Ten-man Lewes saw their play-off hopes dealt a potentially fatal blow as despite taking the lead three times, they were forced to settle for a point after a 3-3 draw against Kingstonian at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made one change to the side that drew 2-2 at Cheshunt in their previous game, with Juevan Spencer replacing the suspended Kenneth Yao in the starting line-up.
There were few chances of note for either side early on, with a comfortable save from Lewis Carey to deny Walter Figueira being the closest either side came to taking the lead during the opening exchanges.
Lewes soon began to take control of the game though, and should arguably have gone in front through Razz Coleman De-Graft, who was just unable to round Julian Schwarzer and finish at the end of a sweeping passing move.
The Rooks took the lead on 27 minutes through Deshane Dalling, who cut in from the left before seeing his powerful strike from the edge of the area fumbled over the line by Schwarzer.
Lewes continued to enjoy the better chances after the break and came close to doubling their lead, Dalling having a strike parried by Schwarzer before De-Graft saw his effort on the rebound blocked.
Kingstonian made the most of this by equalising on 57 minutes through Ollie Cook, who finished at the far post from close range after a corner from the right had been flicked on at the near post.
The game became more stretched at this point, with both sides looking capable of scoring every time they went forward.
Lewes could have regained their lead as Michael Klass saw a close-range strike saved by Schwarzer and from the resulting clearance, substitute Daniel Ajakaiye ran through and saw his cross-shot cleared from almost on the line by Will Salmon.
The Rooks did go back in front on 70 minutes, as excellent play down the right by Dalling ended with the winger crossing for Joe Taylor to head past Schwarzer from inside the six-yard box.
Lewes had the visitors on the ropes and Schwarzer was forced into a smart save to keep out a powerful strike from Ollie Tanner which seemed destined for the far corner.
Once again, Kingstonian made Lewes pay by levelling the scores on 76 minutes. Figueira was the scorer, finishing low past Carey from the edge of the box after good play down the left by Ajakaiye.
The Rooks were dealt a major blow with four minutes remaining, as Mitchell Nelson was shown a second yellow card for a rash challenge in midfield, leaving Lewes to look for a winner with ten men.
To their credit, Lewes kept their heads up and nearly went in front for a third time through Tanner, who saw a strike hit the inside of the post after being teed up by De-Graft.
The Rooks kept the loose ball alive, and were then awarded a penalty when Taylor Maloney was fouled just inside the box at the start of injury-time.
Taylor took the penalty and sent Schwarzer the wrong way from the spot to give the ten men of Lewes the lead for a third time, sending the home fans into raptures.
Lewes managed the game well for the majority of injury-time but disaster struck with the final meaningful action of the game in the 97th minute, as a Kingstonian cross from the left was inadvertently headed past Carey by Michael Klass to level the scores and leave the Rooks three points adrift of the play-off places with only two games remaining.
The progcast can be read online here.
Highlights of the game can be viewed here
More pictures from James Boyes from the game can be viewed here.
Lewes travel to Bognor Regis Town on Monday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse (Tanner 62), Salmon, Nelson, Pettit (Phipp 74), Klass, Pritchard (Maloney 62), Dalling, De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Olukoga, Addy.
Booked: Spencer, Nelson, Taylor, Phipp.
Sent off: Nelson.
Kingstonian: Schwarzer, Clunis (Samuels 57), Cooper, Young, Cook, Beaney, Addai (Pearch 77), Sow, Figueira, Theobalds, Kurtaran (Ajakaiye 57).
Unused Subs: Ebuzoeme, Whitnell.
Booked: Cooper, Beaney, Kurtaran.