Lancaster made the more convincing start, building an 8-4 lead after two quarters - but then collapsing in the face of a dynamic Cheltenham counterattack.
Ed Grundy was in sharp form for Lancaster early on, scoring three as his steam built a 5-3 lead in the first period and then continued to have the edge in the second.
Then, out of the blue, the game underwent a complete change. The initial impetus came from Cheltenham's Rob Parker with two fine goals from the centre-forward position. Exclusions for Tom Curwen and Glen Robinson brought Cheltenham level at 8-8 with man-up strikes from Cian Mulcahy and Marc Tarres. Then Marc Tarres fired in direct from a free throw seven metres out.
Suddenly, Cheltenham were ahead at 9-8 - and the transformation from 4-8 had taken place in just under four minutes!
After that, Cheltenham controlled most of the possession, scoring further goals through Michael Thomas and Marc Tarras before Curwen claimed a late consolation for Lancaster.
Photos (Trevor Hyde):
Top: Cian Mulcahy (white 13) shoots for Cheltenham watched by Lancaster's Tom Curwen and with Rob Parker in the background.
Above: Dan Paddon (white cap) in action for Manchester against Caledonia. The Scottish player is Chris Campbell.