THE self-destruct button cost Wrexham an opportunity to notch up their third away win of the season at Blackpool last night.
Overwhelmingly the superior side in the opening 45 minutes and leading through Andy Holt's second goal of the season, Denis Smith's men conceded an equaliser at the beginning of the second half and were then sunk by a penalty after Dennis Lawrence handled.
In a bold change from the side hammered 4-1 at Luton Town on Saturday, Dragons boss Smith relegated midfielder Alex Smith to the bench and asked Chris Llewellyn to drop back from the front line where Hector Sam, a substitute at Kenilworth Road, started alongside Chris Armstrong.
Blackpool, without a home league win since April, were unchanged after losing to a last-minute goal at Chesterfield on Saturday.
Before the kick-off there was a respectfully-observed minute's silence in memory of former Liverpool and England captain, Emlyn Hughes, who died yesterday at the age of 57. He started his career at Bloomfield Road before Bill Shankly took him to Anfield.
The home side were caught offside three times in the opening six minutes but were not helped by the strong wind at their backs.
It was the visitors who had the first sight of goal, Armstrong forcing Brad Jones into a save after Holt had won the ball on half-way.
And it needed a 10th-minute goal-line clearance by Simon Grayson to deny Lawrence his sixth goal of the season. Armstrong's shot was deflected for a corner by former Racecourse favourite Mark McGregor, and when Darren Ferguson swung in the corner, the big defender's glancing header was hooked away.
Eight minutes later Llewellyn gave Sam the chance to turn and fire in an effort which Jones just managed to hold, with Armstrong waiting for the slightest slip. But the visitors were then nearly caught out by a swift break and were fortunate that Grayson could not bring the ball under control.
Wrexham, though, raced back upfield and profited from their third corner in the 23rd minute. Lawrence flicked on, Armstrong headed it firmly into the six-yard area and Holt turned it past Jones for the goal they had threatened.
Defender Peter Clarke did well to prevent Armstrong adding a second 10 minutes later, shepherding the ball wide after the striker rounded Jones, but the pace of the Wrexham front two was a constant problem for the home side.
Visiting goalkeeper Matt Baker, who had had little to do, was called into action four minutes before the break and stood up well to block a thunderous effort by Scott Taylor after a neat through ball from Richie Wellens before the action returned to the other goalmouth where Lawrence headed over the bar.
But Wrexham were caught cold at the start of the second half, conceding an equaliser in the 46th minute when Dan Coid's free-kick was steered beyond the keeper by Clarke to lift the previously sullen home fans.
Nevertheless, the Dragons continued to look dangerous with another good save by Jones from Armstrong, before a fine header by McGregor cut out a certain goal for Sam following a fine run from Llewellyn.
The Blackpool keeper then turned Armstrong's header over the bar as the game opened up, the home side getting closer to their opponents and giving them less time on the ball. And for the first time, the visitors had to defend in a sustained manner.
But the way in which Blackpool went ahead in the 65th minute won't have pleased Dragons boss Smith, who saw Lawrence needlessly punch away a cross from substitute Jamie Burns to concede a penalty which Taylor easily converted.
Wrexham made changes, Mark Jones and Levi Mackin replacing Sam and Matt Crowell, but it was Baker who kept them in contention with a fine save from Wellens.
Juan Ugarte was sent on for Armstrong, but the visitors, who had never rediscovered their first-half momentum, were unable to salvage a point, despite giving Blackpool a few anxious moments.
BLACKPOOL: B Jones; Richardson (Clare 27), Evans, Clarke, McGregor; Coid, Wellens, Grayson, P Edwards (Burns 46); Taylor, Blinkhorn (Parker 73). Subs: L Jones, R Edwards. BOOKED: Taylor.
WREXHAM: Baker; Pejic, Roberts, Lawrence; Spender, Crowell (Mackin 73), Ferguson, Llewellyn, Holt; Armstrong (Ugarte 82), Sam (M Jones73). Subs: Smith, Evans.
REFEREE: E Evans