By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Former Manchester City hero Willie Donachie was unable to watch his old club take a giant towards winning the Barclays Premier League title on Monday night - because he was managing Newcastle Reserves to Sage Northumberland Senior Cup glory.
But the ex-Scotland international had no regrets about missing the Blues' crucial win over Manchester United after an amazing night of football at the Sports Direct Arena against Team Northumbria.
Only 739 die-hards were there to see an enthralling 4-4 draw against Team Northumbria, which the Magpies went on to win after extra time and a penalty shoot-out, but for all the hype around the Manchester derby there's no doubt where the real entertainment was.
"It was unbelievable," Donachie told nufc.co.uk. "Eight goals, loads of chances, some great football and penalties - it was a fantastic game for the neutral, for the Northumbria University fans and everybody who loves the game.
"And I think it was the right result in the end. When it went to penalties, I said to the players 'you've had most of the chances, put in most of the crosses and you should have won.' I told them just to be positive when it came to the shoot-out and they were, They were really good, very brave and courageous.
"The lads practise penalties for fun most days and they were very good penalties tonight. It takes a lot of bottle to take a penalty in any shoot-out but they had that, and Jak Alnwick did very well to save one as well."
Paul Dummett gave United an early lead but Team North, the newly-crowned Northern League division two champions, equalised before Phil Airey scored twice to give United a 3-1 half-time lead.
The non-league outfit scored again early in the second half but Dan Taylor's goal looked to have killed them off - only for the students to roar back and force extra-time.
And Donachie said: "They try to play good football. I saw them on Saturday against Whitehaven and they did well. They have a couple of big lads, too, and they scored two goals from set-pieces.
"I'm pleased for them. They're nice, intelligent guys who try to play the game the right way.
"But for us, it's good that we're starting to get some stronger players back like Conor (Newton) and Brad (Inman). It'll be a more realistic game against Blackburn on Thursday, rather than the last few weeks when we've had to cope with injuries and other things. I'm looking forward to it."