Melbourne have plunged Carlton’s season into further crisis with a shock 23-point AFL win at the MCG.
Mick Malthouse’s men are now without a win after four rounds following the scrappy affair that saw Demons record their first victory of 2014, a 12.9 (81) to 7.16 (58) result on Saturday afternoon.
The game was still in the balance as the Blues closed to within 17 points late in the game, but a miracle goal from Cameron Pedersen with just over two minutes remaining sealed the first win of Paul Roos’ tenure.
Nathan Jones was superb for Melbourne gathering 28 disposals, while blanketing Carlton skipper Marc Murphy, with James Frawley important with two goals and 14 marks up forward.
The Blues got the start they were after when Levi Casboult’s goal quickly followed Murphy’s opener, but they failed to make the most of their early dominance.
Melbourne made them pay with Chris Dawes, in his first game of the season, and Frawley, playing his second match up forward, hit the scoreboard to slice Carlton’s lead to just two points at quarter-time.
The Blues suffered an injury blow with young forward Troy Menzel subbed out of the game with a corked calf.
The Demons seized their opportunity with Nathan Jones curbing the influence of Murphy, which allowed his side to wrest control of the midfield battle and take the lead.
Frawley continued to prove a handful in his new role with another goal as Melbourne surged to a 17-point advantage, but the Blues mounted a late charge with two goals to David Ellard in the shadows of halftime, narrowing the margin to four points.
The sides traded turnovers in a sloppy start to the second half before the Demons gave themselves some breathing space with goals to Rohan Bail and Dawes.
A controversial free kick paid against Robbie Warnock saw Bail add another leaving Carlton 21 points in arrears at the last break.
The Blues scored five behinds to start the final term only to see Jack Watts hurt them at the other end with his second of the match before Pedersen stepped up to seal the win.