Albion’s Continental Cup campaign came to an end as they fell to a 3-0 defeat to West Ham on Wednesday.
Two first-half goals from Kate Longhurst and Mel Filis before a late strike from Katerina Svitkova handed the hosts a win in a game that saw the understrength visitors struggle to create much.
Albion arrived knowing they would probably have to win to have a chance of proceeding to the next round. With several players out through injury and illness, Hope Powell named a much-changed side from the 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday.
Captain Danielle Bowman returned to the starting line-up and partnered 19-year-old Lea Cordier in central defence while Faith Nokuthula was handed a second start of the season in the forward line.
Albion started brightly with Nokuthula full of running. However, as the game settled, West Ham dominated possession, the fluidity of their midfield creating problems for Albion at the back. Claudia Walker was denied twice by Megan Walsh, before Australian international, Tameka Yallop sent a volley wide.
The opening goal came in the 26th minute. After Albion failed to clear their lines, Yui Hasegawa, a livewire throughout, delivered a cross that was met by Longhurst to head home.
In control, the hosts doubled their lead just over ten minutes later. After a cleared cross dropped in her path, Filis smashed a ferocious finish home. It would have been three before the break but for an alert block from Bowman to deny Walker on the spin.
Powell made Albion’s first change at the break as Frankie Angel replaced Walsh in goal. West Ham started the second half with the same intensity with which they ended the first as Albion struggled to pass through their press.
Maya Le Tissier had to be at her defensive best, making a diving challenge to prevent a goal-bound Walker effort. Angel then got down well to get behind a low Zaneta Wyne effort.
The game became disjointed as injuries saw both sides struggle for rhythm. Powell used up her already depleted bench as Inessa Kaagman and Emma Koivisto picked up worrying knocks.
Albion struggled to force Anna Leat into a meaningful save while West Ham pushed right to the final minute. They added their third deep into injury time through a long-range Svitková strike.
Albion: Walsh (Angel 45), Le Tissier, Bowman, Cordier, Koivisto (Williams 73), Bance, Whelan, Kaagman (Lee 71), Robinson, Nokuthula (Connolly 58), Symonds.