By Brian Bennett

Cameron Gascoigne and Craig Spooner were both on the score sheet in Ashington’s
comprehensive 4-0 victory over North Shields on Saturday.

The duo opened their accounts in this season’s FA Cup extra preliminary round clash
against the Shieldsmen at Woodhorn Lane with Wilson Kneeshaw adding a brace.

But afterwards, Gascoigne and Spooner – whilst pleased to get off the mark – stressed
that the bigger picture was Ashington making progress in a competition which was
memorable for them last season.

That’s when the Colliers came close to a place in the first round proper only going out at
the last qualifying round stage to National League North outfit King’s Lynn.

It was a superb start on his debut for Gateshead-born Gascoigne. He joined the club in
the close season from Newcastle Benfield and netted in the 11 th minute: “It’s always nice
to score – but the main thing is about the team getting through,” said the 21 year old
afterwards, “The goal gave us the lead early on which settled us down in what was a big
game – the FA Cup – because there are no second chances. After I scored, I thought
we played to our game plan and I don’t really think they (North Shields) could handle us.
Wilson Kneeshaw’s first appearance was brilliant today and I think we did really well in
what was a good performance.”

Gascoigne described his goal which came from a cross by Spooner: “Your mind goes
into slow motion really because you can see the ball coming across and all you think
about is hitting the target,” he said, “I managed to do that and it’s brilliant scoring in front
of a big crowd. It’s a dream start to get off the mark especially when you are an
attacking player because it calms you down a bit and then you can just go and play your
game. Now hopefully I can continue to do that week in week out. I’m buzzing ahead of
our opening league game against Brighouse on Saturday and I think all of the lads are
as well. It’s a new challenge for quite a lot of us – but I think we are going to try and grab
the opportunity by the scruff of the neck and give it a real good go.”

Meanwhile Spooner, born in Ashington, put the icing on the cake with the fourth goal
and he said afterwards: “Getting through to the next round was the most important thing
but it’s always nice to score a goal. It was good to see the new lads come in and get off
the mark (with goals) which is always a massive bonus moving forward.”

The 24 year old described his goal as being the finish of a striker: “Dan Maguire played
Wilson (Kneeshaw) down the line and he kindly cut the ball back,” he said, “It took a bit
of a deflection but I’d like to think that with me being in the box and knowing where the
ball was going to come, that it was the finish of a striker!”

He continued: “It was a great start for us and hopefully we can take it into the season.
It’s always nice to kick off with a win no matter what the score but I think 4-0 is a pretty
good way to begin. It’s been a good pre season – we know the way we want to play –
and I can’t wait for next Saturday when we play our first game in the new league.”