Corinthian-Casuals boss James Bracken had “lots of positives” to take from their opening day defeat at Hastings United as they went down 2-1 in a competitive Bostik South fixture.

Two first half set pieces, converted by Hastings forward Jack Dixon put Casuals under the cosh at half time.

A spirited comeback from Casuals in the second half saw Mu Maan’s strike from 15 yards halve the deficit but despite hitting the post and having good chances to level, Hastings held on for a 2-1 win.

“Lots of positives. As far as defeats go, it’s not the worst,” said Bracken, who was forced to sit in the stands through a touchline ban imposed for an infringement carried over from last season.

“Most Managers probably say the same thing after a defeat but I thought we were at least worthy of a draw.

“First half, we know that they’re going to want to play football, flood the midfield and use their rotations. They didn’t achieve it once.

"We limited them to very little controlled possession in our half and their centre halves would give the ball back to us or go long into the front.

“But we got caught out by two free kicks.”

Casuals started brightly and Jerson Dos Santos headed home early on but was ruled out as he was adjudged to have fouled his marker in the process.

Hastings took the lead in the 8th minute when a free kick was headed home at the back post by Jack Dixon.

Hastings doubled the lead just before the break when another free kick was floated into the box and looped home… Casuals protests waved away believing keeper Danny Bracken was fouled in the build-up.

“The first one, whenever you flick a ball on as a defender, it’ll always cause you problems at the back post. It wasn’t good from our point of view. It wasn’t a drastic error, rather just one of those things.

“The second one, I can’t comment on as I was writing something down at the time, so I’ve done a bit of a ‘Wenger’ there… I didn’t see it.

“I can’t be too hard on the lads because they followed our instructions.

“It’s a little disappointing that we’ve had our own chances in the first half in what was a tight game and to get undone by two goals like that made it an uphill struggle.

"We gave it a good go and by the end, we’ve laid siege in their half for the whole second period. With a little more guile and simplifying things we’d have created more chances. But we had chances and had we got the second goal early enough, we could’ve even gone on to win the game, because it was all us.

“Sitting in the stands for the game does hinder you to an extent but not as much as you’d expect. We had good communications with the dugout and with the boys relaying messages.

"It’s never going to be the same as if it comes directly from myself as by the time you relay the message, possession might have changed. The boys in the dugout, Joe (Davies) and Ike (Robertson-Feehi) done a great job. I’ve got no qualms about how it went.

“We had seven missing today. Four of those are definite starters in what would be our strongest team. Some of those are players who got to the playoff final last season and they are missed when injured. Then again, the lads who’ve come in today have done well so I have no problem with that.

“We have a very good squad. We’re lucky in the fact that week-in, week-out we can get a good sixteen players out. That’s something we’ve never had a problem with. But those boys coming back from injury will be a big plus.”

Casuals host Greenwich Borough on Tuesday before FA Cup fever hits King George's as they host Hythe Town on Saturday.