Northamptonshire started their final game of the season on the front foot but finished by taking a backward step.
Having lost the toss and been asked to bowl by their visitors from Sussex, the County began impressively.
Mohammad Azharullah ripped out two quick wickets to leave their guests on 7-2.
That became 51-3 when James Middlebrook - who it was today announced would be leaving the club - had Craig Cachopa leg before for 14.
Luke Wright’s departure on 12, again to Azharullah, meant Northamptonshire were in firm control with the score standing at 76-4.
But then, in such familiar fashion this summer, the game started to slip.
Luke Wells (81) and Mike Yardy (56) put on 96 for the fifth wicket before both departed on 172.
Not that the batting side were finished.
Wicketkeeper Ben Brown scored 48 before becoming one of two victims for Olly Stone only for Ashar Zaidi and Steve Magoffin to pile more suffering on the bowlers.
Their eight-wicket stand remained unbroken on 52 when the close came and with Sussex having recovered from their morning troubles to finish on 300-7.