A second pre-season outing producing seven goals ended in a narrow defeat for Watford Ladies as they continued their preparations for the National League South season with a 4-3 defeat against Championship side Lewes Women on Sunday.

The hosts, who will play one division higher than the Golden Girls, were in front after just two minutes with a smart low finish beyond Shanell Salgado.

However Watford’s responded strongly and they registered the goal their play deserved with arguably the strike of the match.

New signing Katie Akerman, a recent arrival from Reading, finished off a slick passing move by curling a sumptuous effort from 20 yards into the top corner to level the scores.

The Sussex side would re-establish their lead within six minutes of that setback, but again the Hornets rallied to level proceedings.

This time it was captain Helen Ward who showed all her experience to make it 2-2, finishing coolly from inside the box after being picked out with an inch perfect pass from Laura Baker.

After four first-half goals it wasn’t until the 77th minute before the next arrived with Watford going in front for the only time in the match.

In driving rain, substitute Linda Afuakwah latched on to a header down the right hand side before squaring it neatly for the arriving Anaisa Harney, who tapped home their third.

However, with eight minutes to play Lewes equalised with an effort from the edge of the area that nestled in the bottom right corner of the net.

And there was still time for the hosts to snatch victory as a 25-yard effort evaded Salgado in the Hornets goal with two minutes to play.

Meanwhile, the Golden Girls have since two more pre-season games to their calendar, both of which are home 7.30pm kick-offs.

On Wednesday, August 8 they will face Maidenhead Ladies, who play one tier below in the National League Division One South West.

That is followed on Thursday, August 16 with a friendly against Division One South East outfit Stevenage Ladies.

Both matches will be played at the Ladies’ home, Gaywood Park, in Kings Langley.

The Hornets Under-23s also faced their Lewes counterparts yesterday and twice came from behind to draw 2-2 thanks to goals from a trialist and Holly Grennwood.

Watford Ladies: Salgado; Re, Hallsworth, O’Halloran, Huggins; Hill, Akerman, Bell, Baker; Carid, Ward. Subs (used): Afuakwah, Harney, Greenwood, Trialist, Trialist.