IT'S only five months since Saturday's referee Darren Drysdale enraged Wrexham and their travelling fans with some contentious decisions that saw the Dragons surrender a two-goal lead at Swindon Town and eventually lose the game 4-2.
On that occasion, after the home side twice scored from debatable calls and survived a stone-cold penalty appeal by the Dragons, Drysdale and his linesmen were escorted from the field by stewards.
And, although he wasn't afforded that level of post-match protection following his first visit to the Racecourse, the referee could not have failed to notice that not a single Wrexham player made an effort to exchange the customary handshake at the conclusion of only his second game involving Denis Smith's side.
Their fury at Drysdale's performance was shared by angry home fans, who remained outside the ground long after the final whistle to make their feelings known, although if reports are confirmed that his car was hit by a brick as he left, those responsible should be banned by the club for life.
But in the cold light of day it was a classic example of shooting the messenger. Wrexham's snub was not so much due to the red-card dismissal of young defender Simon Spender after little more than an hour, than an expression of their own frustration that they failed to grab the lifeline of a last-minute penalty - missed by Jon Walters - that would have given them a point.
The striker's tame effort was the culmination of another lacklustre performance in the final third of the field as the Dragons - for the third game in a row - were unable to convert any of the several decent chances that they created.
But Smith, who is working on plans to bring in another striker - possibly this week - claimed not to be duly concerned just yet and there were encour-aging signs that Lee McEvilly, who succumbed to injury 20 minutes from the end, is adjusting to the demands of league football following his spell in the Conference.
"We had opportunities to wrap the game up but so did they," admitted the Racecourse boss afterwards. "I wasn't happy with the way we were going about it, we weren't defending particularly well and we have to defend a bit better.
"But we've lost again and we've not scored again so the gentlemen sitting behind me will be saying I've got to play Dennis Lawrence up front or Mike Ingham or whoever.
"But let's talk about that in May. If it's a lack of goals that have stopped us going up in May then you can turn round and say we got it wrong, but I think in August it's a little bit early to say that."
A more pressing concern for Smith was the manner in which his back line - in Wrexham's previous three outings a solid enough barrier - was pierced time and again by the visitors.
As early as the ninth minute when Paul Arnison cut out Darren Ferguson's sloppy pass and fed Derek Holmes who forced Mike Ingham into a fine save, the Dragons appeared less than comfortable.
And, although the midfielder atoned with a through ball for McEvilly whose scuffed shot rebounded off a post, the ease with which Karl Hawley skinned Shain Pejic and called Ingham into preventitive action again, was a further warning.
But the home side were marginally on top and went close on several occasions. Lee Roche, who passed a fitness test to start, picked out Walters and when the striker's effort was beaten away by former Wales under-21 goalkeeper Anthony Williams, he followed up and saw his shot blocked by Danny Livesey.
The United keeper then played pata-cake as he needed three attempts to turn a Dennis Lawrence header over the crossbar and minutes later, when the Trinidad international's header seemed destined for the bottom corner, Kevin Gray made a goal-line clearance.
But what had been an evenly-balanced, and at times fiercely competitive, battle was tilted heavily in the visitors' favour when Spender, a 34th minute replacement for Roche, saw red.
To be fair to the referee, he was fairly close by when the teenage defender, undoubtedly with more exuberance than malice, launched himself towards Hawley for a challenge that sparked an immediate melee involving virtually everyone on the field.
Drysdale had no hesitation in showing Spender a straight red card for violent conduct - which will trigger a three-match ban - and Wrexham's sense of injustice was further fuelled as Carlsile took the lead from the subsequent free kick.
The ball was driven in by Adam Murray and Ingham was able only to parry the shot to the unmarked Brendan McGill, who snapped up the chance with glee. Two minutes later, the Wrexham keeper's ineffectual punch was almost punished by a Holmes header, but Dave Bayliss got back to hook the ball from the line.
There really seemed no way back for the home side, although Williams made a decent save from Walters and Lawrence again went close with a header in the closing stages, which also brought more Carlisle openings.
United's player-manager Paul Simpson drove one effort inches wide and was then denied by a fine Pejic interception, but the final drama came in the 90th minute. Defender Zigor Aranalde was relieved to see his deflection from a Mark Jones effort spin over the crossbar and the resulting corner brought Wrexham's penalty when Gray held down Lawrence.
Up stepped Walters but his kick ricocheted off Williams' boot and over the bar to give Carlisle victory.
Not surprisingly Simpson had no complaints afterwards. "I thought the referee made the decisions he had to make," he said. "From my point of view I was happy with his performance. It was a penalty and it was a sending-off.
"The referee was left with no option regarding the red card. Karl Hawley was on the floor and the guy went in two-footed. The rules now are that if you jump in twofooted and you collide with the player it's a red card, so he had to go.
"This has been a lucky ground for me because I came here a few years ago and scored a hat-trick and I'm delighted to get the win. A lot of teams will come here and get a drubbing off Wrexham because they are a very good footballing side."
. MAN OF THE MATCH... Dennis Lawrence
Another good all-round display from the defender
* MAGIC MOMENT...
Mike's Ingham's early save from Derek Holmes
WREXHAM: Ingham; Pejic, Bayliss, Lawrence; Roche (Spender 34), Mark Jones, Ferguson, Williams (Mackin 78), Holt; Bayliss, McEvilly (Bennett 69). Subs: Michael Jones, Smith.
SENT OFF: Spender. BOOKED: Mark Jones, Bennett, Ingham.
CARLISLE UTD: Williams; Arnison (Murphy 66), Livesey, Gray, Aranalde; Billy, McGill, A Murray, Simpson; Holmes (Nade 74), Hawley. Subs: Hackney, Westwood, G Murray.
REFEREE: Darren Drysdale (Lincs) ATT: 4,239.
NEXT MATCH: Doncaster (h), Lg Cup, Tues, 7.45pm