Davy Munster fired a dramatic late winner as Ballymena United reached the final of the WASP Solutions League Cup.
The veteran defender struck with three minutes left as United won at Ballinamallard for the first time in five attempts to set up a new year cup final against Cliftonville.
In front of a bumper crowd at a wet and windy Ferney Park, the home side made a bright start and took the lead in the 20th minute when Ryan Campbell, with his back to goal, turned quickly and fired past Stuart Addis into the bottom corner.
Ballymena began to gain a foothold in the game and after having penalty appeals waved away for handball,
The home side came close to doubling their lead when Liam Martin’s effort beat Addis but the ball trundled just wide of of the post.
Instead, the Sky Blues drew level virtually on the stroke of half-time when Matthew Tipton saw his shot saved by Mallards keeper Stefan McCusker but strike partner Allan Jenkins was on hand to smash home the loose ball from close range.
THe SKy Blues continued their turnaround in the second half as McCusker made two saves and the ball hit the post before Matthew Tipton finally slotted home.
But Ballinamallard replied with an equaliser from virtually their first attack of the second half as a neat build up on the edge of the box ended with Campbell turning and clipping to the ball to the corner.
As the game ebbed and flowed, Darren Boyce fired straight at McCusker after Tipton had opend up the home defence, while at the other end, Addis made a fine save to keep the scoreline level.
But just as it seemed the match was heading to extra-time, United struck right at the death.
From a free kick Munster - the man who scored United’s goal in their County Antrim SHield final triumph two years ago - was on hand to poke home from close range.
It takes United into th final of a third different cup competition in manager Glenn Ferguson’s three years in charge and revives the SKy Blues’ season.
Ballinamallard United: McCusker, McMenamin, Stafford, Martin, Hutchinson, Lafferty, McCartney, Currie, Dykes, Crilly, Campbell. Subs: Murphy, Connor, Feeney, Foy, McKenna
Ballymena United: Addis, T Kane, Munster, Taylor, McBride, Gawley, Surgenor, Jenkins, Teggart, Boyce, Tipton. Subs: Nelson, Ruddy, McCullagh, Ferguson, E Kane.
Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon).