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Page last updated at 17:45 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 18:45 UK

The Swans are going up!

By David Dulin at the Priestfield Stadium

Swansea manager Roberto Martinez
Swansea boss Roberto Martinez has demanded the League One title to add to promotion

It has been 24 years in the waiting since Swansea City played in the second tier of English football, but that all came to an end against Gillingham on Saturday.

A 2-1 win ensured promotion for the Swans and a place in the Championship next season.

It was a game that thousands of Swans fans wanted to be at, but only 1450 were lucky to do so.

Fortunately for a further 1700, the match was beamed back live to the Liberty Stadium.

The Swansea players arrived for their big day at 1320 BST and the first of the supporters started making their way through the turnstiles 15 minutes later.

Priestfield Road, which leads to the ground, was lined with Swans fans in full voice, waving flags and wearing jester hats in anticipation.

Then came the thunder, lightening and lots of rain before the sun returned to shine.

The Swans started the game four points ahead of Carlisle, who lost 3-2 at Leeds in the early kick-off, and seven points clear of Doncaster, who won on Friday night.

A win was all that was needed for promotion to be secured.

They survived an early scare on 12 minutes when Simeon Jackson somehow fired over the bar while free in the box.

But on 22 minutes disaster stuck as the Swans failed to clear and Dennis Oli put Gillingham ahead, silencing the visiting end.

If the players want a party, for once, they are allowed. I will sleep well.

Swansea boss Roberto Martinez

And warning signs were there that a second Gills goal was on its way as the home side pressed.

But two minutes before the break, against the run of play, the Swans had their first chance and first goal.

Guillem Bauza scrambled the ball into the net in a melee after goalkeeper Derek Stillie fumbled Andy Robinson's strike.

And in first-half injury time Bauza scored again - his fourth league goal - making it 2-1 and the promotion party was back on track with Swans fans chanting "the Jacks are going up!".

Many were left wondering how they had gone in at the break in the lead and according to the fans of relegation-threatened Gillingham it was "2-1 to the referee".

But it has been said in the past that the best teams are the ones who can play poorly and still win games. Swansea showed evidence of this.

Frustration was boiling over among the home fans, and one spectator came on to the pitch to remonstrate with a linesman before he was ushered away.

But that was the only real talking point of a scrappy second half in which Gillingham again had the better of the possession.

Swans fans did not mind though and choruses of Land of My Fathers and Bread of Heaven (Cwm Rhondda) bellowed out.

Finally came the moment they had been waiting for - the final whistle and cue celebrations. The Jacks are going up!

606: DEBATE
Badfinger_Taffy (Badtaffy)

Manager Roberto Martinez's name was echoing around the stadium as he saluted the fans, but he admitted he will not be celebrating until the League One title is also secured.

"Words cannot describe it," said Martinez. "It took us 24 years to get where we are and you could see the fans at the end - everyone should be very, very proud.

"The players deserve to enjoy it because it's been very intense.

"When you have been top of the league for the majority of the season, the players have had to play under massive pressure and they've grown.

"If they want a party, for once, they are allowed. I will sleep well."

There will be some sore heads in Swansea over the next few days and maybe more after next Saturday's home game against Yeovil where the Swans can seal the League One title.



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see also
Gillingham 1-2 Swansea
12 Apr 08 |  League One
Swans overjoyed by promotion win
12 Apr 08 |  Swansea
Sell-out to see Swansea promoted
12 Apr 08 |  South west
BBC Sport Wales coverage
24 Dec 06 |  Wales


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