If this was a game of two halves, Down lost out in the first, but won the second with a typical gutsy performance.

The locals were keen to take something from the game against the bottom-of-the-table side who were clearly up for the match from the start.

That said, Down created several chances in the opening half and if they had managed to convert them, they could possibly have gone in level at the break.

The opening 10 minutes were pretty even, but Antrim took the lead through Adrian Smyth from their first short corner of the game three minutes later. Despite the set back, the visitors continued to drive forward with Gavin Ringland, Chris Lennon and Trevor McClurg leading the charge.

Antrim's 'keeper saved a blistering shot from Ringland and seconds later Philip Brown went close with a half chance. Experienced Antrim defender, Andy Gleghorne, also took a Gary Brown shot off the line.

Down, who will be relying on their home form over the coming weeks to stay in Junior 3, lost their way midway through the half and failure to mark properly cost them dear in the 20th minute when Antrim made it 2-0.

Smyth rounded the 'keeper and squared the ball to a colleague who was unmarked in front of an empty goal and he had all the time in the world to score. To their credit, Down continued to battle with Ringland and McClurg prominent.

But the wind was taken out of the visitors' sails eight minutes before the break when Antrim made it 3-0 from a short corner with the drag flick effort flying past Gary Tate on the line who could do nothing about it.

Down got to the break without conceding any more and their intention in the second period was to keep Antrim at bay and drive forward when possible.

The visitors were a different side with the defence on top and the midfield taking the game to Antrim who started to panic in the closing stages.

Ringland's probing runs were causing problems while at the back, Clifford Lennon, Tate, McClurg, and Philip Brown, who moved to right full back, gave nothing away. Antrim did create a number of chances but they were either saved or cleared.

Ringland scored midway through the half to make it 3-1 and while it was a nervy time for the home defence they hold on to win to lift themselves off the bottom.

This weekend, Down are due to face either Instonians thirds or Bangor fourths in an Ulster Junior Shield tie which will be away from home.

After that, it's time to concentrate on the league, with the locals due to face Mossley thirds away from home on February 14.