Alan Browne was sent-off in the 38th minute of Preston North End's 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
The Ireland midfielder saw red after kicking out at Sam Morsy. He did so in retaliation at being hit twice by the Boro player in the seconds beforehand.
Preston manager Alex Neil spoke to referee Oliver Langford about the incident at half-time and was subsequently also shown a red card.
"I'm pretty sure you guys have seen it back," Neil told the Lancashire Evening Post after the game.
"It is an extremely poor decision in my opinion, I have seen it back.
"The lad Sam Morsy hits with a sort of forearm in the back of the head. Sometimes when the ball is there you don't see someone and you catch them.
"But he was right in front of him, he catches him and flings his arm at him as well.
"Alan instinctively reacts because not only has he been hit once, he's been hit twice. It hard to accept and hard to understand how the referee and his assistants can see Alan's part but not Sam Morsy's part which has basically changed the game in their favour.
"Their player has been the aggressor and our player has reacted off the back of that aggression.
"I thought up until that point for 30 minutes or whatever it was, we played really well, we moved the ball well and were on top of the game, we were aggressive."
Preston were already a goal behind time at the time of the red card. A Marcus Tavernier goal early in the second half sealed the win for Boro.
The result leaves Preston 16th in the Championship, neither in danger of relegation nor anywhere near the playoff places.
Neil added that though he would still have been aggrieved, had the referee shown a red card to both Browne and Morsy, it would have been a fairer decision.
"I've seen those incidents before, usually the main aggressor gets the most severe punishment and the other one gets a yellow card for reacting off the back of the first incident," said Neil.
"The fact we got a red and they got nothing, beggar's belief really."