In the local derby with 4th Newtownabbey at Sixmile Leisure Centre, Grange Rangers led three times, but had to settle for a 3-3 draw in the Amateur League Division 2C clash.
A dull first half produced only one goal, but there was much more excitement after the interval.
After Matti King, Tiago Leite and Johnny White had all gone close, Tiago eventually broke the deadlock in the 35th minute, when he turned a King cross into the net from close range.
In the 50th minute the scores were level again when keeper Mark Deegan was penalised for handling outside the box. He escaped with only a yellow card, but was beaten by the resulting free.
Tiago regained the lead from the penalty spot after he had been fouled, but almost immediately Abbey equalised when Matt Cooper’s headed back-pass to his keeper was intercepted by a striker who walked the ball into the empty net.
In the 86th minute it looked like Phil Gregg had wrapped up the points, but in added time the home team netted the equaliser from a corner.
“Four points from a possible six is an encouraging start to the season, but I was disappointed with this draw,” said manager Stephen King.
“With plenty of possession we should have had them dead and buried at half time, but the small pitch in Ballyclare didn’t suit our style,” he added.
Grange Rangers: Deegan; Johnston, Donnelly, McFall, Gault; Thompson, Cooper (C), White, Murphy; Tiago, King. Subs: Gregg, Boyle, McCoy.