Billed as a classic encounter between two derby rivals, this Senior Two clash at The Demesne was anything but.

Down won in the end, but the outcome could have been very different if Saintfield striker Davy Johnston had buried two good chances early on.

The home side started without the inspirational Craig Posnett and Johnny Poole was also missing, while Gavin Ringland was forced to continue in goal for Down, with the side missing his menacing presence in the middle of the park.

Conor Ferguson looked set to score for Saintfield in the fourth minute but was denied by James Erskine, with Saintfield awarded their first short corner two minutes later. But Davy Johnston's shot was tipped over the bar by Gavin Ringland, before team mate Philip Brown cleared at the feet of Paul Fenton.

Brown then produced a brilliant through ball which just evaded Mark Elliott who would have just had to beat Saints 'keeper Alastair Patterson if he had been able to control the pass.

Paul Tate and Adam McKee were key figures for the visitors in the middle of the park, with Down taking the lead in the 16th minute. The goal was created by skipper Jeremy McCready who drilled the ball into the heart of the penalty area where Elliott used all his experience to tuck it away in a crowded goalmouth.

Johnston had a chance to make it 1-1 after Brown gave the ball away but he drilled his shot wide, while Ferguson was denied getting a shot off by McCready in the 20th minute.

But Saintfield's persistence paid off two minutes later when they grabbed the equaliser. Gavin Kirkpatrick whipped the ball into the penalty area and Mark Tate, who was surrounded by a gaggle of defenders, found a way past Ringland.

Davy Hobbs was pushing forward at this stage and one surging run was stopped by Erskine. Johnston then fired wide again at the other end and the miss proved costly as two minutes later Down were back in front.

Cliff Lennon went on a great run down the left and crossed for Taylor to poke the ball past Patterson, with the Down man going close again five minutes before the break.

Nigel Jackson produced two timely tackles to deny Lennon getting into the Saintfield area twice in quick succession before a great run by Erskine in the closing seconds came to nothing.

The second half was only three minutes old when Johnston scored from just inside the penalty area after Ferguson had been given too much time to create the chance to make it 2-2.

It was end-to-end stuff for a time with an Alastair Duff goal-bound shot cleared by Lawrence Murphy, with the Saintfield man then clearing the danger from a short corner.

Down went 3-2 ahead in the 50th minute through the hard working Tate who scored with a neat finish, with the goal summoning up greater effort from the home side. Ferris produced a great tackle to deny Ferguson, while at the other end Jackson swooped to prevent McKee with a free shot at goal.

Paul Tate took command in the Down penalty area in the 55th minute and with Saintfield players swarming around him, he kept his cool to clear the danger. Elliott saw a shot saved by Patterson in the 55th minute after a great run by Taylor and with nine minutes to go Saintfield threw Jackson up front alongside Johnston and Gavin Kirkpatrick to salvage something from the game.

But with two minutes to go Duff's penetrating run down the right flank and into the Saintfield penalty area ended with the ball going into the back of the net to secure all three points.