Down romped to an emphatic 12-1 win last weekend to cement their place at the top of the league.

They literally blew away the opposition with an inspired performance which saw both Chris Taylor and Mark Elliott bag four goals each.

Down opened the scoring after just 10 seconds and were in total control throughout the 70 minutes. East Antrim's 'keeper had an absolute blinder and easily prevented the visitors from doubling their advantage.

Time and again he produced superb saves as the defence ahead of him collapsed like a deck of cards on an afternoon when it appeared that every move Down produced would lead to a goal.

Following last week's 6-0 drubbing over Omagh, Down were out to again warn their title rivals that they have no intention of letting things slip during the crucial run-in.

Down took the lead with just 10 seconds on the clock. Stephen Ferguson, who was terrific all afternoon, went on a rampaging run down the right and squared the ball to Taylor who, not for the first time during the game, found himself unmarked on the penalty spot. Receiving the ball, he calmly looked up and picked his spot past the 'keeper.

Four minutes later the visitors led 2-0 and the writing was certainly on the wall as far as East Antrim, who have lost a lot of players in recent weeks, were to discover.

Ferguson was again the architect of the goal; again he went racing down the wing and picked out Taylor who was again left unmarked and he made no mistake.

Down went 3-0 ahead after 10 minutes when Ferguson again was the provider. His probing run and shot was saved by the 'keeper, but the ball fell kindly for Paul Tate to hammer it home.

Two minutes later, Down went 4-0 ahead when Taylor got his hat-trick. The move which led to the goal was started by Jareth McCready whose cross picked out Taylor and he hammered it home. East Antrim then gave themselves a glimmer of hope when they pulled a goal back from a short corner to make it 4-1. But it was nothing more than a glimmer and Down simply raised their game.

They went 5-1 ahead before the break when Mark Elliott crossed for Paul Tate who scored his second of the game.

Skipper Jeremy McCready's half-time team talk was a simple one Ñ more of the same Ñ and while the title won't be decided on goal difference, the Malone Park side's firepower will have its title rivals cowering for cover.

Jareth McCready got his name on the scoresheet within seconds of the restart. Chris Lennon and Taylor all combined with the ball working its way to Gavin Ringland and Elliott before Jareth popped up at the back post to steer the ball home.

Elliott made it 7-1 after some superb play by James Erskine. Having initially lost possession, he won the ball back and went on a run which took him deep into the heart of the East Antrim penalty area where he picked out Elliott.

With seven goals in the bag, Down still weren't finished and they hit another five goals before the umpires signalled the end of the game.

Alasdair Duff set up the eighth goal when he went on surging run down the right wing and after a sweet one-two with Ferguson, crossed for Elliott to complete his hat-trick.

Duff then turned goal corer when he finished off a brilliant team move. He exchanged passed with Tate, Taylor and Ringland before he received the ball again and hammered it home.

Taylor bagged his fourth of the game to make it 10-1 after some great build-up play involving Lennon and then Elliott grabbed his fourth of the afternoon when he finished off a move started by Ringland.

With minutes to go, Jeremy McCready moved up front in search of a goal and he was delighted to make it 12-a following a short corner for which Down sent nine players forward.

This weekend it's Crossgar and while it won't be anywhere near a 12-goal win, Down will be content with another professional performance and three very valuable points.