Brighton and Hove Albion promoted to Championship

The Seagulls are the first team in the Football League to win promotion and lead League One by 16 points

By Jerome Butcher

Brighton and Hove Albion have sealed a return to the second tier of English football after five years in League One.

The Seagulls twice came from behind to beat strugglers Dagenham and Redbridge 4-3 in a thrilling clash to clinch promotion to The Championship.

Brighton have been top of the League One table since September and are unbeaten at home this season.

The Seagulls now lie 16 points ahead of second-placed Southampton and will be crowned champions if they can win at Walsall on Saturday.

Manager Gus Poyet believes his side have punched above their weight this season, and has called on his players to finish their campaign in style.

“Every single person in Brighton was expecting with five games left that we would be chasing someone – that is the truth,” he said.

“What we have done is much bigger than people think and better than we expected.

“Now I have to set another challenge to the players. The first one is to win the league, and the second one is can we get to the beautiful number of 100 points?”

Brighton, the only side from Sussex to have played in the Football League to date, will move into their new 22,500-seater stadium in Falmer on the outskirts of the city in time for next season.

The club’s chequered history includes almost dropping out of the Football League in 1997 and 1998 – an  astonishing fall from grace given that the Seagulls were in the top flight less than 15 years before.

Meanwhile, Sussex will have another representative in the Football League next season after Crawley Town were promoted to League Two from the Blue Square Bet Premier on Saturday.

The Red Devils were crowned Conference champions after a 1-1 draw with play-off hopefuls Luton Town on Tuesday and lead the table with 95 points with four games to play.

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