Division Two champions Lancashire look set to finish the championship season unbeaten after reaching 75 without loss in their second innings against Kent - an overall lead of 99.
Having dismissed Kent for 260 to claim a narrow first-innings advantage of 24, Red Rose openers Paul Horton (36 not out) and Luis Reece (33no) survived 21 overs through to stumps to dent Kent's hopes of notching a first home championship win of the season.
Responding to Lancashire's 284, Kent suffered a miserable start and at 7-3 the follow-on looked a real possibility, until skipper Robert Key dug in with a 118-ball century.
The hosts lost opener Sam Northeast for a duck after only 13 deliveries when the right-hander clipped firmly into the hands of mid-wicket against Kyle Jarvis.
Eight balls later and with only a single to his name, Daniel Bell-Drummond then allowed one from Oliver Newby to squeeze through bat and pad and pluck out off stump.
Brendan Nash lasted three deliveries before he sparred outside off against Newby to be caught at the second attempt by Tom Smith at third slip as the procession back to the changing rooms continued.
However, Key then found a willing ally in fourth-wicket partner Ben Harmison as the pair batted on either side of lunch to add 158 in 35.1 overs - the highest partnership of the game by far.
Harmison posted his fifth half-century of an improving campaign from 103 balls while Key looked comfortable throughout as he eased 10 fours and a six during his three-hour ton.
Harmison celebrated his fifty with a six off Newby but the bowler enjoyed revenge soon after by trapping the left-hander leg before for 59.
The slide continued when Darren Stevens (five) went in similar fashion to the lively Jarvis as Kent's last five wickets mustered only 41 runs.
Sam Billings (five) was superbly caught one-handed at second slip by Andrea Agathangelou, Adam Ball (seven) also went leg before and James Tredwell (seven) shouldered arms against Tom Smith to lose his off stump.
Key then went for 134, snared by spinner Stephen Parry, who also bowled Kent's last man Matt Hunn to give Lancashire a narrow lead.