The Robins suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday afternoon at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.
First half goals from Jack Grimmer and Garath McCleary gave the visitors the advantage before an own goal put the game beyond their opponents.
New signing Matty Taylor did give hope to the Robins faithful with a clinical strike into the top corner, but it proved to be a consolation.
“I said to the players there, we can’t afford to concede the goals we did today,” said manager Darrell Clarke post-match.
“The manner we conceded them was poor and it doesn’t give you a platform at these levels to go on and win the game.”
The Robins begun on the front foot as a sweet Tom Pett volley whistled just wide before efforts from George Lloyd and Curtis Davies rolled tamely into the gloves of Wycombe keeper Max Stryjek.
The visitors took the lead on the 20 minute mark after an inswinging corner picked out Grimmer at the back post who guided it in off his knee.
A second followed just nine minutes later, after Liam Sercombe went close, with McCleary and Sam Vokes executing a perfect one two on halfway before the former finished well past Luke Southwood.
Clarke’s men continued to offer a threat with half-time approaching as an intricate passage of play released Elliot Bonds down the side of the Wanderers defence before Aidan Keena was unable to get the necessary purchase on the shot.
Into the second half and moments after the break Sam Vokes was brought down in the penalty box by Andy Smith with referee Martin Coy not hesitating in pointing to the spot.
The resulting penalty from McCleary was well saved by Southwood but Davies inadvertently steered Freddie Potts’ follow up cross into his own net.
The Robins hit back six minutes later as half-time introduction Taylor swivelled in the box before emphatically firing fellow new addition Jack Shepherd’s knock down past Stryjek.
Taylor’s energy gave the hosts a new lease of life and more industrious work from the number nine saw Lloyd released.
The forward picked out Liam Kinsella but the midfielder, playing at right wing back, couldn’t keep his header below the upright.
Wycombe substitute Beryly Lubala nearly added a sensational fourth for the visitors late on, but his 40-yard lobbed effort nestled on the roof of the net.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Southwood; A. Smith (Kinsella 54), Davies, Shepherd; Long (c), Sercombe, Pett, Bonds (Harrop 54), Ferry (Thomas 77); Keena (Taylor 46), Lloyd (Nuttall 77). Subs not used: Pardington (Gk), B. Williams
WYCOMBE WANDERERS (4-2-3-1): Stryjek; Vincent-Young, Grimmer (c), Low, Leahy; Potts, Butcher; McCleary (Wheeler 90), Taylor, Sadlier (Lubala 64); Vokes. Subs not used: Ravizzoli (Gk), Campbell, Lonwijk, Kone, McCarthy
REFEREE: M Coy
ATTENDANCE: 4,181 (598 from Wycombe)