WORCESTER City manager Carl Heeley is hoping video evidence will exonerate Shabir Khan of blame in the incident that saw the left-back sent off against Gloucester City.

Shabir was shown a straight red card after 67 minutes of the Skrill North derby for an off-the-ball clash with Tigers captain Matt Coupe, who was also sent off for his part in the scuffle.

Although Heeley admits that Shabir’s conduct in the aftermath of the altercation, which led to players and coaches wading in before chasing each other down the tunnel, was unacceptable, he feels he was provoked.

Worcester were trailing 2-1 at the time and, once play resumed following a stoppage of several minutes, could not find an equaliser to prevent their second successive defeat of the season.

“Without seeing a video replay of it, my initial thoughts were that Shabir was innocent in that incident,” Heeley said. “He was very unfortunate to get sent off but I would need to see footage of it.

“Why Shab was sent off, I don’t know. His reaction afterwards was unacceptable and he knows that but he shouldn’t have gone in the first place.

“The melee between the players and the benches was regrettable but unfortunately these things happen. It doesn’t make it right but as a club we have to deal with things as we see fit when we have got more evidence.

“There is no place for things like that and it’s poor. It spoilt what overall was a really competitive local derby.”

Shabir and Coupe are both set to face automatic three-game bans for violent conduct, while the clubs could also be charged with failing to control their players once referee Michael D’aguilar has filed his report.

Gloucester were quick to address the incident and chairman Nigel Hughes said in a statement: “The board condemns the actions of a number of players and staff from both clubs which took place during the second-half of the fixture.

“The behaviour and lack of self discipline on display was totally unacceptable. Gloucester City will be dealing internally with this matter and apologise unreservedly for the behaviour demonstrated.”

City are expected to issue a statement following their board meeting tonight.

A first-half own goal from centre-half Graham Hutchison and Scott Wilson’s 52nd-minute strike had given Gloucester a 2-0 lead before right-back George Williams halved the deficit after 58 minutes.

New signing Jake Heath, who has joined Worcester on a month’s loan from Walsall, was among the substitutes at Whaddon Road but was not used.

The 18-year-old will bolster City’s midfield options with former Shrewsbury youth-team captain Elliot Turner nursing a hamstring injury that has forced him to miss the first two games of the campaign.