SkyBet Championship: Tim Robinson to referee Brentford v Fulham

Tim Robinson will take charge of Friday’s west London derby at Griffin Park, before Paul Tierney will oversee Saturday’s televised early kick-off between Wolves and Derby at Molineux.

Tim Robinson in action
Moving up: Robinson is in his fifth season as a Football League referee but has ambitions to officiate in the Premier League one day (Picture from Sky Sports)

TIM Robinson has been confirmed as the referee for the west London derby between Brentford and Fulham on Friday night.

The 32-year-old, from west Sussex, will take charge of the first SkyBet Championship match of the weekend as the Cottagers seek a first victory at Griffin Park in 18 years, in front of the Sky cameras (KO 19:45 BST).

He will be assisted by Andrew Fox (Warwickshire) and Mark Jones (Nottinghamshire), with James Adcock (Nottinghamshire) the fourth official.

Robinson is becoming a regular on live TV and on Friday nights – having been on electronic board duties at Loftus Road for Brentford’s 2-0 win over QPR, which Adcock refereed, in another west London derby last week.

Seven days earlier, he gave six yellow cards when in the middle for Burton Albion’s 2-0 win over Birmingham City at the Pirelli Stadium.

His only other televised game this term came in September when he awarded penalties to both sides in Peterborough’s 2-2 draw with Swindon at the ABAX Stadium in League One.

Swindon midfielder Michael Doughty admitted afterwards he had to ‘bite his tongue’ after Robinson controversially awarded Posh a free-kick, on the linesman’s advice, despite Doughty appearing to cleanly the ball off Marcus Maddison – who went on to score.

The Select Group 2 whistler, who gave up his job as a PE teacher to become a full-time official last summer, will oversee his 14th match of the season in all competitions.

Robinson has so far brandished 65 yellow cards, sent off three players and awarded three penalties – and it will be the second time he will encounter both sides in the Championship this term.

Tim Robinson at full-time (Hull v Sheffield Wed - 26th Feb 2016)
Established: Robinson is now a familiar presence in the Championship and is able to focus more on his refereeing as a professional EFL official (Picture from Sky Sports)

He encountered the Bees in their 1-0 home win over Nottingham Forest in August, in which Forest defender Damien Perquis was dismissed for two bookable offences late on.

Meanwhile, Robinson oversaw the Cottagers in their 1-1 draw against Burton at Craven Cottage in mid-September.

In the same month, he was criticised by Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth for missing what he felt was a blatant handball in the build-up to Portsmouth’s third goal in their 4-2 victory over his side at Fratton Park in League Two.

Robinson’s only previous experience of a west London derby came back in February in Fulham’s 3-1 win at QPR.

He handed out four bookings at Loftus Road but QPR felt Dan Burn should have been sent off for bringing down Jamie Mackie as the last man.

The Middleton-on-Sea official enjoyed a progressive campaign last season – in which he officiated 43 games in all competitions, 14 of which were in the Championship and six were televised.

Robinson was fourth official for four Premier League games as well as the League Two Play-Off Final, and handled the League One Play-Off semi-final second leg between Millwall and Bradford at the New Den.

Robinson – who is the chairman of the Chichester and West Sussex Sunday League – has been qualified for 15 years and progressed through the Sussex, Wessex and Ryman leagues having first taken up the whistle on the advice of his former PE teacher, Paul Blackmore.

He ran the line in the 2008-09 Conference Play-Off Final at Wembley before gaining a place on the Football League list of assistant referees in the 2010-11 season.

His first game as a National List referee was Southend against Accrington in League Two in August 2012.


Seasoned campaigner: Tierney handled over 200 games in the Football League since his promotion in 2008 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Premier League whistler Paul Tierney will take charge of the Midlands derby between managerless Wolves and Derby County on Saturday.

The 37-year-old, from Lancashire, has been assigned to the televised lunchtime encounter at Molineux as Wolves’ caretaker boss Rob Edwards hopes to get the better of the Rams in his first home game in charge (KO 12:15 BST).

He will be assisted by Andy Halliday (north Yorkshire) and Mark Scholes (Buckinghamshire), while Select Group 2 referee Chris Kavanagh (Manchester) will be on fourth official duties.

It will be Tierney’s 11th game of the season in all competitions, having so far brandished 37 yellow cards, one red card and awarded two penalties.

