A spirited performance from the Robins was in vain as they fell to 2-0 defeat against Barnsley at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.
On numerous occasions the hosts forced Liam Roberts in the Barnsley goal into moments of brilliance but were unable to find a route past him.
A pair of second half goals from Devante Cole and Max Watters ended up being the difference between the two sides.
“It was a cruel and tough one,” said Robins manager Wade Elliott.
“I don’t think the result reflected the game or performance especially off the back of where we are at the minute.
“We made loads of chances and I’m not sure how it stayed out as the goalkeeper has made a couple of worldie saves.
“We’ve been able to get that setup on the pitch twice and they’ve probably been our two best performances of the season."
The chances were flowing from the first whistle with Barnsley having a couple of sighters before the Robins found their groove.
Rob Street in particular was the bright spark finding space in behind the defence and forced Roberts into a couple of smart stops.
This didn’t deter the Robins as Lewis Freestone’s towering header needed clawing away off the line before the three strikers combined with Will Goodwin’s header needing to be well saved too.
This woke the visitors up and Cole was emulating Street with the runs in behind and saw a goal disallowed for offside after he slipped an effort under Luke Southwood.
Minutes later, there was a moment of panic for the Robins fans as Jack Shepherd’s header deflected off the inside of the post and fell into the waiting arms of Southwood with appeals for the ball crossing the line.
Sandwiched between those two chances, the Robins had an appeal for a penalty waved away after Aidan Keena fell down under pressure in the box .
The Robins were unable to start the second half in the same manner as the first as a couple of vital interventions from Freestone denied the visitors.
However, a Barnsley counterattack launched from a Robins’ corner led to Cole running through on goal and sliding the ball across the goal and past Southwood.
They nearly doubled their lead six minutes later as a spectacular first time volley from Nicky Cadden cannoned off the post.
The Robins responded as Street saw another effort of his own parried away by Roberts and new signing Nathan Butler-Oyedeji nutmegged his man before his shot was blocked.
An even bigger chance followed as a smart low cross from Curtis Thompson found Freestone on the penalty spot but he couldn’t find the purchase to get his effort on target.
But the killer blow was landed in stoppage time as despite Southwood’s best efforts to keep Aiden Marsh’s shot out, it fell to Watters who squeezed it in from a tight angle.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-4-3): Southwood; Long (c) (J. Willaims 89), Davies (Bevan 65), Freestone; Ferry, Sercombe, Bonds (Thompson 65), B.Williams (Peupion 76); Keena, Street, Goodwin (Butler-Oyedeji 65). Subs not used: Harris (Gk), Adshead
BARNSLEY (3-5-2): Roberts; Williams (c), Lopata, Shepherd; Cotter (de Gevigney 77), Phillips (Chapman 89), Russell, Kane, Cadden; McAtee (Watters 73), Cole (Marsh 89). Subs not used: Killip (Gk), McCart, Nejman
REFEREE: S Singh Gill
ATTENDANCE: 3,923 (764 away)