Carrick Rangers and Crusaders battled to an equal share of the goals and points at the Loughshore Hotel Arena.
The Crues raced into the lead as early as the fourth minute after Jamie McGonigle pounced on a short backpass to knock the ball past Aaron Hogg and into the unguarded net.
It was almost 2-0 on 16 minutes when Paul Heatley burst into the box but his low strike came back off the base of the post while, midway through the first half, McGonigle sent the ball wide one-on-one with Hogg.
Jordan Forsythe then had a chance from the edge of the box but, again, this fell wide of the target.
After the break Adam Lecky tested Hogg with an effort from the edge of the box but the Carrick keeper dealt with the threat.
But Carrick levelled on 64 minutes through Cathair Friel with a superb left-foot volley from outside the area after a corner hadn't been properly cleared.
The Crues had a chance late in the game to secure all three points but David Cushley's strike produced a good diving save from Hogg.