Kyle Agnew soared to super sub status when his late strike at Dixon Park eased Ballyclare Comrades into the second round of the Wasp Solutions League Cup at the expense of Limavady United.
Following Saturday’s humiliating defeat by Larne, manager Eddie Hill wielded the axe on Tuesday evening, scrapped the 4-1-4-1 formation, and reverted to the more common 4-4-2 line-up.
Out went Gage, McAlea, Doyle (suspended), McClean, Cooper and Agnew, to be replaced by Getty, Simpson, McGowan, Brown, Simms and Reid, but still it was a struggle to get the better of the Championship 2 side.
In an untidy first half neither side managed to carve out a clear-cut scoring chance but the tempo changed in Comrades’ favour during the final half hour when substitutes Agnew and Smith injected more pace into the Reds’ attack.
However, the home goal had a let-off when the visitors hit the post, following a series of corners.
As usual, Gary Brown posed a threat, and on one occasion he was denied by the keeper’s legs, while at the other end Flood came out on top in a one-against-one situation.
With new signing Andrew Simpson and Simon McGowan combining effectively in midfield, the Reds looked the more likely to score in the closing stages, and it was Simpson who eventually prised open a resolute defence.
He created space around the edge of the box and threaded the ball through to Agnew, who made no mistake from close range.
“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves, but there was a slight improvement from Saturday’s woeful performance at Inver Park,” saidd assistant-manager Gary Bell.
“Limavady have a good young side, but experience told in the end and we just about deserved to win.”
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood; Doherty (Smith 62), McCart (C), Getty, Buckley; Brown, Simpson, McGowan, Simms (Gray 71); Reid (Agnew 67), Trussell. Subs not used: Cooper, Gage.