Carlton AFLW coach Daniel Harford has described his side's agonising four-point loss to Fremantle as "pretty gutting".
The Blues led virtually all day, and at one stage enjoyed a 21-point advantage, but a sensational three-goal burst in the final quarter saw the Dockers complete a remarkable fightback in a classic clash at Princes Park.
The 6.9 (45) to 6.5 (41) loss on Sunday all but ended the Blues' slim finals hopes as they slipped two games and percentage outside the top six.
"When you're in a position like we were, you want to be able to hold on more often than not and we weren't able to do that," Harford said.
"I was super proud of our girls today, I thought they put up a hell of a fight and a hell of a show for our supporters ... but that stings when you're up and you lose the game late."
When Nicola Stevens put Carlton up by 15 points with her second goal early in the final quarter, the hosts looked home.
But a pair of goals from Sabreena Duffy in the space of a minute got the Dockers to within two points.
Gemma Houghton's long-range set shot shortly afterwards put the visitors ahead for the first time and they held on until the final siren.
"It was a three-to-five-minute window of disaster from our perspective. It was nothing that we did wrong, it was just the way the game unfolded and that's why it is so difficult to take," Harford said.
The victory moved the Dockers (6-1) into first place on the ladder, after Brisbane ended Collingwood's unbeaten run this season in the late game on Sunday.
The Dockers, Lions and Magpies are separated by percentage only atop the table with two home-and-away rounds to play.
Fremantle coach Trent Cooper hailed the performance as one of the more memorable wins he'd been a part of.
"When it was three goals (required)] with six minutes and six seconds to go, I didn't think it was looking great at that stage," he said.
"We were in trouble and you always remember those come-from-behind wins, so it was definitely up there."
The star for Fremantle was Kiara Bowers, who amassed 28 disposals (15 contested), 11 tackles and nine clearances.
Duffy and Jasmin Stewart slotted two goals apiece for the visitors.
For Carlton, captain Kerryn Harrington (21 touches) was impressive, as were ruck Breanna Moody (18 and 22 hitouts), Maddy Prespakis and Stevens.