Maidstone United edged to a thrilling 4-3 win at Hythe Town in Ryman League Division 1 South on Saturday, despite a hat-trick from the hosts’ Jake Hobbs.
More than 700 fans packed into Reachfields to see Shaun Welford put the Stones ahead in the opening minute before Warren Whitely made it 2-0 on 17 minutes.
Hobbs struck twice before the break to make it 2-2 but Welford’s second in the opening minute of the second half was followed by Michael Phillips’ long-range strike.
Although Hobbs completed his treble 14 minutes from time, Stones held on to strengthen their grip on second-spot, while third-placed Hythe dropped to fifth.
Faversham Town dropped out of the play-off places after a 1-0 home defeat to Folkestone Invicta, Darren Smith scoring the only goal after 13 minutes.
Sittingbourne remain in the chase after a 2-1 home win over nine-man Horsham.
Tony Nwachukwu put the visitors ahead but saw red for a wild tackle on 36 minutes and Connor Coyne levelled for the Brickies two minutes before the break. Billy Medlock was then red-carded eight minutes after the interval shortly before Nick Davis netted the winner.
Ramsgate were pegged back by Three Bridges at Southwood, Warren Schulz’ first-half penalty being cancelled out by a Tim Rivers spot-kick after the turnaround.
Herne Bay’s woes continued with a 1-0 home defeat to Chipstead, the only goal coming from Sam Robinson just before the break.
Whitstable Town suffered their second straight defeat, losing 2-0 at Eastbourne in a game delayed by 25 minutes due to floodlight failure.
The goals arrived in the final 25 minutes from Dan Smith and John Lansdale.
Margate lost ground on Premier Division leaders Whitehawk after a 2-1 defeat at Concord on Saturday.
Nicky Cowley headed the hosts ahead after 16 minutes and despite Carl Rook levelling on the stroke of half-time, the hosts snatched the winner through Steve King seven minutes from time to climb to third.
Cray Wanderers were beaten at home to Hendon on Sunday at Hayes Lane. Belal Aite-Ouakrim prodded in the only goal in the 90th minute.
Chatham Town enjoyed a 5-0 win against Romford in Division 1 North. Lee Hales put the Chats ahead on 42 minutes but it was only 17 minutes from time that the second arrived from Harry Smith.
Matt Solly’s penalty made it 3-0 on 81 minutes before Hales and Smith grabbed a second each in stoppage-time.
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