WINSFORD United last night replayed the North West Counties League Division Two tie they won a week ago.
The first time they outgunned Great Harwood in a penalty shootout 4-3, but both sides knew by then they were probably wasting their time.
Extra time and penalties were not in the rules, said an emergency call from competitions secretary Andrew Moffat.
Oh yes they are, said Winsford - and they were both right and wrong.
Secretary Bob Astles said: 'The rule book is ridiculous. A rule they inserted because of bad weather a few years back had not been taken out again and no-one thought to tell new clubs what it was all about.
'Everybody who has read the rules agrees extra-time and penalties were in order. I went with their secretary to the referee before the game and we all agreed on it.
'I announced it over the PA system and the North West Counties League fixture secretary Brian Redmond, who lives nearby in Kingsway, must have heard it and alerted Andrew Moffat.
'The players took the penalties knowing they probably would not count.'
The handbook says that League Cup rules apply except where stated and then gives a clause referring to ties being played over a single leg being decided on the night. The Great Harwood game was over one leg, so Winsford thought extra-time and penalties were in the rules.
But that was not so and, giving the tale a bizarre twist, Great Harwood secretary Mark Jones knew the situation because he made the same mistake himself in the last round! Yet he still went along with Winsford's misconception.
The league insist they have clarified the rules in a newsletter.
Astles added: 'You look for rules in the rule-book, not a letter.'
Manager Dave Twite added: 'There were a few angry people about. Extra-time and penalties is there in black and white.'
By Saturday the players had got over their disappointment to relaunch their promotion drive via a 1-0 win over Blackpool Mechanics.
What pleased Twite the most was the injury-time goal, though not for the obvious reason.
'It showed we kept going, that we still believed in ourselves. We were the better team but sometimes you have to be persistent until you get what you deserve. That is a different side to our character I haven't seen before,' he said.
Twite has signed 21-year-old striker Craig Marshall, after coach Roy Sweeney noticed he was a frequent scorer in the Warrington Sunday League.
Twite said: 'We have 14 different scorers and the top two, Ian Given and Mark Quinn, have each got five.
'The goals are spread around but I am concerned we have not got anyone likely to get us the 15 to 20 goals in the second half of the season.'
Marshall, tall and pacy, was a junior with Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers.
United ought to get some shooting practice on their trip to lowly Chadderton on Saturday. UNITED'S social club stages Christmas prize charity bingo on Friday (7pm) and on Sunday hosts a karaoke, magician and disco for children and adults at 5pm. Details available from Yvonne Marriott on 0775 107 1208.