SEMI-PROFESSIONAL football was reduced to the level of Sunday League when Spennymoor United could not raise a team to visit Witton Albion in the President's Cup.
Almost certainly they will be expelled from the competition, which means Witton will now face Bamber Bridge in the final.
Stunned Albion secretary Phil Chadwick took the call from Spennymoor at 10.30am on Sunday saying they could not gather enough players together.
The tie had been switched early last month to a Sunday to accommodate the Northwich Vics-Woking game which had priority use of the Wincham Park pitch.
Spennymoor will be hauled before the UniBond League management committee on Sunday.
League secretary Duncan Bayley said: 'They are charged with failing to fulfil a fixture and will be dealt with.
'They have offered a number of reasons covering availability of players and arguments about playing on a Sunday.
'I have never heard of this before and I never want to again. It is very disturbing.'
It is the first such incident in the 35 years since the Northern Premier League (now UniBond) started.
Spennymoor can be kicked out of the competition and dis-qualified from entering next year, as well as fined and ordered to compensate Witton, though this may be self-defeating because the Durham club is already in a financial crisis.
Albion chairman Mike Worthington said: 'It is extraordinary. I am bitterly disappointed for our supporters and the league whose credibility is effected.
'We'll probably go straight into the final, but that is not the way we would have liked to have done it.
'We will put in a compensation claim for the printing of programmes and catering costs, but cannot for the loss of the gate.'
Witton, eager to get back into action after beating Radcliffe 4-0 the previous week, can take out their frustrations against Burscough tonight (Wednesday, 7.45pm).
Their visitors are sixth in the table and seeking a play-off place, which is still a hope for Witton who are at full strength.
On Saturday Albion are at Prescot Cables and two wins would certainly boost their chances of a top five place. * In the 1970s several Ashton United players got lost en route to Northwich but they started the Cheshire League against Witton with only eight men rather than scratch. * Lal Hilditch, Witton's manager and secretary in the 1960s, has died at his Black-pool home.