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Donnelly: The sending off killed us

The Rovers boss gives her reaction to today’s game

23 February 2020

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Gemma Donnelly admitted going down to 10 players completed changed the game as her Rovers side were on the wrong end of a 5-1 scoreline against Sheffield United Women.

Title challenging United were fortunate to find themselves two goals up and once Natasha Flint smashed in her sixth goal of the season, the Blues were well in the game. 

But after Kayleigh McDonald was sent off on the stroke of half-time, the home side dominated and made their player advantage count with three second-half goals. 

“First-half we were in the game and it was all to play for,” Donnelly said post-match. 

“I thought we started the better of the two and I was disappointed to concede the first and second goal. 

“We’d done enough to dictate play. That’s the nature of football, when you create half chances and don’t put them to bed, you’re always at risk of conceding and that’s what we did. 

“But huge credit to the girls for coming back from two goals down and getting back into the game. We’d started to compete really well, but the sending off has just changed the game massively.

“As much as we’ve tried to shut up shop in the second-half, when you’re playing a team like Sheffield, they’ve got class across the park. 

“They are always going to find those holes with an extra player and that’s what they’ve done, ending up with a scoreline of what it has.

“It was the same against them in the Continental Cup when Chelsey Jukes was sent off after 15 minutes. Today, who’s to know what could have happened second-half?

“It’s frustrating because it’s a game we felt we could have taken something from. Once you go down to 10 players and are a goal down it’s just so difficult.”

But Donnelly gave praise to her battling players, who didn't give up the fight for the remainder of the game.

“Huge respect to the 10 that were on the pitch. They never stopped. They’re absolutely blowing now but their attitude and application was evident. 

“Despite conceding three in the second-half they’ve kept on  working relentlessly to keep the score down. For that they should be praised.” 

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