|LV= County Championship Division Two, Spitfire Ground St Lawrence (day three, close):|
|Kent 570-8 dec: Northeast 139, Key 113; Clark 3-87|
|Lancashire 259: Croft 85; Coles 3-75 & 47-2 (f/o)|
|Kent 7 pts, Lancashire 3 pts|
|Lancashire trail by 264 runs with eight second-innings wickets remaining|
Lancashire failed to register the four batting bonus points required to secure promotion, but will go up if they hold on to draw with Kent at Canterbury.
Scoring 350 in 110 overs in their first innings would have been enough for the visitors to confirm a top-two finish.
But they were all out for 259, with Kent paceman Matt Coles taking 3-75.
Kent, leading by 311 runs, asked Lancashire to follow on and the Division Two leaders reached 47-2 by the close on day three.
James Tredwell bowled Alviro Petersen for 28 in the final over of the day's play, which could prove to be a vital breakthrough.
Even if they fall to only their second Championship defeat of the summer on the final day, Lancashire will still need only two more points from their final two games to be promoted.
They were reduced to 104-5 by lunch as veteran Darren Stevens (2-51) took two wickets in an over to start their morning collapse.
A patient 85 from Lancashire captain Steven Croft provided resistance, but his side were still well adrift when he was the last wicket to fall.
He was lbw to Coles, who then won a similar decision against opener Karl Brown lbw with the second ball of Lancashire's second innings, but the hosts looked like being frustrated in the last hour until Petersen's departure.