David Miskelly made his return between the posts 20 months after retiring from the game - but had to settle for a point as Loughgall and Portadown finished honours even to kick off the Bluefin Sport Championship.
Delays over the completion of a transfer target left Portadown turning to the former Northern Ireland under 21 international as an experienced option between the posts to launch this season’s promotion push.
Gary Liggett, however, broke the deadlock against his former Ports team-mate on 35 minutes with a superb header to cap strong work by Jordan Gibson from wide on the right.
Portadown regrouped after the interval to get back on level terms with a fine goal.
Miskelly sparked the attack that ended with Chris Lavery’s delightful cross powered home by Adam Salley at the back post.
However, clear sights of goal proved restricted overall in the derby tussle, with Gareth Buchanan equal to early efforts by Lavery.
The game failed to spark into life as Loughgall’s goal arrived without fanfare and Portadown finished frustrated at the struggle to build on the equaliser.
Miskelly enjoyed a relatively quiet evening overall as both sides finished the opening night on level terms.
LOUGHGALL: Buchanan, McVeigh, Kearney, Finlay, Taylor (Copeland, 76), Mullen, McCullough, Gibson, Rea (McConnell, 67), Hoey, Liggett. Subs. Neill, Stewart, Uprichard.
PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Hall, Larkin, Flynn, Thompson, Kilmartin, Wilson (Murray, 55), Salley (Douglas, 83), Braniff, Mackle, Lavery (Carmichael, 83). Subs: Blair, Carson.