WREXHAM stretched their unbeaten run to five matches by earning a well-deserved point at Walsall on Saturday.
But the visitors failed to close the gap on fellow League One strugglers, Torquay United, and were leapfrogged by Peterborough United following their weekend success.
Dragons' manager Denis Smith was not disheartened, however, even though his players twice took the lead during an open and entertaining first half, only to find themselves pegged back on both occasions by the home side.
And they might have left the Bescot Stadium empty-handed had Saddlers' player-boss Paul Merson been able to convert the easiest chance of the afternoon five minutes from time.
Not for the first time there was an alarming lapse of concentration in the visitors' back line and Mark Wright's cross took a deflection to the former Arsenal star, who somehow managed to scoop the ball over the crossbar from six yards.
Describing his miss as "shocking" Merson - 37 next month - later claimed the years were taking their toll.
"It was one of the easiest chances I've ever missed. The lads were telling me I was offside anyway but I wasn't - it was just a shocking miss," he said..
"I don't get in the box that much any more so it's been a long time since I've had an easier one.
"I missed a sitter against Liverpool for Aston Villa about four years ago when instead of tucking it in I hit the bloke on the line, but this was worse today.
"I couldn't believe it. "I just had a feeling the ball was going to come to me.
"I missed a sitter in training yesterday and it just shows that what you do there is replicated during games as well."
But the Saddlers' boss admitted it would have been rough justice if Walsall had snatched a late victory.
"I thought it was a fair result in the end," he added..
"I thought Wrexham played well and I just told my lads that teams coming
here now are frightened to come out and play, because if they open the game up against us there's only going to be one winner.
"Nevertheless, I was impressed with them today but again we shot ourselves in the foot.
"They scored two bad goals from our point of view but, by the same token, I'm sure Denis Smith is saying the same about our goals."
The Dragons boss had indeed done just that in providing his own post-match assessment, but he was in a more forgiving mood than his counterpart.
"I'm not happy with the fact we let someone run from midfield for their first goal and let the cross come in too easily for the second one," he said..
"But if everyone did their jobs perfectly every game would end 0-0.
"I'm sure Walsall will be looking at our goals and seeing their mistakes so we've got to look at the good things in our play.
"I thought the little ball forward from Mark Jones for ( Chris) Llewellyn's goal was super, it was a good strike for Darren (Ferguson)'s goal and, generally, if you look at their last two home performances we've done reasonably well.
"We came here looking for a win but it was okay in the end.
"Their home record is excellent and they throw everything at you.
"I thought we defended well as a unit and that's five unbeaten now.
"If we continue to play like we can, we can get out of trouble.
"We're now looking as good a side as we were at the beginning of the season so we've got a chance.
"There's a good team spirit, they work hard for one another and we are starting to look as if we'll score goals."
Wrexham could not have hoped for a better start as they rounded off their first pressure play of the afternoon with a rare goal from captain Ferguson in the 12th minute.
The midfielder's initial pass for the supporting Andy Holt was a poor one but the wing-back forced an error from Wright, the ball running to Ferguson who struck a first-time shot from 20 yards past a stranded Joe Murphy in the home goal.
Within a minute Wright was at the other end, forcing a competent save from Ben Foster before a swift counter- attack through Carlos Edwards almost produced a Simon Osborn own goal, his outstretched foot diverting the ball narrowly wide.
From the subseqent corner, Holt's header was not far away from doubling the visitors' lead..
Instead, Walsall levelled in the 20th minute, Jorge Leitao making ground before picking out Darren Wrack, who drove a precise shot beyond Foster from the edge of the penalty area.
But neither side paused for breath and the Dragons were back in front within two minutes.
Edwards was again involved on the right before a cleverly-judged lob from Mark Jones freed Llewellyn for the sort of emphatic finish that has too often been the missing element of his otherwise excellent all-round contribution to the team.
Trinidad international Edwards, still feeling his way back after his long injury lay-off, tested Murphy following another flowing move before the home side again began to make inroads.
Foster made a fine save from Julian Bennett in the 27th minute and soon afterwards got a hand to Matt Fryatt's fierce shot. Edwards completed the clearance by nicking the ball as Merson prepared to tap home the rebound.
But the Wrexham keeper had no chance with the 42nd-minute equaliser, as Portuguese striker Leitao outjumped Steve Roberts to power home Wright's cross.
Not surprisingly, the second half was something of an anti-climax, particularly for the Walsall supporters, who saw their team dominate for lengthy spells but only sparingly threaten to break down the opposition defence.
Leitao failed to capitalise on a great pass from Merson and Wrack fired straight at Foster.
Then, for Wrexham, Llewellyn might have done better with a header from an Edwards delivery and Jones pulled his shot wide of the target.
And following Merson's incredible miss, the visitors might have rubbed salt into the wounds.
But Murphy was equal to another well-struck Ferguson effort. The keeper managed to turn the ball over the bar for a corner, from which both Dennis Lawrence and Roberts had chances to snatch victory in a crowded penalty area.
WALSALL: Murphy; Wright, Emblen, Bennett, Aranalde; Osborn (Broad 74), Merson, Wrack, Taylor (Surman 46); Leitao (Robinson 67), Fryatt. Subs: Coleman, Roper. BOOKED: Wrack, Taylor.
WREXHAM: Foster; Roberts, Morgan, Lawrence; Edwards, Crowell, Ferguson, Jones (Bennett 81), Holt; Llewellyn, Ugarte (Sam 84). Subs: Smith, Green, Pejic.
REFEREE: Tony Leake ATT: 5,659
* MAN OF THE MATCH... Darren Ferguson
As ever, he pulled all the strings for the Dragons