NORTHWICH Victoria lost to a direct rival at the worst possible moment, and are on the brink of being relegated.

They have two games left to save themselves, starting with a derby encounter against landlords Witton Albion on Monday afternoon.

However they will kick off that contest six points adrift of a position of safety if Rugby beat Gresley tomorrow.

Before last weekend, Loughborough had lost all but two of their away matches in the Northern Premier League this season.

But they have kept alive their hopes of beating the drop by winning successive fixtures.

Ash Hodgkinson’s second-half hat-trick, claimed in the space of 11 minutes, settled the outcome on Wednesday.

There was little sign of what would follow later when the teams reached the interval on level terms.

Karl Demidh marked his return to the Loughborough line-up, following a two-match ban, with the opening goal after resisting attempts by two defenders to stop him.

Vics had been brighter initially, and Jack Kelleher scuffed their best chance straight at goalkeeper Scott Wardley.

They deservedly equalised when Yaw Gyimah, another player returning to the field following a suspension, met Niall Sultan’s cross with a perfect diving header.

Substitute Jack Bewley fluffed a sitter early in the second period, but Dynamo edged ahead on 69 minutes when Adam Lawrence turned Jack Beckett’s cross into his own goal.

Hodgkinson then made it 3-1 after a long ball caught out Vics’ make-shift defence, shorn of regulars Reece Lyndon and Andrew Fitzgerald who were both banned.

After his initial attempt was blocked, he followed up by rolling the ball into an empty net.

He turned in the visitors’ fourth goal from close range two minutes later before completing a treble with a header at the back post with seven minutes left.

Like Vics, they now hope that Rugby drop points on Saturday to keep the three teams – two of which will go down – close together.

Vics | Forth (GK), Lawrence, Mannion, Sultan, Short, Bennett, Gyimah, Cesaire, Imade, Kelleher, Matthews Sub Shaw Goal Gyimah 43

Dynamo | Wardley (GK), Ridley, Keenan, Sibson, Andrews, Holmes, Beckett, Lee, Hodgkinson, Demidh, Agyemang Subs Thorpe, Durkin, Bewley, Castle, Tolley Goals Demidh 34, Lawrence 69 (own goal), Hodgkinson 72, 74, 83

Referee Wade Smith

Attendance 98