Joe McKinney was the difference at the Showgrounds on Tuesday night as his double sealed Ards place in the semi-final of the Toals Senior Challenge Shield.
McKinney struck in the 28th and 53rd minute to send Ards through and even though Allan Jenkins pulled one back for the Sky Blues in the 88nd minute it was not enough.
The result condemned United to their second defeat on the bounce after their ten match unbeaten run and they will look to get back winning ways against Ballinamallard United on Saturday.
It was United who had the first chance of the game in the second minute. Tony Kane’s free-kick was flicked on by Kyle Owens and it was cleared off the line by Michael Ruddy.
Ards had a chance to open their account in the fourth minute but Joe McKinney’s shot was parried by keeper Ross Glendinning and Stephen McBride cleared the danger.
It was 1-0 to Ards in the 28th minute as McKinney rifled home a shot from the edge of the box.
The visitors had the first real chance of the second half but Craig McMillan flashed his shot wide.
It was 2-0 in the 53rd minute as McKinney grabbed his second of the night after a mix-up between United keeper Glendinning and defender Caolan Loughran.
United’s Willie Faulkner had a chance to pull one back for the Sky Blues but he failed to hit the target.
United then pulled one back through Jenkins two minutes from the end but it was not enough in the end.
Ballymena United: Glendinning, T.Kane, McBride, Owens, Jenkins, McCloskey, Faulkner, Friel, Lowry, Ervin, Loughran.
Subs: McAuley, Flynn, Henderson, E.Kane, Wallace.
Ards: Hogg, Brennan, Friars, McMullan, McCullough, Tommons, McComb, McMillan, McKinney, Liggett, Ruddy.
Subs: Arthurs, Douglas, Keke, Taylor, Rea.
Referee: A Davey.