Annagh United appeared to have secured three points with an 88th-minute penalty, only for Ballyclare Comrades striker Chris Trussell to salvage a draw seconds later.
This Championship 1 basement battle ended 2-2, but Comrades were left to rue a missed opportunity when the visitors were reduced to 10 men for most of the second half. Goalkeeper Ciaran Fox was red-carded for handling the ball outside the box in the 52nd minute, but his replacement Robinson, an experienced keeper, was seldom tested.
Ballyclare were a man down in the dying embers of the match when Sandy McDermott was sent off.
Comrades boss Stephen Hughes said: “Small margins separate wins and losses “Annagh got two debatable penalties and we were denied one, so instead of a win we have to rely on a late equaliser to get anything from the game,”
The visitors went in front on the half-hour when McElroy converted a penalty following JB Dobbin’s foul on Park, but moments later parity was restored when Jason Johnston netted his first goal for Ballyclare with a firm header from a Gary Brown corner.
The balance tipped firmly in Comrades’ favour on 52 minutes when Fox saw red for handling the ball outside his area, but United defenders rallied to frustrate the home attack.
The drama was encapsulated in the final minutes. In the 88th minute McElroy converted his second spot-kick, but straight from the restart Trussell spared Reds’ blushes when he headed in the crucial equaliser.
The two quick goals raised the temperature with tackles flying in, and resulted in Sandy McDermott getting the early bath treatment for a rash challenge in added time.
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood; McQuitty, McCullough, McCart (C), McDermott; Simpson (Taggart 62’), Dobbin, Johnston, Brown; McClurg, Trussell. Subs not used: Getty, Wharry, E Hill, Haskins.