Sam Clucas double earns Mansfield Town 4-2 friendly win against Peterborough United

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Sam Clucas’ late double helped Mansfield Town to a hard-fought 4-2 win over Peterborough United in an entertaining contest at One Call Stadium.

Posh led early on the quarter-hour-mark through Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, though John Dempster levelled with a smart finish two minutes later.

The Stags played some exceptional football and deservedly took the lead courtesy of Junior Daniel’s stunning thunderbolt free-kick on the half-hour mark.

Peterborough equalised midway through the second period with Emile Sinclair the scorer, but Clucas’ late brace sealed a victory for the impressive hosts.

On a bright and breezy evening at One Call Stadium, The Stags dominated from the outset and twice came close to an opener inside the first five minutes.

Clucas’ lobbed pass was latched onto by Daniel, who hit a powerful tight-angled drive that had to be diverted wide by Posh ‘keeper Joe Day.

James Jennings’ subsequent corner was met by John McCombe on the edge of the area, and his header was flicked goalwards by Matt Rhead, forcing Day into another smart save.

At the other end, Joe Newell had a penalty appeal turned down in the visitors’ first real attack, before they went ahead on the quarter-hour mark.

Mendez-Laing weaved his way inside and his low 20-yard effort beat a wrong-footed Alan Marriott, after catching a deflection from Dempster.

However, within two minutes, Dempster magnificently drew the hosts level with a pinpoint low drive from the left-edge of the area following Daniel’s floated cross.

And Mansfield almost struck again within an instant when Anthony Howell’s lobbed effort fell inches wide of Day’s right-hand post.

In what was an entertaining contest, The Stags enjoyed a series of set-pieces as the first half progressed with a Dempster header from Jennings’ in-swinging corner, drawing another save.

And it was through a set-piece that Mansfield deservedly went ahead on the half-hour.

Jaani Gordon’s needless shoulder-barge on Dempster resulted in a free-kick 30 yards out, from where Daniel unleashed a bullet strike that flew into the top-left corner.

With Peterborough still reeling, The Stags almost doubled their advantage as Dempster headed straight at Day from Jennings’ floated left-wing cross.

Howell rifled a low left-footed effort into the side netting as Mansfield continued to do all the pressing, whilst Sam Clucas also whistled a shot over the woodwork.

In between those efforts, The Posh defence was again troubled by another set-piece as Michael Richens was forced to clear off the line following yet another Dempster header.

Paul Cox opted to make just one change at the break with Jake Speight replacing Lee Stevenson, whilst the visitors made wholesale changes (nine in total) to their side.

However, Peterborough looked bright after the re-start and almost levelled through Nicky Ajose, who blazed high and wide at point-blank range, despite being unmarked.

The Posh came even closer on the hour mark as Sinclair curling drive from the edge of the area ricocheted off the post with Marriott rooted to the spot.

Danny Swanson was the chief instigator in everything positive about Peterborough, and seconds later he was left frustrated with an effort that cannoned against the bar.

Nevertheless, the visitors eventually equalised midway through the second period.

Nat Knight-Percival broke quickly out of defence and threaded an inviting pass into the feet of Sinclair, who rounded Alan Marriott and duly slotted home.

Mansfield almost regained the lead on 77 minutes when Jennings 25-yard free-kick was deflected over the woodwork, after Rhead was hacked down by Peter Grant.

But within moments, The Stags were able to restore their advantage.

Trialist Nathan Arnold brilliantly worked his way down the right channel, fooling three players, before he squared an inviting ball towards Clucas,

With plenty of work still to be done, Clucas looked up and took a touch, prior to unleashing a swerving 30-yard drive that flew into the top-right corner.

And an unmarked Clucas wrapped things up on the brink of additional time when he finished from just inside the area, after being found by Speight.

Team: Marriott, Beevers, Jennings, Dempster, McCombe, McGuire (Murray), Daniel (Arnold), Stevenson (Speight), Rhead, Howell, Clucas.

Attendance: 768 (51 visitors).