FA Cup: Match officials appointed for third round replays

Ben Toner and Graham Scott will take charge of the two televised games at Sincil Bank and Home Park with all nine ties to be settled in midweek.

Man in black: Graham Scott (middle) has been assigned to Liverpool’s televised replay at Plymouth on Wednesday as the sides drew 0-0 at Anfield in the original tie (Picture from Sky Sports)

The match officials have been announced for this week’s FA Cup third round replays.

There are nine ties to be decided in total, which will take place on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 January.

Two have been selected for live television coverage.

Football League referee Ben Toner will be in the middle for National League side Lincoln City’s match against Championship outfit Ipswich Town at Sincil Bank on Tuesday evening, live on BBC One.

Meanwhile, Premier League official Graham Scott will take charge of League Two Plymouth’s replay against Premier League giants Liverpool at Home Park on Wednesday night, in front of the BT Sport cameras.

Here are the details in full…


AFC Wimbledon v Sutton United (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)
Assistant referees: John Flynn (Oxfordshire) & Christopher Husband (Worcestershire)
Fourth official: John Busby (Oxfordshire)

Barnsley v Blackpool (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)
Assistant referees: Akil Howson (Leicestershire) & Wayne Grunnill (East Yorkshire)
Fourth official: Ross Joyce (Cleveland)

Burnley v Sunderland (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Assistant referees: Peter Kirkup (Northamptonshire) & Simon Bennett (Staffordshire)
Fourth official: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

Lincoln City v Ipswich Town (KO 20:05 GMT, live on BBC One)
Referee: Ben Toner (Lancashire)
Assistant referees: Billy Smallwood (Cheshire) & Alix Pashley (Derbyshire)
Fourth official: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)

Fleetwood Town v Bristol City (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)
Assistant referees: James Mainwaring (Lancashire) & Helen Byrne (Durham)
Fourth official: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear)

Crystal Palace v Bolton Wanderers (KO 20:00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Assistant referees: Dave Bryan (Lincolnshire) & Harry Lennard (East Sussex)
Fourth official: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)


Newcastle United v Birmingham City (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Assistant referees: Nick Hopton (Derbyshire) & James Bell (South Yorkshire)
Fourth official: David Webb (County Durham)

Plymouth Argyle v Liverpool (KO 19:45 GMT, live on BT Sport)
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)
Assistant referees: Simon Beck (Bedfordshire) & Simon Long (Cornwall)
Fourth official: Andy Davies (Hampshire)

Southampton v Norwich City (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)
Assistant referees: Sian Massey-Ellis (West Midlands) & Marc Perry (West Midlands)
Fourth official: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

You can see a full list of FA Cup fourth round fixtures here. 

SkyBet Football League: Linington, Coote and Scott to referee Championship derbies

James Linington, David Coote and Graham Scott will take charge of the Severnside, Midlands and Yorkshire derbies respectively in the SkyBet Championship this weekend in front of the Sky cameras.

New job: Linington gave up his day job as a self-employed plumbing and central heating engineer to become a full-time referee on the Select Group 2 over the summer (Picture from Sky Sports)

JAMES Linington will be the man in the middle for Friday night’s Severnside derby between Cardiff City and Bristol City.

The Isle of Wight official will be at the helm for Neil Warnock’s first game as Bluebirds boss when the fifth-placed Robins visit the Cardiff City Stadium to face the second-bottom team (KO 19:45, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted by Steven Meredith (Nottingham) and Neil Davies (London), with Tim Robinson (west Sussex) on fourth official duties.

Linington encountered both sides in the first month of the season in the Championship.

The 37-year-old awarded QPR a late penalty to help them beat Cardiff 2-0 in south Wales in August, before booking eight players in Bristol City’s 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at Ashton Gate two weeks later.

Overall, he has issued 39 yellow cards, sent off one player and awarded three penalties in seven games this term – five of which have been in the Championship and two EFL Cup ties.

Linington was due to take charge of Derby’s televised match with Newcastle at the iPro Stadium last month but was injured in the warm-up and replaced by the fourth official, Darren Bond.

Linington has probably been the biggest beneficiary of the 18 referees who turned professional in Select Group 2 over the summer.

The Newport-based whistler has to travel the furthest to get to games by catching the ferry from Fishbourne port across the Solent before making the rest of his journey by car.

