John Coleman couldn’t wait to show a photograph to referee Peter Wright after Stanley’s 2-0 loss to Fleetwood as he felt it showed both sides should have ended the game with 10-men instead of just the Reds.

It won’t make any difference as influential Sean McConville will still miss the next three games for his dismissal at Highbury but Coleman felt important decisions by the officials went against his side.

The Reds were already trailing 2-0 to a first half strike from Paddy Madden and a controversial Ched Evans penalty when sub Evans and McConville tangled near the dug-outs in the 74th minute.

Evans grabbed McConville’s face and the wideman reacted, lashing out - resulting in Wright brandishing a red card to the Stanley man while sub Evans and team-mate Wes Burns were both shown yellow cards as tempers spilled over.

“You can see on the photograph that both players raised their hands, one’s slapped, one’s punched in the face and only one is sent off,” said Coleman, whose side haven’t won in their opening four League One games.

“The picture doesn’t lie but, when you are scrambling for points, things like that go against you.

“Sean has apologised, he is a senior player and knows he shouldn’t have reacted. We all know if you raise your hand, you expect to be sent off. He knows he has done wrong and it has cost himself and his team-mates.

“You can’t blame it all on outside influences but they didn’t help.

“We do know we have to get our own house in order. We have got to be more clinical, we have got to defend better and we have got to be better in attack.”

It was a lacklustre opening, not helped by the heat, which was frustrating as Coleman had asked his side to start on the front foot, especially after the late loss to Shrewsbury on Tuesday.

Joey Barton’s side created the better early openings but Stanley should have taken the lead on 23 minutes when, from a McConville corner, Dion Charles got the ball in the box but Madden was able to clear it off the line.

It was an important clearance by Madden – and then the in-form striker did what he does best at the other end.

Lewis Coyle whipped in a cross and Madden swept the ball past Dimi Evtimov on 28 minutes to give Fleetwood the lead.

Winger Ash Hunter then had two decent chances with Evtimov denying him both times as the first half didn’t live long in the memory.

Stanley were more at it after the break and former Burnley keeper Matt Gilks kept out a Colby Bishop header while Sam Finley was one-on-one with Gilks but fired wide.

Evans came on for his second ‘debut’ for the Cod Army on 63 minutes, having signed permanently from Sheffield United in August following a loan spell last season.

And he was in the thick of it straight away, forcing Evtimov into a save three minutes later.

Then came the disputed spot kick on 71 minutes, Zaine Francis-Angol was judged to have brought down Josh Morris with the Stanley players livid, feeling the left back got the ball.

While Evtimov guessed the right way, Evans tucked the penalty into the far corner of the net.

Stanley went down to 10 and then, ironically, played better having two penalty shouts themselves, for what they felt were fouls on Offrande Zanzala on 84 minutes and a push on Bishop on 89 minutes.

“The one on Colby was a stonewall penalty. Major decisions went against us but we have to improve,” added Coleman.