Southend skipper Kevin Maher accused his opposite number Karl Duguid of conning the referee after being sent off in the 3-0 defeat to Colchester.
Maher was sent off after 51 minutes when the score was goalless, after clashing with Duguid off the ball.
"How can a fellow professional do that?" Maher asked. "It's just embarrassing. He was holding his face and I'd not even touched him.
"I spoke to one or two of their players and they said he's the only one in their team who would react like that, and I think that says a lot. It's a sad reflection of the game."
Duguid denied the accusation and insisted that Maher deserved to be given his marching orders.
"He's put his face in my face. If you do that you get sent off, it's as simple as that. The linesman has obviously seen something," Duguid retorted.
"I think it's unprofessional for (Maher) to put his face in my face but it doesn't matter to me what he says."
Southend boss Steve Tilson believes Maher's red card changed the game, and praised his players for their performance.
"When it was 11 v 11 we were comfortable. It didn't feel like a normal derby with bad tackles until then," he commented.
"Kevin's said he didn't touch him but he's gone down.
"I can't fault the players for their effort but the sending off has changed the game."
Colchester boss Geraint Williams declared that he would watch a recording of the incident before deciding whether to take internal action against his captain.
"I was watching the ball and I looked back and saw Maher picking Duguid up," Williams recalled.
"I can't condone anyone getting someone sent off. If something has happened I'll take internal action. But I don't think anyone got anyone sent off. The ref has had reasons to send people off.
"But it's another three points for us from an Essex derby and we're very pleased."