing the game, at 2-2, into extra time with 10 men.
Bury also had a player sent off - Tony Kelly - but that was with 90 seconds to go, by which time a superb volley by Tony Rigby had confirmed the Shakers' first Wembley visit with a 2-0 aggregate win over Preston.