THE DRAGONS somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on a frustrating afternoon at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.
A strike from Hector Sam and an Emerson Boyce own-goal put the visitors in the driving seat, but Luton battled back to claim an unlikely win.
Meetings between these two sides are usually pretty eventful.
Three years ago, Wrexham recovered from 3-0 down to win 4-3 at Kenilworth Road - but the boot was on the other foot this time.
Two goals up shortly before half-time, Denis Smith's side were coasting to victory. But fast-forward 14 minutes into the second half and the Hatters were 3-2 up and odds-on to get more.
Then Wrexham's chances of taking something from the game in the closing stages were hit when captain Darren Ferguson saw red on 79 minutes.
Sam had given the Dragons a 19th-minute lead when he collected Denis Lawrence's through-ball and sped through the Luton back-line. Faced with keeper Marlon Beresford, Sam found the composure to slot the ball home and reward the travelling side for their earlier dominance.
Two minutes before the interval, the game looked dead and buried when Boyce knocked the ball into his own net after Ferguson's corner caused panic in the Luton six-yard box.
That should have been that, but then Wrexham pushed the self-destruct button.
The energetic Adrian Forbes made it 2-1 almost straight from the restart with a shot that deflected past Andy Dibble.
Denis Smith was forced to replace the lively Chris Llewellyn with Chris Armstrong at the interval when the ex-Norwich man suffered a dead leg and the visitors began to look bereft of ideas.
The Hatters were on level terms just six minutes into the second half, when Steve Robinson rifled a shot past Dibble after Armstrong failed to clear a corner. Things got worse for Wrexham seven minutes later, when good work from Gary McSheffrey saw the ball end up at the feet of Lee Mansell, who beat Dibble with a lucky angled finish.
Luton boss Mike Newell was honest enough to admit Mansell's effort had probably been a cross, but that will be of scant consolation to Wrexham.
Sam was still looking the Dragons' most potent attacker and twice only last-gasp tackles by Boyce denied him a clear run on goal. And when Carlos Edwards skipped past the defence, he should have picked out the striker for a simple tap-in instead of going for glory with a shot that flashed wide.
A miserable afternoon was complete 11 minutes from time, when Ferguson was redcarded for a moment of petulance. He had grounds for complaint when Forbes upended him on 78 minutes, but the Scot reacted by appearing to aim a punch at the Luton man.
Although it didn't seem to connect, referee Trevor Kettle immediately brandished the red card and, as Ferguson trudged off the field, any realistic hopes Wrexham had of finding an equaliser went with him.