Sydney have withstood a last-quarter blitzkrieg from Essendon to win a thrilling contest by four points on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.
In one of the season's most memorable finishes, the Swans appeared all but home when they led by 48 points late in the third quarter after Jarrad McVeigh kicked truly, with Essendon having scored a woefully inaccurate 2.14 by that stage of the match.
But the Swans had simply run their race by then as the Bombers found their mojo and fired off nine goals to two in an incredible final term.
Charging forward at every opportunity, the Bombers appeared a relentless force as they brought back memories of 1992 when they came from 47 points down five minutes into the last quarter to beat Melbourne.
And it appeared a similar result was on the cards as they cleared from defence with 30 seconds remaining, moving the ball forward to Courtenay Dempsey, a significant last-quarter performer, who marked on the edge of the 50-metre line with just two seconds left on the clock.
But with the Essendon crowd going berserk, Dempsey simply had no idea how much time was left on the clock as he marginally came off his mark to play on as the chance of taking a miraculous after-the-siren shot at victory simply evaporated in one bitter moment.
Dempsey could only sink to his haunches in despair as the Swans theme song erupted from the speakers, Sydney having held on for a 13.8 (86) to 11.16 (82) victory that sees them leapfrog the Bombers into top spot on the ladder.
Despite Essendon's last-quarter heroics, the victory was a deserved one for the Swans who had pressured their opponents into numerous mistakes for three quarters and out-ran the Bombers all over the park.
Jude Bolton continued to turn back the clock with 28 disposals and a final-quarter goal that ultimately proved instrumental in the result, while Ryan O'Keefe had 27 touches and the ever-reliable Josh Kennedy 26.
Lewis Jetta also booted three goals, including the Swans' final one at the 26-minute mark of the last quarter, a snap that gave Sydney a 10-point advantage with 4 minutes and 46 seconds remaining.
But the Bombers kept coming and when Jobe Watson marked strongly and drilled his second goal of the final term with 1.43 left on the clock, all bets were off as to how the result would pan out.
But no one counted on poor old Dempsey to play on just at the wrong moment.
Along with his two goals, Watson had 11 of his 32 possession in the final quarter in a massive captain's performance, while Alwyn Davey also booted three for the losers.
Right from the outset, though, there appeared something amiss with the Bombers, even if they scored the first goal through Davey's snap five minutes into the game.
It proved the only goal Essendon kicked for the half however, as the kicking malaise that afflicted them in last week's loss to Melbourne lingered on, leading to the Bombers booting 11 straight behinds from then to half-time as the Swans piled on eight unanswered goal to lead by 37 at the main break.
Sydney were fantastic right across the ground, however, pressuring the Bombers into mistakes and busting the game open simply by running harder to get more men to the contest.
With numerous Swans swarming around the ball, it allowed Sydney to methodically work their way through the trickiest of situations through some dinky little handballs chains.
And once the ball was out in the open, runners like Tony Armstrong and Lewis Jetta did their stuff, accelerating into space and setting up Sydney attacks as Essendon's defence was repeatedly exposed by the lack of midfield pressure, the Swans enjoying 52 more uncontested possessions in the first half.
Compounding Essendon's woes, the Swans' tackling pressure meant they struggled to get their kicking efficiency above 60 percent and even when they found a target, it was often to the wrong player in the wrong position.
But football is a funny game, and while the Bombers had been run off their feet for the majority of the contest, they still had enough in the tank for a final flourish, one that only narrowly fell short.
ESSENDON: 1.5, 1.11, 2.15, 11.16 (82)
SYDNEY: 5.3, 8.6, 11.8, 13.8 (86)
GOALS: Essendon: Davey 3, Watson 2, Howlett, Lovett-Murray, Stanton, Myers, Jetta, Hocking
Sydney: Jetta 3, Reid 2, Jack 2, Everitt, Mumford, Shaw, Bolton, McVeigh, Roberts-Thomson
BEST: Essendon: Watson, Davey, Fletcher, Hooker, Howlett, Dempsey
Sydney: Bolton, Jetta, Armstrong, O'Keefe, Kennedy, Jack
INJURIES: Essendon Nil
Sydney: Hannebury (concussion)
CHANGES: Essendon David Zaharakis (quad) replaced in selected side by Nathan Lovett-Murray
UMPIRES: Margetts, Meredith, McInerney
CROWD: 47,625 at the Etihad Stadium, Melbourne