WREXHAM bounced back from last week's FA Cup exit and the club's move into administration with a dogged display against League One's bottom club Stockport County at the Racecourse last night.
The home side had to come from behind and then survived a nervous period during the second half as their visitors desperately tried to cancel out goals from Andy Holt and Hector Sam.
But they held on to ensure a winning start to the relegation battle sprung on the Racecourse club by the mandatory 10-point deduction.
Dragons boss Denis Smith rang the changes again, despite his limited options, bringing back veteran goal-keeper Andy Dibble for his first league outing in more than two months and dropping midfielder Mark Jones to accommodate Chris Llewellyn playing behind a strike-force of Hector Sam and Juan Ugarte.
The visitors, still under the steward-ship of caretaker-manager Mark Lillis, were without striker Warren Feeney and goalkeeper James Spencer, who were both injured during Saturday's FA Cup second round 0-0 draw against Swansea City and were replaced by former Everton star Stuart Barlow and Neil Cutler.
County, four points adrift at the foot of the table, arrived at the Racecourse having won just once on their travels this season, and they found themselves under pressure following the opening skirmishes.
Llewellyn's eighth-minute pass found Sam, whose shot on the turn was cleared off the line by Mark Robertson and the home side then saw good efforts by Steve Roberts and Holt blocked by defenders before Cutler made a decent save, again from Holt.
But it was the visitors who drew first blood, going ahead after 17 minutes when Roberts was penalised for a foul on John Daly 25 yards from goal and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson curled a free-kick over the wall and well beyond the reach of the stranded Dibble.
The Dragons were deflated only momentarily and were denied an equal-iser six minutes later. Cutler and John Hardiker collided going for a high ball, Llewellyn picked up the pieces and found Holt, whose cross was met by Ugarte with a precise header that the keeper, at full stretch, somehow managed to turn away for a corner.
The 34th minute brought another escape for County when Llewellyn's deep cross was met on the volley by Dennis Lawrence, but the defender's lunge for the ball drove it a foot too high as the visitors continued to invite their opponents on to them.
Every time Wrexham won possession County pulled everyone back in their own half of the field to close down the space but their cause was also helped by their opponents' inability to get the ball forward quickly enough.
The home side were fortunate not to concede another goal from a rare County break when Barlow's cross was met by Daly, who could only stab the ball straight at Dibble, but when Wrexham pushed forward again just seconds before the break they finally drew level.
Llewellyn did well to resist a determined challenge from Hardiker on the byline and found room for a chip to Holt, who this time guided his header beyond Cutler into the far corner of the net to register his fifth goal of the season.
No more than Wrexham deserved, it was nonetheless something of a lifeline and the Dragons might have been expected to step up the pace from the restart.
The visitors showed no signs of changing their game-plan and they were fortunate not to concede a penalty in the 56th minute when Ugarte's shot struck Danny Griffin on the arm.
Shaun Pejic, hardly the most prolific of goalscorers, then took advantage of some County slackness to rifle a shot from 30 yards, which only just cleared the bar, before the home side went ahead with the best move of the match.
Ferguson won the ball midway in County's half and spotted Ugarte running wide. The Spaniard looked up and picked out Sam, who pulled back from his marker to head his eighth goal of the campaign.
For the first time the visitors had to show more ambition and they enjoyed a decent spell of the game, although substitute Lee Mair should have done better than his off-target volley after a wayward defensive header by Lawrence.
Wrexham looked nervous, allowing themselves to be too easily knocked off the ball and losing out in the key mid-field challenges, which frequently survived the leniency of referee Neil Miller, who recently booked 11 players when he refereed Chester City's game against Oxford.
Nevertheless the official still found cause to caution five players, County's Danny Adams, Mair and Adam Le Fondre, together with Pejic and Darren Ferguson, who is already facing a one-match ban for a fifth yellow card picked up at Scunthorpe last Friday.
The arrival of Chris Armstrong and Matt Crowell, on for Ugarte and Green, steadied the home side and the former Spurs striker was unlucky not to add a third three minutes from time, straying marginally offside when he met Llewellyn's flick-on to beat Cutler at the near post.
Llewellyn, who once again worked tirelessly for his team-mates, also burst into the penalty area but was thwarted by a fine challenge from Ashley Williams as the Dragons summoned up a final flourish.
WREXHAM: Dibble; Pejic, Roberts, Lawrence; Spender, Green (Crowell 78), Ferguson, Llewellyn, Holt; Sam, Ugarte (Armstrong 71). Subs: Baker, Smith, Jones.
BOOKED: Pejic, Ferguson.
STOCKPORT COUNTY: Cutler; Hardiker (Mair 46), A Williams, Griffin, Adams; Allen, Goodwin, Bridge-Wilkinson, Robertson; Daly, Barlow (Le Fondre 57). Subs: Jac'kman, C Williams.
BOOKED: Adams, Le Fondre, Mair.
REFEREE: N Miller (Co Durham)
MAN OF THE MATCH... Andy Holt
The wing-back defended well and was excellent going forward, leading to his equaliser