ANDY HOLT was an experienced pro but even he had goosebumps in the tunnel area before playing in one of Wrexham's most memorable matches.

The left-back, who made more than 200 Football League appearances before joining the Reds in the summer of 2004, helped Denis Smith's side reach the LDV Vans Trophy final in his first season at The Racecourse.

The Wrexham players familiarised themselves with The Millennium Stadium the day before the showpiece against Southend.

But Holt was still gripped by a sense of nervous excitement in the moments before kick off.

"We had a walk on the pitch the day before the final and everything was like you hoped it would be," said Holt.

"As a kid you dream of playing at Wembley or the Millennium Stadium, it was such a huge arena and you think: 'I can't believe I am playing on this pitch'.

"Before the game, we did our warm-ups and we were in the tunnel before kick-off.

"I don't know if the tunnel had some kind of amplifier in it, but I was stood next to Ben Foster, we heard the noise and it was so loud and powerful.

"We were like giddy kids waiting to go into a sweetshop and we both said we had goosebumps going down our necks, it was such an incredible sound to come out onto the pitch to and hear the cheer.

"It was literally dreamland. This is what we trained every day for."

Neither side scored in 90 minutes but prolific striker Juan Ugarte put Wrexham ahead in the first half of extra-time.

Wrexham, battling to avoid relegation from League One after being deducted 10 points for entering administration and considered underdogs against a Southend team challenging for promotion in the division below, sealed a 2-0 win thanks to Darren Ferguson's late strike.

Ferguson ran through on goal and Holt admits he was surprised to see the Reds' skipper so far up the pitch in the closing stages.

"I have got highlights I take away from each club I played for and that day was up there with the best," said Holt.

"I think it was even more fitting that it was played at The Millennium Stadium in Wales.

"We travelled down a day or two before and I remember it was incredibly sunny on the day of the final and it was an amazing day.

"Southend were top of League Two at the time and we were near the bottom of League One so there wasn't much between us.

"It was quite a cagey affair so I wasn't surprised it went to extra-time.

"I suppose the biggest surprise was Darren running through in the last minute to make it 2-0 after Juan had scored because I thought he would have been knackered by then!"

Holt enjoyed the celebrations on the pitch following the final whistle and after spotting family members in the crowd, went off to grab his phone from the dressing room to speak to them before the Reds were presented with the trophy.

"Getting to the final was amazing but losing it would have been devastating," said Holt.

"It was an amazing victory and it will go down in the club's history where we went to a huge stadium and won a trophy.

"It was a great day for the fans as well. After the game, I couldn't have my phone on me obviously but the whole of the Wrexham end was going absolutely crazy.

"About 14 members of my family had come down on a minibus and I managed to spot them.

"I managed to go into the changing room to get my phone and ring them from the pitch.

"They were just screaming, delighted, and then we got presented with the trophy which was great.

"At the end of the day, we had just done our job, played a football match, but it meant so much more."

Wrexham lost their relegation battle but there was personal recognition for Holt who won the Player of the Season award.

The 41-year-old, who spent one more season with the Reds, still considers it a special stint in his career.

"That season I managed to score a few goals and play most of the games so it was a really good season for me," added Holt.

"The downside was being relegated but if it wasn't for the 10 point deduction, it might have been different.

"I still loved being at the club and it was a great period of my career."