Palace went down to a 2-1 Premier League defeat in a feisty London derby at Selhurst Park that was shaped by dramatic period in the closing minutes of the first half.
Chelsea led courtesy of a brilliant free-kick from Oscar but they were reduced to 10 men when Cesar Azpilicueta made a rash lunge on Mile Jedinak right in front of referee Craig Pawson.
But Palace's numerical advantage was wiped out three minutes later as Delaney collected a second caution for pulling back Willian - a development Warnock felt was on the cards to the extent that he had readied Adrian Mariappa for action.
"I'd just got Mariappa out to put him on - too late," he explained in his post-match press conference.
"It's a silly thing to do, to give the referee a decision like that.
"I think half the [Chelsea] team surrounded the ref - I thought they influenced him at times but he's only young. It's experience, I suppose."
Warnock was critical of Pawson's overall display, but delighted with his team.
After Cesc Fabregas' beautifully-crafted second, the hosts got on the scoresheet in the final minute through Fraizer Campbell, who came close on three occasions during a lively opening to the contest.
A robust challenge on Campbell by Chelsea captain John Terry was the source of Warnock's frustration with the official.
"I just felt that if that were my player John Terry would have been booked early on," he said. "It was more clear a booking than any other decision on the day.
"For whatever reason it wasn't issued, the yellow card. I though he left a lot to be desired today, the referee. He's had better days.
"But I don't think that should take away from our lot. I think we played really well - some great stuff.
"We should have scored two or three in those first 40 minutes and it would have been a different game.
"As I said to the lads at half-time, I really enjoyed it. I thought we played some cracking stuff, the crowd got going as well.
"On another day I think we'd have got a result if things had gone our way."
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