Laws in charge of Grimsby tie

Last updated : 03 January 2003 By Tony Scholes

He was probably as bored as the rest of us at the McAlpine Stadium although found time to yellow card two Burnley players, Lee Briscoe and Ian Moore. I don’t think anyone would complain at a similar game tomorrow if the result was the same.

It won’t be his first Burnley FA Cup tie, he was referee for our 2nd round win against Rotherham in 1999/2000 season at the Turf. The win gave us our date with Derby at Pride Park and Laws had a very quiet game and kept his cards in his pocket.

It was the second time in a month that he had been to the Turf and not given any Burnley players a card but his previous visit proved to be controversial. In front of the Sky cameras he not only allowed Scunthorpe defender Andy Dawson to stay on after a professional foul that robbed Andy Payton of a goal but didn’t even give him a yellow card.

He was condemned by commentator Alan Brazil for that decision early in the game and we were subsequently beaten 2-1.

His last Burnley game was the disastrous 3-0 defeat at Bramall Lane last season and he booked three Sheffield United players and Burnley’s Dean West. He had refereed the home match against them a season earlier whilst his brother David had been in charge at Bramall Lane in 2000/01.

This season Laws is averaging just under four yellow cards per game with 77 in 20 games but there have been just 3 red cards.

It is not often a referee can be found who has given more yellow cards to home players than away players but Laws is one this season with 41 to home players and 36 to away players.

He has had some busy games too with a 7, an 8 and a 9 game. It was in the First Division game between Rotherham and Portsmouth that he gave out 9 yellow cards and this game also provided one of his three red card, he sent off Rotherham’s Chris Swailes right on half time in a penalty incident. Portsmouth won the game 3-2.

He sent off Cambridge United’s Andy Duncan in a 4-3 defeat at Rochdale and in a previous visit to Grimsby this season he sent off the Mariners’ Tony Gallimore as they went down 3-0 to Nottingham Forest.

I think we will settle for his Burnley cup record, two wins with no goals conceded and hardly a yellow card. His first task though will be to decide whether the game can go ahead or not.