The new Senior Two season opened at Malone Park last weekend with a cracking derby tie between Down and newcomers Newcastle.

The sides served up a feast of goals in brilliant sunshine with the visitors delighted to leave with a point, having lost 10-3 to their opponents just seven days earlier in a Linden Cup tie at Douglas Park.

The Newcastle side included a number of players who have transferred from Ballynahinch, while Down have lost James Ferguson and Richard Hamilton to the newcomers.

Down, who face a series of tough games over the coming weeks against Armagh and Cliftonville, the latter relegated from Senior One last season, were keen to get the league campaign off to a winning start, but it wasn't to be.

Things started well for the locals who fielded a particularly strong side which featured the likes of Paul Neill, Chris Taylor. Sinclair White, Mark Elliott and Paul Tate.

Down took the lead on the shale surface in the 14th minute when Paul Tate produced a neat finish to steer the ball past Newcastle 'keeper Lee Duffield.

The visitors created a few half chances but couldn't find a way past Down 'keeper David Moreland, while at the other end the home side's forwards wasted several good opportunities to increase the lead.

Taylor went for goal when he really should have squared for any one of three team mates waiting to drill his cross into the net.

Newcastle were back on level terms within five minutes of the restart when Jason Campbell scored past Moreland, but the visitors were soon trailing for a second time when Tate scored his second of the game in the 50th minute.

Back came the visitors with the Down defenders guilty of dozing off and Gareth McGreevy made it 2-2. Game on.

The home supporters were stunned in the 53rd minute when the visitors took the lead for them first time in the game when Stuart McKee scored with a shot which just squeezed past Moreland.

Down pushed forward in search of an equaliser and it came courtesy of a blistering finish from Elliott whose finish on the fly broke a hole in the net. Taylor was the architect of the goal, with his cross picking out Down's ace marksman who made no mistake from close range it must be said.

It was all one-way traffic at this stage and when Elliott was upended by Duffield in the penalty area, the umpire had no hesitation pointing to the spot.

Taylor signalled his intention to take the penalty and if Duffield had stood tall he probably would have saved the Down midfielder's effort. With not long to go, the visitors surged forward in search of an equaliser which came with three minutes left on the clock.

Down will not be happy they let their single goal advantage slip in the closing stages, while Newcastle will get better and will make life tough for a lot of teams this season.