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High five: Essendon's best home-and-away wins in the modern era

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Essendon v North Melbourne (Round 16, 2001, MCG)

By round 16 of 2001, an all-conquering Essendon had won 57 of their past 65 games. On this Sunday, they'd take on a Kangaroo outfit missing Wayne Carey, Anthony Stevens and Mick Martyn. Yet for 40 minutes, that counted for nought, North unstoppable with an amazing 12-goal first term. By the time big ruckman Matthew Burton snapped their 15th 10 minutes into the second quarter, the gap was a scarcely believable 69 points. Cue the biggest comeback in football history. Inspired by Jason Johnson, skipper James Hird and Matthew Lloyd, the Bombers rattled on nine unanswered goals in the next 20 minutes, the gap closed to 21 points at half-time. Then came a classic, see-sawing second half. Essendon would get 19 points up before two late goals to Corey McKernan made it six points in the Dons' favour. Finally, Blake Caracella sealed the deal, Essendon victors by 12 points in a 52-goal epic.

2001 AFL (Australian Football League) - Round 16 - Essendon versus Kangaroos - Ground MCG

rek010722.001.003.jpg.  Picture by Ray Kennedy.The Age Melbourne.Sport Digital....Essendon captain James Hird  (L) is hugged by John Barnes after comeback win over North.

Amazing comeback: James Hird and John Barnes embrace after the amazing turnaround in 2001. Photo: Ray Kennedy

Carlton v Essendon (Round 20, 1981, Princes Park)

After a scratchy start under Kevin Sheedy, Essendon had built a full head of steam with 13 straight wins when they took on flag favourite Carlton at Princes Park. The Bombers struggled, and by the 20 minute mark of the final term were 26 points down after a long goal from Carlton's Jim Buckley. But as they had in many of those previous victories, Essendon kept coming. Roger Merrett then Paul Vander Haar goaled. Now came controversy, as Carlton captain Mike Fitzpatrick, trying to run down the clock, was free kicked for wasting time. Enter Neale Daniher, switched at three-quarter-time from defence to attack. At the 30-minute mark, he marked between two defenders and converted. From the next centre clearance, Glenn Hawker threw the ball on his boot, his tumbling punt landing smack on Daniher's chest. From 30 metres, Daniher did it again, Essendon, incredibly, now in front with only seconds remaining. And there they stayed.

FILE PIC Age library hard copy .  dated 16.8.1981.  Essendon's Neale Daniher, right, after booting the late match-saving goal at Princes Park, looks up to see brother Terry Daniher (NO.  5) waving his congratulations.

Match saver: Neale Daniher (right), after booting the late goal at Princes Park, looks up to see brother Terry celebrating. Photo: Age library

Essendon v Melbourne (Round 6, 1992, MCG)

Melbourne led by 40-odd points for most of this game, and 47 a couple of minutes into the last term after a goal to Chris Sullivan, Garry Lyon on fire up forward with five goals. The Bombers' amazing response came seemingly from nowhere, seven goals slammed on in the next 12 minutes, six of those shared by Paul Salmon and Peter Somerville. After 11 goalless minutes, Gavin Wanganeen nailed Paul Bryce in a tackle and a won a free for the holding the ball. From 52 metres, his shot dropped over the goal line, and the Dons, incredibly, were one point in front. As the Demons attacked again in desperation, Bomber Derek Kickett took a match-saving mark running with the flight and slamming into a goalpost, and in the final seconds, David Flood, too, saved the day. The siren rang, Essendon having produced the equal third-biggest comeback from a three-quarter time deficit in the game's history.

Photosales website

Essendon versus Melbourne.   Paul Salmon outmarks Terry Daniher ans Todd Viney.   Photo by Darrin Braybrook.   Published 26-4-1992.   From hardcopy file P: SALMON, Paul: ACTION

Flying fish: Paul Salmon outmarks Terry Daniher and Todd Viney. Photo: Darrin Braybrook

Fremantle v Essendon (Round 3, 2013, Subiaco)

Events in the still-fresh "supplements saga" seemed to be coming to a head quickly early in the 2013 season, with pressure on Bomber coach James Hird to resign intense, and on the day of this game in Perth, reports circulating that he was, indeed, about to step down. It was a tumultuous backdrop against which Essendon would attempt a rare win on the road against a side already looking the goods. And that's how it played out early, the Dockers 36 points up by half-time, the Bombers having kicked just one goal. But determined to find something for their coach, the Dons now kept Freo virtually scoreless while adding five third-term goals of their own. With scores level and barely a minute to play, Paddy Ryder's curling snap won the day, though the Dons still had to survive Freo's Chris Mayne snapping and hitting the post from 15 metres out, a famous and highly-emotional victory finally delivered.

AFL. Round 3.Fremantle v Essendon at Patersons Stadium. Fremantle's Zac Dawson to late to stop Essendon's Patrick Ryder. 12th April 2013.Picture Sebastian Costanzo. The Age.

Emotional win: Paddy Ryder soars in front of Zac Dawson Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Essendon v Collingwood (Round 5, 2009, MCG)

Essendon's annual Anzac Day clash with Collingwood is always a huge occasion. But none are remembered as fondly as the Bombers' last-second triumph against the Magpies in 2009. It started badly with David Hille injured in the opening term, leaving Paddy Ryder to shoulder the ruck burden alone. But Ryder would respond with his best game, winning the Anzac Medal. Collingwood still led by 14 points with less than three minutes left. A snap from Leroy Jetta gave the Dons a glimmer of hope. Then Ricky Dyson threaded one from the boundary line. Jetta fumbled a chance to win it. But from the resultant kick-in, Nathan Lovett-Murray chipped a pass to David Zaharakis, playing only his fourth AFL game. Right on the 50-metre arc and with rain now pelting down, the 19-year-old didn't hesitate. His kick was the sealer, barely time for another centre bounce before the siren heralded a famous victory.

AFL ROUND 5  ANZAC DAY AFL ESSENDON V COLLINGWOOD MCG  Pictured is   David Zaharakis and his Essendon teammates celebrating the match winning goal deep into the last quarter  Picture by Pat Scala  Saturday the 25th of Apil 2009  SUNDAY AGE AFL  ANZAC DAY AFL

Mobbed: David Zaharakis and his teammates celebrate the match-winning goal in an Anzac Day thriller Photo: Pat Scala