Ref: Mr N Miller
By Tony Leighton
Teen star Max Clayton hit the victory clincher as Crewe Alexandra lifted the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on a second glory day at Wembley in less than 11 months.
At the end of May last year, the Railwaymen beat Cheltenham Town in the npower League 2 Play-Off Final at the national stadium.
And after having overcome Southend United in the two-leg Play-Off semi to reach that Final, Steve Davis' team heaped more misery on the Shrimpers to win what is the first major knock-out trophy in the club's history.
England youth international Clayton, 18, dubbed 'Maximillion' by manager Davis, scored his third Trophy goal of the season to wrap up victory after captain Luke Murphy's early opener had put his team on track for triumph.
It was a deserved victory for the League 1 team, but they had to survive several spells of pressure after looking much the superior team in the early stages.
They almost went ahead in the opening minute, Clayton having a close-range angled shot saved by the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Paul Smith.
The Railwaymen took only a further four minutes to go in front, however, and it was from a well-rehearsed and brilliantly worked set-piece.
Right winger Byron Moore directed a low corner kick towards the edge of the penalty area and, with central defender Harry Davis making a decoy run and jumping over the ball, Murphy was able to curl an 18-yard shot into the top corner.
The sixth minute brought a minute's applause from both sets of fans in sympathy for Crewe's number six, Adam Dugdale, and his wife Nicola following the tragic death this week of their new-born son Jude.
On the pitch, Dugdale's colleagues seemed for a spell that they might put the game well beyond Southend, but the League 2 side gradually forced their way into the game.
Crewe keeper Steve Phillips kept out a 21st minute header by central defender Ryan Cresswell following a Kevan Hurst corner.
The Shrimpers then had a penalty appeal turned down as striker Britt Assombalonga went down in a tussle with central defender Mark Ellis.
And they should have drawn level in the 36th minute, but from captain Chis Barker's flag-kick midfielder Tam Mkandawire sent a free header over the bar.
The miss proved costly as Crewe re-asserted themselves towards half-time and then doubled their lead four minutes after the interval.
Chuks Aneke played a neat pass through to Moore, whose short cross was turned in at the near post by Clayton.
Southend were stunned but responded immediately and went desperately close to a 51st minute goal with Bilel Mohsni heading goalwards from striker Gavin Tomlin's cross but the ball bouncing off Davis on the goal line.
From that point the Shrimpers threw everything they had into their attempt to salvage the game.
They went close again in the 73rd minute, when substitute Barry Corr had a header cleared off the line by left-back Matt Tootle.
But Crewe weathered the storm and almost put the result beyond doubt six minutes from time, substitute Ryan Colclough firing in a 20-yard shot that took a deflection and was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Paul Smith.
And in stoppage time substitute Ajay Leitch-Smith struck a fine cross-shot against the Southend bar.
So it was joy again for Crewe and another sad day for Southend, managed for only the third time by new boss Phil Brown.
It was a third time unlucky visit to Wembley for Brown, who had been a Football League Trophy winner as a player with Bolton in 1989 and a Championship Play-Off Final winner as manager of Hull City in 2008.
Crewe (4-2-3-1): S. Phillips; Mellor, Davis, Ellis, Tootle; Osman, Murphy; Moore, Aneke (Ray 90), Inman (Colclough 70); Clayton (Leitch-Smith 83).
Substitutes unused: Martin, Turton.
Southend United (4-4-2): Smith; Clohessy, Cresswell, Prosser, Barker (Corr 58); Hurst, Mohsni (Reeves 58), Mkandawire (Eastwood 78), Straker; Tomlin, Assombalonga.
Substitutes unused: Bentley, M. Phillips.