A classic Senior 2 derby clash this certainly wasn't, but Saintfield fully deserved the win to leapfrog their neighbours in the table.

Saintfield created the first attack of the game with Davy Hobbs picking out Gavin Kirkpatrick but Down's Philip Brown produced a timely tackle to clear the danger, before man-of-the-match Conor Ferguson and Paul Fenton exchanged passes on the left but the ball into the circle evaded Kirkpatrick and strike partner Davy Johnston.

The visitors took the lead in the fifth minute from their first short corner of the game, awarded after the ball struck Down skipper Jeremy McCready on the foot. From the set piece, Ferguson's push out found Nigel Jackson whose shot was half-stopped, but the ball broke for Ferguson to sweep it into the net.

Down's first real attack came in the 11th minute when Adam McKee sent Paul Tate in on goal, but Jackson swooped to clear the danger with Mark Graham standing unmarked behind him. Two minutes later Jackson again cleared the danger posed by Tate.

Johnston then got the better of Brown on the wing and when he found Kirkpatrick in the middle of the Down penalty area McCready cleared and in the 14th minute home 'keeper David Moreland produced a point blank save when Johnston's shot cannoned off McCready's stick and looked destined for the back of the net.

McKee went close in the 19th minute before Patterson saved the same playerÕs shot two minutes later. A Chris Taylor cross failed to pick out Mark Elliott before Taylor's probing run along the by-line was stopped by Jackson. Paul Tate then lost possession for Down forcing McCready to clear from Ferguson.

Seven minutes before the break Kirkpatrick should have put his side 2-0 ahead after Brown again lost possession, but the Saintfield striker blasted wide and with five minutes to go Down felt a "goal" they scored should have been allowed to stand.

Gavin Ringland's short corner strike struck a Saintfield stick on its way into the net but the "goal" was ruled out by the umpire who awarded a free out, much to the displeasure of the home team.

Patterson then denied Graham after excellent work by Taylor and from the third of three consecutive short corners, Tate saw his goal-bound shot saved by Patterson's outstretched foot.

Down were keen to get back on level terms at the start of the second half, but it was the visitors who mounted the first attack with McCready  unlucky not to be yellow-carded for a foul on Johnston in the first clearing Poole's cross.

Within five minutes of the restart Down were back on level terms. Ringland's short corner strike was half-blocked by Lawrence Murphy, but the ball broke right to Elliott who drilled it home from close range. The goal should have been the catalyst for a more robust performance by the home team which lost battles all over the park, especially in midfield.

A rampaging Ferguson run after McKee lost possession in the 43rd minute came to nothing before Kirkpatrick took the honours for the miss of the season a minute later. With the goal at his mercy he somehow managed to miss the target completely.

McCready lost possession in the 52nd minute in a tussle with Kirkpatrick and after collecting a return pass from Johnston inside the penalty area Gavin made no mistake this time to give his side a 2-1 lead. But Saintfield's lead lasted for just one minute.

Ringland's short corner strike looked as though it was going wide, but Elliott stopped it from going out of play and slipped the ball between Patterson and Murphy to level the scores.

But back came Saintfield who scored within another minute to lead 3-2. Stephen Tate won possession in the middle of the park and his pass found Johnston who had time to pick his spot past Moreland to give the visitors a 3-2 lead.

Incredibly, a minute later, Kirkpatrick should have made it 4-2 after being set up his skipper but he fired wide. It was end-to-end stuff at this stage and Moreland had to be alert to deny Johnston again before the Saintfield striker bagged his second goal of the game to give his side a two-goal cushion.

Down then "scored" to make it 4-3, but this "goal" was also ruled out after Saintfield officials complained to the other umpire who persuaded his colleague to change his mind. Ringland's short corner strike hit Patterson above his pad and when the ball dropped Taylor swept it home. The goal was subsequently disallowed as the initial short corner strike was deemed to be too high.

In the closing stages, a probing run by Taylor ended with Jackson clearing the ball and while Down tried to mount a late rally it was too little, too late.