Doncaster Rovers Belles boss John Buckley hailed his young side despite a crushing 4-0 opening FA Women’s Super League defeat.
Belles’ young side faced a Chelsea outfit littered with internationals who proved more clinical at the Keepmoat Stadium with strikes from Sofia Jakobsson (2), Eni Aluko and Helen Ward.
Despite the heavy defeat, Buckley could not help but praise his young squad which included 16-year-old Ashleigh Mills who got a full game and new arrival Jemma Purfield, also 16, who played out of position for all of the second half.
“I can’t fault their effort and how they played, the result doesn’t reflect the performance at all in my eyes.
“Chelsea are a top team and are brimming with internationals but I was so pleased with my players.
“I took a gamble starting Ashleigh but she was one of the best players on the pitch.
“Jemma has just come into our squad from the North Yorkshire Centre of Excellence and even though she’s more of a forward, she came on at left-back and played extremely well.”
Buckley expects to have Sue Smith back from injury in time for the Continental Cup clash against Chelsea tomorrow (Sunday) at the Keepmoat, kick-off is 6pm.