Ben Sheaf had to be withdrawn at half-time with illness during Doncaster Rovers’ draw with Burton Albion on Saturday.

Ben Sheaf with Doncaster Rovers (Photo via Twitter / DRFC_Official)
Ben Sheaf with Doncaster Rovers (Photo via Twitter / DRFC_Official)

Sheaf has been one of the Arsenal loanees with the most consistent playing time so far this season, and he got another opportunity from the start against Burton Albion over the weekend. Unfortunately, his match was disrupted by illness.

Doncaster Rovers fansite Into The Empty Net gave us the lowdown on Sheaf’s latest appearance.

Match Report

On a tough afternoon for Doncaster Rovers, Ben Sheaf had a performance to forget in a 2-2 draw at home to Burton Albion.

Sheaf started in his usual central midfield position, screening the defence in a 4-2-3-1 formation. He was unable to impose himself in possession due to the very effective high press of Nigel Clough’s Burton side, with Sheaf one of a number of players harried into short-passing errors throughout the game.

Burton took the lead in the 36th minute and unfortunately Ben Sheaf was the main culprit of a failure to clear the ball out of Rovers’ own penalty area. Dealing with a loose ball, Sheaf and defender Tom Anderson initially left responsibility to one another, with Sheaf awkwardly stepping in eventually.

However, instead of a simple clearance away from a crowded 18-yard box, Sheaf inexplicably opted for a sideways pass to the right with the outside of his boot, gifting the ball straight to Burton forward David Templeton, unmarked. He curled a shot into the far corner leaving Sheaf with his head in his hands.

He was far from the only player to make a sloppy error but it demonstrated the one major flaw in his game, and it is something he seemingly isn’t learning from. Too often he will try to force passes into dangerous areas instead of keeping things simple, and it cost the team dearly on this occasion.

Sheaf’s protection of the ball higher up the field was more characteristic of his usual composed self, with the highlight of his day a nice moment where he turned away from trouble to shield the ball from two markers on the halfway line and lay off a square pass to captain Ben Whiteman.

Rovers came back to draw but Sheaf played no part in the second half, substituted at the interval due to illness. Manager Darren Moore admitted after the game that he took a risk by starting Sheaf as he had been sick in the build-up to the weekend, and clearly that risk did not pay off.

He is expected to be back to full fitness in a few days’ time so there should be no question over his place in the team for the FA Cup game away at Wimbledon next weekend.