He will be hoping to stay on the right side of new Cardiff manager Warnock, who has had many a run-in with referees during his career despite being a qualified official himself.

Linington took up the whistle at the age of 14 before giving up football playing as a winger because he was told he was ‘not strong enough’.

He has been a Football League referee since 2008 – having spent two years as a Select Group linesman, during which he ran the line in the 2006 League One Play-Off Final at Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium.

But Linington’s biggest honour to date came when refereeing Dagenham & Redbridge’s 3-2 win over Rotherham in the 2010 League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Taking control: It will be Coote’s seventh Championship game of the season this weekend, having only handled 10 in the whole of last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

David Coote has been confirmed as the referee for Aston Villa’s clash with Midlands rivals Wolves on Saturday.

The Select Group 2 official has been put in charge of the evening game at Villa Park when managerless Villa welcome Walter Zenga’s Wolves (KO 17:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).

Coote will be able to call upon the assistance of Shaun Hudson (Tyne & Wesr) and James Wilson (Cheshire), while Andy Madley (west Yorkshire) will be on electronic board duties as fourth official.

The West Yorkshire whistler has been among the busiest in the Football League so far this term, having refereed 11 games and been fourth official for nine others.

He has dished out an average of three yellow cards per match, sent off Reading’s Garath McCleary in their 2-1 win at Barnsley and pointed to the penalty spot three times.

Coote has never officiated an Aston Villa game before but was in the middle for Wolves’ 2-1 defeat against Leeds at Elland Road in April last season.

It will be his second TV game and major derby of the campaign after impressing in his first ever East Anglian derby at Portman Road in August – issuing just one booking in Ipswich’s 1-1 draw with Norwich.

Cricket-loving Coote, originally from Nottinghamshire, first took up the whistle at the age of 14 before progressing to become a Football League referee in 2010.

He has had five trips to Wembley as a match official – his most important as the man in the middle for the 2014 League One Play-Off Final when Rotherham beat Leyton Orient on penalties.

It will be the sides’ first meeting since Villa won 3-2 at Molineux in the Premier League in January 2012.

Graham Scott referee (Wolves v Derby - 27th Feb 2016)
Out of action: Scott only officiated 20 matches last season because of injury but 11 of them were in the Championship (Picture from Sky Sports)

Graham Scott has been assigned to Sunday’s Yorkshire derby between Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday.

The 48-year-old will be in charge as the current leaders host their south Yorkshire neighbours in what promises to be a competitive contest at the John Smith’s Stadium (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted by Dave Bryan (Lincolnshire) and Matthew Wilkes (west Midlands), as well as fourth official Oliver Langford (west Midlands).

Scott will handle only his eighth match of the season – and fourth in the Championship so far.

He has brandished 26 yellow cards, sent off Gillingham’s Ryan Jackson in their 1-1 League One draw with Bradford, and awarded three spotkicks.

The Oxfordshire whistler was promoted to the Premier League after six seasons in the Football League in the summer of 2015.

But he has since received only six top-flight matches – with his only one this term coming last month in Tottenham’s 2-1 win at Middlesbrough, in which three players were cautioned.

It will be his second TV match of the season after putting in a good display in Leeds’ 2-0 win at Cardiff last month, also in the second-tier.

He awarded the visitors a spotkick under the new shirt-pulling directive at a crucial time after Matthew Connolly hauled down Pontus Jansson, which allowed Chris Wood to open the scoring at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The Abingdon-based official, who has also been fourth official for four games this season, encountered Huddersfield twice last season – in both of their West Yorkshire derbies against Leeds United.

He stayed under the radar during Leeds’ 3-0 win at the John Smith’s last November but booked eight players and awarded Huddersfield a penalty, which Nakhi Wells missed, in their 4-1 win at Elland Road back in March.

Scott controlled three Wednesday matches last term – their goalless draw with Derby in December, a 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest in which he dismissed Barry Bannan in March, and their memorable 3-0 triumph against Arsenal in the League Cup.



Darren Deadman will return to the middle this weekend, despite his poor display in Wimbledon’s 3-1 win at Oxford in League One last Sunday.

Read more about this story here.

You can view a full list of Football League match official appointments here.

Premier League: Mike Dean to referee Manchester United v Leicester City

The experienced whistler will take charge as the Reds face the champions, while Graham Scott receives his first Premier League game of the season.

