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Mixed emotions for Donnelly after draw

“I thought we did enough to warrant three points, particularly in the second half, we were completely dominant”

7 February 2021

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Gemma Donnelly was relieved to see Rovers equalise at the death in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday but felt it should have been all three points.

The visitors looked to have snatched victory late on when Annabel Johnson found the net, before Natasha Fenton popped up with an even later goal to ensure it finished all square at Bamber Bridge.

Despite being disappointed to see Rovers waste numerous chances to win the game, Donnelly saw plenty of positives from how the team played during the second 45 minutes.  

“I thought we did enough to warrant three points, particularly in the second half,” the Blues boss reflected in her post-match interview.

“We were completely dominant, created so many opportunities and one v one’s with the ‘keeper. I’m not sure how that ball has not gone into the back of the net.

“It’s just very disappointing from our forwards today, although that said, we’re obviously getting in the right positions.”

The manner of the second Crystal Palace goal, which came against the run of play in the 87th minute, frustrated Donnelly, as Rovers were punished for not finding the net for a second time themselves.

“It’s created pressure at the back when we’re not scoring at the top of the pitch and it’s one mistake at the back,” she continued.

“Alex (Brooks) who has been outstanding for as many matches as I can remember, she’s patted the ball down and consequently Palace have just prodded it into the back of the net.

“Then of course that’s 2-1 and I’m just really glad that we’ve been able to equalise moments later, because it would have been so unjust.

“But we’ve experienced it before, and the girls should know better.”

A triple half-time change saw the introduction of attacking midfielder Annabel Blanchard for her home debut, as well as another attacking threat in Georgia Walters and the return of defender Kayleigh McDonald.

Donnelly felt they all gave Rovers added impetus after the break, while she was also pleased to see Hope Knight on the pitch for the first time, following a lengthy injury lay off.  

Donnelly added: “It was a fantastic second half performance and we really had to jig things around as well.

“Annabel came on at half-time, I thought she was fantastic and had a massive impact in the game, so it was good to see her.

“Georgia went out on the right, I thought she did really well but missed a couple of opportunities herself.

“Of course, we had the introduction of Hope later on and it was brilliant to see her for the first time this season.

“We moved Elise (Hughes) into a centre half position given that both of our centre halves picked up yellow cards in the first half and they would have been a target in the second half.

“To be fair to both Elise and Kayleigh, I thought they did a fantastic job in their roles, so there’s some really pleasing things from today’s performance.

“But then there’s also some hugely disappointing things which have cost us two points.”

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