Goals from Jermaine McGlashan and Ben Burgess gave Cheltenham the advantage in the first leg of the League Two play-off semi-final against Torquay.
McGlashan's cross-shot rolled past goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik and went in off the post to open the scoring.
The winger then provided the Robins' second after the break as he drifted the ball to Burgess who nodded home.
Torquay had chances, but Ryan Jarvis headed his effort onto the crossbar and Ian Morris' strike went wide.
Both teams were on course for an automatic promotion place over the winter months - Cheltenham were top in January and Torquay were sitting second until mid-April - but both fell short at the end of the regular season.
The Gulls went into the first leg lacking form, having failed to win in their last five games, and they came up against a confident Cheltenham outfit who went some way to proving they are worthy promotion contenders.
Torquay failed to seize their early opportunities in a hectic first half, as Rene Howe flashed his shot over the bar and Jarvis' knock towards goal was tipped away by keeper Scott Brown.
The visitors lost their spark when Howe was forced off through injury after 20 minutes but Cheltenham found their stride, with Burgess and Jimmy Spencer both causing problems up front.
But it was tricky winger McGlashan who broke the deadlock after he fed a low ball into the area which trickled slowly past Olejnik and eventually crossed the line off the far post.
Cheltenham v Torquay in 2011-12
13 May 2012: Cheltenham 2-0 Torquay (L2P/O)
14 Feb 2012: Cheltenham 0-1 Torquay (L2)
13 Sept 2011; Torquay 2-2 Cheltenham (L2)
30 Aug 2011: Cheltenham 2-1 Torquay
The Robins continued to control the game after the break, Steve Elliott lashing his strike just wide after a trademark blistering run from Kaid Mohamed.
Their pressure paid off when Luke Summerfield linked up with McGlashan, who floated the ball in towards Notts County man Burgess, who hit home with a powerful header for his third goal in four games.
Martin Ling's Gulls went agonisingly close to pulling one back moments later but Jarvis' header pinged off the crossbar after Eunan O'Kane's ball in.
As the game petered out, Torquay substitute Taiwo Atieno headed down Kevin Nicholson's ball to force Brown into action, but they failed to find the breakthrough.
POST MATCH REACTION
Cheltenham Town Manager Mark Yates told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:
"I thought we deserved to win the game, but it's half time and we're two nil up so it's far from over. However if we play with the same effort and quality we've given ourselves a chance.
"We brought Ben (Burgess) in to give us something different and he's certainly done that. He's added a different dimension to our play. Although we've got two big strong forwards up front the football was decent too."
"The boys are level headed and they're not getting carried away. When we celebrated with the supporters after the game it was not us believing we've got to Wembley, it was a show of appreciation after a long tough season."
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.
Darryl Duffy challenges Mark Ellis unfairly and gives away a free kick. Robert Olejnik takes the free kick.
90:00 +2:18 Substitution
Substitution Brian Smikle replaces Kaid Mohamed.
A cross is delivered by Sido Jombati, Mark Ellis makes a clearance.
Jermaine McGlashan fouled by Mark Ellis, the ref awards a free kick. Marlon Pack restarts play with the free kick. Jermaine McGlashan takes a shot. Save made by Robert Olejnik.
The ball is sent over by Kevin Nicholson, Taiwo Atieno takes a shot. Scott P Brown makes a save.
Centre by Jermaine McGlashan, clearance by Joe Oastler. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Marlon Pack from the left by-line to the near post, Kevin Nicholson manages to make a clearance.
Effort from outside the penalty box by Ian Morris goes wide left of the target.
Lee Mansell takes a shot. Save made by Scott P Brown.
Jeff Goulding challenges Mark Ellis unfairly and gives away a free kick. Robert Olejnik restarts play with the free kick.
The ball is swung over by Joe Oastler.
Corner taken right-footed by Eunan O'Kane from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Luke Summerfield.
Substitution Darryl Duffy comes on in place of Ben Burgess.
Kevin Nicholson takes a shot. Marlon Pack gets a block in.
Substitution James Spencer leaves the field to be replaced by Jeff Goulding.
The ball is sent over by Keith Lowe.
Lee Mansell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James Spencer. Marlon Pack takes the free kick.
Ian Morris challenges Luke Summerfield unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Marlon Pack.
Lee Mansell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Luke Summerfield. Marlon Pack takes the direct free kick.
Effort on goal by James Spencer from 18 yards. Save by Robert Olejnik.
Scott P Brown takes the direct free kick.
Substitution Lathanial Rowe-Turner joins the action as a substitute, replacing Damon Lathrope.
