Goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs hailed Doncaster Rovers Belles’ performance against Chelsea and said the 4-1 scoreline was not a true reflection of the game.
Last year’s double winners Chelsea came from behind to beat the newly-promoted Belles and continue their defence of the SSE FA Women’s Cup – but Hobbs is convinced the match was closer than the score suggested.
The two sides meet again on Thursday night in the opening round of FAWSL1 games.
“It felt really good,” said Hobbs. “I felt like we were ready and the team’s working their socks off for each other.
“I was a bit disappointed it was 4-1 because I don’t think we deserved the four, but in the FA Cup we’re pushing for the win and if we’re losing anyway we might as well push to get them goals.
“We’ll learn from those mistakes and it’s just about game management really.
“Some of us haven’t played in a match like this together and it’s really good that we’ve come together and bonded. I thought we looked really dangerous.
“We took a lot from this game. Obviously it’s a loss but it doesn’t feel like the loss I thought it would. We’ve learned a lot from it and I think it was a really positive game for us.
“Chelsea should be thinking about what we can bring on Thursday, rather than the other way round. If we play like that, there’s no stopping us really.”
Chelsea winger Karen Carney was suitably impressed with the Belles too.
She said: “It was key to get a win under the belt and Doncaster, fair play, were very, very good and made it very difficult for Chelsea to play, and it wasn’t until late on that we got the result.
“It’s not ideal for us to play Doncaster again and probably both teams would rather not have it but you’ve just got to get on with it.
“They’re such a tough team and coming on the back of promotion so they’re used to the winning mentality just the same as Chelsea are.
“They’ve added some top players as well and they’ve made it very difficult for a large part of the game.”