|County Championship Division Two, Southampton|
|Close, day three: Essex 180 & 475, Hampshire 229 & 73-3|
|Hampshire 4pts, Essex 3pts|
Hampshire need to score a further 354 runs on the final day against Essex at Southampton to keep their hopes of gaining promotion alive.
Essex, resuming on 217-2, built a substantial lead as Owais Shah, 124 not out overnight, was dismissed for 161.
Ryan ten Doeschate added 69 and James Foster scored 61 as Essex reached 475, with David Balcombe taking 5-103.
Set a target of 427 to win, Hampshire slumped to 73-3 at stumps with Maurice Chambers collecting two wickets.
Hampshire, fourth in Division Two at the start of this round of matches, need to claim a victory to stand any chance of moving up to Division One, after second-placed Yorkshire beat Glamorgan.
Shah added 37 runs for his highest score of the season before he was caught behind by Michael Bates off James Tomlinson's bowling.
Balcombe, who took 4-57 in the first innings, ended with match figures of 9-160 and had also taken the wickets of Graham Napier and Maurice Chambers in successive balls.
Hampshire made a dreadful start to their run chase as Michael Carberry fell for six, before Bilal Shafayat and Simon Katich were dismissed in successive balls, the latter out for a golden duck.