Chris Taylor and Ashley Gibson combined to pave the way for Down's impressive win over Larne at The Glade last Friday night.

Taylor proved he was cut above the rest with two superbly taken goals, while Gibson put the icing on the cake with an opportunist goal in the closing minutes.

The duo were on top of their game and while Gibson only scored once, he shrugged off an indifferent start to the season with a top-drawer display which shows he is back to his best.

He never stopped running all night and his movement, dragging defenders out of position, created gaps for Taylor, Gavin Ringland, Paul Neill and Stephen Ferguson to exploit.

Friday night's win was only Down's second of the season, but their margin of victory would have been even greater had it not been for an inspired display by Larne goalkeeper, Andy Higginson.

Time and again he thwarted Down, but the visitors stuck to their game plan and it paid off in the end. Their persistence and slick passing game was rewarded and they worth the maximum points they bagged.

On the new surface at The Glade, where the ball bobbles a lot and rises into the air too easily from free hits, Down created their first chance with the opening attack of the game.

The ball was worked towards Ashley Gibson and Neill almost scored. Minutes later, Ashley went close before Taylor was unlucky to see his shot flash the wrong side of the post. At the other end, Larne's attackers were well policed by skipper, Jeremy McCready, Aaron Minnis and Chris and Johnny Lennon.

McCready was superb on the night. He was sharp in the tackle and quick to drive forward when he could, while Minnis was also outstanding. Nothing got past him and when he encouraged the back four to push up, it denied Larne space in the middle of the park.

The home side took the lead very much against the run of play in the seventh minute following their second short corner of the game when a shot squeezed in at the post past Down's 'keeper and Johnny Lennon.

Far from piercing a hole in Down's confidence, the setback inspired them and for the rest of the game, the home side was on the back foot as Taylor and Ashley Gibson started running the show.

Colin Gibson used his experience to play a holding role in front of the back four when he replaced the injured Neill and also produced two important last ditch tackles when Larne had a chance to break.

Down got back on level terms with 10 minutes of the half remaining. Taylor controlled a ball drilled at him by McCready just inside the Larne half. With lightning speed and amazing close control, he waltzed past three defenders before darting into the penalty area and driving the ball past the 'keeper. Brilliant.

In the second half, Down continued were they left off, and while Larne managed just one shot on goal from a short corner which was comfortably saved, that summed up their entire effort for the last 35 minutes.

The visitors were playing with confidence and Taylor scored a second brilliant goal midway through the half. McCready sent Taylor scampering away along the right flank and as he bared down on goal, Ashley Gibson cleverly dragged a defender away with a timely run, leaving the way clear for Taylor to smash home an unstoppable shot.

Larne threw men forward, but Down held firm and with just three minutes to go, Ashley Gibson got his reward for a gutsy performance. Larne's goalkeeper let a cross from Ferguson roll past him, believing there was no one behind him. Big mistake.

Gibson was waiting and like the goal predator he can be, Ashley nipped in to smash the ball home into an empty net.