Down romped to victory in this Senior Two derby clash after playing virtually all of the game with just 10 men.

The Malone Park side found itself a man down after Ashley Gibson was sent off in the 10th minute following a scuffle with Saintfield's Richard Owens, a former Down captain.

The umpire did show Gibson a yellow card for his part in the incident on the halfway line, but with the Down player in the corner for what he thought was a straight forward sin bin ruling, the umpire made it clear he had in fact been sent off.

Down went into the game without skipper, Jeremy McCready, Paul Neill and Raymond McClurg, while Saintfield were forced to start the eagerly awaited derby tie without star striker, Davy Johnston, Alan Buchanan and David Cairns.

The visitors started the brightest with Nigel Calvin creating a number of problems on the right with his forward runs which weren't picked up until Down's stand-in skipper, Chris Taylor, made a tactical switch.

Saintfield started with Davy Hobbs and Gavin Kirkpatrick in attack, while Lawrence Murphy was drafted into the middle of the park alongside Owens and Chris Telford.

The home side opened the scoring through James Cunningham who scored the first of his brace on the day. The architect of the goal was Alasdair Duff who had an outstanding game. Time and again he vacated his full-back berth to surge deep into the Saintfield penalty area.

One such run created the opportunity for Cunningham who made no mistake from close range to steer the ball past Graeme Finlay.

With Owens and Murphy providing the drive in the middle of the park and Calvin linking well with Lawrence Scott on the right, Down did not have things all their own way.

In fact, the visitors had a golden opportunity to draw level in the 15th minute from a short corner. Murphy's push out was stopped by Owens who squared the ball to Kirkpatrick, but his pile driver was saved.

At the other end, Down went 2-0 ahead within two minutes of that save with what a rather scrappy goal from Chris Lennon who reacted quickest in the penalty area.

Gavin Ringland, who had a great game, then rattled the post with a ferocious shot, while Down's 'keeper and centre-half Trevor McClurg combined to thwart Kirkpatrick.

It looked as though Saintfield were playing with a man short at this stage as Down were dictating the pattern of play and they scored a third killer goal just seconds from the interval.

The goal came from Chris Lennon who scored his second of the afternoon from the acutest of angles after he robbed Adam Stewart of possession. Lennon was about a yard from the by-line inside the penalty area when his miss-hit shot somehow found its way between Finlay and his near post for a freak goal.

Down knew Saintfield would come at them in the second half, but the expected onslaught never arrived and the home side grew in the ascendancy.

A sweeping move started by a kicked clearance from Down's 'keeper led to the home side's fourth goal. The ball found Ringland who in turn found Stephen Ferguson and his wicked cross flew past everyone except Cunningham who was poaching at the back post and did enough to deflect the ball into the net.

Kirkpatrick was then denied from a short corner by Down's 'keeper and with just five minutes to go, Down scored their fifth of the match, with the goal due to the talent of Taylor.

He picked the ball up on his own 25-yard line before racing across to the right hand side. He waltzed past Lawrence Murphy, beat Lawrence Scott for pace and whipped over a ball which Duff fired through the legs of the luckless Finlay who had one of those days when things did not go his way.

Down were delighted with the win, particularly as it was achieved in such a comfortable fashion with just 10 men. But Saintfield will bounce back and aim to put things right when they face East Antrim this weekend. As for Down, they travel to Jordanstown to face Parkview.