Roscommon’s bench ensured they left Páirc Esler on Saturday night with a valuable away victory which boosts their chances of staying in Division Two.
After a pretty lively opening 20 minutes, which featured a number of high-quality scores from both teams, Roscommon hit an unanswered 1-4 to take a decisive lead.
Diarmuid Murtagh’s goal on the stroke of half-time put Roscommon 1-9 to 0-6 in front at the interval.
The third quarter was messy and bad-tempered. Conor Garvey became the second Down player to pick up a black card, following Kevin McKernan's in the first half, and Luke Howard was also dismissed for a second bookable offence after 45 minutes.
Despite playing with 14 men, Down rallied and Arthur McConville’s palmed goal helped bring them to within a point of the visitors.
They closed a six-point deficit to get to 1-11 to 1-10 behind, but substitutes Cathal Cregg and Donie Smith hit four points between them in the last 10 minutes, Cregg with three of them, to cement two valuable league points for Roscommon.
"We looked at this as a big, big game because these young fellas want to stay in Division Two," manager John Evans said afterwards.
“We are not ready for Division One, we don’t have the pool of players. But staying in division two is so important.”
DOWN: S Kane; D O'Hagan, B McArdle, L Howard; P Devlin (0-2, 1f, 1 '45'), D Turley, K McKernan; N Madine, P Fitzpatrick (0-1); C Maginn (0-1), C Laverty, C Mooney; C Crilly, D O'Hare (0-3, 1f), D Savage. Subs: J Johnston (0-3) for Mooney (15), C Garvey for McKernan (BC, 25), M Poland for Savage (31), A McConville (1-1) for Crilly (HT), D O'Hanlon for Turley (HT), N Donnelly for Garvey (BC, 45)
ROSCOMMON: D O'Malley; S McDermott, N Carty, N Collins; C Daly, N Daly (0-1), C Cafferkey (0-1); I Kilbride, C Shine; M Nally (0-1), D Shine (0-1, f), E Smith; C Murtagh (0-2), S Kilbride (0-1), D Murtagh (1-4, 2f) Subs: U Harney for Nally (12), D Smith (0-1) for Shine (50), C Cregg (0-3) for D Murtagh (53), M Whyte for O'Malley (53), F Kelly for C Murtagh (63), C Compton for E Smith (70)
REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry)