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Progression is what counts, says Donnelly

“I’d like to hope that we can use this as a catapult for our next game in the league”

19 April 2021

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Gemma Donnelly felt Rovers’ quality eventually told during Sunday’s 5-2 win over Wolves in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.

The visitors to AFC Telford secured a safe passage through to the fifth round of the competition against the fourth-tier side but were made to work for their victory.

“We played okay; the quality shone probably in the last 25 minutes,” the Rovers manager reflected at full-time. “Legs were getting tired in the opposition but up until that point it could have gone either way.

“It was a tough game and I want to praise the opposition for their game today, they were excellent and really had us under the cosh at points within the game.

“We’ve come out and won but 5-2 is pretty generous to us, I don’t think it reflects the game itself, in terms of how tight it was throughout but of course I’m going to take it.”

Rovers had to come from behind, quickly responding via Maria Edwards’ well taken equaliser, before seizing control of the game courtesy of Saffron Jordan’s superb strike on the stroke of half-time.

The Blues’ boss continued: “I thought Wolves were fantastic today, they really put us under pressure and the whole shenanigans with our late arrival played a part certainly in the first half.

“We were all over the place, we couldn’t get control of the ball which played into their hands a little bit in terms of the tempo at which they wanted to play at and the high press.

“It worried us a little bit and we gave two sloppy goals away. Alex (Brooks) was at fault for the second goal and for the first we just weren’t at the races and they capitalised on that.

“I’d just said to the dugout before that, if we can ride the storm of the first 15 minutes and get a foothold in this game then we’ll grow into it.

“Unfortunately for us we conceded early doors on about 11 minutes and that gave them the fire in their belly to try and get more but we withstood the pressure and got a goal back relatively quickly after that.”

Georgia Walters’ stunning free-kick – one of two the Wales international fired in - was the pick of the five goals.

And Donnelly was also pleased to see all four starting attackers on the scoresheet, especially given Rovers’ struggles in front of goal in recent weeks.

“I’m glad for all the goalscorers as well,” she said. “Maz (Maria Edwards), she’s been desperate to get on the scoresheet and a bit of individual brilliance got us level. It means so much to her and confidence wise it will spur her on.

“Georgia (Walters), we’ve done a bit in terms of attacking free-kicks. She’s got the confidence to want to go and try things. We’ve got a number of set plays set up for that, but she can also strike from range as we’ve seen.

“Goalscoring is an area that we’ve been lacking in of late within the league and so to get five goals today and be quite creative and get different scorers on the board is fantastic for us.”

Rovers will face Charlton Athletic at home in the next round but must now turn their attention back to the FA Women’s Championship and a trip to London Bees this Sunday (2pm kick-off).

“A win is nice, and I’ll take any win at this moment in time,” Donnelly added. “The girls are working tirelessly week in, week out and the pressure is on.

“I demand performances from them, the girls demand performances from each other so I don’t care where it comes from, I’m just glad of the win today so we can progress into the next round.

“I’d like to hope that we can use this as a catapult for our next game in the league next week away to London Bees."

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