Goals will come if Doncaster Rovers keep plugging away

Eyes on the ball: Doncaster Rovers' Ben Sheaf.
Eyes on the ball: Doncaster Rovers' Ben Sheaf.
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Ben Sheaf believes Doncaster Rovers are yet to click in the final third after they failed to convert attacking dominance into points against surprise strugglers Portsmouth.

Rovers were much the more positive side and produced some super play throughout a one-sided game they controlled against lacklustre opposition.

But they twice found themselves chasing the game as they were taught a harsh lesson in ruthlessness.

Midfielder Sheaf says Rovers must keep doing what they are doing as they look to find the goalscoring touch.

“Portsmouth came and they showed us a lot of respect,” said the Arsenal loanee.

“We were able to play our stuff and we did that pretty well.

“It’s just up to that last bit where it hasn’t quite clicked yet.

“We weren’t surprised with the dominance – we know our qualities and our strengths.

“We’ve just got to keep ticking along and plugging away at it.

“Hopefully, the goals will start going in sooner rather than later.”

Though manager Darren Moore was keen to not use it as an excuse, Rovers’ cause was hardly aided by the lack of an out-and-out striker in their number.

Niall Ennis failed to prove his fitness in time, and joined Kazaiah Sterling in remaining on the sidelines with Kieran Sadlier named out of position as the lone forward in the 4-2-3-1 system.

Sadlier missed Rovers’ best chance of the afternoon as he used his thigh to steer James Coppinger’s cross narrowly wide when his head would have been the better option.

Alfie May and Ben Whiteman both struck the bar as Rovers pushed hard but they found themselves behind on the hour when Portsmouth capitalised on a mistake to race clear with Gareth Evans slamming home.

It took until the 82nd minute for Rovers to finally score with Reece James volleying in off a parry by Craig MacGillivray.

Though Rovers continued to look the more likely to win the game, it was Portsmouth who went back in front in stoppage time when substitute Ellis Harrison looped a header over Seny Dieng.

“It’s a very disappointed dressing room but we’ve got to take our chances,” added Sheaf.

Doncaster Rovers: Dieng; Halliday, Anderson, Daniels, James; Sheaf, Whiteman; May (Wright 90), Coppinger, Taylor; Sadlier. Unused substitutes: Lawlor, Amos, Gomes, Greaves, Longbottom, Kiwomya.

Portsmouth: MacGillivray; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Brown; Harness (Williams 83), Close, Naylor, Evans; Marquis (Harrison 46), Pitman. Unused substitutes: Bass, McCrorie, Haunstrup, Downing, Walkes.

Referee: A Haines (Tyne & Wear).