A late strike by skipper Andrew Doyle salvaged a point for Ballyclare Comrades at Tillysburn Park.
After a scoreless first half, HW Welders broke the deadlock two minutes into the second session, but despite a strong finish had to settle for a 1-1 Championship 1 draw.
Eddie Hill made five changes form the side that started against Newcastle last week, with Paddy Flood, Darren Doherty, Andrew Doyle, Simon McGowan and Andy Simms coming in for Jonah Nicholl, Stuart McClean, Chris Getty, Daniel Smith and Adam Gray respectively.
Fans had to wait 20 minutes for the first serious goalmouth action, when Chris Trussell floated the ball across the face of the goal, but Kyle Agnew’s header was too high.
Eight minutes later home marksman Josh Cahoon looked certain to score, but was denied by Paddy Flood who rushed off his line to block.
After an insipid first half both sets of fans were hoping for better in the second session, and it was the Welders contingent who were cheering in the 47th minute, when Cahoon was left unmarked deep inside the box and he made no mistake.
Trussell, who had picked up a knock in the first half, had to retire, and almost immediately Eddie Hill decided to make two more changes with Adam Gray and George Young replacing Andy Simms and Jonny McClurg and this soon paid off.
In the 71st minute Doyle popped up at the back post to nod in to the roof of the net from a Gray corner.
This equaliser sparked off a series of home attacks and 10 minutes from time Flood once again denied the dangerous Cahoon, whose diving header seemed destined for the net.
In added time Cahoon almost clinched the three points, but Flood clutched his low effort to secure a hard-earned draw.
“Against Newcastle I took the opportunity to give a few players who had missed out some game time, but for this clash with the Welders we were back to near full strength,” said Hill.
“The Welders as usual had an experienced side, and points are hard to get at their place, so although I was pleased to get something from the game, I was by no means happy.
“The lads turned in a below-par performance and we had Paddy Flood to thank for a few late saves when they were throwing everything at us. Much more will be expected against Crusaders this weekend.”
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood; Doherty, Gage, Doyle (c), Buckley; Agnew, McCart, McGowan, Simms (Gray 55); McClurg (Young 60), Trussell (Smith 52). Subs not used: Getty and Wilkinson.
n Saturday’s Irish Cup quarter-final has a 3 pm kick-off at Seaview.