It was a long time coming, but Down's senior side secured their first league win of the season against derby rivals Crossgar at Malone Park last weekend.

The only-goal-of-the-game came towards the end of the first half when Chris Taylor popped at the back post to score past Mark Johnston.

Johnston, who quit the club last year, was making his first appearance of the season, but he was rarely troubled in what was an unexciting game at times.

Down were anxious to get their league campaign up and running and with Raymond McClurg again covering inch of the pitch, the home side just shaded it.

Crossgar had a glorious opportunity to score a dramatic equaliser in the dying seconds of the game, but Paul Tate's shot, which was hit on the half-volley, was saved by Down's 'keeper.

Down went into the game with the experienced Willie Price at the heart of the defence and he was outstanding on the day. He was sharp in the tackle and his free hits created panic in the Crossgar defence as he picked out his team mates with ease.

Price was also quick to seize any opportunity to surge forward and alongside Chris and Johnny Lennon, was at the heart of Down's success.

The home side chose Chris Lennon to man-mark Crossgar dangerman Paul Tate and the young full-back never put a foot wrong all afternoon, keeping his opponent in the shade for much of the game.

Paul Neill added much-needed pace into the Down midfield, while Crossgar welcomed back Gary Tate for his first game of the season after serving a suspension. Alongside Nigel Jackson he frustrated the Down defence with timely interceptions.

Ashley Gibson almost scored the goal that would surely have transformed his season in an early Down attack when he found himself unmarked and with the goal at his mercy after some great build-up play involving McClurg and Taylor.

Then Taylor himself went close, while Gavin Ringland, who was playing in an attacking midfield role, almost scored the opening goal.

Paul Tate created his side's first opportunity at the other end, but his shot was saved and Down's 'keeper then denied Mervyn Donaldson who had broken free on the right hand side of the penalty area. Crossgar also forced a short corner in the first half, but failed to get a shot in on goal.

Down dominated the game for a purple-patch 10 minutes before the break and a quick-thinking free proved Crossgar's undoing. The ball was drilled into the circle and found Taylor and while he did not get a clean a strike on it, he did enough to force the ball over the line.

Within minutes of the restart, Gareth Lennon found himself through on goal, but his shot was smothered by Down's 'keeper.

The home side were determined not to do anything silly, but the loss of Price through injury was blow. Crossgar switched Nigel Jackson to centre-forward in a bid to score an equaliser and he almost did. An initial shot was saved, but the ball broke to Jackson whose second attempt was swept away by Ringland.

In the dying seconds Tate had that glorious opportunity to equalise, but his shot was saved and delighted Down players were more than a little relieved at the final whistle. It wasn't a classic by any means, but Down were more than happy with the three points.