Mike Dean awards free-kick (SUN v NEW - 5th April 2015)
Vastly experienced: Dean passed the milestone of 400 Premier League games as a referee earlier this season (Picture from Sky Sports)

MIKE Dean will be the man in the middle for Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Leicester City this weekend.

The 48-year-old, from the Wirral, will take charge when the Reds host the defending champions at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime (KO 12:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).

He will be ably assisted by Simon Long (Suffolk) and Ian Hussin (Merseyside), as he was for Spurs’ 1-0 win over Sunderland last Sunday, while the fourth official is Lee Mason (Lancashire).

It will be Dean’s fifth top-flight game of the campaign – and his fourth live on TV.

He has awarded four penalties so far, three for shirt-pulling under the new directive, brandished 22 yellows and sent off one player – Sunderland’s Adnan Januzaj for two bookable offences last time out at White Hart Lane.

Dean is yet to officiate in any other competition this term but has been fourth official for Manchester City’s 2-1 derby win over United at Old Trafford and Leicester’s EFL Cup tie with Chelsea on Tuesday night.

It’s the second time this season the Tranmere Rovers fan, now based in north Wales, will encounter Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester after their surprise 2-1 defeat at newly-promoted Hull on the opening weekend, in which he awarded them a spotkick for a foul on Demarai Gray that appeared to occur outside the box.

Dean also oversaw Manchester City’s 4-1 win at Stoke and Crystal Palace’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth last month – both tinged with more penalty controversy.

Taking control: Dean, with his wealth of experience and knowledge, can usually be relied upon for delivering an assured display (Picture from Sky Sports)

Dean – who first took up the whistle in 1985 – has been refereeing in the Premier League since 2001 and spent a decade on the Fifa list before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 45 in 2013.

He is the most experienced of the current crop of Select Group referees and is the proverbial safe pair of hands, with a number of high-profile games under his belt.

Dean’s major honours include the 2004 Community Shield, 2004 FA Trophy Final, Championship Play-Off Finals in 2006, 2009 and 2015, the 2008 FA Cup Final and the 2011 League Cup Final.

His flamboyant style has attracted praise and criticism in equal measure, as seen in Tottenham’s 3-1 win in Aston Villa last season when he appeared to “celebrate” Mousa Dembele’s opening goal.

Dean encountered United six times last season, with a mixed bag of key decisions going for and against the Reds.

After a quiet game in their 1-0 win at Aston Villa in August, he gave United a penalty and sent off West Brom’s Gareth McAuley in their 2-0 win at Old Trafford in November.

In January, Dean gave two penalties – one for each team – in the eventful 3-3 draw at Newcastle before sending off Juan Mata after 26 minutes in the 1-0 reverse at the Hawthorns in March.

He then oversaw their 3-0 defeat at Tottenham in April and 3-2 loss at West Ham in May, which effectively ended their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

Mike Dean stats
Statistics: Mike Dean’s 2015-16 season in numbers (Picture from Transfermarkt.com)

In contrast, Dean only handled three Leicester matches in their title-winning campaign – all of which were at the King Power Stadium and passed with little in the way of major incidents or talking points.

He made the decisions for their dramatic 3-2 win over Aston Villa in September, their 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace a month later and 3-0 success over Stoke in January.

United have won 29, drawn 10 and lost 15 of the 54 games Dean has refereed them but has only sent off four Reds players in that time, awarding the club 16 penalties.

He has also given Leicester four red cards in 26 games, in which they have won 14, drawn five and lost seven, but has only given them seven spotkicks.

Seeing red: Dean sent off United’s Juan Mata for two bookable offences in the first half of their 1-0 defeat at West Brom in March (Picture from BBC Sport)

The sides have already met this term in the Community Shield at Wembley last month, with Craig Pawson the man in the middle for United’s 2-1 win – as he was for the 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium last term.

Meanwhile, last season’s corresponding fixture in April – another 1-1 draw which all but guaranteed Leicester their most unlikely of title triumphs, in which Danny Drinkwater was sent off against his former club late on – was refereed by Michael Oliver.


Michael Oliver referee (Man United v Leicester - 1st May 2016)
Quick return: Oliver was at the Emirates on the opening weekend of the season for Arsenal’s 4-3 defeat against Liverpool (Picture from Sky Sports)

Oliver has been appointed to Saturday’s evening kick-off between Arsenal and Chelsea.