He had an assured top-flight debut in Swansea’s 3-0 win over West Brom in August 2014 and went on to officiate four other games before his promotion to the Select Group, along with Stuart Attwell, was confirmed this summer.

Paul Tierney in Premier League action (Watford v WBA - 15th August 2015)
Lenient: Tierney has largely escaped controversy and stayed under the radar in his seven Premier League games to date

The former hairdresser, who is the first referee from Wigan to officiate in the Premier League, has already handled Burnley’s 1-1 draw with Hull in September and Swansea’s goalless draw with Watford this term.

He was criticised by Watford boss Walter Mazzarri after last month’s match at the Liberty Stadium for failing to award what he felt were two clear penalties for his side.

Tierney was also labelled as “appalling” by then Bolton boss Neil Lennon at the start of last season when refereeing another derby in the Championship, in their goalless draw with Blackburn at Ewood Park.

Paul Tierney referee (Swindon v MK Dons - 4th April 2015)
Expert: Tierney has controlled more Championship games (82) than any other league or competition in his career (Picture from Sky Sports)

Saturday will be his fifth second-tier match of 2016-17 – and his second in front of the Sky cameras, after taking control of an incident-free stalemate between Derby County and Aston Villa in another all-Midlands affair at the iPro Stadium in August.

Tierney, meanwhile, has not encountered Wolves for over a year since their 2-0 home defeat by Brentford in October 2015.

His career highlights include running the line in a 2009 FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Arsenal, taking charge of the 2014 League Two Play-Off semi-final second leg between Southend and Burton Albion and being fourth official for the FA Trophy Final in the same year.

Last season, he oversaw 46 games in all competitions, including both legs of the FA Youth Cup Final and Plymouth’s 1-0 second-leg win over Portsmouth in the League Two Play-Off semi-finals.

Although allowing the game to flow as much as possible and largely avoiding controversy, Tierney has built a reputation for being a card-happy official during his six seasons as a Football League referee.

The clash between the sides at Molineux was also officiated by a Premier League referee last season, as Graham Scott handed out five bookings when George Saville struck twice for their 2-1 win over Derby back in February.

Different role: Tierney has been fourth official for eight games this season, six in the Premier League and two in Europe (Picture from Sky Sports)

You can view the rest of the EFl match official appointments here.

Scottish Premiership: Late drama as Aberdeen see off Rangers

Substitute James Maddison’s stunning free-kick gave Aberdeen a dramatic late win over rivals Rangers at Pittodrie in the first meeting of the sides since 2012.

  •  First meeting of the bitter rivals since January 2012
  •  Sub Maddison strikes stunning free-kick in 90th minute
  •  Andy Halliday penalty cancels out Jonny Hayes opener
  •  Only Aberdeen’s second win over Rangers in 14 meetings
  •  Rangers only scored seven league goals in as many games

Return: Rangers had won on their previous three trips to Pittodrie but couldn’t do the same as the bitter rivals renewed acquaintances (Picture from Sky Sports)
JAMES Maddison’s stunning late free-kick gave Aberdeen a dramatic victory over Rangers in a pulsating first meeting between the rivals for almost five years.

After a first half lacking in goalmouth action, the returning Jonny Hayes struck 22 seconds into the second period with a composed finish for the Dons.

He turned from hero to villain for tugging back Rangers captain Lee Wallace in the box, allowing Andy Halliday to superbly convert a 79th minute penalty.

But, in the 90th minute, substitute Maddison stepped up to produce a sumptuous effort from 22 yards, which flew past Wes Foderingham into the top corner.

A third successive win in all competitions lifts Derek McInnes’s team up to second place – four points behind leaders Celtic, who came from behind to thrash Kilmarnock 6-1 on Saturday.

But Rangers boss Mark Warburton was furious with the award of the decisive free-kick – when James Tavernier was booked despite appearing to poke the ball away from Hayes – and angrily confronted referee John Beaton on the pitch after the full-time whistle.

It leaves the Gers seventh in the table with nine points from seven league games – in which they have conceded the first goal in five of them.

But despite a respectable display and his side boasting 63 per cent possession, Warburton must be concerned as their winless run in the Scottish Premiership stretches to four games.

Nevertheless, it was a fantastic spectacle for the neutral – featuring nine yellow cards – as a long-awaited first meeting since January 2012 saw one of Scottish football’s most bruising rivalries renewed.

