Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Geordie Boy Donaldson Is Backing Gateshead

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Geordie Boy Donaldson Is Backing Gateshead

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas Sports writer

MATCH-WINNER Ryan Donaldson admitted it was bitter-sweet to break Gateshead hearts at Wembley.

The former Newcastle United trainee was on the Heed's books last season and played a pivotal part in their successful survival bid before heading east to join Richard Money and ambitious Cambridge.

At that point it might have felt like a 'no brainer' for a player with enough ability to be playing at least a couple of divisions higher than the Conference. The Heed had survived, but Cambridge looked a surer bet to have a tilt at promotion this season.

Anth Smith's dismissal and Gary Mills' appointment changed everything and Donaldson might have felt more at home playing for a team with genuine aspirations of clambering back into the Football League after half a century spent in the foothills of the non-league pyramid.

It was not to be, and Donaldson proved the difference at Wembley, setting up Liam Hughes for the opener before scoring with a sumptuous free-kick to push Cambridge into the league. He admitted it was tough to see former friends, colleagues and supporters so upset at the final whistle.

"I wouldn't have picked to have scored against Gateshead in the final," he said.

"I had a great time there and I've got a lot of friends there. They're a great set of players. It's hard celebrating in front of their fans.

"It's hard, but I'm a Cambridge player, and so happy to score the winner for them. I'm so proud to be part of this squad.

"To win at Wembley twice in three months, score three goals and get two man of the match awards is fantastic."

While Cambridge head into the Football League with hopes of kicking on - or at least consolidating - Mills will have his work cut out replicating what he has managed to achieve this season. …

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