‘Gutted’ to lose in semi

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Ashington CFC assistant manager Perry Briggs admitted that he had never felt as low in all his time in non-league football as he did after the final whistle on Easter Monday afternoon.

The Colliers had just lost their Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup semi-final 4-1 against Marske United – and consequently missed out on a trip to Newcastle United’s St James’ Park against Whitley Bay in early May.

A clearly despondent Briggs said: “I have been in football since I played as an 18 year old for Gateshead then Whitley Bay and in nearly 30 years, I have never been as disappointed and gutted as how I feel right now.

“I really thought we had a chance to get through to the final especially after our performance against Crook Town on Good Friday night – but the players let themselves down. We have got such a young side but they were out-fought and out-battled and could not handle the physicality against a Marske outfit who were much stronger.”

Briggs was also left frustrated at the manner of the two goals which the Colliers leaked in the first period.

“I thought the opening half was pretty even,” he said.

“We got into some good positions in their final third but our final ball wasn’t the best. To be fair we switched off for the first goal not picking up either header. For the second, we allowed their player (Austin Johnston) a free shot because we never closed him down.

“At half-time we had a go at the players because we thought they were getting out bullied - it was semi final of the cup and some of them were allowing the game to pass them by.”

Andrew Johnson’s goal gave the homesters renewed hope, but it was not enough as Marske netted twice in the final 10 minutes.

“Second half we did not get the reaction from the players which we thought we would,” added Briggs. “We had plenty of the ball but never caused Marske any real problems. When Johnson scored we were back in the contest but again we switched off for the third goal giving the lad a free header.

“As we continued to chase the game, they got through to force a penalty from which they netted and the match was then well and truly over.”