Melbourne Victory twice came from behind to earn a crucial 2-2 draw with rivals Sydney FC and return to the top of the W-League with one round remaining.
Star Victory striker Natasha Dowie equalised with 13 minutes remaining against Sydney FC with the goal lifting her side from fourth to first amid a congested ladder.
Dowie's strike ended a flurry of second-half goals as Sydney FC's Chloe Logarzo and Victory's Emily Gielnik netted amid an at-times feisty encounter.
Caitlin Foord failed to convert an early penalty as Victory goalkeeper Casey Dumont blocked the spot-kick after Logarzo had been felled.
But Dumont could do nothing but parry a stinging shot into the path of Alanna Kennedy ten minutes before the break.
The Matildas defender buried the rebound and celebrated with a tribute to Socceroo attacker Awer Mabil whose sister was killed in a car accident over the weekend.
Round 13 results provided few favours for reigning champions Melbourne City, whose hopes of retaining the title now hang by a slim thread.
The three-time reigning champions must win next Thursday's encounter against third-placed Sydney FC by a large margin and hope Perth Glory suffer a heavy final-round defeat.
An action-packed penultimate round saw some tense jostling at the summit as semi-final ambitions ended for three clubs.
Brisbane Roar ended the round second on goal difference, while Adelaide United, Canberra United and Newcastle Jets all saw their play-off hopes extinguished.
Adelaide United's late-season crash continued with a heartbreaking injury-time defeat on Friday.
A 91st-minute winner from Panagiota Petratos consigned United to an unlucky 2-1 home loss.
The match was overshadowed by a broken leg suffered by Matildas' utility Larissa Crummer after an awkward clash with United goalkeeper Sarah Willacy.
Crummer is now set to miss Australia's FIFA Women's World Cup campaign in June.
Brisbane Roar became the first side to shore up a semi-final berth with a 4-1 win over Canberra United.
Matildas' attacker Hayley Raso scored just 19 minutes into her first starting debut after a five-month absence with a serious back injury.
United briefly rallied in the Brisbane heat to pull back to 2-1 in the second half, before late goals from Yuki Nagasato and Allira Toby blew out the scoreline.
The round opened on Thursday with in-form Perth Glory overpowering bottom side Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1 in a result which ended Newcastle Jets' semi-final ambitions.
Sam Kerr reached yet another career milestone with a second-half double taking her W-League tally to 65, eclipsing Michelle Heyman as the league's all-time leading scorer.