The U’s had picked up 16 points from a possible 18 in Ryman Football League Division One South until suffering a 2-0 defeat away to Faversham Town with both goals coming during the second half.
With Jamie Crone and Jordan Woodley away, summer acquisition Kwasi Fobi-Edusei came in for his debut following injury. New signing Matt Scott, a former Lewes youngster, took his place among the substitutes.
United had the first attempt at goal when Kenny Pogue called home goalkeeper Simon Overland into action from a half cleared corner. Wayne Wilson’s free kick was just too high for Brendon Cass at the other end before Sam Adams lifted a lob well over the Faversham goal from Ben Judge’s forward header.
Another Wilson free kick curled just wide of the far post, while David Botterill fired a shot across the face of United’s goal during a good spell for the home side. Pogue blazed over for United before the injured referee was replaced at half time.
Faversham, who reached the play-offs last season, opened the scoring in the 54th minute. Sean Kelly was contentiously penalised for handball in the United box and Wilson made no mistake with the resulting penalty despite away goalkeeper Josh Pelling going the right way.
Matt Maclean replaced Tim Olorunda and Scott came on for Fobi-Edusei either side of Pelling saving a couple of long range efforts slightly awkwardly. Cass volleyed straight at Pelling from 20 yards, while Overland did well to gather a long range strike by Danny Ellis.
Faversham had a great chance to wrap up the points when Renford Tenyue ran from inside his own half only to be denied by a superb save from Pelling. Botterill curled a shot narrowly wide, while Adams fizzed an effort across the home goal from Ellis’s cross.
Judge came to United’s rescue by heading a Danny Hockton volley which had beaten Pelling off the line, but moments later Hockton sealed a deserved victory for the home side by burying the rebound after Kieran Oliver’s initial shot was blocked.
United now find themselves in third place, one point behind new leaders Leatherhead. Previous pacesetters Crawley Down Gatwick also lost and remain above United on goal difference.
United: Pelling, Gilbert, Richardson, Darby, Judge, Kelly, Olorunda, Ellis, Pogue, Adams, Fobi-Edusei. Subs: Maclean, Henson, Scott, Corrigan, Burbridge.