Luton Town ultimately proved too strong an outfit as they ran out 3-1 winners and had the upper hand for the majority of match, but there were periods when the Bees more than held their own in their final fixture of 2016.

Bira Dembele levelled the scores in the 37th minute at Kenilworth Road but two goals in quick succession early in the second half by the Hatters saw the game begin to drift out of Barnet’s reach.

The interim management team of Rossi Eames and Henry Newman made just one change from the side that won at Cheltenham five days earlier with Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro dropping to the bench and Jamal Campbell-Ryce partnering John Akinde upfront.

Luton adopted a very positive approach from the first whistle, had the Bees on the defensive and forced a number of corners.

Forwards Jordan Cook and Danny Hylton were prominent for the Hatters but after withstanding this initial bombardment Barnet began to look dangerous on the break with Akinde having the power and pace to trouble the Luton defence.

In Luke Gambin and Campbell-Ryce, Barnet had forwards who were able to make inroads with the ball and after a surging run by Akinde Luton skipper Scott Cuthbert was fortunate to escape being red carded for a crude challenge on the Bees’ top scorer.

A free-kick conceded on the half-hour mark by Jack Taylor proved costly when Alan Sheehan curled his set piece over the wall and into the top corner, leaving Barnet keeper Jamie Stephens stranded.

Barnet were quick to respond to this set back with a Gambin shot that went for a corner and within six minutes the Bees were level.

Elliott Johnson found Taylor inside the Luton penalty area and the promising teenager’s effort on goal was turned in by Dembele.

Referee Mark Haywood duly ignored any claims to disallow the centre-back’s fourth goal of the season for offside or a possible handball.

Barnet had deservedly drawn level but Luton were determined to regain the lead and they put the visitors’ goal under tremendous pressure in the closing moments of the first half with Hylton and Cameron McGeehan going close for the Hatters.

The home side opened the second half very brightly and they were causing the Barnet defence great concern.

Within four minutes of the restart Luton regained the lead when McGeehan, with Barnet failing to effect a clearance, volleyed a shot over his shoulder into the top corner from 15 yards.

With the Hatters now rampant, another goal came seven minutes later when Alex Gilliard found the corner of the net with a low right-footed shot from 25 yards.

Luton now had control of the match and were content to sit back, invite Barnet to attack, and then calmly pick them off on the break.

Michael Nelson went close to narrowing the deficit with a firm header from a Gambin delivery and a Muggleton free kick whistled a fraction over the crossbar but Luton were able to keep the Bees at bay and could eventually claim a fairly comfortable victory.

The Bees were far from disgraced, but Luton who moved up to fifth place with this victory, looked the more genuine promotion candidates.

Barnet, having added four players to their roster in the January transfer window, are at home to table-topping Plymouth Argyle today.

Barnet: Stephens, Vilhete, Nelson, Dembele, Johnson, Gambin (Muggleton 74), Weston, J. Taylor, Nicholls (Kyei 68), Campbell-Ryce (Akpa-Akpro 53), Akinde. Subs not used: Watson, Vickers, Sesay, H. Taylor.