ALBION boss Chris Hughton has called for more red card consistency from referees after Martin Atkinson's controversial decision to dismiss Dale Stephens at Cardiff.

The midfielder received his marching orders in the 34th minute of the late 2-1 defeat in Wales for a tackle on Greg Cunningham.

Hughton told The Argus: "The more I saw it I think it's harsh but, if we have a rule that somebody shows their studs, then they have to send everybody off on every occasion.

"There are referees, I think, that wouldn't have sent him off and the same referee on another occasion won't do it.

"There was minimal contact on the player. Yes, his studs were showing but not showing early. I think he probably made contact with the ball first before his studs were showing."

Read more: How the Albion players rated at Cardiff

It is unclear whether Albion will mount an appeal against Stephens' ban which compounds their central midfield problems, with Beram Kayal a booking away from suspension and Davy Propper and Pascal Gross injured.

Hughton said: "At this moment we have to digest it and think about making those decisions.

"That's the other side of it. It put us down to ten men for the majority of the game but it also means we will miss a key player for a period of games."

Hughton was angrier about Cardiff's scrappy 90th-minute winner scored by Sol Bamba, who was offside during the goalmouth melee.

He said: "On the balances I think he has got that (red card) wrong but I understand. The second goal you have to get it right and the linesman is in the perfect position to get that right."

Albion enter the international break on the back of successive away defeats after a hat-trick of wins.

Hughton added: "This is the hardest one to take. The three games we won could have gone either way.

"We hold our hands up at Everton, didn't deserve anything.

"This was a different type of performance but we didn't deserve to lose."