Match Reports

Kullberg to the rescue with hat-trick as Albion progress

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Defender scored her first goals for the club to help seal 4-1 win over Wolves and book Albion's place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

By Bruce Talbot • 11 February 2024

By Kyle Hemsley
Delight for Emma Kullberg after she completed her hat-trick.

Defender Emma Kullberg was the unlikely saviour after grabbing a hat-trick in the closing stages to secure Albion’s place in the quarter-finals of the Adobe FA Cup for the third time in four years.

With the game locked at 1-1 and 88 minutes played it looked as if Albion would have to face extra time for the second time in four days after Beth Merricks’ penalty had drawn Wolves level in response to Katie Robinson’s first-half opener.

But then Kullberg, who had not scored in 53 previous Albion appearances, took matters into her own hands.

By Kyle Hemsley
Katie Robinson puts Albion ahead against Wolves.

She put Albion in front by touching the ball over the line from close range after Vicky Losada had spotted her and produced a great cross from the left.

In the second minute of stoppage time Geummin Lee’s pass found Tatiana Pinto in space on the right and her cutback was swept stylishly into the far corner from 12 yards by an unmarked Kullberg.

By Kyle Hemsley
Emma Kullberg scores from close range to make it 2-1.

And Kullberg completed her hat-trick with another simple finish in the final minute, heading home unmarked at the far post from Poppy Pattinson’s cross as the defensive discipline Wolves had shown for much of the game deserted them.

By Kyle Hemsley
Emma Kullberg shows off the match ball after scoring a hat-trick.

The final scoreline flattered Albion, who had struggled to create clear-cut chances against a well organised home side operating in National Division North, two tiers lower than their opponents. But interim head coach Mikey Harris will be delighted to have overcome a tricky test at the end of a punishing week.  

Wolves began brightly. Sophie Bramford dragged her shot inches wide after just 50 seconds while Katie Johnson lashed a close-range opportunity over the bar. Albion dominated possession as the first half wore on but didn’t really worry Wolves until they went in front after 39 minutes when Pattinson produced a great cross from the left and Robinson finished expertly with her right foot from close range for her fourth goal of the season.

By Kyle Hemsley
Li Mengwen battles for possession.

Albion huffed and puffed in the second half to get the second goal that would have put the tie to bed without threatening too often. Wolves also struggled to seriously extend Sophie Baggaley until they were thrown a lifeline in the 67th minute. Kullberg, who had just come off the bench, and Ellie Wilson tangled in the box and Wilson seemed as surprised as anyone when the referee pointed to the spot, presumably for a foul. Beth Merricks made it 1-1 with a well-taken spot-kick.

It looked as if Albion were facing another gruelling 30 minutes, but Kullberg – a defender showing the instincts of a striker - had other ideas.

Albion: Baggaley, Mengwen (Kullberg 63), Bergsvand, Carabali, Pattinson, Robinson (Sarri 63), Zigiotti (Losada 45), Symonds, Pinto, Lee (Hall 90_4), Terland (Dent 90+4).

Subs not used: Loeck, Startup, Smith.