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Summary

  1. Izzy Christiansen's header gives City victory
  2. Narrow win moves City up to second
  3. Defeat all-but ends Sunderland's title hopes
  4. Man City XI: Bardsley, McManus, Houghton (c), Beattie, Stokes, Walsh, Scott, Christiansen, Harding, Johnston, Stanway.
  5. Sunderland XI: Laws, Holmes, Bannon (c), Williams, Greenwell, Furness, McDougall, Chaplen, Ramshaw, Joice, Mead.

Live Reporting

By Tom Garry

All times stated are UK

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And then there were three?

FT: Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Before the start of this crucial weekend,

four teams looked best-placed in the Women's Super League One title race and six teams could still win the league, mathematically.

But now, after wins for Arsenal, leaders Chelsea and now second-placed Man City, it looks like there are just three teams left with a chance of being crowned champions.

City were without England stars Toni Duggan and Lucy Bronze tonight, but they still did enough to see off Sunderland thanks to Izzy Christiansen's first-half header.

Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on Thursday, for City's all-important game in hand against Liverpool.

Until then, you can re-live tonight's action with

Jo Currie's match report, here.

FT: Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Manchester City Women boss Nick Cushing tells BBC Sport:

"(Going) 12 games unbeaten is really pleasing but I didn't think we played that great tonight.

"We were good in spells. Every team we've played have tried to block us out and try and counter us. I thought the team were good at keeping (Beth Mead) out and stopping her.

"We really pride ourselves on our defensive organisation. Defensively, I thought we looked good tonight.

"Izzy Christiansen is playing brilliantly at the minute. It was a fantastic header."

FT: Man City 1-0 Sunderland

That win sees Man City move up into second, above Arsenal on goal difference.

Nick Cushing's side are now five points behind leaders Chelsea, with a game in hand.

If they can beat Liverpool on Thursday, they will be well-placed to secure at least a Champions League spot.

FULL-TIME

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Manchester City have done what was needed tonight. They get the vital win. Sunderland gave it a good go but their title hopes now look all-but over.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Man City are running down the clock. This would be a massive win for the hosts.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

There will be three minutes of added time. Can Sunderland rescue a point?

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Rachel Furness attempts a cross for Sunderland but that is too close to the keeper and Karen Bardsley duly comes out the claim it.

Time is running out for the Lady Black Cats.

CLOSE!

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Izzy Christiansen has a chance for her second of the night, to seal it, but her close-range effort is blocked. It goes out for a City corner, but Sunderland eventually get rid of the danger. The ball is at the wrong end of the pitch though, from a Sunderland point of view.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Jo Currie

BBC Sport at the Academy Stadium

"Tonight's attendance is 992."

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

England defender Steph Houghton swings a left boot at a bouncing ball but her shot goes high and wide.

Man City haven't been able to extend their lead - will Sunderland punish them, in the closing stages?

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Jo Currie

BBC Sport at the Academy Stadium

"The City defence have worked hard to limit the number of goal scoring opportunities given to WSL 1 top goal scorer Beth Mead."

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Rachael Laws saves from Krystle Johnston again, as the Man City winger uses her pace to get into the box and have a go from about 10 yards out, to the right of goal.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Beth Mead has time to shoot from the edge of the area but City keeper Karen Bardsley will hold that low effort.

If anyone is going to get Sunderland back into this game, it is likely to be Mead.

She has looked lively tonight but is yet to find that elusive equaliser.

Beth Mead
BBC

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Krystle Johnston has a go from long range but that is comfortably saved by Sunderland keeper Rachael Laws.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

As the sky darkens over Manchester, can Sunderland turn this around?

Man City are holding firm at the moment. They look solid enough at the back, even without right-back Lucy Bronze.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Beth Mead
The FA

Sunderland striker Beth Mead has worked hard to create some openings this evening.

England Women's boss Mark Sampson indicated earlier this weekend that the 20-year-old could figure in his squad for the forthcoming international against Estonia.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Jo Currie

BBC Sport at the Academy Stadium

"This is City winger Tash Harding's first match after missing the last nine games with an ankle injury, it's proving to be a welcome return with both Lucy Bronze and Toni Duggan not 100% fit."

You could say that Harding has been arguably City's biggest threat going forward, as they search for a second goal. Can she be the one to help them seal this win?

