Ashington centre back Ben Christensen, enjoying his football and his switch from full back since his transfer from Shildon in mid-October, goes into Saturday’s home clash against Bedlington with a message for his team-mates: “We need to tighten up defensively.”
The accomplished Christensen settled in immediately at Woodhorn Lane and his performances have not only been consistent but outstanding at the heart of the Colliers rearguard.
However, Ashington have failed to keep a clean sheet for eight games since a 2-0 victory over Bishop Auckland in December.
And the Whitley Bay born defender is well aware that they need to be more solid as a unit.
“We knew after the FA Vase defeat that facing West Auckland and Spennymoor in back to back matches was going to be tough,” he said.
“We were aware that if we were to get any reward from those games, we would have to defend well.
“We performed commendably against West but then let ourselves down against the Moors, which was the first time since we played Consett.
“We need to tighten up and also not allow our concentration to slip.
“And if we can keep clean sheets, we have that much quality going forward that we will win games.”
Looking ahead to Saturday, Christensen, a pastoral manager at Gosforth Junior High School, describes the clash as being the biggest game of the season.
“I had two good years with Bedlington and I know what derbies are all about,” he said.
“They are the biggest matches of the season and are always hard encounters.
“It will be tough and we will have to be on our game.”
“The defender is delighted with his own form, especially after switching roles from full back to the centre of defence.
“I was at Sunderland for six years where I played in the centre so it is not a new role,” he said.
“I’m enjoying my football at Ashington and they have an excellent group of lads, all of whom are ambitious.
“The Vase defeat was really disappointing because when I was at Shildon last season we lost on aggregate in the two legged semi-final against Tunbridge Wells.
“That was devastating, and I had hopes of putting it right this season with Ashington, but we can still have an outstanding campaign.”