WREXHAM striker Lee Jones struck a dramatic last-minute winner at Shrewsbury Town's Gay Meadow last night to lift the Dragons into the third promotion spot for the first time since September.
A substitute for Lee Trundle, Jones had been on the field for only eight minutes when he fired a superb shot past Mark Cartwright following a long ball from central-defender, Craig Morgan.
In his programme notes, Shrews manager, Kevin Ratcliffe, had claimed to be looking forward to playing a promotion-chasing side rather than relegation rivals because the pressure would not be on his players to produce a result.
And harking back to an unsatisfactory 0-0 home draw with fellow-strugglers, Swansea City, the former Everton and Wales defender insisted he had been satisfied with a point.
Admitting it was something of a "stale match", he went on: "We created the better chances and the most important thing was not losing."
They faced a Wrexham side showing two changes from the starting line-up at Hull, 17-year old Morgan making his first league start in place of Steve Roberts, who was ill, and Shaun Holmes replacing the injured Paul Edwards.
Frantic as only a local derby can be, the opening 20 minutes were played at a high tempo with the visitors dominating territory and forcing some fine defensive work from David Artell and Matt Redmile.
But Town hit back. Sam Aiston's curling cross threatened the Wrexham goal until Carlos Edwards hacked it away, and the visitors then created a couple of good chances.
Darren Ferguson's 14th-minute free-kick was knocked into the penalty area by Andy Morrell, but neither Trundle nor Holmes were able to take advantage and two minutes later, Holmes delivered a low centre which eluded Cartwright, but was inches too far ahead of Morrell.
The Wrexham striker then latched on to a superb early ball from Ferguson, but as he was sent flying by former team-mate Cartwright, referee Roy Pearson penalised him for handball.
Morrell's persistence, though, was finally rewarded with his 29th league goal of the season after 25 minutes. It was another excellent cross from Holmes and he jumped higher than two defenders to direct a looping header from 15 yards over Cartwright, who was some way off his line.
The keeper was not enjoying the most comfortable of games and when Carlos Edwards chased down a long clearance, he almost got in the way of Redmile, who unceremoniously booted the ball to safety.
The home side were being made to work hard when they did not have the ball, and when they did, only Aiston looked to have the skill and guile to worry the Dragons' defence.
The police presence inside the ground visibly increased during the break as both sets of supporters baited each other.
And in what must surely be a first, the public address system announcer ordered the substitutes, who were warming up, to leave the field in order to avoid aggravating the situation.
When the action resumed, Green might have increased Wrexham's lead in the 50th minute, finding himself with time and space for a shot from 20 yards which he lifted too high, and a similar effort from Edwards minutes later again failed to worry Cartwright.
But the home side had obviously been fired up by the interval team talk and their work-rate, if anything, moved up a gear, ensuring that Wrexham could not afford to relax for a moment.
The visitors might have been more comfortable had the crossbar not denied Jim Whitley in the 56th minute, a superb piece of skill giving the midfielder his chance to volley a tremendous 20-yarder against the woodwork, which left Cartwright floundering.
It was even more galling for Wrexham when, completely against the run of play, Shrewsbury fought their way back on level terms in dramatic fashion.
There seemed to be little danger when Aiston picked out Jamie Tolley, but the Wales U21 international hammered a superb equaliser from 25 yards, the ball simply hurtling into the roof of the net.
That lifted the crowd and the home side responded in like manner, forcing their opponents into some desperate defensive work, and Ryan Lowe went close to another goal in the 68th minute with a vicious cross-shot, which flew just over the angle.
Aiston and Lowe combined cleverly to spell more danger for the visitors as Morgan was forced to concede a corner, but Shrewsbury failed to make the most of the opportunity and Wrexham broke to win a free-kick but the subsequent shot was blocked.
Wrexham sent on Jones for Trundle with nine minutes remaining and the striker's first effort was deflected away.
But Shrewsbury failed to clear the ball and Dennis Lawrence hooked it forward to Green, who was unable to turn it beyond Cartwright.
But then when Jones broke clear for a second thrust forward there was no escape for the Shrewsbury defence.Shrewsbury Town: Cartwright; Moss, Artell, Redmile, Holt; Jagielka, Tolley, Wilding, Aiston; Partridge (Lowe, 56), Watts. Subs: Van Blerk, Murray, Hulbert, Stevens
Wrexham: Dibble; Morgan, Carey, Lawrence; C Edwards, Whitley, Ferguson, Green, Holmes; Morrell, Trundle (Jones, 81). Subs: Rogers, Barrett, Bennett, Thomas.
Bookings: Shrewsbury's Wilding, Moss, Jagielka, Redmile; Wrexham's Green
Referee: Roy Pearson (Peterlee).