Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray agreed with his opposite number at Watford that Matej Vydra did not deserve to be sent¿off at Vicarage Road where the Yorkshire club won 2-1.
Vydra was dismissed two minutes before half-time following a second yellow card, with referee Steve Rushton believing the striker had stamped on Nicky Bailey.
The Hornets had gone ahead in the first minute through Troy Deeney, before Marvin Emnes levelled matters for Boro after half-an-hour.
Scott McDonald grabbed the winner on 77 and Mowbray said: "I didn't even see a tackle, let alone a sending off, and I think everyone in the stadium is flabbergasted.
"I was asking the fourth official and he said the referee said there was intent with six studs showing.
"It was obviously harsh for them. They started the game extremely well.
"The sending off obviously helped us and allowed us to have the ball. We still found it difficult to break them down but eventually got the second goal and saw the game out."