Newry City stormed into the top six of the JJB Sports Premiership table but it was a much more nervous ending than it should have been for Gerry Flynn’s men.
It was looking like a horror show on Sky for Ballymena United as goals from Darren King, Chris Morgan and Stephen Garrett put the visitors firmly in the driving seat.
A late double salvo from Neil Teggart – his eighth and ninth goals of the campaign - was little consolation though for the Sky Blues who remain rooted to the foot of the table.
There were initial fears that the torrential rain of the early evening would put the game in jeopardy and the soaked surface almost caused a red face for Paul Murphy in the eighth minute.
Murphy, making his first appearance at his former club, got down to shovel Kevin Kelbie’s low skidding shot from the edge of the area behind for a corner.
Within seconds the ball was in the home side’s net in unusual circumstances, Sean Friars shot looked harmless until it deflected off Joe McDonnell into the path of Darren King who shot first time past Alan Blayney.
Despite the weather and the match being shown live on Sky, 1,293 hardy souls braved the elements and Gavin Melaugh had most of them on their feet in the 36th minute when he whistled a shot just over the crossbar.
The visitors sprinted out of the blocks at the start of the second period with Blayney, the former Southampton keeper, stopping Chris Morgan’s close range effort with one hand.
In the 50th minute the same two players went head to head again and this time the striker had the last laugh, out-pacing the absent United back-line to move onto Stephen Garrett’s flick and calmly drilling the ball under the keeper’s body.
Six minutes later the roles were reversed, Morgan’s deft touch releasing Garrett this time and it was the same outcome, the former Linfield man rolling the ball past Blayney.
BALLYMENA UNITED: Blayney, Burke (McNeill 57), Colligan, Albert Watson, Haveron, Melaugh, McDonnell (Picking 78), Mullan (Aidan Watson 57), Teggart, Kelbie, S. King. Subs not used: Stewart, Ward.
NEWRY CITY: Murphy, D. King, Black, Feeney, E. Friars, Clarke, Garrett, Curran, Morgan (Donegan 90+2), S. Friars (Anderson 84), Davidson. Subs not used: Keegan, Walsh, Gowdy.
Referee: Colin Burns (Newtownabbey)