SUBSTITUTION

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Teenager Georgia Stanway's first league start comes to and end, as she is replaced by Natasha Flint.

That was a decent performance from the 16-year-old midfielder.

CLOSE!

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Sunderland almost have their equaliser but that's very brave goalkeeping from Karen Bardsley.

Beth Mead found her way into the six-yard box and squared it for Brooke Chaplen, whose initial shot was blocked before England keeper Bardsley dived out and pounced on the attempted rebound.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Izzy Christiansen goes for a second, but her bouncing shot is blocked.

The young midfielder has been at the centre of almost everything Man City have done so far tonight.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Let's not forget that the hosts are missing their top goal scorer tonight.

City striker Toni Duggan has been forced to take a watching brief this evening because of an ankle injury.

Toni Duggan
The FA

Her team-mates could do with someone with the England international's endeavour to sniff out a second goal here as we head towards the final half an hour.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Sunderland have a free-kick just to the right of the Man City penalty area. The cross hits the two-person wall and Man City clear.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

That crowd have not been treated to a thriller so far, but that's perhaps understandable given the tension surrounding tonight's game.

The home fans must know that Man City simply cannot afford to drop points.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Jo Currie

BBC Sport at the Academy Stadium

"There's a brass band in attendance at the Academy Stadium this evening, who are getting the crowd of around 800 people going."

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

That's a marvellous intervention from Sunderland defender Abbey Holmes at the far post to deny Natasha Harding. It would have been a goal otherwise, surely. Man City have started the second half well.

KICK-OFF

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Sunderland get the second 45 minutes going at the Academy Stadium on this dry, calm September evening.

Man City v Sunderland
The FA

Can City find a second goal to send these fans home with those smiles fixed firmly to their faces?

HT: Man City 1-0 Sunderland

No changes for either side at the break. The teams are back out. This is going to be a very important next 45 minutes for these two teams... and possibly Chelsea too.

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HT: Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Man City v Sunderland
The FA

But this is football - anything could happen in the second half!

Can Sunderland turn things around? Or will Man City extend their lead?

Get involved and let us know what you think via #bbcfootball on Twitter.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland (half-time)

So, where does this leave us with 45 minutes to play?

If City can hold on to their lead then they will move five points adrift of leaders Chelsea with three further games to play, one more than the FA Cup winners.

Meanwhile, Sunderland will remain six points off the Blues, with just two games left, having played the same number of games.

HALF-TIME

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

As the half-time whistle blows, a band in the stands are playing the theme tune from The Great Escape. Can Sunderland fight back to claim a result from this match in the second half? Izzy Christiansen's goal separates the sides at the break.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

We are into two minutes of added time at the end of the first half.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Man City will be glad to take this lead into half-time now. They deserve to be ahead but Sunderland have rallied a little since the goal.

YELLOW CARD (Jill Scott)

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

England midfielder Jill Scott is booked for a foul on Sunderland's Brooke Chaplen. It is hard to argue with that one really - there was no malice in the challenge, but she didn't get anywhere near the ball.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

...but Man City clear the danger and Sunderland's attack comes to nothing in the end.

Man City 0-0 Sunderland

Sunderland have responded well to falling behind and have forced a corner.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Man City v Sunderland
The FA

You could say that goal merits Man City's earlier play, as they have created more chances than Sunderland.

Incidentally, just before that goal, Karen Bardsley got down well to save a Brooke Chaplen effort at the other end. This game took a little while to spark to life, but will that opening goal change that?

GOAL (Christiansen)

Man City 1-0 Sunderland

Izzy Christiansen heads Man City into the lead and that is a decent header too. The midfielder finds the bottom corner from about 10 yards out and the hosts are ahead.

It was Krystle Johnston with the cross from the right and Christiansen, unmarked, grabs her second league goal of the season.

Man City 0-0 Sunderland

Thankfully, both players look set to continue.

Man City 0-0 Sunderland

Sunderland keeper Rachael Laws and Man City forward Natasha Harding collide and that looked painful.

The Man City move started when Izzy Christiansen played a good ball down the right to Krystle Johnston, whose low cross was aimed for Harding, but in going for the ball, both players caught each other instead.

Man City 0-0 Sunderland

Sunderland's Abbey Joice cuts inside and fires towards the near post but England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley palms that wide for a corner. That's Sunderland's best effort of the game so far.