Three Wembley goals, two wins and two man of the match awards is a record any player would be proud of and that’s exactly what Ryan Donaldson can boast after the Cambridge man inspired his team to victory under the arch for the second time this season.
Some would expect the Geordie attacker to be hungry for more but speaking to Wembleystadium.com after the game he took a different approach.
“I’ve said to a few of the lads I don’t think I can ever play here again because I don’t think I can top this,” said Donaldson with a smile.
“Three goals and two man of the match awards, I think I could retire now and I’d be a happy man.”
Donaldson’s wonderful free-kick after 72 minutes turned out to be the winner as Cambridge returned to the Football League after a nine year absence but he admits he had to battle for the right to take it.
“I managed to get Hughsie off it because he fancied it as well but I’m older so 'I said I’m having it', I put him in his place,” he joked.
“That goal was a worldie. I haven’t really practiced them that much but I don’t know if it was because it was against my old team but I thought ‘I’ll have this’.”
However Donaldson’s success does come at a price and it is one that his parents could be paying soon as the Geordie admits they may have to invest in some new furniture…and it is all his fault!
“I keep giving my Mum and Dad the man of the match awards so perhaps they’ll need a new mantle-piece,” revealed the former Newcastle United trainee.
“They keep telling me they’ve no room left. The champagne I got at the FA Trophy Final was huge so that took pride of place but I think this will go right in the middle. This is massive and the highlight of my career without a doubt.”
The U’s had to see out over nine minutes of injury time at the end of the second half with just ten men on the field after skipper Ian Miller was stretchered off with a very nasty looking injury.
And Donaldson admits that seeing their inspirational captain leave the field in such a manner simply made them more determined to complete the job.
“Tom Champion turned to us when Ian went off and said ‘let’s do it for him’. He’s our skipper and our leader and we love him to bits,” said the U’s man of the match.
“Seeing him get stretchered off like that was hard for us to see but it gave us that last little push to get over the line and we’ve done that.”