Ballymena United maintained their position among the early-season pacesetters in the Danske Bank Premiership with a hard-fought win over Institute at the Showgrounds.
The visitors, aiming to continue their encouraging start to their return to life in the top flight, took the lead inside the opening 90 seconds.
An incisive move down the left flank saw Darren McFadden burst into the penalty area and although keeper Dwayne Nelson got down sharply to save his low effort, Stephen O’Flynn was on hand to tap in the rebound at the back post.
It took Ballymena some time to gain a foothold in the game but they levelled the scores in spectacular fashion on 26 minutes.
Gavin Taggart’s cross from the right was headed clear as far as Alan Teggart on the left edge of the penalty area and the winger jinked past Stephen Curry before firing a rising drive past Institute keeper Eugene Ferry at his near post.
Teggart was again on target on 66 minutes as he scored from the penalty spot.
Overlapping full-back Stephen McBride went down under a challenge from Stephen Curry on the left edge of the penalty area.
Referee Keith Kennedy waved away strong Institute protests that the challenge had taken place outside the box and Teggart stepped up to confidently fire his spot kick into the bottom corner, beyond the reach of Ferry.
At the other end, sub Ben Doherty’s through ball sent Darren McFadden clear on goal but keeper Nelson advanced quickly to block the Institute player’s effort on the edge of the penalty area.
Johnny Taylor also made a crucial block from a Stephen O’Flynn while Nelson made a crucial block from Robbie Hume in injury time to preserve Ballymena’s lead.
Ballymena United: Nelson, McCullagh, Munster, Taylor (c), McBride, Kane (sub Boyce 66), Taggart, Surgenor (sub McCaul 73), Teggart, Tipton, Cushley (sub Ruddy 79). Subs (not used): Stewart, Harris.
Institute: Ferry, McLaughlin, Scoltock, Crown; Curry, Forker (sub Doherty 66), Walsh, McKeever; Armstrong (sub Henderson 66), O’Flynn, McFadden (sub Hume 78). Subs (not used): Young, Kelly.
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)