Fleetwood Town head coach Uwe Rosler said Chris Long’s late sending off at Port Vale was ‘unforgivable’.
After Long was fouled by Remie Streete with Town facing a 2-1 defeat in the dying embers of the game the on-loan Burnley front man dusted himself down to go and retrieve the ball.
However, after Paulo Tavares threw the ball over him the striker saw red and appeared to headbutt the Vale player.
The incident sparked a melee that also saw Vale’s Anthony Grant pick up a yellow card for his reaction.
Long’s red card for violent conduct means he will face a minimum three match ban which is another blow to Town’s already limited squad.
Jimmy Ryan hobbled off with what appeared to be a foot injury and Conor McLaughlin is also set to miss tomorrow’s FA Cup first round replay with Southport at Highbury due to international duties with Northern Ireland.
Rosler said: “Today, with how we set up with pace on the flanks, it worked well.
“Chris Long got his goal which was very important for him but then to do that after that is unforgivable basically. I can’t explain because I have not seen it.
“I just asked him and he said he did something and the referee saw. I don’t know what he did and I don’t know what he meant.”
Town were 1-0 up thanks to Long’s 52nd minute goal but missed numerous opportunities to increase their lead.
Rigino Cicilia equalised in the 74th minute and Alex Jones appeared to handle the ball over the line in the 86th minute as Vale leapfrogged Town in the League One table.
Rosler said: “The second goal was a clear handball.
“We make a mistake to get them back in the game out of nothing and then they score a handball; that makes it very hard for me, for the players and everyone connected with Fleetwood Town to accept. But that is life I have been in far worse situations than this.
“We had numerous chances to get it over the line and we did not and that is only up to us.
“Yes the referee helped them and gifted them the second goal but we should have been three, four or five up.
“We are not capable of getting it over the line at that moment in time.
“I think it was our best away performance, tactically, technically point we created an unbelievable amount of chances and opportunities.
“In the first half we had three or four, second half we had a lot and it came to a point were we had three against one and could not score.”