Crewe Alexandra 0
Wolves 2 (McDonald 45, Edwards 66)
Gresty Road is just a few yards from Crewe railway station but the only destination for Wolves is the Championship after a 2-0 victory over Alex confirmed an instant return to the second tier of English football.
A deflected goal from Kevin McDonald gave Kenny Jackett’s men the lead right on half-time and the home team’s task wasn’t helped when Chuks Aneke was red carded seconds later for an elbow offence on Richard Stearman.
A neatly taken effort from Dave Edwards midway through the second period settled any nerves as Wanderers hung on comfortably to record a 24th League clean sheet of the season – a club record.
There was just one change to the Wolves starting eleven with Lee Evans coming in for Jack Price who was named as a substitute. Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of the 96 who perished in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Wolves kicked-off defending the railway end of the ground and the first attempt of the game fell to Nouha Dicko who fired over from the edge of the area.
In the 11th minute Carl Ikeme made a good save from Uche Ikpeazu after the visiting defence had failed to clear its lines and then a Michael Jacobs corner was played back to Sam Ricketts whose cross was half cleared to Stearman and his low shot was blocked in a crowded area.
A Bakary Sako free-kick from 20-yards flew wide of the far post and, after Adam Dugdale had fouled Jacobs in virtually the same spot, this time Sako’s free-kick was taken by Crewe keeper Ben Garratt after it had been driven through the wall.
In the 26th minute Ikpeazu beat Stearman on the bye-line but his cross was overhit and sailed harmlessly through to the far side.
Alex threatened again after Sako had fouled Matt Tootle to the right side of the Wolves box with Jon Guthrie’s free-kick headed clear by Danny Batth.
A Dicko cross just eluded the head of the diving Lee Evans and the ball bounced off a defender into the arms of Garratt who then had to turn a 25-yard drive from Jacobs around the post.
A great ball from Jacobs released Edwards on then right but his cross was just too far in front of Dicko.
George Evans was booked for clattering into namesake Lee just outside the home area. From the free-kick conceded, taken by Sako, the ball bounced off the wall for an unproductive corner.
Another Sako corner almost undid the home defence with the ball half cleared to Edwards who returned it into the box for Jacobs who headed wide at the far post.
Just as the game was about to drift into stoppage time, Wolves took the lead. A Sako corner wasn’t cleared and when Ricketts fed Evans he laid the ball into the path of McDonald whose shot took a hefty deflection off home skipper Tootle on its way into the net.
The drama continued as the referee blew for the break with Aneke being red carded after he led with his elbow and laid out Stearman.
Half-Time: Crewe 0 Wolves 1
Garratt made a good save from a powerful Sako drive and then Edwards was too high with a shot on the turn from the edge of the area as Wolves made the most of the man advantage.
In the 59th minute it was Sako again, this time from 25-yards, that was just off target before Garratt thwarted Edwards after a move involving Batth and Dicko.
Batth was booked for a late challenge but he was celebrating moments later as Wolves opened up a two goal lead. A quickly taken throw from Ricketts was collected Ricketts and he in turn fed Edwards. With the home defence flat footed, the midfielder ran into the box and curled the ball past the keeper just inside the far post.
Sako was replaced by James Henry for the final quarter of the game and Crewe also made a double switch but Ikeme was rarely troubled as the 2,000 plus away fans began to party.
Guthrie did send a free-kick and then a corner into the box but both went through to the far side where they were cleared.
When substitute Billy Waters did get a shot on target, Ikeme saved with ease before Leon Clarke was sent on for Dicko.
Eight minutes from the end, Batth conceded a foul on Mathias Pogba in the ‘D’. Anthony Grant rolled the ball to Tootle but his shot bounced clear off the wall.
Three added minutes quickly passed by and the referee’s final whistle signalled the start of the celebrations.
Alex: Garratt, Tootle (capt), Ellis, Dugdale, Moore, Inman (Waters 73), Guthrie, G. Evans (Nolan 45), Aneke, Ikpeazu (Pogba 73), Grant.
Unused subs: Phillips, Mellor, Leitch-Smith, Ray.
Booking: G. Evans (39 – foul).
Sending-Off: Aneke (45+2 – violent conduct).
Wolves: Ikeme, Ricketts (capt), Golbourne, McDonald, Batth, Stearman, Edwards, L. Evans, Dicko (Clarke 79), Sako (Henry 68), Jacobs.
Unused subs: McCarey, Doherty, Elokobi, Price, McAlinden.
Booking: Batth (63 – foul).
Referee: D. Bond.
Attendance: 6,424 (2,254 away supporters).