ALSAGER Town chairman Peter Clegg says the club is 'gutted' after seeing their promotion bid scuppered off the pitch.
Greg Clowes's side have enjoyed a superb season, emerging as genuine contenders for one of the extended promotion places on offer due to the restructuring of the non-league pyramid.
As many as four are expected to depart from North West Counties Division One in May, but Town won't be one of them due to red tape over their ground.
'The club are very disappointed, the word 'gutted' springs to mind,' said Clegg.
'We had the inspection last week. We were told to make sure we had seating for 170, but when they came they told us the seats all had to be in one stand rather than two, as we have.
'There is no leeway even though we could have made the alterations in a couple of days and all the committee are gutted.
'On the other side of it, we've dusted ourselves off and we're looking how to achieve UniBond Premier standard rather than Division One for the future.'
The disappointment filtered through to the players on Saturday as a first-half goal from Chris Curley subjected them to a 1-0 defeat at Atherton LR.
Will Hurley missed Alsager's best chance but Gareth Rowe had a 'goal' disallowed and Atherton needed some good late saves from goalkeeper Colin Flood to clinch the points.
Town's disappointing end to the season continued with another narrow defeat in Monday's derby at Stone Dominoes.
Colin Fletcher's 15th minute goal gave Stone the points as Alsager's poor run stretched to six games without a win. Town's U18s reached the Sentinel Cup for the third successive season with an impressive 5-0 win over Leek Town.
Two goals from Kieron Dawson and single strikes from Lee Roden, Ian Butcher and Tom Raizada sealed the success after goalkeeper Ashley Picking had made some good first-half saves.
Alsager, who have never won the competition, will meet the winners of this Sunday's clash between Northwich Vics and Stone Dominoes in the final at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium on Friday, April 30.
Town manager Graham Mc-Garry said: 'The lads have done really well and this is the third final they have reached this season.'
The team's other quests for silverware see them play Maccles-field Town in the final of the Crewe FA U18s Cup and Stafford Rangers in the County Minor Youth League Cup final at Nantwich Town on Sunday, April 25.