The Northumberland official will oversee the weekend’s marquee game when the two London heavyweights go head-to-head at the Emirates Stadium (KO 17:30 BST, live on BT Sport).

Oliver will be assisted by his regular Fifa assistants Gary Beswick (Countu Durham) and Stuart Burt (Northamptonshire) – with Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire) on fourth official duties, as he will be for West Ham’s match against Southampton at the London Stadium on Sunday.

It’s the second time Oliver will handle a fixture involving the sides in north London after a goalless draw in April 2015, incurring the wrath of then Blues boss Jose Mourinho for turning down three first-half penalty appeals and booking Cesc Fabregas for diving.

Mourinho was also critical of the Ashingdon-based whistler last weekend for his display in Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat at Watford – their third loss in a row in all competitions.

He can expect another volatile game – with both meetings last term producing three red cards for Arsenal, when Mark Clattenburg sent off Per Mertesacker for a last-man foul on Diego Costa early into Chelsea’s 1-0 win at the Emirates before Mike Dean controversially ordered off Gabriel and Santi Cazorla in the Blues’ 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Dean was subsequently branded “weak” and “naive” by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger and a “petulant schoolteacher” who “sucks life out of games” by BBC pundit Garth Crooks.

Meanwhile, Oliver will handle his seventh game of the season in all competitions and fifth in the Premier League.

The 31-year-old has awarded penalties in three of his previous four top-flight games, including Arsenal’s 4-3 defeat at home to Liverpool last month which Theo Walcott missed.

After an incident-free game in Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, he gave a controversial spotkick for Everton which led to their narrow victory over Stoke at Goodison Park – much to Mark Hughes’s dismay.

Oliver – a Premier League referee since 2010 who joined the Fifa list two years later – encountered Chelsea five times last season.

He sent off goalkeeper Thibault Courtois in their 2-2 draw with Swansea on the opening weekend before staying under the radar for their goalless draw at Spurs in November and 1-1 draw with Manchester United in February.

Oliver then sent off Diego Costa for two bookable offences in their stormy 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Everton in March but performed well when the Blues returned to Merseyside in May’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.

In comparison, the Newcastle United fan has not crossed paths with Arsenal since March – one of only two occasions he did so in 2015-16.

He dished out five yellow cards in their goalless draw with Liverpool at the Emirates in August but sent off Francis Coquelin for two yellow cards in their 2-2 draw with north London rivals Spurs at White Hart Lane.

Oliver – who is from a refereeing family with wife Lucy also a referee and his father Clive a retired Football League official – went to Euro 2016 as an additional assistant referee in Martin Atkinson’s team.

He may still be remembered by some Arsenal fans for his imperious display in their 2-1 FA Cup triumph at Manchester United in March 2015.

Lack of experience: Scott will only take charge of his sixth ever Premier League match this weekend (Picture from Sky Sports)

Graham Scott will oversee his first Premier League game of the campaign when Middlesbrough welcome Tottenham to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

The Oxfordshire whistler has handled five matches in the Football League so far this term but will be in charge of a first top-flight match since Stoke’s 3-1 win at Bournemouth on February 13.

Scott has seemingly been out of favour since wrongly sending off Kyle Naughton, one of several strange decisions in Sunderland’s 4-2 win at Swansea in January – when he stood in for the ill Andre Marriner.

Although he has been fourth official for two Premier League games this term, his first refereeing appointment comes on the back of a good display in Leeds’ 2-0 win at Cardiff in the Championship live on TV last weekend.

He awarded the visitors a spotkick under the new shirt-pulling directive at a crucial time after Matthew Connolly hauled down Pontus Jansson, which allowed Chris Wood to open the scoring at the Cardiff City Stadium.

It was the third time he had pointed to the spot after three second-tier matches, Gillingham’s 1-1 draw with Bradford in League One and Luton’s 4-1 victory over Wycombe in League Two.

Graham Scott referee (Blackburn v Ipswich - 2nd May 2015)
In the week: Scott issued four yellow cards in Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Derby in the EFL Cup third round (Picture from Sky Sports)

Scott only received one trial game before being promoted to the Select Group in the summer of 2015 as a replacement for the retired Chris Foy, following six years in the Football League.

