Barnet produced a scintillating performance with a brace from Mauro Vilhete and a goal from the in-form Shaq Coulthirst seeing off the challenge of Cambridge United in impressive style in a 3-1 victory at The Hive.

Barnet boss Rossi Eames kept faith with the side that had beaten Swindon Town 4-1 on their own patch last weekend, the exception being defender Charlie Clough replacing the suspended Andre Blackman.

Blackman’s red card at Swindon prompted a minor reshuffle, but this is now a Barnet team that can take these matters seemingly in their stride.

Once the Bees had weathered the initial flurry by the visitors, who relied on the physical presence of their two strikers, Jabo Ibehre and Uche Ikpeazu, Barnet’s pleasing to the eye style of football came to the fore.

Coulthirst went close with a neat header from a Jamal Campbell-Ryce cross as early as the fourth minute, but the Bees would suffer a blow two minutes later when David Tarpey, making his home debut, was stretchered off with a knee injury. Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro came off the bench as a direct replacement.

The Bees had Cambridge penned back for the bulk of the first half with Ricardo Santos, Akpa-Akpro, David Tutonda all going close to breaking the deadlock.

Finally, with five minutes of the half remaining, the Bees deservedly went ahead. Crisp incisive passing in Cambridge territory ended when Coulthirst picked out Vilhete lurking with intent in the middle of the goal whose flicked header found the corner of the net.

The Barnet faithful could do nothing but applaud their team off at the interval.

The visitors briefly rallied at the beginning of the second half but the Barnet rear-guard was in a resolute mood, ably led by skipper Michael Nelson.

Ikpeazu did give the travelling Cambridge fans something to get excited about in the 49th minute when his powerful header from a trademark delivery from the left by Harrison Dunk went close.

But the Bees extended their lead just past the hour mark when Jack Taylor surged from midfield before releasing Coulthirst, the striker then bore down on goal before releasing a powerful low shot that keeper David Forde could not prevent from finding the back of the net.

In response the visitors made a triple substitution and it paid dividends almost immediately when skipper Leon Legge, in the 71st minute, powered home a header from Medy Eloito’s well-flighted free-kick.

The Bees kept their composure and did not allow Cambridge to build up any momentum by the simple expedient of keeping possession and not throwing men forward unnecessarily.

Barnet were comfortably moving towards victory when Vilhete, in time added on, iced the cake when he blasted the ball home from close range following excellent work down the left by Akpa-Akpro.

The Barnet fans showed their appreciation for what they had seen at the final whistle, this comprehensive victory having taken their team up into the play-off positions.

Barnet: Ross, Santos, Nelson, Clough, H.Taylor, Vilhete, J.Taylor (Fonguck 77) Tutonda, Campbell-Ryce, Tarpey (Akpa Akpro 7), Coulthirst (Mason-Clark 90+4). Subs not used: Bover, Shomotun, Smith, McKenzie-Lyle.