Corinthian-Casuals Manager James Bracken slammed the sending off decision that ‘cost’ his side three points as 10-man Casuals had to settle with a draw against Brightlingsea Regent last Saturday.

Striker Warren Mfula was instantly dismissed from the field of play following an off-the-ball incident – though video footage revealed the red card was harshly issued. “Having watched back the incident on video it’s never, ever a red card,” said Bracken after the match. “Neither the referee or assistant has seen it and it’s 100% cost us.”

Match referee Shelby Elson explained that Mfula had inappropriately reacted to a shove from Brightlingsea’s Josh Gould, explaining that the Casuals striker grabbed the instigator by the throat. However, footage appears to exonerate Mfula of blame, with the referee not witnessing the actual incident.

“Of course, the sending off has influenced the game because with eleven men, there would’ve only been one winner.

Casuals had taken the lead for the first time in the league this season when Jack Strange converted a Coskun Ekim corner. Corinth nearly made it two when Ekim’s free kick crashed off the post with Reece Hannigan unable to steer the rebound home.

The visitors made two tactical substitutions before half time in an attempt to prevent the game slipping away. Their approach to the match was not dissimilar to their 3-2 win over Kingstonian back in August, where two K’s players were also dismissed.

Taking advantage of the extra man, Brightlingsea equalised just after the break when Matthew Baxter converted a cross leaving Brannon Daly no chance in goal.

However, Casuals remained a threat and Gil Carvalho could’ve won it in stoppage time but his header sailed narrowly over the bar.

“We were that much better than them,” claimed Bracken. “They were getting nowhere near us but we should’ve been more clinical and had this done by half time.

“In the second half, we were still the more dangerous team even with 10 men. Okay, they’ve put some balls in the box, had little spells of two or three crosses in a row, but we’ve countered them and looked like scoring ourselves.

Bracken eluded to the fact that Casuals have had plenty of misfortune this season so far, not least with their goalkeeping injury crisis. Brannon Daly made his debut following another injury to previous stand-in keeper, Bradley Comins in the week. Daly is the fifth keeper used this season already, with six others side-lined. Bracken remains upbeat.

“I’m only disappointed with the amount of points we have. I’m not disappointed with anything else. Yes, we’ve had some tough lessons to learn. Apart from the first half against Margate, we’ve been more than competitive at this level. But we can’t be happy with what we’ve put on the points table.

“The chances we’re creating are fine. At the back, we’re looking solid. I’ve got no problem with it but it’s disappointing that we don’t have the points we deserve.

"Realistically, we should have seven points, with a game in hand, and that would be a fair reflection of where we’re at. We need to ensure we keep the mentality right and keep the confidence high because we’re not far away. Once we get that one win, we’ll go and start winning multiple games in a row.”

Casuals host Whyteleafe  in the Emirates FA Cup at King George’s, Tolworth on Saturday.