THE David v Goliath top-of-the-table clash went to form on Saturday with visitors Cleethorpes running out 4-0 winners at Skegness.
But the goals weren’t quick in coming and United enjoyed a strong first-half before a disastrous 14-minute spell after the break put paid to their hopes.
Early action saw both sides create chances, with United forcing a couple of fine saves from Drury in the Cleethorpes goal.
The game slowly developed into a midfield stalemate with only half chances being created.
From another United free-kick on the edge of the Cleethorpes area Danny Steven’s shot cleared the defensive wall but Drury was on hand to make the save.
Then from a Cleethorpes attack Martyn Margason was called upon to make a smart save to stop the visitors from opening the score.
With half-time approaching a break down the Cleethorpes right by Ogelsby resulted in his cross being fired against the United crossbar by Nuel and the ball finally went out for a goal kick.
Half-time arrived with nothing between the sides and all to play for.
But a disastrous first 14 minutes of the second-half saw United capitulate as Cleethorpes scored four times – all through Ricky Belding.
The first arrived on 46 minutes. A mistake by Jamie Skinner gifted Oglesby the ball and his cross into the United box was headed home by Belding with Margarson nowhere.
United were shell-shocked and within two minutes goal number two was on the board.
Confusion between Jordan Walden and Jamie Skinner meant neither player was able to cut out a through ball which Belding ran on to and beat Margarson with a low shot.
Number three soon followed when a simple ball over the top was not cleared by Gowshall and Belding beat Margarson easily with a low shot into the corner from the edge of the area.
That man Belding scored number four on 59 minutes to virtually seal the win with 31 minutes still to go when another simple ball over the top was misjudged by Gowshall and Belding ran through to beat the keeper with another low shot from 30 yards
At this stage Cleethorpes had the game won and were looking to see the game out, but to their credit a number of the United players kept going with Crossley particularly outstanding throughout the game.
Crossley nearly got the goal his all-round play deserved when he had a shot well saved by Drury.
After the game dejected joint manager Mark Hallam said: “The defeat is very difficult to take after the way we played in the first half, but in honesty we were beaten by the better team.
“We’ve learnt a lot about our players and they are all disappointed that they have not performed to their capabilities, particularly in that crazy 14 minute spell.
“However, we will fight for this title to the very end and I’m sure there will be a reaction from the players next Saturday.”
United - Margarson, Skinner (McGuigan), Stevens, Walden, Gowshall, Hyland, Reeson (Steadman), Hallam, Watts, Scutt (Courtney) and Crossley. Unused - Drysdale and Atkinson.
This Saturday United entertain Ruston Sports at Wainfleet Road in a 2pm kick-off.