MIDFIELDER Paul Barrett's first goal of the season got Wrexham's Christmas programme off to a winning start at Edgeley Park yesterday.
But the Dragons left it late, breaking the deadlock just two minutes from time in an entertaining contest - although it needed an injury time save from Andy Dibble to deny substitute Stuart Barlow a dramatic late equaliser.
But Denis Smith's men were good value for their sixth away win of the season and should have wrapped up the points long before Barrett pounced to fire home his late winner.
It was the visitors' fans - who made up a sizeable portion of the crowd - that were singing in the rain as the Dragons dominated the opening 45 minutes.
But they once again failed to take advantage of the numerous chances that came their way.
Once Fraser McLachlan had driven a shot wide of the Wrexham goal after only two minutes, nearly all the goalmouth action took place at the other end as Chris Llewellyn and Hector Sam tormented the County defence.
Former Norwich City striker Llewellyn had a great chance to give his side an 11th-minute lead when he latched onto a way-ward backpass but his effort struck the foot of a post.
And minutes later it needed an important touch by goalkeeper James Spencer to deny Llewellyn turning home a low centre from Sam.
The Trinidad international continued to look lively, and when he set up fellow countryman Carlos Edwards in the 27th minute the wing-back fired wide of the target when it seemed easier to score.
The home side - with the wind and the rain in their faces - had been struggling to put their passes together, but they regrouped to enjoy a good spell in the final 10 minutes of the first half.
Aaron Wilbraham might have done better with a header that flew over Dibble's goal, and the Wrexham keeper enjoyed some luck two minutes before the break when he was unable to hold a shot from Robert Clare. The ball rebounded to Wilbraham whose close range effort cannoned off the crossbar.
Goals apart, the 6,000-plus crowd could not fault the entertainment, and both sides kept it going with chances at either end immediately following the restart. The visitors pushed up through Dennis Lawrence, and Sam turned beautifully on his pass but struck his shot across the face of the goal, and County hit back immediately through substitute Owen Morrison, who saw his first effort beaten away by Dibble.
With the elements in their favour the home side began to exert more pressure, and Wrexham had to be content with trying to hit their opponents on the break.
And so solid was the Wrexham defence that they continued to have the better chances. Steve Thomas went close to breaking the deadlock in the 68th minute with a free-kick from 25 yards, which was blocked at the expense of a corner, but back came the home side and Dibble again rescued Wrexham when he spread himself well to push away another sting-ing shot, this time from Andy Welsh.
A lucky deflection produced an opportunity for the visitors, and Carlos Edwards pulled the ball back for Sam who was unable to get enough on his flick to beat Spencer.
As the contest entered the final 10 min-utes the Dragons looked the more positive of the two sides.
Carlos Edwards made a superb solo run from half way but squandered the opportunity when he had a chance to shoot, and seconds later Thomas drove a long range effort over the County crossbar.
A stalemate seemed on the cards until Barrett's late dramatic intervention and Dibble's match-winning save.