An injury-time strike from Deon Moore saw Lewes record a vital 2-1 win at Folkestone Invicta, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made one change to the side that beat Brightlingsea Regent 2-0 in their previous game, with Will Salmon replacing Jayden Davis in the starting line-up.
Both sides started the game well as they looked for an early goal, with a Nathan Green cross from the left just evading Ibrahim Olutade and Josh Vincent in front of goal for Folkestone, before Razz Coleman De-Graft just missed the target from the edge of the area at the other end after being teed up by Joe Taylor.
The hosts then missed a gilt-edged chance to take the lead minutes later, as Olutade missed the target when through on goal with only Lewis Carey to beat.
Lewes went in front on 36 minutes, an incisive passing move ending with Taylor putting in a low cross from the right for Moore to get on the end of at the far post, a deflection helping his effort loop over Patrick Ohman and into the back of the net to open the scoring.
Folkestone started the second half brightly, their direct style making it difficult for the Rooks to clear their lines.
Carey was called into relatively comfortable action to keep out a long-range strike from Ronnie Dolan, who then created an opportunity for Ira Jackson, which was deflected just wide as the hosts enjoyed arguably their best spell of the game.
Folkestone continued to push for an equaliser, with Carey helping a Dolan free-kick round the far post. The resulting corner was headed on by Olutade towards Ian Gayle, whose looping header landed on the roof of the net.
The hosts scored the equaliser their second-half pressure had been threatening on 73 minutes, as Scott Heard saw his strike from the edge of the area take a wicked deflection on its way past Carey and into the top corner.
Ryan Gondoh, who had been introduced on the hour in place of De-Graft, became Lewes’ main outlet as they looked to regain their lead in the closing stages, with a succession of Folkestone players penalised for fouls on him.
The last of these saw Heard shown a second yellow card, giving the Rooks a numerical advantage for the final six minutes.
Lewes saw plenty of the ball in the closing stages, but continued to find it difficult to create chances against the well-organised hosts.
Moore was at the heart of all of their more dangerous moments late on, seeing an effort from the edge of the area deflected just over the bar.
The Rooks remained on the front foot and scored what proved to be the winner deep into stoppage time, as a Jayden Davis corner from the left fell to Moore, whose shot on the turn found the bottom corner, sending the travelling fans behind the goal into raptures.
Lewes saw out the final few minutes comfortably to record a vital win in the race for the play-offs.
The Rooks welcome Canvey Island to the Pan on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Folkestone Invicta: Ohman, Vincent, Green, Gayle, Davies, Rogers (Ababio 90), Heard, Ronnie Dolan, Olutade, Collins, Jackson (Draycott 81).
Unused Subs: Robbie Dolan, Everitt, Coleman.
Booked: Ohman, Rogers, Heard, Jackson.
Sent off: Heard.
Lewes: Carey, Tamplin, Mundle-Smith, Salmon, Champion, Young (Huckle 90), Olukoga, Pritchard (Davis 88), Moore, De-Graft (Gondoh 60), Taylor.
Unused Subs: Hall, Murrell-Williamson.
Booked: Mundle-Smith, Champion, Moore.
Attendance: 863 (Approximately 50 Rooks)