Barnet lost out in a dramatic five-goal thriller in front of the BT Sport cameras against Torquay United at The Hive on Tuesday night, going down 3-2 to the Gulls.
The visitors were two up at the break following a below par first-half performance from the Bees, but despite mounting a valiant comeback during the second period Barnet were unable to take anything from a game that could have gone either way.
Martin Allen made four changes to the side that were knocked out of the FA Cup at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers, two of which were enforced following the two red cards that were picked up on Saturday.
David Hunt replaced Andy Yiadom for his first Barnet start, with Mauro Vilhete taking over the other full-back slot as Elliott Johnson once again pushed into midfield to cover for the suspended Togwell.
Meanwhile, there was a change in personnel on either wing as Luke Gambin and Adam Mekki replaced Lee Cook and Luisma Villa, both of whom lined up on the bench.
Torquay manager Chris Hargreaves made five changes of his own to the side that lost to Kidderminster last time out, and following a ten day break the visitors started brightly after opting to switch ends ahead of kick-off.
Their early possession eventually translated into a goal with their first shot on target after 24 minutes, as Louis Briscoe slid in at the near post to convert captain LukeYoung’s low cross from the left.
Barnet’s best chance came on the half-hour mark after Charlie MacDonald was hauled down on the edge of the Torquay box, but Adam Mekki could not get the free-kick from 20 yards out up and over the wall in time as the ball sailed over the crossbar.
It was to be the winger’s last contribution, as he was replaced shortly afterwards by Luisma Villa after going down heavily under a challenge.
The Spaniard nearly unlocked the Gulls stubborn defence on 38 minutes with a deft reverse pass that looked to have sent MacDonald through on goal before a last-ditch interception from a Torquay defender averted the danger.
It proved to be a vital moment, as Torquay doubled their lead just two minutes later. Young was again the creator, whipping in a set-piece near the corner left on the left towards the front post that Ryan Bowman diverted beyond Stack.
Barnet made another change at the break as they looked to chase the game during the second half, with Lee Cook replacing Luke Gambin on the left.
The Bees did find a breakthrough just four minutes after the break, as Luisma Villa stabbed home a set piece from the right into the bottom corner as the ball bobbled in the box.
However, their celebrations were short lived as Torquay struck back straight from kick off, as Briscoe bent in from 25 yards to restore the visitors’ two-goal cushion.
Martin Allen responded by throwing on Bernard Mensah in place of Mauro Vilhete who lined up on the left, with Johnson reverting to left-back and Lee Cook pushing into the middle.
The substitute certainly did not take long to make an impact, racing onto a precise through ball by Charlie MacDonald before calmly slotting beneath the advancing goalkeeper into the bottom corner to make it 3-2.
The goal rejuvenated the Bees, who enjoyed a period of sustained pressure thereafter with a succession of corners and half-chances in the box. They came close to grabbing an equaliser on 73 minutes after a rapid counter-attack saw MacDonald whip in a low cross from the right that Rice was forced to parry away with Mensah lurking.
With the home side throwing bodies forward, Torquay continued to look dangerous on the break. They missed a golden chance to stretch their lead on 77 minutes when substitute Duane Ofori-Acheampong crossed for Toby Ajala, who could only drag wide despite having acres of space.
Barnet went close again on 83 minutes, as Mensah saw a volley that looked destined for the back of the net cannon back off Charlie MacDonald as the ball deflected out for a goal kick.
Both sides went close during four minutes of additional time, with MacDonald seeing an effort of his own blocked before Graham Stack produced a superb save to deny Bowman another goal as the striker raced away.
It was not to be the Bees’ night, as their lead at the top of the Vanarama Conference was cut to six points.
Despite the defeat, Martin Allen’s men have the chance to bounce straight back with another home game against bottom side AFC Telford United to come on Saturday.
Barnet FC: Graham Stack; David Hunt, David Stephens, Bondz N’Gala, Mauro Vilhete (Bernard Mensah 56); Adam Mekki (Luisma Villa 31), Curtis Weston, Elliott Johnson, Luke Gambin (Lee Cook 46); John Akinde, Charlie MacDonald (c).
Torquay United: Martin Rice; Durell Berry, Kystian Pearce, Aaron Downes, Tom Cruise; Toby Ajala, Luke Young (c), Courtney Richards, Courtney Cameron (Niall Thompson 76); Louis Briscoe (Duane Ofori-Acheampong 72), Ryan Bowman.