A late Enfield Town goal was a harsh reflection on Welwyn Garden City's best pre-season performance to date.

That strike five minutes from the end of the game at the Pexhurst Stadium, the new name for Welwyn's Herns Lane ground, made it 3-1 to the Isthmian League Premier Division side but for the best part of an hour, the Citizens matched their loftier opponents for endeavour and industry.

Ethan Kessel had WGC’s first chance in the game, when he latched onto a misplaced pass, but finished weakly.

Enfield keeper Adi Connolly then kicked a Zak Brown long ball off the toes of Dernell Wynter as the home side opened the game brightly after some indifferent pre-season performances.

But it was the north London visitors who struck first on 15 minutes thanks to a penalty awarded when a cross from full-back Mikey Parcell hit the arm of Brown in a bit of a melee.

Reece Beckles-Richards duly obliged from 12 yards to give Town the lead.

But WGC, lacking three of manager Marc Weatherstone’s close season signings – James Kaloczi, Brad Wadkins and Zac Guerfi, responded.

Alex Harris won a fine header, Wynter knocked it on and youngster Lucas Jordan ran free but fired his shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

Kessel then hit an outstanding swerving free-kick from 20 yards just inside the far post, Connolly going full stretch to tip it around the post.

And 10 minutes before the break WGC were level.

A long goal kick was controlled well in the area by Bailey Stevenson but he was sent tumbling to the floor by the attentions of a defender.

The fouled striker got up to score with the second penalty of the evening.

It was to prove his last contribution as he went down with a shoulder injury five minutes from the break to be replaced by Henry Jones.

WGC changed keepers at the break, young trialist keeper Donnabhan Green replacing Charlie Crowley.

Weatherstone made three further changes 20 minutes into the second half, introducing Jack Vasey, trialist David Castanho and Yasin Boodhoo for Josh Steele, skipper James Mulley and Kessel.

Green made an outstanding tip-over save to prevent Enfield Town restoring the lead but was helpless when WGC were caught napping by a short corner routine and when the ball was switched, Marcus Wyllie crashed in a low effort through a crowded area for 2-1 to the visitors.

Kessel had to return to the action when Harris turned an ankle and he made a fine run along the by-line.

The effort from a tight angle could only find the side netting.

But with the clock ticking down, Kessel was caught in possession just outside the area and the Towners quickly forced goalmouth blocks from both Boodhoo and Brown.

However, when the ball came loose a third time, Sami Bessardi drove it low past Green.

That goal was a body blow but WGC had a golden chance to reduce the deficit to one, two minutes from the end.

Jones shot was the Citizens’ best opening of the night but he hit it straight at keeper Connolly from a couple of yards.

WGC: Crowley (Green 46), Brown, Steele (Boodhoo 65), Tring, Harris (Kessel 75), Kessel (Vasey 65), Mulley, (Castanho 65), Pollock, Stevenson (Jones 40), Wynter, Jordan.