As predicted, there was a frantic and fast tempo to the opening exchanges in front of a near full house at Pittodrie, with both sides – who reached the Betfred Cup semi-finals in midweek – taking time to settle into a rhythm.

Harry Forrester’s shot deflected behind by Anthony O’Connor before an Adam Rooney effort at the other end was blocked by Danny Wilson – illustrating both sets of defences were on top in the first period.

The first flashpoint took 10 minutes to arise when Joe Garner took offence to a foul on him by O’Connor, but referee Beaton handled the situation well, reminding them in no uncertain terms who was in charge.

A lack of control early on was emphasised by Garner’s needless sliding challenge on Hayes, which earned him a yellow card.

The ex-Preston striker made his presence felt throughout and he should have done better when heading Tavernier’s delightful cross over the crossbar on 17 minutes.

Rangers – backed by almost 2,000 fans for their first trip to the Granite City since 2011 – enjoyed 61 per cent of possession in a first half during which they were increasingly dominant.

Tavernier’s free-kick from 20 yards couldn’t a way past the Aberdeen wall before Joe Lewis was required to make an excellent save, scampering across his goalline after Garner’s wayward shot looped up off Shay Logan’s foot and was bound for the bottom corner.

Jason Holt – on his 50th Rangers appearance – rifled a half volley straight at Lewis after Garner missed his kick from Tavernier’s cutback before Barrie McKay curled off target on his right foot.

Aberdeen sat deep for long periods and struggled to carve out any kind of chances, with a Kenny McLean drive tipped over superbly by Foderingham the closest they came.

But after a first half lacking in goalscoring opportunities, the second period exploded into life as the Dons – who introduced Maddison for Peter Pawlett at the interval – drew first blood in no time at all.

A simple long ball forward by Lewis was flicked on by Rooney into the path of the onrushing Hayes, who easily escaped the Rangers defence to slot underneath Foderingham.

The Gers mustered a positive reply as Halliday’s free-kick flashed across the face of goal and drifted wide, before Wallace fired over from range but an effective end product continued to desert them.

Waghorn, fresh from a hat-trick against Queen of the South on Tuesday, then scooped over inexplicably from six yards after McKay’s cutback caught Garner by surprise.

Aberdeen largely offered a sporadic threat on the counter thereafter but remained a solid unit to thwart the Gers, who sent on Niko Kranjcar and Michael O’Halloran in place of Forrester and Waghorn.

Hayes got clear again down the left and his low effort was denied by Foderingham at the near post, after the Dons soaked up a sustained period of pressure.

But the Irish winger was at fault after bringing down the marauding Wallace, who was released in behind by substitute Kenny Miller.

It gave Rangers fan Halliday the chance to step up and send Lewis the wrong way from the spot, for his second goal in as many games.

From then on, Aberdeen pressed for a winner and, as the end of normal time approached, 19-year-old Maddison supplied it in dramatic fashion with the deadliest of free-kicks – surely a goal of the season contender.

Rangers desperately tried to respond but time was against them as they suffered their second league defeat of the season, while the Dons recorded a first win over the men from Govan since 2009.

James Maddison
Catching the eye: The on-loan Norwich midfielder scored for the second successive league game after netting in last Sunday’s 3-1 win at Dundee (Picture from Sky Sports)
Aberdeen 2 (Hayes 46′, Maddison 90′)
Rangers 1 (Halliday 79′ pen)


Aberdeen XI
Four changes: Mark Reynolds, Adam Rooney, Jonny Hayes and Peter Pawlett came in for Ash Taylor, Jayden Stockley, James Maddison and Wes Burns (Picture from Sky Sports)
Substitutes:  Maddison (on for Pawlett 45′), Burns (on for McGinn 78′) and Taylor (on for Rooney 90+1).
Not used:  Alexander (GK), Storey, Storie, Stockley.
Booked:  Hayes, McLean, Shinnie, Reynolds, O’Connor


Rangers XI
Four changes: Lee Wallace, Wes Foderingham, Harry Forrester and Barrie McKay replaced Lee Hodson, Matt Gilks, Niko Kranjcar and Michael O’Halloran (Picture from Sky Sports)
Substitutes:  Kranjcar (on for Forrester 63′), O’Halloran (on for Waghorn 69′) and Miller (on for Garner 77′).
Not used:  Gilks (GK), Hodson, Senderos, Dodoo.
Booked:  Garner, Wilson, Kranjcar, Tavernier


