Two early goals saw Lewes suffer their first league defeat since the opening day of the season with a 3-1 reverse against a well-organised Hornchurch side at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell named an unchanged side after Lewes’ emphatic 4-0 victory at Brightlingsea Regent in their previous game.
The Rooks started brightly and could have taken the lead early on, as a Kyron Richards cut-back from the right found Taylor Maloney with time and space, but he saw his close-range effort well saved by Joseph Wright.
Hornchurch made the most of this let-off by going in front after just five minutes through Sam Higgins, who capitalised on hesitant defending to run onto a long ball forward and finish past Lewis Carey.
The visitors doubled their lead on ten minutes, as Liam Nash sent a close-range volley into the bottom corner after a misunderstanding at the back between Carey and Matt Weaire.
The majority of the crowd were stunned into silence by this quick-fire double and despite enjoying plenty of the ball for much of the remainder of the half, Lewes were unable to force Wright into any further meaningful action.
The best chance to add to the scoring before the break fell to Hornchurch, who saw Higgins cross from the left for Nash to send a powerful strike just over the bar.
The visitors made it 3-0 just before the hour, as Jili Buyabu got in behind the Lewes defence down the left before finishing across Carey and into the top corner.
Without playing badly for long periods of the game, the Rooks faced a difficult final half an hour as they looked to find a route back into the contest.
The spaces they inevitably had to leave at the back were nearly punished by the visitors, who saw substitute Charlie Ruff flagged offside as he finished from almost on the goal-line.
Lewes were able to pull a goal back with a minute remaining, as Freddie Parker found Joe Taylor in the area, who turned past his marker before beating Wright at his near post.
The visitors saw out the remainder of the the game comfortably, to leave Lewes to reflect on a frustrating start to the game which ultimately left them with too big a mountain to climb.
Pictures from the game, taken by James Boyes, can be viewed here.
The match progcast can be read here.
Match highlights, from Your Instant Replay, can be viewed here.
The Rooks will hope to put this result behind them when they welcome Carshalton Athletic to the Pan on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Lewes: Carey, Richards, Carlse, Weaire, Nelson, De-Graft (Allen 65), Olukoga (Parker 65), Pritchard (Klass 65), Maloney, Tanner, Taylor.
Unused Subs: D’Arienzo, Colombie.
Booked: Allen, Tanner.
Hornchurch: Wright, Parcell, Clark, Muldoon, Christou, Statham, Higgins (Ruff 56), Nash, Buyabu, Winn (Dickson 46), Johnson.
Unused Subs: Thackway, Hassan.
Booked: Christou, Winn, Ruff.
Referee: Alastar Higgs