Ben Sheaf is proving he doesn’t deserve some of the recent criticism he’s facing, coming back into the team to perform well against Bolton.
Doncaster Rovers fans aren’t all on the same page when it comes to their Arsenal loanee. Despite our last update suggesting some supporters were warming to him, Ben Sheaf still faces undue criticism from many others.
Doncaster Rovers fansite Into The Empty Net provided us with the following report on the midfielder’s latest showings.
Doncaster Rovers vs Tranmere, Rochdale and Bolton
Ben Sheaf was back in the Doncaster Rovers side this past Tuesday against Bolton, having found himself dropped to the bench for the previous two games.
The club’s late transfer window business has seen increased competition for places in central midfield, with Aston Villa loanee Jacob Ramsey coming in for the game at Tranmere to provide a bit more attacking threat through the middle than Ben usually provides.
Ramsey took his chance by scoring twice in a 3-0 win in that game, so he remained in the starting lineup. for the home game with Rochdale last Saturday. The game largely passed him by though, and the combined struggles of Ramsey and Madger Gomes contributed to Rovers letting a lead slip to a 1-1 draw, with Ben’s absence as a solid holding midfielder obvious.
Having to be content with minimal substitute appearances in those games, Ben was restored to the starting XI against Bolton and demonstrated exactly what the side has been missing without him. He was among the best players in the first half, spreading the play consistently with excellent distribution, particularly to wide areas, and his positional play was second-to-none.
Ben’s assured movement and link-up were pivotal to the control Rovers had on possession and the team went into the break 1-0 up. Doubling the lead shortly after half time, Rovers then suffered a bit of a wobble as pressure from the visitors ramped up and that pressure told in a calamitous moment that Ben was part of.
A throw out to the right by goalkeeper Seny Dieng was intercepted, but Ben had initially looked to have dealt with the situation by reclaiming the ball. Unfortunately, his attempt at a simple pass back to Dieng was lacking in power and was pounced upon, with Dieng forced to turn into trouble and concede a total gift of a goal to make it 2-1.
From there, Ben suffered a period of strife along with his teammates as passes went awry with regularity, and Ben was guilty of a couple of rudimentary errors characteristic of the ones we have seen from him previously. He was far from the only culprit and overall had a very good game, fully justifying Darren Moore’s decision to bring him back into the side.
Ben has received a difficult reception from impatient fans this season, more so than any other player for reasons that we can’t quite fathom. This issue was highlighted in the local press on Thursday, with Ben rightly defended against that criticism by the Doncaster Free Press.
We at Into The Empty Net fully support the view that Ben does not deserve the heckling he has received. He’s doing a good job for the team, especially taking into account games he hasn’t played in where we have struggled to get hold of the play in midfield. His tackling and passing range are invaluable when he does feature.