Down seconds threw away a glorious opportunity of picking up maximum points against Kilkeel thirds last weekend.

The locals scored a late equaliser to salvage a point from a game which should have been over at the interval.

Down were wasteful in front of goal and it's something they are going to gave to work on over the coming weeks. To be fair, Kilkeel's 'keeper had an excellent game, making a number of fine saves, but Down should have been home and dry by the interval.

Chris Ferguson and Adam McKee made their first starts of the season and both had very impressive games. Ferguson was a constant thorn on the left wing and his powerful shooting from short corner set pieces was a feature of his play.

Kilkeel, inspired by the experienced Willie Quinn at the back, took a while to settle on the shale surface and they will no doubt be much more accomplished on the synthetic surface when Down travel to the MournesĀ  in the New Year.

The Malone Park outfit is discovering that Junior 3 is a very competitive league and that they have to make the most of the goalscoring opportunities which comes its way.

Down dominated the game in the first half and created a number of chances. Ferguson was denied by the 'keeper from two short corner moves, while Philip Brown was also denied by the custodian.

McKee looked as though he was about to give his side the lead with a sublime reverse stick shot, but the 'keeper again managed to get something on the ball to deflect it away from danger.

Gary Tate and Trevor McClurg were in top form at the heart of the Down defence and the home side's dominance was such that the latter was able to push forward to make an extra man in the middle of the park.

Raymond McClurg was again the vital cog in the Down midfield engine and he inspired his side throughout, particularly in the second half when they were a goal in arrears.

While disappointed they went into the interval still on level terms, Down were confident they would score in the second period and go on to win the game. But things didn't work out that way.

The home side struggled to make the same impression during the opening 15 minutes as Kilkeel pushed forward in greater numbers. Down did create a few chances, but the locals simply weren't clinical enough in front of goal.

Kilkeel were awarded a few short corners, but their efforts were either saved or blocked by the home defence. However, with 14 minutes to go, Down were punished for needlessly conceding a free on the edge of the penalty area. The ball was subsequently driven into the danger area where an unmarked forward steered the ball home from almost point-blank range. The goal was the kick up the backside the locals required and with six minutes to go, they hauled themselves back into the game with an equaliser which looked like it was never going to come.

Stephen Fitzsimons was involved in the move which saw Ferguson cross the ball to Brown who found himself unmarked in the penalty area. He took aim and drilled the ball past the 'keeper into the bottom corner of the net. It was Down's get out of jail card and to their credit, both teams went for the winner in the closing stages. Brown again went close while Kilkeel were denied at the other end when a short corner effort was saved.

The final action of the game saw the visitors awarded a penalty corner. The initial one was blocked, but the umpire awarded another set piece which was blocked by Down's 'keeper before being belted out of the penalty area by Johnny Lennon.

In the end, Down had escaped with a point. Kilkeel played much better in the second period and will argue a draw was a fair result, but the home side know they should have won the game comfortably.