WREXHAM were left to rue missed first half chances as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Welsh Premier League outfit Aberystwyth Town at Park Avenue on Saturday.
Dean Saunders opted to operate a diamond shape midfield in the opening period but after enjoying plenty of possession in the opening period, Wrexham failed to take the opportunities that came their way.
It was a promising 45 minutes but after Saunders made wholesale changes for the second half to give more of his players valuable time on the pitch, Wrexham were less of a threat.
Even though Wrexham were still trying to get forward at every opportunity, they were less effective and paid the price as Aberystwyth scored a late controversial winner.
Saunders was not concerned about the result but will hope missed changes - a
recurring theme last season - is not a sign of things to come.
Having not featured in the opening pre-season friendly outing at Vauxhall Motors, summer signings Chris Blackburn and Dean Keates made their Wrexham bow.
The first scoring opportunity fell to Wrexham after seven minutes following a well crafted move started by Keates, allowing Johnny Hunt to cross to the back post for Kevin Gall but his weak effort found the side-netting.
Wrexham were enjoying the majority of the possession and when ex-Red Connal Murtagh lost the ball just inside his own half, David Brown capitalised and fed Andy Mangan who was dispossessed in the area as he shaped to shoot.
The best opportunity to break the deadlock came on 17 minutes when Blackburn's scuffed shot fell into the path of the unmarked Frank Sinclair inside the area but his shot was blocked by keeper Dave Roberts.
Sinclair also set-up Mangan after heading the ball across goal but the striker was denied by Roberts, and Andy Fleming was also thwarted at the near post by a defender following excellent interplay between Declan Walker and Gall.
It should have been 1-0 to Wrexham one minutes before the break as Jamie Tolley delivered a long ball forward that was nodded down by Fleming for Mangan who headed wide with just Roberts to beat.
Saunders made eight changes for the start of the second half with just untested keeper Chris Maxwell, Sinclair and Tolley retaining their places.
Wrexham were immediately back on the attack and Tolley played a one-two with Neil Ashton before unleashing a 20-yard drive was curled wide of the far post after
An unmarked Gareth Taylor also headed wide from Curtis Obeng's centre as Wrexham kept Aberystwyth under pressure, but the home side continued to defend resolutely even though they offered little at the other end.
However, Wrexham were given a let-off when Kai Edwards appeared to pull down John McCauley in the area but a penalty wasn't given, but Aberystwyth broke the deadlock in the 76th minute.
Despite appearing to foul Marc Williams, a foul wasn't given and McCauley pulled the ball back from the by-line for Cledan Davies who slotted past Maxwell from six
Wrexham responded through Adrian Cieslewicz whose drive from the edge of the area was tipped away for a corner, but Maxwell had to be alert to deny Craig
Williams who glided past a static Reds defence.
While Wrexham should have been awarded a penalty when Steve Bowen handled in the area, they were made to rue those missed chances.
ABERYSTWYTH (4-5-1): Roberts; Williams, Thomas, James, Howard; McCauley, Murtagh, Morgan, Hughes, Davies; Evans. Subs: Steve Bowen, Farmer, Evans,
Baker, Tom Bowen, Edwards.
WREXHAM first half (4-1-2-1-2): Maxwell; Walker, Blackburn, Sinclair, Hunt; Keates; Fleming, Tolley; Brown; Gall, Mangan. Second half (4-4-2): Maxwell; Obeng, Mawer, Sinclair, Ashton; Cieslewicz, Edwards, Tolley (Anoruo 79), Baynes; Williams, Taylor.
Referee: Paul Morgan.
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