The Abingdon-based official didn’t officiate his first match last term until October 17 because of injury and only received the first of his four Premier League games on December 12 – Watford’s 1-0 win at Sunderland.

The 48-year-old has handled seven previous Middlesbrough games but the last of which was their 1-0 win at Cardiff in the Championship in September 2014.

He has never sent off a Boro player or awarded them a penalty – but it will be the first time Scott will be in the middle for a Spurs match.

Richard West and the experienced Dave Bryan (Lincolnshire) will be the assistant referees, with Mike Jones (Cheshire) on fourth official duties.

Decisions: Jones gave Burnley a penalty which proved crucial in their east Lancashire derby against Blackburn last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Meanwhile, Jones will take charge of a Premier League game for the third week running on Monday night as Burnley host Watford.

The 48-year-old, from Cheshire, hadn’t overseen a top-flight match until Everton’s 3-0 win at Sunderland a fortnight ago, also on a Monday night at the Stadium of Light.

He was then in the middle for Southampton’s 1-0 win over Swansea at St Mary’s – dishing out two yellow cards in both matches.

However, the Chester-born whistler has shown red cards in his two other games in the Football League this term.

He issued six yellow cards and sent off Reading defender Joey van den Berg in their 2-2 draw with Brighton in the Championship last month before sending off Accrington’s Mark Hughes in the first half of their 3-2 Lancashire derby defeat to Morecambe in League Two.

Jones has also been fourth official for Manchester City’s 3-1 win over West Ham and Crystal Palace’s 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough.

The experienced official – who has been in the Premier League since 2008 and refereed two games at Wembley – enjoyed a successful and consistent campaign last term in which he handled 28 top-flight games.

The first of them was Watford’s 2-2 draw at Everton on the opening weekend as the Hornets made their Premier League return, before he oversaw their 3-0 home defeat by Arsenal in October and 1-0 defeat at Manchester United in March.

He encountered Burnley twice in the latter stages of their promotion-winning campaign in the Championship, both at Turf Moor.

Jones awarded the Clarets an early penalty for Shane Duffy’s foul on George Boyd which Andre Gray converted in their 1-0 win over Blackburn in his first east Lancashire derby in March, before dishing out three bookings in the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough the following month.

His assistants will be Darren Cann (Norfolk) and Mark Scholes (Buckinghamshire), while Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) is the fourth official.

You can view a full list of Premier League match official appointments here.

Graham Scott becomes full-time Premier League referee

Graham Scott has been promoted to the Premier League following six seasons in the Football League after being included on the Select Group referees list for the 2015/16 campaign.

Graham Scott referee (Blackburn v Ipswich - 2nd May 2015)
On screen: Eight of Scott’s 43 games last season were shown live on television (Picture from Sky Sports)

REFEREE Graham Scott has been promoted to the Premier League after being included on the Select Group list for the 2015/16 season.

The 47-year-old from Oxfordshire will become full-time after six years in the Football League and receive an annual salary along with the 16 other confirmed officials for next campaign.

He effectively replaces Chris Foy, who announced his retirement at the age of 52 last month to take up a senior coaching role with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

Experienced: Foy will take charge of a fourth League Cup quarter-final in his career (Picture from Sky Sports footage)
Retired: Foy leaves the Premier League without another experienced referee for the so-called “big games” (Picture from Sky Sports)

It is unlikely that any other National List officials will be promoted but the Premier League is now facing a record low referee shortage with the list of 17 officials including injury-hit 52-year-old Phil Dowd, who has struggled with a knee problem since February.

It remains to be seen whether Dowd will pass the required fitness tests ahead of the kick-off on August 8.

The announcement of Scott’s elevation comes as Football League linesmen Daniel Cook (Hampshire) and Andrew Fox (Warwickshire) were promoted to Select Group assistant referees.

He told the Oxford Times he was “very excited” to receive the news in a phone call on Monday.

“I am one of six referees who have been training with the select group for the past two years, and being prepared for such a promotion,” Scott explained.

“When I took the call, I was obviously taken aback at first, but very excited at the same time.”

Scott – a member of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire FA – received his first ever Premier League match last November when Burnley hosted Aston Villa at Turf Moor.

