The opening day of the EFL Youth Alliance North West Division saw Wrexham make the short trip to Burslem to face Port Vale at their Bycars Training Ground.
Aside from goalkeeper Max Williams, the remainder of the starting eleven was the same which had given a spirited display in going down to a 4-1 defeat at Welsh Premier League side Llandudno in midweek.
The youngsters had clearly benefitted from that workout and began the game brightly with Dylan Allshorn’s pace causing the home side numerous problems.
The flame-haired winger nearly opened the scoring on 15 minutes when Vale custodian Mawgan Blight could only parry his snap shot, midfielder Matty Sargent’s follow-up being blocked before Allshorn’s second effort was again saved by the goalkeeper.
Three minutes later and this time it was the woodwork which denied Allshorn from giving Wrexham a deserved lead, the youngster jinking past three defenders before rattling a fierce shot against the crossbar.
With Wrexham dominating the play, the combative midfield duo of Jack Thorne and Sargent gave the Dragons the perfect platform required to lay siege to the Vale goal.
Blight produced the save of the game to deny Allshorn at point blank range just short of the half-hour mark; this time the rebound fell to the winger but he could only fire over with the goal seemingly at his mercy.
Still goalless at the interval, Port Vale gradually secured a foothold in the game after the restart and began to enjoy greater possession without troubling the Wrexham backline.
The Vale goal enjoyed a charmed life on the hour when the impressive Allshorn saw two efforts blocked in a desperate goalmouth scramble and this finally seemed to spark the home side into life as an attacking force.
Lucas Green-Birch headed over from close range moments later before Hayden Campbell forced a fine save from Williams on 75 minutes.
With the game becoming ever more stretched, Wrexham counter-attacked and Cameron McGregor played in Jake Bickerstaff only for Blight to touch the substitute’s low shot on to his near post and away for a corner.
This proved to be Wrexham’s last chance of note as the home side took the lead, and with it the three points, when Campbell’s right-foot shot from the edge of the box flew into the bottom corner of the net.
That came with barely ten minutes remaining and it could have got worse in the closing stages as Joe Berks fired wide after a poor clearance from Williams, the keeper redeeming himself with a flying save to deny the Vale midfielder with the last action of the game.
Despite the defeat, coach Dan Nolan will have been pleased by the performance of his charges which augers well for the rest of the season.
Wrexham: Max Williams, Osian Hughes, Ryan Williams, Aaron Heald, Bobby Beaumont, Jack Thorne, Kyle Robinson-Murray (Jake Bickerstaff 77), Matty Sargent, Cameron McGregor, Sam Pilkington, Dylan Allshorn (Callum Huxley 70).
Subs: Phil Perry, Lewis Parry, Matty Jones.
Referee: Bilal Moosa