Despite this heavy defeat, Down seconds are still in the hunt for one of the two Junior 3 promotion places up for grabs.

Against league leaders Instonians thirds at the Comber Leisure Centre last Friday night the locals were 3-0 behind before they really started to play.

The only bright note on a freezing cold night was the goal scored by defender James Erskine, his first for his home town team in 11 years. The defender popped up in the Instonians penalty area to score but it was too little too late.

Paul Tate again deputised in goal for the injured Robert Hagan and produced a number of fine saves over the 70 minutes but Instonians were just too good for Down on the night.

The visitors got off to the best possible start when Paul McGrath fired them ahead after just two minutes, with his shot squeezing between Tate's legs as he positioned himself to deal with the incoming shot.

Six minutes later Tate produced a blinding save but cruelly for him the rebound fell at the feet of Graham Frazell and he smacked it home to make it 2-0.

After 13 minutes the points were in the bag for the Belfast outfit when Fay drove home past Tate who could do nothing such was the pace on the ball. It was all one-way traffic at this stage and Instonians could and should have increased their lead.

Tate produced a great save in the 27th minute and four minutes from the interval when faced by three Instonians forwards the Down 'keeper somehow managed to come out on top, producing a great save.

Shaw McVeigh created a chance for Down's Mark Graham at the other end but his shot was saved and then Richard Tarbotton was robbed by a defender just as he was about to pull the trigger.

Frazell blazed wide at the start of the second half before Tate denied McGrath from a short corner. Instonians made it 4-0 in the 42nd minute when Paul Dickson scored and then a great run by Adam McKee ended with the midfielder dragging his shot wide of the post.

Erskine scored in the 51st minute to make it 4-1 and then Graham was denied two minutes later when he had a chance to make it 4-2. With three minutes to go Marl Mirton scored for the visitors to leave Down soundly beaten.