John Beaton referee
Mixed: Beaton started the game well and was on top of most things but was often too quick to issue cards and shouldn’t have awarded the decisive free-kick late on (Picture from Sky Sports)
Referee: John Beaton – 7/10
Assistant referees: Dougie Potter and Andrew McWilliam
Fourth official: Don Robertson

Attendance: 19,263


Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes:

Derek McInnes
Second time: The former Rangers midfielder’s only previous win over the Gers as a manager came in a 4-1 success with St Johnstone in 2010 (Picture from Sky Sports)
“It was a sensational winner. The players fought hard for that. First half, I was really annoyed with how we played. Getting the [Jonny Hayes] goal gives the players that belief and confidence to go and get the win. They [Rangers] get a lifeline with the penalty kick. Wee James [Maddison], what a free-kick. We should be shouting from the rooftops with how good that is. We deserved the three points.”

Mark Warburton
Crucial decision: Warburton felt the referee handled a difficult game well before awarding the free-kick which allowed Maddison to struck a memorable winner (Picture from Sky Sports)
Rangers boss Mark Warburton:

“We dominated the ball first half completely but went in at half-time frustrated it was 0-0. We gave away a schoolboy goal and for three or four minutes we looked a bit rocky. We lost our composure then got the ball down, then played. We got our rewards via the penalty and I thought there was (only) one team in it. I said to (assistant) Davie Weir we’d be frustrated to only get a point here when we have come and delivered a really good performance. I am never happy to drop a point, never mind three. I will be careful what I say about the free-kick. Everyone saw the ball move. The fourth official on the sidelines saw the ball move and made a comment. And yet a free-kick is given.”

Rangers striker Joe Garner told the club’s official website:

“We’re obviously very disappointed. I think the first half we played very well and over the last couple of games we have played well but we need to start picking up points now. You could say that we dominated or that we were the better side but that happens in football. We just have to try to take our chances and be positive.”

Mike Jones set for east Lancashire derby at Turf Moor

Premier League referee Mike Jones will take charge of the SkyBet Championship clash between east Lancashire rivals Burnley and Blackburn Rovers at Turf Moor this weekend.

Mike Jones looks on (P'boro v WBA FA Cup replay - 10th Feb 2016)
Highest level: Jones has handled 19 top-flight matches this season (Picture from BBC Sport)

MIKE Jones will take charge of Burnley’s east Lancashire derby with Blackburn Rovers in the SkyBet Championship this weekend.

The Premier League referee will oversee the eagerly-anticipated second meeting of the campaign between the sides separated by 11 miles, at Turf Moor this Saturday lunchtime (KO 12:30 GMT).

He will be assisted by Select Group linesmen Andy Halliday and Andy Garratt, while Scott Duncan (Northumberland) will be the fourth official.

Jones, from Cheshire, will be in the middle for his fourth Championship game of the campaign.

He has already officiated two Yorkshire derbies in the second-tier this term – issuing six bookings in both as Sheffield Wednesday drew at Leeds in August and won at Rotherham in October.

But it will be the 47-year-old’s first experience of a passionate and hostile rivalry between two of the Football League’s founder members, who first met in September 1879.

Jones will hope for a similar performance to the experienced Keith Stroud, who managed Burnley’s 1-0 win at Ewood Park in October well.

Keith Stroud smiling (Blackburn v Burnley - 24th Oct 2015)
Under control: Stroud did not produce any cards in a lively reverse encounter but turned down penalty appeals from both sides (Picture from Sky Sports)

It will be his first Clarets match since their 1-0 success at Aston Villa in May 2015, their final Premier League game before relegation.

Now, Sean Dyche’s team will be hoping to complete a league double over Rovers and boost their push to secure an automatic and immediate return to the top-flight.

It will, however, be a first taste of the fierce derby for Blackburn boss Paul Lambert in what will be a cauldron of noise at Turf Moor as Rovers look for a first win in six meetings over their arch rivals.

Chester-born whistler Jones has officiated 28 games in all competitions so far this term.

He has brandished 98 yellow cards and awarded nine penalties, with his only red card given to Newcastle’s Daryl Janmaat in their 2-0 defeat at Swansea back in August.

