Corinthian Casuals have been docked three points by the Ryman League for fielding an ineligible player.

The penalty relates to Dave Hodges’ appearance in the 3-1 win over Faversham Town in January while still on suspension.

Casuals believed his suspension to have been served by not playing the winger in a county cup tie.

Prior to the announcement, Casuals were sitting in the Ryman Division One South play-off places with one match remaining, and their destiny firmly in their own hands.

However, they have dropped to seventh, two points outside the top five.

It now means they must beat Three Bridges this weekend and hope that both Faversham Town and Hastings United both lose at home to Hythe Town and Herne Bay respectively.

Fans went to Twitter to register their displeasure at the decision.

Robert Wooldridge wrote: “The alleged infraction happened in January. So why did it take so long? The day before the end of the season is just wrong.”

Cam agreed: “Worst news you could hear after a long day. @CorinthianCas out of the playoffs for something out of our hands. Joke of a decision. #rubbish”

The club’s official Twitter feed said: “Suffice to say, all at the club are devastated.”