Pogrebnyak was shown a second yellow card for simulation, shortly before Brighton's Leonardo Ulloa also saw red, during 10 minutes of first-half madness at the Madejski.
The Russian, starting his first league game this season, had already picked up a soft booking for tripping Kazenga LuaLua when he tangled with David Lopez and Keith Andrews on the corner of Brighton's area.
Pogrebnyak was definitely being held, and had his heel clipped, but his theatrical tumble convinced card-happy referee Graham Scott to produce a second yellow and off he trooped.
But Adkins said: "I didn't think it was a dive, it's a clear foul.
"I have to be careful what I say as a lot of managers are getting fined at the moment.
"That referee has sent a lot of players off this season, we highlighted that before the game.
"You feel for Pavel. He's had a tough time and I tried to give him an opportunity, a fresh start, and for him to get sent off for two bookings gives us a challenge going down to 10 men."
Visitors Brighton would surely have fancied their chances of three points following Pogrebnyak's dismissal with an hour still to play.
But 10 minutes later it was goodbye to Ulloa, who stupidly gave Scott the opportunity to level things up with a chin-high, karate-style challenge on Alex Pearce to earn a straight red card.
A stalemate was the predictable outcome as both teams ploughed on for the rest of the match without their main frontmen.
Reading improved in the second half and midfielder Jem Karacan was twice denied by Tomasz Kuszczak.
But Seagulls substitute Ashley Barnes came closest to grabbing an unlikely winner 10 minutes from the end when he met Stephen Ward's low cross, only to be denied by a combination of Alex McCarthy and the near post.
"In the first half we couldn't put two passes together but in the second we were better," added Adkins.
"It's a second clean sheet in a row so that's something to build on and our keeper made a couple of good saves which is pleasing."
- Sports & Recreation
- Leonardo Ulloa
- David Lopez