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Donnelly proud despite play-off defeat

31 May 2017

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Rovers Ladies manager Gemma Donnelly says she is proud of what her team has achieved this season despite Sunday’s play-off final defeat to Spurs.

Having won the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division title with an unbeaten record, Rovers faced the Southern Division champions at Charlton for a chance to gain promotion to the Super League.

However, a Bianca Baptiste brace and a stunning late strike from Wendy Martin saw Tottenham triumph 3-0. 

“The players fought a gallant and brave battle and I am immensely proud of all they have achieved this season, but Sunday was just not our day,” said Donnelly.

“They worked hard, as always, and whether Spurs nullified our threats or we struggled to adapt to the occasion I am not too sure.”

Donnelly concedes that Tottenham were the better team on the day, but believes that their second goal was the defining moment of the match.

Baptiste opened the scoring with a neat finish on 35 minutes to hand Spurs the lead at the break. Rovers came within a whisker of equalising on the hour mark when Saffron Jordan’s close-range strike came crashing back off the upright and just six minutes later, Baptiste bagged her second of the game. Martin then made the game safe with a superb lob over Danielle Hill in the third minute of added time.

“I thought Spurs were better than us on the day, although we did have chances without seizing them,” Donnelly added.

“The second goal was a defining moment in the game. Moments earlier we had been denied by the woodwork, which would have brought us level. It wasn’t to be and moments later Spurs went down the other end and scored.

“From then on, it was always going to be a mountain to climb against good opposition and even though we knocked on the door, it just wasn’t going to be our day.”

Despite the eventual heartbreak, Donnelly was pleased with the professionalism shown by the players in defeat and is now looking forward to a well-earned summer break.

“The character and professionalism of the players demonstrated at the end of the game, where they showed absolute respect to the winning team, was nothing short of spectacular,” she added. “I thought we showed our class throughout the day.

“Personally, I am hugely disappointed that the season has ended in such heartbreaking fashion and I think for the next couple of weeks we can all afford ourselves some down-time ahead of the 2017-18 season.”

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