Wakehurst were the visitors to Portstewart on Saturday and the visitors walked away with the points, despite a battling display by the home side.
Portstewart were without Owen Moody, Ryan Doherty and Paul Millican for the tie, the Ballymena outfit too had players missing, Paul Muir and George Young, were serving one-match bans.
Portstewart carried the early threat, but it was Wakehurst who snatched the lead with a fine solo goal from Conor Gregg. Johnny Gawne scored his first for the Ports with a fine strike to level matters just before the break.
Portstewart started the second half brightly, Ian Todd was unlucky with his effort which went wide. Wakehurst took the lead again on the hour mark thanks to Jason Paul.
Portstewart were awarded a penalty after Chris Hanson was impeaded in the box. James Peden made it 2-2 from the resulting spot kick.
Wakehurst introduced Connor Ross, and his impact was immediate when he set up Conor Gregg, who scored the eventual winner. Portstewart pushed forward in numbers in the final minutes of additional time but the visitors held firm.
Ports boss Gary Taylor described the game as ‘sloppy’ and added that players ‘were rusty’ after the break. He went on: “ We need to bounce back as we take on league leaders PSNI this Saturday.
“We had to change things about a bit, we had players missing, but I have to give credit to those that came in. We thought that Lee Forgrave and Sam Boylan who were superb in mid field.”
Taylor may introduce new signing 17-year-old forward Marcus Condren for the tie against PSNI. He is also hoping to add a few others to his squad: “I have a few irons in the fire, so hopefully I can get a few more in. We are a small squad, it’s just a wait and see.”