With Bristol putting every player behind the ball, it took a moment of brilliance from Mannion to break the deadlock.BCFC
Harriet Scott made her league debut for the Blues as she replaced Sarah Mayling, while Charlie Wellings returned to the starting line-up for Chloe Arthur.
Marc Skinner’s side were looking to get back to winning ways and they came out of the blocks quickly and looked to exploit Bristol’s backline. Kerys Harrop played a lofted ball from the back into Wellings, who raced onto it. However, Sophie Baggaley was first to it and smothered the danger.
The first real chance came after 13 minutes. Lucy Staniforth whipped a free-kick into a dangerous area and PFA Player of the Month nominee Meaghan Sargeant met it with her foot, but it sailed over the bar.
However, it should have been one nil when Emma Follis danced her way down the left wing and squared it to Wellings. The striker's shot was blocked however, from six-yards out and didn’t test the ‘keeper in the end.
Blues continued to put the pressure on the opposition and the best opportunity of the first half came when the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Follis once again skipped into the box and was brought down.
Mannion stepped up to take the spot kick but it was brilliantly saved by Baggaley, to deny Blues the first goal of the game.
Staniforth looked dangerous in the second half, as she picked up the loose balls in the middle of the park. Her set pieces continued to cause problems in the Bristol box and it was no surprise that her free-kick nearly crept in. The midfielder swung an inviting cross into the mix, which Sargeant looked to get on the end of – but with the whip and the wind, it could have found its way in.
With Bristol putting every player behind the ball, it took a moment of brilliance from Mannion to break the deadlock. The centre-back picked it up 25-yards-out and with no options to pass to, she drilled it goalwards and fired it into the back of the net.
There was a final chance for Blues as substitutes Lucy Quinn and Sarah Mayling combined well to carve an opportunity for Wellings. But her shot was well blocked, and the follow up from Paige Williams couldn’t find the target.
Bristol: Sophie Baggaley, Loren Dykes, Gemma Evans, Frankie Brown, Danique Kerkdijk, Poppy Pattinson, Carla Humphrey, Juliette Kemppi (Katie Robinson 82’), Ella Rutherford (Heather Payne 66’), Lucy Graham, Julie Biesman.
Substitutes (not used): Aimee Watson, Alicia Johnson, Poppy Wilson.
Blues:Ann-Katrin Berger, Paige Williams, Kerys Harrop, Aoife Mannion, Meaghan Sargeant, Hayley Ladd, Marisa Ewers, Lucy Staniforth, Harriet Scott (Sarah Mayling 65’), Charlie Wellings, Emma Follis (Lucy Quinn 85’).
Substitutes (not used): Hannah Hampton, Shania Hayles, Connie Scofield.
Goals: Mannion 75’
Bookings: Williams 62’
Referee: Sam Allison