DEAN KEATES admits Wrexham took a step backwards after taking the lead against lowly Halifax Town at The Racecourse.

Scott Boden gave the Reds the lead in the 19th minute with his third goal of the season but Halifax levelled on the stroke of half-time.

Wrexham didn’t really threaten a second half winner and although the

1-1 draw extended the unbeaten run to nine games, the Reds have relinquished top spot and now sit two points behind new leaders Macclesfied in third.

Keates, pictured, was disappointed his side didn’t build on their early advantage and had to settle for a sixth draw in nine outings.

“The first 20-25 minutes we played well,” said Keates. “We moved the ball well, we were bright, worked it from side to side and scored a great goal.

“But it was the opposite of the Tranmere game. When they went 1-0 up, it kind of gave us a kick-start.

“This week we went 1-0 up and got a little bit complacent if I am honest.

“We let the extra player in the middle of midfield spend too much time on the ball and we dropped too deep.

“We are at home, 1-0 up and we should have gone on and got a few more. Full credit to Halifax but we will look at ourselves first and foremost.”

Wrexham finished the game with 10 men when Paul Rutherford was dismissed nine minutes from time.

Bizarrely, Rutherford was shown a second yellow card for dissent but moments later was substituted for Jack Mackreth before referee Daniel Middleton realised he should have been sent off, meaning the recently introduced wide man had to return to the sidelines.

“We weren’t aware of it at all and neither was the fourth official,” said Keates. “He was getting the board ready and the referee books him.

“It was a little of petulance, it is not like Ruthers, it’s probably a little bit of frustration on his side as well, but it got sorted in the end.

“He was getting subbed at the time, we didn’t try to do it for any other reason.

“The referee was quick enough to show Ruthers a yellow card, the question is why hasn’t he booked Cliff Mayo in the last minute when Scott Quigley goes past him and he pulls him down.

“That is the problem that you have at the minute with the consistency but without blaming and pointing fingers, we will look at ourselves.”

Halifax, hovering just above the relegation zone, had the two best chances in the second half but Tom Denton failed to capitalise.

Interim manager Neil Young, the former Chester boss, was delighted with a point and fully believes Wrexham will be challenging for promotion come the end of the season.

“Wrexham are a good side,” said Young. “Obviously being the ex-Chester manager it was good to have a bit of banter as well, but I respect Wrexham so much.

“I get on really well with Dean and he has done a fantastic job with some great players and what he is building.

“Before the season started, a friend said to me ‘who do you think?’ and I said I like what Dean is doing at Wrexham, the players he is picking up, they are going a little bit under the radar and he is building a team.

“They will definitely be up there and from our perspective, we are really happy to come here and not just get a point but be really pleased with our performance.”