Corinthian-Casuals slumped to a second straight defeat going down 1-0 to Merstham at Tolworth.

James Bracken’s side are yet to score this season after they drew a blank against Haringey Borough on Saturday.

Casuals found themselves behind after just seven minutes, when a cross-field pass split open the defence and the resulting cross was turned in by Omar Folkes.

Had Merstham been more clinical, they should’ve been three goals up by half time, though squandered two golden opportunities to put the game to bed.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Corinth rallied in the second half and will feel aggrieved that two big penalty shouts were waved away by the referee. However, there can be no complaints about the visitors being the winners seeing as Casuals failed to test Merstham stopper Matte Pierson on any single occasion.

Merstham once again prove to be Casuals’ bogey side, with just two wins from the previous 17 Isthmian League encounters – a record that’s unlikely to be matched for its one-sidedness by any other club.

“Saturday was very different,” commented Bracken after the defeat. “We had four great chances to score and we’ve not managed to put any of them away.

“Tonight – debatable penalty aside, there were no chances. That’s the truth. I cannot remember their keeper needing to make a good save.

“When Merstham scored, it gave them confidence and by rights, their nine should’ve scored a hat-trick. So, we need to improve, certainly on that first half.

“We showed better intensity in the last ten minutes and became more of a threat. That’s not good enough. We must be intense right from kick-off. If you find yourself 3-0 up after an hour, that’s when you can play a little more comfortably. 

“We’re getting into good areas. We’re playing some good football, but perhaps overplaying at times. How many crosses have we put into dangerous areas? I don’t remember one. Too many crosses have hit the first defender or gone out for a goal kick.

 “For all our good play, we get into dangerous areas and then descend into stepovers, drag-backs and the like. We need to simplify things.

“No one will work harder than us to rectify that in training and analysing this week.

“This level of football is about being consistent. Dan (Pringle) said to me ‘that’s typical us. We never play the same way in succession.’ It’s frustrating because we approach each game in the same way, but it wavers between good performances and flat ones like tonight was.

“The team we picked for the first game of the season was what I thought is the strongest side I could pick. On the day, we were the better side. Tonight, apart from one change, we pick the same side and expected them to perform somewhat close to what they did at the weekend. Unfortunately, they haven’t.

“I’ll certainly analyse everything that we as a management team did. Have we made mistakes? Did we pick the right side? Should we have freshened things up? These are all great questions, retrospectively. The bottom line is the players should’ve done better. And they know that.

“The plan this season is to score more goals and we have goal-scorers in this squad. But where were the passes flying across the face of the goal for them to pounce on? Where’s the ball in behind that they can run onto? We can’t expect them to create their own chances.

“Anyone can beat anyone in this league. It’ll be topsy-turvy. Carshalton finished second last season and they’ve lost the first two games. Anything is possible. We must make sure we don’t panic and dramatically change things too much. There’ll be boys on the bench or not involved, who came down anyway because they’re great lads, who’ll be looking at me wondering if they’re in with a chance on Saturday.

And Bracken put out a warning to his squad for the need to step-up their game.

“Bottom line, I’ll never put out a side who I don’t think is good enough to win. If I don’t think they’re good enough, I’ll get new players in. That’s not a threat, just a truth.

“I won’t just watch us lose and lose again. I have people calling me constantly about bringing in new players… good players. And that includes pro-clubs offering me players, just this week that I’ve turned down.

“Why have I turned them down? On Saturday, I saw enough to believe in this squad. I want to build a side that trains with me every week, buys into your principals of what we’re trying to achieve. We’ve put a lot of time into these players over the last few months. They’re a good bunch with good attitudes and you want to back them.

“But the bottom line is, they must step up and deliver consistent level of performances, because this group of players are good enough to be better than the decent sides in this division.”

Casuals travel to Cray Wanderers in the league on Saturday.