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Donnelly: Winning is a habit

“That takes us to 360 minutes played without conceding a goal and you can’t fault the team defensively"

22 November 2020

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Manager Gemma Donnelly was delighted to see Rovers extend their unbeaten run against Coventry United, coming away from Butts Park Arena with a 1-0 win.

Elise Hughes’ second-half spot-kick settled the contest, though Rovers were made to work hard for another three points.

“I thought it was a really tough first half, I thought they out battled us and we were second to most of the balls,” Donnelly admitted, speaking after full-time.

“That said, it was a little bit frantic and we created a really early chance but they came at us a little bit.

“I thought we grew into the game and after half-time we were more aggressive and of course they needed to get a goal back.

“The game became quite stretched but we controlled it as much as we needed to in the second half.”

“We just ensured that we defended and played it around a bit. We were committed and we controlled it really well.

“They were pushing for an equaliser so there were gaps in their half and we created quite a few opportunities after that.

“On another day we might have put them to bed but it just left quite a fraught finish.”

The Blues have now kept four clean sheets in a row and collected 10 points from the last four league games. Donnelly praised the defensive and attacking display from her side.

“I thought Alex [Brooks] had a good game again,” the Rovers boss continued. “She kept everything safe in front of goal.

“That takes us to 360 minutes played without conceding a goal and for that reason you can’t fault, not just the defenders and the goalkeeper, but the team defensively.

“They have stuck to the task and obviously the opposition are finding it really difficult to break us down.

“We’ve aimed to do that all along but clearly we’ve nailed over the last few weeks, so fair play to the girls.

“And equally at the other end as well, the forwards and attacking midfielders are keeping their backline occupied and being a real threat up there, so everyone is playing their part.

“Saffron [Jordan] obviously got us the penalty, which, for me, was not controversial, a blatant penalty.

“I thought she worked tirelessly in and out of possession and helped controlled the game. Her experience was a telling sign today.”

With Rovers moving up to fifth in the table, Donnelly knows her side must continue to push on after the international break.

She added: “It rounds off a good month for us, tallying up the points that we have earned, and rightly so. I know the players’ attitude won’t be to sit back and relax.

“We’ve got a midweek friendly planned so it will be continued hard work even though we’re not in competitive football for a couple of weeks.

“But it’s an opportunity to sit back, assess the situation, prepare properly and then we go into three really difficult games leading into the Christmas break.”

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