A career-threatening injury to midfielder Wayne Phillips just six minutes into the new season at Glanford Park on Saturday cast a huge shadow over an opening day match which had been eagerly anticipated by Wrexham's players, management and fans.
The popular 31-year-old, whose Racecourse future was already in the balance by virtue of his month-to-month contract, is unlikely to play again this season, if ever again, after suffering a double leg fracture in a routine tackle with Scunthorpe defender James Cotterill.
And it summed up the wretched luck that has dogged Phillips since he returned to Wrexham three seasons ago from an unhappy spell with Stockport County. An ankle injury sustained at Cardiff in August 1999 kept him on the sidelines for more than two years and he managed only 27 league matches last season.
Wrexham manager Denis Smith said everything else paled into insignificance after watching Phillips being stretchered off and driven straight to hospital for emergency surgery, but he added that club chairman Mark Guterman had promised to ease any immediate fears about the player's financial security.
"He's got a double fracture and it takes the edge off anything else that's happened today," said the Dragons' boss. "The good thing, though, is that the chairman has come straight down and said that Wayne has got a contract for the remainder of the year.
"That's some good news for Wayne but the bad news is that it was a bad break and my heart goes out to him because I've been there. He's had injuries before but that's the way the lad is.
"He's so whole-hearted and so wants to do well, which he has, because he's forced himself into the team today and done really well for me. We can only wish him all the best and we've got to get on with it."
It was not the start to the season that anyone, on or off the pitch, would have wanted and Phillips' team-mates were obviously upset by the incident to the extent that they surrendered the early initiative to their opponents and did not begin to compete until the final 10 minutes of the first half.
By that time they were 1-0 down and somewhat fortunate to be still in with a chance as the home side, prompted by the evergreen Peter Beagrie, threatened to take them apart.
But it was the experienced campaigner, Brian Carey, who held the Dragons together in the opening half-hour, marshalling and cajoling his fellow-defenders and making several crucial interventions to keep the lively Paul Wheatcroft and Martin Carruthers at bay.
The home side went ahead in the 14th minute, with danger-man Beagrie doing the damage. Quick footwork left Phillips' replacement, Carlos Edwards, floundering and his whipped-in cross was met by an unmarked Alex Calvo-Garcia at the far post for the simplest of headers.
Three minutes later the Dragons were caught ball-watching again as Nathan Stanton made room on the right for another dangerous cross which was steered just wide of the goal by a diving header from Wheatcroft.
Wrexham had thus far been well off the pace, although there was a hint of their potential when Kevin Russell's clever through ball was retrieved by Lee Jones, whose cross was cut out by Cotterill at the expense of a corner from which Andy Morrell curled a shot inches past a post.
Kristian Rogers, deputising for the suspended Andy Dibble, kept the Dragons in the hunt with a marvellous save after 26 minutes, turning Wheatcroft's volley over the crossbar from a Beagrie corner but the 'keeper rode his luck when he completely missed the second flag kick and Calvo-Garcia failed to put his header on target.
Despite finding themselves largely on the back foot, the visitors gradually came more into the game and, with Jones and Morrell, in particular, putting pressure on the United defence when they had the ball, Wrexham were able to move upfield and Lee Trundle tested goalkeeper Tom Evans with a fierce volley.
Maintaining the momentum, Jim Whitley struck another good effort which Evans did well to parry and Scunthorpe were fortunate not to concede a 45th-minute equaliser during a goalmouth scramble which saw Evans defy Kevin Russell before Morrell's close-range effort was deflected away.
That 10-minute spell before the break lifted the visitors, who restarted in a similarly positive mood and it was United's turn to back-pedal and defend in numbers.
Evans went down at the feet of Jones after Morrell won a heading duel and a powerful run from Carlos Edwards produced another anxious moment for the home side.
On the opposite flank, Paul Edwards was finding more space to get forward and Wrexham were rewarded for their endeavour with a slickly-worked and long-overdue equaliser in the 65th minute.
Jones brought Carlos Edwards into play and his deep cross was steered back into the six-yard box by Trundle for Morrell to stab the ball into the net at the near post.
Four minutes later, Whitley went close to doubling his career total of one goal with a vicious effort from 25 yards which cannoned off the upright and Cotterill was alert enough to block the follow-up attempt by Jones.
Wrexham's cavalier approach inevitably provided counter-attacking possibilities for United and Carey, despite being troubled by knocks to his ankle and knee, denied Wheatcroft a shooting opportunity before limping off to be replaced by Dennis Lawrence with 20 minutes remaining.
A speculative back-header by Trundle had Evans scrambling across his goalmouth before it faded wide and the adventurous Whitley was not far away with another long-range shot, but the visitors should have won the match after 84 minutes when Steve Roberts, possibly baulked by a team-mate, headed an excellent chance wide of the goal.
United, too, might have snatched all three points on the back of a lively contribution from substitute Scott Brough, who set up Matt Sparrow for a header which Rogers held comfortably before, before going through alone to force a fine save from the Wrexham 'keeper.
There was a penalty appeal in added time when Morrell tried to force his way between two defenders but referee Mick Thorpe, making his Football League debut, firmly waved on play, so when he signalled the end, it was the visitors who probably felt the more slightly cheated.
SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Evans; Stanton, Dawson Jackson, Cotterill; Graves, Sparrow, Calvo-Garcia, Beagrie (McCombe, 88); Wheatcroft (Brough, 78), Carruthers. Subs: Ridley, Barwick, Collins.
WREXHAM: Rogers; Pejic, Carey (Lawrence, 70), Roberts; Phillips (C Edwards, 8), Russell (Barrett, 53), Whitley, P Edwards; Morrell, Trundle, Jones. Subs: Holmes, Whitfield.
BOOKINGS: United's Beagrie and Wrexham's Trundle.
REFEREE: Mick Thorpe (Ipswich).