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Donnelly proud of the performance

“I’m just super pleased with the girls today, I thought they worked immensely hard”

15 November 2020

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Manager Gemma Donnelly came away from Rovers’ goalless draw with Liverpool content with how her side performed.

It was a battling display from the Blues, who went toe-to-toe with their full-time opponents at Bamber Bridge, earning what Donnelly described as a deserved point.

“I’m just super pleased with the girls’ performance today, I thought they worked immensely hard,” the Rovers boss said after the game.

“We’ve had a really tough training week, they thought we’d worked them too hard, but everything that we did in the week played out in the game today.

“The application from the girls was unbelievable. It wasn’t that we were sat behind the ball for large periods, I think we gave as good as we got today.”

Alex Brooks produced a Player of the Match performance between the sticks, keeping Liverpool at bay with some fine saves.

Donnelly felt she more than justified her decision to keep the shot-stopper in the side.

 “Alex (Brooks) has kept two clean sheets in the last two league games where we’ve gone on to take six points,” she continued.

“Fran (Bentley) was back in contention this week and I spoke to her and said ‘if it was you and you’d kept two clean sheets and we’d picked up six points, would you be disappointed to be dropped?’.

“And she said ‘absolutely’. Alex is deserved of her place and I’m really glad that I kept her in there.”

Rovers might have even taken all three points, had Saffron Jordan’s goal been allowed to stand, when the referee pulled the play back for an early foul.

Donnelly explained: “I think the referee has blown too early there and should have played advantage, we were clean through on goal and it was a fantastic finish.

“Saffron (Jordan) has finished the ball superbly well and it’s really disappointing that we’ve been penalised for something.

“And then they’ve gone down the other end, nearly scored and Alex has pulled off a worldie there, so I would have probably been saying a few more expletives had that happened.

“But I think it’s probably a fair result. For either side to have taken the three points would have been an injustice to the other team.

“Obviously when you are playing teams such as Liverpool, they bring massive amounts of quality, but we’ve pulled it out of the hat today and all of them have stuck to the job in hand.

“You’ve got to be happy with a clean sheet against Liverpool. Especially when you’re making a comparison to last season as well, so I’m all smiles and full of praise for the team today.”

Rovers’ unbeaten run now stretches to three games, which is their best streak in the FA Women’s Championship to date and equals last season’s total points tally of 10 in five fewer games.

Donnelly believes the team have made big strides since the beginning of this campaign.

“If you’d have asked me ahead of the game if I’d have taken a point, I would have snapped your hand off,” she added.

“Then we’ve played the game today and at points within the game I was actually thinking ‘we could come away with something here’. The players’ effort - it can’t be questioned.

“And seven points from nine, at the start of the season when we’d just got beat by Leicester and Charlton, I wouldn’t have believed that was possible.

“But with the performance and the morale within camp currently, that’s where our expectations lie, so well done to them.”

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