A serious injury to goalkeeper Joslain Mayebi capped a disappointing night for Wrexham, who missed the chance to return to the summit of the Blue Square Bet Premier after failing to make it a quartet of wins over Southport.
Like the cup game four days earlier Wrexham dominated the first half, creating a glut of chances. However, Danny Wright’s seventh minute opener was cancelled out by Karl Ledsham’s composed finish (13) and it somehow stayed that way at the break.
Wrexham regained the lead via Joe Clarke’s fourth goal (70) in as many games but, with a stricken Joslain Mayebi rendered virtually immobile through a ruptured achillies Southport hit back through Andy Owens (81).
It was not the result everyone was expecting but results have gone for Andy Morrell’s side in recent weeks, so no doubt Wrexham’s title rivals will be feeling that warm glow tonight.
Morrell now has the headache of seeking a goalkeeper now his number one faces eight months on the sidelines.
The player-manager made just one change to the side that defeated the Sandgrounders in the last eight of the FA Trophy, with striker Nick Rushton replacing Rob Ogleby.
The hosts got to grips with the slick surface immediately, passing the ball around with confidence.
So it was no surprise when the Reds opened the scoring after just seven minutes. Rushton pounced on an under-hit back-pass from Shaun Whalley and slid the ball through for Wright to race on to. The in-form striker rode one sliding challenge and clipped the ball around Tony McMillan from the right-hand side of the six yard box.
Southport would be forgiven for letting their heads drop but, instead, they found an equaliser via some woeful Wrexham defending.
After Danny Alfei had gifted possession away in his own territory Wrexham had chances to clear but Martin Riley’s panicked scuffed clearance rolled into the path of Ledsham and he expertly drove his shot into the roof of the net from 15 yards.
Wrexham rallied and only a toe-poke intervention by James Smith denied Rushton a golden scoring opportunity from just yard out after Johnny Hunt’s low cross caused panic in the Port defence.
The game became more open and Mayebi got all of his weight behind Whalley’s fierce volley before his opposite number, McMillan did the same to beat away Hunt’s low drive.
More last-ditch defending denied Wright his second from close-range and the increasingly busy McMillan did well to tip over Joe Clarke’s dipping effort from 35 yards.
Rushton had two goal-bound headers cleared off the line and there were frustrated faces aplenty in the home ranks as the half-time whistle sounded.
After a sluggish start to the second half Wrexham almost regained the lead when Hunt’s shot hit the base of the post after a wonderful dummy from skipper Dean Keates created the space.
A grounded Mayebi then signalled to the bench he was in trouble and after treatment reluctantly continued.
In the face of that adversity Wrexham regained the lead. Substitute Adrian Cieslewicz
broke into the box down the right and cut the ball back across goal. It was behind Wright but Clarke was on hand to smash home from eight yards.
Mayebi received further treatment but decided to stay between the sticks, a stance which was greeted with warm applause from the home fans.
McMillan got down low to his right to keep a Cieslewicz daisy-cutter out and it proved vital as Southport level soon after.
The hosts failed to deal with Ledsham’s corner delivered to the near post and Andy Owens smashed his hopeful drive through a sea of bodies into the net.
Wrexham fashioned very little in seven minutes added time - largely accrued to Mayebi’s treatment - and there was muted applause on the final whistle with the overbearing sense that it was a game they should have won by some margin.
Wrexham: Mayebi; Ashton, Riley, Westwood, Alfei; Clarke, Keates, Harris; Hunt (Cieslewicz 60), Wright, Rushton (Morrell 83).
Subs: Ogleby, Little, Thornton.
Referee: Declan Ford (Lincoln)
Southport: Ledsham, Poku, Grand, Bakare