A disappointing performance saw Lewes suffer a 2-0 defeat at play-off chasing Hythe Town and have their lead at the top of the Bostik South table cut to just five points, reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made two changes to the side that won 4-0 at Molesey in their previous game, with Bouwe Bosma and Matthew George replacing Matt Hurley and Leon Redwood in the starting line-up.
With Lloyd Cotton only fit enough for a place on the bench after missing the midweek victory through injury, Bosma started at the heart of the defence alongside Frankie Chappell.
There were very few chances of note for either side in the first half, with both sides looking relatively organised defensively without showing any real threat in the final third.
The best of the chances that were created fell to the hosts, who saw Salvyn Kisitu denied twice by Chris Winterton either side of a curling effort from Ryan Palmer that went just wide from the edge of the area.
Lewes were finding it difficult to gain a foothold in the game as the half progressed, with their only shot on target being a deflected long-range strike from Billy Medlock that was straight at Will Godmon in the Hythe goal.
The sides looked set to be heading into the break level, only for the hosts to take the lead with the last kick of the first half. The goal was scored by Zak Ansah, who finished from close range after Winterton had only been able to parry a powerful strike from Liam King after a mis-hit clearance.
Lewes were given an opportunity to equalise in the early stages of the second half, but saw Medlock send a curling free-kick from right on the edge of the area over the bar.
The Rooks were beginning to struggle to cope with the pace of the Hythe attackers though and were grateful to see Winterton make a smart save low down to his left to deny Palmer after an attempted cross-field ball from Bosma had been intercepted deep in the Lewes half.
Without playing at their best, the Rooks began to cause Hythe a few more problems, as Gus Sow saw an effort deflected over the bar at the near post after a purposeful run into the area.
Lewes had their best chances to equalise with just under 20 minutes remaining, as a Sow corner from the right fell to substitute Harry Reed, who saw his close-range strike well saved by Godmon before Jonte Smith saw his effort on the rebound blocked in front of goal.
Hythe almost made the most of this let-off immediately, but Ansah could only shoot straight at Winterton from inside the area after the ball found its way to him following a superb last-ditch challenge by Chappell on King.
The hosts were able to double their lead and secure all three points with ten minutes remaining, as a free-kick from the right was finished from close range by the unmarked Ansah to send Lewes to only their sixth league defeat of the season.
It could have got worse for the Rooks in the closing stages, as Darren Oldaker blasted a powerful effort over the bar with only Winterton to beat, before Ronnie Conlon, Medlock and Sow were all booked in the space of three minutes as the game became more disjointed.
Lewes will hope to put this result behind them when they host Horsham at the Pan on Bank Holiday Monday, kick-off at 3pm.
Hythe Town: Godmon, Kisitu, Webster, Kinnear, Johnson, Dickenson (Sanders 61), Palmer, Oldaker, Ansah, King (Chapman 90), Campbell (Stirmen 78).
Unused Subs: Turner, Arnold.
Booked: Kinnear, Palmer.
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George (Elliott 78), Hammond (Lawson 46), Chappell, Bosma, Medlock, Sow, Smith, Conlon, Coppola (Reed 72).
Unused Subs: Brotherton, Cotton.
Booked: Chappell, Bosma, Medlock, Sow, Conlon.
Referee: Scott Rudd