He had not hit the heights of last season in the first five games of the campaign.

His place may even have been under threat but Dean Cox is back to his impish best.

Albion's little maestro destroyed Milwall with an outstanding first half display capped by a glorious strike, his second goal of the season.

Cox was the architect of a third successive home league win for Dean Wilkins' side - that has not happened since April 2004.

Albion went on to win promotion via the play-offs back then and, although it is still very early days, they lifted themselves into the top six of the table for a few hours at least in impressive style.

The impact made by both Bas Savage and Jake Robinson as substitutes against Southend on Saturday earned them starting roles at the expense of Alex Revell and French newcomer David Martot.

Andrew Whing also returned from suspension in place of Adam El-Abd.

Albion, despite running out winners, were cautious and laboured in the first half of each of the previous two home games.

It was a very different story this time. Nicky Forster, forced to forage alone in the opening 45 minutes against Southend, had Savage for company from the outset and the Seagulls were much more positive Cox was on fire. He shot narrowly over from 25 yards after Savage had made a nuisance of himself on the edge of the Millwall area and provided an inch-perfect cross for Forster to meet with a header which keeper Chris Day tipped over.

Albion's early vibrancy was rewarded with a twelfth minute lead from the penalty spot.

Dean Hammond headed a corner back across the face of the box.

The danger was not cleared and, as Hammond tried to close in on the loose ball, he was brought down by Gary Alexander.

The Seagulls' skipper picked himself up and made no mistake from the spot, adding to his even earlier penalty against Northampton and registering his third goal in as many home games. 8 The goal which doubled Albion's advantage seven minutes later was breathtaking in its quality.

Forster challenged in the air for a long ball forward from Joel Lynch.

It fell to Cox 25 yards out and, spotting Day off his line, he looped and exquisite effort over the stranded keeper.

The lead could have been even more substantial by the interval. The diminutive Cox, not content with tormenting the visitors on the floor, leapt for a long range header from a cross by Forster which did not miss the target by much.

Forster was also released in behind the Milwall defence by Savage but he delayed and Zac Whitbread recovered to shut him out. 13 Millwall, missing the experience of the injured Richard Shaw at the back, were impotent by comparison.

They produced a rally of sorts approaching the break but Michel Kuipers was not seriously tested.

Albion's first half fluency was the perfect prelude to an on-pitch tribute during the interval to the Falmer For All campaign team.

Key members of the group were presented with certificates by chairman Dick Knight and chief executive Martin Perry in recognition of their efforts.

The deadline for objections to the club's new stadium passed on Tuesday and the manner of the Seagulls' display fitted the occasion.

They were back on song once Dave Brammer had pressed Kuipers into meaningful action early in the second half with a drive from 35-yards which the Dutchman pushed over the bar.

Lynch struck a post from close range with an outstretched boot when a corner from Cox was not dealt with by Milwall's overworked rearguard.

Cox almost repeated his earlier goal with another audacious attempt in the same vein and from a similar position.

Day was equal to the task second time around, palming over the bar at full stretch.

Milwall roused themselves sufficiently to threaten a route back into the match. Substitute Jay Simpson, on loan from Arsenal, skewed wide when well placed but Albion killed them off with a third goal twelve minutes from time.

Forster's cross beyond Savage reached Martot at the far post and his right foot did the rest.

To cap it all the attendance was almost a 1,000 up on last Saturday's gate. It was one of those satisfying nights when pretty much everything went right.

Try telling that to Milwall. The misery was completed for the sorry south Londoners in stoppage time when Whitbread saw red for a second bookable offence, hacking down Forster.

Albion (4-4-2): Michel Kuipers (GK); Andrew Whing (RB), Tommy Elphick (CD), Guy Butters (CD), Joel Lynch (LB); Jake Robinson (RM), George O'Callaghan (CM), Dean Hammond (CM), Dean Cox (LM); Bas Savage (CF), Nicky Forster (CF). Subs: David Martot for Robinson (withdrawn 66), Adam El-Abd for Lynch (injured 72), Alex Revell for Savage (withdrawn 80), John Sullivan, Sam Rents. Yellow card: El-Abd (foul, 88).

Millwall (4-4-2): Chris Day (GK); Danny Senda (RB), Paul Robinsin (CD), Zac Whitbread (CD), Andy Frampton (LB); Danny Spiller (RM), Dave Brammer (CM), Alan Dunne (CM), Neil Harris (LM); Ben May (CF), Gary Alexander(CF). Subs: Ryan Smith for Harris (withdrawn 46), Jay Simpson for Alexander (withdrawn 59) Chris Hackett for Smith (injured 87), Scott Barron, Preston Edwards. Yellow card: Frampton (foul, 28), Alexander (foul, 36), Dunne (foul, 41), Whitbread (foul, 79). Red card: Whitbread (foul, second bookable offence, 90).