A steely performance at Ikon Park has put Sandringham on the winners list for the third straight week, with the Zebras ousting Carlton by four points after persevering through a tense final term.

It was a result that didn’t look likely whatsoever after the visitors conceded the opening four goals of the game in the space of 15 minutes, before diligently chipping away at the Blues’ lead to regain control and pull ahead 9.11 (65) to 9.15 (69).

Two quick-fire goals in as many minutes from Mitch Owens put Sandringham in front early in the third term, leaving Matthew Allison (two goals) and Max Heath (three) to extend the two-point lead at the final change.

10:22 Mins
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VFL | RD9 Mini-Match: Carlton v Sandringham

Extended highlights of the Blues and Zebras VFL clash in round nine

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Jake Batchelor’s side has now won four of its past five encounters, with a gritty draw with GWS in Round 5 the only blotch on an otherwise impeccable record.

Ryan Byrnes – who flew in from Adelaide this morning after being unused as St Kilda's medical sub – and an unflustered Hunter Clark (31 disposals, seven clearances) may have tipped over the 30-disposal mark to be among their side’s most influential players, but it was a defenders’ day out at Ikon Park.

Mature-ager Tom Highmore was immense with 17 marks and 26 possessions at 92 per cent efficiency to lead the backline, while Jarrod Lienert was lethal by foot (23 kicks from 24 disposals, five inside-50s) after returning from emergency duties with Byrnes in the early hours of this morning.

VFL MATCH CENTRE: View all news, stats and videos from Round 9

It’s another feather in Highmore’s cap, with his standout month at reserves level yielding near best-on-ground accolades against GWS (30 disposals), Frankston (21) and Northern Bullants (29).

Jarryn Geary was equally proficient from is 21 touches to stabilise the backline, whose composure late in the game was vital as Carlton threatened to pinch the four points late. 

Tom Highmore reeled in a staggering 17 marks against the Blues. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Carlton had four less scoring shots than their opposition for the afternoon, but looked well-poised to strike back after Ned Cahill put them within a kick at the 27-minute mark – 11 minutes after the last major score – of the final term.

Loose-checking late chewed through valuable time however, with Sandringham able to wind down the clock unopposed to consolidate its come-from-behind revival.

Sandringham’s midfield scrapped its way on top of proceedings to shut down Carlton’s outside game after quarter-time, breaking even around stoppage after the almost-costly slow start.

01:15 Mins
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VFL | Clark all class over Carlton

Enjoy Hunter Clark's standout VFL performance for the Zebras

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Jack Bytel (26 touches, eight tackles) was unrelenting inside alongside Owens (24 disposals, two goals) as Tom Campbell proved important once again to finish with 32 hit-outs and four clearances, while Dan Butler looked dangerous with one goal from four opportunities in his first game for the Zebras.

Sandringham showed signs of cutting together an impressive highlights reel through several deft passages – complete with a fair share of candy-selling – but were let down by untidy disposal to finish off their theatrics.

Allison pulled off the first successful fake after sending Domanic Akuei diving the wrong way in the goal-square, while Jake Lohmann was just as flashy through his high-intensity pressure acts in the attacking half.

Sandringham will have eyes on a fourth consecutive win next Sunday against North Melbourne at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

CARLTON  4.3  6.6  7.9  9.11 (65)
SANDRINGHAM  1.2  5.7  7.11  9.15 (69)

GOALS
Carlton:
Dow 2, Boyd, Cahill, Crocker, Handley, Philp, Trudgeon, Williamson
Sandringham:
Heath 3, Allison 2, Owens 2, Butler, Lok

BEST
Carlton:
Dow, Boyd, Williamson, Setterfield, Trudgeon, Fogarty
Sandringham: Highmore, Byrnes, Geary, Lienert, Clark, Bytel, Campbell, Owens, Heath