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Manchester United 2-0 Bristol City: Lisa Naalsund double earns United win

Lisa Naalsund scores against Bristol City

Lisa Naalsund's double proved enough for Manchester United to edge past Women's Super League strugglers Bristol City.

Naalsund gave United a ninth-minute lead, rolling the ball past her marker after a skilful run before firing past Shae Yanez.

The Red Devils had the majority of the ball and tried to find ways to extend their lead, but were unproductive in the final third until Naalsund turned home from a corner in added time.

Bristol City - who are bottom of the table with just six points from 16 games - had come close to equalising at 1-0 down when Shania Hayles rattled the post in the second half.

The visitors showed glimpses of their attacking threat, particularly with pace on the counter-attack, but didn't produce many clear-cut chances - just like United.

City's hopes were also hit when defender Jamie Lee-Napier was sent off in the 82nd minute after picking up a second yellow card.

Naalsund's second goal settled the outcome as United held out for a clean sheet and victory that kept them fourth in the table and six points behind third-placed Arsenal.

Bristol City miss chance for vital points

Time is rapidly running out for Bristol City.

Having returned to the top flight, they seem destined to be relegated back to the Championship at the first time of asking with a six-point deficit to West Ham United.

They have won just one game this season and have Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal left to play in their final six games.

Lauren Smith's side will be frustrated by the fact they were unable to pick up what would have been vital points against United, with Bristol City mostly holding their own on Sunday.

Their deep defending frustrated United, making it difficult for them to find a way to get behind their backline and reach any areas where they could threaten.

Barring the two goals, goalkeeper Yanez had little to do as United failed to show their superior quality.

The hosts continually tried to fashion more chances, knocking the ball around the visitors' third, but were often unable to disrupt Bristol City's defensive shape.

Naalsund's second goal, which came when she hooked a corner past Yanez in the fifth minute of stoppage time, meant the result glossed over a performance that had been far from convincing.

Her two strikes were the only shots on target for the Red Devils.

Reaching the Champions League is likely out of reach for United, who would need to close their six-point gap with Arsenal, but it is another step in the right direction nevertheless.

For Bristol City, this 12th defeat of a disappointing campaign was another missed opportunity to try to salvage safety.