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Power leave it late, but finally switch on to beat Demons

Highlights: Port Adelaide vs Melbourne Watch the highlights from the clash with Port Adelaide on Sunday at Adelaide Oval
Chris Dawes and Jack Hombsch do battle for the ball - ${keywords}
Chris Dawes and Jack Hombsch do battle for the ball
PORT Adelaide held off a plucky Melbourne to scrape a three-point win on Sunday and ensure club stalwart Dom Cassisi retired a winner.

Port's Justin Westhoff, Jay Schulz and Paul Stewart kicked two goals each in an error-riddled 10.12 (72) to 10.9 (69) triumph at Adelaide Oval.

The Power won their first game in a month, but it took until Schulz slotted the game-winning goal, a 35m shot from a tight angle with less than two minutes remaining.

The final margin was so slim that Port missed a chance to grab a spot in the top four after Fremantle's shock loss to St Kilda on Saturday.


The Power were far from convincing, relying heavily on cameos from Robbie Gray (26 disposals), Westhoff and the midfield grunt of Ollie Wines (26 possessions).

Having criticised his side's inside game last week, Power coach Ken Hinkley was a happy man with his side winning the contested possession count 137-130 and the tackle count 89-58.
 
"We got the win but we got it in a Dom Cassisi fashion, I reckon, we got back on track with tackling and contested possession," Hinkley said.
 
"Sometimes you've just got to start there and then work your way from that."

Melbourne were superbly served by onballers Nathan Jones (31 touches) and Dom Tyson (two goals, 32 disposals) but slipped to their 13th loss of the year.

The Demons threatened to spoil Port's farewell party for ex-captain Cassisi, who retired after the game.

Melbourne appeared headed for a heavy loss when Port streaked to a five-goal lead midway through the second term before a 37,894-strong crowd.

But instead of accelerating the Power hit cruise mode as the Demons responded with the next three goals to trail by only 13 points at half-time.

And Melbourne continued their surge after the break, adding another three goals without reply - two stellar shots on the run from Sam Blease and Jay Kennedy-Harris, and a 55m bomb from Jack Watts.

The triple treat gave the Demons a six-point lead, but Port's Chad Wingard scored after the three-quarter time siren to give the home side a two-point buffer at the last change.

A stalemate ensued, broken by Port's Aaron Young with a goal in the 16th minute that edged the Power to a nine-point margin.


The Demons responded with Rohan Bail dribbling a remarkable 40m snap from the boundary line before Tyson slotted his second for Melbourne to hit the front.

But with one minute 55 seconds left, Schulz threaded an under-pressure match-winner to give Port its 12th win for the season.
 
Despite the loss, Demons coach Paul Roos was thrilled with the team's performance after entering the game on the back of consecutive 10-goal defeats.

"Given the last three weeks we've had it, was a really good effort for us," he said.

"Obviously when you get so close you dissect the game pretty closely towards the end and it comes back to a little bit of their composure, a couple of mistakes we made - and that's why they're where they are and that's why we're where we are.

"Overall it was a terrific effort … that's the sort of standard we want to set as a footy club."




Power's Robbie Gray handballs under pressure from Colin Garland. Picture: AFL Media

PORT ADELAIDE      4.4   7.6    8.9   10.12 (72)
MELBOURNE     2.3   5.5     8.7    10.9 (69)          
 
GOALS
Port Adelaide: Westhoff 2, Stewart 2, Schulz 2, Pittard, Boak, Wingard, Young
Melbourne: Tyson 2, Tapscott, Vince, Pedersen, Frawley, Blease, Kennedy-Harris, Watts, Bail

BEST 
Port Adelaide: Wines, Gray, Ebert, Westhoff, Lobbe, Cornes
Melbourne: Tyson, Jones, Frawley, Jamar, Bail, Viney
 
INJURIES 
Port Adelaide: Nil
Melbourne: Nil
 
SUBSTITUTES
Port Adelaide: Matt White replaced by Ben Newton at three-quarter time
Melbourne: Aidan Riley replaced by Dean Kent at three-quarter time
 
Reports: 
Port Adelaide: Nil
Melbourne: Nil
 
Umpires: Margetts, Dalgleish, Harris
 
Official crowd: 37,894 at Adelaide Oval