BALLYMENA UTD 1 DUNGANNON SWIFTS 1
THE drama was reserved for the latter stages at the Showgrounds with both goals coming in the final 10 minutes.
Ballymena went close within eight seconds of kick-off as David Cushley blazed a shot wide of the target.
Terry Fitzpatrick had an effort blocked by outrushing United keeper Dwayne Nelson while Jamie Davidson’s low 20-yard shot for Ballymena had Niall Morgan scrambling across his goal to save.
The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock in the first half came on 35 minutes when Gary Thompson’s point-blank volley from Aaron Stewart’s left-wing cross came back off the chest off Morgan.
The second half also failed to spark into life although Ballymena went close when Johnny Taylor’s header from Tony Kane’s free kick was palmed wide by Morgan.
But the decisive goal came with seven minutes left when Cushley collected a pass from Alan Teggart and cut inside before firing a shot home via Morgan’s near post.
But Dungannon earned a point in the second minute of stoppage time when sub Josh Cahoon bundled home a shot after a free kick had been headed down inside the penalty area.
Ballymena United: Nelson, Kane, Munster, Taylor, Stewart, Taggart, Thompson (sub Surgenor 80), Jenkins, Cushley, Davidson (sub Baker 62), McCabe (sub Teggart 62). Subs (not used): Black, Rodgers.
Dungannon Swifts: Morgan, R O’Neill, Montgomery, Murphy (sub C Lavery 84), Glackin (sub Friars 53), Fitzpatrick, Hazley, Topley, S O’Neill (sub Cahoon 69), S Lavery. Subs (not used): Curran, Brennan.
Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus).