The Bees fell to defeat in their opening pre-season friendly, as Hitchin Town signed off their own pre-season campaign with victory at Top Field. Peter Beadle opted to field two separate XI's, on an afternoon which featured 11 trialists.
The hosts opened the scoring on 13 minutes as Stead raced clear following a ball over the top, before finding a composed finish to slot the ball past Scott Loach.
Hitchin started sharply in the glorious September sunshine, the hosts playing their final pre season friendly before their campaign kicks off next weekend.
The Bees first half team saw five trialists feature, but it was last season's second-highest scorer Josh Walker who created our first opening of the afternoon. Walker took the ball forward on a 20 yards run before his effort from the edge of the box was charged down by the host's backline.
It was Walker involved again just moments later as he broke clear on goal but this time his low effort was well saved by Horlock in the Hitchin goal.
The Bees made 10 changes at the break, with five further trialists featuring in the second 45 minutes of our opening pre-season friendly.
The hosts doubled their lead 18 minutes into the second half with almost a carbon copy of their opener, as Stead latched onto a ball over the top before calmly slotting past Aymen Azaze.
Hitchin struck the bar a minute later as a dangerous ball across the box was slammed against the woodwork before being scrambled away by the Bees.
The Bees almost had one back when Trialist H's dangerous corner was almost turned in for an own goal, meanwhile Azaze did well to make a big stop to deny Stead his hat-trick.
As time ticked on Antonis Vasiliou saw a free-kick fly wide of the Hitchin goal, although a disappointing result the opener gave Beadle an opportunity to take a real look at the trialists currently at the Club.
First Half team
Second half team