A BLAST of five goals in 14 minutes took Pascoe Vale from a warm favourite to surprise eight-point loser against Avondale Heights on Saturday.
The Panthers led by as much as 29 points at Raeburn Reserve only to lose 15.12 (102) to 16.14 (110) in Essendon District Football League premier division.
Pascoe Vale held the Heights to just four first-half goals and spent much of the first two quarters threatening to break away to a bigger margin.
When Luke Nolan goaled in 90 seconds at the start of the third term to make the margin 28 it looked like Avondale Heights' half-time talk had gone out the window.
But the response was fast and furious as Avondale Heights closed to within two points by the 18-minute mark of the quarter, turning a goal down at the last change.
Pascoe Vale struck first in the final quarter to lead by 11 but the first and only lead change of the match at the seven-minute mark was enough for Avondale Heights to go on and take victory.
Panthers players Jarrod Bannister, Danny O'Sullivan, Steve Pretty, Brendan Meroli and four-goal Daniel Nolan had patches of dominance.
"We made a point at half-time that A Grade football is different and you're never out of the game," assistant coach Stephen Paxman said.
"They were a little bit harder, it's an application and footy is played above the [shoulders]."
At Craigieburn, the Eagles pushed Aberfeldie in the first half but fell off the pace to remain winless and a game behind Essendon Doutta Stars in the relegation zone from premier division.
In division 1, Balraj Singh's bag of 18 goals for Westmeadows against Jacana was the biggest scoring splurge in a round bereft of close contests.
Hadfield won match of the weekend by 11 points against East Keilor, while the next closest margin was Tullamarine's 108-point romp against Hillside.