Both Crusaders and Dungannon Swifts will bemoan their luck after only taking a point from this thrilling encounter at bitterly cold Seaview.
Dungannon held the lead twice, but couldn’t keep it, while Crusaders came back to level both times before missing a final minute penalty that would have sealed both a win and a hat-trick for Mark Dickson.
Crusaders had the opened the scoring on 21 minutes when a corner from Martin Donnelly was headed down by David Rainey for Dickson to poke home from the edge of the six yard box.
Falling behind sparked some life into Dungannon and they levelled from a free-kick. Dead ball specialist Rodney McAree crossed from the left with right back Ryan Mullan heading in at the back post on the half-hour mark.
Swifts impressed in the early stages of the second-half and after ten minutes of pressure, took the lead when Matthew Doherty’s cross from the left side was glanced in by Timmy Adamson.
That lead was short-lived though as Dickson hit his second on 61 minutes; a confidently struck penalty after Jamie Marks was fouled by Rodney McAree.
Swifts wasted little time restoring their lead, Adamson scoring his second five minutes later with a stunning finish from the left edge of the box after Ryan McIlmoyle passed from the centre.
The all-out action continued on 79 minutes when Rained equalised after meeting a flick from Jordan Owens on McKeown’s throw-in and the home side should have taken the win when awarded a late spot-kick.
A foul awarded against Rouse on Dickson seemed a harsh decision, Dickson seemingly stepping up to complete his hat-trick. But the Caribbean keeper turned from villain to hero within seconds, making a low save at his left post.
Crusaders: Kerr, McKeown, McBride, Doherty, Magowan, Black, Marks, Coulter, Dickson, Rainey, Donnelly. Subs: Owens for McBride 72, Arthurs, Smyth, Caddell for Marks 69, Hogg
Dungannon Swifts: Rouse, Mullan, Murphy, Montgomery, McMinn, Hegarty, McCafferty, McAree, Adamson, McIlmoyle, Doherty. Subs: McAliskey, Callaghan for McMinn 46, Fitzpatrick, McCann,
McCreadie for McCafferty 67
Referee: Keith Halliday (Bangor).