The seniors continued their strong start to the league season with this great win against a team that beat them twice last season.
After two opening draws, this was the first win but if they claim three points in their game in hand over all the other teams in the league they can move up to third place next Saturday when they return to the same Downpatrick venue to take on Rossglass County.
There was five changes from last week’s cup shock against Dundrum with regulars Marc Hegney, Paul Murphy, Calum McSorley, Paul Maguire returning and last season’s player of the year Fergus McBride making his first appearance of the season.
Colts started on the front foot with Conor Magee, McBride and Maguire dominating midfield and McSorley working hard to defend from the front. And they took the lead after 20 minutes when DA Brownlee found man of the match Paul Murphy on the left side of the box. His first shot hit the defender but he pounced on the rebound to curl a great right foot shot into the corner of the net.
With Hegney, Eamonn Vize and Rory McDonnell dominant at the back the Colts began pressing the home team deep in their own half and it was only a matter of time until they added a second.
And it came from the unlikely source of McBride, not known for his finishing, who worked a great one-two with the impressive Joe Sweeney, making a gut busting run into the box before steering a great strike home after 35 minutes.
Colts had further chances with Magee, McSorley and Brownlee all testing the goalkeeper before the break.
Vize had to be replaced at half time by Chris Doyle due to a hamstring injury with versatile Maguire dropping into the back three seamlessly, with Hegney continuing to be like a rock beside him.
Colts were comfortable until they gave away a free kick midway through the second half and their impressive midfielder placed his free kick into the corner of the net to reduce the deficit.
Downpatrick pressed for an equaliser but the defence and goalkeeper Chris Overend stood firm, making good blocks, with Brownlee, McSorley and Doyle continuing to look dangerous on the break.
McBride’s work rate and aggression was upsetting Athletic and their striker was lucky not to be sent off when he appeared to throw a head butt but escaped with a booking, with McBride picking up a yellow card too.
Adam Shillday replaced McSorley on the hour mark and his pace was a concern for the home team and both he and Doyle had opportunities to make the points safe.
Jordy Toal replaced the tiring Brownlee, who had put in a lot of work, and the big man nearly sealed the points when he was put clear by Magee but the goalkeeper raced from his line to block the shot. The rebound fell to Toal who knocked the ball wide to Murphy and his shot went narrowly past the post.
Colts: Overend, Sweeney, Murphy, Hegney, McDonnell, Vize (Doyle), Magee, Maguire, McBride, McSorley (Shilliday), Brownlee (Toal)
* The senior seconds were robbed off the opportunity to go top of the league when a controversial penalty cost them at least a draw against Newcastle Swifts II in the Second Division at Lough Moss.
John Neill had given his side the lead but with no official ref available the visitors provided the man in the middle and some strange decisions followed and they ran out 2-1 winners.