York City: ‘Going up through play-offs is the best way’, says Clayton Donaldson

Clayton Donaldson revealed that relief was one of the overriding emotions for York City as they secured a home tie in the National League North play-off final.

The Minstermen won 1-0 at Brackley Town in their semi-final on Saturday after they had finished 21 points behind their hosts in the table and lost both meetings during the regular season.

For Donaldson, final positions and previous results go out the window once the play-offs roll around as only Boston United – who beat AFC Fylde in the other semi-final – stand in their way of a return to the National League.

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York’s win at Brackley was not without its drama, as Lenell John-Lewis put York ahead late in the first half before the hosts were awarded a penalty immediately after.

James Armson stepped up for Brackley but was denied by a save from York’s Peter Jameson.

“We had so many games in such a short space of time. It was just a relief that everyone could keep delivering the performances when it mattered,” said Donaldson after what was York’s fifth game in 15 days. “Everyone is looking forward to it now, especially as it is a home tie now as well.”

Donaldson felt the penalty save gave York the lift they needed just before the second half.

“It just gave everyone a wake-up call,” he reflected.

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Clayton Donaldson is hoping to help York City earn promotion. Picture: PA.Clayton Donaldson is hoping to help York City earn promotion. Picture: PA.
Clayton Donaldson is hoping to help York City earn promotion. Picture: PA.

“It was a good time for it to happen, it gave everyone a big lift and you could see their heads go down, as it was a big chance for them. We were a lot more solid in the second half.”

York were almost 30 points behind title winners Gateshead when the season finished but Donaldson insisted: “If we can get promoted through the play-offs, that is even better for me. I have always said that going up through the play-offs is the best way.

“If we can get this over the line then our goal has definitely been met.”

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