WITH the paying public awakened by a week of unprecedented media focus and further boosted by supporters of clubs the length and breadth of the country, kick-off at the Racecourse on Saturday needed to be delayed by 15 minutes as turnstiles clicked through a 7,833 crowd - the largest for almost two years.
In the circumstances the football was almost an irrelevance, although Wrexham had City on the ropes until a contentious penalty settled the visitors' nerves, as veteran City midfielder Scott Murray admitted.
'The crowd got behind them and it's always an intimidating place to come to,' he said.
'The first goal was important in order to quieten the crowd.'
Until the controversial 36th-minute turning point, Denis Smith's fired-up Dragons had the better of an uncompromising battle, Dennis Lawrence just failing to convert a quickly-taken free-kick by Darren Ferguson and City goalkeeper Steve Phillips making a fine save to deny Mark Jones on his full league debut.
Unbeaten in more than a dozen previous outings, the visitors rode their luck in the 25th minute when another Jones effort from the edge of the penalty area was blocked, the rebound falling to Steve Roberts, whose first-time effort came back off the crossbar.
After a sluggish start Tommy Doherty and Tony Dinning began to function in City's midfield and it was from Doherty's through ball that striker Leroy Lita won the spot-kick.
His acceleration left Lawrence struggling and Andy Holt's challenge, though minimal, was contact enough to persuade referee Keith Hill and Mickey Bell stepped up to beat Matt Baker.
But Wrexham could have no arguments about City's second, in the final minute of the first half. Chris Llewellyn was dispossessed too close to his own goal and with defenders out of position, Murray drove an angled shot past Baker.
And the home side, desperately needing to regain a foothold in the game, shot themselves in the foot again seven minutes after the restart.
Luke Wilkshire's initial corner kick was cleared to Bell, whose wayward shot appeared to be going harmlessly wide until an unmarked Steve Brooker pounced to divert it into the net.
But if the Dragons were tempted to contemplate damage limitation, the crowd would not let them, a renewed wall of sound making a mockery of the scoreline.
Wrexham responded gamely, Jones going close with another long-range effort before substitute Juan Ugarte turned smartly to fire over the crossbar.
Content to attack on the break, City might have added another but for Baker. He saved well from Lita before Craig Morgan's challenge prevented Brooker knocking home the rebound, and the goal everyone wanted to see came 13 minutes from time when Chris Armstrong despatched a probing through ball from Ferguson.
There was never a chance of a fairy-tale comeback against the well-marshalled visitors, although the woodwork again denied Wrexham when Armstrong's looping header hit the bar.
For his part, Smith said he was perhaps wrong to play his Trinidad internationals, who did not get back to this country until late on Friday.