Ben Sheaf had a difficult game against Milton Keynes Dons over the weekend, and we spoke to a Doncaster Rovers fansite for the lowdown.
At the end of November, our last update on Ben Sheaf and his progress suggested he was steadily improving. It looks like he’s struggling to transition that form into December though, as Rovers fansite Into The Empty Net explains in our latest report.
Doncaster Rovers 1-1 MK Dons
Ben Sheaf played the 83 minutes for Doncaster this weekend in a 1-1 home draw with MK Dons, but most Rovers fans will have left the ground wishing he hadn’t.
It was a lacklustre performance from the team and Ben was, unfortunately, one of the main culprits in a game laden with errors. Ben just didn’t seem to have the energy required to help Rovers control the midfield and it led to a lot of chasing shadows and loose passing.
Ben reverted to his usual bad habit of taking too much time on the ball, often finding himself under more pressure than he needed to be. Unlike in previous games, where he has protected the ball well, he kept finding himself dispossessed by opponents when in good positions.
As well as his folly in possession, Ben also struggled to cope with the pace when defending. MK Dons were allowed by Rovers to build patient passing moves time after time, and it paid off when they took the lead through Alex Gilbey early in the second half.
Ben failed to track former Rovers midfielder Jordan Houghton as he advanced in front of the penalty area and his pass forward led to the assist for Gilbey, with Ben a spectator in the entire move despite being in the centre of the play.
Errant passes into areas that he had no business putting the ball into, weak in the challenge and generally a yard off the pace, Ben will want to quickly forget his efforts in this fixture. He may now be in danger of losing his place alongside Ben Whiteman, who it should be noted also struggled to meet his usual lofty standards.
His contribution was not a total disaster, as he did lay on a chance for Kieran Sadlier in the first half that was saved by MK Dons keeper Lee Nicholls. Overall, the positives could not outweigh the negatives for Ben and it was no surprise when he was withdrawn before the end of the game.
Ben still received a strong ovation from the home fans as he walked past the South Stand after being substituted, so Rovers will be hoping this was simply a one-off on a day when the whole team struggled to find any rhythm.