Gemma Donnelly praised her side’s battling qualities despite falling to a 4-1 defeat at Sheffield United in the Continental Cup.

Rovers spent 80 minutes a player light as Chelsey Jukes was sent off, with captain Saffron Jordan getting a late consolation from the penalty spot.

But Donnelly was proud of the way her side fought to the end by demonstrating their resilience.

She said: “I’m super proud of the players, they gave it absolutely everything. To go down to 10 players so early on in the game, what can you do with that?

“We restricted them to limited chances in the first-half and obviously to go in 2-0 down and then they’ve scored quickly after half-time.

“So to be 3-0 down with 10 players and then concede a fourth, the girls have just kept going and going and they deserved the goal.

“They could have had two or three to be honest. They’ve put a shift in and there’s definitely no energy left in any of their tanks.

“It obviously wasn’t the plan to turn up and go down to 10 players so early on but we’ve learned things from the game.

“One, the character of the girls and who can push to the end. Who is resilient and has the mental toughness.

“Two, to be able to change the plan of action and I thought the girls have done really well in that.”

Katie Wilkinson’s double put the Blades in control at the break. Sam Tierney and Jade Pennock added further goals before Jordan’s consolation penalty.

Jukes was sent of for deliberate handball, while Rovers also saw debutant Mille Robertson stretchered off in the first half.

United added a second before the break when Wilkinson headed in from close range.  

Lauren Perry denied the hosts a third in added time when she made a superb one-on-one save to keep out Pennock.

But within eight second-half minutes the hosts had a third courtesy of Sam Tierney.

United’s fourth came when Pennock fired into the roof of the net before Jordan grabbed a consolation having been brought down in the box

Rovers: Perry, Jukes, Taylor, Holbrook, Davies (Whitham 69), Fenton, Jordan, Lord-Mears, Burrows, Robertson (McDonald, 34), Fletcher