Down picked up another three points in Senior Two with a workmanlike performance against an energetic Portrush side at Malone Park last Saturday.

The win also maintains the pressure on the PSNI who sit above Down in second spot, with the sides yet to play each other twice before the end of the season.

Down, who were missing skipper Jeremy McCready, always looked in control, but it took a goal from Mark Elliott to ease the home side's nerves when Portrush scored to make it 2-1 early in the second half.

Chris Taylor ran the show for the home side in the middle of the park and was unlucky not to finish with a hat-trick. Just when it looked as though he was about to score his third goal, his powerful shot struck the wrong side of the sideboard and flew harmlessly wide.

Taylor was a constant thorn in the Portrush defence with his probing runs and it was the Down talisman who fired his side ahead in the eighth minute.

The goal came about as a result of a scramble in the visitors penalty area. With defenders panicking to clear the ball, Taylor kept his cool to steer it over the line.

Seven minutes later Down's attacking play resulted in a second goal for Taylor following a short corner when he again was the calmest man in the penalty area, picking his spot past the 'keeper. At the other end, home 'keeper David Moreland was rarely troubled.

Taylor should have completed his hat-trick within seven minutes of the restart after collecting a raking pass from Gavin Ringland, but the former's shot struck the sideboard and the chance was gone.

Andy Dalzell then looked poised to test Moreland's reflexes at the other end, but James Erskine nicked the ball off the Portrush striker's stick. The impressive Adam McKee set up Clifford Lennon in the 45th minute, but the Down man's route to the penalty area was stopped by Ryan Smith who made a timely tackle.

McKee then had a shooting opportunity created by Taylor and Mark Elliott, but the ball was cleared and as Portrush mounted a quick counter attack, McKee tracked back and produced a great tackle to win back possession. Taylor and David Ferris then exchanged passes in a sweeping move along the left flank which ended with Taylor's shot saved by the 'keeper.

The visitors pulled a goal back in the 50th minute from a short corner when Dalzell slipped the ball to Aaron Kerr who scored. But any hope the visitors had of scoring an equaliser were dashed within 60 seconds as Down scored again to lead 3-1.

McKee started the move which led to the goal and when he picked out Elliott on the left hand side of the penalty area. Elliott beat his man, somehow managed to prevent the ball from going over the by-line and, from the tightest of angles, drilled the ball past the 'keeper into the net.

Two minutes later, Alasdair Duff's reverse stick shot from a short corner move was saved and then Taylor saw another shot cannon off the sideboard and away to safety to deny him another hat-trick opportunity.

Portrush scored from a goalmouth scramble in the 57th minute to make it 3-2 and it looked as though the closing minutes would be anxious for the home side.

Portrush forced another short corner within a minute of making it 3-2 but the shot was blocked and then from a short corner at the other end, Ringland's shot on the reverse flew agonisingly side. Taylor had yet another opportunity to score his hat-trick with three minutes to go, but was denied by the 'keeper.

Duff and Ringland then combined with just over two minutes to go to set up a chance for McKee who swept the ball into the net to make it 4-2.

An important win for Down and the perfect preparation for this weekend's big derby against Ballynahinch at St. Colman's High School.