Newhaven secured back-to-back promotions when they sealed a return to county league division one with a 3-2 win over Bexhill United last night.
A goal from Ryan Knight and a brace from Mark Probert was enough to seal the three points that clinched a return to the Sussex top flight for the first time in nearly two decades.
Paul Rogers gave the hosts the lead after just two minutes at the Polegrove before Knight equalised seven minutes later.
Probert put the Dockers ahead five minutes after that but Rogers’ second goal of the game drew Bexhill level 10 minutes into the second half.
But nine minutes later came Probert’s second goal that clinched promotion for the Fort Road outfit.
The win prompted a flood of congratulatory messages on Twitter.
First, the Newhaven FC official feed said: “Newhaven have been promoted to Division One at the first attempt after a 3-2 win at @Bexhill_Pirates.
“It has been 18 long years but Newhaven are finally back in the top division of the Sussex County Football League.”
A wave of other Sussex clubs then sent their congratulations, including Whitehawk, who also had a big reason of their own to party last night when they were confirmed as champions of the Ryman Premier Division.
Meanwhile, Peacehaven – who last night took a step closer to the county league division one title with a 4-0 win at Worthing United thanks to goals from Carl Dunk (20 mins), Kevin Keehan (22 mins) and Rob O’Toole (24 and 72 mins) –also sent their congratulations... as did Newhaven’s Division Two title rivals Littlehampton Town.
Eastbourne United AFC, Bexhill United, Mile Oak, Saltdean United and Haywards Heath Town all also sent their messages of goodwill to the Dockers.
Newhaven can now theoretically overtake Littlehampton at the top of Division Two, although with only two games left they can only draw level with the Golds’ points total – and Littlehampton’s goal difference is significantly better than Newhaven’s.
In other results featuring local sides last night, Hailsham Town lost 2-0 at home to Pagham in Division One, while Ringmer lost 4-0 at home to Redhill – who kept up the pressure on Peacehaven at the top of Division One with this result.
Peacehaven’s hectic schedule continues tomorrow (Thursday) night with another away game, this time at Arundel, while title challengers East Preston host Rye United.
In Division Two, Seaford Town won 4-1 at home to local rivals Saltdean, with Town’s goals coming from Harry Mills, on 42 minutes, Scott Dartnall, on 58 minutes, amd Drew Greenall, on 80 and 85 minutes, and the Tigers replying through Wayne Wilkinson, on 47 minutes.