WREXHAM’S pre-season programme began with a 2-1 defeat against Huddersfield Town at The Racecourse last night.

While it was only a friendly and the main concern is players building up their fitness levels, Wrexham did not look out of place and gave Huddersfield, beaten in last season’s League One play-off final, a good work-out.

The Reds got into some excellent positions and despite going behind early in the first half, deservedly pulled level before the break through striker Mathias Pogba.

Although Huddersfield grabbed a late winner, it was a useful run-out for Wrexham with some players such as Adrian Cieslewicz looking particularly sharp despite returning for training just nine days earlier.

Although a number of players were carrying niggles and weren’t risked, including new signings Chris Westwood and striker Danny Wright, Saunders gave all his fit first team players a 45 minute run-out with midfielder Lee Fowler playing the entire match.

But a third new recruit, the pacy Jake Speight, played the second half, made some good runs and had a couple of half chances on his first outing.

Saunders’ first-half line-up consisted of ten first-team squad members, including Frank Sinclair who is set to sign a pay-as-you-play deal, and scholar Steve Thomassen also lined up in defence.

Wrexham made a bright opening with midfielder Jay Harris laying a fourth minute pass off to Cieslewicz who beat his man but saw a teasing cross deflected wide for a corner.

Pogba’s header from the resulting flag-kick fell narrowly of the target, but Wrexham were seeing a lot of the ball and Sinclair, Obi Anoruo and Jamie Tolley combined to set up a well-placed Pogba who failed to test keeper Nick Colgan.

It had been an impressive start from Wrexham but it was Huddersfield who took an 11th minute lead out of the blue.

Tommy Miller’s free header from a corner was blocked by keeper Joslain Mayebi and striker Jordan Rhodes converted the loose ball.

Despite going behind, Wrexham went straight back at the Terriers and Chris Blackburn’s shot was stroked past Colgan by Anoruo but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Rhodes was not far away with a header at the other end but it had been a lively performance by Wrexham and Cieslewicz’s shot from Fowler’s pass fell into the path of Pogba who fired wide.

Huddersfield failed to take advantage of a glaring mistake by Mayebi whose weak pass found Gary Roberts but the striker failed to find the empty net with his long range effort

And Wrexham equalised in the 39th minute. Cieslewicz ran to the by-line and pulled the ball back for Pogba who drove the ball into the bottom corner from eight yards.

Saunders made nine changes for the start of the second half, with only midfielders Fowler and Tolley continuing, and there also a place for trialist midfielder Scott Brown.

Once again Wrexham were quick out of the blocks with Leon Clowes just failing to get on the end of Tolley’s corner, and the young defender also saw a low drive blocked.

Goalkeeper Chris Maxwell made an excellent save to keep out former Everton striker Danny Cadamarteri’s header before Wrexham lost Tolley to injury, while Speight had his first chance in the 64th minute but his header from Andy Morrell’s centre drifted wide.

With Wrexham pressing forward at every opportunity, Gareth Taylor fed Speight whose 70th minute shot was easily gathered by Colgan, and Taylor’s powerful drive following Maxwell’s long clearance was deflected away from the visitors’ goal.

But Huddersfield took a 2-1 lead with six minutes remaining, Matt Crooks playing in Lee Novak who slotted past Maxwell.

Speight’s powerful drive from Morrell’s knockdown was parried by Colgan in the closing stages but Wrexham could not find an equaliser.

WREXHAM first half (4-3-3): Mayebi; Tomassen, Blackburn, Sinclair, Hunt; Harris, Fowler, Tolley; Cieslewicz, Pogba, Anoruo.

Wrexham second half (4-3-3): Maxwell; Clowes, Creighton, Knight-Percival, Ashton; Brown, Fowler, Tolley (Stephens 58); Morrell, Taylor, Speight.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-3-3): Colgan; Atkinson (Thackray 65), Peter Clarke (McCombe 65), Cooper (Spencer 65), Naysmith; Kay (Sellars 65), Gobern (Crooks 65), Miller (Nathan Clarke 53); Cadamarteri (Novak 60), Rhodes (Lee 60), Roberts (Chippendale 60).

Referee: N Pratt.

Attendance: 950.

Man of the Match: Lee Fowler put in a good shift and showed some excellent touches.