Down seconds left Upper Malone last Friday night in shock after they failed to take anything from a game they dominated throughout.

The locals missed chance after chance and trailing 2-1 in the closing minutes of the game, they missed two sitters, while a defender denied Philip Thompson a goal-scoring opportunity with just seconds to go.

Down left James Cunningham and Stephen Fitzsimons on the bench, but the former made a nonsense of that decision with a superb display when he was introduced to the action.

Down relied on the experience of Colin Gibson and Raymond McClurg in the middle of the park, while the visiting defenders were never troubled on the night.

Instonians took the lead with what can best be described as "fluke" goal midway through the half when a right wing cross struck a forward's stick and flew into the net at the near post.

Down surged forward with Paul Tate, Philip Brown, Raymond McClurg all going close. And just when it looked as though Tate would equaliser, he drilled his shot high and wide with only the 'keeper to beat.

With Cunningham terrorising his marker on the right, Instonians were pegged back in their own penalty area and never managed another shot on goal in the first goal in the first half.

Down were firing in shots from all directions, but none hit their intended target; they were either cleared or blocked by defenders. Perhaps if Down had got closer to the Instonians sweeper and centre half they would have enjoyed a much better evening.

Tate scored the equaliser six minutes after the restart and the goal should have provided the launch-pad for the locals to go on and win the game in style. But the missed chances proved costly.

Instonians scored their second of the night with 15 minutes to go. It came from a  short corner and luck was not on Down's side. The visiting 'keeper palmed away a drag flick effort from a short corner, but the ball fell to an Instonians players whose shot was almost kept out by Trevor McClurg. In the end, the ball just crawled over the line.

With nothing to lose, Down bombed forward and created four clear-cut chances which they should have converted. All went begging and Down were left to pay the penalty.

This weekend they have an opportunity to redeem themselves when they face Cookstown fifths at home.