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Donnelly proud of team effort

“They gave it everything and I’m particularly proud of the second half performance”

20 December 2020

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Gemma Donnelly felt Rovers pushed Leicester City all the way in Sunday’s 3-2 defeat and on another day could have taken a point from the closely fought encounter.

Natasha Flint again scored twice against her former Club, while Georgia Walters was also at the double, for the Blues, but it was the away side who triumphed at Bamber Bridge to remain top of the table.

The Rovers boss praised her side’s willingness to go right until the end, despite not getting the result their display may have deserved against full-time opposition.

“They gave it everything and I’m particularly proud of the second half performance,” Donnelly reflected at full-time.

“To go in 2-0 down, I thought it was a little bit unfortunate. The first goal was a really cheap, sloppy goal to concede to who else but Tash Flint? She’s like our nemesis now.

“Then we obviously conceded an own goal which was from a turnover and defenders running back to goal.

“Leicester probably enjoyed much more possession than us, but I felt we managed the game quite well, so I was disappointed at half-time.”

Donnelly also pointed to the character shown from the team after going in with a two-goal deficit.

She continued: “I asked for a reaction and I think we got that. We made a change, replacing Ellie Fletcher with Ali Johnson and I thought Ali had a good impact when she came on.

“We got it back to 2-1 and then anything can happen. But Leicester have gone on and scored quite quickly after that.

“I think any other team perhaps would have allowed their heads to drop at that stage, but we haven’t.

 “We’ve made a couple more changes and Georgia (Walters) has got something from nothing for her second goal and that’s got it back to 3-2.

“To be fair, apart from the long, direct balls in behind to try and catch us out, I thought that we started to control important possession.

“We were challenging across the park and we were really searching for an equaliser at the back end.”

Two goals from Welsh international Walters earned her the Peter Jackson the Jeweller Player of the Match award and Donnelly praised the forward for taking her chance.  

“Georgia has been struggling to break through into the first team,” the boss explained.

“I’ve opted to go with our captain (Saffron Jordan) as a lone striker, that’s been our style, but we mixed it up today and played two up top.

“Despite Georgia not having many minutes of late, I thought she looked lively and she’s got on the end of two errors from Leicester that she has capitalised on.

“She’s just needed those two chances and what we do know from Georgia is that she’s got a great strike, great technique, and she’s put them to bed.

“For me, that’s a fantastic reaction from a player who needed an opportunity, she’s got one and now she’s scored two goals from it, so fair play to her.”

Although a third goal proved elusive, Donnelly believes the game as a whole shows Rovers’ current standing as a team who will not roll over and gift anyone three points.

“As much as it’s disappointing to lose against top of the league, it’s demonstrated progression for us,” she added.

“We’ve played Leicester three times now, we’ve lost three times, but when you compare that to the start of the season at 3-0 and in the Continental Cup, 5-2, to this game today, 3-2.

“We quite easily could have got a leveller at some point. It shows how far we’ve come as a team, so for that, I feel very proud of the players today.”

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