Crisis-hit Macclesfield Town suffered an FA Cup first-round upset at the hands of seventh-tier side Kingstonian as the Silkmen’s first-team players continued a strike over unpaid salaries.
League Two Macclesfield fielded five loanees and six youth team players and were outplayed by the Isthmian Premier Division side as home fans staged protests against the club’s owners.
The K’s were 2-0 up after just 11 minutes as Dan Hector latched on to a long ball forward to fire past Owen Evans, and then then set up striker Louie Theophanous to double the lead.
Dan Bennett tapped in to make it 3-0 two minutes after the break after a Theophanous shot hit the post and the latter then netted his second after rounding Evans, putting Kingstonian into the second round for the first time since 2000-01.
Strikes and protests at Moss Rose
Macclesfield confirmed the tie would go ahead on Saturday after first-team players announced their intention to go on strike.
The club’s place in the competition for both this season and 2020-21 would have been at stake had the game been called off, and Silkmen boss Daryl McMahon was forced to name an inexperienced side – handing senior debuts to six players as he made eight changes to his starting XI.
Several supporters boycotted the tie and protested against owner Amar Alkadh outside Moss Rose, with 255 Kingstonian fans making up more than a quarter of the total attendance.
The travelling supporters also joining in chants aimed at Alkadh which were started by Macclesfield fans who did go through the turnstiles.
The strike is the latest move taken by players against the League Two club.
Macclesfield have previously been taken to court by players over unpaid wages and, in May, under then-manager Sol Campbell, they considered boycotting the final match of last season for similar reasons.
Local businessman Joe Sealey, the son of former Manchester United goalkeeper Les, told BBC Radio Manchester on Friday he had put an official offer in to buy the financially-beleaguered Silkmen.
Macclesfield offered little going forward as they were eliminated at the first round stage of the FA Cup for the third consecutive season, with Kingstonian taking £36,000 in prize money for progressing.