CHESHIRE Demolition reads the large sign on a main stand that has seen better days at the Moss Rose.

Macclesfield face the prospect of being destroyed themselves by the intensifying money problems.

Just three of their players had been paid in time ahead of City’s visit. The rest of the wages, according to club sources, were “in progress”.

Read more: Gary Bowyer says City paid penalty after 'ridiculous challenge' 

It is a common theme with the Silkmen, despite the lowest playing budget in the EFL believed to be around £650,000.

Absent owner Amar Alkadhi remains in Ibiza and has not seen a game this season.

Meanwhile, volunteers refuse to man the food kiosks, the announcer stays away because he’s not been paid and the groundsman effectively went on strike for three weeks.

It was hardly surprising that there were more fans of City persuasion in the ground than those in home colours. Many Macclesfield supporters have decided that enough is enough.

Against this backdrop, City were expected to produce a demolition job of their own on a team without a win since mid-October.

They certainly laid the charges – but few went off as Macclesfield’s foundations emerged barely unscathed.

Involvement in the FA Cup may have ended early for both sides – the hosts rolling over to non-league Kingstonian with a mix-and-match assortment thrown in when the regulars protested after last month’s wages not dropping – but this had a feel of a knock-out tie on second-round day.

Macclesfield approached it like the underdog; City the supposed superior opponent struggling to lay a glove on them.

Like those Macclesfield wages, the Bantams continue to promise things will go smoothly. And yet, we are still waiting to be truly convinced.

This was the first of the two games in hand they had on everyone else in the top seven bar Cheltenham. Victory would have taken them fourth and within a shot of leaders Swindon, reminding the pack that City were in business.

Instead, those checking the score from afar will have been heartened by the failure to see off a team who don’t know if they are going to become the next Bury.

True, Macclesfield have a reputation at home where they have lost only once in 14 league games since March. Bottom team Morecambe are the sole winning visitors this season.

A pitch that had not been rolled in the week because of the heavy rain then frost proved an ally for those used to its unpredictable bounce.

But that should not be an excuse. The only reason that City could not sign off a pretty naff November with an away victory was down to themselves.

With 1,476 raucously cheering them on from the open terrace, this was an occasion to strike first and dishearten the morale of those living with the daily worry of whether they are getting paid or not.

The spirit built by the proud home record would surely still be fragile in such uncomfortable circumstances.

Instead, City managed to fumble their way through a first half they had dominated, then trail to a ridiculously-unnecessary penalty and spend the rest scrabbling around to salvage a point.

However, Gary Bowyer tried to paint it afterwards, his angry touchline demeanour as he spent most of the second half haranguing the fourth official betrayed a manager who knew this was a big opportunity blown.

The week-long call for a reaction to the Plymouth defeat had brought three changes to his starting line-up.

The most radical surgery was in midfield where Jake Reeves and Chris Taylor were an unexpected double act.

Two players with a common cause desperate to make up for lost time. Both played in that manner and stood out in a generally unconvincing performance.

Hope Akpan and the injured Callum Cooke missed out as did Aramide Oteh, who was relegated to the bench for Zeli Ismail to join the front three. On paper, it was a selection that was widely applauded by fans.

Bowyer could have gone further with his reshuffle, of course. Others were perhaps slightly fortunate to retain their place, including Ben Richards-Everton who followed his Plymouth woes with another indifferent afternoon.

The big man has gone off the boil and Paudie O’Connor will surely be knocking hard for a recall against Newport after Richards-Everton’s inexplicable rush of blood gifted Macclesfield their penalty.

By then, City should have been in the driving seat. Harry Pritchard wasn’t far off with an early shot on the turn before James Vaughan produced a haunting miss.

Zeli Ismail picked David Fitzpatrick’s pocket in the box and laid it on a plate for the skipper to sweep home from six yards. But a poor first touch got the ball stuck under his feet and he jabbed wide, complaining belatedly of a push in the back.

It was a shocker, made even worse when Macclesfield struck from their first real visit into City’s half.

Corey O’Keeffe was not even down to start until Miles Welch-Hayes pulled up in the warm-up.

Quickly promoted from a bench that had only featured six names but was now down to five, O’Keeffe’s forceful run into the Bantams box seemed to be going nowhere with a heavy touch.

But rather than shepherd it out of play, Richards-Everton waded in like a bowling ball to send the midfielder flying. Jak McCourt seized the unexpected bonus from the spot and City’s afternoon had suddenly become a whole lot stickier.

Richard O’Donnell, who played 11 games at Macclesfield as a youngster, hardly touched the ball again as his side toiled for some response.

The away end sung for 4-4-2 as half-time was greeted with boos and the situation could have got worse but for an alert goalline clearance by Adam Henley to keep out Arthur Gnahoua’s close-range flick.

The equaliser finally came on 74 minutes from the pass of the match. Oteh was bundled down outside the box and Pritchard’s free-kick was spot on for Vaughan’s header to make amends for the earlier howler.

But Vaughan still remains a law to himself at times; opting to wasting another free-kick from similar range by taking it too quickly as City frantically chased a second.

Macclesfield spent stoppage time with 10 men after Connor Kirby's red card but keeper Owen Evans remained untroubled, as he had been for most of the 90 minutes before.