Corinthian-Casuals suffered a set-back to their promotion campaign after going down 4-2 to Cray Wanderers on Saturday in the Bostik League.

A depleted Casuals side through injury and illness meant manager James Bracken had limited options to choose from going into the contest.

And the Tolworth-based side found themselves two down in the first half; a fifteenth minute header from Aaron Rhule was added to by Karl Dent’s direct free kick nearing half time.

Two quick fire goals, Rhule again and Michael Power meant Casuals were 4-0 down before Malachi Robinson immediately hit back and Reyon Dillon added a second with fifteen minutes to spare. Last ditch defending and excellent saves from Cray keeper Nick Blue prevented the comeback from being completed.

The loss is Casuals’ fourth in the league this season, of which three were on the road. The result leaves Casuals sixth with their victors leapfrogging them into fifth in the table.

“We were 2-0 down before we got going. The first 45 minutes was a write-off,” said Bracken after the match.

“We didn’t stop them from playing, though they’ve only had two efforts on goal in that period.

“But hey, they’ve scored four goals and fair play to them.

“We never asserted ourselves in the first half. Whether it was showing them too much respect, which isn’t warranted. They’re an okay side but no more than that. They should’ve been comfortable with the win at the end, but we made sure it wasn’t.

“We had nine missing today. I know that Horsham said last week that they had eight players not fit and lost 8-0 to Cray. Well, I had nine missing.

“But it’s not an excuse. The team that we put out was good enough to win as they proved in the second half by scoring two goals away from home. We can’t concede the first half of a match. We can’t defend like we did for a few of their goals. You’re not going to get away with it. We got what we deserved. You cannot concede four goals and expect anything from the match.

“We need to look at this, improve and make sure we’re better in the next game. We need to kick on.

“I’m hopeful that one or two will be back for selection for sure. Three or four of the lads back would be better. But if these lads who played go again, they get my full faith, my full support and we’ll be ready. So don’t bet against us.”

Casuals travel to league leaders Lewes on Wednesday before hosting Hastings United on Saturday.