Down won this Senior Two clash comfortably enough in the end, but the locals had a few close shaves along the way.

The Malone Park side was always in front in the game and should have reached double figures with the amount of chances they created.

The fact they didn't was down to Omagh 'keeper, Bob Hawkes, who was brilliant. He produced a top drawer save from the penalty spot to deny Ashley Gibson and made countless others from a host of Down players, including Gavin Ringland, Jeremy McCready, Chris Taylor and Raymond McClurg.

Down won in the end, thanks to goals from Ferguson, Gibson and a brace from skipper McCready, who moved himself up front on the day.

The home side began in confident mood and created a host of chances in a frenetic opening, but they couldn't find the back of the net because of that man Hawkes.

And when the locals were awarded a penalty stroke, he pulled off a stunning save, diving to his left, to deny Gibson.

Down eventually took the lead in the 14th minute and what a goal it was. Superb team play involving Alasdair Duff and McClurg saw the ball crossed to Ferguson and he swept into the net.

The strike should have signalled an avalanche of goals but it didn't. Down's 'keeper produced a vital save diving to his left to deny the Omagh skipper, but five minutes later the locals were back on level terms.

Down conceded a needless free just outside the penalty area and failed to deal with the resultant set play. Omagh were then awarded a second free and when the ball was drilled into the penalty area, their unmarked skipper deflected the ball into the net.

At the other end, Hawkes was proving a formidable opponent. Down blasted the ball in from all angles, but just couldn't score. Time and again they tried to bury the ball and the 'keeper in the back of the net when what was required was a little more subtlety.

The sides were locked on level terms at the interval which was a major travesty given the home side's dominance and the goal chances they created.

Gibson dropped a little deeper in the second half and in the 37th minute, he put his side back in the lead again. Collecting a pass from McCready, he cleverly drew Hawkes off his line before showing him the ball, dragging it wide of him, and drilling it into an empty net. Superb.

Down continued to create a host of other chances, but could not add to their tally for what seemed ages. McCready then popped up with the first of his double from a searching pass from Ringland, before Omagh pulled a goal back.

It came as a result of poor defending and Omagh's skipper could not believe his luck again when he found himself unmarked to deflect a reverse stick shot over the line from point blank range.

Incredibly, the same player had a golden opportunity to complete his hat-trick minutes later when, again he was unmarked, but his shot was deflected wide by Down's 'keeper.

McCready then gave his side the much-needed breathing space they were looking for 10 minutes from time when he drilled up a terrific shot after some unselfish play by strike partner, Gibson.

Down have the day off this Saturday before facing Cookstown seconds in the quarter-finals of the McClements Cup on February 12.