Eastbourne Borough 0, Lewes 2.

Andy Drury capped a memorable four days by scoring the clinching goal as Lewes went nine points clear at the top of Conference south.

The man nicknamed Jukebox called the tune as Rooks claimed their first win in five outings against great rivals Eastbourne Borough in front of a crowd of 3,027 at Priory Lane.

Lewes manager Steven King raised a few eyebrows by playing right-winger Drury as a second striker tucked in behind Paul Booth but the decision was rewarded with a thoroughly deserved win.

Drury had scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 drubbing of Havant three days earlier and in his current form it is no surprise there are a few League clubs keeping an eye on him.

Borough fans will point to the 53rd-minute dismissal of Ben Austin as a pivotal moment in the game but in truth Lewes always looked to have too much quality for their hosts.

There were strong performances all over the park - Booth scored his 25th goal of the season, Simon Wormull buzzed like a teenager in midfield and Steve Robinson was immense again at the back - but the contribution of Drury was hugely significant.

King said: "With his talent I know what Andy Drury can produce and I knew that would be a big problem for Eastbourne. Although they are organised and strong, they are not the most mobile back four and if you give Andy Drury that sort of space he will do what he did.

"He has that little bit extra that players haven't got at this level. Players like Damian Scammell at Eastleigh have got that it and he has now gone to the Football League. As much as I don't want to lose Jukebox everyone can see the talent there. He can take a game like that."

Borough should not be too downbeat after their first league defeat of the season. They were not at their best but the spirit and endeavour which has been so evident this season - none more so than when they fought back from 2-0 in the closing stages to snatch a draw at Lewes on Boxing Day - was still there and kept them going to the final whistle.

They have plenty to look forward to in 2008 and a play-off place would be the least they deserve. Manager Garry Wilson has refused all along to talk about winning the league and on the evidence of this game then Lewes look a better bet but there is still plenty of football to be played.

King said before the game this match would not decide the destiny of the title and he has not changed his tune.

He said: "It is only another game which we got three points for. It means nothing if you lose your next one.

"Eastbourne play to their strengths and they are a decent side for what they do. You don't go 20 games without losing and not be a good team but we have a different style and we have that bit more quality. They were beaten by the better team."

Both sides went into the game with injury problems. Borough were without Matt Smart and Scott Ramsay while Lewes were only able to name three fit outfield players on the bench.

The deadlock was broken on 14 minutes with a swift counter which saw Wormull spread play from right to left to Jamie Cade who slipped a pass into the feet of Booth to make space for himself on the edge of the box and fire home.

Lewes were good value for their interval lead and their cause was helped when Austin was red carded for a second bookable offence early in the second half.

Drury wrapped up victory with some great work inside the box before drilling home the second on 64 minutes and, although the Crabb brothers lifted Borough following their introduction, another Borough comeback looked unlikely.

Borough boss Wilson said: "We could have done better. We never played to a level Eastbourne Borough can play so I was disappointed.

"We can't knock the players for what they have done. To take us to 2008 and this is our first defeat in the league is a fantastic achievement. We have a very small squad, a lot of players have injuries and niggles and maybe that hindered their performance. I am pretty sure they will bounce back straightaway from this."

Eastbourne Borough: Hook, Lovett, Jenkins, Budd, Austin, Pullan, Harding (sub N.Crabb 69), Armstrong, Atkin, Tait, Wilde (sub M.Crabb 69). Subs not used: Baker, Ballard, Barton.

Lewes: Williams, Conroy, Barness, Davis, Robinson, Simpemba, Drury (sub Kennett 84), Holloway, Wormull, Booth (sub Groves 77), Cade. Subs not used: Legge, Binns, France.

Referee: Mr L.Venamore.

Attendance 3,027.

Were you at Priory Lane? Who is going to win Conference south?