Essendon have escaped by the barest of margins against the bottom-placed West Coast Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
The Bombers entered the contest at Marvel Stadium as the red hot favourites as they looked to keep their finals aspirations alive.
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The Bombers took control of the contest with a six-goal second quarter, but the Eagles came flying home and looked to have pulled off the upset of the season.
But it was a giant reprieve for Bombers fans when Kyle Langford slotted the match-winning goal with less than 90 seconds to play as Essendon secured the 10.13 (73) to 11.6 (72) win.
The Eagles took control of the contest from halfway through the third quarter as they kicked seven out of eight goals with Ryan Maric putting his team in front with a tick under two minutes on the clock.
Fans in attendance and watching on simply couldn’t believe what they were seeing unfold, but the Bombers responded instantly and retook the lead before holding on until the final siren in one of the more unconvincing wins of the season.
Fans far and wide savaged the ugly display put forth by the Bombers in a game many want scrubbed from their memory.
ESPN’s Steve Smith wrote: “This is beyond embarrassing. Laughing-stock.”
The Advocate Tasmania’s Alex Fair wrote: “Let’s just forget that game ever happened. Not one to celebrate at all.”
ESPN’s Matt Walsh wrote: “Four points, burn the tapes kinda win that one.”
Based on their lacklustre performance against a team which has been travelling worse than the infamous 1996 Fitzroy team for much of the season, Essendon will be nothing more than September cannon fodder if they somehow manage to finish in the top eight.
Outside of a dominant six-goal second quarter, the Bombers were troubled severely by the Eagles for much of the contest.
The result squared the Bombers’ win-loss ledger at 10-10, and they could finish the round two points outside the top eight if results go their way this weekend. But they look anything but a finals-calibre side.
The match presented a golden opportunity for Essendon to get a much-needed percentage boost over the bottom team whose average losing margin was 67 points this year.
But they only increased their percentage from 98.4 to 98.5. To finish in the top eight, they will probably have to still win their final three games against North Melbourne, the Giants in Sydney and premiership favourites Collingwood, which looks highly unlikely based on their latest effort.
– with Ronny Lerner, NCA Newswire