Down completed a Senior Two double over derby rivals Saintfield last weekend to ensure they remain hot on the heels of the PSNI at the top of the league.

On another bitterly cold day, the home side wasn't firing on all cylinders and it appeared they were suffering something of a hangover after what happened at home seven days earlier.

Down did score two second half goals to secure the win, but a late Saintfield goal made it a nervy few minutes for the home side.

After losing to the PSNI the previous week, Down were keen to stamp their authority on this derby tie and also send out a signal to the cops that if they slip-up, the locals will be snapping at their heels.

If Saintfield goalkeeper, Graeme Finlay, had been expecting a particularly busy afternoon, he was left disappointed as Down were out of sorts at times and only created a few chances in the opening 35 minutes.

The first scoring opportunity fell to Saintfield's Gavin Kirkpatrick who was denied by Mark Johnston and the pattern of the game then emerged Ñ Down's inability to make the most of the 16 short corners they were awarded, scoring only from one.

Johnston was then called into action again in the 20th minute when he  had to produce a smart save to deny Kirkpatrick, while at the other end, Sinclair White blasted wide.

Paul Tate then missed two chances inside two minutes, with both shots flashing across the goal. Down then won two more short corners in the 32nd and 33rd minutes, but the home side again failed to test Finlay.

Adam McKee produced a pinpoint cross which found Paul Neill inside the Saintfield area, but the latter's control let him down at the last minute and the chance was gone, leaving the game scoreless at the break.

Down were keen to up the tempo in the second period when both sides were reduced to 10 men for two separate incidents, with Tate and Nigel Jackson both temporarily dismissed.

The home side again drew a blank from their eighth short corner in the 45th minute before Gavin Ringland went close with a half-chance and Chris Taylor missed when again well placed.

Neither side was able to grasp the initiative in the derby tie which was far from free flowing and Finlay had to be at his best to deny his former team mate, Richard Owens, in the 48th minute.

Down eventually broke the deadlock in the 51st minute from their 13th short corner of the game. This time the ball was pushed out to Taylor who stopped it before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Finlay.

Five minutes later, Ringland struck the base of the post with a ferocious shot, but the rebound fell to Mark Elliott who kept his cool, waiting for Finlay to commit himself before he rounded the 'keeper and drilled the ball into the net, despite Jackson's presence on the line.

Stephen Ferguson produced a great block to prevent a Saintfield short corner strike in the 58th minute, while minutes later at the other end, Jeremy McCready blasted wide.

With three minutes to go, Saintfield pulled a goal back when the hardworking Kirkpatrick fired the ball home.

With the tricky derby tie now out of the way, Down can prepare for the long haul to Limerick this weekend for an Irish Challenge Cup game and the locals are hoping to win the game and book their place in the next round.

After that, they face Omagh at home in their final game of 2008 and while Down should win this game by a country mile, they know they can't take their opponents for granted and must produce another polished performance.

In the New Year, Down continue their battle for the title with the most important game of the seasonÑ the PSNI away.

A win would give the locals a major psychological boost over their title rivals and strike fear into the hearts of the their opponents over the remaining few weeks of the season.