Essendon withstood a late Collingwood push to hold on for a 12-point win at the MCG on Friday night.

Essendon emphatically answered its critics with the 13.14 (92) to 12.8 (80) victory that moves them into third spot on the ladder.

MAGPIES v BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats

Essendon skipper Zach Merrett kicked the first goal of the game before Collingwood responded with the next five - including three in three minutes to Jack Crisp - in an electric opening term.

Bombers forward Jake Stringer kicked his first and only goal of the game on the quarter-time siren to steady the onslaught and bring the margin back to 15 points.

 The Bombers led by Merrett found a way to work themselves back into the game and were in complete control post-quarter time.

The Bombers captain had the ball on a string, registering 20 disposals and 10 score involvements in a blistering opening half, before finishing with 30 disposals, five clearances, 15 score involvements and a goal to be one of his side's best.

The Bombers led by as much as 31 points in the final quarter before Collingwood kicked three late goals to bring the margin back.

Magpies forward Brody Mihocek exited the game late in the fourth term with a pectoral injury.

COLLINGWOOD      5.2     8.4      8.7        12.8 (80)  
ESSENDON              2.5     6.8     10.12     13.14 (92)

Collingwood: Crisp 3, Howe 2, Harrison 2, Kreuger 2, Mihocek, Pendlebury, Schultz
Essendon: Langford 2, Wright 2, Caddy, Caldwell, Draper, Duursma, Gresham, Guelfi, Jones, Merrett, Stringer

Collingwood: Ned Long (replaced Charlie Dean in the third quarter)
Nick Hind (replaced Nate Caddy in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 81,711 at the MCG