Ben Sheaf has started to come into his own in the last week, with a couple of great performances in wins for Doncaster Rovers.
Doncaster Rovers 2-0 Bristol Rovers
Two wins in four days have come at the perfect time for Doncaster Rovers, with Ben Sheaf integral to both of them.
On Saturday, Bristol Rovers were dispatched at the Keepmoat Stadium, with Darren Moore’s side turning in one of their most complete performances of the season. Ben Sheaf played the full 90 minutes in midfield and showed his abilities once again as the supporting central player for captain and main playmaker Ben Whiteman.
Up against a flat five-man midfield that included two natural wingers as wing-backs, Sheaf and Whiteman were often outnumbered in midfield in terms of personnel but were able to overcome this and assert themselves on the game with precise distribution and clever passing.
Sheaf did not have a direct hand in either goal that secured a comfortable 2-0 win but was important in terms of winning that midfield battle which allowed Doncaster to push forward with regularity, registering 26 shots on goal and dominating possession.
A dozen of those shots came from inside the penalty area and Sheaf was on the end of two of them, one blocked and one superbly saved at close range after a brilliant passing move that saw Sheaf play an intricate one-two through a crowded box with Kieran Sadlier before firing on goal.
Although he came close there, he would only have to wait a few more days for his first goal in a Doncaster Rovers shirt.
Southend United 1-7 Doncaster Rovers
Tuesday night’s game away to Southend ended in a 7-1 rout of the struggling home side, who appointed former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell as their new manager an hour before kick-off. Sheaf started in midfield again and had a big impact on the game, netting his first goal of the season to put the team in front.
Having gone a goal down early on against a Southend side reduced to ten men after less than six minutes, Doncaster equalised from a left-wing cross to the back post that was headed in by Kwame Thomas. Minutes later, the same route led to Sheaf’s maiden Rovers goal as he latched on to a James Coppinger cross with a thumping volley that flew into the net after taking a deflection.
The goal was no less than Sheaf deserved, and he continued to exert his influence as the visitors raced into a big lead. Early in the second half, Sheaf fed a pass wide to Jon Taylor that led directly to Whiteman slamming home from 20 yards to make it 4-1, and it was Sheaf again who played the crucial forward pass putting the ball into the area for Sadlier to ultimately make it 5-1.
By the end it was a seven-goal thumping and Ben Sheaf was in the conversation for Man of the Match, just as he had been four days prior. His ability to spread the play and play dangerous through balls is vital and whilst he still has the odd lapse with his short-range passing, Sheaf is proving one of the most effective passers in League One and has cemented his standing in the Doncaster Rovers team with these two excellent individual displays.
Give Into The Empty Net a follow on Twitter to stay updated on Sheaf and his loan team this season! Sheaf is next in action against Tranmere at 15:00 BST on Saturday.