FC Whiteabbey wiped out a 3-0 deficit to set the alarm bells ringing but Ballynure Old Boys regained control to advance to the second round of the Crawford Cup in Saturday’s nine-goals thriller.
Three Whiteabbey goals scored in a 15-minute purple patch after the interval made it 3-3, but in the final half hour strikes by Paul McIntyre, David Higgins and Jackie Todd secured the 6-3 win.
Josh McIlroy opened the scoring in the 22nd minute and Robert Houston doubled the lead shortly afterwards, before Ricky Higgins opened his account to give his side a commanding 3-0 lead at the interval.
With full-back Barry Penny feeling unwell, Andy Forsythe, who was in charge in the absence of Gary Burns, had to reshuffle his resources with midfielder McIntyre coming off the bench.
During the settling in period the ‘Abbey lads seized their chance by rattling in three unanswered goals to turn the game on its head at 3-3.
However, that was as good as it got for the visitors where McIntyre regained the lead in the 65th minute, before Higgins and Todd made doubly sure of inclusion in the draw for the second round.
Assistant-manager Forsythe said that in the end his side were worthy winners, but panic almost set in when Whiteabbey clawed their way back.
Ballynure OB: Hughes; Penny, Robinson, G Curlett, M Curlett; D Higgins, Todd, Duff (c), McIlroy; R Higgins, Houston. Subs: McIntyre, Ellis, Officer.
On Saturday Ballynure have a home Ballymena Intermediate Division fixture against Desertmartin.