Torquay eased past Shrewsbury in the first leg of the League Two play-off semi-final.
The Gulls dominated the first half and went ahead when Gavin Tomlin pulled the ball back and found Chris Zebroski who fired home through a sea of defenders.
They doubled their lead just before half-time when Eunan O'Kane's 20-yard strike fooled keeper Ben Smith.
The Shrews pushed to reduce the deficit but to no avail, leaving them with a mountain to climb in the second leg.
The visitors went into the game unbeaten in five, but were out-played from the off and struggled to cope with a confident Torquay side, who will now feel they have taken a significant step towards reaching the final at Old Trafford.
Shrews manager Graham Turner may be left to rue the 'oversight' which led to on-loan Torquay striker Jake Robinson being allowed to face his parent club, as the 24-year-old was instrumental in helping the Gulls seal a two-goal cushion.
The visitors had few goalscoring opportunities but their best came early on when James Collins' shot from 20 yards was easily saved by Scott Bevan.
Tomlin and Robinson started to menace the Shrews defence and both supplied crosses for Billy Kee, but he was unable to convert.
Matt Harrold then fired wide for Shrewsbury and when they lost defender Ian Sharps to injury, Torquay took hold.
They found the breakthrough on the half-hour mark when Tomlin turned his marker and laid it to Zebroski who blasted home from eight yards out.
By this point Robinson was running riot on the left flank and moments before the half-time whistle, he supplied O'Kane who drove the ball into the bottom corner and caught keeper Smith unaware.
Shrewsbury were unable to find a way back into the game in the second half and had youngster Tom Bradshaw to thank for not falling further behind after he cleared another Zebroski effort off the line.
Smith made smart saves from Kevin Nicholson and Tomlin to keep the score down but the Shrews know they have it all to do in the second leg next Friday.