WELWYN GC met their first Southern League opposition at the BP Mitchell Stadium, when they entertained Premier Division Biggleswade Town in their penultimate pre-season game, in the build-up to the new season.
And the Citizens gave a very good account of themselves against opposition from a step higher in the non-league pyramid, particularly in the second-half, when the visiting Waders were holding on late in the game, to secure a narrow victory.
Ironically, it was a Welwyn based player in Biggleswade’s Matt Ball, who undid WGC in this game, with a sharply taken hat-trick - two from set pieces – including a first-half penalty and a sweetly taken free-kick at the start of the second-half.
But WGC boss Adam Fisher will be very satisfied with his side’s display, that also drew praise from opposition boss Lee Allinson.
The Citizens survived a couple of scares before their Beds visitors took the lead from a 17th minute spot-kick, given when WGC’s Lee Close pulled back an opposition player in the area. Referee Griffin spotted the offence and Ball slotted in his first – a confident penalty past WGC’s Dan Green.
Josh Bronti volleyed over the best chance of a home reply after good work by Jon Clements, in a first-half which was short of chances, but still good entertainment for a 120 strong crowd.
Two minutes after the restart, the Waders and Ball had their second goals, the elder son of former WGC stalwart of the 80s Tim Ball, curling in a beautifully directed free-kick into the top corner.
Manager Fisher made changes, replacing Danny Payne, Brett O’Connor and Bronti with Nick Eliott, Dan Bond and George Ironton and two of that trio played a big part in WGC reducing arrears on the hour.
Bond hit a sweeping ball out to Ben Spaul, who found Ironton, who pinpointed a fine cross onto the head of Clements, to flick a fine effort into the top corner for 2-1.
Keeper Green foiled a Biggleswade third with a sharp save with his legs after Ball latched onto a loose pass from Dave Corran, before defender Jay Rolfe pulled a good effort just wide as WGC responded.
Elliott forced a good save from the Waders keeper following a strong run from midfield, before Fisher made further changes giving Dan Ferrigno, Tony Williams and Charlie Joy all a late run-out.
The Waders did stretch away to a 3-1 lead, when Ball completed his hat-trick, adding the finishing touch to a slick move with a low shot past Green, but minutes later Joy made a fine run from the back, exchanged passes and slipped Bond in for a cool finish for 3-2, with just five minutes remaining.
WGC (starting line-up): Green, Hunt, Rolfe, Corran, Sexton, Payne, Close, Spaul, O’Connor, Bronti, Clements. Subs (all used second-half): Elliott, Ironton, Bond, Williams, Ferrigno, Joy and Holmes.