JUSTIN DONAWA set Quakers on the way in another cup competition when his winner put them into today's draw for the first round proper of the FA Trophy.

With Quakers’ legs almost gone after their midweek exertions in the FA Cup, he came on as sub and scored the winner against Gainsborough Trinity.

The victory earned £3,750 in prize money, saved Quakers a midweek replay and now they are in the hat along with the National League clubs.

Donawa had missed the FA Cup replay with Walsall, instead had a tiring journey to Mexico and back with Bermuda team-mate Osagi Bascome, taking seven flights in the process.

Quakers manager Alun Armstrong said: “At this moment in time, Justin is massive for me. People say that I should start games with him, but he is what he is. He knows what his part is at this moment in time – why start him when I know what I’ve got coming from the bench?

“He got back Friday, and that was another reason why I didn’t start him and Osagi, because they went through just as much as the other lads did on Wednesday.

“Justin looked fresh when he came on, his composure was really good. He’s chomping at the bit to play, but it’s a matter of managing him properly. To see him improving week by week is great, training every day with Bermuda while he was away has helped him.”

Quakers started the game at a fast pace and almost got an early goal when Stephen Thompson crossed for Adam Campbell at the far post where he forced a diving save out of Gainsborough goalkeeper Lloyd Allinson.

Campbell then nodded down a Thompson cross for Jarrett Rivers to have a shot deflected wide, before Quakers took a deserved lead when Thompson cleverly helped on a through ball by Will Hatfield for Jack Lambert to run through and slot past Allinson into the net.

Lambert is on loan from Scunthorpe, and Armstrong said: “Jack’s a really clever player, but it wasn’t the best game for him to come into because of the pace we were playing at times.

"For the first 25 minutes he was getting into some good positions and they couldn’t deal with him. Ability-wise, he’s top drawer, we just need to work on the other side of his game.”

But Gainsborough slowly got back into the game, and after Simon Russell was just off target with a left-foot shot, Curtis Morrison saw an effort parried by Chris Elliott – selected because Liam Connell was ineligible - and Kingsley James followed up to score.

The game was more even in the second half in terms of chances created. Ben Hedley pulled a right foot shot wide, Rivers forced Allinson into a full length save, and Thompson had a shot charged down from a free kick.

However, Donawa came off the bench to score the winner on 69 minutes. Thompson helped on a long clearance for Donawa to latch on to in his stride, race into the box, and fire past Allinson for his fourth goal of the season.

It looked as if the record-equalling 100th-goal moment for Thompson would come in in stoppage time when he got away from the defence, but lost control in the box with just the keeper to beat.

This was Quakers’ first win five league and cup matches – the two Walsall games, a defeat at Brackley and the home draw with Hereford – and Armstrong added: "Winning was all that mattered, I knew what sort of game it was going to be. The lads were right down to the bare bones, they were shattered. It was so pleasing to get back on track.

“It was the total opposite of Wednesday night – atmosphere, mentality, work ethic and we weren’t underdogs – and I’ve got to praise those lads to the hilt.

"Half of them were running on empty, but they just kept going. For some reason though when we were 1-0 up, the foot came off the gas, we let Gainsborough back in, which made it an extremely difficult afternoon. I’ve got to find out why that happens. We have the chance to really nail teams, but we don’t do so.”

Goals: Lambert (16, 1-0); James (33, 1-1); Donawa (69, 2-1)

Bookings: Maguire

Referee: David McNamara

Attendance: 770

Darlington (4-2-3-1): Elliott, Hedley, Storey, Galbraith, Liddle, Holness (sub Bascome 56), Hatfield, Rivers (sub Donawa 56), Campbell, Lambert (sub Laing 83), Thompson. Subs (not used): Watson, R Armstrong, Hurworth

Gainsborough Trinity (4-4-2): Allison, Williamson (sub Litchfield 80), Middleton (sub Clarke 61), Thornton, Maguire, Morrison, Horton, Chadwick (sub King 90), Russell, James, Allott. Subs (not used): Green, Litchfield