DESPITE a superb first-half display, Grays ran out of steam in Wales and suffered a defeat which adds to their relegation woes.

On a difficult surface against hosts chasing a play-off spot, Grays were commanding in the opening 45 minutes in new boss Gary Phillips’s first game in charge.

He called-up on loan striker Joe Tabiri, but saw his team fall behind to Nathan Fairhurst’s goal after six minutes.

From thereon until the break it was nearly all Grays.

With ex-Southend United man Stuart Thurgood inspirational in midfield, Grays hit back in style with Ishmael Welsh flashing an effort wide on 13 minutes and home keeper Gavin Ward jarring his hand when mishandling Barry Cogan’s free-kick.

The visitors got the equaliser their industry deserved on the half-hour when Ward could only punch George Beavan’s cross and Cogan caught the stopper out of position as he shot home the rebound.

Welsh outpaced Neil Taylor to go close before Ward made a great one-handed save to deny Jamie Slabber.

Shell-shocked Wrexham tried to reply when the half approached its end with Marc Williams flashing a header just wide.

Sadly, having played only three games previously this year, Grays could not keep up their level of commitment in the second-half.

Fairhurst hit the bar from 25 yards for the hosts, who now lie fourth, on 50 minutes before the Welsh hosts effectively won the game with two goals in two minutes.

First, on 55 minutes, Jamie Stuart brought down Williams outside the box and Jon Brown fired home the free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards.

Then a fine cross from Williams was converted by the head of Ryan Flynn to the delight of home fans in the 3,419 crowd.

A breakaway right near the end saw Cogan pull back for Andy Pugh to score a second for Grays, but it was too little, too late.

“We were excellent in the first-half, but treading water after the break,” said a disappointed Phillips. “Our lack of games showed in the second period.”

Fourth-from-bottom Grays face another long trip next Saturday when they go to a Barrow side who are themselves not yet clear of the drop. Barrow are two places and two points above Grays from a game more.

Grays latest signing, striker James Lindie from Southend United, came off the bench for his debut at Wrexham after 74 minutes.

Lindie was originally with Potters Bar Town before joining Southend.

He made his under-18 debut with he Shrimpers in the 2004/05 season and stepped up to the reserves in November 2006.

He has had a loan spell with the Spanish club Southend are twinned with, C D Javea, and was top scorer during his time there. Lindie has joined Grays on a one month loan.

Other results: Cambridge Utd P Mansfield P, Eastbourne Borough P Crawley Town P, Oxford Utd 3 Barrow 0, Rushden & Diamonds P Lewes P, Salisbury 0 Histon 4, Torquay 3 Altrincham 1, Weymouth 0 Stevenage 3, Woking 0 Kettering 1, York P Forest Green P. Sunday: Kidderminster 1 Northwich Victoria 2.