SHAUN PEARSON will never forget his derby winner against Chester - but the former Wrexham captain says passionate clashes with Tranmere Rovers were more memorable matches during his time at The Racecourse.

The 32-year-old has turned down the offer of a new contract with the Reds in favour of rejoining Grimsby Town.

It brings down the curtain on a four-season spell with Wrexham for whom he scored the only goal in a derby victory against cross border rivals Chester at The Deva Stadium in November 2017.

That season - Pearson’s first in north Wales - also saw Wrexham win 1-0 at Tranmere and draw 2-2 at home to Rovers, and the centre-back loved those games in front of bumper crowds..

“At the time I never realised how big a moment that was,” Pearson said about his goal against Chester. “Looking back, and you understand it more and more, that was probably the stand-out moment.

“But for me, the better games were always the Tranmere games because, with no disrespect to Chester, they were bigger crowds and it made for a better atmosphere..

“You could really feel it, especially with us both at the top end of the table that season, and those two games will live long in the memory.

“They were up there will the other big games in my career purely because of the atmosphere and everything that came with it.

“Beating Salford 5-1 was obviously a great day and me scoring a goal but in both stadiums in those games against Tranmere, I really enjoyed it.”

Pearson feels a strong end to the 2020-21 season shows he can still do a job for a top side in the National League.

The centre-back missed the start of the campaign after undergoing foot surgery but having returned to play in the final three games of 2020, he suffered a set-back and spent another three months on the sidelines.

But after making a full recovery ahead of the run-in, Pearson started the last 10 games and played a prominent part as the Reds remained on course for the play-offs until missing out after failing to win at Dagenham and Redbridge on the final day.

Pearson was delighted with his late-season form and feels he has still got a lot to offer.

“Obviously I missed the start of the season but I feel that I have shown in the last couple of months that I am still more than capable of playing in a team at the top end," said Pearson.

“Not just my personal form but the impact; I’m not saying it is all down to me but I feel like I have had a big influence on the team the last couple of months.

“We pushed on and it was just a shame to come up ever so slightly short in the end.”

Pearson, a regular in the side during his first three seasons at The Racecourse since making the move from Grimsby in the summer of 2017, was restricted to just 15 league appearances and an FA Trophy outing in 2020-21.

But he feels a season blighted by injury could prove to be a blessing in disguise.

“It sounds a bit mad but the injury has almost done me the world of good,” said Pearson.

“Obviously I never want to miss any games but for the first time in my career, I had a spell out of the team.

“I have missed a couple of games here and there through injury over the years but never really had a proper spell out of the team and it probably helped me.

“Just a chance to recharge the batteries and I definitely feel like I have got a lot more still to give playing wise so my ambition is firmly on playing for the foreseeable future.”

Pearson believes a lack of experience in the side cost Wrexham as they failed to get the final day win they needed at Dagenham to secure a play-off spot.

“Everybody did a wonderful job during the season but it just showed on the last day with the lack of experience we had in the squad going into a big game and a big occasion,” said Pearson, with Wrexham missing out on the top seven after only drawing 1-1 at Victoria Road.