Kent lost to Essex inside an hour of the final day’s play of their LV= Insurance County Championship Division 1 match at Chelmsford.
Resuming on 265-7, the visitors were bowled out for 280.
Essex made heavy weather of scoring the 30 runs required to secure a fourth successive Championship victory, losing three wickets.
It needed Paul Walter to keep his head when others around him were losing theirs and stroke the winning runs 23 balls into what turned into a more difficult run chase than necessary.
“It’s been déjà vu, I suppose,” said Kent coach Matt Walker.
“Days two and three I thought we showed some good character, our skill levels, a bit of fight, but yet again day one has cost us.
“I thought it was a pretty good cricket wicket, it looked a bit ugly at the start but I thought it played really well and produced a good game of cricket. It was good to bat on, that is why they wanted to bat first.
“It was a good toss to win. But just over 200 is well short of being competitive against a side like Essex. You know you’ve got to post a pretty significant score to be in the fight. So again we were well short of first-innings runs.
“It’s the same old, same old. I can’t really say any more to you than I’ve said in the past. It’s just that lack of a big partnership, a hundred in the bank.
“They showed us how to do it. They batted brilliantly, took their time, were patient.
“They got those partnerships, a hundred for Critchley and a 250 lead is difficult to deal with. Had we been a little closer to that score I think it would have been a very interesting game.
“But being bowled out inside 60 overs isn’t good enough, unfortunately. That has to change as we move forward. We’ve said in the dressing room for the past few weeks that we’ve got to be better in our first-innings batting.
“But there are some positives: how we batted yesterday, all day, that is what you want earlier on in the game.
“We showed we can do it, and in conditions when the ball was spinning more.
“I thought Finchy batted brilliantly and showed how to go about it and Joey Evison and Compo showed some resolve, some real concentration and decision-making.
“But in and around it there were a lot of low scores and we need to do something it and post 450 ourselves. It kills you when you start the game off with all the right intentions and the right energy and walk off on day one and know you’re pretty heavily behind on the day.
“It is when they walk across the white line that things have got to get better.
“They practise well enough, they're very diligent in their prep, but they need to switch on when they cross the white line. We need to educate those players and keep banging the drum that this is hard work.”
Essex attempted to make light work of reaching the target and were halfway there from the first over bowled by Hamid Qadri. But that was the prelude to the drama.
Dan Lawrence was first to go when he tried to hit Grant Stewart’s first ball out of the ground but only skied to mid-on.
Adam Rossington followed in the next over, lbw attempting to reverse sweep Qadri, and first-innings centurion Matt Critchley departed first ball to a caught-and-bowled by the offspinner, taken running back and over his head at mid-on.
That was 23-3 in the third over, but Essex managed to get over the line in the next over to take 21 points and keep up the pressure on Championship leaders Surrey.
Earlier in the morning, Essex needed eight overs before breaking the stubborn overnight partnership, but once Qadri departed to a smart catch at short square leg by Simon Harmer the innings collapsed in just six balls.
Sam Cook added a second of the morning three balls later when Matt Quinn played on and Joey Evison fell lbw to the first ball of Harmer’s 44th over of the innings.