After a couple more appearances by Arsenal loanee Ben Sheaf for Doncaster Rovers, we caught up with fansite Into The Empty Net for an update on his performances.
After our last report on Sheaf’s impressive return from injury, the loan midfielder has featured twice more for Rovers against Ipswich Town and Blackpool FC.
Unfortunately, Doncaster didn’t manage to get the win on either occasion, though Sheaf was still one of the better performers in the draw with Ipswich at least.
Read on for a quick update on that game we missed last weekend, followed by a full report on the Doncaster game against Blackpool, all courtesy of Into The Empty Net.
Ipswich Town 0-0 Doncaster Rovers
Ben had a really good game by all accounts at Ipswich last Saturday, playing the entire 90 minutes in an excellent team performance as Rovers held the home side to a 0-0 draw.
Sheaf was influential in a lot of good attacking moves and helped to contain Ipswich in terms of their ability to get forward and be creative themselves.
The 21-year-old also came closer than anyone to scoring the winning goal, unleashing a whipping effort from the left side of the box that struck the post before coming back out again in the latter stages of the game.
Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Blackpool
Ben Sheaf played the entire 90 minutes once again as Rovers fell to a first league defeat of the season, falling 1-0 to Blackpool due to an injury-time header from Armand Gnanduillet.
Operating in central midfield once more, Ben committed himself well on a tough evening in which he and midfield partner Ben Whiteman were pressed out of commission by the Blackpool midfield, which included former Liverpool player Jay Spearing as the anchor.
For the first half and early part of the second, Ben wasn’t able to impose much on possession, stifled by and large by the off-the-ball work of Blackpool’s midfielders, which led to a frustrating evening.
The Arsenal loanee was guilty of trying to force passes one too many times, conceding possession cheaply. He was by no means the only culprit of this and did help to work a good opportunity for Kieran Sadlier to get a shot off which went narrowly wide before half time.
Sheaf also helped lay on a chance for Jon Taylor after the break but it wasn’t the best night for him in terms of attacking play. Instead, his best moments came in stopping Blackpool from coming forward with well-timed tackles in the middle of the park thwarting potentially dangerous breakaways. He has a good technical slide tackle and utilised this effectively to stymie Blackpool when they tried to build down the central channel throughout the game.
Ben has a composed demeanour on the field but this can sometimes appear lackadaisical. He often takes too long to make a decision with the ball that you suspect comes naturally to him from playing extensively in the development leagues. In League One, he is rushed much quicker and can’t always find the right option when he is. That’s something that should come with experience.
The midfielder will often stride into a pocket of space with the ball in the attacking third but then give it away to an opposition player, or simply put the ball into space where no teammate has made a run. Sheaf did this no less than three times in this game, all in similar positions, so he must learn from it quickly.
Overall though, this was a committed display in a tough situation and Ben was solid enough to merit his place in the side. He is in the top three for the Man of the Match award online which tells you how his performance was seen by the fans, and his progression is continuing at a steady rate.
Give Into The Empty Net a follow on Twitter to stay updated on Sheaf and his loan team this season!