Match Reports

Albion well beaten by Manchester United

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FA Cup run ends at quarter-final stage as Albion lose 4-0 in quarter-final to ruthless visitors.

By Bruce Talbot • 09 March 2024

By Kyle Hemsley
Vicky Losada and Katie Robinson combine to thwart Hannah Blundell.

Albion’s FA Cup run is over after they were beaten by a clinical Manchester United.

The hosts were left with a mountain to climb after conceding twice in the opening 17 minutes to Millie Turner and Nikita Parris and the tie was effectively over by half-time after Lucia Garcia added a stoppage-time third.

Lisa Naaslund scored a superb fourth and had it not been for keeper Sophie Baggaley Albion would have been on the end of an even heavier defeat. She made three world-class saves, one of which was applauded by her opposite number Mary Earps at the other end such was its quality.

By Kyle Hemsley
Tatiana Pinto in full stride during the first half.

Not surprisingly Albion’s interim head coach Mikey Harris had named the same team that beat Bristol City 7-3 last week but Albion were on the back foot after conceding twice in the first 18 minutes as United eased confidently into their stride.

Katie Zelem provided the assist with the opener after nine minutes. Albion cleared a corner to Zelem on the right and her superb cross to the far post found Turner who had too much space and headed powerfully past Baggaley.

Melvine Malard forced Baggaley to save to her right on 17 minutes after she controlled the ball expertly and struck a right-foot volley goalwards before Malard turned provider a minute later with a superb pass down the left to Parris who fired into the far corner from the corner of the six-yard box - her third goal in her last two outings against Albion.

By Kyle Hemsley
Pauline Bremer saw this first-half volley blocked by Millie Turner.

It should have been 3-0 on 33 minutes when Baggaley’s pass out to Julia Zigiotti was intercepted by Naaslund, but fortunately for Albion she fired over an open goal from 12 yards.

Albion had started to offer more of an attacking threat at this stage and Pauline Bremer came on to a loose ball on the edge of the box that took a deflection off Turner and flew just wide. Zigotti’s volley was blocked in a crowded penalty box and United were momentarily in survival mode.

But normal service soon resumed and Albion were indebted to Baggaley just before the break when she turned Hannah Blundell’s volley from inside the D over the bar at full stretch. A third United goal came in first-half stoppage time, though, after Malard played a lovely one-two with Ella Toone and when her shot came back off the inside of the post Garcia had a tap-in to put the tie to bed.

By Kyle Hemsley
Elisabeth Terland runs at the United defence.

Baggaley produced two world-class saves at the start of the second half - denying Malard on both occasions. She plunged to her right to push away her shot at full stretch then stood up to deny the French forward when she got in goal. Albion were being continually opened up by United’s pace and movement and it was 4-0 in the 57th minute, although there was nothing Baggaley could do on this occasion when Naaslund bent a fine shot into the top corner after being found by Toone.

Baggaley produced another top save when she pushed away a bending effort from 25 yards by Parris that looked to be heading inside the far post. At the other end Albion were restricted to rare breakaways, but Earps was never seriously called upon in the second half although Gemma Evans denied Elisabeth Terland a consolation in stoppage time when she blocked the Norwegian's close-range shot. 

Albion: Baggaley, Bremer, Bergsvand, Thorisdottir, Kullberg (Haley 55), Robinson, Zigiotti, Losada ©, Sarri (Carabali 55), Pinto (Lee 77), Terland.

Subs not used: Mengwen, Johnson, Startup, McEwen, Dent.

Attendance: 3701

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