Down’s bid for the Senior Two title suffered a major hiccup last Saturday.

While it's still early days, the impact of dropping two points may not emerge until the final few weeks of the season and the Malone Park players now know they can't afford any more major slip-ups.

Parkview are the visitors to Malone Park this weekend and nothing less than maximum points is required; a draw is no good and the players know it.

The weekend draw may perhaps provide a reality check for Down's players who now realise they have no right to win every game. Hammering East Antrim 13-1 the previous weekend may not have been the best preparation for the game against Portrush who are a much better side.

Down started with Jeremy McCready in goal as Mark Johnston was unavailable and after some early pressure it was the home side which took the lead in the fifth minute following a short corner which saw the ball pinged into the bottom corner of the net.

Seven minutes later, Portrush doubled their advantage following a goalmouth scramble which saw the ball eventually poked past McCready and a gaggle of Down defenders.

The visitors, who switched Gavin Ringland to the back four after his starring performance in attack the previous weekend, slowly played their way back into the game with Paul Tate and Sinclair White particularly prominent.

With five minutes to go until the break, Down pulled a goal back from a cleverly-worked short corner routine. The push out was stopped by Ringland who teed up White and with the Portrush defenders expecting him to shoot, he picked out Tate who drove the ball home. Both sides created a few half chances in the closing stages, but neither side was able to find that important touch in front of goal.

Down knew they had to up the tempo in the second period and they did this, forcing Portrush to defend in numbers. Tate again went close as did Mark Elliott, but the home side was managing to hang on.

Five minutes after the restart, Down were back on level terms when Elliott had the easy task of tapping the ball home just a yard from the goal line after some great build-up play. Tate and White were again the architects of the goal and after they had exchanged passes, Tate's cross wasn't cleared by the defenders and Elliott, who has an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time, tucked the ball home.

Down were very much in the ascendancy at this stage and ten minutes after drawing level they took the lead for the first time in the game. Paul Neill, another of Down's top performers on the day, raced into the penalty area and picked out Elliott whose clever pass set up Chris Taylor to blast the ball home.

Down were in control of the game at this stage, but Portrush were refusing to roll over and play dead and they roared back in search of an equaliser which came just five minutes from time.

The goal was the result of a short corner move which saw the ball blasted past McCready; but things could have been a lot worse for Down. With just seconds remaining, a ball fizzed across the Down penalty area was heading for an unmarked forward at the back post, but he couldn't control the ball and the chance was gone.

With Parkview heading to Malone Park this weekend Down will be out to score maximum points to maintain the bid for promotion. There's still a lot of games to go, but the side can't afford to drop points, especially against teams aiming to put a dent in its promotion aspirations.