Albion finished the season in style, booking their place in the quarter-finals of the Vitality FA Cup with a comfortable 6-0 win over National League Huddersfield.
Torrential rain made conditions extremely difficult at the People’s Pension Stadium but Albion cruised to their biggest win of the season and scored through Danique Kerkdijk (2), Nora Heroum, who also had a penalty saved, Rianna Jarrett, Fliss Gibbons and an own goal.
Hope Powell had rung the changes. Katie Startup made her debut in goal and there were starts for Hollie Olding and Maisie Symonds while Beth Roe, Libby Bance, Heroum and Jarrett were recalled. Megan Connolly captained the side after recovering from a foot injury.
And it was Heroum who opened the scoring in the 16th minute after Albion had dominated the early stages. The visitors failed to clear a corner and Maisie Symonds helped the ball on to the Finnish international who scored with a low left-foot volley inside the near post.
Despite the testing conditions Albion knocked the ball around confidently and they doubled their lead in the 25th minute. Roe’s quickly taken throw found Connolly and her cross from the left was headed powerfully home by Jarrett from eight yards to make it 2-0.
It was 3-0 nine minutes later. Olding’s close-range shot came back off the crossbar and in trying to clear Huddersfield keeper Bethan Davies pushed the ball into her own net.
Albion had the chance to extend their lead shortly afterwards when Lauren Griffiths brought down Emma Koivisto in the box, but Heroum’s spot-kick was saved by Davies, who pushed the shot over the bar.
Davies produced a terrific save to keep out a drive from Emily Simpkins, who had replaced Connolly, before Koivisto headed onto the top of the goal as Albion continued to dominate.
Despite torrential rain from before kick-off the pitch held up remarkably well and there wasn’t much change in the second half as Albion looked for further goals.
Heroum fired over on the turn after good work on the right by substitute Kayleigh Green and Symonds drove wide before substitute Fliss Gibbons made it 4-0 in the 65th minute, heading home from close range after Jarrett supplied a teasing right-wing cross.
Albion scored a fifth three minutes later when Olding’s corner wasn’t cleared and Kerkdijk prodded the ball home from a couple of yards out. The Dutch international made it 6-0 in the 78th minute with a powerful close-range header from another excellent Olding corner. There was still time for Jarrett to hit the post in stoppage time.
There will no doubt be sterner tests for Albion when the tournament resumes in September but it was a good way to round off a season of real progress.
Albion: Startup, Roe, Koivisto (Gibbons 45), Kerkdijk, Symonds, Brazil (Green 45), Connolly (Simpkins 34), Bance, Heroum, Jarrett, Olding. Unused subs: Walsh, Le Tissier, Lee. Kaagman, Robinson, Fiskerstrand.