Town went down to their first defeat in six matches after being caught by two sucker punch goals away at 10-man Long Buckby.
It was heart-break for Tony Thorpe’s men after they had battled back from a two-goal half-time deficit to level the score at 2-2 early in the second half.
Melton failed to build on the momentum from last week’s impressive 1-0 UCL Cup win at higher level Northampton ON Chenecks.
Manager Thorpe made changes from the cup after resting some in that tie.
And they started sluggishly against a side who were a point below in mid-table in UCL Division One.
Buckby were on top and their superiority was rewarded with two goals in five first half minutes.
Both were scored by Ed Kostiuk as Melton struggled to deal with his threat.
Town were indebted to goalkeeper Richard Cragg, who pulled off two fine saves to keep his side in the contest.
Thorpe needed to do something different and he brought on Steve Truman at the start of the second half.
And the move paid almost instant dividends as Truman beat Tom Bryce in the home goal a minute after the restart.
Melton were back in it and they looked for an equaliser as Long Buckby showed uncertainty in defence.
The game took what looked a pivotal shift in momentum on 52 minutes when Bryce came out to handle outside his penalty area and was instantly red-carded by the referee.
Long Buckby had barely recovered from that blow when Adam Bishop fired the resulting free kick into the net to make it 2-2.
There looked only one winner at this point but Long Buckby had other ideas, bravely keeping two attackers up top instead of packing the midfield to contain Town.
And they caught Melton on the break to regain the lead with 12 minutes left, Manny Salumu the man on target.
Four minutes later he did it again to the dismay of the Town following.
Salumu’s brace effectively killed the game as a contest and left Town rueing their missed chances in the second half.
Victory hoisted Long Buckby above Melton in the Division 1 table.
Melton Town: Cragg, Byrne, Clayton, Bishop, Cufflin-Stableford, Horobin, Lapworth, Mann, Myring, Palfreyman, Slater.
Substitutes: Truman, Love.
l Elsewhere in Division 1, Olney Town moved second with a 5-2 win at Stewart & Lloyds AFC.
Potton United beat Bourne 3-1, and high-flying Raunds Town thumped bottom side Burton Park Wanderers 5-1.
Lutterworth were held 1-1 at home by Rushden & Higham.