Down threw away a golden opportunity of collecting a richly deserved three points against East Antrim at Paisley Park last weekend.

The locals were leading 2-1 with less than a minute to go when they were awarded a long corner. But instead of keeping the ball and running down the clock, Stephen Ferguson drilled it into the penalty area, conceding possession and the home side mounted one last-gasp attack.

The ball broke down the East Antrim right and sweeper, Willie Price, moved to win back possession, but he collided with his opponent and both men fell to the ground. The challenge was clearly outside the 25-yard line, but the umpire inexplicably awarded a short corner, an extremely harsh decision in the circumstances.

As sods law so often dictates, East Antrim scored from the resultant set-piece, but the foul and abusive language directed by one home player at the Down side went unpunished by the umpires who earlier were dishing out cards for anyone using expletives.

Apart from David Caldwell, East Antrim had no player who posed a threat to the visitors and that was why at the end they were bitterly disappointed at dropping two points.

Down went into the game missing Ashley Gibson, Alasdair Duff and Paul Neill, but Philip Brown and James Cunningham, who were drafted in to the side, never put a foot wrong and battled all afternoon. Brown never stopped working and dropped back to mark when East Antrim were on the attack.

Ferguson, Gavin Ringland, Raymond McClurg and Chris Taylor were holding their on in the middle of the park and Down almost scored with the opening attack of the game when Ferguson carved out a chance for Taylor.

East Antrim forced two early short corners, both of which were saved, but they were soon awarded a third by the over-zealous home official. Down's 'keeper blocked a forward's shot and the ball was cleared by Chris Lennon, but the umpire ruled the netminder had shielded the ball when it had clearly rebounded off him to Lennon who cleared.

Caldwell fired his side into the lead but within minutes, Taylor, who scored two brilliant goals last week, was at it again. He pounced on pass from Price to run from the halfway line, by-passing four defenders on his way into the penalty area before drilling the ball past the 'keeper.

Eight minutes later, Taylor made it 2-0 with an opportunist goal. Price found Cunningham with a searching ball and his sliced shot was left by the 'keeper who thought it was going wide. Instead, it struck the base of the post and rebounded to Taylor who gave his side the lead.

In the second half, East Antrim failed to create a single opportunity as Down dominated the game. Aaron Minnis and Jeremy McCready were impressive in defence for the visitors and soaked up everything East Antrim could throw at them.

With three minutes to go, Ringland found himself in front of goal with the 'keeper out of position, but he wasn't quick enough to get a shot in for a certain goal which have sealed a much-deserved win.

Within minutes, East Antrim had levelled with the last shot of the game for a point they didn't deserve on the balance of play. This week Down will be hoping to maintain their impressive away form when they travel to Ballymoney to face Portrush who were defeated 4-0 by Armagh last weekend.