Having sent off 10 players in 34 matches in 2014-15, Jones has adopted a more lenient approach this term, in which he has overseen several high-profile games – including Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Arsenal at Anfield last month.

He has not encountered Blackburn since a 1-1 draw against Wigan at the DW Stadium in January 2015.

Mike Jones in action (Spurs 0-0 Everton - 29th August 2015)
Experienced: Jones has been a Premier League referee since 2008 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Jones spent 11 years refereeing in the Football League before earning promotion to the Select Group and has since been in the middle for over 150 top-flight games.

He has been in charge of two finals at Wembley – the League Two play-off final in 2007 and FA Trophy in 2009 – and was fourth official for the 2010 Championship Play-Off Final, 2010 FA Community Shield and 2012 FA Cup Final.

Jones has been embroiled in his fair share of controversy in recent years, from the infamous beachball incident at the Stadium of Light in 2009 to giving a penalty against Leicester’s Wes Morgan when the ball struck his face at Anfield last season.

First Premier League game for referee Hooper

Football League referee Simon Hooper will take charge of his first Premier League match on the opening weekend of the 2015-16 season when promoted Norwich host Crystal Palace.

Simon Hooper awards free-kick (Lge Two PO Final - 23rd May 2015)
Experienced: Hooper has spent eight full seasons as a Football League referee (Picture from Sky Sports)

FOOTBALL League referee Simon Hooper will take charge of his first Premier League match on the opening weekend of the 2015-16 season.

The 32-year-old from Wiltshire will oversee newly-promoted Norwich City’s first match in the top-flight since May 2014 against Crystal Palace on Saturday (KO 3pm).

His assistants at Carrow Road are Andy Garratt and Andy Halliday while the fourth official will be Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).

Hooper was the fourth official for four Premier League games last season and refereed the League Two play-off final between Southend and Wycombe in his first match in the middle at Wembley Stadium.

He handled 39 games in all competitions last season – brandishing 131 yellow cards, sending off four players and awarding 11 penalties.

In the regular 2014-15 league campaign, the IT services manager officiated 21 times in the Championship, 10 in League One but only twice in League Two.

Hooper handled several notable games including the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy northern area final first leg between Preston and Walsall in January and Bournemouth’s 3-0 win over Bolton in April which secured their Premier League promotion.

He was also the fourth official for the FA Trophy Final between North Ferriby United and Wrexham in March at the national stadium.

It is a surprise appointment given that Hooper – who is among the so-called “Talent Group” of officials being considered for promotion – has not been elevated to the Select Group with Graham Scott the only official making the step-up from the Football League in the close season.

But Hooper has long held ambitions to become a full-time Premier League official and his selection is testament to how his high his ability is rated by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

Last term, fellow National List whistlers Paul Tierney, Stuart Attwell and Keith Stroud all received trial games with a view to gaining promotion.

On the opening weekend last season, Hooper made headlines when he appeared to be shoved by Norwich’s Martin Olsson as he sent off the defender in their 1-0 defeat against Wolves at Molineux.

Failing to make the grade at Swindon Town as a striker when released at the age of 16, Hooper took up refereeing and was promoted to the Football League list as a linesman in 2006.

He oversaw the Conference League Cup final in 2008 at the end of his first campaign as a National List referee.

Hooper established himself as a regular in the second tier last season, officiating 17 Championship games – five of which came in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

His first ever Football League game came in the fourth tier when Exeter faced Shrewsbury in August 2007.

Norwich bounced back to the Premier League at the first time of asking after beating Middlesbrough 2-0 in the play-off final at Wembley while Crystal Palace finished 10th in the top-flight ahead of manager Alan Pardew’s first full campaign in charge.

Andre Marriner to referee Middlesbrough v Leeds

Premier League referee Andre Marriner will take charge of promotion-chasing Middlesbrough’s SkyBet Championship clash with Leeds United at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

In control: Marriner was the man in black for the FA Cup tie between non-league Dover and Premier League side Crystal Palace in January
In control: Marriner was the man in black for the FA Cup tie between non-league Dover and Premier League side Crystal Palace in January

PREMIER League referee Andre Marriner will take charge of promotion-chasing Middlesbrough’s SkyBet Championship clash with Leeds United on Saturday.

The 44-year-old – from the West Midlands – will be the man in the middle as Aitor Karanka’s second-placed team host an improving Leeds at the Riverside Stadium in the televised lunchtime kick-off.

