Furious Knaresborough Town boss Paul Stansfield lamented the club’s ‘farcical’ FA Cup omission and said Reds have been robbed of a money-spinning adventure.
Knaresborough received a letter from the Football Association last Thursday informing them that their application to play in the famous competition had been rejected.
Due to the number of clubs entering the competition at the first stage, the FA implements a points-per-game ratio to decide which are accepted.
Having finished eighth in Northern Counties East League Division One, Town had thought their place in Friday’s extra-preliminary round draw was secure.
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However, the league’s decision to remove Lincoln Moorlands Railway with three matches left to play last season meant Knaresborough fell below the required points-per-game threshold.
The decision means Town miss out on the chance to win thousands of much-needed prize money next season.
“It’s a farce,” said Stansfield.
“It’s just soul destroying. We feel like we have been robbed.”
Knaresborough, who lost 3-0 to Harrogate Town in a pre-season fixture on Tuesday night, exceeded all expectations as they challenged for a place in the inaugural Division One play-off places during Stansfield’s first year in charge last season.
Their points haul of 64 from 40 matches gave them a point-per-game ratio of 1.6 which ultimately fell short of the acceptance threshold of 1.64.
Had the two victories over bottom of the league Lincoln remained in place, Town would have finished with a 1.66 points threshold and been kicking off the season with an FA Cup tie on August 6.
Stansfield said: “We have been penalised again by a decision that was made with a month to go of the season to get rid of a team that played 38 games thinking it would have no impact.
“They obviously weren’t aware of the rule by the FA and it’s cost us a place in the FA Cup. If we had those six points we would be in it.
“It’s the league’s error and I’m absolutely furious about it.
“No one cares that we’re not in the FA Cup. It hurts us but no one else will give it a second thought that Lincoln have been booted out.
“The boys worked really hard last year and to finish eighth was phenomenal. We thought we were in safely as it was the top ten this year.
“They have completely changed the goalposts and yet we still got in it with the new criteria only for Lincoln to have their points taken off.
“We will use it as a motivator now. We are not going to get anything for nothing. We are going to have to fight.”