Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Southend United: Murphy & Clayton secure Johnstone's Paint Trophy for Railwaymen

Steve Davis' impressive League One outfit secured their first trophy in 136 years with a comfortable victory over the newly appointed Phil Brown's Shrimpers at Wembley
Crewe Alexandra won their first ever major honour with a 2-0 victory over Southend United in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Wembley.

Goals from the outstanding Luke Murphy and Max Clayton saw the Railwaymen overcome Phil Brown’s League Two outfit with a confident attacking display.

Crewe boss Steve Davis was able to welcome Murphy back into his starting XI despite his captain's recent groin tweak, but leading scorer Mathias Pogba failed a late fitness test with a thigh injury.

Brown, in charge of Southend for only the third time after replacing Paul Sturrock in March, recalled his skipper Chris Barker, who had been sidelined since February with an Achilles problem.

The significance of Murphy's return would be become clear after only five minutes, as the highly-rated 23-year-old expertly curled the ball past Shrimpers keeper Paul Smith to give the Railwaymen a deserved early lead.

The Alex, no doubt inspired by the stadium in which they won last season's League Two playoff final, continued to control proceedings in the opening 20 minutes until Brown's side, spurred on by a phenomenal turnout from Essex, threatened on the counterattack, with an Anthony Straker header just before the half-hour mark a signal of their growing intent.

Southend felt they deserved a penalty shortly after as Britt Assombalonga and Harry Davis tangled in the area, though referee Nigel Miller remained unmoved, awarding Crewe a goal kick.

Rallied by their perceived injustice, the Roots Hall outfit continued to press, and should have equalised through Millwall loanee Tamika Mkandawire, who bulleted a header over.

The profligacy of Brown’s side would be punished ruthlessly by Crewe, who shot out of the blocks again after half-time to double their lead. After stealing possession in midfield, Murphy, who proved a class above his League Two counterparts, played in Arsenal youngster Chuks Aneke, before Moore and Clayton combined to make it 2-0.

Southend maintained a threat on the counter, however, and were inches from shortening the deficit almost immediately after Crewe’s second, but Bilel Mohsni was to be denied by a barely believable clearance off the line by young defender Davis, who somehow got his head to the ball while diving backwards towards goal.

It was a moment of quality that would define the match as a whole, as Crewe professionally saw out the final 20 minutes to frustrate Southend, who simply couldn’t break down the Alex’s watertight defence.

The victory for Crewe, who started the match with six academy-grown players, secured the club's first trophy in their 136-year history, leaving an institution so often looking to the future delirious in what is proving to be an increasingly golden present.