There’s a narrow margin between Senior One survival and relegation.

Down were keen to get off to a winning start last weekend and if they had taken the chances they created, three points would already be in the bag ahead of this Saturday's clash against Portadown.

Against South Antrim, Down showed enough over 70 minutes against the side that pipped them for a place in Senior One three seasons ago after a play-off to show that relegation should be avoided.

South Antrim had the luxury of a 15-strong squad and were able to rotate players with regularity throughout the game which made a difference in the end.

Gavin Ringland was immense for Down throughout and denied the home side a certain goalscoring opportunity in the second minute when he blocked a short corner strike.

Chris Lennon ran into the heart of the South Antrim defence in the eighth minute but Paul Neill couldn't make up the ground to catch the ball. Jeremy McCready, who was playing centre forward, won his side a short corner in the 15th minute with Ringland denied from the resultant set piece.

Richard Owens gave away a short corner at the other end with Ringland sparing his blushes with a great block before Down's Alasdair Duff set up Neill in the 32nd minute, but the winger's shot was saved.

McCready should have given his side the lead within minutes of the restart but his effort was saved. At the other end. Mark Johnston produced a fine save to keep a sweetly driven short corner shot.

The save proved crucial as seconds later, the visitors took the lead.

Paul Tate started the move which led to the opener. His intelligent pass picked out McCready with the ball eased into the path of Neill whose pinpoint cross was hammered home by Duff.

Six minutes after going behind, South Antrim were back on level terms following a short corner. An initial shot was blocked by the Down defence, but the ball broke to Alan Glass who stabbed it past Johnston. Game on.

Two minutes later, Owens was denied at the other end before Johnston produced a brilliant save, palming away a drag flick effort from a penalty corner.

Tate almost put his side 2-1 ahead before South Antrim pounded to take the lead for the first time in the game. The umpire initially awarded Down a free hit, but then changed his mind and gave it to South Antrim. Seconds later, Richard McConkey made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute.

With nothing to lose, Down piled men forward to try and snatch a point and McCready almost got on the end of a great cross from Neill who had a terrific game on the wing.

The visitors failed in the end to grab an equaliser and while disappointed with the defeat, they will be hoping to win during the reverse fixture later in the season. This weekend Down face Portadown when they will be hoping to take something from the game.