Burton Albion consigned Cheltenham Town to defeat in this battle of promotion rivals on a chilly afternoon at the Pirelli Stadium.
The Robins had arrived in confident mood on the back of two straight wins, but headed home frustrated after a performance undermined by defensive frailties.
They had it all to do after Brewers' winger Alex MacDonald had made a decisive contribution before the break, scoring one and making another for Robbie Weir in four devastating first-half minutes.
Boss Mark Yates shuffled his pack at half-time, but Weir added a third three minutes after the interval to all but end the match as a contest.
Cheltenham though rallied towards the end and Byron Harrison capped a lively cameo with his first goal for the club, but the manager will rue the poor defending which allowed the home side to extend League Two's most formidable home record to 15 wins.
Yates named the same side which had successfully produced seven points from its three previous outings.
Again Sam Deering was tasked with linking the midfield with Paul Benson, the lone striker, with Marlon Pack and Jason Taylor playing slightly deeper of the four across the middle to protect the central defensive pairing of Michael Hector and Steve Elliott.
They started the match brightly enough, creating a series of half chances without calling Stuart Tomlinson, the Burton goalkeeper, into a meaningful save.
But the home side quickly found a foothold in the contest and opened up a two-goal lead midway in the first half.
MacDonald handed his side the lead with 22 minutes on the clock, capitalising on some poor defending to beat Scott Brown with a deflected shot from 10 yards.
Four minutes later the winger provided the cross for Robbie Weir to steer home a fine header into the top left-hand corner to double the advantage.
There was a chance for Taylor on the half-hour, although his volley from 20 yards cleared the target.
At the other end Billy Kee called Brown into a smart block at his near post from a suspiciously offside position down the left.
Yates took decisive action after the break, replacing Taylor and Penn with Byron Harrison and Jermaine McGlashan, but it couldn't prevent Burton extending their lead three minutes after the restart.
It was another disappointing goal to concede from a Cheltenham perspective, Kee skipping away from Hector to find Weir who headed home for a second time.
Ian Sharps went close to making it four when he met a corner from the left with a firm header, but his effort flashed wide of the right post.
Harrison caught the eye in attack, and he was joined by Kaid Mohamed at the expense of Carter 18 minutes from time.
McGlashan also caused problems down the right, drawing a series of free-kicks in promising positions.
One of those chances was swung in by Jones, but Elliott's header was held by Tomlinson.
McGlashan had a golden opportunity to reduce arrears with seven minutes remaining when the ball fell kindly eight yards from goal, but Tomlinson produced an instinctive save to push his effort over the bar.
Harrison grabbed a late consolation two minutes into injury time, meeting Mohamed's corner with a powerful downward header but it couldn't prevent Cheltenham falling to a disappointing defeat.
BURTON ALBION (4-4-2): Tomlinson; O'Connor, Diamond (c), Sharps, McCory; MacDonald (Corbett 90), Bell, Weir, Maghoma; Kee, Symes. Subs not used: Zola, Lyness, Paterson, Holness, Dyer, Drury.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-5-1): Brown; Lowe, Hector, Elliott, Jones; Carter (Mohamed 72), Taylor (Harrison 46), Pack (c), Penn (McGlashan 46); Deering; Benson. Subs not used: Roberts (Gk), Jombati, Harrad, Duffy.
REFEREE: Mr. A. Haines