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Blues pinch five-point win in thrilling finish

Highlights: Carlton v Adelaide The Blues and Crows clash in round 10
Kade Simpson of the Blues in action during the 2014 AFL Round 10 match between Carlton Blues and the Adelaide Crows at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on May 25, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Kade Simpson starred in Carlton's five-point win on Sunday
CARLTON has escaped with a five-point win against Adelaide at the MCG on Sunday evening in a scrappy clash that would have left both teams questioning their credentials in 2014.
 
The Crows pushed relentlessly in the final moments but couldn't break through, with Charlie Cameron unable to complete a mark in attack as the siren sounded.
 
The Blues chances were hanging by a thread in the dying moments but they keep sight of the top eight, winning their fourth match from five games, 12.9 (81) to 10.16 (76).

 
A total of just six goals were kicked in the first half, but the shackles were loosened after the main break and Carlton was able to maintain a slim lead in the run home. 
 
Well held in the first half, former Blue Eddie Betts was able to kick three of his four goals in the second half to keep his team in the contest.
 
For Carlton, Kade Simpson (36 possessions and 11 marks) was prolific and courageous, while Chris Yarran (23 and a goal) sparked the team when it was most needed.

 
Young forward Troy Menzel was a livewire in the first half, and he resurfaced with a crucial mark and set shot in the fourth quarter.
 
The run-with effort of Andrejs Everitt on Adelaide star Rory Sloane, who was held to 18 possessions, was significant in the midfield battles.
 
Former Magpie Dale Thomas also played his best game for his new club, converting a crucial set shot 14 minutes into the final term that put the Blues ahead by seven points.
 
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse was "very happy" with the result and was particularly pleased with his team's effort to "defensively just hold out".
 
"It was a tough, hard win," Malthouse said.
 
"I was pleased just to get a victory against a very good football side – they proved that last week and the week before that.
 
"They're not an easy side to play against. They've got some really sensational-type players."
 
One of those players, star Patrick Dangerfield was hampered by a back injury, but he persisted to finish with 11 clearances from his 25 possessions opposed to Dennis Armfield.
 

However, he decided to play on halfway through the final term when he marked 20m out from goal and missed a snap that would have cut the margin to one point.
 
The Crows had won four games from their past five matches, but Sunday's loss keeps them adrift of the top eight and with doubts on their ability to compete consistently through matches.  
 
"It was an ugly contest and unfortunately for us we were the losers," coach Brenton Sanderson said.  
 
"We were scrappy and we kicked the ball at 58 per cent I think, which means every second kick of ours didn't hit a target.
 
"Normally you aim for [a percentage] in the low 70s, so to kick at 58 per cent was really disappointing. We're pretty angry about that."
 
If the first half was to be remembered for anything, it would be the hesitant ball movement of both teams and their constant inability to hit targets.
 
Indeed, it was some of the most forgettable football played this season with Carlton managing just 4.2 to Adelaide's 2.7 in perfect twilight conditions at the MCG.
 
The Crows tall forward line of Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins and James Podsiadly shaped as a threat pre-game, but the trio remained goalless at the main break from 25 forward entries.  
 
Walker would finish with one goal, while Podsiadly moved into the backline in the final term after Ben Rutten was substituted. Jenkins booted 0.4.  
 
Carlton faces the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba next Saturday while the Crows face Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.  

Sam Kerridge and Dale Thomas battle for possession on Sunday evening. Picture: AFL Media



CARLTON      2.2      4.2      8.5      12.9    (81)                  
ADELAIDE     1.4      2.7      7.12   10.16   (76)          
 
GOALS
Carlton: Menzel 3, Docherty 2, Casboult, Yarran, Everitt, Simpson, Ellard, Thomas, Waite
Adelaide: Betts 4, Kerridge, Walker, Cameron, Thompson, Jaensch, Mackay
 
BEST 
Carlton: Simpson, Yarran, Everitt, Menzel Gibbs, McLean
Adelaide: Jacobs, Betts, Thompson, Dangerfield, Douglas, Laird
 
INJURIES 
Carlton: Simpson (corked left thigh), Buckley (left leg)
Adelaide: Dangerfield (back)
 
SUBSTITUTES
Carlton: Jeff Garlett replaced Dylan Buckley in the third quarter.
Adelaide: Jarryd Lyons replaced Ben Rutten at three-quarter-time.
 
Reports: Nil
 
Umpires: Leppard, Hay, Meredith
 
Official crowd: 32,419 at the MCG.