Photo: Anthony Vella.

There may have been some unexpected assistance from the Blues late, but the Southern Saints are a game clear on top of the table after defeating Carlton by a goal at Ikon Park.

The Saints, who were coming off wins over Port Melbourne (three points), Collingwood (five) and Casey Demons (eight), were in front by just six points after ruck Chloe Bain goaled for the Blues in the 10th minute of the final quarter but were able to capitalise on a rare blunder by star Blues midfielder Millie Klingbeil.

Klingbeil won the centre clearance but drove the ball 50m the wrong way into the teeth of the Saints’ goal. 50-gamer Gabby De Angelis did the rest, booting her third goal in what turned out to be a match-winning display to restore a 12-point lead.

While Vanessa Murphy responded with a goal for Carlton to set up a thrilling finish, the Blues couldn’t find the goal to square the match, with the final siren sounding with the ball deep in their forward 50.

It's the Saints' fourth consecutive victory by single figures and the fifth of the season to-date.

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Once again it was the team winning less of the ball that got the chocolates, with the more efficient Saints having 49 less touches and eight less inside-50s but getting up through the influence of De Angelis, Michelle Podnecky (16 disposals, five tackles), Lucy Burke (14 disposals, six marks) and ruck Alexandra Hynes (38 hitouts, eight tackles), while Bec Neaves had 11 tackles.

Ashlee Thorneycroft (21 disposals, eight tackles, one goal) sparkled for Carlton, with strong support from Ally Bild (22 disposals), Izzy Khoury (15 disposals, seven clearances, eight tackles), Maddie Di Cosmo (17 disposals, five tackles), Klingbeil (14 disposals, six clearances) and Octavia Di Donato (16 disposals).

The Southern Saints will head to Arden Street next fortnight to take on North Melbourne with a view to strengthen their standing on top of the table.

CARLTON  0.1  2.2  3.2  5.2 (32)
  2.0  4.1  5.2  6.2 (38)

Wood, Thorneycroft, Murphy, Hurley, Bain
Southern Saints: De Angelis 3, Ryan, Cormack, Tregellis

Thorneycroft, Khoury, Di Cosmo, Bild, Klinbeil
Southern Saints: De Agelis, Podnecky, Hynes, Burke, Laing, Neaves