Ballyclare were denied a win over Moneyslane in their first home game of the pre-season programme, when the visitors netted a late penalty to secure a 1-1 draw.
The Dixon Park playing surface was in immaculate condition, and Comrades made good use of the manicured surface by passing the ball around to confine the Portadown lads to their own quarters for most of the first half.
Paddy Flood had to make one timely intervention to cut out a dangerous cross in to the danger area, while his opposite number was much busier, with Michael O’Hanlon and Michael McQuitty prominent down the right, while Mark Shannon and Adam Gray posed problems on the opposite flank.
In the 25th minute only a brilliant finger-tip save prevented McQuitty’s lob from 30 yards creeping in under the bar, and moments later former Woodvale striker Kyle Dillon was denied by the keeper at the base of the near post, after dribbling past several defenders.
With JB Dobbin and another newcomer, Corey McMullan prominent in midfield the Reds should have been ahead at the break, but they didn’t have long to wait before forging ahead.
In the 54th minute substitute Adam Irwin cut the ball back from the by-line for Dillon to steer it wide of the keeper from close range.
The Reds continued to dominate without carving out clear scoring chances, and assistant manager Eddie Hill had to make a change at the opposite end when Flood retired injured, with Chris Getty donning the gloves.
Slane mounted a few late attacks and were rewarded in the 93rd minute, when Getty brought down an opponent, and could do nothing about the resultant penalty.
Fans were delighted to see Gary Brown making a cameo appearance for the first time after recovering from injury carried over from last season. However last season’s skipper Adam McCart has decided to retire at least for a time.
Comrades: Flood; McQuitty, Getty, Youle; O’Hanlon, Dobbin, McGowan, Shannon; McMullan, Gray; Dillon. Subs all used: Irwin, McCullough, Woods, Crowe, McClurg, Brown.
Former Comrades favourites, Stuart McClean and Gary Bell, bring their Greenisland team to Dixon Park on Saturday (3 pm), and then comes the final friendly when Lee Cooper’s Glenavon will be in town on August 3 (7.30 pm).