After falling behind to an early Donegal Celtic strike, Ballyclare Comrades rallied to secure three vital Championship 1 points.
Chris Trussell took his tally for the season in to double figures when he fired in the equaliser just before half-time and second-session strikes by Gary Brown and Trussell (penalty) secured the 3-1 win.
Both teams finished with 10 men: Comrades’ Sandy McDermott and the Hoops’ Paul Brown received straight red cards in separate incidents in the second half, in a closely contested clash that was littered with niggling fouls.
The Comrades threatened from the start with Brown heading over and Trussell firing wide before McIlhone pulled off a stunning sixth-minute reflex save to deny Brown.
Two minutes later, and in their first attack, the visitors opened the scoring when livewire striker Philpott pounced on a loose ball and fired in to the bottom corner.
For the remainder of the half play was mainly in Celtic territory, with the hosts winning the corners count 8-2, but Stephen Hughes’ side had to wait until the 45th minute until Trussell swivelled and drilled in a deserved equaliser from the corner of the six-yard box.
The Comrades scored early in the second half when Brown was at the back post to touch in Michael McQuitty’s cross. But two minutes later McDermott saw red for a rash tackle on Philpott.
On 52 minutes Paul Brown’s header was scrambled off the line, after the initial shot had crashed against the bar.
The visitors were reduced to 10 when Paul Brown received his marching orders and five minutes later Trussell made sure of the points when he blasted home from the penalty spot, following a foul on Gary Brown in the box.
Trussell came within a whisker of completing his hat-trick when his header rebounded off the underside of the bar.
“I thought that despite conceding that early goal we were in control from start to finish and were worthy winners,” summed up manager, Stephen Hughes.
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, McQuitty, Getty (c), Wharry, McDermott; O’Hanlon, Dobbin, Johnstone (McClurg 83), Shannon; Brown (Taggart 75), Trussell. Subs not used: Simpson, McCullough, E Hill.