DOWNTON put up a brave fight against visiting Wessex League Division One title favourites Christchurch.

Downton had the best of the chances in the first half with Tyler Rutten going close.

Soon it was Christchurch who put the pressure on with a snap shot which saw the home stopper Lewis Gunstone-Gray pulled off the save of season.

It was then Christchurch who took the lead with a flick on over the back four saw Max Wilcock score.

Almost from the restart it was all Downton. With some fine work from Shaun Prentice and Declan McGregor.

Downton forced a corner which Dan Telfer whipped in and out of nowhere Ben Smith was airborne at the far post but this time met the corner with a sweetly struck bicycle kick which was too strong for the goalkeeper to hold onto and the oncoming Prentice crashed home the rebound to equalise.

Downton were back in the game with both sides playing some excellent football.

Both sides tested each other’s defence but it was Downton’s Peter Fletcher who had his work cut out with the lively 'Church winger and he was in fine form to keep him at bay until the half.

The second half started with Christchurch camped in Downton’s half with the defence soaking up heavy pressure.

Smith and Ben Vincent tried to rally on the home side but they could not find there rhythm to start playing.

Tyson, Telfer and Thomas worked tirelessly to take control but a deep cross into Downton’s box was not dealt with and a unmarked Wilcock headed home to take the lead.

The introduction of Crisp and Cooper gave Downton a much needed boost but still found themselves chasing the game.

With five minutes to go and Downton were caught out again with most of the team upfield seeking the equaliser, as Wilcock completed his hat-trick.

Manager Ben Smith said: "Some positives to take from the game today and we really showed we could compete in the first half. But we came out and completely stopped for some reason which was disappointing but all credit to Christchurch as they have only lost once this year so it was always going to be a tough game."