Officials for Saturday's home League One match between Yeovil Town and Preston North End have been published by the Football League. The match takes place at Huish Park on Saturday 19th January 2013, with a 3.00p.m. kick-off. The man in charge of the fixture will be referee Brendan Malone (Wiltshire).
He was promoted to the Football League's national referees list during the summer of 2010, at the age of 42. Mr Malone is a former Hampshire League footballer, who had to retire from the game at the age of 23 due to a knee injury. He took up refereeing as a result, and ran the line at League level for several years.
Or most recent meeting that involved Mr Malone was the Boxing Day 2011 home game against Charlton Athletic. We lost the match 2-3 - our main grumble at the time was that he was a little heavy on the bookings - the Western Gazette observes that he "baffled fans with decisions at throw-ins and corners, while six bookings reflects unfairly on the game". That's possibly not giving him enough credit for one key decision where he allowed Paul Huntington's goal to stand despite furious protests from Charlton players that goalkeeper Ben Hamer (once of Holyrood Community School) had been impeded as he landed on the deck when challenging for a corner. TV replays showed that Hamer's studs in a slippery goalmouth were entirely the problem, and so he did well to ignore the complaints.
Mr Malone's name may particularly ring a bell with Glovers fans because he was the official in charge of the stormy September 2011 encounter against Sheffield Wednesday at Huish Park. The centre-piece of the game was a controversial Kieran Agard goal, scored after he chased down the Owls defence following an uncontested drop ball. Whatever the moral rights and wrongs of that goal, the Laws of the Game that Mr Malone operates within meant that he could not be blamed for the situation that developed.
He did endure a rather difficult second half, in which Wednesday's players were rather fired up and aggrieved about the incident, and we saw four Glovers go into the book, plus an Owls player. He also ruled out awarding a penalty for a shirt tug on Gavin Massey that could have put Yeovil back in the lead. It wasn't the best 45 minutes of refereeing we've seen, but given the circumstances, probably all bar a few Premier League officials would have struggled to control the situation. He later saw Owls goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes called up by the Football Association for an incident in the tunnel at half time, so clearly was keeping his eyes on what was going on out there.
Our first experience of him as the man in the middle for a first team game was the August 2010 Football League Trophy match against Exeter City. Much as though we'd love to put on our best green-tinted spectacles for the red card dished out to Sam Williams for an off-the-ball incident on the night, there were no real complaints about the decision, and overall Mr Malone dealt with the game well.
The other game involving him as a referee was the 2011 New Year's Day match against Plymouth Argyle. There we can have no complaints either, particularly given that he awarded Yeovil a penalty after Andy Williams appeared to slip inside the box. Mr Malone kindly decided that Argyle's Curtis Nelson had clipped him. Unfortunately, Sam Williams failed to take advantage of the bit of charity, by having the penalty attempt saved. Mr Malone chalked off an Andy Williams 'goal' just before the break - the whistle had blown long before it landed in the back of the net though.
Just to prove we don't always do ref-rants as part of these profiles, Mr Malone was praised by manager Terry Skiverton after the game against the Pilgrims, although felt that there were one or two situations where he could have let the game flow to an advantage:
"I thought the referee (Brendan Malone) was excellent today, but there was one time where Andy (Williams) had got away from the defender, and he got pulled back a bit, and he blew up rather than play the advantage and I think that if he had given the advantage then Andy would have got a shot off. It's a hard job, and I'll say again that he (Brendan Malone) was excellent, but in those situations you may want the advantage."
Mr Malone will be assisted by Adam Hopkins (Devon) and Adrian Tranter (Dorset). The Fourth Official will be Richard Hulme (Somerset).
Link: August 2010 : Yeovil Town 1 Exeter City 3.
Link: January 2011 : Plymouth Argyle 0 Yeovil Town 0.
Link: September 2011 : Yeovil Town 2 Sheffield Wednesday 3.
Link: December 2011 : Yeovil Town 2 Charlton Athletic 3.
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