THE first match of the current campaign smacked of: new season, new faces - same old problem. Once again the Dragons, under boss Denis Smith's guidance, put together a tidy passing game, but for 37 minutes they looked toothless in front of goal until Chris Llewellyn was able to put them ahead.
Then for the rest of the match they dominated, should have helped themselves to a hatful of goals - but didn't.
A lack of firepower was the major problem last season and it could be when the season starts in earnest against Swindon on August 7.
Again Smith's mixture of free transfers and bargain-basement buys seemed able to contain and even over-run a more expensively-assembled side such as Stoke City.
And despite succumbing to a sucker-punch soon after Llewellyn's strike - Gifton Noel-Williams equalised - the crop of five new signings seem to be astute purchases.
The Wrexham boss started with four of them, while defender Andy Holt wasn't deemed fit enough to begin the match.
In the early stages it was a familiar face at the Racecourse, recently re-signed midfielder Danny Williams, who looked the most impressive.
In fact it was the ex-Liverpool man who had the first meaningful effort, blasting over on seven minutes after wing-back Dean Bennett had embarked on a lung-busting run into the box.
At the other end Matt Baker - or Barker if you read the back of his shirt - used his head wisely to deal with a looping Steve Roberts backpass, before the former Hereford man saved well from a long-range Ade Akinbiyi shot.
All in all it was looking good for Smith's captures. Only Alex Smith, who had missed a vital few weeks of pre-season training, looked slightly off the pace.
However, the former Chester man grew as the half went on and it was his interception on 25 minutes that set up the best move thus far.
Darren Ferguson took control of the ball and embarked on a 50-yard run before slipping in Llewellyn whose shot was dealt with by Ed de Goey.
For all their pretty passing there was little else to directly threaten de Goey until the 37th minute.
Then Ferguson's fantastic long pass found the foraging Smith and after his effort was blocked, Llewellyn was on hand to knock in the rebound (pictured right).
It was no more than Wrexham deserved but their lead was short-lived as Stoke levelled in the 40th minute.
Baker came out to collect Clive Clarke's raking cross only to meet Noel-Williams on the way. The striker's jump knocked Baker off balance and Noel-Williams was able to nod into an empty net.
Baker fell to the floor and looked inconsolable, but he went some way to redeeming himself just a few minutes later, haring off his line to deny Akinbiyi.
Of the three Wrexham changes at half time, Holt was given a debut down the left flank and he soon showed that his long throw will be a potent weapon for the Dragons next season.
But Williams and Ferguson were still running the midfield, picking out fantastic balls for the front two of Llewellyn and the ever-enigmatic Hector Sam to waste.
The fact Sam picked up the ball 30-yards out and smacked the ball against the post underlines the problem. It shows what skills the Trinidadian possesses but doesn't always use.
Just a minute later Ferguson's brilliant ball found Llewellyn but, one-on-one with the keeper, he hit a weak shot wide.
The match slowed down as creatorsin-chief Williams and Ferguson departed the action, but Sam still had time to shoot wide a few more times.
And on the subject of substitutions - Stoke made seven in one go - the biggest cheer of the night came when Andy Dibble entered the fray.
Even defender Shaun Pejic got in on the act, failing to score from point-blank range at the death, although admittedly ex-Everton man Steve Simonsen did well to block.
But it was yet another chance missed. The five summer buys have eaten up what little cash there was in the Racecourse transfer kitty.
But with Chris Armstrong not even on the bench, Dragons fans will wait anxiously to see just how detrimental not bringing in a new striker might be.
WREXHAM: Baker (Dibble 75), Bennett (Spender 46), Roberts, Carey (Pejic 46), Lawrence, Smith (Holt 46), Williams (Mackin 68), Whitley, Ferguson (Jones 68), Sam, Llewellyn (Bennett 75).
STOKE: De Goey (Simonsen 46), Kurt, Malino, Thomas, Hill (Williams 56), Brammer, Halls, Russell, Noel-Williams, Akinbiyi, Clarke.
REFEREE: Trevor Parkes.