Down seconds ended 2007 in superb style with an emphatic win over Antrim thirds last Saturday.

In one of their biggest ever away wins in many seasons, the locals were on top form, with the win taking them to 11 points and well clear of the relegation zone.

Having already defeated Antrim 3-2 at Malone Park earlier in the season, Down knew it would be much tougher on the synthetic surface and while the home side fancied its chances, it was well beaten in the end. In fact, had it not been for Antrim's 'keeper, Down could easily have doubled their winning margin.

The inclusion of Sinclair White, Paul Neill, Chris Lennon and Stephen Ferguson certainly helped, but that said, the rest of the side were superb, with Gary Tate again outstanding in the heart of the defence and Chris Ferguson proving what an asset he can be in the future as an attacking full-back.

Down were expecting an early onslaught and while Antrim forced two short corners, one of which was saved, they never created another serious attack during the 70 minutes. Tate, Chris and Clifford Lennon and Stephen Ferguson in defence let nothing past them and used every opportunity to drive forward.

Stephen Ferguson opened the scoring for the locals in the 10th minute with a bullet strike after some great build-up play involving White, Neill and Cunningham. The goal came after the Antrim 'keeper had made a string of saves to deny White, Brown and Stephen Ferguson.

The goal settled the nerves of the visitors but any notion the home side had of getting back into the game were dispelled when White capped a superb first half performance when he scored with a bullet short corner strike to make it 2-0.

It was all one-way traffic at this stage and Down were camped in the Antrim half, terrorising its defence at will, pulling defenders out of position and running in on goal at will.

Down's half-time team talk was easy; players were told to keep passing the ball and using the flanks, something which was causing the Antrim defence all sorts of problems.

Philip Brown, who had hit the post in the first half, made it 3-0 in the 43rd minute after some great build-up play in the middle of theĀ  park where Down completely dominated proceedings. Neill's non-stop running and cover play was a joy to watch, while Tate drove forward into the heart of the Antrim defence at every opportunity.

The visitors were creating chances at will, but Antrim's 'keeper continued to frustrate them with a number of great saves and a stick save to deny White his second of the game was out of the top drawer.

However, he was powerless to stop Adam McKee, another of Down's top performers, making it 4-0 with a bullet strike after a short corner move had broken down. Antrim were dead on their feet and gave the impression that their opponents not only had them on the ropes, but could score at will.

A controversial umpiring decision annoyed the home players with just 10 minutes to go when he awarded a penalty stroke. Down's 'keeper clearly won the ball, but made contact with an Antrim player after doing so. The umpire pointed to the spot and while some of the Antrim players didn't agree with the decision, with some suggesting their player should deliberately put it wide, he scored.

The Down hump was up at this stage and straight from the hit off, Stephen Ferguson picked the ball up just inside the Antrim half and set off towards goal. His pace took him past five Antrim players and when he reached the penalty area there was only going to be one outcome.

As the 'keeper came out to meet Ferguson, he lashed the ball past him into the net for a superb fifth goal which his performance on the day richly deserved.

Two great points and a fantastic display ended Down's recent bad run, but they now look forward to facing the PSNI at Malone Park on December 29 where another two points is a must. After that they face league leaders Lisnagarvey fourths away before entertaining Portadown seconds at home.