Goals by Andrew Simpson, Simon McGreevy and Kyle Buckley saw Ballyclare Comrades safely through to the last sixteen of the IFA Intermediate Cup.
Queen’s University provided the opposition at Dixon Park where their early second-half equaliser inspired the Reds to step up the tempo en route to a deserved 3-1 victory.
Except for skipper Adam McCart coming in for suspended defender Darren Doherty, the starting 11 was unchanged from the previous outing against Larne.
Right from the start the students were forced on to the back foot and keeper Declan Brown held a Cooper shot in the second minute, but was glad to see Samuel McIlveen’s effort flash past the post moments later.
On the half-hour the Reds got the opener they deserved, when over-lapping full-back Buckley got to the by-line before crossing to Simpson who gave Brown no chance from a mid-box position.
Although the Comrades had plenty of possession they seldom threatened the visiting defence, and just before the break Jonah Nicholl, who had been preferred to Paddy Flood, had his first anxious moment when Lavery’s header was just wide.
Four minutes into the second half home fans were stunned when a misunderstanding between Nicholl and Chris Getty gifted Prenter an unlikely equaliser.
On the hour manager Hill responded by making a double substitution and a team reshuffle that brought immediate results.
In the 69th minute Hill was up-ended in the box, and McGowan regained the lead when he made no mistake from the spot.
Four minutes later Buckley made sure of advancement to the next round when he connected with McIlveen’s corner at the near post, and nodded firmly past Brown.
The students were now a spent force, with Comrades looking likely to score at any minute, but the nearest they came to getting a fourth goal was when Doyle created space for Cooper inside the box, but the winger fired in to the side-netting.
Commenting Eddie Hill said: ”There wasn’t much for the fans to get excited about and we will have to up our performance on Saturday when we travel to Lisburn Distillery.”
The December Player of the Month trophy, sponsored by George Logan & Sons, car sales, Ballyclare, was presented to impressive midfielder Joel Cooper.
Ballyclare Comrades: Nicholl; Brown, Doyle, Getty, Buckley; Simpson, McIlveen, McGowan, McCart (C); Cooper, R Reid. Subs: C Reid for Getty, E Hill for R Reid, McIlwaine for McIlveen. Not used: A Hill, Flood.