Saturday 17 September - Melbourne Ground
Essendon 5.6 (half time 3.6-1.1)
Essendon win by 1 goal
Goalkickers: Boys 1, E. Longden 1, Power 1, Unknown 1
The match drew considerable interest as the two sides had split their matches one-all during the year, but it was the visitors who took the honours between the sides for season 1881. Essendon had conceded 10.34 against Geelong the previous week but bounced back with a win.
Melbourne kicked with a strong breeze in the first half, and used it to open up a handy lead at half time. Boyes got the first goal for Melbourne, but Essendon quickly equalised. Despite their disadvantage with the wind Essendon played well early and had the Melbourne goal under siege after their opening major.
Longden eventually got the second for Melbourne, followed soon after by a third from Power to wrap up the first half.
When they had their chance with the wind Essendon had the ball behind the line early in the second half but the goal was disallowed - a decision which cost the umpire his position. The visitors didn't have to wait long for their second goal though, scoring it not long after. And they added three more in quick succession to open up a match winning lead.
Melbourne got a fourth to keep themselves in the match, and late they could have equalised but missed a golden opportunity.
Best were Rannard, Aitken and McKenzie.