The hosts played nearly an hour with nine men after first Afellay and then Adam were dismissed within six first-half minutes.
West Brom used their two-man advantage to full effect, with Salomon Rondon’s first-half stoppage-time goal proving the difference – a strike Hughes took further umbrage with.
Hughes admitted that both red card decisions may have been correct “by the letter of the law”, but stressed that “common sense” should be used in such situations.
“I’m delighted with the performance of my team under difficult circumstances,” he told reporters.
“The first red card, Ibrahim Affelay reacted to being flicked in the face. By the letter of the law, maybe they both should have been sent off.
“With the second one, Charlie Adam ends up standing on the lad’s leg after the other player had followed through on him. I think it was harsh.
“It’s not a stamp, it’s a step. To get anything from the game after that was difficult.
“They (the officials) also played a minute too long in the first half and they scored their goal in that time. I asked about that and he said it was because Jack Butland was wasting time. I don’t agree with that.
“We were so clearly the dominant team in the opening stages. It was only a matter of time before we created a chance but unfortunately the referee only saw one side of the coin with the Affelay red card. He raised his hands, which is a sending off. But you have to see the whole incident. He reacted to Craig Gardner raising his hands towards him.
“We had 28,000 people here to see a quality Premier League game and the officials need to take that into account. They were too quick to hand cards around.
“If I complain to the powers-that-be I will get a double-sided piece of paper with an explanation – but where is the common sense?”