Down seconds took their points tally to 20 with a hard-earned draw against Lisnagarvey fourths at Hillsborough last weekend.

The home side fielded a particularly strong side, but the hard-working visitors were more than a match for them and could have stolen the points given their superb second half performance.

Having lost to Lisnagarvey in the final moments of a league game at Malone Park last October, Down were out for revenge and while they took a little time to settle, they eventually got a grip on the game.

Trevor McClurg, Gary Tate and Johnny and Clifford Lennon were strong at the back and their man-marking curtailed the home side's goalscoring opportunities. When they did manage to break through on several occasions, Down's 'keeper was alert to the danger.

The home side was barely recognisable from the one that travelled to Malone Park earlier in the season and for the opening 10 minutes they dominated the middle of the park, but once Chris Lennon, James Cunningham and Stephen Ferguson got into gear, it was a very different story.

Lisnagarvey's first attack saw the ball worked to their experienced midfielder who found himself unmarked on the left hand side of the penalty area, but his shot was blocked and then five minutes later the same player was denied from a short corner set piece with Down's keeper blocking a shot at his near post.

The opening goal scored by the home side was a real cracker. A player controlled the ball in an instant on the edge of the penalty area before crashing it into the net on the half volley. The home side then had an opportunity to double their advantage from a short corner, but a forward's shot was saved.

Ten minutes later, Down were back on level terms. Philip Brown's short corner push out was stopped by Johnny Lennon who slipped the ball to Cunningham who unleashed a powerful shot which flew into the net past the 'keeper who hadn't time to move.

This was Down's best period of the game and Cecil Telford was denied by a smart double save by the Lisnagarvey 'keeper with 10 minutes of the half remaining. Telford's initial shot came straight back to him and while he cleverly tried to lob the 'keeper, the ball was cleared.

Tate and McClurg formed an impregnable barrier at the heart of the Down defence which forced the home side to mount its attacks down the right wing and while their full back was given too much time and room in the first period, this was addressed in the second.

Down were delighted to go into the interval on level terms and were confident of not just holding on, but going on to win the game. The defence again held firm, with Stephen Cullum intelligently dropping back to provide cover when his side needed it. He even "scored" with a sublime finish near the end of the game, but his effort was ruled out as the ball had been lifted into the penalty area.

Telford almost got a touch on a magnificent cross from Cunningham whose quick free saw his raking pass just miss Telford's stick by a whisker as he beared down on goal.

Lisnagarvey, who had an outside chance of promotion, pushed forward in the closing stages and they almiost snatched a winner with six minutes to go, but a forward's reverse stick shot was saved to keep Down in the game. The visitors hung on and were delighted with the point they picked up.

With games against Annadale fourths, who are already promoted, and Portadown and Instonians still to come, Down have the luxury of going into all three encounters with their Junior 3 status assured. They can also enjoy the season run-in and know that whatever the outcome, they can't be relegated.