Wrexham’s lowest home crowd of the season witnessed Grimsby Town secure a league double over the Reds to leave new boss Kevin Wilkin still searching for a win after three attempts.
In front of just over 2,000 fans Paddy McLaughlin’s 11th minute opener settled a proverbial game of two halves – the visitors bossed the first half whilst Wrexham enjoyed the better chances in the second.
Wilkin made one enforced change from the starting XI that lost at Woking with Joe Anyinsah replacing on-loan Bradley Reid (ankle).
The Mariners enjoyed a bright start as both Alex Rodman and Lenell John-Lewis went close to opening the scoring with barely five minutes on the clock.
Wrexham failed to take note of the Mariners’ head of steam and paid the price after 11 minutes. Ross Hannah picked out McLaughlin who went left before cutting back inside to pick his spot past Andy Coughlin from 14 yards.
The keeper then tipped over a miss-hit Aswad Thomas cross as Wrexham inexplicably invited Grimsby to pour forward.
Chances for the hosts were slim pickings and when they did have sniffs at goal it came via a wayward 30-yard drive from Jay Harris and a charged-down clearance by Joe Anyinsah on Mariners keeper James McKeown.
McKeown beat away Johnny Hunt’s header from Harris’s deft cross and that spurred both the hosts, and their fans into action after an insipid showing up until then.
However, despite moving up a gear they still trailed at the break and could have no real complaints.
Wrexham forced a flurry of corners at the start of the second half but it took them until the 67th minute to enjoy a clear sight of goal.
Mark Carrington’s determined run got him to the by-line and he cut the ball back for Anyinsah who contrived to volley over from close-range.
Grimsby substitute Connor Jennings, who struck a hat-trick against the Reds during a loan spell at Macclesfield Town last November, came on with 15 minutes remaining.
Clarke threw his fists towards the floor in frustration after he headed Dean Keates’s free-kick wide from a good position.
The Wrexham bench remained undisturbed until the 81st minute when Brett Ormerod replaced Andy Bishop.
However, it was Anyinsah – tireless throughout – who thought he should have been awarded a penalty after he appeared to be barged over from behind following an almost comical goalmouth scramble.
Coughlin made a great save to deny Lenell John-Lewis before Clarke’s header deep into stoppage time was cleared off the line as the Mariners clung on for victory.
Wrexham: Coughlin, Wright, Ashton, Livesey,Clarke, Harris, Bishop (Ormerod, 81), Keates (cpt), Hunt, Anyinsah, Carrington.
Subs: Mayebi, Ormerod, Tomassen, Clowes, Artell.
Referee: Brett Huxtable (Devon)
Wrexham: Wright (90, foul)
Grimsby: Hannah ( foul)