Premier League official runs stands in as assistantPremier League ‘Select Group’ referee Michael Oliver was plucked from the crowd at Meadow Lane last night, and stood in as assistant referee in a clash between Reading FC Women and Arsenal Ladies.
“If there is a qualified assistant referee in the stadium, please can they make themselves known,” was the announcement made over the PA system at half-time. And few are more qualified than 30-year-old Oliver, one of the country’s top officials. He was last on refereeing duty when he donned the whistle for the Arsenal vs Liverpool fixture in the Barclays Premier League on Monday.
And it was a husband-wife combo that helped to oversee the second half! Lucy Oliver (née May) was the referee for the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup tie in Borehamwood, and her husband ran the line for her for 45 minutes. "It was nice of him to step in and help us," manager Kelly Chambers told BBC Sport. "We needed him, otherwise it could have been a different kettle of fish if we had just anyone taking over."
Reading FC Women were unable to get the right result on the night – Nicola Watts secured a late consolation as it ended in a 2-1 defeat to the Gunners. However the Royals currently sit third in their cup group, only trailing Arsenal and Chelsea, and travel to Watford on Sunday for their next cup fixture.
The next home game for the Royals Women will have a huge bearing on which way the FA WSL 2 title goes this season. Reading trail leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles by a single point with just five games remaining, and the teams meet at Farnborough FC on Saturday 5th September at 7pm. That fixture falls on the international weekend – so make sure that you come and lend your support to Reading FC Women that evening!
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