Down’s bid for Senior One hockey next season continues.

A 4-2 win over Parkview in Ballyclare last Friday night keeps the Malone Park outfit in the hunt for the title and at this early stage it looks as though the challenge is going to come from Portrush and Saintfield.

This Saturday, Down face Ballymena at home and while the game looks an easy one on paper, the visitors have already defeated Campbellians, so the result won't be a foregone conclusion.

But back to last Friday night and while Down scored just four goals, they could and should have put their opponents to the sword by scoring possibly eight or nine.

The locals, who were missing Aaron Minnis and Chris Lennon, went behind in the fifth minute when Willie Young scored one his trademark goals. From the tightest of angles, Young blasted the ball into the roof of the net past Mark Johnston who had no time to react.

From that moment on, the visitors dominated the game, creating a number of clear-cut chances. Mark Elliott was guilty of a glaring miss with the goal at his mercy; instead of opting to place the ball, he went for power and the ball flew past the wrong side of the post.

Down's pressure was going to tell and Stephen Ferguson got his side back on level terms when he popped up at the back post to collect a pass from Chris Taylor to score past Richard Nesbitt.

The locals took the lead for the first time in the game shortly after the second half got underway when Ashley Gibson, who had been recalled to the senior side's starting line-up, drilled the ball Nesbitt from a short corner, courtesy of a deflection of Paul Harvey's stick.

But just as Down should have put their foot to the floor and powered away from Parkview, the home side hauled themselves back into the game when Harvey scored at the other end. The goal also came from a short corner and found its way into the net via a deflection of Gavin Ringland's stick.

Paul Tate, Ringland, Elliott and Gibson all went close to increasing Down's lead, but Nesbitt produced a number of fine saves to keep his side in the game.

With Parkview holding out for what would have been an unlikely draw, Gibson scored a majestic goal to fire his side into the lead again. There were 15 minutes left on the clock when he produced a sublime power flick shot which flew into the next past Nesbitt.

Tate's work rate and endeavour was then rewarded when he made it 4-2 following a great piece of stick work which saw him glide past two defenders before unleashing a shot which crashed against the backboard before the 'keeper had time to move.

Ringland and Duff then produced a scintillating move which literally took them the length of the field but Ringland couldn't produce the finish the move deserved and the chance was gone. Elliott also went close in the closing stages.

This weekend it's Ballymena at home and while can't take anything for granted, they know a similar level of performance should be enough to see them home.