There are times when you just have to hold your hand up and admit the better team won.

That was the case in point at the Lough Moss leisure centre in Carryduff last Saturday when Annadale fourths gave Down seconds a lesson on how hockey should be played.

The home side, which included local teenage sensations, William and John Edgar, were simply too hot to handle and while they scored seven goals, one courtesy of a dubious penalty stroke, they could have scored twice that number.

Down were abysmal; they lacked passion and simply could not compete against a youthful side, well drilled and hungry for goals. The visitors failed at the basics; they didn't mark men and were simply not good enough on the day. They lacked drive and ambition and will need to produce a much better performance this Saturday when they face Cookstown fourths at Malone Park.

Last weekend, Down reserved their worst performance of the season for the clash against the Junior 3 league leaders and could have been three or four goals in arrears in the opening stages had it not been for a number of key saves.

Once Annadale got their noses in front, their was only going to be one winner. Mark Elliott pulled a goal back just before the break after he was put through by an unselfish Ashley Gibson who could have taken on the 'keeper, but opted to play in his strike partner.

Down were at sixes and sevens and at times and were the proverbial rabbits caught in the headlights. They were clueless, bereft of ideas and a very poor second on the day.

Annadale continued to be given too much room in the middle of the park in the second period and while Elliott got his second of the game near the end, flicking the ball high into the net, it was purely academic.

The locals got off to a poor start and they never recovered after Annadale took that early lead. No Down player tried to get a grasp of the game and that's particularly disappointing, given their performances this season.

The home side will almost certainly win the title and good luck to them in Junior 2 next season, but Down need to focus on what they are normally good at; stopping other teams playing. They didn't do so last weekend and paid a heavy price.

Everyone must raise their game for the visit of Cookstown this weekend. With 17 points in the bag, Down need one more to make sure there is no chance of either the PSNI or Kilkeel catching them during the season run-in.