Defender dispels crisis talk

Ashington defender Ben Christensen in action against West Auckland. Picture by Ian Appleby -
Ashington defender Ben Christensen in action against West Auckland. Picture by Ian Appleby -

Ashington FC defender Ben Christensen has firmly dispelled talk of a crisis at Woodhorn Lane as he reflected on back to back defeats.

The 29 year old full back or central defender who was recently sidelined for a month - coincidentally returned to the starting line up for the FA Vase clash and consequent 3-0 exit at the hands of North Shields which was quickly followed by a 4-1 reverse against Seaham and represented the Wansbeck outfit’s heaviest home defeat for two years.

But Christensen revealed that despite disappointment, the club are not ‘far away’ as they target a place in the top bracket of the Ebac Northern League’s first division.

He said: “People might think that after two defeats it is a crisis - but it’s not; it’s just a dip,” he stressed after Saturday’s away clash at Penrith had been called off, “We had gone nine games unbeaten and good teams don’t suddenly become bad overnight.

“Yes we have given two poor displays but we have played North Shields - the Vase holders - who are a very good team on their own ground.

“They are really strong and who didn’t lose many games at all last season so it wasn’t an easy fixture and then the Seaham reverse was a real disappointment where we really let ourselves down with the performance not acceptable at all.”Christensen, a trainee PE teacher at George Stephenson High School in Killingworth - where his mentor is ex-Ashington midfielder Mark O’Dea - added: “Training has been good.

“We had a couple of days off away from each other because we had worked a lot the week before and then we trained in the horrible conditions last Thursday.

“However, looking back to earlier in the season, we had a couple of defeats around the time we played Thackley in the FA Cup.

“We then went on an unbeaten run so we are hoping that we are going to come out of this dip and get back on course and be upbeat – starting on Saturday.”

He continued: “We have a run of fixtures over Christmas which we will be expecting to win and it’s all about working harder and having confidence.

“When you are on a good run, everyone is buzzing but after a defeat people start having a go at each other and things go downbeat and that’s when you need your characters in the dressing room to come to the fore and pull the others through.

“The players don’t need to be told that they haven’t performed – they have played long enough to know when they have played well and when they haven’t.”

Christensen, eyeing Saturday’s home clash against Shildon - one of his former sides – is now back to full fitness.

He said: “I picked up a thigh injury against Whitley Bay and the niggle just wouldn’t go away.

“It was probably my longest spell on the sidelines.

“I was still running okay but couldn’t strike a ball and it was so frustrating missing out on the unbeaten run which the lads were on.

“Now we need to try and kick on because we have targets of being in the top six.

“We are not a million miles away from being there and I’m confident we can return to normality.”