Riverdale started the brighter and Athletic were finding it hard to get into their stride.
On 17 minutes came a big changing point when a quick attack by the home side saw the ball go to Connor Lavery, who darted into the box only to be upended by the Riverdale defender resulting in a penalty taken by Kevin Doris who slotted it ass the keeper.
Riverdale tried hard to get back on terms but, with shots going over the crossbar and blocked by the Coalisland defence, the score at halftime was Coalisland Athletic FC 1 Riverdale FC 0,
But Riverdale finally got off the mark when a corner ball dropped out to the number 12 who took it down and shot past a wall of players and gave Cullen no chance in the Athletic net.
This changed the complexion of the game and Riverdale started defending in packs, consolidating their equaliser, and this frustrated Coalisland as attack after attack was snubbed out by the 10 man defence with Casey trying on two occasions having shots cleared away.
With fifteen minutes left, Coalisland rang the changes with Peckie Hughes coming off to make way for Gerry Sweeney and Mallon off to let Stevie Donnelly into the fray,
With three minutes left, Lavery beat three players only to be brought down on the edge of the box, which the referee somehow waved play on and frustrated the midfielder and,, after venting his anger in the direction of the man in black, saw him earn himself a red card.
This seemed to put the game to bed as a draw but Athletic had other ideas and went goalbound in pursuit of the winner.
With seconds remaining what turned out to be the last attack saw Deckie Coney, K Doris and Emmett Teague jump to compete for the ball on the edge of the box and the ball squirmed over the top and landed at the feet of Casey, who somehow dinked the ball over the keeper and into the net.
Next week we see both teams in action, firsts away to Hill Street in the league, while the Reserves are at home to Redstar FC Reserves also in the league both games having a 2.15pm kick off time.