Assisted by the experienced Scott Ledger, Mike Mullarkey and fourth official Jon Moss – he put in a competent display and issued seven yellow cards as well as awarding Burnley a late penalty after Jores Okore hauled down Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Scott also got another taste of being in the middle when replacing the injured Phil Dowd at the Hawthorns at half-time during West Brom’s 1-0 win over Southampton back in February and correctly booked Albion’s Stephane Sessengon for a dive.

He has officiated top-flight teams in the past in cup competitions – including Chelsea’s League Cup third round win over Bolton at Stamford Bridge last October – and has been fourth official for a number of Premier League games.

Graham Scott (Watford v Wolves - 26th Dec 2014)
Mainstay: Scott is likely to be continually considered for key Championship matches (Picture from Sky Sports)

Fellow Football League referees Keith Stroud, Stuart Attwell and Paul Tierney were also awarded trial games throughout last season with other potential candidates such as Simon Hooper, David Coote and Andy Madley missing out.

But Scott – a member of the so-called “Talent Group” of officials seen as worthy for promotion – is seen as capable of officiating at the highest level after a series of top marks from assessors.

It was largely seen as a surprise but the decision to add him to the Premier League list has been well-received among refereeing circles.

He has largely slipped under the radar during his time in the Football League although has shown enough to impress and demonstrated his ability to keep control of difficult games.

Given his mature age, it remains to be seen how long Scott will referee in the top-flight but it illustrates the PGMOL’s intentions to recruit more experienced options with Howard Webb retiring last summer.

Safe pair of hands: Scott has built a reputation of avoiding controversy in the lower leagues
Safe pair of hands: Scott has built a reputation of avoiding controversy in the lower leagues (Picture from Sky Sports)

Last season, Scott oversaw 43 games across seven different competitions – brandishing 140 yellow cards, sending off four players and awarding 14 penalties.

He took charge of 15 Championship games, nine in League One and nine in League Two as well as three FA Cup matches, four League Cup ties and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy southern area final second leg between Bristol City and Gillingham at Ashton Gate.

It was a typically busy end to the season for Scott in 2014-15 having officiated the final-day Championship clash between Blackburn and play-off finishers Ipswich before two Premier League fourth official assignments.

He then replaced Andy Madley as referee for the League Two play-off semi-final second leg as Southend beat Stevenage at Roots Hall before being assigned to electronic board duties at Wembley for the League Two play-off final itself.

Graham Scott signals 3 added mins (Lge Two PO Final - 23rd May 2015)
Absence: Scott is yet to experience Wembley as the man in the middle (Picture from Sky Sports)

The Abingdon-based whistler took up the whistle after his playing career was ended by a back injury and progressed through his local leagues before making the step up to non-league in 2005.

He was then promoted to the National Group at the start of the 2008/09 campaign having impressed when regularly refereeing FA Cup first round ties and Conference games.

Scott was involved in a bizarre incident in January 2013 when an AFC Wimbledon fan allegedly threw a banana in his direction after being angered by a decision he made during their 2-2 draw with Port Vale.

He follows in the footsteps of now-Fifa official Craig Pawson, Roger East and Robert Madley who have most recently progressed from the Football League while 2015 FA Cup Final referee Jon Moss and Neil Swarbrick were also promoted in 2011.

After heavy criticism from former referees’ chief Keith Hackett earlier this year, the likes of Andre Marriner, Mike Jones, Kevin Friend and Lee Mason could be at risk of demotion – the fate suffered by Stuart Attwell in 2013 – following high-profile errors this term.

Although he has not refereed any major cup finals, Scott has been involved in several FL play-off games including a League Two play-off semi-final second leg and fourth official for the League One play-off final both in 2013.

Scott is likely to be given his first run-out as a full-time referee in August so he could be in the middle at a ground near you soon! Congratulations to the Oxfordshire whistler!

Simon Hooper to ref 2015 League Two Play-Off Final

Simon Hooper has been confirmed as the referee for the 2015 League Two Play-Off Final between Southend United and Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday May 23.

Simon Hooper (Brentford 0-1 M'boro at Griffin Park - 31st Jan 2015)

SIMON Hooper has been confirmed as the referee for the 2015 League Two Play-Off Final between Southend United and Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday May 23.

The 32-year-old from Wiltshire will oversee his first game in the middle at Wembley when the two sides battle it out for a place in League One.

