"WE'RE all going to Cardiff" was the chant from Wrexham's long-suffering fans last night.
Denis Smith's Dragons forgot their off-field problems and put a relegation battle at the back of their minds to take their place in the final of this year's LDV Vans Trophy at the Millennium Stadium next month.
A good-natured pitch invasion at the final whistle by the jubilant supporters summed up the mood at the Racecourse after the home side had comfortably progressed to a first-ever showpiece final.
They did so against an Oldham Athletic side who rarely looked capable of overcoming the two-goal handicap they brought with them from the first leg of the northern area final last month.
And any hopes they might have entertained of an unlikely comeback were dashed when central defender Guy Bran-ston was sent off midway through the second half.
Both sides made just one change from their weekend winning line-ups, Craig Morgan returning at the back for the Dragons in place of Shaun Pejic and Kevin Betsy replacing injured striker Chris Killen in the visitors' front line..
Following the high-scoring first leg it was hardly surprising that both teams created chances in the opening couple of minutes, veteran David Eyres thumping a first-time effort over the Wrexham bar after 45 seconds before the resulting goal kick by Ben Foster reached Juan Ugarte, whose inviting cross was blasted high over the target by Chris Llewellyn.
With the home side leading by two goals from fom the Boundary Park thriller, it was a bad miss by the striker since it would have given the Latics a mountain to climb.
Even so, the visitors could not afford to sit back and both sets of players were like boxers, slugging it out toe to toe, trading corner for corner and opportunity for opportunity.
Dennis Lawrence made a timely interception to head an Adam Griffin corner behind but the Dragons responded through Ugarte, who fed Mark Jones and his run was superbly halted by Will Haining, goalkeeper Les Pogliacomi blocking as Llewellyn tried to force the loose ball into the net.
Wrexham should have taken the lead on 20 minutes when Lawrence rose unmarked to meet Darren Ferguson's corner, only to head the ball wide, and the home side were then denied a clear penalty four minutes later when Ugarte was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Branston.
Well-placed assistant referee Bob Pollock immediately signalled the infringement but was over-ruled by referee Graham Laws and the home side's sense of injustice spurred them on. Jones went close with a fine effort from 30 yards and minutes later only the width of a post denied Ferguson after a Ugarte effort was blocked.
The hard-working Llewellyn then found Carlos Edwards, who cut inside to drive an accurate shot straight into Pogliacomi's arms and, although the home side could not find the net, while they were domninating possession Oldham were no nearer reducing the deficit.
That's not to say it was totally one-way and with the interval looming, the Latics picked up the pace. After Neil Kilkenny's speculative 25-yarder was deflected behind, the youngster's deep corner fell nicely for Eyres, who cracked another excellent effort just wide.
The prize at stake was evident in the night's attendance of 5,814 - a competition record at the Racecourse beating the previous best crowd of 5,662 against neighbours Chester City nine years ago.
But Oldham were not giving up on their Cardiff dream without a fight and Foster, who had rarely been tested in the opening 45 minutes, had to stretch to tip Branston's header over the bar from Mark Bonner's 56th-minute free-kick.
That was as good as it got, though, for the visitors, who were then undone by a few minutes of madness which began three minutes later when Branston was shown a red card for an off-the-ball incident that left Edwards writhing in agony on the ground.
Wrexham went for the throat and Pogliacomi was forced into a fine save from Llewellyn after Morgan helped on a Ferguson free kick but the Oldham keeper was left red-faced in the 65th minute when the Dragons all but secured their passage to the final.
Whether or not it was due to the Latics still adjusting to a double substitution 60 seconds earlier, Holt - who was excellent throughout - delivered a cross from the left, Ugarte headed it on and Llewellyn's soft shot somehow squirmed under the keeper's body to creep into the net.
The Wales international tried to return the assist as Wrexham began to turn the screw but when he picked out Ugarte, the striker was again foiled by the alert Pogliacomi.
But luck was obviously not with the Dragons' leading scorer - who bagged five in a virtuoso display at Hartlepool last weekend - and when he rose to meet Holt's 79th-minute cross, the keeper produced another acrobatic leap to hold the ball on the line.
The only cloud on a marvellous night for Wrexham and their fans as they counted down the clock and began the celebrations in anticipation of a first final at the home of Welsh football, was a last-minute injury to Llewellyn which saw him limp straight down the tunnel for treatment.
WREXHAM: Foster; Roberts, Morgan, Lawrence; Edwards (Green 87), Crowell, Ferguson, Jones, Holt; Llewellyn (Sam 90), Ugarte. Subs: Harrison, Pejic, Spender.
BOOKED: Ferguson, Lawrence.
OLDHAM ATHLETIC: Pogliacomi; Holden, Haining, Branston, Griffin; Appleby, Bonner (Hughes 64), Kilkenny, Eyres (Stam 64); Betsy, Cooper (Wilkinson 77). Subs: Mildenhall, Bruce.
SENT OFF: Branston. BOOKED: Holden, Kilkenny.
REFEREE: Graham Laws
MAN OF THE MATCH...
Defensively sound and always provided an attacking option