WITHAM Town's unbeaten start to the season was brought to an abrupt halt as manager Marc Benterman admitted that a bit of naivety proved costly in a 5-1 defeat at Maldon & Tiptree.

The Jammers moved top of the BetVictor Isthmian League division north table after imposing a first defeat for Witham since Benterman had taken the reins.

Having beaten Hullbridge Sports and drawn with Bury Town in their opening two league games, Witham stumbled this time and were trailing 4-0 at half-time and although they drew the second half, Benterman admitted it was a lesson for him.

He said: "They had three Colchester United Academy boys in their line-up and the depth in their squad was impressive, so it turned into a tough afternoon for us.

"It was made a bit easier for them by ourselves, but we have to pick ourselves up and go again.

"There was a bit of naivety from myself in how we approached it and it was a lesson for us.

"We are new to this league and, after how we'd played against Bury in the previous league game, we felt we could go to somewhere like Maldon and play on our terms, but they didn't allow us to.

"We had done that (in the 1-1 draw) against Bury and I felt we could take Maldon on, but I held my hands up as that was naive on my part.

"We were better than we were at Clacton in the FA Cup, but we were just beaten by a better side."

Maldon's comfortable half-time lead came thanks to a Charlee Hughes double and strikes from William Cracknell and Al-Al Amin.

Shamido Pedulu stepped off the bench to score in the 63rd minute for Witham, but it proved only a consolation as Tyrique Hyde finished off the home scoring seven minutes from time.

Benterman added: "It was disappointing that we conceded three goals from set pieces in the first half and it was always going to be tough from 4-0 down at half-time. "But I felt we then controlled large parts of the play in the second half.

"I'd challenged the boys to not lose the second half and we drew it 1-1 so that's something; we changed it around and looked more solid, but I'm sure they'd say they stepped off it.

"However, the first half showed that when you switch off against a team in this league, especially one with the quality that Maldon have, you are going to get punished."

Witham now host Tilbury at the Simarco Stadium in the league on Saturday and Benterman said he expected some new faces to be arriving ahead of the game.

He said the last couple of games had shown he needed a bit more depth in his squad and was hoping to have a trio of new signings on board.