THE stage was set for Bury to begin their charge for promotion in their 130th season, but the Robins failed to read the script as Joe Hanks’ stunning first-half strike handed them all three points.
Bury had paraded the Lancashire FA Senior Cup – their first piece of silverware of the campaign – around the newly laid pitch before the match.
While the feeling of celebration and expectation in the air continued as the Shakers took to the pitch, headed by returning heroes Ryan Lowe and Nicky Adams.
But that ebbed away somewhat during a difficult opening period.
The first-half initially started badly for Cheltenham, who lost central midfielder Asa Hall in only the seventh minute but his replacement more than made up for the set-back.
Hanks smashed the visitors in front in the 42nd minute with an exquisite strike from the edge of the box, curling it into the corner away from the dive of Shwan Jalal.
The Bury keeper had been the busier of the two, tipping a Jason Taylor effort around the post early on before standing up to gather a close-range effort from Hanks.
It looked like he had finally been beaten in the 39th minute as defender Matt Taylor looped a header over the stranded stopper, but the goal was disallowed for a foul in the box.
Bury created very little in the first half with Tom Soares going closest, deflecting a Chris Hussey shot goalwards, but his flick sailed inches wide of the far post.
The Shakers carried much more of a threat after the break, but a familiar face stood in their way.
Trevor Carson, who started last season as the Bury number one, pulled off two flying one-handed saves, first keeping out a Pablo Mills header on the line from a Nicky Adams corner before palming away an Adams header in acrobatic style.
The Robins keeper also got his body behind an Andrew Tutte curler from outside the box, while the midfield general saw another similar effort fly just wide.
And the Northern Irishman came to Cheltenham's aid again in injury time, tipping over an effort from substitute and debutant James Poole before captain Jim McNulty blazed over a free header from the resulting corner.