Corinthian Casuals boss James Bracken has described the decision to dock the club three points and rob them of a place in the Ryman Division One South play-offs as “scandalous”.

On Friday morning, Casuals’ fate was in their own hands and a win over Three Bridges would guarantee a play-off berth.

However, on Friday afternoon, the FA upheld a decision by the Ryman League to deduct three points for fielding an ineligible player.

The charge related to Dave Hodges’ appearance in the 3-1 win over Faversham Town in January while he was still under suspension.

It meant that Casuals needed to beat Three Bridges – which they did 1-0 thanks to James Cottee’s goal – and hope that both Faversham and Hastings United lost.

Hastings were beaten at home by Herne Bay, but Faversham beat Hythe Town to steal the final play-off spot, leaving Casuals one point behind in sixth.

Corinthian Casuals' play-off hopes dashed by points deduction - club is "devastated"

Bracken said: “Every one of those players deserves to be in the play-offs.

“That’s where my thoughts on the matter begin and end.

“We’ve done enough to get in the play-offs. We should be in the play-offs but we’re not. The reasons are scandalous to say the least.”

He added: “It’s not about me, it’s about the lads. I’ve enjoyed every minute of this season apart from maybe three halves of football.

“Every minute of every game, they’ve done everything I’ve asked of them.

“They’ve worked their socks off for nothing and they deserved their rewards. That’s what we set out to do, but we haven’t got it.”

“It’s been a fantastic season. When I came here in the summer and said I’d get this team promoted, people looked at me like I was a lunatic.

“If we’d made the play-offs, we’d have won them. People might say it’s easy to say that now, but when I’m wrong, you can pull me up on it.

“Until then, I’ll say what I want to say, and that is we would’ve won it.”