By Jack McGraghan

JJ O’Donnell was in high spirits after rounding off Gateshead’s 4-0 Durham Challenge Cup win over Billingham Town with a goal from the halfway line.

O'Donnell (Rob Chambers)
O’Donnell (Rob Chambers)

The Heed found themselves three ahead thanks to Lewis McGeoch’s brace, followed by Connor Thomson’s fine 25-yard effort, before O’Donnell upstaged them with a strike to remember to send his side through to the second round.

“I’ll probably post it on my Twitter and my Instagram!” He admitted.

“I’d always looked at it in the first half and I got the ball at one point and thought he’s off his line here, but obviously with the wind against us it was going to be a difficult one to try.

“Before I even went out in the second half I thought to myself if I get a chance and a bit of space then I’m going to go for it, then that was the first time I looked up and he was off his line so I thought, why not?

“It’s one of those where you probably try it 100 times and it’ll come off once, but it’s a great feeling to score a goal like that – it’s one I’ll probably always remember.”

Gateshead fielded a mixture of first-team and under-19 players on Wednesday evening, with Mark Foden, Mark McManus and Thomson among those given a chance to impress.

O’Donnell was pleased with the Heed’s professional approach to the game, especially with a side perhaps lacking in match fitness, saying: “It’s nice to play football, games like that are all about your attitude.

“Players like Connor Thomson, who hasn’t played much as he would like, were brilliant tonight so it gives you the opportunity to be in the mind of the gaffer and be in the squad for Saturday.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the Durham Challenge Cup or an FA Cup first round tie at Rochdale, you want to try and win games of football and the lads were brilliant tonight.

“You’ve got lads who haven’t played a lot so fitness is a big thing and I think tonight we did a professional job just like we did at Dunston on Saturday.

“It’s two games where two different teams have been put out but it just shows the strength in depth of the team that we’ve got here.”

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