A late Tom Pope penalty put paid to any hope of an upturn in fortunes for Barnet in a 1-0 defeat at Port Vale on Saturday.

With a new boss at the helm in the shape of the experienced Mark McGhee, the Bees were hoping to return to winning ways after a barren run of 13 games without a victory.

The familiar failing of conceding late goals has not been eradicated from their play and an 80th-minute penalty converted by Pope condemned the Bees to their 10th defeat of the league campaign.

Barnet adopted a more traditional 4-4-2 than their recent and were more compact and physical in their approach than had been apparent under Rossi Eames who had stepped down this week to return to leading player development.

The hosts started well and created the first opportunity when David Worrell picked out Pope in the 11th minute, only for his headed effort to provide an easy first stop for Barnet keeper Jamie Stephens.

Worrell and Pope were combining well, keeping the Barnet rear-guard on full alert and while the home side were the dominant outfit the Bees were showing a steely resolve.

The new boss gave Dan Sweeney his first start of the season and he was rewarded with an industrious display by the ex-Maidstone United midfielder who distributed the ball well.

His central midfield partner Jack Taylor was also impressing and he went close for the Bees in the 17th minute with a curling effort following a good run from deep that Ryan Boot did well to hold.

Early in the second half a John Akinde chip had Boot back peddling but the striker’s effort went over the bar.

12 minutes into the second-half the deadlock was almost broken when Anton Forrester’s shot from close-range was keep out by a fine reaction save by Stephens.

Barnet’s best chance of the match fell to Simeon Akinola who capitalised on a lofted pass from Jack Taylor that went over the Vale defence but his effort was straight at Boot. Moments later Vale would score the decisive penalty.

With 80 minutes on the clock Barnet’s hopes of a point or better were dashed when a clumsy challenge by Jean Louis Akpa Apro on James Gibbons prompted referee Anthony Backhouse, following a discussion with his Assistant, to award a penalty.

Pope who had wasted a number of opportunities was in no mood to fail from 12 yards, to secure a result that the Bees now have now lost their last four away league fixtures.

Barnet: Stephens, H Taylor, Clough, Santos, Blackman (Tutonda 55), Watson, J Taylor (Akpa Akpro 82), Sweeney, Campbell-Ryce (Akinola 55), Coulthirst, Akinde.

Not used: Nelson, Vilhete, Ross, Akpa Akpro.