He will be assisted by linesmen Jonathan Hunt (Liverpool) and William Smallwood (Cheshire) while the fourth official is Graham Scott (Oxfordshire) and Martin Coy (Durham) will be the reserve assistant.

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

He has overseen 38 games in all competitions this season – brandishing 124 yellow cards, sending off four players and awarding 11 penalties.

The IT services manager has officiated 21 times in the Championship, 10 in League One but only twice in League Two throughout the 2014-15 campaign.

However, his first ever Football League game came in the fourth tier when Exeter faced Shrewsbury and he has already witnessed one promotion to League One as Bury beat Tranmere on the final day of the season.

Hooper has 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 has been the fourth official for four top-flight games this term and others in previous years.

Simon Hooper dismisses Norwich's Martin Olsson (August 2014)

However, Hooper has been involved in a few incidents even from his first game this season when Norwich’s Martin Olsson appeared to shove him whilst being sent off at Wolves.

He also failed to award Sheffield United a blatant penalty in their Yorkshire derby with Bradford back in October when Bantams defender Rory McArdle wrestled United midfielder Stefan Scougall to the ground in the box.

Failing to make the grade at Swindon 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 but it is now eclipsed by this game as his most high-profile appointment.

Hooper, who has ambitions to become a full-time Select Group official, is in his eighth season as a Football League referee but is among the so-called “talent group” of officials who are being considered for promotion.

Simon Hooper points (Brentford 0-1 M'boro - 31st January 2015)

He 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.

Both Southend and Wycombe finished the regular season fourth and fifth respectively on 84 points with Phil Brown’s Shrimpers beating Stevenage 4-2 on aggregate in the play-off semi-finals while Gareth Ainsworth’s Chairboys overcame Plymouth 5-3 over two legs.

Last year, the League Two Play-Off Final was refereed by Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire) as Fleetwood secured a 1-0 victory over Burton Albion.

Meanwhile, Andy Madley (West Yorkshire) will take charge of the League One Play-Off Final between Preston and Swindon on May 24.

First Premier League game for referee Scott

Oxfordshire referee Graham Scott, who has been based in the Football League for the past six seasons, will take charge of his first Premier League match when Burnley host Aston Villa on Saturday.

Safe pair of hands: Scott has built a reputation of avoiding controversy in the lower leagues
Safe pair of hands: Scott has built a reputation of avoiding controversy in the lower leagues

FOOTBALL League referee Graham Scott will take charge of his first ever Premier League match this weekend.

The 43-year-old will be the man in the middle for Burnley’s clash with Aston Villa at Turf Moor on Saturday (KO 15:00 GMT) – with Mike Mullarkey and Scott Ledger his assistants while Jon Moss will be the fourth official.

The Oxfordshire whistler has steadily imposed himself since being promoted to the National List at the start of the 2008/09 season.

Scott has overseen 19 matches in all competitions so far this season – six in the SkyBet Championship.

During those games, he has issued 55 yellow cards while his only red card was brandished to Leeds United midfielder Luke Murphy in their 2-1 League Cup defeat at Yorkshire rivals Bradford in August.

Scott has officiated top-flight teams in the past in cup competitions and has been fourth official for a number of Premier League games, including Swansea’s upcoming encounter with QPR at the Liberty Stadium on 2 December.

In the past fortnight, he has made two televised appearances on Sky Sports and was at the helm for the goalless draw between south London rivals Charlton and Millwall in the second-tier at the Valley last Saturday.

The Abingdon-based referee took up the whistle after his playing career was ended by a back injury and progressed through the Buckinghamshire and Berkshire local leagues before making the step up to non-league in 2005.

He was involved in a bizarre incident in January 2013 when an AFC Wimbledon fan allegedly threw a banana in his direction after being angered by a decision he made during their 2-2 draw with Port Vale.

With David Coote and Simon Hooper touted as being the main candidates in the so-called Football League “Talent Group” of officials, Scott’s appointment is largely surprising but has been well-received among refereeing circles.

He follows in the footsteps of Keith Stroud, Stuart Attwell and Paul Tierney – who have all been handed trial matches as a Select Group official so far this term.

The PGMOL are desperate to assess the potential of Football League referees at a higher level with experienced campaigners Phil Dowd and Chris Foy, who are both over the age of 50, expected to announce their retirements at the end of the season.