Ballymena United 3 Crusaders 0
Ballymena United were deserved winners against an off colour Crusaders at the Showgrounds.
Goals from Adam Lecky, William Faulkner and Andy McGrory sealed the win for the Sky Blues - but the Crues were not the side trhat claimed the Irish League title last year.
To be fair the Crues were missing Colin Coates, Paul Heatley and Billy Joe Burns from their side but they failed to create anything of note against a well organised and energetic United outfit.
Ballymena were without Ryan Mayse from their starting eleven.
In the ninth minute Rodney Brown hit a free-kick for the Crues but his effort was deflected wide.
It was 1-0 to United in the 11th minute. Steven McCullough released Adam Lecky and he prodded the ball past the advancing Sean O'Neill.
James Knowles had a chance for the home side in the 18th minute. His free-kick was well saved by O'Neill in the Crues goal.
The Crues were starting to apply some pressure on the United defence. They seemed however out of sorts and were lacking the pace and trickery of Heatley up-front.
In the 34th minute Cathair Friel tried his luck from long range. His curling effort flying effort just missing the target with keeper O;Neill scrambling.
Right at the end of the half Leroy Millar ball found Faulkner who volleyed wide of the goal but the defending champions were looking shaky.
Lecky then had a great chance for United in the 55th minute. The striker walked past Kyle Owens before having his shot well saved by O'Neill.
In the 60th minute Ballymena broke forward. The ball broke to Millar and he blasted it wide from the edge of the box.
It could have been 2-0 in the 68th minute. Lecky found Friel and his shot was well saved by O'Neill.
Then Crusaders Sean Ward let fly and his shot flew over with keeper Ross Glendinning at full stretch.
Then Ballymena wasted another chance. Lecky robbed Kyle Owens and it fell to Millar who blazed wide.
The Crues then had Jordan Owens and substitute Rory Patterson booked as the referee laid down the law to the Crues strikers.
It was 2-0 min the 76th minute as Faulkner shot home from a McGrory cross and United fully deserved their lead.
A minute later it was 3-0 as McGrory headed home after United pressure and it was no more than they deserved.
Ballymena United: Glendinning, Addis, Whiteside, Friel, Knowles ( Kane 83 mins) , McCullough, Faulkner, McGrory, Balmer, Lecky, Millar.
Subs not used: McCauley, Quigley, Nolan, Ervin, Reece Glendinning, Umar.98
Crusaders: O'Neill, Beverland, Lowry, Ward (Caddell 77 mins), Glackin (Patterson 67mins), Carvill, Forsythe, K Owens, J Owens, Snoody (Clarke 45 mins) Brown.
Subs not used: Doherty, McChrystal, Cushley, Ruddy..
Referee: Evan Boyce.