The Bees made just one change to their personnel with Edgar Davids rejoining the fray at the expense of Jon Nurse who dropped to the bench. The formation was a 4-5-1, with Jake Hyde again being the focal point with Ricky Holmes and Andy Yiadom lending support from the wide areas.
Barnet needed to stand firm in the early exchanges as the home side were the first out of the blocks. And stand firm they did and quickly grew into the fixture and were beginning to ask questions of the Cheltenham rearguard.
Holmes was having a good game and the ball was frequently played out to him by Davids and Clovis Kamdjo in particular.
Kamdjo was the fulcrum of much that was good about Barnet; breaking up the opponents’ attacks and starting moves of his own.
Kamdjo, Mark Bryne and Andy Yiadom all had efforts that went close, but the Bees always needed to be vigilant with Shaun Harrad and Chris Zebroski a very able front-pairing.
At the half-time whistle with the game scoreless all was clearly to play for with both teams effectively cancelling out each other. This was an entertaining contest particularly considering the heavy rain and swirling wind.
In the opening moments of the second-half the home side seemed determined to be the first to break the deadlock, but again the Bees were holding firm and Graham Stack looked in commanding form.
The Bees were getting in their tackles and blocks and making life difficult for the home side and then setting up attacks of their own, now more of the breakaway variety but no less effective for that.
The Bees were awarded a spot kick in the 65th minute when a fine cross from the left from Andy Yiadom was met by the head of Hyde. His effort then struck defender Keith Lowe. It was a generous decision in Barnet’s favour but it certainly presented the perfect opportunity to take a lead which both sides could argue they deserved, so evenly was the game.
Keeper Scott Brown was equal to Byrne’s effort and the miss seemed to spur on Cheltenham.
It was now more apparent than ever that the first team to score would go on to win the fixture.
That goal came in the 80th minute when substitute Sam Deering poked a pass into the feet of Jeff Goulding who steadied himself before executing a superb lofted effort up and into the net.
With just three minutes remaining another Yiadom delivery from the right was met by a powerful header by Kamdjo whose powerful header thudded against the post.
This was a cruel blow in any circumstances but the feeling of loss was magnified by the “what if” feeling brought on by the missed penalty.
Barnet certainly made 3rd placed Cheltenham work hard for the points. The Bees did earn plaudits from onlookers and given the display a point would have been a reasonable return for the effort the Bees had put in.
The Bees are not again in action until AFC Wimbledon visit Underhill on Saturday 8th December in a vital League fixture.