Luckless West Bromwich Albion midfielder Steve Watson led the protests after the incident that sentenced the Baggies to their 2-1 derby defeat to Aston Villa at The Hawthorns.
Watson, who had just scored Albion's equaliser, was struck on the arm by Gareth Barry's quickly-taken free-kick.
And, although he did not deny that it was handball, he was upset at the fact that Villa had been allowed to take the free-kick when Watson and his Albion wall were still setting themselves up.
"I've no complaints about where the ball hit me," said Watson. "It was a quick free-kick and the first reaction was to stop the ball getting past me. It hit did me on the arm.
"The only complaint was that he allowed a quick free-kick 20 yards out like that when we had been stopped from taking a couple.
"I'd have liked to ask the referee the difference between them taking free-kicks quickly and us not being allowed to."
Although conceding that his team had not been at their best, it was a contentious incident that brought the same complaint from Albion boss Bryan Robson, who also thought his side might have won a penalty earlier for an handball shout against Villa defender Aaron Hughes.
"For whatever reason," said Robson, "the referee does not give us a penalty for handball in the box and then, every time we tried to take free-kicks quickly, the lads were saying we had to play to the whistle.
"It was handball, but he shouldn't have been allowed to take it like he did. It's one rule for one team, another for the other."
Villa manager David O'Leary was more concerned with the overall pattern of the contest.
"The best team won by a mile today," he said. "We came in at half time and we knew we should have been well up and that we could end up getting mugged like Arsenal were when they came here.
"But we got off to good start in the second half. And although we conceded another goal from a set play to get them back into it, the key for us was to not get drawn into the battle because we know we're not good enough for that.
"That's what won us the game and we should have won it by more."
O'Leary had been hit by the loss of his keeper Thomas Sorensen with an overnight virus, forcing Stuart Taylor to come in to deputise, with better results than on his debut at Manchester City in October.
But the major bonus for the Villa boss was having the inspirational presence of his skipper Olof Mellberg back in the starting line-up for the first time since a hamstring injury at Bolton three weeks ago.
Mellberg had headed Villa in front after just four minutes on his last visit to The Hawthorns 16 months ago. And, although O'Leary had suggested that he was looking more at next weekend's FA Cup tie Hull City as a likely comeback date, Mell-berg made a return in place of Liam Ridgewell.