Watford Ladies lost 4-2 to in-form Yeovil Town in an entertaining game, played in front of a record crowd for the Golden Girls at Berkhamsted.
A bumper turn-out of 465 were in attendance, which beat the previous record of 340 on the opening night of WSL2 last season.
The Watford fans saw their side get off to a slow start, with Yeovil going 2-0 up inside 10 minutes, thanks to goals from Natasha Knapman and Helen Bleazard.
Stacie Donnelly pulled one back on 39 minutes but the visitors responded quickly, making it 3-1 at the break through Annie Heatherson.
Having got the third, Heatherson grabbed her second and Yeovil’s fourth with just over a quarter of an hour to play.
Jenna Dear reduced the deficit from the penalty spot but Watford couldn’t manage to mount a late comeback.
Both sides had to change their plans less than an hour before kick-off. Vanna Lee came in for her debut, replacing Emily Heaslip for the hosts, while Ebony Dover came in for Corinne Yorston for Yeovil.
With plenty of vocal encouragement from the stands, there was a great atmosphere around the ground, however the hosts were handed an early set-back.
Heatherson set the opening goal up, her cross picking out Knapman, who managed to get enough on her header to take it past Shayla Burgess in goal.
The lead was doubled shortly afterwards and it was the same player again with the assist, teeing up a glorious chance for Bleazard who made no mistake, leaving Burgess with no chance.
Despite being two down early on, Watford responded well, with Kate Natkiel’s audacious effort from distance only just going over.
After a number of set-piece situations, the Lady Hornets eventually found a way through; Donnelly taking advantage of some poor keeping and then calmly finishing into the top corner.
It looked like the momentum would shift, however one move ensured it didn’t. Ellie Curson played a lovely through-ball to Heatherson, who having set a couple up, found the back of the net herself to make it 3-1.
While it had been an eventful first half, the start to the second was completely different with very little of note happening in the first 20 minutes.
Sasha Adamson came on as a half-time substitute and looked lively, managing to test Charlotte Haynes in the Yeovil goal from distance.
Having been involved in all three goals, Heatherson would play a crucial part again to put her side 4-1 up. The forward firing in a free-kick from just outside the area.
Heads didn’t drop amongst the Watford players, however, and there was a glimmer of hope with five minutes to play. A tremendous run from Josie Green ended with her being tripped up in the penalty area.
Dear stepped up to take it and placed her penalty perfectly in the bottom left hand corner, her second goal for the club.
Watford: S Burgess, Lee (Adamson HT), M Burgess, Robe, Gillard, Wride, Green, Donnelly, Dear, Natkiel, Mason (Farrow 85).
Subs not used: Rowlands, Butterwick, Heaslip, Read, Scheffer.
Goals: Donnelly (39) Dear (pen 84).