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Beaten City confront W-League unknown

AAP logoAAP 21/12/2016 Ben McKay

What happens when the team that's never lost, loses? And loses twice in a row?

Melbourne City's powerhouse W-League side are about to show us.

After the first perfect season in national soccer history and extending their winning run to 16 regular-season matches in this campaign, City have finally tasted that losing feeling.

A pair of 2-1 defeats to title fancies Canberra United and cellar-dwelling Western Sydney has turned the blowtorch on Joe Montemurro's side.

The club suffered a further blow when their championship-winning captain Lisa De Vanna jumped off the couch to sign for United for the balance of the season.

City midfielder and assistant coach Jess Fishlock said the club's fortnight had created cause for introspection but a response needed to come in their next match, a double header with Perth Glory on December 27.

"We can either feel sorry for ourselves or react together," she told AAP.

"Now we realise we're not going to step on the park and win. We have to earn the right to win.

"This could knock a bit of complacency out of us and get us back to who we know we are."

Fishlock said the Wanderers match was typical of the enhanced efforts from rival teams, distilled into an astonishing performance from 17-year-old goalkeeper Jada Whyman.

"We had a gazillion chances and their keeper was just ridiculous, catching everything. The week before against Victory, she dropped the ball at the striker's feet," she said.

"That's the difference between teams playing against us and every other team."

The Welsh playmaker said it had been more interesting watching the reactions of other teams and W-League viewers.

"Everyone is eagerly awaiting things to happen to us and to fall apart," she said.

"It was always going to be far, far more difficult this year than last year.

"But we're not in a crisis," Fishlock adds, understandably so when the table shows City one point from top spot.

"It's not a wake up call because we haven't been poor. We're still in a good situation.

"We have to stay together, stay strong and we'll be fine."

De Vanna's defection makes City's return to the top of the table more difficult, but Fishlock said the Matildas captain's switch came with City's blessing.

"It was the club's decision. We were OK with not re-signing Lisa," she said.

"It was time for Lisa to move on. If you sum up Canberra in a word it's 'pace' ... she is going there with that game plan.

"Our philosophy is that shape beats pace. We've played them twice. They've won once and we've won once. We'll see how that goes."

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