The result keeps the Robins bottom of the table, while United move up to third for the time being.
Mark Skinner made two changes from their last WSL game, which was the derby day defeat to Manchester City. Melvine Malard and Lisa Naalsund were dropped, with Jayde Riviere and Hinata Miyazawa returning to the eleven.
As a result, Leah Galton returned to her familiar wing role, having started at left-back against United’s cross-city rivals.
After the loss to Man City, United needed to show a response, and they got onto the front foot quickly.
Galton, now in her forward role, was finding success up against Ella Powell early in the contest, but when she attempted a curling effort, the ball was deflected narrowly wide.
Millie Turner was the next to try her arm on target with a clever turn and shot, but once again, Clark was equal to her strike.
While United did look dangerous on the attack, they also looked very chaotic and unorganised.
At times, it felt like their attack resembled more a team built of FIFA or Football Manager; put the best players up front and see how quickly they can gel.
Half hour in and City were forced into a change after Brooke Aspin picked up an injury, but instead of feeling downhearted, the home side really picked up their game.
They reduced United’s chances and instead were beginning to look capable and dangerous themselves.
At the break, there was a sense around Ashton Gate that something special could happen in the second half.
Yet, those prospects were dampened a mere five minutes into the second period.
United worked the ball well into the middle of the park and to the feet of Miyazawa. The Japanese star took aim from range, and with the aid of a huge deflection from Chloe Mustaki, was able to chalk up her first goal in United colours.
With one under their belt, it wasn’t long before the Red Devils had their second.
Ella Toone picked the ball up wide and looped a delicious cross into the box. There to head it was Parris, and she guided the ball downwards and past Clark.
United were now purring, and Toone herself was looking to add her name in the goals column, but she was denied by another strong save by Clark.
After the rush of goals, the game reverted back to being one of dither and bother.
The Robins couldn’t really get out and venture forward into the United half, but Skinner’s side continued to look unimpressive in their charges up field.
Substitute Malard did hit the bar from a corner, but that’s the closest United came to adding a third throughout the second half.
Instead, this plucky City team rallied again and forced their way up field slowly.
A pacey forward line coupled with a boisterous home support made for a trickier ending than the away side would have hoped for.
Despite their late pressure, Earps wasn’t tested in goal, and United departed the West Country with all three points, but they did it in underwhelming fashion.
Player of the Match: Nikita Parris
A real struggle to praise any United’s player’s performance, as each one was well below par, but Parris did look lively. She got into good areas, was able to drag players out of place, and with the way she played, it does make you question why she isn’t in the England squad.