Luisma Villa provided a timely reminder of the spark Barnet are missing by scoring for his new side as the Bees fell to a third defeat in four since promotion, 3-1 at Bristol Rovers.

The Spaniard, who grabbed a stunning equaliser from 35 yards at the Memorial Stadium in last season’s corresponding fixture, was not on the field but news of his goal for Arenas Club filtered through as Martin Allen’s side toiled to no avail against the Gas.

Lacking the spark, guile and pure unpredictability the midfielder provided last season, this was another stark reminder of what Barnet have been missing so far this term.

Behind as early as the third minute following a well-worked goal from distance by full-back Lee Brown, Barnet threatened only fleetingly and had just two shots on target.

Former Wales international Jermaine Easter made sure of the points in the 77th minute, lashing home to kill off any lingering hope for the Bees.

Curtis Weston hit back for the visitors with five to play, but within a minute it was 3-1 as Matty Taylor drilled home.

Andy Yiadom was missing from the teamsheet following a third bid from a League One club, believed to be Barnsley, but was in attendance at the Mem and took his place on the bench in a tracksuit.

Aaron McLean, signed on a short-term deal on Wednesday, was handed his full debut from the start alongside John Akinde.

Mauro Vilhete came into the side in place of Yiadom, whilst Luke Gambin continued on the left-hand side for the Bees.

Graham Stack began in goal with Gavin Hoyte, Bondz N’Gala, Bira Dembele and Elliott Johnson in front of him. Vilhete, Curtis Weston, Sam Togwell and Gambin comprised the midfield with Akinde and McLean up front.

The Bees made the worst possible start when from a corner routine straight off the training ground, Rovers took the lead after just three minutes.

Chris Lines sprayed his delivery out to the lurking Brown, some 35 yards from goal, and the left wing-back set himself before slamming low through a crowd of bodies in the penalty area and beyond the unsighted Stack.

The Gas had made by far the better start and were looking dangerous in a 3-5-2 system which allowed Brown and Daniel Leadbitter to stretch the pitch and spread the play at every opportunity.

Yet the Bees might have drawn level in the 13th minute when Gambin robbed Leadbitter before seeing his cross dropped by Aaron Chapman into the path of McLean, who could not quite get the desired contact in the ensuing scramble.

Two minutes later a Gambin corner from the right evaded everybody before dropping agonizingly wide of the back post.

Much to Barnet’s relief the dangerous Leadbitter was replaced on 32 minutes after chasing down an Ellis Harrison lay-off only to feel his hamstring go.

But the hosts almost doubled their lead three minutes later despite that setback. Lines’ corner from the right was met with a solid contact by the head of Tom Lockyer but the centre-back could only steer over the bar.

Just before the break Barnet had their best chance of the half. Vilhete slipped Akinde in on his left but the big number nine could not find a way past Chapman, who made a sprawling block.

Rovers enjoyed the better of the early second-half exchanges, going close twice in the space of a minute as Brown, from an identical corner routine to the opener, volleyed straight at Stack before Lines saw a low shot held by the Bees stopper.

That pressure told after an hour when Rovers appeared to have doubled their lead from close range via Stuart Sinclair only for the linesman on the near side to raise his flag for offside.

The hosts went close again soon after when Ollie Clarke strode forward before letting fly from distance, Stack getting down to block the initial effort before smothering the follow-up in the nick of time.

Sam Muggleton was Barnet’s third change, in place of Hoyte, and the youngster’s lengthy throw caused panic in the hosts’ penalty area immediately.

After the initial danger was dealt with the ball was clipped back towards an unmarked Dembele at the back post, who could not steer his shot on target from a dangerous position.

With 13 minutes remaining Rovers made sure of the points, Easter rifling in from 12 yards after the ball was worked across from the left, leaving the former Crystal Palace and Millwall striker in space to finish with aplomb.

Skipper Weston pulled one back with less than five minutes to go after Gambin's initial shot had been blocked.

But within two minutes Rovers had re-opened their two-goal advantage as Taylor, who scored in last season’s 2-1 loss at the Mem, smashed home at the back post as the Bees switched off.

The Bees take a break from League Two action on Tuesday as they head to Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup second round.

Barnet: Stack; Hoyte (Muggleton 74), N’Gala, Dembele, Johnson; Vilhete (Batt 61), Weston (c), Togwell, Gambin; McLean (Gash HT), Akinde.

Subs: Stephens (GK), Nelson, Tomlinson, Champion.

Bristol Rovers: Chapman; J.Clarke, Lockyer, Parkes; Leadbitter (Gosling 32), Sinclair, O.Clarke, Lines (c), Brown; Easter (Bodin 83), Harrison (Taylor 60).

Subs: Mildenhall (GK), Mansell, Montano, Monakana.

Referee: Ross Joyce.

Attendance: 7,107 (199 away supporters).