A missed penalty from Mark Byrne proved costly for Barnet as the Bees suffered a 1-0 defeat at promotion chasing Cheltenham Town.

After a goalless first half, Barnet were awarded a penalty on 63 minutes when Jake Hyde’s header struck the arm of Darren Carter. However, Byrne’s effort was saved by Scott Brown.

The Bees defended well but substitute Jeff Goulding curled a strike into the top corner to ensure the home side claimed the three points.

Barnet made just one change to their side as Edgar Davids returned from suspension in place of Jon Nurse.

The hosts started strongly a controlled possession in the early stages. Darren Carter had a shot easily saved by Graham Stack before Shaun Harrad fired tamely wide.

As so often this season, Ricky Holmes proved Barnet’s main threat in the first half and he forced Brown into two stops at his near post.

The Bees continued to create the better opportunities and Byrne’s curling strike from distance was well saved by Brown.

Barnet had plenty of shots from goal in the opening 45 minutes but many were from distance and Brown remained largely untested.

The best two chances of the half did go to the home side. Jake Taylor drilled a half-volley over the crossbar from ten yards before Harrad turned well but shot wide of the post.

In the closing minutes the Bees came close to going ahead. Davids received the ball outside the box, skipped past a challenge before his shot skipped narrowly wide of the post.

After their indifferent display in the opening period, the home side began the second half purposefully.

Taylor again shot over the bar and Stack produced a fine reflex full length dive to deny Chris Zebroski.

Barnet defended well throughout the contest and the centre-back pairing of Davids Stephens and Krystian Pearce dealt with countless crosses into the Bees box.

Their perseverance seemingly paid off as on 63 minutes, Barnet won a penalty.

A Byrne corner found Jake Hyde who headed towards goal only for the arm of Carter to block the effort.

Referee Andrew Madley pointed to the spot but Byrne’s effort to the right of Brown was well saved by the keeper.

The miss boosted the Robins and the home supporters. Cheltenham pushed forward and nearly took the lead as Harrad’s instinctive shot on goal deflected just wide.

Keith Lowe then missed from six yards before the hosts took the lead. Goulding, who had been introduced a substitute two minutes earlier, collected a pass in the box and curled a shot over Stack and into the net.

Town continued to push forward despite going ahead and former Barnet player Sam Deering forced Stack into a good stop with a strike from long range.

The Bees came agonisingly close to levelling the contest late on. Andy Yiadom engineered space to deliver a cross, he whipped the ball across the box and Clovis Kamdjo rose well but his headed struck the post.

In the dying seconds Barnet won a free-kick. Stack went forward and won a header but his effort went wide of the post and the referee blew the full time whistle.

Barnet are not in action next weekend and their next fixture is at home to Wimbledon on December 8.

Barnet: Stack; Fuller, Pearce, Stephens, Brown; Kamdjo, Davids, Byrne (Nurse 85); Yiadom, Holmes, Hyde.

Barnet substitutes: Lee, Nurse, Edgar, Cowler, Weston, Barker, Iro.

Cheltenham Town: Brown; Lowe, Bennett, Elliot, Jones; Taylor (Penn 77), Pack, Carter (Goulding 77), McGlashan (Deering 72), Zebroski, Harrard.

Cheltenham Town substitutes: Deering, Duffy, Goulding, Roberts, Penn, Andrew, Graham.

Attendance: 2,591 (100).