Matt Smith maintained his stunning goalscoring record against Gillingham to secure his Bristol City team-mates a trip to Wembley as the sides drew 1-1 at Ashton Gate.Fulham loanee Smith, who scored all four goals in the Robins 4-2 Johnstone's Paint Trophy first-leg victory, cannot even play in March's showpiece event but he settled their progress with a first-half header – his seventh goal in three meetings with the Gills this season - to send them through 5-3 on aggregate.
The lively Jermaine McGlashan had the 169 travelling fans believing as he finished off a swift passing move but a string of smart saves from Frank Fielding killed off any hopes of a memorable comeback.
Gillingham came into this clash knowing they needed to sentence City to just their fourth home defeat of the season to have a chance of progressing, but fell behind when giant forward Smith broke the deadlock with 18 minutes on the clock.
But that lead was cancelled out in the 32nd minute when Cody McDonald back-heeled the ball to Bradley Dack and his inch perfect throughball was slid home by McGlashan.
Buoyed by their leveller, Gillingham continued to press on and only a stunning save from Fielding in his left-hand corner denied Doug Loft's side-footed effort.
Luke Freeman was lucky to finish the half on the pitch for a late tackle on McGlashan which referee Scott Graham deemed as just a yellow for the City playmaker.
The Gills picked up where they left off after the break and only another fine parry from Fielding kept out McGlashan's curling effort.
But then City regained control and carved out two fantastic chances within 10 minutes. First Smith's looping header dropped an inch past the far post before James Tavernier's curling cross was nodded across goal by the unlikely figure of Greg Cunningham at the far post.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was also denied when his thumping right-footed drive crashed off the near post with Nelson beaten in the 77th minute, but a draw was enough to send City to Wembley for the first time since 2008.