Monday 15 April 2002 is a night which will forever be remembered by fans of Plymouth Argyle.
The Pilgrims, who were then managed by Paul Sturrock, knew that they would lift the Division Three title with victory over Darlington at Feethams.
The Scot had guided Argyle to 29 victories in their 44 league matches prior to the 800-mile round trip to the North East to take on a Darlington side who were sitting in mid-table and had nothing to play for.
The Quakers’ Feethams ground was packed to the rafters, but not with home fans. A travelling contingent, which was well over 1000-strong, filled the South and West Stands. It was a fascinating effort as Argyle fans travelled for miles in their numbers to witness another piece of club history being made.
Micky Evans fired Argyle into an early lead before two quick-fire Marino Keith goals saw the Devon club go 3-0 up with less than half an hour on the clock, leaving their army of fans to start the party in the stands.
Darlington were very much already on the beach with little but pride to play for but Ian Clark’s successful penalty kick in the 34th minute did at least give their fans something to cheer.
Plymouth Argyle would end their championship-winning season with 102 points on the board and they completed a 4-1 victory over Darlington with a further goal in the second half at Feethams. Jason Bent was on target for Sturrock’s men as they moved onto 99 points for the season, a tally which was enough to seal the league title with one game remaining.
It was a perfect way to reward the loyal travelling army of supporters who took days off work to undergo a near-13 hour round trip to cheer their side on to victory. Argyle fans flooded the pitch at full-time to celebrate with their heroes as they returned to Division Two in style after four years away.