This cracking Junior 3 tie end all square, but Down know they should probably have recorded their second home win of the season.

The home side did the double over Instonians last season and really should have put them to the sword last weekend, but a combination of some poor defending and finishing cost them dear in the end.

Down did take the lead but were soon 2-1 in arrears before they rallied to go in level at the break. Again Instonians came back, but the home side scored a dramatic, but well deserved equaliser with two minutes to go.

Instonians started the brighter as Down struggled to gain control in the middle of the park where they miss the influential Raymond McClurg whose tackling and defensive cover have been a feature of the seconds over the years.

It was all one-way traffic early on as the Instonians game plan was clearly to come and have a go. And they did. Down were forced on the back foot with Gary Tate and his fellow defenders working overtime to keep the home goal in tact. The visitors created four early chances but all were saved.

In fact it was from the fourth save that the ball was worked to Stephen Ferguson who drove forward before slipping the Ball to Mark Elliott who made no mistake, tucking the ball past the the 'keeper into the net.

Adam McKee started to boss the middle of the park, while Shaw McVeigh whipped over a cross which almost picked out Philip Brown at the back post.

Down were in control having scored, but inexplicably hit the self-destruct button in a crazy two minute spell midway through the half. First they gave away a needless free which allowed the unmarked George Higgin to score to make it 1-1. Within a minute, more hopeless defending and poor goalkeeping error allowed Paul Rogers to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.

But Instonians didn't have the lead for long. Elliott, who has been on fire all season, scored his second of the game after some good build-up play involving McKee, Chris and Stephen Ferguson.

It was all Down in the second period, with Tate superb at the heart of the home defence alongside Chris Ferguson and Chris Lennon. Down created several good chances and Brown went tantalisingly close to giving his side the lead while Stephen Ferguson crashed a shot against the sideboard.

With 10 minutes to go, Instonians took a 3-2 lead following an attack which should have been cleared and with less than two minutes to go it looked as though they had mounted the classic smash and grab raid.

But Down roared back with a last-gasp equaliser following a short corner. McKee's push out was stopped by Trevor McClurg for Stephen Ferguson to drill home. Instonians were hanging on at this stage and the home side even went in search of a winner, but had to settle for a share of the spoils in the end.

This weekend the seconds face South Antrim thirds and that will be another tough tie, but it's also one they know they can take something from if they play to their strengths.