St Albans City could not force an upset as classy Peterborough United ensured they began their pre-season with defeat in a 4-1 reverse at Clarence Park on Saturday.

The Saints gave themselves a first-half lead against their League One opponents thank to Shaun Lucien, who slotted home from the penalty spot inside half an hour.

The game had been arranged on the back of Junior Morias’ transfer to the Posh in January, and he came back to haunt his old employers with a powerful equaliser two minutes before the interval.

A raft of changes from both sides at the interval only served to aid the visitors, who took the lead three minutes into the second half through Danny Lloyd’s fine 25-yard free-kick.

Ricky Miller scored a third from a poorly defended set-play from a tighter angle to all but seal victory after 56 minutes.

Not done however, Miller then took advantage of some poor concentration from the Saints within 60 seconds to complete a brace with a precision lob over Dean Snedker, who was left stranded following Lloyd’s fine pass.

He nearly had one of the quickest hat-tricks you will see but was denied by Snedker, who looked impressive in his first game since signing from Cambridge City last month.

There was little goalmouth action for Saints fans to cheer in the final half-hour of the game, but Snedker made another smart stop to deny Lewis Freestone.

Accepted wisdom suggests it is never wise to read too much into pre-season results, especially with a heavily rotated squad, and manager Ian Allinson was left content with a workout for his players in the searing Hertfordshire heat.

He said: “It was excellent. It’s always difficult in games like this because of the quality you are playing against. In the first half, we put a side out who knew one another well from last season.

“We looked very compact and made it difficult. The goal we gave away was disappointing, but it’s pre-season and we’re here to learn.

“Results are important for me, but it was a great workout and we’ve got to thank Peterborough for bringing such a good side down.

“The players who played in the second half are players we spoke to in the summer, including three or four who we’ve already signed – it’s about showing what they can do.

“I’m disappointed with the free-kick goals, but we can work up to before the season and make sure we get things like that right.”

St Albans City: Snedker; Herd (Thomas 46), Saville (Joseph 46), Gardiner (Eadie 46), Bender; Lucien (Bojaj 46), Noble (Kiangebeni 46), Monlouis (Forbes 46), Sambou (Richards 46); Banton (Murrell-Williamson 46), Walker (Merson 46).