Down seconds may have been comprehensively defeated in this Junior 3 clash, but the scoreline disguises the fact they played well, particularly in the first half, when they were much the better side.

The locals had already defeated Bangor earlier in the season, but the team which travelled to Malone Park and the one that lined out last weekend were barely recognisable.

Only three or four of the team defeated in Downpatrick played last Saturday and had it not been for an outstanding performance by the Bangor 'keeper, Down could well have taken something from the game.

The visitors started well, surprising Bangor who were penned back in their own half for the opening 10 minutes as their opponents took charge, particularly in the middle of the park. Bangor's 'keeper produced a blinding stick save to deny Sinclair White, while Paul Neill also went close.

Having weathered the storm, Bangor came back into the game and scored in the 17th minute. Down failed to cut out a right wing attack and a ball whipped into the penalty area was deflected home, despite the close attentions of the 'keeper and Clifford Lennon.

Undeterred, Down fought back and thought they had "scored" an equaliser when Chris Ferguson got a touch on the ball before a defender to steer it into the net.

Inexplicably, the Bangor umpire ruled the defender got the last touch on the ball and awarded a long corner, much to the annoyance of the visiting players.

But Down were celebrating moments later when they drew level. White's short corner strike was saved, but Adam McKee was on hand to drill the ball into the net with just two minutes to go.

However, a lack of discipline and mental awareness cost Down moments later. Aware there was less than two minutes to go until the interval, they went to sleep and a Bangor midfielder who ran past four visiting players slipped the ball to a colleague who drilled it home.

Too often this season, Down's players have failed to display a little bit of common sense in key games. Having equalised last weekend they should have shut up shop. They didn't and their indiscipline was punished.

Bangor went 3-1 ahead in the 46th minute and with nothing to lose, the locals pushed forward in a bid to salvage something from the game.

They were caught on the break twice and a drag flick from a short corner completed a thoroughly miserable afternoon at what is surely one of the coldest and most exposed hockey grounds in the Province.

Down have to learn from their mistakes and quickly. Man marking, defending in numbers and using your head while in possession are basic skills all the players have, but don't utilise them often enough.