Down have again missed out on a chance of Linden Cup glory after losing to rivals South Antrim in a nine-goal thriller last weekend.

The visitors had raced into a 3-1 lead but were pegged back before making it 4-3. Again South Antrim drew level and with the tie heading for extra time and possible penalty strokes, the home side scored from the spot to win 5-4.

The visitors who were missing several key players were confident of producing a result and with a 3-1 lead with just five minutes before the interval, they were more than confident of hanging on.

Down took the lead in the fourth minute following a short corner when Sinclair White produced an explosive shot which rocketed past the 'keeper before he had time to move.

The goal was the perfect start and before the home side had time to react, the visitors went 2-0 ahead with a goal from play. Mark Elliott, who would go on to score five goals for the club's second eleven later in the day, was on hand to tuck the ball into the net to stun the home supporters.

Down were playing really well at this stage with White and Paul Tate in top form in the middle of the park. There was a real fluency about Down's play, despite missing the influential Chris Taylor and Paul Neill.

With 11 minutes until the interval, Down  were looking good before a defensive cock up cost them dear. A ball drilled into the penalty area was deflected goalwards by a South Antrim player, but a visiting defender shouted at goalkeeper, Mark Johnston, to leave the ball.

He did and when it rolled into the net, the umpire, who had seen the South Antrim player get a touch on the ball, had no hesitation pointing to the centre circle awarding the goal.

It was a blow, but Down are made of stern stuff and four minutes before the interval they scored again to take a thoroughly deserved 3-1 lead.

The goal was scored by the hardworking Stephen Ferguson following a well-worked short corner. With the South Antrim defenders expecting White to shoot, the ball was switched to Ferguson who drilled it home.

With the visitors keen to take a two-goal lead into the break, South Antrim again hit back to make it 3-2 from a short corner.

Both sides created chances in the second half, but neither was able to increase its advantage until 10 minutes before the end.

Elliott grabbed his second of the afternoon from a short corner when he pounced on a lose ball to fire it home with just eight minutes to go. It was a nervy time for both sides, but South Antrim came back again in the 64th minute when they scored from play.

A mistake now from any side would kill the tie and with players on both sides looking at extra time, South Antrim scored from the penalty spot to book their place in the semi-finals where they'll join Cliftonville, Ballynahinch and Armagh.

With no semi-final to look forward to, Down are gearing themselves up for this weekend's first derby tie of the season when they face rivals Saintfield at The Demesne.