Promotion-chasing Chatham battled to a hard-fought Isthmian Premier home derby win over severely out-of-form Margate on Saturday.
Top scorer Jamie Yila put Chats ahead in the first period and, although defender Tyrone Sterling levelled for troubled Gate after the restart, striker Rowan Liburd came up with the game’s all-important third goal in their 2-1 triumph.
It extended Gate’s winless run to 19 matches in all competitions and was an equally frustrating fifth straight defeat.
Chatham captain Jack Evans had the first opportunity at the Bauvill Stadium as his fourth-minute shot was charged down by a defender in front of another bumper crowd of 1,897.
Seven minutes later, debutant home keeper Mitchell Beeney was called into action to block winger Kadell Daniel’s cross-cum-shot.
But Beeney was then left breathing a huge sigh of relief. A back-pass slipped under his feet, only to squirm inches wide of his right-hand post to spare his blushes.
Margate manager Mark Stimson, still without a win in charge of the club since he was appointed in December, was booked on 19 minutes for his protests by referee Joshua Langley-Fineing after delays in allowing stand-in captain Harry Hudson back on the field after treatment.
Soon after, 18-goal away striker Steve Cawley stung the palms of Beeney with a powerful drive.
But Kevin Hake’s hosts went ahead slightly against the run of play. Yila blasted beyond goalkeeper Harry Seaden in emphatic fashion with a curling shot for his 12th goal this season and his second in as many games.
Khale Da Costa skipped by Gate playmaker Ben Greenhalgh in the 38th minute before he whipped a dangerous right-wing delivery across goal which evaded everybody.
Greenhalgh attempted to lob Beeney from about 40 yards out during three minutes of first-half stoppage time but the former Gillingham and Dartford goalkeeper was equal to the effort.
Da Costa missed the target with a header from a left-wing Yila cross less than 70 seconds after the interval while the impressive returning Margate midfielder Mo Kamara spooned over at the other end.
Stimson’s side equalised with 55 minutes played, as the rain returned. Teenage right-back Archie Panyi stood up a delivery which was headed down for Sterling by Daniel and the Grenada international spun to fire past Beeney for his fourth goal this term.
They were only level for seven minutes, though. Seaden saved well from a shot after an Evans corner but the recalled Liburd smashed home from close range.
It could have got even worse in the 66th minute when Yila found his way through the away defence. But Seaden saved from Yila and then Liburd before substitute Kareem Isiaka fired over.
Gate boss Stimson chucked on young duo Fyn Rutherford and Vinnie Bowman in their pursuit of a way back into the contest.
Cawley looked destined to get on the end of a low Daniel cross five minutes from time for a late leveller, only for newly-signed Chatham man Jamie Mascoll to come up with a crucial interception.
Greenhalgh - who was among the goals in Margate’s 2-0 win at Hartsdown Park in October - then sent a powerful left-foot shot whistling past an outstretched Beeney and wide of his left-hand post.
Mascoll again was the last line of defence to thwart striker Cawley in injury time.
To make matters worse, Kamara was unable to finish the game for the visitors and was replaced by makeshift forward Lewis Knight for the final seconds.
The final whistle was met by away protests, Margate having earned a late corner they were unable to take.
The result leaves Chatham second, nine points behind leaders Hornchurch, while fourth-bottom Gate remain a point from safety.
Chats had revealed three new recruits ahead of kick-off - Beeney, defender Sid Nelson and Mascoll - with the trio all coming in from the start.
Those additions came as part of six changes from Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat at Wingate & Finchley. Another to drop out was defender Kristian Campbell, who has seemingly left altogether.
Gate’s only switch from last weekend’s 4-1 home loss to Dulwich saw experienced midfielder Kamara replace Rutherford as Kamara made his return, having rejoined from promotion-chasing Isthmian South East side Herne Bay.
Chatham Town: Beeney, Mascoll, Butler, Dunne, Evans, Kedwell, Da Costa (Isiaka 62mins), Yila (Robins 90mins), Cooper, Liburd (Dickson 73mins), Nelson. Subs not used: Scarlett, Nzala.
Margate: Seaden, Panyi, Stevenson, Kasim (Rutherford 76mins), Sterling, Hudson, Vose (Bowman 76mins), Cawley, Daniel, Greenhalgh, Kamara (Knight 95mins). Subs not used: Hobbs, Ahmed.
Referee: Joshua Langley-Fineing.