By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC skipper Dean Briggs scored the winner – and his first goal of the season – on Saturday as the Colliers advanced into the next round of the Emirates FA Cup after a thrilling 3-2 win over Newton Aycliffe at Woodhorn Lane in the extra preliminary round.

The Colliers had been 2-0 down in the contest before goals from Lee Mason and Lewis Suddick brought the game level then with 20 minutes left on the clock, Briggs popped up with a left foot strike on the half volley which was the clincher.

And afterwards the 26 year old – delighted to open his account – hopes it will put an end to the banter which he has been getting from his team mates over the past few weeks: “Obviously I was pleased to get off the mark,” he said, “I went into the game as the only one out of the forward players who hadn’t scored and to be honest I’d been getting a little bit of stick about it in training – so when the ball came to me, I thought ‘just hit it’ and luckily it went in the bottom corner.”

Briggs admitted that the Wansbeck side had been second best in the first period: “First half I thought we got a little bit outworked and they (Aycliffe) were probably the better side,” he said, “Second half with the wind on our backs, we knew if we got in their faces our quality would come through and it did with two well worked goals. Last season it could have been a different story as there were times when we folded after going behind – but it doesn’t look as if it is going to be the same this term as we showed our character. As a team we are playing well and with three wins out of three, we can’t complain.”

Four minutes from the end of normal time, Ashington – by then 3-2 ahead – had a let off when Jack Oliver hit the post and fellow sub Oscar Taylor missed a sitter from close range, skying the ball over the bar: “When that happened, Craig Spooner and myself just looked at each other because we thought it was going to go to a replay,” he added.

Goalkeeper Adam McHugh, who left Ashington during the summer, signed for Aycliffe a fortnight ago – and kept his new side in the game: “Adam made a couple of good saves,” said Briggs, “To be honest it was nice to put one past him for what turned out to be the winner and when the ball hit the back of the net, I looked at him and gave him a little smile! It’s always good to see him and he needs to be playing first team football every week. Adam’s a good ‘keeper and a good lad.”