The home team was cruising to victory, 3-0 up with 10 minutes to go, but in the end had to hold on as Arrows scored two late goals.
The match got off to a high tempo start with Downs in particular looking a threat on attack. In fact, there was nearly a second-minute goal for the hosts when Katlego Mphela drove a 16-yard shot just wide.
Mphela then had another shot go well wide while Richard Henyekane sent a rasping drive straight at keeper Russell Khuzwayo.
Arrows though also had their moments in attack early on with Jabulani Nene, Songwe Chalwe and Collins Mbesuma all getting a sniff at goal in the opening 15 minutes.
For the most part though it was the Brazilians who were on top and Khuzwayo had to be at his best to get down and make a low save to palm away Papi Zothwane's hammered low drive after 19 minutes.
Ten minutes later Elias Pelembe should have scored, but after Sibusiso Khumalo’s cross was deflected into his path, the Mozambiquan blasted over from right in front of goal.
The first half appeared to be set to end goalless, but Downs scored a lovely goal just before the break when some clever interplay saw Method Mwanjali slicing through the defence before neatly beating Khuzwayo.
It took just two minutes of second half action for the Tshwane side to double their lead. Mphela was the scorer, receiving a pass in the box and despite his first touch taking him away from goal, he finished with a thunderous drive.
Arrows substitute Siyabonga Nkosi had the chance to pull one back in the 57th minute, but sent his header over the bar by some way.
But Downs were to add to their tally after 73 minutes when Mphela netted from the spot after Thulasizwe Khuboni had handled the ball in the box.
The three points seemed very much secure at that stage, but Mbesuma gave his team hope when his 8oth-minute shot took a sizable deflection and left Sandilands stranded.
And then less than a minute later a deflection again came to Abafana Bes’thende’s aid as Njabulo Manqana’s shot from a really tight angle took a touch off Thapelo Tshilo and went into the net.
There were some anxious moments for Ian Gorowa’s side late on as Mbesuma did his best to find an equaliser, but in the end Downs were able to hang on for victory.