Lewes win again - Horsham beaten - Hastings go second after fiery Sussex derby
There were Isthmian League wins for Lewes and Hastings on a busy and at times bad-tempered night of Sussex football - but Horsham's inconsistent start to the season continued with a loss at East Thurrock.
In the Isthmian premier, Hugo Langton's Lewes beat Merstham 1-0. They took the lead in the 62nd minute of a tight affair affair through an Aaron Cosgrave penalty - won by Cosgrave himself. There was a long delay before he converted as the referee sent off Merstham's Calvin Ekpiteta for protesting against the award of the kick, having already been booked.
Horsham made the long trip to East Thurrock, where Luke Illsley's 12th minute opener for the hosts was cancelled out by a beautiful long-range effort by Harris before two goals from Zenon Stylianides put the Rocks in command. Harris scored again to make it 3-2 with 25 minutes left but the Hornets could not rescue a point.
In the Isthmian south east, a Ben Pope double and a first goal after his long spell out injured for Davide Rodari earned Hastings a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Three Bridges in front of a sell-out 400 crowd to take Chris Agutter's team second in the division. Hastings had Ollie Black sent off while Bridges ended with nine men after Brannon O'Neill and Steve Smith got their marching orders.
In the SCFL premier division, Lancing and Pagham drew 2-2. Will Berry gave the home team the lead only for the Lions to level before the break through Joe Bennett. Ben Connolly restored the Lancers' lead five minutes into the second half. Liam Hendy was sent off for Lancing eight minutes from time and Joe Clarke scored a late equaliser.
Leaders Horley Town suffered a surprise 3-2 home defeat to Loxwood while Broadbridge Heath were unlucky to come away empty-handed from Saltdean, where they lost 2-1. Horsham YMCA's tough start to the campaign continued in a 3-1 home loss to Hassocks.
In the Eastbourne derby at Priory Lane, honours went to Eastbourne Town. Goals by Zac Attwood and George Taggart put them 2-0 up at the break against Langney. who pulled one back late on through Tim Bennett.
Alfold won 5-1 at Crawley Down Gatwick while Steyning were 2-0 winners at East Preston, who have just parted company with boss Terry Dodd. George Cousins and Josh McGrath were the Steyning scorers.
Peacehaven went down 2-1 at home to Lingfield.