The Senior One league campaign may not be over until the fat lady sings, but she is certainly warming up for her finale performance.

Down's senior side have battled bravely all season and they have gone close on many occasions to creating an upset. They may only have won once, but the good thing from their point of view is that they always created chances in all the games they played.

Their biggest problem was finding the back of the net and this again cost them dear against Queen's last Friday night. Down could and should have been leading 3-1 at the interval. Instead, it was their opponents who held a two-goal advantage.

In what was their penultimate game in Senior One, the bottom-placed side again created a host of chances, but when it came to putting the ball in the back of the net they were once again found wanting.

Queen's opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Andrew Spratt finished off a sweeping move to fire past Down's Mark Johnston and while Chris Taylor then had a chance to level things at 1-1, his shot was saved. Mark Elliott then hit a post for Down before Johnston produced a great save to keep his side in the game.

It looked as though it was going to be one of those games before Paul Tate, who has had a magnificent season, did pop up with the equaliser in the 23rd minute.

Queen's, who have blown hot and cold this season, were rattled for a time and while Down had the upper hand, they should have put the students to the sword. But Sinclair White missed two glorious opportunities which would have put his side 3-1 ahead.

The first chance came in the 26th minute, when with just the 'keeper to beat, White hurried his shot when he had time to control the ball and pick his spot. Four minutes later, White again found himself unmarked in the penalty area and with no defender in sight, he squandered the opportunity.

Two minutes later, Queen's got their noses in front and never looked back. They scored two goals in a minute to effectively kill the game. They were both scored by Simon Watt who was unmarked and Down paid a heavy price.

Things went from bad to worse at the start of the second period when Chris O'Flaherty made it 4-1 and Mark McGloven then scored to make it 5-1 in the 44th minute.

Elliott gave his side a glimmer of hope in the 56th minute when he finished off a great move involving Gavin Ringland and Taylor and while Down went for broke in the closing stages, it was too little too late.

Down had been hoping to take something from Friday night's game to give themselves a glimmer of hope and force a do or die relegation play-off against neighbours Ballynahinch who are two points ahead of them in the league.

Down's final game is at home to Cliftonviille while Ballynahinch, who failed to travel to Raphoe last Saturday, still have to face North Down, Queen's and Cliftonville.

Down look doomed and they need a miracle to stay up. They have an outside chance of forcing a play-off and must go into their final match with that thought in mind.