WREXHAM boss Bryan Hughes was left underwhelmed with his side’s final pre-season match of the summer.

The Reds fell to a 1-0 home reverse to Crewe at The Racecourse on Saturday, where Charlie Kirk’s 75th minute strike secured an away victory.

Hughes was critical of a ‘lethargic’ display and felt his players were too mindful of avoiding injury prior to this weekend’s National League opener at home to Barrow.

“I think overall it was a bit frustrating”, he said. “As a a performance we looked a little bit lethargic at times. Credit to Crewe, who passed it around well in certain areas.

“We tried two formations - one in the first half and one in the second - and that was always in my mind to try to keep things fresh.

“There were spells in there where we played some good stuff, but just not as consistently as I would have liked for this stage of pre-season.”

Despite ending their schedule of friendlies on a low, Hughes maintains that the club’s pre-season preparations have been largely positive.

And the manager believes his players will be primed and ready for the opening weeks of the new campaign.

He added: “I’m pleased it is out of the way now. We can concentrate all of our efforts now on Barrow, Boreham Wood and Dover, and we’ll plan this week to be ready for them.

“Overall the pre-season’s gone excellently. We’ve performed well in certain games and tried different systems, which the players are getting used to.

“I think we’ll only get stronger as we go on. It’s always hard in pre-season when there’s not much riding on it but once the season starts next week and there’s three points up for grabs I’d like to think our levels of performance and our work ethic will be right up there.”

David Artell says Wrexham posed his Crewe side more problems than any other side had in The Railwaymen’s pre-season build-up.

“It was another 1-0 win and clean-sheet, so in that respect it was similar to last week, “ said former Wrexham defender Artell.

“We were not as fluent in possession and we could have had more shots from 18 and 20 yards than we did.

“They had a couple of chances as well. They dinked one across the penalty area and I don’t really know if Hooper could have done better with his chance.

“It was another good work out, really good, and Wrexham asked more questions than anyone in the pre-season. It was pleasing.

“The acid test will be next weekend but then that is only one game, win or lose.”

A second half goal from Kirk was all the Railwaymen needed to ensure a positive result.

Crewe’s Nicky Hunt went down after a tackle on JJ Hooper and left the pitch on a stretcher before Hooper was put through one on one with the keeper three minutes before the break.

His tight angled shot from the left was parried away by Will Jasskelainen - the son of last season’s Reds’ coach Jussi.

A clearance from a Wrexham corner nearly led to a goal for the Alex, with their counter attack leading to a dangerous cross from Kirk, that was just out of reach of Chris Porter.

Wrexham came flying out of the traps in the second half, picking up where they left off in their quest to find that opening goal.

Hooper came close to scoring 52 minutes in following a great through ball from James Jennings but his effort flew high into the stands.

Crewe grew into the second half though, with two great chances coming around the hour mark.

Daniel Powell’s shot was cleared off the line but Wrexham had another chance to take the lead 69 minutes in, after winning a free kick in a dangerous position.

Luke Summerfield stepped up to take the kick and his low driven shot fooled everyone bar Jasskelainen.

It was Crewe who broke the deadlock 75 minutes in, taking the lead courtesy of Kirk.

A long ball forward found the feet of the Crewe striker, who promptly cut in from the left and slotted the ball past Christian Dibble.

The goal knocked Wrexham off track, with the players struggling to create many chances as the game gradually came to a halt.

WREXHAM: Dibble, Jennings, Pearson, Lawlor, Summerfield, Young, Redmond (Chambers 45), Grant (Oswell 84), Carrington (Barnum-Bobb 45), Harris, Hooper (McIntosh 67). Subs not used: Szczepaniak, Sargent, Thorn.

CREWE: Jasskelainen, Ng, Pickering, Wintle, Hunt (Jones 40), Nolan, Powell (Dale 77), Lowery, Porter, Kirk, Finney (Green 71).

Subs not used: Richards, Anley, Lunstram.

REFEREE: Alex Livesey

ATTENDANCE: 1792. (264 from Crewe).