A below-par performance saw Lewes suffer a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Margate. Reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made one change to the side that beat Dulwich Hamlet 2-0 in their previous game, with Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala replacing Ola Ogunwamide in the starting line-up.
Lewes made a bright start in dismal conditions in Kent, with Margate keeper Harry Seaden nearly caught out at his near post by an Archie Tamplin inside the first few minutes.
The Rooks were keeping the ball well and came close to taking the lead through Deon Moore, who saw a long-range strike clip the top of the bar at the end of a patient passing move.
Minutes later, a similarly incisive piece of build-up play ended with Lumbombo-Kalala being denied by the feet of Seaden from a tight angle.
These close calls appeared to jolt the hosts into action, with Ben Greenhalgh forcing Nathan Harvey into a smart save from the edge of the area.
Harvey was soon called into action again, parrying a Harrison Hatfull cross as far as the edge of the area, where a goal-bound strike was blocked by Ronnie Vint.
Margate continued to push for an opener and took the lead on 25 minutes, Tyrone Sterling meeting a Greenhalgh corner from the left at the far post and heading the ball past Harvey.
The hosts controlled the remainder of the first half, defending well and always looking capable of adding to their lead.
They arguably should have done so through Greenhalgh, who could only guide his close-range header from a Rohdell Gordon corner onto the post.
Lewes started the second half a little more on the front foot, and saw Vint header a Bradley Pritchard corner over the bar as they looked for a route back into the game.
The game soon fell into a similar pattern as the first half though, with Margate keeping the Rooks a good 30 yards from their goal and continuing to pose a threat on the break.
They doubled their lead on the hour-mark, winning the ball back in midfield and working it out to the right, where Hatfull sent in a low cross for Greenhalgh to finish emphatically into the roof of the net.
Lewes saw plenty of the ball during the remaining half an hour but were unable to call Seaden into any meaningful action.
Their best openings fell to Harvey Hughes, who saw a strike from just inside the area blocked, and was then unfortunate to only find the side-netting after cutting in from the left.
The Rooks should arguably have had a penalty late on too, as subsitute Ola Ogunwamide appeared to be tripped in the area, but the protests of the players and travelling supporters were ignored, allowing Margate to see out the closing stages comfortably and consign Lewes to their third league defeat of the season.
Lewes will hope to bounce back from this when they welcome FC Oslo to the Pan in the Fenix Trophy on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Margate: Seaden, Hatfull, Johnson, Poku, Sterling, Hudson, Gordon (Bowman 90), Greenhalgh, Rutherford (Duncanson 88), Box (Cawley 74), Knight.
Unused Subs: Roberts, Mazzone.
Booked: Hudson, Greenhalgh.
Lewes: Harvey, Tamplin, Vint (Murtagh 62), Elliott, Hughes, Penney, Pritchard, Whelpdale, Lumbombo-Kalala (Dalling 63), Moore, Wood (Ogunwamide 77).
Unused Subs: Egan, Salmon.
Booked: Vint, Penney, Murtagh, Whelpdale.