London: Fleetwood Town secured promotion to English football`s third tier for the first time with a 1-0 victory over Burton Albion in the League Two play-off final at Wembley on Monday.
With a population of just 27,000, Fleetwood is the smallest English town to have a Football League club, but the Lancashire team continue to defy the odds as they advance up the league pyramid at a startling pace.
Only nine years ago they were playing non-league football in the North West Counties Division One, yet their victory in the play-off final means they can look forward to facing the likes of Coventry, Sheffield United and Barnsley in League One next season.
Antoni Sarcevic was the match-winner for Graham Alexander`s side, with his 75th minute free-kick settling a tense clash and clinching the club`s sixth promotion in 10 seasons.
Following the play-off semi-final win over York, the former Manchester City midfielder declared he would single-handedly elevate the club, nicknamed the `Cod Army` because of the town`s fishing industry, into the third tier and, with 15 minutes to go, he proved true to his word.
Sarcevic`s 30-yard free-kick was intended as a cross, but Burton goalkeeper Dean Lyness lost the flight of the ball and was powerless to prevent the ball arching over him.
Fleetwood`s was a fitting 44th birthday present for chairman Andy Pilley, who has invested £10 million ($16 million, 12 million euros) to transform the club from minnows into Football League big fish.