STRIKER David Brown looked like his Accrington Stanley days were over.
On the bench for most of the season before he was loaned out to Burton Albion in mid-November and only an injury crisis led to his recall from the Conference side.
But that phone call on Christmas Eve to bring the 28-year-old back to the FES could prove one of the most important moves of Stanley's season to date.
Okay it was a team effort which finally guided the Reds to their first win in 11 League games and got 2007 off to the start that manager John Coleman so badly wished for as he looks to drag his side away from the dreaded drop zone.
But it was Brown who made chances count against Wrexham which proved the difference - and his double has hopefully kick-started a Reds' revival which has seemed such a long time in coming.
Stanley have to go back to October 14 for their last league win - almost three months ago - and since then all the dreams of taking the Football League by storm after their long-awaited return seemed to be turning sour as they dropped perilously close to the bottom two spots.
Now the Reds are hoping all this has changed with a new year bringing three points and they are desperate to kick on and prove that they will not be one hit wonders in the league.
Stanley fans have heard the chant - "Can we play you every week?" - enough as they have had to withstand a torrid time in the various stadiums over the last 10 League Two clashes.
But Coleman will be wishing that his side could play Wrexham every week as the Reds celebrated their first league double - with a 5-0 thumping at the FES and this New Year's Day victory.
In truth, the game could have gone either way. Paul Mullin gave Stanley a great start but it seemed ominous when Josh Johnson levelled just before the break and then the introduction of ex-Red Lee McEvilly seemed to fire up the home crowd.
But step forward Brown, who scored 31 league goals in League Two with Hull and Torquay before moving into the Conference with Chester and Hereford.
He did miss a gilt-edged chance to put Stanley ahead which Coleman admitted he was a "little bit annoyed at" and then went on to say he had an elephant gun trained on the hitman!
But Brown did not waste his next opportunity - a harder one - when he got on the end of Robbie Elliot goalkick, with the keeper demanding an assist, and finished with a well-timed lob.
That came seven minutes from time when the Stanley players - without Coleman making any substitutes having yet another young bench - battling hard on a pitch which badly cut up and must have left them drained.
And then two minutes later, Andy Todd surprisingly had a penalty saved - his first miss from the spot this season - but Brown was there to pounce and raced off around the back of the goal to celebrate.
There was a lot of jumping up and down from the fans - and then a collective sigh of relief - that those vital three points had finally arrived.
"It is like taking a pair of shoes off that are two sizes too small - it is such a relief," said the Reds chief.
"Browny did well. I was a bit annoyed with him for the first chance which he missed but, give him his due, he didn't shy away from the next chance and buried that.
"Then he reacted quickly to the penalty save. I am delighted for him and delighted for the rest of the boys.
"We have prepared properly and worked hard - there were a few eyebrows raised when we took them such a short distance for New Year's Eve - but they got what they deserved.
"The pitch had cut up badly but we played some lovely football on it.
"We have had a lot of lows and bad luck in the last three months but, to be fair to the lads, they have never let their heads drop and they could have gone into their shell when Wrexham equalised but they have got the bit between their teeth.
"We don't look like a side short on confidence. We always go out all guns blazing and we did it again and some of the football was magnificent.
"It takes some of the pressure off us now as regard everyone saying 'When are we going to get out next win?' but we have now got it under our belt and hopefully we can go on from here.
"If we carry on like that, we will get what we want which is to stay in the Football League."
The odds must have been heavily stacked against the Reds, with one away win all season, just 12 senior professionals available and Wrexham had a decent home record. Plus former Red McEvilly was back from injury and coming into form so he would have dreamt of a winning script for the Welsh side.
But the visiting fans were a bit more optimistic that this could finally be their day.
And when Paul Mullin opened the scoring with his seventh league goal of the campaign on 17 minutes they had every reason to believe it would be.
Shaun Whalley, who was a menace on the wing throughout the 90 minutes, played in a great cross which defender Steve Evans could only head against his own crossbar and, with Andy Todd and Mullin on the goalline, the striker pounced for an easy goal.
It was a good job he did get the final touch as if Todd had scored it would have been ruled out for off-side from Whalley's initial cross.
Stanley could have had more with Wrexham not having a shot until the 39th minute when Matt Crowell's free kick scraped the crossbar.
And then, with a seemingly harmless Wrexham goalkick, Josh Johnson beat Leam Richardson to the ball and raced forward and finished past Rob Elliot, recalled for the injured Ian Dunbavin.
Coleman decided to concentrate on the positives in his half-time team talk and not dwell on the equaliser.
"There was no point," he admitted. "I am an upbeat person and we needed to talk about what we had done right in the first half and not the one blip."
And it worked despite the arrival of McEvilly winding up the home crowd.
Stanley were by far the dominant side and they should have made Coleman a bit more comfortable before the final seven minutes.
Whalley was hacked down by Evans after another one of his dazzling runs and the centre half was lucky to stay on the pitch.
Then Mullin was put clean through and rounded keeper Michael Ingham on the edge of the area but the striker decided to pass to Brown and, by then, the defence had got back to cover.
"I should have shot first time," admitted the striker.
Mullin then fired just wide from a Todd cross but there was a heart-stopping moment when Michael Welch and Elliot clashed in the area with McEvilly pressing and Elliot dropped the ball and it trickled into the net. Referee Mike Dean, however, ruled the 'goal' out for a foul.
In an end to end game, and with players slipping and sliding all over due to the wet surface, Whalley was denied by Ingham while McEvilly tried to chip Elliot but the goalie caught it.
Then Brown missed his dream chance after he pounced on a defensive error and only had the keeper to beat but shot straight at Ingham from six yards out.
That could have been the moment Stanley lived to regret but, as has happened in the majority of their recent games, the last 10 minutes threw up more entertainment and goals.
On 83 minutes, Elliot's long punt downfield was missed by Mullin and Evans and bounced on the edge of the area for Brown who took his goal superbly chipping first time over Ingham.
That was a relief in itself but when Roche brought down Whalley in the area two minutes later, most people would have been confident that Todd - who had scored two penalties in the last two games - would make it a third.
However, Ingham guessed right and pushed the ball away but he could only watch the ball then pass him with Brown first to react.
Anyone associated with Stanley could now relax for the first time since that last win at Torquay.
"I had vowed to stay off the alcohol but I think I might have a couple of drinks now," smiled Coleman.
And, after the pressure of the last three months, he deserved it.