Down seconds are still in with a chance of winning promotion from Junior 4.

A superb derby win over North Down thirds at Malone Park last Saturday keeps Johnny Lennon's side very much in the hunt for one of the two promotion places up for grabs.

Earlier in the season, Down played their near neighbours off the park in Comber, but somehow managed to en up on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline. But all that was forgotten about last weekend.

Colin Gibson and Alasdair Duff were outstanding in the middle of the park, while the mercurial Philip Brown weighed in with two goals after Paul Neill had given his side the lead with his third goal of the season.

At the back, goalkeeper, Mark Johnston, dealt with anything that came his way, while Trevor McClurg was also in outstanding form.

Down took the lead against a side which boasted a mix of youth and experience in the 12th minute.

The goal came courtesy of a short corner set-piece which involved the influential Gibson and McClurg. The latter's clever short ball created the opening for Neill who needed no second invitation to hammer the ball home.

But instead of going on to increase their lead, the home side sat back and allowed North Down to equalise with a goal just 10 minutes before the interval when a short corner strike was deflected past Johnston.

Skipper Lennon drove his side on from the middle of the park, before having to go off injured later in the game, and was delighted his players got their noses in front before the interval whistle.

Brown, who is scoring goals almost at will for the seconds this season, was in the right place to fire the ball past the North Down 'keeper who was his side's top performer on the day.

A penetrating run by Duff set up Brown for Down's third goal of the afternoon and the striker was unlucky not to complete  what would have been a well-deserved hat-trick minutes later.

Down were very much on top at this stage in the game and Clifford Lennon should have made it 4-1 in the closing stages. Neill also went close but was denied by the 'keeper.

A superb result in the end to round off 2005 and skipper Lennon is hoping his side can maintain its current home form in 2006 and make a determined bid for promotion.