Jay Harris' 25-yard strike three minutes from time denied Aldershot Town a deserved draw at the Racecourse Ground
Andy Scott's rueful smile spoke volumes. For the second away game in succession, Aldershot Town had been denied a valuable draw in the final few minutes.
Yet this time, in stark contrast to his Boxing Day frustration at Forest Green, Scott was as happy in defeat as any manager could possibly be.
After Jay Harris’s 87th minute screamer snatched victory for the Dragons and undeservedly left The Shots with nothing, Scott remained pleasingly philosophical.
Likening their Racecourse Ground opposition to Highwaymen, he joked: “You'd have thought they had ridden in with masks on, after running away with three points! We've totally dominated the game.
"I think Wrexham would have been delighted with a point. It was daylight robbery.
“I'm delighted with our performance – if we play like that for the rest of the season we'll be alright.
"Someone hits one from 25 yards and it goes in, and that's life. You've got to brush yourself down and get on with it.”
Wrexham began apace, with Theo Bailey-Jones and Joe Anyinsah both prominent in attack, but it still took a defensive error for them to capitalise upon their early ascendancy.
Glenn Morris had already produced a fine save to parry Anyinsah’s shot when, in just the 15th minute, Joe Clarke was left unmarked to head Mark Carrington’s corner into the net.
However, as Joe Partington - on loan for a month from AFC Bournemouth - made an impressive debut at centre-back alongside the departing Jake Goodman, Aldershot responded well and within five minutes equalised from a corner of their own.
When the delivery was only half-cleared, the resurgent Martin Rowlands lofted a deft pass back into the box, allowing Brett Williams to lash the ball past Coughlin - his 19th goal of a magnificent first season.
Wrexham’s buoyant start rapidly descended into frustration and the composed and purposeful visitors grew in confidence.
Jordan Roberts – soon to be the pantomime villain of the piece after two contentious fouls against him – twice shot wide, whilst Rob Ogleby was restricted to two long-range efforts.
The two Shots centre-backs stood strong against rare Wrexham forays as Aldershot carried the greater second-half threat.
Roberts’ angled shot was blocked and Aiden O’Brien scuffed the follow-up after a sweet build-up, but the best chance fell to Jaydon Gibbs on 70 minutes.
Coughlin fumbled Williams’ 25-yard shot and Gibbs seemed certain to knock in the rebound until the goalkeeper leapt up to make a superb point-blank save.
Dragons boss Andy Morrell made two attacking changes designed to lift his flagging side but still it was Aldershot Town who created the better chances until a midfielder did what Wrexham’s strikers had failed to achieve in fine style.
Picking up Cieslewicz’s lay-off, Harris hit a 25-yard drive which rocketed into the top corner despite Morris’s desperate dive.
Adam Mekki’s disguised snapshot nearly embarrassed Coughlin, and Partington headed over the bar in the last minute, to leave Aldershot Town pondering what might have been.
Scott, though, was right. The immediate disappoint of defeat, compounded by an increasingly tight situation at the bottom of the Conference table, was soon replaced by the anticipation of future away day success.
ALDERSHOT: Morris; Oastler (Mekki 80), Goodman, Partington, Barker; Gibbs, Stanley, Rowlands, Roberts (Paterson 90); B Williams, O'Brien. Subs not used: L Williams, Tonkin, Young
Att: 2,819 (148 away).