Ballymena United booked a mouth-watering fifth round Irish Cup clash with Crusaders after finally coming out on top in their much-delayed clash with Ballyclare Comrades.
The visitors took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 18th minute with a wonder strike from Kevin Kelbie, who had scored for the Sky Blues when the teams’ first clash was abandoned.
Paul Muir’s free-kick from inside his own half was headed out by Evan Forsythe to Kelbie and, as the ball dropped from the heavens, the Scottish striker hammered it home from 20 yards.
Ballyclare tried to hit back but efforts from Ricky Higgins and Mark Craig were comfortably dealt with by United keeper Alan Blayney.
There was little after the break to warm up the brave souls who made the journey to a chilly Dixon Park with Blayney again called into action to push away Andy Forsythe’s shot but United clinched their place in the next stage with the security goal in the 68th minute.
Gavin Melaugh burst into the box, his shot beat keeper Patrick Flood and was turned in at the back post by Lee Colligan - his first goal for the Sky Blues.
BALLYCLARE COMRADES: Flood, Long, Bell, S McClean, Murray, E Forsythe, Agnew, McGowan, Craig, Higgins, A Forsythe. Subs: Simms, Nelson, Wallace, Loughran, Curlett.
BALLYMENA UNITED: Blayney, Watson, McDonnell, Muir, Wray, Melaugh, Deans, C McClean, Colligan, Kelbie, McNeill. Subs: Young, Walsh, Stewart, O’Neill, Cushley.
Referee: Brian Turkington (Belfast)