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Down 1st XI vs Saintfield 1st XI - 30th September 2017

Honours were shared when Saintfield travelled to Malone Park. The Saints, who also play on a shale pitch, settled first and after a well executed counter-attack, caught Down's defence on the back foot. Jack Taylor skipped past Erskine and slotted the ball past the home keeper.

Down, who had players on the bench, pushed forward applying pressure to the experienced Saintfield defence. This pressure was rewarded with a penalty corner. Down's Gavin Ringland took the strike, which was well saved by the Saintfield keeper only for Chris Taylor to find the roof of the net with a blistering rebound shot.

Down had now found a bit of form and confidence on the ball. New signing Kyle Patterson worked hard and delivered some useful balls into the circle. Saintfield were not going to make it easy for Down and a long ball found the visitors' centre forward bearing down on the Down goal with only the 'keeper to beat. Jeremy McCready sprinted off his line and made a quality tackle to deny Saintfield and clear his lines.

Down regrouped and went on the attack again with McKee's skills winning another penalty corner. This time the ball was given short to Steven Ferguson, who has made an impressive return to the Malone Park side. His powerful strike hit the back board, just past the near post.

Down sat back in defence with a view to maintaining their lead in the final few minutes. Saintfield had other ideas and piled on the pressure. The normally steady defence of Erskine and Ringland was missing and Down failed to clear their lines. While Down's keeper made an initial save, Lance Walker pounced to make it 2 – 2 with only 20 seconds remaining on the clock.

Down will be disappointed with the result, but both teams fought hard and the score line is a fair reflection on the game.