Giantkillers Droylsden have been expelled from the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible player.
Last week, Droylsden thought they had won their second-round tie against League Two side Chesterfield at the fourth time of asking after fog, a controversial goal and floodlight failure had foiled three previous attempts to separate the sides.
But it turned out that defender Sean Newton, who scored both their goals in a 2-1 win, was ineligible after collecting his fifth booking of the season on December 9.
An FA Cup protest sub-committee met on Monday and ordered that Droylsden be removed from the competition and League Two side Chesterfield will now play Ipswich in the third round on Saturday.
The sub-committee also ruled that the FA Cup prize fund payment of £30,000 should be redirected to Chesterfield.
After discovering they faced being expelled, Droylsden’s manager and chairman Dave Pace said he would ”throw myself off the nearest bridge” if they were kicked out of the competition. Pace also confirmed that Droylsden would appeal against the decision.
He told BBC Radio Manchester: ”It is ludicrous as we have beaten Chesterfield fair and square on the field. ”It is not as if we have brought a ringer in at the last minute. Sean Newton is one of our players. It was a genuine mistake by our secretary. Fine us by all means but don’t kick us out.”
The Droylsden versus Chesterfield FA Cup tie has been unusual to say the least. The first match between the two teams was abandoned at half-time for fog with Droylsden leading 1-0.
In the replay the match was tied 1-1 in the 78th minute when Droylsden put the ball into touch deliberately following an injury to a Chesterfield player Carl Lamb. But, after Lamb got back on his feet, the ball was thrown to Jack Lester who, instead of just passing back to the Droylsden goalkeeper, as is the convention in such circumstances, lobbed Craig Mawson for a goal.
Tempers boiled over and both benches emptying. Then the bizarre moment happened when Broylsden kicked off Chesterfield, seemingly embarrassed by Lester’s goal, allowed Droylsden’s Steve Halford to run through unopposed from the kick-off to make it 2-2, which is how the match ended.
That game ended up in a 2-2 tie and the third attempt at finding a winner ended when the replay at Droylsden’s ground was abandoned with Chesterfield leading 2-0 and under 20 minutes left to play, when the floodlights went out.
It seems on fitting that this strange FA Cup tie is decided in a conference room and not on the pitch.