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Donnelly: A cruel blow

Gemma Donnelly reflects on Rovers’ narrow defeat to Sheffield United

2 May 2021

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Rovers Ladies manager Gemma Donnelly could not hide her disappointment and frustration after a stoppage-time winner denied her side a point against Sheffield United Women on Sunday.

The Blues looked on course to earn a deserved draw at Bamber Bridge in the final FA Women’s Championship fixture of the season until Jade Pennock headed in to hand the visitors a 2-1 victory.

And the Blues boss felt it was a similar story to several previous games over the course of the season in that the performance was not matched by the final scoreline.

“It was a really close fought contest from start to finish,” Donnelly reflected in her post-match interview. 

“Missed chances and opportunities again have cost us but just a lack of discipline in terms of the set piece at the end.

“We invest a lot of time in training working on our set pieces and I need to watch the goal back but I’m just so frustrated because it’s yet another defeat.

“We’ve not won this side of Christmas bar the FA Cup. We’ve picked up the fewest points, we deserve to be in the position we’ve ended up in the league when at one stage we were sitting comfortably in fifth.

“I think we played some really nice football, but that’s completely different to winning games. I’m bitterly disappointed with the end result and frustrated with the performance in some cases.”

Donnelly believes Rovers warranted taking something from the game, not least for their hard work and graft across the pitch against the fourth-placed Blades.

And she was pleased to see Aimee Hodgson score her first Rovers goal with a well taken finish that had got the hosts back in the game.

“I thought the girls worked incredibly hard,” she added. “They’ve matched the opposition, if not more so in some parts in terms of desire and competitive element.

“So, to get the goal back I thought it was deserved from our performance at that point.

"I thought it was going to be an absolutely tussle from that point on, but to concede in the manner that we did, from a set piece, in the final minute, it’s so difficult to take.

“It was a great strike (from Aimee Hodgson) and I’m sure she needed that. Maybe she can teach the others how to finish! But we need more consistency, we need more goalscoring opportunities and conversions.

“I’m pleased for Aimee but that’s pretty much about it for today.”  

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