He will be assisted in Teeside by Select Group linesmen Michael Salisbury (Lancashire) and Andy Halliday (North Yorkshire) while the fourth official will be Richard Clark (Northumberland).

It will be Marriner’s fourth Championship game of the season – with the last coming back in October.

He has, though, been largely out of favour in the Premier League this term and has only received 11 matches to date – including Crystal Palace’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle last Wednesday.

The Sheldon-based whistler – who is reportedly a Birmingham City supporter – will also be in control of the electronic board for Everton’s top-flight encounter with Leicester City at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Double-check: Marriner discusses with Anthony Taylor whether Glenn Whelan should have been sent off
Double-check: Marriner discusses with Anthony Taylor whether Glenn Whelan should have been sent off (Picture courtesy of @SentinelStaffs)

Last weekend, Marriner was involved in a bizarre incident as the fourth official for Blackburn’s FA Cup tie with Stoke when he apparently told Anthony Taylor to send off Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan for two bookings even though he only had one to his name.

Overall, the Fifa official has brandished 74 yellow cards in 22 games in all competitions so far this campaign while awarding six penalties.

His only red card came in his previous outing in the Championship – sending off Bournemouth striker Yann Kermorgant in their 2-1 victory over Bolton at the Macron Stadium on October 4.

Marriner handled the high-profile FA Cup tie between Premier League leaders Chelsea and Bradford last month, which the League One side won 4-2 at Stamford Bridge after coming from two goals down.

His only major controversy of the campaign thus far occurred in December when awarding Manchester City a penalty after Phil Jagielka’s perceived challenge on James Milner which proved to be the decisive moment in a tight game while there were several other decisions which irked Everton manager Roberto Martinez.

Marriner was appointed to the National List of referees in 2003 after three seasons as a Football League linesman and was promoted to the Select Group two years later following a successful trial game in November 2004.

He was the fourth official for the 2008 Community Shield and joined the Fifa list of international referees in 2009 at the age of 37 – although he will retire from this duty at the mandatory age of 45 next year.

Experienced: Marriner has overseen almost 200 Premier League games since his first over a decade ago
Experienced: Marriner has overseen almost 200 Premier League games since his first over a decade ago (Picture from

In 2010, he received his first major refereeing appointments when overseeing the Championship Play-Off Final as Blackpool beat Cardiff City and the FA Community Shield involving Manchester United and Chelsea – both at Wembley.

His award to one of the biggest and most-watched Premier League matches of all-time – the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium in April 2012 – was testiment to his form and he was then given the honour of taking charge of the 2013 FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic.

Reflection: Marriner spoke to the FA's TV channel in an interview before the 2013 FA Cup Final
Reflection: Marriner spoke to the FA’s TV channel in an interview before the 2013 FA Cup Final

Marriner became only the third referee to issue a red card in the showpiece having dismissed City full-back Pablo Zabaleta for a second bookable offence before the Latics’ winner.

Last season, he infamously showed a red card to Kieran Gibbs instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who handballed on the goalline, in Arsenal’s 6-0 Premier League defeat at Chelsea but his case of mistaken identity went unpunished by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and he returned to duty a week later.

Marriner – who handled Hull’s win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup semi-finals last season – was among the contenders to officiate the 2015 Capital One Cup Final next month but this was awarded last week to Anthony Taylor.

Boro – who face Birmingham at St Andrew’s on Wednesday – had won six games in a row for the first time in 20 years prior to last Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round.

Leeds have steadily progressed into the top half of the table in recent weeks after an upturn in form under head coach Neil Redfearn, winning four of their last five games.

The match will commence at 12:15 GMT on Saturday, February 21, with live coverage on Sky Sports 1 and HD1.

Anthony Taylor to referee Capital One Cup Final

Premier League referee Anthony Taylor will be the man in the middle for the 2015 Capital One Cup Final between Chelsea and Tottenham at Wembley on March 1.

Anthony Taylor watches on (Newcastle v Sunderland - 21st Dec 2014)
Holding the whistle: The much-improved Taylor has enjoyed a steady season but has been criticised for some divisive decisions

ANTHONY Taylor has been appointed as the referee for the 2015 Capital One Cup Final between Chelsea and Tottenham on March 1.

