Harlow Town’s recent good form was brought to an end by play-off hopefuls Folkestone Invicta in a 4-2 home loss.

Three goals in the opening 22 minutes for the visitors did most of the damage for the Hawks, with a goal in each half for Matt Foy not making any difference to the result.

Tom Hitchcock had the first opportunity for Harlow, bending a free-kick a whisker wide of the post and then, at the other end, Josh Bexon pulled off a brilliant one-on-one save to deny Folkestone’s top scorer, Adam Yusuff.

Despite initially struggling to break through Harlow’s resolute backline, the visitors notched the opening goal in the 12th minute when Matthew Newman volleyed in after Yusuff’s cross was headed away.

The visitors’ winless away run prior to this game stretched back until Boxing Day and they were clearly in the mood to end this spell, and Yusuff forced an own goal when he rounded the goalkeeper and his shot was too powerful for Curtis Ujah, who could do nothing but help it over the line.

Harlow couldn’t create another chance for themselves before Folkestone were able to add their third when Nat Blanks played Scott Heard through, and he assisted Alfie Paxman to score with a simple but composed finish from six yards.

The home side did, though, manage to pull one back before the break. Yanick Kissi picked out Laurence Vaughan with a precise cross-field ball, and Vaughan delivered a perfect ball into the box for Foy to tap home his third goal in the space of a week and give Harlow a glimmer of hope.

Any hope of a miraculous comeback was dashed within two minutes of the restart as Yusuff got in behind Jonathan Moanda from Ian Draycott’s through ball and finished well from a tight angle.

After a first half injury to Ujah had forced him off, Harlow were then forced into another change when Taylor Hastings came out on the wrong side of a 50-50 challenge. Reece Hackney came on to replace him but, coupled with the half-time switch of Toby Adaje and Harry Watkins, the hosts had used all their substitutions.

It did little to disturb them, though, and Harlow pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute when Hitchcock received the ball in the middle of the park and held off multiple defenders before slipping it left to Foy, and the youngster powerfully finished across goal to reduce the arrears.

There were few chances for either side in the closing moments, though, as Folkestone did what was needed to see out the game – their only notable chance came when Bexon denied Yusuff from his curling free-kick.

Harlow did nothing to threaten the visitors late on and, on the day, they lacked the spark that they had shown during their recent revival.

The Hawks’ next outing sees them travel to Worthing on Saturday, February 16 with kick-off at 3pm.