Down are finding the going tough in Senior One.

The locals are under no illusion about the enormity of the task that lies ahead and know they have to start improving performances and picking up a few more points if they are to survive.

This Friday night they must take something from the game against South Antrim. A win would give them six points and certainly increase the pressure on their fellow relegation strugglers.

Last Saturday at Upper Malone, Down were 2-0 behind after 90 seconds and the students incredibly led 4-0 after just four minutes.

Jeremy McCready's side struggled during a frenetic opening and the only players to emerge with credit after 70 minutes of torture were Adam McKee, who showed he isn't out of place in the senior side, and Paul Tate.

As for the rest, they know they need to up their game but, more importantly, start playing as a unit, remaining comfortable on the ball.

Down got off to the worst possible start when Queen's took the lead after just 30 seconds following an error in defence, allowing David Bell to score. Sixty seconds later they were 2-0 behind when they paid the ultimate price of trying to run the ball out of defence, as opposed to whacking it away from the danger zone.

Simon Watt was the scorer and he then got a second and his team's third when volleyed past Mark Johnston in the Down goal who was doing his best to keep his side in the game, despite being exposed.

A minute later the exposed Ôkeeper was beaten for a fourth time with a superb drag flick from a short corner expert Andrew Spratt. Having conceded four goals in four minutes, Down were shell shocked but they managed to play their way into the game.

Stephen Ferguson should have pulled a goal back for the visitors when he found himself unmarked in the middle of the penalty area with just the 'keeper to beat, but he took too much time and was robbed off possession.

Paul Tate also shot wide from a short corner before the umpires signalled the end of 35 minutes Down will want to forget about.

McKee again played well in the second half as did the hardworking Tate, but Down never troubled the Queen's defence or the home goalkeeper and need to work harder over the coming weeks.

Queen's made it 5-0 within minutes of the restart when Richard Cooper scored and a quick three-goal salvo saw them lead 8-0 going into the closing stages with strikes from Chris O'Flaherty (2) and Cooper again.

With the last strike of the game, they rubbed salt in painfully sore Down wounds when they made it 9-0 to complete a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the locals.

The game is now history and the players must look forward to Friday night when a top performance is required. A good result will provide much-needed confidence and a possible springboard to improved performances over the coming weeks.