A late first-half blitz saw the FA Cup Winners sail into a 4-1 half-time lead and Gareth Taylor's side continued where we left off with a ruthless second half display to return to winning ways in the FA Women’s Super League in style, breaking our all-time record league victory in the process.
City boasted seven different scorers at the Academy Stadium, including Robins goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley whose own-goal broke the deadlock.
Lucy Bronze struck her first goal in her second spell at the Club, while Laura Coombs netted her second in as many games and Keira Walsh claimed her first of the season with a well-taken effort from range.
Wembley heroines Georgia Stanway and Janine Beckie were also on the scoresheet, and Ellen White bagged a brace to net her 50th FA WSL goal, as the hosts marked our first game back on home soil on a joyful note to issue a statement of intent to the early league pace-setters and boost our goal difference.
Returning to the Academy Stadium for the first time in a month, City needed a victory to keep up with the leading pack, trailing table-topping Arsenal by seven points.
Without a point so far in the league – and having scored only once prior to this fixture – Bristol found themselves rooted to the foot of the table and to make matters worse for the Robins, the visitors were forced to field a depleted squad due to COVID-19 protocols, with five players required to isolate.
City were wary of the fact the away side had proven testing opposition in the past, holding the hosts to costly draws in previous campaigns, but riding the crest of a wave, it took just nine minutes for Taylor’s side to break the deadlock with a lovely passage of play down the left.
Wednesday’s wondergoal heroine Coombs released Stanway, who raced to the by-line before cutting the ball back. As Bristol scrambled to clear, the ball bounced around the six-yard box before striking Baggaley and creeping over the line.
With the early advantage, City would be expected to push on and ease to a comfortable victory but the Robins hit back almost immediately, capitalising on a Gemma Bonner error, as Salmon latched onto the short backpass, nipped past Ellie Roebuck and levelled.
City were stunned but regained composure quickly. White was unfortunate not to restore the lead – unable to adjust her body to convert – before Sam Mewis powered two headers uncharacteristically wide.
Chloe Kelly also blazed over, as City dominated. The home side had tallied 87% possession by the half hour but bizarrely, had not registered a shot on target, despite having opened the scoring.
When that first shot did arrive, it would bring the all-important second goal. With a similar move to Wednesday’s Continental Cup opener, Coombs latched onto captain Steph Houghton’s floated pass before smashing past Baggaley on the half-volley.
Three minutes later, it was 3-1 as Walsh struck a sweet effort into the bottom corner from distance and Bronze netted her first goal since her first spell at the Club in 2017, powering through on the counter-attack before slotting in off the post to give City a three-goal cushion at the break.
The hosts refused to take our foot off the gas after the restart, adding a fifth just three minutes into the second half when Bronze turned provider, clipping a cross to the backpost for Stanway to slide home.
Substitute Jill Scott then made an instant impact from the bench, sliding the perfect through-ball into White's path and the England star converted with aplomb.
Beckie and Alex Greenwood then forced Baggaley into two smart saves, as the onslaught continued, and Beckie - who sealed the FA Cup win on Sunday - produced another cool finish, firing through Baggaley's legs to equal our record.
White then made history, driving forward and poking home our eighth of the afternoon to complete the rout.
Greenwood almost netted a ninth, striking the woodwork in injury time, while White was unlucky not to seal her hat-trick as Baggaley produced another excellent save but little could spoil an excellent afternoon's work, as City rounded off a perfect week.
What it means…
Reducing the gap at the top to four points, City lift ourselves up to fourth in the FA WSL table with three wins, two draws and one defeat from our opening six games.
City have won eight of our last ten FA Women’s Super League games against Bristol City, scoring 39 goals and conceding only six.
We are unbeaten against the Robins since our debut season in the top flight in 2014.
How we lined up…
Taylor made five changes to the side that defeated Liverpool 3-0 in the Continental Cup in midweek, as Roebuck, Houghton, Walsh, Kelly and White were restored to the starting line-up.
Roebuck took her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Greenwood, Bonner, Houghton and Bronze. Walsh returned to her defensive midfield role, protecting the back four, sat in behind Coombs and Mewis.
Stanway and Kelly occupied the wings with White leading the line upfront.
A Manchester Derby double awaits, as City travel to Manchester United in the first meeting of the season on Saturday 14 November (12:30 UK).
The pair then lock horns again the following Thursday (19 November, 19:00) in the final group game of the Continental Cup.