The 36-year-old from Cheshire will take charge when the two London rivals of the Premier League compete for the first major trophy of the campaign at Wembley Stadium next month.

He will be assisted by experienced linesmen Dave Bryan (Lincolnshire) – who is set to retire at the end of the season – and Lee Betts (Norfolk).

Fellow Select Group referee Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire) has been assigned to fourth official duties while the reserve assistant is Andy Halliday (North Yorkshire).

It will be Taylor’s first national final as a referee – and his second time as the man in the middle at the national stadium after handling the 2012 FA Trophy Final – although he was the fourth official for the 2012 League Cup Final and the 2013 FA Cup Final.

The Wythenshawe-based whistler has established himself as a regular and reliable choice for Premier League games in this his fifth season at the highest level of English football.

He has also been entrusted with several high-profile encounters in the last 12 months including his first Merseyside and Tyne-Wear derbies this term.

Flashpoint in Merseyside derby at Goodison Park (7th February 2015)
Flashpoint: Taylor had several minor incidents to deal with during his first Merseyside derby at Goodison Park earlier this month

It is widely regarded among refereeing circles that the appointment is deserved based on a series of consistent performances in the past two seasons.

Taylor has only dropped into the Football League once in the current campaign – for the goalless draw between Midlands rivals Wolves and Birmingham at the start of November.

Overall, the Altrincham FC supporter has brandished 95 yellow cards, sent off four players and awarded four penalties so far in 23 games in all competitions in 2014-15 – prior to the FA Cup tie between Blackburn and Stoke he is due to oversee this afternoon (14 February).

Only Martin Atkinson – who was in charge of last season’s League Cup Final – has officiated more top-flight games than Taylor’s 19 while he also sits third in the yellow-card count.

Anthony Taylor books Fabregas for diving (S'ton v Chelsea - 28th Dec 2014)
Caution: Taylor shows a perplexed Fabregas a yellow card during the Premier League clash at St Mary’s at the end of December

The Fifa official has recently attracted widespread criticism for some dubious decisions including booking Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas for an alleged dive under the challenge of Matt Targett during their 1-1 draw at Southampton.

Taylor then sent off Swansea’s Wayne Routledge on New Year’s Day – a decision his manager Garry Monk described as “baffling” – for reacting to an aggressive challenge from QPR midfielder Karl Henry which didn’t even receive a booking.

He also oversaw Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Liverpool in November and was criticised by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers for failing to award a penalty for a late handball by Gary Cahill.

His three Tottenham games already this term – against QPR in August, Newcastle in October and Crystal Palace last month – have scarcely yielded controversy although Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino bemoaned the award of Palace’s penalty at Selhurst Park as his side lost 2-1.

Taylor began in the Northern Premier League in 2002 and advanced to the Conference in 2004 before joining the National List three years later with his first Football League match coming in League Two in August 2006.

His first Premier League match came in April 2010 before he was promoted to the top-flight permanently prior to the 2010/11 season and has controlled 95 matches since.

Having established himself as a capable and highly-rated official, he was admitted to the Fifa list of international referees in 2013.

Anthony Taylor at Old Trafford for Soccer Aid 2014
On duty: Taylor was in charge of the second half of last year’s charity contest and awarded a penalty to the Rest of the World

He also shared officiating duties at the Soccer Aid charity match – held every two years between England and the Rest of the World – last year with fellow Premier League referee Phil Dowd at Old Trafford.

Chelsea reached their first League Cup final since 2008 – when they lost 2-1 to Spurs after extra-time under Avram Grant – with a 2-1 aggregate win over Liverpool in the semi-finals.

Pochettino’s Tottenham earned their place in the showpiece by beating League One side Sheffield United 3-2 over two legs last month.

Both sides are bidding to lift the trophy for the fifth time and the 55th League Cup Final will be exclusively live on Sunday, March 1 on Sky Sports with kick-off at 16:00 GMT.

Chris Foy in FATV interview for 2010 FA Cup Final
Chris Foy oversaw the 2009 final as Spurs lost to Manchester United on penalties

2014:  Martin Atkinson
2013:  Kevin Friend
2012:  Mark Clattenburg
2011:  Mike Dean
2010:  Phil Dowd
2009:  Chris Foy
2008:  Mark Halsey
2007:  Howard Webb
2006:  Alan Wiley
2005:  Steve Bennett