WREXHAM slumped to their second defeat of the week at the Racecourse against Colchester United, whose fourth away victory of the season took them, at least for 24 hours, to second in the division.
Goalkeeper Simon Brown was United's hero, pulling off a series of fine saves to nullify the home side's best efforts.
As befits two sides separated at the start by just one point, there was little to choose between them on a surface made greasy by a day of rain.
The early opportunities at either end came from set pieces, with home skipper Darren Ferguson curling a fourth minute free kick into the arms of Brown a minute before the visitors fashioned a great chance.
Karl Duguid picked out Kem Izzet's run with a free kick, but the midfielder's free header narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Ferguson's through-ball then gave Lee Jones a chance, but his cross-shot skidded beyond the far post and Jim Whitley's long-range effort caused Brown no problems.
The visitors were always looking to take advantage of the pace of Wayne Andrews, but it was Brown who kept his side on terms with two vital saves in the space of four minutes.
Jones set up Carlos Edwards in the 29th minute and his drive was turned away for a corner by Brown, who then had to save with his feet to deny Jones following an enterprising run from Hector Sam.
The Trinidadian international was not far away with another well-struck shot, but United turned the tables in stunning fashion in the 35th minute when Andrews beat Andy Dibble to Craig Fagan's through-ball and fired the ball into an unguarded net.
The goal had come against the run of play, but Wrexham's immediate response was not encouraging and Andy Myers was not far from increasing the visitors' advantage six minutes before the break, with a vicious shot that flashed across the face of the goal.
The Dragons' task was not made any easier by their opponents' determination to hold on to their lead, pulling everyone behind the ball whenever they lost possession.
Edwards again brought the best out of Brown in the 58th minute, when the keeper flung himself to his left to push another goalbound effort away for a corner.
Wrexham's lack of height up front had been ruthlessly exploited by the commanding presence of central defenders Alan White and Scott Fitzgerald, so there was an air of expectation when Chris Armstrong was sent on in place of Chris Llewellyn with 21 minutes left.
Unfairly perhaps, there was a lot resting on the shoulders of the former Spurs striker, who was making his first league outing since August, and it was the opposition who went close again, Fagan taking advantage of a Lawrence slip but driving his shot wide of Dibble's goal.
The more Wrexham tried to find a way through, the more they were frustrated by United's determined running and chasing.
With the home side becomingly increasingly stretched, their opponents once more looked likely to capitalise on gaps at the back.
But when the Dragons did threaten, Brown stood between them and an equaliser with an excellent save from Edwards.
Referee Phil Prosser then turned down animated appeals for a penalty after Stockley appeared to block a Shaun Holmes cross with his arm.
The United goalkeeper maintained his heroics into four minutes of added time, saving from Sam before Stockley cleared a Steve Roberts shot off the line.