Brian Saah gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alan Bennett.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Kevin Nicholson from the right by-line, Ben Burgess makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken by Eunan O'Kane, save made by Scott P Brown.
The ball is crossed by Ian Morris, clearance made by Steve Elliott.
Right-footed shot by Damon Lathrope went wide right of the net.
Kaid Mohamed takes a shot. Blocked by Mark Ellis. Inswinging corner taken by Marlon Pack from the left by-line, Taiwo Atieno makes a clearance. James Spencer concedes a free kick for a foul on Mark Ellis. Robert Olejnik takes the free kick.
Shot from outside the box by Ian Morris misses to the left of the goal.
The ball is swung over by Joe Oastler, clearance made by Alan Bennett.
Marlon Pack takes the inswinging corner, Joe Oastler manages to make a clearance.
Ben Burgess fouled by Mark Ellis, the ref awards a free kick. Marlon Pack has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, clearance made by Kevin Nicholson. Corner taken by Marlon Pack from the left by-line, Ben Burgess takes a shot. Mark Ellis gets a block in.
Ian Morris has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide right of the goal.
Unfair challenge on Jermaine McGlashan by Taiwo Atieno results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Marlon Pack, clearance by Taiwo Atieno.
A cross is delivered by Keith Lowe, Lee Mansell manages to make a clearance.
Centre by Ian Morris, Steve Elliott makes a clearance.
Luke Summerfield takes a shot. Blocked by Mark Ellis.
Unfair challenge on Kaid Mohamed by Damon Lathrope results in a free kick. Marlon Pack takes the direct free kick.
The ball is delivered by Eunan O'Kane, Ryan Jarvis takes a shot.
Jermaine McGlashan provided the assist for the goal.
49:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Ben Burgess - Cheltenham 2 - 0 Torquay Ben Burgess grabs a headed goal from deep inside the penalty area. Cheltenham 2-0 Torquay.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Jarvis by Alan Bennett. Brian Saah takes the direct free kick.
James Spencer takes a shot from close in that strikes the post.
Marlon Pack takes the inswinging corner, Effort on goal by Steve Elliott from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.
The second half kicks off.
45:00 +2:10 Half time
Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.
Ian Morris gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marlon Pack. Steve Elliott takes the free kick.
Lee Mansell produces a overhead kick right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
Corner taken by Kevin Nicholson, Ben Burgess makes a clearance.
The ball is crossed by Joe Oastler, Steve Elliott makes a clearance.
James Spencer handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Brian Saah takes the free kick.
James Spencer takes a shot. Brian Saah gets a block in. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mark Ellis by James Spencer. Direct free kick taken by Robert Olejnik.
Kevin Nicholson crosses the ball, clearance made by Sido Jombati.
Ian Morris has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Sido Jombati gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken by Eunan O'Kane from the left by-line, Steve Elliott manages to make a clearance.
Joe Oastler takes a shot. Sido Jombati gets a block in.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Brian Saah by Ben Burgess. Robert Olejnik takes the direct free kick.
Foul by Taiwo Atieno on Sido Jombati, free kick awarded. Scott P Brown takes the direct free kick.
James Spencer has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
Centre by Sido Jombati, clearance made by Lee Mansell.
Eunan O'Kane delivers the ball.
Ian Morris takes a shot. Save by Scott P Brown. Corner taken by Kevin Nicholson.
Assist on the goal came from Luke Summerfield.
26:14 Goal scored
Goal! - Jermaine McGlashan - Cheltenham 1 - 0 Torquay Goal scored by Jermaine McGlashan from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Cheltenham 1-0 Torquay.
Luke Summerfield has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Mark Ellis on Luke Summerfield. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Marlon Pack.
Marlon Pack takes a shot and went wide of the right hand post.
Substitution Taiwo Atieno joins the action as a substitute, replacing Rene Howe.
Effort on goal by Eunan O'Kane from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
The ball is crossed by Ian Morris, Steve Elliott makes a clearance.
A cross is delivered by Jermaine McGlashan, Ben Burgess takes a shot. Save by Robert Olejnik. Corner from left by-line taken by Marlon Pack. Corner taken right-footed by Marlon Pack, Robert Olejnik makes a save.
Jermaine McGlashan produces a cross, Ian Morris manages to make a clearance.
Corner taken by Marlon Pack from the left by-line, Robert Olejnik makes a save.
Inswinging corner taken by Kevin Nicholson. Lee Mansell produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
James Spencer takes a shot. Brian Saah gets a block in. Corner taken by Marlon Pack.
Luke Summerfield has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the goal.
The offside flag is raised against Rene Howe. Scott P Brown restarts play with the free kick.
Luke Summerfield delivers the ball.
Rene Howe has shot on goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
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