WREXHAM went down to a controversial last-minute goal at Meadow Lane last night to ruin what to that point had been a gutsy performance and left them regretting their inability to make the most of their second half dominance.
Substitute Stacy Long struck the killer blow immediately after Dennis Lawrence was left prostate and in agony after heading away the initial ball.
And that after Notts County had been on the rack for long spells during the interval. But home goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington was rarely tested and his defence refused to buckle under the pressure.
Wrexham had looked decidedly out of sorts in the opening 45 minutes and were grateful to goalkeeper Mike Ingham for some vital saves but a dressing room dressing down from Dragons boss Denis Smith was obviously effective.
Perhaps it was because the visitors had not got the journey out of their legs, but the home side dominated the opening period, penning the Dragons back in their own half.
Dennis Lawrence made a vital clearing header from David Pipe's cross after just three minutes but the visitors were fortunate not to go behind two minutes later when Steve Scoffham - inside the six-yard box - failed to connect with Andy White's centre.
It wasn't until the 11th minute that County had to back-pedal, although when Andy Holt's cross was headed out to Mark Jones, the midfielder's dipping shot was watched all the way over the crossbar by Pilkington.
But Jon Walters almost surprised the former Manchester United man with a first-time effort that flew just wide following Lee McEvilly's flick-on as the match developed into a war of attrition - both sides closing down quickly and stifling any attempt at creative football through the midfield.
Jones, inevitably, was almost alone in producing the odd touch of class and when he turned Mike Edwards in the 29th minute, his ferocious shot on the run flew inches too high.
But County hit back impressively and Ingham made three saves in the space of a minute.
Initially he denied Lewis McMahon with a superb one-handed save at the expense of a corner before twice blocking efforts from Kevin Wilson after his defenders had failed to clear their lines.
Racecourse boss Smith would have been satisfied at the break with his side's defensive performance, but equally he would have been aware that a more adventurous approach was necessary.
The initial second half exchanges were encouraging, Lee Roche getting into the penalty area to head Holt's centre over the bar but, for all their hard work, strikers McEvilly and Walters were struggling to unsettle the County back line.
Ingham again rescued Wrexham with another fine stop from McMahon, parrying his full-blooded effort after 62 minutes. And Palmer, following up, blasted the rebound too high before referee Mick Thorpe intervened to slam the lid on simmering tensions with bookings for Wrexhams' Williams and home defender Wilson.
But the official badly let down the visitors with 20 minutes remaining when McEvilly's dummy on the edge of the box opened a path to goal for Jones.
The midfielder was tugged back by fellow Wales under-21 international Pipe, who escaped even a caution, and although the visitors claimed a penalty, Holt's kick was blocked by the wall.
It was the home side's turn to defend, although they survived a succession of corners before Pilkington was at last called into action. He held a long-range effort from Jones and then a much tamer effort from Walters as Wrexham pressed for the winner to no avail.
And they paid a heavy price with Lawrence desperately in need of treatment when Long broke clear and held his nerve to round Ingham before slotting the ball into an empty net.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Mark Jones - Wrexham's most dangerous player going forward.
NOTTS COUNTY: Pilkington; O'Callaghan, Baudet, Wilson, Ullathorne; Pipe, Edwards, McMahon, Palmer (Long 74); White (Gill 88), Scoffham (Hurst 82). Subs: Deeney, Martin.
WREXHAM: Ingham; Pejic, Bayliss, Lawrence (Mackin 90); Roche, Mark Jones, Ferguson, Williams, Holt; Walters, McEvilly (Bennett 75). Subs: Michael Jones, Smith, Spender. BOOKED: Williams, Bayliss.
REFEREE: Mick Thorpe (Suffolk)