Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti's snapped goal with 17 seconds left has snatched a critical five-point AFL win for Essendon over North Melbourne.
In a pulsating Saturday twilight duel at Marvel Stadium, it was the only Essendon goal of the last quarter as they won 12.14 (86) to 12.9 (81).
The Kangaroos paid a high price for the loss, potentially losing Luke McDonald for the rest of the season with his fibula leg bone fracture in the last quarter.
Rising Star nominee Nick Larkey also left the field in the final term with heart palpitations, which coach Rhyce Shaw said was a recurring issue.
Already missing captain Dyson Heppell through injury, the Bombers suffered a serious blow in the third term when key defender Michael Hurley left the game because of a shoulder injury.
Coach John Worsfold was initially unable to gauge the severity of the knock.
The win put Essendon into the top eight, while the tight loss stalls North's resurgence since Shaw took over as interim coach..
Essendon are on a three-game winning streak, all by 10 points or less.
Kangaroos key forward Ben Brown was best afield and his sixth goal at 17 minutes in the final term gave them the lead.
The Kangaroos were 18 points down at the last change and looked in big trouble.
But they stormed home with three goals in the final term, before Essendon managed to stop the rot from becoming a North goal flood.
Then McDonald-Tipungwuti, Essendon's talismanic small forward, snapped from a tight angle to cap his great game.
He led the Essendon scoring with four goals.
Worsfold said the team had spoken at length post-game about what happened in the last quarter.
"Obviously it was a bit frustrating ... we felt we went a bit reactive and stopped doing the things that were working for us early," he said.
"We sat back on our heels a bit but overall, there were some really good things in the game."
Essendon's two Clarkes played pivotal roles - ruckman Zac broke even with Todd Goldstein and midfielder Dylan laid 12 tackles as he restricted in-form Kangaroos onballer Ben Cunnington.
North led by 20 points in the first quarter, before Essendon took control through the second and third terms and threatened to break the game apart.
"It's so, so disappointing," Shaw said of the loss.
"The boys put their heads down in the last quarter and really went to work.
"It showed the fight they have in them and it's really disappointing on one side, but really pleasing on the other side, too."
Cunnington, fined $5000 this week and on the tribunal razor's edge, will come under scrutiny again for a high hit on fellow Cobden native Zach Merrett.
But the Bombers midfielder appeared to apply plenty of mayo and Cunnington will probably escape sanction.