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Plenty to take away, says Donnelly

"Scoring two goals from open play, that's the first time we've done that this season. We came away pleased with that"

5 November 2020

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Gemma Donnelly says Rovers can take plenty of positives from Wednesday's night's Continental Tyres League Cup defeat to Leicester City.

Travelling to Farley Way Stadium for the midweek cup fixture, the Blues battled hard to get back into the contest after conceding an early goal, though ultimately came up short in the closing stages, losing 5-2.  

Donnelly was pleased with how her players conducted themselves against the full-time outfit, especially given the changes that she made to the starting 11. 

"It was an opportunity to give some valuable playing time to some of the squad players and they were fantastic," she reflected after the game. 

"That probably sounds a bit strange given that at half-time we'd conceded two and actually after about five minutes we had gone 1-0 down. 

"But there were so many positives in terms of taking on board instructions and matching them in terms of the intensity of the game. It was just really pleasing to watch. 

"Aimee (Hodgson) looked bright, Georgia (Walters) worked hard, although she didn't get herself a goal, she was effective in what we were trying to accomplish and Maz (Maria Edwards) and Leah (Embley) did well too."

Rovers showed great character to turn the game around early in the second period, scoring twice through Elise Hughes and Charlotte Newsham to level the scores. 

"Obviously the only change we made at half-time was in midfield and I thought Emma (Doyle) had an immediate impact and we looked more threatening going forwards," Donnelly explained.

"For that reason we started to put a little bit of pressure on Leicester. We scored, we had a five or six minute spell, we scored again to level, which was exciting for a number of reasons. 

"It was fantastic build-up play with Elise (Hughes) getting her first goal for the Club, which I think just relieved her of enormous pressure. 

"And then the second goal, Charlotte (Newsham) supporting the attack as a full-back and she looked incredibly lively all night.

"Scoring two goals from open play, that's the first time we've done that this season. We came away pleased with that."

Despite conceding five goals for the first time this season, Donnelly was not overly concerned by the defensive side of the game.

"We've worked really hard for the last few months in building the attack, the build-up play and finishing the attack," the Rovers boss explained.  

"Albeit it probably exposed us a bit more because when you're going forward you're leaving yourself open at the back, but we still gave a good account of ourselves. 

"I think a 5-2 scoreline isn't a fair reflection of the game and Leicester had to work incredibly hard to get the goals at the end. 

"And I think at that stage we were still looking to get level again and we did have a goal from a free-kick by Ellie Stewart that was deemed offside. 

"We probably got a little bit ahead of ourselves and it started to open gaps and of course their quality started to shine through. 

"But I'm incredibly pleased with the performance last night, despite the scoreline. We were just very unfortunate with the final goal for Kayleigh McDonald to clear it but score a worldie in her own bottom corner."

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