Jill Scott's header ensured England avoided embarrassment at their World Cup homecoming as they were made to work hard for Euro 2017 qualifying victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In their first home game since earning bronze in Canada, the Lionesses were tested by the weather and a team which barely ventured out of their own half.
England wasted a number of chances but Scott headed in Eni Aluko's cross.
It was their 12th win in 19 games in 2015.
Unlike in their opening Euro 2017 qualifier away to Estonia in September, which the Lionesses won 8-0, Bosnia-Herzegovina offered stern resistance despite being ranked 72nd in the world, 67 places below England.
But the win sent Mark Sampson's team second in Group Seven behind Belgium as England aim to reach the European Championship in the Netherlands and build on their historic year in which they achieved their best World Cup finish.
England homecoming better late than never
It might have been nearly five months since England captured the imagination in Canada, but the squad received a heroes' welcome in front of 13,040 fans at a wet and windy Ashton Gate.
Several hundred supporters staged a march to the ground before kick-off and they mobbed players for autographs as the Lionesses and Sampson, returning to the city of his former team Bristol Academy, strode off the bus in the pouring rain.
The party atmosphere continued ahead of kick-off as current squad members Casey Stoney, Fara Williams and Scott all received special Uefa caps, which have just been introduced, for passing 100 appearances.
They joined fellow centurions Gillian Coultard, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey, Rachel Unitt, Alex Scott and Karen Carney, who received their awards before kick-off.
Perhaps seeking to entertain the expectant crowd, Sampson named an attacking line-up which included Chelsea forwards Aluko and the impressive Gemma Davison.
Jordan Nobbs hit the bar with a 20-yard shot after 10 minutes but despite the Lionesses camping in Bosnia-Herzegovina's half it proved to be a frustrating afternoon.
What did England learn?
In keeping with their route to the World Cup, where England won all 10 of their qualifiers, the big tests between now and Euro 2017 are likely to come in friendlies.
But Bosnia-Herzegovina were no pushovers. Their lack of adventure, allied to bullishness in defence and goalkeeper Almina Hodzic's confidence in coming for crosses, made it a difficult task for the hosts, who had their patience and composure tested.
With the Women's Super League finishing last month, England looked rusty as they went in at the break goalless with Aluko guilty of two misses and Jess Clarke failing to nod in from close range.
Davison, who did not go to the World Cup, impressed the crowd with some marauding runs and nice touches and Nobbs tested Hodzic with several long-range efforts, but it was a familiar face who saved England's blushes.
Scott rose high to head home and give the home fans the goal they craved after having their hearts stolen last summer.
While England looked well short of their displays in Canada, Sampson will be content that his team secured a positive end to a year in which England have been on an upward curve.
Player of the match: Gemma Davison
Showed enterprise in the final third where others struggled. Just a pity that all her good work did not produce more goals. "She was lively and creative. She wanted to make things happen," said ex-England international Sue Smith on BBC Two.
England have a break now until 8 April where they will host Belgium in a game which is likely to decide who tops Group Seven. Four days later, England travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina.