Date:Sunday January 25 2009
Graham Laws from Tyne and Wear has been announced as the man to take charge of Rangers midweek trip to Blackpool.
An experienced official, Laws, started his league career in 1997, refereeing his first game in the League Cup as Scunthorpe dispatched of Scarborough 2-0 at the McCain Stadium, with a brace from Alex Calvo-Garcia, whilst also sending off experienced pro Ian Snodin.
Laws was also heavily involved in 2002 playoffs, officiating Birmingham City`s away win to Millwall, whilst seeing Brentford through to the final with a 0-0 draw away to Huddersfield, whom Rangers were working hard to chase that year, and may have caught if it weren`t for the never-ending Leon Knight 90th minute winners. After seeing the Bees into the Division 2 Playoff Final, he refereed the final itself, handing out no cards as Stoke cantered to victory 2-0, over the R`s West London neighbours.
In 2004 he saw Brighton through to the Division 2 Playoff final, despite a loss at home to Swindon Town, whilst also seeing Huddersfield take the upper hand in the Division 3 Playoff Semi-Final in their away win at Lincoln. He saw Lincoln again at Sincil Bank the following year as they took advantage of Macclesfield, in the, then, League 2 playoff semi final.
Leon Knight`s double saw Swansea through to the final the following year; the year following he was back at Sincil Bank to see Lincoln lost 5-3 at home to Bristol Rovers, last seasons eventual winners. That capped off Laws` eighth playoff encounter to date as he has established himself as a League One referee.
In his lengthy refereeing career, Laws has only met the R`s eight times, the first of which was just before the turn of the Millennium:
Rangers lost away to Bolton at the Reebok Stadium, after Gavin Peacock had drawn Rangers level from the penalty spot, Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen gave Bolton the win. After the turn of the Millennium, Laws oversaw the R`s taking apart Manchester City at Maine Road in a 3-1 win, Chris Kiwomya and Mikkel Beck were on target for the R`s.
In the final game of the 2001/02 season, Laws took charge of the R`s 1-0 defeat against Oldham Athletic, a game that meant nothing in terms of position with Oldham still finishing one place below the R`s.
Two more eventful away games ensued in Rangers playoff final season under the watchful eye of Graham Laws. Rangers took Mansfield to school in a 4-0 demolition at Field Mill, with the returning Clarke Carlisle receiving a standing ovation from the R`s faithful; Rangers then slumped to a 3-0 defeat against Notts. County in the build up to the Christmas period.
Since that day at Meadow Lane, Laws has only refereed one Rangers game, in the subsequent season away at Wrexham, as Rangers took full advantage of the Welsh side`s inability to dispatch their chances. Marcus Bean scored in the 7th minute which epitomised the R`s advantage; however following Kevin McLeod`s 72nd minute red card Rangers were hanging on. That was until Martin Rowlands stunning solo effort won it for the super hoops.
A brief wait for Rangers and Mr Laws to meet once more, but it came at the Kingston Communications Stadium as the R`s were unlucky to leave the game with only a point. It all looked rosy for Rangers when Dexter Blackstock handed the visitors the lead in fortuitous circumstances with linesman and refereeing deeming the former Southampton forward`s effort had crossed the line.
High flying Hull had their revenge in the 90th minute as ex-Brentford defender Michael Turner netted an all important equaliser for the side who went on to win promotion.
Earlier this campaign Mr Laws oversaw Rangers demolition at the hands of Sheffield United, and notably forward Billy Sharp. The Blades youth product had been heavily criticised for a poor run of form in the build up to the fixture, but a well taken hatrick meant it was his and Sheffield United`s day at Bramall Lane.
So far this campaign Mr Laws has refereed 24 games dishing out 46 yellow cards and three reds. That gives him an average card rating of 2.04 cards per game.
Mr Laws & Queens Park Rangers
Bolton Wanderers 2-1 QPR - 14-08-99
Goals: Dean Holdsworth 11pen, Eidur Gudjohnsen 64; Gavin Peacock 38pen.
Yellow Cards: Dean Holdsworth, Andy Todd.
Manchester City 1-3 QPR - 08-03-00
Goals: Jeff Whitley 84; Chris Kiwomya 37, Gerard Wiekens 45og, Mikkel Beck 73pen.
Yellow Cards: Ian Baraclough, Karl Ready.
Oldham Athletic 1-0 QPR - 20-04-02
Goals: Julian Baudet 10
Yellow Cards: Cristian Colusso, Allan Smart; Richard Langley, Steve Palmer
Mansfield Town 0-4 QPR - 07-09-02
Goals: Paul Furlong 6, Danny Shittu 48, Kevin Gallen 85, Andy Thomson 89.
Yellow Cards: Jamie Clarke, Craig Disley, Lee Williamson; Danny Shittu, Tommy Williams
Notts County 3-0 QPR 14-12-02
Goals: Richard Liburd 7, Nicholas Fenton, Danny Allsopp 83.
Yellow Cards: Nicholas Fenton, Mark Stallard; Danny Murphy.
Wrexham 0-2 QPR 16-09-03
Goals: Marcus Bean 7, Martin Rowlands 90.
Yellow Cards: Brian Carey, Paul Edwards, Jim Whitley; Paul Furlong, Kevin Gallen, Arthur Gnohere, Kevin McLeod, Eric Sabin.
Red Cards: Kevin McLeod.
Hull City 1-1 QPR - 12-04-08
Goals: Michael Turner 90; Dexter Blackstock 14.
Yellow Cards: Craig Fagan; Lee Camp, Mikele Leigertwood, Martin Rowlands.
Sheffield United 3-0 QPR - 16-08-08
Goals: Billy Sharp 3, 13, 51.
Yellow Cards: Greg Halford
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