Albion suffered their fifth successive defeat after a second-half collapse against Manchester City saw them concede six times.
The home side more than matched last season’s WSL runners-up in a goalless first half but the floodgates opened when Victoria Williams scored an unfortunate own goal in the 48th minute.
Seven minutes later City were 4-0 up and they added two more goals to complete a miserable second half for Albion.
Hope Powell chose an experienced side for the first game of 2022 with new signings Emma Kullberg and Julia Zigiotti on the bench. Only Geummin Lee, who is on international duty, was absent for Albion.
The first half offered excellent entertainment with chances at both ends.
Danielle Carter had two shots from the edge of the box that weren’t far away for Albion, and Inessa Kaagman was only a yard wide of the target when she met Aileen Whelan’s cross from the right inside the D.
Albion had to be strong and resilient at the back when City threatened. The visitors’ best chance before the break came when Maya Le Tissier cleared Georgia Stanway’s cross away from in front of goal while Meg Walsh got behind a powerful shot by Lauren Hemp.
The home side would have been happy at the break with their efforts but Albion’s afternoon unravelled spectacularly in the space of seven minutes at the start of the second half.
In the 48th minute Williams turned Hemp’s cross past Walsh for an unfortunate own goal. In their next attack Hemp latched onto a long pass into the inside left channel and as Walsh fatally hesitated, Hemp expertly lobbed the keeper and into an empty net.
The home side were stunned but it got worse. In their next attack Lucy Bronze’s cross was only partially cleared. Georgia Stanway latched onto the loose ball and although her first shot was blocked she followed up to find the bottom corner, albeit with a deflection off Aileen Whelan.
On 55 minutes City made it 4-0. Dani Bowman, who had come on at the break, gave the ball away to Laura Coombs who fired into the top right-hand corner from 20 yards.
Albion and the home fans were shellshocked and it needed another clearance by Le Tissier to prevent Stanway from scoring when she blocked a shot on the line, but it was 5-0 in the 73rd minute when Hayley Raso latched onto a flick-on and fired powerfully past Walsh. Three minutes later Vicky Losada made it six with a shot which took a big deflection, leaving Walsh with no chance and Albion shellshocked.
Albion: Walsh, Le Tissier, Kerkdijk (Bowman 45), Williams, Koivisto, Brazil, Kaagman (Symonds 60), Connolly (Simpkins 84), Green, Whelan, Carter (Robinson 84).
Subs not used: Gibbons, Bance, Zigiotti, Startup.