TOWN were sunk by Izale McLeod's strike early in the second half at The Valley after fighting back from a goal down.
Lee Clark's men went behind to Sam Sodje's powerful eighth-minute header from Matthew Spring's corner, but responded well.
Gary Roberts and Michael Collins both came close with curling shots and Robbie Williams from a free-kick before Anthony Pilkington equalised in the 39th minute.
Williams shaped to take another free-kick, around 25 yards out, but left it to Pilkington, who netted his third goal of the season off keeper Rob Elliot's left-hand post.
However the good work was undone in the 49th minute, McLeod heading home after Sodje nodded on Christian Dailly's free-kick.
Lee Novak had a header chalked off for a foul in the build-up before Jordan Rhodes' goalbound effort was blocked by the legs of keeper Elliot as Town pushed in vain for a second equaliser.