Melbourne have capped a horrible week for Essendon with a pulsating one-point AFL win at the MCG.
Substitute Christian Salem marked and goalled in the last minute to put the Demons ahead and they held on 12.6 (78) to 10.17 (77).
Melbourne did not hit the front until midway through the last quarter and the crisis-plagued Bombers were left ruing their woeful kicking for goal.
The heartbreaking loss follows the news on Thursday that ASADA was issuing show cause notices to 34 current and past Essendon players relating to the club’s supplements scandal.
Apart from the show cause notices, Essendon also lost captain Jobe Watson for potentially the rest of the season early last week with leg surgery.
They lost another leader as a late withdrawal when veteran defender Dustin Fletcher was ruled out with back soreness.
But they completely dominated the opening minutes, with 13 inside 50s to nil.
While the Demons did not go inside 50 until 14 minutes, Essendon could not capitalise on their domination.
They only kicked two goals and led by 13 points.
After managing just three goals against Collingwood last week, the Demons finally opened their account with the first two goals of the second term.
After going goal for goal, Essendon broke clear with the last two goals of the second term and the opening two goals of the third.
They led by a game-high 33 points and looked in control.
But Melbourne starting to open up play and made Essendon pay for too many turnovers.
They kicked three out of four goals to only trail by 12 points at the last change.
Essendon had plenty of chances to relieve the pressure early in the last quarter, but their horrible goalkicking continued with three behinds.
After James Frawley snapped accurately, Dean Kent had a scything three-bounce run and capped it with an outstanding goal to put them in front for the first time.
Jack Watts kicked his second to put the Demons eight points up.
After Kent had another shot that went out of bounds on the full, David Zaharakis kicked two running goals in a minute to put the ‘Dons back in front.
Brent Stanton then had another shot on goal, but Melbourne defender Lynden Dunn capped his outstanding game by rushing it through for a behind.
A minute later, Melbourne broke clear out of defence and the ball ended up with Salem, who kicked the match winner.
Apart from Dunn, Nathan Jones was outstanding in the midfield for Melbourne.
Zaharakis kicked a game-high four goals and acting captain Brendon Goddard was also high among Essendon’s best.