Down started the match in an intense and positive manner and got their just reward after five minutes on the clock when Scott McArthur had time to fire home a lethal volley into the roof of the net.
McArthur was at the heart of things as Down doubled their advantage when he switched the ball to Tom Mathieson who turned the burners on to beat his man before firing a crisp left footed strike below MS keeper Sean Dartnall.
Matthew Hall in particular was excelling in the Down back four but MS found a way through when Joseph Long-Smith whipped in an inch-perfect delivery from the right for James Green in the middle to head the whites back Into the game.
The dictator in midfield, Josh Kelly, almost sealed the win for the reds when he finessed an effort towards the bottom right corner but Dartford got down well to his left to push his effort away.
Co.Down held on to their 2-1 lead in what was a brave battle between the Northern Irish and New Zealanders.
Report by Jamie Megarry