Fulham manager Felix Magath reckoned the major reason Matt Smith lasted a mere 18 minutes into his Fulham career before earning a deserved red card after a studs-up tackle on Royals midfielder Hope Apkan was a bizarre bit of wrestling six seconds after the start.

The £500,000 striker got caught as he charged forward, and although Magath had no problems with the former Leeds striker’s dismissal, reckoned it was provoked.

“Sure, he made a mistake,” said Magath. “But after seconds he was wrestled and that was frustrating him. If you look at the second action and you don’t see the first, you have a player who wants to protect himself. The keeper also tells me someone caught his arm for their second goal.”

he manager admitted it was getting frustrating for him and the players.

He added: “I care for the fans. They support us very well, but it was terrible what happened today.”