Two second-half goals in as many minutes ended all hopes of Ballyclare Comrades getting anything from their clash away to title-chasing H&W Welders.
On a soggy pitch at Tillysburn, the Welders secured a 3-0 Championship 1 win with unanswered goals by Devine, McMurray and Davidson.
Paddy Flood made a return in goal following his spell with Larne, but neither he nor his opposite number, Michael Dougherty, had much to do in an untidy first half.
Dougherty was glad to see a Chris Trussell effort clear the bar, while at the opposite end the Welders threatened from a couple of corners and free-kicks before forging ahead in the 40th minute when Devine’s close range snap-shot flashed into the net.
The Reds started the second session promisingly and came within inches of equalising when Jason Johnston’s effort crashed against the post after Dougherty had done well to parry Trussell’s initial effort.
During the third quarter the Comrades took the game to the title favourites but were met by a resolute defence and then it all changed suddenly.
In the 71st minute McMurray doubled the lead in a goalmouth scramble and two minutes later a home counter-attack produced a killer third when Davidson ghosted in at the back post to beat Flood.
Despite this double whammy, the Comrades went on the attack and only two superb saves by Welders’ man of the match, Dougherty, prevented Trussell from getting his name on the scorecard.
“The 3-0 scoreline flattered the Welders,” said Ballyclare boss, Hughes. “We matched them all over the pitch in horrible conditions but they got the goals, while we were denied by some excellent saves by Michael Dougherty.”
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood; Brown, Getty (Woods 84’), McCart (C), Shannon; McClurg, Dobbin, Johnston, O’Hanlon (McMillan 77’), Trussell, Reid. Subs not used: Crowe, McCullough, Taggart.