“THE punishment didn’t fit the crime,” explained secretary John Wharmby after Mossley were thrown out of The Buildbase FA Trophy.
Chairman Ray Moreland described the Football Association as being “totally unsympathetic” after the Lilywhites fell foul of a technicality.
It surrounded Eliot Goldthorp, who was on loan from Sky Bet League Two club Bradford City.
Mossley received verbal and written permission from Bradford to play Goldthorp who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 preliminary-round win at Cleethorpes Town.
It later emerged Bradford City had sent in a form to the FA half a day late.
Mr Moreland said: “It was not of our making and we had permission to play Eliot. It was not as though we set out to gain an unfair advantage.
“The legislation makes sense as it prevents players from appearing for two clubs in the same competition.
“That couldn’t happen in this case as Bradford City don’t play in the FA Trophy, but the FA were totally unsympathetic.”
To add insult to injury, Mossley were stripped for their £2,450 prize money and the chance to play at Morpeth in the first qualifying round.
Mr Moreland said: “It was a bitter financial pill to swallow and overall has cost us about £5,000.
“We didn’t have an opportunity to appeal as the punishment was dealt out on the Tuesday and the next round was on the Saturday. It has left a bitter taste.
“There are only two ways clubs at our level can make money which is from cup competitions or discovering the next Jamie Vardy.
“We have two or three promising young players who have the potential to play full-time football.”
One of those players in 19-year-old Jes Uchegbulam who has broken into the first team this season.
Uchegbulam is currently nearing the end of a three-week trial at Championship club Sheffield Wednesday. He has also had recent trials with Salford City.
The teenager was discovered by manager Dave Wild playing college football and followed him to Stockport Town and Mossley.
Wild, who describes Uchegbulam as being like a son, praised his desire to work on his game and improve.