WREXHAM'S roller-coaster ride through a turbulent season shows no signs of slackening off following another seven days that have tested the club's slender resources to the limit.
Midweek success at Oldham Athletic put the Dragons within touching distance of a first-ever Millennium Stadium appearance only for their grip on League One survival to be loosened by a first defeat in eight games at Hull City's KC Stadium on Saturday.
But manager Denis Smith, whose line-up was decimated by illness to key players, praised his side's gutsy performance and said the club would meet every new challenge head-on as they bid to salvage something positive from what has been a fragmented campaign.
Robbed by flu of Steve Roberts, Carlos Edwards, Craig Morgan and Chris Llewellyn, Smith had considered using Scott Green as an emergency striker until a quartet of groggy players declared themselves well enough to take to the field.
"I filled the team sheet in before the game and had to ask one of the young lads - Gaz Evans - what his real first name was," said the Racecourse boss..
"Juan Ugarte, Hector Sam, Chris Armstrong and Dennis Lawrence should not have played but they've all turned out and, no matter what the result, we deserve a pat on the back just for turning up and completing the fixture. It shows the spirit within the club that we've even got any sort of team out there."
The gaps in Wrexham's squad meant a positional change for Andy Holt, who was deployed as the third central defender alongside Lawrence and Shaun Pejic, while Alex Smith and Dean Bennett patrolled the defensive flanks.
Without Danny Williams or Jim Whitley the midfield had a youthful look, Mark Jones and Matt Crowell playing alongside captain Darren Ferguson, but Wrexham kept it tight and had two good chances to go ahead in the space of five first-half minutes.
Both fell to an under-the-weather Armstrong, who headed a 16th minute Ferguson free-kick just wide of Boaz Myhill's left post and then steered a shot just wide of the target after another perceptive through ball from the skipper.
Although the visitors were not having it all their own way - goalkeeper Ben Foster holding efforts from Andy Dawson and Stuart Elliott before making a brave save to deny former Wrexham loan striker Danny Allsopp - they kept the ball well to frustrate their opponents.
"There's times when you just can't get the ball off Wrexham because of the system they play," said City boss Peter Taylor.
"They have extra bodies in the middle of the park and one of them is Darren Ferguson who is an excellent footballer - and that's why they are difficult opponents."
Ironically, it was a handling error by the normally confident Foster which gifted the home side their opening goal 10 minutes before the break. Stuart Green's corner brought a straightforward header from Damien Delaney and when the keeper fumbled the ball, Allsopp was on hand to score from inside the six-yard box.
Given the circumstances, Wrexham might have collapsed. Foster, though, then atoned with a fine 45th-minute save from Elliott, Pejic completing the clearance, but when City went for the kill from the restart it was difficult to see a way back for Smith's patched-up side.
Allsopp, a constant menace, went close with a header that looped on to the roof of the net, Holt's fine interception of Elliott's cross snuffed out another threat and Jason Price held his head in his hands after steering an excellent opportunity straight at the on-loan Dragons keeper.
And there was an element of fortune about City's second goal on 58 minutes when Wrexham appealed in vain for offside as Price broke down the right.
His cross was met by Elliott, who headed the ball down for Allsopp to apply a crisp finish.
Game over, it seemed, but Dragons' boss Smith had other ideas, sending Green on for Bennett, who had struggled all afternoon, and replacing the out-of-sorts Ugarte with Sam.
Suddenly it was a different match as City, without a win in their previous six outings, elected to protect their lead. With Green keen to get forward at every opportunity and Sam eagerly probing the home back line the two substitutes combined to give Wrexham hope in the 75th minute.
From Green's cross a poor defensive header by Delaney saw the ball drop nicely for the Trinidad striker, who struck a half-volley from the edge of the penalty area past Myhill.
Five minutes later, City survived a goalmouth scramble, Myhill palming away an instinctive effort from Armstrong after the initial Jones shot was blocked and, as Wrexham continued to press, Pejic was unable to get a vital touch in another melee following Ferguson's free-kick.
It was the Dragons captain who went closest to earning his side a point in added time with a superb 30-yarder that was too good for the goalkeeper but flew agonisingly high of the top corner.
A relieved Taylor admitted: "It was a very important win for us and I think we had enough chances to have won the game by a more comfortable margin, but it was a nervous finish.
"We went 2-0 up, created more chances and should have scored more goals but didn't. Then all of a sudden Wrexham got a goal. They probably viewed it as a good goal but from our point of view I would say it was a poor one.
"We've headed the ball down to their player.
"If we were under so much pressure that it was the only place we could have headed it then I'll live with that but I'll have a look at the video and sort it out for myself.
"I don't think Wrexham had many chances all afternoon whereas we had some good ones.
"If we'd taken them all we could have won easily but at the end of the day we got the three points."
HULL CITY : Myhill; Stockdale, Delaney, Cort, Dawson; Price, Ashbee, Green; Elliott, Allsopp, Barmby. Subs: Duke, Lewis, Hessenthaler, Edge, Facey.
BOOKED : Barmby.
WREXHAM : Foster; Pejic, Lawrence, Holt; Bennett (Green 63), Crowell, Ferguson, Jones, Smith; Armstrong, Ugarte (Sam 65). Subs: Done, Harrison, Evans.
BOOKED : Jones.
REFEREE: Mark Warren
* MAN OF THE MATCH ... Darren Ferguson
As ever led by example and created his side's best chances. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .