Melton Town left themselves with too much to do as they slipped to their third league defeat in four against Irchester on Saturday.
Melton’s first-ever meeting with Irchester United was approached with some confidence after a resounding 6-0 win over Thrapston the previous Saturday.
The home side started the game with some fluid moves which produced several good chances which were not converted.
Town then fell behind against the run of play when Irchester attacked down the right.
As the winger cut into the box he appeared to pull back Kieran Clayton to get into a shooting position and was then tripped by the Melton centre-half. Sam Dengel duly tucked away the penalty.
The next 20 minutes saw both sides cancel the other out as each tried to take command of midfield.
And in the 27th minute a cross from the left was met by Ty Clark whose header found the corner of the net to double Irchester’s advantage.
The second half carried on with few chances created until the hour mark when a hopeful cross from Irchester’s winger was mistimed by Melton keeper King who dropped it on the line. Clark tapped in from a yard for his second goal of the match.
The setback only revitalised Melton’s fighting spirit and with the very next attack Jordan Cufflin-Stableford tore down the right touchline and his low cross was met by Steve Truman in the six-yard box to make it 3-1.
Melton then piled on the pressure and five minutes later United failed to clear a Town corner and Aidan Black nodded in to bring the hosts back to 3-2. Tony Thorpe’s side camped in the Irchester half for the next 10 minutes as chance after chance went begging.
Melton’s hopes were hit when they were reduced to 10 men with five minutes remaining when goalscorer Black was sent off for a second bookable offence.
The hosts carried on producing chances, but it wasn’t to be Melton’s day as they remained in ninth place.
They now move onto possibly their toughest test of the season on Saturday when they visit league leaders Daventry Town (kick-off 3pm).