Cardiff 2, Albion 1

Becoming only the second team to lose to Cardiff has taken some of the gloss off Albion's sound start to the season.

Six points from four matches between the latest international breaks, three of them away, still represents a decent return and they remain comfortably placed.

They should have one point more, possibly three, after Martin Atkinson demonstrated why VAR must be introduced in the Premier League sooner rather than later.

Atkinson (below) should be stood down from the top flight for a match when the action resumes.

The Argus: The game-changing red card he showed to Dale Stephens in the first half was dubious but, to a degree, understandable.

There is no excuse for Atkinson and his assistant between them not disallowing Sol Bamba's 90th minute winner for offside.

What followed was a more trivial desertion of duty which, nevertheless, exposes the inconsistencies that drive managers mad.

Players are routinely booked for removing their shirts when celebrating a goal. It's a daft and petty sanction but that is what is supposed to happen.

Lee Probert looked apologetic and was widely criticised in the same stadium a week earlier when he cautioned Demarai Gray for removing his shirt after scoring the winner in tribute to Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, killed in a helicopter crash.

Everyone in the ground, except apparently Atkinson and his colleagues, saw Bamba take off his shirt too.

Cardiff's giant defender escaped punishment, revealing afterwards that Atkinson had asked if he removed his shirt, to which he replied no. You couldn't make it up.

Considering Albion maintained parity for almost an hour without Stephens (below), it is reasonable to believe they would have at least drawn and might well have won against limited opponents with 11 men.

The Argus: Hughton conceded that his tackle on Greg Cunningham had "given the referee a decision to make".

It looked worse initially than it was. The studs of Stephens' right boot were raised but he did not go over the top of the ball and there was minimal contact.

The theatrical reaction of Cunningham's team-mates probably influenced Atkinson's instant verdict, although Hughton said: "It's normal. I am not apportioning blame on anybody. The opposition players are going to be jumping up in the air.

"We would probably be no different. All of that I understand. The referee has to make a decision. He's in a very good position."

Solly March was as much a victim of the incident as Cunningham.

Some supporters have questioned Hughton's perseverance with March in the No.10 role in the absence of the injured Pascal Gross.

March was having his most effective impact before the reshuffle arising from Stephens' red card cut short his contribution.

For the second game running it was his assist for a Lewis Dunk header. At Everton it was a cross from a short corner, this time via a free-kick he won.

Dunk escaped from Bamba to score before demonstrating again why he is firmly in contention to win his first England cap against the US at Wembley on Thursday with another commanding display.

He touched Callum Paterson's follow-up against the bar in the crazy scramble for Cardiff's winner. Bamba was narrowly offside when his preceding overhead kick hit the post (below).

The Argus: Bamba rammed the second woodwork rebound into the roof of the net to give Cardiff what for them, especially in the circumstances, had become a must-win game.

Neil Warnock, celebrating his 100th match at the helm, over-achieved to get them promoted. They are still odds-on to be relegated but, with Warnock in charge, they will go down fighting.

If Albion are incapable of widening the current gap of six points between the sides, they could end up in trouble themselves.

The reduction to ten men turned hopes of a second away win into a battle to avoid defeat, although they looked a threat on the counter-attack once Florin Andone replaced Glenn Murray.

The Romanian's greater mobility and pace made sense in the situation Albion found themselves in.

The disappointing aspects were failing to build on the early lead provided by Dunk and Paterson's rather soft equaliser, his third goal in four games, fashioned by Kadeem Harris.

The bright winger's darting run and cross was obligingly elevated by Gaetan Bong, dangling a leg in an attempt to clear. The change in trajectory was perfect for Paterson to nod Cardiff level.

It should have stayed that way and would have if the officials had done their job properly.