Ian Miller was injured during 10 minutes of added time, but was brought on to the Wembley pitch in a wheelchair to lift the Conference playoff trophy.
Ex Gateshead man Ryan Donaldson proved the thorn in his old club's side, crossing for Liam Hughes to nod in the opener, and then doubling the lead with a superb free kick. 38-year-old Gateshead veteran Jack Lester pulled one back, but it wasn't to be for The Heed.
Cambridge captain Ian Miller was stretchered off with a serious injury in the 92nd minute, and with United having used all 3 substitutes, they had to see out the match with 10 men, which amazingly ticked past 100 minutes.
United proved to be victorious though, joining Luton Town in promotion back to the professional leagues.
Miller reappeared during the trophy ceremony in a wheelchair, nursing a ruptured achilles tendon that is likely set to keep him out of the beginning of their return to League Two.
Poor Ian Miller. Injured late on in Cambridge's play-off final so celebrates promotion in a wheelchair! pic.twitter.com/l1JB2NWxNX— Craig Stoddart (@CStoddartEcho) May 18, 2014
Cambridge United have reclaimed a place in the Football League with a Wembley play-off 2-1 victory over Gateshead. pic.twitter.com/MonFnoTj8p— FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) May 18, 2014
That didn't stop the former Darlington man enjoying the celebrations though, with first aiders wheeling him onto the pitch so he could lift the playoff trophy as part of the traditional winners' photo.
It was a great scene for the U's, that the promotion meant so much to the captain that he could battle through the pain to deservedly celebrate with his teammates.