Down’s defeat had more serious repercussions than at first thought.

The Senior One battle took place last Friday night at the Ards Leisure Centre and while the result was disappointing, the home side's misery was further compounded the following afternoon when their rivals' results at the foot of the table started to filter in.

Ballynahinch drew level on points with Down with a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers South Antrim, while Cliftonville pulled off the result of the day, drawing 2-2 with title chasing Raphoe, whom incidentally, Down face in two weeks' time.

Life in Senior One was always going to be tough and while Down won't win in Donegal on December 29, they now have to concentrate on taking points off the teams in the bottom half of the league and the Cliftonville clash is now a must-win game.

Last Friday night, the locals were missing Aaron Minnis who was injured in the Linden Cup semi-final against Armagh. But the extent of his injury is worse than initially expected and he's expected to be out for quite a while until his eye socket heals.

Down knew a win last Friday night would have taken them clear of their relegation rivals and while they conceded five goals in the end, once again they didn't play badly. But their fitness in the closing stages was found wanting and was cruelly exploited by Portadown.

The visitors were keen to pick up the three points for grabs and the win put much-needed breathing space between them and the teams at the bottom of Senior One.

Predictably, the opening 15 minutes were a cagey affair, with both sides sussing each other out, looking for weaknesses to exploit and it was the visitors who scored first following a goalmouth scramble when Down were punished for not clearing their lines. The goal was scored by Portadown's Ferguson.

The home side responded well and for a 15-minute period played particularly well and while they created a number of half chances, they couldn't find the vital touch in front of goal.

But Down's pressure was rewarded five minutes before the break when Chris Lennon's superb run from defence ended with him slipping the ball to James Cunningham who turned before unleashing a powerful shot into the bottom corner of the net.

The home side was keen to take something from the game to ease away from the teams below them and for the first 15 minutes of the second period, everything was going according to plan. But Down were undone by another goalmouth scramble in the 51st minute when Gregg put his side 2-1 ahead. With nothing to lose, Down had to commit men forward in the search for an equaliser, but in doing so, they left space at the back. Sinclair White, Paul Tate and Stephen Ferguson were causing problems for the visitors, but they failed to test the Portadown 'keeper.

Portadown went 3-1 ahead following another goalmouth scramble which resulted in Whyte's weak shot deceiving everyone and the ball literally trickled over the line and before the home side had a chance to regain its composure, Gareth Titler made it 4-1 with a bullet short corner strike.

The writing was on the wall and Anderson made it 5-1 in the 66th minute before Down added a degree of respectability to the scoreline when Stephen Ferguson scored from close in to make it 5-2.

Another defeat, but Down's wake-up call didn't come until the following day when their rivals' results started to filter through. The pressure is now even more intense at the foot of the table and the locals know they have to start making an impression.

They still have to face Ballynahinch, Cliftonville, Newry and South Antrim again and three wins could be enough to keep them in Senior One. Down know they simply can't afford to drop to Senior Two, given its decreasing standard. A last minute goal to win their final game to keep them in Senior One would be better than winning the league.