By Brian Bennett
Dean Briggs surely scored Ashington’s ‘goal of the season’ in an eight goal thriller against Consett at Belle Vue – with an outrageous strike seconds before the half time whistle.
Two nil ahead just past the quarter hour mark and 4-2 up early in the second period, the Colliers eventually had to settle for a share of the spoils. Over the 90 minutes it was probably the right outcome – but it was Briggs who provided the main talking point of a game which was littered with chances throughout.
His moment to savour arrived in the third minute of time added on for stoppages when just inside the Consett half, he looked up, spotted home ‘keeper Kyle Hayes off his line and promptly clipped the ball over the stopper and into the net.
That goal saw Briggs’s side take a 3-2 lead at half time – and Consett must be pleased that they haven’t got to face the midfielder turned striker any more this season.
Briggs netted twice in midweek – his second which provided the knockout punch – as Ashington won an epic semi final clash against Consett in the Ebac Northern League Division One Cup and it was Briggs who the Steelmen found too hot to handle on a warm sunny afternoon, in Saturday’s encounter.
The teams have served up plenty of thrills and spills in their three meetings this term with a 3-3 draw at Woodhorn Lane followed by Ashington’s 4-3 cup semi final win and this exciting eight goal feast.
And literally both sides could have struck up double figures on Saturday. After only two minutes, Consett went close with Colin Larkin’s glancing header going just wide then an effort by Scott Heslop shaved the post. Seconds later, an almighty scramble took place inside the Ashington box, including a save from ‘keeper Adam McHugh before the ball was eventually cleared.
However, Ashington’s response was to hit Consett with two goals in three minutes.
The first arrived when Briggs capitalised on hesitancy in the home rearguard to chip the ball over the advancing Hayes then Lewis Suddick blasted home from seven yards after Jordan Summerly’s shot had been blocked by the home ‘keeper.
But three minutes later, Heslop headed in at the far post to reduce the arrears then ex Collier Pearson levelled matters in the 33rd taking the ball down and rifling a left footer past McHugh.
Carl Lawson went close at one end then Briggs escaped his marker down the left and his shot saw Hayes get the slightest of touches to deflect it past the upright.
Lewis Green smacked a shot against the bar before that sublime goal from Briggs arrived seconds from half time.
Seven minutes into the second period, Ashington went into a 4-2 lead with a brilliantly worked goal. Ben Sampson’s defence splitting pass found the overlapping Doyle in the area and when Hayes went to close Doyle down, the full back squared the ball for Suddick to hammer into an empty net.
Both ‘keepers made saves before Briggs was through in the 65th minute but his side footed effort rolled agonisingly wide of Hayes’s right hand post.
Minutes later, a free kick by Jake Orrell smacked against the bar and Green’s shot from the rebound was turned around by McHugh.
However in the 70th minute following a throw in on the left, Calvin Smith got the final touch to make it 3-4.
Paul Robinson flashed a drive just over then Green weaved in and out before his effort was held by McHugh.
Six minutes from time, Orrell equalised for the home side with an excellent right footed free kick from 25 yards and the non stop action continued to the final whistle.
In the 87th minute, Ashington had Curtis Coppen sent to the sin bin by referee Helen Conley then in the closing stages, Hayes denied substitute Jordan Lashley and Sampson before Doyle rifled just wide then a break by Lashley saw him find the unmarked Spooner but he trod on the ball at the vital time and the chance evaporated.