After their impressive win over Anstey the previous week Melton Foxes received the same treatment at unbeaten Birstall.
The Foxes dominated the game for long spells but gave away silly goals, and when the final whistle sounded they were left to wonder how they had lost.
Melton were hit before kick-off when illness forced goalkeeper Chris Lovegrove out of the game, and striker Cameron Ainge donned the keeper’s jersey.
Foxes made the worst possible start after five minutes when Ainge misjudged a seemingly harmless 40-yard free-kick which bounced over him and into the net.
Foxes hit back with Adam Lomas collecting Tom Dryell’s cross and firing in a low shot which was easily saved. Centre forward Shaun Smith then tried his luck from the edge of the area, but screwed his shot well wide.
And from a Lomas corner, Horobin’s header was well-saved.
After 35 minutes Birstall broke away from a Foxes corner to snatch a second.
There was more possession for the Foxes before the break with Rowland looking dangerous and firing wide from the edge of the box.
Melton also started the second half better and were finally rewarded after 50 minutes when Lomas and Rowland combined to set up Smith who sidestepped a defender before ramming the ball home.
Within seconds Foxes had won a corner which was scrambled off the goal-line.
Rowland flashed a cross-shot across the goal and Smith’s overhead effort was saved easily before the hosts stunned the Foxes with another breakaway goal.
Lomas drove a corner to the far post where Horobin nearly forced the ball over the line, but when the ball was cleared upfield Melton found themselves short of numbers and the hosts side-footed a killer third goal.
Despite this setback Foxes piled on the pressure and created a series of free-kicks, corners and half-chances.
Horobin’s downward header was saved by the keeper and when Lomas sent Rowland clear on the right, he cut in and hit a terrific drive which the keeper did well to save.
Smith fired wide with another overhead kick and Dryell side-footed over when put through by Bradley Carroll to cap a frustrating afternoon.
Foxes: C. Ainge, A. Kotarba, R. Gavin, A. Horobin, F. Lewis, A. Lomas, A. Walker, L. Thorpe, T. Dryell, M. Rowlands, S. Smith, C. Lovegrove, B. Carroll.