Adelaide have survived a massive scare and held off a fast-finishing St Kilda by four points at AAMI Stadium on Friday night.
The Crows were never headed, but were very nearly overtaken at the death before prevailing, nervously, 17.13 (115) to 16.15 (111).
The Saints lost each of the first three quarters and trailed by 33 points four minutes into the fourth term and then by 27 points entering time-on, but almost conjured a football miracle.
Arryn Siposs snapped truly in the 21st minute to reduce the deficit to 21 points, then two goals in as many minutes to Stephen Milne who had been well held made it a 10-point ball-game.
Leigh Montagna snaffled a fine contested mark and goaled after the siren, but the hard-running Saints left their run just a couple of minutes too late.
Adelaide midfielder Scott Thompson helped himself to 39 disposals and Kurt Tippett booted five, his best return in two seasons, while St Kilda spearheads Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke were both well held.
Tippett booted three of his five goals in the opening term, lowering Jason Blake's colours and taking the aerial route to snare a hanger over the top of Koschitzke.
The Crows held sway for much of the first period, particularly in the contested ball, but a Brendon Goddard major in the last 10 seconds took a hint of gloss off Adelaide's quarter, but the hosts still led by 14 points at the first break.
Jason Porplyzia set AAMI Stadium alight in the second term, slamming three goals in less than 10 minutes the last time he booted three in a match was 2010 to help the Crows to a healthy five-goal lead.
At the other end, Koschitzke who failed to collect a single touch up to quarter-time and Riewoldt who had one first-quarter possession, after spending much of the first 12 minutes in the changerooms missed a relative sitter each as the Crows looked like further stamping their authority.
Slowly but surely though, the Saints midfield began to get on top. Three unanswered goals to Nick Dal Santo, Montagna and Siposs pegged the difference back to nine points.
Adelaide responded with a couple of stylish goals, through Ian Callinan with a superb left-foot snap and Taylor Walker with a sweet banana, which allowed the home side to retrieve the impetus and create some breathing space.
But again the Crows allowed St Kilda to sneak one in the dying seconds when Adam Schneider goaled courtesy of a 50m penalty inside the final minute to make it a 16-point ball-game at the end of an entertaining half, in which Thompson was especially prolific (23 touches, 15 in the second term).
Tippett booted his fourth early in the third and a couple of fine snaps three minutes apart from the tallest and shortest men on the field Sam Jacobs and Callinan - helped the Crows fashion what appeared to be a match-winning 31-point three-quarter time lead.
Walker missed a pair of set shots early in the final stanza which probably would have iced it for Adelaide, and the Saints made them pay, slotting the next two through Dal Santo and Riewoldt to help reduce the gap to 19 points.
The visitors were starting to really dictate, but were momentarily stopped when Tippett jagged his fifth at the 17-minute mark after receiving a fortunate free kick.
But it was the Crows' only joy after three-quarter time.
The Saints refused to die and finished with a barnstorming 4.0 to 0.1 flurry amid an overall 6.3 to 1.6 final term to almost secure a remarkable come-from-behind triumph.ADELAIDE: 5.3, 11.6, 16.7, 17.13 (115)
ST KILDA: 3.1, 8.8, 10.12, 16.15 (111)GOALS: ADELAIDE: Tippett 5, Porplyzia 3, Walker 2, Callinan 2, Wright 2, Mackay, Jacobs, Thompson
ST KILDA: Milne 3, Schneider 2, Dal Santo 2, Riewoldt 2, Siposs 2, Montagna 2, Steven, Goddard, Armitage
BEST: ADELAIDE: Thompson, Tippett, Dangerfield, Jacobs, Porplyzia, Callinan, Martin, Sloane
ST KILDA: Dal Santo, Montagna, Jones, Hayes, Schneider, Dempster, Armitage, Steven
INJURIES: ADELAIDE: nil
ST KILDA: Blake (head)
CHANGES: Ahmed Saad (head) replaced in St Kilda's selected side by Jarryn Geary
UMPIRES: Donlon, Jeffery, McInerney
CROWD: 36,394 at AAMI Stadium